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ishment, regret and disapprobation. I have from time to time addressed to you such exhortations as I thought would have some weight, at least, with the serious and well disposed; and I had begun to hope, that my remonstrances had, at last, awakened some to a sense of the obligation and importance of this solemn ordinance. But alas! the righteousness of many among us is as the morning cloud and the early dew which soon pass away. Some who heretofore were punctual in discharging this duty do now regularly absent themselves from church on a communion Sab. bath. Others who do communicate are not sufficiently attentive to recommend this necessary duty to others, especially their children, relatives and dependents. The young and rising generation are thus left ignorant in religious things, and, if we may judge from outward appearances, scarcely reflect that they have immortal spirits to be saved; that they are sinful creatures who need a Saviour; or that they came into the world for any other purpose than to prosecute the gaieties and frivolities of fashion and amusement, or, at best, to pursue the trifling and short-lived objects of the present life. As we have the prospect
of celebrating next Sabbath the holy ordinance of the Lord's supper, I think it my duty once more to return to the charge, and endeavour to excite in the members of this congregation a more general desire than has hith, erto been manifested of eating the Christian passover. For this
purpose I propose to dedicate this day to a preparatory service for the more solemn service of next Sabbath: and by the number of applications for admission to the communion which shall be made, in the course of the week, I shall be able to determine whether there is yet remaining sufficient reliligion and virtue to be operated upon by motives of duty and even interest, or whether it will be of any avail ever to renew this subject again. In this and the following discourse therefore I shall endeavour ;
In the first place, to point out the obligations which all Christians are under to celebrate the sacrament of the Lord's supper:
Secondly, in order to shew you that it is your interest as well as your duty, and in order to con
that to eat the Christian passover is an honour and privilege which we ought earnestly to desire, I will endeavour to point
out some of those innumerable advantages which are derived from partaking of the Lord's supper;
And lastly, I shall endeavour, briefly, to describe the preparation which is most suitable on such an occasion, that you may discharge this duty in a good and acceptable manner.
I. In the first place, I am to point out the obligations which Christians are under to celebrate the sacrament of the Lord's supper. And
First, we are bound to celebrate the sacrament of the Lord's Supper by the express command of our Lord enjoining us to do so. It is a common but gross and fatal mistake to suppose that the sacrament, though a proper and good thing, is not a strict duty binding indiscriminately on all who profess the gospel, that it is left to our own option whether we shall partake of it or not, that by receiving it we indeed perform an important act of virtue and are entitled to exalted praise, but that no positive guilt is incurred by absenting ourselves from the ordinance. But what constitutes moral obligation? It is the authority of the lawgiver by whom the action is commanded or forbidden. The destinction of moral and
positive precepts lessens not the strictness of the obligation of either. If the former are made known to us by the dictates of reason and conscience, the latter proceed from a source no less pure and infallible, from God himself speaking to us in his word.
If moral precepts are consistent with the eternal rectitude and fitness of things, it is no less so for creatures to obey the will of their Creator in whatever he is pleased to cominand. Who ever violates a positive precept acts in direct opposition to the eternal fitness of things, which laid him under an obligation to obey that positive precept. He is guilty of sin, no less than he who violates a moral precept, because he equally insults the authority of the lawgiver and infringes his right to obedience. To get rid therefore of the obligation which we are under to celebrate the sacrament of the supper, we must either disavow the authority of Jesus as a lawgiver or deny the existence of the precept. The former will be a bold and difficult step—to reject the authority of him whom winds and waves obey, who hath the keys of hell and of death, who shutteth and none can open, who openeth and none can shut. Or if we might possibly be foolish and unhappy enough now to conceal from our own minds this interesting truth, that, Jesus is our lawgiver and will be bur judge, yet we shall not be able to do so in that day, when, seated on a tribunal of justice, his language shall be “ those mine enemies, who “ would not that I should reign over them,
bring hither and slay them before me.”
The other evasion is equally impossible, For though too many are but little acquainted with their Bible, their is none who can read or who has ever frequented the house of God who knows not, that, the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner he took the cup when he had supped, and said, This
cup is the new testament of my blood; this do
ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew forth the Lord's death till he come.
Let no man then pretend to suppose, that, it is a matter of indifference whether he communicate or not. For, from what has been now said, it appears to be as much your duty to communicate as it is to remember the Sab,