Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ama

me,

lated of Titus, the emperor, that when a poor peti. tioner presented his address to him with a trembling hand, he was much displeased, and asked him, Dost thou present thy petition to thy prince as if thou wert giving meat to a lion ? Chide thyself for these zing fears': why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me?' If the Spirit undertake to work all my works in me, as the Son hath undertaken to work all my works for both the one and the other shall be done effectually; therefore hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him.'

Sixthly, Let us come to this ordinance with earnest desire towards God, and communion with him. It is a feast, a spiritual feast; and we must come to it with an appetite, a spiritual appetite: for the full soul loaths even the honey.comb, and slights the offer of it; but to the hungry soul, that is sensible of its own needs, every bitter thing is sweet, even the bitterness of re. pentance, when it is in order to peace and pardon. Jur desires towards the world and the flesh must be checked and moderated, and kept under the govern, ment of religion and right reason: for we have been too long spending our money for that which is not bread, and which is at the best unsatisfying ; but our desires towards Christ must be quickened and stirring. As the hart, the hunted hart, panteth after the refreshment of the water brook, so earnestly must our souls pant for the living God....Psalm xlii. 1, 2. The invitation is given, and the promise made to them only that hunger and thirst; they are called to come to the waters, (Isa. lv. 1.) come and drink, (fohn vii. 37.) and it is promised to them that they shall be filled.... Niatt. v. 6. It is very necessary, threfore, that we work upon our hearts the consideration of those things that are proper to kindle this holy fire, and blow

up

its sparks into a flame. We are then best prepared to receive temporal mercies, when we are most indifferent to them, and content, if the will of God be so, to be without them. Did I desire a son of my Lord ? said the good Shunamite....I1 Kings, iv. 28. Here the danger is of being too earnest in our desires, as Rachel, Give me children, or else I die. but we are then best prepared to receive spiritual mercies, when we are most importunate for them: here the desires cannot be too vehement.

In the former case, strong desires evidence the prevalency of sense ; but in this they evidence the power of faith, both realizing and valuing the blessings desired. The devout and pious soul thirsts for God.... for the living God, as a thirsty land.... Psal. cxliii. 6-ixiii. 1. It longs, yea, even faints for the courts of the Lord, and for communion with God in them,... Psal. lxxxiv. 2. It breaks for the longing it hath unto God's judgments at all times .... Psal. cxix. 20. Can our souls witness to such de sires as these? O, that I might have a more intimate acquaintance with God, and Christ, and divine things! O, that I might have the tokens of God's favor, and fuller assurances of his distinguishing love in Jesus Christ! O, that my covenant-interest in him, and relation to him, might be cleared up to me, and that I might have more of the comfort of it! O, that I might partake more of the divine grace, and, by its effectual working on my soul, might be made more conformable to the divine will and likeness-more ho. ly, humble, spiritual, heavenly, and more meet for the inheritance ! O, that I might have the earnest of the spirit in my heart, sealing me to the day of redemption !

Thus the desire of our souls must be towards the Lord, and towards the remembrance of his name. In this imperfect state, where we are at home in the body, and absent from the Lord, our love to God acts more in holy desires than in holy delights. It is rather love in motion, like a bird upon the wing, than love at rest, like a bird upon the nest... Psal. lxxxvir. 3. All those who have the Lord for their God, agree to desire nothing more than God, for they know they haye enough in him; but yet still they desire more and more of God; for, till they come to heaven, they will never have enough of him. Come then, my soul, why art thou so cold in thy desires towards those things which are designed for thy peculiar satisfaction, distinct from the body?why so eager for the meat that perisheth, and so indifferent to that which endures to everlasting life? Hast thou no desire to that which is so necessary to thy support, and without which thou art undone--no desire to that which will contribute so much to thy profit, and yield thee an inexpressible satisfaction?' Provision is made in the Lord's Supper of bread to strengthen thee; will not the sense of thine own weakness and emptiness make thee hunger after that? Canst thou be indifferent to that which is the staff of thy life? Provision is made of pleasant food, fat things full of marrow, and wines on the lees ; art thou not desirous of those dainties, suh dainties? Was the tree of knowledge such a temptation, because it was pleasant to the eye, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, that our first pa. rents would break through the hedge of a divine command, and venture all that was dear to them to come at it? --and, shall not the tree of life, which we are not only allowed, but commanded to eat of, and the fruit of which will nourish us to life eternal-shall not

appear more pleasant in our eyes, and more to be desired? God, even thine own God, who hath wherewithal to supply all thy needs, and hath promised to be to thee a God all-sufficient...a God tha: is enough; he hath said it--Psal. Ixxxi. 10....Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. Thou art not straitened in him be not straitened in thine own desires.

