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and support the body, so the celebration of SERM. the sufferings and death of Christ does, or ought to, excite in us aquick sense of gratitude for what he has done for us; to animate us to a closer attachment to him; to create in us a stronger abhorrence of sin, and affection for virtue; and by this means to nourish and support our souls.' It was likewise ordained by Christ himself: this was done immediately before his death, in the presence of all the apostles; he himself partook of it with them, and left it as his dying request and command, that they should continue to observe this rite in remembrance of him. It is likewise a means whereby we appropriate to ourselves the benefits of our Re. deemer's death; he has thought fit to ap
point such means, and, I confess, I do not . see how any Christian can reasonably ex.
pect, whilst he neglects them, to attain the glorious end. As to its being a pledge to
Vol. II. F . assure
SERM. assure us of God's mercy, consider what it
represents;—the body of Christ, which was broken, and the blood of Christ, which was poured out to make atonement for our iniquities; to procure for us the pardon of our sins. What may we not expect when we are calling to mind such an amazing instance of good will to men, as this ? may we not be certain, that he who withheld not from us his only son, will, with him, bestow on us all manner of good gifts? Thus, you see, baptism and the Lord's supper exactly answer to the description of a sacrament; they both contain outward and visible signs; water in the one; bread and wine in the other: these signs also re. present inward spiritual graces; water represents purification from sin; and bread and wine, an increase and stability in virtue: they were likewise ordained by Christ, and are means of obtaining, and pledges that we shall obtain, certain graces and benefits.
We will now consider what farther is SERM. said in the catechism, with respect to each of them.
Of those who are baptized, we are . told, there is required, “ Repentance, “ whereby they forsake sin; and faith, « whereby they stedfastly believe the pro« mises of God made to them in that sa- . “ crament.” The primitive church was extremely strict in this particular. Before Christianity was established, when persons grown to manhood offered themselves to baptism, no one was admitted till he could give proof of his sorrow for his past evil life, and till he could offer reasons for his faith in Christ; and it was afterwards expected, that he should shew his sincerity by his future virtuous and pious behaviour. But if this were the custom, and if faith and repentance are really necessary, it is a very natural question which follows, “Why “ then are infants baptized, when by reaF2
SERM. “ son of their tender age they can give
“ proof of neither?” The answer is satistisfactory; their god-fathers and god-mothers promise both for them, and when they come to years of discretion, they themselves are bound to perform them; and for this plain reason, because the engagements, which have been made in their names, are so greatly for their good. And we accordingly find, that the custom universally prevails of taking on ourselves, at our confirmation, those vows, which were made by our sureties at our baptism.
It now remains that I consider the Lord's supper. There is a difficulty in the catechism, with respect to this, which should not be passed over: we are told that the body and blood of Christ are “ verily and “ indeed taken, and received by the faith“ ful.” This expression sounds like the doctrine of the Papists; that the words which are said over the bread and wine by
the priest, convert them into the real body SERM. and blood of Christ! but this certainly is not the sentiment of our church; by being verily and indeed taken, we may, and ought to understand only, that the benefits of our Redeemer's death are truly received by . the faithful believer and worthy communicant alone. Of these benefits I have al. ready spoken, and indeed they are so plainly expressed in the catechism, that it is unnecessary to dwell on them; the “strengthen*ing and refreshing of our souls by the body ' and blood of Christ, as our bodies are by
the bread and wine.' The subject is closed with a description of the requisites for the worthy partaking of this sacrament, which are said to be,“ Examination of ourselves, “ whether we truly repent of our former * sins; a stedfast purpose to lead a new “ life; a lively faith in God's mercy through -- Christ;'a thankful remembrance of his *“ death; and a charitable, benevolent dis* position towards all men.” COLLO F3