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into his own heart, and ask himself some such questions as these: Do I love with all my heart the God who made me, who preserves and gives me all that I want, or enjoy, or hope for? Do I fear to offend Him, who, for my own good, has given me rules to live by, and has assured me, that if I do not observe those rules, I shall lose His favour, and deprive myself of greater happiness than all this world can give me?
The true answer must be this: I find myself prone to evil continually. Of myself I am not able to resist the temptations to sin that I meet with. I do many things which my own conscience tells me I ought not to do, and I omit very many duties which I owe to God my Maker, to my neighbour, and to myself. I cannot but be sensible that I do not love God as I ought to do. I have not had that regard to His commands that so great a Majesty demands of me. I have received infinite mercies and favours from His good. ness, and have never thanked Him for them.
I have, times without number, broken His commands, without fearing what must follow. I have little minded what His own Son has made known to us,—that a day is coming when God will judge the world in righteousness, according to our behaviour in this life; and that they that have done good shall go into life and happiness everlasting, and they that have done evil, and have not timely repented, shall go into everlasting fire.
This I have heard a thousand times, without being awakened, or bettered by it; I cannot but see that every day brings me nearer death; that death is the end of my trial in this life, and that after that there is no repentance.
Jesus Christ in His holy Gospel assures us, that, the moment we die, our souls are carried to places of happiness or misery, according as our lives have been spent here, there to remain till the judgment of the great day.
Now, who is there that hears and understands this, who does not know that every syllable of this is true? For these are not the sayings of men, but the WORDS or God, the God of truth, who cannot deceive His creatures, but would have all men to repent, and to come to the knowledge of the truth, and of their own interest.
And can any man hear these truths, and apply them to himself, without seeing that this is his own case; without seeing the danger he is in without some help besides his own; and without laying hold of that help that is offered him by a merciful Saviour and Physician of our souls ?
Do but look back to the text, and the history set before you for your consideration and pattern. All that found themselves sick and in danger, made no delay, lest they should lose so good an opportunity of being healed of their infirmities. Wherever Jesus Christ came, they saw His power and His mercy to heal poor miserable people, and they besought Him to heal them; and He did so most willingly.
They saw plainly, that without His help they must suffer or die; and they besought Him,—they begged of Him,—to heal them of their diseases. And as many as did so were made whole.
Now, my Christian brethren, what have I set this history before you for, but to persuade you to follow the example of
these diseased people ? Not one soul of us will dare to say, (1 John 1. Nothing ails me—I am in no danger. “If we say that we 8.)
have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in
science, who will but look inwards.
wicked person can enter into the kingdom of heaven,-can 30.]
inherit eternal life,—but shall be sent into outer darkness,
Now, can any sinner, can any man who knows any thing
Here therefore is seen the blessing of Christianity, which
offers, which has provided, a remedy for all our disorders, [1 John 1. and for all our fears. “ The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth 31.]
us from all sin,” saith the Holy Spirit by St. John; and our
7; Matt. 12.
Him to help, and to heal them; and this with that sincere desire and earnestness, that these sick people desired to touch if it were but the border of His garment, and were thereby made whole.
This will lead us to consider, how Jesus Christ has appointed us to apply to Him for His help, and the cure of our disorders.
For though He is gone into heaven, yet He is still ready, and has promised to heal all the diseases of our souls, when we apply to Him, out of a true sense of our sad condition without His help and mercy.
Jesus Christ, while He was on earth, had told His disciples and followers, that He was “the bread of life,” the life- John 6. 51,
&c. giving bread," which came down from heaven, which if any man should eat, he should live for ever." That “this bread is His flesh, which He would give for the life of the world.” He adds, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye
have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
These were then indeed strange sayings to His followers. Some said, How can this man give us His flesh to eat ? Others were offended, and departed from Him. But when His time came, that He was to die, and to become a sacrifice for the sins of the world, He explained Himself to His Apostles, when He appointed that ordinance or sacrament, which is called THE LORD'S SUPPER. For then He took bread, and having blessed it, he gave it to His disciples, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you.” And of the wine He said, “This is My blood, which is shed for you, and for many : [Matt. 26.
