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Christ, and refusing to embrace the Gospel. The apostles of Christ, who were the servants of God, were sent and commanded, in the first place, to preach the glad tidings of the Gospel to them, and to invite them to come and partake of that blessing and happiness, which was offered them by God, through faith in, and obedience unto, his Son Christ Jesus. But they, generally, having their hearts wholly addicted to the love of this world, had no inclination to receive so pure and spiritual an institution; and did not only themselves reject, but also persecuted others for embracing the Christian profession; despising and treading under foot the Son of God, and counting the blood of the covenant, wherewith they should have been sanctified, an unholy thing; and
even doing despite unto the Spirit of Grace, which would have wrought upon their hearts, in order to their conversion. As therefore the man in this parable, who made the supper, was offended with those, who did not come when they were invited, and therefore wholly excluded them from his table, and sent his servant to call others in their room (as you may find in the latter part of it) so did Almighty God cast off the people of the Jews, upon their obstinate rejecting of Jesus Christ; giving them up to be destroyed and scattered by the power of the Romans ; and commanded the Apostles to go out into all parts of the world, to gather a Church, and a peculiar people unto him from among
the Gentiles. But my present aim,
in reflecting upon this parable, lies clear another way; namely, to represent and reprove those excuses and pretences, which so many men do make for their gross neglect of the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, notwithstanding that God, by the mouth of his ministers, does so frequently call, and earnestly invite them thereunto.
For here, in the first place, we have Almighty God making a supper for us, for the feeding and nourishing of our souls in virtue and piety, through the passion and death of our Saviour Christ Jesus, which he hath appointed for ever to be commemorated, by our eating of this bread, and drinking of this cup, in remembrance of him. To this supper we are, not once only, but often bidden, by the frequent admonitions and exhortations of
God's ministers addressed unto us, that we should come and be
partakers of this Holy Communion ; and as the guests, who were invited in this parable, had framed some weak and impertinent excuses for their not coming; one had bought a piece of ground, another five yoke of oxen, and a third had married a wife; none of which things needed to have hindered them from accepting of the good man's kindness ; just so we, when from month to month, and from year to year, we continually turn our backs
upon God's holy table, have yet some sort of pretences, wherewith we endeavour to satisfy our consciences, and to excuse this gross and scandalous neglect, of which we are guilty.
That our Saviour Christ Jesus died for our sins; that it is only for the sake of his merits and sufferings, that we can hope for pardon and eternal life at the hand of God; that before his death, he left this command with all that should be called by his name, that they should eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, in remembrance of him; whereby we are obliged to shew forth his death until his second coming: and lastly, that this ordinance is the communion of the body and blood of Christ ; or, in other terms, the means whereby we do communicate in the benefits of that sacrifice which Christ offered, and in the merits of that death and passion which he underwent in his body, and by the shedding of his blood for us; and, consequently, that the receiving hereof, if duly performed, is not only our duty, but also a great advan