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Jesus) will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me.”
IV. I AM now to make some practical improvement of this subject,
ift, In an use of information. ! 1. Learn, that they who were never carried off their own bottom for fanclification, have their religion yet to begin. It is a fundamental error in practice, for men to think, that though they need the righteousness of Christ for justification, yet they need but activity and diligence with their natural powers for holiness. This is as absurd, according to the fcriptures, as to say the cripple needs but to ply his limbs, and so shall be cured. It is an evidence, -(1.) That thou hast never got a view of the corruption of nature, the plague of thine own heart; thy plague is in thy head.--(2.) That thou haft never seit the need of Christ for ali his falvation, yea, for the principal part of it, that is, sanctification, which is the great design of the whole mystery of the gospel of Christ. And,~(3.) That therefore self has yet Christ's room in thy heart. Thou actest from thyself, and consequently to thyfelf, and so art rejected of God in all that thou doit..
2. We are taught, that they make foul work at communions, who, ; (1.) Bind themselves to the Lord for work, but lay not hold on the everlasting covenant for strength. I will not deny but the facrament is a seal of our engagement to the Lord ; but, according to the scripture, it is mainly a seal of God's full covenant to believers, as appears from the words of institution; and therefore I think the main work of a communion-occasion is that Christians receive a full Christ, lay hold on a full covenant, suited to all their
needs, and be no more faithless, but believing: They mistake alfo,
(2.) Who come to that ordinance without a deep sense of their wants, weakness, and imperfections. They who would have any thing at Christ's door, should be very fensible of their rank poverty at home: Luke, i. 53. “ He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he hath fent empty away." They should be capable to lay their fingers on their fores, and tell what aileth them. Those mistake also,
(3.) Who are at no pains to prepare for that ordinance, and to bring ftrength from heaven for the management of it: “ Without me (says Jesus) ye can do nothing," John, xv. 5. ; if nothing, how will they of themselves manage such a great and folemn work ? therefore they have much need of intercourse with heaven by faith and prayer. . Those err,
(4.) Who depend upon their own preparation. It is hard work to prepare the heart for a commu- . nion ; but it is harder to be denied to it, and trust'. nothing to it when we have prepared. It is hard to be wrestling with an ill heart, till it be brought to some' tolerable frame; but harder to trust all to free grace.
3. We may learn that none are so ready to be a prey to the devil as the presumptuous, felf-confie : dent finner: . This is a train which, when laid for a man, will quickly blow him up. The poor trembling faint will keep his feet, when such an one's bent bow will quickly break.-In a word, we may conclude,
4. That the best way to stand is to be much in the work of undermining our self-confidence, and razing the grounds of it, shoveling away the mire: ;. in which that flag grows; we would thus be