23 March 1766
Lecture 30
The next particular is, And a thankful remembrance of his death. It is plain that this and the points mentioned before, have a close relation and connection.  The death of Christ is the procuring cause of every good his people have or hope for. It is the Capital point in the Gospel system; it is the subject which in some respects is peculiarly adapted [more] than any other, to fill the hearts of believers with admiration, love and joy. And it is the point they are now especially called upon to contemplate when they approach his table. If Jesus had not died we could have had no lively faith or hope in God’s mercy; we could not have had grace to repent, nor could any repentance have been accepted, for the Law of God and the Covenant of works afford no room for repentance. Nor could we have had any knowledge of a new life, or desire towards it, but we must have lived in sin and ignorance and died in darkness and despair. Therefore all those who understand the design of his death, and the benefits arising therefrom, have it in thankful remembrance.
Some apprehension or remembrance of the death of Christ, few can be without, in a place like this where the Gospel is preached from year to year. But take notice of the word – Thankful. None can be truly thankful on this account, but those [who] by the light and teaching of the Spirit of God are in some measure acquainted with him, and with themselves.
1. Those of you who conceive of the law and commandments of God, as a rule set before you to which you are to come as near you can by your own endeavours, and that then when you have done your part, Christ will make good what you have left deficient, can never be truly thankful for his death. Alas a hope of this sort plainly shows that you know nothing of the spirituality of the law or the evil of your own heart. But there are some who are convinced that they are utterly incapable of paying due obedience to any one divine precept in any one instance, insufficient even to think a good thought, though they could thereby save their souls – they are conscious that their best actions, their prayers are full of sin – and these have a thankful remembrance of the death of Christ without which they must have borne the weight of the curse and wrath of God forever. They see themselves justly cut off from all comfort, and only restored by his precious death.
Again – if you can venture before God in prayer, upon any other ground or plea than the death of Christ, you have no thankful remembrance of it. When the eyes of the mind are opened to behold the great God glorious in holiness – it would be impossible for a sinner to approach him, if Christ had not died – and all who being by nature afar off, are brought near through him, and permitted to take his holy name upon their polluted lips, these and these only can thankfully remember the gracious friend, to whose mediation and death, they are alone indebted for their privilege.
Lastly, you have certainly no thankful remembrance of Christ’s death, unless you heartily approve and concur in the design of it – he came to destroy the works of the devil and to redeem the slaves of sin, into the honourable and happy state of servants of God. Now though you talk of Christ, and profess to believe in him, if you live in the practice and under the power of sin, you have no knowledge of him, no part in him, no business at his table. Would Satan have a right to come, because he could say I know thee who thou art the Holy one of God? [1]  If not Satan himself – neither have any of his servants, in whom he works and over whom he rules as the god of this world. If I cannot prevail on you to forsake your sins, I would at least entreat and beseech you in my own name, and require and charge you in his name to keep from profaning his ordinance. Why should you insult and mock and dare him to his face?
The Last Article mentioned here is to be in charity with all men. Charity is love. It does not mean alms giving, nor does it mean an indifferent and lukewarm spirit in religion, which makes people think well of others, though their principles and practice is condemned by the Word of God. True Christian charity is the effect of the love of God shed abroad in the heart, and the objects of it are all mankind. This grace when in lively exercise shows itself:
1. In a compassionate concern for the souls of men. Worldly charity looks not beyond the bodily life – but Christian love has a forecast towards eternity. The person who has been taught from Scripture by God’s Holy Spirit the importance of unseen things, feels his bowels [2] yearning over the poor lost sinners – he cannot but wrestle in prayer, and employ all his influence over them if by any means he may be an instrument to bring them to the knowledge of the truth.
2. In a cordial receiving and loving all who love the Lord Jesus, without respect to names, parties[denominations] or a difference of sentiment in lesser matters. Here alas even true believers through remaining ignorance and prejudice are mournfully deficient. Yet so far as they have opportunity of seeing the image of Christ in any man, that experience they have in themselves of the same things draws forth their hearts towards him. But those who have a form of godliness only without the power, having nothing but their form to trust to, are exceedingly angry that others should have a form different from theirs. Hence Papists and Protestants, Churchmen and Dissenters, who can give no better reason for their profession than that their fathers bore the same name before them usually hate each other with a bitter hatred, and especially those who are most strict and exact in their different ways. But the believer who knows himself, and has had some opportunity to see in what way the Lord works – though in his judgement he may think differently from some of his brethren, in his heart he embraces them all.
3. In the forgiveness of injuries. Nothing but the love of God in Christ Jesus, can teach us to bless them that curse us, to renew our reconciliation with those who offend us again and again, and by a noble perseverance in kindness to overcome evil with good. But when we are truly humbled under a sense of our debt of ten thousands talents, and of the Lord’s mercy in remitting it freely when we had nothing to pay, we shall not dare, we shall not even desire to exact a few pence of our fellow servants.
If the love and charity I have described has taken place in your hearts, you will be ashamed that it is so weak and low, and you are daily praying to the Lord to increase it in you. If this [is] your desire, wait upon him at his table; there you will gain clearer views of his love to you, and this will enable you to grow in the exercise of love to others. But if you are destitute of these feelings, if you indulge bitterness and resentment, and a censorious spirit, you have no scriptural right to the children’s bread.
I have now finished the 30 Lectures appointed. The Lord grant that neither my speaking nor your hearing may be in vain.

[1] Mark 1:24 [and Luke 4:34] Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
[2] In the AV the emotions referring to bodily organs named those lower than we would say today, i.e. ‘bowels’ would today be replaced by ‘heart’, and ‘heart’ replaced by ‘mind’.


Marylynn Rouse, 02/05/2020