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Jesus. By him we were redeemed, “and, according to the riches of his grace, we have obtained remission of our sins, and through him, at last, we shall be glorified.”

And to this faith we must join “a thankful remembrance of his death, and of those benefits which we receive thereby.Our gracious and merciful Lord, says holy David, hath so done his marvellous works, that they ought to be had in remembrance, Psalm cxi. 4. But especially this work of our redemption by Jesus Christ, which to forget, were an ingratitude baser and viler than ever heathens or publicans, the very worst of people among the Jews, were known to be guilty of towards their benefactors, Matt. v. 46. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins, 1 John iv. 10. This is a mercy far above all other mercies; nay, it is even this which sweetens all other mercies to us. Had there been no redemption, our creation had only made us capable of endless torments; and it had been better for us never to have been born, than to be born to inevitable ruin : which must have been our lot and portion, had not "the Son of God, by his own oblation of himself, once offered upon the cross, made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice and satisfaction to God for the sins of the whole world.” The consequences of this redemption are so infinitely great and valuable, that it as much surpasses our understanding as it does our merits. We are to declare and publish to all the world, what God hath done to save mankind from that damnation which they had deserved, and to restore us again to that happiness and glory which we could never expect or hope to enjoy, had not Christ died for us. O come hither and hearken, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul, Psalm lxvi. 16. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me praise his holy name : Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thy sins, and healeth all thy infirmities; who saveth thy life From destruction, and crowneth thee with mercy and lovingkindness, Psalm ciii. 1, 2, 3, 4. With what joy and thankfulness then should every good Christian commemorate this exceeding love of God, in the salvation of sinners by Jesus Christ? This was the proper end and design of this institution, to perpetuate this wonderful love of Christ, in laying down his life for us. Do this in remembrance of me, saith our Saviour, a little before his crucifixion ; which being a solemn com

Our obligamand of “our Master and only Saviour ;

tions thus dying for us,” we cannot refuse obe

quent commudience hereunto, without being guilty of non the most horrible ingratitude and contempt of his divine authority. He hath appointed it for a solemn commemoration of his great love to us, in laying down his life for us men, and for our salvation : and therefore he commands us to do it in remembrance of him: And St. Paul tells us, that as often as we eat this bread, and drink this cup, we do shew forth the Lord's death till "he come. As for those men then amongst us, who profess themselves Christians, and hope for salvation by Jesus Christ, not to pay obedience to this his command, is a downright affront to his sacred Majesty; and he may justly upbraid us Christians, as he did once the Jews, Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? How unworthy are we of that salvation which he hath wrought for us, if we deny him so small a favour, such a reasonable request, as to commemorate his death and bitter passion once a month, or at least thrice a year, “ who did humble himself even to the death of the cross, for us miserable sinners: who lay in darkness and in the shadow of death; that he might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life?” In this sacrament of the Lord's Supper we have the pardon and remission of all our sins, the grace and assistance of God's Holy Spirit, and the hopes of eternal life and happiness, freely offered unto us : And therefore had we no love, no regard, or reverence, to the dying words of our crucified Saviour, yet surely the consideration of our own present and future advantage might prevail with us to be more frequent at the Lord's table than we usually are. • Hitherto a communicant has been directed to set his heart right towards God; but this is not all, he must proceed farther and enquire how it stands towards his neighbour, since we are expressly forbidden, Matt. v. 23, 24. to offer up any gift or oblation to God, if our hearts are leavened with malice, batred, or revenge. “ If thou

bring thy gift unto the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Here you see that Christ prefers mercy before sacrifice. And it is generally agreed on by the ancient fathers, that these words of our Saviour do directly point at this sacrament, on purpose to oblige all communicants to forgive all manner of injuries, “before they presume to eat of that bread, or to drink of that cup.” And it is expressly said, Matt. vi. 14, 15. that our prayers are not accepted, nor our pardon sealed in heaven, until such times as we forgive men their trespasses; and, to be sure, we can never be welcome or worthy guests at this heavenly feast, where Jesus the Saviour of penitents and the prince of peace is spiritually present, unless our repentance reconcile us to God, and our charity to all mankind.

