EXERCISES OF GODLINESS AT THE LORD’S TABLE
by George Swinnock, an edited excerpt from
chapter 19 of “The Christian Man’s Calling,” in
 Works 1.192–211


I come to the second particular about the Lord’s Supper, and that is your behaviour at the Table, or in the time of receiving; in reference to which I would advise you: (1) To mind the suitable subjects which are to be considered at it; and (2) To observe the special graces which are to be exercised in it.


Meditations at the Table


(1) There are three principal subjects of meditation, when you approach the Table, in order to the three graces, which must then be acted. The subjects of meditation are Christ’s passion, His affection, and your own corruptions. The three graces are faith, love, and godly sorrow.


Meditate on the Passion of Christ

a) The wounds of Christ, out of which came precious balsam to heal all your sinful sores, ought never to be forgotten; but the remembrance of them is never so seasonable as at a sacrament. One end of the institution of this ordinance was the commemoration of Christ’s death: “As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor 11:26–27).


When you see the bread and wine consecrated and set apart, consider how God the Father did from eternity set apart His only Son for His bloody passion, and your blessed redemption. Consider He was a lamb slain before the foundation of the world. When you see the bread and wine upon the Table, consider that, as the corn was ground in the mill to make that bread, and the grapes squeezed to make that wine, so your Saviour was beaten in the mill and wine-press of His Father’s wrath before He could be meat indeed and drink indeed to nourish you unto life everlasting. When you see the bread broken in pieces, think how the body of Christ was broken for your iniquities. “It pleased the LORD to bruise” (Isa 53:10a).


Consider the doleful tragedy, which He acted from first to last; meditate on His incarnation. For the Son of God to become the Son of man;—for Him that lived from all eternity to be born in time; for Him that thunders in the clouds to cry in the cradle; for Him that created all things to become a creature,—is a greater suffering than if all the men and angels in this and the other world were crowded into an atom, or turned into nothing. This was the first and greatest step of His humiliation. Consider the manner of His birth: He was born, not of some great princes, but of mean and indigent parents; not in a royal palace, but in a place where beggars and beasts are entertained—a stable; He was no sooner born but sought after to be butchered. He fled for His life in His very swaddling-cloths, and was an early martyr indeed. When He grew up, though He was of ability to have swayed the sceptre of all the empires in the world, to have instructed the greatest potentates and counsellors in the mysteries of wisdom and knowledge; though to Him Adam and Solomon, yea, and angels themselves, were fools, yet He lived privately with His supposed father many years, and suffered His deity to be hid, as light in a dark lantern, near thirty years, save that once it darted a little out, when at twelve years of age He disputed and confuted the great Rabbis of the Jews (Lk 2:46).


When He entered upon His public ministry, He was no sooner ascended the stage, but all the devils in hell appeared against Him, and He was forced to fight hand to hand with them for forty days together; and when they left Him they did not take their leave, but “departed [only] for a season” (Lk 4:13). His whole life was a living death. How poor was He, when He was fain to work a miracle to pay His tax! “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Mt 8:20), though he were “heir of all things” (Heb 1:2). What did He suffer in His name when the worst words in the mouths of the Jews were thought not bad enough for Him! He is called the carpenter’s son, a glutton, a drunkard, a blasphemer, a friend of publicans and sinners, a Samaritan, a devil; nay, the prince of devils. What hunger and thirst and weariness did He undergo! He that feeds others with His own flesh had many a hungry belly. He that gave others that water, of which whosoever drinks shall thirst no more, had His own veins sucking and paining Him for thirst. He that is Himself the only ark for the weary dove to fly to for rest, did Himself take many a wearisome step, and travel many a tiresome journey. Well might the prophet call Him “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isa 53:3), though He had suffered no more than what is already written; but all this was but the beginning of His sorrows. The dregs of the cup were at the bottom. Doubtless many an aching heart had He, as a woman with child, beforehand, when He thought of the bitter pangs, sharp throes, and hard labour, which He was to suffer at the close of His life. O friend, remember this Son of David and all His troubles. But to come to His end, which is specially represented in this ordinance, I will take Him in the garden, where He felt more than I can write or think.


But behold, reader, your Saviour for your sake, and under the weight of your sins, did sweat blood in a cold night, when He was exceedingly afraid. Ah! who would not love such a Saviour, and who would not loathe sin? But the sufferings of His body were nothing to the sufferings of His soul; these were the soul of His sufferings. Observe His expression, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful,” “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death” (Mk 14:34). Unto death, not onlyextensively, seventeen or eighteen hours, till death ended His life; but chieflyintensively, such sorrow as the pangs of death bring—surely far greater. Again, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Mt 26:39). Wise and valiant men do not complain of nothing. Ah, how bitter was that cup which valour and resolution itself seemed unwilling to drink! The two most tormenting passions, which are fear and grief, did now seize upon Him in the highest degree: “He… began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy” (Mk 14:33).


Reader, follow Him further; one disciple sold Him at the price of a slave; another disciple forswear Him; all of them forsake Him, and fly; the greedy wolves lay hold on this innocent lamb; the bloody Jews apprehend Him, bind His hands like a thief, and hale Him away to the high priest; then they hire persons to belie truth itself: but when their testimony was insufficient, upon His own most holy confession, a sentence of condemnation is passed upon Him. Consider now how the servants smite His blessed cheeks with their fists, and spit on that beautiful face with their mouths, which angels counted their honour to behold; the masters flout Him with their scornful carriage, and mock Him with their petulant language: He must be the sink into which they fling all their filth. Afterwards they carry Him to Pilate; he sends Him to Herod; Herod, with some scorns and scoffs, sends Him back. Thus is He, like a football, spurned up and down between those inhuman wretches: Pilate tears His flesh with wounds and nails, and presents Him to the people with a crown of thorns on His head, to move pity; the people, thirsting after His blood, can by no words be persuaded, by no means be prevailed with, to let this innocent dove escape. Though He be put in competition with a murderer, yet the murderer is preferred before Him; and as the worst of the two, He is at last condemned as a seditious person, and a traitor against Caesar’s crown and dignity, to be crucified without the gate, lest the city be polluted with His blood.


Now, reader, come along, like the beloved disciple, and behold your Saviour bearing His own cross, and going to the place of execution to die the death of a slave, for no freeman was ever crucified; therefore Julian, in derision, called HimThe staked God. He is no sooner come to the dismal place of dead men’s skulls, but they tear off His clothes, and some think skin and all, glued to His back with their bloody scourgings. Now they stretch His body, as cloth with tenters, and rack it so that His bones start out of His skin—“I may tell all my bones” (Ps 22:17),—in nailing His two hands to the two horns, and His feet, those parts so full of nerves and sinews, and so the most sensible of any parts of the body, to the stump of the cross, “They pierced my hands and my feet” (v. 16) and hang Him up between two thieves, as the most notorious malefactor of the three; “He was numbered with the transgressors” (Isa 53:12). His bloody, watching, fasting, scorched, racked body, is oppressed with exquisite pain, and His anguish so vehement that He cried out, “I thirst” (Jn 19:28); to quench which they give Him vinegar and gall, and spice it with a scoff to make it relish the better: “Let us see whether Elias will come to save him” (Mt 27:49).


But oh, who can imagine what He suffered in His soul, when He hung under the weight of men’s revenge, devil’s rage, the Law’s curse, and the Lord’s wrath! Men “revile him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself…. He saved others, himself he cannot save” (Mt 27:39–40, 42). “To Him that was afflicted, pity should have been shown; but they added affliction to the afflicted, and forsook the fear of the Almighty.” All the devils in hell were now putting forth their utmost power and policy, for “this was their hour, and the power of darkness” (cf. Lk 22:53), to increase His sufferings, that, if possible, they might provoke Him to sin, thereby to have separated His human nature from His divine, that it might have perished eternally, and all mankind with it; but the sting of His death is yet behind. The head of that arrow which pierced His heart indeed was the frown of His Father. That His kinsmen, the Jews, whom He came to sanctify and redeem, for He was “the glory of [His] people Israel” (Lk 2:32), should deliver Him up to be crucified, was not a small aggravation of His misery: that His Apostles, that had been eye-witnesses of His miracles, and ear-witnesses of His oracles, (to whom He had spoken so pathetically, “Will ye also forsake me?” and who had told Him so resolutely, “We will go with thee, both into prison, and to death,” [cf. Lk 22:33; Mt 26:35]), should now in His greatest extremity turn their backs upon Him, added some more gall to His bitter cup: that His mother should stand by the cross weeping, and have her soul pierced through with the sword of His sufferings, was far from being an allay to His sorrows; but that His Father, of whom He had often boasted, “It is my Father that honoureth me”; “My Father loveth me”; “I and my Father are one,” should now in His low estate, in His day of adversity, in His critical hour, not only left Him alone, as a harmless dove amongst so many ravenous vultures, to contest with all the fury of earth and hell; but also pour out the vials of His own wrath upon Him, and (though the union was not dissolves, yet) suffer the beams, the influences to be restrained, that He might fully bear the curse of the Law, and feel the weight of sin; this was the hottest fire in which the paschal lamb was roasted; this caused that heart-breaking, soul-cutting, heaven-piercing expression, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Oh how, how justly might He have cried out with Job, “Have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand”—not only of my enemies and my friends, of multitudes of men, and of legions of devils, but the hand—“of God hath touched me” (19:21). How truly might the husband have taken up His spouse’s lamentation: “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by! Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of His fierce anger.” Ah, who can write or read such a tragedy with dry eyes?


