« PreviousContinue »
ly faid, that the holy Sacrament is a quickening, cherishing, comfortiog, and confirming ordipadce.
Minister.). 'No doubt bot the worthy prepared receivers of • this blessed baaquer, have by a due participation found their « love ioflamed, their faith (trengthened, their obedience con
firmed, their humility increased; fo that they have appeared « vile in their own light, and have had an utter detellation of • all fin, aod ag eardest cxpectation and desire, after the glo• rious appearance of their blessed Lord aod Redeemer.'
Christian.] Sir, since the benefits and blessings are lo great, it makes me the more ear pestly long to be a communicant in these sacred mysteries.
Minister.] It is the duty of all Chrif's ministers, to give " the facramental bread of life, aod the cup of confolation, to • those who hunger and thirst after Jesus Christ, and his righ• teousaefs and kingdom. And now I have told you your duty, ! I thall be willing to declare to you the oature and the circum• stances of this blessed ordinance.'
Christian.] Sir, I moft confess I am got so wel joftructed herein ; and if I may not be too troublefome, would be very glad to underland what this holy ordinance is, and why it is called a lacrament,
Minifer.] le is a seal of the covenant of God in Chrift, I! wherein, by certain out ward figos, iostituted by our Saviour, • Christ and all his benefits are ligeified, conveyed, and sealed • to the worthy receiver. The word sacrament hath beca ab• ciently used, both to sigoify baptism and the supper of the
'Lord; and was taken up by the ancient fathers, from the .6 oath by which the Roman toldiers were fworn to their duty, ..and were not admitted to be soldiers, until they had folemaoly taken that dath or facrament.' It is called by several other • dames in Scripture, namely, breaking of bread, Acts ii. 42. o the Lord's table, i Cor. X. 21. the communion, i Cor. I.
16. · Christian.) Pray, Sir, how many facraments were instituted under the New Testament, aod: by whof: authority were they appoiated!
Minifter.] There are only two, baptism, and the Lord's * fupper; and they were ordained by the sole and immediate • authority of Jesus Chrift; aod those other five which thc Pa.
pists have added, and called by that name, as order, or os. ..daiping of priests, peodance, marriage, confirmation, and ex
• treme unction, or anointing at the hour of death; all those
+ Weré neither immediately instituted by Christ, nor have the
Minifter.] · Bread and wine, and no other, Luke xxii. 19, * 20. And all communicants are to receive both of them, • not withitánding the bold and sacrilegious practice of the i Papifts, who give the people the bread, or wafer only, node ? But the prieli rēceiving both the bread the wipe. Aod • this without any found reason, or scripture-warrant; and * they may as well corrupt, totally abolith, or add to any of
the ordinances and institutions of Chrilt Jesus, as presume to do this.'
Chriftiani) What resemblance or congruity is there between bread and wine, the ligas, and what is ligoified by them in the Lord's fupper?
Minifter. · Bread is lo necessary, that it is often put for all * kind of food, and neceffaries; and the least morsel of it is * completely bread. Thus Christ is food, and all necefTaries o to the soul; and every worthy communicaót receives a whole i and complete Chrift: And as coro is not bread, till it be
Bruiled or ground; fo Jesus Chrif had not been food for us, if he had not been bruised with wounds aod forrow. And as bread is the common food of all people, fo is Jesus Christ of
all real Christians Again, as bread being a solid body, may * properly denote the body of Christ ; fo wide, being liquid,
may represent his blood : And as wine is pressed from the grape, to the blood of Jelus was forced out by his agony, and the wounds of the cross."
Christian. May not the bread and wide at our common tables tignify the fame thing?
Minister.] · No; because this is solemoly Set apart, and con. sécrated to facramental use by prayer and blefling, and by ap. • plying the words of our dear Redeemer used in the institution * of this ordidance'
Christian. Iš not the bread and wine after confecration trapfubftantiated, or transformed from the substance of bread and wine, into the real substance and effcace of the body and blood of our Savioúr ; since Christ's own words ate, This is my body, &c. This is my blood, &c.
Minister.] No, by no means; this being a Popith error, attended with many absurdiries and idolatrous practices. But it is the body and blood of Christ, in the sense that Chrift VOL. VIII.
reprelepote thic boden, as breadople fo is Jelow. Anda
No, by no divies and idolatrod sense that Chrill
• spake it ; but he did not say, This is no longer bread jo sabe • staoce, but the very substance of my body. And such phra• ses are often used io scriptore, and yet not always to be taken * in a strict seose, no more than that “ Rock was Christ, and
" I am the true vine, the door, the shepherd," &c. More• over, Christ intended it for a facrameot, that is, a sign of
. what it represeors; now it cannot be the real body of Christ, ... and the siga of it also. Again, our senses of seeing, smelling,
' and tasting, assure us that it is bread and wine, and no way
Christian. 7 If the bread and wine be not the body and blood of Christ really aod substantially, how then doth the true believer, in receiving, eating, and driokiog, them, receive, eat, and drink the body and blood of Christ ?
Minister.] · By receiving thofe elements fo consecrated, as • figos, feals, aod conveyances of Christ and his benefits to • the foul; and a true Christiao hath them conveyed to him • thereby, as really as a writing under hand, feal, and wirner• ses, cao convey laods, or other benefits, which are not really • in the writings themfelves.'
Cbriftian.) What are the actions of the minister, io admini. stering rhis ordinance ?
