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to communicate, laying up in flare for themselves a good Foundation against the Time to come, that they may lay bold on eternal Life, 1 Tim. vi 17, 18, 19. Do ye not know that they who minifter about holy Things live of the Sacrifice, and they who wait at the Altar are Partakers with the Altar? Even fo bath the Lord alfo ordained, that they who preach the Gospel fhould live of the Gospel, 1 Cor. ix. 13, 14. If we have fown unto you fpiritual Things, is it a great Matter if we shall reap your worldly Things? Ver. 11. But we may justly complain Bafil, Homil, with Bafil, that we know fome who will" faft and pray, figh and in Matt. xix. groan, yea, and do all Acts of Religion which coft them nothing, but "will not give one Farthing to the Poor: What Benefit is there, "faith he, of all the rest of their Devotions ?"
And when the Communicant has thus far advanced towards the Altar, in his Examination, Repentance, &c. he must not forget another excellent PrePrayer. parative belonging to this Duty of communicating worthily, which although it be not mentioned in our Church Catechifm, yet it is always implied. as a neceffary Part of our Sacramental Preparation, that is, Prayer, private and public; a Duty upon which all our prefent and future Bleflings depend, Matt. vii, 7, 8. and 21, 22. And fo near a Relation hath this Duty of Prayer with this Sacrament, that all thofe Bleffings therein contained and promifed, are only in return to our Prayers; and no doubt but that Man who makes a confcientious Practice of this Duty in his Clofet, and at Church, can never be unprepared for this Sacrament, nor want a Title to God's peculiar Favour and Blefiing: For the Eyes of the Lord are over the Righteous, and his Ears are open unto their Prayers, I Pet: iii. 12. The conftant Exercife of Prayer is the beft Method to get the Mastery over our evil Inclinations and Corrupt Affections, and to overcome our vicious Habits: It preferves a lively Senfe of God and Religion in our Minds, and fortifies us against those Temptations that affault us; it fpiritualizeth our Nature, and raiseth our Souls above this World, and fupports us under the Troubles and Calamities of this Life, by fanctifying* fuch Afflictions; it leads us gradually to the Perfection of a Chriftian Life, and preferves that Union between God and our Souls, which feeds our fpiritual Life with Grace and Goodnels; without it we in vain pretend to discharge thofe Chriftian Duties incumbent on us, or to profper in our temporal Affairs, which must have God's Blefling to crown them with fuccefs. And as Prayer in general has these great Bleffings and Advantages attending it, fo give me leave to fuggeft to you under this Head, that thole public Prayers and Devotions, which we offer unto God in our Churches, are not only more acceptable to him, but also much more edifying and commended. advantageous to ourfelves: They cannot but be more acceptable to God, becaule
See The Devout Soul's Daily Exercife, in Prayers, Contemplations and Praifes; containing Devotions for Morning, Noon and Night, for every Day in the Week; with Prayers and Thanksgivings for Perions of all Con. ditions, and upon, all Occafions. * See The Daily Companion, with Chriftian Supports under the Troubles of this World, &c.
