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church, until they had proved the fincerity of their repentance by doing works meet for repent.

When Peter's hearers, pricked in their hearts, enquired, what they must do to be saved; he said to them, “ Repent and be baptised for the remiffion of fins, for the promise is to you.” And they gladly received the word ; and the same day, were added to the church three thousand souls. The apostle could not know, nor could they themselves know, without longer time of trial, that they were savingly changed; but he, the same day, admitted them into the church, without intimating the expedience of farther delay.

You will say, “ The man found at the marriage feaft, without a wedding garment, fell under a levere punishment.” It is true ; and so did they, who refused to come to the feast at all. What then shall we do ? Let us come to the feast, and put on the wedding garment. This guest, with many others, was called into the king's house out of the highway. Where should he get a wedding garment : he had none of his own; and his fellow beggars had none to give him. At the king's house, there was clean raiment, as well as rich food. Here both were free ; and here the beggar must come for both. His fault was not, that he came to the feast, for he was commanded to come; but that he sat there in his dirt and rags, and would not put on the clean garments brought him from the king's wardrobe.

Your coming into the church, and attending on instituted ordinances, will not be your condemnation ; these things are required of you : but if, under all your advantages, you continue in the love and practice of fin, this will be your condemnation. It is not your observance, but VOL. V.


your misimprovement of divine institutions, which involves you in guilt.

“ But ought we to come into the church, and approach Christ's table, while we know, that we have no regard to religion ?" If this is your character, you neither ask the question, nor desire an answer, on a religious account. You cannot feel a conscientious folicitude about your duty in this matter, when you have no regard to it in any thing else. It is time for you to awake out of sleep, to repent of your fins, and seek God's mercy and grace, for the renewal of your fouls and the remiffion of your guilt. When any alk me, what is their duty in a particular case, I suppose them to be serious, and I answer them accordingly. If they have no desire to know or inten. tion to do their duty, their question is trifling, and the answer will be impertinent. If you are regardless of religion, I can only exhort you to consider your ways, and think on your danger, that you may be awakened to jufter sentiments. But if you already believe the gospel to be true, and feel it to be important; if you have a concern to secure its bleffings, and a resolution to obey its precepts, then go, and attend on all the means which God has appointed to confirm your hopeful beginnings, and accomplish your good intentions.

« But we are anxious to obtain grace for our conversion : and some tell us, that, if once we venture to the Lord's table before we are converted, there is little hope, that we can ever be converted afterward.” My children, they tell you wrong. Paul was of a different opinion. The churches in Galatia, formed by his ministry, foon turned unto another gospel, than that which he had preached to them; and he was afraid, that he had beftow. ed on them labour in vain. But he travailed in

birth for them again, that Christ might be form. ed in them. Rest not in ordinances as your fecu. rity ; make them not a substitute for holiness but improve them as the means of holiness. Golpel finners will be shut out of Christ's kingdom, not because they have eaten and drunk in his presence, and heard him teach in their streets, but becaufe they have still been workers of iniquity.

But does not the ápoftle say, “ He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himfelf?" Yes : This man brings guilt, or judgment on himself, because he discerns not the Lord's body. So did the Corinthians, who took one before another his own supper, and one was hungry and another was drunken; and so do all who eat in a profane and impious manner. It is not in this manner, that I advise you to eat. But examine yourselves, and so eat of this bread and drink of this cup. The apostle does not warn these disorderly partakers to partake no more, but exhorts them to repentance of what is past, and amendment for the time to come.

If Jesus has appointed this ordinance especially for your benefit, there is a peculiar ingratitude attending your neglect of it. The Redeemer, in his whole work, seems to have had a particular and distinct regard to the young. He himself became a child, that he might exhibit to children an example of early piety; and one branch of piety, which he early exemplified, was an attendance on divine ordinances. At the age of twelve years we find him at the passover. He has invit. ed the young to come to him; he has expressed his high approbation of youthful religion : nev. er did he appear better pleased, than when he met children in the temple at the passover, and heard them fing, “ Hosanna to the son of David." He

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has cautioned his disciples, that they offend not his little ones, nor cast stumbling blocks in their way. He has represented them as under the guardianship of angels. In the view of the general destruction of Jerusalem, the distreffes which would come on children, affected him with such deep fenfibility, that he almost forgat his own. While he was going to the place of execution he said to the fadly sympathizing women, “ Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” He has given it in folemn charge to the pastors of his flock, that they pay particular attention to his lambs.

What think you of all this, my children ? Are you not bound to come to this ordinance ?-an ordinance which Jesus has appointed for you, and in which he exhibits himself as dying for youdying to purchase a falvation, which you need and need no less than others ? Do you not think, that he will be pleased with your attendance at his table, as well as with the songs of the youths in his ancient temple? Do you not think, that this Saviour, who in the days of his flesh was fo attentive to the young, and so delighted with early indications of piety, will accept your pious and humble approaches to his ordinances ?

There are fome who, in their tender age, have felt their minds impressed with a sense of religion, and have thought, that they soon would openly dedicate themselves to their Saviour, and come to his table. But by delay their serious thoughts and resolutions have languished and died away. Ah! I have known such instances. Are there not now among you some of this description ? What think you of these early impreffions ? Were they not the kind invitations of your Saviour to come and take a place in his family, and eat at his table ?

Did he not ftand at your door and knock? Was not this his call to you ? ". Hear my voice and open the door, and I will come in and sup with you, and you shall sup with me? What a pity, that you didnot attend? What an advantageyou might have gained by complying with his first call ? Accept his invitation now. It is not yet too late. Hear his voice while it is called to day. It is still a day of salvation.

How beautiful is the church in which our sons are as plants grown up in their youth, and our daughters'- as corner stones, polished after the fimilitude of a palace ? How pleasing the prospect, when we fee children devoting themselves to God taking hold of his covenant, and youths walking in his ways and encouraging one another in his service? We then anticipate the virtue and felicity of many generations, and promise ourselves, that we fhall see the good of Jerusalem all the days of our life, and that our children's children will fee the church in peace.

III. We may farther observe, that we ought to attend upon divine ordinances with a rational view of, and a serious regard to their proper

use and design.

Moses says, “ When your children shall ask, what mean you by this service ? ye shall fay, It is the facrifice of the Lord's pafsover, who paffed over the house of the Ifraelites in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians."

Moses here supposes it to be agreeable to the common senfe of mankind, and even to the early ideas of children, that there is some meaning in every service which we perform to the deity. God never requires of us any useless and unmeaning ceremony. In our attendance on his inftituted service, we should well understand what it means.

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