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SERM. that is, without considering before, what it is they are going LXXVII.

about. “They eat and drink their own damnation, not con[Exhortation in Holy sidering the Lord's body; they kindle God's wrath against nion office.] them; they provoke Him to plague them with divers diseases,

and sundry kinds of death."

Here then is the case : and it requires our most serious consideration. If we do not receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, we are no longer Christians, and in covenant with God. If we receive it unworthily, we are in danger of God's judgments. So that there is no way for a man to take (who cares what will become of himself) but to endeavour to be a worthy partaker of this holy Sacrament. To do this these following things are required of us :

First; a man must seriously consider, whether he does in truth desire to be saved? Whether he desires it so much as to take some pains to be saved ?

Secondly; he must consider, that no man can be saved, who cannot resolve to leave his sins, and honestly endeavour to keep God's commandments: and,

Thirdly ; because no man can be saved by his own merits, but only by the merits of Christ; therefore he is to consider, that it is necessary to depend entirely upon Christ for grace to do what is required of us, and to take the way of obtaining this grace which He has appointed.

Now, if I do indeed desire to be saved; if I can seriously resolve to be at any pains about it; if I can in good earnest purpose to part with my sins, which are offensive to God, and which will keep me out of heaven ; and if I do purpose in my heart to lead a good life, according to that measure of knowledge and strength which God shall give me; then may I come worthily to the Lord's Table; there I may confidently expect that God will pardon all my former sins for the sake of Jesus Christ; there I may promise myself new supplies of grace and strength, to enable me to work out my salvation; and I may look upon that Sacrament as a sure pledge, that God will make all His promises good to me, of grace here, and of heaven hereafter.

So that you see there is no great learning required to make a person a worthy communicant. The great matter lieth in being truly convinced of the danger of continuing

in sin, and in possessing our souls with a great desire of pleasing God, and going to heaven.

Nor is it necessary that a man should have a great deal of time to spare to fit himself for this duty; for he that is at his labour, and getting bread for his family, if his heart be right, and if he depends upon God for a blessing, is doing a work in its kind as acceptable to God as he that is at

his prayers.

And is this all that is required? You will be satisfied it is so, when I have put you in mind of the direction which the holy Scriptures (which are always our best guide) afford us concerning this matter.

St. Paul and Silas are cast into prison: the keeper of the Acts 16. prison, being terrified by an earthquake, begins immediately to think of a world to come, and asks the Apostles, “Sirs, what shall I do to be saved ?" The Apostles tell him what he must do ; that he must believe and repent of his sins, that he might be saved. He professes his belief in Christ, and immediately he was baptized and all his house.

Now, here is a man and his family, and such a family as are not commonly the most orderly; here they are admitted to one sacrament, upon a good purpose of living like Christians.

And why may we not come to the other Sacrament as worthily, if we have but the same good dispositions as this man had ? No doubt of it, we may.

And the conclusion of all this will be, that the best preparation for the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, is an honest purpose of heart of serving God to the best of one's power.

But then the case is not the same with those who have often renewed their vows, and often broke them. Something more is required of them ; they ought to consider seriously what it is to break their vows; that the guilt and the danger is exceeding great ; that therefore they ought to be very careful for the time to come not to fall into such relapses. With these purposes they ought to come again to the holy Communion; and God, who is very merciful to those who sincerely purpose to lead a new life, will graciously pardon them.

And now you see what a blessing it is, that we have

SERM. always a cure ready at hand for the sorrow that arises in a LXXVII. heart sensible of its corruptions, and thoughtful of what may

come hereafter.

And God Almighty grant, that none of us here present may ever despise the means of grace so mercifully provided

for us.

And the good Lord fit us all, by His sacraments here, for heaven hereafter, for Jesus Christ's sake.

To Whom, with the Father, &c.

SERMON LXXVIII.

A CHARITY SERMON,

GOD'S GOODNESS TO MEN THE FOUNDATION OF THE LOVE THEY OUGHT TO HAVE FOR HIM, AND FOR HIS SAKE, FOR THEIR NEIGHBOUR.

LUKE vii. 41-48.

There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty: and when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me, there. fore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, thou hast rightly judged. And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet: but she hath washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest Me no kiss : but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss My feet. Mine head with oil thou didst not anoint : but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, HER SINS, WHICH ARE MANY, ARE FORGIVEN; for she loved much : but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And He said unto her, THY SINS ARE FORGIVEN.

To have this sentence from the mouth of the Son of God, and Judge of the world, what a surprising comfort must it needs have been to this poor penitent! And yet this is our happiness, and we do not consider it; this is the very case of every penitent sinner, who goes to God with a heart full of love and gratitude for the mercies offered us in Jesus Christ. The very same sentence, THY SINS ARE FORGIVEN THEE, as certainly passes in heaven upon every penitent so disposed, SERM. as if we heard it from our Saviour's own mouth. The only LXXVIII.

question is, Who is it that may expect so happy a sentence ?

In order to give a more satisfactory answer to this question, we shall consider the occasion of these words, and the reasons upon which this sentence was founded.

The occasion was this : Our Lord was invited to dine with a certain Pharisee. While they were at meat, a woman of that neighbourhood, who was (not only in the opinion of that Pharisee, but in her own judgment) a great sinner, came to Christ, and in a most affecting manner, instead of washing His feet with water (a common civility in those hot countries), she did it with her tears, discovering by this, and her other behaviour, a great respect, and an unusual affection. The Pharisee, who would have been very uneasy to have had a person of this woman's character so near himself, is surprised to see our Lord so little concerned at it; and saith within himself, if this man were a prophet, as it is said He is, (that is, if He is the great Prophet, whom God by Moses promised to send to His people,) He would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth Him, for she is a sinner, and consequently not fit to come so near an holy man.

Now our Lord, to convince the Pharisee that He was thAT VERY PROPHET, lets him know, that He not only knew what manner of woman she was, but even what passed in his breast, which NONE BUT GOD COULD KNOW. And to make him in a more lively manner sensible of a great mistake he laboured under, in a very friendly and affecting way, He repeats this parable, and leaves it to him to make the infer

“ There was," saith He, “a certain creditor which had two debtors; the one owed him a very great sum, ten times as much as the other: and when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Which of them will love him most?” The Pharisee answered, 'I suppose he to whom he forgave most. “In this," saith our Lord, “thou hast rightly judged."

And now hear this woman's case. She was indeed a great sinner ; she became a sincere penitent; and one, who she knows has power to forgive sins, has pardoned her. This makes her express her concern, her love, and gratitude, after

ence.

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