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lustration, when a farming servant is hired, it is customary to give a small piece of money as a pledge or earnest. And in a manner somewhat similar are the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper to be looked upon as an outward token, or pledge, or earnest, by the delivery of which by the hands of his minister, God conveys to the devout communicant the benefits which those symbols represent.
These benefits, you will recollect, are spoken of as being received by the faithful, and by the faithful only. Thus while the 28th Article of our Church asserts, that - the body of Christ is given, taken, and “ eaten in the Lord's Supper only after an " heavenly and spiritual manner; and the " mean whereby it is received and eaten is “ faith:” the 29th says, “ The wicked and “ such as be void of a lively faith, although
they do carnally and visibly press with " their teeth the sacrament of the body and “ blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they " partakers of Christ.”
I. From the foregoing account of the institution and nature of the Lord's Supper, the obligation to partake of it is sufficiently plain, We are enjoined to partake of it
by Christ himself. “Do this,” says he, “IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME; DRINK YE “ ALL OF IT.” If we refuse to communicate, we are guilty of disobedience to our Lord's authority, and of course expose ourselves to the penalty of disobedience. Why call ye him Lord, Lord, and do not the things that he says ?
Reflect too upon the time at which our Saviour appointed this ordinance, It was in the “ same night in which he was be“trayed.” At the time when he was upon the point of enduring the severest agony of mind and body; when he was just about to encounter the most cruel indignities, to be mocked and scourged, and spit upon, and at last to undergo a most painful death; and all for our sakes; then it was that he instituted this sacrament, in order to put us in remembrance of his sufferings. Certainly we cannot refuse to comply with this his last, his dying request, without being guilty of deep ingratitude. Had we been condemned to suffer death, and some friend had given himself to die in our stead, we should have felt very thankful to him. And if he had desired us to do something to put us in mind of his kindness, we should
have felt bound by the strongest ties to comply with his request. Let us not be less thankful to him who died to save us from everlasting death; who, when we were sinners, “ gave his life a ransom for 66 all."
Consider too, that the Lord's Supper was intended to convey to us the benefits, which the death of Christ purchased for us, even the forgiveness of sin, and the assistance of the Holy Ghost. If we had no sins to be forgiven, or if our own strength were sufficient to the performance of the divine will, yet still we could not neglect this sacrament, without being guilty of disobedience and ingratitude. But if we are laden with sins, and compassed about with infirmities--as, whether we feel and confess it or not, is indeed the case with every one of us-it surely concerns us in the highest degree
to do what we can to procure to our selves these inestimable benefits ; and to refuse to partake of the Lord's Supper, is to act like a sick man, who throws from him the medicine, by which he might be healed;- it is, in some measure, to invite and court our own condemnation.
Our Lord himself, in his very remarkable discourse to the Jews in the 6th chapter of St. John, says, “ Except ye eat the flesh of “ the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye “ have no life in you." "If a man," indeed, as our Church wisely and charitably teaches, “ by reason of extremity of sickness, or by
any other just impediment, do not receive 6 the sacrament of Christ's body and blood, “ yet, if he do truly repent him of his sins, “ and stedfastly believe that Jesus Christ “ hath suffered death upon the cross for “ him, and shed his blood for his redemp“ tion, earnestly remembering the benefits " he hath thereby, and giving him hearty " thanks therefore, he doth eat and drink “the body and blood of our Saviour Christ “ profitably to his soul's health, although 6 he do not receive the sacrament with his “ mouth.” But if a man, without such just impediment, wilfully refuses to partake of the body and blood of Christ in the way which Christ himself has appointed, he certainly acts as if he cared not for the strengthening and refreshing of his soul, or even for the soul's spiritual life.
. Last Rubrick in the Communion of the Sick.
III. But perhaps you acknowledge the obligation to communicate, but are afraid of communicating unworthily. Let us proceed then, in the third place, to consider the qualifications requisite in order to partake of the Lord's Supper. These qualifications comprise nothing but what is necessary at every part of our life, whether we receive the Lord's Supperor not; nothing but whatweengaged forat baptism; nothing but what is necessary to fit us for death. They may be comprised in two words, faith and repentance. In the Church Catechism, in answer to the question, “ What s is required of them who come to the “ Lord's Supper?” it is replied, “ To ex" amine themselves whether they repent " them truly of their former sins, stedfastly “purposing to lead a new life; have a lively “ faith in God's mercy through Christ, and
a thankful remembrance of his death, and “ be in charity with all men.”
Of the nature of repentance, none of you I hope are ignorant.' It consists in 'real heartfelt sorrow for sin, together with a sincere stedfast resolution to walk for the future in newness of life; a resolution to