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moved to produce the world. The Lord was not in the wind--was not in the earthquake.' The prince of the power of the air raiseth storms, for “he loves to fish in troubled waters ;' but the Prince of peace slills storms, and quiets the winds and waves; for he casts his net into a calm sea. · The waters of Shi. loah run softly, and without noise'.... Isa, viii. 6- And that river, the streams whereof make glad the city of our God, is none of those, the waters whereof roar and are troubled'.... Psal. xlvi. 3, 4.
Let us, therefore, always study to be quiet ; and, however we are crossed and disappointed, let not our hearts be troubled ; let them not be cast down and disquieted within us.' Let us not create or ago gravate our own vexations, nor be put into a disorder by any thing that occurs; but let the peace of God always rule in our hearts, and then that peace will keep them. They whose natural teroper is either fretful or fearful, have the more need to double their guard; and, when any disturbance begins in the soul, should give diligence to suppress the tumult with all speed, lest the Holy Spirit be thereby provoked to withdraw, and then they will have but uncomfortable sacraments.
But, especially, let us compose ourselves, when we approach to the table of the Lord. Charge the peace, then, in the name of the King of kings ; command silence, when you expect to hear the voice of joy and gladness; stop the mouth of clamorous and noisy passions....banish tumultuous thoughts....suffer not those evil spirits to speak, but expel them, and let your souls return to God, and repose in him as their rest. Bring not unquiet, distempered spirits to a transaction, which requires the greatest calmness and serenity possible. Let all intemperate hearts be cooled, and the thoughts of that which hath made an uproar in the soul be banished, and let a strict charge be giv. en to all about you....to all within you, by the roes and the hinds of the field, those innocent, pleasant cre iures, that they stir not up, nor awake your love, nor give any disturbance to your communion with him.
Thirdly, Let lis address ourselves to it with a ho. ly awe and reverence of the divine Majesty. We ought to be in the fear of the Lord every day, and all the day long; for he is our strict observer wherever we are, and will be the judge of persons and actions, by whose unerring sentence our eternal state will be decided; but, in a special manner, he is greatly to be feared in the assemblies of his saints, and
to be had in reverence of all them that are about him, (Psal. Ixxxix. 7.); and the nearer we approach to him, the more rev. erent we should be. Angels, that always behold Gol's face, see cause to cover their own. Even then, when we are admitted to sit down at God's table, we must remember that we are worshipping at his footstool, and therefore must lay ourselves very low before him, and,
in his fear, worship towards his holy temple'.... Psal. v. 7. Let us not rush into the presence of God in a careless maoner, as if he were a man like ourselves nay, so as we would not approach to a prince or a great man; but observe a decorum, giving to him the glory due unto his name, and taking to ourselves the shame due to ours. If he be a master, where is his fear? We do not worship God acceptabiy, if we do not worship him with reverence and godly fear....Heb. xii. 28.
(1.) We must worship him with reverence, as a glorious God....a God of infinite perfection and almighty po:ver, who covers himself with light as with a garment, and yet, as to us, makes darkness his pavilion. Dare we profane the temples of the Holy Ghost, by outward indecencies of carriage and behavior...the manifest indications of a vain and regardless mind? Dare we allow of flat and common thoughts of that God who is over all blessed for evermore? See him, my soul...see him by faith upon a throne, high and lifted up; not only upon a throne of grace, which encourages thee to come with boldness, but upon a throne of glory, and a throne of government, which obliges thee to come with caution. Remember that "God is in heaven, and thou art upon earth : and therefore let thy words be few'.... Ecc!. v. 2. "Be still, and know that he is God'....that he is grcat,
and keep thy distance. Let an awful regard to the glories of the eternal God, and the exalted Redeemer, make thee humble and serious....very serious....very hum. ble in thine approach to this ordinance, and keep thee so during the solemnity.
(2.) We must also worship him with godly fear, as a holy God....a God whose name is jealous, and who is a consuming Sre.... Heb. xii. 29. We have reason to fear before him; for we have offended him, anel have made ourselves obnoxious to his wrath and curse ; and we are but upon our good behavior, as probationers for his favor. He is not a God that will be mocked....that will be trified with: if we think to put a cheat upon him, we shall prove, in the end, to have put the most clangerous cheat upon our own souls. In this act of religion, therefore, as well as in others, we must work out our salvation wiih fear and trembling.