26, &c.; EAT THE ONE, AND DRINK THE OTHER, IN REMEMBRANCE Luke 22.
19; 1 Cor.
11. 23, &c.] Then they understood, that when before He had spoken of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, as necessary to eternal life, He did not mean it in such a manner as they then understood it, but in a spiritual manner, as He now explained it; namely, that Christ is our life,—the food of our souls,-in this sacrament. As common bread is the food of our bodies, so this is the support of our spiritual life.
lle therefore ordained this sacrament to be for ever ob
SERM. served by all Christians, not only as a testimony of His great
love in laying down His life for His poor creatures ; but as a way by which He would communicate to them all the blessings He had by His death obtained for them; the pardon of their sins in this world, and eternal life after death.
Happy therefore will all those be, who, after the example of these sick and diseased people, being sensible of their infirmities and danger, do go to Him for help, and take all opportunities of going by faith to the Physician of their souls; He having blessed this very ordinance, for our help and comfort, with a power of healing all our spiritual diseases.
We see, that the very border of His garment, by His blessing, had the virtue to heal all those, that through faith in Him touched it, of all their bodily infirmities. And shall we doubt the blessed effects of this holy ordinance to every worthy communicant, to procure for him the favour of God, the pardon of his sins, the assistance of God's Holy Spirit, and eternal life and happiness after death?
God forbid we should any of us doubt this ! God can affix
and join His blessings and helps to whatever He pleaseth. [2 Kings 5. By His appointment, the common waters of Jordan healed 21.9; Acts Naaman the Syrian. By His appointment, a brazen serpent 5. 15.] healed all those that were bitten, only by looking upon it
with faith in God's commandment. By the very shadow of St. Peter, many, we are assured, were healed of their dis
And here, as many as touched our Saviour's garment were made whole.
And it is thus that the two sacraments become means of salvation to all such as with faith receive them. The Water in Baptism, with the blessing and grace of God, has power in it to cleanse us from our sins. And the Bread in the Lord's Supper, being set apart and blessed, becomes the bread that nourisheth to eternal life.
Why then does any Christian neglect this sovereign medicine? It is every where to be met with, as Jesus Christ Himself was when He was on earth. Wherever Christians live, whether in villages, or cities, or towns, or country, they may have this blessed cure of their disorders, if it is not their own fault.
Our Lord Himself gives us the true reason why people are not sensible of this mercy which is offered them : They that (Matt. 9. be whole, that do not feel their disorders, and danger, will not be persuaded that they need a physician, but they that are sick. These, and these only will be glad of and look out for help.
For my own part, I am not ashamed to confess, that were it not for the blood of Christ, offered us in this holy ordinance; were it not through faith in His blood; I should never dare to apply to the great God for the pardon of my sins, for the assistance of His grace to keep me from ruining myself for ever. My own reason, my own power, would no more help me, or keep me from ruining myself, than these would keep a new-born child from perishing, if it were left to itself.
And this I am sure is the case of every man living, of every
soul that hears me. We have every one of us the seed of every evil, of every sin, we ever heard of, lodged in our corrupt nature, ready to spring out upon every suitable temptation, if not hindered by the grace or providence of God.
When we hear that such a man has robbed or murdered his neighbour, we wonder at it. Why, not one of us but would have done the same, had we been left wholly to ourselves and to the temptation of the devil, and had the same occasion offered us, and God had not interposed His grace or His providence to hinder us.
We easily see, and are very ready to censure, other people's faults. Such a man, we cry, is covetous ; such a man is unjust; such a man is litigious ; such a man is a drunkard; such a man is an adulterer ; such a man is a common swearer: though all these must know that God has forbidden every one of these sins, upon pain of damnation.
You do not consider why these people have fallen into these damnable sins, and why you yourself have not perhaps done so; but it is fit you should know why you have not: for, be assured of it, let a man be never so learned, never so wise in his own opinion, never so cautious, never so resolved against any or all of these sins; yet if he shall provoke God to leave him to himself; if he shall despise those means which God has appointed to keep us under His especial