Meditate on the Affection of Christ

b) “We will remember thy love more than wine,” says the spouse (Song 1:4). When you see the wine, think of that love which is better than wine. Believe it, if ever there were a love-feast, this is it. Men testify their love in bestowing food on their hungry friends; but ah, what love was that which gave His blessed body and precious blood to feed His starving enemies! He that considers what Christ suffered, and for whom, may well think He was little else but a lump of love. His compassion is infinitely visible in His passion! What love was that which moved Him to lay down His life for you! Friend, if ever you had hard thoughts of Christ, take a view of Him in the former subject of meditation, and consider whether His heart is not set upon sinners, when He shed His heart-blood for their souls. The redness of the fire discovers its heat. Oh, how did the redness of this Rose of Sharon, the blood which issued from His head, and back, and hands, and feet, and heart, and whole body, speak His burning, His fiery love!


In every drop of His blood there is an ocean of love. Well might the Apostle Paul produce this as an undeniable testimony of the truth of His love, “who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). His bleeding passion was such a full demonstration of His dearest affection, as the whole world never saw the like before, nor ever shall again. In it His love was dissected and ripped up—you may tell all its bones. Judas gave Him to the Jews, out of love to money; the Jews gave Him to Pilate to be condemned, out of love to envy; Pilate gave Him to the soldiers to be crucified, out of love to self-interest; but Christ gave Himself, out of pure love to save souls. The great and glorious God does things that are singularly eminent for the manifestation of His attributes. When He would evidence His power, He produces with a word the whole creation out of the barren womb of nothing. He did but will it, and the whole world presently started into being. By this He often proves His deity (Isa 45:12 and 43:13). As shadows represent the figure of those bodies from whence they are derived, so do the creatures manifest the power of their Maker.


When He would manifest His justice, He lays the dark vault of hell, and lays in, and stores it with fire, and brimstone, and chains, and blackness of darkness, and gnawing worms, and pure wrath, and devils, and all the instruments of eternal death (Rom 9:22). When He would make known His wisdom, He finds out a fit mediator, and thereby reconciles those attributes, which before were at odds, His justice and His mercy. He causes “mercy and justice to meet together, pity and righteousness to kiss each other,” therefore the mediator is called “the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:21); and the finding out this way is called “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph 3:10), or the “embroidered wisdom of God.” It is an allusion to a curious piece of needlework, wherein there are various expressions of art. So in this way of man’s recovery, there are various and curious expressions of divine wisdom.


But when God would proclaim His love, that attribute which, like oil, swims at the top of them all, which is most in favour, which He delights so exceedingly in, what will He do? Why, He lays down His life: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn 15:13). Jacob showed his love to Rachel, by enduring the heat of the day, and the cold of the night for her. But Jesus showed His love to His beautiful spouse by undergoing the cursed, painful, and shameful death of the cross for her. Oh, what love was that!


In His birth and life He manifested His love; the midst of that chariot in which He drew His spouse before, was “paved with love”; but His death wrote His love in the greatest print, in the largest character, though all in red letters; for His whole body was the book, His precious blood was the ink, the nails were the pens, the contents of it from the beginning to the end are love, love. There is nothing else to be read but love, love. “In this was manifested the love of God” (1 Jn 4:9). His love before was glorious, yet hid as the sun under a cloud; but at His death it did shine forth in it meridian splendour, in its noonday brightness, with such hot beams and refreshing rays, that every one must needs take notice of it.


