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that my footsteps slip not.” So long as we neither consent to sin, nor connive at sin, nor compromise with sin, let no sense of unworthiness keep us from the blood wbich alone brings remission, nor any consciousness of infirmity from the bread of life, which alone imparts spiritual strength. We do not receive unworthily, when we receive with the purpose of steadfastly endeavouring to lead a new life, and in the confidence and in the hope, that this very ordinance will be a means, through grace, of enabling and empowering us so to do. Only let us pray, that God would put into our hearts good desires, and enable us to bring the same to good effect: prepared to watch and pray, lest we enter into temptation; ready to take to ourselves the share of failure, if we fail, and to give him all the glory, if we stand, knowing that we stand by faith, and that faith is the gift of God.
The great peril of unworthily receiving the holy mystery arises, in the last place, from partial, inadequate, or mistaken views of the salvation, which has been accomplished for us by Christ Jesus.
II. All who aspire to be meet partakers of the Holy Sacrament are enjoined diligently to try and examine themselves, before they presume to eat of that bread and to drink of that cup.
What must be the effect of such an examination, in their estimate of themselves, it is almost superfluous to mention ; for when Abraham and Jacob, and Job and Isaiah, weighed themselves in the balances, they were found wanting. “I am but dust and ashes,” said Abraham, pleading with God. “ I am not worthy,” Jacob testified, “ of the least of all thy mercies.” “I abhor myself,” declared Job, " and repent in dust and ashes.” is me,” exclaimed Isaiah, “ for I am a man of unclean lips.” Similar is the language of the most illustrious among the worthies of the New Testament." “ Depart from me,” said Peter, “ for I am a sinful man, O LORD;” and in the same spirit Paul declared, “ Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." These examples are cited, in order to vindicate the assumption of the Church, in regard to all her communicants, that “the remembrance of sin is grievous, and the burthen of it intolerable ;” and to establish the point, that the examination and the abasement of self ought ever to go hand in hand, for they
are sure preservatives from erroneous and unworthy views of the sacred ordinance. When we have learnt to think rightly of ourselves we shall be less in danger to think wrongly of Christ. Once persuaded that we are not sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, we shall be the better prepared to expect every thing from Him. The consciousness of our own unworthiness will tend, more than all beside, to cast us, implicitly and exclusively, upon the all-sufficient worthiness of Christ.
What we require, then, is simply this: an entire and exclusive reliance on the merits of Christ's death and passion; a conviction that the abundance of sin is more than counterpoised by the superabundance of grace; an expectation, an experience rather, that the grace of Christ is sufficient for us, and that his strength shall be made perfect in our weakness. It is an application to ourselves of the memorable passage, “ Christ Jesus of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” It is the persuasion, embodied in our practice, that as there is justification from sin by the blood of Christ alone, so the holiness, without which
no man shall see the LORD, must be produced in us exclusively by the mighty working of the Spirit of God.
It is, consequently, the recognition of our entire obligation to Christ for all our means of grace and hopes of glory, in that He at once effaces the condemnatory record of our old sins, and obtains for us, and conveys to us, that sanctifying influence, which alone can make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. “It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” In a word, it is the practical understanding and application of those memorable words of the Apostle, “ Christ is all and in all,” the expecting everything from him, the performing everything in him, the ascribing everything to him; it being our only ground of hope, that he hath borne our sins and carried our sorrows; our absorbing motive to holiness, that the whole conversation may be such as becometh the Gospel of Christ.
Thus have we considered, as the Church enjoins, the dignity of this holy mystery, instituted by a dying Saviour on the very
eve of his betrayal; obligatory on every true disciple of Christ; productive of unequalled and abiding benefit; bringing with it, if rightly regarded, the assurance of plenary remission; leaving behind it, if duly received, a good hope through grace, a hope full of immortality. We have considered also the peril of the unworthy receiving thereof, as arising from indulged and wilful sin, or partial and inadequate views of Christ and his salvation; and what more remains, but that we exhort all who are not conscious of being disqualified in either way; all who are desirous to depart from iniquity, and contented to repose entire confidence in the promises of God, through Christ; to draw near with faith, and take this Holy Sacrament to their comfort. It is, indeed, if received in faith, a comfort beyond all price. It is not only the pledge of Christ's love, but the earnest of our salvation. It not only brings down fresh supplies of grace, but kindles anew the hope of glory. It is the most powerful incentive to obedience, and the most effectual preservative against sin. It supports us under the pressure of the ills of life, and guides us in safety through its snares. It