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we forget that ever we were there, and remember no more our solemn engagement, nor those holy resolutions, which have been raised in our minds by that course of devotions in the Week preparatory to our receiving the holy communion: instead of placing us in the favour of the Almighty, this will draw upon us that abundance and severity of his wrath, for such our mockery of his divine institution and com mands.
Of the care of our souls.
It remains for me to desire such as have a great deal of worldly business upon their hands, (more perhaps than they can well turn themselves to,) I say I would desire such to consider, that the worldly business they have, is still but the business of this world, this transient and uncertain world, that soon passeth away; and that they have another world to live in as well as in this; a world that will have no end. And therefore if we have any care for our souls, let us take heed of the cares of this life, that they do not hinder us from receiving Christ's most blessed body and blood, as often as we can. And for that purpose, whensoever we are invited to the Lord's table, let us think thus with ourselves; we have now an opportunity put into our hands of partaking of the body and blood of our ever blessed Saviour, to preserve our bodies and souls to everlasting life: it is true, we have at this time more than ordinary business upon our hands: but what is all this world, in comparison of everlasting life and happiness? and who knows whether we shall ever have such another opportunity so long as we live? I say, think thus, and then let us stip an opportunity if we can. If we have any regard for our immortal souls, I believe it will be very difficult, if not impossible.
It is certainly our bounden duty to take care of our worldly concerns, in the several callings, or ways of life allotted to us by Divine Providence; but it must be remembered that we must always have the fear and commandments of God in view, and be so under a perpetual obligation to perform all those promises, so lately made to his Divine Majesty, at his holy table. So that our sutward or worldly employments must never remove our hearts from this duty; and when temptation and sin pursues us again, we
must remember that it is a part of our solemn vow to forsake transgression and to resist every temptation, that shall deprive us of the favour of our Maker and Redeemer, with whom we enter into a strict covenant of friendship, when we receive Christ's most blessed body and blood. By this covenant we are assured of God's omnipotent protection against all our enemies both ghostly and bodily: for, if God be with us, neither the malice of men, nor the craft of the devil, can prevail against us. On the contrary, as on our part of the covenant, we vow entire obedience, as well as faith, we by returning into the evil ways we have so lately disavowed, shall forfeit our right to thar friendship; bring God's wrath upon us; and then we shall of all men find ourselves the most miserable, it not being in the power of any human means to escape his justice.
Some account of the method of this work.
Therefore I have in this second part of the New Week's Preparation, exhibited suck meditations, hymns, and prayers to be used by the worthy communicant, during the week following his participation of Christ's body and blond, as I apprehend will furnish him with a right sense of his duty; which I take to be the best means he can make use of, to secure himself against the sudden surprise, and impetuous attacks of all our enemies, both ghostly and bodily. And
It is some satisfaction to me, that I can assure the reader, that I have taken the church catechism and the communion service for my guide; so that he may be satisfied that what he meets with in his New Week's Preparation is strictly orthodox, and perfectly agreeable to the doctrine of the church of England, and to the word of God itself;
ing convinced, that whoever will speak upon this subject with any authority and certainty, must speak from those fountains of salvation, and not from Popish and superstitious prayer-books; as the compiler and late editor of the Old Week's Preparation have done.
Moreover, I have been advised to prefix the explanation of that part of the church catechism which relates to the sacrament of the Lord's supper, by some who believe it to be the shortest, plainest, and most comprehensive of any ex tant; and the scriptures are the authorities upon which this explanation is founded.
A Familiar and Comprehensive
Of that PART of the
Relates to the Sacraments, especially that of the Lord's Supper, as warranted and fupported by Scripture.
HE church tells us, that Christ ordained only two facraments, as generally neceffary to falvation; that is to fay, baptifm and the Jupper of the Lord. Now, baptifm was inftituted by Chrift, to be the rite of admiffion into his church, and is anfwerable tocircumcifion among the Jews. The Lord's fupper was ordained for the exercife and confirmation of our faith in Chrift, and appointed by him inftead of the Jewish paffover; and these are thus neceffary to falvation, viz. baptifm is neceffary thereto, as being the appointed inftrument of our regeneration or new birth; and the Lord's Supper, as being that spiritual food by which we are nourished up to everlasting life, the former to be only once, the latter often received.
Thefe ordinances miniftering to fuch great ends, we fay are only generally and not abfolutely neceffary to falvation; because we dare not take upon us to exclude all hope of God's mercy in fuch extraordinary cafes, as the want of opportunity or capacity of receiving
ceiving them reduces mankind often unto. But as the Jews were obliged, under the fevereft penalty, to be circumcifed, and keep the paffover: fo our guilt and danger will be proportionably great, in not obferving, when it is in our power, these two more eafy inftitutions, which are not only of a higher Authority, but also the dif tinguished badges of a more excellent profeffion.
By the word Sacrament the church tells us, is meant an outward and visible fign of an inward and spiritual grace, given unto us, ordained by Chrift himjelf, as a means whereby we receive the fame, and a pledge to affure us thereof. Now for the clearer understanding this account which the church gives us of a facrament, it is neceflary that the feveral parts of which it confifts, fhould be diftinguifhed and therefore you are to obferve, that we are therein taught, that to conftitute a facrament, there muft be, first, something difcernible and apparent to our senses; which, fecondly, muft reprefent fome fpiritual grace and favour vouchfafed us by God; thirdly, that outward fign must be of Christ's own inftitution; and, fourthly,appointed by him as a means of conveying to us this inward grace, and as a feal and token of affurance, that he will beftow the one upon thofe who do worthily receive the other; and as these properties are only to be found in
baptism and the supper of our Lord, no other religious rite can be truly called, or ought to be esteemed, a facrament.
Now the parts of which a facrament confifts are two, viz. The outward vifsible sign, and the inward Spiritual grace. Thus, outward fenfible things can be a means of conveying, and pledges of affuring us of divine grace and favour. For altho' thefe facramental figns were ordained by God in gra cious condefcenfion to ourinfirmities,there by to inform our understanding, to refresh our memories, and to excite our affections; yet their farther efficacy is not owing to any power in themselves, but to the bleffing of Chrift upon his own inftitutions, and appointments: and we are not to doubt, but that, in the right ufe of the outward means, he will by the power of his Spirit, though in a manner unknown to us, convey, and con. firm, in baptifm; and convey, and confirm, in the Lord's Jupper, to the worthy receivers thereof the divine grace fignified thereby, according to his own moft true promise.
The church teaches us, that the outward vifible fign [or form] in baptifm is water, wherein the person is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft. Now water is peculiarly fitted for the purpofe for which it is here appointed; forasmuch as cleanfing is one well known pro