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Title: The Glorious Law-Giver, and the Obedient Subject

Author: John Church

Release Date: October 2, 2018  [eBook #58006]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the [1810?] R. Thomas edition by David Price, email

Glorious Law-Giver,



On the DUTY of all BELIEVERS


The Authority of Christ; the Nature of the Ordinance;

And a Description of the Persons who have a Right to
partake of the same.




“Yet have I set my King upon my holy Hill of Zion.”
“Obey his Voice; my Name is in him.”



Sold at the Obelisk Chapel.



1 Corinthians, Chap. xi, Ver. 23, to the End.

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, &c. &c.

Our most adorable Redeemer is set forth in the sacred Scriptures, as the glorious Mediator of a better Testament.  In this character, he sustains the three-fold office in his Church, of Prophet, Priest, and King—from everlasting he was set up to be future man—to ransom the elect, honor the divine Law, and glorify all the sublime Attributes of God.  As Man-Mediator he was set up; for as the eternal Jehovah, he could not be higher than he was; God having chosen his elect in him, accepted them in him—he appointed him to be all to them; do all for them; and finally bring them to glory—hence, he says, Thy throne, O God, is for ever & ever.  The Lord Jesus having engaged in the eternal Covenant, to be our Surety, Righteousness, Advocate, and Friend, immediately after the breach of the Covenant of Works, he graciously p. 4revealed himself in his lovely offices; and, as a Prophet, he foretold his own incarnation, threatened Satan, and pardoned our first Parents.  As a Prophet, he preached by the ministry of Noah, to those souls now in the prison of hell—was typified by all the pious prophets that appeared till his coming in the flesh, when he gave ocular demonstration that he was that Prophet that should come into the world—he carries on, and still executes this office in the hearts of his people, by his Word and Spirit—enlightening their minds, and leading them into all truth; removing the veil of ignorance, and delivering his people from all damnable heresies—hence he says, I am the Lord thy God, which teacheth thee to profit, and leadeth thee in the way in which thou shouldest go—this is done by the holy Spirit’s inhabitation.  As our Prophet, he is our light, and will be so for ever—for the Lord shall be thy everlasting light, & thy God thy glory—though this office will be carried on in heaven different to what it is on earth.  His character, as Mediator, includes his Priestly Office; and this is of vast importance to us—this was shadowed forth under the old Law, by the calling and qualification of the High Priests, particularly Aaron, though Christ was not of the same tribe with him, nor made a Priest after that Law, but of one more ancient, and which continues to this day, and will for ever, after the order of Melchisedec—ever blessing his people, and his blessing on Mount Zion is life for evermore.  p. 5Yet Aaron was a figure of the High Priest of our Profession, in his separation from his brethren; in the holy unction, when installed into office; in the several vestments with which he was cloathed; his mitre, embroidered coat, ephod, and the girdle of it; with the breast-plate of Judgment—but more so in the sacrifices he offered up; all which held forth the Redeemer, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered up himself to God; being himself the Altar, Priest, and Sacrifice.  He is still carrying on this office in the Church, and for his people, by presenting his sacred Person, and meritorious Work, to the Father; making intercession, not as he did on earth, with strong cries and tears to God—not as supplicating an angry Judge; but by shewing himself, as having done, as our Surety, all that Law and Justice could require—he is now our Advocate on high, offering up our prayers and praises, which become acceptable to God, through the sweet incense of his Mediation.  Our spiritual holiness is derived from him as our Priest.  We are anointed by virtue of union with him—the same divine anointing that was on him, as the Head, runs down, even to the skirts of his cloathing, on the meanest, lowest, and weakest of his saints; and it is the business of our faith to make use of him in every season of guilt and bondage.  We feel the liberty of God’s children, as we are led by the Spirit to Jesus, as our atoning and interceding Priest, putting away sin; whilst the Spirit bears testimony p. 6to the conscience, that the blood of Christ cleaneth from all sin.

