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“ brother, he is a lyar; for he that loveth not his brother, « whom he hath feen, how can he love God whom he “ hath not seen? No man hath seen God at any Time. If
we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love s is perfe&ted in us. Thus the beloved disciple, who underin jload the great mysteries of divine love, hath expressed them to
And, “ Hire (you fee) are no blind elevations of the will; no ex"tatic nor luscious expresion; no, it is very plain that all such
mystical notions, andluscious metaphors and expreftions “ bad another spring and a more impure fountain, than the “ christian di prelate adds, supposing that myftical way of perfection were i poffible, I could see no necessity at all of Christ's coming into “the world, nor of any influence his death, er suffering, or « doctrine could have upon the bringing men to a state of Hap"piness."
For these reasons I thought it my duty, as a christian, to explede that fulfome and luscious method of the Old Week's Preparation, which has most scandalously put into the mouth of the devout reader such carnal expreffins as are mentioned above * : and in their fead I have endeavoured to substitute fuch prayers
• The two great errors into which a mistaken devotion may betray us, are enthusiasm and fuperftition. There is not a more melancholy object than a man who has his head turned with religious enthusiasın. A person that is crazed, tho' with pride or malice, is a light very mortifying to human nature ; but when the distemper arises from any indiscreet fervours of devotion, or too intense an application of the mind to its mistaken duties, it deserves our compassion in a more particular manner. We may however learn this lesson from it, that since devotion itself (which one would be apt to think could not be too warm) may disorder the mind, unless its heats are tempered with caution and prudence, we should be particularly careful to keep our reason as cool as possible, and to guard ourselves in all parts of life against the influence of passion, imagination, and confitution.”
" Devotion, when it does not lye under the check of reason, is very apt to degenerate into enebufiam ; when the mind finds herself very much
and meditations, as may be warranted from the word of God: being thoroughly sensible how well grounded that complaint of the pious bifhop FLEETWOOD is, that the devotionis of the ig
norant are generally superstitious and grofs, fixing themselves ** commonly on sensible objeets; whereas in true religion all is
intelligible and divine,--and God, who should be the only <object of their devotion, huih hardly any share therein.
Sone account of this work, As it has bien my endeavour on the one hand not to flatter fin**3; fo on the other, I have been careful not to fill the minds of any with unnecessary fears, and feruples, with respicl to a du'
ty, which ouglist to be the practice of their whole lives; as if no body ought to go to this facrament, but such us are as perfect as ever thay can hope to be.
On the contrary; it is the judgment of the moft orth.dox divines, that (altratting fi'cin particular cirinmflances) the receiving of the blefed facranient, is the most divine and folemn act of vur religion; and it ought to be the zealous endeavour of every true christian, by God's affiftance, to prepare his soul with the most serious, and most devout dispositions he possibly can, to approach the holy altar: a man cannot too often cominemorate our Lord and his passion, nor too often return devout thanks and praises for the same,
nor too often repeat his resclutions of amendment, nor too often renew his folemn engagements, nor too often receive pardon of fins, and fresh fuccours of divine grace: and if coming to the Lord's table prepared or unprepared)
, were a fure and infaillible way to answer thofe good and great ends, there could : then be no question, but that it would be both cur wisdom and our
cnfamed with her devotions, the is too much inclined to think they are not of her own kindling, but blown up with something divine within her. If the indulges this thought too far, and humours the growing passion, the at last fings herself into imaginary raptures and exstasies; and when once thef ancies herself under the Influence of a divine impulse, it is no wonder if the nights human ordinances, and refuses to comply with any established form of religion, as thinking herself directed by a much fuperior gride, See Mr. ADDISON'S works,
duty to communicate as often as opportunities, should invites, and bealth permit municating, is not the thing required, but communicating worthi
ties the main stress of all, not to urge frequency of communion so far as to render this holy sacrament hurtful, or fruitless to parties concern'd; neither get to abate so far of the frequency, as to make a kind of dearth or famine of this so salutary and neceffary food. For the clearer understanding of this matter, it may be necessary to take notice, that fince it is allowed on all hands, that there can be no jus bar to frequency of. communion, but the want of preparation, which is only such a bar as, men may themselves remove, if they please; it concerns them highly to take off the impediment as soon as posible, and not to trust to the vain hopes of alleviating one fault by committing another. The danger of mifperforming any religious duty, is an argument for fear and caution, but no excuse for neglect; God infifts upon the doing it, and the doing it well also. It was na sufficient plea for the flothful servant, under the Gospel, that he thought his master:
w bard to please, and thereupon neglected bis bounden duty: but on the contrary, the use he ought to have made of that confideration, was, to have been so much the more wakeful and diligent in his master's service. Therefore in the case of the holy communion, it is to
very little purpose to.plead the striętness of the self-examination or preparation by way of excuse either for a total, or for a frequent, or for a long neglect of it. A man may fay, that he cones not to the Lord's table, because he is not prepared, and fo far he assigns a good reason; but if he should be further asked, wly be is not prepared, when he may; then he can only make some trifing, infufficient excuse, or remain speechless.
