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heart is renewed and purified in its affections; the will is reduced into sweet captivity to the obedience of Christ; the memory is enriched with the treasures of Scripture promise, and fondly lingers over departed seasons of communion and fellowship: a blessed harmony reigns in the palace of the soul, because the divine Inhabitant is there. CHARLES.
THE POPE AND ST. PETER COMPARED.
ST. PETER continually preached the Gospel; see Acts i. 15, ii. 14 and 38, iv. 8 and 33, v. 29, 42, &c: the Pope never preaches at all. St. Peter travelled on barefoot, Matth. x. 10: the Pope is carried on princes' shoulders. St. Peter did not suffer Cornelius to worship him, Acts x. 26: the Pope expects himself to be adored, and kings to kiss his feet. St. Peter reprehended Simon Magus for holding the gift of God purchasable with money, Acts viii. 20: the Pope drains heaps of money to himself by Absolutions, Dispensations, Indulgences, &c. St. Peter was married, Mark i. 30: the Pope forbids his Clergy to live in a state of matrimony. St. Peter exhorts the faithful to be attentive to the word of the prophets, 2 Peter i. 19: the Pope does not allow the reading of the Scriptures. St Peter commands all the faithful to obey their kings, I Pet. ii. 13, 14: the Pope exempts the Clergy from subjection to their kings. St. Peter in his Epistles makes no mention of invocation of saints, of adoration of images, of relicks, of purgatory, of indulgences, of the treasure of the
Church, of limbo, of the service in an unknown tongue, of his supremacy, nor usurping to himself any title that was not common to him with all the other Apostles: the Pope teaches all those things, and in his bulls attributes to himself such titles as St. Peter never admitted in his Epistles.
"Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup," &c. 1 Cor. xi. 28, 29.
WHAT should be the chief questions a man should put to himself in self-examination has been formerly discussed, and the reasons inducing to that kind of preparation, with the danger of rusling upon the ordinances in an unprepared manner. To proceed further to shew the nature of this preparation. None can partake of the ordinances worthily without preparation that is the point: and I will shortly shew you what this worthiness is. It is not a worthiness of merit, but a worthiness of fitness; Colos i. 10, "That you may walk worthy of the well pleasing," shews the destination. may walk worthy;" that is, that you have such affectious, dispositions, carriages, as may carry in them some resemblance and correspondency to the holiness
Lord in all
of that God whom you serve.
And in the third of St.
Matthew, "Bring forth fruits worthy (that is, answerable) to repentance." I will now give you another distinction concerning unworthiness to the same purpose; an unworthiness of person, and unworthiness of disposition and affection. In the first sense we are most unworthy; in the second the children of God do in some kind repair that former unworthiness, in having some affection and disposition, and a readiness toward God in communion with him.
Now for the nature of preparation, which is of two And first for the habitual preparation, which is capableness of preparation, as a man is not capable of food except he be a living man. And secondly, without he have also a particular preparation of appetite. Now then take this for the first.
1. No man can be in a prepared state to partake of the sacrament worthily but he that is called out of an unregenerate estate into fellowship with Christ. Now to be better understood, I do not exclude all those that do not find the work of conversion in their hearts.
2. Observe it is one thing to come to the sacrament as an ordinance and duty, another thing to come to it so as to have that comfort which is in the ordinance, which but few find; yet I do not say that all that are members of the visible church should be admitted to the sacrament, though it be a duty which lies upon them, and therefore if they come they sin, if they come not they sin likewise. Further, to speak that which may help weak Christians who doubt whether they may come or not, if these doubtings proceed from the consideration of sin, of weakness, and if withal they
find longings and thirstings afterChrist, the sacrament does most properly belong to them, according to that offer, "Come to me all ye that are weary and heavy laden," &c. And how do they know but in this ordinance they may receive eye-salve to cure their doubtings?
Now for actual preparations. They amongst the Corinthians who were sick and weak, and many of them slept, may be supposed to have been godly many of them, but defective in actual preparations: to instruct us that it is no easy matter to get a heart prepared for this sacrament. There must be grace, and that grace must be stirred up and revived at this sacrament. And it is because of the low thoughts people have of this sacrament that they take no more pains in preparation. There must be knowledge, faith, repentance, obedience, love, and these are standing graces: and yet it may be there is no fitness for a sacrament. There must be, over and above self-consideration, self-judging, self-humiliation, renewed resolutions to amend through the help of Christ what has formerly been amiss; stirring up high opinions of Christ, expectations from Christ, longings after Christ, even sickness after Christ; and much sorrow to think that any thing should come betwixt the cup and the lip to hinder communion with Christ in such ordinances. And here may be both matter of profit to all such as have not hearts prepared, and of comfort to those whom God has made capable of receiving comfort from the ordinances; as also matter of everlasting thanksgiving that God should put so great a difference betwixt them and others; that God should translate them into such a condition, that unless they be neg
ligent in stirring up those graces he hath given them, they may draw those comforts from them which belong unto them, that they above all others may find the sacrament day a day of healing; that they may have wine, and milk, and marrow; that they may eat that which is good, and their souls may delight themselves in fatness.
"Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting."
AND yet our works can never form the ground of acceptance or condemnation, for it is "the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe." Jesus Christ" is made unto us righteousness," and the only ground upon which we can ever stand before a just and holy God; for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It is in Christ Jesus alone that there is no condemnation: "he was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." not be imagined for one moment that this everlasting truth is infringed by our contending that the rule of judgment when we appear before the tribunal of Christ will be our works: works will be appealed to as the rule of acceptance and condemnation. The reason of this is, that it is only by our being in Christ Jesus that we can bring forth good works, and if we be in Christ, we must and shall put forth good works.