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through Christ, for its object; as the fountain of all those infinite blessings which we gain by his manifestation in the flesh; and if we inquire into the cause of so much mercy and goodness to mankind, no other can be given, but the Riches of his Mercy, Eph. ii. 4. And if we further inquire how this mercy becomes ours, the answer is plain
it was through Christ, by whom all the blessings of this life, and those of a better, are purchased for us, and must be obtained through the merits and intercession of the Holy Jesus. By him we were redeemed, and according to the riches of his grace we have obtained remission of our sins, and through him at last we shall be glorified. Eph. i. 7. Rom. viii. 17. . To this Faith we must join “a thankful Remembrance of his death, and of those Benefits which we receive thereby.” Our gracious and merciful Lord, saith Holy David, hath so done his marvellous works, that they ought to be had in remembrance, Psalm cxi, 4. But especially this work of our redemption by Jesus Christ, to forget which would be baser ingratitude than ever the hea. thens or even the publicans (the worst 1 of people among the Jews) were known ! to be guilty of toward their benefac- ! tors. Matt, v. 46. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins, 1 John iv. 10. This is a mercy far above all other mercies; and it is even this which sweetens all other mercies to us. Had there been'no REDEMPTION, our creation would only have involved usin inevitable ruin, which must have been our lot, had not 6 the Son " of God by his one oblation of himself, "s once offered upon the cross, made a •6 full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice oś and satisfaction to God for the sins 66 of the whole world. The consequences of this Redemption are so infinitely great, that it as much surpasses our understanding as it does our merits, We are to publish to all the world, what God hath done to save mankind from the punishment they had deserved, and to restore us again to that happiness and glory which we could never expect or hope to enjoy, had not Christ died for us. O come hither and hearken, all ye that fear God,
and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul, Psalm Ixvi. 16. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, praise his holy name: Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thy sins, and healeth all thy infirmities ; who saveth, thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with mercy and loving kindness, Psalm ciii. 1, 2, 3, 4, With what joy and thankfulness then should every good Christian commemorate this exceeding love of God, in the salvation of sinners by Jesus Christ! This was the proper end and design of this institution, to perpetuate the wonderful love of Christ in laying down his life for us. Do this in remembrance of me, saith our Saviour, a little before his crucifixion; which being a solemn command of our Master, and only Saviour thus dying for us,” we cannot refüse obedience without being guilty of the most horrible ingratitude, and contempt of his divine authority. He hath appointed it for a commemoration of his great love to us, in laying down his life for us men, and for our salva. tion; and therefore he commands ús
to do it in remembrance of him, Luke .xxii. 19. And St. Paul tells us, that as often as we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we do shew forth the Lord's Deuth iill he come, 1 Cor. xi. 26. As for those men, who profess themselves Christians, and hope for salvation by 'Jesus Christ, not to pay obedience to this bis command, is an affront to his sacred Majesty, and he inay justly upbraid us Christians, as he did once the Jews, Why call ve me Lord, Lord, and do 910t the things which I say? Luke vi. 46. How unworthy are we of that salvation which he hath wrought for us, if we deny him so small a favour, such a reasonable request as to commemorate his death and passion once a month, or at least thrice a year, 66 who did humble himselfeven to the death of the cross, for us miserable sinners, who lay in darkness and in the shadow of death, that he might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life!" In this Sacrament of the Lord's Sup. per we have the pardon of all our sins, the assistance of God's holy Spirit, and the hopes of eternal life, freely offered unto us; and, therefore, had we no love, no regard to the dying words of our crucified Saviour, yet surely, the consideration of our own present and future advantage might prevail with us to be more frequent than we, usually are at the Lord's table.
Hitherto a Communicant hath been directed to set his heart right towards God; but this is not all, he must proceed further, and enquire how it stands towards his neighbour, since we are expressly forbidden, Matt. v. 23, 24, to offer up any gift of oblation unto God, if our hearts are leavened with malice, hatred, or revenge. If thou bring thy gift unto the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Here you see that Christ prefers mercy before sacrifice; and it is generally agreed by the ancient fathers, that these words of our Saviour directly point at this Sacrament, on purpose to oblige all Communicants to forgive all manner of injuries“ before they presume to eat of that “ Bread, or to drink of that Cup.” And it is expressly said, Matt.