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another day; but if you 'turn unto him with your whole · hearts, your souls shall live. “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will " you die.” Let our text be engraven on the palms of your hands, that it may be continually before you. “ Whether, " therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the ** glory of God."
Self-examination a necessary preparative to the
i Cor. xi. 28. But let a man examine himself, and fo let him tat
of that bread and drink of that cup.
WE fhall not now attend metely to the words of our text, but with them take a brief view of the inftitution of the Lord's fapper in general. From the seventeenth to the twenty-third Verse of this chapter, the blessed Apostle had been sharply reproving these Corinthian chriftians for their irregularities, indecencies, and wicked conduct at the sacred table. Their abominable practice was such, as not only brought reproach upon chriftianity, and disgrace upon themselves, but fubverted the very design of this divine institution. They waited not one for another, they sat not down together with an holy reverence, like Chrift and his difciples, but they ruched to the place where the ordinance was to be celebrated, in a strange, disorderly manner. Surely they could have very little appearance of a religious affembly, when every one as
he came, took, eat and drank to excess. “When ye come
together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the « Lord's fupper; for in eating every one taketh before ano
v 15 nungry and another in 6 ther his own: 63 has left the awful "miscarriages of this church upon record, not for our imitation, but for our war. ning and caution. This is the reason St. Paul administers fuch severe rebukes. “ What, have you not houses to eat and
drink in? or despise ye the church of God? What shall I say CE
to you? Thall I praise you in this? I praise you not." Hence he declares to them, that for this cause, the judgments of Heaven had fallen upon them.
« For this cause, many “ are weak and fickly among you, and many ficep.” Thus they came together, “not for the better, but for the worse.» The ordinance as managed by them, was so far from being honored, or improved for their edification and spiritual bene. fit, that it was disgraced and they themselves suffered the greateft injury, and were exposed to the just condemnation of God. This ihows us that duties not performed in a manner agreeable to the will of Heaven, are not considered as duties at all, neither can they meet with the divine approbation. The Apostle declares that these people, whatever they --might prot fess did not eat the Lord's supper." Many a prayer has been said, when the persons did not pray; many a sacrament received, and yet not duly celebrated.
God requires not merely a respect to the matter, but likewise to the manner of performing duty in order to his acceptance. A fincere heart and well informed mind will be attentive to, and very careful on this. head.
The apostle after testifying against the dreadful misconduct of these Christians, refers them to the original institution of - it by Christ. He acquaints them with the nature of the ordi. nance in all its parts. He states before them the author of it, the time when it was instituted, the prayers to accompany it,
the facramental fymbols and actions, the temper of the heart, the views of the mind, and every thing appertaining to the
right and worthy celebration of the fame. Next he proceeds to represent to them the sin and danger of an unbecoming and dishonorable participation of it. This he does in the preceding and subsequent verses to our text. In the one he says, " Who“ soever fhail eat the bread of the Lord unworthily, shall be
guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” And in the other, “ He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and “ drinketh damnation to himself; not discerning the Lord's " body." A very concise explication of these words is all we can attend to at present. The principal things contained here in are, what is meant by the terms unworthily, and worthily ; what to be guilty of the blood of the Lord? what is that damna. sion, that unworthy partakers eat and drink to themselves ?
First, in regard to the word unworthily. All are unworthy in a certain sense. All are unworthy of the favour and the grace of God; unworthy of the least of all his mercies. There is no merit in any finner, fanctified ot unsanctified. The original significs an unmeetness, unfitnefs, unsuitableness, unpreparedness. To eat and drink unworthily is to attend upon the ordinance in an unprepared and unsuitable manner; in such a temper and under the influence of such habits and practices as are altogether unbecoming the nature, use and end of the inftitution. Both coming unfitly, and staying away, are heinous and condemning fins ; but the Apostle seems to intimate that the former is the most base and aggravated.
The word worthy fignifies an attendance upon this facra ment in a way of preparedness and meetness according to the gospel. Persons are worthy receivers in the fight of God, when they come prepared, having some proper measure of christian knowledge, suitable frames of mind, meet defires, and a due sense of their need of the foul purifying blood
and the justifying righteousness of Chrift.
A christian say be a worthy receiver who approaches the sacred table witk reverence, humility and devotion, under a feeling sense of his sinfulness and great unworthiness, tho' he has many fcruples fears and doubts respecting his state. Affurance of grace how. ever desirable is not neceffary to a worthy and acceptable per. formance of this duty. Even a degree of backwardness, dullness and deadness in the service, if these things be involun. tary and lamented, do not render us unworthy receivers. One design of the ordinance is to krengthen the weak, encourage the fearful, dissipate our glooms and doubts, and increase our hopes. Wherefore all who have been faithful in self-examiną . tion, humbling themselves for their fins, casting their souls upon a crucified Redeemer, and endeavoring after a due preparation of heart, although they still find much corruption and perplexity of spirit, yet they ought to come; the weak in taith we muft receive
Secondly, we are to enquire what is intended by being guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. Unworthy partakers implicitly approve of the conduct of the Jews in crucifying the Saviour of the world. It is impicitly despising and rejecting his atonement, mediation and righteousness. It is like ftabbing the matter at his own feast. And unless deep repentance take place, damnation will be the consequence. Many who killed the prince of life, denied and delivered him up in the presence of Pilate, were brought to evangelical repentance by the preaching of Peter at the gate of the temple called Beautiful, If the fins of those who actually imbrued their hands in his blood were pardoned, then furely unworthy partakers, however gross and wicked their participation may be, tho' they should so far dishonor the ordinance as to drink common healths at the table, which has been done in modern times, yet even these wretches of profanity, upon their repentance, may obtain forgiveness. Upworthy partaking is far distant from the unpas.