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acknowledged by thee as an acceptable guest at thy holy table; and finally be admitted to the celestial supper of the Lamb; to the participation of the everlasting festival of love in thy heavenly kingdom; to the hallowed chorus of angels and archangels, and the spirits of the just, celebrating in unceasing strains the majesty and glory of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.
The devout participation of the Ordinances of the Church, the appointed method of Salvation.
No truth can be more evident to reason, than that God has a right to prescribe what method he pleases for the salvation of mankind. Dependent upon him as their Creator and their Judge, deriving from him life and all its enjoyments, which they hold by the dependent tenure of his sovereign will, they are bound by every tie of duty, interest, and gratitude, implicitly to fulfil his injunctions. By obedience to his commands, they acknowledge his supreme authority over them, and attain that perfection and happiness for which they were destined. By resistance to his will, they forfeit that purity and bliss, which are only to be found in the enjoyment of his favour. When we further consider man as a fallen creature,
subject to the punishment of his offended Judge, we shall be compelled to acknowledge, that he can have no hope of forgiveness but on those terms and conditions which God may prescribe. If, then, God hath seen fit to dispense his mercy and grace through the ordinances of a church, by communion with which guilty and condemned man is to be restored to virtue and happiness-who is he that will resist his will? To dispute the propriety of his institutions, to doubt the efficacy of the means which he hath established, would be a presumptuous contempt of his mercy and power, a wilful rejection of his proffered grace. Contemning the means which he hath instituted for our salvation, we should aggravate to the deepest dye the guilt of rebellion against our almighty Sovereign and Judge; and without any plea to extenuate our guilt, we should sink under the avenging arm of his justice.
That in order to our deliverance from the condemnation and wrath which our sins have incurred, and to our restoration to the favour of God, we must humbly and devoutly participate of the ordinances of the church, is a truth, therefore, which rests on the simple fact, that God hath instituted these ordinances as the means of salvation, the channels of mercy and grace.
To be fully satisfied of this fact, and to be rightly informed in the necessity, the nature, and efficacy of the ordinances of the church, deeply concerns us. Our eternal happiness
depends on our submission to the means and conditions of salvation which God hath prescribed. And the ordinances of the church will appear unnecessary and useless; they will exhibit no claim to our reverence, attention, or obedience, unless we regard them as instituted by God himself, and accompanied, when duly administered and received, by his grace and mercy.
It must be evident, therefore, that a deep conviction of the necessity and inestimable benefits of the ordinances of the church is necessary to an humble and enlightened participation of them. It will, therefore, be highly useful and proper, that the Christian who is engaged in preparing for the reception of the holy eucharist, the most sublime act of Christian worship, should be impressed with the important truth, that the ordinances of the church are appointed by God, and that they are the instituted pledges of his mercy and grace. He should be deeply impressed with the important truth, that by the devout participation of them, we preserve our communion with the church, for which the Redeemer shed his blood, and thus become entitled to the blessings of that covenant of mercy which God hath promulgated to a guilty world. When we firmly believe that the power of God accompanies the due administration of his ordinances; that through them, in the exerciso of faith, we become united to the Redeemer, and interested in his atcnement and grace;
the devout participation of the holy eucharist will appear necessary to our salvation. Its high and awful import, as a channel of divine mercy and grace, impressed upon our minds, will tend to quicken and exalt our reverence, our penitence, our faith, our gratitude and love. Turn then, O my soul, to the consideration of the humble, but, through the grace and blessing of God, powerful means which he hath instituted for thy salvation!
That the truths of religion should be commemorated, and its blessings conveyed by external rites, is perfectly agreeable to the nature of man. His senses are the principal inlets of his knowledge, and through them the most lively and permanent impressions are made on his mind. There is no truth which the consideration of human nature, and the testimony of daily experience, more strongly establish, than that man is swayed more by his passions than by his reason. By the impressive power of external rites and emblems you gain access to his passions; you awaken, you guide and control them. So great is the influence of external rites on the mind, that men in all ages have had recourse to them to perpetuate the memory of signal achievements, and to excite and preserve the sentiments of religion. The nature of man, therefore, required that the important truths of religion should be impressed on the mind by external emblems and rites. By these figurative insti tutions, spiritual and abstract truths, which are
so difficult of apprehension, are clearly conveyed; the understanding is enlightened; the imagination and the feelings, those powerful springs of human action, are roused. Ordinances and rites, instituted by God himself, as memorials of those exalted displays of mercy by which our redemption was effected, powerfully tend to confirm our faith, to enliven our gratitude, to cherish our love. They keep up the lively remembrance of the wonderful mercy and grace of God, and exhibit, in the most impressive manner, the glorious achievements by which our Redeemer subdued the adversaries of our salvation.
Wonder not then, O my soul, that the infinitely wise Creator of the universe should con descend, in all its dispensations to the world, to consult the nature of man, and to institute ordinances as memorials of his love, and channels of his mercy and grace. Even in that state of primitive perfection, where the ever-blessed Jehovah vouchsafed to hold immediate converse with the favoured parents of our race, figurative emblems were instituted to remind them of their duty, to convey and recall to them their glorious privileges and hopes. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil constantly reminded them of the obligation of obedience to the sovereign Author of their being, and of all their mercies; and powerfully impressed on their remembrance the awful penalty of contemning the commands of their almighty Lawgiver and Judge. The tree of life, to which