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men; so shall ye be meet partakers of those holy mysteries 5.
Many, by their impiety, carelessness, malice, secret vices, or open contempt of the Gospel, render themselves unfit for the holy ordinance of the Sacrament. And numbers approach the Table of the Lord in a proud, hypocritical, and carnal spirit, which constitutes a most heinous sin; which, unless it be repented of, will vastly increase their final condemnation.
Let, however, those who withdraw from the Sacrament from a consciousness that they are unfit to join with Christians in commemorating the dying love of their Redeemer, seriously consider that they are equally unprepared for death and judgment, and that, whilst in the act of retiring, they plainly declare that they are still “ in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity,” and without any part or lot in the benefits of His salvation. Indeed, until the enmity of their hearts against the Gospel is subdued, and their lives are conformed to the commands of Jesus, they are as unable to pray acceptably, as to communicate worthily.
Let such persons not rest satisfied with their present state, but be much in earnest in using the means of becoming acceptable Communicants.
5. Serious Christians, whose lives correspond with their profession, ought not, on any pretext, to absent themselves from the Holy Communion.
Some harass themselves with groundless fears, lest, by a well-meant buç unsuitable approach to the altar, they should“ eat and drink their own condemnation,” and deprive themselves of all hope of forgiveness; though even the scandalous profanation
& Communion Service.
of the ordinance by the Corinthians was only visited by temporal corrections, that they might not be condemned with the world 58.
Others are afraid, lest, after receiving the Sacrament, they should fall from the holy resolutions which they have formed of living near to God, and should render their case desperate. But, although Peter denied Christ shortly after he had both celebrated the Passover and the Lord's Supper, yet he was graciously restored to favour 5.
Others seem afraid of communicating too frequently; making the languor of their affections an excuse for not attending the Sacrament, by which it is greatly increased; and forgetting that this heavenly feast is provided for nourishing our souls, in righteousness of life.
It is, then, a duty incumbent on the new convert, who wishes to prosper in his soul, to consider the importance of this institution, and to prepare himself for partaking of the Holy Communion as soon as he can do it sincerely. Let him not suspect any snare, or apprehend any dangerous consequences will ensue from his approaching the Lord's Table, but rather expect to derive from it all the spiritual benefits which it is designed to afford.
And established Believers should evince their love and gratitude to Christ, by obeying his dying command, "This do in remembrance of me.” Must not every devout Christian be anxious, in this way, to reverence his Divine Lord and Master, and to seek communion with Him with whom he hopes to be united in the enjoyment of everlasting life?
£8 1 Cor. xi. 29-33. 1. Luke xxii. 31, 32. ib. 19.
ON WATCHFULNESS. Mat. xxvi. 41. Watch, and pray, that ye enter not into temp
tation. A HOLY vigilance is not less expedient in our heavenly calling, than courage and prudent conduct are in a soldier when he enters into the field of battle. Indeed, watchfulness is indispensable to the safety of the Christian combatant, because of the power and stratagems employed by the enemies who are arrayed against him. How mindful, then, should we be of the wise admonition of the Apostle: “Be sober, be vigilant ; because your adversary, the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devoura.”
That watchfulness which the Scriptures en force upon us includes not only a constant sobriety of mind and circumspection, which are requisite for discerning the perils which surround us, and for applying the best mode of defence against them, but also an habitual state of preparation, and a defensive posture, in order that we may be in readiness to repel an unexpected attack, or to ward off any danger which may threaten us.
In the patient discharge of this duty, much selfdenial will be necessary. The faithful watchman and sentinel will not desert their stations for a moment; lest, in the mean time, the crafty enemy should make a sudden irruption, and carry the post which they occupy, without difficulty. Nor will they indulge in slumber, lest the unlooked for advance of their foe should throw them into such a consternation and
a 1 Pet. y. 8.
panic as to deprive them of the power of making a forinidable resistance ; for the best weapon is but of little use, when the succours of reason are withdrawn, by which we are enabled most successfully to wield it.
Equally solicitous should every soldier of Jesus Christ be to guard against spiritual sloth and drowsiness, against carnal indulgences, against the artifices of Satan, and the delusions of his own heart; knowing that he is not secure for an hour, except as he holds himself in readiness to withstand the assaults of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The advice which our Lord gave to his Disciples, in contemplation of the Day of Judgment, should be acted upon during the whole period of our lives:“ Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares : for as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things, and to stand before the Son of Man."
1. The necessity of holy vigilance in our Christian course arises from a view of the numerous dangers to which Satan exposes us. There is scarcely a step that can be taken, in the present life, which is not attended with some difficulty or peril. Millions of foes, headed by the Prince of Darkness, stand drawn out in hostile array, to intimidate the Christian pilgrim, to oppose his march, and to prevent his entrance into the kingdom of God. “ Put on, therefore, the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we
Luke xxi. 34-37.
wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and
feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation; and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints
Satan, with malignant cunning, will try every artifice to ruin our souls. At one time, he will suggest there is no occasion to be so precise in our walk, to deny ourselves so rigidly the pleasures of sin, to keep up stated hours for prayer, and to watch against the evil propensities of our minds. And if he can succeed in infusing a spirit of indifference about religion, he will have gained an important victory over us. At another season, he will throw off the disguise of an “angel of light"," and boldly tempt us to gratify corrupt inclinations, to cast off even the forms of religion, to ridicule the Gospel, to persecute upright believers, and to go to the greatest lengths of impiety.
Now, if we yield to his insinuations, and are not watchful to defeat his specious as well as his more daring wiles, we shall become an easy prey to our enemy, who lieth in wait to destroy us.
2. The diversified temptations which the world presents to fascinate our senses constitute another Eph. vi. 10–19,
d 2 Cor. xi. 14.