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in Matt. xix.
to communicate, laying up in flore for themselves a good Foundation against the Time to come, Ibat they may lay bold on eteinal Life, i Tim. vi 17, 18, 19. Do ye not know that they wbó minister about holy Things live of the Sacrifice, and they who wait at the Altar are Portakers with the Altar ? Even to bath the Lord also ordained, that they who preach the Gospel hould live of the Gospel, 1 Cor. ix. 13, 14. If we have fown unto you fpiritual Things, is it a great Matter if we mhall reap your worldly Things? Ver. 11. But we may justly complain Basil, Homil,
with Bafil, that we know fome who will “ fast and pray, sigh and
groan, yea, and do all Acts of Religion which cost them nothing, but
will not give one Farthing to the Poor : What Benefit is there, « faith he, of all the rest of their Devotions ?" And when the Communicant has thus far advanced towards the Altar, in his
Examination, Repentance, &c. he must not forget another excellent PrePrayer.
parative belongirg 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, that is, Prayer *, private and public; a Duty upon which all our present and future Blessings depend, Mait. vii, 7, 8. and 21, 22. And fo near a Relation 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 Duiy 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 Eres of the Lord are over the Righteous, and his Ears' are open unto their Prayers,
The constant Exercise of Prayer is the best Method to get the Mastery over our evil Inclinations and Corrupt Affections, and to overcome our vicious Habits : It preferves a lively Sense of God and Religion in our Minds, and fortifies us against those Tempsations thạt assault us; it spiritualizeth our Nature, and raiseth our Souls above this World, and supports us under the Troubles and Calamities of this Life, by fanctifying * such Affiliations; it leads us gra; dually to the Perfection of a Christian Lise, and preserves that Union between God and our Souls, which feeds our spiritual Life with Grace and Goodneis; without it we in vain pretend to discharge those Christian Duties incumbent on us, or to prosper in our temporal Affairs, which must have God's Blefling to crown them with success
. And as Prayer in general has these great Blessings and Advantages attending is, lo give me leave to fuggeft to you under this Head, that those public Prayers and Devotions, which we offer unto God in our Churches, ale not only more acceptable to him, but also much more edifying and
Prayers readväntageous to ourselves : They cannot but be more acceptable to God, because
Pet: iii. 12.
• See The Devout Soul's Daily Exercise, in Prayers, Contemplations and Praifes ; containing Devctions for Murning, Noon and Night, for every Day in the Week; with Prayers and Thanksgivings foi Perions of all Con. ditions, and upon all Occasions.
* See The Daily Companion, with Christian Supports under the Troubles of this World, &c.
thereby his Honour and Glory is much more considerably advanced and maintained in the World, than by our private Devotions: By these outward Signs and · Tckens, "e publicly declare to all the World that inward regard and esteem which we have for his divine perfections and goodness; hereby we let our Light fo shine before Men, that they may lee our good works, and glorify cur Father whicb is in Hesten, Matt. v. 16. There is no Duty in Scripture more frequently commanded, none more carrently pressed upon us, than this of public Prayer. We have the exaniple of all good Men in all Ages for it, and of Christ himself, who was daily in the Ten:ple and in the Synagogue, and, no question, frequented those Places at the usual Hours of Prayers, because then he had the fairelt opportu. nity, from thole public Affemblies, to instruct and to exhort to Faith and Repentance. 2dly, We may expect greater Blessings and success to our Requests and Desires, when we join in the public Prayers of our Church, than from private, bem cause our Saviour has in a special manner promised to tuch Assemblies his inmediete prefence; that where two or three are gathered together in his Name, there will he be in the midst of them : Which he hath no where faid of private Prayer, though both are very good, nay, both are absolutely necessary for the beginning and ending of a Christian Life : And it is a very bad Sign of some evil Principle or other, for
any Man to be much a stranger to the House of Prayer, which is one of the greatest Blessings and Privileges (if we know how to value the same) that we can have in this world, and has always been accounted such among all wise and good Men. It is certain, that the Turks, whom we call Infidels, go to their public Devotion five times every Day; and shall not they rise in Judgment against us Christians, who cannot afford to go once or twice a Day to God's House, when we have both leisure and opportunity? If Men Thall be judged for every
idle Word, to be sure they shall not pass unpunished for all the neglects and omissions of their Duty of this nature. But to proceed :
To this Duty of fervent Prayer, the Communicant should spend some Portion of Time in Reading, and Meditation, to raise his Soul into a devout and heavenly Temper : The proper Office of Reading is to gain spiritual Food and Sustenance, and of Meditation, to digest it. Those divine Subjects most proper serious Contemplation on this solemn Occasion, I think, are " our Saviour's Ser. “mon on the Mount; the Love of God in the Salvation of Sinners, through « Jesus Christ; Repentance, Faith, Charity, Death and Judgment; the happy « Condition of a future State of Blessedness, and the miserable Condition of the « Damned in Hell.” These and the like, as they offer themselves unto you, hould be meditated upon, until some Sorrow of Mind, some Ardor of Devotion, some Act of Faith, some Flame of Love and Charity arise in your
Souls. Thus have I briefly represented to you both the Nature and Neceslity of a Sa
See a Sermon concerning the excellency and usefulness of the Common Prayer. By W. Beveridge, D. (D, late, Lord Bishop of St. Alaph, at the opening of the Parish Church of St. Peter, Cornhill, London.
cramental Preparation, which in great measure contains the whole Duty of a Christian's Life; namely, “Repentance towards God, Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, and Charity towards our Neighbour." And I also hope, whosoever among us will but endeavour to prepare themselves for the holy Communion, according to the forementioned Directions, may (by the help of God) upon all occasions come to the Lord's Table, without the least Fear or Danger of “ eating and “ drinking Damnation to themselves."
