Page images

Benjamin alfo? What ! the covenant of God with Abraham and his children in their generations ? All these things are against us. No, fir, we cannot part with that covenant, as an abolished Adam's covenant, nor will I give it up for all the friendship in the world.

And yet I will say with Alexander, I will contend with you in friendship and courtesy, even whilft I earnestly contend against you for the truths of GOD, which you have here oppoled, and I have endeavoured to vindicate.

One word more before I part with you; I do affure you, and the whole world, that in this controverfy

, with you, I have not, knowingly or advisedly, mifrepresented your sense: If you shall say I did so in my second argument, from the words, pag 179, 1 affure you, both myself, and others, could understand you no otherwise than I did in the papers I sent you ; and when you

told me, you meant there was no pardon in either of those covenants, but that it plainly directed to Abraham's covenant, you will find, I have given you as fair a choice as you can defire, either to stand to your words in the first fenfe, wherein ! understood them, or which will be the same to me) to your own sense, in which you afterwards explained it to me. whereas I blame you over and over in my epistle and conclusi on, for putting the proper subject of baptism amongst the þighest things in religion ; let the reader view your conclu. fion, and fee, whether you do, or not. If you fay, you speak of the covenant there, as well as of baptism, I allow that you do fo; yet I hope it is equally as bad, nay, in deed and truth, a great aggravation of your fault, to make this article, viz. God's covenant with Abraham, Gen. xvii. an abolished Adam's covenant, one of the highest concernments of a Christian, the baptism only of adult believers another. My consequences, from your words, are just and regular, how surprizing foever. they seem to you.

If you think fit to rejoin to this my answer, I desire you will avoid, as much as you can, a tedious harangue of words, and speak strictly and regularly to my arguments, by limiting, distinguishing, or denying, as a disputant ought to do : If so, promise you a reply, but if I find no such thing, it shall pals with me but for waste paper ; nor will I waste time about it. The Lord give us unity in thinys necessary, liberty in things indifferent, and charity in all things


[ocr errors]


Upon divers select Places of



BELIEVERS are affifted in preparing their HEARTS, and

exciting their Affections and GRACES, when they Iraw nigh to GOD in that most awful and folemn ORDINANCE of the LORD's SUPPER.



[ocr errors]

Christian Reader,

HRIST may be said to be crucified three ways; by the

Jews a&tually, in the sacrament declaratively, and by unbelievers at his table interpretatively. Among sins, bloodguiltiness is reckoned one of the most henious; and of all bloodguiltiness, to be guilty of the blood of Christ, is a lin of the deepest guilt, and will be avenged with the most dreadful pupishment, 1 Cor. xi. 27, 29. If vengeance be taken sevenfold on him that flew Cain, what vengeance shall be taken on him that crucifies afres the Lord of glory?

The heaviest blow of divine justice is still ready to avenge the abuse of the best mercy: what can the heart of man conceive more folemn, more sacred, or more deeply affective, than the representation of the most gracious love of the Father, and the most grievous passion of the Son? What sin can be more provoking to God, than the slight and contempt of those moft awful myfteries? And what punishment can be more terrible, than for such a wretched soul to eat and drink' damnation to itself ?' Melanchon records a very dreadful example of God's righteous judgment upon a company of profane wretches, who, in a tragedy, intended to act the death of Christ

the cross. He that acted the foldier's part, instead of piercing with his spear a bladder full of blood hid under his garment, wounded him to death that was upon the cross, who falling dor**


killed him, who (in a disguise) acted the part of the woman that ftood wailing under the cross. His brother, who was first slain flew the murderer, who acted the foldier's part, and for flaying him was hanged by order of justice. Thus did the vengeance of God fpeedily overtake them, and hanged them up in chains, for a warning, to all that should ever dare to dally with the great and jealous God.

These are terrible strokes, and yet not fo terrible as those which are more ordinarily, but less fenfibly, inflicted on the inner man for the abuse of this ordinance.

To prevent these judgments, and obtain those blessings which come through this ordinance, great regard must be had to two things ; viz. 1. The in-being. 2. The activity of true grace.

Firt, Examine thyself, reader, whether there be any gracious principle planted in thy soul, whereby thou art alive indeed unto God. It was an ancient abuse of the facrament (condemned and cast out by the * Carthaginian council) to give it unto dead men. Dead souls can have no communion with the living God, no more benefit from this table than the Emperor's guests had from his table, where loaves of gold were set before them to eat. There is more than a fhew of

grace the facrament; it hath not only the visible sign, but the spirie tual grace also, which it represents. See that there be more than a fhew and a visible fign of grace also in thy soul, when thou comest nigh to the Lord in that ordinance: fee to the ex. ercise and activity, as well as to the truth and sincerity of thy grace.

