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i COR. xi. 28. But let a Man examine himself, and so
let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup:
T HE Receiving the Sacrament of Serm.
the Lord's-Supper is one of the VIII.. most folemn Duties of the Chrif
tian Religion, and requires the greatest Care and Diligence to prepare ourselves for it; for, as the Benefit is great, if we receive it worthily, i. e, with a devout Frame of Mind, and suitable Alfections ; for then we eai the Body, and drink the Blood of our Blessed Saviour, we have the Pardon of our Sins sealed to
SERM, us, and an Earnest of Heaven and eternal VIII. Happiness : Soʻis the Danger great, if we
come to it after a careless and negligent Manner, if we intrude rafhly and unadvisedly unto the Table of the Lord, for, then, we eat and drink Judgment or Condemnation to ourselves; for so the Word xepipuz, signifies, i. e. by taking the Holy Elements into our Mouths, we provoke God to send down some fearful Judgment upon our Bodies in this World; and, without a serious and hearty Repentance, we incur the Penalty of eternal Damnation in the World to come. And therefore, how careful ought every one to be, that he is cloathed with a Wedding-garment, of a holy Frame of Mind, before he come to this Feast, and adorned with such prepa
ratory Graces, as will make him a fit i Guest for this heavenly Table. To direct
you in the Performance of this so absolutely necessary a Duty: I beseech you to take the Words of my Text along with you, in which are contained the chief and principal Rules, how we should prepare ourselves for the Performance of it.
But let a Man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup. FROM which Words I observe,
I. THE Necessity of preparing ourselves Serm.
for the Receiving of the Sacrament of VIII.
the Lord's-Supper. II. The Way how we must prepare our
selves, it is by examining ourselves. III. I SHALL shew after what Manner,
or wherein we ought to examine our
selves. IV. I SHALL lay down fome Rules,
whereby we may discover whether we have examined ourselves as we ought to do, and whether we are duly qualified and prepared for the Receiving of this Sacrament.
I. Of the Necessity of preparing ourselves for the Receiving the Sacrament of the Lord's-Supper.
THERE is no Person, who will but consider with himself the Nature and Importance of this Duty, but must needs judge fome Preparation absolutely necefsary, before we presume to partake of this Table of the Lord. It is usual to deck and adorn ourselves, before we go to the Table of one who is of higher Rank than ourselves; and shall we rudely approach this Table of the Lord, without any Preparation at all? There is some Preparation neceffary, even before the
SERM. Performance of the other Duties of ReliVIII. gion, and we are commanded to keep our
Feet when we enter into the House of God; and shall we not bring holy and devout Affections along with us, when we perform so solemn and venerable a Duty, as Receiving the Sacrament is? The Heathens themselves were so sensible of the absolute Necessity of preparing themselves for the Worship of their Gods; that; before the Celebration of their superstitious Rites, they used to cry out, Procul este prophani, Let all wicked and unprepared Persons be gone : And, under the Law, a strict Preparation was required before the Passover;
no uncircumcised Perfon was to eat the Exod. xii. Paschal Lamb, nor any who were circum
cised, unless they had spent some Time
in preparing themselves for it; in which - xij. 3, it appears, that the Paschal Lamb was to
be taken on the tenth Day, and not to be killed till the fourteenth; the Days be. tween being set a-part to prepare themselves for it. None were to approach God, who had any ceremonial Uncleanness on them, nor were the meanest Utensils to
be made Use of in God's Worship, unless i sl. o. anointed with the holy Oil. And under the 10. Gospel, when our Saviour Cbrift instituted
this blessed Sacrament, he first arose from
Table, Table, and took the Bafon and the Towel, SERM. and washed his Disciples Feet, intimating VIII. to us, that those, who come to this Sacrament, must bring along with them pure
ore 4, 5, 6. and holy Affections; the Affections serving for the same Uses to the Soul, as the Feet do to the Body; for, as the Body is carried and borne up by the Feet, so the Şoul is moved by the Affections, which are the Source and Fountain, from whence all our Words and Actions do proceed ; and, therefore, our Saviour tells St. Peter, who desired to have his whole Body washed, that he, who had his Feet washed, Ver, jo: was clean every whit.
In the first Ages of Christianity, the Priest, before the Communion, used to cry aloud, Sancta Sanctis, Holy Things belong only to those who are holy; and both under the Old and New Testament we find, that dreadful Judgments were inflicted on those, who profaned these facred Rites. When the great King of Bao bylon polluted the fanctified Vefsels of the Sanctuary, even whilst he was carousing in the Bowls of the Temple, a Hand from Heaven wrote his Doom upon the Wall before him; the Terror thereof loofed his Joints, and made his Knees smite Dan. v. one against another ; and, the very same 6, 30.