Page images
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


'HE usual Reafon which Men align for their not coming so often to the Holy Sacres

meni as they would do, is their Fear of eating and drinking unworthily, and consequently, of, incurring their own Damnation thereby. . The Design tben of this boori Discourse is, to baru ebat Sacramental Preparation is, which is absolutely necessary to qualify Men for a wartby Partia cipation of the Lord's Supper, that so Men may come without the least Fear of eating and drinking Damnation to themselves : For which purpose, I conceive no Rule, no Instruction more fata, cap and instructive, tban that of our Church Catechism, wbich I have endeavoured to explain, and to accomodate for the Uje and Benefit of the meanift Capacity.

The concluding Part of this Discourse contains Prayers and Meditations preparative to algo cramental Preparation, and though they be few in Number, yet I bope they fully answer all tboje feveral Parts of a Communicant's Duty, according to that Rule and Standard wbich our Cburch has fixed for our Guide and Companion to the holy Altar. By the Addition of tbose Psalmes and proper Leffons annexed to each particular Prayer and Meditation, the Communicant ma enlarge bis Devotions to what Degree or Length be pleaseth. By wbich Metbed you bave as mucb Matter for actual Preparation in this little Book, as in any other Discourse of this Nature whatfoever

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



II those Elellings which we now enjoy, and hope hereafter to re-

ceive from Almighty God, are purchased for us, and must be obtainei A

Through the merits and intercession of the holy Jesus, who has “ instituted and ordained Holy mysteries, as pledges of his love, ani

“ for a continual remembrance of his death and passion, to our great and endless comfort.Luke xxii. 19. I Cor. xi. 24. But then we must remember, that these benefits and blessings, which the Son of God has purchased tor us, are ro where promised, but upon condition that we ourselves are first duly qualified for them. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is a folemn ratification of our Baptismal Cuvenant, where in God for his part ha'h faithfully promiled pardon “ and remiffion of fins to all true penitents, and we for our parts are therein folemnly bound to be faithful and obedient unto him, 2 Tim. ii. 19. Before then we can promise to ourselves any benefit or advantage from the participation of this folemn Rite and Covennt between God and us, we must endeavour (what in us. lies) to poffefs our Souls with all thote divine qualifications which this Sacramert of the Lord's Supper requires to render us worthy partakers thereof.

And what those are, it is the design of this discourse to enquire; wherein I shall enc eavour to thew what that Preparation of heart and mind is, which must dispose us for a worthy participation of the blessed Sacrament: and herein I hope to remove all those Fears and Scruples which arise in our minds, about “ Eating and 9. Drinking unworthily, and of incurring our own Damnation thereby," as groundless and unwarrantable; and to do this I Mall take occasion to explain that part of our CHURCH CATECHISM, designedly intended for our instruction, with relation to this duty of a Sacramental Préparation ; namely,

9. What is required of them who come to the Lord's Supper ?"

A. “ To examine themselves whether they repent them truly of their furmer a fins, ftedfastly purposing to lead a new life, have a lively faith in God': mercy, " through Chrift, with a thankful remenibrance of his death, and to be in chario

ty with all men.' This is that Sacramental Preparation which our Church (in as few words as is possible) hath provided for our Companion of Guide to the Holy Altar. The duty then of a devout Communicant consisteth in these fix following particulars : 1 Sull-Examination; to examine themselves. 2. Repentance towards God; whether they repent them truly of their foriner fins. 3. Holy purposes or resolutions of a new life ; Stedfastly purpofing to lead a new life. 4 Faith in God's Mercy through Chrift; to have a lively faith, &c. 5. A thankful rumembrance of bis death. 6thly and lastly, Unfeigned love or charity Tor all mankind; and to be in charity with all men.

The first Part then of a Communicant's Duty is Self-Examination: A duty not cnly enjoined by human authority, but likewise commanded by St. Paul. But let a Man examine kimself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cud i Cor. xi 28. Intimating, that no Man should presume to eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup, without a previous Preparation, it he mean to escap: that same Judgement of Condemnation which these Corinthians brought upon themdelves for their irreverent, sinful and disorderly Behaviour at this Sacrament; and this was the Occasion of St Paul's Caution and Reproof: He that eatetb and drinkelb unwcrtbily, says. The Apostle, eateth and drinketb Damnation to himself, riit discerning the Lord's Body, Vet 29.