If love were quite lost amongst all the creatures, all might be found in Jesus Christ. His name is love, His nature is love, all His expressions were love, all His actions were love: He bought love, He preached love, He was sick of love; nay, He died for love; it was love that took upon Him our nature; it was love that walked in our flesh; it was love that went up and down doing good; it was love that took our infirmities; it was love that gave sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, ears to the deaf, life to the dead; it was love that was hungry, and thirsty, and weary; it was love that was in a bloody agony; it was love that was sorrowful unto His own death, and my life; it was love that was betrayed, apprehended, derided, scourged, condemned, and crucified; it was love that had His head pierced with thorns, His back with cords, His hands and feet with nails, and His side with a spear; it was love that cried out, “Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves” (Lk 23:28); “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). Love left a glorious crown, and love climbed a shameful cross. O dearest Saviour, whither did Thy love carry Thee!


Reader, I could lose myself in this pleasant maze of Christ’s love. I think your heart should be ravished with the sense of this love. The truth is, it is a bottomless love; none can sound it. The Apostle might well call it: A known unknown love (Eph 3:19). It is well you can find it; but I am sure you cannot fathom it. One disciple may show his love to another, by giving a cup of cold water; but the Master showed His love to His disciples by broaching His heart to give them a cup of warm blood. The sacraments, as Calvin observes, did flow out of the sides of Christ. When the soldier pierced His side, there came out water (for baptism) and blood (for the supper).


Meditate on Your Corruptions

c) As His love was the inward moving cause, so your sins were the outward procuring cause, of His sufferings: “He was wounded for [your] transgressions, he was bruised for [your] iniquities; the chastisement of [your] peace was upon him” (Isa 53:5). When you are at the sacrament, which fitly represents Christ’s sufferings, consider with yourself, What was that which brought the blessed Saviour into such a bleeding condition? It was my sin; I was the Judas, which betrayed Him, the Jew, which apprehended Him, the Pilate that condemned Him, and the Gentile, which crucified Him. My sins were the thorns, which pierced His head, the nails, which pierced His hands, and the spear, which pierced His heart. It was I that put to death the Lord of life: He died for my sins; He was “made sin for me, who knew no sin” (cf. 2 Cor 5:21); His blood is my balm, His Golgotha is my Gilead. Oh, what a subject is here for meditation! He suffered in my stead, He bore my sins in His body on the tree. When He was in the garden in His bitter agony, grovelling on the ground, there was no Judas, no Pilate, no Jew, no Gentile there, to cause that unnatural sweat, or to make His soul sorrowful unto death; but my pride, my unbelief, my hypocrisy, my atheism, my blasphemy, my unthankfulness, my carnal-mindedness, they were there, and caused His inward bleeding sorrows, and outward bloody sufferings. Ah, what a heavy weight was my sin to cause such a bloody sweat in a frosty night! My dissimulation was the traitorous kiss, my ambition the thorny crown; my drinking iniquities like water made Him drink gall and vinegar; my want of tears caused Him to bleed; my forsaking my Maker made Him to be forsaken of His Father. Because the members of my body were instruments of iniquity, therefore the members of His body were objects of such cruelty; because my soul was so unholy, therefore His soul was so exceeding heavy. O my soul, what has you done?


We do not say the executioner kills a man for theft or murder; but his theft or murder, they hang him; so in this case, it was not so much the Jews or soldiers—for they were the executioners—that put Christ to death, as our thefts and murders, and breaches of God’s Law, which were imputed and laid to His charge.


There is a story of a king of France named Lladoveyus, that when He was converted to Christianity, one day hearing Remigius the bishop reading the Gospel of our Saviour’s passion, he presently fell into this passionate expression: “Oh that I had been but there with my Frenchmen, I would have cut all their throats!” little considering that his and others’ iniquities were Christ’s greatest and most cruel enemies. Reader, when you are at the Table, think of those sins which caused such sufferings. Consider the deepness of that stain which the blood only of God could wash out. Ah, what a sickness is sin, when nothing less than the blood of the Son of God can heal it!


Exercises of Grace at the Table


(2) As at the Table some subjects must be considered, so some graces must be exercised. A sacrament is a special season, a spring-time for those trees of God’s own planting to bud, blossom, and put forth their fruit. Now, reader, if ever rouse up your spirit, and stir up the gifts of God which are in you. Call aloud to your graces, which may possibly be sleeping, as David: “Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early” (Ps 57:8). Awake, my graces! Can you not watch with my dearest Saviour one hour? Awake, my faith, love, and repentance; I myself will awake presently. It is not the hawk which sits hoodwinked on the fist, but the seeing, flying hawk, which does the service. The clock which stands still is of no use; it is the going, moving clock which attains its end. Grace acted will now do you eminent service, and help you to attain the end of the sacrament.


