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theirs, to protect and support them; his justice theirs, to justify them; his holiness theirs, to sanctify them; his goodness theirs, to love and supply them : his truth is the inviolable security of the promise, and his eternity the perpetuity of their happiness. He will be to them a father, and they shall be his sons and daughters, dignified by the privileges of adoption, and distinguished by the Spirit of adoption, Their Maker is their husband, and he hath said, that he is married to them, and rejoiceth in them as the bridegroom in his bride... Isu. Ixii. 4, 5. The Lord is their shepherd, and the sheep of his pastựre shall not war.t.
He is the portion of their inheritance in the other world, as well as of their cup in this; he hath prepared for them a city, and thereby is not ashamed to be called their God.... Heb. xi. 16. Com. pare Luke xx. 37.
(2.) We do, in and by this ordinance, seal to him to be to him a people. We accept the relation by our voluntary choice and consent, and bind our souls with a bond, that we will approve ourselves to him in the relation. We hereby resign, surrender, and give up our whole selves, body, soul, and spirit, to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; covenanting and promising that we will, by his strength, serve hiin faithfully, and walk closely with him in all manner of
gos. pel-obedience, all our days. Claiming the blessings of the covenant, we put ourselves under the bonds of the covenant. O Lord, truly I am thy servant, I am thy servant—wholly, and only, and forever thine ; and this is the meaning of this service,
An Invitation to this Ordinance. PLENTIFUL and suitable provision is made in this ordinance out of the treasures of the Redeemer's grace ; and ministers, as servants, are sent to bid to the feast-to invite those that the master of the feast hath designed for his guests, and to hasten those that are invited to this banquet of wine, alluding to Esth. vi. 14. Wisdom hath sent forth her maidens on this errand, and they have words put in their mouths, (Luke xiv. 17.) Come, for all things are now ready : this is our message.
First, We are to tell you that all things are ready, now ready : he that hath an ear, let him hear this. All things are now ready in the gospel feast, that are proper for, or will contribute to the full satisfaction of an immortal soul, that knows its own nature and interest, and desires to be truly and eternally happy in the love and favor of its Creator.
1st. All things are ready; all things requisite to a noble feast. Let us a little improve the metaphor.
(1.) There is a house ready for the entertainment of the guests, the gospel church, wisdom's house, which she hath built upon seven pillars....Prov. ix. 1. God hath set up his tabernacle among men, anu the place of his tent is enlarged, and made capacious enough ; so that though the table has been replenished with guests, yet still there is room.... Luke xiv. 22.
(2.) There is a table ready spread in the word and ordinances, like the table in the temple on which the shew-bread was placed, a loaf for every tribe. The scripture is written, the canon of it completed, and ia it a full declaration made of God's good will towards men-which he that runs may read.
(3.) There is a laver ready for us to wash in. As at the marriage feast at Cana, there were six waterpots set for purification.... John ii. 6. Lest sense of pollutions contracted should deter us from the partie cipation of these comforts, behold there is a fountain opened'.... Zech. xiii. 1. Come and wash in it, that being purged from an evil conscience by the blood of Jesus, you may, with humble confidence, compass God's altar. (4.) There are servants ready to attend you,
and those are the ministers, whose work it is to direct you to the table, and, to give to every one their portion of meat in due season, rightly dividing the word of truth. They are not masters of the feast, but cnly stewards, and your servants for Christ's sake'.... II Cor. iv. 5.
(5.) There is a deal of company already come; many have accepted the invitation, and have found a hearty welcome : Why, then, should your place be empty? Let the communion of saints invite you into communion with Christ.
(6.) A blessing is ready to be craved. He is ready that is to bless the sacrifice....I Sam, ix. 13. The great high priest of our profession, ever living to intercede for us, and attending continually to this very thing, is ready to command a blessing upon our spiritual food.