thereby his Honour and Glory is much more confiderably advanced and maintained in the World, than by our private Devotions: By thefe outward Signs and Tokens, we publicly declare to all the World that inward regard and esteem which we have for his divine perfections and goodnefs; hereby we let our Light fo fhine before Men, that they may fee our good Works, and glorify cur Father which is in Heaven, Matt. v. 16. There is no Duty in Scripture more frequently commandcd, none more carreftly preffed upon us, than this of public Prayer. We have the example of all good Men in all Ages for it, and of Chrift himself, who was daily in the Temple and in the Synagogue, and, no question, frequented those Places at the ufual Heurs of Prayers, becaufe then he had the fairest opportu nity, from thofe public Affemblies, to inftruct and to exhort to Faith and Repentance. 2dly, We may expect greater Bleffings and fuccefs to our Requests and Defires, when we join in the public Prayers of our Church, than from private, because our Saviour has in a special manner promised to fuch Affemblies his immedi ete prefence; that where two or three are gathered together in his Name, there will be be in the midst of them: Which he hath no where faid of private Prayer, though both are very good, nay, both are abfolutely neceffary for the beginning and ending of a Chriftian Life: And it is a very bad Sign of fome evil Principle or other, for any Man to be much a ftranger to the Houfe of Prayer, which is one of the greatest Bleffings and Privileges (if we know how to value the fame) that we can have in this World, and has always been accounted fuch among all wife and good Men. It is certain, that the Turks, whom we call Infidels, go to their public Devotion five times every Day; and fhall not they rife in Judgment against us Chriftians, who cannot afford to go once or twice a Day to God's Houfe, when we have both leisure and opportunity? If Men fhall be judged for every idle Word, to be fure they shall not pass unpunished for all the neglects and omiffions of their Duty of this nature. But to proceed:
To this Duty of fervent Prayer, the Communicant should spend fome Portion of Time in Reading, and Meditation, to raise his Soul into a devout and heavenly Temper: The proper Office of Reading is to gain fpiritual Food and Suftenance, and of Meditation, to digeft it. Thofe divine Subjects most proper ferious Contemplation on this folemn Occafion, I think, are "our Saviour's Sermon on the Mount; the Love of God in the Salvation of Sinners, through "Jefus Chrift; Repentance, Faith, Charity, Death and Judgment; the happy "Condition of a future State of Bleffedness, and the miferable Condition of the "Damned in Hell." Thefe and the like, as they offer themselves unto you, fhould be meditated upon, until fome Sorrow of Mind, fome Ardor of Devotion, some Act of Faith, fome Flame of Love and Charity arise in your your Souls. Thus have I briefly reprefented to you both the Nature and Neceffity of a Sa
* See a Sermon concerning the excellency and usefulness of the Common Prayer. By W. Beveridge, D. [D. late Lord Bishop of St. Asaph, at the opening of the Parish Church of St. Peter, Cornhill, London.
cramental Preparation, which in great measure contains the whole Duty of a Christian's Life; namely, "Repentance towards God, Faith towards our Lord Jefus Chrift, and Charity towards our Neighbour." And I also hope, whosoever among us will but endeavour to prepare themfelves for the holy Communion, according to the forementioned Directions, may (by the help of God) upon all occafions come to the Lord's Table, without the leaft Fear or Danger of "eating and drinking Damnation to themfelves."
And now fome People may cenfure this Difcourfe as giving too great Liberty and Encouragement to approach the Lord's Table with lefs Preparation than otherwife Men would venture to do. But I know no Ground or Reason for any fuch Suggestion, if they impartially confider the Excellence and perCatechifm fection of that Guide and Companion I have followed throughout the Whole: And to represent this Duty of frequent Communion otherwise than what the Church requires, is an Injury both to God and to ourselves: And I dare affirm, that no Part of divine Worship has fuffered more on this accourt, than that of the holy Communion; Thoufands of People not daring, in all their Life-time, (though very good Livers) to partake of the Lord's Supper, for fear of eating and drinking their own Damnation.
For farther Inftruction, fee A Treatife of Sacramental Covenanting with Chrift; fbewing the Ungodly their Contempt of Chrift in their Contempt of the Sacramental Covenant. By John Rawlet B. D. Author of The Chriftian Monitor.
PREPARATORY TO A
What the CHURCH of ENGLAND requires from her Communicants.
A Prayer to God for his gracious affiftance and direction in our Sacramental Preparation.
LY, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth, Heaven and Earth are full thy Majefty and of thy Glory: I the unworthieft of all creatures do here, in all humility of foul and body, proftrate myfelf before thee, acknowledging my own weakness and infufficiency to do any thing that is good or well pleafing, in thy fight: And therefore, humbly implore the fpecial influence of thy Grace and holy Spirit, to further thefe my endeavours for a worthy participation of the holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Chrift, which he has commanded me to do in remembrance of him, and of those benefits which we receive thereby. Teach me O Lord, the right way, and lead me in the paths of holy preparation, that I may be received as a worthy and welcome guest at this thy heavenly table. Poffefs my mind with a true fenfe of the greatnets of this mystery, and the excellency of thy mercy in preparing this Table for our fpiritual Food: Infpire my Soul with pure and pious Difpofitions; and inftead of those filthy Rags of my Righteoufnefs clothe me with the Righteoufnefs of the Saints, that my Heart may be a clean, though homely Receptacle for my Saviour, and one Day fitted for the bleffed Society of Saints and Angels in Heaven, through Jefus Chrift our Lord. Our Father, &c. See Pfal. xxiii. xxvi. cxi.
