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§. 2. A Meditation for the Communion on Christmas day, and seven Days before, in Memory of Christ's Incarnation.
WELCOME thrice blessed Day! the defire of all Nations, whose distant glories made the Father of the faithful to rejoyce; and whose approaches fi!ld the world wi:h won. der and expectation : thou. Wait Usher'd in with Angelick Hymns, and celebrated ever since with Anthens of Praise, because thou didst bring forth foy, and a Redeemer to Mankind. Happy am I, that I shall have a Sacrifice of Thanks giving in my hand, to express the delight which my heart doth feel. The holy Table is the Altar upon which I shall offer my acknowledgments for all Mercies, and oh how many, how great are those which this day brings to my remembrance ! so infinite they cannot be expreif'd, and yet so excellent they must not be torgotten. This day bas reconciled Heaven and Earth , and made contradictions friends, to find a way to help us; as if nothing might dilagree when Man was at Peace with God. O my soul, fummon all thy powers to admire and worship : for all is Miracle, and the height of Wonder; Eternity begins to be; the Maker of all is made Himself ; an infinite Majesty is shrunk into the dimensions of a span; the Word is made Flesh; and God becomes Man, yet remains God still; Here is a Mother who knew no Man; a Son that had no Father on Earth; a Child of Adam untainted with the Contagion that infects all bis Posterity; an Infant honored with a new and glorious Star, adored by Kings, worshipped by Angels, yet born in the condition of the meanest fortune. All hail sweetest Savior, how lovely is thy condescention , how honorable thy abasement? Thou hast more splendor in the rags of thy Humility, than all the Grandeurs of this World could give Thee; Thou art more a King because Thou wouldit be like a Dave for our fakes ; and conquerelt more hearts by thy stupendious Love, and unparelleld Self denial : 0 how shall I celebrate this great Solemnity? Wherewithai shall I set forth iny gratitude for this most auspicious Day? I will receive the Cup of Salvation, and with Faith and ravishments of Delight fealt upon that precious Body and Bloud which Jesus did this Day assume for me. It is not enough, dearest Lord, that Thou wast born for me, unless Thou art also born again in me, and (as it were) become incarnate in my heart. In thy
Birth Thou wast made one with us, Thou didit put on flesh, and wast a partaker of our humanity. And Thou haft appointed this holy Sacrament that I might be one with Tbee, be replenish'd with chy Spirit, and a parcaker of thy Divine Nature. Nor is it any incongruity if I Remember tby Pallion, and praise Thee for thy Incarnation at once; for as soon as Thou wast born Thou didit begin to dy, and the life which was here begun (compared to that glorious Life which Thou didst leave ) was it self a very Death; but there, fore Thou wait born, that Thou mightest be capable to suffer that death for us, which thy Divinity could not feel; and thy Nativity was the first Scene of thy Passion'; for it introduced thy Death, and that effected our Salvation ; fo that I will remember both together : For in both Thou hast most admirably humbled thy self to the depth of misery; and yet I doubt not but Thou wouldit have stooped lower, if it had been either necessary or possible : But there needs no moretestimonies of thy Love. Blessed #efus! I am already overwhelm'd with these, which are so strange and undeservod, so sweet and ravishing, that my Soul could not contain if it did not vent is self in thy Praises. Therefoze with Angels and Archangels, and with all the company of heaven, I laud and magnifie thy glorious Name, evermore praising Thee, and Caymg , Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory. Glory be to Thee. O Lord most High. Amen,
$. 3. On Easter-day, and feven daies before, in Memory of our Savior's Resurection. Note; If I shall not receive the sacrament on Ascension day, nor Sunday, I add that following Meditation to this.
O My Soul, adorn thy self with the Garments of gladness, prepare thy most triumphant Hymns to go forth and meet this great returning Conqueror. Thou didst rejoyce when He was pleafʼd to undertake the Combat, and didst celebrate his entrance into the lifts with praises; how then will it ravish thee to behold Him come off with succefs and honor His warfareis now accomplish'd, and he has pafi'd thro' the scorn and cruelty of Men, the malice and rage of devils, and the just bur severe anger of God, yea the hadow of Death, and the Regions of Eternal horror'; and after all this thy Surety is set at liberty, for He has paid all thy Debts, and cancell'd all those dismal Bonds, by
which thou waft torfeited to eternal Ruine : Thy Cham. pion is Victorious, aud as the Trophies of his Conqueft, He has the Keys of Death and Hell, and leads them boch in Triumph vanquished and difarm'd : Bleffed is ine that commeth in the Name of the Lord : S. Mat. 21. 9. I receive Thee, dearest Savior, as born to us a second time, and this thall be thy Birth-day also, the Nativity (tho' not of our Emperor , yet) of thy Empire, thy Restauration to a state of Immortality. Thy former Birth did show Thee to be the Son of Man, but this declares Thee to be the Soa of God, and now we know that our Redeemer liveth, He that loved us so infinitely as to dy for us, does now ever live to intercede on our behalf; He that expreff d fuch kindness to us in his Passion, has fo fully demonstrated his own power in his Resurrection, that we are fure He is as able as willing to deliver us : Let the Heavensrejoyce, and let ihe Earth be glad; Ps.96, 11. for this is the Day that the Lord hath made, Ps. 118.24. a day to be had in everlasting Remembrance, a Time destined to Jubilee and Rejoy cing: Behold how Nature is raising it self from the grave of Winter, and seems annually to celebrate the memory of her Lord's Resurrection in her