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ordinance ;; really exhibited with all the benefits of his death. And want of receiving by faith in particular Christ as exhibited and communicated in this ordinance, is the great ground of our want of profiting by it, and thriving under it; of our want of receiving itrength, joy, and life by it; because we do not exercile ourselves to the receiving of Christ as he is exhibited, as God. doth really give him out, and comr.unicate him to them that do believe.
That there is such an exhibition of Christ, appearsg. (1.) By the facramental relation there is between the outward elements and the thing signified. “ This is my body, (lays Chrift; this bread is fo;. and) this is my blood." It is the body of Christ and the blood of Christ, that we are invited to the participation of. If there. was no more in this ordinance exhibited, but only the. outward elements, and not by virtue of sacramental relation upon God's institution, the body and blood of Chrift, his life, and death, and merits exhibited unto us, we should come to the Lord's table like men in a dream eating and drinking, and be quite empty when we have done, for this bread and wine will not satisfy our souls.
(2.) As it is plain from the sign and the thing fignified, that there is a grant, or a real communication of Jesus Christ unto the souls of them that do believe ; lo it is evident from the nature of the exercise of faith in this ordinance; it is by eating and drinking. Can you eat and drink unless something be really communicated? You are called to eat the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of man ; unless really communicated, we cannot eat it nor drink it. We may have other apprehenfions of these things, but our faith cannot be exercised in eating and drinking, which is a receiving of what is really exhibited and communicated. As truly, my brethren, as we do eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, which is really communicated to us, so every true believer doth receive Chrift, his body and blood, in all the benefits of it, that are really exhibited by God unto the foul in this ordinance : and it is a means of communicating to faith.
We come to receive a crucified Christ, come to be made partakers of the body and blood of the Lord, to
have the Lord Jesus really united to our hearts more and
The Lord open our hearts to embrace the tender, receive the exhibition, take in Jesus Christ as food, that he may be incorporated in our hearts by faith, that he may dwell in us plentifully, more and more ;
that may go away refreshed by this heavenly food, this glorious feast of fat things which the Lord has made in his mount for his peopl:. The whole of our comfort depends on our particular receiving of Christ by faith, and carrying him away by believing
September 30. 1677.
E are met together again, by the patience and
kindness of God, for the celebration of this great ordinance, and therein to thew forth the death of the Lord.
I have often spoken to you on this occafion concerning the nature of this ordinance, the expression of the love of God and Christ that is in it, and the especial acts of faith and love that are required of us in this ordi
I have one word now somewhat of another nature, but yet such as I judge not unseasonable; and it is to this purpose, that we, who fo frequently enjoy the privilege of the representation of the death of Christ unto us, ought to be very diligent in enquiring after an experience of the power of the death of Christ in us. Without this, our privilege will not be to our advantage.
The power and efficacy of the death of Christ, which we now remember in a peculiar manner, is two-fold,
1. Towards God, as the consummation of the facrifice of atonement. This we have often spoke to.
2. Towards our own soulę, towards the church; and that is to be an example, a precept, a pattern of what is to be wrought in us. In this sense the power of the
death of Christ is its efficacy to conformity with Chrift in his death. It is to be “ crucified with Christ," as the apostle fpeaks, Gal. ii. 20, Power comes forth from the death of Christ, if received by faith in a due manner, to render us, conformable to him in the death of fin in us. The apostle has a great and glorious word concerning himself, 2 Cor. iv. 10. * Always bearing about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus." I acknowledge, the words are usually applied to the representarion of the sufferings of Christ, in the sufferings of the ministers of the gospel, concerning which the apostle there dilcourses; but the antithesis in the following words, " that the life of Jesus might be manifest in our body," does certainly lead to a larger fense. Then, brethren, we may have an experience of the power of Christ in us, when we can say, we always carry about with us the dying of the Lord Jesus, to carry it in our meditation, to carry it in our conversation, to carry it in our conAtant univerfal endeavours for conformity to it; and without this we have not experience of the power of his death in us, and it will not avail us to have the nature of his death represented to us.
