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in the ordinances of the Lord blameless, or to slight and refuse to employ the means of grace, which God's providence has appointed for the direction of the ignorant, and the improvement of the well-disposed.
In proportion as we lower the value of the outward and visible sign and means of grace, we shall be found guilty of warring against God, who, in compassion to the infirmities of his creatures, and for the sake of peace and order in his church, has been pleased to make such a provision for the religious practice of the Christian community to which we belong, as may help us to grow in grace and all godliness of living. If once the sober use of forms is given up, it is impossible to know how far the mischief of innovation may extend; and, though they may be abused, the design and benefit of them is no less real on that account. Whatever may be proved to be of God's appointment, or consistent with his holy word, cannot be too highly honoured, or too earnestly encouraged. The subtlety of our great enemy is in nothing deeper than in the various ways in which he tempts our spiritual pride. Transforming himself into the appearance of an angel of light, he beguiles us frequently from the right way: by magnifying us in our own eyes, by suggesting the value of a false and furious zeal, and by clining us from the safe and middle way, he
involves us in the labyrinth of self-will and other fatal errors, as dangerous in the end, though not so glaring, as formality and hypocrisy.
In the institution of the Lord's day, and other Christian ordinances, our Maker and Redeemer would keep us in a safe path. Let us be content with his appointments, and faithful and constant in attending upon them, and then we have no reason to fear but they will produce a saving effect, and lead us in a regular course, and, in God's good time, to the full happiness they are calculated to produce. God give them this blessed effect on all present, through the merits and mediation of Him who is the life, and the way, and the end, even Jesus Christ the Righteous. To whom, &c.
ON THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD'S SUPPER. PART I.
MATTHEW, XXVI. 26, 27, 28.
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it (or gave thanks), and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of
Again, Christ asserts, in the 6th chapter of
St. John and 53d verse, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you; that is, no spiritual grace, no power of bringing forth fruits meet for repentance, and acceptable to God on Christian principles. Here, in St. Matthew's Gospel, as likewise in those of Mark and Luke, you have the very date and form of the positive institution as delivered by the divine Author of it himself. And
from St. John's Gospel you are again informed by our blessed Lord, of the virtue conveyed by the institution, and of the consequence of neglecting to obey Christ's commands respecting it-ye have no life in you.` In discoursing upon this subject, I take it for granted I am addressing persons who have partaken of the benefits of the first Christian sacrament (the holy rite of baptism), who are convinced of the inherent weakness and depravity of their mortal nature, through the taint of original sin; and, like persons afflicted with a sore and inveterate disease, are anxiously looking out for a cure, and ready to embrace the happy means of being relieved. In other words, I suppose myself speaking to persons who acknowledge they have neglected and abused the degree of grace and favour shown them at their baptism; and who (alarmed at the sight of the heavy burden of their sins, and the dreadful consequence without pardon) confess their unworthiness and insufficiency for any thing that is good, and are inclined to cry out in the distress and sincerity of their heart, Lord, what shall we do to be saved?
To the depth of God's wisdom, and the riches of his goodness, there are no bounds. That his creatures might not be launched into a sinful and dangerous state, at an age when