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the judgments of God, sickness and any consideration of bond or free, high premature death, would not be inflicted or low, rich or poor.*
But he says not a word of However well calculated these love giving up the thoughts of receiving the feasts which accompanied the Lord's communion, lest by their unworthiness supper were, to promote and secure they should bring God's judgments on Christian charity and unity, at Corinth them. The obligation to communicate they were perverted. The rich deshe supposed still remained, and he ex. pised the poor; the powerful those behorts them to repentance and amend- neath them. They waited not till the ment, that they might communicate brethren were come together, but they worthily. He makes another observa- who came first ate their own supper by tion, viz. that those judgments were the themselves. The rich, who could prochastisements of the Lord, sent to re. vide plenty of delicate food, ate and claim them, and bring them to re- drank to excess; while the poor, who pentance and a better mind, that they could bring little or nothing, not being might “not be condemned with the permitted to partake with the rich, world."
went away hungry from a feast of chaIt is, however, certain, there was rity. At such disorderly feasts the holy some great unworthiness among the supper was celebrated among them. Corinthians, which St. Paul condemned, This is the conduct which St. Paul and on account of which, God's judge so frequently censures, as any one may ments were inflicted on them; and he satisfy himself by reading carefully bis seems to have pretty clearly pointed it discourse upon the subject. He afout.
firms, that such disorderly celebration The first converts to Christianity of the communion was not to eat the being Jews, and having a strong attach- Lord's supper, but to profane it; and ment to their own religious customs, directs them who were hungry to eat at they carried some of them into the home, and not make the church a scene Christian church. On many occasions of disorder and riot by their excess, it was their custom, and their law re
nor their love feasts an occasion of pride quired it, to have a feast upon the and insolence, by despising and putting sacrifice, and all who ate of it were to shame the poor, unprovided memsupposed to have an interest in its effi. bers of the congregation, whose hunger cacy. Their annual passover, particu. ought, at least at their love feasts, to larly, was a feast of this kind ; and as be relieved by the rich. To convince our Saviour had instituted the holy them of the impropriety of their concommunion at the conclusion of this duct, and reclaim them to a decent and feast, consecrating the paschal bread worthy behaviour, be then sets before and the cup of blessing, as it was called, to be the memorials of his body and
* Where the Christians had all things in blood, the apostles and first Christians common, as at Jerusalem, it is probable the carried the custom into the Christian love teasts were provided out of the common
stock. And in other places they may
have church of accompanying the Christian been furnished from what was given at the sacrifice of bread and wine with a feast. offertory; which offerings, in those early ages, This feast was called, the feast of love. were called the devotions of the faithful, from To it the rich and poor brought their the Latin word devoveo, to consecrate or devote, provisions, and ate them together at a
because those offerings were consecrated or
devoted to God. It is true, since the duty cominon table, in token of their mutual of communicating at the holy table has begood will and affection, of their fellow- come less the practice, prayer has peculiarly ship, and unity in Christ's religion, obtained the name of devolion, though it is and of their belief that the benefits of so only in a secondary sepse. Christ's death were not restrained by + 1 Cor. xi. 17, &c. to the end.
