« PoprzedniaDalej »
** had in reverence of all that are round about him." Wherein we have, 1. The object; 2. The subject; 3. The mode of divine worship.
First, The object of worship, God; God is to be feared. In all divine worship, men and angels have to do with God. “ All things (faith the apostle) are open and naked to the
eyes of him with whom we have to do,” Heb. iv. 14. With whom we have speech, or business, so it may be understood. When we worship, we draw nigh to God; and that about the greatest concerns, and weightiest business in the world.
Secondly, The subject, or the persons that approach unto God in his worship; “ His saints, and all that are about him.” By saints, many interpreters do (in this place) understand the angels, called saints, from the purity and holiness of their nature; and so make the next clause exegetical of this. Thofe that before were called saints in respect of their nature, are, in the next words faid to be such as are round about him, his satellites, attendants, or those that stand as servants about him, to do his pleasure; where they are described by their office. Both these seem to be grounded upon the precedent verses : " Who in heaven can be compared to the Lord ? Who among " the sons of the mighty,” (or of God, so the angels are called, Job i. 6.) “can be likened to the Lord ?" And though it be true, that the angels worship, and serve the Lord with the greatest reverence and dread (for these are his nigh ones, or such as are round about him ;) yet there is no necessity to limit this scripture so narrowly, by excluding the people of God on earth; they also are his saints, and more frequently so stiled, though they be saints of a lower class and order : and they also are round about him, as well as the angels; and when they worship him, he is in the midst of them, Matth. xviii. 20. And the place where they assemble to worship, is called the place of his feet, Isa. Ix. 13. But if we find not the saints on earth in the direct and immediate sense of this text, yet we must needs meet them in the rebound and consequence. For if creatures so much above us, as the angels, do perform their service, and pay their homage to the highest Majesty with so much fear and reverence; shall not inferior creatures, the
poor worms of the earth, tremble at his presence ? And this brings us to the third thing ; namely,
Thirdly, The mode, or manner, in which the worship of God is to be performed; viz. with great fear and reverence :
« God is greatly to be feared ” Piscator translates it, Vehementer formidandus, to be vehemently feased ; and opposes it to that formal, careless, trifling, vain spirit, which too often is found in those that approach the Lord in the duties of his worship. The observation from hence will be this: Observation. That the greatest composedness and seriousness of
Spirit is due to God, from all those that draw nigh unto him
in his worship. And this is no more than what the Lord exprefly requires at our hands; Lev. x. 3, “ I will be sanctified in them that coine nigh unto me. So Heb xii. 28, 29.
« Let us have grace, whereby we may ferve God acceptably, with reverence u and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire."
And as this disposition and temper of spirit is due to every act and part of God's worship; fo (to accommodate this general to our particular occafion) it is especially due to this great and folemn ordinance of the Lord's supper.
It is the observation of the Cafuifts, that facramentum et mortis articulus aequiparantur: The facrament of the Lord's supper, and the very point of death, require equal seriousness; a man's spirit should be as deeply folemn and composed at the Lord's table, as upon a death-bed. We should go to that ordinance, as if we were then going into another world.
The primitive Christians used to fit up whole nights in meditation and prayer, before their participation of the Lord's fupper; and these nights were called Vigiliae, their watchesą Such was the reverence the saints had for this ordinance (which they usually called mysterium tremendum, a tremendous mystery,), that they would not give “ sleep to their eyes, or flumber “ to their eye-lids;" when so great and folemn a day drew near, Chryfoft. lib. 3. de facerdot,
And that all this folemn preparation is no more than needs, will convincingly appear to us, upon the following grounds and reasons. Reason 1. From the folemn nature and ends of this ordi
For what is the express design and use of it, but a lively representation of the Lord's death? I Cor. xi. 26. “ As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew “ the Lord's death till he come.” Jesus Christ is therein set forth crucified before us; and not to make a bare representation of it to us, as a thing wherein we have no personal interest or concernment, but to represent. his death lively, and seal our itle to it firmly: “This is my body, which is broken for you,?*
Now, which of these is to be attended with a dead, careless, md flight spirit ? Isit the representation of Christ's death ? God forbid! On! if there be any subject of meditation in the world, able to drink
the very spirit of a man, this is it! The fun fainted, the heavens mourned in black, the very rocks rent in pieces, when this tragedy was acted ; and shallour hearts be more senseless and obdurate than they, at the representation of it? But, lo ! here is more than a representation : Christ is set forth in this ordinance, as crucified for you ; as suffering, and enduring all this, in your room and stead. Now,
Suppose, reader, thyself to be justly condemned to the torture of the rack, or strappado; and that thy father, brother, or dearest friend, preferring thy life to his own, would become thy ANTIP6Yxos, ransomer, by undergoing the torment for thee; and all that is left for thee to suffer, were only by way of fympathy with him : suppose now thyself standing by that engine of torture, and beholding the members of thy dear friend distorted, and all out of joint; hearing his doleful groans, extorted by the extremity of anguilh ; and under all these torments, still maintaining a conftant love to thee; not once repenting his torments for thee; couldest thou stand there with dry eyes ? Could thy heart be unaffected, and stupid at such a light ? Write him rather a beaft, a stone, than a man, that could do so.
