Imatges de pÓgina

longer reckoned in the portions of the enemy; but let them all become Christians; and grant that all Christians may live according to the laws of the holy Jesus, without scandal and reproach, full of faith and full of charity.

9. Give thy grace speedily to all wicked persons, that they may repent and live well, and be saved: to all good people, give an increase of gifts and holiness, and the grace of perseverance and Christian perfection: to all heretics and schismatics grant the spirit of humility and truth, charity and obedience; and suffer none, upon whom the name of Christ is called, to throw themselves away, and fall into the portion of the intolerable burning.

10. For all mankind whom I have, and whom I have not, remembered,—I humbly represent the sacrifice of thy eternal Son, his merits and obedience, his life and death, his resurrection and ascension, his charity and intercession; praying to thee, in virtue of our glorious Saviour, to grant unto us all the graces of an excellent and perfect repentance, an irreconcileable hatred of all sin;-a great love of God,—an exact imitation of the holiness of the ever-blessed Jesus,-the spirit of devotion,-conformable will and religious affections,

an angelical purity--and a seraphical love,-thankful hearts, --and joy in God: and let all things happen to us all in that order and disposition, as may promote thy greatest glory and our duty, our likeness to Christ and the honour of his kingdom. Even so, Father, let it be, because it is best, and because thou lovest it should be so: bring it to a real and unalterable event by the miracles of grace and mercy, and by the blood of the everlasting covenant poured forth in the day of the Lord's love,-whom I adore and whom I love, and desire that I may still more and more love, and love for ever. Amen, Amen.


An Advice concerning him, who only communicates spiritually.

THERE are many persons well disposed by the measures of a holy life to communicate frequently; but it may happen that

they are unavoidably hindered. Some have a timorous conscience, a fear, a pious fear,-which is indeed, sometimes, more pitiable than commendable. Others are advised by their spiritual guides to abstain for a time, that they may proceed in the virtue of repentance further yet, before they partake of the sacrament of love and yet if they should want the blessings and graces of the communion, the remedy which is intended them would be a real impediment. Some are scandalized and offended at irremediable miscarriages in public doctrines or government, and cannot readily overcome their prejudices, nor reconcile their consciences to a present actual communion. Some dare not receive it at the hands of a wicked priest of notorious evil life. Some can have it from no priest at all, but are in a long journey, or under a persecution, or in a country of a differing persuasion. Some are sick; and some cannot have it every day, but every day desire it.

Such persons as these, if they prepare themselves with all the essential and ornamental measures of address, and earnestly desire that they could actually communicate, they may place themselves upon their knees,-and building an altar in their heart, celebrate the death of Christ, and, in holy desire, join with all the congregations of the Christian world, who that day celebrate the holy communion; and may serve their devotion by the former prayers and actions eucharistical, changing only such circumstantial words which relate to the actual participation: and then they may remember and make use of the comfortable doctrine of St. Austin; "It is one thing (saith that learned sainta) to be born of the Spirit,—and another thing, to be fed of the Spirit: as it is one thing to be born of the flesh, which is when we are born of our mother; another thing, to be fed of the flesh,--which is done, when she suckles her infant by that nourishment, which is changed into food that he might eat and drink with pleasure, by which he was born to life; when this is done without the actual and sacramental participation, it is called spiritual manducation." Concerning which I only add the pious advice of a religious person"; "Let every faithful soul be ready and desirous often to receive the holy eucharist to the glory of God; but if he


Serm. 11. de verbis Domini.

Blcs. in reg. Tyron. Spirit. sect. 4. n. 3.


cannot so often communicate sacramentally as he desires, let him not be afflicted, but remain in perfect resignation to the will of God, and dispose himself to a spiritual communion: for no man and no thing can hinder a well disposed soul, but that by holy desires she may, if she please, communicate every day."

To this nothing is necessary to be added, but that this way is to be used never but upon just necessity, and when it cannot be actual, not upon peevishness and spiritual pride; not in the spirit of schism and fond opinions; not in despite of our brother, and contempt or condemnation of the holy congregations of the Lord; but with a living faith, and an actual charity, and great humility, and with the spirit of devotion; and that so much the more intensely and fervently, by how much he is really troubled for the want of actual participation in the communion of saints; and then that is true, which St. Austin said, "Crede, et manducasti :" "Believe, and thou hast eaten."--Adora Jesum.



Prayer before Sermon.

