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they might as well on this account cease their attendance on the Church, because they cannot tread God's courts or offer up prayers to him in an acceptable manner. For the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord at all times and in all places, in private and in publick, in the ordinary as well as in the more solemn exercises of religion. But then you
would do well to consider, that, if you are unfit for the Church, you are also unfit for heaven; if
from appearing among the friends of Jesus at his table they will also exclude you from the blessed society of his followers above. And what a dreadful situation is this, when every moment your fate may be decided either for happiness or misery? Every person of common sense, who for a moment reflects on this, must instantly resolve to remove this cause of his neglect of the communion by sincere repentance for his past sins, and a complete desertion of his vicious courses for the future.
With regard to those who presume upon their own righteousness for acceptance with God, who think that they live good lives and therefore have no occasion for the help of ordinances to repair their falls or excite them to
greater zeal and diligence, I must remind them of the declaration of our Saviour, " that “ we are at best unprofitable servants.” And of the assertion of St. John, “ if we say that “ we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and - the truth is not in us." Nay, so far from being free from sin, in how many things will not a candid man confess that he daily offends? If we should avoid the more gross transgressions of the law, yet how many failures and omissions, how many vain thoughts, and foolish irregular desires, how many rash and sinful expressions have we not all to answer for? If, then, when we have done all that man can do, we are still unprofitable servants, if we are all very far from doing what God might in strict justice demand of us, then
, tell me, ye who call yourselves, and who would be thought by others, good moral men, whether
do not want a Saviour and a Mediator? one who may interpose between God and you ? one who may turn away his fierce anger, and screen you from the dreadful effects of his indignation? one who may, by his own merit, supply the deficiency of your imperfect services? one that may intercede with God to forgive your manifold sins and offences?
one who may pour on you the blessed influence of the Holy Spirit, to enable you to discharge your duty for the time to come? If then you do want such a Saviour, you must carefully and conscientiously obey all that Saviour's commands, before you can possibly be saved by him ; and as he has commanded you to receive the holy sacrament, you must, without any longer delay, shew your love for his memory,
obedience to his command, by doing this in remembrance of him.
With regard to those who go to neither of these extremes, who are not conscious of indulging in vicious courses, nor vainly presume upon their own righteousness, but who are compassed about with many cares and infirmities, and therefore think themselves unfit for so solemn an approach to God, it
be observed, that, the Gospel always leaves room for reconciliation and restoration upon repentance and amendment of life. Nothing can make us unworthy to receive the sacrament, but our resolving to continue unworthy. If we repent sincerely of our past sins and resolve to lead a new life for the future, then we may safely go to the sacrament. • For Christ
came not to call the righteous, but sinners
“ to repentance.” The fountain of his blood was purposely opened to wash away and cleanse the guilt of those sins and that uncleanness which is sincerely repented of and forsaken. Therefore if we are truly sincere, if we seriously and earnestly desire to serve God to the best of our power, we need not forbear going to the sacrament from an apprehension of our unworthiness; because this sense of our unworthiness, with a serious and sincere desire to become better, an humble and thankful remembrance of Christ's death, a lively faith in God's mercies through him, and love and charity for all the world, are the best qualifications which we can possibly bring with us to the holy sacrament.
Thus, my brethren, have I pointed out the indispensable obligations you are under to celebrate the Lord's supper, and have shewn that in no case are you excusable for neglecting this ordinance. And here I leave the matter to God and to your own conscience. I have set before you life and death; and my
; words will not return empty, whether you or whether
forbear. II. I now proceed to the second head of discourse, which is, to point out some of those
innumerable advantages which are derived from the worthily receiving of the Lord's supper.
The benefits derived from the proper performance of this duty are of two kinds; such as naturally flow from it, and such as are inseparably annexed to it.
Among the former we may reckon first a sincere sorrow for sin, an utter abhorence of it, and a determination to forsake it for ever. When we see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and handle with our hands its bitter fruits, in the sufferings of our Redeemer, it is impossible not to feel compunction of soul and self-condemnation for having been the cause of so much wo to our greatest and best friend. When we behold how abominable sin is in the sight of God, so as to draw down his indignation even on the son of his love, how can we any longer dare to continue therein? The very solemnity of the approach to the table must tend powerfully to make us stand in awe and sin not. The consideration of the public profession we have made to live blameless and with out guile will ever afterwards be present to our minds, as a salutary check, when we are tempted to commit sin. Our language will