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That you may find acceptance, comfort, and refreshment, at the table of the Lord, is the sincere prayer of your friend and pastor !
Engagements made at the Redeemer's table-Unfaithfulness of professors Exhortation to univers. sal and holy obedience, with a few directions.
It has already been stated,* that baptism, and the Lord's supper, are called sacraments, because they bind all who partake of them, under the solemnity of an oath, to be faithful to the Master, and the cause of the church. We have also noticed the engagements made by parents, when they offer up their children to God in baptism. It may now be proper and useful to spend a few moments in considering what are the special engagements, made by the professors of religion, when commemorating, in the sacrament of the supper, the death of their Lord ?
In all covenants there must be contracting parties, and reciprocal engagements. In the covenant of grace, God freely engages to become our God and portion forever, through the mediation of his beloved Son; and we, in embracing the covenant, engage * Let. ii.
+ Let. xi.
to be the Lord's entirely and forever. Of these mutual engagements, the sacrament of the supper
is a visible confirmation. The unchangeable love of God to the believer; and the unreserved consecration of the believer to the Lord, are both solemnly sealed. The whole transaction is well described in the address which Moses, on an interesting occasion, delivered to the children of Israel :* " Thou hast avouched the Lord, this day, to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his con mandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice : And the Lord hath avouched thee, this day, to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all bis commandments."
According to the inspired statement of the Lawgiver of Israel, we, in the public ratification of our covenant with God, declare ourselves to be his, and solemnly pledge ourselves to glorify his name, by living according to the directions of his word, and according to the dictates of a conscience enlightened by his word and Spirit. “We avouch the Lord to be our God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice."
The Bible is the believer's law-book: And he has engaged, at the Redeemer's table, to make it a lamp to his feet, and a light to his path to embrace its truths, and to practice its duties.
David was conscious that he had made engagements like these,
* Deut. xxvi. 17, 18.
in the use of the sealing ordinances of his day :* "I have sworn, (says he,) and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.”
These general remarks have prepared the way for the following specification of the engagements made by believers in the sacrament of the supper.
1. In this ordinance the believer has engaged to be the Lord's—to love him supremely—and to be entirely devoted to his glory. Over the consecrated symbols of his Saviour's body and blood, he bas publicly assented to the doctrine of the Apostle :** For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself : for whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord : Whether we live, therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.”+ “And ye are not your own : åre bought with a price ; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”I
The glorious perfections of God's nature, as well as his relative goodness, demand that he should have the first and highest place in our affections ; that every idol should be dethroned ; that we should be delivered from every degrading and polluting attachment; and that we should “ love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength."
« Thou shalt have no other gods before me,''|| is the first precept of the moral law. " Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If
* Ps. cxix. 106. #Rom. xiv. 7, 8. | 1 Cor. vi, 19, 20,
Mat. xxii. 37. | Exo.xx. 3.
any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him," is the caution of the inspired Apostle.* “ If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth,” is the direction of Paul.t While the pious Asaph, by his own example, instructs us to say,
66 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth ; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”I
For the performance of all this, the believer has; by oath, bound himself, at the Redeemer's table, He has engaged to delight himself in the Lord; and to write “ holiness to the Lord” upon his persong and his practice.
2. The believer has, at the sacramental board, engaged to honour Jesus Christ as the Mediator of the covenant, and the glorified Head of the universe. To believe in Jesus Christ is the leading direction of the gospel; and to live by faith on Jesus Christ is the great duty, and privilege of the Christian. As Christ is possessed of all fulness, every want of the Christian may receive a liberal supply; and it is alike the duty and the interest of the believer to improve Christ in all his offices, and in all his ful
"Christ is of God made to them who ben
1 Jo. ii. 15
Col. jü. 1, 2
- Ps. Ixxiii. 25, 266
lieve, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."*
The believer has taken Christ for all ; and engaged to honour Christ by relying on him for all. Renouncing confidence in the flesh, he rejoices in Christ Jesus, as all his salvation, and all his desire. Under the sins, which he every day commits, he looks to Christ for pardon: Under the infirmities, which he every day deplores, he looks to Christ for strength. In every conflict with bis spiritual adversaries, he relies on the “Captain of Salvation;" and in running the race set before him, he looks to Jesus, the author and finisher of faith.
“ Christ is all, and in all.”+ The believing communicant has engaged to honour him as such; and faithfully to cleave to him, through evil report, and good report-in health, and in sickness-in life, and in death.
3. The believer, in the sacrament of the supper, has bound himself to walk in all the ordinances of the Lord blameless-conscientiously to observe, and sacredly to improve, the various institutions of religion, to the glory of God, and his own spiritual improvement and consolation. The means of grace are as useful in the work of sanctification, as they are in the work of conversion. The believer must grow in grace
and in knowledge ; and for this purpose he
keep the Sabbaths, and reverence the sanctuary” of the Most Higb; He must daily “search * 1 Cor. i. 30.
Col. iii. 11.