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tage and benefit unto us: all these things, I say, are so universally owned by all Christians, that I need not offer any thing for the proof of them, or any part of them. But then, surely, one would think, that when men, who are thus persuaded, do so often, and for so long a time, absent themselves from this ordinance, there must be some insuperable difficulties and obstacles in their way, which are beyond their strength or power to remove; or else, that they would never, at the same time, both neglect their duty, and forego their interest. And yet I doubt not but to make it appear as plainly as any thing can be, that there is nothing which we can at any time pretend as a hindrance to our coming to the Holy Communion, but what either is really, or ought to

be, no hindrance at all: or else is such as it is in our power, by that grace and assistance, which God never denies to those who seek it, wholly to remove and put out of

the way.

To come to the matter then, and that I may proceed in an orderly method, I shall reduce all the impediments, which men do ever allege for their not coming unto the Holy Communion, to these five heads; that is to say, either,

First, That they are sinners, and, therefore, dare not come; or, Secondly, That they are so continually engaged and taken up with business, that they have not time to prepare themselves for it; or, Thirdly, That when they do endeavour to prepare themselves, they find that they cannot do it as it ought to be done; or,


Fourthly, That having formerly received the Communion, they find themselves never the better for it, and therefore think it to no purpose to come again; or,

Lastly, That they are not well satisfied with the manner of celebrating, administering, and receiving this ordinance in our Church; and, therefore, cannot join with our congregations in it; nor is there, I think, any thing that can be urged by way of excuse for not coming to the Holy Communion, but what I shall fairly examine, and, I hope, effectually confute, under some one or other of these particulars.

First, then, Some men may say, that they are great sinners, and, therefore, upon that account dare not come to the Holy Communion, for fear lest they should be unworthy receivers, and so, in

stead of obtaining any benefit thereby, should only eat and drink their own damnation.

To this I answer, That if a man lies under the guilt of any sin, and does not repent of it, and heartily resolve to forsake and amend it; it is, indeed, a presumption and a sin for such a person, whilst he continues in that state, to come to the Communion. But then I must tell him also, that not only his coming to the Holy Communion, but even his very prayers are an abomination to God, Prov. xxviii. 9. For what is it else, but a shocking affront, and even a mocking of the Divine Majesty, for a man to make a shew of worship and honour to him, whilst at the same time he goes on in a wilful disobedience to his known commands? which I wish were well and seriously considered by those men,

who make no scruple of addressing themselves to God in prayer,whilst, by reason of their sins, of which they have not repented, they dare not approach unto this holy table.

But whatever sins a man has been guilty of in times past, if he truly repents of them, and heartily forsakes them for the time to come, God has so often, and so plainly promised, in this case, to grant a full and free pardon of them, that they cannot justly be pretended as any obstacle, which should hinder us from approaching to him in any of his ordinances.

Since then it is in the power of every man (at least of every one, who by a long course of wickedness has not provoked God wholly to withdraw his grace from him) by that grace and assistance, which God continually offers unto us, to

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