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fhould be owing to himself. And let us often anticipate the awful hour when we shall lie on the bed of death, an inhabitant, as it were, of both worlds; whether we fhall be distracted with terror, warning, befeeching, conjuring our affembled family, not to spend the sabbath in the manner we have spent it; or whether, looking upon death without affright and ramazement, we can exhort them, as we have done, to do likewife;" expreffing humble hopes, that, after having paffed our fabbaths in the congregations of men on earth, we fhall foon be admitted, through the merits and fatisfaction of Jefus Chrift, to celebrate an eternal fabbath with faints and angels in Heaven.
LUKE xiv. 18.
They all with one confent began to make excufe.
N the parable from which thefe words are
taken, the difpenfation of the Gofpel, offered to the Jews, is aptly reprefented under the fimilitude of an entertainment, to partake of which, chofen guests were invited, and when it was prepared, and their company expected, they fent in their feveral excufes. At the time they fhould have attended, they were employed in very different purfuits. In consequence of their refufal, those were bidden, who were more likely to embrace the offer, "the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the "blind." Because the Jews, to whom the bleffings of the Gofpel were firft tendered, "thought themfelves unworthy of everlasting "life," lo! fays the author of the apoftolic acts, "we turn to the Gentiles," fignifying that
the Gentiles, all the other nations upon earth, should be admitted to a participation of them.
And great indeed are the bleffings of that Gospel our bleffed Redeemer came into the world to promulge! Great indeed are the bleffings offered to all, who are oppreffed with the burden of fin, and terrified with the apprehension of punishment! Yet though the Gofpel alone can remove the load, and avert the apprehenfion, how many totally reject it! how many refufe the taking of its eafy yoke upon themselves! My defign is, to fhew the nature and end of its moft diftinguishing Ordinance, the inftitution of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper-inferring from thence the indifpenfable obligation all who embrace Christianity are under, to a frequent participation of it-to expofe the weakness and infufficiency of fome of the excufes offered for a neglect of it—and in conclufion, carnestly to exhort you all, to eat, with one confent, "of that bread, which is the life of the world; "and to drink of that cup," the cup of the new Covenant, which is the "Blood of
Chrift, fhed for the remiffion of our fins."
And no fubject, furely, can more usefully engage our attention, especially previous to the adminiftration of the Sacrament, when it is confidered, that of the great numbers who regularly attend the fervice of the Church, fo few, in comparifon, commemorate the death of their Redeemer. When fuch men have their excuses removed, if they still continue deaf to the invitation, let them confider, when they fhall ftand under the arreft of death, what comfort they can give themselves, what confolation they can receive from others with Jofeph's brethren they will fay, "we are verily "guilty concerning this thing," in that it was ⚫ intended for our benefit, and though we were ⚫ convinced of its neceffity, and conjured to receive it, in order to "our fouls' health," we have deferred it fo long, that if we re'ceive it not, we perish; and if we do receive it," we are guilty, perhaps, of the body and "blood of Chrift our Saviour."
I. The primary defign of the inftitution, was "the continual remembrance of the death "and paffion of our Saviour Jefus Chrift. "Do this," fays he, "in remembrance of "me." Left we should be so strangely inconfiderate
fiderate as to forget the ineftimable bleffings derived from his fufferings and death, this Rite, he, in his wifdom, inftituted, to render them the objects of perpetual contemplation.
And what could be better adapted to pro. mote this pious defign? When we fee the bread broken, and the wine poured out, we behold by faith, the body of our bleffed Redeemer, hung, pierced, and nailed for our fakes to the crofs; his blood fhed for the "wash
ing, fanctifying, faving, all, who draw near "with faith, and are meet partakers of those holy myfteries."
(2dly.) We are to frequent the holy Sacra. ment, not merely to call to mind our Saviour's death and paffion, but to apply the benefits of them to ourselves. We, who profefs to be Chriftians, are in commemoration of our privilege, to affemble together, all adorned with the fame drefs, the righteouf nefs of our Redeemer; all endowed with the fame temper, the meekness of the Gospel; all fupplicating the fame bleffing, the falvation of our fouls. This bleffing, the Atonement of our Saviour hath procured, and the Sacrament is a principal channel through which it is conveyed.