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only to harden ; I mean where our views are al. together carnal.--It is important that we should examine ourselves, as an unworthy approach is eating and drinking judgment, temporal and spiritual.
4. It is important, as a due approach is an honor to Christ and our christian profession. It is a rich feast to such as come with right views. Christ has promised communion to those who come agreeably to his institution. Where the soul is filled with love to Christ, it is a sweet, blessed sea
God's people have often had their cup run
All who experience christian enjoyments, know that they are the richest mercies. To sit at Christ's feet therefore, and have the soul filled with love, and even entertained with the manifestations of Christ's dying love, is an attainment worthy of our pursuit. One would think, that the motives to preparation and examination are great.
Improvement. 1. If the institution of the supper is so solemn, and such a blessed privilege, we see how great is the obligation on all to attend upon it. The supper is designed to represent the gospel feast, and neglect of it casts practical contempt on Christ and his salvation. - You, who do not profess Christ, are sensible that those who do profess, live far short of what they ought : And some such are, perhaps, dwelling upon the sins of professors, without turning once their eyes home upon therselves. But it becomes you seriously to reflect, whether you are not despising Christ.
Some seem to suppose, that because they are are not converted, they are not under obligation, and would fain think that this can excuse them. Others may have this as an excuse, that churches are, in their view, bad. It is true, that there is
great darkness : But it may be well to enquire, whether we do not also share in the darkness ? Whether we look enough at home? Suppose that a particular church is such, that you cannot hold communion with it.this will not excuse you.
Is there no church, and are there no christians with whom you may unite ? This you will not pretend, unless you suppose that you are the only persons who have religion. Why do you not seek to build up the cause of Christ rather than separate your selves and go on in the neglect of his institutions ?
2. From what has been said, we may at least guess at one reason of the heavy judgments, spiritual and temporal, with which we are visited. Professors, no doubt, are in a great degree, the occasion of them : Such treatment is agreeable to God's dispensation and threatenings to his professing people. It is a day, in which Christ's laws are inuch neglected, and in which, there is but little appearance of brotherly love, christian disci. pline, or evangelical fervor in the duties of relig. jon.
3. Let me then press examination on those of you, who hope by the leave of Providence, to celebrate the dying love of Christ. What are the daily exercises of that love, which you profess towards Christ? What is the motive of your ap: proach to the Lord's table? Have you not reason of lamentation, that your lives have been so barren? Beintreated to reform and awake up out of spiritual slumber. The cause of Christ, your own spiritual wants, and the souls of others unitedly call upon you to use your utmost exertion in the great business of religion and your immortal salvation.
1 COR. XI, 25.
This do in remembrance of mo.
THE sacramental supper was instituted at the #ime, when Christ and his disciples had just fins ished the passover; no doubt to show that the passover was designed to celebrate in type, the great work of tedemption. Matthew represents, that even while they were eating the passover, Je. sus took the sacramental bread, Mat. xxvi. 26. ** and as they were eating, he took bread and break it. We should most naturally collect this idea were we not to .compare this passage with the other Evangelists. Dr Doddridge supe poses that there was a considerable interview with the disciples at the table ; that Judas after supper went out, which occasioned some considerable discourse :
-That while they sat at table, the disciples privately disputed, who should be the great 'est, which occasioned our Saviour's rising from table and laying aside his garment :That he then returned to the table, and instituted, and led his disciples to celebrate, this suppen". It seemsfron example, that the church are to receive it as ad. ministered by Christ's Ministers. Thus the church improved the opportunity of the Apostle's being at Troas, to receive the ordinance as ad. ministered by him.
They received the brear and wine in small quantities, because they had just supped, or eaten of the passover, which they received as a meal.
The Apostle improves this as an argument with the Corinthians, that it was not the design of Christ in this institution, that they should make a meal in the holy supper. He took the cup, says Paul, when they had supped. He reproves them for their conduct in this language. “What, have ye not houses to eat and drink in ? You are not to come here to receive food to satisfy hunger."
appears that Christ, as Minister at his table, asked a bassing on the bread, or made a prayer of consectacion, in which thanksgiving was an essential part, and therefore, Matthew says, “ that he took bread and blessed it." Luke and others say, " when he had given thanks :" By which it seems it was a blessing in which there was spe. cial acknowledgements for the mercy -That he also blessed the cúp, and in like manner, gave thanks.: Matthew expressly says, he took the cup and gave thanks. So Paul, 1 Cor. xi. says, - after the same manner he took the cup.". So that it appears clear, that in the institution, our Saviour asked a blessing, both on the bread and the wine.
It seems that before our Saviour left the guest. chamber with his disciples, they sang a hymn : Whether this is to be considered as an essential point of the sacramental exercise, may be a ques. tion. I rather conceive not. The Apostle, re. specting the example of this exercise, does not mention this, though he is particular as to other things : Yet it is doubtless proper, where it can be attended to with edification.
As to the time most suitable to attend this holy institution, we should naturally suppose, as it is the most solemn act of worship performed in this lower world, that it should be on that day, which is consecrated as holy, and in commemoration of the work of redemption. The reason and fitness
of things would prove the propriety of this. The same appears from the example of the church of Troas, in fixing on this day for this solemn ordinance. It appears from this, viz. the first day of the week was the stated season. The Apostle tarried six days before this, and the people did not attend merely on occount of his being there, but came together on the first day of the week, as being the stated time. I do not mean, that no cir. cumstance can justify its being attended on an. other day. It was on a week day that it was.instituted.
The end'and design of this institution is, to rep&esent heavenly enjoyments ; to lead the minds of the people of God
to a view, by faith, of spiritual enjoyments: : The sacramental bread and vine were designed to represent the spiritual feast.
The union of God's people and the fellowship of the saints, is the design of this institution. So, that while God's people sit at the Lord's table as they ought, there is a kind of emblem of the fellowship of the saints in glory; and their minds are occupied with what Christ underwent for themthe greatness of his sufferings and agonies. We are apt to lose the idea of the atonement. This institution is adapted to refresh our minds with it. As we do not see Christ with our natural eyes, this is a token to remember him by.
" This do in remembrance of me."
It was designed to exhibit the object of their trust and faith.
Here we are invited to repose our trust :-Here we have a display of infinitely precious blood :-It is adapted to melt the heart into repentance to excite hope, and indeed, to enkindle every grace. It is a glass in which we may see God's raconciled face. Properly improv