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signs and representations; "setting forth evi"dently before our eyes, (to use St. Paul's lan"guage) Christ crucified amongst us." This, of necessity, unless we are strangely wanting to ourselves, must raise the warmest affections of love that our hearts are capable of, to him who hath given his Son, to him who hath given himself for us. And as love is the noblest principle of religious behaviour, what tends so powerfully to animate our love, must in proportion tend to perfect us in every branch of duty, according to the just reasoning of the same Apostle: "For the love of "Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, "that if one died for all, then were all dead; " and he died for all, that they who live, should "not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto "him, which died for them, and rose again." When our Saviour said to his disciples," If ye "love me, keep my commandments;" he knew the motive was no less engaging than it is reasonable. And therefore he adds very soon after, "If a man love me, he will keep my words." 995
But this institution carries in it a yet further tie upon us; being, as our blessed Lord himself declared, "the New Testament in his blood;" the memorial and acknowledgment of the covenant between God and man, which was founded on his death, and requires a sincere faith and obedience on our part, as the condition of grace and mercy on his. "Every one, that nameth the 66 name of Christ," is bound to "depart from iniquity." But this obligation is redoubled cn them who come to his table as friends, and "make "a covenant with him by partaking of his sacri"fice." If these live wickedly, it is declaring, with the boldest contempt, that they consider
(2) Gal. iii. 1.
(6) Luke xxii. 20.
"Christ as the minister of sin;" "9 and " count "the blood of the covenant," wherewith they profess to be "sanctified, an unholy thing." Partaking therefore of this holy ordinance is renewing, in the most awful manner, our engagements to the service which we owe, as well as our claims to the favours which God has promised. It is our Sacrament, our oath to be faithful soldiers under "the great captain of our salvation;" * which surely we cannot take thus, without being efficaciously influenced to the religious observance of it in every part of Christian life.
But there is one part especially, and one of the utmost importance, to which this institution peculiarly binds us, that of universal good-will and charity. For commemorating, in so solemn an action, the love of Christ to us all, cannot but move us to that mutual imitation of his love, which, just before his appointing this holy Sacrament, he so earnestly and affectionately enjoined his followers, as the distinguishing badge of their profession. "This is my commandment, that ye "love one another, as I loved you., Greater love "hath no man than this, that a man lay down his "life for his friend. Ye are my friends, if ye do "whatsoever I command you. Hereby shall all "men know, that ye are my disciples, if ye have "love one to another." Then, besides, commemorating his love jointly, as the sevants of one master, and members of one body, partaking of the same covenant of grace, and the same hope of everlasting happiness, must, if we have any feeling of what we do, incline us powerfully to that reciprocal union of hearts, which indeed the very act of communicating suggests and recommends to us. "For we, being many, are one bread and one
(9) Gal. ii. 17.
(4) John xv. 12, 13, 14.
(1) Heb. x. 29.
(5) John xiii. 35.
body; for we are all partakers of that one 66 bread." "" 6
Another grace, which the commemoration of our Saviour's death peculiarly excites, is humility of soul. We acknowledge by it, that we are sinners; and have no claim to pardon or acceptance, but through his sacrifice and mediation, whose merits we thus plead, and set forth before God. And this consideration must surely dispose us very strongly to a thankful observance of his commands, to watchfulness over our own hearts, to mildness towards others. "For we ourselves also have been "foolish, disobedient, deceived; and not by works "of righteousness, which we have done, but ac"cording to his mercy, God hath saved us, which "he shed on us abundantly, through Christ Jesus 66 our Saviour." 7
And as this Sacrament will naturally strenghen us in all these good dispositions, we cannot doubt, but God will add his blessing to the use of such proper means, especially being appointed means. For since he hath threathened punishments to unworthy receivers, he will certainly bestow rewards on worthy ones. Our Saviour hath told us, that "his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink "indeed;" "8 sustenance and refreshment to the souls of men. When he blessed the bread and wine, he undoubtedly prayed, and not in vain, that they might be effectual for the good purposes, which he intended should be obtained by this holy rite. And St. Paul hath told us, if it need, more expressly, that "the cup which we bless, is the "communion," that is, the communion to us, "of the blood of Christ; and the bread, which "we break, of the body of Christ ;"9 that is, of a saving union with him, and therfore of the bene
(7) Tit. iii. 3, 5, 6.
(6) 1 Cor. x. 17.
(9) 1 Cor. x. 16.
fts procured to us by his death; which are, forgiveness of our offences; for he hath said, "This 66 is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed "for the remission of sins:"1 increase of the gracious influences of the Holy Ghost: for the Apostle hath said, plainly speaking of this ordinance, that " we are all made to drink into one spirit:" and everlasting life; for "whoso eateth his flesh, "and drinketh his blood, dwelleth in Christ, and "Christ in him, and he will raise him up at the "last day." Whence a father of the apostolic age, Ignatius, calls the Eucharist, "the medicine "of immortality; a preservative that we should "not die, but live for ever in Jesus Christ." 4
But then what hath been already hinted to you must be always carefully observed; that these benefits are to be expected only by partaking worthily of it; "for he that eatheth and drinketh unworthily," St. Paul hath told us, "is guilty of "the body and blood of the Lord," that is, guilty of irreverence towards it, and "eateth and "drinketh judgment to himself.”6 Our translation indeed hath it, "damnation to himself." But there is so great danger of this last word being understood here in too strong a sense, that it would be much safer, and exacter, to translate it, (as it is often translated elsewhere, and once in a few verses after this passage, and from what follows ought undeniably to be translated here) judgment or condemnation; not to certain punishment to another life, but to such marks of God's displeasure as he sees fit; which will be confined to this world, or extended to the next, as the case requires. For receiving unworthily" may, according to the kind and degree of it, be either a very great sin, or comparatively a small one. But all dan
(1) Matt. xxvi. 23. (4) Ign. ad Eph. c. 20. See (5) 1 Cor. xi. 27.
(2) 1 Cor. xii. 13. (3) John vi. 54, 56. Waterland on the Eucharist, p. 217. (6) 1. Cor. xi. 29.
gerous kinds and degrees may with ease be avoided, if we only take care to come to the Sacrament with proper dispositions, and which will follow of course, to behave at it in a proper manner.
To these dispositions our Catechism proceeds. But more is needful to be known concerning them than can well be laid before you now. Therefore I shall conclude at present with desiring you to observe, that no unworthiness, but our own, can possibly endanger us, or prevent our receiving benefit. Doubtless it would both be more pleasing and more edifying to come to "the table of "the Lord" in company with such only as are qualified for a place at it: and they, who are unqualified, ought, when they properly can, to be restrained from it. But we have neither direction nor permission to stay away, because others come who should not; nor can they ever be so effectually excluded, but that tares will be mixed " among "the wheat;" and attempting to "root them up, may often be more hurtful than "letting both grow together until the harvest." Nay, should even "the stewards" and dispensers "of God's
mysteries" be unholy persons; though it be a grievous temptation to others to "abhor the offer"ing of the Lord," yet that is holy still. "They "shall bear their iniquity;" but notwithstanding "all the promises" of all God's ordinances " 66 and amen," yea sure and certain," in Jesus "Christ," to as many as "worship him in spirit "and in truth." 3
(7) 1 Cor. x. 21. (1) 1 Sam. ii. 17.
(8) Mat. xiii. 28–30.
(9) 1 Cor. iv. 2. (3) John iv, 23.