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A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO THE TRUE
The Lord's Supper.
SECTION 1. THERE are two holy ordinances or Sacraments
appointed by Jesus Christ as most especial means of obtaining grace and salvation, which no Christian who hopes to be saved must wilfully neglect. These are-Baptism and the Lord's SUPPER.
It must be supposed that you have already been made partaker of one of these two Sacraments; namely, that of BAPTISM, by which you were admitted into the congregation of Christ's flock, were restored to the favour of God, and had the Holy Spirit communicated to you, for a principle of a new and spiritual life, in order to awaken you, and to direct and assist that natural reason with which God has endued all mankind.
But forasmuch as you have done many things contrary to the promise made in your name when you were baptized, and will stand in need of greater degrees of grace and assistance to enable you to resist the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and to do your duty in that state of life unto which the providence of God shall call you; you are, therefore, now called upon to be partaker of the other Sacrament, that of the Lord's SUPPER, by which, upon your sincere repentance, you may obtain the pardon of all your past sins, and such other graces as you stand in need of, to bring you to eternal life and happiness.
Take care, therefore, that you understand what you are called to, as well as you are able; and God expects no more.
For if you go to the Lord's Supper without considering the reason of that ordinance, and the very great concern you have in it--without seeing the necessity and blessing of a Redeemer-you will go with indifference, and return without such benefit as you might otherwise hope for.
To prevent this, you should seriously consider what account the Holy Scriptures have given us of the condition we are in, both with respect to this life and the life which is to come; that is, that we are by nature sinners, and that as such God cannot take pleasure in us; and that if we die before we are restored to His favour, we shall be separated from Him, and miserable for ever.
This will lead you to enquire how the nature of man came to be thus disordered and prone to evil; for you must not imagine that God, who is infinitely good, created man in such a state of corruption as you now see and feel him to be, but that he must have fallen into this wretched condition since he came out of the hands of his Creator.
And so the Scripture informs us. In Gen. iii. we have this following account of the state of man before and after the fall: That Adam and Eve, from whom sprang all mankind, were created in the image of God; that is, holy and innocent, having a perfect knowledge of their duty, a command of their will and affections, and a power, through the grace of God, to do what they saw fit to be done.
In this condition they were placed in Paradise, in a state of trial, with a promise of immortal life and happiness if they should continue to fear, to love, to honour, and obey their Creator, as also with an express warning of the dreadful consequence of their disobedience.
Notwithstanding which warning, they, through the temptation of the devil, transgressed the commands of God; and by doing so, they did not only forfeit all right to the promise of eternal life and happiness, but also contracted such a blindness in the understanding, such a disorder in their will and affections, as all their posterity feel to their sorrow, and became subject to sin and the punishment of sin, which is misery and death.
Concerning the nature and greatness of this sin, we are to judge of it by the greatness of the punishment inflicted upon them and their posterity; for God, being infinitely just and holy, could not inflict a punishment greater than their sin deserved.
Now this was the occasion of that universal corruption and wickedness which you see and hear of in the world, and which you cannot but in some measure feel in your own nature; for, as the Scriptures inform us, Adam begat his children in his own likeness; that is, with such a depraved nature as his was then become.
And now consider into what a sad condition these unhappy offenders had brought themselves; and re
member that this is your own condition, and the condition of all their posterity.
The law of nature and reason was full in force, and could not possibly be dispensed with. At the same time they found by sad experience that, as St. Paul describes the fallen state of man, there was a law in their members warring against the law of their mind; so that the good which they would, they did not; but the evil that they would not, that they did.
There could not sure be a condition more deplorable than this: To live only to contract evil habits, and by doing so, to increase their guilt, to displease their Creator, and to leave an offspring as miserable as themselves.
This, therefore, gave cccasion to God to manifest another of His most glorious perfections; that is, His infinite goodness and mercy.
For God foreseeing this lamentable condition into which they had fallen by departing from their obedience, His goodness had provided such a remedy as that neither they nor any of their posterity should, on account of their fall, be eternally miserable except through their own fault.
He therefore, in consideration of a Redeemer, one of the seed of the woman, who should make full satisfac. tion to the Divine Justice for their transgression, and who should bruise the head or break the power of that serpent (the devil) which tempted them to sin ; in consideration of this promised seed God entered into a new covenant with them, by way of remedy for what was past, and could not be undone.
We have reason to believe that this new covenant was more fully explained to Adam than is set down in this short account given us by Moses, and as it is more