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to bow before him---shall not we, my brethren, with thankful and 'devout hearts partake joyfully in his exaltation and felicity? Thou, O DIVINE BENEFACTOR! O illustrious RESTORER of the last hopes and happiness of mankind ! Thou art most worthy to be thus raised above all beings! Our sorrows once were thine! For our transgressions thou wast bruised, and for our iniquities wounded. Now in thy joy we rejoice, and in thine honours we triumph! We with lifted hands will ever bless thee! Prostrate at thy feet we will join with all the heavenly hosts in celebrating thy praises, in ascribing to Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, all power, and glory, and dominion, for ever!”
thine ! Forings! Oursorron thus raised
ALL the blessings which we now ena joy, 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 hasinstituted the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, for a continual Remembrance of his Death and Passion, to our great and everlasting comfort, Luke xxii. 19. 1 Cor. xi. 24. But then we must remember, that these blessings are no where promised, but on condition that we ourselves are first duly qualified for them. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is a solemn ratification of our Baptismal Covenant, wherein God, on his part, hath faithfully promised pardon
and remission of sins to all true penitents, and we, on our parts, are solemnly bound to be faithful and obedient unto Him; and, therefore, before we can promise ourselves any benefit from the participation of the solemn rite and covenant between God and us, we must endeavour, as much as possible, to possess our souls with all the divine qualifications which this Sacrament requires, in order to render worthy partakers of it.
That I might the better explain the nature of these qualifications, (which is the design of this discourse) I shall endeavour to show what that preparation of heart and mind is, which must dispose us for a worthy participation of the Sacrament; and I hope to remove all the fears and scruples which may arise in our minds, about "eating and drinking unworthily, and of thus incurring our own damnation.” To this end, I shall take occasion to explain that pert of our CHURCH CATECHISM, intended for our instruction, with relation to this duty of a Sacramental Preparation ; namely,
Q. - What is required of them who come to the Lord's Supper?”
A.“ To examine themselves whether
they repent truly of their former 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 be in charity with all men.” This is that Sacramental Preparation which our Church hath provided for our Companion or Guide to the Holy Altar. The duty then of a devout Communicant consists in the six following particulars : 1. Self-Examination; to examine themselves. 2. Repentance towards God; whether they repent truly of their former sins. 3. Holy purposes or resolutions of a new life ; stedfastly purposing to lead a new life. 4. Faith in God's mercy through Christ; to have a lively faith, &c. 5. A thankful remembrance of his death. 6. Unfeigned love for all mankind; and to be in Cha. rity with all men.
The first part then of a Communicant's duty is Self-Examination ; a duty not enjoined merely by human authority but commanded by St. Paul: But let a Man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup, 1 Cor. xi. 28. intimating, that no man should presume to eat of that Bread and
drink of that Cup, without a previous preparation, if he mean to escape that same judgment or condemnation which theCorinthians brought upon themselves for their irreverent, sinful, and disorderly behaviour at this Sacrament; and this was the occasion of St. Paul's caution and reproof: He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, says the Apostle, eateth and drinketh damnation* to himself, not discerning the Lord's Body, ver. 29.
But that our preparation may be performed in such a manner, as to prevent the like danger, let us, according to the advice of the Son of Sirach, remember the end, and we shall never do amiss, Eccl. vii. 36. First then, That we may come to this heavenly feast holy, and adorned with the wedding garment, Matt. xxii. 11. we must search our hearts, and examine our consciences, not only till we see our sins, but until we hate them;
* This word damnation, in this place, does not signify eternal condemnation, but some temporal punishment or judgment, as sickness or death, with which the city of Corinth was afflicted, for their great abuse and profanation of this solemn institution, as the Apostle himself expresses it in the following verse ; « For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep;" and the sips wliich he reproves are their contentious behaviour, gluttony, and drunkenness, at the table of the Lord, ver. 18, 20, 21, 22: