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true joy where the mouth is not filled with laughter, nor the tongue with singing ; and true sorrow, where yet the
doth not run down with tears. They + whose hearts are firmly fixed for God, may take the
comfort of that, though they do not find their hearts sensibly flowing out towards him.
And yet, in this sacrament, where it is designed that the eye should affect the heart, we must not rest in the bare contemplation of what is here set be. fore us ; but the consideration thereof must make an impression upon our spirits, which should be turned as clay to the seal. If what is here done do not affect us for the present, it will not be likely to influence us afterwards for we retain the remembrance of things better by our affections than by our notions : I shall never forget thy precepts, when by them thou hast quickened me. Here, therefore, let us stir up the gift that is in us, endeavoring to affect ourselves with the great things of God and our souls ; and let us pray to God to affect us with them by his spirit and grace, and to testify his acceptance of the sacrifice of a devoted heart, which we are to offer, by kindling it with this holy fire from heaven. Awake, O north-wind, and come, thou south, and blow upon my garden : come, thuu blessed Spirit, and move upon these waters... these dead waters, to set them a moving in rivers of living water; come and breathe upon these dry bones, that they may live. O that I might now be in the mount with God! that I might be so taken up with the things of the Spirit, and the other world, that, for the time, I may evea forget that I am yet in the body, and in this world! that I might now be soaring, upwards...upwards towards God-pressing forwarus... forwards towards heaven,, as one not slothful in his business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; for here it is no time to trifle !
Let us then see, in some particulars, how we should be affected when we are attending on the Lord in this solemnity, and in what channels these waters of the
sanctuary should run, that we may take our work bed fore us, and apply our minds to the consideration of those things that are proper to excite those affections.
First, Here we must be sorrowing for sin, after a godly sort, and blushing before God at the thought of it. Penitential grief and shame are not at all unsuita able to this ordinance, though it is intended for our joy and honor, but excellent preparatives for the benefit and comfort of it. Here we should be, like Ephraim, bemoaning ourselves like Job, abhorring our selves...renewing those sorrowful reflections we made upon our own follies, when we were preparing for this service, and keeping the fountain of repentance still open....still flowing.
Our sorrow for sin needs not hinder our joy in God, and therefore our joy in God must not forbid our sorrow for sin.
(1.) Our near approach to God in this ordinance should excite and increase our holy shame and sor
When we see what an honor we are advanced to... what a favor we are admitted to, it is seasonable to reflect upon our own unworthiness, by reason of the guilt of sin, and our own unfitness, by reason of the power of sin, to draw near to God. A man's des formity and defilement is never such a mortification to him as when he comes into the presence of those that are comely, clean, and fashionable ; and when we are conscious to ourselves that we have dealt basely and disingenuously with one we are under the highest obligations to love and honor, an interview with the person so offended cannot but renew our grief.
