« AnteriorContinuar »
If earthiy parents know how to give good gifts to their children, such as are needful and proper for them, much more shall our heavenly Father give the holy spir. it to them that ask him...Luke xi. 13. He will give the spirit to teach his children, and, as their tutor, to lead them into all truth-to govern his children, and, as the best of guardians, to dispose their affections, while providence disposeth their affairs for the best : He will give his spirit to renew and sanctify them, and to make thein meet for their Father's service in this world, and their Father's kingdom in a better world—to be the guide of their way, and the witness of their adoption, and to seal them to the day of re. demption.
An earnest of this grant of the spirit to all believers in this ordinance, Christ gave, when, in the first visit he made to his disciples after his resurrection, having shewed them his hands, and his side...his pierced hands... his pierced side, (which in effect he doth to us in this sacrament) he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.... John XX. 22.
What be said to them, he saith to all his disciples, making them an offer of this inestimable gift, and bestowing it effectually on all believers, who are all sealed with the holy spirit of promise....Eph. ii. 13. Receive ye the Holy Ghost, then, in the receive ing of this bread and wine ; the graces of the spirit, as bread to strengthen the heart ; his comforts, as wine to make it glad. Be willing and desirous to receive the Holy Ghost ; let the soul and all its powers be put under his operations and influences. Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and then this King of glory shall come in,' to all that invite him, and bid him welcome.
But will God, in every deed, thus dwell with men.... with such men upon the earth ? And shall they be. come temples of the Holy Ghost ?
Shall he come upon them? Shall the power of the Highest overshadow them? Shall Christ be formed in me a holy
thing? Say, then, my soul, say as the blessed virgin did, Here am I; be it unto me according to thy word. I acknowledge myself unworthy the being of a man, having so often acted more like a brutemuch more unworthy the dignity of a son. I have been an und utiful, rebellious prodigal : I deserve to be turned out of doors...abandoned and disinherited, and forbidden my Father's house and table ; but who shall set bounds to infinite mercy, and to the compas. sions of the everlasting Father? If, notwithstanding this, he will again take me into his family, and clothe me with the best robe, though it is too great a favor for me to receive, who am a child of disobedience, yet not too great for him to give, who is the Father of mercies to thee, therefore, O God, I give up myself; and I will from this time cry unto thee, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth.... Jer. iii. 4. Though I deserve not to be owned as an hired serrant, I desire and hope to be owned as an adopted son. Be it unto thy servant according to the promise.
Thirdly, Here we may receive peace and satisfaction in our own minds. This is one of those precious legacies Christ hath left to all his followers; and it is here in this ordinance paid, or secured to be paid, to all those that are ready and willing to receive it-Fohn xiv. 27.... Peace I leave with you...my peace I give unto you....such a peace as the world can neither give nor take away. This is the repose of the soul in God; our reconciliation to ourselves, arising from the sense of our reconciliation to God the consci. ence being purged from dead works, which not only defile, but disturb and disquiet us. When the spirit is poured out from on high, then the work of righteousness is peace, and the effect of righteousness, quiet, ness and assurance forever.... Isa. xxxii. 15, 17. The guilt of sin lays the foundation of trouble and uneasiness: where that is removed by pardoning mercy, there is ground for peace ; but there must be a further act of the divine grace to put us in the actual possession of that peace : when he who alone can open the ear to comfort as well as discipline, makes us to hear joy and gladness, then the storm ceaseth, and there is a calm. The mind that was disturbed with the dread of God's wrath, is quieted with the tokens of his favor and love.
