4. Feb. 1693
1. Cor. 11. 28.
But let a man Examine himself, & so let him eat of that bread, & drink of that Cup. (Doctr.) In order to a partaking worthily of ye Lds. Supper, its absolutely needfull yt com̄unicants examine themselves. We have shown (1) What is meant by Worthy partaking, & how in a Gosple sense we may be said to partake Worthily. And (2) What examination is needfull. Why we must examine our graces viz. Our knowledge, Faith, Repentance &c. I shall adde no more now, but come to use.
- 1. Use. Information. Must com̄unicants examine themselves? Why then hince we may learn that there are two sorts of persons altogether unfit for this Ordinance viz: Such as cannot examine themselves, & such as will not
- 1. examine themselves (1) Such as cannot examine them-
- 1. selves are altogether unmeet for this Ordinance. As (1) Infants. Infants cannot shew forth the Lords death: Infants cannot examine themselves, & therefore are not meet Subjects for this Ordinance. Milk is for Babes, but not strong meal. 1. Cor. 3. 2. Heb. 5. 12. &c. The Milk of Baptisme wherein they are passive, & whereby they are initiated into the Church, we cannot deny them, because Christ has received them. Matth. 19. 13. 14. 15. Suffer little children, & forbid them not to come unto me: for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. But now the Meat of the Lords Supper, wherein they cannot be active is too strong for them. For by reason of tenderness & weakness belonging to such they cannot examine themselves as is here
- 2. required (2) Fools & Idiots are not meet subjects for this ordinance. For those being void of Reason cannot examine themselves. There is a degree of knowledge, & a considerable degree of it required in all communicants. So much knowledge as to discerne the Lords body. 1. Cor. 11. 29.
- 2. Such as will not examine themselves are as unfit, for this Ordinance, as those who cannot examine themselves. If a man, or woman, would eat or drink of the body, & blood of the Lord, Let such a one sais the Apostle examine himself, or herself; but now if persons will not examine themselves, they ought not to partake. Such a one was he that came without the Wedding-garment, but he had better staid away, as you may see in that parable. Matth. 22. 11. 12. 13.
- 2. Use. Which I mainly intend is of Exhortation & that in two Branches.
- 1. Let all com̄unicants be exhorted to Examine themselves. Text.
- 2. Let all that upon sincere examination find themselves the Lords invited guests be exhorted so to eat, & so to drink.
- 1. Branch of the Exhortation. Is to all com̄unicants to examine themselves. Indeed this is a duty belonging to all: & therefore let not any in this congregation exclude them selves, or think that I exclude them. No it is my duty to press you all to this duty, which belongs to you all, high & low, old & young. And therefore what I particularly speak to com̄unicants, as my text obligeth me, let me be under stood as I intend to speak to you all. It is the duty of all Christians to be com̄unicants; but at least it is the unquestionable duty of all Christians to be Self-Examinants; & therefore understand me, I pray, as speaking to all in generall, thô to com̄unicants in particular.
- 1. Then, be we exhorted to examine our State. There is a State of Death, & a State of life: A State of corruption, & a State of sanctification which is the State of every one of us, & it is our duty to examine which of these states we are in. 2. Cor. 13. 5. Examine your selves, whither ye be in the Faith; prove your own selves: know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be Reprobates. We often hear, how we may know whither we are dead or alive, holy or unregenerate, why now its our duty to try our selves by such Signes.
- 2. Be we exhorted to examine our wayes. Hag. 1. 5. 7. Thus saith ye Lord of Hosts, consider your ways. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts consider your ways. Q.D. O you profess your selves to be my people, examine your ways, consider your ways. Are your ways & walks such as becometh my people. Why this we are to examine: Whither our ways i.e. our thoughts, words, & works be such as becometh godliness.
- 3. Last: Be we exhorted to examine our wants. We should examine wherein we are most weak as to grace, & wherein we are most strong as to sin. What sin is most predominant, & what grace is most deficient; that so here we may bewaile our wants, & seek fervently for Supply, that we may be perfect & entire wanting nothing. Jae. 1. 4. 5.
Now for some Motives to this great duty.
- 1. Mot: When this examination is true, its a signe of sincerity. This is David like, wo dos not only Search himself, but also begs God to search him, & to discover to himself what wickedness be found in him. Ps. 139. 23. 24. When goods are lost an honest man will be willing that his house should be searched.
- 2. Mot: On the other hand, not thus to search our own hearts by the light of Gods word is a signe of unsoundness & hypocrisy of heart. Joh. 3. 20. 21. Every one that doeth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. A Thief cannot endure the search.
- 3. Mot: God will examine us. There is a day when God will examine us all & declare what we are, whither sound or hypocritical. Ps. 44. 20. 21. If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange God: Shall not God Search this out? For he knoweth the Secrets of our hearts. Yea, & to be sure God will examine com̄unicants, yea, & that at the very time of their com̄union. Matth. 22, 11. The King came in to the see the guests, & he saw a man which had not on a wedding garment occ. O if there were but one com̄unicant among a thousand destitute of the wedding garment, Christ would see it, Christ would observe it.
- 4. Mot. Last: Common prudence will teach us thus much. The Shop-keeper, The Merchant, The Trader, yea all men will examine their business & state, whither they thrive & flourish, or loose & decay. How much more than is it Christian prudency to try & examine, what will be our state & case to all eternity?
Now for our help herein take these directions
- 1. Dir: Proceed we regularly
- 1. Get we alone. He that would State & examine difficult accounts must get alone where he may be intent upon ye matter.
- 2. Beg the All-knowing Gods help in this important matter. Pray wth David Ps. 139. 23. Search me, & prove me. O know we that our deceitfull hearts if it be possible will herein cheat us
- 3. Try by the word of God impartially. This is the Touchstone by which we shall be tryed hereafter. Ro. 2. 16. And therefore it behoves us to be trying our selves by it now
- 2. Dir: Be duly affected with the state you find your selves in
- 1. (1) If you find your selves among the New-born, then give God the glory of it, & do you take the Comfort of it. Rom. 6. 17. 18. God be thanked, ye were the servants of sin; but ye have obeyed from ye heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Tit. 3. 5. 6. Not by works of righteousness wch we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, & renewing of the holy Ghost; which he sheds on us abundantly thrô
- 2. Jesus Christ our Saviour (2) If you find your selves yet undone, dead in trespasses & sins. Others tremble to think what ye miserable case of your soul will be in if you dye in such a condition. Eph. 5. 3. 4. 5. This ye know, that no unclean person hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ, & of God.
- 3. Dir: Last: Have a care of loosing your time proper for Examination. As
- 1. The present time. God[s] call is to day, to day. Heb. 3. 7. 13. 15. And do’nt delay your time. You do’nt know but tomorrow you may Come under Gods Examination.
- 2. The Time of Affliction is a time for your examination. (1) Is it a time of Affliction as to thy inward man, why then imitate Asaph. Ps. 77. 6. &c. I commune with mine own heart, & my Spirit made diligent Search. Will the Lord
- 2. cast off for ever? & will he be favourable no more &c. (2) Or is it a time of Affliction as to thy outward man? Why then imitate the Church Lam. 3. 40. &c. Let us Search & try our ways, & turn again to the Lord &c
- 2. Branch of the Exhortation (with which I conclude) Let all such as upon due examination find themselves the Lords invited guests be exhorted So to eat, & so to drink. Let none else but such eat & drink. If you cannot So eat & drink; Eat not, nor Drink not, at all. But if you are such, O come, come, come eat, & come drink. I may say to all such as they did to blind Bartemeus, be of good comfort, arise Christ calleth thee. Mark. 10. 49. O do as he did cast off all impediments throw away all objections, & arise come & sit down with Jesus, & so eat, & so drink. Text. Let a man examine himself & so let him eat, & so let him drink.