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4. There must be something extremely criminal in partaking of the symbols of the body and blood of Christ, with unholy views and affections. This all insincere professors are guilty of, while sitting around his table, where he is evidently set forth as crucified before their eyes. They symbolize with those spectators of his crucifixion, who reviled and insulted him in his agonies on the cross. While contemplating his superlative love, and grace, and condescension, in his incarnation, obedience, sufferings and death, which call for their admiration, love, gratitude, and praise, they sit with hearts full of unbelief, impenitence, and ingratitude. Such feelings towards Christ are always sinful, but much more criminal, while they are professedly commemorating the astonishing scene of his crucifixion with his friends, who, at the same time, are gratefully and joyfully admiring the wonders of his grace. If they did not take peculiar pains to harden their hearts and stupify their consciences on communion day, they must painfully realize, that while partaking the sacramental elements, they were eating and drinking judgment to themselves. They may, however, have become so stupid as to have no such painful reflections, in the time of their unworthily partaking of the Lord's supper. But, if they ever do seriously and impartially review their past sinful views and feelings, they will be convinced that they contracted their greatest guilt while sitting at the table of Christ. There they crucified to themselves the Son of God afresh, counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and did despite to the spirit of grace. This is a scripture representation of insincere professors, and of the aggravated guilt they contract, by their unholy, ungrateful, and hostile feelings towards the glorious and divine Redeemer, who came, and suffered, and died for them, that they might escape the wrath to come. This description ought not to deter any from professing Christ, and commemorating his dying love, whose hearts are right with God, and united to Christ as the branches are to the vine.
5. It appears from this subject, that those who are qualified to commemorate the death of Christ on earth, are really qualified for the enjoyments and employments of heaven. The death of Christ will be commemorated there, by all who are redeemed from among men, and afford them the highest satisfaction and enjoyment. John, in vision, heard them sing and say, “ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.” Again he said, "I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on mount Zion,
and with him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps : and they sang as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders and no man could learn that song, but the hundred and forty and four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.” And again he said, “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia ; let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” All who sincerely and joyfully commemorate the death of Christ, shall finally be admitted to heaven, where they shall unite with the general assembly and church of the first born, in celebrating the marriage supper of the Lamb, which will afford them unspeakably greater felicity than they ever enjoyed at the communion table on earth. The sacrament is not a converting ordinance; but it is an ordinance designed and suited to sanctify and qualify all real converts for the enjoyments and employments of heaven. All who are qualified to enjoy communion with Christ and his friends on earth are qualified to celebrate the death of their divine Redeemer in the kingdom of glory. Hence,
6. All who are disqualified for commemorating the death of Christ, are equally disqualified for entering into the kingdom of heaven. It appears from the very nature of duly commemorating the death of Christ, that all men in the state of nature, who are enemies to God, to Christ, and to his friends, are totally unfit to commemorate the death of Christ, and hold communion with him and his sincere followers; and of course, they are unfit to hold communion with him and them in heaven. Christ appointed the sacrament of his supper for the edification and comfort of his cordial friends. He requires them to separate themselves from the men of the world, and unitedly hold communion with him, and one another at his table. And at the same time forbids all others, who have not the wedding garment, to come with them. He appointed the sacrament on purpose to draw a line of distinction and separation between saints and sinners, his friends and his enemies. His friends at his table exhibit a visible distinction between them and his enemies, and visibly presage their future and eternal distinction and separation. The doctrines of total depravity and special
grace are clearly, visibly, and solemnly exhibited before the eyes of all impenitent, and unbelieving sinners. Christ practically says to all his enemies, every sacrament day, that, if they continne impenitent and unbelieving, he will finally shut them out of heaven, and consign them to an everlasting separation from himself, from his friends, and from all good. If his enemies only realized this, would they so ofton look down with contempt upon him and his friends at his table? Would they not tremble at the thought of being eternally separated from a pious father, a pious mother, a pious brother, a pious sister, or a pious child ? How many are there who know, and are willing to own, that they are unqualified to come to the table of the Lord, and to hold communion with him and his friends, that seem not to know and allow that they are equally unqualified for heaven. Is it not time for such to awaken out of their stupidity and self-inconsistency, and realize the tremendous consequences of a final and eternal separation from heaven and happiness? As I am not declaiming, but speaking the words of truth and soberness, I will recapitulate to you what Christ has said on this solemn and momentous subject. “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil: for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage; and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Hear what Christ has further to say on this interesting subject. “When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: then shall ye begin to say, We have eat and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are ; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out." Does it not deeply concern every insincere professor, and every impenitent non-professor, to attend immediately to the things that belong to his everlasting peace, before the door of mercy is shut?
“YEA, he is altogether lovely."-Solomon's Song, v. 16,
This book is a sacred dialogue between Christ and the church, in which Christ sets forth the beauty of the church, and the church displays the loveliness of Christ. In the close of this chapter, the church undertakes to describe the personal beauties of Christ, and after exhausting the force of language, she concludes with saying, “ Yea, he is altogether lovely." This is a description of Christ in his mediatorial character; for in this character only his peculiar and supreme loveliness consists. As God, he is Creator, Governor, Lawgiver, and Judge. But these are great, and glorious, and awful, rather than lovely characters. Loveliness arises from goodness, rather than greatness; and especially from that goodness which communicates and diffuses happiness. Kindness, tenderness, and compassion, are the distinguishing qualities of a Saviour, Deliverer, and Redeemer. And these amiable qualities, which Christ, as Mediator, most eminently displays, diffuse a peculiar and superlative loveliness over his whole character, and render him the chiefest among ten thousand," and " altogether lovely.” Hence the supreme loveliness of Christ as the Mediator, is the subject which now properly lies before us. And this we shall attempt to illustrate, by taking a particular survey of his mediatorial conduct. And here I would observe,
1. That Christ is lovely in undertaking the work of redemption. From the early days of eternity, he foresaw the fallen and perishing state of Adam and all his posterity. He knew they could not be saved without a ransom, which no other person in the universe could give, but himself. And this ransom he knew must be his own precious blood. In this most trying case he steps forward and says, Lord, here am I—"I de