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However, I saw it my duty, both to administer the Lord's Supper, having received ordination for that purpose, and also to have service in the forenoon; and I believe it was of God, and if I ever did any thing in my life with a single eye it was what I did at Liverpool; and from that time the work has been rapidly rising. Let any, one look at the Minutes in 1792, and look at them non. The first time I administered the sacred ordinance, two souls professed to be set at liberty ; a blessed beginning;
But another thing lay upon my mind, and that was, that the people might understand a little of the nature and design of that sucred institution; I did not know any book that I could recommend upon the sub ject. Mr. Henry, is perhaps the best ; but then it is too long and too laboured for the generality of plain people, and Burkitt is much the same; Lan's is little better than disguised transubstantiation. I therefore wrote, preached, and printed, the ensuing plain discourses, hoping it might be of some use ; and for the same reason I reprint it for I candidly confess I have not yet seen any thing, that will throw more light upon the subject ; and I hope for a divine blessing upon the same.
Manchester, March 28, 1812.
THE NATURE AND DESIGN OF
THE LORD'S SUPPER.
1 Cor. xi. 28.
BUT LET A MAN EXAMINE HIMSELF, AND
SO LET HIM EAT OF THAT BREAD, AND
GOD made man upright; but they, his posterity, have sought out many inventions : and of these, abusing his divine institutions is not the least hurtful; that this was the case with the Jews of old, is very clear, both in the old and new testament. Either they were gone away from his ordinances and had not kept them, (a) or otherwise they had perverted them, and turned them into empty formalities. (b) Hence the Lord makes frequent complaints by his prophets, and often indeed to very little purpose ; for they were determined to fol
: (a) Mal. iii. 7. (b) Isaiah i, 13, 14.
low the imaginations of their own hearts. We find the same stupid, self conceitedness continued in our Saviour's time, insomuch that old customs, and senseless traditions were set up instead of obedience to the words of their Redeemer; thus making the word of God of none effect, that they might keep their empty traditions.
THIS was the case in the primitive church at a very early period, even while the apostles were yet alive, as appears from the chapter before us; and hence the solemn ordinance of the Lord's Supper was abused by the Corinthians, who were grown wise in their own conceit, yea wiser than their teachers, to the great loss of purity and gospel simplicity; and the present day marks out the same evils unto us. Millions are almost avowed infidels, and reject every thing sacred and divipe. And among such as pay some regard to the things of God, how much stupid bigotry do we see, and how little heavenly understanding, how little genuine love ? Numbers are almost ready to fight to maintain some old obsolete forti, some unscriptural tradition, to the destruction, the utter destruction of mercy and the love of God.
MANY, very many are the abuses we find of sacred things, even now, and that shocking profanation of the Lord's Supper is not one of the least. Improper persons administer it; improper persons receive it; such as are shamefully ignorant of its nature, and such as are a disgrace to religion in their lives. People are often urged to go to Sacrament, as 'tis called; yea, it is often carried to persons just dying, to be their sure passport no doubt, while ignorant of the real design of that blessed institution.To attempt a remedy in this case, is the design of the present discourse ; and let me entreat your calm and candid attention, while I endeavour to explain and inforce the advice in the text: But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
FROM hence it may be proper to consider,
FIRST, For what ends we may eat of that bread and drink of that cap...
SECONDLY, Let a man examine himself" whether these holy ends be answered in him,
I. FIRST, then, for what ends are we to eat of that bread and drink of that cup?.
1. THAT we may profess our faith and confidence in the Saviour of the world ; and herein evidence that we belong to him ; owning and avowing him to be our Lord and Redeemer: also acknowledging that we take him for our prophet, priest, and king; for our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; so that we acknowledge no salvation in any other, well knowing that there is no other name given among men whereby we can be saved but the name of Jesus. So that we “ renounce
our own, both righteous and unrighteous deeds, and live in him transplanted, and from him receive new life.” Therefore “we do not presume to approach his table trusting in our own righteousness, but in his manifold mercies," manifest in dying for us upon the cross.
“ He sunk beneath our heavy woes,
“ To raise us to his throne;
" But cost bis heart a groan.”
IN him is life to the dead, strength to the weak, rest to the weary, and pardon to the guilty: this we announce to all the world by eating of that bread and drinking of that cup.
2. We call to mind his death and pas.. sion, which gave satisfaction to that justice which we have offended, that law which we had broken; and thereby had brought ourselves under the curse, seeing it is written, Cursed is the man who continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (a) But the eating of that broken bread, and drinking of that wine poured out, plainly point unto that sacred body, rent and torn for our offences, that precious blood shed to make reconciliation for transgression : there we see him wounded for our transgressions,
(a) Deut. xxvii. 26. Gal. iii. 10.