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July 6, 1673.
To help you in the exercise of faith in the administration of this ordinance, I would briefly show what it is to have a sacramental participation of Jesus Christ.
529When the world had lost the understanding of this mystery, for want of spiritual light, they contrived a means to make it up, very easy on the part of them that partake of it, and very prodigious on the part of the priest; for he, by a few words, turns the bread into the body of Christ, and the people have no more to do but to receive it as such into their mouths! It was the loss of the understanding of this mystery that put them upon that invention.
There is, indeed, a figure or representation in this ordinance; but that is not all. When the bread is broken, it is a figure, a representation, that the body of Christ was broken for us; but there is also a real exhibition of Christ unto every believing soul. This is distinct from the tender of Christ in the promises of the gospel. In the promises, the person of the Father is particularly looked upon as proposing and tendering Christ to us. In this ordinance, as God exhibits him, so Christ makes an immediate tender of himself, and calls our faith to have respect to his grace, to his love, and to his readiness to unite and spiritually incorporate with us. He tenders himself to us not in general, but under a special consideration, — namely, as having “made an end of sin,” and done all that was to be done between God and sinners, that they might be at peace.
Christ made a double presentation of himself, as the great mediator; — first, when he offered himself a sacrifice on the cross, for the accomplishing the work of man’s redemption; secondly, when he presented himself to God in heaven, there to do whatever remained to be done with God on our behalf by his intercession. The intercession of Christ is the presentation of himself to God upon his oblation and sacrifice. He presents himself to God, to do with him what remains to be done on our part, — to procure mercy and peace for us; and he presents himself to us in this ordinance (which answers to that intercession of Christ above, and is a counterpart of it) to do what remains to be done on the part of God, — to give in peace, and mercy, and the sealed covenant to us.
There is this special exhibition or tender of Jesus Christ; and this directs to a special exercise of faith, that we may know how to receive him in this ordinance. And, first, let us receive him as one that hath actually accomplished the great work of making peace with God for us, blotting out our sins, and bringing in everlasting righteousness; secondly, as one that hath done this work by his death. It is a relief when we have an apprehension that Christ can do all this for us: but he does not tender himself to us as one that can or will do it, upon such and such conditions as shall be presented, but as one that hath done it; and so we must receive him if we intend to glorify God in this ordinance, — namely, as having blotted out all our sins, and purchased for us eternal redemption.
530Let us act faith on Jesus Christ, as one who brings along with him mercy and pardon, procured by his death, — all the mercy and grace that are in the heart of God and in the covenant. To have such a view of him, and so to receive him by faith, is the way to give glory to God, and to have peace and rest in our own bosoms.
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