Imatges de pÓgina
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A prayer for forgiveness of fins.

Lmighty and everlafting God, who hateft nothing that thou haft made, and doth forgive the fins of all them that are penitent, create and make in me a new and contrite heart, that I worthily lamenting my fins, and acknowledging my wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remiffion and forgiveness, through Jefus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Meditation for Monday Evening. No excufe fufficient to keep us from receiving the holy facra ment of the Lord's Supper.

Except ye eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. John vi. 53.

I.

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Onfider now, 0 my foul! what advantages we might have reap: ed from that holy communion: yet all thefe will be loft and gone, if we do not purfue our courfe to arrive where Chrift Jefus in calling us has determined, Philip. fii. 12. Remember how many arguments the enemy of mankind ftarted to prevent our approach to that holy table; how he fuggefted that the number and greatnefs of our fins would, inftead of obtaining

any

any benefit, only make us eat and drink our own damnation *.

2. This fuggeftion, though it proceeded from an enemy, yet, O my foul! it contains much truth; for, if a man lies under the guilt of any fin, and does not repent of it, and heartily refolve to forfake and amend it; this is indeed prefumption and a fin, for fuch a perfon, while he continues in that ftate, to come to the

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holy

1 Cor. xi. 19. Or fome temporal punishment or judgment, as it is read in the margin of your Bible, fuch as ficknefs or death. The unworthy receiving, which is here condemned in the Corinthians by St. Paul, was their disorderly and irreverent participation of the Lord's fupper; their eating and drinking, without a due regard to the manner and end of that holy institution; without à due refpect had to the facramental ufe of the bread and wine that reprefented the Lord's body. It being the custom of the Chriftians in the apoftolical times, to receive the holy Eucharift after their feast of charity, wherein the rich and the poor were wont to eat together with great fobriety and temperance: but in the church of Corinth this method was not observed, the poor were not admitted to this common feast: for in eating, every one took before each other his own supper; so that when fome wanted, others were guilty of fcandalous excess, and grofs intemperance: and the effect of it was, they did not difcern the Lord's body. They made no difference between the facrament and a common meal, between what was to fuftain their bodies, and what was to nourish their fouls. So that to eat the bread, and drink of the cup, in the holy facrament, without a due and direct reverence paid to the Lord's body, by feparating the bread and wine from the common ufe of eating and drinking for hunger and thirst, was to eat unworthily. The punishments annexed to these miscarriages, were infirmities, fick. ness, and temporal death, with which God corrected them, that they might not be condemned with the unbelieving world. By which it appears that temporal judgments must be underfood by the word our tranflators render damnation.

holy communion; it is a deliberate atfront, and even a mocking of the Divine Majefty, for a man to make a show of worship and honour to him, while, at the fame time, he goes on in wilful difobedience to his known commands; and fo provokes God to plague him with divers difeafes, and fundry kinds of death, with which the city of Corinth was afflict ed for their great abufe and profanation of this holy inftitution, as the apoftle there obferves. But,

3. Hear what our Saviour Chrift faith: unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whence it is eafy to collect, that it is not the number or quality of our fins, but a wilful or fupine continuance in them, that fhould deter us from that holy communion; for whatever fins a man has been guilty of in times paft, if he truly repents of them, and heartily forfakes them for the time to come, God has fo often and fo plainly promised in this cafe to grant a full and free pardon of them, that they cannot juftly be pretended as any obftacle, which fhould hinder us from approaching to him in any of his ordinances."

4. Thus, my foul, thou mayst learn that it is in the power of every man (at least of every one who by a long courfe of

wicked

wickedness has not wholly provoked God to withdraw his grace from him) by that grace and affiftance, which God continually offers unto us, to repent of his fins, and amend his life; if fuch a man looks upon his fins, as a bar between him and the holy communion, yet it is plainly fuch a bar as it is in his own power to femove; and, therefore, can never jufly be pleaded as an excufe in his behalf. And it was in confequence of this faith that thou didst bring me to that holy communion, whereby my whole manhood is fo changed, renewed, and established by divine grace, that I purpose never more to omit any opportunity of refreshing the whole man with that divine food.

5. It is not an indifferent thing, whether or no we approach the Lord's table; and we in vain think to fecure ourselves by keeping from it. When we do not receive, we cannot draw upon ourselves the punishments of unworthy receiving; but then it will be equally pernicious to us, to neglect and refufe the advantages that are provided for us at God's table; and to which we are so earnestly invited: nay, we declare our refolution to continue in our fins, if we refuse an opportunity of procuring our pardon. It shows that we are not much concerned to do our E duty

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Evening

. Part II. duty, when we avoid thofe occafions of improving our ftrength, and of receiving that grace, without which it is impoffible to perform it. Nor can we continue in this neglect without offending God, who has made it our bounden duty. We cannot defpife his grace, without increafing our guilt, and provoking his wrath and indignation againft.us. And by leaving undone the things which he has commanded, as well as by doing those things he has forbidden, we expofe our eternal falvation. But,

6. Methinks, I perceive the enemy laying another fnare to fruftrate my good refolutions; the devil fometimes, that he may deceive us the better, will transform himself into an angel of light. He pretends to plead the caufe of God, and endea vours to ftagger our faith; faying, that if now we break thofe refolutions made before receiving the Lord's fupper, and return again to our fins, he doubts whether God would ever again admit us to pardon and reconciliation; and, therefore, he thinks it fafer to abstain from the holy communion, rather than to run the hazard of being-for ever excluded from the hopes of heaven. It is true St. James tells us, in many things we offend all; there is no man but what has his fhare, more or less,

of

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