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ately, to our complete and eternal satisfaction? Do we expect that yet a little while the vail shall be rent, the shadows of the evening shall be done away, and we shall see as we are seen, and kivow as we are known? Are we in prospect of a crown of glory that fades not away..., an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance ?
Raise thy thoughts then, O my soul, to the joyful contemplation of the glory to be revealed : arise, then, and survey this land of promise, as Abraham, (Geni xiii, 14.): go with Moses to the top of Pisgah, and take a view of it by faith : get a scripture map of that Canaan, and siady it well. Think, my soul, what they see in that world, who always behold the face of our Father, and in it see all truth and brightness, and the perfection of beauty : think what they have there, that eat of the tree of life and the hidden manna whose facuities are enlarged to take in the full com. inunication of divine love and grace, and who have God himself with them as their God, (Rev. xxi. 3.): think what they are doing there, who dwell in God's house, and are still praising him, and rest not day nor night from doing it ; think of the good company that is there...thousands of thousands of blessed angels and holy souls, with whom we shall have an intimate and undisturbed converse in perfect light and love.
Compare the present state thou art in, my soul, with that thou hopest for ; and let it be a pleasure to thee to think that, whatever is here thy grief and burden shall be there removed and done away forever. Sa tan's temptations shall there no more assault thee; thine own corruptions shall there no more ensnare thee; the guilt of sin, and doubts about thy spiritual state shall there no more terrify and perplex thee ; no pain, nor sickness, nor sorrow shall be an allay to the enjoyments of that world, as they are to those of this world: all tears there shall be wiped away...even those of sin.
On the other side, whatever is here thy delight and pleasure, shall there be perfected. The knowledge of God...joy in him, and communion with him, are
here, as it were, thy running banquets ; there shall be 6thy continual feast. The work of grace begun in thee
is that which reconciles thee to thyself, and gives thee some pleasure now in thy reflections upon thyself: this work shall be there completed, and the finishing strokes given to it by the same skilful and happy hand that begun it.
Come now, my soul, and neglect not the gift that is in thee, but meditate upon these things—give thyself wholly to them..... Tim. iv, 14. 15. Be thou in them, as in thy business...as in thine element. Think of the things that are not seen...that are eternal the things of the invisible and unchangeable world, till thou findest thyself so affected with them as even to forget the things that are here below, that are here behind, and look upon them with a holy negligence, that thou mayest, with great diligence, reach towards the things
are before, and press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling ....Phil. iii. 13. 14.
II. We must not only meditatę, but we must pray, and
cry earnestly to God for assistance and acceptance in what we do. When the apostle had reckonall the parts
of the Christian's armour, cludes with this, praying always....Eph. vi. 18. Prayer must gird on the whole armour of God; for without prayer all our endeavors are vain and ineffectual. Therefore, in our preparations for the Lord's Supper, time must be spent, and pains taken in prayer,
for two reasons:
(1.) Because this is a proper means of quickening ourselves, and stirring up our graces, One duty of religion is of use to dispose and fit us for another; and the most solemn services ought to be approached gradually, and through the outer courts. In prayer the soul ascends to God, and converseth with him; and thereby the mind is prepared to receive the visits of his grace, and habituated to holy exercises. Even the blessed Jesus prepared himself for the offer.
ing up the great sacrifice by prayer, a long prayer in the house, (Fohn xvii.) and strong crying, with tears, in the garden. Three times Christ was spoken to while he was here upon earth, by voices from heaven, and they all three found him praying: that at his baptism, Luke iii. 21.... Jesus being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened: that at his transfiguration, Luke ix. 29.... As he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered: and at a little before his passion, (Yohn xii. 27, 28.) when he prayed, Father glorify thy name, the voice came from heaven, I have glorified tt, &c. Saul of Tarsius prays, and then sees a vision, (Acts ix. 11, 12.) and afterwards (Acts xxii, 17, 18.) Cornelius had his vision when he was at prayer, (Acts X. 30.) and Peter his, (ver. 9, 10.): all which in stances, and many the like, suggest to us, that munion with God in prayer prepares and disposés the mind for communion with him in other duties.
