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R E A D E R.
Reafons for publishing this Bock, and to peru - the dangerous tendency of the use of the OLD
Week's Preparation. L AVING for many years experienced, 11 in the course of my office, that, in no one instance of christian duty, there was more need of assistance, than in this of the Lord's Supper; and that many devout communicants have laboured under the same doubts and scruples concerning a worthy preparation, aod partaking of this duty; I am of opinion that many others would be very glad to find such doubts cleared up, and the cause of such fcruples removed, which too commonly disa turb and perplex them by fuch fears and terrors, as indeed make their desire of being truly religious, the burthen and misery, ina Itead of the delight, of their lives; therefore A 2
I do not think my time can be better em. ployed, than when I am endeavouring to render the preparation for that holy ordinance orthodox, rational, and satisfactory to every one. And, I have endeavoured to avoid that too general fault of raising and inflaming the devotion of communicants, without any regard to their information, and settling their understandings.
The most considerable doubts and scruples, which render the minds of communicants uneasy, are considered in the following meditations, which I have framed as full and fatisfactory, as, I believe, can reasonably be expected, in so small a volume,
N. B. To this edition is added our Lord's sermon on the Mount, with Dr. Clarke's paraphrase; for the use of all persons who wish to see that most excellent summary of our christian duty clearly explained.
Of the Meditations, Hymns, and Prayers. , The Meditation for each day is placed first; because I esteem meditation to be a noble exercise of a rational and devout foul. To revolve and consider over and over, and to reflect upon those divine subjects, to which each meditation relates, will greatly contribute to the improvement of our lives, and to the rendering them more conformable to the will of Almighty Gel.
• In the use of the Meditations, we should not read them over in a hasty and curfory manner ; but proceed very deliberately, and try whether we cannot find out something of greater importance in each reading than may be apprehended at the first sentence; and after we have thus gone through the Meditation, which we should always do at one reading, begging God to affect our minds with a con. ftant sense of our duty in all the particulars of it; chiefly that he would enable us to perform those resolutions we have made of ad. vancing in piety and virtue; that he would not leave us to ourselves; but so assist us with his grace, that what we perceive and know to be our duty, we may faithfully fulfil all the days of our life; I say, when the Meditation is thus ended, I have immediately subjoined the Hymns, to be sung or faid according to the disposition of every devout reader. And the reason of this method, I doubt, not, will readily appear to every one, who considers that the design of Hymns is to raise the soul to a nearer conference with God in prayer, when perchance fatigued in some other part of a christian's duty.
To the hymns you have a prayer added, which will furnish you with suitable petitions, fupplications, and thanksgivings, to be offered up to our heavenly Father through Jesus
Chrilt, his dearly beloved Son, our Lord. Not that I presume to dịctate any thing that may stifte che fervency of any one's private devation, who may rather choose to conclude his devotions with an hymn; and it is with 4 view to satisfy such different tempers, that in some cafes I have added more hymns than one to some of the subjects. But as God has given us no direct command in this par. ficular, let it be far from me to act with that presumption, as to endeavour to infarce my own inventions instead thereof.
Of the time to be spent in Preparation. As to the time requisite to be spent, in our preparation for a worthy receiving the Lord's Supper; I could wish it had been more par. ricularly directed and commanded by the Church: yet, I doubt nat but that her having not done it, has proceeded from her kagw, ing that the best rules might hurç fame or other, if yoo closely followed. But I am clear in my opinion, it is always her intention, that her members Mould be as well and tho. roughly prepared as they can, before they ap: proach the Lord's Table; and, for my part, I think myself bound to thank the great and good God, that I am not of the number of those felf-sufficient Christians, who can lay (o great fress ypoæ habitual preparation, aş