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towards me, and so come to me; for so will I inflame, and so will I accept thy love, not as it is, but as thou desirest it should be in thee."
"Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden," saith Christ; that is, they that groan under the burden of their sins, and feel the load of their infirmities, and desire pardon and remedy; they that love the instruments of graces as they are channels of salvation; they that come to the sacrament out of earnest desires to receive the blessings of Christ's death, and of his intercession;-these are the welcome guests; for so saith God, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it" for "he hath filled the hungry with good things," said the holy virgin mother; for Christ is food and refreshment to none else: for the full he hath sent empty away.
If, therefore, you understand your danger, and deeply resent the evil of your infirmities and sinful state; if you 'confess yourselves miserable, and have all corresponding apprehensions; if you long for remedy, and would have it 'upon any terms; if you be hungry at your very heart, and would fain have food and physic, health and spiritual advantages; if you understand what you need, and desire what you understand; if these desires be as great as they are reasonable, and as lasting as they are great; if they be as inquisitive as they are lasting, and as operative as they are inquisitive; that is, if they be just and reasonable pursuances of the means of grace; if they carry you by fresh and active appetites to the communion, and, that this may be to purpose, if they fix you upon such methods as will make the communion effect that, which God designed, and which we need, then we shall perceive the blessings and fruits of our holy desires; according to those words of David (as it is rendered in the vulgar Latin), "The Lord hath heard the desire of the poor; and his ear hath hearkened to the 'preparation of their heart." An earnest desire is a good preparation, and God will attend unto it. Concerning this, therefore, we are first to examine ourselves. Upon the
In actis Lovaniensibus dicitur de B. Ida, ex ore et naribus fluere sanguinem solere, qui non sistebatur, donec ad sacram mensam se sisteret ad sedandum vehemens ejus communicandi cum eo, quem ardenter amaverat, desiderium. c. 9.
Προσίωμεν τοίνυν μετὰ θερμότητος αὐτῷ καὶ πεπυρωμένης ἀγάπης, μὴ ὑπομένωμεν Tiμgiav.-S. Chrys. hom. 24. in 1 ad Corinth.
account of our earnest desires, it is seasonable to inquire whether to communicate frequently, be an instance of that holy desire, which we ought to have to these sacred mysteries? and whether all men be bound to communicate frequently, and what measure is the safest and best in this inquiry? But because the answer to this depends upon some other propositions of differing matter, I reserve it to its proper place, where it will be a consequent of those propositions.
Of our Examination concerning Remanent Affections to Sin.
HE that desires to communicate worthily, must examine himself, whether there be not in him any affection to sin remaining. This examination is not any part of repentance, but a trial of it; for of preparatory repentance, I shall give larger accounts in its own place; but now we are to try whether that duty be done, that, if it be, we may come; if not, we may be remanded, and go away till we have performed it; for he that comes, must have repented first: but now he is to be examined whether he have or no done that work so materially, that it is also prosperously, that is, whether he have done it, not only solemnly and ritually, but effectively, whether he have so washed, that he is indeed clean from any foul and polluting principle.
When the heathens offered a sacrifice to their false gods, they would make a severe search to see if there were any crookedness or spot, any uncleanness or deformity, in their sacrifice. The priest was wont to handle the liver, and search the throbbing heart; he inquires if the blood springs right, and if the lungs be sound; he thrusts his hand into the region of the lower belly, and looks if there be an ulcer, or a scirrhus, a stone, or a bed of gravel. Now the observation which Tertullian makes upon these sacrificial rites, is
d Chap. 5. sect. 4.
a Et fibras pecudum — et spirantia consulit exta.—Virg.
Miror, cum hostiæ probantur penes vos à vitiosissimis sacerdotibus, cur præcordia potius victimarum, quam ipsorum sacrificantium, examinantur?— Apolog. c. 30.
pertinent to this rule: "When your impure priests look after a pure sacrifice, why do they not rather inquire into their own heart, than into the lamb's appurtenance? Why do they not ask after the lust of the sacrificers, more than the little spot upon the bull's liver?" The rites of sacrifices were but the monitions of duty; and the priest's inquiry into the purity of the beast was but a precept represented in ceremony and hieroglyphic, commanding us to take care that the man be not less pure and perfect than the beast. For if an unclean man brings a clean sacrifice, the sacrifice shall not cleanse the man, but the man will pollute the sacrifice; let them bring to God a soul pure and spotless, lest God espying a soul humbly lying before the altar, and find, ing it to be polluted with a remaining filthiness, or the proaches of a sin, he turns away his head and hates the sacrifice. And God,-who taught the sons of Israel in figures and shadows, and required of the Levitical priests to come to God clean and whole, straight, and with perfect bodies,→ meant to tell us, that this bodily precept, in a carnal law, does, in a spiritual religion, signify a spiritual purity. For God is never called the lover of bodies, but the great lover of souls; and he that comes to redeem our souls from sin and death, from shame and reproach, would have our souls brought to him as he loves them: an unclean soul is a deformity in the eyes of God; it is indeed spiritually discerned, but God hath no other eyes but what are spirits and flames
Here, therefore, it concerns us to examine ourselves strictly and severely, always remembering, that to examine ourselves (as is here intended) is not a duty completed by examining; for this carries us on to the sacrament, or returns us to the mortifications of repentance".
