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ready to doubt of their ever having experienced religion, because they have not had all the same lively feelings as others.
Some are ready to doubt of others' being chris-tians, because they have not had such flights as they have experienced.While others, on the other hand, seem ready to: reject, because they see animal passion.-Some doubt because they do: not find all the particular exercises of religion, in just such a particular order. But we are liable to misjudge in this, as in other instances. Though the nature of the spirit's operation is the same yet the manner may be different in respect to different persons. We are to judge from the nature of our christian experience. We are to ask our.. selves, such questions as these., Is our love to God supreme? Do we hate sin for its own sake? Do we long after God? Do we delight in holi. ness? Do we long to be conformed to God, and delight in obedience to his will ?
3. We see the source of divisions among pro-fessors. It is the want of religion. This is a peculiar band of union. Should it prevail in its power, it would have a surprizing effect in swala lowing up many differences, and pulling down, many bars.
4. We see why it is, that there has been so remarkable a union and fellowship among chris.. tians. It is because they are all embarked in one cause, and have one interest. They are fellow.. travellers, and that which is refreshing to one, is to another. They are of one family, nay, of one body. In the things, of religion is their fellow.. ship.--How evidently then does it appear that in order to promote christian union, they ought to converse much about the things in which they are united.
5. There is great-reason to fear, that many who profess religion, are in fact, strangers to it. If religion has on all, a uniform operation, it does: not look, in regard to many professors, as though they were under its
Let me address myself particularly to such. Do you act as though you loved God supremely, and respected his law and ordinances ? Do you find a disposition to live as the godly have lived, of whom we have an ac.. count? Let me urge you seriously to examine yourselves, especially as we are about to sit down at the Lord's table. Do you drink into the divine spirit? Do you come thirsting? Do you feel your hearts drawn out in devout breathings? In this way, there is free access.--Does not the subject afford a reproof to insincere, careless professors ? Rouse from the slumbers of death, live a heavenly: life, and drink into one spirit. Awake, thou that sleepest, arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
1 COR. XI, 28..
But let a- man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread,
and drink of that cup.
WHAT naturally arises to consideration from these words, is
I. The nature of the duty inculcated, or in what respects we are to examine ourselves.
II.. The importance of the duty..
I. We are to explain the nature of the dutyjor in what respects we are to examine ourselves.
The duty supposes not merely that we be con. vinced that our views are wrong, and that we have done things that wound Christ ; but that we correct our wrong views and practices. Examina. tion implies reformation. The Apostle had been pointing out the disorders that attended the com. munion among the Corinthians, which rendered it for the worse, and not for the better, which brought down God's judgments; for which cause, says the Apostle, “many are sick.” The grand thing urged upon them, is a reformation..
As to the things about which they were to ex: amine themselves, it was in relation to all those things which were requisite to a suitable attend. ance, and the enjoyment of communion with Christ.
1. One thing on which the Apostle insists, as essential to a suitable approach to the Lord's supper, is to attend it, as exhibiting the body of Christ : And one grand thing which rendered: their communion for the worse and not for the better, and in which they were guilty of the body and blood of Christ, was that they were not so: much actuated by the motive of having Christ ex hibited, as to satisfy hunger and thirst : Which. occasions the Apostle's saying, this is not to eat: the Lord's supper.
It concerns us therefore, in our approach, to see that the desire of having: Christ exhibited, is the purpose of our mind. Let us then ask ourselves, is it nat for some carnal view ? Is if not because we would be thought re. ligious ? Or do we think tu merit by coming? It is of absolute importance that we call to mind a bruised Saviour, and that our minds should be animated with love to Christ, when we behold, the mysteries of divine grace.celebrated..
2. It is important, when we approach the Lord's table, that in every thing, wherein we have given offence to a brother, that we should have given christian satisfaction. Not only that we should have settled matters,
in which we have really given offence, or afforded just ground of dissatisfaction, but that we should have attended to all cases, wherein there is a misunderstanding : In short, it is important that we should have done every thing in our power to remove whatever might obstruct brotherly love, which is absolutely essential to communion.. Our Saviour's exhota. tion is, “if thou bringest thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” We are therefore to look into our past conduct, our public singấour private wickedness to God.
3. As Christ promises communion to such as keep his commandments, it is important that we examiné, whether we have followed Christ, and acted
to his commands. Let it be matter of serious examination; whether we have done our dụty, one toward another, in admonishing. Have we caused our light to shine before others ? Does our conscience tell us, that we act as being under the influence of the spirit of Christ? Is Christ and his religion honored by our.lives? Do we act as though our heart was united by peculiar affection, one to another, as Christ required ? Have ve lived lives of self-denial? In short, have our lives been, as it were,, a transcript. of Christ's laws ?
4. It becomes: us to examine, how we live. What is the bent of our souls ? What views we have som day to day? How does sin appear ? What views we have of God and his law? What
exercises of submission and acquiescence in God's government? How does Christ appear in his whole character, in all the offices which he sustains? Does our heart often cry out yea, he is altogether lovely? How do Christ's laws and commands appear? Do we find a sweetness and satisfaction in obedience ? How are your souls affected in the retirement of the closet? Is it a delight to your soul to be with God? And do you at such moments, as it were, forget yourselves ?--What are your comforts and prospects ? How does the world appear, and how is.your mind influenced by invisible objects ?-In short, by such enquiries as these, are we to take a thorough view of the breathings and exercises of our minds, and of the tenor of our lives. It is, in every view, important, and especially, in regard to this supper, that we be Christ's friends. I pass now to the
II. Thing proposed, which was to consider the importance of close examination in order to come to the sacramental supper.
1. This is necessary in order to attend it agreeably to its institution, and comply with the command of Christ. There is a solemn obligation on. all to attend upon it.;. but the obligation is complied tvith, only, as it is attended upon with right views. If we come while destitute of these, there is no obedience ; but we add to the sin of disobe. dience.
2. The Apostle considers that God visited disorderly attendance with special judgments ; for which cause, says he, “ many among you are sick. and weakly.” Such a manner of communion he considers for the worse, and the guilt of it greater than that of total neglect..
3. There is no advantage in pretending to commune,
while our views are wrong, and our prac.. tice such as contradicts, our profession. It tends.