Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

who has made it one of the marks of the sincerity of our love to God; for whoso hath this world's goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels from him, How dwelleth the love of God in him? which fincerity of our love to God can never be so well attested, as when we are calling to mind the divine love displaying itself to us in the bleeding wounds of our Saviour Christ.

Prayer ought to have its due proportion in our preparatory Quickening exercises for this holy facrament; because it helps of graces. us to that temper of mind which makes us welcome guests at God's table, and fills our thoughts with such spiritual objects, as are proper to entertain them at such opportunities. Our thoughts of business and affairs must as much as possible be laid aside, when we solemnly approach God's presence; and our thoughts should be applied intirely to such fpiritual subjects, as the christian facrifice naturally

brings into our minds. And prayer in its own naDevotion. ture takes off our thoughts from the things of the world, and all sensible entertainment, and raises them to God, and those things that concern our eternal life. Prayer masters our evil habits by a lively sense of our duty, and fortifies us against temptation by the strength it communicates to our souls. Wherefore when we design to approach the holy table, we should prepare the way by devotion, and by attending the prayers of the church in public. And

Whoever presumes to come to the holy table of the Lord The welfare without this wedding garment, must expect to be of these " cast into outer darkness, where is weeping and graces. gnashing of teeth. For, tho'God bears with such a sinner for a while, his damnation is sure, if not prevented by a timely repentance: if he will continue either wilfully to neglect this his bounden duty, or the means to receive it worthily, his punishment will be intolerable: For who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings ? « Therefore "the church exhorts us to repent of our fins, or else not to "come to that holy table: left, after the taking of that holy i facrament, the devil enter into us as he entered into Judas, • and fill us full of all iniquities, and bring us to destruction • both of body and soul. And because it is requisite that no

'man

man fhould come to the holy communion: but with a full

trustinGod's mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore, • if there be any person who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth farther comfort or

counsel; then let him go to some discreet and • learned minister of God's word, and open his hele annonces

The uffula 'grief; that by the ministry of God's holy word spiritual ' he may receive the benefit of abíolution, together guide.

with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his con'science, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness.'*

Thus, having laid down what is necessary to qualify achristian to receive the Lord's supper, I can't better sum up our duty in these particulars than in that short exhortation of the church: · Ye that do truly and earnestly repent you of your 'sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and

intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; draw near with faith, and take this holy facrament to your com'fort, and make your humbleconfession to almighty God.'+ And this brings me to the next part of our duty, how we ought to behave at the time weapproach the Lord's Table to receive this holy sacrament, and also after we have received the same.

III. Having duly reflected on our own unworthiness, and meditated upon the sufferings of Christ, his infinite át receilove to mankind therein, his propitiation for sins, ving, media and our obligation to thankfulness, arising from unverinen thence, we should receive the holy facrament with ness. great reverence and devotion ; with particular attention of mind, accompanying him that administers throughout the whole office, which is admirably framed and composed to express all those pious dispositions and devout affections, which well-prepared minds ought to exercise upon such occalions; as our repentance in the confeflion and absolution; our charity in relieving our poor brethren, in praying for all conditions of men, and in forgiving those that have offended us ; our humility in acknowledging our unworthiness; our resolutions of better obedience, in presenting ourselves a rea

L

sonable,

• See the firtt Exhortation in the romn union Service.
Set the Communion Service immediately before the Confefson.

sonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto God. And at the time Och se 'of confecration, when thou seest the bread broken ferings of and the wine poured out, remember how Christ Chrift. suffered for us; how his head was crowned with thorns, his back scourged at a pillar, his hands nailed to the cross, and the last drop of his blood spilt with a spear, for our fins : look with an eye of faith on him, who is the sacrifice once offered for the sins of the whole world: and beg of God

the Father that he would accept of the fat sfaction, The acomment and pardon of all our sins, and be reconciled to thee wrought by for the merits of hisbeloved Son, who died for us, them. Consider what inexpressible thanks are due from us, for all that he has done to reconcile us to God, Thinkon

in those great agonies of his soul which drew from Thankful zels ouing him that utmost disconfolate exclamation, My to him for God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me! and Th17. this will produce in thy soul a most hearty and fina cere thanksgiving, and teach thee to admire the love of our Maker, who gave his only-begotten Son to redeem mankind. Should not such love as this deter thee from finning any more?