them the solemn institution of the holy to partake in the holy communion. I ordinance, as he had received it by readily own too, that a person who aprevelation from Christ himself. And proaches the holy table without due the force of the apostle's argument reverence and devotion, without conseems to be, that Christ distributed the sidering the dignity of the holy mystesacramental elements equally to all the ry, and the difference between receivapostles, in token that he devoted him. ing the body and blood of the Lord, self to death equally for them all, and and eating and drinking common bread directed them to eat of it at one table and wine, does not receive the Lord's in remembrance of, and as a memorial body-is guilty of the body and blood before God of bis love to them all, and of Christ--and is in danger of bringing in token of their mutual love and union. God's judgments upon him by his unFor the Corinthians, therefore, to ex- worthy receiving. But, I repeat it, clude the poor for whom Christ equally there is no reason why he should condied, to whom the sacred symbols tinue in this evil state, but what comes of his body and blood were equally from himself. Let him judge himself distributed, from a due share in their by the rule of God's commandments, feast of love, without supplying their and see wherein he has done amiss. hunger with necessary bread, was so Let him compare his sentiments of the far from worthily eating the Lord's holy communion, with our Saviour's supper, that it was not even to discern institution, and with the doctrines of the Lord's body, i. e. it put no differ- the church, and correct his unworthy ence, made no distinction, between the notions. Let him be instant in prayer Lord's supper and a common meal; at to God for the gift of his grace and least, did not sanctify the Lord's body- Holy Spirit. Let him deny bis evil treat it as a holy, but common thing. * propensities, and mortify his vicious This was the unworthiness which the appetites; and in this way prepare apostle censured in the Corinthians, himself to do honour to God by obeyand this—the not discerning the Lord's ing his command. body—which, he says, caused the judg- But to treat of this subject of general ments of God, sickness and death, to unworthiness a little more particularly. upon them.
The qualifications requisite to make a I bave been the more particular in worthy communicant, and to make an this matter to convince you, that in the adult a worthy subject of baptism, as church to which we belong, all oppor- far as I can see, are the same. They tunity of incurring that unworthiness, who have kept their baptism undefiled which the apostle censured in the Co- are, undoubtedly, always fit to approach rinthians, is precluded.
the Christian altar. More knowledge It may, I know, be said, and said may be requisite to the communion justly, that though all opportunity of than to baptism; in other respects the incurring that unworthiness, which St. qualifications are the same. Paul condemned in the Corinthians, be That habits and gross acts of sin, cut off, by the abolition of the love render a person unworthy to communifeasts
, yet there may be people in such cate, there can be no doubt. There is a state as makes them really unworthy as little doubt, that the same state ren
* See Hammond, Whitby, Locke, upon the ders him unfit to pray, or to do any place.
act of religion, acceptably to God. I + The disorders attending the love feasts at will go further, and say, that it would Corinth, and in other places, became too be a profanation of the holy communion, great to be restrained ; they were therefore for him, while in this state, to come to abolished by the church. Though possibly they continued longer in some places than it. And it would be so far from doing
him good, that it would do him hurt, by
[April, hardening the heart in impenitency. have more efficacy with God than other And is not this as true of prayer as of prayers have, it would be saying no the holy communion ? Is it not a pro- more than the universal church has alfanation of God's name to pray to him, ways said and taught. while we wilfully live in the habits, or But though sinful habits, and single practice of known sin, without any dee acts of gross sin, render us unworthy sign or desire of becoming better? In to approach God's table, till repentance this state every prayer an act of reconcile us to him, yet sins, as they hypocrisy, and hardens the heart against are called, of infirmity, ignorance, surthe impressions of God's Spirit. There- prise, are not attended with that mafore it is, that “the sacrifice of the lignity. Our present state subjects us wicked," and the prayer" of him to them. They proceed from that lust " that turneth away his ear from hear- of the flesh, or original corruption of ing the law”-that refuseth to obey the nature, which, according to the nintha commandments of God"are an abomie article of our church, remains even in nation to the Lord."*
the regenerate. And though they bave But should such a person have any in them the nature of sin, being contrary desire to become better--any wish to to the holiness and purity of God, yet get rid of the slavery and guilt of sin by the merciful terms of the Christian as such a desire and wish must come covenant, they shall not finally confrom God, so the only effectual means demn us, provided we do not willingly of bringing them to good effect is, con- live in them, but watch and strive stant and earnest prayer to God for the against them, humble ourselves before support of his Holy Spirit, carefully to God under the sense of them, pray do his duty according to his best know- earnestly to bim to be delivered froin ledge and ability, and steadily to avoid their power by the might of his Spirit, all occasions of sin. In this way his and trust to his mercy, through the good desires would be encouraged, his Redeemer, that he will not impute them resolutions of amendment strengthened, to us. his love of God increased, habits of To people who have a lively sense virtue and holiness formed and confirm- of their imperfections and failings of ed, while those of sin aud vice would this kind, who conscientiously refrain decline and die away.