But this is not all: the believer's interest in Christ is fealed, as well as the sufferings of Christ represented, in this ordinance.
And is a sealed interest in Christ fo cheap or common a thing, as that it fhould not engage, yea, fwallow up all the powers of thy foul? Oh! what is this? what is this?
The seal of God, fet to the foul of a poor fier, to confirm and ratify its title to the person of Christ, and the ime. ftimable treasaires of his blood. Surely, as the sealing up of a man to damnation, is the sum of all misery; and that poor creature that is so sealed, hath cause enough to mouin and wail to eternity; so the sealing up of a soul to 'salvation, is the sum of all mercy and happiness; and the foul that is fo fealed, hath caufe enough to lie at the feet of God, overwhelmed with the sense of fo invaluable a mercy.
Reason 2. As the nature and ends of this ordinance call for the greatest composedness of spirit; fo the danger of unworthy receiving, should work our hearts to the most serious frame : for if a man be here without his wedding-garment, if he eat and drink unworthily, it is at the greatest peril of hi
foul that he doth fo; 1 Cor. xi. 27. “ Wherefore, whosoever « shall cat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unwore do thily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”
To profane and undervalue that body and blood of the Lord, is a fin above measure finful; and the punishments of such fins, will be the most dreadful : for still the more excellent the blessings are that come by any ordinance, the more dreadful the curses are, that avenge the abuse of such mercies. How foon may a man draw fearful guilt upon his soul, and dreadful judgments upon his body, by an heedless management of such sacred mysteries ? “For this cause many are weak and “ fickly among you, and many sleep;" verse 30.
It is a most weighty note, that a * worthy pen sets upon this scripture : • They discerned not the body of his Son Jesus
Christ, in his ordinances; but instead of that holy, reverend ' and deep-dyed behaviour, which was due to it, both from ¢ their inner and outward man, as being a creature of the • highest and deepest fanctification, that ever God fanctified;
fanctified not only to a more excellent and glorious condition; but also to many ends and purposes, of far higher and
dearer concernment, both for the glory of God, and benefit ! of men themfelves, than all other creatures whatsoever, whe
ther in heaven or earth : They handled, and dealt by it in
both kinds, as if it had been a common unsanctified thing: « Thus they discerned not the Lord's body.'
And as they discerned not his body, fo neither did God (in fome sense) discern theirs; but in those fore strokes and heavy judgments which he inflicted on them, had them in no other regard or consideration, than as if they had been the bodies of his enemies, the bodies of wicked and sinful men ; thus drawing the model and platform of their punishment (as usually he doth) from the structure and proportion of their sin.
Thus the juft and righteous God builds up the breaches that we make upon the honour belonging to the body of his Son, with the ruins of that honour which he had given unto ours, in health, strength, life, and many other outward comforts and supports.
O then what need is there of a most awful and composed spirit, when we approach the Lord in this ordinance ?
Reason 3. As the danger of unworthy receiving should com, pose us to the greatest seriousness, so the remembrance of that frame and temper Christ's Spirit was in, when he actually suf
Mr. Tho. Goodwia's epistle to Mr. Fenner's fermons.
fered those things for us, should compose our spirits, into a frame more suitable and agreeable to his. When we see his death, as it were acted over again before our eyes : Was his heart roving and wandering in that day? Did he not regard and mind the work he was going about? Was his heart, like thine, stupid, and unaffected with these things ? Look but upon that text, Luke xxii.
shall fee whether it were so, or not. It is said (when this tragedy drew nigh, and his enemies were ready to seize him in thegarden) That being “in “ an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was, “ as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground.” And Matth. xxvi. 38. he faith, “ My soul is exceeding forrowful,
even unto death:" His soul was full of sorrow : And is thine full of stupidity ? God forbid !
If thy heart be cold, Christ's was hot : If thou canst not shed a tear, he poured out clods of blood from every part. O, how unsuitable is a dry eye, and hard heart, to such an ordinance as this !
Reason 4. As the frame Christ's Spirit was in at his death, should command the most folemn frame upon our spirits, at the recognizing of it; so the things here represented, require, and call for the highest exercise of every grace of the Spirit in our souls : For we come not thither as idle spectators, but as active instruments, to glorify God, by exercising every grace upon Christ, as crucified for us. Behold here are, among the rest,
First, The proper object of faith.
First, The proper object of faith is here. This ordinance, as a glass, represents to thine eye that glorious Person, of whom the Father said, “ This is my beloved Son, in whom I “ am well pleased,” Matth. xvii. 5. Of whom he said, “ I “ have laid help upon one that is mighty.” This was he that
was made lin for us, who had no fin, that we might be “ made the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor. v. 21. Who trode the wine-press alone, and is here to be seen in his red garments. Every drop of his precious blood hath a tongue, calling for faith to behold it, poured forth as a facrifice to God for Gin. “ This (faith he) is the cup of the New Testament “ in my blood, which was shed for many, for the remiffios “ of sins." And what footing could thy faith find for pardon and falva
where else? It is Christ crucified that faith clasps, as the last and only hope and refuge of a poor finner: Here a