Another office of vast importance to the Church of God, is the Kingly Authority of our Redeemer; this he sustains, and this he exercises—as God he is King by nature, and has a kingdom, common to the three divine Persons—hence he is called Lord of Hosts, or armies; the six armies—two in heaven, elect angels and spirits of just men—two on earth, the Church and the nations of the world—two in hell, fallen angels and reprobate characters; and it is a most awful consideration, that all who despise his Law, Gospel, and Grace, dying in such a state, he will make them feel his kingly power, in breaking them to pieces.—Psalm ii.  This office is exercised in the Church of God; the Father himself says, Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion: the learned tell us it reads in the Hebrew, I have anointed my King upon my holy hill of Zion—in allusion to their anointing kings at their inauguration—anointed with the oil of gladness, above their fellows.—In the Old Testament he was prophesied of and typified by pious kings.—The Church of God is Christ’s kingdom, and the members of it his subjects: the exercise of this office is first in the hearts of his saints, in rescuing them from the power of the Devil, by his almighty grace—the King of Glory opens the doors of their hearts; first destroys the Devil’s armour, even the p. 7veil of ignorance, (in which he trusts) then turns Satan out for ever.  He makes us willing in the day of his power, to come out of the world; to chuse him as our better part; to love him, to serve him all our days, in the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the Letter—the throne he sits on is our hearts, and this will be for ever—thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.  He displays this office in our defence; for upon all the glory shall be a defence from our enemies; from the dominion and damning power of sin; maintaining our graces, continuing and preserving us in the faith, keeps us from falling, finally, and preserves us to his heavenly kingdom and glory.—This office is executed, externally, by the Word and Ordinances.  Christ, as King, is Law-Giver in his own Church; the New Testament is our Rule of Conduct.  As Ministers, we are not to send our hearers, nor go ourselves to Moses, for a Rule of Conduct; the preceptive parts of the New Testament are quite sufficient; and where their is faith in the soul, embracing the righteousness of Jesus, and the love of God shed abroad in the heart, such are no Antinomians; for the righteousness of the holy and righteous Law of God, is fulfilled in them who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit—this is the end of the Law, and the glory of the Gospel; and while we serve in the newness of the Spirit, we obey the external Precepts of the Law, as far as they extend to us, as creatures of God’s power.  p. 8We have no spiritual King but Jesus; he is the Head of the Church, and the Master of his House.  His laws are spiritual, as they relate to spiritual Subjects—I will put my laws in their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  These are, first, Faith, which is the Work of the Holy Ghost, and centers in the Person and Work of Jesus.  The other is Love—a new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.  This love stands distinguished from that mentioned in the old Covenant; that respects all mankind, as our fellow creatures—this is the law of Love; a new commandment Christ has given to us.  As King he has external Laws, which must be obeyed in Faith and Love, called the Obedience of Faith, and serving in the newness of the Spirit; and I am very confident that wherever Christ has displayed his Prophetic office in teaching, and his Priestly office in anointing the soul, that all such characters accept Christ as their King, and say, from the heart, Thine are we, Lord, and on thy side, thou blessed King ZionO King, live for ever! and take me as I amto thee I yield till my powers, and consecrate all my days.

I remark, then, that there are certain external Laws, which Jesus has issued out, and ought to be attended to; not one of them is grievous; but this yoke is easy, and this burden is light.  His commandments or ordinances are not grievous, but p. 9pleasant; and when our Faith is in exercise, our Hope lively, and our Love glowing, we find Wisdom’s ways pleasantness, and all her paths peace.  I will mention some, and enlarge only upon one, which is the design of this Discourse.

First—The Ministry of the Word.  This is the glorious Magna Charta, exhibiting the loveliness of the Saviour, the wisdom of God, the freeness of grace, the high privileges of all the elect.  I mention this because some proud professors have written (and many have imbibed their error) that every Christian is to be a Preacher!—and if so, Where would be the Hearers?  These men, to me, resemble the awful characters that conspired against Moses and Aaron, who said, all the Lord’s people are holy; and why should not one be exalted to preach as well as another!  But let the above characters read their awful end, as recorded in the 16th Chapter of Numbers.  The public Ministry of the Word is an Ordinance of Christ, for public good; this is plain from the Old and New Testament—See, then, that ye refuse not him that speaketh from heaven in Christ’s name; for how can they preach, to any good purpose, except they be sent?