Put that our Preparation may be so well performed by us as to prevent the like Danger, let us, as the wise man adviseth, Remember the End, and we shall mp3.r do emiss, Eccl. vii. 16. Firl then, That we inay come to this heavenly Feist holy, and adorned with the Wedding Garment, Matt. xxii. 11. We must search our hearts, and exanize our Consciences, not only till we see our Sins, but until we hate them ; and instead of those filthy Rags of our Righteousness, we must adorn our minds with pure and pious Dispositions; 'even that clean Linen, the Righteousness of the Saints, Rev. xix. With these Ornaments are holy Souls fitted for the Society of that celestial Company, which are to be met with at this Sol-mnity. 2017, Another End or Delign of this strict Preparation, is, that we may be accepted by God as worthy Communicants ; that be who knoweth the Secrets of all our Hearts, neither is there any Creature that is not manifelt in his figbt, l'ut all things are naked and opened unto the Eyes of him with whom we have to do, Jer. xvii. 10. Heb. iv. 13. may approve of the Sincerity of our Repentance; and the King, who comes in to view the Guests, Matt. xxii. 11. may (though striály speaking we are not so) count us worthy of his Favour and Countenance. And how to attain so great a Blessing these following instructions will help and assist us.

Firll, we are directed to repent us truly of all our former Sins. This is that preparation which Christ himielt requires of us, Matt. iii. 2, 3. A Duty

Repentang you know, which our linful Lives make always neceflary for our Confideration, if ever we expect eternal Happiness hereafter, Luke iü. 3. especially the Dignity of this Sacrament requires that it Ihould be enquired into with more than ordinary Care and Circumpection, because without sincere Repentance, we cannot expect any Benefit or Advantage from the Death and Passion of Christ, which in this Sacrament we commemorate, and have the Merits of it conveyed to us by this facred Memorial. Suppofing then that this is sufficient to convince you of the Necesity and Importance of this Duty, that upon it depends

[*Note, This Word Damnation, does not signify 21, 22.) and the Damnation here threatened, hath no eternal Condennation, but on the contrary fome temporal Relation to us, unless it could be proved, that any of us Pundhment or judgment, (as yon have it in the Margin of crer guilty of the fame Wickedness with ibele Corinjour Bible) fichas tickness or Death with which the City of thians; which I believe no Man ever was or would be Corinth was atticed, for their great Abuse and Protanation suffered to approach the Lord's Table atterluch a disorderly of this filerna Institution; so that the sins here reproved, manner as they did, it Men were so lewd and profane. I (namely, Glut.ony, D.unkcnncis and Faction, ver. 13,

But more

The Nature of


The Ten Com. wandments,

[ocr errors]

cur welcome to this heavenly Feaft unto which we are called ; I proceed now in thic second place to inform you, That it our Repentance or Return to God be real and sincere, it will produce these following good Effects in us. First," A Sense, a Sorrow and Confeffion of all our former: Sins. Second:

" ly; A stedfaft Purpose or Resolution to lead a new Life.” Thefe thic Repen, are the genuine fruits of a true Repentance; and must always accom

pany our Return to God, it we hope to have it effectual to our Sálvation. And

FIRST, We must labour to gain a Sense or Sight of all our former Sins and Wickedness; this will readily present itself to us by comparing our Lives and Adions by

the Rule and Standard of God's Word, which we must make the Measure of our * Examination. St. Paul shews us, Rom. iii. 20:

that by the Law is the Knowledge of Sin; and our own Experience will convince us, that there is no way more likely to discover our Iniquities, and

to humble ourselves for them, than a serious Application of God's Word to our croaked Paths · And this Duty of Self Examinatirn, is never more properly ap. plied to, than when weintend to receive the Holy Communion; for unlefs we see the number, and apprehend the Heinouïness of our Offences, and fear the Vengeance due unto ys tor them, we are altogether unfit for the Commemoration of his Death, who died for our Sins, and rose again for our Justification. It is the sense and sight of Sin that must shew us the Need and Necessity of a glorious Redeemer, and what Obligations we are under to bless and praise God for our fatvation, by his Son Jesus CHRIST. Of such great Use and Advantage is this Duty of Self-Examination, at all times, that Pythagoras, in those Golden Verses which

