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Meditations during the Communion. We have given in a former chapter directions for the employment of the mind in the interval while others are partaking of the communion. We will now add a few meditations that may occasionally assist the communicant at that time.
Prov, iv, 26. Ponder the path of thy feet. If ever it be needful to ponder my goings, surely it is so on this occasion. Let me enquire, then, with what views am I coming to this holy table?
I come, I trust, to commemorate the death of Christ; to call to remembrance that sacrifice of himself which he once made upon the cross; to profess my faith in Christ crucified; to declare before God and man that I look to him as my only Saviour and Redeemer, who has made a complete atonement for my sins, and has reconciled my God to me, and me to my
God. I come to receive the tokens of reconciliation, and the pledges of pardon and love. Looking to my Saviour, I come that I may
receive from him all that is wanting in my wretched self. He is full of grace and truth. He has called me to do this in remembrance of him; and I come, hoping for his blessing on what he himself has appointed.
Looking at myself, I come as an unworthy, sinful, and dreadfully guilty creature, to the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness; not because I am worthy, but because my God is merciful to returning sinners.
Looking at the society which I join, the select disciples of Christ, I desire to come feeling that I am the unworthiest and the least of all, and to acknowledge with them our common hope in one Lord, and to partake of their privileges, and enjoy in, and with them, the communion of saints.
O my Saviour, preserve me from hypocrisy, formality, and self-righteousness; and let me never by my conduct betray thee, while I am professing to embrace thee.
Luke xxii, 19. This do, in remembrance of me. “ It is but too apparent, blessed Lord, how apt we are to forget thy great love to us, and thy bitter sufferings for us. Our continual transgressions publish it, and our present stupidity and indevotion do declare it. Praised therefore be thy goodness for these lively emblems of thy most meritorious cross and passion. O that Christ crucified may be now so evidently set forth among us, as to imprint the characters of his love so deep upon our hearts, that neither time nor temptation can obliterate them. Behold, we do here most affectionately call to mind the humility of thine incarnation, the merit of thy death, the power of thy resurrection, and the glories of thine ascension. Thus, by thine own appointment, gracious Lord, we do shew our thankfulness for thy passion, our faith in thy resurrection, and our hope of thy second coming. We will commemorate thy death, pleading before God that by thy all-sufficient sacrifice, the just anger of the Almighty against us was pacified, testifying before the world, our hope in a crucified Saviour, and renewing our own recollections of thy inexpressible love. O that we may so do this, that neither we nor others shall ever become unmindful of thee, and the impressions may so remain in our minds, that our lives may witness we never forget thee."*
1 Pet. v, 1. The sufferings of Christ. “O my Saviour, and my God, I desire to call to mind every part of thy bitter passion. I would begin by recollecting thy lying prostrate on the earth in a cold night, and thy soul's being exceeding sorrowful even unto death, and thy grievous agrony, in which thou didst sweat drops of blood.
“ Thrice did my Redeemer lift up strong cries to his Father, to remove that bitter cup, if it had been his will, and it had been possible for his justice otherwise to be satisfied; and then firmly did he resolve to go through that great work for our sakes. He meekly resigned himself to his Father's will, and readily concurred with his wonderful love to us, in designing to perfect our redemption.—He was betrayed by his own disciple, and suffered that traitor who betrayed him to kiss his blessed lips. He was apprehended, rudely bound, and hurried away as a malefactor, and forsaken by all, not one of his disciples daring to own or stand by him.
Again, I would remember his being insulted over, and treated as the meanest slave, without respect or
pity, and carried to and fro, from magistrate to magistrate, from tribunal to tribunal, and every where falsely accused. He was buffeted and spit upon, mocked and reviled. He was crowned with thorns, rudely pressed down on his sacred head, and entering into his temples. He was arrayed in a 'mock babit, and a reed put into his hand instead of a sceptre. He was sentenced to death as a criminal, and condemned to the vilest, most painful, and reproachful kind of death. scourged by merciless hands; the plowers plowing on his back, and making long furrows.
“ I would farther contemplate his being loaded with a heavy cross, stripped of his clothes, and fastened to the wood svith nails struck through his hands and feet, the most tender and nervous parts, so that the iron entered into his very soul. Thus he was crucified in the midst, between two malefactors, as if the chief criminal. He was then reared up on the cross, and the weight of his body hung on four wounds. He was there suspended, and exposed naked to the view of the world, bearing the shame, as well as the torment of my sin. The precious blood issued out of his wounds, and formed a laver for my sivs, and those of the whole world. The extremity of his pain occasioned a feverish heat of the whole body, and his tongue cleaved to the roof of his mouth. He had vinegar given to him when he was thirsty; his soul, in the mean time, more vehemently thirsting after our salvation. He refused the wine and myrrh, as if he would feel all the pain of his crucifixion for us, in its greatest sharpness, without the least mitigation.
" I would call to mind also the tender regard which thou hadst, O my Saviour, in the midst of thy violent
pains, for thy holy mother and beloved disciple; the sword pierced through her soul, and deep sorrow wounded his spirit, and extreme anguish overwhelmed them both, to behold the suffering Redeemer; and in the midst of thy sorrows thou thoughtest of them. What gracious comforts also thou vouchsafed the penitent thief in the midst of thy own distress.
“ O how great was the inexpressible anguish of our Saviour's sonl in beholding the wrath of his Father so hotly flaming against us for those sins of ours, which he did bear in his own body on the tree; and that, too, under so great weakness of body, that both made him cry out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me! He gave up the ghost, when he might have brought down himself from the cross, and no man could take away his life from him, that the work of our redemption might be finished by him. His blessed side was pierced with a spear, entering into his heart, and letting out the last remains of his blood, that he might give full prove to the world of his being truly dead. His soul was separated from the body, and passed into the state of the dead and of perfect separation, sanctifying that middle state to his servants for their souls to rest in till the resurrection.
“ And by all these several sorts and degrees of thy suffering, by all this bitter pain, and sorrow, and shame, and agony, and anguish, which thou didst endure in thy body, and in thy soul, for miserable men, and for me a miserable sinner, I now entreat thee to have mercy upon me, and forgive me; to save me, and bless me.
Since, then, O my Saviour, thou commandest me to commemorate these thy sorrows, and to do this in