SecondlyPrayer, public and private; and good men ought always to pray—I will that men pray every where—the Jews had their stated times for Prayer; in the evening, in the morning, and at p. 10noon-day will I cry unto thee.  In public, by Ministers, or private Christians at their Prayer-Meetings, which are praise-worthy, when carried on in a spirit of modesty and humility, with life and fervor—and here I would drop a Word of Exhortation—Let your public Prayers be always short.  O that Ministers, Masters, Heads of Families, and those who conduct Prayer-Meetings, would adopt this method.  God forbid that I should limit the Holy One of Israel to time, in leading the minds of his people to himself, but we can certainly distinguish between access to God, and a long, dry, formal address to the Deity.  How tedious the service when the Minister is nearly half an hour (and I have known it the case forty minutes) in Prayer, and the same old, dry, formal address to God twice, and perhaps three times a day.  O that Dissenters, Baptists, and Presbyterians particularly, were convinced how painful they render that service that ought to be perfect freedom, to old and young.  The same hint I would drop to those who conduct Prayer-Meetings: Why should one brother be so prolix as to engage a full half hour, and sometimes more, wounding the feelings of others that ought to be engaged, and rendering the whole service tedious.  Perhaps this is one reason why our Prayer Meetings are so often neglected—no brother ought to occupy more than one quarter of an hour, including the hymn, so that four might engage in one hour; and if there are not brethren enough to carry p. 11it on, then I recommend the Scriptures to be read, and singing of Hymns.  Permit me, also to advise the Heads of private families, where there are servants kept, and young people, children, and the various branches of that family, to use brevity in your Prayers; your servants, perhaps, have been hard at work all day—they are tired and heavy: O what a burden they must consider Religion when you keep them on their knees full half an hour; and I have known it too often forty-five minutes!  This renders the externals of Religion an unpleasant service to those of your family who know not God.  Contrive to make your evening services short; and if circumstances would admit, it would be well if this were performed before supper, before your and their powers are almost lost in sleep, or at least heaviness.—Try to make the very externals of Religion pleasant—Let your Prayers be grave, solid, and important; avoid nonsense, absurdities, loud speaking, or too low to be heard; above all, avoid levelling your speeches in Prayer, at individuals present; why should any one make a throne of grace a bow to discharge arrows at others.  I have mentioned those things, as they have long hurt my mind; I hope it will prove a word in season, while none will take offence at my design, as I have no other end in view than the honor of Religion.

ThirdlyGodly Conversation must be considered an Ordinance.  This must be carried on p. 12with humility of course; affection, kindness, and tenderness, to those of different denominations from ourselves; while the main subject ought to be, the way the Lord has led us; the great things he has done for us; what ideas God has been pleased to give us of Jesus, his blood and obedience; his Covenant; what light to understand such a sweet text; how he applied such a Sermon, such an hymn, such a promise; how wrought such a deliverance; appeared in such an hour of temptation.  These topics would encourage one another, comfort the feeble-minded, exalt the Saviour, and exclude scandal, wrath, bitterness, and a party spirit.—Come hither, all ye that fear God, I will tell you what he has done for my soul.—They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom.—They that feared the Lord, spake often one to another, remembering the end of their Conversation, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever!

FourthlySinging his high Praises, with the understanding, and with grace in the heart.  This is an Ordinance kept up in all ages of the Church: Is any merry, let him sing Psalms.—So another is, Speaking to yourselves in Psalms and Hymns, and spiritual Songs; singing with grace in the heart to the Lord Jesus.  This Ordinance is not a carnal one, nor is it to be despised: the Quakers, and some other characters I have met with, set it aside as a carnal Ordinance.  O! what an awful p. 13insult upon the Saviour! who, with his disciples, sung an Hymn, and then went out to the Mount of Olives.  What an insult to set aside this Ordinance as carnal, seeing the Holy Ghost by the Apostles Paul and James, has commanded it; and John heard the Songs of the redeemed, in the Church militant—and of Saints it is said, Let the high Praises of God be in their mouths.  Singing is only speaking in a musical voice; and the subject-matter of it ought to be the precious Person of Immanuel; every Hymn ought to be of him and to him—this enlivens worship; God delights to hear it, and those characters that set it aside altogether, I am almost uncharitable enough to suppose they have nothing to sing about.  But if we have obtained Mercy, Righteousness, Redemption, and Pardon, let us sing of them—I will sing of Mercy & JudgementI will sing of thy Righteousness all the dayThey sung a new Song, saying, Worthy the Lamb that redeemed us.

