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“hearing the voice which came from the excellent glory ;" unto which [prophetic word; so he styles the Holy Scriptures] “ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day-star arise in your hearts.” (2 Pet. i. 19.) Let all, therefore, who desire that day to dawn upon their hearts, wait for it in searching the Scriptures.
1. Thirdly, All who desire an increase of the grace of God are to wait for it in partaking of the Lord's Supper: for this also is a direction himself bath given. “The same night in which he was betrayed, he took bread, and brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body;” that is, the sacred sign of my body : “ This do, in remembrance of me.” “Likewise, he took the cup, saying, This cup is the New Testament,” or Covenant, in my blood; the sacred sign of that covenant; “this do ye, in remenıbrance of me.” “ For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew forth the Lord's death till he come :" (1 Cor. xi. 23, &c. :) ye openly exhibit the same, by these visible signs, before God, and angels, and men; ye manifest your solemn remembrance of his death, till he cometh in the clouds of heaven.
Only let a man first examine himself, whether he understand the nature and design of this holy institution, and whether he really desire to be himself made conformable to the death of Christ; and so, nothing doubting, “let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” (Ver. 28.)
Here, then, the direction first given by our Lord, is expressly repeated by the Apostle. Let him eat; let him drink; (OJIETW, TIYETW, both in the imperative mood ;) words not implying a bare permission only, but a clear, explicit command; a command to all those who either already are filled with peace and joy in believing, or can truly say, “ The remembrance of our sins is grievous unto us, the burden of them is intolerable.”
12. And that this is also an ordinary, stated means of receiving the grace of God, is evident from those words of the Apostle, which occur in the preceding chapter. “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion (or communication) of the blood of Christ ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ?” (1 Cor. x. 16.) Is not the eating of that bread, and the drink-, ing of that cup, the outward, visible means, whereby God
conveys into our souls all that spiritual grace, that righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, which were purchased by the body of Christ once broken, and the blood of Christ once slied for us? Let all, therefore, who truly desire the grace of God, eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
IV. 1. But, as plainly as God hath pointed out the way wherein he will be inquired after, innumerable are the Objections which men, wise in their own cyes, have from time to time raised against it. It may be necdlul to consider a few of these; not because they are of weight in themselves, but because they have so often been used, especially of late years, to turn the lame out of the way; yea, to trouble and subvert thosc who did run well, till Satan appeared as an angel of light.
The first and chief of these is, “ You cannot use these mcans (as you call them) without trusting in them. I pray, where is this written ? I expect you should show me plain Scripture for your assertion : otherwise I dare not receive it; because I am not convinced that you are wiser than God.
If it really had been as you assert, it is certain Christ must have known it. And if he had known it, he would surely have warned us; he would have revealed it long ago. Therefore, because he has not, because there is no little of this in the whole rcvclation of Jesus Christ, I am as fully assured your assertion is falsc, as that this revelation is of God.
However, leave them off for a short time, to see whether you trusted in them or no.' So I am to disobey God, in order to know whether I trust in obeying lim! And do you avow this advice? Do you deliberately teach to “ do evil, that good may come ?” O tremble at the sentence of God against such teachers! Their “ damnation is just.”
Nay, if you are troubled when you leave them off, it is Hlain you trusted in them. Pyno means. If lav troubled when Twillully disobey God, it is plain bis Spirit is still striving with me; but if I am not troubled at willal sin, it is plain I am girou up to a reprobate mind.
But what do you mean by• Trusting in them?' Looking for the blessing of God therein ? Believing, that if I wait in this way, I shall attain what otherwise I should not ? So I do. And so I will, God being my belper, even to my life's end. By the grace of God I will thus trust in them, till the day of my death; Uat is, I will believe, that whatever God hath promised, he is faithful also to perform. And seeing he hath promised to bless me in this way, I trust it shall be according to his word.
2. It has been, sợcondly, objected, “This is seeking salvation by works.' Do you know the meaning of the expression you use? What is seeking salvation by works? In the writings of St. Paul, it means, either seeking to be saved by observing the ritual works of the Mosaic law; or expecting salvation for the sake of our own works, by the merit of our own righteousness. But how is either of these implied in my waiting in the way God has ordained, and expecting that he will meet me there, because he has promised so to do ?
I do expect that he will fulfil his word, that he will meet and bless me in this way. Yet not for the sake of any works which. I have done, nor for the merit of my righteousness; but merely through the merits, and sufferings, and love of his Son, in whom he is always well pleased.
