Imatges de pÓgina
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of Sin, and Power against it. The Benefit of frequent Communion is also of as great Advantage, because hereby we are confirmed in all Grace and Goodness, and our Resolu-, tions to live in Obedience and Conformity to God's Laws are strengthened, and the Grace of God's Holy Spirit, to do his Will, is hereby conveyed to us : It is the fovereign Remedy against all Temptations, by mortifying our Passions, and by spiritualizing our Affections: In a Word, it is the liklieft Method to make our Bodies' the Temples of the Holy Ghoft, and to prepare our Souls for the Enjoyment of God to all Eternity.

And if at any Time, thro' Ignorance, SurRelapses after prize, or the Violence of any other Temptation, Receiving, net dangerous.

we should fall into those very Sins which we

have repented of and vowed against, when we „were at the last Sacrament, yet these Relapfes should not make us afraid of coming again, since we have always the Bảnefit of Repentance allowed us : If after a Relapfe we repent and renew our Resolutions, witli a hearty Grief and Contrition of Spirit, we are made whole as before, If the

,' Wicked (faith God) will turn from all his Sins that he hath committed, all bis Transgressions that be hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him, Ezek. xviii. 21, 22. Sin no more, fays our Saviour to the Woman taken in Adultery, and. 'I ceill not condemn thee, John viii. u. It is not the Commision of this or that great Sin 'that will utterly ex; clude us from God's Mercy and Forgiveness, for then indeed, no Person could escape Damnation, because there is hot à just Men upon Earth that doth Good and sinneth not, Eccl vii. 20. But it is our Living and Dying without Repen cance and Amendment, that brings God's Wrath and Vengeance upon us.' His Mercies are not limittéd, he will not only pardon us once or twice, but always upon our Repentance and Return to him. No Time, no Age, or Season, does he accept against, but whenever the Wicked Man turneth away from his Wickedness that he hath committed, ond doth that which is lawful and right, be shall save his Scul clive, Ezek. xviii. 27. Neither is there any Sin, though never so vile

and

and heinous in its own nature, but shall be remitted and forgiven, unless it be that against the Holy Ghost. All Manner of Sin and Blasphemy Mall be forgiven unto Men, but the Blafphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven, Mat. xii. 31, 32. And consequently, the Sin of Eating and Drinking unworthily, in the worit Sense, cannot be a damning Sin, because God in the Gospel (for Christ's Sake) has promised to forgive all our Sins, upon our Repentance, and therefore this of unworthy receiving among the rest,

Some People, I remember, have been very much concerned and discomposed at their Devotions, upon the Repetition of some few Expressions contained in the last Exhorta. tion to the Communion, viz — Of being guilty of the Body ' and Blood of Christ our Saviour ; of eating and drinking our

own Damnation —Not considering the Lord's Body.

Kindling God's Wrath against us.- Provoking bina to plague us with divers Diseases, and sundry Kinds of Death.' These are hard Sayings, and some of them too hard to be understood : But however, they are all avoided and escaped by coming worthily, i.e. by Faith and Repeni ance: therefore let not the terrible Expressions trouble you, or decain you from the Holy Communion: Repent and believe, and you are safe and secure from falling into any of those Dangers which thefe Sentences may seem to threaten you with. So that the want of Preparation, as some Men have alledged, and in the Sense they generally take it, can never be a lufficient Plea or Pretence for their not coming to the Holy Communion ; because, after our belt and Itrictest Endeavours to prepare ourselves, we profess, (before God and the Congregation) “That we do not come to this Heavenly • Table trusting in our own Righte Jusness, but in his ma• nifold and great Mercies. By these we are invited to

' come: and to the Mercy of God (thro’ Christ) all of us mult fiee and take Sanctuary in, who has promised, thac be will in no wife cast out those who come unto him, John vi. 37. A broken and a contrite Heart, O God, thou wilt not despije, Psal. li. 17.. There is nothing dreadful in this Sacrament, but to the wilful, impenitent and persevering Sinner, whufe

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Condition is dreadful, and every Page in Scripture is terrible against such, wherher they come or not ; but to the penitent and humble Soul nothing is dismal or aff ighting in this Holy Feast, there are none condemned for unworthy reReceiving, but such who deserve it for cont.nuing in their Iniquitiis; and this impenitence renders even their Prayers an Abomination unto the Lord. Though they never parcake of the Body and blood of Christ, they are in equal Danger with those who eat and drink unworthily; nay, I might lay

