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OF the Necessity we are under . to receive this Sacrament. • pag. I.
CHAP. IL Several Excuses considered at large, p. z$.
to-. , CHAP. III."'' Of the Necessity of Preparation. p. 41.
Of the Nature of Preparation in General and in Particular. Of Faith. p. 60.
CHAP. V. 0/ Repentance.' p. 84.
Of the Degrees and Measures of Repentance,
according as Mens Sins are. Of um»il-
Of Perseverance. A fbnt Platfgrm of a
Of the "Necessity of Receiving the Holy Sacrament,
\ HOUGH Notions are for the most part more Difficult,and of far less Concernment for men'to Understand, than their Duty; yet such is the general Curiosity of People; that they are more intent upon Speculations, than upon Practice, and study more to be Masters of an Cipinion, than to inform and keep a good Conscience.
HOWEVER, in regard that Knowledge is the Principle of Action, and Men are so governed. by their Perswasions, that their Practice is ever suitable to their Sentiments, the most natural way of prevailing upon them to comply with their Duty, is to instruct their Understandings in the first place, and to furnish theYn with such Notions as may have a due influence upon them, and do naturally tend to
B prompt prompt them on to that business which lyeth before them.
THIS is the Reason, that when I entred upon the Subject of the Holy Sacrament, I thought it advisable for me to Divide my Meditations; so that I might first dispatch the Notional part, which is of the greatest Difficulty; and then proceed to the Practical, which is of the greatest Use.
PURSUANT to this Design, I have formerly discoursed at large of the Nature, of • theEnq,s,of the Dignity, and Usefulness of this weighty Ordinance; which things if Men would but seriously consider and carry in their Thoughts, they could not easily neglect a matter of such importance, without offering violence to their Judgments, and acting against their own Reason.
BUT there is a great deal of matter yet behind, which immediately and directly serveth to engage all of us to discharge our Duty in this particular, and also to govern us in the discharging of it. And the first thing that offers it self to our Consideration, is touching that Neceffity which lyeth upon us, to eat of this Bread, and to drink of this Cup. m
NOW in order to our better proceeding upon this Subject, we must note, that there is a Twofold Necessity which relateth to \
'• the Holy Sacrament.
the matter in hand. i. First, Some things are Absolutely and Indispensably Necessary, because they are the nxt and immovable Conditions of the New Covenant,without the performance whereof, Salvation canriot be expected by us. So, to Believe iri Christ, to Mortifie our Lusts, to have a Sanctified Spirit, to be Humble, Charitable, and the like; these things are Absolutely Necessary; for without Faith, and Repentance, and entire Holiness of heart, none of us can see the Lord. z. Secondly , Some things are Necessary Respectively and upon Supposition; that i% supposing that there is some Qommand for therri\ though they be not necessary in their'owrt Nature, but are required chiefly to try arid^xercife Meris Obedience: Or supposing that they are appointed as certain and effectual Means, in order to some great and Necessary End; and as Instruments to bring us those Mercies, which our Souls stand in need of. Now, when We fay, 'tis Necessary to receive the Sacraments of Christs Body'and Blood; the meaning is not, that it is absolutely simply, indispensably, and universally neceslary, so that no Man cars possibly be saved without it. For no Rites whatsoever are .to* be acwunted of equal moment with substantial Morality; and B' i things