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SEVERAL TEXTS OF SCRIPTURE,
FROPER TO BE USED A LITTLE BEFORE RECEIVING.
EVERY well-disposed Christian, after he has thus
far prepared himself for this Sacrament, will endeavour to keep the thoughts of his duty, and the blessing he hopes for, warm in his heart until the time of receiving.
Some of the following Scriptures, and meditations upon them, may, through God's grace, answer that end; nor will they take up too much time, because some or more of them, as occasion offers, may be devoutly used in the midst of business.
And this method of devotion is here proposed to lead Christians to make proper reflections upon other parts of Scripture which they read or hear.
Rev. iii. 17. Thou sayest, I am rich, and have need of nothing. And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
This is the sad condition to which, as sinners, we are subject; and it is Thy mercy, O God, that any of us are sensible of it. Preserve me, I beseech Thee, from that blindness which would hinder me from seeing my own misery; and from that pride which would keep me from acknowledging it before Thee, who alone canst help me. O give me a true sense of the maladies I labour under, and keep me, for Thy mercies' sake, and for the sake of Jesus my Redeemer.
Psalm li. 17. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart God will not despise.
But most unfit is mine to be to God presented, until I have obtained His pardon for the many sins by which it has been defiled.
Jer. iii. 12, 13. I am merciful, saith the Lord; and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God.
I do acknowledge my sin unto Thee, O God; and mine iniquities will I not hide: I do therefore implore Thy pardon, and plead Thy gracious promise, with full purpose of heart never again to return to folly.
Jer. xvii. 9. The heart is deceitful, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
I cannot indeed answer for my own heart, but there is nothing, O Lord, impossible with Thee; in Thee I do put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Keep it ever in my heart what an evil thing and bitter it will be to forsake the Lord.
1 John iii. 8. He that committeth sin (who abandons himself to live in known sin) is of the devil; is under his power and government.
Preserve me, gracious God, from so fatal a blindness, to choose Satan for my lord and governor, instead of Thy blessed Son, who laid down His life to redeem us from the dreadful tyranny of the devil.
1 John ii. 25. This is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life.
How infinitely good is God to give us so great encouragement to save ourselves from ruin! Give me, I beseech Thee, a firm faith in this promise, that no fears may terrify me, no pleasures may corrupt my heart, no difficulties may discourage me from serving Thee.
Matt. xvi. 24. If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
O my Saviour! who pleasedst not Thyself, but tookest upon Thee the form of a servant: let me not profess to follow Thee, without endeavouring to follow the blessed steps of Thy most holy life; Thy patience, meekness, and humility; Thy great disregard for the world, its pleasures, profits, and all its idols; Thy sensible concern for the miseries of men; Thy unweariedness in doing good; Thy constancy in prayer, and resignation to the will of Thy Father. Let me part with anything, as dear as a right hand or a right eye, rather than not follow Thee.
Matt. vi. 24. No man can serve two masters: ye cannot serve God and mammon.
May I never set up any rival, O God, with Thee in the possession of my heart! May I never attempt to reconcile Thy service with that world which is enmity with Thee! Give me, I beseech Thee, the eyes of faith, that I may see the world what in truth it is; the danger of its riches, the folly of its pleasures, the multitude of its snares, the power of its temptations, its deadly poison, and certain danger of drawing my heart from the love of Thee.
Matt. xxii. 37, 39. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself.
Oh that the love of God may be the commanding principle of my soul; and that I may have this comfortable proof of His love abiding in me, that I study to please Him, and to keep His commandments; that my love to my neighbour may be such as God has commanded; that I may give, and forgive, and love, as becomes a disciple of Jesus Christ!
1 John iii. 14. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.
What it is to love my neighbour as myself, Thou, O Lord, hast taught me in Thy holy Word: never to wrong or deceive him; never to grieve him, or without a cause to create him trouble; never to treat him with contempt and scorn; never to be pleased with his misfortunes and faults; but to rejoice in his happiness, and help him in his wants. Give me, O Lord, this proof of my having passed from death unto life.
Gal. iii. 13. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; that is, He was treated as one under the curse of the law.
Blessed God! How great was our misery, how great was Thy mercy, when nothing could save us from ruin but the death of Thy Son! I see by this how hateful sin is to Thee. Make it so to me, I beseech Thee. May I never flatter myself that Thy mercy will spare me, if I continue in sin, when Thou sparedst not Thine own Son when He put Himself in the place of sinners! May I never provoke Thy justice! May I never forget Thy mercies, and what Thy Son has done for me!
Titus ii. 14. He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity; and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Blessed be God that I am united to this people by Baptism! Grant that I may never disgrace Thee, or my Christian profession, by an ungodly life. O Thou who hast redeemed us from sin and death, cause me to understand, to value, and ever remember Thy great love; and to show that I do so by a life consecrated to Thy service.
2 Timothy ii. 12. If we deny Him, He will also deny us.
How many deny Thee, O Jesus, without thought and without dread? Do they know what they do who lightly turn their backs upon this Ordinance; who make a mock of sin, which cost Thee Thy life; who are ashamed of Thee and of Thy Gospel, out of regard to men, who by their unchristian lives do renounce Thy service? Do they consider what it is to be denied by Thee? That it is to have no interest in Thy death, Thy merits, and mediation! Gracious God, deliver me from this dreadful sin and judgment!
Matt. xxvi. 35. Peter said, Though I should die with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee.
Preserve me, gracious Lord, from a presumptuous opinion and dependence on my own strength without the aids of Thy grace; let me see, in this sad instance, my weakness without Thy assistance, and my ruin without Thy help.
Luke xxii. 61, 62. And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter; and Peter remembered the words of Christ; and went out, and wept bitterly.