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Discourse IX.1010    Delivered February 22, 1673–4.

“They worshipped him; but some doubted.” — Matt. xxviii. 17.

It is the table of the Lord that we are invited to draw nigh unto. Our Lord hath a large heart and bountiful hand, — hath made plentiful 570provision for our souls at this table; and he saith unto us, by his Spirit in his word, “Eat, O my friends, yea, drink abundantly.” It is that feast that God hath provided for sinners. And there are three sorts of sinners that I would speak a word unto, to stir them up unto a due exercise of faith in this ordinance, according as their condition doth require. There are such as are not sensible of their sins so as they ought to be, — they know they are not; they are not able to get their hearts affected with their sins as they desire. There are some that are so burdened and overpressed with the sense of their sins, that they are scarce able to hold up under the weight of them, — under the doubts and fears wherewith they are distressed. And there are sinners who are in enjoyment of a sense of the pardon of sin, and do desire to have hearts to improve it in thankfulness and fruitfulness.

Something of these several frames may be in us all; yet it may be one is predominant, one is chief, — one in one, another in another: and therefore I will speak a few words distinctly to them all:—

1. There are sinners who are believers, who cannot get their hearts and spirits affected with sin so as they ought, and so as they desire. There is not a sadder complaint of the church, as I know, in the whole book of God, than that, Isa. lxiii. 17, “Why hast thou hardened our heart from thy fear?” Poor creatures may come unto that perplexity, through an apprehension of the want of a due sense of the guilt of sin, as to be ready thus to cry out, “Why is it thus with me? why am I so senseless under the guilt of all the sins that I have contracted?” I have a word of direction unto such persons. Are there such among, us? It is a direction unto faith to be acting in this ordinance. It is that which we have, Zech. xii. 10, “They shall look unto him whom they have pierced, and mourn.” Why, brethren, Christ is represented unto us in this ordinance as he was pierced, — as his precious blood was poured out for us. Let us act faith, if God help us, in two things:—

(1.) Upon the dolorous sufferings of Christ, which are represented here unto us. Let us take a view of the Son of God under the curse of God.

(2.) Remember that all these sufferings were for us: “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced,” and then “mourn.” The acting of faith upon the sufferings of Christ, as one that suffered for us, is the great means, in this ordinance, to bring our hearts to mourn for sin indeed. Therefore, pray let us beg of God, whoever of us are in any measure under this frame, that our insensibleness of the guilt and burden of sin may be our great burden. Let us try the power of faith in this ordinance, by getting our hearts affected with the sufferings of Christ in our behalf. Let us bind it to our hearts and consciences; and may the Lord give a blessing!

5712. There are others who, it may be, are pressed under the weight of their sins, walk mournfully, walk disconsolately. I know there are some so, — in the condition expressed by the psalmist, Ps. xl. 12, “Innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head; therefore my heart faileth me.” Some may be in that condition that their hearts are ready to fail them, through the multitude of their iniquities taking hold upon them. What would you direct such unto in this ordinance? Truly, that which is given, John iii. 14, 15, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” The Lord Jesus Christ was lifted up, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness; and here he is lifted up, as bearing all our sins in his own body upon the tree. Here is a representation made unto poor sinners whose hearts are most burdened, — here is Jesus Christ lifted up with all our sins upon the tree. Let such a soul labour to have a view of Christ as bearing all our iniquities, that believing on him we should not perish, but have life everlasting. God hath appointed him to be crucified evidently before our eyes, that every poor soul that is stung with sin, ready to die by sin, should look up unto him, and be healed. And virtue will go forth, if we look upon him; for “by his stripes we are healed.”

3. There may be some that live in full satisfaction of the pardon of their sins, and are solicitous how their hearts may be drawn forth unto thankfulness and fruitfulness. Remember that place, Rev. i. 5, 6, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” Remember this, that whatever your state and condition be, you have here a proper object for faith to exercise itself upon; only be not wanting unto your own comfort and advantage.

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