But to return: I have spared na pains to render these meditations ana prayers as generally useful, as can be expected in a book of this kind; yet, as the best performances have their imperfections, fo this. (to be sure), is not without some. However, I hope, there are none so material, but what a Christian may over-look for the sake of that good which is intended by it. Again: that all these meditations and prayers are entirely new, is by no
means pretended : ng, there will be found amongst them several collected from cther books; but then these being such only as have, been allowed to be excellent in their kind, it may reasonably be, expected
that the whole will be the more acceptable on that account. Upon a review, fince the first publication of this Préparacion, I have experienced that many communicants difiract themselves with a multiplicity of private devotions, uhen in duty they foculd.attend to the publick service of the church; and further prompted thereto by the advice of those whose peculiar charge is to inspect and promote the welfare of the christian worship, and for whose judgment the world upon many occasions have exprefed, the greatest esteem; I have interwove in this present edition fa much of the communion as is sufficient to prevert ihat growing, evil; in which I have followed the example of the bishop of Man, Mr. King, and feveral others; but with this difference, that I have not burthened the communicant with much of the Office 10 more than that part of it in, which communicants only. are concerned; and which is really necessary for their affifiance during the folemnity; whereas the Bishopof Man, and some others have taken in the whole of that office from one end to the other ; which I can't approve of upon
several acccunts too tedious to be remated in fo foort a preface, and which I rather chuse to conclude with the following quotation of the late pious, learned and orthodox Dr. Waterland, against the folly and danger of laying a fashionable stress upon an habitual preparation, and in favour of such WEEKLY Treatises of preparation before receiving the Lord's Supper. The usefulness of actual preparation before
receiving the LORD'S SUPPER. « Our esteem or disesteem (of this holy sacrament) will best be "feen by our preparing or not preparing for it as we ought." There is fomething of a preparation of heart, mind and ways, 44. required for all religious offices, much more for this, which is " the flower and perfection of all.
not till then.
“ As to the length of time to be taking in preparing, there " is no one certain rulé to be given, which can fuit all cases or « circumstances : only, when a man has competently adjusted his « accounts with God, (be it sooner or later) then he is fit to come, and
“ There is an habitual, and there is an actual preparation “ The habitual preparation is a good life ; and the farther we " are advanced in it, the less need
there is of any actual prepa“ ration befides: but, because men are too apt to fatter and des « ceive their own hearts, and to speak peace to themfelves with out sufficient ground
for so doing; therefore some actual prepa“ ration, self-examination, &c. is generally necessary, even te “' those who may be habitually good, if it be only to give them a
well-grounded afsurance, that they really are so.
« It were to be wished there were not many amongst us who « have a deal to consider of before-hand; many offences to cor“ rell, many diforders to set right, much to do, and much to un“ do, before they presume to come to God's altar,
“ Fault has been fometimes found with these little treatises of". “ Weekly Preparation : I think without reason. They are « exceeding useful in their kind. It may be happy for therh “ who need none of these helps: but they that least need them,
are not the men, generally, who molt despise them. None of
us, perhaps, are so perfect as not to want, at some seasons, “ seme such hints for
recollection or helps to devotion. It is well for common chriflians, that they are provided with useful “ manuals of that kind. They that are well disposed, will make “ use of them as often as they need them, and will at all times gire 6. God thanks and praises for them.