3. It has been vehemently objected, thirdly, “That Christ is the only means of grace. I answer, this is mere playing upon words. Explain your term, and the objection vanishes away. When we say, Prayer is a means of grace, we understand, a channel through which the grace of God is conveyed. When you say, Christ is the means of grace, you understand, the sole price and purchaser of it; or, that “no man cometh unto the Father, but through him." And who denies it? But this is utterly wide of the question.
4. “But does not the Scripture (it has been objected, fourthly) direct us to wait for salvation ? Does not David say, “ My soul waiteth upon God, for of him cometh my salvation?” And does not Isaiah teach us the same thing, saying, “O Lord, we have waited for thee ? ”' All this cannot be denied. Seeing it is the gift of God, we are undoubtedly to wait on him for salvation. But how shall we wait? If God himself has appointed a 'way, can you find a better way of waiting for him ? But that he hath appointed a way, hath been shown at large, and also what that way is. The very words of the Prophet which you cite, put this out of all question. For the whole sentence runs thus: “In the way of thy · judgments," or ordinances, “ O Lord, have we waited for thee." (Isaiah xxvi. 8.) And in the very same way did David wait, as his own words abundantly testify: “I have waited for thy saving health, O Lord, and have kept thy law. Teach me, o
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Lord, the way of thy statutes, and I shall keep it unto the end."
5. Yea,' say some, but God has appointed another way, “ Stand still, and see the salvation of God.” )
Let us examine the Scriptures to which you rcfer. The first of them, with the context, runs thus :
“ And when Pharaoh drew nigli, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes ; aud they were sore afraid. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to dic in the wilderness? And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not; stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” (Exod. xiv. 10, &c.)
This was the salvation of God, which they stood still to see, by marching forward with all their might!
The other passage, wherein this expression occurs, stands thus : “There came some that told Jchoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee, from beyond the sea. And Jchoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah gathered themselves together to ask help of the Lord : even out of all the cities they came to seek the Lord. And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation, in the house of the Lord.—Then upon Jahaziel came the Spirit of the Lord. And he said, Be not dismayed by reason of this great multitude. To-morrow go ye down against them: ye shall not need to fight in this battle. Sct yourselves : stand ye still, and sec the salvation of the Lord. And they rose early in the morning and went forth. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir;-and every one helped to destroy another.” (2 Chron. xx. 2, &c.)
Such was the salvation which the children of Judah saw. But bow does all this prove, that we ought not to wait for the grace of God in the means which he hath ordained ?
6. I shall mention but one objection more, which, indeed, does not properly belong to this head : nevertheless, because it has been so frequently urged, I may not wholly pass it by.
Does not St. Paul say, “ If ye be dead with Christ, why are ye subject to ordinances ? ” (Col. ii. 20.) Therefore a Christian, one that is dead with Christ, need not use the ordinans any more.'
So you say, 'If I am Christian, I am not subject to the ordinances of Christ !! Surely, by the absurdity of this, you must see at the first glance, that the ordinances here mentioned cannot be the ordinances of Christ! That they must needs be the Jewish ordinances, to which it is certain a Christian is no longer subject.
And the same undeniably appears from the words immediately following, “Touch not, taste not, handle not;” all evidently referring to the ancient ordinances of the Jewish Law.
So that this objection is the weakest of all. And, in spite of all, that great truth must stand unshaken, That all who desire the grace of God, are to wait for it in the means which he hath ordained. · V. 1. But this being allowed, that all who desire the grace of God, are to wait for it in the means he hath ordained; it may still be inquired, How those means should be used, both as to the Order and the Manner of using them ? ' ' .
With regard to the former, we may observe, there is a kind of order, wherein God himself is generally pleased to use these means in bringing a sinner to salvation. A stupid, senseless wretch is going on in his own way, not having God in all his thoughts, when God comes upon him unawares, perhaps by an awakening sermon or conversation, perhaps by some awful providence, or it may be by an immediate stroke of his convincing Spirit, without any outward means at all. Having now a desire to flee from the wrath to come, he purposely goes to hear how it may be done. If he finds a preacher who speaks to the heart, he is amazed, and begins searching the Scriptures, whether these things are so ? The more he hears and reads, the more convinced he is; and the more he meditates thereon day and night. Perhaps he finds some other book, which explains and enforces what he has heard and read in Scripture. And by all these means, the arrows of conviction sink deeper into his soul. He begins also to talk of the things of God, which are ever uppermost in his thoughts ; yea, and to talk with God; to pray to him ; although through fear and shame, he scarce knows what to say. But whether he can speak or no, he cannot but pray, were it only in "groans which cannot be uttered." Yet being in doubt, whether " the high and lofty One, that inhabiteth Eternity," will regard such a sinner as him, he wants to pray with those who know God, with the faithful,