Fourthy, Let us come to this ordinance with a ho ly jealousy over ourselves, and a humble sense of our own unworthiness. We must sit before the Lord in such a frame as David composed himself into when he said, IVho am I, O Lord God, and what is my father's house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ? ....FI Sam. vii. 18. Nothing prepareth the scal more for spiritual comforts than humility doth.
(1.) It may be, we have reason to suspect ourselves, lest we come unworthily. Though we must not cherish such suspicions of our state as will damp our joy in God, and discourage our hope in Christ, and fill us with amazement; nor such as will take off our chariot wheels, and keep us standing at a gaze when we should be going forward ; yet we must maintain such a jealousy of ourselves as will keep us humble, and take us off from all self-conceit and self-confidencesuch a jealousy of ourselves as will keep us watchful, and save us from sinking into carnal security. And now is a proper time to think how many there are that eat bread with Christ, and yet lift up the heel against him: the hand of him that betrayeth him perhaps is with him upon the table :' which should put us upon asking, as the disciples did, just before the first sacrament, Lord, is it I?...Matt. xxvi. 22. Ma. ny that eat and drink in Christ's presence, will be rejected and disowned by him in the great day. Have not I some reason to fear, lest that be my doom at last--to fear, lest a promise being left me of entering into rest, I should seem to come short-to fear, lest, when the King comes in to see the guests, he find me without a wedding-garment? Be not too confident, O my soul, lest thou deceive thyself: "be not highminded, but fear.'
(2.) However, it is certain we have reason to abase ourselves; for, at the best, we are unworthy to come. If we are less than the least of God's mercies,' how much less are we than the greatest...than this, which includes all? We are unworthy of the crumbs that fall from our Master's table...much more unworthy of the children's bread, and the dainties that are upon the table. Being invited, we may hope to be welcome; but what is there in us, that we shouid be invited ? Men invite their friends and acquaintance to their tables ; but we were naturally strangers and enemies in our mind by wicked works, and yet are we invited : men inyite such as they think will, with their quality or merit, grace their tables; but we are more likely to be a reproach to Christ's table, being poor and maimed, halt and blind, and yet are picked up out of the highways and the hedges, (Luke xiv. 21.): men invite such as they are under obligations to, or have expectations from ; but Christ is no way indebted to us, nor can he be benefited by us ; our goodness extends not to him, and yet he invites lis.
We have much more reason than Mephibosheth bad, when he was made a constant guest at David's table, to bowy
ourselves, and say, what is thy servant, that thou shouldst look upon such a dead dog as I am?'...II Sam. ix. 8. They who thus humble themselves shall be exalted.
Fifthly, Yet, let us come to this ordinance with a gracious confidence, as children to a father....to a father's table : not with any confidence in ourselves, bui in Christ only. That slavish fear which represents God as a hard master...rigorous in his demands, and extreme to mark what we do amiss_which straitens our spirits, and subjects us to bondage and torment, must be put off, and strove against, and we must come boldly to the throne of grace....to the table of grace, not as having any thing in ourselves to recommend us, but as having a High Priest, who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.... Heb. iv. 15, 16. presumptuous rudeness is a provocation to the master of the feast, so a distrustful shyness is displeasing to him, which looks as if we questioned either the sincerity of the invitation, or the sufficiency of the provision.
This is the fault of many good Christians ; they come to the sacrament rather like prisoners to the bar, than like friends and children to the table. They come trembling and astonished, and full of confusion. Their apprehensions of the grandeur of the ordinance, and the danger of coming unworthily, run into an extreme, and become an hindrance to the exercise of faith, hope, and love. This extreme we should carefully watch against, because it tends so much to God's dishonor....our own prejudice, and the disccuragement of others. Let us remember we have to do with one who is willing to make the best of sincere desires and serious endeavors, though in many things we be defective; and who deals with us in tender mercy, and not in strict justice ; and who, though he be, out of Christ, a consuming fire, yet, in Christ, is a gracious father. Let us, therefore, draw near with a true heart and in full assurance of faith.... Heb. x. 22.
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