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The aposile says further, this judgment or punishment, this weakness and sickness among them, and death in its approaches, may instruct and reform them, may teach them to be more attentive to their religious duties, and so in the end promote their etermal salvation. For he adds, " when we are thus judged,” (or punished) we are chastened and disciplined by the Lord, that we may not be condemned eternally with the wicked, unreformed world. Now a judgment or punishment which thus corrects and improves us, and so may prevent our eternal condemnation, cannot at any rate be everlasting damnation, nor can we suppose that even those who slept or died penitent, under this correcting and improving judgment or punishment, were condemued eternally, because the reason assigned for this judgment is, that they might not be condemned in the other world, or be in danger of damnation.
You perceive, then, that the peculiar fault of the Corinthians, censured by the apostle, cannot easily be committed, by any partaker of the holy communion, in the predeath itself; in some sense, crucifying to themselves the son of God afresh, and counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing.” They therefore eat and drank damnation to themselves. I observe that the original word in this place, rendered in our English Bible damnation, means judgment, or sentence of punishment. You will find the word, in this passage, so translated in the margin of our Bible. The English word itself, damnation or condemnation, at first meant each the same thing, although by long use, damnation is come to signify sentence of eternal punishment, to be inflicted by God, in another world ; and condemnation more generally signifies punishment, to be inflicted by man in this world. “They eat and drank to themselves,” that is, by so eating and drinking, they drew down upon themselves, judgment, or sentence of punishment. Of what nature this judgment or punishment was, and where to be inflicted, is manifest from the words immediately following: “ for this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep,” that is are dead. Now weakness, and sickness, and death, are punishments inflicted in this present world. They also receive the Lord's Supper, unworthily, who do it only as a testimony of respect, and friendly remembrance. These do not discern, rightly distinguish, the Lord's body. Their celebration of this ordinance is not scriptural: as they do not keep in view the grand object, for which Christ instituted it. It was a maxim among the Rabbins - that if the Paschal Lamb was slain in its own name, and the blood sprinkled as that of another sacrifice, the whole was polluted.” Or if the offerer changed his intention, during the solemnity, and in the purpose of his mind, changed the sacrifice, it was polluted. (See Mishna. Tract Pesachim.) This was doubtless true of the passover, and no less so of the antitype, for in the emblems of Christ crucified, a greater than the Paschal Lamb is represented. If our Saviour instituted this solemnity, to bring to our remembrance his death, as a sacrifice for sin, and a person comes to the altar, with a creed determined against this scriptural and religious use of it, does he not in heart change the sacrifice? he professes to remember Christ crucified, but he commemorates the sprinkling of his blood, not as an atonement for sin, but “as a necessary consequence of Jewish malice, and of the unshaken integrity, of the founder of christianity, who to convince the world that he was sincere, and that his doctrines were all true, submitted to a painful and ignominious death.” Is not this eating and drinking unworthily ?--can such communicants have ever carefully examined the Book of God relative to this matter? If they have not, they are greatly to be pitied, and greatly to be blamed ; if they have, and still refuse to acknowledge him, who died for their sins, and rose again for their justification, their case is peculiarly deplorable.
be here asked, who then should approach this sacred ordinance ? I answer, 1st, every sincere believer in Christ, has a right to come-such are of the family of God, and this bread belongs to the children. 2dly, every real penitent is invited to come, as all the promises of pardon mentioned in the bible, are made to the contrite, and he that is athirst may take of the water of life freely. Thus, none are excluded, but the unbeliever, the impenitent, the transgressor, and the profane, heaven itself will be
accessible to many who die in their struggles, to flee from the wrath to come ; in their aspirations after holiness, and in their endeavours after a new life; we may rest assured that God, who made us all, who only can compare performance with ability, who alone knows how far the heart has been pure, or corrupted, how inadvertency has surprised, fear has betrayed, or weakness has impeded, will make every reasonable allowance for human infirmity ; and shall those be rejected from the table of the Lord, below, who will be permitted to join the church of the first born above, the assembly of saints, and the choir of angels ?
3. In the beginning of this chapter I have mentioned the general tendency of this ordinance, to produce religious excellence. Another powerful motive to enforce a regular attendance at the Lord's table, will be found by every Christian in his own personal benefit.
The signs and memorials of a religion which is founded on the highest act of divine love, and imposes universal benevolence, as