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The suffering of our Saviour, which is the most wonderful act of goodness and charity that ever was performed in the world, and which produceth effects of the highest consequence to our benefit, should very frequently be present to our thoughts and affections. And that it may be fo with advantage, such a solemn and sensible representation of it is very conducible; wherein we behold him crucified afrosh (as it were), his body broken, and his blood poured out for us: It being, in some respect, putting us into the circumstances of those, who did behold our Saviour hanging upon the cross for our sins.; : Our Lord, being absent in body from us, fitting in heaven at God's right hand, in order to supply that absence, lest we should become estranged from him, is pleased to order this occasion of being present with us in the facrament, and of conyersing with us in such a manner, as may retain in our memories his gracious performances for us, such as may impress in our hearts a kindly senfe of them, and caise us up in mind and affection to him.
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Again ; The use and importance of this facrament appears further from this con
fideration : That bereby we receive spiri, tual comfort and refreshment for our souls.
The Lord's supper is a holy feast, a spiritual repast, a divine entertainment, to which God in kindness invites us; to which if we come with well-disposed minds, he there feeds us with most heavenly sustenance, with the most holy and delicious nourishment. Bread is justly accounted the support of life, the most wholesome and most necessary food: Wine is accounted also the inoft wholesome; most pleasant and cordial drink : By them therefore our Lord chose to represent that body and blood, by the offering of which a state of life and happiness was procured to man: kind; the receiving of which with a right apprehension, the tasting of them with a lively faith, digesting them with careful attention and meditation, converting them into our substance by devout, grateful, and Holy affections, joined with serious and fteady resolutions of living answerably there. unto, Twill certainly support and main
tain our fpiritual life, in a vigorous health, and happy growth of grace, refreshing our hearts with comfort and satisfaction unspeakable. He that thus eateth our saviour's flesh, and drinketh his blood, (as St. John expresseth it), hath eternal life abiding in him. Which benefits therefore, in the due performance of this duty, are conveyed unto us.
Another instance, wherein the use and importance of the sacrament of the Lord's supper doth appear, is, That bereby we become united unto Christ; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us. We become mystically united unto him, by a close dependance upon him for fpiritual life, mercy, grace, and falvation; by a constant adherence to him through faith and obedience, and a near conformity to him in mind and affection; by an inseparable conjunction with him, by the strictest bands of fidelity, and by the most endearing rer lations.
Which things could not be more fitly represented to us, than by the partaking of - Aa 4
our best and most neceffary food: Whịch being taken in, soon becomes united to us, and converted into our substance; thereby renewing our strength, and repairing the decays of our nature,
Wherefore (saith our Saviour), He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in bim. And, The cup of blessing (faith St. Paul) which we bless, Is it not the COMMUNION of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, Is it not the COMMUNION of the body of Cbrist?
In the outward action, we partake of the symbols representing our Saviour's body and blood; but in the inward and spiritual intention of it, we do as it were commu.. nicate of his very person, being (in that manner I have mentioned) intimately unit. ed to him.
A further instance which shews the importance and use of this holy facrament, is, That we are hereby alfo intimately united one with another. We are hereby united together in one consent of mind, and unity of faith ; in mutual good-will and affecHon; in hope, and tendency to the same
blefied end; in fpiritual brotherhood and fociety, especially upon account of our common union with Christ, which most clofely binds us one to another. Partaking alike of this one individual food, we be come translated (as it were) into one body and substance ; according to that of St. Paul, where he says, that we being many, are one bread, and one body; for that all of us do partake of one bread.
In the representing, producing, and promoting of these things, the use and im. portance of this holy facrament doth con, fift, Įt was designed as a proper and efficacious inftrument, to raise in us pious af, fections towards our good God and gras cious Redeemer ; to dispose us to all holy practice; to confirm our faith, to nourish, our hope, to quicken our resolutions of walking carefully in the ways of our duty; to unite us more firmly to our Saviour, and, to combine us in charity one towards another. The accomplishing of which in tentions implies our faithful and diligent concurrence in the use of them. And from hence do arise several duties incumbent on