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For this purpose, I shall show,
1. How this sacrament is used in faith; and then,
II. Unfold the safety of those who by faith use it, from all such dangers, present and future, as threaten their salvation.
I. This sacrament is used in faith,
1. When we feel and acknowledge our own miserable state. · As the high priest laid his hand on the head of the victim, and over it confessed his own sins and those of the people, so we must, exercising faith in Christ the Ransomer, confess that we deserve to be led to the altar for a sacrifice, and not to sit down at his table, to be fed with the provisions of God's grace. We must mourn over the corruption of our nature, and the disobedience of our lives. We must repent of all our transgressions, in sincerity and truth. We must not cherish any sin, but loathe and abhor all sin, even our besetting sin ; feeling, and feeling deeply, that sin is an accursed thing. The language of our hearts, with such views of ourselves, and such exercises in relation to sin, will be,“ God be merciful to us sinners."
2. The Lord's Supper is used in faith, when we discern the efficacy of sacrifice. :
The atonement is made by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. In this way sins are covered, hid from God's eyes, through the righteousness of Christ. Our obligation to punishment is cancelled, and the condemning power of the law annihilated. These things faith beholds in this ordinance ; for in this ordinance, Christ the hiding place, the Lamb of God taking away sin, and the peace of Jew and Gentile, is unfolded. The believer recognizing the way of salvation through a crucified Redeemer, acknowledges that in the thing sacrificed is found his deliverance. By means of it the destroying angel has passed over him. In this way of salvation he finds a sufficiency adequate to his wants and wishes; for Christ is “ able to " save them to the uttermost that come un" to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to “ make intercession for them?” Thus he believes Christ to be a refuge, a safe, as also an only refuge.
a Heb. vii. 25.
3. The Lord's Supper is used in faith, when we apply the blood of Christ, and receive his atonement.
That blood being offered to us for our salvation, we must embrace the offer, and actually hide ourselves, both in soul and body, under the refuge which it affords. As the bread is eaten, and the wine is drank, so there must be a real spiritual participation of the atonement effected by Christ's sacrifice. The thing signified in this ordinance is not a distant but a present good; not a good to be merely admired for its greatness, and desired on account of its suitableness to our wants, but to be used by us as ours in the offer of the Gospel. Such an appropriating act belongs to the essence of saving faith.
4. The Lord's Supper is used in faith, when we devote ourselves to him whose death is commemorated, willing at any time to seal our testimony with our blood.
Having renounced the devil, the world, and our sinful hearts, we must follow the Lord fully, suffering as well as doing his will. We must steadfastly support his truth in its purity, against all error and corruption; attend upon all the ordinances of his appointment, publicly acknowledging, by such attendance, his rightful sovereignty over us; and obey all his commandments which he has given us for the rule of our lives. In thus following him, we must not be seduced by prosperity, or overawed by difficulty. We must trust to his power and faithfulness to hold out unto the end. And in the whole of our conduct we must have special regard to Christ's rule; “ By this shall all men know “ that ye are my disciples, if ye have love “ one to another”.” The love which he requires, is inseparably connected with that “ holiness without which no man shall see - the Lord.”
5. The Lord's Supper is used in faith, when we spiritually taste and relish the sweetness of Christ, and of all his blessings.
He must be enjoyed as Jehovah -our righteousness and strength. We may not separate, in our use of Christ, these important relations which he sustains towards us. The only evidence which we can have of his being our righteousness, is the fact that he is our strength. To experience his power in subduing us to himself, and making us a John xiii. 35.
6 Heb. xii. 14.
v.] IN THE HOUR OF DANGER. 117 more holy, is emphatically to enjoy him. The great object which we ought to have in view in this ordinace, is our spiritual strength and refreshment. The last depends upon the first. As the body of sin and of death is decaying, the life of righteousness is maturing; and, with its maturity, brings along with its own delights. The more we taste that the Lord is gracious, the more ability we acquire to resist temptations, and to conquer at the last. .
We proceed to unfold, · II. The safety which the believing use of the Lord's Supper affords from all such present and future dangers.
1. It saves us from the condemnation of sin.
· The blood of the Covenant, apprehended by faith, is a covering for our guilt, and a cleansing of our pollution. God looks upon us, in that case, as one with his Anointed, and therefore accepted in him. “ There “ is therefore now no condemnation to them “ which are in Christ Jesus"." They have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus
c Rom. viii. 1.