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is not the bounden duty of every one of us, whether we receive the Lord's Supper or not? What is there here, which is not necessary to entitle us to the common privileges of Christianity? What is there here that can be neglected by any one, who wishes to meet death with comfort? Those who have opportunity, do well, if before communicating they give more time than usual to prayer and self-examination ; but the qualifications above mentioned comprise all that is absolutely requisite.
Many persons seem to entertain the mistaken and dangerous idea, that though a man is not fit for the sacrament, he yet may be in a state of acceptance with God, and his eternal interests safe. Believe me, my friends, it is, generally speaking, impossible for a person of mature years to be unfit to partake of the Lord's Supper, and at the same time fit for heaven. For in what does your unfitness for the sacrament consist ? in the neglect of repentance? in a determination not to quit your sins? in an obstinate refusal to lead a new life ? Alas! if this be so, you are in a most perilous situation, whether you receive the Lord's Supper or not. You are in a state of death, and eternal sufferings are hanging over your head. For you cannot hope for forgiveness without repentance, and if your sins are unforgiven, they will rúin you for ever.' “ Except ".ye repent, ye shall certainly perish.” Or is it that you are wholly without faith? Is it that though you profess and call yourself a Christian, you really believe neither in God the Father, nor in Jesus Christ whom he hath sent ? If this be so, you are yet in your sins ; for without faith it is impossible to please God, and it is through faith in Christ alone that forgiveness is offered.
If however you tell me that you are heartily sorry for having offended God, and wish and intend to use your best endeavours to please him for the time to come; but that you fear that your sorrow for sin has not been deep enough, that your repentance is imperfect; if you say farther, that you really believe the great articles of the Christian religion, and are influenced in your conduct by this belief, but that your faith is weak, and not sufficiently vigorous and active; I should then exhort you to dismiss your fears, and to draw near to the
table of your Lord in humble reliance upon the mercy of God. As long as we are in the body, we shall continue full of imperfections, and if none could partake of the Lord's Supper, but those whose faith and repentance are in every respect perfect, who could venture to approach it? We profess to come, “not trusting in our own righte6 qusness, but in God's manifold and great 66 mercies ;” we there confess “our manifold “ sins and wickedness," and acknowledge that we are not worthy so much as to “ gather up the crumbs under his table.”
Or perhaps you apprehend, though your repentance be now sincere, that at some future period you may fall into sin. If none were to receive the Lord's Supper but those who can be sure that they shall henceforward be perfectly free from sin, no one ought to receive it, for there is no man liv. ing that sinneth not. It is because we are continually exposed to temptation, and continually in need of having our souls strengthened and refreshed, that the Lord's Supper ought to be continually received, This sacrament was appointed, not for angels, not for glorified saints, but for sin. ners; for sinners who are penitent, and wish to subdue their sins, although they expect not to subdue them entirely while they continue in the body.
Serious attention to what has been said of the qualifications requisite in order to partake of the Lord's Supper, ought to remove all the groundless obstacles which prevent men from communicating. I wish however particularly to address two descriptions of persons. • Many of you say that you are too young to communicate. But are you too young to repent and believe? Are you too young to fear and to serve God; too young to wish to go to heaven rather than to hell ? Our Church considers all who are old enough to be confirmed, -certainly all of the age of sixteen years, as old enough also to receive the sacrament; and so they certainly are. If many young people are in the habit of neglecting the Lord's Supper, their bad example furnishes no excuse for you, and does not lessen your obligation. Do you think that because you are young, you need not think of these things, but may
e See the 112th Canon.
lightly follow your own wills and fancies, and that it will be soon enough to attend to religion when you are old? But you may not live to be old. You may be cut off in the beginning of life. If in the strength and confidence of youth you resolve to walk in 66 the ways of thine heart and the sight of “ thine eyes, know thou that for all these “ things God will bring thee into judgment*." The Scriptures exhort you to attend to religion in the morning of your life: “Re“ member now thy Creator in the days of " thy youth.” God has a right to the best of your days, and the best of your strength. Do not then suffer the plea of youth to prevent you from complying with the dying request, the dying command, of your crucified Saviour. Do you say that youth is exposed to peculiar temptations ? There
is then the greater reason why you should , seek for spiritual strength at the table of
your Lord. You are old enough to understand what religion is; you are old enough to be sensible of the difference between being happy or miserable for ever. You have not then any excuse for neglecting the
Eccles. xi. 9. & Eccles. xii. 1.