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freely offered unto us: And therefore had we no Love, no Re- Mens own Interest fhould oblige them gard or Reverance to the dying Words of our crucified Saviour, to a constant Conyet furely the confideration of our own prefent and future Ad- munion, becaufe vantage might prevail with us to to be more frequent at the Lord's nefits. Table then we ufually are.
of its great Be
Forgiving of In
Hitherto a Communicant hath been directed to fet his Heart right towards God; but this is not all, he muft proceed farther, and enquire how it stands And to be in towards his Neighbour, fince we are exprefly forbidden, Matt. V. 23, Charity with 24. to offer up any Gift or Oblation unto God, if our Hearts are leaven all Men. ed with Malice, Hatred, or Revenge. If thou bring thy Gift unto the Altar, and there remembereft that thy Brother hath ought against thee, leave there. thy Gift before the Altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy juries expected Brother, and then come and offer thy Gift. Here you fee that Chrift from a Communi prefers Mercy before Sacrifice. And it is generally agreed on by the ancient Fathers, that thefe Words of our Saviour do directly point at this Sacrament, on purpose to oblige all Communicants to forgive all manner of Injuries, "before they prefume to eat of that Bread, or to drink of that Cup." And it is exprefly faid, Matt, vi. 14, 15. that our Prayers are not accepted, nor our Pardon fealed in Heaven, until fuch Time as we forgive Men their Trefpaffes; and to be fure we can never be welcome or worthy Guefts at this heavenly Feaft, where Jefus the Saviour of Penitents and the Prince of Peace is fpiritually prefent, unless our Repentance reconcile us to God, and our Charity to all Mankind.
Charity to the
And this Charity of the Heart, in forgiving Injuries, muft likewife fhew itself by the Hand, in relieving the Wants and Neceffities of the Poor. Poor. We read, that when this Sacrament was adminiftred in the Apostles Days, large Collections of Monies were then gathered for the Maintenance of the poor Clergy and Laity, A&s ii. 44, 45, 46. and I Cor. xvi. 1. And Theodoret oblerves, that Theodofius the Emperor, when the Time came to offer, arofe, and prefented his Oblations with his own Hands. It was not determined how much every Man should give, but all Men were exhorted and enjoined to offer iomething, according to their Ability; which if any neglected, the Fathers cenfured them as unworthy Communicants: And to be fure, nothing within our Power can fo effectually recommend our Prayers and Devotions as this of Charity; it being well obferved, Matt. vi. that our Saviour hath inclofed Alms between Prayer and Falting, and therefore they are called its two Wings, without which it will never fly fo high as the Throne of God. While Cornelius was fafting and praying, we read that an Angel from Heaven was difpatched to him with this happy Meffage: Thy Prayers and thine Alms are come up for a Memorial before God, Acts x. 4. He that hath Pity upon the Poor, lenderb unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will be pay him again, Prov. xix. 17. Charge them that are rich in this word, that they be rich in good Works, ready to dillroute, willing
demption, our Creation had only made us capable of endless Torments, and it had been better for us never to have been born, than to be born to inevitable Ruin; which must have been our Lot and Portion, had not " the Son of God, by his "own Oblation of himself, once offered upon the Crofs, made a full, perfect, and "fufficient Sacrifice and Satisfaction to God for the Sins of the whole World."
to a frequent Communion.
The confequences of this Redemption are fo infinitely great and valuable, that it as much turpaffes our Understanding as it does our Meri's. We are to declare and publish to all the World, what God hath done to fave Mankind from that Damnation which they had deserved, and to restore us again to that Happiness and Glory which we could never expect or hope to enjoy, had not Chrift died for us. O come bither and bearken, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my Soul; Pfal. lxvi. 16. Praise the Lord, O my Soul, and all that is within me, praife his holy Name: Praise the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all his Benefits, who forgiveth all thy Sins, and baleth all thy Infirmities; who faveth thy Life from Deftruction, and crowneth thee with Mercy and Loving-kindness, Pfalm ciii. 1 2. 3. 4: With what joy and thankfulness then should every good Chriftian commemorate this exceeding love of God in the Salvation of Sinners by Jefus Chrift? This was the proper end and defign of this Inftitution, to perpetuate this wonderful Love of Chrift in laying down his Life for us. Do this in Remembrance of me, faith our Saviour a little before his Crucifixion; which Our Obligations being a folemn Command of " our Master and only Saviour thus dying for us,"we cannot refufe Obedience hereunto, without being guilty of the moft horrible Ingratitude and Contempt of his divine Authority. He hath appointed it for a folemn Commemoration of his great Love to us, in laying down his Life for us Men, and for our Salvation; and therefore he commands us to do it in Remembrance of him: And St. Paul tells us, that as often as we eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, we do fhew forth the Lord's Death till be 'come. As for those Men then amongst us who profefs themselves Chriftians, and Hope for Salvation by Jetus Chrift, not to pay obedience to this his Command, is a downright Affront to his facred Majefty; and he may justly upbraid us Chriftians, as he did once the Jews, Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? How unworthy are we of that Salvation which he hath wrought for us, if we deny him so small a favour fuch a reasonable requeft, as to Commemorate his Death and bitter paffion once a Month, or at least thrice a Year, "who did "humble himself even to the Death of the Crofs, for us milerable Sinners, who «lay in Darkness, and in the Shadow of Death, that he might make us the "Children of God, and exalt us to everlafting Life?" In this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper we have the Pardon and Remiffion of all our Sins, the Grace and Affiftance of God's holy Spirit, and the hopes of eternal Life and Happiness,
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 shine before Men, that they may fee our good Works, and glorify aur Father which is in Heaven, Matt. v. 16. There is no Duty in Scripture more frequently commandcd, none more carneftly 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, because 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 immediete 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 for our ferious Contemplation on this folemn Occafion, I think, are "our Saviour's Ser"mon 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, fome Act of Faith, fome Flame of Love and Charity arise in your Souls.
Thus have I briefly represented to you both the Nature and Neceffity of a Sa
See a Sermon concerning the excellency and ufefulness 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 Chriftian's Life; namely, "Repentance towards God, Faith towards our Lord Jefus Christ, and Charity towards our Neighbour." And I alfo hope, whofoever 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 themselves."
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 perCatechilm. fection of that Guide and Companion I have followed throughout the Whole: And to reprefent 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 account, than that of the holy Communion; Thousands 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; Shewing the Ungodly their Contempt of Chrift in their Contempt of the Sacramental Covenant. By John Rawlet B. D. Author of The Chriflian 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 of 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 these 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 thofe 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 gueft at this thy heavenly table. Poffefs my mind with a true fenfe of the greatnels 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 thofe filthy Rags of my Righteousness 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 Christ our Lord. Our Father, &c. See Pfal. xxiii. xxvi. cxì.
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 compafs thine Altar to wash their Hands in Innocency, vouchfafe me unfeigned Repentance for my past Sins, a hearty Sorrow and Contrition of Spirit to lament my Sinfulness, and most firm and fledfaft 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 Gueft 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