When you are about to receive, remember this facrament The benefits is God's seal to the new covenant, in which we reof the new ceive pardon of sins, grace to resist temptations, covenaxt Sealed in his and a title to the inheritance of eternal bliss; yet facrament. upon no other condition than that we do also resolve to perform our part of the christian covenant promised in baptism ; which resolution can then be in no wise better expressed than by an hearty Amen to that excellent form, when the minister gives thee the bread and wine, fay

i ng, The body of our Lord, &c. And foconclude with Upon your receiving praises and thanksgivings in the hymns and devo

tions after the sacrament is received. While others ebanks.

Se are communicating, you may enlarge yourselves upon these subjects, always taking care that your private devotions give place to those that are publick; and that you lay aside your own prayers when the minister calls on you to join with him in the publick form of prayer: all which are particularly described in that devout treatise, called the new . . 3

week's

[ocr errors]

week’s preparation; because the young communicant is there furnished with such directions for his devout behaviour, and beneficialjoining with the minister during the office of admi: nistration, as, I apprehend, are not to be met with elsewhere.

IV. Burleft we should relapse into sin, by surprise, through our infirmities, or from more provoking facts; it After res concernsus to look about and revolve in our minds, ceiving. howour conduct should be stated, and our life steered, after a worthy receiving of the holy sacrament. So, on our first retreat from this heavenly banquet, we fhould in our closets pay God the tribute of fervent prayer and praise, that we may walk in the same course all the days of our pro

* Private

our prayer and life. This will be some guard and security to us, thanksgiva that we do not over-hastily drench and mire our. ing. selves in worldly affairs. We ought to watch over our own hearts with great application, and some anxiety; v

; Not prefentleft we should depart from our well-grounded re- lyce solutions and deliberate vows; because this would to worldly render our last state worse than the first. If we sin business. wilfully, after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth a certain looking for of vengeance Reminder and fiery indignation. So that God is exasperated, ecod refolsour consciences raging, or laid waste, and those par- tions. dons and graces, which have been vouchfafed to us, will rise up in judgment against us, if we warp from our The danger duty. No lawful vow can ever be dispensed with, of finning. because God is a party, * and nothing short of divine revelation can be sufficient evidence that God will discharge any man from such a vow.

Thus the frequent use of the holy sacrament is the likeliest means to increase our veneration and respect thereto. Means for Because, tho’ familiarity with the best of men may iner:afing, be apt to diminish that respect, which was paid to do their name

vur regard them, by reason of those frailties and imperfections, crament. which are sometimes mixt with very great virtues, and which are only discovered by a great intimacy with them; yet the oftener we conversewith God in his holyordinances, the more we shall admire his divine perfections, and the

L 2

more * See votus in Sunday 6. Sect. viii,

more we shall be disposed to conform ourselves to his will and example: because an object of infinite perfection in itfelf, and of infinite goodness to us, will always raise our admiration, and heighten our esteem and respect, the more we contemplate it; it being the discovery of some imperfection, where we thought there was none, that abates the value and reverence we had for any thing or person.

Besides, frequent communion preserves a lively sense of T'he benefit religion upon our minds, and invigorates our souls of frequent with fresh strength and power to perform our obcommunion. ligations. This strengthens that intimateunion that ought to be inviolable between Jesus and the members of the mystical body of Christ. This is the proper nourishment of our souls, without which we can no more maintain our spiritual life, than we can our temporal without meat and drink. This raises in us strong ardoursofloveandconfolation, fo that it becomes the greatest torment we can endure to offend God, and our greatest delight to do his pleasure. This is the sovereign remedy against all temptation, by mortifying our passions, and spiritualising our affections: for how can we love any sinful satisfaction, which crucified the Lord of glory; and fix our hearts upon perishing objects, when he only deserves the whole man, as he requires ? This ratifies and confirms to us the pardon of our sins, and repairs those breaches which our follies have made within us. This for: tifies our minds against all those afflictions and calamities, which are often the lot of the righteous in this miserable world; and administers to us such comfort and peace of conscience, as surpasses all understanding.

SUNDAY VI. PART II. : V. We now proceed to the third commandment, or the of the lies giving God the honour due unto his Name. The nour due to highest reverence is due to the name of God, in our God's name. thoughts, in our words, and in our actions. Therefore, when we mention the word of God, or any persons or things which have a relation to his worship or glory, withirreverence, itis, byjustinterpretation, denying to honour God in his name. And what the honouring of his name is, I ap

prehend;

« AnteriorContinuar »