SACRAMENTAL DISCOURSES. - PREFACE.
Now, the Lord bless you. Bless Him, and then bless
yourselves, and bless all His people.
Now, what are ye come here for to-day? Has not your conscience said in particular unto you, What was I before the Lord called me? How have I carried since that time? And what, if this shall be the day that He will bring your fears upon you? We are all here as in a fold, and He may kill or save alive as it pleaseth Him. Yea, it may be, there are more that get a dead stroke at Communions than at any other time or place: And after the sop, Satan entered into him.
But we are loath to speak such hard things unto you. Now, there is here much ado. There are many professors that are like our bare gentlemen, that will strive to hold out their rank for a while, but it will not do with them long. And oh, that the Lord would come this day, and save us, and let us choose our curators, and let Him get the stock and us both! Oh, do ye know Him? And do ye know how sweet He is? But alas! the condition of the people seems to say that it is not necessary to speak much of this kind, but believe it, that if God had not been very gracious we had all been in the meeting place of misery and woe long ere now. Believe this, that hell fire is very hot. And yet believe this, that though there were a great body of that fire to break through this congregation, it would not do us much good; no, not so much as a sermon. They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them.
And I would ask one question, and it is this: Who have been better dealt with than we have been? But alas! I would ask another question more sad than this, and it is this Who hath used Him so ill and ungratefully as we in this land have done? Say ye then, The Lord grant that this Communion be not like other occasions of this kind, where the Lord was gracious, and we soon forgot it? And again the Lord grant that we be even like unto some others. We are going to heaven. Now, who is ready, like a man that is going on a sea voyage? Such one gets his board ready, and he says, I am now as far on my way as he who sat up all night, waiting upon the tide. May Christ choose your time and tide. Now, let us bless Him, and so call upon His name.
THE EXHORTATION AFTER TWO TABLES WERE SERVED.
On, but God hath been a good God to Scotland, and oh, but Scotland hath been an evil and ungrateful Scotland unto Him! If it be enquired, Who is it that will bring on Gods judgments upon us, if they be coming? it may be answered, It will neither be profane atheists, nor malignants, but professors that will bear the blame of it. Professors, yea, there are professors, and blessed be God that many have gone up to heaven through that door. But there are a kind of professors that take unto themselves that name, and they will come to communions, and they will propose questions to good folk that they have heard others propose, and yet if the Lord prevent not, they will call us Baals priests. They are growing fond of a religion which neither the prophets, Christ, nor His apostles knew of. The Lord help you to keep your feet this slippery time.
But they that will be honest all have all Christs heart. He will take a poor mourning sinner all in His arms, and say, Child, I mean thee no harm. According to your faith so be it unto you. That night wherein he was betrayed, he took bread and brake it, &c. Yea, He brake it. And ye must know, that through His breaking of it, we are healed. His dividing was our binding together, and, when Satan hath broken, He heals us. Christ says, There are my bloody hands that healed you; these very hands of Mine did it. And he brake it; and say ye, Let it be a bargain. And then think much and well of such a saying.
Now ye may think, and think a thought as broad and as long as heaven itself; because He wanted us to have full nourishment, He took the cup; and after he had given thanks (and thanks be to Him, and if our hearts blood could thank Him, it could never go a better way), saying, Drink ye, drink ye all of it. Neither hath He done with you .yet, nor have you done with Him. He will never let your heart alone, until He get you up unto Himself - up at the throne. To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life, that is in the midst of the paradise of God.And he that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna: and I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, save he that receiveth it. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my words unto the end, to him will I give power to rule over the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter, shall they be broken to shivers, even as I received of my Father, and I will give him the morning star. The same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; but I will confess him before my Father, and before his angels.
Believers, I am now reading your portion to you. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of God; and he shall go no more out; and Iwill write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear It may be (though we have no mind to speak hard things unto you) that ye may get no other preaching but your Bible, stolen out to a barn-side, moor-side, or the back of a dyke, there to read your Fathers testament. There needs not many words, for if ye be ready He is ready; and if ye be not ready, He is both ready Himself and ready to make you ready on such a day as this.
Looking upon these elements hath done more good than many sermons. Says the soul when the elders are coming with the flagons, Is Christ coming in a flagon? And shall I drink eternal life over in a cup? There is my body which was broken for you: take ye, eat ye all of it. And what think ye of this entertaiment? What think ye of the wine? Is the wine good? Take another drink. I do not mean that ye need to do it externally oftener than once in one day, but your doing it once says that ye should do it believingly always. In like manner he took the cup. So we take it. May such a word be spoken! And if it be rightly taken, then drink your service, your hearts service untoHini, as, being ready to take off your doublet, and to lay down your head on the block, and there drink your last service in this world unto Him. Suffering is like to wear out of fashion in Scotland, but may be it will come in fashion again. It is a little thing for folk to get a sore case, but if ye be robbed in the dark for His sake, that is suffering. If they who have a prejudice against the gospel and religion can find out a way to get it and the ministers of it away, that will be suffering. It may be there are blackened faces amongst us, but let it not be our practice to search out the ways of others, but I say for our warning what should be our wish.