O eternal GoD, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Lord and Sovereign of all the creatures, we, though most unworthy by reason of our great and innumerable transgressions, yet, invited by thy essential goodness and commandment, do, with all reverence and humble confidence, approach to the throne of grace, begging of thee, for the passion of our dearest Lord, to remove our sins, as far as the east from

Tract. 25 & 26. in Johan.

*These prayers, generally used by Bishop Taylor, are extracted from a scarce and curious little volume, entitled " Choice Forms of Prayer, by severall Reverend and Godly Divines, used by them both before and after Sermon."-Lond. 1659.

the west, and to remember them no more, lest thou smite us in thy jealousy, and consume us in thy wrath and indignation, which we, by heaps and conjugations of sin, most sadly have deserved to feel, and sink under to eternal ages.

For we confess, O God, to thy glory, who so long hast spared us, and to our own shame, who so long have resisted and despised so glorious a mercy, that we are the vilest of sinners, and the worst of men, lovers of the world, and neglecters of religion, and undervalue its interests, being passionate for trifles, and indifferent for eternal treasures; weak to serve thee in our natural powers, and not careful to employ and to improve the aids of the Spirit. We are proud and envious,-lustful and intemperate,prodigal of our time, and covetous of money,-greedy of sin, but loathing manna, the bread that came down from heaven. Willing we are to suffer any thing, or to do any thing to please our senses, and to satisfy ambition, or to purchase the world,--but are neither willing to do or suffer any contradiction for the cause of God. In prosperity, we are impudent and proud; in adversity, pusillanimous and cowardly: ready to promise any thing in the day of our calamity, but when thou bringest us to comfort, we forget our duty, and do just nothing. We are full of inconsideration and carelessness, desirous to be accounted holy by men, but careless of being approved so to thee, our God. In all our conversation we are uneven, soon disturbed, quickly angry, not quickly appeased; petulant, and peevish, and disordered by a whole body of sin, and evil is our portion; we are heirs of wrath, infirmity, and folly; shame and death are our inheritance.

But, O God, thou art our Father, gracious and merciful; thou knowest whereof we are made, and rememberest that we are but dust. Be not wroth very sore, O Lord, neither remember our iniquities for ever; for we are ashamed of the sins we have desired, and are confounded for the pleasures we have chosen. O make us penitent and obedient, careful as the watches of the night, that we may never return to the folly whereof we are now ashamed,-but that in holiness and righteousness we may serve and please thee all our days, working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

O Lord, Father and Governor of our whole life, leave us

not to the sinful counsels of our own heart, and let us not any more fall by them. Set scourges over our thoughts, and the discipline of wisdom over our hearts, lest our ignorances increase, and our sins abound to our destruction. Let our repentance be speedy and perfect, bringing forth the fruits of holy conversation. Give unto us a faith that shall never be reproved, a hope that shall never make us ashamed, a charity that shall never cease, a confidence in thee that shall never be discomposed, a patience that shall never faint, a noble Christian courage that shall enable us, in despite of all opposition, to confess thy faith, to publish thy laws, and to submit to thy dispensations, to glorify thy name by holy living and dying, that in all changes and accidents we may be thy servants, and thou mayest take delight to pardon us, to sanctify us, and to save us, that we may rejoice in the mercies of God, in the day of recompenses, at the glorious appearance of our Lord Jesus.

Bless, O Lord, thy holy catholic church, with all blessings and assistances of thy Spirit and providence. Let the daily sacrifice of prayer and eucharist never cease, but for ever be presented unto thee, united to the intercession of our Lord, and for ever prevail for the obtaining, to all her sons and daughters, grace and blessing, pardon and holiness, perseverance and glory.

In particular, we humbly recommend to thy care and providence, thy afflicted handmaid, the church of England. Thou hast humbled us for our pride, and chastised us for our want of discipline. O forgive us all our sins, which have provoked thee to arm thyself against us. Blessed God, smite us not with a final and exterminating judgment. Call not the watchmen off from their guards, nor the angels from their charges; let us not die by a famine of thy word and sacraments; if thou smitest us with the rod of a man, thou canst sanctify every stroke, and bring good out of that evil: but nothing can make recompense to us, if thou hatest us, and sufferest our souls to perish. Unite our hearts and tongues: take the spirit of error and division from us, and so order all the accidents of thy providence, that religion may increase, and our devotion may be great and popular, that truth may be encouraged and promoted, and thy name glorified, and thy servants instructed and comforted, that the

« AnteriorContinua »