prayers from the holy communion, because they would no longer be an abomination, fear they are not good enough to come
1. but highly acceptable to God. And to it, and wbo do not make the excuse he would then too become a worthy merely for excuse sake, without any guest at the Lord's table, where, receiv. intention of ever complying with their ing the outward elements with true duty of frequenting the holy table, I penitence and faith, he would also re. would propose the following considera- 2 ceive the precious body and blood of tions. Christ, “ to his great and endless com- 1. That if they stay till they are fort." For the holy communion is, at worthy, in the sense in which they least, as great an instrument of holy seem to understand it, before they will living as prayer, and the efficacy of venture to partake of the sacrament of both, on our part, rests on the same cir. Christ's body and blood, they will cumstances--penitence and faith: the never partake of it at all, but will live former denoting our conversion or de- all their life, and die at last, in the parture from sin, the latter our reliance neglect of Christ's command. For upon God, and trust in his mercy and however they may wish it, they never goodness. Should I go further, and will be free from the unworthiness of say that prayers, offered up at the altar, coming short of their duty, from mere * Prov. XV. 8. and xxviij. 9.
weakness of nature.
being must be imperfect in this sense. As we are to commemorate and confess And did those lapses which proceed Christ before men, and gratefully to from infirmity and imperfection render acknowledge the wonderful works of us unworthy to partake in the Christian love and mercy he has done for us; so sacrifice, no mortal could approach the we are to make a commemoration or altar without sin. Upon this supposi memorial of his precious death and tion, apostles and martyrs, and the best sacrifice before the almighty Father, Christians that ever lived, have offend- and plead before him the merits of his ed in commemorating their Saviour, and dearly beloved Son, dying for the sin of bave sinned even by obeying him. the world: not that God will forget, They were all men of like passions unless we refresh his memory ; but bewith us, and felt the weaknesses of cause, in so doing, we use the means nature as we feel them. Conscious of that Christ has appointed to convey to their extreme inability to do any good us the benefits of that sacrifice which thing without some degree of alloy or he offered for sin. To refuse or neglect mixture of sin, they most humbly ac- the holy ordinance of the eucharist knowledged their unworthiness to per looks as though we had no grateful form any of those services which God sense of Christ's love in dying for us ; required of them ; but their sense of or that we did not fully trust to his duty, and fear of disobeying God, made merits for pardon of our sins, the gift them cheerfully do whatever bis law of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life in required of them, knowing that God the kingdom of God. accepteth of what a man bath, and re- 3. That the holy eucharist is a covequiretb not that which he is unable to nanting rite, and by it we keep up gire. The angels themselves, high and communion with God. holy as they are in their nature, seem By haptism we enter into covenant to have some deficiencies of this kind, with God: being born of water and the for God, saith Job, charged even them Spirit, we are born into Christ's church, with folly.
and become members of his body.* 2. That the holy communion is not By the holy eucharist, the new life, only a commemoration of Christ's death, begun in baptism, is nourished, and but a memorial or representation of his fed, and strengthened. This undoubtsufferings and death, inade before the edly is the case with those happy peralmighty Father, to put him in mind of sons who keep their baptism undefiled. the meritorious sacrifice of his blessed But a broken covenant is of no force : Son on our behalf.
and when it is our unhappiness to break Christ's offering himself up to death, our baptismal covenant, and forfeit our and yielding his life for us upon the right to God's promises, by our sins cross, is certainly the most astonishing and misdoings, how gracious is God to event that ever happened. And when permit us, upon our repentance, again we consider the benefits thereby pro- to renew it at his holy table! again to cured for us, the pardon of past sin upon repeat our vows of obedience, and reour repentance, the gift of the Holy gain our title to his heavenly promises ! Spirit, and the assurance of a heavenly It has ever been the doctrine of the inheritance to all who believe in and universal church, that, as when we obey him, we must feel that bis sacri- worthily receive baptism, we obtain tice deserves our grateful remembrance through Christ remission of all past above all other events. But to suppose sins, so when we worthily communi. that the whole duty and benefit of the cate at God's altar, we obtain remisboly eucharist rests here, is a mistake.