Exercise Faith

a) Act faith. “If faith sleeps, Christ sleeps,” says Augustine. Call forth first that commander-in-chief; and then the private soldiers, the other graces, will all follow. Faith must be the eye whereby you see Christ: “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and… mourn” (Zech 12:10). Faith is the mouth by which you feed on Christ (cf. Jn 6:53). Faith is the feet by which you go to Christ (cf. Jn 6:35). Faith may say to you, as Christ did, “Without me ye can do nothing” (Jn 15:5); without me you can do nothing for your own welfare, nothing for God’s honour at this ordinance. It is said of the Indian gymnosophists, that they will lie all day upon their backs gazing on the beauty of the natural sun. Friend, at this ordinance, if at any time of your life, view the beauty of this true Sun. As Pilate, when he had scourged Him in such a bloody, barbarous manner, brings Him forth to the Jews with, Behold the man; so when you consider the bread and wine, behold the Man; behold the broken, bruised Saviour. A man without faith, like the unbelieving lord, sees the plenty, but does not eat of it.


There is a threefold act of faith to be put forth at a sacrament. First, Faith must look out for Christ; secondly, Faith must look up to Christ for grace; thirdly, Faith must take Christ down, or receive Him and grace.


Firstly, faith must look out for Christ. Consider that the Lord Jesus Christ is the very soul of the sacrament; without Him it is but the carcass of an ordinance. Christ and the Scripture bring comfort; Christ and prayer cause spiritual profit; Christ and the elements make a sacrament; Christ and the sacrament make a rare feast. Therefore be sure you look out for Christ. Rest not in the bread and wine, but look farther. When you sit at the table, let the speech of your heart be, “Saw ye Him whom my soul loveth?” Turn to God and say, as they to Philip, “Sir, I would fain see Jesus” (cf. Jn 12:21); Lord, I would fain see Jesus Christ. Let neither word, nor prayer, nor elements, nor all things content you without Christ. As Isaac told his father, “Father,… Behold [here is] the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Gen 22:7), so do look up to your heavenly Father: Father, behold here is the preacher and here is the Scripture, and here is the bread and here is the wine, but where is the body and blood of my Saviour? Lord, where is the lamb for a sacrifice? Father, Father, where is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world?


Secondly, faith must look up to Christ for grace. Look up to Christ as a treasury of grace for the supply of all your necessities, and put your hand of faith into this treasury, and you shall take out unsearchable riches. Augustine puts the question, how a Christian may put out a long arm to reach Christ in heaven? and answers, “Believe, and you have taken hold of Him.” Christ is a full breast; faith the mouth which draws and sucks the breast, and gets spiritual nourishment out of it. The blessed Saviour is a precious and deep mine, but faith is the instrument whereby we dig the gold out of it. As the Spanish ambassador said of his master’s treasury, in comparison of that treasury of St. Mark in Venice, “In this, among other things, my master’s treasury differs from yours, in that my master’s treasury (alluding to his Indian mines) has no bottom, as I see yours to have.” For your comfort, know that the riches in Christ are inexhaustible, and His bags are bottomless. He can “supply all your need” (Phil 4:19).


Are your wants many? He has infinite wealth. Have you no money to buy, no merits to offer? Why, He sells “without money and without price” (Isa 55:1). They that bring money have it returned back in their sacks, for He takes none. “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev 22:17).


The sacrament is as conduit which receives water from the river; therefore when you have brought the vessel of your soul to the conduit, your work must be by faith to turn the cock, and then it will run freely, and fill your vessel. Be sure that you mind the promise, “This is my body”; “This cup is the new testament in my blood” (1 Cor 11:24, 25). Your faith will be celestial fire to extract the quintessence and spirits of the promise.


