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that generous pride, as it is called, which is the incentive to worthy actions. This is one proof, among many, that christianity is little understood by those who oppose it. A small part of it only is known; and from hence conclusions are drawn as if it formed the whole.
It is true that christianity exhibits man as fallen very low; but is it not also true, that its proper end is highly to exalt him? It represents him, indeed, as degraded even unto hell; but does it not propose, as its very object, to raise him up to heaven? How dignified do the scriptures describe him to have been in his origin! His soul inspired by the breath of the Almighty! This beauteous globe contrived and fashioned for his habitation! Every other order of creatures subjected to him as lord of all! He himself made capable of holding converse with his God, and actually admitted to his familar intimacy and friendship! Are not these grand ideas? But one, unspeakably more grand, is yet to be mentioned. "God so loved the world, as to give his only-begotten Son, that we might not perish, but have everlasting life." Astonishing and dignifying consideration! The eternal Son of God, equal with the Father, assumes our nature! values us so highly, as thus to humble himself, that we might be exalted; and submits to death, that we might live! rises again from the dead; ascends to heaven, and seats human nature on the very throne of God! In that nature receives the adoration of all the heavenly hosts; and officiates as our advocate in the court of heaven! entitles us to be called, like himself, sons of God; and, sending forth his divine Spirit, purifies our fallen nature, and makes it meet for an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away! To these contemplations let every meaner thought give way; and if we boast, let us boast of that which constitutes our real dignity; let us boast of our religion, and of our Redeemer.
The unbeliever may perhaps call all this enthusiasm, and deem it no better than a visionary fable. But this being christianity, he is bound either to shew us that human nature is more exalted on some other scheme, or to renounce his objection
[To be continued.]
ON ABSTAINING FROM THE LORD's SUPPER.
I THINK YOU will promote one of the objects to which your magazine is devoted, by inserting in your next number, the following communication from a respectable clergyman, to one of his parishoners, on a subject deeply interesting to every christian. The excuses which are alleged for abstaining from the Lord's supper, are very many and various, according to the different dispositions and characters of men; but of all excuses which are ever offered, by persons inclining to a religious life, none perhaps are more common, or urged with more effect, than the one which is stated and answered in this epistle.
After the explanations which you have given me of the motives of your conduct, I shall certainly not accuse you of absenting yourself from the Lord's table through negligence or indifference. You assure me that you earnestly desire to partake of that ordinance, but that you have scruples of conscience which you cannot overcome. You think that persons who live in open sin are in the number of the communicants at the parish church, and that with such you are forbidden to communicate, by the word of God. 1 Cor. v. 11. "I have written to you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one no not to eat."
I have diligently considered this cbjection, and am satisfied that your conclusion is not warranted by the injunction of the apostle to which you refer. You take it for granted, that the expression no not to eat, relates to the Lord's supper. But the phrase frequently means nothing more than familiar intercourse. Thus it was said to our Lord, why doth your master eat with publicans and sinners? which has no relation to sacramental eating. It is true that we are required, by all lawful methods, to shun and avoid disorderly brethren, lest we should seem to countenance their transgression, or should be infected by their example. But it cannot be allowed, as one of these lawful methods, to withdraw yourself from the means of grace; for that is to disobey the express command of Christ.
But suppose the phrase to relate, not only to common meals, but to the Lord's supper; to whom is it addressed? To them who have rule in the church, whose duty it is to exclude such elisorderly persons from an ordinance which they profane, v. 13.
"Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person." The duty of private christians is to aim at the reformation of such persons, by admonishing them in the spirit of love, and if that does not avail, to desist from keeping company with them, but by no means to separate from the communion of the church. In the Corinthian church there were many corrupt members, guilty of fornication, incest, eating at the idol's table, 1 Cor. viii. 10. and drinking to excess at the table of the Lord, 1 Cor. xi. 21. Does the apostle exhort the Corinthian christians, on this account, to desert the holy communion? No: Just the contrary. "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup," 1 Cor. xi. 28. i. e. Let private christians, when they see abuses and disorderly behaviour in any of their brethren, take care not to fall into the same practices, but redouble their self-examination, and so partake of the Lord's supper.
If the attendance of some offenders were a good reason why persons properly qualified should withdraw, it is not easy to say to what lengths the argument might be extended. We are forbidden to keep company with fornicators, 1 Cor. v. 9. Now one way of doing so is by joining with them in public worship: does it follow then, that we are to forsake the public worship because some of the pretended worshippers are profane or sensual? Yet this argument is exactly similar to that which you offer, to excuse your non-attendance at the sacrament of the Lord's supper.
