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who must say,
come in much weakness to the house of God, and whose frailties tell him that he shall not see another season. It is so to him who has been smitten by in. curable disease, who feels his strength declining, and
“My breath is corrupt, my bones are burnt as a hearth, the grave is opening for me.” And these words have been impressed on the heart of persons in their full strength by Divine suggestion, and by circumstances which have occurred at such solemnities, and which have made them say, as the Lord liveth, there is but a step betwixt me and death. It would be proper that all of us should consider our situation in this light; for none can promise himself another solemnity of this nature, and none will improve this ordinance properly who does not observe it as his last sacrament. Let us then consider how this memento of the Saviour at the Lord's Supper should be received.
1. It should be received with resignation. It is made by him who hath the power of life and of death, and whose will it is both impious and vain to resist. What can be more foolish than to attempt to resist the hand which turns man to destruction, or to insist on remaining when he saith, “ Arise, depart ye, this is not your rest, for it is polluted ?"
Besides the kindness of the manner in which he intimates this is another reason for resignation. It is with the voice of invitation and persuasion that he addresses you, rather than with that of authority; and shall you abuse that compassion with which he softens it into an encouragement to cry, “O spare me that I
may recover strength, before I go hence and be no more, "-instead of considering it as an excitement to a cheerful departure.
You cannot, in this scene, mark the resignation of your Lord to his Father's will, nor hear him saying,
my Father giveth me shall I not drink it,” and be disposed to rebel against the de
termination of his Providence. If you enter as you ought into the spirit of this scene, you will answer this intimation in such language as this :-“0, my Saviour, I have no will but thine.” And what is there in the world that should make you averse from complying. Your best pleasures here are those of religion, and you go to enjoy them in a more perfect manner in heaven. The friends to whom
hearts are attached by the ties of nature and of grace
shall soon join you in glory. When your Lord then saith “ Arise, let us go hence,” let this be
your answer, I will go in the strength of the Lord God.
2. It should be received with gratitude. It shows his goodness to you that he apprizes you of this event, that you may use all the appointed means of preparation for it. He wishes to save you from the anxiety and horror of those who shall be awakened from the sleep of security by the notice of his approach. He claims your gratitude too by the season and place which he employs for this intimation." We sometimes read of the warnings of death and judgment being given to men in the scene of guilty pleasure or of triumph; and the horrors of these are aggravated by the contrast they present to the excess of riot and to the vauntings of presumption, but this intimation de
lightfully accords with the exercises and objects of a communion table. You have often thought of the frame in which it would be most desirable to die, and what is more suited to such an hour than the faith which relies on the righteousness of Christ, than the superlative love of a heart struck by his excellence, than the repentance which cries God be merciful to me, a sinner. Consider, that in this ordinance you may behold all that is terrible in death put away. Here you see Christ destroying death, and him who hath the power of death, that is the devil; and delivering them, who, through fear of death, were all their life born subject to bondage. Here you behold an atonement made for all your guilt, a price paid for all your happiness.
Here you see Christ delivered for your offences, and rising again for your justification. It is impossible to believe this without feeling disposed to join with the Apostle in his song," O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”* It is when seen from the side of the cross that death appears divested of its terrors and the grave of its gloom.
3. It should be received with love. How much is there in this intimation to excite our love! Here we see Christ submitting to death to redeem us from destruction, laying open to us the kindness of his heart, revealing the everlasting felicity for which he hath
* 1 Cor. xv. 55–57.
destined us, and solacing himself in the prospect of being happy with us for ever. That heart must be lost to all proper feeling which is not kindled into affection by this statement of the Saviour. Ye aged Christians, who are complaining of the coldness of your hearts, let me call upon you to place them under the influence of that love which was stronger than death, and you will feel them burning with a more fervid glow. You are contrasting your present languor at his table with the kindness of your youth ; but, while you mourn over your decline, beseech him to animate you with his own spirit, and to shed abroad his love in your hearts.
It ought to be heard too with increasing affection to our Christian brethren. We feel peculiar emotions of tender regard to friends with whom we associate for the last time,-and in the last look, word, and grasp, there is more of the heart than in any former testimony of friendship; and when you think that you shall mingle with your brethren in the sanctuary no more, you will raise to Heaven the earnest prayer that they may prosper
and wisdom, and as you go away it will be with the parting blessing of holy benevolence. Aged persons have been sometimes charged with implacability of temper, with brooding over the injuries of former times, and instilling their prejudices and animosities into their descendants; but let your conduct show that you have fully imbibed the forgiving spirit of the cross, and that every malignant feeling is extinguish
ed within you.
4. It should be received with a determination to show increasing diligence in preparing for our de. parture. Your time is indeed short, and you feel that it is so; and, if you are now slothful, you will not have their apology, poor as it is, who flatter themselves that they have many years to live. You feel that indolence in you would be marked by peculiar criminality, and whatever is necessary to be done do it with all your might. Much remains to be done to complete your meetness for heaven; improve, there. fore, the aids afforded you by the cross for purification from every evil, and for attaining conformity to your Saviour's image. Much remains to be done to promote piety among your connexions, and can you bear the thought of leaving any of them in their sins ? There will be a peculiar solemnity in your prayers, and a peculiar earnestness in your admonitions, when they are uttered under the impression “ that you are at the point to die.” You feel that you are not yet so detached from the world as you should be; improve then the scene before you in such a way, that, by the cross, the world may be crucified to you and you to the world. Nobler objects solicit your affections, and let them now engage your whole heart.
5. It should be received with hope of the felicity here promised. This is the promise of Him who is the faithful witness, and, while such love breathes in it, you cannot question his intention to fulfil it, Besides, in the death commemorated in this ordinance,
the foundation is laid of that power which has been committed to our Lord over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as God hath given him. The pleasure of your present fellowship with