صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

by new revelations, but by inclining their hearts to his statutes, and by inspiring them with the love of holiness, and overruling all for good. If others depise tenderness of conscience, God will be sure to manifest his approbation of it.

FIFTHLY: To the evangelical hypocrite.

If any professor has been deceived by a spurious orthodoxy, so wresting the doctrine of grace as to encourage sloth, selfindulgence, carnal security, and spiritual pride ; let him own his folly, and become a constant learner at the feet of Christ; though some may despise him for it, as a poor legal creature, , who does not understand the gospel. A self-righteous spirit, is a very subtil thing, and nothing in the world is more blinding to the mind than spiritual pride, especially when it is disguised under evangelical phrases. Men may make a righteousness of their notions, as well as of outward duties, and whatever it is that leads them to trust in themselves that they are righteous, and to despise others, is certainly opposed to the genuine life of faith. If our supposed orthodoxy lead us to exalt self in reality, though in words we extol grace, we deceive our own souls. And certainly if it leads us to make light of sin, in any respect, that is a farther proof that our light is darkness. True evangelical knowledge promotes tenderness of conscience, and vital faith: though it casts out tormenting dread, yet it never puts an end to repentance, sorrow for 'sin, and humiliation ; but increases it, and excites circumspection in our future walk.

Let us then try, both the beginning and the progress of our experience, by this test; and that rigorously and impartially. If any one among you seem to be wise, let him be least and lowest; most dependant, and ready to suspect or abáse himself, and willing to be servant of all.”

XCIX.
THE UNWORTHY COMMUNICANT.

1 Cor. ii. 29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself.

It is probable, that the minds of many sincere Christians have been unduly impressed by these words : some being

deterred by it from obeying our Lord's dying charge, “ Do this in remembrance of me;" while others, after attending to it, have been unreasonably distressed, merely for want of more sensible enjoyment there. It would have been well, if our excellent translators had used only the marginal reading, Judgment,” instead of the awful word, “Damnation.” Certainly, the Apostle did not mean to affirm, That every one who partakes of the Lord's Supper unworthily, will perish for ever; nor yet, to suggest that this evil cannot, in some degree, be chargeable on those who are passed from death unto life. Though unworthily communicating, like every other sin, deserves the anger of God, and is a greater sin than many others, and the following verse shows that it is a sin, the partial commission of which is sometimes visited with temporal judgments; yet they were therefore chastened by the Lord, that they might not be condemned with the world.

But while we would not make too much of this commination, let us not make too little of it. And, that we may avoid the evil here censured, let us inquire,

First, Who may be said to eat and drink unworthily, when they partake of the Lord's Supper?

We shall not spend our time in exposing the evil of their conduct, who make this institution subservient to a mere political purpose, or to their secular advantage. This is a most horrid profanation of a divine ordinance !

Nor shall we dwell on their case, who deny the divinity and atonement of Christ, and attend to it as merely the commemoration of a good moral philosopher, who said he came to bear witness to the truth, but who might have escaped suffering as a blasphemer, if he would only have explained his words as they explain them. But we will dwell chiefly on what is more likely to concern ourselves.

He must be chargeable with this crime, who comes to the Lord's table without understanding the nature and design of this institution ; or whose heart does not habitually coincide with the ends of it; who is not anxious to remember the Son of God, who assumed our nature, by uniting a human body, miraculously produced by the power of the Holy

Spirit, and a rational soul, to his divine person : thus becoming real man, as he was truly God; answering to the name Immanuel, given him by the Prophet; that thus as God-man he might honor the divine law, by his obedience and sufferings, and purchase his church with his own blood : bearing our sins in his own body on the cross, redeeming us from the curse of the law, making reconciliation for transgressors by the sacrifice of himself, and bringing in everlasting righteousness, while he purifies unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

He that comes to the Lord's table with a self-righteous spirit, not realizing the great evil of sin, nor feeling his need of Christ's atonement and righteousness, and not depending solely thereon for pardon and acceptance with God.

