« PoprzedniaDalej »
Benjamin also ? What ! the covenant of God with Abraham and his children in their generations ? All these things are against us. No, fir, we cannot part with that covenant, as an abolished Adam's covenant, nor will I give it up for all the friendship in the world.
And yet I will say with Alexander, I will contend with you in friendship and courtesy, even whilst I earnestly contend as gainst you for the truths of GOD, which you have here opposed, and I have endeavoured to vindicate. ? One word more before I part with you; I do affure you, and the whole world, that in this controverfy with you, I have pot, knowingly or advisedly, mifrepresented your sense: If you shall say I did fo in my second argument, from the words, pag179, l'affure you, both myself, and others, could understand you no otherwise than I did in the papers I fent you; and when you told me, you meant there was no pardon in either of those covenants, but that it plainly directed to Abraham's covenant, you will find, I have given you as fair a choice as you can de fire, either to stand to your words in the first sense, wherein I understood them, or (which will be the same to me) to your own sense, in which you afterwards explained it to me. And whereas I blame you over and over in my epistle and conclufio. on, for putting the proper subject of baptifm amongst the þighest things in religion ; let the reader view your conclu. fion, and fee, whether you do, or not. If you fay, you speak of the covenant there, as well as of baptism, I allow that you do fo; yet I hope it is equally as bad, nay, in deed and truth, a great aggravation of your fault, to make this article, viz. God's covenant with Abraham, Gen. xvii. an abolished Adam's covenant, one of the highest concernments of a Christian, the baptism only of adult believers another. My consequences, from your words, are just and regular, how surprizing foever. they seem to you.
If you think fit to rejoin to this my answer, I desire you will avoid, as much as you can, a tedious harangue of words, and speak strictly and regularly to my arguments, by limiting, diftinguishing, or denying, as a dispucant ought to do: If so, promise you a reply, but if I find no such thing, it shall pass with me but for waste paper; nor will I waste time about it. The Lord give us unity in things necessary, liberty in things indifferent, and charity in all things !
Upon divers select Places of SCR I P T U RE:
BELIEVERS are afbfted in preparing their HEARTS, and · exciting their AFFECTIONS and GRACES, when they
craw nigh to GOD in that most awful and folemn ORDINANCE of the LORD's SUPPER.
TO THE REARER.
Christian Reader, C HRIST may be said to be crucified three ways; by the
w Jews, actually, in the facrament declaratively, and by unbelievers at his table interpretatively. Among fins, blood. guiltiness is reckoned one of the most henious; and of all bloodguiltiness, to be guilty of the blood of Christ, is a sin of the deepest guilt, and will be avenged with the most dreadful pupishment, i Cor. xi. 27, 29. If vengeance be taken sevenfold on him that few Cain, what vengeance shall be taken on him that crucifies afres the Lord of glory?
The heaviest blow of divine justice is still ready to avenge the abuse of the best mercy: what can the heart of man conceive more folemn, more sacred, or more deeply affective, than the representation of the most gracious love of the Father, and the most grievous passion of the Son? What sin can be more provoking to God, than the flight and contempt of those moft awful mysteries? And what punishment can be more terrible, than for such a wretched foul to eat and drink' damnation to itself?' Melan&thon records a very dreadful example of God's righteous judgment upon a company of profane wretches, who, in a tragedy, intended to act the death of Christ upon the cross. He that acted the soldier's part, instead of piercing withi his spear a bladder full of blood hid under his garment, wounded him to death that was upon the cross, who falling down
ing him w God speedily to all that
killed him, who (in a disguise) acted the part of the woman that stood wailing under the cross. His brother, who was first slain flew the murderer, who acted the foldier's part, and for slaying him was hanged by order of justice. Thus did the vengeance of God fpeedily overtake them, and hanged them up in chains, for a warning, to all that should ever dare to dally with the great and jealous God.
These are terrible strokes, and yet not so terrible as those which are more ordinarily, but less sensibly, inflicted on the inner man for the abuse of this ordinance.
To prevent these judgments, and obtain those blessings which come through this ordinance, great regard must be had to two things; viz. 1. The in-being. 2. The activity of true grace.
First, Examine thyself, reader, whether there be any gracious principle planted in thy soul, whereby thou art alive indeed unto God. It was an ancient abuse of the facrament (condemned and cast out by the * Carthaginian council) to give it unto dead men. Dead souls can have no communion with the living God, no more benefit from this table than the Emperor's guests had from his table, where loaves of gold were set before them to eat. There is more than a fhew of grace in the facrament; it hath not only the visible fign, but the spirie tual grace also, which it represents. See that there be more than a fhew and a visible sign of grace also in thy soul, when thou comest nigh to the Lord in that ordinance: fee to the ex. ercise and activity, as well as to the truth and fincerity of thy grace.