This we should have in our eye at the Lord's ta. ble ; here I am waiting to hear what God the Lord will speak, and hoping that he who speaks peace to his people, and to his saints, will speak that peace to me, who make it the top of my ambition to answer the character, and have the lot of his people and saints. This peace we may here expect to receive for two reasons :
(1.) Because this ordinance is a seal of the promise of peace: in it God assures us that his thoughts towards us are thoughts of peace, (fer. xxix. 11.) and then ours towards ourselves may be so : we are here among his people, whom he hath promised to bless with
peace, (Psal. xxix. 11.) and we may apply that promise to ourselves...plead it, and humbly claim the benefit of it. This is that rest to the soul,, which our master hath promised to all those that come to him and take his yoke upon them, (Mat. xi. 28, 29.) and this promise, among the rest, is here ratified, as yea and amen in Christ. The covenant of
is nant of peace, in the blessed soil of which light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart ....Psal. xcvii. 11. And this covenant of peace is that which eternal truth hath said shall never be removed, but shall stand firm as a rock, when the everlasting mountains shall melt like wax, and the perpetual hills shall bow....Isa, 1. 10. Hath God so far consulted my present repose, as well as my future bliss, that he hath provided not only for the satisfaction of his own justice, but for the satisfaction of my conscience, and shall I indulge my own disturbance, and refuse to be comforted ? No; welcome the promised peace...the calm so long wished for...the desired haven of a troubled spirit, tossed with tempests. Come, my soul, and take possession of this Canaan-by faith enter into this rest, and let not thine own unbelief exclude thee.... Heb. iv. 3. If the God of peace himself speak peace, though with a still, small voice, let that silence the most noisy and clamorous ohjections of doubts and fears; and if he give quietness, let not them make trouble.... Yob xxxiv. 29.
(2.) Because this ordinance is an instituted means of obtaining the peace promised. As the sacrifice was ordained to make atonement for the soul, so the feast
upon the sacrifice was intended for the satisfaction of the soul concerning the atonement made, to remove that amazement and terror which arose from the consciousness of guilt. This ordinance is a feast appointed for that purpose. God doth here not only assure us of the truth of his promise to us, but gives us an opportunity of solemnizing our engagements to him, and sealing to be his, which is appointed not to satisfy him, (he that knows all things, knows if we love him) but to satisfy ourselves, that, thus taking hold of the hope set before us, we may have strong consolation. The blood of Christ is, in this ordinance, sprink. led upon the conscience to pacify that, having been already sprinkled upon the mercy seat, to make atonement there, so making the comers thereunto perfect.... Heb. ix, 13, 14.
When the Lord Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, the first word he said to them was, peace be unto you, (Luke xxiv. 36.) and he said the same to us in this or:linance, Peace be unto this house... peace to this heart. But the disciples of Christ, like those that are apt to be terrified and affrighted, supposing that they had seen a spirit or apparition, (verse 37.) fearing that it is but all a delusion, it is too good news to be true ; what have they to do with peace, think they, while their corruptions, follies and infirmities are so many? But Christ, by the sacrament, checks those fears as these, (verses 38, 39.) Why are ye trou
bled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts ? Behold my hands and my feet: There is that in the marks of the nails, which is sufficient to stop the mouth of unbelief, and to heal the wounds of a broken and contrite spirit. There is merit enough in Christ, though in us there is nothing but meanness and unworthiness. Such considerations this ordinance of fers, as has oft been found effectual by the grace of God to create the fruit of the lips, peace, and to re. store comfort to the mourners.... Isa. Ivii. 17, 18. la it Christ saith again, Peace be unto you, as he did.... Fohn xx. 21. And sometimes a mighty power hath gone along with that word to lay a storm, as it did with that, (Nark iv. 39.) Peace, be still ; so that the soul so calmed, so quieted, hath gone away, and said with wonder, What manner of inan is this ? for even the winds and the seas obey him,
Fourthly, Here we may recei:e supplies of grace. Jesus Christ is, in this ordinance, made of God to all believers, not only righteousness, but sanctification ; so we must receive him, and having received him, so we must walk in liim. It'is certain, we have as much need of the influences of the Spirit to furnish us for our duties, as we have of the merit of Christ to atone for our sins; and as much need of divine
grace carry on the good work, as to begin it. We are, in ourselves, not only ungodly, but without strength, important in that which is good, and inclined to that which is evil, (Rom. v. 6.) and, in the Lord alone have we both righteousness and strength.... Isa. xlv. 24. If, therefore, we have it in him, hither we must come to have it from him ; for gospel-ordinances, and this particularly, are the means of grace, and the ordinary vehicle in which grace is conveyed to the souls of believers. Though God is not tied to them, we are, and must attend them with an expectation to receive grace from God by them, and an entire submission of soul to the operation and conduct of that
This ordinance is as the pool of Bethesda, which our weak