• Submouentur in his symbolis, ut, quoties accedunt ad altaria, vel nnncupaturi vota vel reddituri, nullum vitium, nullumque morbum afferant in anima.-Philo.
d Conentur omnino nitidam et immaculatam animam in conspectum Dei producere, ne visanı aversetur.-Philo. Si mortale corpus, multo magis immortalem animam.-Idem.
• Salvatorem nostrum, fratres charissimi, suscepturi, totis viribus debemus nos cum ipsius adjutorio præparare, et omnes latebras animæ nostræ diligenter aspicere, ne fortè sit in nobis aliquod peccatum absconditum, quod et conscientiam nostram confundat et mordeat, et oculos divinæ majestatis offendat.-S. Ambros, de Sacram.
But sometimes our sins are so notorious, that they ge before unto judgment and condemnation, and they need no examining; and whatsoever is not done against our wills, cannot be besides our knowledge, and so cannot need examination, but remembering only. And, therefore, I do not call upon the drunkard to examine himself concerning temperance, or the wanton concerning his uncleanness, or the oppressor concerning his cruel covetousness, or the customary swearer concerning his profaneness. No man needs much inquiry to know whether a man be alive or dead, when he hath lost a vital part.
i But this caution is given to the returning sinner, to the repenting man, to him that weeps for his sins, and leaves what was the shame of his face, and the reproach of his heart. For we are quickly apt to think we are washed enough and having remembered our shameful falls, we groan in method, and weep at certain times; we bid ourselves be sorrowful, and tune our heart-strings to the accent and key of the present solemnity; and as sorrow enters in a dress and imagery when we bid her, so she goes away when the scene is done. Here, here it is that we are to examine whether shows do make a real change; whether shadows can be substances, and whether to begin a good work splendidly can effect all the purposes of its designation. Have you wept for your sin, so that you were indeed sorrowful and afflicted in your spirit? Are you so sorrowful, that you hate it? Do you so hate it, that you have left it? And have you so left it, that you have, left it all, and will you do so for ever? These are particulars worth the inquiring after. How then shall we know?
Signs by which we may examine and tell, whether our Affections to Sin remain.
10 1. Because, in examining ourselves concerning this, we can never be sure but by the event of things; and the heart being deceitful above all things,' we secretly love what we profess to hate, we deny our lovers, and desire they should still press us; we command away the sin from our presence, for which we die if it stays away. Therefore, while we are in this preparatory duty of examination, the best sign whereby we can reasonably suppose all affection to sin bę
gone away, is, if we really believe that we shall never any more commit that sin, to which we are most tempted, and most inclined, and by which we most frequently fall. Here is a copious matter for examination.
2. When thou dost examine thyself, thou canst not but remember how often thou hast sinned by wantonness, perhaps, or by intemperance; but now thou sayest thou wilt do so no more. If thou hadst never said so, and failed, it might have been likely enough; but the sun does not rise and set so often, as thou hast sinned and broken all thy holy vows; and thy resolution to put away thy sin is but like Amnon thrusting out his sister, after he had enjoyed her and was weary sin looks ugly, after it hath been handled; and having lost thy innocence and thy peace for nothing but the exchange of shame and indignation, thou art vexed, peevish, and unsatisfied, and then thou resolvest thou wilt sin no more. But thou wilt find this to be no great matter, but a great deception; for thou only desirest it not, because for the present the appetite is gone; thou hast no fondness for it, because the pleasure is gone; and like him who having scratched the skin till the blood comes, to satisfy a disease of pleasure and uncleanness, feeling the smart, thou resolvest to scratch no more.
3. But consider, I pray, and examine better; is the disease cured, because the skin is broken? will the appetite return no more? and canst not thou again be tempted? is it not likely that the sin will look prettily, and talk flattering words, and entice thee with softnesses and easy fallacies? and wilt not thou then lay thy foolish head upon the lap of the Philistine damsel, and sleep till thy locks be cut, and all thy strength is gone?, wilt not thou forget thy shame and thy repentance, thy sick stomach, and thy aching head, thy troubled conscience, and thy holy vows, when thy friend calls thee to go and sin with him, to walk aside with him in the regions of foolish mirth, and an unperceived death? Place thyself, by consideration and imaginative representment, in the circumstances of thy former temptation; and consider when thou canst be made to desire, and art invited to desire, and naturally dost desire, can thy resolution hold out against such a battery?
4. In order to this, examine whether there be in thee any