(7.) The master of the feast is ready to bid you welcome, as ready as the father of the prodigal was to receive his repenting, returning son, whom he saw when he was yet a great way off....Luke xv. 20. God's ear is open to hear, his hand open to give.... Isa. lxv. 24.
(8.) The provision is ready for your entertainment. All things are ready (1.) for our justification ; divine justice is satisfied-an everlasting righteousness is brought in ; an act of indemnity hath passed the royal assent, and a pardon-office is erected, where all that can make it appear that they are interested in the general act, may sue out their particular charter of pardon. There is a plea ready, an advocate ready ; behold he is near that justifieth us...Isa. l. 8.--(2.) For our sanctification; there is a fulness of grace in Christ, from which we may all receive. The word of grace is ready as the means—the Spirit of grace is ready as the Author_every thing ready for the mortifying of sin, the confirming of faith, and our furtherance in holiness. (3.) For our consolation, a well of living water is ready, if we can but see it: peace is left to us for a legacy, which we way claim if we will; promises are given us for our support, which, if we have not the benefit of, it is our own fault. There is somethi:g in the new covenant to obviate every grief, every challenge, every fear, if we will use it. (4.) For our salvation, ready to be revealed (1 Pet. i. 5.), angels upon the wing are ready to convey us ; Jesus standing at the Father's right hand is ready to receive us ; the many mansions are ready prepared for us. “ All things are ready.”
2dly, All things are now ready, just now, for behold now is the accepted time.... 11 Cor. vi. 2.
(1.). All things are now readier than they were under the law. Grace then lay more hid than it doth now, when life and immortality are brought to so clear a light by the gospel. Christ in a sacrament is much readier than Christ in a sacrifice.
(2.) All things are now readier than they will be shortly, if we trifle away the present season. Now the door of
and we are invited to come and enter ; but it will shortly be shut. Now the golden sceptre is held out, and we are called to come and touch the top of it; but it will be otherwise when the days of our probation are numbered and finished, and he that now saith, “Come for a blessing,” will say,
Depart with a curse.
Secondly, We must call you to come ; this is now the call-come, come: the Spirit saith Come ; and the bride saith Come.... Rev. xx“. 17. Come to Christ in the first place, and then come to this ordinance. All things are ready-be not you unready.
This exhortation must be directed to three sorts of
persons ; (1.) Those who are utterly unmeet for this ordinance, must be exhorted to qualify themselves, and then come—(2.) Those who through grace are in some measure meet for this ordinance, must be exhorted speedily to enter themselves-(3.) Those who have entered themselves, must be exhorted to be constant in their attendance upon it.
First, I must apply myself to those that, by their ignorance, profaneness, irreligion, or reigning worldliness, put a bar in their own way, and may noy be admitted to this ordinance. If these lines should fall under the
eye of any such, let them know I have a message to them from God, and I must deliver it, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.
Dost thou live a carnal, wicked life, in the service of sin and Satan, without fear, and without God in the world? Light is come into the world, and dost thou love darkness rather, not knowing nor desiring to know the way of the Lord, and the judgment of thy God? Art thou a drunkard, a swearer, a Sabbathbreaker? Art thou an adulterer, fornicator, or unclean person? Art thou a liar, a deceiver, a railer, or a contentious person? Art thou a mere drudge to the world, or a slave to any base lust?
Doth thy own conscience tell thee, Thou art the man, or would it not tell thee so, if thou wouldst suffer it to deal faithfully with thee?
(1.) Know, then, that thou hast no part nor lot in this matter: while thou continuest thus, thou art not an invited guest to this feast ; the servants dare not biu thee welcome, for they know the Master will not, but will ask thee, Friend, how camest thou in hither ? What hast thou to do to take God's covenant, and the seal of it, into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction ?... Psal. 1. 6. &c. Read that scripture, and hear God speaking to thee in it. It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to dogs. Thou art forbid.. den to touch these sacred things with thine unhallowed hands : for, What communion hath Christ with Bee ,