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There is one institution of public worship yet so much neglected, that I think it proper particularly to notice it; I mean the Lord's supper. It was solemnly appointed by the Redeemer just before his last conflict. “ And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, 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 sins." And why do so many, even serious Christians, entirely neglect this ordinance ? The words addressed to Naaman by his servants, on a certain occasion, had the keen edge of reproof, and all the force of reason : “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much rather, then, when he saith to thee, wash and be clean?” When the end is great, shall it be lost because the means are easy and at hand? - Do this in remembrance of me.” And surely every thing Jesus did, everything he suffered, and every word he said, ought to be embalmed in our memories, should all things else be forgotten. " Among the ordinances,” says Dr. Clarke, “ prescribed by the Gospel, that, commonly called the sacrament of the Lord's supper, has ever held a distinguished place; and the church of Christ has in all ages represented the due religious celebration of it as a duty incumbent on every soul that professed faith in Christ Jesus, and sought for salvation in his blood alone. Hence, it was ever held in the highest estimation and reverence; and the great High Priest of his church showed, hy more than ordinary influences of his blessed Spirit on the souls of the faithful, that they had not mistaken his meaning, nor believed in vain; while by eating of that bread, and drinking of that cup, they endeavoured to show forth his death, and realise the benefits to be derived from it.” Those who in a proper manner approach the sacramental table, discerning by faith the Lord's body, seldom fail to obtain comfort from it. Jesus is still often made known to his followers in the breaking of bread. These are some of the means which have a tendency to render the Saviour precious to those who believe. I cannot, however, conclude this chapter, without drawing the substance of it into a narrower compass, and endeavouring to present it in a more impressive form.
It is possible that these pages may fall into the hands of some, who have lived in the total neglect of the means here recommended. Should you, reader, be one of that careless and hardened class, let me affectionately entreat you to think upon your sin and danger. How awful is your state ! “ You love darkness rather than light.” The lively oracles of truth are to you as the 6 words of a book that is sealed.” Your ears are uncir. cumcised, and cannot hearken; “the word of the Lord is a reproach to you, and you have no delight in it.” So far from meditating on the things of Christ, you have not had one serious thought about death, eternity, and the day of judgment. You have been watching for iniquity, eager to catch every occasion of committing and concealing it, rather than watching to avoid the inroads of temptation, and the incitements to sin. Perhaps, instead of praying for the saving mercy of God, through Jesus Christ, you have been pouring out horrid oaths, and calling upon the Almighty to damn your soul. The Lord's day is given up to dissipation and vice, and everything sacred treated with contempt. Is this a true statement of your case, a faithful delineation of your character? Are you deaf to the sound of the Gospel, turning intended blessings into curses, and “ rejecting the counsel of God against yourself?” Instead of Christ being precious to you, “ you are trampling under foot the Son of God, and counting the blood of the covenant an unholy
thing." And how shall I speak, or how will you bear to hear of the inevitable consequence? If you continue in this thoughtless, hardened state to the last, " there remaineth nothing but a fearful looking-for of judgment and fiery indignation.” By everything venerable in the sanctions of divine authority ; by every thing terrible in the kindling flames of divine wrath ; by every thing melting in the superaboundings of infinite compassion and eternal love, let me beseech you to consider your ways, and “ be reconciled to God." Notwithstanding your provocations have been multiplied almost beyond number, the door of mercy is not shut and barred against you, nor the means of grace for ever taken away. But if you determine, fortified in the triple shield of enmity, presumption, and infidelity, to go on in the course of this world, despising God, and lightly esteeming the rock of salvation, you will one day have to meet a sentence that will pierce your soul with unutterable agony, and sink it into absolute despair.
It may be that you, my reader, attend to the means of grace, but merely in an irregular, inconstant way, and in a lukewarm spirit.
You are far from denying the Gospel, and equally far from receiving the truth in the love of it. You, perhaps, rarely take up the word of God to read; and when you do, a feather, an atom, a shadow has power to divert your attention from it. Calm, serious, heavenly meditation, is an exercise of mind to which you are quite a stranger. And when you use the words of prayer “ you draw nigh to God with your lips, while your heart is far from him.”
Brought up in a Christian country, you entertain and express in general terms a respect for the religion of Jesus. This disposition may sometimes lead you under the preaching of the Gospel. But of what avail are these things, while you have “not the love of God and the spirit of Christ in you ?” When you engage in any of the solemn concerns of religion, oh think of the deep interest you have in them ! God has not only required you to learn his will, to seek his face, to believe in his Son, and to ask his holy Spirit, but he has expressly required the heart in all these duties. " Then you shall find him, when you seek hiin with all your heart.”
Should you, my reader, be one of those happy persons, who have found the preciousness of Christ, and daily attend to the means which endear him to your heart, I am persuaded you will suffer the word of exhortation.