FifthlyBaptism is another Ordinance: this is evident from the commandment of our Lord to his Apostles: Go teach all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Three divine Persons.  Some learned men that have written against this Ordinance, tell us it is the Baptism of the Holy Ghost; and that the Greek text reads, into the name—and suppose it does, this is no argument against Water Baptism—the Apostles were never commanded to p. 14baptize any one with the Holy Ghost, that was the immediate Work of the Spirit himself.  Besides, there is a vast difference between baptizing into the Name and into the Nature of Christ; as much difference as between plunging the Body in Water and the Regeneration of the Soul; the one is an outward visible sign of the other, which is the Substance.  That it is a command it is evident—then he commanded them to be baptized.  God sent John to baptize, and Jesus sent his disciples.  It is an act of religious Worship, and it is intended to represent the Sufferings, Death, Burial, and Resurrection of the Son of God.  It is intended to lead the mind to the Blood of Jesus for its Pardon; and having this Pardon of Sin sealed home upon the conscience, this is the answer of a good conscience towards God; and this is the Work of Faith to apprehend and apply the Death of Jesus to the conscience, through the operation of the Holy Spirit.—I now come to the principal Ordinance I mean to give my thoughts on, and in which, I believe, all who love the Saviour agree—

Sixthly—The Lord’s Supper.—1st.  I shall notice the Nature and Design of it.  2ndly.  Point out the Characters who have a Right to partake of it.  3rdly.  Answer some of the Objections brought against such a partaking of it, by some of those very Persons who have a Right to it; and in so doing I will not encourage the Pharisee or the Libertine, p. 15nor bolster up an Hypocrite with false evidences, but descend to the lowest class of God’s People; none else have any Right, either to Doctrines, Promises, Ordinances, or Evidences.  Reader, all the faults are mine, but the truths are God’s.

