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formed for them at a period when they had not understanding sufficiently mature to perceive these advantages. It is the business of parents, then, as they regard their own obligations or those of their children, to instruct them early in the nature of the Christian doctrines and duties, more especially of this solemn ordinance, and to urge them by argument and authority to discharge so pressing a duty. There are few parents who do not think themselves guilty of a great omission if they do not, as soon as convenient, present their children by baptism unto God. If death overtake them before they have been admitted into the bosom of the Christian society, the recollection of their neglect must press heavy on the minds of the parents. But yet you have done only half your duty unless you also bring them with you to the table of the Lord, and a second time present them, a ripened, reasonable, and acceptable offering unto
unto God. How early this second dedication of
offspring should be made, it is impossible to determine. If you have been at due pains to endow their infant minds with the rudiments of religious knowledge, the fit season of communicating is earlier than may be imagined.
They that are taught to seek God early shall find him. Certain it is, that many think themselves capable of acting for themselves, and of forming some of the most important engagements in life, who yet pretend that they are too young to perform this indispensable duty. But these I cannot rank with the wise and the worthy—they are destitute of a sense of duty; they cannot possibly feel any regard for the Master they pretend to serve, or put any value on what he has done for them —they are indifferent to the interests of religion—they are faithless even to their baptismal vows.
These important truths I have thought it my duty to lay before you, with the hope, that they will yet have some effect upon such as are not lost to all the holy precepts of our religion : and with all others it were vain te argue, because success is desperate.
On the holy sacrament of the Lord's supper.
LUKE, CHAP. 22, VERSE 15.
6 With desire I have desired to eat this passover with
you, before I suffer.”
IN a former discourse from these words, after endeavouring to explain their occasion and import, I directed your attention to a subject which, though not expressly pointed out in the text, has at least an intimate connection with it; I mean the general neglect of that holy ordinance instituted by our Lord when he uttered the words of the text. With a view to excite in you an eager desire to eat the Christian passover which is to be celebrated among us, I proposed,
1. To point out the obligations which Christians are under to celebrate the holy sacrament of the supper.
2. To point out some of those innumerable advantages which are derived from the worthily receiving of the Lord's supper. And
3. To describe the preparation which is necessary in order to discharge this duty in an acceptable manner.
1. The first head of discourse we have already illustrated, and shewn, that all Christians are bound to celebrate the holy sacrament by our Lord's express command-by love and gratitude for what he has done for us, and for the benefits which we derive from his death by a regard for the honour and success of religion-and by our baptismal vows. When these considerations are duly weighed, I am altogether at a loss to comprehend what it is that prevents so many from cheerfully embracing every opportunity to discharge a duty so important. I cannot possibly suppose that rational beings will suffer themselves to be influenced by false shame, or by fashion, or evil example, in a matter of such infinite moment. “ For it is not a vain thing which we now de“ clare unto you: it is even your life.”. Neither will they who weigh the objects of time and those of eternity in a fair balance, who impartially estimate pleasure and duty, be satis
fied in their own minds with the excuse of too much business or worldly engagement. Much less will this excuse be accepted by the great Judge, in whose estimation duty is paramount to every other obligation: whose language is This oughtest thou to have done, and not to leave the other done. The reason therefore which prevents serious and considerate persons from discharging so indispensable and obvious a duty is, either, that they are conscious of their being engaged in a sinful course of life inconsistent with the genius and spirit of the Gospel, or they entertain such an enthusiastick and conceited opinion of their own righteousness and devotion, as to despise the elements of ordinances, and to be above the necessity of outward acts of religion. Or perhaps they are far removed from either of these extremes, but have not attained a full assurance of faith, and are filled with doubts and fears about their want of preparation, and unfitness to make so solemn an approach unte God.
With regard to those, who do not approach the communion because they are engaged in such vicious courses as render them unfit for so solemn a service, it may be observed, that,