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MPANION to the ALTAR.
11. those I'lessings which We now enjoy, and hope hereafter to receive from Almighty God, are purchased for us, and must be obtained through the merits and intercession of the holy Jesus, who has "instituted and ordained Holy mysteries, as pledges of his love, anJ "for a continual remembrance ot his death and passion, to our great and endless comfort." Liike xvii. ic-. I Cor. xi. 24. But then we must remember, that these benefits and blessings, which the Son of God has purchased tor us, are no where promised, but upon condition that we ourselves are first duly qualified for them. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is a lolemn ratification of our Baptismal Covenant, where in God for his part ha'h faithfully promised "pardon *' and remission of sins to all true penitents," and we for our parts are therein solemnly bound to be faithful and'obedient unto him, 2 Tim. ii. ip. 'Before'then we can promise to ourselves' any1 benefit or advantage from the participation of this; iolcmn Rite and Coven.mt between God and us, we must endeavour (what in us hts) to possess our Souls with all thole divine qualifications which this Sacramet.t of the Lord's Supper requires to render us worthy partakers thereof.
And what those are, it is the design of this discourse to enquire; wherein I shall endeavour to shew what that Preparation of heart and mind is, which must dispose us lor a worthy participation of the blessed Sacrament: and herein I hope to remove all those Fears and Scruples which arise in our minds, about w Eating and ** Drinking unworthily, and of incurring our own Damnation thereby," as groundless and unwarrantable; and to do this I shall take occasion to explain that part of our Church C>techi;m, designedly intended for our instruction, with' relation to this duty of a Sacramental Preparation; namely,
«-c^ What is required of them who come to the Lord's Supper :n • ■•- ■>
A. u To examine themselves whether they repent them truly of their farmer «* sins, stedfastly purposing to lead a new life, have a lively faith in God's mercy "through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death, and to be in chari** ty with all men.'' This is that Sacramental Preparation which our Church (in as few words as is possible) hath provided f r our Companion or Guide ta the Koly Altar. The doty then of a devout Communicant eonsisteth in these six following particulars *. 1 Self-P.xamination; to examine themselves. 2. Repentance towards God; whether they repent them truly of their former sins. 3. Holy purposes or resolutions of a new life; Stedfastly purposing to lead a new life. 4 Faith in Goa's Mercy through Christ; to have a lively faith, &c 5. A thankful remembrance of bis death, etthly and lastly,, Unfeigned love or charity for all mankind; and to be in charity with all men.
The first Part then of a Communicant's Duty is Self-Examination: A duty not rnly enjoined by human authority, but likewise commanded by St. Paul.' But let a Man examine himself and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cut) i Cor. xi 28. Intimating, that no Man should presume to cat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup, without a previous Preparation, if he tneatl to) escap: that same Judgement of Condemnation which these Corinthians brought upon themielves for their irreverent, sinful and disorderly Behaviour at this Sacrament; and this was the Occasion of St Paul's Caution and Reproof: He that eatetb and drinletb unworthily, fays the Apostle, eatetb and drinketh Damnation * to himself net discerning the .Lord's todyr, vtr 29. . . . • ■,
fut that our .Preparation may be so well performed by us as to prevent the like Danger, let us, as the wife man advifeth, Remember the End, and we full VfrJ.r do amiss, Eccl. vii. 16. First then, That we may come to this heavenly Feist holy, and adorned with the Weddmg Garment, Matt. xxii. 11. we must search our hearts, and examine our Consciences, not only till we fee our Sins, but until we lute them ; and instead of those filthy Rags ot our Righteousness, we must adompur minds with pure and pious Dispositions; even that clean Linen, tie 'Righteousness of the Saints, Rev. xix. With these Ornaments are holy Souls fitted for the Society of that celestial Company, which are to be met" with at this Solemnity, adly, Another End or Design of this strict Preparation, is, that we may be accepted by Gcd as worthy Communicants; that bs who knoTvetb the Secrets of all our Hearts, neither is there any Creature that is mt manifest in his fight, tut- all things are naked and opened unto the Eyes of him with whom we have to do, Jer« xvii. la. Heb. iv. 13. may approve of the Sincerity of our Repentance; and the King, who comes in to view the Guests, Matt. xxii. 11. may (though strictly speaking we are not so) count us worthy ot his Favour and Countenance. And hew to attain so great a Blessing these following instructions will help and assist us. * Yit ff, we are directed to repent u; truly of all our former Sins. This is that preparation which Christhimklf requires of us, Matt. iii. 2, 3. A Duty Rc ntm:? you know, which our sinful Lives make always neceslary for our ConJideratiori, if ever we expect eternal Happiness hereafter, Luke iii. 3. But more especially the Dignity of this Sacrament requires that it should be enquired into with more than ordinary Care and Circumpection, because without sincere Repentance, we cannot expect any Benefit, or Advantage from the Death and Passion of Christ, which in this Sacrament we commemorate, and have the Merits of it conveyed to us by this sacred Memorial, supposing then that this is sufficient to convince you of the Neceslity and Importance ot this Duty, that upon it depends
[• Note, This Word Damnation, does not signify zt, %%.) and. the Damnation here threatened, hath. w
ctrinal Condemnation, but on the contrary some temporal Relation to us, unlcls it could be proved, that any of
Punishment or Judgment, (as you haye it in the Marlines w. re ever guilty of the fame Wickcdnels with ihele Conn
j pur Bible) liich as lick ness or Death with which the City of thians; which i believe no Man ever was or would be
Corinth was shHicted, for their great Abuse and Profanation suffered to approach the Lord'* Table afleriuch adiiojdcrly
of this iilrinn Institution; ib that the Sins here reproved, manner as they did, if Men were so lewd and profane.] (namely, Glut.ony, Diunk.cnrti.ss and Faction, ver. iS,
car welcome to this heavenly Feast unto which we are called > I proceed now in the second place to inform you, That if our Repentance or Return to God be real and sincere,,! t will produce these following good Effects in us/ i Fibst, *'A Sense, a Sorrow and Confession of all our former Sins. Second* *f" lv; A stedfast Purpose or Resolution to lead a new Life." These
The Nature <if V . ', . r e . n , , „ , .
