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the fulness of his kingly power, as the Church's Head, and by his grace to draw men to himself, and prepare them for his glory; he did himself institute this Sacrament of his body and blood at his last supper, to be a continued representation and remembrance of his death, and therein of his own and his Father's love, until his coming : appointing his ministers, by the preaching of the Gospel, and administration of these sacraments, to be his agents without, and his Spirit within effectually to communicate his grace.
[The Lord's Supper, then, is an holy Sacrament, instituted by Christ: wherein bread and wine, being first by consecration made sacramentally, or representatively, the body and blood of Christ, are used by breaking and pouring out to represent and commemorate the sacrifice of Christ's body and blood upon the cross once offered up to God for sin ; and are given in the name of Christ unto the Church, to signify and solemnize the renewal of his holy covenant with them, and the giving of himself unto them, to expiate their sins by his sacrifice, and sanctify them further by his Spirit, and confirm their right to everlasting life. And they are received, eaten, and drunk by the Church, to profess that they willingly receive Christ himself to the ends aforesaid, (their justification, sanctification, and glorification,) and to signify and solemnize the renewal of their covenant with him, and their holy communion with him and with one another.]
It being the renewing of a mutual covenant that is here solemnized, as we commemorate Christ's sacrifice, and receive him and his saving benefits; so we offer and deliver to him ourselves, as his redeemed, sanctified people, to be a living acceptable sacrifice, thankfully and obediently to live unto his praise.
Before the receiving of this holy Sacrament, we must examine ourselves, and come preparedly: in the receiving of it, we must exercise holy affections suited to the work: and after the receiving of it, we must, by consideration of it, endeavour to revive the same affections, and perform our covenant there renewed.
The holy qualifications, to be before provided, and in receiving exercised, and after receiving, are these :- 1. A true belief of the articles of the Christian faith, concerning Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the person, offices, works and sufferings, and benefits of Christ. 2. The sense of our sinful and undone condition, as in ourselves, and of our need of Christ; so as humbly to loathe ourselves for our transgressions: with the sense of our present weaknesses to be strengthened, and sins to be forgiven. 3. A true desire after Christ for pardon, and spiritual nourishment, and salvation. 4. A thankful sense of the wonderful love of God, declared in our redemption, and in the present offers of Christ, and life. 5. The exercise of holy love and joy in the sense of this unspeakable love: if these two be not felt before we come, yet in and after the Sacrament we must strive to exercise them. 6. A love to one another, and forgiving wrongs to one another, with a desire after the communion of saints. 7. The giving up ourselves in covenant to God, with resolution of renewed obedience. 8. A patient hope for the coming of Christ himself, and of the everlasting kingdom, where we shall be perfectly united in him, and glorified with him.
Those only are to be invited to the Lord's table, and to come, that truly repent and believe, and unfeignedly consent to the terms of the covenant; (though all are not * to be invited thus to believe
• Mr. Orme's edition, without authority from the older copies, omits the word not. Certainly, however, it agrees best with the doctrine of Baxter, that all should be thus invited.-P. H.
and repent, and so (to) come). But those are to be admitted by the pastors, if they come, who, having the use of reason to understand what they do, and examine themselves, have made a personal profession of faith, repentance, and obedience; and are members of the Church, and not justly for heresy, or scandalous sin, removed from its present communion.
The benefit of the Sacrament is not to be judged of only by present experience and feeling, but by faith. God having appointed us to use it, and promised his blessing, we may and must believe that he will make good his promise; and whatever we feel at present, that we sincerely wait not on him in vain.
You are invited hither, dear brethren, to be guests at this holy Table, by the Lord's command, to receive the greatest mercy, and to perform the greatest duty. On Christ's part all things are made ready. The feast is prepared for you, even for you that by sin have deserved to be cast out of the presence of the Lord; for you that have so oft neglected and abused mercy: a feast of the body and blood of Christ, free to you, but dear to him.
lost, and in the way to be lost for ever, when, by the greatest miracle of condescending love, he sought and saved you. You were dead in sin, condemned by the law, the slaves of Satan; there wanted nothing but the executing stroke of justice to have sent you into endless misery ; when our Redeemer* pitied you in your blood, and shed his own to wash and heal you. He suffered that was offended, that the offender might not suffer. He cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ?” that we, who had deserved it, might not be everlastingly forsaken. He died, that we might live. O, how would the mercy of redemption have affected you, if you had first lien one year, or month, or day in hell! Had you
but seen your dying Lord, or seen the damned in their misery, how do you think you should have valued the salvation that is now revealed and tendered to you ? See here Christ dying in this holy representation ! Behold the sacrificed Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world! It is his will to be thus frequently crucified before our eyes. O, how should we be covered with shame, and loathe
Calamy's edition reads "our dear Redeemer:" and the original reads, evidently by mistake, “in his blood.”—P. H.