« PreviousContinue »
their Sacrifices. They had divers washings and carnal Ordinances imposed upon them, until the time of Reformation, faith the Apostle, 'Heb: 9. 10. One eminent instance we have, 1 Sam. 16. there Samuel goes to Bethlehem, to Sacrifice unto the Lord, and to Feast with fefe and his Sons upon part of the Oblations ; but before he would either slay the Heifer, or fit down with them at Meat, he commanded them to Sanctifie themselves, Caccording to the Custom) w: 5: Now these legal Purifications, were so many Notices and Indications of that inward and Spiritual Purity, which is necessary in all, who present themselves before the Lord, and profess to be of his Houshold and Family. For which Reason the Prophets, who were Expositors of the Law, called upon the People at every turn, to mind that Sanctity of Heart and Spirit, which was signified by these External Rites, and without which, all their Services were so many vain Oblations. So God himself calls them, Jer. 1. 12, 13. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my Courts ? Bring no more vain Oblations; that is, Heartless Sacrifices, such Sacrifices as were without the Heart, not of the Beast, but of the Man ; empty Services, that were without a broken
and contrite Spirit. To this purpose 'tis faid, Ifa. 66. 3: He that killeth an Ox, is as he that Slew a Man; he that Sacrificeth a Lamb, as he that cutteth off a Dog's neck; he that offereth an Oblation, as he that offereth the Blood of Swine ; and the Reason follows, because they have chosen their own ways, and their Soul delighteth in their own Abominations. 'Tis Holiness that God requires, rather than Sacrifice ; and so much was intimated to them, when they were appointed to wash, before they entred into the Sanctuary. To which purpose, faith the Psalmist, Pfal. 26. 6. I will wash my bands in Innocence, and so will I compass thine Altar: Meaning, that by cleansing the outward parts, Men were taught to Cleanse and Sanctifie their Minds, chiefly, and that Innocence is mainly necessary in such as go about to meddle with Holy things. And this is particularly observable from the Ordinance concerning the Passover, which was a Type and Shadow of this Christian Ordinance. Though every few that was rightly Qualified, was bound under pain of Death, to bring the Offering of the Lord in his appointed Season ; yet if he had any Legal Impurities, upon him ; if he were a Leper, or had a running Igue, or had been Defiled by touching a Dead Carcass, then he was severely bound to forbear the Passover for a time; he was to defer it for the space of a Month; because it was a general Rule, the Soul that eateth the Flesh of the Sacrifice of Peace-Offerings, having his Uncleannesses apon him, even that Soul fall be cut off from his Peoplé, Lev. 7. 20. Philo the Jew hath right ly observed, that God Instructed Men by these "Rites and Forms and outward Symbols, how they ought to make their approaches unto his Altar, either to Pray or to give thanks unto him ; that they should bring no latent Diseases, no Corruptions of Soul along with them. And never is it more necessary for Men to lay their Impurities aside, than when they come to this Chriftian Sacrifice. The Body of the Lamb was a Type and Figure of the Flesh of Christ; and as we cannot refuse Eating without being Guilty, as well as Foolish and Improvident ; lo neither can we be, Innocent, if we Eat with our Uncleannesses about us ; this is no other, than to Eat and Drink Judgment to our selves, 1 Cor. 11.
2. BESIDES, 2dly, the Nature of this Great Mystery is well to be considered, for (as I have shew'd) it is the Covenant Feast under the Gospel, even as the Paschal Supper, and other Sacrifical Banquets were under the Law: And Repentance
is indispensably required of all that come to Contract with God. There is a remarkable place in Psal. 10. 16, 17. Unto the Wicked God
Saith, why dost thou Preach my Laws, and takejt my Covenant into thy Mouth, wbereas thou hatest to be Reformed? The Psalmist doch manifestly allude to an Ancient Custom of making Covenants with God by Sacrifice, as it is, v. 5. For the Offering being made upon the Altar, and part of it being burnt as God's Portion, the remainder was taken away by the Covenanting Parties, as their share; and their manner was, to Eat it together before the Lord, thereby testifying that they were now in Communion and Fellowship with him. And this the Psalmist calls, the taking of God's Covenant in their mouths; for it was the Eating of his Sacrifice, which was a Sign and Token of the Covenant. Now, what they did of Old, when they did Communicate of the Flesh of Beasts, That (the very same thing) we Christians do now; when we partake of Bread and Wine, we do Solemnly Profess that we are in Covenant with God, and Solemnly Confirm this Covenant at his Table. Now the Terms of the Covenant under the Gospel, are these on our part, that we will serve God in Holiness and Righteousness all the days of our Life ; and if our inward intentions be not according to our outward Profession, but we hate to be Reformed, what horrible .Presumption is it to take the Symbol and Seal of God's Covenant into our Mouths? All this is. Mockage, and Hypocrisie, a Solemn and Theatrical kind of jeer, it Men do not stedfaly resolve and purpose in their Hearts, to become New Men, and for ever to please God in Newness of Life.
3. ADD to this, in the third place, that the Blessings tendred us at this Sacrament, are such, as do require a Sincere Repentance from dead Works, as a Qualification and Disposition to make us meet to be Partakers of them. - For here Christ is tendred, with all the Fruits and Benefits of that Sacrifice, which he once for all offered up to his father upon the Cross : And of these, Forgiveness of Sin is one great Blessing. But there is no Pardon to the Wicked, to such as are still in Love with their Abominations, and intend to persist and go on in their Wickedness. In order therefore to a due Celebration of this My. stery, as every Knee should bow, so every Heart muít be broken, and every filthy Luít Mortified. For Conversion goeth before Forgiveness, as the condition that Capacitates the Receiver; and the Dominion of Sin must be Conquered, before the