1. We are always to carry about the dying of Je. fus Christ," in our thoughts and meditations. O that: our thoughts were much fixed upon it! I verily believe that the life of faith doth answer in proportion to our thoughts about the dying of Jesus. The dying of Jesus. compriseth the love from whence he died, the
death itfelf he died, and the end for which he died. Let us carry about us always thoughts hereof, for his fake who loved us, and who died for us. Meditate more on these things.
2. In our conversation. It is not a time to reflect upon any, unless I did it upon myself. But truly, brethren, I am afraid we do not carry about and manifest to all the dying of the Lord Jesus in our conversation ; to perform all things, so as it may appear and be made manifest to ourselves and others, that our hearts are set upon his dying love, that we have not fuch quick, such active, and vigorous affections to the world, and the things of the world, nor that fury of diligence after them and in them, as other men have, and we have had we cannot do it; the dying of the Lord Jesus crucifies
our hearts. These are hard words I know ; how far from our practice! But if we live not in an endeayour after it, in all things to manifest that our hearts are full of the dying of the Lord Jefus, we have not experience of the power of it in our souls. These things depend on one another. If we dwelt more upon this subject in our meditations, we should manifest it, and carry it about, and represent it more in our conversation.
3. Carry it about in a conitant endeavour for confor. mity to Jelus Christ in all things in his death. Did Christ die, and shall fin live? Was he crucified in the world, and thall we have quick and lively affections to the world ? O where is the temper and spirit of that apostle, who by “the crois of Christ was crucified to the world, and the world crucified to him ?" If there be any among us that should be indulgent to the life of any one luft or coruption, that foul can have no experience of the power of the death of Christ in himself, cannot carry about him the dying of Christ. Endeavour to de. stroy fin, that we may be like unto Chrift.
I will not make particular application of these things to all the concerns of our walk, but leave it with you, with this word, begging of you, and my own heart, and of God for us all, that having these blessed representations of the death of Christ to us, we may have no rest in our spirits, but when we have experience of the powes of the death of Christ in us,
September 20. 1682.
T is a common received notion among Chriftians, and
it is true, that there is a peculiar communion with Chrilt in this ordinance, which we have in no other ordinance : that there is a peculiar acting of faith in this ordinance, which is in no other ordinance. This is the
faith of the whole church of Christ, and has been so in
This is the greatest mystery of all the practicals of our Chriftian religion, a way of receiving Christ by eating and drinking, something peculiar that is not in prayer, that is not in the hearing of the word, nor in any other part of divine worship whatsoever; a peculiar participation of Christ, a peculiar acting of faith towards Christ. This participation of Christ is not carnal, but fpiritual. In the beginning of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, when he began to instruct them in the communication of himself, and the benefit of his mediation to believers, because it was a new thing, he expresses it by “ eating his flesh, and drinking his blood,” John vi. $3 “ Unless ye eat the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of man, ye have no life in you.” This offended and amazed them. They thought he taught them to eat his natural flesh and blood. 66 How can this man give us his flesh to eat )? They thought he instructed them to be canibals. Whereupon he gives that everlasting rule for the guidance of the church, which the church forfook, and thereby ruined itself; faith be, " It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the fielh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak, they are spirit, and they are life." It is a ipiritual communication, faith be, of myself unto you; but it is as intimate, and gives as real an incorporation, as if you did eat my fleth and drink my blood. The church forfaking this rule of a spiritual interpretation, ruined itself, and set up a moniter, instead of this blefied mysterious ordinance,
We may enquire, therefore, how faith doth peculiar. ly act itself towards Christ in this ordinance, whereby we have a distinct participation of Christ, otherwise than we have by and in any other ordinance whatsoever. And I would mention four things unto you, which you may make use of.
1. That faith hath a peculiar respect to the fole authority of Christ in the institution of this ordinance.
All other ordinances craw upon the light of nature, and upon the moral law, as prayer, preaching the word, and singing of psalms to the praise of God; but this, that we should receive Jesus by eating of bread, and drinking of wine, has no respect to the light of na