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1 Cor. x. 17
at the same Table, with our selves. This is the Inference
Fourthly, Remembring Christ and his Death does once more presume a Man sensible, that he must have been Miserable to all Eternity without it; that this was an admirable Contrivance, for snatching a whole World out of the Jaws of Death and Hell; that it was an Instance of unparalleld Mercy in God the Father, and a most amazing Condescension in God the Son: That they are even Monsters of Ingratitude, who read, and hear, and reflect, Who it was thatdied, and What he endured, and for Whom ; and see the happy Consequences of his Sufferings; if they do not feel their Hearts wonderfully excited to acknowledge, and magnify, and publish, the Praises of their Benefactor and only Saviour: If they do not love Him in return, or if they think any thing too much, that He thinks fit to require, as a Testimony of their Love. And, since a Person, so far above us, is not capable of being thanked any other way; if they do not make it their constant study, to express the grateful Sentiments they have of this ineftimable Mercy, by Acts of Reverence, and Devotion, Diligence to serve and obey him, and the stricteft Care never to displease or grieve him. This is a Temper of Mind, which the reason of the thing proves to be our Duty at all times. But, at the Seasons of partaking in our Lord's Body and Blood, it is so effential, so exceeding necessary, that then Above all things, we must give
So fit, fo advantagious a Time is This, for feeding on the Body of our Lord; So fcandalous is it, not now to do this in remembrance of Him: So much to be feared, that they do not remember Christ at all to purpose, who refuse this Respect to his Command, his Person, his Sufferings ; and cannot be prevailed upon to remember him, in the Method of his own appointing.
Thursday before Easter.
The E PISIL E.
1 Cor. xi. 17 17. One thing I am 17.
N tbis that I declare unto you, I praije seu zot, about to mention, which
that ye come togetber, not for the better, but for deserves great blame:
tbe svorje. It is the disorderly manner of your meeting together upon Religious Accounts.
18. For I am told, 18. For, first of all, when ye come toget ber is ite that in these Assemblies Cburcb, I bear ibat ibere be divisions among you, az.! there are some of you, partly believe is. who divide from the reft, and eat separately; and this I believe to be true of some of you.
19. For such Divis 19. For there must be also Here ses among you, ibat ikay ons, which are the na wbich are reproved may be made manifest among yA. tural effect of Pride, and of other finful Dispositions, God permits to take place in the Church. As for other Reasons, fo for this particularly, that They, who are truly good Men, may hereby have Opportunity of thewing it, and of distinguishing themselves from the Bad.
20. When therefore
20. When ye come toget ber therefore into one place, this you meet in such a dif- is not to eat the Lord's Supper. orderly manner, this is not be having your selves like Men, who come to the Lord's Supper; For that is a Feast of Love, in which every Person in the Congregation hath an equal right to communicate.
21. For your practice 21. For in eating every one taketh before orber bis own is, that, instead of ma- Supper, and one is hungry, and anotber is drunken. king this to be one, common, regular Table; They who come first eat first; and they who contribure much eat much: So that some are sent away empty, who had little or nothing to bring ; and Others, who bring in plenty, eat and drink to excess.
22. What, bave ye not houses to eat, and to drink in, 22. If such distinctior despise ye the Church of God, and shame them that bave ons between Rich and not? Wbat fall I say to you ? Sball I praise you in obis? Poor must be made, why I praise you not.
are they not made at
home? How is it, that you thus affront the publick Congregation, by exposing the Poverty of those Chris itians, who are, on such occasions, all upon the same level? This is a Corruption, which deserves very sharp Reproof.
23. For I have received of the Lord, that which also I 23, 24, 25. Consider delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in with your selves, how which be was betrayed, took bread;
different this Proceed24. And when be bad given thanks, be brake it, and ing is, from the Method faid, Take, eat, this is my body, wbich is broken for you : taken by our Lord at the Tbis do in remembrance of me.
Institution of this Sacra25. After the same manner also be took the cup, when ment. He, (as I learned be bad fupped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in from Him, and acquaintmy Blood : This do ye, as ofien as you drink it in remem ed you ) the night he was brance of me.
betrayed, took Bread in
to his Hands, and, af. ter blefling it, and God for it, broke that Bread, and declared this to be a Representation of his Body to be broken on the Cross; commanding his Disciples to eat it, as a Memorial of his Death and Sufferings for their fakes. And accordingly he distributed of it, to them all. In like manner he did with the Cup after Supper ; declaring the Wine contained in it to be a Memorial of his Blood, shed for the Ratification of the New Covenant between God and Man; and commanding them, upon every occasion of drinking it, to do it in remembrance of his Blood so shed, and this Covenant so ratified. And every one of them drank of it accordingly.
