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to misimprove the doctrine of the guilt and danger of unworthy communicating, possessed of far different characters, and to be regarded with far different sentiments-objects at least as much of pity as of blame. I allude to those really religious persons, who, partly from a peculiarity of bodily constitution, partly from a timidity of disposition, and partly from far different causes, the power of remaining corruption, and the suggestion of evil spirits, refrain from communicating, lest they should incur the guilt of eating the bread and drinking the cup of the Lord unworthily.
With an individual of this kind I would use the language of friendly remonstrance. My dear Christian brother, Do not these fears argue very unworthy conceptions of the Saviour? Do you not think of him rather as a hard master, a suspicious tyrant, who is strict to mark every offence, even in those who are sincerely attempting to please him, than as an affectionate, condescending Redeemer, who "knows your frame, and remembers you are dust ?" Will such fears be sustained as an excuse at the tribunal of God, for the neglect of a plainly commanded duty? Will not the recollection of slighted communions embitter the cup of death? How canst thou answer to thy conscience now, and how on a more solemn day wilt thou answer to thy Lord, for in reality offering disrespect, though under the appearance of extreme regard to the instituted memorials of his dying love? There is guilt and danger in unworthy communicating, but is there less guilt or danger in refusing compliance with an explicit and most peremptory command of thy God and Saviour?" But I am unworthy to sit down at the Saviour's table." And were we to wait till the table was surrounded with worthy guests, in your acceptation of the term, when would the feast be celebrated? The holiest man on earth is not worthy to be
admitted to so great an honour-so rich a privilege. To know, and be duly affected with our own unworthiness, is a clear evidence that we shall be acceptable communicants. Canst thou appeal, Christian, to thy God, that it is nothing but a fear of offending him that keeps thee from his table? In the consciousness of this sentiment of complete acquiescence in the will of God, thou hast a proof of thy saintship, and of thy right in his estimation to a place at his table.
But while we guard thus against the misimprovement of these doctrines, let us also use them as powerful motives to a careful attention to the preparatory duties of meditation, prayer, and self-examination, and to the state of our thoughts and feelings when engaged in observing the Lord's Supper. "God is greatly to be feared in the meeting of his saints, and he is to be had in reverence by all who are about him." To serve him acceptably, we must "serve him with reverence and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire." "Holy and reverend is his name."
Let us then devote ourselves to deep serious thought on the great truths represented in this ordinance, let us be frequent and fervent in our addresses to the throne of mercy, and let us be impartial and diligent in our researches into our own hearts. And when in the multitude of his mercies the Saviour brings us to his table, let us, in humble diffidence of our own wisdom, righteousness, and strength, but in unshaken confidence in "the grace which is in Christ Jesus," exercise a holy reverence, a firm faith, and an ardent love. Let us give ourselves entirely up to the holy service. Shutting out the world and its vanities, let Christ and his love, heaven and its glories, possess all our souls. Let faith present us with the view of the unseen Saviour, and let love and joy, admiration and gratitude, penitence and hope, hold the united empire of our hearts. Let
a reflection on those sins, which were the cause of our Saviour's matchless sufferings, heave the breast with the sigh of regret, and moisten the cheek with the tear of penitential sorrow; while the delightful assu◄ rance, that by these sufferings that guilt was expiated, and the ultimate extinction of the principles of depravity secured, removes every thing painful from these emotions, and fills the heart with a "joy unspeakable and full of glory."
Thus, instead of eating the bread and drinking the cup of the Lord unworthily, we will observe this holy ordinance in a manner pleasing to God, honourable to our Redeemer, useful to ourselves, and edifying to the church of Christ. Instead of eating and drinking judgment to ourselves, we shall enjoy a foretaste of the “hidden manna," and of the "new wine of the kingdom of God."
1 COR. XI. 28.
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
IN nothing is the religion of the Bible more strikingly distinguished from all those false and superstitious systems, which artful men have imposed on the credulity and fears of their more unsuspecting brethren, than in the spiritual nature and the wide extent of that homage which it demands from all its votaries. They are content with bodily service, and scarcely interfere with the temper of the mind, or the dispositions of the heart. The disciple of Mohammed is reckoned a good Mussulman if he be but regular in his ablutions and prayers,-if he believe the Koran and venerate the prophet's tomb. The deluded victim of the cruel and impure Brahminical superstition, is accounted religious
whether we possess these sentiments, whether we cherish these feelings. We have the prospect of soon observing the Lord's supper. Self-examination is in our present circumstances a most appropriate and necessary duty. In order to facilitate its performance, I shall endeavour,
I. To direct your attention to some of the subjects about which a man ought to examine himself, previously to his eating the Lord's supper.
II. To point out the manner in which the exercise of self-examination ought to be conducted. And,
III. To bring forward a few motives which should stimulate Christians to engage in this exercise.
I. To engage in the Lord's Supper with acceptance and advantage, it is necessary that a man should be a true Christian, "reconciled to God through the death of his Son," and "renewed in the spirit of his mind” by the effectual operation of the Holy Ghost; and a Christian, too, whose faith, and love, and penitence are in lively exercise. The requisite inquiry seems thus naturally to resolve itself into two parts. What is my state as a man? Am I converted or unconverted? And what is my character as a Christian ? Am I a "babe in Christ ?" or am I arrived in some measure at maturity? Am I "carnal or spiritual ?" Am I a backslider? or am I "growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ ?" To use a somewhat antiquated but sufficiently accurate phraseology-The design of self-examination, before we engage in the Lord's Supper, is to discover both whether we are habitually, and whether we are actually prepared for it. The two inquiries may, however, with sufficient propriety, be conjoined; and the subjects about which a man ought to examine himself, may be