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help his enemies to put him out of sight and out of mind. Oh! it is an awful moment, when the sin-loving, earth-devoted communicant, lays hand upon the sacred emblems; the strengthening of the soul to disobedience—the refreshing of the spirit to serve another master-the plenary indulgence, not the remedy for sin. Is it not the very triumph of the evil one?“ When he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished; then goeth he and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first." “ Eat and drink their own damnation." The expression has been thought too strong; and were it not in the word of God, charity no doubt, would long since have expunged it from our ritual. It has been certainly misunderstood, so as to beget much needless and superstitious terror. We have before remarked that the reception of the elements does not beget an obligation which did not exist before; nor subject the recipient to a damnation of which he was otherwise in no danger. 6. He that believeth not is condemned already"-not because he eats the sacramental bread and wine-but because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

But consider what it is the impenitent and unbelieving really do on these occasions; and the words will scarcely seem too strong, that

have not proved strong enough to deter them. They exhibit their full knowledge of God's method of salvation, and give to the terms of it their full consent. They peruse the covenant of grace, and as it were sign it, by which they who are in Christ are saved, they who are not in Christ are lost; and they take into their mouths the appointed signs and pledges, that so it is, and so it shall be; and if the while they have not any consciousness of being lost, or any definite purpose of coming to Christ that they may be saved; any due sense of the guilt of sin, or settled purpose to forsake it; any evidence of a work of grace upon their hearts, or any earnest desire that such a work should appear;-what do they, what can they properly be said to do, but eat and drink their own damnation? put into their mouths the witnesses to God's immutable truth, and their own eternal ruin.

If there is—it is a painful thought-if we must suppose it possible that there should be a believer at the altar, who holds the truth in unrighteousness; who has indulged, and means to indulge, the sins that Jesus died for; who, trusting to be covered with his seamless robe of merit, wears meantime and is content to wear, the garment spotted with the flesh-who loves the freeness of the Gospel, but cannot bear its strictness; would drink the justifying blood, without the purifying water, and feed upon the

6 Can ye

flesh, without growing into the likeness of its purity: if there is a communicant--our terms will be understood where they apply-who on some presumptive evidence of sonship, some by-gone recognitions of a covenant God, and signs of union and adoption in the Beloved, does venture with unwashen hands and heart unsanctified to touch this mysterious food; let such a one consider what he does. drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils?" We come together to celebrate the death of Him, in whom, if we died, we died to sin;-being crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we might not serve sin. If we be alive in Christ, it is that our members may be instruments of righteousness unto God; if we be raised up with Him from the dead by the glory of the Father, it is that we may walk in newness of life.

Reason there is for all to hear the church's warning-lest we eat and drink our own condemnation; provoking Him to plague us with divers diseases and sundry kinds of death; to heat the furnace of affliction seven times hotter; and lay the hand of judgment seven-fold heavier; and swell to a frightful torrent this gentle stream of love, in which we affect to drink while we refuse to wash. Most tender and indulgent Father! thy children will know in heaven, perhaps, how often they have done this

how often met thee here, thy right hand full of blessings, but by reason of some cherished sin that they have brought with them, forced thee to exchange it for a rod; to throw some bitter medicament into the cup of life, or hide thy face from the polluting imagery of last night's revelry, or to-morrow's strife, pursuing them to the very footstool of thy throne.

132

CHAPTER VIII.

OF THOSE WHO COME WORTHILY.

Why are ye so fearful?--how is it that ye have no faith? When Jesus beholds the trembling step and sinking heart, the smouldering hope and scarcely smouldering expectation, with which his people come to take his blessings, and sees also how little blest they seem to go away-surely if he did not remember whereof we are made-if he were not “ touched with a feeling of our infirmities”-surely He would not spread his table any more, for guests so litrle hungry when they come-so little satisfied when they depart! It is no fault of his, “For what could he have done more for his vineyard than he has not done.” He bought it at no ordinary price even no less than his own precious blood. With all the glory he had before the world began, with all the riches of his Father's throne, with all the fulness of his own eternal Godhead, relinquished, put aside:—with poverty and shame, and mortal anguish, a broken body and a broken heart, He bought this little vineyard. Oh how he must have loved it! And when He had bought it, he had it not-he paid the price, but another was in possession, and

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