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tion of grace; I am a dead man, I am gone for ever, upon this ground, that I receive not the never perishing food, that endureth (as Christ who is himself that meat teacheth us) unto "everlasting life'." Therefore upon examination, being conscious, and privy to the weakness of my faith, to the manifold imperfections of my spirit, to my want of knowledge, the frailty of my memory, my often doubtings, the dangers of relapsing, and falling back in my Christian progress, I cannot but apprehend, that it is no needless thing for me to come both often, and preparedly, to the Lord's table.
2. The next action requisite before my coming to the sacrament, is the whetting of my appetite, and preparing of my stomach; I must come with an hungry desire, as a man that comes to his meat, that would live and be strong: we think meat very ill bestowed on him, that hath no stomach: unless we eat Christ's body, and drink his blood, we can have no spiritual life. All the question, and the main business is, whether I come hungry, and thirsty, or not, as an hungry and thirsty man, with an appetite after his meat, and liquor; longing after Christ, "ass the hart after the water brooks." When a man comes dully, and as children that play with their meat, cares not whether he eats or not; when a man comes, I say, without an appetite, it is time for God to take it away from him. It is an unworthy coming to come with an unprepared stomach, and without whetting our faith, to feed on Christ Jesus crucified.
3. The third action requisite to a worthy comer, is cleansing of himself. I would fain come, may a man say, to the Lord's table, having such need of it, as I have, and having such an appetite, and desire to feed on Christ; but I am to come before a great King, therefore I must "wash' mine hands in innocency." In the Gospel according to St. Mark, the Jews found fault with Christ's disciples, because they came with unclean or common hands. For so
John, chap. 6. ver. 27.
• Psalm 42. ver. 1.
the word signifies, and is so used by the apostles as equivalent thereunto. "I have learned to call nothing common or unclean.' Now when I come to meet the Lord in his ordinances, I must "put off my feet, for the place where I stand is holy." "Wash your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts you double minded." The purifying of the soul is that which is required of every worthy communicant. We come now not to receive life, but strength; and that it may strengthen us, we must of necessity cleanse ourselves. A stomach over clogged with choler, whatever meat may be taken into it, it turns it into its own nature: so is it here, unless the vessel be clean, quodcunque infundis, acescit. Christ Jesus, the purest thing in the world, is to come into my soul, as into a sanctuary, and shall not I fit, trim and garnish it to receive him, but leave it as a pig-sty? Know therefore, that thou comest unworthily when thou comest with unwashed hands. The people were to be sanctified when they came to receive the law. And so must we, if we will receive the benefit from the business in hand. But I cannot stand on all. I pass from this therefore, to the second thing I proposed; and that was,
II. Those things which were required of us in the action. And there we have the acts of the minister in the administration I must not look on these as idle ceremonies, but as real representations, otherwise we take God's name in vain. I must look upon the minister, who represents the person of Christ, and by the eyes of faith see Christ himself offered for me, when I see the bread broken, the wine poured out. Whosoever, therefore, thou art, who wouldst worthily partake of Christ at the holy table, behold him offered to thee, when the minister bids thee take, and eat; take, and drink. And when the minister bids thee take, know that in as good earnest as the minister offers thee the bread and wine, the Lord offers thee his Son, Christ Jesus. Take Christ my Son, dead, and crucified for thee.
"Rom. chap. 14. ver. 14. y James, chap. 4. ver. 8.
Exod. chap. 3. ver. 5.
z Exod. chap. 19. ver. 10.
Consider, when thou seest the minister set the bread and wine apart, how God from all eternity set apart his Son for us if we have not done this, we must do it. See the manner of the setting apart of the lamb, which was a type of Christ; "In the tenth day of the month they shall take unto them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers:" this lamb was to be "set apart and taken out of the flock." And in the fifth verse: "It must be a lamb without blemish: then you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month." From the tenth day to the fourteenth it was to be kept: this typified that Lamb of God, that was so set apart. Then was the Lamb to be killed by whom? by all the congregation of Israel. And thus was Christ to be singled out, and to be slain: Every mother's son had a hand in killing this Lamb of God. He is set apart to suffer for sinners, picked out as a single deer; which being designed to the game, the hounds will follow only, and no other. Thus was Christ hunted to death by one sorrow after another, till he gave up the ghost upon the cross. In the Gospel according to St. John, we read how the people took "branches of palm trees," and went forth to meet Christ, and that was the day the lamb was set apart; and he was so set apart, till the Jews' passover. This concerns me, saith Christ. Christ saw himself typified in the lamb that was set apart: observe then on that very day, "Father," saith he, "deliver me from that hour." On that very day in the lamb he saw himself to be sacrificed by all the congregation of Israel. We were all of us actors in the business; not one here, but had a hand in the offering up of the Son of God, in killing Christ Jesus.
Thus for these actions of the minister, the setting apart of the bread and of the wine. Then follows the breaking of the bread, and the pouring out of the wine. At the breaking of the bread, consider Christ's flesh torn asunder, all the lashes which made such scratches in his flesh,
the ruptures which were made by the nails, and the spear that pierced his side. The breaking of him by his Father; the word signifies, crushing him to powder : "Godd would break him," saith the prophet, "even to powder." At the consideration hereof how should our faith be stirred and set awake! Thou takest God's name in vain, if with a dull eye thou canst see things, and not take it to heart.
The next action is the pouring out of the wine: "This is my blood," saith Christ, "drink you all of this." Dost thou see the wine poured out? at that very instant, consider how much blood Christ spilt, how much he poured forth and that not only in the very time of his passion, when he hung upon the cross, when the spears pierced his sides, when the nails bored, and digged his hands and feet: but that which he shed in the garden in the cold winter time, when he shed great drops, great clots of blood, thickest blood that pierced his garment, and ran down upon the ground. Consider how much blood he lost, when he was whipped, and lashed: when the spear came to the very pericardium; thus let us weigh his torments, and it will be a means to make us much affected with his sufferings for us.
But this is not all, there is another thing yet in the blood: this was but the outward part of his sufferings. Yet some there are, who are against Christ's sufferings in his soul; if it were so, say they, then something either in the sacrifices of the old Testament or in the new Testament, should signify it. Whatever such persons object against it, I am sure there was as much in the sacrifices of the old Testament, as could possibly be in a type to signify it. Now that I may make this to appear, know that in every sacrifice, there were two parts, or two things considerable, and those were the body and the blood: the whole was to be made a sacrifice, viz. both body and blood; the body was to be burned, the blood to be poured forth: now nothing in a beast can signify the sufferings of
d Isaiah, chap. 53. ver. 10.
Christ in soul, better than the pouring out of the bloode. The blood was the life, and this is that which had a relation to the soul, and was therefore, as in the same place appears, poured out as an atonement for the soul. And to this in our common prayers there is an allusion, viz. "Grant us gracious Lord so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood." And in Isaiah, chap. LIII. ver. 12. the metaphor holds: "He poured out his soul unto death for us." So that whatever some have fondly thought, it is evident and manifest that Christ suffered both in soul and body: both soul and body were made an offering for sin, in the fashion of sin who knew no sin. I should have gone further, but the time cuts me off.
e Lev. chap. 17. ver. 11.