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THE LORD'S SUPPER PRACTICALLY EXPLAINED.
Doce me, Domine Jesu, facrum hoc institutum tali facro modo
tractare, et conatus meos gratia tua adeo secunda, ut indignus ufus corporis et sanguinis tui judicium, meum aut eorum qui me audient, nunquam aggravet; sed facrifici tui memores semper digni fieremus participes. Amen.
LUKE xxii. 19. The Words of Jesus Christ when he ordained the
Sacrament of the Lord's Supper:
THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME.".
T. Paul concludes his first epistle to the
Corinthians with these remarkable words: -If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let bim be anathema maranatha.
Now, if the generality of Christians can hear these words without trembling, it must be either because they do not understand, or they do not consider them. For the meaning and the direction is this:-If any Christian amongst you shews by his life and behaviour,
John vi. 26, 51, 53, 53• 1 John i. 7. and ï. 28.
a See Deut. xvi. 12.
1 Cor. x. 16.
that he does not love the Lord Jesus, let such a man be separated from your communion, as being under the displeasure of Almighty God.
I dare say, that few Christians, when they hear these words, do think themselves at all concerned in them. We are all but too apt to conclude the best for ourselves, and to think it impossible not to love Jesus Christ, by whose merits and mediation we hope to be saved. But let us not deceive ourselves. Let us ra
every man, ask himself-How is it that I behave myself to my benefactors, and to those whom I do really love? If any man has done me a very great service,-if a man has promised me any great favour,- I love to speak of him, and of the kindness he has done or promised me, I often think of him, and with a thankful mind,-and I fully resolve never to do any thing which may disoblige him.
Is it thus we love the Lord Jesus Christ? Would to God we could all truly say fo. However, let us consider what he has done for us, and see how it will affect our hearts.
When the whole race of mankind was una der the displeasure of Almighty God,-had forfeited all pretence to immortal happiness, and had become liable to eternal death,Jesus Christ undertook to obtain our pardon, and to restore us to the favour of God.
But the sin had spread so far and wide, that this could not be done without a suitable fatisfaction to the justice of God. God had de
clared, that the disobedience of Adam should be punished with death. His truth was at stake, and the offender, and all his posterity, were under his displeasure.
Jesus Christ therefore, moved with compassion for so great a calamity, left the glories of heaven, and took upon him our nature, that, as man, he might suffer what our sins had deserved, and that, as the Son of God, the fatisfaction might be sufficient for the fins of the whole world. In short, he laid down his life for us; and by that most worthy sacrifice, he not only made our peace with God, and delivered us from eternal death; but obtained of God his father, an assurance of eternal life and happiness for all such as would become his faithful servants.
And that such might be distinguished from all others, he appointed an holy ordinance, to preserve the memory of these mighty blessings till his coming again; requiring all his faithful followers, all who expect any benefit by his death, to commemorate the same after the manner he ordained the night before he suffered.
Let us ask our own hearts,-Does this mercy deserve to be remembered by us?-or will any Christian say, that he loves the Lord Jesus Christ
, who will lightly turn his back upon that holy ordinance, which Christ himself has appointed as the most acceptable way of shewing our love to him, and our resolution
to continue his faithful servants, for his mer. cies bestowed upon us.
And indeed it is for this reason that Jesus Christ ordained this holy sacrament, that Christians, being often called upon, and obliged to remember the love of their dying Saviour, his bitter passion, the occasion of his death, the misery they have escaped, and the happiness he has purchased for them, might love him with all their heart and soul;-and that doing this as often as ever they should have an opportunity, their love might increase unto their lives end.
May not one therefore conclude, without any great uncharitableness, that such as do lightly turn their backs upon this ordinance, do not indeed love the Lord Jesus; and that, according to St. Paul's direction, they ought to be anathema, that is, separated from the communion of the faithful.
And though this would be called great severity at this time, yet this was the practice of the primitive church, and it was agreeable to the law of the pasover, the great figure of Christ's death, and by God's express command;" that is, that whoever did neglect to observe the passover, in remembrance of their deliverance out of Egypt, that foul should be cut off from among the people of Israel.
And verily, a Christian, who understands and considers the importance of this ordi,
Numb. ix. 13.
nance, and is not hindered by some very evil habit, or by having fallen into some scandalous sin, will no more turn his back
the Lord's table, than he will dare to deny the God that made him, or the Saviour who redeemed him. Here are so
reasons to shew the importance, the blessing, and the necesty of observing this ordinance, that it will be needless to urge any more to such as have any true concern for their salvation.
This therefore being a duty and ordinance, which every Christian is obliged to as he hopes for salvation, to shew his love of Christ by commemorating his death after the manner he has appointed; the duty must of necessity be such as every Christian, even the most unlearned, is capable of understanding, and performing worthily:
And indeed so it is. For as the most unlearned Israelite under the law, when he was commanded to bring his facrifice to the altar, to lay his hand upon the head of the beast, confessing his sins over him ;-as he did very easily understand, that this was to put him in mind, that death was the punishment due to fin,—that he himself deserved the death that that creature was going to suffer,--that it was great mercy in God that he would accept such a sacrifice for his sin, which yet he had good hopes he would do, since he himself had or. Levit. i. 4.