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Sinner. Because I was unprepared for that holy ordinance.
Judge. But, why were you not prepared ?
Sinner. Because I rejected the gospel offer! refused to repent of my sins—to embrace a crucified Redeemer by faith, and devote myself to his service!
What an excuse !—The very excuse .contains matter of indictment; and merits the damnation of hell !
But I have another consideration to urge; a consideration full of tenderness; and yet applicable to most of you who have not yet made a public profession of religion, by shewing forth the Saviour's death, in the communion of the supper. I allude to the relation in which most of you stand to the church of the living God. Baptized in infancy, you bear upon you the seal of membership. As members, you are bound to perform the duties of members, and to walk in all the ordinances and commandments of the Lord blameless. One of the leading duties devolving upon you, as members of Christ's church, is a public recognition of your
relation to the church, and the Head of the church, in the devout celebration of the ordinance of the supper. Nothing can be more reasonable than the expectation, that all who have been baptized in infancy, will, at a suitable age, when they have become competent to examine themselves, and '“ to discerni the Lord's body," attend to this duty. Nothing can be more just than that they should be censured, if
they continue to neglect it. The seals of the covenant belong to the children of the covenant: and it is at once their honour, their interest, and their duty, to make use of them.
But, in pressing this duty upon you, I am convinced that I cannot do better than to avail myself of the excellent remarks of a distinguished writer of the present day:
“ Many young persons,” says he, “ imagine that they are not members of the church, until upon a personal profession of their faith, they join it in the communion of the holy supper. This is a great mistake. The children of Christian parents are born members of the church. Their baptism is founded upon their membership; and not, as some people suppose, their membership upon their baptism. On the same principle, when they arrive at the years of discretion, they may, in taking upon them their baptismal engagements, by a becoming profession of the Lord Jesus, demand a seat at his table, as their privilege, which the church cannot deny. Their allegiance to him, as their Redeemer, their King, and their God, is inseparable from their birth-right. The question, then, with them, when they reach that period of maturity, which qualifies them to judge for themselves, is, not whether they shall contract or avoid an allegiance, which has hitherto had no claims upon them? but, whether they shall acknowledge or renounce an allegiance, under which they drew their first breath? Whether they shall disown the Prince of Life, and waive their interest
in his church? Whether they shall disclaim the God of their fathers; forswear their consecration to his service; take back the vows which were made over them, and for them, when they were presented to him in his sanctuary ; his blessed name called upon them; and the symbol of that “ blood, which cleanseth from all sin,” applied to them? Not whether they shall be simple unbelievers ; but whether they shall display their unbelief in the form of apostacy % That is the question : and an awful one it is! As they value their eternal life, let them consider, that every hour of their continuance in their neglect of Christ, is an hour of contempt for his salvation, and of slander on his cross ! How shall their hearts endure, or their hands be made strong, when he shall come to reckon with them for their treading him under foot, and counting the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing? Reckon with them be will! and precisely for their not owning him: For they cannot-no, they cannot shake off their obligations to own him; although, in the attempt, they may destroy themselves forever!
" According to this representation," I shall be told, “ the condition of many of our youth is very deplorable. It is their duty, you say, to profess the name of Christ; and to seal their profession at the sacramental table. This they cannot do; for they are conscious, that they do not possess those principles and dispositions which are requisite to render such a profession honest. What course shall they
steer? If they do not profess Christ, they live in rebellion against God! If they do, they mock him with a lie! Which side of the alternative shall they embrace ? Continue among the profane, and be consistently wieked? or withdraw from them in appearance, and play the hypocrite ?”.
The case is, indeed, very deplorable. Destruction is on either hand. For the UNBELIEVING shoutil have their part in the lake of fire !* and the hypoCRITE's hope shall perish !f God forbid that we should encourage, either a false profession, or a refusal, to make one. Their duty is to embrace neither side of the alternative. Not to continue with the profane, and not to act the hypocrite ; but to receive the Lord Jesus Christ in truth, and to walk in him. “I cannot do it,” replies one; and one, it may be, not without moments of serious and tender emotion upon this very point. "I cannot do it!" My soul bleeds for thee, thou unhappy! but it must be done-or thou art lost forever! Yet, what is the amount of that expression : in the mouth of some à flaunting excuse—and of others a bitter complaint
I cannot? Is the inability to believe in Christ, different from an inability to perform any other duty ? Is there any harder necessity of calling the God of Truth a LIAR, in not believing the record which he hath given of his Son, than of committing any other sin ? The inability created the necessity imposed-by the ENMITY of the carnal mind
* Rev. xxi. 8;
* Job vij. 18,
against God ?* It is the inability of wickedness, and of nothing else !—Instead of being an apology, it is itself the essential crime! and can never become its own vindication.
But it is even so. The evil does lie too deep for the reach of human remedies. Yet a remedy there is, and an affectual one. It is here-I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A NEW HEART also will I GIVE You ;
and Q NEW SPIRIT will I PUT within you :
And I will TAKE AWAY the sTONY HEART out of your flesh, and I will give you an HEART OF
And I will PUT MY SPIRIT WITHIN YOU; and CAUSE you to walk in
my statutes ; and
shall keep my judgments, and do them.t
Try this expedient. Go with thy “ filthiness," and thine idols :" Go with thy “stony heart,” and thy perverse spirit--which are thy real inability-to God, upon the throne of grace: Spread out before him his “ exceeding great and precious promise;" importune him as the hearer of prayer, in the name of Jesus, for the accomplishment of it to thyself. Wait for his mercy! It is worth waiting for. And remember his word: Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be GRACIOUS' UNTO YOU; and therefore will he be exalted, that he 'MAY HAVE MERCY upon you : for the Lord is a God of judgment; blessed . are all they that wait for him."I * Rom. viii. 7.
+ Ezek.Xxxvi, 25-27. Isa, xit18.