« PreviousContinue »
our Guide and Companion to the Holy Altar. By the Addition of those Psalms, and proper Lessons annexed to each particular Prayer and Meditation the Communicant may enlarge bis Devotions to what Degree or Length be pleaseth: through which Method
have as much Matter for actual Preparation in this little Book, as in any other Discourse of this Nature whatsoever.
LL those Blessings which we now enjoy, and hope
hereafter to receive from Almighty God, purchased for us, and must be obtained thro' the Merits and Intercession of the Holy Jesus, who has instituted and ordained Holy Mysteries, as Pledges of his Love, and for a continual Remembrance of his Death and Paffion, to our great and endless Comfort, Lyke xxii. 19. 1 Cor. xi. 24. But then we must remember, that these Benefits and Blessings (which the Son of God hath purchated for us) are no where promised, but upon Çondition that we ourlelves are firit duly qualified for them. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is a solemn Rarification of our Baptismal Covenant, wherein God for his Part hach faithfully promised Pardon and Remifhon of Sins to all true Penitents; and we for our Parts are therein solemnly bound to be faithful and obedient unto kim, 2 Tim. ii. 19. Before then we can promise to ourselves any Benefit or Advantage from the Participacion of this folemn Rite and Covenant between God and us, we must en deavour (what in us lies) to posels our Souls with all those divine Qualifications, which this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper requires, to render us worthy Partakers thereof.
And what those are, is the Design of this Discourse; wherein I shall endeavour to shew what chat 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 drinking unwortbily, and of incurring our own Damnation thereby, as groundless and unwarrantable; and to do this I shall take Occasion to explain that Part of our CHURCH CATECHISM, designedly intended for our Instruction, with relation to this Duty of a Sacramental Preparation, viz.
Q. What is required of them who come to the Lord's Supper?
A. To examine themselves whether the repent them truly of their former Sins: stedfastly purposing to lead a new Life, bave a lively Faith in God's Mercy through Christ, with a shankful Remembrance of bis Death, and to be in Charity with all Mir. This is that Sicramental Preparation which our Church (in as few Words as psible) lath provided for our C: mpan'on or Guide to the Holy Altar. Th Dutv chen of a devout Communicant confifteth in these six following Particulars : 1. Self-Examination, to examine themselves, 2. Repentance towards God, whetber they repent then truly of their formey Sins. 3. Holy Purposes or Refislutions of a new Life, fted
3 faftly purposing to lead a new Life. 4 Paith in God's Mercy through Christ, to have a lively Faith, &c. Remembrance of his Death. 6tbly, and lastly, Unteigned Love or Charity for all Mankind, and to be in Cbarity with all Men.
The first Part then of a Communicant's Duty is SelfExamination : A Dury not only enjoined by human Authority, but likewise commanded by St Paul. But let a Max examine bimself, and so let bing eat of that Bread, and drink of ibat Cup, i Cor. xi. 28. Intimating, that no Man should presume to eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup, wirbeut A previous Preparation, if he meant to escape that same
5. A Thankful
Judgmen Judgnent or Condemnation which these Corintbians brought upon themselves for their irreverent, finfuels and disorderly Bebavisar at ibis Sacrament; and this was the Occasion of St Paul's Caution and Reproof: He that eateth and drinketb swwortbily (says the Apostk) eateth and drinketh § Damination to bimfelf, not discerning the Lord's Body, Verfe 29.
Bur that our Preparation may be fo well performed by us as to prevent th: like Danger, let us (as the wise Man advileth) Remember the End, and we frall never do amiss, Eccl. vi 36. First, then, that we may come to this heavenly Feast boly, and adorned wiib ibe' Wedding Garment, Mat. xxii
. 11. we must search our Hearts, and examine our Confciences, not only eill we see our Sins; but until we have them; and instead of those filthy Rags of our Righteousness, we muft adorn our Minds with pure and pious Dif. positions ; ever that clean Linen, the Righteousness of the Saints, Rev. xix. 8. With these Ornaments are holý Souls fitted for the Society of that Celestial Company, which are to be met with at this Solemnity. Secondly, Another End or Defagn of this strict Preparation is, that we may be accepted of by God as worthy Communicants; that be who knowetbe lbe Secrets of all our Hearts, neither is their any Creature that is not manifest in bis Sight, but all things are naked and opened unto sbe Eyes of bim with wborn 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, Mat
. xxii. 11. may (though strictly speaking we are not fo) counc us worthy of his Favour and Countenance. And
Nore, This Word Damnation does not signify Eternal Condemnation, bat on the contrary, fome temporal Punishment or Judg nent, (as you dave it in the Margin of your Bible) such as Sickness or Death, witte which this City of Corinth was act:dfor their great Abuse and Profination of this folemn Institution ; so that the Sins here reproved, (viz. Gluttony, Drunkennels, and Faction, ver. 18, 21, 22.) and the Damtation here threatened, hath no Relation to us, unless it could be proved Chat any of us were ever guilty of the same Wickedness with these Co. fierbiani ; which I helieve no Man ever was, or would be suffered to approach the Lord's Table' after such a disorderly Manner, as they did, it hich were so lewd and prophane.
how to obtain so great a Blessing, these following Instructions will help and affit us. Repentance.
First, We are directed to repent us truly of
all our former Sins. This is that Prepara- . tion which Christ himself requires of us, Mat. iii. 2, 3; A Duty, you know, which our finful Lives make always necessary for our Consideration, if ever we expect eternal Happiness hereafter, Luke xiii. 2, 3. But more especially the Dignity of this Sacrament requires, that it should be enquired into with more than ordinary Care and Circumspec' tion; because without sincere Repentance, we cannot expect any Renefit or Advantage from the Death and Paffion of Christ, which in this Sacrament we commemorate, and have the Merits of it conveyed to us by this sacred Memorial. Supposing then that this is sufficient to convince you of the Necessity and Importance of this Duty, that upon it depends our' Welcome or Rejection, to or from this Heavenly Feaft uoto which you are called : I proceed now, in the second Place, to inform you, That if your Repentance or Return to God, be real and fincere, it will produce thele following good Effects in you. .
First, A Sense, a Sorrow, and Confeffion of all The Nature
our former Sins. Secondly, A Rešfast Purpose of a true Red or Resolution to lead a new life
. These are the puniante.
genuine Fruits of a true Repentance, and must always accompany our Return to God, if we hope to have it effectual to ou Salvation. 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 Actions by the Rule
or Standard of God's * Word, which we must The Ten Com- make the Measure of our Examination t. So
Paul Thews us, Rom. iii. 20. That by the Law is the Knowledge of Sin; and our own Experience will con
* See An Explication of the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayır, by john Rawler, B. D. the Author of the Christian Menitori
+ See The Daily Self-Examinant : or, An Earnest Perfuafive to the Duty of Daily Sal; - Examination, &c. By Dr. W'arren.