Even a believer himself doth not eat and drink worthily, unless the


that is in him be excited and exercised at this ordinance.

It is not faith inhering, but faith realizing, applying and powerfully working. It is not a disposition to humiliation for {in, but the actual thawing and melting of the heart for fin; * whilst thou lookeft on him whom thou haft pierced, and “ mourneft for him as one that mourneth for his only fon, for “ his first-born :" nor is it a disposition or principle of love to Christ that is only required, but the firring up of that fire of love, the exciting of it into a vehement flame.

I know the excitations and exercises of grace are attended with great difficulties ; they are not things within our command, and at our beck. Oh! it is hard, it is hard indeed, reader, e


* Corcil. Carshag. Can. 6. Placuit ut defunctorum coporibus non 'atur euchariftis, &c.

ven after God hath taken the heart of stone out of thee, and given thee an heart of flesh, to mourn actually for fin, even when so great an occasion and call is given thee to that work åt the Lord's table; for the fame power is requisite to excite the act that was required to plant the habit. Gratia gratiam poAulat.

However, the duty is thine, though the power be God's ; why else are his people blamed, because they stirred not up themselves to take hold of him ? Ifa. Ixiv. 7.

To alift thee in this work, some help is offered in the fol lowing meditations : it is true, it is not the reading of the best meditations another can prepare for thee, that will alter the temper of thy heart, except the Spirit of God concur with these truths, and bless them to thy soul : but yet these helps must not be slighted, because they are not self-sufficient. 6 Man lives

not by bread alone ; but by every word that proceedeth out 6 of the mouth of God;" yet it were a fond vanity, and fin, for any man, upon that ground, to caft away bread, and expect to live by a miracle without it. We mult lift up our hearts to God for a blessing, and then eat. Do the same here: first pray; then read; and the Lord quicken thee by i, for duty.

There are two things of special concernment to thee, reader, when thou art to address thyself to any folemn duty, especially such as this.

1. Prepare for thy duty diligently.

2. Rely not upon thy preparations. 1. Prepare with all diligence for thy duty. Take pains with thy dull heart; cleanse thy polluted heart; compose thy vain heart; remember how great a presence thou art approaching. If * Augustus thus reproved one, that entertained him with out suitable preparation, faying, "I did not think we had been • fo familiar;' much more may thy God reprove thee, for thy careless neglect of due preparation for him.

2. But yet take heed, on the other side, that thou rely not upon thy best preparation. It is an ingenious, and true note of Luther, † (speaking to this very point of preparation for the sacrament) 5 Never are men more unfit, than when

they think themselves most fit, and best prepared for their • duty; never more fit, than when most humbled and alhamng ed, in a sense of their own unfitness.'


* Non putaham me tibi tam familiaren. + Tunc paffime difpofius, quando aprisime. ,

That the blessing of God, and the breathings of his good Spi: rit, may accompany these poor labours to thy foul, is the heart's defire of,

Thy fervant in Chrift,



UPON Ps A L. Ixxxix. 7. God is greatly to be feared in the affembly

of his faints, and to be had in reverence of all that are abent him.


WHERE are special feafons, wherein thċ faints approach

near unto God in this life, and wherein the Lord comes near unto them.

It pleaseth the Majesty of heaven, sometimes to admit poor worms of the earth to such sensible and sweet perceptions of himself, as are found above all expression, and feem to be a transient glance upon that glory, which glorified eyes more steadily behold above: “ Believing, we rejoice with joy unspeak: ( able, and full of glory;" or, glorified joy s as it is, i Pet. i. 8. And yet how sweet and excellent soever these foretastes of heaven are, heaven itself will be an unspeakable surprise to the saints, when they fhall come thither. Now among

all those ordinances, wherein the blessed God manifests himself to the children of men, none are found to set forth more of the joy of his presence, than that of the Lord's supper: at that blessed table; are such sensible embraces be: twixt Christ and believers, as do afford delight and folace, be: yond the joy of the whole earth.

And where such special manifestations of God are; suitable dispositions and preparations fhould be found on our part, to meet the Lord.

And, certainly, we shall find reafon enough for it, if we will consider the importance of this scripture before us; “ God is “ greatly to be feared in the assembly of his faints, and to be

* Ayeranse xapa en tricotinen tas dodo Scopary. Innerrabili, & gloria ficato, Montanus.

« PreviousContinue »