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is a bad sign of some evil principle or · other, for any inan to be much a stranger to the house of prayer, which is one of the greatest privileges (if we know how to value it) 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 devotions 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 shall be judged for every idle word, to be sure they shall not pass unpunished for the omission of their duty in this respect. But to proceed :
Besides 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 of meditation, to digest it. The divine subjects most proper for our contemplation on this solemn occasion, are our Saviour's Sermon on the
Mount : the love of God in the salva. tion of sinners, through Jesus Christ; repentance, faith; charity, death, judgment, and the prospects of futurity. These, as they offer themselves unto you, should be meditated upon until some sorrow of mind, some ardour of devotion, some act of faith, some flame of love and charity, arise in your souls! .
Thus have I briefly represented to you the nature and necessity of a Sacramental Preparation, which contains the whole duty of a Christian's life; namely, “ Repentance towards God, 66 faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, og and Charity toward our neighbour.” And I also hope, that whoever among us will but endeavour to prepare for the Holy Communion, according to these directions, may hy the help of God, upon all occasions, come to the Lord's table, without the least fear or danger of seating and drinking dam“ nation to themselves.”
And now, perhaps, some persons may censure this discourse, as giving men too great encouragement to apprcach the table of the Lord, with less preparation than they would otherwise venture to do. But they will find no reason for any such suggestion, if they consider the excellency and perfection of that guide and companion which I have followed throughout the whole (the Church Catechism.) Indeed, what can be a more effectual preparation for this ordinance, than “ Repentance toward God;" evinced not only by a deep sorrow and contrition for all past transgressions, but by truly forsaking our sins, and walking with God, in all holy conversation and godliness? 2 Peter ii. 11. What can be more effectual, than that “ Faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” which worketh by love which leadeth to true repentance, which exciteth holy aspirations after heavenly things, assureth us of the forgiveness of God, and of our final acceptance by him, if we persevere unto the end? And, moreover, what a happy tendency has that “. Charity towards our neighbour” which is best expressed by acts of benevolence to our fellow creatures, and which will prove one of the best preparations, not only for the table of the Lord, but for the everlasting society of the BLESSED IN HEAVEN!
PRAYERS AND MEDITATIONS
PROPER FOR A
A Prayer to God for his gracious Assist.
ance in our Sacramental Preparation. HOLY, holy, holy Lord God of Sabaoth, heaven and earth are full of thy majesty and of thy glory! ), the most unworthy of all creatures, do here, in all humility of soul and body, prostrate myself before thee, acknowledging my own insufficiency to do any thing that is good or well-pleasing in thy sight: And therefore, I humbly implore the influence of thy grace, to further these my endeavours for a worthy partici. pation of the Holy Communion of the body and blood of Christ, which he has commanded me to do in remembrance of him, and of the benefits which we thereby receive, Teach me, O Lord, the right way, and lead me into the paths of holy preparation, that I may be
received as a worthy and welcome guest at this thy heavenly table. Possess my mind with a sense of the excellency of thy mercy, in preparing this table for our spiritual food. Inspire my soul with pure and pious dispositions; that my heart may be a clean, though homely receptacle for my Saviour, and be fitted hereafter. for the blessed society of saints and angels in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Our Father, &c. See Psal. xxiii. xxiv.cxi. A Prayer for the Gift and Grace of
Repentance. ALMIGHTY and eternal Lord God, who art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and hast more especially enjoined all those who compass thine altar, to wash their liands in innocèncy, vouchsafe me ưnfeigned repentance for my past sins, and most firm and steadfast purposes to lead a new life. It is the voice of thiy goodness and mercy, that if the wicked shall forsake his ways and the unrighteous inan his thoughts, thou will have mercy upon him, and abun, dantly pardon him. Isaiah lv. 7. O let ty goodness (of which I have had so