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his will, and in imitation of him.--Such like duties should attend our participation of this holy sacrament.
The duties which ought to FOLLOW AFTER the receiving of this facrament, should be such as these :
An increase of all pious inclinations and affections, expressing themselves in a real amendment of our lives, and producing more goodly fruits of obedience: The thorough digesting of that spiritual nourishment, by our becoming more firmly united to our Saviour by higher degrees of faith and love : The maintaining a more lively sense of his superabundant goodness : The cherishing those influences of grace which descend upon our hearts in this communion ; and improving them to nearer degrees of perfection, in all piety and virtue: A watchful çare and endeavour in our lives, to approve ourselves in some measure worthy of that great honour and favour, which God hath vouchsafed to us in admitting us to so near approaches
to himself: An earnest pursuance of the resolutions, and making good the engagea ments, which we 'made in so solemn a manner to our God and Saviour: And lastly, the considering, that by the breach of such resolutions, and by the violation of such engagements, our fins will receive so great aggravations of inconstancy and perfidiousness, that our guilt will be migh* tily increased ; that if our souls relapse into so grievous a distemper, our spiritual strength will be exceedingly impaired; and consequently, our true comforts will hereby be abated, our best hopes will be Thaken, and our eternal estate will be desperately endangered.
And now, from all that hath been said, it abundantly follows, that we ought gladly to embrace any opportunity presented to us, of communicating in this holy facrament; the doing so, being (as you see) not only our duty, but a great aid and instrument of piety; the neglecting of it, a grievous sin, and productive of great mischiefs to us.
:: The primitive Christians did very frequently use it; partaking therein, as it feemš, at every time of their meeting for God's service. Which practice may well · be conceived, to have been a great means
of kindling and preserving in them, that holy fervour of piety; which they lo illustriously expressed in their conversation, and in their gladsome suffering for Christ's fake. And the abating of that frequency may possibly be reckoned one of the causes of the degeneracy of Christian practice; into that great coldness and Lackness; which did afterwards seize upon it, and doth now apparently keep it in a languish ing and dying state.
The feldomer occasions therefore that we now have of performing this duty, and of enjoying this benefit; the more ready we Tould be to embrace them. If we fear God's. displeasures if we value our
Lord and his benefits; if we tender the · life, health, and welfare of our souls; we
Thall not neglect it. For how can we but offend God by such extreme rudeness, that
when he kindly invites us to his table, we ; VOL. W. Bb
are averse from coming thither, or utterly refuse it? that when he calleth us into his presence, we run from him ? that when he, with his own hand, offereth us inestimable mercies and blessings, we reject them? It is not only the breach of God's command, who enjoined us to do this ; but it is a direct contempt of his favour and goodness, most clearly and largely exhibited in this office.
And how can we bear any regard to our Lord, or be any ways sensible of his gracious performances on our behalf, if we are unwilling to join in thankful and joyful commemoration of them? How little do we love our own souls, if we suffer them to pine and starve for want of that food, which God here dispenseth for their sustenance and comfort; if we bereave them of enjoying so high a privilege, so inestimable a benefit, so incomparable pleasures, as are to be found and felt in this service, or do spring and flow from it?
To conclude: Let us every one endeavour, therefore, by God's grace and afsistance, to believe and to act, as becometh 4
Christians. Let us be frequent and fervent in prayer, and all pious devotion, fin cerely obeying all God's commandments, Let us continue orderly, dutiful, and worthy members of Christ's church, growing continually in grace, by the worthy participation of the holy facraments. That so we may obtain the end of our faith, the success of our prayers, the reward of our obedience, and the perfect consummation of grace, in the possession of eternal glory.
Bb & SERMON