Thirdly, faith must receive Christ, and apply Him to your soul. When you put forth the hand of your body to take the bread and wine, do put forth the hand of faith to receive the body and blood of Christ. This is one principal act of faith, like Joseph of Arimathea, to take Jesus down from His cross and lay Him in the new tomb of your heart. Like Thomas, put your finger of faith into His side, and cry out, “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). Be not discouraged, O penitent soul. Are your sins many?—His mercy is free. Are your sins weighty?—His merits are full. You come for bread, and will you Saviour give you a stone? He took notice of your serious preparation for this ordinance, and will He frustrate your expectation at it? Did He ever send hungry soul empty away? The law of man provides for the poor in purse, and will not the gospel of Christ provide for the poor in spirit? Is not His commission to bind up the broken-hearted, and can He be unfaithful? Why should you mistrust truth itself? Let me say to you, as the disciples to the blind man, “Be of good comfort, he calleth thee” (Mk 10:49). See how He casts His eyes upon you with a look of love, as once upon Peter. Observe, He stretches out His arms wide to embrace you; He bows down His head to kiss you. He cries to you, as to Zacchæus, “I must abide at thy house” (Lk 19:5), in your heart today. Oh make haste to receive Him, and make Him a feast by opening the doors of your soul, that the King of glory may enter in. Say to Christ, “Lord, though I am unworthy that Thou should come under my roof, yet Thou art so gracious as to knock at the door of my heart, and to promise, if I open, that Thou will come in and sup with me”; and then call to Him, as Laban to Abraham’s steward, “Come in, thou blessed of the LORD, wherefore standest thou without? For I have prepared [lodging for thee]” (Gen 24:31).


Exercise Love

b) The second grace to be called forth is love; and truly if you have acted faith in His passion for, and affection to, your soul. I shall not in the least doubt but your love to Him will play its part. The creatures, some tell us, follow the panther, being drawn after her by her sweet odours. When Jesus Christ, out of infinite love, offered up Himself a sacrifice for your sins, surely the sweet savour thereof may draw your heart after Him. “Because of the savour of thy good ointments,… therefore do the virgins love thee” (Song 1:3). There is nothing in Christ but what may well command your love: “[He is] the chiefest of ten thousand:… he is altogether lovely” (Song 5:10, 16). But His bloody sufferings for you, and His blessed love to you, one would think, are such loadstones, that if you were as cold and hard as steel, would draw your soul both to desire Him, and to delight in Him. Meditate a little more on His love to you. Publicans and sinners love their friends who love them; and will you be worse than publicans and sinners? Consider seriously; Jesus Christ loved you when you were in a loathsome estate (Ezk 16); when you were wallowing in your blood, when no eye pitied you, then was His tome of love; He passed by you, and said unto you, “Live: yea,… when thou wast in thy blood, [He said unto you,] Live” (v. 6). And will you not love Him?


Exercise Repentance

c) When you are at the table, exercise repentance. What sorrow for and anger against your sins should the sight of a crucified Saviour cause! Some tell us, that if the murderer be brought near and touch the body slain by him, it bleeds afresh. Oh, when you who are indeed the murderer of the Son of God, does touching and tasting His body and blood, should not you fall a-bleeding, a-weeping afresh? Behold His broken, bleeding body with an eye of faith, and your eye cannot but affect your heart with grief. I am confident you cannot see it with dry eyes. Was His soul exceeding sorrowful, heavy even unto death for your sake? Did He drop so much blood, and can you drop never a tear? The very rocks were rent at His sufferings, and is your heart harder than those stones? Is it possible for the head to be so pained and pierced, and the members not be affected with it? Surely deep calls unto deep—deep sufferings in Christ for deep sorrow in you, O Christian. If His body were broken to let His blood out, your soul may well be broken to let it in. “They shall look upon [Him] whom they have pieced, and… mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son” (Zech 12:10).


His love may make—as David’s kindness—even a Saul to lift up his voice and weep. It is so great and so hot a fire, that one would think it would distil water out of you, were you never so dry a herb. When Christ sat at supper in the leper’s house, Mary washed His feet with her tears. When Christ and your soul are supping together, you may well weep in remembrance of your unkindness and wickedness.


But the chiefest reason why I mention repentance now to be exercised, is not so much for your contrition or sorrow for sin—though when the sweet sauce is a little sharp with vinegar the meat will relish the better for it—as for your indignation and anger against sin. When you consider that your dearest Saviour in a cold night lay grovelling on the ground, all over in a bloody sweat; that your best friend in the world was so inhumanly used, so barbarously butchered, you should cry out, as David, in a holy passion: “As the LORD liveth, the man [i.e., sin] that hath done this thing shall surely die” (2 Sam 12:5).


Truly, reader, a sacrament day is a special opportunity, and you will show but little love to your “everlasting Father” if you do not now put His murderers to death, upon those monuments of His passion. Now you are at the Table, think of your unthankfulness, ambition, hypocrisy, covetousness, irreligion, and infidelity, and the rest, how these “crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor 2:8), and resolve through the strength of Christ that these Hamans shall all be hanged, that these sins shall be condemned and crucified.