The Lord’s Supper ought always to follow Baptism—the one is preparatory to the other, and none but those who submit to the one, ought to be admitted to the other; at least this was the ancient custom among the first Christians, who had light given them to see the Order and Design of them both.  This is called the Body and Blood of Christ, not really so, but symbolically represented to our faith.  Some call it the Ordinance—so it is; but the term is not emphatic enough—the Scriptures call it the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, because the People of God held communion with Christ and one another.  It is called this Bread, and this Cup of the Lord.  Sometimes it is expressed by the Breaking of Bread—a part for the whole.  It is called the Lord’s Table—a Table he has furnished, as an emblem of Christ.  It is called a FeastLet us keep the Feast.  But the best phrase of all is the Lord’s Supper—a Supper, the last Ordinance the Lord instituted, and at which he has promised his gracious presence.  It was instituted and first eaten at night; and was first performed by our Lord the evening in which he was betrayed; nor does this detract from the grandeur of p. 16the entertainment; though it is of little consequence what part of the day it is celebrated, yet I certainly give the preference to the evening, as it is better calculated to remind us of that evening when our dear Redeemer went out into the Garden of sad Gethsamane; the night Judas betrayed him—the night Christ’s holy soul endured the wrath of God—the night he sweat drops of blood—the night he struggled with, and overcame the powers of Hell; ’twas on that dark, that doleful night!  Permit me here to observe, that this is the best time, much better than an afternoon, when people and ministers are generally dull in their frames.  The divine authority we have for keeping it is because it was instituted by Christ himself.  How dare Quakers and black Antinomians ridicule this as a carnal Ordinance! it is a spiritual Feast, made by a spiritual King, for a spiritual People, to be received in a spiritual way.  This is peculiar to the Gospel Dispensation; perhaps typified in the Old Testament, by Melchisedec, who was the Priest of the most high God, and brought forth bread and wine to refresh Abraham and his weary troops; and how many times has the same High Priest refreshed his dear people in his Ordinances, particularly in the Supper-Scene?  Perhaps it was perpetually represented by Wisdom in the Proverbs, saying to simple souls, called out of darkness into light, Come eat of my Bread and drink of the wine which I have mingled.  And when we meet with Christ, and p. 17enjoy his presence in this Ordinance, we know what is meant by the mingled wine.  This Ordinance appears a more clear command than any other, and it is to continue till Christ comes the second time; and this second coming referred to, is in his power and glory, at the last day.  Some have attempted to allegorize it, and they tell us we are not to keep this Ordinance now, because Christ did come the second time on the Day of Pentecost, and then all Figures and Shadows vanished.  But this objection is groundless; the Shadows of the Ceremonial Law were abolished, but all figures are not done away—Baptism is a Figure, and to be observed—the Lord’s Supper is a Figure of his Body broken and his Blood shed, to take away Sin.  And this is plain by the Text, which was received by Paul long after the Descent of the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost—delivered to him, and the Holy Spirit, by him, has commanded it to be kept till the end of the world.  The Matter of it First, Bread, not wafer Cakes, which are not properly Bread, nor broken, nor fit for nourishment, and so not a proper emblem.  The Bread which we break, is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ?—not his mystical Body, but an emblem of his natural Body, which he took into union with his Godhead.—Secondly, Wine.  This is another part of the Ordinance; and the Matter of it a symbol of the Blood of Christ—This is my Blood.—Paul says, The Cup of Blessing which we bless, is p. 18it not the Communion of the Blood of Christ?—The Blood of the New Testament.  Every action of the Redeemer, in its institution, is worthy of our highest regard.  He took Bread—this was to shew his act of taking our flesh.  He blessed it, that it might be nourishing to our Faith, and encouraging to our Hope.  He brake it—to shew he should be broken for us.  He gave it to his Disciples—to shew he had given himself to his People, for their eternal Salvation.  The grand Design, then, of this Ordinance appears to be, simply, to preach Christ more clearly and sensibly—to bring him more to their feelings or senses than hearing.  Faith cometh by hearing—but in this Ordinance we taste, touch, handle, and have Christ evidently set forth as crucified, for our Faith to apprehend.  It is to remind us of his Love, in that wonderful breaking forth of it, in his dreadful Sufferings, and painful, though victorious Death.  This is designed to arrest our attention, and call forth our love, wonder, admiration, and praise—to lead us to the contemplation of his Agony and bloody Sweat—when in a cold night, such was the agitation of his Soul, beneath the Wrath of God, the Guilt of our Sin, and his Struggles with the Powers of Hell, that he exclaimed My Soul (being truly human) is exceeding sorrowful, even unto deathO! my Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from me.  Here it was his great mind took in all the evil, apprehended all the vileness that was in Sin.  Our Sins here beset p. 19him, stared him in the face; encompassed him, and he felt their burden so heavy, he was filled with amazement and terror.  Now it pleased the Father to bruise him—he was exposed to the whole storm of divine Wrath; he was in an Agony, such as had never been felt before by any one—it covered his whole Body with a bloody Sweat, which started from his Veins, came out at the Pores, and fell in clots on the ground!  The Curse due to the Sins of the Elect, seized him and fell on him.—Here it was he offered up strong cries and tears to God.  At this time his heart melted like wax, so that he might well say, I am poured out like water.  In the midst of this Agony he was betrayed by an apostate Apostle, seized on by an insulting rabble, led from the Garden, first to Annas, next to Caiaphas, and then to Pilate; from him to Herod, then back again to the Roman Governor.  Here he endured the contradiction of Sinners against himself—He stands at Pilate’s Bar—then uncovered, bound to a pillar, and flogged by merciless men—a thousand Roman soldiers, perhaps, around him, and each gave him a wound—being bound so fast to the post, as that his arms were ready to break.  Now the Ploughers ploughed on his Back, and made long furrows—he was wounded that his flesh was made black and blue with blows—they continued their strokes till they made him bare to the very bone—then he was untied and turned, and tied up again, so as to wound that part which yet remained whole—p. 20then platting a crown of thorns, drove them into his Temples, so that they entered into his Skull, so that the pain was exquisite—they put a reed or cane in his hand, struck him with it—mocked his Offices—put on his Body an old coat—they smote him with their hands.—He came forth, wearing the purple robe and crown of thorns.  But, O! what an object of grief, sorrow, and pain!  He looks around him, and exclaims, Beheld the Man! while his every step was marked with blood!  The rabble still cry out, Away with himCrucify him!—He goes forth, and ascends the Hill, where his dear Body was nailed to the cursed tree.  See him giving his dear Hands, with all the meekness and patience of a Lamb, to the cruel executioners, while they, hard as adamant, drove the rugged iron through them.  His Body was stretched on the cold Cross, his Hands and Feet bored through with iron pins, from which the Blood gushed out abundantly.  Here was a fountain opened, under the Wrath of God!  The heavens gathering a dismal gloom, he cried out, My God, my God! why hast thou forsaken me?—All these sorrows, and infinitely more than these, our Jesus experienced for our Salvation.  This is what is represented in the Supper—and “Hard is the wretch that never felt one soft affection move;” for, “Did ere such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?”  And I must doubt the state of those who despise this Ordinance as carnal, seeing it is the p. 21last request of him who is God-Man Mediator, our friend, and eternal all.

