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wounds at the table, though their bodies coine away whole and sound.
Use, of exhortation. Be exhorted to get your hearts in a case for performing this duty after the right manner. It may be some have communicated often, and never to this day communicated once right. O strive to begin now! The advantage of it is great. Ye may find that in a communion, that ye never found yet, if ye be worthy partakers; if not, the hazard is great. Which take in
DOCT. II. He that communicates unworthily, eats and drinks judgment to himself, while he eats the sacramental bread, and drinks the sacramental wine.'
In discoursing from this doctrine, I shall shew, I. What communicating unworthily is.
II. What judgments unworthy communicating exposes people to.
III. Make application.
I. I am to shew, what communicating unworthily is. A man communicates worthily, not when he merits the sacrament, but when he is meet for it. So a man communicates unworthily, when he is unmeet for this holy ordinance, when he wants a gospel-fitness for it. To find out this then, we must enquire into the nature of this ordinance. Consider, then,
First, The author of this ordinance. It is Christ, 1 Cor. xi. 23. He appointed it. It belongs to him only to appoint the several parts of worship, who was faithful in his own house as a Son; and worship commanded by men is but vain worship. Now, if Christ be the author of this ordinance, then it is meet, 1. That we have an honourable respect for it as a divine ordinance. 2. That we go about it out of a respect to the command of Christ. 3. That we expect the blessing and the advantage by it from him.
1. People communicate unworthily when they have not an honourable respect for, and a due reverence to, this ordinance, when they partake of it, Mal i. 6, 7. If it bear the stamp of divine authority, is it meet that persons should despise it, and not be touched with reverence of it?
When the angel of the covenant appeared to Moses in the bush, he said to him, 'Put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground,' Exod. iii. 5. But, behold, in this sacrament there are bread and wine of deeper sanctification than that holy ground, they being the symbols of Christ's body and blood.
2. When people do not go about it out of respect to the command of Christ, may he not justly astonish such at his table with that question, If I be master, where is my fear?' Mal. i. 6. Is it meat that people should communicate out of custom, vain-glory, &c.? If the sense of his command do not bring thee there, thou canst not expect the sense of his love, but rather to feel the weight of his hand, when there. As we must believe the truth because God has said it, otherwise our assent is not divine faith; so we must do our duty because God has commanded it, otherwise our obedience is not acceptable to him.
3. When people look to any other quarter than to Christ for the good of the sacrament. Some look no further than the elements. This is to put them in Christ's stead: but be not deceived, bread and wine cannot nourish thy soul. Some are apt to look to ministers: and if such a one as they affect serve the table they are at, they think they are sure of advantage. If they knew your hearts so led aside, they would, with a sad heart and angry counte nance, say to you as Jacob did to Rachel, Am I in God's stead?' Gen. xxx. 2. The spouse went a little further than the watchmen before she found her beloved, Cant. iii, 4. Many smart by this respecting particular ministers, and overlooking the Master of this ordinance.
Secondly, Consider the time, of the institution; The same night in which he was betrayed, by Judas, when the hour and power of darkness was approaching. If so, then it appears that this sacrament was left us as a token by our dying friend. He was now to go out of the world to the Father; but before he goes, he will leave his people a feast and token of love. Did he not know what was abiding him? Yes, verily he knew all. O then might not the prospect of the agony and bloody drops in the garden, the wracking of his body, and the load of wrath under which
his soul was to wrestle, have made him mind himself and forget us? Nay, in the night in which he was betrayed, he instituted this sacrament. Surely then it is most suitable, 1. That we prize it highly as the love-token of a dyingfriend. 2. That we be at pains to prepare to keep the tryst which he was so concerned to set, 3. That at such a sime we avenge the treachery upon our lusts. So they partake unworthily,
1. Who partake of this ordinance without a due valuing of it as the love-token of a dying Lord. A token from a friend, though it be small in itself, yet ought to be prized; a token from a dying friend more; but a token from a friend dying for us most of all; and he would be reckoned a monster of men, that would not highly value it. Not to value this ordinance highly, and so to desire and delight in it, as many communicants do, who, if they could get their credit kept, could well live without it, and in their anconcernedness of heart for it and about it, say practically, The table of the Lord is contemptible, is to trample upon our dying Lord's love-token, and to say in effect, He should have been otherwise taken up that night in which he was betrayed.