26. For as oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, 26. Thus you see, that ye do shew the Lord's dearb till be come.
the End of this Sacra
ment is, thereby to commemorate the Death of our Blessed Lord, and to keep him in cur Minds, during his absence from us: In which Memorials consequently every Christian, of what degree or condition foever, hath an equal right to partake ; because every one is equally concerned in the Mercy, remembred and represented by them.
27. Wherefore, whosoever fall eat this bread, and 27. They therefore, drink this cup of the Lord urworthily, shall be guilty of who, by their irregular ibe body and blood of obe Lord.
Practice, fhall profane
a Sacrament, appointed to so holy a Use ; and, by unequal and uncharitable Distinctions, Mall contradict the detign of an Ordinance, which expresses Christ's Love to all Mankind in general, (high and low, rich and poor alike, ) do treat his Body and Blood, with a contempt, like that of his Murtherers, who affronted and insulted him, as if he had been, not only a common Man, but one of the vileit of Men.
28. But let a man examine himself, and so let bim eat 28. Therefore, before of that bread, and drink of that cup.
every Approach to this,
Sacrament, 'tis fit, that a Man fee into, and be satisfied with, the disposition of his own Mind; that he come with due Reverence to fo Holy an Ordinance, and with Charity to all those, for whom the Death, commemorated in it, was undergone. And then he will partake of this Sacrament worthily.
observed, That, in the Primitive Church, it was customary, to bring to their Religious Assemblies, every one as he was able and disposed, Provisions for a common Entertainment. Out of these Provisions a convenient Quantity was set apart, to be confecrated for the Bleffed Sacrament. This Sacrament was, in fome Churches, celebrated before, in Others after, the Feast of Love. For so this Entertainment was used to be called. But in all places, they were Both celebrated in company with each other. The Design of these Feasts was, to express and maintain Friendship and Concord; and to thew, that Christians esteemed themselves one Family, and one Body: To be a Comfort to the Poor, whose Necessities were thus relieved at the publick Expence; and to speak the Charity and Condescension of the Rich, who thus declared their meaner Brethren, in all Christian Privileges, fellow Members, and equal with the Greatest. These voluntary Contributions were stiled Oblations: Because every Contributor was understood to devote what he brought to a Religious Use, wholly to divest himself of any property in it, and to make of the whole one common Fund, to which God and the Church only had from thenceforth a right. As therefore these Entertainments were a Feasting with God, and with the whole Body of Believers: So Every one, who had a right to this Table, (as All had, who for some notorious Offence were not ihut out from the Communion of the Lord's-Supper) had right to share alike, tho'all did not contribute alike; nay even, cho' the Circumstances of some were so strait, that they could not contribute any part at all.
Now when this Parity, an Emblem of Christ's universal Love to Mankind, was broken in upon; When every one would take upon him, to eat at his own time, and in proportion to his own bringing; This was a separating what had been made common, a taking back that, which had been solemnly given to God and his
Church; a defeating of all the Ends and Significations of these Assemblies; a Reproach to, and Robbery of the Poor ; by invading the Comforts and the Refreshments, designed for Them in a more peculiar manner. But especially, it was an insufferable Scandal and Profanation, when such Feafts, as were intended to promote Religion, became the Occasions of Riot and Excess. Yet these Abuses grew so fast, and gave so great and just Offence; as to render the total disuse of the Agape, or Love-Feasts, expedient. Hence it became a general Custom, to receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper singly. And hence, instead of offering Bread and Wine in kind, Money was brought, for the Support of them that minister in Holy things, and for Relief of the Poor. And such Contributions were, by publick Order, deposited in the Hands of proper Persons, most likely to know their several Necessities, and to proportion this Relief accordingly.
Is it not now as clear as the Light, that, in a Church like Ours, Where the confecrated Elements are furnished at the publick Expence; Where no Man brings or takes his own Supper, but all is delivered by the Minister, without any respect of Persons; Where Distribution is made equally, decently, devoutly, and as' nigh to the Primitive Institution, as can well be imagined: Is it not clear, I say, that the Unworthiness charged upon the Corinthians, neither is, nor pallibiy can be, Ours? And, if so, it must follow, that there Texts of St. Paul are perverted to a very wrong use, when made the Pretence of keeping Men from the Holy Table, whose present Circumstances have no manner of concern in, or relation to them.
I readily allow, that Men may be under the danger of receiving unworthily, upon several other accounts, as well as This. Every notorious Offence against, every wilful Failure in, the Particulars, which
Last Discourse laid down, as fit Preparations for this Bles: LI