I now proceed, 2ndly, To point out the Characters that are incited, for whom this was instituted, and who have a right to partake of this Ordinance.  Negatively—No Unbeliever, no ignorant Persons, who know neither God nor themselves; no immoral Character; no Pharisee, Worldling, or Hypocrite—these, if they could be found out, ought to be denied; but the Tares and the Wheat must grow together till the Harvest—the wise and foolish Virgins will keep on till the midnight Cry is made; the sacred Scriptures are the grand touch-stone—all must be weighed in these Balances of the Sanctuary; Doctrines, Experience, Ordinances, and Characters, must be according to this Word.  As all Promises, so all Ordinances are for the People of God; and these People go by various names in Scripture—perhaps the best is that of Children.  The most lovely character of God is that of a Father, and the nearest idea of relationship is that of Children: this term relates to the whole Election of Grace, among Jews and Gentiles.  God called the Israelites his Children, and the same name is given to his chosen among the Gentiles—More are the Children of the Desolate than the Children of the married Wife, saith the Lord.  As Children, and by virtue of our adoption into his family, as the fruit of eternal love, all the Ordinances of the p. 22Gospel are ours—all are yours, and ye are Christ’s.  As Children, he has provided a Table, and he, as our Father, loves to see us at it—we have a right to it; to this priviledge all the Children of God were appointed—having predestinated us to the adoption of Children; this was an eternal act.  But I shall now consider, Why they are so called, which will give us to see whether we have any evidence in our souls that we are the Children of God, and have the Spirit of Adoption, to say, Father, FatherDoubtless thou art our Father.  If Children, then, in the First place, We must be born again: this originates in his will—of his own will begat he us.  This New Birth is the sovereign Act of God—Born not of the will of the flesh, but of God.  This Work is solely through the Agency of God the Holy Spirit—Except a man be born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot see (that is to say, enjoy) the kingdom of Heaven.  The means he usually makes use of is the Word—being born, not of corruptible Seed, but the Word of God.  Sometimes through the Ministry of Men—My little Children, for whom I travel in Birth—Timothy, my own son in the Faith.  This New Birth is produced by the inhabitation of the Spirit, he forms this new Man at once; our knowledge of it is progressive.  This work on the heart consists.  First, in spiritual Light in the mind.  By this we are led to see our lost state by Nature, and the Suitableness of Jesus.  This, (as an evidence it is of God, in a covenant way) is p. 23always attended with humble confession, self-abhorrence, seeking after Pardon in the Atonement of Christ; after a better righteousness than our own, and a sense of God’s favour; and wherever this Work is begun, such souls cannot, will not rest till they have found that Pearl of greatest price—their eyes are open to see the value of it.  Secondly, Life—this distinguishes a Believer from an Hypocrite, or a mere nominal Professor.  This is God’s Blessing on Mount Zion; and it is felt by the most lively and keen sensations of the Burden of Sin; of the Guilt, the Power, and Love of it—this arms Death—this makes Judgment and Eternity formidable.  This Life is felt and discovered in hungering and thirsting after Christ, as the Rest of his Saints.  This is to be seen and felt under the Word—sometimes in reproving, directing, comforting, instructing, and building up.  This Life is felt when God proclaims Liberty to the Soul; for as Life must be in the heart, to feel Bondage, so we can always tell by the same in Liberty.—This New Birth is attended with much pain, many conflicts, and gloomy fears—in some Children of God they are lighter than others, but all are taught by the same Spirit, and the work is the same in all, in point of its Nature.—The Third, is Love.  This is infused into the mind as a holy Principle, though it is not shed abroad till it is felt, casting out fear, which hath torment—this is born of God, and sinneth not.  When Light and Life come into the Soul, Love p. 24always attends it; and though it is but little exercised under the Workings of Conviction, yet it is in the Heart—this is evident, for let a Believer be under what Law-Work he may, he, at times, feels a love to Truth and to Jesus, though he cannot see his interest in him, yet he desires to love him above all.  He feels a love to Ministers of the Truth, though he is cut up root and branch by them, yet he loves them.  He loves the Ordinances, and wishes he could see his right to them.  He loves the People of God, thinks they all excel him, and sometimes is envious of their felicity; not that he would deprive them of what they enjoy, but he is jealous lest God loves them and not him.  I might mention Fear, as it is a covenant Blessing; but wherever there is Love, there is a holy, child-like, filial Fear.  These things evidence God is our Father, Christ our Friend, and shew our Right to this and every other Ordinance.—Secondly, by our Food; the Holy Spirit having given us spiritual Appetites; and having graciously provided spiritual Food for his Children, he has been pleased to send his Ministers to proclaim it; and setting before his People the Blessings of an everlasting Covenant, in the everlasting Love of God, and made known in an everlasting Gospel, by Ministers of his own sending.  Christ, in the Glories of his Person, in the Love of his Heart, in his atoning Sacrifice, in his perfect Obedience, in his Sufferings, victorious Death, Burial, Resurrection, and Ascension, in his p. 25covenant Engagements, and lovely Offices.  This is the Food of an immortal mind, and well calculated to satisfy it.  All the Promises of the Word, the Invitations, and precious Declarations, are set forth as Food for his Children, and we can feed upon nothing else.  All the Doctrines of the Gospel, and all the Perfections of God, as displayed in our complete Salvation—if these things are precious to us, this is another evidence that we are Children of God, and have a Right to his Ordinances.—Thirdly, by our Clothing.  The Obedience of Christ to the Law, is a Robe, the best, or first Robe, lined with Love, and hemmed round with every precious Promise.  This imputed to us by the Father, wrought out by the Son, brought into the Conscience by the Spirit, and apprehended by the hand of Faith, we are justified freely, by this covenant Act of Grace.  This we sweetly enjoy, when the Spirit bears witness to our spirits—at all times we depend on it, for our Righteousness before God.  Humility is another part of our cloathing, as Children—be ye clothed with HumilityZeal.—This at times is put on; the Exercises of the Graces of the Spirit, on their proper Objects, is called Garments; and while God says, Put on thy beautiful Garments, we can say, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, for he hath clothed me with the Garments of his Salvation.  This shews our Right to the Lord’s Supper.  Fourthly, in our Education.  God the Spirit trains us up in the way we should go.  Hence it is written, p. 26They shall be all taught of God.  We sit down at the feet of Christ, and learn the Emptiness of the Creature; the Vanity of the World; the Danger of a Form of Godliness without the Power; the dangerous Tendency of false Doctrines; the Devices of the Devil; the Workings of the old Man; the perpetual Warfare between the Flesh and the Spirit; the Difference between the Law and the Gospel; a Minister of the Spirit and one of the mere Letter; what it is to forget the things that are behind, and to be pressing on to know, win, and apprehend Christ as our Salvation, who first loved, choose, and apprehended us.  These are some of the many Lessons we learn in his School—and who teacheth like him?  We learn how to walk by Faith, live by Faith; to make use of Christ, as the whole Armour of God; and to rejoice in his eternal Love, and immutable Covenant—and these evidence our Right to the sacramental Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ.—I might here mention the Corrections we received—for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every Son he receiveth.  Mark that! they are Sons.  The kind Presents, the Love-Tokens, the Deliverances, the Support, the Protection, Care, long Suffering, Kindness, Compassion which our Father manifests to us, in public and in private; the Letters he kindly accepts from us, while we are out at School; the kind Answers he gives; the Presents he sends; the Indulgences he grants; all evidence he is our Father, p. 27and we his Children.—I now appeal to my own Soul, and to all who hear me, What know we of these Things?  Examine yourselves; let a Man examine by the Touchstone of God’s Word: if the above are Things you have felt and known, in some degree, then you are welcome to the Sacrament.  Approach the Table, let nothing keep you back—Obey his Commands, they are the Commands of a Father to his Children; of a King to his Subjects; of a Master to his Servants; of a Captain to his Soldiers; but, above all, the Intreaty of a dying Friend to those he loves.  This leads me,