(2.) Because this is the appointed way for fetching in that mercy and grace which God hath promised, and which we stand in need of. In God is our help, and from bim is our fruit found ; and he hath promised to help us...to give us a new heart...to put his spirit within us, and to cause us to walk in his statUtes (Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27.)-but it follows there, (ver. 37.) I will yet, for this, be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them.' How can we expect the presence of God with us, if we do not invite him by prayer-or the
power of God upon us, if we do not by prayer derive it from him? The greatest bles sings are promised to the prayer of faith; but God will not give if we will not ask. Why should he?
But what must we pray for, when we draw near to God in this solemn ordinance ? Solomon tells us that both the preparations of the heart in man, and the ansuvier oj the tongue is from the Lord.... Prov. xvi. 1. to him, therefore, we must apply ourselves for both. The whole word of God is of use to direct us in these prayers, and in it the blessed Spirit helpeth our infir
mities, forasmuch as we know not what to pray for, in this or in any
case, as we ought. 1, We must pray, that we may be prepared for the solemnity before it comes... Whatever is necessary to qualify us for communion with God in it, is spoken of in scripture as God's, gist; and whatever is the matter of God's promise must be the matter of our prayers; for promises are given not only to be the ground of our hope, but also to be the guide of our desire in prayer. Is knowledge. necessary ?-out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding, (Prov. ij. 6.) and at wisdom's gates we must wait for visdom's gifts, rejoicing herein, that the son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding....i John, v. 20. Is faith necessary!--that is not of ourselves; it is the gift of God, (Eph. ii. 8.): him, therefore, we must attend, who is both the author and the finisher of our faith ; to him we must pray...' Lord, increas: our faith-Lord, perfect what is lacking in it-Lord, fulfil the work of faith with power. Is love necessary ? -it is the Holy Ghost that sheds abroad that love in our hearts, and circumciseth our hearts to love the Lord our God, To that heavenly fire we must therefore go for this holy spark, and pray for the breath of the Almighty to blow it up into a flame. Is repentance necessary it is God that gives repentance.... that takes away the stony heart, and gives a heart of desh; and we must beg of him to work that blessed change in us. Behold the fire and the wood....the ordinance instituted, and all needful provision made for our sacrifice ; but, where is the lumb for a burnt offer. ing ? ....where is the heart to be offered up to God? If God did not provide himself a lamb, the solemnity would fail, (Gen. xxii. 7, 8.): to him therefore, we must go to buy such things as we have need of against the feasi-that is, to beg them; for we buy without money and without price : aud such buyers shall not be driven out of God's teinple, nor slighted there, however they are looked on in men's markets,
(2.) Pray, that our hearts may be enlarged in the duty. It is the gracious promise of God, that he will open rivers in the wilderness, and streams in the desert-and the joint experience of all the saints, that they looked unto him and were lightened : such outgoings of soul, therefore, towards God, as may receive the incomes of divine strength and comfort, we should earnestly desire and pray for. Pray....pray that God would grace his own institution with such manifest tokens of his presence, as those two disci. ples had, who reasoned thus for their own conviction, that they had been with Jesus— Did not our hearts, burn within us ?... Luke xxiv. 32. Pray that, by the grace of God, the business of the ordinance may be faithfully done the work of the day....the sacrament day, in its day, according as the duty of the day requires.... Ezra iii. 4. Pray that the ends of the or. dinance may be sincerely aimed at, and happily attained, and the great intentions of the institution of it answered; that you may not receive the grace of God therein in vain. O that
may ged to approach unto Gou-so engaged as that nothing may prevail to disengage it! Come, blessed Spirit, and breathe upon these dry bones !-move upon the waters of the ordinances, and produce a new creation. Awake, O north wind, and come thou south, and blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow forth : and then let my belcred come into his garden, (his it is, and then it will be fit to be called his), and eat his pleasant fruits'.... Cant. iv, 16.
(3.) Pray, that we may be favorably accepted of God, both in the preparation and in the performance. In vain do we worship, if God do not accept us: the applause of men is but a poor reward (such as the hypocrites were content with, and put off with) if we come short of the favor of God: herein, therefore, we should labor--this we should be ambitious of as our highest honor, the top of our preferment, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of the
be here enga.