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tive: love towards God then more and more works in our souls, until, through the renewing influence of the Holy Spirit, it shall produce that filial trust in the Great Author and Finisher of our salvation, which shall become the "perfect love" which "casteth out fear;" that "fear" which "hath torment." An humble and reverential fear must and ought to remain ever upon our hearts: and the most seraphic love towards the Great Being who made, redeemed, and sanctifies us, is not incompatible with the profoundest reverence, and the lowliest remembrance of what is infinite, and what is only finite. His inscrutable perfections will necessarily preserve in the minds of his faithful servants a due fear of all that we are taught, or can comprehend, of the Lord God Almighty.
Unless, therefore, we be influenced in our measure by the love and fear of God, we cannot be yet in any safe assurance of accepted obedience in Christ. The thief whose hand is holden through fear of human punishment cannot be called honest; the sensualist who is sober and temperate merely to preserve his health; the worshipper in the temple who worships to be seen of men, that his outward observances may acquit him of the imputation of total carelessness about his soul, or of heathen ignorance; can surely, none of them,
be said to do that towards God, which, even in the propitiation of the Redeemer on man's behalf, can be accepted only as the fruits of faith. If such as these be our motives, we can have no real thought for the soul: we are outwardly correct, because we thereby live reputably and profitably in the enjoyment of passing pleasures and the round of a worldly life; but we are not, we cannot be, imitators of Christ our enjoined example, whose “ meat and drink" it was "to do the will of His Heavenly Father.”*
Now let us apply this great and necessary first principle of a Christian's duty to that sacred deed which we have been invited to perform, in receiving the Supper of the Lord. Let us examine the real motives which bring us to the house of God for that especial duty, and honestly see whether they are such, however (through infirmity) imperfect in their kind, as will bear the application of this only safe test in the true believer's soul.
If we come to the table of the Lord from the only right motive, the love and fear of God, we shall repent, seriously and truly repent, of our past sins, our wilful ignorances, our neglected duties, as servants and disciples of our crucified Lord. Our repentance will not, then, be the mere confession of our lips; * John, iv. 3.
but it will have proceeded from our heart, changed through the gracious influence of the Holy Spirit, humbled and bowed down to the cross of the great Propitiation of all our sins, under a deep sense of the condemning power of sin, and bringing forth that "godly sorrow which worketh repentance unto salvation not to be repented of."
If we come rightly prepared to the Supper of the Lord, we shall have considered, with profitable thought, God's unspeakable love "towards us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us."* We shall be ready, under a deep view of our lost condition by nature, and our still worse condition by our own personal sinfulness, to confess, that "herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."+ In Him we shall then trust; in Him only our hope will rest for present peace in His mediatorial office, for future pardon and glory in His atonement and full and sufficient propitiation.
If, moreover, we draw near to the table of the Lord from the love and fear of God, we shall go in real and unqualified good, will and charity towards all our fellow creatures; ready, to the utmost, to undo every wrong which any may suffer through our means, 1 John, iv. 16.
* Rom. v. 8.
and forgiving with heartfelt reconciliation, the injuries and offences which we may have received ourselves.
Actuated by that only right foundation of a Christian's duty, the love and fear of God, we shall fulfil the Apostle's express command: “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup."
In thus considering the true preparation for the Supper of the Lord, we shall neither impose upon ourselves, nor upon others, in our right understanding of the duty; nor shall we find difficulty in determining when it is received unworthily. Christians then
receive the Holy Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ unworthily, when they have no real sorrow for their sins, when they have not seriously examined themselves whether they do repent of them or not; when they have not determined, and already acted upon the determination, to part with any thing whatever, of habit, of self-indulgence, of worldly pleasure, of worldly profit, though it be as dear to them as a right hand or an eye, which hinders the progress of the spiritual life. For sin, if it be really repented of, will be forsaken. It is the never failing test of true repentance. We may deceive ourselves in other marks of a true repentance, but upon this we may safely rest. If we would be really
sorrowful for our sins, we must have the feeling of sorrow in our hearts. Under worldly afflictions, which we feel to be afflictions, we not only know that we have sorrow at heart, but oftentimes manifest that sorrow far beyond the duty of Christian submission to the will of God. If, by the mere strength of natural evil, we are easily brought to feel sorrow under the ordinary afflictions of life, much more will the truly penitent Christian be rendered, through divine grace, deeply sorrowful for sin; sin which our Heavenly Father hates, and which has been answered for, on our behalf, by the heavy sufferings of His own Eternal Son. If, then, we be really sorrowful for sin, we cannot so deceive ourselves as not to know whether we have such sorrow or not.
With respect to the degree of sorrow which each of us ought to feel and manifest to God, for our respective sins and neglected duties, (a question much affecting minds tender and conscientious before God) that must depend upon various circumstances peculiar to each individual. It will be deeper and more lasting, according to the nature and number of our sins, our spiritual advantages and opportunities, and the light of the Gospel in our hearts. If we feel, through a better knowledge, the exceeding sinfulness of our own