He who eats and drinks irreverently. If you went to the table of an earthly king, you would neither- rudely stare him in the face, nor would you be continually looking around you, at other objects, neglecting all attention to your sovereign. His presence would both awe and cheer you; you would listen to whatever he said, and would think it a great honor that he should condescend to notice a person so insignificant as you. How much more, if you sustained the character, not merely of a subject, but of a pardoned rebel.

· He that eateth and drinketh impenitently, is guilty of eating and drinking unworthily. You should come to the table with renewed sorrow for sin, and with earnest concern for its future mortification. Surely, every fresh exhibition of a crucified Saviour should excite us to mourn afresh for sin. His sufferings show the evil of sin more strongly than any sufferings of ours. A true penitent is not merely terrified at what God has threatened to do against sinners, but grieved at what sinners have done against God; so good and gracious a God, who could find it in his heart to pardon transgressors, and that in such a way as this!

He that is not humbled before God, and hence the more humble in his feelings and conduct towards men, eats unworthily. Can you have room for pride, who must have had your portion with them that shall awake to everlasting contempt, had not the Lord of glory humbled himself, and

made himself of no reputation for you? What will you

be proud of, whose guilt could not be expiated but by such a sacrifice; and whose reluctance to return to God, could only be conquered by efficacious grace ?

He that eateth ungratefully, or without being deeply affected with the condescension of the Son of God, in becoming incarnate and obedient unto death; and with the greatness of his love, and of the benefits imparted through his mediation, eateth unworthily.

He that does not long to be conformed to the image of Christ; who is not willing to obey Christ in all other respects; who does not regard all his commandments; who does not imbibe his spirit, eats unworthily. Dare you say, I will keep his ritual appointments, but I will have nothing to do with moral precepts?

He that is destitute of love to the brethren ; that feels no special regard to all true saints ; no union of interests with other believers; no unfeigned grief for their imperfections; no value for their graces; no delight in their prosperity ; no compassion for their wants; that seldom prays for that part of the church with which he is connected, nor yet for the church at large.

He that often indulges a censorious spirit ; who is not sensible that he needs candor to be shown to him, and shows none to others; but is disposed to magnify their failings, and make more of a mote in their eye, than of a beam in his own: who is easily offended, and hard to be reconciled, while he is above making any concessions when he fails in his duty, he eats unworthily. O wretched professor ! I forgave thee all that debt, and wilt thou not forgive a petty offence ?

He that never looks forward to Christ's second coming ; who minds only earthly things; who walks only by sight, not by faith ; who “sets his affections on earth, not on things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God."

SecondLY: What may we expect to be the consequence of thus eating and drinking unworthily?

If we do so habitually and entirely, the consequences must be absolutely fatal. A mere name will be of no avail whatever : it will only aggravate our future condemnation.

If neither the word nor ordinances affect your heart, nor bind you to new obedience, you must be dead in sin, and only have a name to live.

If we are frequently, though but partially guilty, it is likely to bring on divine rebukes and chastisements. If spiritual judgments instead of temporal, so much the worse.

We all, however, have been so far and so often deficient, as to have much reason for self-abasement and self-abhorrence. Though this is not a reason for abstaining from the Lord's table, yet it is a reason for earnestly imploring farther supplies of grace, that with broken hearts we may look to him whose body was broken for us. If we have indeed known him to be the bread of life, known that his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed, we shall prefer the gospel feast, (not the mere elements, but the things signified by them) to all other enjoyments.

Examine then yourselves, if ye be in the faith. ye eat the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of man, ye have no life in you.” You must be born again, and must live by faith on the Saviour. He that is not fit to come to the Lord's table is not fit to die. Yet you are exposed to death daily!

<

« Except

C.

REQUISITES FOR COMMUNION.

1 Cor. xi. 29.

Not discerning the Lord's body. The Apostle, in the context, is reproving some of the members of the church at Corinth for the irregular manner in which they attended the Lord's supper. Instead of using that institution as an affecting memorial of the incarnation and death of Christ, they made it not only a meal, but a feast for the body, at which some even drank to excess. In so doing, he assures them that they ate and drank condemnation to themselves, and exposed themselves to divine judgments. Such conduct was provoking to the Lord, being an absolute profanation of an ordinance of Christ, of

« السابقةمتابعة »