Now, sure enough, these should be some of our wishes :Lord, lead us on to heaven without snappering. Lord, let me suffer, many of Thine suffer for my sake, and era any of Thine have a sad heart for my sake. And for peoples backwardness in coming forward to the Tables: In the name of the Lord, I charge you that are guilty of such backwardness, that ye come not forward till ye repent of the same. Dare ye say, Lord, forbid that this land be full of Christ? It is likely there are many wearied of His ordinances, but there are some other things to do. There is particularly the completing of the bargain. Is it a complete bargain? Is it subscribed, as it were, like a piece of parchment hanging down from heaven, and the Great Master hath His name written upon it in great letters, and His poor tenant hath but as it were a mark for his name. Well, in that night in which he was betrayed. Lord, forbid that He should be betrayed again in Scotland! Say ye, Is it I? Lord forbid that it should be I
There are many dead ministers now in Scotland. Not to speak of those that are called Quakers, there are many betrayers of Christ amongst us, and some will not have a good minister when they can get him. Some think that Christ is going out of the land; but while He is as it were going out, He is looking back over His shoulder, saying, Will ye let me go? Will ye let me go? But let it be your reply, No, if we can hold or detain Thee. That night wherein He was betrayed. He made out many writs that night. He may say unto us, as a friend, or midwife so to speak, to a child, I slept none that night thou wast born. And yet for all the haste He sat down, and encamped with His disciples. Take ye, eat ye. Do this in remembrance of me. Where will ye be all this day hundred years? I trow, many of you wot not that the substance of the whole Bible is in these sacramental elementsthe whole covenant, a whole Christ in a state of humiliation and exaltation.
Now, here are two seals. This is His blood. Take it and divide it amongst you. We keep silence a little, that ye may have time for your thoughts; because when we are speaking ye cannot well think on what ye are engaged in. Now, ye may think again. It may be some will be saying. I think still more of Christ. Oh, your domineering lusts and sins! The Lord give you the mastery over them.
These are the greatest points of Christianity except suffering
1st, Still be diligent in a lawful calling, and be always honouring God in so doing; in carrying forward the work of your own salvation.
2ndly, You must mortify and subdue all your predominant lusts and idols. And
3rdly, When you get any wrong done you in the world, then endeavour to suffer as Christ did.
If ye want these three, if ye would preach and pray never so well, so that the cheeks of those who heard you never dried, yet, if ye want these, ye are but reprobates. Fear and forbear. It is a great thing in Christianity, how the husband and wife guide the family, and how ye carry it home and abroad in your lawful callings; for ye must either go along with all the duties of Christianity or quit it altogether.
Now, beloved in the Lord, do ye all agree in one? Or what are ye thinking? Surely I must conceive ye do not repent your coming here: and this ordinance says that Christ repents not of the bargain. Therefore in imitation of Him, I take bread; and in His words, say unto you, In that night wherein he was betrayed, he took bread (as ye see us do) and brake it after he had given thanks, and gave it unto His disciples, saying, Divide it amongst you. We cannot read all the clauses of the covenant at every table: but I tell you the meaning or sum of the words is, I will be your God, and ye shall be my people, which in substance is extended unto us every day in our access to the throne of grace. Take ye, eat ye all of it. And we give it you in the same terms that He gave it, that ye may do it in remembrance of Him. Truly this is wisely and well contrived; for we have no more need of temporal food here than of spiritual food. Some can go half naked, but meat and drink is a mans life, so Christ is the Christians life; and therefore take ye, drink ye all of it. This is the cup of the New Testament shed for you. Now, if ye go to heaven this easy way, it will be strange, for they are almost gone which have endured already. This seemed but a small matter in the Prelates days; since which time we have been borne on Christs sides, and dandled on His knees.
There are many new upstart professors amongst us, with sharp thorns in their hearts, breaking forth in their lives and conversations - persons who cannot think to pray for their enemies, contrary to Christs own exhortation. You would think it a strange thing to see a man coming to thrust you through with a sword; but truly though it were so, ye ought to go to death with this prayer, Good Lord, spare the life of him that wounded me. It may be, some professors think in these days to get a crown, kingdom, and throne. I know not if ever that shall be, but I think it will not be till the Jews be brought in.
It is thought a hard state in the world amongst many, that they get not such an estate in the world as they would have; but there are people in other nations, that would think themselves half in heaven (so to speak) if they were but in our condition, who never hear a word of preaching for many years. Oh, mind these in this your day; for it were to be wished, and especially at every communion, that the Lord would give that man of sin a notable blow; that the Lord would be avenged on the Turks and Jesuits and that man of sin, for if the bloody Spaniards come in, as many of you as have not received the truth in faith and love will but turn Papists ere all be done; for a quick idol within will open the doors to a dead idol without. Poor souls! the first communion was the saddest where there was none with Christ but twelve poor men mourning for their Master who was to die and be buried, and they knew not then whether or not He would rise again.
They were weeping while He wept, so that it is questionable whose sorrow was greatest. His sorrow was not timorous and woman-like as theirs was. He spake many a comfortable word unto them, such as these, Behold I appoint unto you a kingdom; Fear not little flock, &c. Yea, He told them, that it behoved Him to go away, but withal that He would come again, on which they all wept. But as Davids voice exceeded Jonathans, even so doth our Davids sorrows exceed ours. But they, hearing of His departure, did as so many children would do to their departing father. They gathered about Him with tears, saying, Father, Father, depart not But Christ as a loving Father, looses their grips very tenderly, without hurting these tender ones, with the words I tell you I must go away; but I will see you again, and your hearts shall rejoice. Thus He took the bread and brake it; and the cup also after supper, saying, Eat ye, and drink ye all of it; this do in remembrance of me.
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