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thou haft hitherto vouchfafed unto me: but O merciful father! thou haft declared thyself to be a God merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity, tranfgreffion, and fin. My only hope, therefore, is in thy tender mercies, which have been ever of old; and in that pity and compaffion which thou haft fhewn to mankind, in the redemption of the world, by the death of thy dear fon Jefus Chrift, my Lord and Saviour.
For thy name's fake then, O Lord, and for thy beloved fon's fake, pardon, I most humbly beseech thee, all my paft fins, and let not iniquity be my ruin. Forgive the deadnefs of my devotion; the coldness of my. affections; the wanderings of my prayers; and whatever elfe thou haft feen amifs in me. O pity my weakneffes, and forgive my infirmities, and lay not to my charge the imperfections of my religious duties. But,
Enable me, by the affiftance of thy good fpirit, to amend whatever has been amifs, and to endeavour more and more after the attainment of all thofe graces and good difpofitions, which on this folemn occafion are neceffary to render our prayers and praifes acceptable in thy fight. O let me never fall into a careless and unconcerned state of mind; into a coldC4 nefs
nefs and indifferency towards the duties of religion; but animate and enliven my fluggish heart, and cleanse it from all its defilements. Grant me fuch a conviction of my own weakness and infufficiency, as may procure thy gracious aid and affiftance; fuch longing defires of being made conformable to thy holy will and pleasure, as may transform me into thy divine image, and fix me to continue thy faithful fervant all the remaining days of my life; fo that I may finally inherit thy heavenly kingdom with him that has commanded me to call thee father, and has taught me when I pray to say, Our father which art in heaven, &c.
Here obferve the directions given on page 8, and more particular. ly endeavour to improve your foul by reading a leffon out of the me WHOLE DUTY OF MAN, Sunday 3. Sections VII. and VIII.
The Meditation for Tuesday Evening.
On the nature and neceffity of our preparation before the receiving the holy facrament.
He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not difcerning the Lord's body. 1 Cor. xi. 29.
Onfider, now, O my foul, what that great mystery is to which thou art invited in the holy facrament: let us confider the
nature and end of this facred inftitution; what is meant by this holy action; to what purpose it was ordained; what benefits and advantages may be expected from it. This neceffary knowledge once attained, and which may be compaffed without great difficulty, will be aftanding qualification in all our future communions, and create fuch godly difpofitions of mind that I may no longer be afraid to approach the Lord's table. And to this end,
2. Let us call to mind our baptifmal vow, wherein we have promised to lead a godly and christian life, which can never be fulfilled fo long as we live in a conftant neglect of this boly facrament; nor is it poffible to be a meet partaker of that holy myftery, except there be a due preparation, by confeffing our fins with an humble, penitent, and obedient heart, and a readiness to forgive thofe that have offended us, and asking with faith: without these, O my foul, I dare not go to that holy table, and my prayers and praises will find no acceptance at the throne of grace., But if I endeavour to live as becomes a chriftian; if I really believe the chriftian religion, and fincerely govern my life by the doctrines and precepts of the gofpel, there is nothing should deter me from parC 5
taking of this holy ordinance; nay, I am bound to receive it at any time when there is an opportunity.
3. Thus, tho' it be my duty to communicate at the Lord's table, it is very adviseable that my lamp should be trimmed, that I fhould examine the ftate of my mind, renew my repentance, exercise my charity, enlarge my devotions, and spiritualize my affections; I am therefore refolved to retire from all unneceffary business and pleafures; that by prayer and alms-deeds, thou, my foul, mayeft be raifed to relish spiritual enjoyments; and that I may no longer be deprived of that glorious expectation of the faints, whither I can never expect to be exalted, if I live in the conftant habitual practice of any known fin, without repentance; for fuch an impious approach to the holy table is a mocking of God, and a great contempt of his authority.
4. Say then, I will wash my hands in innocency, fo will I compass thine altar, O Lord. Pfalm xxvi. 6. For I believe that according to a man's preparation, fo will be his profit. Impenitence makes our prayers an abomination to the Lord; for to profess one's felf sorry for one's fins, and resolved to forfake them, when there
there is no fenfe of the one, nor firm refolution to do the other, is the greatest affront imaginable to our Maker, by fuppofing either that he doth not know our hearts, or that he will be pleased, when we draw near to him with our lips, though our hearts are far from him: but yet this is our encouragement, that if the Lord fees a man fet himself seriously to a preparation, he will bear with many failings, and fo heal his people that they may keep the feast with gladness; a feaft wherein thou, O Father, haft commanded us to commemorate that greatest instance of thy love to us, our redemption by the death of Jefus Chrift, thy Son, our Lord.
Here obferve the directions given on page 8, and more particu larly endeavour to improve your cul by reading a leffon out of the New WHOLE DUTY OF MAN, Sunday 6.
The prayer on Tuesday evening, for a worthy receiving of the most holy facrament.
What reward fhall I give unto the Lord for all the benefits that he hath done unto me? I will receive the cup of falvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. Pfalm cxvi. 11, 12.
Leffed be thou, O my Lord, for ever bleffor this inftance of thy love to fallen mankind, in fending thine only begotten fon for our redemption, who are not worthy of the great and many mercies which thou haft fhewed unto us-Grant, O Lord, that this