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enjoyed much of the presence of God had communion with my Saviour and his people, and it was a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord."
In either of these cases tbose words are applicable to us. What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits towards me? I will take the cup of salvation,* and call upon the name of the Lord; I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people. Ps. cxvi. Great have been his benefits to you. Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth crucified among you. You have seen that his blood was shed for the remission of sins, and you have been led to contemplate the risen Saviour in heaven as still carrying ou the work of mercy; there pleading for you, thence bestowing his Holy Spirit, there preparing a home for you, and there waiting to receive you. Jesus Christ has afresh tendered himself and all his salvation to you through his Ministers, and you have received the emblems appointed, not only to exhibit his atonement, but to be given to each of his people personally, to assure them of their individual interest in his salvation. The enquiry under the sense of these benefits should be,What shall I render unto the Lord? Christian reader, see what beloved sin you can now for ever put away.
* In this term there is an allusion to a custom among the Jews of taking a cup, called the cup of deliverance, salvation, or blessing, at their solemn feasts, or when offering sacrifices for particular mercies ; so that this is as if David had said, “I will call all my friends together to rejoice with me," and taking the cup which we call the cup of salvation, (because when blessed and set apart we are wont thus to commemorate the blessings which we have received,)“ I will magnify the power, goodness, and faithfulness of God my Saviour, before all the company, and then give it to them, that they may together with me praise his name." See Note, chap. x,
Ask yourself, -"How can I now set forth the glory of God, and most advance his kingdom? In what possible
I best manifest my sense of his benefits?” What are the duties to which I am now specially called? We will state them in a few practical directions.
1. ABOUND MORE IN ACTS OF DEVOTION. Let us PRAISE our God more. There will ever be a remarkable contrast between God's blessings and our returns. He bestows innumerable blessings. We have nothing to give to him. After having done all, we are unprofitable servants. But he accepts a thankful spirit as a suitable return for his blessings. Whoso offereth me praise he glorifieth me. Let us then cultivate a lively sense of God's mercies, and a continual recollection and grateful acknowledgment of them. So shall we most resemble the blessed angels above, whose happiness it is, through all eternity, to praise and glorify God. And " as the beams of the divine goodness everlastingly shine upon them, so there is an everlasting reflection of the same goodness in the incessant returns of praise and thanksgiving from them." Again, let us be more fervent and constant in PRAYER. If we have had, in the Lord's Supper, intimate communion with God, let us not lose the benefit by neglecting again to seek him. Not one of the duties wbich now lie before you, can you fulfil in your own .strength. Not one of your enemies can you resist by your own power. You are wholly dependent on the Lord. Go then more constantly and simply to him. If we have obtained many blessings in answer to our supplications, let it encourage us to more frequent prayer. Though we may tell an earthly friend if he will give us our requests, we will trouble him no more ; it need not be su with God.
Nay, quite the reverse. David says, Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon
hin as long as I live. That repetition of request which would be offensive to man, is most grateful to him in whom all fulness dwells, and who delights to give to them that ask. Let God's benefits, then, in the Lord's Supper lead you to expect more from him, and to spend more time than ever you have before done in prayer to him. Let us also be more diligent in searching the SCRIPTURES. Here is the lamp to our feet, and the light that will direct our paths. Here the blessings and the duties of that New Covenant, the ratification of which you have been commemorating, are fully displayed for your comfort and your guidance. Have to say then with David, -I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments. Ps. cxix, 60.
2. REMEMBER YOUR GREATER OBLIGATIONS TO OBEDIENCE. Though we are bound to fulfil the will of God as his creatures, it is well to have added, as we have done at the Lord's table, the new, distinct, and additional engagements of inoly resolutions and vows, the self-binding authority of devout dedication of ourselves to God. It is calculated to impress more deeply on our minds the solemn duty of obedience to God's holy law. There is also a greater sin in disobedience, after such a voluntary surrender of ourselves to God. When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not be slack to pay it, for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee, and it would be sin in thee. Deut. xxiii, 21. If a man keep not his solemn promise and engagenient, we call him dishonest and fraudulent. If those that are married, break their vows of fidelity, we consider them as adulterers and
adulteresses; what then are we to think of those who break vows of an infinitely stronger and more awful nature-who are unfaithful to God himself': Let us then endeavour to know and to feel with David, Thy vows are upon me, O Lord. Ps. lvi, 12. The Scriptural rule is, when thou vowest a vow defer not to pay it. Our first aim then should be, after receiving, to bring our good resolutions into practice, forsaking our past sins, and performing our omitted duties. As you are no longer your own, let this be your feeling-" I am now fixed, immoveably fixed for Christ and holiness, against sin and Satan. The matter is settled, never to be called in question again- I will serve the Lord.” Whatever others may do, have a settled conviction that you can no longer halt between two opinions. You must be stedfast, unmoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord. When a temptation presents itself, let us then put it off, saying, as Earle remarks, “ Is
" such an action becoming what thou didst lately at the Lord's table pronrise ? Is such a conduct worthy of a Christian, and becoming for a communicant? Does the indulgence of such a fleshly lust become a disciple of the Holy Jesus, the immaculate Lamb of God? Is pride, passion, malice, envy, and uncharitableness, suitable to the solemn profession of returning to him, who came to destroy the works of the Devil ?" Let us remember also that our obligations are not of a transitory nature, but for our whole lives. There are those who will be very strict for a little time after the sacrament, but soon return to their former sinful liberties. Such conduct seems to shew that they have not yet been acting under the feeling of gratitude and love. We should not obey under the restraint of fear, the bondage of an unwilling mind, reluctantly brought to discharge the outward services; but freely and gladly giving God our whole hearts.
3. ENDEAVOUR TO RETAIN THE HOLY FEELINGS THAT HAVE BEEN EXCITED. You are returning to a chilling and distracting world. The devout and heavenly thoughts which filled your mind at the Lord's table, may soon be dissipated and lost. It should be our aim and effort to gain the spirit of holiness as a blessed habit of our minds, so that we may not be holy only on a sacrament day, but holy at all times, and in all places. This is that spiritual mind which is life and peace; and till we gain this, we shall never truly know the blessedness of real religion. You have perhaps had in this solemn service, or in connection with it, lively desires excited in your heart after the Saviour's presence and glory; you have been led to aspire after and long for those superior joys which are at his right hand for evermore ; and have been ready to say, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. O then, after the enjoyment of such feelings and desires, let us no longer cleave so to the dust, and make this world our resting place, and our portion, as we have heretofore done; but rather set our affections on things above. You have, perhaps, felt a strength of attachment to Christ which you have never before experienced. Be it your aim to keep this feeling strong in your hearts that
may never wax cold, 4. CONTEND MORE VIGOROUSLY WITH YOUR SPIRITUAL ENEMIES. Every time we receive the Lord's Supper, we renew afresh our baptismal vow, and renounce afresh our three great enemies, the Devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked