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but only effectually to Believers. As many as received bim, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them shat believe in his Name, John i. 12. And this is Life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ wbom thou host sent, John xvii. 3. All that Chrift hath done and suffered for us Men, and for our Salvation, can never profit us, unless we have Faith to believe it : That which must render the Benefits and Blessings of the Gospel effectual to our Salvation, is our Faith in Christ, Verily I say unto you, (faith our Saviour) be that heareth my Words, and believeib on bim that sent me, hath everlasting Life, and shall not come into Condemnation, but is passed from Death unto Life, John v. 24.
The ancient Churches accounted those only faithful that had received the Lord's Supper; and the Germans allowed none to come unto their Sacrifices who had lost their Shields; nor does our own Church allow, thac any of us should come to this Christian Sacrifice without the Shield of Faith. Draw near with Faith, (says the Priest) and take this Holy Sacrament to your Comfort. And this Faich for the object hath God's Mercy, through Christ, as the Fountain and Foundation of all those infinite Blessings and Comforts which we gain by his Manifestation in the Flesh; and if we enquire into the Cause and Reason of so much Mercy and Goodness to Mankind, no other can be given but the Riches of bis Mercy, Eph. ii. 4. And if we further enquire how this Mercy became ours, the Answer is plain, It was through Christ, by whom all the Blessings of this Life, and those of a better are purchased for us, and must be obtained through the Merits and Intercession of the Holy Jefus ; by him we were redeemed, and according to the Riches of bis Grace, we bare obtained Remision of our Sins, and ibrougb bim at last we shall be glorified.
And to this our Faith we must join a A thankful Remem- thankful Remembrance of his Death, and brance of bis Death
of those Benefits which we receive thereby. Our gracious and merciful Lord (faith holy David) bath so done his marvellous Works, that they ought to be bad in Remembrance, Psal. cxi, 4: But especially this Work of
our Redemption by Jesus Christ, which to forget were an Ingratitude bafer and viler than ever. Heathens or Publicans, the very worst of Mankind among the Jews, were known to be guilty of towards their Benefactors, Matthew v. 46. Hirein is Lore, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, end sent his Son to be the Propitiation for our Sins, 1 John iv.
This is a l'ercy far above all other Mercies, nay, it is even this which sweetens all other Mercies to us : Had there been no Redemption, our Creation had only made us cap ble of endless Torments, and it had been better for us never to have been born, than to inevitable Ruin; which must have been our Lot and Portion, had not the Sun of
God, by his own Oblation of himself, once offered upon the Cross, mede a full, perfect, and sufficient Sacrifice and Satisfaclion to God for the Sins of the whole world. The Confi quences of this Recen prion are so infinitely great and valuable, that it as much surpass our Understanding as it does our Merits. This we are to declare and to publish to all the World, what God hath done to save Mankind from that Damnation which they had deferved, and to restore us again to that Happinels and Glory, which we could never expect or hope to enjoy, had not Chrift died for us. O ceme bither and hearken all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what he hath done for my Soul, Pfalm Ixvi. 16. Praise the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all his Benefits, who forgiveth all thy Sins, and bealeth all thine Infirmities, and savetb thy Life frem Difiruction, and crowneth thee with Mercy and Loving kindnisi, Pial. ciii. 2, 3, 4. With what Joy and
Thank uin is then Thould every good Christian commemorate this exceeding Love of God in the Salvation of Sinners by Jesus Chrift! This was the proper End and Design of this Institution, to perpetuate this wonderful Love of Christ
in laying down his Life for us. Do this Our Obligations to a in Remembrance of me, laid our Saviour a frequent Communion,
little before his Crucifixion; which being a folemn Command of our Moster and only Saviour, thus dying for us, we cannot refuse Obedience hereunto, without being guilty of the moit horrible Ingratitude and Contempt
of his Divine Authority. He hath appointed it for a solemn Commemoration of his great Love to us, in laying down his Life for us Men, and for our Salvatiun, and therefore he commands us to do it in Rememerance of him. · And St. Paul tells us, that as often as we eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, we do thew fort's the Lord's Death till be come. As for those Min then anonytt us who profets themselves Christians, and hope for Salvation by Jesus Christ, not to pay Cbedience to this his Command, is a downright Affront to his facred wajesty; and he may juftly upbra d us Chriftians, as he did once the Jews, Why cull ye me Lord, Lord, end do not the Things which 1 say? How unworthy are we of that Salvation which he hath wrought for us, if we deny him fo Imall a Favour, such a reafinable Request, as to commemorate his Death and bitter Palun once a Month, or at least thrice a year; who did bumble himself even to the
· Death of the Cross for us miferable Sinners, M ns, own Interiff who lay in Darkness
, and in the Shadow of jould oblige thom 10 a conftant Commu- · Death, that ke might make us the Children nion, becauje of us • of God, and exali us to everlasting Lile. griar Benifits.
In this Sacramı nt of the Lord's Suppur we have the Pardon and Remiffion of all our Sins, the Grace and Alistance of Gou's Holy Spirit, and the Hopes of eternal Life and Happiness freely offered unto us : And therefore, had we no Love, no Regard or Reverence to the dying Words of our crucified Saviour, yet surely the Cone sideration of our own present and future Advantage might prevail with us to be more frequent at the Loru's Taule ihan we usually are.
Hicherto a Communicant hath been And to be in Charity directed to let his Heart right towards witb all Men.
God; but this is not all, he must proceed Forgiving of Irjuries further, and enquire how it stands affected expected from a Com- towards his Ne:ghbour, since we are exmunicant
presly forbidden, Matthew v. 23, 24. to offer up any Gift or Oblation unto God, if our Hearts are leavened with Malice, Hatred, or Revinge : If thou bring lby Gift unto the. Altar, and there rememberejt that thy Brother
bath ought against thee, leave there thy Gift before the Altar, and go thy Way, first be reconciled to thy Brother, and then come and offer thy Gift. Here you see that Chrift preters Mercy before Sacrifice. And it is generally agreed on by the ancient Fathers, that these Words of our Saviour do directly point at this Sacrament, on purpose to oblige all Communicants to forgive all Manner of Injuries, before they presume to eat of that Bread, or to drink of that Cup. And it is expresly said, Matt. vi. 14, 15. that our Prayers are not accepted, nor our Pardon fealed in Heaven, until such time as we forgive Men their Trespasses : and to be sure we can never be welcome or worthy Guests at this heavenly Feast, where Jesus, the Saviour of Penitents and the Prince of Peace, is spiritually present, unless our Repentance reconcile us to God, and our Charity to all Mankind.
And this Charity of the Heart, in forgiving of Charity to Injuries, must likewise thew itself by the Hand, the Poor.
in relieving the Wants and Necessities of the Poor. We read, That when this Sacrament was administered in the Apofties Days, that large Collections of Monies were then gathered for the Maintenance of the poor Clergy and Laity, Aets ii. 44, 45, 46. and i Cor. xvi. i. And Theodoret observes, that Theodofius the Emperor, when the Time came to offer, arose, and presented his Oblations with his own Hands. It was not determined how much every Man should give, but all Men were exhorted and enjoined to offer tome, thing according to their Ability, which if any neglected, the Fathers censured them as unworthy Communicants ; and to be sure nothing within our Power can so effectually recommend our Prayers and Devotions like this of Charity; It being well observed, Mat. vi. that our Saviour hath inclosed Prayer between Alms and Fasting; and therefore they are called its two Wings, withoạt which it will never fee fo high as the throne of God. While Cornélius was fasting and praying, we read that an Angel from Heaven was dilpatched to him with this happy Message, Thy Prayers and Ibine Alms are come up for a Memorial before God, Acts x. 4. He that kath Pity upon the Poor lendiik unto the Lord, and that which he bath giver will be pay him again, Prov. xix. 17. Charge them that are rich in this World—that they be rich in good Works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in Store for themselves a good Foundation against the Time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal Life, 1 Tim. vi. 17, 18, 19. Do you not know, that they who minister about Holy Things live of the Sacrifice, and they who wait at the Altar, are Partakers with the Altar ? Even so bath the Lord aljo ordained, that they who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel, 1 Cor. ix. 13, 14. If we have fown unto you Spiritual Things, is it a great Matter if we shall reap your worldly Things?
Ver 11. But we may justly complain with St Bafil Hom. in
Bafil, that we know some who will fast and Mar. xix.
pray, sigh and groan, yea, and do all Asts of Religion, which cost them nothing, but will not give one Farthing to the Poor. What Benefit is there (faith he) of all the relt of their Devotions ?
And when the Communicant has thus far advanced Prayer. towards the Altar, in his Examination, Repentance, &c. he must not forget another excellent Preparative belonging to this Duty, of communicating worthily, which although it be not mentioned in our Church Catechism, yet it is always implied, as a necessary Part of our Sacramental Preparation, i.e. Prayer *, private and publick; a Duty upon which all our present and future Blessings depend, Mat. vii. 7, 8. and xxi. 22. And so near a Relacion hath this Duty of Prayer with this Sacrament, that all those Blessings therein contained and promised, are only in Return to our Prayers ; and no doubt but that Man who makes a conscientious Practice of this Duty in his Closet, and at Church, can never be unprepared for this Sacrament, nor want a Title to God's peculiar Favour and Blessing; For the Eyes of the Lord are over the Righteous, and his Ears are open unto their Prayers, 1 Pet. iii. 12.
See the Devout Soul's Daily Exercise, in Prayers, Contemplations and Praises : containing Devotions for Morning, Noon and Night, for every Day in the Week With Prayers and Thanksgivings for Persons of all Conditions, and upon all Occasions. By R. Parker, D.D.