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an unaccountable dulness and negligence is it then, for men to go up and down the world amusing themselves with every trifle; hearing and telling of news about matters of the smallest importance, and never to consider the stupendous sufferings of their dying Saviour! They walk to and fro, they come and pass, and scarce vouchsafe to look upon
if they chance to cast their eyes that way, it is a very short and overly view; they presently turn them away. And this occasions the complaint of the text, Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? But sure I am we can nowhere behold an object so worthy of our most serious and solemn regards. The whole world does not afford so useful and edifying a prospect. Here it is that we may best learn the horrid and heinous nature of sin, which could not be pardoned at smaller rate. Here it is that we may discover most of the divine bounty and goodness to mankind, and the inexpressible love of our blessed Saviour and Redeemer; . which are the most important lessons that we can learn. This made the blessed Apostle to determine to know nothing but Christ, and him crucified, to count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord. Let me therefore exhort you to fix tho eyes of your mind, and call up your most serious attention; reach hither the hand of your faith, and thrust it into the hole of your Saviour's side; put your fingers into the print of the nails; lay to heart all the passages of his lamentable story; and this cannot choose but melt your hearts, unless they be harder than the rocks, and deafer than the bodies in the grave. Let us fix our eyes, I say, on this astonishing object, till our eyes affect our heart, that while we are musing, the fire may burn. Let us mourn for those sins wherewith we have crucified the Lord of glory, and be grieved that ever we should have put him to so much anguish and pain; and let ús vow a perpetual enmity against our lusts and corrupt affections, which would crucify him afresh, and put him unto open shame. Let us consider and admire iho wonderful love of our dying Saviour, that our souls may be kindled with reciprocal flames, wherein we may
offer ap ourselves as a living and acceptable sacrifice unto him; that thus, Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, we may be rooted and grounded in love; comprehending with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and height; and knowing the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that so we may be filled with all the fulness of God. Such meditations and exercises as these will purify and raise our souls, and best dispose us for approaching to the table of the Lord. And the Lord pour out upon us the spirit of grace and supplication, that we may look upon him whom we have pierced, and mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son, and be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.
A PREPARATION FOR THE HOLY SACRAMENT.
JOSH. III. 5. Sanctify yourselves: for to-morrow the Lord will
do wonders among you. When God is to make any signal discovery and manifestation of himself to his people, he calleth them to solemn preparation, that they may be in a fit posture to attend and receive it. Three eminent instances whereof we meet with in the travels of his ancient people of Israel. The first is in Exodus xix. 10, 11. where, being to descend upon Sinai to promulgate a law, and enter into a covenant with them, the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people. Thus also, when he was at once to satisfy and punish the inordinate appetite of that people who loathed the manna, and lusted after flesh, by bringing innumerable quails from the sea, and causing them to fall aboat their camp,
he commanded Moses to say unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to-morrow, and ye shall eat flesh. A third instance is that of the text. The Lord had brought his people to the borders of Canaan, and was now to give them the seisin and possession of that promised land: he was to divide the waters of Jordan before them; and thereby both facilitate their passage, and assure their possession. Hereby, said Joshua, ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites and the Jebusites. Behold,
the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth, passeth over before you into Jordan. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. Now, to dispose them for so great a mercy, Joshua gives them this advertisement in the text, Sanctify yourselves: for to-morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
And sure this same advertisement must needs be very seasonable to us, who are expecting that God will manifest himself to-morrow in this place, in a way no less glorious, and far more comfortable and advantageous, than any of those we have mentioned unto you. We hope he shall descend from the habitation of his glory, that he will rend the heavens, and come down into this house, not with fire, and blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words, which they that heard, entreated that the word should not be spoken unto them any more; because they could not endure that which was commanded: but with the gentle and enlivening flames of love, with the refreshing beams of divine light, with the still and quiet whisper of his Holy Spirit; which are only heard in calm and silent souls. He is coming to proclaim another law, a law of liberty and love; to enter into a new and bet
ter covenant with us, not according to that covenant which he made with the house of Israel, in the day when he took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt: but this is the covenant he maketh with us, that he will put his laws into our minds, and write them in our hearts: and he will be to us a God, and we shall be to him a people; that he will be merciful to our unrighteousness, and remember our iniquities no more.
To-morrow the Lord will give us flesh to eat; not the flesh of quails and feathered fowls, to sustain' this crazy and decaying frame; but the flesh and blood of the Son of man; that flesh which is meat indeed, and that blood which is drink indeed; which giveth life and everlasting happiness to the soul, and consigneth these mortal bodies to a blessed resurrection: for whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, (saith our Saviour) hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
To-morrow the Lord will open a passage for his people towards the heavenly Canaan, place them, as it were, in the confines of that promised land, in the suburbs of happiness and glory: at least he will show them a token for good, and sign a right and security unto it. And, though floods of sin and sorrow were ready to overwhelm their souls, he will restrain and divert them: Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto them. What fitter terms could we therefore choose to bespeak you in, than those of this holy man, Sanctify yourselves, for to-morrow, &c.
The words contain an exhortation, and a reason enforcing it. In applying them to the present occasion, we shall invert the order, and handle the latter part of the text first, because of the influence it hath on the former. We shall first tell you what those wonders are which the . Lord is to do among us to-morrow; the consideration of them being of great use, both to excite us to sanctify and prepare ourselves, and also to instruct and direct us in it.
I. What then are those wonders we expect to see? A little bread broken and divided among us, a little wine poured forth and drunk. Is there any thing to surprise
and amaze us here? What better is this than our ordinary entertainment at home? Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Such may be the thoughts of profane and ignorant fools; for the outside of this ordinance is very poor and mean, hath nothing in it that may dazzle or delight the vulgar eye, that may. please or affect a carnal mind: but those whose eyes are opened to right apprehensions of spiritual and divine things, can easily see through this coarse and contemptible vail, and discern astonishing wonders in this ordinance, wonders of power, and wisdom, and love.
If we consider what is represented to us in this sacrament, we have therein occasion to behold the most wonderful and astonishing spectacle that ever was seen in this lower world; the only begotten Son of God suffering for the sins of the world; the Lord of glory hanging between two thieves: for in this ordinance Jesus Christ is evidently set forth as crucified before our eyes. We may read and hear of it at other times; but this is a more clear and solemn representation of it: our dying Lord commanded us to do it in remembrance of him. Here our thoughts are more fixed, and our meditations higher raised; we get a nearer and more advantageous prospect. Apd our faith comes not only by the ear; our senses contribute anto it that we may say in some sense, with the beloved disciple, that we have not only heard, but have seen with our eyes, we have looked upon it, and our hands have handled the word of life. It is true, there might have been contrived a more sensible resem-. blance, and tragical representation of the death of Christ. That spectacle represented upon the scene, would perhaps affect our senses and fancy more, and might sooner draw tears from our eyes, and occasion some warm and affectionate passion. But it is a mean and low devotion that is seated in the inferior faculties of the soul, which outward objects do excite by their natural strength, without the exercise of the soul's considering and meditating powers. And therefore (as one hath well observ