Seventhly, Let us come to this ordinance with raised expectations. The same faith that enlargeth the desire, and draws out that to a holy vehemence, should also elevate the hope, and ripen that to a holy confidence. When we come thirsting to these waters, we need not fear that they will prove like the brooks in summer, which disappoint the weary travel

that

ز

ler ;

for when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.... Job vi. 15. &c. Such are all the broken cis. terns of the creature; they perform not what they promise, or rather what we foolishlý promise to ourselves from them : no-but these are inexhaustible fountains of living waters, in which there is enough for all, though never so many-enough for each, though never

so needy-enough for me, though most unworthy.

Come, my soul, what dost thou look for at the table of the Lord? The maker of the feast is God himself, who doth nothing little, nothing mean, but is able to do exceedingly abundant above what we are able to ask or think.' When he gives; he gives like himself... gives like a king...gives like a God, all things richly to enjoy; considering not what becomes such ungrateful wretches as we are to receive, but what it becomes such a bountiful benefactor as he is to give. A lively faith may expect that which is rich and great from him that is possessor of heaven and earth, and all the wealth of both; and that which is kind and gracious from him that is the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation. A lively faith may expect all that is purchased by the blood of Christ, from a God who is righteous in all his ways, and all that is promised in the new covenant, from a God who cannot lie nor de. ceive.

The provision in this feast is Christ himself, and all his benefits; all we need to save us from being miserable, and all we can desire to make us liappy: and glorious things, no doubt, may be expected with him, in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell. Let our expectations be built upon a right foundation; not any merit of our own, but God's mercy, and Christ's mediation : and then build large, as large as the new covenant in its utmost ex-tent-build high, as high as heaven in all its glory. Come expecting to see that which is most illustrious, and to taste and receive that which is most precious :

/

come expecting that with which you will be abundant, ly satisfied.

Though what is prepared seems to a carnal eye poor and scanty, like the five loaves set before five thousand men; yet, when Christ hath the breaking of those loaves, they shall all eat and be filled. In this ordinance the oil is multiplied, the oil of gladness; it is multiplied in the pouring out, as ihe widow's oil.... 11 Kings iv. 2. &c. Do as she did, therefore-bring empty vessels, bring not a few, they shall all be filled; the expectations of faith shall all be answered; the oil stays not, as there (verse 6.) while there is an empty vessel waiting to be filled: give faith and hope their full compass, and thou wilt find, as that widow did, (verse 7.) there is enough of this oil, this multiplied oil, this oil from the good olive, to pay thy deit, and enough besides for thee and thine to live upon. As we often wrong ourselves by expecting too much from the world, which is vanity and vexation; so we often wrong ourselves by expecting too little from God, whose mercy is upon us, according as we hope in him; and who, in exerting his power, and conferring his gifts, still saith, According to your faith, be it unto you. The king of Israel lost his advantage against the Syrians, by smiting thrice, and then staying, when he should have smitten five or six times....11 Kings xiii. 18, 19. And we do often, in like manner, prejudice ourselves by the weakness of our faith; we receive little, because we expect little ; and are like them among whom Christ could not do many mighty works, because of their unbelief.... Mark vi. š.

Eighthly, Let us come to this ordinance with rejoicing and thanksgiving. These two must go together ; for whatever is the matter of our rejoicing, must be the matter of our thanksgiving. Holy joy is the heart of our thankful praise, and thankful praise the language of holy joy; and both these are very seasonable when we are coming to an ordinance, which is instituted both for the honor of the Redeemer, and for the comfort of the redeemed.

« AnteriorContinuar »