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particular sins; if we have long been taught to understand what our pardon cost, in the bitter sufferings and humiliating death of the Redeemer of us all; if we know that we have long lived in impenitence and hardness of heart, and have sinned against God with a high hand, all this will necessarily increase our sorrow, and render it plainly manifest to our own hearts.
But, inasmuch as sorrow of every kind and degree will depend much upon those differently modified feelings of mind, and constitutional tendencies of body, under which we are each so differently affected whether by joy in good, or sorrow in evil days, we must, after all, abide by the safe test learnt from the Word of God. We must take diligent heed, that our sorrow for sin, whether it be violent or not, be, nevertheless, such a sorrow as shall produce, through God's grace in our souls, a thorough hatred of sin, so that we henceforth forsake it. We must see that, in true faith in the efficacy of our Redeemer's átonement, we quit those habits and ways of sin which, persevered in, will for ever deprive us of the covenanted mercies of His propitiation. Without a sorrow like this, no one can really repent; without repentance no one can be forgiven; and every one so eating the elements of the body and blood of Christ, given for the
expiation of repented sin, eats and drinks His own condemnation.
The Holy Sacrament is also received unworthily, when men go to the table of the Lord unprepared to make any and every sa crifice, in the way of future obedience, of whatever shall
of the spiritual life. Such are those who, still loving this present world too well to surrender that portion of their regard and interest in it which keeps them from God, are determined to retain some forbidden sin, some unhallowed practice in reserve, quite incompatible with the spirituality of the new life in Christ. Such as these hope to make, as it were, a compromise between God and the world, by giving Him a part only of those affections and labours which, in their fullest measure and extent, are due only unto Him. The Gospel forbids so weak a subterfuge as a condemning sin.
The spirit of the command is ever before us: “Sell all that thou' hast, and give to the poor.” Part with every hindrance which keeps the soul from God, and of all earthly cares and pleasures practically apply the apostolic precept:
Meat for the belly, and the belly for meat; but God shall destroy both it and them.” Every holy and prepared receiver of the Supper of the Lord comes spiritually armed with the most earnest and faithful resolution to live
henceforth unto God: a mind not so resolved, is not duly prepared, and therefore receives unworthily.
In addition to these things, if we would not receive this Holy Sacrament unworthily, we must come with a thankful remembrance of Christ's death : however unequal our best endeavours may be to think of this mercy of redeeming love, as we all ought to think, still must we rest our hope, our only hope, upon Christ; firmly believing the original corruption of our nature, and our own personal unworthiness through many sins and many neg. lected duties, we must believe and strive to thank God for that full and perfect atonement for our souls, which was paid by Him, who of His own free mercy came " to seek and to save that which was lost." And, then, to this love of our Redeemer, we must also join, as an essential part of that preparation for the Holy Sacrament, " which cometh from the Lord,” real and unmixed charity. We must undo, as far as human means can go, whatever evil we may have been guilty of towards others; whatever we may have unkindly spoken, whatever we may have maliciously or unjustly thought, whatever we may have wrongfully done to our neighbour's hurt.
If the evil has been rather inflicted upon ourselves, then must we forgive it heartily, remember it no more, and pray to God to forgive the heaviest evil which another's injustice towards us may have added as our cause of ill.
By comparing these rules of guiding the soul of the Christian to the preparation for the Supper of the Lord, with what we are in our approach, and what we really and honest ly endeavour to be, we shall soon discover our spiritual condition, and know, from the testimony of our own conscience, whether we are about to receive it worthily or unworthily. Our best preparation, in the mean time, still leaves us at an appalling distance from what we ought to be. But the great distinction is, between the will and the endeavour to be
prepared, and the cold and slothful indifference to the very fact of our being prepared or not.
. ? We who now hope to draw nigh to the table of our once crucified Lord, have, it is to be hoped, well and seriously considered these things; and, so considering them, are striving to be prepared with that preparation which God only can give, and will graciously accept.
Having thus shewn what is meant by receiving the Holy Sacrament unworthily, there can be no one, who makes the Word of God an object for his own individual application, but must acknowledge the danger in which every unworthy communicant stands. When
many of them.
St. Paul reproved the Corinthian Christians for this very sin, he shewed them that God had inflicted heavy temporal judgments upon
“For this cause,” saith the holy Apostle, “ many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep,”* that is, are dead. And is the Lord's arm shortened now? Have we, of these latter days, any sure hope of escaping the judgments, if we imitate the wickedness, of Christians of other times ? God never changes : He is “the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.' His judgments and His mercies are equally written in the word of God for our admonition. It is true, He is merciful, unspeakably merciful; but He is also just. In Christ the Redeemer He hath prepared His “many mansions,” for His saints; but Christ is the Judge of men and angels, and there is a Hell in store for those who despise His covenant of grace and righteousness. Our knowledge of His laws will but increase our torments a hundred fold, if we resist Him here; and the bitterest pang of the dread sentence from the throne, “Depart, ye cursed !" will be found in the remembrance of the means and opportunities of being saved, once mercifully bestowed, but wasted and gone by for
Let us cease, then, to rest in outward duties, while the affections are estranged from
* 1 Cor. xi. 30.