a two Kepen. are the genuine fruits of a true Repentance, and mult always accomPany our Return to God, if we hope to have it effectual to our Salvation. . And:- v ••. .; ,:. v-.. i • ••■ - i [
Fislst, We must labour to gain a Sense or Sight'of all our former Sins and Wickedness j this will readily preient itself to us by comparing our Lives and Actions by the-Rule and Standard of Gtd's Word, which we must make the »an^Ccn».ons" , Measure of our * Examination. St. Paul shews us, Rom. iii. 20.
that by the Law is the Knowledge of Sin; and our own Experience will convince us, that there is ho Way more likely to discover our In'quities, and to humble ourselves for them, than a serious Application of God's Word to our crorJced Paths: And this Duty of Self Examination, is never more properly applitd to, than when we^mtend to receive the Holy Communion; fer unless we ice the number, and apprehend the Heinousness of our Offences, and fear the Vengeance due unto us for them, we are altogether unfit for the Commemoration of his Death, who died for our Sins, androse again jor our'Justification. It is the fense and sight of Sin that must shew us the Need and Necessity of a glorious Redeemer, and what Obligations we are under to bless and praise God for our salvation by his Son Jesus Christ. Of such great Use and Advantage is this Duty of Self-Examination, at all times, that Pythagoras, in those Golden Verses which go under his Name, particularly recommends the fame to his Scholars, "f Every Night before they slept, he enjoins them to examine themselves what Good <l they had done and wherein they had transgressed. Run over these Things, said <c he, and ifyou have done any Evil, be troubled} if Good, rejoice." This Course, if daily followed, as is suggested by Hierocles, his excellent Commentator, perfects the divine image in thole that use it. Plutarch, EpiStttus, Seneca, and the Emjteror Marcus Antoninus, agree in recommending the same Practice by their own .Example, but clpecially holy David; 1 thought on my Ways, and turned my Feet unto thy ^Testimonies, Pialm cxix. 59. And this method, no doubr, is an admirable Means to improve us in Virtue, and the most effectual Way to keep our Consciences awake, and to make us stand in Awe of ourselves, and afraid to sin when, we know beforehand that we must give so severe an Account to ourselves, p£t dveTy Action. And'when we are employing our Mindsijn this Duty of Self-Ex-< animation, before the Communion j or at any other Timc4lJwc.. pjust discharge itaa,
•See The Daily SeJf-Examinan£j «r An Earnest Persuasive to the Duty of Daily Self-Examination. &c. b<
R. Warren, D, D» ,,: . 1. • ;< . t. i .'1 Jti 1 Tiu.iT' J J: \T* 7"*«n». TtTrf'g* impartially a$ is .possible riser- us, judging as severely of our own A&'icmr, as we would do of our greatest and wor ft Enemy -; or other-uis? we sli3il but flatter and deceive ourselves in a Matter of the greatest Weight arid Importance, namely, the knowing the State and Condition of our SouJs-: Rut if our Enquiries are jcrft and true, we shall then plainly discover; wherein,' and bow often we have gone>astray and done amiss. Wc-fhall, by the faitniul Discharge ot this Duty, bring to Light "..all our ungodly, unjuftj and uncharitable Actions; all our* vairi and filthy 11 Speeches; all cur wanton, proud and covetous Thoughts." Such a strict and impartial Examination will discover to us that accursed T'hihg, 8trff Deut. vti. id. which has defiled our N ature, made God our Enem\, and wirl erc'ude us the Kingdom ofHeavt n, ii not repented or, i Cor. vi. 9, lo. But by such a severe Scrutiny as this, we fhill loon perceive the Number of our Transgressions, what vile Wretches and gritvous Offenders vve are, how often we have broken our most serious. Vcws and Resolutions, especially alter receiving th? holy Sacrament, and in Times otSickneis and Distrels: Such a Sight and luch a Prospector Misery as this, mould excite, in us a hearty Trouble and Sorrow for Sin; especially if we cast an eye upon the final issue and Consequences of it, with relpect to the Wcrld to tittinc. Upon the Ungodly, lays holy David, God "will rain &tia>es, Fire and Brimjlon&y Storm and Tempe/t; this fiail be llieir Porticn to d-ink, Phlm xi. 7. Great Plagues remain Jorthe Ungodly, Indignation and Wrath*, '■Tribulation and At.pt.fr% upon every Soul of Man that doth Evil, Rom. ii. 8V 9- Ihe Wicked shah\'bt" turned into Hell, and a I the People that forget God. - Thcle, and. m^ny other such like Texts' os.Sci ipti re, may give us some Idea or Notion of the deplorable Coruh'rion os the: Wicked in a future State, anu of God's Hatred agrairst Sin. And is not thu then, without multiplying Arguments, sufficient to affect us with great Grits and Sorrow, when w; consider that so long as we live in a vkiojs Course, so long are we exposed to all those Plagues and Torments which God hath in Store for wkked Men, and will most certainly be tlwir Lot and Portion, if not prevented by a timely Repentance?