And this charity of the heart, in forgiving injuries, must likewise shew itself by the hand, in relieving the wants and necessities of the poor. We read, that when this sacrament was administered in the Apostles' days, large collections of monies were then gathered for the maintenance of the poor. It was not determined how much every man should give, but all men were exhorted and enjoined to offer something, according to their ability; which if any neglected, the fathers censured them as unworthy communicants: and, to be sure, nothing within our power can so effectually recommend our prayers and devotions as charity; it being well observed, that our Saviour hath inclosed prayer between alms and fasting, Matt. vi. and therefore they are called its two wings, without which it will never fly so high as the throne of God. While Cornelius was fasting and praying, we read that an angel from heaven was dispatched to him with this happy message. Thy prayers, and thine alms, are come up for a memorial befare God, Acts x. 4. He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord: and that which he hath given will he pay him again, Prov. xix. 17. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life, 1 Tim. vi. 17, 18, 19. But we may justly complain with Basil, that we know some who will “fast and pray, sigh and groan, yea, and do all acts of religion, which cost them nothing, but will not give one farthing to the poor: What benefit is there," saith he,“ of all the rest of their devotions ?”

And when the communicant has thus far advanced towards the altar, in his examination, repentance, &c. he must not forget another excellent preparative belonging to this duty of communicating worthily, which although it be not mentioned in our Church Catechism, yet it is always implied as a necessary part of our sacramental preparation, that is, prayer, private and public; a duty upon which all our present and future blessings depend, Matt. vii. 7, 8. and 21, 22. And so near a relation hath this duty of prayer with this sacrament, that all those blessings therein contained and promised, are only in return to our prayers; and no doubt but that man, who makes a conscientious practice of this duty in his closet, and at Church, can never be unprepared for this sacrament, nor want a title to God's peculiar favour and blessing : For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers, 1 Pet. ii. 12. The constant exercise of prayer is the best method to get the mastery over all our evil inclinations and corrupt affections, and to overcome our vicious habits: It preserves a lively sense of God and religion in our minds, and fortifies us against those temptations that assault us: it spiritualizes our nature, raises our souls above this world, and supports us under the troubles and calamities of this life, by sanctifying such afflictions : it leads us gradually to the perfection of a Christian life, and preserves that union between God and our souls, which feeds our spiritual life with grace and goodness : without it, we in vain pretend to discharge those Christian duties incumbent on us, or to prosper in our temporal affairs, which must have God's blessing to crown them with success. And as prayer in general has these great blessings and advantages attending it, so give me leave to suggest to you under this head, that those public prayers and devotions, which we offer unto God in our Churches, are not only more accept

tageous to ourselves: They cannot but be more acceptable to God, because thereby his honour and glory is much more considerably advanced and maintained in the world, than by our private devotions: By these outward signs and tokens we publicly declare to all the world that inward regard and esteem which we have for his divine perfections and goodness: Hereby we let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven, Matt. v. 16. There is no duty in Scripture more frequently commanded, none more earnestly pressed upon us, than this of public prayer. We have the example of all good men in all ages for it, and of Christ himself, who was daily in the temple and in the synagogues, and, no question, frequented those places at the usual hours of prayer, because then he had the fairest opportunity, from those public assemblies, to instruct, and to exhort to faith and repentance. 2dly. We may expect greater blessings and success to our requests and desires, when we join in the public prayers of our Church, than from private, because our Saviour has, in a special manner, promised in such assemblies his immediate presence, that “where two or three are gathered together in his name, there will he be in the midst of them :" which he hath no where said of private prayer, though both are very good, nay, both are absolutely necessary for the beginning and ending of a Christian life: and it is a very bad sign of some evil principle or other, for any man to be such a stranger to the house of prayer, which is one of the greatest blessings and privileges (if we know how to value the same) that we can have in this world, and has always been accounted such among all wise and good men. It is certain that the Turks, whom we call infidels, go to their public devotions five times every day; and shall not they rise in judgment against us Christians, who cannot afford to go once or twice a day to God's house, when we have both leisure and opportunity! If men shall be judged for every idle word, to be sure, they shall not pass unpunished for all the neglects and omissions of their duty of this nature. But to proceed:

Besides this duty of fervent prayer, the communicant should spend some portion of time in reading and medi

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