I actually knew a very ingenious and learned man, and once highly esteemed for his piety, who acted upon this principle, and would associate with no congregation of worshippers, because he could find none sufficiently pure. This man is now become a most pernicious character, employing all his talents in corrupting the principles of his readers.
An argument should be well weighed, and strongly suspected, which leads to this awful consequence, that a man may lawfully withdraw himself from any of the means of grace, especially that which was appointed by the authority of our dying Redeem er. He said to all his disciples, take ye and eat, take and drink ye all of this; do this in remembrance of me.
Let me, then, intreat you, my dear friend, not to depart from the Lord's table, from your brethren, from your heavenly food, though some false brethren may partake with you. Our blessed Lord well knew that Peter would presently deny him, and that Judas was actually deliberating how he might betray him, yet he
did not refuse to admit them to the first and most solemn cele, bration of this ordinance.
I have thus sent you my thoughts in writing, that you may, at your leisure, and with earnest prayer, consider and meditate upon a subject of so much importance to your comfort, your growth in grace, and your hopes of final happiness.
I am sensible that the example of your present misconduct has a great tendency to mislead others, and therefore, for their sakes as well as your own, I earnestly exhort you, as you love your own salvation, and desire the spiritual welfare of your brethren, to be a partaker of the holy communion.
LETTER OF BISHOP HORNE.
TO THE EDITOr,
Being a member of a synod, which has enjoined upon all its members to contribute to your magazine, I send you an original letter of Bishop Horne, which cannot fail to please those of your readers who value the manifestations of a strong and ardent piety, presented in a most easy and persuasive garb. Your's, &c.
MY DEAREST CHARLES,
Mag. Coll. July 12th, 1755.
As it has pleased God, who orders every thing for the best, to separate us for a time, so that we cannot pass our hours together, as we used to do, in reading the holy scriptures, and talking one to another of the things God has done for us, and requires us to do for him, we have nothing left but to pray earnestly for each other, that we fall not into temptation, and communicate our thoughts in writing for the establishment of our faith. Be not discouraged, my beloved friend, at what has happened. It is not this, or that person, that has taken you from us, but he who orders and disposes all events according to his infinite wisdom and unbounded love. And this, you may depend upon it, is done for great and glorious purposes; at least for the trial of your own faith, that being more precious than gold, it may come out brighter from the furnace of temptation. There are two methods the enemy has of attacking the children of God, threatening and alluring. One of these the strength from above has enabled you to stand, and fear not but the same strength will make you more than conqueror over the other. The God who
delivered you out of the paws of the lion, and the bear, and the uncircumcised Philistine, will (if you continually pray to him) enable you to dash from your lips, untasted, the gilded cup of pleasure and vanity, now offered and pressed upon you by the world, to charm your faith to sleep, and rob you of the jewel of everlasting salvation. Oh keep a watchful eye upon this mother of fornication, and let her not bewitch you with her sorceries, as she does the kings and great ones of the earth. When you went from hence, the world, I know, had no charms for you; its cares, honours, and pleasures were as insipid to you, as the kingdom of God and his righteousness are to others: and when alone in your little garden, with a bible in your hand, no person, I am well assured, could more heartily subscribe that sentence of the blessed apostle, "Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content." This happy temper of mind, my dearest Charles, keep and hold fast. Remember it was formed upon thorough conviction and sound judgment, in the hours when you were best disposed to understand and settle the true value of things. Let not therefore any supposed highness of spirits, occasioned by wordly joys and pleasures, make you alter an opinion grounded upon the everlasting truth of the almighty God. For the world, whatever face it may put on, on this side of the water or the other, is nothing but fuel for the fire of vengeance. Remember that all the saints of God were strangers in the foreign country of this world, foreign indeed to the heirs of glory! they confessed themselves pilgrims and sojourners, without any possession, but a burying place. And, O remember (for it is worthy to be engraven with the point of a diamond upon your heart for ever!) that He who made the world and therefore best knew its true value, chose to have nothing from it, but its abuse and reproaches. Be strong, therefore, my much loved friend and brother, be strong, not in yourself, but in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Besides frequent ejaculations, whatever you are about, to the throne of grace, fail not, at any rate, to steal some portion of each day, for reading, meditation, and prayer. Read the blessed book, the fountain of all comfort, and apply by faith to yourself what you meet with there. Digest the heavenly food by meditation, and then turn it into prayer for its accomplishment in you. Forget not a daily examination of the state of your soul, that you may know what temptations are most prevailing, and wrestle with the Angel of the Covenant for a blessing on your endeavours to overcome them. Pray with the same earnestness you would have done, had you been with the three children in the fiery furnace. When you are assaulted by