3rdly.  To answer some Objections—there really is no end to objecting.  I principally intend to answer the Objections of those who are Children of God, who through weakness of Judgment, and Faith, and for want of clear Evidences, scruple about their Right to the Lord’s Supper.—Here I scarcely know how to begin, the objections are so numerous.  I will answer the few following: Some object, Because, say they, I am so very bad; I have such Evils in my Nature; such Thoughts in my Heart; such Fears I shall never be saved.—These Objections are frivolous; if you tarry till you are better, you will never come; you cannot come too bad to Jesus—I will in no wise cast out.  You must come to every Ordinance, and to Jesus, as a Sinner, vile and polluted.  Away then with that legal notion, that proud spirit! for this Objection p. 28arises from Pride: it is, in fact, saying, If I was better than I am, I should have less need of Jesus, and less need of his Grace.  Besides, not any thing you feel can justify you in the breach of a plain Command.—Do this in remembrance of me.  Another objects to the Table, because it is not essential to Salvation; then I wonder you do not object to hearing, to reading, to praying—for none of these things are essential to Salvation; and though it is not essential to your Salvation, you may find it essential to the Knowledge and Enjoyment of it.  Here at the table, God has met with many.  Besides this, though not essential to Salvation itself, yet it is an essential Command of the eternal Jehovah—Do this.  Let his Word be obeyed whether essential to Salvation of not.—Another Objector says, I think it best to stay till I know more of myself and of God, and then I will come.  This is acting against yourself, as well as the Command: if the Ordinances are designed to communicate Knowledge to the Mind, and you feel your need of Knowledge, you ought, above every other, to be in the use of that Ordinance, to gain a clearer Knowledge—In the keeping thy Commands there is great reward.  We cannot get our Knowledge first, and then come to Ordinances; but in the Ordinances God may be pleased to give you clearer Knowledge.  But do you obey his voice?  My Sheep hear (obey) my voiceSee that ye refuse not him that speaketh from HeavenDo this, in p. 29remembrance of me.—Another Objector says, I think it right to wait till I see my interest clear.  This appears very feasible; but, upon examination, this Objection falls to the ground.  When our Lord instituted it and gave it to his Disciples, they did not make this Objection, and say, Oh, we cannot think of obeying your Commands, nor receiving the Bread and Wine at your Hands; because you have not yet manifested yourself clearly to us.—We read of no such Objection.  What Philip said to the Eunuch on another occasion, may be applied to this—If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.  If you believe on Jesus, in such a way as to depend on him, look to him, and desire nothing in comparison with him, your Faith is to grow exceedingly, even up to full Assurance.  By the use of Ordinances, then, in order to see your Interest clearly, obey his divine Word, Do this, and you shall be blessed, though not for, yet in the deed,

