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quency of communion so far as to render this holy sacrament hurtful, or fruitless to parties concerned; neither yet to abate so far of the frequency, as to make a kind of dearth or famine of this so salutary and necessary food. For the clearer understanding of this matter, it may be necessary to take notice, that since it is allowed on all hands, that there can be no just bar to frequency of communion, but the want of preparation, which is only such a bar as men may themselves remove, if they please; it concerns them highly to take off the impedi ment as soon as possible, and not to trust to the vain hopes of alleviating one fault by committing another. The danger of mis-performing any religious duty, is an argument for fear and caution, but no excuse for neglect: God insists upon the doing it, and the doing it well also. It was no sufficient plea for the slothful servant, under the Gospel, that he thought his master hard to please, and thereupon neglected his bounden. duty but on the contrary, the use he ought to have made of that consideration was, to have been so much the more wakeful and diligent in his master's service. Therefore in the case of the holy communion, it is to very little purpose to plead the strictness of the self-examination or preparation by way of excuse either for a total, or for a frequent, or for a long neg, lect of it. A man may say, that he comes not to the Lord's table, because he is not prepared, and so far he assigns a good reason; but if he should be further asked, why he is not prepared, when he may; then he can only make some trifling, insufficient excuse, or remain speechless.
But to return: I have spared no pains to render these meditations and prayers as generally useful, ás can be expected in a book of this kind; yet, as the best performances have their imperfections, so this (to be sure) is not without some. However, I hope, there are none so material but what a Christian may overlook for the sake of that good which is intended by it. Again: that all these meditations and prayers are entirely new, is by no means pretended: no, there will be found amongst them several collected from other books; but then these being such only as have been allowed to be excellent in their kind, it may reasonably be expected that the whole will be the more acceptable on that account.
Upon a review, since the first publication of this Preparation, I have experienced that many communicants distract
themselves with a multiplicity of private devotions, when in duty they should attend to the public service of the church: and further prompted thereto by the advice of those whose peculiar charge is to inspect and promote the welfare of the christian worship, and for whose judgment the world upon many occasions have expressed the greatest esteem; I have interwove in this present edition, so much of the communion as is sufficient to prevent that growing evil; in which I have followed the example of the bishop of Mann, Mr. King, and several others; but with this difference, that I have not burthened the communicant with much of the office-no more than that part of it in which communicants only are concerned; and which is really necessary for their assistance during the solemnity; whereas the bishop of Mann, and some others, have taken in the whole of that office from one end to the other: which I cannot approve of, upon several accounts, too tedious to be related in so short a Preface, and which I rather chuse to conclude with the following quotation of the late pious, learned, and orthodox Dr. Waterland, against the folly and danger of laying a fashionable stress upon an habitual preparation, and in favour of such WEEKLY Treatises of Preparation before receiving the Lord's Supper.
The usefulness of actual Preparation before receiving the LORD'S SUPPER.
"Our esteem or disesteem (of this holy sacrament) will "best be seen by our preparing or not preparing for it as we "ought. There is something of a preparation of heart, mind, and ways, required for all religious offices, much more for "this, which is the flower and perfection of all.
"As to the length of time to be taken in preparing, there ❝is no one certain rule to be given, which can suit all cases "or circumstances: only, when a man has competently ad6.6 justed his accounts with God, (be it sooner or later) then "he is fit to come, and not till then.
"There is an habitual, and there is an actual preparation.* "The habitual preparation is a good life; and the farther we are advanced in it, the less need there is of any actual
*See the Directions on Page 119.
"preparation besides: but, because men are too apt to flat"ter and deceive their own hearts, and to speak peace to "themselves without sufficient ground for so doing; therefore 66 some actual preparation, self-examination, &c. is generally necessary, even to those who may be habitually good, if it be only to give them a well-grounded assurance, that they "really are so.
"It were to be wished there were not many amongst us "who have a deal to consider of beforehand; many offen26 ces to correct, many disorders to set aright, much to do, "and much to undo, before they presume to come to God's altar.
"Fault has been sometimes found with these little treatises "of Weekly Preparation: I think without reason. They are exceedingly useful in their kind.-It may be happy "for them who need none of these helps: but they that least "need them are not the men, generally, who most despise "them. None of us, perhaps, are so perfect as not to want, at some seasons, some such hints for recollections or helps "to devotion. It is well for common christians, that they "are provided with useful manuals of that kind. They that 66 are well disposed, will make use of them as often as they "need them, and will at all times give God thanks and "praises for them."
The Warning on Sunday before the
DEARLY beloved, on Sunday next I purpose, through God's assistance, to administer to all such as shall be religiously and devoutly disposed, the most comfortable sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, to be by them received in remembrance of his meritorious cross and passion, whereby alone we obtain remission of our sins, and are made partakers of the kingdom of heaven. Wherefore it is our duty to render most humble and hearty thanks to Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that he hath given his Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, not only to die for us, but also to be our spiritual food and sustenance in that holy sacrament. Which being so divine and comfortable a thing to them who receive it worthily, and so dangerous to them that will presume to receive it unworthily; my duty is to exhort you in the mean season to consider the dignity of that holy mystery, and the great perik of the unworthy receiving thereof, and so to search and examine your own consciences, (and. that not lightly, and after the manner of dissemblers with God; but so) that ye may come holy and clean to such a heavenly feast, in the marriage-garment required by God in holy scripture; and be received as worthy partakers of that holy table, &c.
New Weck's Preparation.
The Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread: and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me: for as often as you eat this bread, and drink of this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.1. Cor. xi. 23, 24, 25, 26.
In the Morning, when you first awake, say,
ARISE, thou that sleepest; arise, my dull and drowsy soul, and Christ will give thee light.
To thee, O Lord, do I lift up my eyes, my hands, my heart, from this bed where my body hath taken its nightly repose, towards thy heaven, where my soul expects her eternal rest.
My voice shalt thou hear betimes in the morning; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
When you rise.
*IN the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified for our sins, and rose again for our justification. I arise from this place of bodily rest, to fulfil thy will, O my God: save me, therefore, by *From Bishop CoSIN.