I am here drawing nigh to God- not only treading his courts with Christians at large, but sitting down at his table with select disciples ; but, when I consider how pure and holy he is, and how vile and sinful I am, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face before kim : to me belongs shame and confusion of face. I have many a time heard of God by the hearing of the ear, but now I am taken to sit down with
him at his table ; mine eyes see him...see the King in his beauty : wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. What a fool... what a wretch have I been, to offend a God who appears so holy in the eyes of all that draw nigh unto him, and so great to all them that are about him ? Wo is me! for I am undone...lost and undone forever, if there were not a Mediator between me and God, because I am a man of unclean lips, and an unclean heart: now I per: çeive it, and my own degeneracy and danger by rea. son of it; for mine eyes have seen the King...the Lord of hosts,... Isa, vi, 5. I have reason to be ashamed to see one I am so unlike to, and afraid to see one I am so obnoxious to. The higher we are advanced by the free grace of God, the more reason we shall see to abase ourselves, and cry, God be merciful to us sinners,
(2.) A sight of Christ crucified, should increase and excite our penitential shame and sorrow, and that evangelical repentance, in which there is an eye to the cross of Christ. It is prophecied, nay, it is promised, as a blessed effect of the pouring out of the Spirit, in gospel times, upon the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and shall mourn.... Zech. xii. 10. Here we see Christ pierced for our sins, nay, pierced by our sins ; our sins were the cause of his death, and the grief of his heart. The Jews and Ro. mans. crucified Christ; but, as David killed Uriah with his letter, and Ahab killed Naboth with his seal, so the hand-writing that was against us for our sins, nailed Christ to the cross, and so he nailed it to the
We had eaten the sour grapes, and his teeth were set on edge. Can we see him thus suffering for I'S
and shall not we suffer with him ? Was he in such pain for our sins, and shall not we be in paiq for them? Was his soul exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, and shall not ours be exceeding sorrowful, when that is the way to life? Come, my soul, see by faith the
holy Jesus made sin for thee....the glory of heaven made a reproach of men for thee....his Father's joy made a man of sorrows for thy transgressions--see thy sins burdening him when he sweat, spitting upon him, and buffeting him, and putting him to open shame....crowning him with thorns, and piercing his hands and his side ; and let this melt and break this hard and rocky heart of thine, and dissolve it into tears of godly sorrow. Look on Christ dying, and weep not for him, (though they who have any thing of ingenuity and good nature, will see reason enough to weep for an innocent sufferer), but weep for thyself, and thine own sins ; for them be in bitterness as one that is in bitterness for an only son.
Add to this, that our sins have not only pierced him, as they were the cause of his death, but as they have been the reproach of his holy name, and the grief of his holy Spirit. Thus we have crucified him afresh, by doing that which he has often declared to be a vexation and dishonor to him, as far as the joys and glories of his present state can admit. The consideration of this should greatly humble us : nothing goes nearer to the quick with a true penitent, nor touches him in a more tender part than this.... Ezek. vi. 9. • They shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me'-a strange expression, that the great God should reckon himself broken by the sins of his people! No wonder it follows, they shall loath themselves for the evils whicli they have committed.' Can we look upon an humbled, broken Christ, with an unhumbled, broken heart? Do our sins grieve him, and shall they not grieve us? Come, my soul, and sit down by the cross of Christ, as a true mourner; let it make thee weep to see him weep, and bleed to see him bleed. That heart is frozen, indeed, which these considerations will not thaw.
(3.) The gracious offer here made us of peace and pardon, should excite and increase our godly sorrow and shame. This is a gospel motive....Repent, for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand ; that is, the promise of - pardon upon repentance is published, and seated, and
whoever will, may come and take the benefit of it. The terrors of the law are of use to startle us, and put us into a horror for sin, as those that are afraid of God; but the
grace of the gospel contributes more to an ingenuous repentance, and makes us more ashamed of ourselves. This rents the heart, to consider God so gracious and merciful...so slow to anger, and ready to forgive.... Joel ii. 13. Let this loving kindness melt thee, O my soul, and make thee to relent more tenderly than ever. Wretch that I have been ! to spic in the face, and spurn at the bowels of such mercy and love by my wilful sin !-to despise the riches of gospel grace! I am ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I do bear the reproach of my youth. Doth God meet thee thus with terms of reconciliation ? Doth the party offended make the first motion of an agreement? Shail such an undutiful, disobedient, prodigal son as I have been, be embraced and kissed, and clothed with the best robe ? This kindness overcomes me : now it cuts me to the heart, and humbles me to the dust, to think of my former rebellions; they never appeared so heinous...so vile, as they do, now I see them pardoned. The more certain I am that I shall not be ruined by them, the more reason I see to be humbled for them. When God promised to establish his covenant with repenting Israel, he adds, “That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and nev. er open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee....Ezek. xvi. 62, 63. To gee God provoked causeth a holy trembling; but to see God pacified, causeth a holy blushing. The day of atonement, when the sins of Israel were to be sent to a land of forgetfulness, must be a day to afflict the soul....Lev. xvi. 29. The blood of Christ will be the more healing and comforting to the soul, for its