« PreviousContinue »
for the discharge of my sins would he be thus crucified. And not only did he give himself for me upon the cross, but, lo, he both offers and gives himself to me in this his blessed institution : what had this general gift been without this application ? Now, my hand doth not more sensibly take, nor my mouth more really eat, this bread, than my soul doth spiritually receive and feed on the Bread of life. O Saviour, thou art the Living Bread that came down from heaven. Thy flesh is meat indeed, and thy blood is drink indeed. Oh that I may so eat of this bread, that I may live for ever. He that cometh to thee shall never hunger ; he that believeth in thee shall never thirst. Oh that I could now so hunger and so thirst for thee, that my soul could be for ever satisfied with thee. Thy people of old were fed with manna in the wilderness, yet they died; that food of angels could not keep them from perishing; but oh for the hidden manna which giveth life to the world, even thy blessed self: give me ever of this bread, and my soul shall not die, but live. Oh the precious juice of the fruit of the vine, wherewith thou refreshest my soul! Is this the blood of the grape? Is it not rather thy blood of the new testament that is poured out for me? Thou speakest, O Saviour, of new wine that thou wouldest drink with thy disciples in thy Father's kingdom; can there be any more precious and pleasant than this, wherewith thou cheerest the believing soul? Our palate is now dull and earthly, which shall then be exquisite and celestial; but surely, no liquor can be of equal price or sovereignty with thy blood. Oh how unsavoury are all earthly delicacies to this heavenly draught! O God, let not the sweet taste my soul.
eyes, and for
of this spiritual nectar ever go out of the mouth of
Let the comfortable warmth of this blessed cordial ever work upon my soul, even till, and in, the last moment of my dissolution. Dost thou bid me, O Saviour, do this in remembrance of thee? Oh, how can I forget thee? How can I enough celebrate thee for this thy unspeakable mercy? Can I see thee thus crucified before my
sake thus crucified, and not remember thee? Can I find my sins accessory to this thy death, and thy death meritoriously expiating all these my grievous sins, and not remember thee? Can I hear thee freely offering thyself to me, and feel thee graciously conveying thyself into my soul, and not remember thee? I do remember thee, O Saviour; but oh that I could yet more effectually remember thee, with all the passionate affections of a soul sick of thy love ; with all zealous desires to glorify thee; with all fervent longings after thee and thy salvation. I remember thee in thy sufferings; 0 do thou remember me in thy glory.
XXIX. Having thus busied itself with holy thoughts in the time of the celebration, the devout soul breaks not off in an abrupt unmannerliness, without taking leave of the great Master of this heavenly feast; but, with a secret adoration, humbly blesseth God for so great a mercy, and heartily resolves and desires to walk worthy of the Lord Jesus, whom it hath received, and to consecrate itself wholly to the service of him that hath so dearly bought it, and hath given it these pledges of its eternal union with him.
The devout soul hath thus supped in heaven, and returns home; yet the work is not thus done. After the elements are out of eye and use, there remains a digestion of this celestial food, by holy meditation; and now it thinks, Oh what a blessing have I received to-day! no less than my Lord Jesus, with all his merits; and in and with him, the assurance of the remission of all my sins, and everlasting salvation. How happy am I, if I be not wanting to God and myself! How unworthy shall I be, if I do not strive to answer this love of my God and Saviour, in all hearty affection, and in all holy obedience!
And now after this heavenly repast, how do I feel myself? what strength, what advantage hath my faith gotten? How much am I nearer to heaven than before? how much faster hold have I taken of my blessed Redeemer? How much more firm and sensible is my interest in him?
Neither are these thoughts, and this examination, the work of the next instant only, but they are such as must dwell upon the heart; and must often solicit our memory and excite our practice, that by this means we may frequently renew the efficacy of this blessed sacrament, and our souls may thrive more and more with this spiritual nourishment, and may be fed up to eternal life.
XXX. These are the generalities of our devotion, which are of common use to all Christians. There are besides these, certain specialties of it applicable to several occasions, times, places, per
For there are morning and evening devotions; devotions proper to our board, to our closet, to our bed, to God's day, to our own; to health, to sickness; to several callings, to recreations; to the way, to the field, to the church, to our home; to the student, to the soldier, to the magistrate, to
the minister, to the husband, wife, child, servant; to our own persons, to our families. The severalties whereof, as they are scarce finite for number, so are most fit to be left to the judgment and holy managing of every Christian. Neither is it to be imagined, that any soul which is taught of God, and hath any acquaintance with heaven, can be to seek in the particular application of common rules to his own necessity or expedience.
The result of all is,
A devout man is he that ever sees the Invisible, and ever trembleth before that God he sees; that walks ever, here on earth, with the God of heaven; and still adores that Majesty with whom he converses; that confers hourly with the God of spirits in his own language; yet so as no familiarity can abate of his awe, nor fear abate aught of his love. To whom the gates of heaven are ever open, that he may go in at pleasure to the throne of grace, and none of the angelical spirits can offer to chal. lenge him of too much boldness. Whose eyes are well acquainted with those heavenly guardians, the presence of whom he doth as truly acknowledge as if they were his sensible companions. He is well known of the King of glory, for a daily suitor in the court of heaven, and none so welcome there as he. He accounts all his time lost that falls beside his God; and can be no more weary of good thoughts than of happiness.
His bosom is no harbour for any known evil; and it is a question whether he more abhors sin, or hell. His care is to entertain God in a clear and free heart, and therefore he thrusts the world out of doors, and humbly beseeches God to welcome himself to his own. He is truly dejected
and vile in his own eyes.
Nothing but hell is lower than he; each of his slips is heinous, every trespass is aggravated to rebellion. The glory and favours of God heighten his humiliation. He hath looked down to the bottomless deep, and seen with horror what he deserved to feel everlastingly, His cries have been as strong as his fears just; and he hath found mercy more ready to rescue him, than he could be importunate. His hand could not be so soon put forth, as his Saviour's, for deliverance. The sense of this mercy hath raised him to an unspeakable joy, to a most fervent love of so dear a Redeemer; that love hath knit his heart to so meritorious a Deliverer, and wrought a blessed union betwixt God and his soul. That union can no more be severed from an infinite delight, than that delight can be severed from a humble and cheerful acquiescence in his munificent God. And now, as in a heavenly freedom, he pours out his soul into the bosom of the Almighty, in all faithful suits for himself and others; so he enjoys God in the blessings received, and returns all zealous praises to the Giver.
He comes reverently to the oracles of God, and brings not his eye but his heart with him ; not carelessly negligent in seeking to know the revealed will of his Maker, nor too busily inquisitive into his deep counsels ; nor too remiss in the letter, nor too peremptory in the sense ; gladly comprehending what he may, and admiring what he canpot comprehend. Doth God call for his ear, he goes awfully into the holy presence, and so hears, as if he should now hear his last; catching every word that drops from the preacher's lips, ere it fall to the ground, and laying it up carefully where he