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is the supply of every need, according to the riches of God's mercy in Christ Jesus. We come as sinners, we are pardoned; as mourners, we are comforted; as penitents, we are accepted. We come in weakness, we are strengthened; in fear, we are encouraged; in perplexity, we are enlightened; in disquietude, we are calmed. Here the hands that hang down are lifted up, and the feeble knees; that which is lame is not turned out of the way, but rather it is healed; the troubled conscience is pacified the drooping faith revived. Doing this in remembrance of Christ, we are refreshed and encouraged by the assurance that Christ remembers us; we may come in heaviness, but we shall depart in peace; more than ever concerned so to eat of that bread, and to drink of that cup, that we may demonstrate by a holy walk through life, and a triumphant hope in death, the verity of those most precious and encouraging words, "My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, HATH everlasting life."
On the Love of God to Mankind, particularly manifested in this Sacrament.
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us. 1 John iii. 16.
BEHOLD, LORD, thus encouraged, thus
invited, I come: yet I do not presume to do so trusting in my own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. I feel, alas! my weakness and wants, and betake myself to thee for relief. Sick and diseased, I fly to the Physician of souls; hungry and thirsty, to the Fountain of living water and bread of life; poor and needy, to the bountiful king of heaven; a servant to his kind Master; a creature to his compassionate Creator, who hateth nothing that he hath made; and a forlorn,
disconsolate wretch, to thee, the holy, the eternal, the only Comforter. But,
Whence is this to me that my GoD should vouchsafe to come unto me? or, who am I that thou shouldst communicate to me thy own self? How shall a conscious sinner dare to appear before thee? or how canst thou, who art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, endure to make such condescending approaches to a soul polluted with sin and with uncleanness? Thou seest my very inward parts, and knowest I have nothing in me that is good; nothing to invite such mercy, nothing fit for the reception of so pure, so glorious a majesty.
I will therefore humbly confess my own utter unworthiness, and thy unspeakable goodness; I will thankfully admire, praise, and adore, thy marvellous love and exceeding abundant grace. For this is purely thine own act. Nothing on my part could deserve, nothing could move thee to it. The more unworthy I am, the more conspicuous is thy goodness, the more amazing thy mercy and thy condescension.
Since, therefore, thou art pleased to stoop so low, be it unto me according to thy word! Since thou hast thought fit to command my
approach, I will most gladly testify my ready obedience; and only pray that my own sinfulness may not render me odious in thy sight, nor frustrate these inestimable mercies to me. I will seek to supply my want of ability by the earnestness of my zeal, and most humbly beseech thee to kindle those hearty desires of the inestimable benefit by which my soul and all its faculties shall thirst and pant most earnestly after thee and thy righteousness. I will turn my eyes into my own heart, and abase myself with the mortifying prospect of my own unworthiness, laying myself low before thee; and from a sense of my sin I will flee to thy mercy, that I may be made whole by the body and blood of my Redeemer.
How wise, how merciful, was thy design in the first institution of this holy Supper! how rich, how delightful a banquet hast thou prepared for thy guests, by ordaining thy own body and blood for the mystical entertainment of the faithful! How astonishing are the operations of thy grace and power! how incomprehensible the methods of fulfilling thy most true promise! Thou spakest the word in the beginning,
and all things were created! and, by the same almighty word, thou commandest bread and wine, and they nourish souls to life eternal!
And thou, my soul, rejoice and be exceeding glad for so noble a favour, so heavenly a refreshment, so rich a consolation, to support thee, and to sweeten thy passage through this vale of tears and misery. For every time thou rightly attendest these holy mysteries thou dost spiritually eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood; thou dost express thy trust anew in the covenant of redemption, and effectually partake of thy Saviour's merits and sufferings. For his love continues always the same, and the excellence and worth of his propitiation is an inexhaustible spring of mercy. Come, therefore, hither, with new exalted zeal; enlarge thy heart and its desires; and doubt not but thou shalt, at every approach, return with fresh and plentiful accessions of grace.
Let not the frequency'abate thy devotion; nor do thou abstain, lest by frequency of receiving thou shouldst less esteem the Divine mystery, and fall into lukewarmness and indevotion. Rather let the favour