go under his Name, particularly recommends the fame to his Scholars. " Every Night before they Nepr, he enjoins them to examine themselves what Good " they had done and wherein they had transgressed. Run over these Things, said "he, and if you have done any Evil, be troubled ; if Good, rejoice." This Course, if daily followed, as is suggeit:d by Hierocles, his excellent Commentator, perfects the divine Image in those that use it. · Plutarch, Epictetus, Seneca, and the Em. prror Marcus Antoninus, agree in recommending the same Pradice by their own Example, but 'etpecially holy David; I thought on my. Ways, and turned my Feet unto thy Testimonies, Pialm cxix. 59. And this method, no doubt, is an admira able Means to improve us in Virtue, and the most effectual Way to keep our Cong sciences awake, and to make us stand in Awe of ourselves, and afraid to fin when we know beforehand that we inust give so severe an Account to ourselves of every Action. And when we are employing our Minds in this Duty of Self-Examination, betore the Communion; or at any other Time, we must discharge it as

!! See The Daily Self-Examinant; or An Earnest Persuasive to the Duty of Daily Self-Examination, &c., by R. Warren, D, D.:


[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

impartially as is possible sfcr us, judging as 'leverely of our own 4&ions, as we would do of our greatest and worst Enemy; or otherwise we fhall but flatter and deceive ourselves in a Matter of the greatest Weight and importance, namely, the knowing the State and Condition of our Souls: But if our Eng Hiries are just and true, 'we shall then plainly discover wherein, and how often we have gone astray and done amiss. We fhall, hy the faithiul Discharge bt this Duty, bring to Light "all our ungodly, unjuft, and uncharitable Actions; all - our vain and filthy “ Speeches; all cur wanton, proud and covetous Thoughts.” Such a strict and impastial Examination will discover to us that accursed Thing, Stn Deut. vii. 26. which has defiled our Nature, made God our Enemyand will exclude us the King. dom of Heavenyit not repented of, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 1o. But by luch a fevere Scrutiny as this, we shall loon perceive the Number of our Tranigreffi'ins, what? vile? Wretches and grie vous Offenders we are, how often we have broken our most seri, ous Vows and Refolutions, especially after receiving the holy Sacrament, and in Times of Sickneís and Diftreis : Such a Sight-and such a Prospect of Misery, as this, should excite in us a hearty Trouble and Sorrow for Sins especially it we caft an eye upon the final Illuje. and Consequences of its with relpect to the World to come. Upon the. Ungodly, says holy. David, God-will-rain Snares, Fire and Brimflone, Storm and Tempeft; tbis mall be their Portion to drink, Pfalm xi. 3. Great Plagues remain for the Ungodly; Indignation and Wrath, Tribulation and Angilib, upon every Soul of Man tbat dotb Evil, Rom. ii. 8.9. The Wicked shall be turned into Hell, and al tbe People that forget God. There, and many other such like Texts of Scripture, may give us fome Idea or Notion of the deplorable Condition. of the Wicked in a future State, and of God's Hatred agair ft Sin. And is not this ther, without multiplying Arguments, lufficient to affect us with great Grief and Sorrow, when wo consider that to long as we live in a vicioas Courte, lo long are we exposed to all those Plagues and Torments which God hath in Store for wicked Men, and will most certainly be their Lot and Portion, it not prevented by a cimely Repentance? • The SECOND Part of a true Repentance is Contrition, or á forrowful Bewailing of our own Sinfulness in Thought, Word and deed. When we call to fall into, surely we cannot be otherwife affected, than sensibly grieved with thie". the Sins and Follies of our paft Lives, and the Dangers we are like und Thoughts and Apprelienfions of our prefent and approaching Misery. The Sora rows of David, and the Repentance of St. Peter, i Sam.' xii. Luke xxii. Thewed themselves in Floods of Tears, and were too great to be confined within : But our Hearts are generally fo hard and unrelenting, that we fin against God, and love ous own Souls without so much as a Sigh or a Tear: “I know that the Tempers of People are different ; fome can Thed Tears upon every sight occasions and others cannot' weep, though their Hearts are ready to break for Grief; and therefore we are not to judge of the Sincerity of cur own or other People's Repentance by luch


« PreviousContinue »