2. Those communicants who are not at pains to prepare to keep the tryst our Lord set at that time. I may say, he forgot to eat his own bread, that he might provide for us, He did not so mind the cup of wrath which he was to get himself, as to forget the sacramental cup for our comfort; When he was on the cross, he trysts to meet the believing thief in heaven; and when the clouds of wrath were ga thering, and ready to pour down upon him, he trysts to meet believers on earth. And shall we forget the tryst set in that remarkable night? But, ah! how many are there that will not be at pains to prepare for this ordinance, to examine themselves as to their state, frame, &c.? They have built up mountains and walls of separation betwixt Christ and them, but are at no pains to remove them, nor to employ Christ to level them. Do not these communicate unworthily?
3. Who do not avenge the treachery. How came Judas to betray him? Was it not the sins of his own people that were the spring of the unhappy action? Your sins
were the chief traitors. Then sure Christ instituting this sacrament at this time, says in effect concerning our lusts, as Psal. cxxxvii. 7, 8, 9; Remember, O Lord, the chil dren of Edom, in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof. O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed: happy shall he be that Lewardeth thee, as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.' Can a worthy communicant partake of this ordinance, and mind the treachery his Lord met with, and not break his covenant with his lusts, and renounce his old master? No, surely. They communicate unworthily who come to this ordinance at peace with any lust; they re-act Judas' sin-kiss of Christ, and betray him.
Thirdly, Consider what is represented by the sacred symbols in this ordinance. The broken bread and wine represents Christ's broken body, and his shed blood, Christ suffering for sinners. He is sacramentally crucified before our eyes in that ordinance. Now, if the bread and wine represents to us Christ's body broken for us, and his blood shed for us, it is meet that, in communicating, 1. We meditate believingly on these sufferings. 2. That our hearts be inflamed with love to him. 3. That they be filled with sorrow for and hatred of sin. Then,
1. They communicate unworthily, who do not in their partaking meditate believingly on the sufferings of Christ. Christ will ask that question at communicants, Matth. xvi. 15. Whom say ye that I am?' And I would ask beforehand, Do ye believe that Jesus the Son of Mary, who was crucified betwixt two thieves without the gates of Jerusa lem, was the Son of God, the only Saviour of the world, and that Christ? Do ye believe that Christ suffered? If ye do indeed believe it aright, I say, as Matth. xvi. 17.
Blessed art thou: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but Christ's Father which is in heaven.' And sure I am, if ye do believe, ye cannot shun to meditate on it at the sacrament. This wonderful sight will dazzle your eyes; a sight of God suffering will blind your eyes as to other objects, and make you retire into yourself, to see and wonder, and with admiration to think on this terrible sight. Do they not act most unworthily here who
are not thus taken up? What would ye have said of Moses, had he not turned aside to see that great sight, the bush burning, yet not consumed? Exod. iii. Had ye been on Mount Calvary, within hearing of Christ's dying groans, within sight of his pierced, mangled, and racked body, and had unconcernedly turned your back, and passed all without notice, would ye not say, he had been just had he turned you off that place quick into hell? Here ye have the same sight; and if ye behold it unconcernedly, ye act a most unworthy part, and oppose yourselves to the most direful effects of his vengeance.
2. Who communicate without love to Christ in exercise. Here is represented a king's son in love with a beggar, loving her, and dying for her. O miserable miscreant! does not this affect thy heart, who art this beggar? Can there be greater love? John' xv. 13. What hellish cold has frozen thy affections, that this fire cannot warm, nay, melt them! What a heart of a devil hast thou, that Christ, in his glorious apparel, his red garments, cannot captivate? Be astonished, O heavens, be horribly afraid; tremble, O earth; rent, O rocks; be struck blind, O glorious sun in the firmament, when ye see the communicants sitting without love to Christ, when he is sacramentally lying before them, broken, wounded, and pierced with the envenomed arrows of God's curse, and all for them!
3. Who communicate impenitently. Have ye pierced him? How unworthy will ye be, if ye do not look upon him whom ye have pierced, and mourn for him, as one mourneth for an only son, and be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born,' Zech. xii. 10. Will ye come to the table without the tear in your eye e? O! unworthy communicants, what has petrified your hearts, turned you into stones harder than the adamant, which the blood of the goat will dissolve? Christ's dying groans rent the rocks, and raised and alarmed the dead; and wilt thou sit stupid? Where sorrow for sin and hatred of it is wanting at a communion-table, there is eating and drinking judgment, which, when it begins to work within you, will make you mourn bitterly, either here or in hell.
Fourthly, Consider the bread and the wine is offered and given to you at the table of the Lord, in token of Christ's