Let not Conscience make you linger,
   Nor of Fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness he requireth,
   Is to feel your need of him.

With respect to others, in reference to Church Orders, this must be left to the Consciences of Believers, whether they are led to approve of strict or mixt Communions; as there are Ministers who are faithful and experimental, of both Parties.—I must pass by many other Objections I have heard, as p. 30scarcely worth attending to.  I close, with answering the old Objection, which arises from the Apostle’s language, He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh his own damnation, not discerning the Lord’s Body.  This has frightened many, and kept them, through their own legality, from the Table.  As to Worthiness, we shall never possess it; we may as well object to every meal, to the light of the sun, to every breath we draw, as object to the Table because of our Unworthiness.  To set this Passage in a fair light, it appears there was a custom in the Corinthian Church, of having a Supper before the Sacrament: this was, as they said, to imitate Christ, who, with his Disciples, first kept the Passover Feast, then celebrated his own Supper.  At this Anti-Feast or Supper, they acted so disorderly, exceeding the bounds of Temperance and Sobriety, that in the midst of such Cheerfulness and Gaiety, they were not fit to attend to the Lord’s Supper.—See ver. 20, 21.—All are worthy whom he invites, his Friends, his Beloved, his Children, because they in the Supper discern the Lord’s Body; but all others, who have no Knowledge of Christ, nor the Nature of the ordinance, are considered as unworthy, or unfit persons; and when this Ordinance is dishonored by such Characters, they dishonor the Saviour it holds forth, and eat and drink, not eternal damnation, but condemnation to themselves; God testifying his disapprobation of the Abuse of any of his p. 31Ordinances—this he did in the Corinthian Church, (see ver. 30) the Lord chastened them who had behaved in such a disorderly manner, with bodily infirmity; and although he saved their Souls in himself, yet he actually took away some by Death.  The Unworthiness then spoken of in this Text, is not of the Persons, but of the unbecoming conduct of those who would come in a state of Intoxication or Gluttony, to the Lord’s Table; and the Damnation spoken of, is Guilt, and of course, the sad consequences attending it; so that this Objection to the Lord’s Table must fail—only let a Man examine himself, whether he is a Child of God—whether he is in the Faith and the Faith in him—a Faith, that works by Love—goes out of self and embraces Christ as his Atonement, Righteousness, and Strength—that produces good Works, and animates the Mind in the Prospect of that Joy which never fades away.

JESUS, thy Feast we celebrate,
   We shew thy Death, we sing thy Name,
Till thou return, and we shall eat
   The Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Decorative graphic with FINIS on it

Thomas, Printer.  Red Lion St. Borough.


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