• Trie Sfcond Part,of a true Repentance is* Contrition, or a sorrowful Bewailing Of our owhXSirirulnessin Thoughr, Word and deed. When we call to MmdCoBtno<)B the Sins and Follies of our past Lives, and the Dangers we are" like .to fell into, surely we cannot be otherwise affected, than sensibly grieved wirts/fl*e Thoughts and Apprehensions of our present and approaching Misery. T^-iftrrows of David, and the Repentance of St. Peter, 1 Sam. xii, Luke Xxiu IhcWed themselves in Floods of Tears, atid were too great to be confined within : But eur Hearts are generally so hard and unrelenting, that we sin dgainst God, and loie our own Souls without so much as a Sigh or a Tear. I know that the Tempers of People are different; some can shed Tears upon every slight occasion* and-other* eanrtot weep, though their Hearts are ready to break for Grief; and therefore we are not to judge of the Sincerity of cur own or other People's Repentance by such Signs and Tokens ; nor are Tears always necessary to Repentance, though they Tery well become us; and the least we can do when we have don:' amiss, is to be torry for it, and to condemn our Folly, and to be full of Indignation and Displeasure against ours.lves. / null declare my Iniquity, laith holy David, and be firry for my Sin, Psal. xxxviii. 18.: Fspeclally if we have been very wicked, ar d have multiplied our sransgresllonj, and have continued long in r.n evil Course, have neglected God, and have forgotten him Days without Number ; then the Measure of our Sorrow must b^ar some Proportion to the Degrees of our Sins j if they have been as Scarlet and Crimson, Isa. i. 18. that is, of a deeper Dye than ordinary, then our Sorrow must be a* deep as our Guilt: If not so great, we ought to shew so much Trouble and ^Contrition of Spirit, as to produce in us a penitential Confession of all our former Sins. *■' r: ji
Which is the Third Property of a sincere Repentance. Iivill acknowledge my Jin unto thee, fays holy David, and mine Unrighteousness have I not bid. ctn?OT1 isau* 1 confess my ftm unto the Lord, and so thou forgavefl the Iniquity of my Jin, Plalm xxxii. 5. Which Confession of Sins must not be in general Terms only, that we arc Sinners with the rest of Mankind, but it must be a special Declaration to God of all our most heinous Sins in Thought, Word and Deed, with all their several Aggravations, laying open our Sores to our heavenly Physician \ and this we must do to shew that we condemn all our former evil and vicious Courses, with a full purpose and Resolution of Mind (by Gods Atastance) never to do the like again. Unless this be done, our Sorrow tor Sin, andthfl Confession of our Wickedness, can neVrr profit us in the Sight of God, if if be not/joined with a firm resolution of leading a new Life:
Which is the Fourth and most essential Part of a sincere Repentance, and the only Condition of rinding Mercy with God* He that covereth his Sins snail net prosper; but ivbr.fe confejpth and forfaketb them shall have Mercy, Prov- A Bcw wse xxviih ig. Let the wicked Man forinke bis Ways, and the unrighteous Man bis 'Thoughts, and let htm return unto the Lord, and be it ill have Mercy upon him, and to our God, and he 'will abundantly pardon, Isa. Iv. 7. J tell you nayt faith Christ, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,- Luke xiii. 3. Repent ye therefore, an J he converted, that your Si »s May be blotted out, Acts iii. 19. Those preceding Parts 01 Repentance beiore-mentioned, are only preparative to this > that which must complete and finish the Work of a new Convert is> to tacome a new Creature, "to turn from our e**l wavs; and to break off cur Sins by -Righteous"ness." This certainly must be the Desire and Intention 1 of all Communicint.% if they hope or expect ?ny Benefit or Advantage from this solemn Rite or Covenant} for he thit comes with a Design or Intention ofeontinuing rn his former Sins >nie what like unto fuda , that came and received, and at the sittie Time
is some what like unto Juda , Cv ntinuid his Resolution ot bt traymg hi6 Master. That which makes a M.in absolutely unfit to receive the-holy Sacrament, is the living in the constant and habitual