صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

deadness and inactivity will prevail in your souls, little opposition will be made to what agitates and discomposes your minds, nor will you feel much uneasiness under it, especially when this solemn occasion is over. But perhaps this has arisen from your enemies, who have taken the alarm at your approach to the mount of God, fearing a stroke from Christ there. If so, the state of your minds will be much altered from what it usually is; you will be under no small anxiety lest you be overcome; you will be making a powerful struggle in opposition; and your greatest uneasiness will be the want of a sedate and composed heart for Jesus. This view of the case is very different from the other; and I know no way you may more warrantably take for relief, than to go to Christ at his table. He has taken off some restraints from these enemies to let you see them, and prevent you from becoming too secure: he does not wish, however, to deter you from coming to himself; but rather to encourage you to come. Is it your wish to have these enemies suppressed, and your former tran quillity restored? Jesus is ready to do the work for you. He has pointed out the work which you ought to put into his hand to execute for you. Bring these enemies to him, even at his table, or wherever you can find him. You certainly do not wish to remain as you are; and you can do nothing to relieve yourselves: you must therefore, apply to him, one time or other; and why not now? If you bring these enemies to have them destroyed, and your disturbed souls to have them composed, none can be more welcome.

FARTHER, some are perhaps calling to mind some former occasion when, as they now think, they did communicate unworthily, not being duly prepared, nor having any proper discernment of the Lord's body, and

are now in great fear of repeating the same sin, dis honouring Christ, and exposing themselves to the dangers that have been mentioned. Are you certain that you are not mistaken about what you did formerly? Did you communicate then under a dead and carnal frame, without enquiring into the state of your souls, without any proper discovery of Christ, of love to him, or desire to enjoy him? Did you then think that you were profaning the ordinance? Has it been followed by any of the evils which have been mentioned? And does the same frame still remain? Such a case is truly mournful, exceedingly unsuitable for the Lord's table. Preparatory steps must be taken ere you can be acceptable guests. Look into your hearts; meditate upon your sin; have recourse to that very blood on which you trampled, for pardon and purification; and bring your. diseased souls to Jesus, who is able and willin co heal every malady. Implore divine Implore divine grace which will soon effectuate a happy change in your hearts. perhaps your present distress is the effect of a sensible discovery of your sin, as exceedingly dishonouring to your Lord, who had showed you so much favour. This alters the case much. Does a view of Jesus, as once pierced by your sin, now fill your hearts with inexpressible grief, and holy regret? Do you wish much to honour him by shewing forth his death, according to his own appointment? And are you, at same time, distressed with a holy anxiety and fear least you add sin to sin, and dishonour him still more? This is such a frame, such an exercise of soul as meets hist approbation, and with which he will make you welcome to his table.


SOME are exceedingly discomposed with carnal imaginations about their worldly affairs. They have been

careful before hand to put them into such a state, as to leave them without any anxiety while they remain on the hill of God; yet still these things intrude themselves upon their minds and beget anxiety lest they be neglected or ill conducted; so that they can have no composed exercise of soul about Jesus. This must, indeed, be a perplexing state of mind. Christ and the world

are no friends. But perhaps this is nothing else than your usual state of mind, proceeding from too great anxiety about the world. If it be your daily practice to have your minds, your thoughts, and your desires occupied, with much solicitude, about civil things, so as either to omit holy duties, or to be carnal and formal in them, you need not expect to shake yourselves free of such a frame on this occasion. If the world has formerly had your heart, and excluded Jesus, it will do so still. Nor will this be any great trouble to you; as it is only that state of mind which you have indulged, and which has yielded you pleasure. The world is thus an idol in your hearts, and Christ will not abide where it is; nor can the heart admit him while it is retained. There cannot be a more improper frame for fellowship with Jesus. You must get this idol destroyed; "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place where thou standest is holy ground." You cannot have love to Jesus while love to the world possesses your hearts: You cannot serve God and Mammon. But if this is become your burden; if you cordially regret the advantage you have allowed the world to gain over you; and if you are struggling to shake it off, and to give the possession of your affections to Jesus, he is ready to receive you. Come to him in the faith of the virtue of his cross, for crucifying your affections to the world, and the world unto you. But


beware that what ye now feel be not a deception, and no work of the heart.

AGAIN, some are exceedingly jealous of the love of Christ. He seems to have forgotten them, has long sus pended the usual tokens of his regard; and though they are anxiously employed in seeking him in all his ordinances, yet they meet with frowning indications of his displeasure, rather than returns of his love: This makes them conclude that they can be no welcome guests at his table. This case is not uncommon, and the conclusion is as common. "But Zion said, the Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me." But are you warranted to conclude from this, that you have no place in the love of Christ, that he has cast you off, and that you can be no welcome guest at his table? Can Christ not suspend the sense of his love, and yet still have you engraven on his heart, and on the palms of his hands? Because your path is now dark and uncomfortable; are you warranted to infer that Jesus will never enlighten it, and that he shall not again visit you, to the consolation of your hearts? Did Christ cease to be the object of his Father's love when the sense of it was suspended? or would it have been proper in him to conclude that he was not welcome to his presence? Will you venture to say that Jesus has no good reason for acting in this manner towards you? Have you done nothing to procure this trial? But while you are so jealous of the love of Christ to you, have you no reason to question your love to him? Can you make Peter's reply, " Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee?" Is he to you altogether lovely, the chief among ten thousand? Is there none like him to you? Then there is none like you to him. Come and see your beloved. Come to him at his own table, to give him

your loves, and the banner of his love shall be displayed over you. Your darkness shall be dispelled, and your mourning shall be turned into joy, by renewed manifestations of that love which have been so long suspended.

MOREOVER Some in their preparatory exercise acquire such a discovery of their extensive guilt, their numerous lusts, and the loathsome defilement of their souls; and at the same time such lively views of the holines$ of Jesus, that they consider themselves as of all others most unworthy to be admitted to fellowship with him. In this case the believer is ready to exclaim with the prophet, "Wo is me for I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips." If this be the case of any present, they ought to consider such discoveries as the work of grace, and as an eminent preparatory for intercourse with Jesus. The very end of self-examination is to obtain such discoveries, and when obtained does it become the believer to make an improper use of them? Would you have had less difficulty in approaching the holy table, if you had not obtained such views of your sins? would you have been more fit for communion with Jesus had your vileness been concealed from your sight? Surely no. Do you, from such discoveries of sin condemn and abhor yourselves? Does sin appear more hateful, and are you more anxious to have it mortified? Then let this send you to Christ for purification; for except he wash you, you have no part in him. Does Christ appear more amiable? Are your hearts more inflamed, your affections more engaged, and your esteem of Christ raised? Are you anxious to be like him, to see him in his ordinances that you may be changed into the same image from glory to glory? then you may have all that you desire, as Isaiah had

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »