1. April. 1694.
1 Cor. 11. 30.
For this cause many are Weak & Sickly among you, & many sleep. For this cause, viz: for your unmeet & unworthy communicating at the Lords Table: For this cause the Lord Smites you with sundry plagues viz: with weakness, sickness, yea, & death it self. Hince observe
- Doctr. Plagues & punishments are the worthy fruits of unworthy communicating at the Lords Table. Text. For this cause &c. Q.D. ye do indeed eat of the Bread, & drink of the cup in the Lords Supper, but ye do all unworthily: Some of you are habitually unworthy, altogether yet in your sins, without any saving grace; And others of you actually unworthy, yet under the prevalency of some corruption, & so you do all unworthily; & for this cause many are weak & sickly amongst you, & many sleep. Hince, I say, Plagues & Punishments are the Worthy fruits of unworthily handling of divine Ordinances. Here we shall show you (1) That it is so (2) Give you some Reasons why it is so.
- 1. Then that it is so. That Plagues & punishments are the Worthy fruits of unworthily handling of divine Ordinances. We see here one instance before us in the Church of Corinth. Text. For this cause, many are weak & sickly amongst you, & many Sleep. For this cause, viz: of your unworthily partaking of the Lords Supper
- 1. Many are Weak. The word signifies infirm feeble & impotent, & it is used for corporal, & Spiritual weakness
- 1. Somtimes it is used for corporall & bodily weakness. Joh. 5. 5. &c.
- 2. Somtimes it is used for Spiritual feebleness & weakness. Ro. 5. 6. When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ dyed for the ungodly i.e. When we were without Spirituall strength, unable altogether to help our selves, being dead in trespass, & sins. Eph. 2. 1. then Christ came to help us.
- Now in both these senses the weakness spoken of in our text may be understood, thô litterally & more imediately perhaps in the former for a bodily weakness, yet not excluding the latter, a Spiritual Weakness, as I conceive
- 2. Many are Sick, also. This is more than the former, a higher degree of affliction. They were not all equally guilty of communicating unworthily, & so they were not all equally punished; Some were weak, but others were Sickly, which is more. Or if they were all equally guilty, yet it did not please the Lord equally to punish them, nor can we give Reasons of his proceedings after this manner for his judgments are past finding out. This sickness may also be understood as the weakness before mentioned both corporally & Spiritually.
- 3. Last: Many of them were smitten with death. And many Sleep, i.e. are dead. Dan. 12. 2. Thus we see that the Church of Corinth was plagued & punished for their profaning divine Ordinances.
- 2. Again see we an other instance in Nadab & Abihu. Lev. 10. 1. 2. They offered strange fire before the Lord, which he com̄anded them not. And then went out fire from the Lord & devoured them, & they dyed before the Lord. Strang fire i.e. other fire than God had sanctifyed on his Altar. Now as strange incense was expressly forbidden. Ex. 30. 9. So strang fire was not com̄anded, but implicitely forbidden. Lev. 1. 7. & 6. 12. By fire these Sinned, & by fire they are punished. Again
- 3. We have an other instance in Elis Sons, they were Priests, but very sinfull ones, & by their sins they caused men to abhorr the offerings of the Lord. 1. Sam. 2. 12. 17. 27. &c. And for their abuse of holy things the Lord Slew them. 1. Sam. 4. 10. 11. Thus we see that plagues & punishments are the Worthy fruits of unworthily dealing in holy things
- 2. Now for some Reasons, why it is so, for the farther confirmation of this point.
- 1. R. Because such are guilty of the highest sins. The Ordinances of God are great things, choice things, the abuse of them is therefore so much the greater, by how much the Ordinances are more precious. And therefore God Severely crys out against such. Isa. 24. 5. &. 58. 1. &c. But especially the profaning of this highest Ordinance; it is one of the highest Sins, viz: a being guilty of the body & blood of the Lord. 1. Cor. 11. 27. Blood-guiltiness all will own to be a horrible sin, thô it be but of a common man; but how much more is it so when it is of the Man Christ, the Man, that was truly God as well as Man
- 2. R. Therefore such do more highly provoke God. The more near Christ is to God, the more must God needs be incensed & provoked by all indignities done to him. Matth. 21. 37. Hince God is provoked
- 1. To damn such if they be habitually unworthy with the sorest damnation. Matth. 11. 20. &c.
- 2. Those who are true converts, yet partaking actually unworthily
- 1. Provoke God to take away his Ordinances. Such expose themselves to the loss of holy Ordinances. Rev. 2. 5. Repent, & do the first works; or else I will remove thy candlestick out of his place. Matth. 21. 43. The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, & given to a nation bringing forth the fruits of it. Jer. 7. 3. 11. 12.
- 2. Such provoke God to inflict many sore punishments upon them in this life, as in our text. Weakness, Sickness, yea & a temporall death.
Corporall & spiritual punishments Such are exposed unto
- 1. Corporal punishments, viz:
- 1. Bodily Weakness & feebleness. Text & 2. Chr. 30. 20.
- 2. Bodily sickness & diseases. Text. &. Lev. 26. 16.
- 3. Last: Bodily death. Text. And so in Davids dayes they fetched the Ark, but instead of bearing it upon the Levites Shoulders, they carted it, & for this their error Uzzah, a good man, no question, lost his life. 1. Chr. 13. 7 &c. & Chap. 15. 13.
- 2. Such are exposed unto Spiritual as well as bodily or corporall punishments viz:
- 1. Spiritual Weakness. Text. Ro. 15. 1. 1. Thes. 5. 14. As the way to be Spiritually Strong is rightly & heedfully to attend divine ordinances; so the way to be spiritually weak is to be lax & loose in holy duties.
- 2. Spiritual Sickness, & Soul-diseases. Text. For this cause many are Sickly. Naturall diseases & sicknesses come by intemperate eating & surfettings: Why so also do spiritual diseases. Feeding upon the husks & trash of this world, begets Spirituall diseases & distempers. Luke. 21. 34. Rom. 13. 12. 13. 14. Hince men are aguish & cold to the things of God; & feverish & hot for worldly matters.
- 1. Use. We need not then wonder at the many & sore judgments which do now & then befall the Church, & professors. If we consider how many communicate of the Lords Supper habitually unworthily, & what actual unworthiness is to be found in these lost & perilous times, we may wonder that punishments are not more, & that plagues are not sorer. How dos the love of many wax cold? Matth. 24. 12. And how do many content themselves wth forms only of Religion, denying the power of it? 2. Tim. 3. 5. We may then wonder not that we see so much of Gods anger, & feel so much of his displeasure: But that we see no more & feel no more.
- 2. Use. Let our plagues & punishments Weakness, Sicknesses &c corporall, & Spiritual, put us upon reflecting upon our miscarriages with reference to this great duty. When we are sick, we are ready to reflect upon the naturall occasions. Such a time I did so & so & got a cold, over-heated my self, surfeited my self, & the like. O let us do so as to our Spiritual remissness & want of care & circumspection. Gen. 42. 21. Hos. 5. ult.
- 3. Use. Caution & Serious admonition, to us all that we be not found among Such as unworthily handle divine Ordinances; & particularly this great Ordinance of the Lords Supper.
To prevent this consider
- 1. How hereby you do highest injury to Christ: Such are guilty of the body & blood of the Lord. 1. Cor. 11. 27.
- 2. How you wrong your selves. Text. Hereby you bring plagues & punishments upon your selves, Corporall. & spirituall. Weakness, & Sickness of Soul & body. Yea, & are in danger of bodily death &c. For this cause many are weak & sickly among you, & many sleep. Finis Textûs