And now some People may censure this Discourse as giving too great Liberty and Encouragement to approach the Lord's Table with less Preparation than otherwise Men would venture to do. But I know no Ground or Reason for
any such Suggestion, if they impartially consider the Excellence and perfection of that Guide and Companion I have followed throughout the
Whole : And to represent this Duty of frequent Communion otherwise than what the Church requires, is an Injury both to God and to ourselves : And I dare affirm, that no Part of divine Worship has suffered more on this accourt, than that of the holy Communion; Thousands of People not daring, in all their Life-time, (though very good Livers) to partake of the Lord's Supper, for fear of eating and drinking their owo Damnation.
For farther Instruction, see A Treatise of Sacramental Covenanting with Chrift;
Newing the Ungodly í beir Contempt of Chrilt in their contempt of the Sacramental Covenant. By John Rawlet B. D. Author of The Christian Monitor.
PREPARATORY TO A
AGREE ABLE TO
What the Churců of ENGLAND requires from her Communicants.
A Prayer to God for his gracious afsift:ance and direction in our Sacra
LY, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth, Heaven and Earth are full
of thy Majesty and of thy Glory: I the unworthiest of all creatures do here, in all humility of fval and body, prostrate myself before thee, acknowledging my own weakness and insufficiency to do any thing that is good of well pleafing, in thy sight: - And therefore, humbly implore the speciali influence of thy Grace and holy Spirit, to further these my endeavours for a worthy participation of the holy Communion of the Body and Blcoj of Christ, which he has commanded me to do in remembrance of him, and of those benefiis wilich we receive thereby. Teach me O. Lord, the right way, and lead me in the paths of holy preparation, that I may be received as a worthy and welcome guest at this thy lieavenly table. Possess my mind with a true sense of the greatneis of this mystery, and the excellency of thy mercy in preparing this Table for our spiritual Food : Inspire my Soul with
pure and pious Dispositions ; and instead of those filthy Rags of, my Righteousness clothe me with the Righteousness of the Saints, that
may be a clean, though homely Receptacle for my Saviour, and one Day fitted for the blessed Society of Saints and Angels in Heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Our Father, &c. See Psal. xxii. xxvi. cxi.
A Prayer for the Gift and Grace of Repentance.
quity, and haft more especially enjoiried all those who compass thine Altar to wash their Hands in Innocency, vouchlafc nie unseigned Repentance for my past Sins, a hearty Sorrow and Contrition of Spirit to lament my Sinfulness, and most firm and stedfast Purposes to lead a šew Life. It is the Voice of thy wondrous Goodness and Mercy, that if the Wicked shall forsake his Ways, and the unrigbteous Man bis Tbrughts, i bou wilt bave Mercy upon him, and abund intly pardon bim, O let thy Goodness (whereof I have had to great a Share, and plentiful Experi• ence) lead me to Repentance not to be repented of, that I may be a fit Gucft at tby. Sons Table. “ Have Mercy upon me, O Lord, and according to the Multitude of “ thy tender Mercies, blot out all my Tran!gressions for thy Mercy's sake in : Christ Jesus, the son of thy Love, whom thou hast set forth to be the Propi
“ tiation for our Sins.” Grant this, O merciful Father, for the sake of my blessed
A Prayer before Self-Examination.
very Thoughts, and in whose Sigbt all Things are naked and open, be pleased to imparta Ray of thy heavenly Light to discover all the Sins and Infirmities of my past Life, and whatsoever else thou knowest wherein I have done amifs, that henceforward no fecret Sin may lie undiscoveted and corrupted in my Soul; that by examining my Life and Conversation by thy Law, the Rule and Measure of my Duty, I may understand the true State and Condition of my Soul, and from a juft Sente and Sight of all my. Transgressions, through the Affistance of thy Grace and heavenly Benediction, I may be enabled to reform my Life, and to turn my Feet unto thy Testimonies ; so faithfully to search and examine my own Conscience, that I may come holy and clean to the heavenly Feast, and be received as a worthy Partaker of that holy Table which thou hast called me to. Grant this for thy Mercy's fake in Christ Jesus. Amen. See Psalm cxxxix. Brief Heads of Self-Examination upon each Commandment.
nounced him by Apostacy, yet have I not loved, desired or delighted ia other Things more than in God? Or, have I not feared men, and dreaded the Dit pleasure of the World, inɔre than of God ? Or, have I not trusted in men, and relied upon the World, more than upon God? have I not despaired of Gua's mercy ? Or, by preluming tuo much up n ir, encouraged myselt in fin ? Hive I not been unthankful for Mercies received ? Or, have I not ascribed the Glory and Honour of what I now enjoy to myself, more than to God ? -(Say) God be inerciful to me a Sinner, and lay not this for these) Sins to my Charge [Repeat the same at the End of every Commandment.]
Il. Though I have not worshipped God by Images, yet have I not entertained gross and falle Conceptions of him? or, have I nut wilfully omiteted coming to Church, or to the public Prayers, when I had no juft occasion to hinder ine? or have I not rudely, irreverently or wantonly behaved inytelf during the l'ime of divine Service? or, have I not wilfully refuted to come to the Lord's Supper, when I have been called to it! or, have I not rafhly and unadvisedly received the Sacrament without due Preparation ? or have I not broken my Vows and Resolutions which I then made.
III. If I have not openly blasphemed the Name of God, yet have I not lightly or irreverently spoken of him ? or, have I not profanely jefted upn, or abuted his