Page images


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 docs lie too deep for the reach of human remedies.

Yet a remedy there is, and an affectual one. It is here- -I will sprinkle cléan water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cléanse you. A NEW HEART also will I GIVE you ; and a 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 ;


shall keep my judgments, and do them.t Try this expedient.. Go with thy

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 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. XXX. 18.


I make no apology for the lengtłi of tliis quotation. It is the concluding part of one of those excellent essays on the Church of God, published in the Christian's Magazine. The extract I have now favoured you with is in vol. 2nd, and begins on p. 413.

J pray the Lord it may he sanctified to you!


The nature of the ordinance of the Supper unfolded, by a consideration of the names applied to it in: Scripture.


Having proved, that the sacrament of the supper is an institution of the Lord Jesus Christ, which all who assume the Christian name are bound to observe, under pain of his displeasure; we now propose to direct your attention more particularly to the nature of this ordinance.

“ The Lord's supper, (say the Westminster Diyines, *) is a sacrament of the New Testament, wherein by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is shewed forth; and they that worthily communicate feed upon his body and blood, to their

* Larger Cat. Quest. clxviii.

spiritual nourishment and growth in grace : have their union and communion with him confirmed ; testify and renew their thankfulness, and engagement to God, and their mutual love and fellowship with each other, as members of the same mystica! body.” With this agrees the view given by Witsius* of this ordinance. “ The Lord's supper (says he,) is the sacrament of education or nourishment in the New Testament Church; wherein by the symbols of bread broken, and wine poured out, the dreadful sufferings of Christ are represented to believers; and the promises of the New Testament, and enlivening communion with Christ made perfect by sufferings, both in grace and glory, are signified. and sealed to them."

The nature, design, and use of this holy ordinance, are well stated in the 35th article of our Confession of Faith. The length of the article forbids our transcribing it: We hope, however, that you will turn to it, and examine it attentively.

The definitions we have transcribed, place before you the nature of this ordinance in general. Much additional information may be gained, by noticing the various names and terms which Scripture employs in speaking on this interesting subject : all which names and terms have reference to the nature of the ordinance, and collectively set before us its high excellence and vast importance.

1. The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, calls this ordinance Kupiaxov delavov, the Lord's * On Coy. vol. jii. p. 417.

1. Epist. xi, 20.

supper ; and this, as you all know, is the name by which it is now ordinarily distinguished in the church. Lord's

Lord's supper. This not only directs our attention to the Author; it being an institution of the Lord Jesus Christ, as we have already shown : but it also evidently alludes to the time when this ordinance was instituted-viz. at the usual time for eating suppers. It was in the evening of the same night in which Christ was betrayed, and immediately after the celebration of the Jewish passover.*

But another, and a very important idea, we conceive to be embraced under this appellation. The ancients, we are told, had their greatest feasts in the evening. Suppers were their choice meals, and social entertainments. This suggests an idea of excellence in this Christian institution. It is a feast. Hence the Apostle says, “Let us keep the feast.” The ancients had their feasts on their sacrifices. Christians, too, have their feast on a sacrifice, even that one great sacrifice by which the covenant of our God has been ratified-by which the guilt of myriads has been expiated--and the souls of myriads have been redeemed! O! how delightful to hold a feast on such a sacrifice! It is to the believer; hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and longing for communion with his Saviour; a feast indeed; more grateful and refreshing to the soul, than the choicest luxuries, collected from every clime, can possibly be to the taste. Such was the experience

* See Mat. xxvi. 20, &c. Also 1 Cor. xi. 23, &c; fi Cor. V. 8.

[ocr errors]

of the Spouse.* “I sat under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to iny taste." Similar to this is the prophetic description given of this ordinance in the writings of Isaiah: “And in this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things—a feast of wines on the lees; of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.”+ Accordingly the invitation of the Master of the feast is “Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money: Come ye, buy and eat; yea,

come buy wine and wilk, without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that wbich satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself io fatpess."I “ Eat, О friends : drink; yea, drink abundantly, O beloved."

These remarks on the term supper may well be summed up in the words of a celebrated Divine.! “ Besides, (says he,) the most sumptuous entertainments among the ancients, especially in the Jewish nation--at least, their nuptial feasts--were generally in the evening. (Parable of the ten virgins, Mat. xxv.) And therefore it was proper, that the feast, which represents the unspeakable dainties of heaven, and is an earnest of the marriage supper of the Lamb, (Rev. xix. 9,) should be held forth to us under the name and emblem of a supper."

* Cant. ii. 3. + Chap. xxv. 6. | Isa. Iv. 1, 2. Cant: v. 1. | Witsius on the Cov. vol. iii. chap. 17,02.

« PreviousContinue »