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and fometimes, by negligence or surprise, fall a prey to the tempter; what fo proper to wash away our fins, as that precious ineftimable blood, which was thed for our falvation?' therefore the very fenfe of our unworthiness, if rightly applied, fhould quicken our zeal in approaching the Lord's table frequently, as the best
means to make us better.
4. Indeed, when we have a forefight of our communicating, it is very advifable we should trim our lamps; examine the ftate of our minds; renew our repent-ance; exercise our charity; enlarge our devotions; fpiritualize our affections; and, in order to this purpose, fhould retire from bufinefs and pleafure; that by prayer, fafting, and alms-deeds, our minds may be raifed to relifh fpiritual enjoyments.
5. On the contrary: the living in the conftant habitual practice of any known fin without repentance, will make our approach to the holy table a mocking of God, a great contempt of his authority, and our prayers alfo an abomination to the Lord; for to profefs ourselves forry for our fins, and refolve to førfake them, when we have no fenfe of the one, nor are determined 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 pleafed when we offer to him the facrifice of fools, in a multitude of words only.
6. Nor doth the danger of unworthy receiving make it fafeft to abstain from receiving at all, or at least to come to receive but feldom; becaufe the danger of neglecting and contemning a plain command of our Saviour is more hazardous to our falvation, than performing it without fome due qualification. The duty therefore being neceffary to be performed, (as hath already been fhown on page 49,) the true confequence we should draw from the danger of performing it unworthily, fhould be to excite ourselves to great care and diligence in preparing ourselves for the due difcharge of it; but never to delude ourfelves by falfe reafons to fuch a neglect as will certainly increase our condemnation.
7. Though our business be lawful in its own nature, yet if it be profecuted to fuch a degree as to take men off from the care of their fouls, it ought to be put off, when it interferes with this duty; because the falvation of our fouls is of much greater confequence than any affair that relates to this world wife men proportion their care of a thing according to its worth; no prudent perfon will spend his time upon trifles, and neglect what may be of the greatest
greateft confequence to his foul. It must be owned that our fouls are of greater worth than our bodies, and that we must certainly find a time to die, however carelefs and negligent we may be in making a due preparation for death. Befides, the care of temporal concerns and our duty to God are no ways inconfiftent, provided we govern our affairs by Chriftian principles. A great deal of businefs and the duties of religion may ftand together. Though men of bufinefs have not leifure for much actual preparation, yet they may have all that habitual preparation upon which the great ftrefs ought to be laid in this duty.
8. We are affured that the confcientious difcharge of our bufinefs is an admirable qualification for receiving the Lord's fupper. We serve God when we follow our callings with diligence, and obferve juftice and equity in all our dealings, when we manage the affairs of the public with fidelity and honefty; without felling juftice, without oppreffion, and without facrificing them to our private intereft and paffions. Befides, the greater dangers and temptations we are expofed to, the greater need we have of God's grace and affiftance, which is abundantly communicated in this holy inftitution. It is not pru dent
dent for thofe that travel in ways frequented by robbers, to go well armed and to unite companies, that they may be the better able to defend themfelves? Thus the man of bufinefs, who has any ferious thoughts of another world, ought more especially to embrace all opportunities of receiving it, it being beft able to fecure him against those dangers he daily converfes with, and to fortify him against thofe watchful enemies that lie in wait to deftroy his foul. Therefore as they, who have leifure, ought frequently to receive the holy communion, as the beft improvement of their time; fo they that are engaged in many worldly affairs, ought to learn how to fanctify their employments by coming often to this holy facrament.
9. The obligation that lies upon any Chriftian to receive the holy communion is the plain and pofitive command of our bleffed Saviour to do this in remembrance of him; which makes it a neceffary and perpetual duty, incumbent upon all Chriftians; and to live in the neglect of a plain law, of the author of our religion, is no way confiftent with the character we profefs of being his difciples. The circumstances of this inftitution ftill bind us to have a great regard to it; for it was the laft command of our beft friend and great bencfactor, F
when he was about to lay down his life for our fakes.
Nevertheless great care must be taken, that when a man is habitually prepared, he do not then impofe upon himself fo much actual preparation, as fhall make him lofe an opportunity of receiving the holy facrament, when he has not had time to go through with that method of devotion he has prescribed to himself on that occafion.
The Hymn on Tuesday Morning.
With men of vanity and lies;
Are the abhorrence of mine eyes.
With hands well wash'd in innocence ;*
The temple where thy honour dwells: