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LETTER XXI.

Serious address to non-communicants-Their ex

cuses answeredtheir guilt stated-and their duty pointed out-Conclusion.

BELOVED PEOPLE,

In my last paper, I noticed the excuses of professors for not attending statedly and perseveringly on the sacrament of the supper. I now propose to make one more effort,* to convince such of you as are not professors, of your exceeding sinfulness in not consessing Christ before the world, and honouring him, by obedience to his dying command.

The sacrament of the supper is certainly a most important institution; and attendance on it is at once the sacred duty and exalted privilege of all who love the Lord Jesus, and hope in his mercy! Most of you who are parents, if not all, profess to put a high value on the sacrament of baptism; and you suffer nothing to prevent you from soliciting the privilege of offering up your children. But let me solemnly entreat you to consider, whether it is more necessary to have your children baptized, than it is to have your own souls fed at the Redeemer's table? Is baptism of higher consequence to the salvation of your children, than the Lord's supper is to your own salvation? Why make this distinction between sacraments, which seal one and the same covenant -which require similar qualifications--which impose similar obligations-and which refer to substantially the same benefits? And why apply for the baptism of your children, and neglect to apply for a seat at the table of the Lord ?

* See letter xiv.,

You dare not deny, that it is your duty to shew forth the death of Christ, and commemorate his dying love in the ordinance of the supper? But you have a variety of excuses; and with these you are satisfied. These

excuses, it is my design now to notice, in order to convince you, if possible, thai you ought not to be satisfied with them; and that, ootwithstanding all you alledge in self-justification, you are exceedingly guilty before God for disobedience to the dying command of Christ !

1. The first and general excuse offered by those who have never made a profession of religion, when they are reminded of their duty, is that they are unworthy. They dare not come to the table of the Lord, for they are very sin ul. That they are very sinful and very unworthy, I have no doubt--although many would rather mention it themselves, than be told of it by others. We all are unworthy, as I have already stated : and; " if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.?* My great fear upon this point is, that those who say they are unworthy, are very little troublech

*1 Jo. i. &

matter rests.

by the conviction of unworthiness! For it is toe evident, that many are willing to remain unworthy; at least, they make no visible effort to become prepared for an acceptable approach to the table of the Lord. It answers the present purpose, as an excuse, to say that they are unworthy; and there the

But 0! what will it be when the heart-searching Judge arises to execute judgment ? You say that you are unworthy; and that you are pot prepared for se holy an ordinance. Let me beseech you to attend to the following reinarks :

1. A consciousness, a deep consciousness of guilt and unworthiness, is, in part at least, the very preparation we need. God requires us to act in character. He knows that we are sinners, and unworthy of the least mercy; and when he invites us to eat the children's bread at his table, he requires us to come, feeling that we are unworthy-with penitent hearts, and in humble reliance for acceptance on the merits of the Lord Jesus. Now, if you feel unworthy, as you say you are, I am disposed and feel at perfect liberty to invite and urge you to

“Come, (to repeat the words of Calvin,) as paupers to the liberal Benefactor-as patients to the Physician--as sinners to the Author of righteousmess-as persons dead to the Fountain of life.” 66 Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool :

but to this mau will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word."* The fact

come,

* Isa. lxvi. 1,2

is, the more unworthy we feel in ourselves--the more completely we renounce self-righteousnessa and the more undividedly we rely on the merits of the Saviour-the better are we prepared to come

acceptably and profitably to the table of the Lord; · for the poor he fills with good things, but the rich he sends empty awuy.

2. My second remark is, that, if you are not prepared for the supper of the Lord, your situation is truly awful and alarming. You live in a dying world ; and you know not how soon death may summon you into eternity, to appear before the judgment-seat of Jesus Christ! For this solemn event you are certainly not prepared, while you are unprepared to occupy a place at the Redeemer's table.

We do not mean to make the supper a saving ordinance, nor to assert that no one can be saved who has not participated at the sacred feast : But we do mean to assert, what is a manisest truth, that the supper does not require higher qualifications, than are necessary to a happy and gainful death. If you are in such a state, that coming to the table of the Lord would be offensive to him, you certainly cannot expect that he will receive you with a smile, when you appear before him as your Judge! If you are not prepared to sit down with his people at the feast of love in the church on earth, you certainly are not prepared to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to the marriage-supper of the Lamb, in the kingdom of heaven. I beseech you to reflect seriously on these truths, and to lay to heart your alarming condition, belore it be too late forever!

3. I have a third remark to make. It is this : Your want of preparation is your fault, as well as your misery. For why are you not prepared ? Because you do not love Jesus Christ; because you do not love holiness; because you do not hate sin! But is not this your guilt; and do you not on this account deserve the curse of God? You will not controvert the truib of what I assert, that all who love Christ-all who love holiness-all who hate sin—are prepared for a seat at the Redeemer's table. It must then also be true, if you are not prepared, that you hate Christ, and holiness, while you love sin! What an awful character! Can you dare you, appropriate it?

But you cannot change your heart; you cannot generate love to Christ and holiness; you cannot make yourself hate sin.' This is trụe. But you can, as a rational creature, use the means which God has appointed for these ends? And until you have done so, you are just as guilty for not loving Christ,

would be if you had the power of changing the heart in your own hands, and refused to exercise it! The starving man, who perishes, because he will not ask for bread, and even obstinately refuses it when offered to him, is a self-murderer: And so you are guilty of murdering your soul, if you reluse to apply for mercy and grace to that God, who is pich in mercy to all who call upon him! Yea; who

as you

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