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to count your baptism a privilege not worth maintaining. This is also done when you come to years of discretion, and it is your own voluntary act, even after, through the piety of your parents, you had been baptized. Is it not manifest, that if it had been left to your own choice, you would not have been baptized ? Do not go thus far to renounce Christianity. It was a great sin to withdraw from professing it, in times of difficulty and persecution, (Heb. x, 26-31.) when it might seem to admit of some extenuation from the frailty of man, and the fear of such dreadful sufferings as the primitive martyrs underwent; but" by neglecting the Lord's Supper, (the peculiar rite of Christians,) do you not in effect deny the profession that you may have made of Christianity, and deny it, remember, in times of liberty and encouragement ?"
It is A PUTTING A SLIGHT ON YOUR SAVIOUR's DÉATH. The Lord's Supper is the memorial of his Sacrifice. When you refuse to come, you do in effect declare, I will remember my worldly friends, my pleasures, my private pursuits, or other engagements; but I will not remember my Redeemer in the greatest instance of his love. I will not confess my dying Lord; I will not honour his name; I will not declare my hope jo his cross.
I wish to have no concern in his atonement and salvation. Christian reader, can you bear the implications which attach to this neglect? Did Jesus die for you, and will you not obey one of his last, one of his most easy, one of his most delightful precepts? The point is gained. Your heart yields. You will mourn over your past ingratitude, and determine to embrace every opportunity of remembering and publicly confessing a crucified Saviour. You see that
not to do so, is in fact to renounce communion with Christ, and to say, “I can spend my time with ease and pleasure, in the scenes of idleness and trifling; but I care not to be with Christ, and love not communion with him."
But THE YOUNG may be especially addressed on this subject. The Jews, it would appear, (Luke ii, 41, 42.) took their children at twelve years of age, to partake of the passover: and well would it be if Christian youth, at twelve or fourteen, under right impressions, and with intelligence and piety, began to partake of the Lord's Supper. When this season is neglected, life passes silently forward, habits of omission get formed, and diffidence and false shame strengthen them. It has been observed, we naturally feel some degree of embarrassinent in doing any thing, for the first time, that is attended with a considerable degree of interest, and public solemnity." This difficulty increases with increasing years. I trust that those of my younger readers, whose hearts are renewed by divine grace, will therefore feel that now is the happy opportunity, now is the precise time, in which they should commence a practice which will soon become a blessed habit, bringing along with it a most important train of consequences, full of benefit to them all their days. It is a turning point of your life. Come to this table, and you are taking a most important step towards fixing you for a holy, useful, and happy life. Turn from it, and you are multiplying the difficulties which the world, the flesh, and the devil, ever present in the way to heaven. The kindness of our youth, (Jer. ii, 2.) is much remembered by our heavenly Father. Give, then, to Christ, the first and the best of your days.
Yet while we would invite you and all Christians, and require you in the name of your Saviour, not to neglect bis plain command, we would press you also to examine yourselres whether ye be in the faith; if you are still living in a course of sin, coine not here; but yet keep not away altogether; repent of your sins, believe in Christ, devote yourselves to him, and then come, and you
will obtain both edification and comfort. In this chapter we have only considered the obligations in the way of duty; the privilege must be reserved for farther notice. Let us feel with Bishop Taylor,
Happy is that soul that comes to these springs of salvation, as the hart to the water-brooks, panting and thirsting, weary of sin, and hating vanity, and reaching out the heart and hands to Christ."
Answers to the Excuses commonly made for not
coming to the Lord's Supper. The obligation will be still farther felt, if we consider the excuses by which scrupulous or unwilling minds commonly justify their absence.
That which is most frequently urged, and which has perhaps the greatest weight, is this--they that receive unworthily incur great guilt; WE ARE UNWORTHY, AND THEREFORE WE DARE NOT GO. This excuse, seeming to iinply a reverence to this institution, makes many easy, under a direct act of disobedience; yet, in fact, it arises from iguorance and unbelief.
It arises from IGNORANCE ; for many persons do not make the evident distinction between being UNWORTHY and receiving UNWORTHILY. The very best are unworthy. The guilty and the sinful are the very persons invited to come. A sense of our sinfulness is a peedful part of preparation. If indeed a poor man resist, or cast from him, the bounty of the benevolent, he is unworthy of relief. If a sick man reject the medicine which would heal him, he is unworthy of health; but you see evidently that the poverty of the one is the very reason why he should take the offered relief; the sickness of the other is the most powerful motive to welcome and receive the physician's prescription. If then you are sensible of your unworthiness, and desire pardon and grace, you should ask them, not because you are worthy, but because you need these blessings, and must perish without them. You not only want them, but Jesus Christ invites you to come and receive supplies adapted to your necessities. If you are afraid of receiving UNWORTHILY, you will find in a subsequent chapter some information and directions which may remove this fear.
But is there not much UNBELIEF and presumption in staying away? You think, perhaps, that by going you are presuming. No: it is not presumption to accept our Lord's invitation, and fulfil his command. For why was the precept given, if it were presumptuous to obey it? Take care lest you be found impugning the wisdom of the great Legislator. The presumption is refusing to come, and not obeying the precept. Our turning away from the Lord's table does not prove our humility, but our forgetfulness of Christ's request. Is there not reason to fear that it arises not “ from a
tender conscience, but from a cold, careless, worldly heart." Burkitt well observes, that “ the reverence which our Saviour expects to this holy institution, is a reverence of obedience.” Some that object to receive on account of unworthiness, do, as it has been remarked, “ venture at some great solemnities, as Easter, to approach this table, which makes it wonderful how they can reconcile their notion of unworthiness with their practice of receiving at such seasons; or else they must have at those seasons a better opinion of themselves than is consistent with Christian humility.” But beware of unbelieving thoughts of your Heavenly Father's love; entertain not hard thoughts of the compassionate Saviour of men. They are highly dishonourable to his character, his word, and his promises, and are very prejudicial to yourselves. The Lord's Supper was never designed to be a snare for human frailty. Remember, that you are not coming to Mount Sinai, burning with fire, and covered with blackness, with bounds fixed to keep off the people; but rather to Mount Sion, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things.
Another excuse with many is, I AM TOO MUCH ENGAGED BUSINESS SOLEMN A DUTY. “I cannot,” says Bishop Patrick, « believe that any man is so employed, that constantly, when he is to receive the sacrament he must omit it, or be a great loser. It is incredible, that his business must be done just at that time, and that none other will serve." He then shews the futility of the excuse, by stating, that if a large sum of money were to be given, every time a person came, few would resist this golden reason ; they would, in that case, put