* John iïi. v. 1 Cor. vi. 15. * Job iv, 18.
+ Acts ii. 28. and xxii. 16. 15
ADVOCATE, VOL. II.
sion of all the sins committed since pears from her catechism and office of baptism. And that it is so, fully ap- communion. In answer to the question, pears from the holy eucharist's being “ What are the benefits whereof we are an act of communion with God. For partakers thereby”—by receiving the when God's priest offers up the ele- body and blood of Christ in the euchaments of bread and wine upon the holy rist-she answers : “ The strengthening altar, they are thereby made God's and refreshing of our souls by the body property; and being blessed and sanc- and blood of Christ, as our bodies are tified by prayer and thanksgiving, they by the bread and wine.” And in one become, through the operation of the of the exhortations to the communion, Holy Ghost, the body and blood of she speaks of Christ being given, “not Christ in power and effect.* They only to die for us, but also to be our are then returned by the hand of God's spiritual food and sustenance in that z minister, and distributed among the holy sacrament.” communicants as a feast upon the sa- If then you seriously wish to become crifice: and all who partake of them, better Christians, and more worthy to 2 with true faith and repentance, are fed communicate with God at his holy altar, with God's food, and eat at God's ta- the most effectual method is, to preble ; and are thereby assured of his pare yourselves for the solemn office favour and goodness towards them, by careful examination of your past and, consequently, must obtain remis- lives ; by settled resolutions to forsake sion of all past sin, otherwise they your sins, and live better for the time could not be in favour with God. Ac- to come; by mortifying your unruly cordingly, when our Saviour gave the appetites and passions ; by fasting and first intimation of this holy institution, self-denial; by earnest prayer to God, he expressed bimself in terms that im- that he would give you true repentance, ply not only remission of sins, but all and his Holy Spirit, to enable you to other benefits of his passion. “Whoso bring your good resolutions to a happy eateth
my flesh, and drinketh my blood, issue ; and then to go to the holy altar, hath eternal life, and I will raise him humbly and firmly trusting, that God up at the last day.”t Behold the will accept you and bless you, and seal Christian's privilege ! and consider what to you the remission of your sins ; injury ye do to God, what injustice to that he will impart to you the inestima. yourselves, by your wilful neglect of ble blessing of his Holy Spirit, and the heavenly feast.
make you partakers of all the benefits 4. That the holy eucharist is one of of Christ's redemption. the instituted means of grace and holy To me it is, and to all good Chrisliving the appointed instrument of con- tians it must be, an afflicting circun. veying the Holy Spirit to us. That stance, in congregations who seem to this is the doctrine of the church ap. have a serious sense of religion, and of
* This is not to be understood as though their duty to frequent the worship of the elements became, upon consecration, the God, and who apparently join with natural body and blood of Christ, as the devotion in the common service of the church of Rome afirms. The natural body church, to see so few who act as though and blood of Christ are in heaven, and not here on earth. But they become his re
they really believed the religion they presentative, or sacramental body and blood: profess. For when people turn from of which, whosoever partaketh with due the highest act of Christian worship, repentance and faith, and in the unity of and refuse to commemorate the love of his church, receives spirit lly all the be- their Saviour, in dying for thein, by nefits of his death and mediation. + John vi. 54. See the whole chapter, communicating at the holy table in the
, particularly verses 48 to 58.
unity of his church, how is it to be