A Prayer for the Gift and Grace of Repentance.
Lmighty and eternal Lord God, who art of purer Eyes than to behold Iniquity, and haft more especially enjoined all those who compass thine Altar to wash their Hands in Innocency, vouchsafe me unfeigned Repentance for my past Sins, a hearty Sorrow and Contrition of Spirit to lament my Sinfulness, and most firm and ftedfaft Purposes to lead a new Life. It is the Voice of thy wondrous Goodness and Mercy, that if the Wicked fhall forfake his Ways, and the unrighteous Man his Thoughts, thou wilt have Mercy upon him, and abundantly pardon him, O let thy Goodness (whereof I have had fo great a Share, and plentiful Experi ence) lead me to Repentance not to be repented of, that I may be a fit Guest at thy Sons Table." Have Mercy upon me, O Lord, and according to the Multitude of "thy tender Mercies, blot out all my Tranfgreffions for thy Mercy's fake in Chrift Jefus, the Son of thy Love, whom thou haft fet forth to be the Propi
"tiation for our Sins." Grant this, O merciful Father, for the fake of my blefled Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.
See Pfalm vi. xxv. xxxii. xxxviii.
A Prayer before Self-Examination.
Lord, thou that art the Searcher of all our Hearts, and a Difcerner of the very Thoughts, and in whofe Sight all Things are naked and open, be pleafed to impart a Ray of thy heavenly Light to discover all the Sins and Infirmities of my paft Life, and whatfoever elfe thou knoweft wherein I have done amifs, that henceforward no fecret Sin may lie undiscoveted and corrupted in my Soul; that by examining my Life and Converfation by thy Law, the Rule and Measure of my Duty, I may understand the true State and Condition of my Soul, and from a juft Senfe and Sight of all my Tranfgreffions, through the Affiftance of thy Grace and heavenly Benediction, I may be enabled to reform my Life, and to turn my Feet unto thy Teftimonies; fo faithfully to fearch and examine my own Confcience, that I may come holy and clean to the heavenly Feaft, and be received as a worthy Partaker of that holy Table which thou haft called me to. Grant this for thy Mercy's fake in Chrift Jefus. Amen.
See Pfalm cxxxix.
Brief Heads of Self-Examination upon each Commandment.
I have not atheistically denied the Being of a God, or wickedly renounced him by Apoftacy, yet have I not loved, defired or delighted in other Things more than in God? Or, have I not feared men, and dreaded the Ditpleasure of the World, more than of God? Or, have I not trufted in men, and relied upon the World, more than upon God? have. I not defpaired of God's: mercy? Or, by prefuming to much upon it, encouraged myfelt in fin? Have I not been unthankful for Mercies received? Or, have Inot afçribed the Glory and Honour of what I now enjoy to myself, more than to God? (Say) God be merciful to me a Sinner, and lay not this (or thefe) Sins to my Charge [Repeat the fame at the End of every Commandment.]
II. Though I have not worshipped God by Images, yet have I not entertained. grofs and falle Conceptions of him? or, have I not wilfully omittted coming to Church, or to the public Prayers, when I had no juft occafion to hinder ine? or have I not rudely, irreverently or wantonly behaved myself during the Time of divine Service? or, have I not wilfully refuted to come to the Lord's Supper, when I have been called to it? or, have I not rafhly and unadvifedly received the Sacrament without due Preparation? or, have I not broken my Vows and Refolutions which I then made.
III. If I have not openly blafphemed the Name of God, yet have I not lightly or irreverently spoken of him? or, have I not profanely jefted upon, or abufed his