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they have gone their ways. We have not kept the register, but the Great Searcher of hearts has; and such is the fact, as it lies exposed before him, with respect to the greater number of the dispersing congregation. If the eyes of those indifferent ones could be opened, not a soul but would shrink with terror from the sight which they fear not to exhibit before the face of Him who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. "But the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." "Their eyes are closed that they cannot see, and their ears are heavy that they cannot hear;" but whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, whoever they be that wilfully refuse to come to the Lord's Supper, this is the truth of their condition. They are dying creatures: some will die to-night and more to-morrow-many before another sacrament, and all within four-score years. They are sinful creatures, "who have done what they ought not to have done, and left undone what they ought to have done," till there is no health in them by reason of their sins; and of this sickness they may die eternally-consigned to sure and everlasting woe. This is not a condition that may befal them some time; it is what they are now: now that they walk so confidently and carelessly away: dead in one sense, and dying in another-dead souls
and dying bodies, murdered both by sin: let them alone, and they are dead for ever! "If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost." Sinners think of condemnation as something that is to be; and since to mortal vision whatever is future is uncertain, they feed upon this uncertainty and call it hope. Uncertain! How then say the Scriptures-"Death passed upon all' men, for that all have sinned." "By one, judgment came upon all men unto condemnation." "In Adam all died." "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." Man, as a sinner, is not in the condition of an untried criminal, waiting, between hope and fear, the time of trial, uncertain to be convicted or acquitted; that vague fallacious dream of many a lost one! Such a criminal may hope in spite of conscious guilt; because his guilt may not appear; the evidence may be insufficient, the judge may lean to clemency, or the legal penalty may not attach. But the sinner's guilt waits for no evidence, requires no trial; every thought of his heart, every criminal movement of his soul has lain open from all eternity to the Almighty judge; he will be brought up for judgment, not for trial: nay, the sentence is already past; "the soul that sinneth, it shall die;" it is the execution only waits! Woe to us, if even that be not past too: if the substitute has not already died-if our sentence
has not been executed on another-if we were not in Christ, when he was brought up from prison and from judgment, nailed in him on the cross, laid with him in the grave; woe to us, unless judgment and justice have done with us, and "there remaineth no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." The uncertainty is all our own, and ours will be the discovery at the day of judgment. "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire:"-The Lamb's book of lifefound written-not written then;-that is no day of pardon or acquittal: we must be pardoned now, justified now, united now to Him, who has made an end of sin, and put the sinner beyond the reach of judgment.
"Well, we hope we are, or that at least we shall be before we die; it does not depend upon going to the Sacrament." If a traveller has taken a contrary road, he may hope, and we may hope, that turning back he will attain his end: but to hope that he will reach it by going on, is the trust of folly; it is impossible! Salvation does not indeed depend on going to the Sacrament-Judas went there, and Satan entered into him—but it does depend on our being brought into that state of mind, in which nothing but necessity could keep us from it. We never argue that our children's love does not depend upon their obedience, their compliance with our wishes, and enjoyment of our
presence; or say that our health does not depend upon our appetite, or strength, or ease; that the sanity of our mind does not depend on the rationality of our actions and conclusions; because in natural things we make no confusion between the evidence, and the cause of our condition. Coming to this table is not the cause of our faith and repentance, any more than faith and repentance are themselves the cause of our salvation: but as faith and repentance are necessary to salvation, the sacraments are necessary as evidences of these, and by inference, as our church declares them, necessary to salvation: as acts of obedience to the divine command, they are indispensably necessary to our abiding in his love. "If any man love me, he will keep my commandments.” "This do in remembrance of me."
All who wilfully and without a sufficient reason refuse to come to the Lord's table, do in the very act of departing from the church in which it is celebrated, make a public declaration of one of these things;-either that they do not value the benefits to be received thereby, or that they are not entitled to partake of them. Comparing either position with the language of Scripture, most fearful is the judgment we give against ourselves. Suppose that we do not value these benefits, that is, we do not believe them to be of any value. It is an awful predicament, when we consider what it is we dis
believe, and the authority we set at nought in doing so. "This is my body which was broken for you." "This is my blood of the New Testament, which was shed for many, for the remission of sins." "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till he come." "The body and blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper." "The strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the body and blood of Christ, as our bodies are by the bread and wine." "The benefit is great, if with a truly penitent heart and lively faith, we receive that holy Sacrament; for then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood, then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us."
The testimony of God and of the church are one: if we receive neither, why have we come to church at all? "Into whose name then were ye baptized?" Why have we offered so many prayers in Jesus' name, pleaded so many times this blood which we do not value, this body broken, which we do not care for; and given so many thanks for benefits in which we do not believe? What sudden fear has seized us, of becoming hypocrites if we stay any longer in the church this morning? We have been breathing hypocrisy ever since we entered it. You deny this: you are shocked at the suppo