Even a believer himself doth not eat and drink worthily, unless the grace that is in him be excited and exercised at this ordinance.
It is not faith inhering, but faith realizing, applying and powerfully working. It is not a disposition to humiliation for lin, but the actual thawing and melting of the heart for sin; ** whilst thou lookeft on him whom thou haft pierced, and « mourneft for him as one that mourneth for his only fon, for « his first-born :" nor is it a disposition or principle of love to Christ that is only required, but the kirring up of that fire of love, the exciting of it into a vehement flame.
I know the excitations and exercises of grace are attended with great difficulties; they are not things within our command, and at our beck. Oh! it is hard, it is hard indeed, reader, e.
* Corcil. Carshag. Can. 6. Placuit ut defunétorum coporibus noc detur eucharistia, &c.
· ven after God hath taken the heart of stone out of thee, and
given thee an heart of flesh, to mourn actually for fin, even when so great an occasion and call is given thee to that work at the Lord's table; for the same power is requisite to excite the act that was required to plant the habit. Gratia gratiam poftulat.
However, the duty is thine, though the power be God's; why else are his people blamed, because they stirred not up themselves to take hold of him? Ifa. Ixiv. 7.
To affist thee in this work, some help is offered in the fol: lowing meditations : it is true, it is not the reading of the best meditations another can prepare for thee, that will alter the temper of thy heart, except the Spirit of God concur with these truths, and bless them to thy soul: but yet these helps must not : be slighted, because they are not self-sufficient. “ Man lives s6 not by bread alone; but by every word that proceedeth out
6 of the mouth of God;" yet it were a fond vanity, and fin, for : any man, upon that ground, to caft away bread, and expect to
live by a miracle without it. We must lift up our hearts to God for a blessing, and then eat. Do the same here: first pray; · then read; and the Lord quicken thee by i: for duty.
There are two things of special concernment to thee, reader, when thou art to address thyself to any folemn duty, especially
such as this. - 1. Prepare for thy duty diligently.
2. Rely not upon thy preparations. 1. Prepare with all diligence for thy duty. Take pains with thy dull heart; cleanse thy polluted heart, compose thy vain heart; remember how great a presence thou art approaching. If * Auguftus thus reproved one, that entertained him with.
out suitable preparation, faying, "I did not think we had been : « so familiar;' much more may thy God reprove thee, for thy careless neglect of due preparation for him.
2. But yet take heed, on the other fide, that thou rely not upon thy beft preparation. It is an ingenious, and true · note of Luther, † (speaking to this very point of preparation
for the sacrament) Never are men more unfit, than when • they think themselves most fit, and best prepared for their
duty; never more fit, than when most humbled and alham1 ed, in a sense of their own unfitness.
* Non putabam me tibi tam familiarem.
That the blessing of God, and the breathings of his good Spi: rit, may accompany these poor labours to thy foul, is the heart's defire of,
Thy fervant in Chris,
JOHN F L A V E L.
UPON . .
of his faints, and to be had in reverence of all that are about · him.
THERE are special feafons, wherein the saints approachi
near unto God in this life, and wherein the Lord comes near unto them.
It pleaseth the Majesty of heaven, fometimes to admit poor worms of the earth to such fenfible and fweet perceptions of himself, as are found above all expression, and feem to be a transient glance upon that glory, which glorified eyes more steadily behold above: “ Believing, we rejoice with joy unspeaka ( able, and full of glory;" or, glorified joy as it is, i Pet. i. 8. And yet how sweet and excellent soever these foretastes. of heaven are, heaven itself will be an unspeakable surprise to the saints, when they shall come thither.
Now among all those ordinances, wherein the bleffed God manifests himself to the children of men, none are found to set forth more of the joy of his presence, than that of the Lord's supper : at that blessed table; are such sensible embraces be: twixt Christ and believers, as do afford delight and folace, be: yond the joy of the whole earth.
And where such special manifestations of God are; suitable dispositions and preparations should be found on our part, to meet the Lord.
And, certainly, we shall find reafon enough for it, if we will consider the importance of this scripture before us ; “ God is “ greatly to be feared in the assembly of his faints, and to be
* Ageldnoase greepa Video OT w Kolo fade e come sily. Innerrabili; to gloris ficato, Montanus.