green and fresh attire: A feason chosen by God for Festival, Three thousand years ago; and observ'd ever since by Fews, or Chriftians, or bath, with the greatest folemnity. See how those blinded Fews rejoyce over their Paschal Lamb (in the midst of all their Calamities) for the deliverance of their fathers. But we have a Nobler Passover for a greater Deliverance ; Christ our Passover is facrificed for us; therefore let us keep the Feast, and that upon the precious Body and Bloud of the Lamb of God who was slain, but is alive again, and behold He lives for Puermore. Wherefore I will go to thy Altar with Joy, and tell out thy works with gladness, O most mighty Savior, who haft not only died for my fins, but risen again for my Justification : And indeed what comfort could I have found in this inemorial of thy Death, if it had not been for thy Refurrection ? this Sacrament would have only remem. bred thy Sufferings, and renew'd my Sorrow to think that So excellent a Person had perish'd in th' attempt of my
den liverance; but now 'tis become a Featt of Joy, because it 'is an affurance of thy Resurrection, as well as a comme moration of thy Pation : And since Thou livest, sweetest
Fefu, we live alfo; thy Resurrection raiseth our hearts from lad despair ; it gives a new Life to our hopes; it makes our sorrows light; our labors easy; our lives chearful; and our death advantage, because it hath lost its sting, and is become the gate into Immortality : we can charm all our fears and troubles with this one word. The Lord is risen y, ea, the Lord is risen indeed : S. Luk. 24. 34. for Thou hart washed us from our sins in thy own Bloud, and made us Kings and Priests to God Rev. 1. 5. 6. to offer up at thy Altar sever ceasing Praises. Therefore with Angels and Archangels, and with all donc as in $. 2.
9. 4. On Ascension-day or Sunday and 7 daies before. NB. If I receive not the communion this day, 7 use this at Eafter.
I fee, O Merciful Jefus, Thou art content for our fakes to Atay bere upon Earth, when Heaven longs for thy Re. tern; Thou hast these Forty daies denied thy self the full fruition of thy Glories, to dispel the forrow, and confirm the Faith of thy Disciples, and yet at last their tears and inibraces show how loth they are to part with Thee : But behold the day of thy Triumph is come, and the holy myriads are sent to wait upon Thee, the Heavenly Singers that go before, Cry, Open your felves ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory muy come in; to whom the Angels which come out to meet Thee, answer with extasies of amazement, Who is this King of Glory? and all the Chorus that follow after reply, Even ihe LORD of Hofts, He is the King of Glory; Pl. 24. and thus with Hymns and joyful acclamations, is. Fefus welcomed to bis ancient and most glorious Throne : And now, ő my soul, why ftandest thou gazing into Heaven? He is too high to be discerned, top bright to be seen with mortal Eyes, since Cherubins are dazled at his fplendor. He is gone to his proper place, and ascended thither whither thy defines carry Thee, and where e're long thou shalt see Him face to face. Thou faudeft, like Elisha, looking after Him, and lamenting thy Master's departure, but He has left his Mantle behind Him, even the Mysteries of this holy Sacrament, which to thy Faith is the flem which He was clothed wirhal, and is defign'd to convey a double portion of his Spirit unto thee; fo that it appears He has left his Love with us when his Person was taken from us, Away then with these fighs and tears, lament no longer th' absence of thy Lord, for He is in this blessed Feaft; He is here in his comforts and Graces, here
in his Merits and his Love, and his Spirit can minister the fame Benefits hereby, which his personal presence would have given Thee. Go then with all possible speed, and taste of this Heavenly Prevision, delight in it above all the sweete nesses in ihe World, because it contains so many pledges and Emblems of thy glorions Redeemer's Love, when thou beholdest Him that is thy Head so advanced, make haste to unite thy self nearer to Him by partaking of his Body and Bloud, that thou mayst finally Reign with Him. In the mean time raise up thy ihoughts above this lower World, declare thy desile to be with Jefus, send thy heart before, and proteit, it He had not left thee fome little tastes of his sweetness in the repast of this holy Table by the way, thou couldst not have indured so long without Him: There is nothing that He loves comparable with his Throne in Heaven, unless it be an humble and thankful heart, into which I am about to reecive Him, and as the Celestial quire welcomed Him thither, so will I receive Hin with joy into my poor soul. Therefore with Angels and Archangels, cec as in 9. 2.
§. 5. On Whitsunday, and six daies before, for the Gift of the Holy Ghoft.
I will go to thine Altar, O Lord, with a new Sacrifice of praise, because Thou hast given me a fresh instance of t'iy Love this dıy; Thou art slow to punish thy Enemies, but speedy to Comfort thy servauts! For no fooner was t'iy Misery changed into Glory, but we received the greatest demonstration of thy affection ; 10 sooner didft Thou put on thy Crown in Heaven, but the Earth felt the bounty of thy Difpenfations : for it was not poslible for Thee, sweetelt fefus! to let thy promise remain long un perform'd, or the fid expectations of thy Disciples un. fatisfied : Being aflembled therefore this Day with ono heart in one place, they are Suddenly surpriz'd with wonder, and inspired with a heavenly Power, luch as they had never felt before; vigorous as a mighty wind, chearing as the morning light, inflaming their hearts with zeal, and filling their mouths with Anthems indited in the Languages of all the World: Owonderful Change! their Ignorance is turn'd into Learning, theis Mistakes into Infallibility their Fear into Courage ; their Weakness into Strength, their sur row into Joy, and they in a moment made able