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bring in that light, and use it for this purposse, a light will be let in, whether ye will or not, that will set the matter in due light, either in mercy, as in the case of the prodigal, Luke xv. 17. or in wrath, as in that of the rich man, chap. xvi. 23.
Mot. 2. To be bound up from this duty still, is next door to a desperate case, Isa. xliv. 20. above quoted. While a person is inquiring about his state, there is some hope; but while men are unconcerned about it whether good or bad, that is like the case of men sleeping to death in their bleeding wounds. Publicans and harlots entered into the kingdom of heaven before self-righteous Pharisees, because the former were more ready by far to admit the conviction of the badness of their state, than the latter, who were blinded with delusive ideas of their own righteousness.
Mot. 3. It is certain ye were once not in the faith, not in a gracious state, as the Ephesians were, Eph. ii. 3, 12; Now, dare ye pawn your eternal salvation on it, that ye are now in the faith, in a state of grace? No; but ye hope the best, and are easy. But one would think, that in all reason, according to the weight of the matter, one should labour for a proportional certainty. And to leave a matter of the utmost importance at an uncertainty, and make a leap in the dark into the other world, is a most miserable affair, and argues the greatest instability. Surely then this requires a most solemn and deliberate trial; and if wise for yourselves, ye would bring it to a point.
Mot. 4. There are many false pretenders to religion, from off whose faces Christ will draw the mask. Hence he says, Matth. vii. 22, 23; Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity,' Luke xiii. 25, 26, 27. When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not, whence you are; then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I
tell you, I know you not whence you are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.' Many have Jacob's voice, but Esau's hands; like Judas, they kiss Christ, and betray him. Such pretenders were the Laodiceans, when they fancied they were rich, and increased with goods, and stood in need of nothing,' Rev. iii. 17. Men may go a great length, in legal humiliation with Ahab, in repentance with Pharaoh, in reformation with Herod, in zeal for religion with Jehu, and in strictness of life as to the outward man with Paul before his conversion; and yet be strangers to the life of religion and godliness. And should not these instances alarm all who profess Christ, to bring the matter to a trial, whether they are in the faith or not? as a mistake here is of the most dangerous consequence.
Mot. 5. This would be a matter of the greatest utility, if followed through, both to believers and unbelievers. To the former it brings the comfort of their faith, clears up their gracious state, and gives them so many evidences for heaven as they have proofs of their faith. To the other it may be the beginning of good; it will give them the knowledge of their disease, which is the first step to the cure; and if once they be thoroughly convinced of their sinful and damnable estate, they may be induced to leave no stone unturned till they be rescued therefrom, by application by faith to the blood and spirit of Jesus Christ, who saves from sin, and delivers from the wrath that is to come.
Mot. 6. Try now your state, for God will try one and all of you, and no wrong judgment will pass before him. O! to what purpose should we shift a trial, which we know we will certainly undergo, from an infallible hand? We cannot by any sleight or artifice cast a blind before his eyes, Gal. vi. 7. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. All things are naked, and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do,' Heb. iv. 13. Not the least thing in or about us can escape his all-piercing eye; for he says, 'I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees,' Zeph. i. 12. God has trying times for lands, and for particular persons, wherein he sets them. And such a trying tiine we have just now. O! let us regard the operation of his hands, lest he proceed
against us by terrible things in righteousness. However, should we pass untried in this world, we will most certainly be tried in the other, and there will be no altering of the decision then made. Should we not then be stirred up to try ourselves now, and see how matters stand betwixt God and us, that we may not be condemned in the great day of decision and judgment?
Mot. last. It is the express command of God, that ye should try yourselves, whether ye be in the faith or not. God has not only warned you to try this important point, both by his word and providence, but has expressly interposed his authority, binding it as an indispensable duty upon you to try yourselves, as ye will answer it on your highest peril. I say then, Try yourselves as to this weighty affair, lest ye be found to be fighters against God, to spurn at his yoke, and to throw his cords from off you. Try yourselves then, I say, whether ye be in the faith or not, as ye would regard the authority of the great Lord of heaven and earth, and would not fall into the hands of the living God, from which there is no deliverance,
X x 2
THE DANGER OF UNWORTHY COMMUNICATING
1 Cor. xi. 29.-For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
IT is a seasonable advice which Solomon gives, Prov xxiii. 1. 'When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee.' We expect the great Ruler of heaven and earth is to cover a table for us in this place; but at it some may get their viaticum for heaven, others theirs for hell. The Jews say of the manna in the wilderness, that it tasted according as every one desired. This I may say of the sacrament, it will be different according to the different palates and constitution of the communicants, like the word; to some the savour of life unto life, and to others the savour of death unto death. The apostle compares baptism to the passing through the Red Sea, which to the Israelites gave a passage to Canaan, but it was a grave to the Egyptians, to swallow them up. The Lord's supper is an open pit for destruction to some, and a chariot to carry others on in their way to heaven. The apostle tells us here the danger of unworthy communicating, notwithstanding which people mostly need rather a bridle than a spur to it.
1. The connection, in the
particle for; which shews the
*Though this discourse was not delivered in the course of this work, but many years before, when the author was minifter at Simprin, it was judged advifeable to infert it here, as a proper addition to, and in further illuftration of the preceding difcourfes on the Lord's fupper. And as unworthy communicating is in itself a great fin, and one of the epidemical evils of the present time, a difcourfe on fuch a fubject must be deemed extremely feasonable in the prefent juncture; and the reader will do well to perufe it with that seriousness and attention the matter of it requires.
words to be a reason of that exhortation, ver. 28, But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup,' viz. in the right manner for the hazard is great if we do otherwise.
2. A duty supposed, eating and drinking; which looks sternly on the sacrilege of the Papists in taking the cup from the people, and putting in only wafers into their mouths, contrary to Christ's express command, Drink ye all of it.' It is the people, as well as the minister, that eat and drink judgment to themselves, ver. 30.
3. The way that many mar this duty: They do it unworthily, that is unsuitably, unmeetly; they mar it in the making, not going about it in the right way and manner. They are guests, but not meet guests, for the holy table. They come to the marriage-feast, but not with weddinggarments.
4. What comes of it. The consequences are dreadful. They eat and drink damnation [Gr. judgment] to themselves This judgment to some is temporal, to others eternal. This they are said to eat and drink to themselves; it becomes poison to them, and so they take their death with their own hands. While the meat is in their mouth, wrath goes down with it, as the devil did with Judas' sop.
5. A particular sin lying on them, which provokes God so to treat them: They do not discern the body of the Lord Christ; they do not duly consider the relation betwixt the elements and Christ, and so they rush in upon these creatures of bread and wine, that are of so deep a sanctifiation as to be the symbols of the body and blood of the Son of God; they sit down at that table, as to their ordinary meals, without that reverence and devotion that ought to be in those who sit down at such a holy table.
Two doctrines may be observed, viz.
DOCT. I. Though the right way and manner of communicating be the main thing to be studied in that solemn action, yet many content themselves with the bare doing of the thing, neglecting the doing of it suitably, and in a right manner.' DOCT. II.
He that communicates unworthily, eats and