Minister. ] • After blessing the bread, he breaks it, and deliovers it to the communicants in the words of Jesus Chrift,
fignifying thereby a crucified Jefus, who was wounded for • our transgressions. · He then pours out the wine in the light • of the congregation, and delivers that to them also, after i blessing it in the words of Christ. And hereby is represented • to us, our dear Redeemer shedding his blood for us; which * is the facrifice of atonement, whereby we obtaio remission of o fios. lo which action, the mioister, standing in Christ's
fread, as his minister, (whereio Chrilt je present, and by his • Spirit and authority) doth as really tender and bestow himself ! and benefits, as if he had spoken the same words in his owa • visible person.'
Christian.] But fay fome, fince our Saviour restrained this ordinance to the time of his coming ; he being come in the Spirit, it is now at an end, and abolished.
Minister.j. If these enthusiasts mean the coming of the Spi• rit, in its fanctifying operations; then it seems, that it was • appointed only for unbelievers ; and that the disciples, who i communicated with Christ at the instirotion thereof, had not • the Spirit, but were unbelievers; which is false and absurd. • If they mean the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, or the « povriog it forth in an extraordinary measure ; the practice of
the apostles and the church of God, both at that time, and • long after, will abundantly contradict that affertion; Afts ii. .6 42. Cor. x. 16.
Chriftian.] What are the benefits that Christ“ gives, and we receive, in this ordinance ?
Minister. ] The exercise and increase of every grace ; the « cleansing our souls from the guilt of sin; healing the wouods 6 which fin hath made in our consciences; a confirmation of " the truth and promises of God; an humble and holy delight • in Chrift, and our fellow Chriftians; and a more earnest • longiog for, and expectation of, the blessedness of the life to • come : Apd is an ordinance chiefly intended for confirma. • tion of our faith, love, and increase in grace ; fo that no • person ought to come thereuoto, but in faith.' .
Chriftian.] What are the pecessary preparations for this for lemn ordinance ?
Minister.j. (1.) That a man have the habit of faith. (2.) • That he have an hearty disposition and willingoess, to re• ceive Chrift as his Lord and Redeemer. (3.). That he be in • charity with all men ; Jobo i. 7. Matth. XV. 26. We must • also exercise renewed acts of repentance, apd clear up our o interest in Chrift, and have our souls full of faith and love to • ward him.' ;
Chriftian.) Sir, there is one fcripture that, I believe, discourages many from partaking of the Lord's table; neither do I indeed well understand it: i Cor. xi. 27, 28, 29.“ Whosoever shall “ eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord upworthily, " Thall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let « a mao examine himself, and fo let him eat of that bread, and * drink of that cup. For he that cateth and drinketh un. “ worthily, eateth and drinketh damnation (or judgment) to " himself, not discerning the Lord's body.” ?
Minister. ] • I am indeed of the opinion, that the want of • right understanding this scripture, has been a stumbling• block to many, asd fo I shall endeavour briefly to explain ita • The apostle bere truly represents, and very much aggravates • the danger of voworthy receiving this holy facrament : but • he does not deter the Corinthians from it, because they had • Sometimes come to it without due reverence; but exhorts
That he has his Lord John i Jepeptance
i them to amend what had been amiss, and to come better pre: • pared and disposed for the future. And therefore, after that • terrible declaration, that “Whosoever Mall eat this bread,
aod drink this cup of the Lord,” &c. He does apt add, therefore let Christiapş take heed of coming to the Lord's • table; but let them come prepared, and with due reverence; not as to a common meal, but to a solemo participation of
the body and blood of Christ: “But let him examine himsri self; and fo let him eat of that bread, apd drink of that
" cup." For if this be a good reason to abstain from this ordinance, for fear of performing it ip ap undue mpangerç then a wicked map may as well lay aside all other haly duties, as prayer, bearing, and reading the word of God, for fear
of 'the unworthy use of them; doce,' The prayer of the .: wicked, (that is, one that resolves to continue to) is an abae
mination to the Lord. Apd Christ says, Take heed how you • hear. And the apostle says, that those who will go believe
the gospel, it is the favour of death to them : That is, it is « deadly, and damnable to such persops, Now there is as much reason for men to give over prayiog, or attendiog on the word of God, as pot to receive the facrament ; lince he
that prays unworthily, that is, without spiritual benefit and • advantage, is guilty of great contempt of God, and Jesus & Chrilt, and aggravates his owo damnatiop; as well as he « who by partaking of the Lord's-supper ppworthily, cats god
drinks his owo judgment and when the apostle adds, " But let a mao examine himself; and to let him eat of that $" bread, and drink of that cup;" It seems clear, by the oce
casion and circumstances of his discourse, that he does pat ia. tead we should examine our state of grace, whether we are true believers or no, and sincerely refolved to continue fo; but he speaks of the actual fitness and worthiness of the Co:
Fiothiaos at that time, when they came to receive the Lord's & fupper. And therefore, yer.. 20. he sharply reproves their “ irreverent and qosuitable carriage at the Lord's table: they
coming thereunto disorderly, one before another. It was ! the custom of Christiaos thea, to meet at the feat of charity, in which they did communicate with greaty fobriety aod tem:
peraoce ; and when that was ended, they celebrated the 4 Lord's supper. Now, among the Corinthians, this order 4 was broken : The rich met, and excluded the poor from ¢ this common fealt; and after an içregular fealt. (one after
another eating his own supper as he came), they went to the sacrament ip great disorder ; Doe was hungry, having eaten