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do deserve; and to teach us, when God orders or permits us sinners to undergo such indignities and afflictions in this our state of trial, that we ought to take our cross patiently as our Redeemer did; and be content, and even pleased to fulfil the will of God, in following His example in His sufferings in this life, that we may be partakers of His glory in the next.
In the next place, consider the blessing which Jesus Christ hath by His death obtained for us. He hath delivered us from the great power which the devil had over mankind by procuring us grace to resist and overcome him. He hath prevailed with God to overlook the untowardness of our nature; to pardon our greatest offences, upon our true repentance ; and being by His death reconciled to God, we have, for His sake, free liberty to apply to Him, as children to a father, for what we stand in need of.
He has also obtained for us the assistance of an Almighty Spirit, to enable us to know and to do what is necessary to fit us for heaven and happiness; and He has prevailed with God that these shall be our certain portion, if we are not wanting to ourselves. In one word, Jesus Christ has entirely freed us from all fears of what may come hereafter, if it is not purely our own fault. The most unlearned Christian may know what is required of him ; the greatest sinner may depend upon pardon on his repentance; the weakest Christian may depend upon necessary assistance; and the meanest Christian is sure not to be overlooked.
By all which you may perceive what thanks you owe to God for your great and good Redeemer, and for what He has done and suffered for you, which you will do well to express in some such manner as this:
The Prayer. GIVE me leave, O God, to mention before Thee the
death of Thy Son, and the infinite blessings I have received thereby; add this to all Thy favours, I beseech Thee, that I may never forget these mercies; never forget to be thankful for them; but that I may preserve the remembrance of them in the manner which He hath ordained. I thank Thee, O God, for that word, in which Thou hast caused these Thy mercies and His example to be recorded. Make me truly sensible of that love which brought Him down from heaven; and how sad our condition was, which required such a sacrifice! May I learn by His patience, humility, selfdenial, and resignation, what virtues are most acceptable to Thy Divine Majesty. And may I take Him for my Lord and Master, and Teacher, and Example, and dedicate myself to Thee, and to Thy service, for His sake. Amen.
THE LAST ENQUIRY YOU ARE TO MAKE IS, WHETHER
YOU ARE IN CHARITY WITH ALL THE WORLD.
CONCERNING which, take especial notice, that
the two great ends of this Ordinance mentioned in Scripture are: The first, To keep up the remembrance of Christ's death till His coming again; The second, To be a solemn token of our communion with Jesus Christ, and of our union and charity with all His family.
To this end He has ordained, that as all Christians, high and low, rich and poor, shall make up one body, of which He is the Head; and one family, of which He is the Master, so they should all eat at one table, of one bread, as a sign of that love, and peace, and friendship, and readiness to help one another, as occasion shall require, and as members of the same body will naturally do.
And indeed your acceptance with God will very much depend upon your hearty good-will for every Christian, and for all mankind.
Therefore you must take especial care, lest there be any person with whom you are not at peace; whom you cannot forgive, and pray for, and do him all the good that can in reason be expected from you; that you be disposed to make satisfaction to any person that has been injured by you, or who may have taken just offence at your words or actions, this being a duty which Jesus Christ Himself has commanded. And
that you be ready to forgive every person who may have injured you, as you expect forgiveness of God, remembering the dreadful sentence mentioned in Matt. xviii., “Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all thy debt : shouldest not thou have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And the Lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors.”
And lastly, you are to take care that you love, not in word only, but in deed, and in truth; that is, that
you do good, as well as give good words, and relieve Jesus Christ in His
members. And believe it for a certain truth, that a charitable and forgiving temper is not near so beneficial to any body as to him that hath it; it being more blessed to give than to receive, and to forgive than to insist upon satisfaction for injuries and wrongs done to us.
This being so necessary a grace, you will not fail to beg of God most earnestly to vouchsafe it to you.
The Prayer. is My commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you. Hear, O my soul, what thy Saviour has commanded thee: He who loved us, and gave Himself an offering and a sacrifice to God
May this Thy love, O Jesus, be the motive and pattern of my love and charity for all mankind! Where this hath not been my practice, I implore Thy gracious pardon; and beseech Thee to fortify my soul against all the suggestions of Satan, or my corrupt nature and blind passions; that I may always be prepared to go to Thine altar with the same charitable dispositions with which I desire and hope to die.
Thou, O Jesus, madest Thine enemies Thy friends by laying down Thy life for them. Be Thou my advo. cate with God for grace to follow Thy heavenly charity and example, that I may overcome evil with good; that I, and all the members of Thy family, may love as brethren; that we may always meet at Thy table as sincere friends, and part with true love and affection as becomes Thy disciples. Amen.