greater, because the one usech the Means in Obedience to our Saviour's Command, and the other wil ully neglects that which would prevent his Damnation, if rightly conlidered, and timely applied to. The sureit Way, I say, to prevent our Damnation, is to receive the Sacrament more frequently than Men usually do, that by a constant Participation of this Spiritual Food of the living Bread, which comes down from Heaven, their Souls may be nourished in all Goodness, and now Supplies of Gou's Grace and Holy Spirit may be continually derived to them for the purifying of their Hearts, and to enable them to run the Ways of God's Comin andments with more Constancy and Delight than they did before. So that the true Consequence of Eating and Drinking unworthily, should rather excite our Care and Diligence in this Duty, than delude us with false. Reasonings, to fuch a Neglect as will certainly increase our Damnation ; it being certain, that God will never caft any Man into eternal Flames for striving to do his Duty as well as he can. If there be first a willing Mind, (faith the Apostle) it is cccepted according to that a Man hath, and not according to ibat ke bath not, 2 Cor. viii. 12. Neither ought we to think so unworthily of the Son of God, who came into the World 10 faze Sinners, that he woulu institute this Ordinance to be a Snare to entangle our Souls with. I was not ordained for Angels, or for glorified Saints, but for humble and penitent Sinners, to bring them home to God; it being a Seal of their Pardon, and a retieshing Declaration of our Heavenly Father's Readiness to forgive che chiefest of Sinners for Jesus's Saki, who graciously calls upon all who are

wearied

wearied and oppressed with the Guilt and Burden of their Sins to come to him, and be will refresh them, Mart. xi. 28. Christ came not to call the Righteous, but Sinners to Repentance, Matr. ix. 13. And consequently such as account themselves most unworthy, are those very Persons whom Christ doth here call and invit: to the Sacrament, when deeply sensible of their Unworthiness. Were we not Sinners, were we not conceived and born in Sin, we should not need such Means and Instruments of Grace as Sacraments are ; but being . by Nature born in Sin, and the Children of Wrath, we

are hereby made the Children of Grace, and Inheritors of • the Kingdom of Heaven.' They that are whole (faith Chrill) bave no need of a Physician, but they that are sick. This being the Case of all Mankind, with respect to their Spiritual Life, there is no other way to free ourselves from this Death of Sin, but speedily to apply ourselves to this Heavenly Physician, who come into the World to seek end to save those that are loft and ready to periih; and the very Sense of our own Unworthiness, is of all other Arguments the best Qualification to reco nmend us to God's Favour and Mercy, lince we know that he refijteth the Proud, (and prefumptuous Sinner] but never denies his Grace and Favour to the Humble and Meek. As often then as we come to the Holy Communion with such an bonest and true Heart, as to exercise our Repentance towards God, our Faith and Hope of his Mercy, through Christ, for the Forgiveness of our Sins, and our Love and Charity for all Mankind; luch a Temper and Resolution of Mind as this, will doubtlels ronder us worthy Partakers of these Holy Misteries, and prevent us eating and drinking Damnation to ourselves. Nay, I farther add, that any Person thus disposed or qualified, may come (if it should be required) at an Hour's Warning, as safely as he may come to Church, and say his Prayers, or to hear a Sermon. The Dueness of Preparation doth not so much depend upon our setting aside so many extraordinary Days for the forcing ourselves into a religious Posture of Mind, as upon the plain natural Frame and Disposition of our Souls, as they constantly stand inclined to Virtue and GoodQq

ness,

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nels, through the general Course of our Lives. From

whence I infer, that a Multitude of Bufiness, Men of great Bufine's, either

or a Man's being deeply engaged in the Pub.

lick Affairs of this Worid, cannot be any publick or private, are not just Plea or Pretence for his not coming to 1 bereby excufed the Holy Communion ; because all Bufiness from fréquent is consistent with the Duties of Religion, proCommunion,

vided we govern our Affairs by Christian Principles : For though such Men have not Leisure for fo much actual Preparation, yet they may have that habitual Preparation, upon which the great Stress ought to be laid in this Matter : Nay, even the conscientious Discharge of a Man's Ducy in his Business, may be one of the best QuaJifications to recommend him to God, since every Man serves God when he follows his Calling with Diligence, and observes Justice and Honesty in all his Dealings; and consequently, the greater Danger and Temptation he is exposed to through the Multiplicity of Business, the more need hath he of God's Grace and Afistance, which are abundantly communicated to us in this Holy Ordinance. So that Men of Business, if they have any serious Thoughts of another World, ought more especially to lay hold on such Opportunities which secure the Salvation of their Souls; for as they who have Leisure ought to Receive conftantly, as the best Improvement of their Time ; so they that are engaged in many worldly Affairs, ought to come the oftner to the Holy Communion, and learn how to sanctify their Employ

ments. But to proceed. The other Branch A lively Faith in of a Communicant's Duty is to examine God's Mercy.

whether he hath a lively Faith in God's Mercy thro’ Christ. Examine yourselves whether ye be in the Faith, 2 Cor. xiii. 5. This Sacrament of the Lord's Supper being only appointed for such Believers as own their Baptism, and profess the Faith of Christ crucified, and understand the fundamental Articles of the Christian Religion, contained in the Apostles Creed, and also the End and Design of this Holy Institution. The Benefits of our Saviour's Death and Pasion in this Sacrament are indeed freely offered unto all,

but

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