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must needs be paths of life and peace. Eternity now opens its unbounded prospect; "the crown of glory, which fadeth not away," shines before him. Angels surround his bed, ready to receive his departing soul, and bear it on their wings to the paradise of God. Hark! how they shout through the skies! "Lift up your heads, ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, that the Heir of glory may come in;" Jesus, the God of Angels, stands ready to welcome him to his bosom, and place him at his right hand on a throne of glory. They shall sit down. with me, says he, on my throne, as I am set down with my Father on his throne.' (Rev. iii. 21.) Far therefore from trembling at the thoughts of parting from the body, as the pleasure-loving, the rich, the esteemed of this world, who have received their consolation; far from the desire to stay, or casting longing, lingering looks behind on a world he knows not how to part with ; the believing soul stretches forth itself to heaven, looks upwards and forwards with delight, nor dreads the dark valley of the shadow of death; for there stand the golden gates of life and immortality. Big with the expectations of eternal glory, ravished with the foretastes of his mighty bliss, the soul burns with the very fervent desire it hath to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.' (Phil. i. 23.) And in a moment all its desires are accomplished; "Mortality is swallowed up of life." (2 Cor. v. 4.)
These are glorious and reviving truths; not the flights of fancy, but the declarations of God, and witnessed to by the death of thousands, who, with good old Simeon, have cried, "Now, Lord, lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation :" (Luke ii. 29.) and triumphed in the jaws of death: "O death,
where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy vic tory!" (1 Cor. xv. 55.)
Such are the issues of the paths of righteousness. Enough indeed to make the wicked say, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my latter end be like his." (Numb. xxiii. 10.) But we must first be found in the way of holiness, if we would partake in the comforts of it. My brethren, if you approve the character as excellent, and would enjoy this blessedness, then "go and do likewise,"
The Communicant's Spiritual Companion.
ΤΟ Ordinance more peculiarly merits the regard of all professors of the religion of Jesus, than that which seals to them the blessings of the covenant of grace. The decay of vital and spiritual religion is evident in nothing more than the general neglect of these holy mysteries: and a revival of it can never be hoped for, till a serious concern about eternity awakens the soul to enquire about the nature of the gospel salvation, and the means of grace which lead to it : to effect this, is the design of the following pages. The careless professor will here find, I trust, alarming notices of his danger, and calls to consideration; the ignorant, instruction; the fearful, solution of their doubts; the sincere, assistance; the strong, increasing light, support and encouragement.
May the great Master of assemblies fix the following truths deeply and abidingly in the heart of every one who reads them.
Of the Nature of a Sacrament.
A SACRAMENT is defined by the church, in our excellent though concise Catechism, to be the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same,
and as a pledge to assure us thereof." In this sacrament of the Lord's supper, the bread and wine are the outward signs, signifying that body and blood of Christ which is received into the heart by faith. The sign of the bread signifies Christ's broken body, the wine his blood shed for our sins; and the sign is mutual, for it represents also our dependence upon and esteem of him, whose body and blood under these signs wel spiritually partake of.
The original meaning of the word sacrament signifies the oath by which the Roman soldiers bound themselves to their general. Thus it is our oath of allegiance, wherein we swear fidelity to Jesus the captain of our salvation; as they swore that they would never desert their colours in the day of battle, we also herein solemnly engage to maintain irreconcileable war against all the enemies of Christ without and within us, fighting manfully under his banner against sin, the world and the devil, and this at the peril of our eternal damnation. So that whenever we presume to come to Christ's table, without this war against sin maintained in our conversation, we become guilty of the body and blood of Christ; we incur the awful guilt of perjury; and "eat and drink our own damnation, not discerning the Lord's body."
This sacrament hath in scripture several particular names, which are expressive of the nature and design of it.
1. The Lord's supper. It is a spiritual repast for the soul, as meat is for the body; and as our bodies are refreshed by the bread and wine, so much more is the believing soul by the body and blood of Christ therein shewn forth. It is a chief banquet in the family of Christ, as supper was Ꭲ .
among the ancients; and therefore none of the children should be absent, unless upon very urgent occasions, lest they not only lose their food, but incur the displeasure of their Father for their neglect and irregularities. And it is emphatically stiled the Lord's supper, forasmuch as it was instituted by him at supper time, the same night in which he was betrayed, and then á constant memorial of it commanded by him; and herein it is so highly distinguished from all common food, whether you consider the Master of the feast the Lord of glory, or the spiritual nourishment contained under these consecrated elements.
2. It is called the communion of the blood of Christ. It represents the intercourse there is between Christ the head, and the members of his body, called in the prayer after the communion, "the company of all faithful people." He communicates to them herein his favour and grace, his blood and righteousness; and they communicate their thanksgiving, acceptance, love and gratitude: so that no persons can at all partake in it, till they have a living union with him, and are a part of his mystical body; for then only the nourishment and support can be communicated to them. All who are not thus united to Christ, are as branches cut off and withered, and can receive no more benefit by coming to the Lord's table, than a dead body can from meat and drink. It is also a communion with the members themselves, as well as with their head Jesus Christ, For we being many, are but one body; and we eat of the same bread, and drink of the same cup, in token that we derive our life from one common fountain; that we are all actuated by the same spirit, and have as near an interest in, and affection for one a