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C H A P. I.
Of the Necessity of Receiving the
HOUGH Notions are for the most part more Difficult,and of far less Concernment for men'to Understand, thani
their Duty; yet such is the general Curiosity of People, that they are more intent upon Speculations, than upon Practice, and study more to be Mafters of an Opinion, than to inform and keep a good Conscience.
HOWEVER, in regard that Knowledge is the Principle of Action, and Men are so governed by their Perswalions, that their Practice is ever suitable to their Sentiments, the most natural way of prevailing upon them to comply with their Duty, is to instruct their Understandings in the first place, and to furnish them with such. Notions as may have a dụe influence upon them, and do naturally tend to
prompt them on to that business which lyeth before them.
THIS is the Reason, that when I entred upon the Subject of the Holy Sacrament, I thought it advisable for me to Divide my Meditations; so that I might first dispatch the Notional part, which is of the greatest Difficulty; and then proceed to the Practical, which is of the greatest Use.
PURSUANT to this Design, I have formerly discoursed at large of the Nature, of the Ends of the Dignity, and Usefulness of this weighty Ordinance; which things if Men would but seriously consider and carry in their Thoughts, they could not easily neglect a matter of such importance, without-offering violence to their Judgments, and acting against their own Reason.
BUT there is a great deal of matter yet behind, which immediately and directly serveth to engage all of us to discharge our Duty in this particular, and also to govern us in the discharging of it. And the first thing that offers it self to our Consideration, is touching that Necessity which lyeth upon us, to eat of this Bread, and to drink of this Cup.
NOW in order to our better proceeding upon this Subject, we must note, that there is a Twofold Necessity which relateth to
the matter in hand. 1. First, Some things are Absolutely and Indispensably. Necessary, because they are the fixt and immovable Conditions of the New Covenant,without the performance whereof, Salvation cannot be expected by us.' So, to Believe in Christ, to Mortifie our Lusts, to have a Sanctified Spirit, to be Humble, Charitable, and the like; these things are Abso. lutely Necessary; for without Faith, and Repentance, and entire Holiness of heart, none of us can see the Lord. 2. Secondly, Some things are Necessary Respectively and upon Supposition ; that is, supposing that there is some Command for them, though they be not necessary in their own Nature, but are required chiefly to try and Exercise Mens Obedience: Or supposing that they are appointed as certain and effectúal Means, in order to some great and Necessary End; and as Instruments to bring us those Mercies, which our Souls ftand in need of. Now, when we say, 'tis Necessary to receive the Saa craments of Christs Body and Blood; the meaning is not, that it is absolutely, fimply, indispensably, and universally nes ceffarý, so that no Man cant possibly be saved without it. For no Rites whatso: ever are to be accounted of equal mo änent with fubftantial Morality;
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