« PreviousContinue »
Lord's day, Af. 20. 7. and that Custom continued for several Centuries : of this 'tis probable Pliny the young spoke when he gave Trajan th’Emperor an Account of the Life and Manners of the Christians above 100 years atter Chrift. And 7ustin Martyr, who liv'd 150 years after Christ, and Tertulijan about so years after him relate the same. In Epiphanius his time, about 400 years after Christ, it was cufionary in some places to receive thrice a week, Viz. Sun. days, Wednesdays, and Frydays : and they look'd upon that practice as derived from an Apoftolical Tradition. Socrates, firmamed Scholafticus, who liv'd in the stb. Century, that in some Churches they had the Sacrament constantly on the Sabbath, or Saturday. S. Bazil in the sth. Age, makes mention of a Custom in his time to Communicate four times a week, Sundays, Wednesdays, Frydays, and Sarurdays. Afterwards some receiv'd the Communion once in three weeks. At last, as all things in progress of time deviate from the first Institution, the Chriftians came to Receiving of it thrice à Tear, which they thought was the least a Man, who profess’d bim felt a Christian, could do: which occasion'd that Canon in the Counsil of Turin , That a Lay-man who did not Communicate thrice a year should be excommunicated, or, which is the fame, not be counted a Chriftian, Ard the 21th. Canon of our Church runs thus, In every Parish Church and Chapel where Sacraments are to be administred within this Realm, the holy Communion shall be ministred by the Parson, Vicar, or Minister, fo often, and at such times as every day rishioner may Communicate, at least thrice in the rear, (whereof the Feast of Eastor to be one ) according as they are-appointed by the Book of Common Prayer. Provided that every Minister as oft as he administreth the Communion shall forft receive that Sacrament himself. And it is manifest the Church names three times a year as the very lowest degree of Devotion, less than which it would account profaneness: and we have little or nothing to say for our Commuoicating lo seldom as once 6 Month, but only this, that in most places it is no oftener administret. And by the XI Injunction of King WILLIAM III, Anno 1694. to th' Archbishops, Bishops, and rest of the Clergy, they were to Celebrate it frequently. All which plainly supposes, and recommends to us the often use of it, or rather implies an Obligation upon Chriftians to imbrace all opportunities of Receiving it. For
the Sense and Meaning of any Law or Inftitution is bist understood by the general Practice which follows immediately upon it. §. 4. The Necessity of Receiving appears by
6 reasons. 1 FROM th'obliging Nature of the Benefits and Fruits of it. Heb. 19. 9. Blessed are they who are called to the Lamb's supper. And I may not live to have another opportunity, or not have the like Grace and Assistance from God, if I despise this offer, 2, From th'obliging Import , and Expresness of our bleiled Lord, supream King, and Master, his Command about it, by name in ferred, and particularly specified when S. Paul receiv'd his Commission. 3. It and Baptism, these two cheap and easy things, are his only Positive Commands, instead of the heavy yoke of the numerous, expensive, and laborious Jewi:h Precepis. 4, It was his Dying and last Command. si The neglect and contemproft' is Sacrament, argues the neglect and contempt of his Love and BloudThedding, than which no sin is God's accouat can seem more hainous. 6, Iris a Command which cannot without great Danger be neglected: for God has threatened to Punish the wilful neglect of his Sacraments under the Law with eternal Condemnation both of Body and soul:and Christ in the Gospel will have hisCommands under the penalty of hisCurse obey'd. Nothing hinders why I may not come freely to the Lord's Table, except I had rather want the Love of God, than Jeave my filthy fins. If I pretend fear of Displeasing God, it is, in reality, but a fear of being too ftritly ingaged for to Please Him. IF I would but fear to do that which God has Forbidden, I shou'd not then fear to do that which God has Com. manded. see Part. 3. 8. 3. S. 8.
$: S. AND this young people are also obliged to. as soon as they are capable of Examining themselves, that is , able to judge of what their Sponsors undertook for 'em in Baptism, and understand what the Design of Christ's Death is, and what Offices of Love, and Acts of Justice are due to their Brethren. To remember their Redeemer, as well as their Creator in the daies of their youth; and to close assoon as they can with th' offers of Grace. And their early self examination makes way for early Gravity, and helps to ripen their Understandings, and joynd with the
holy Sacrament is the way to restrain their juvenal Dcfires, curb their extravagant Fancies, and arm them against Pride, Peevith ness , Quarrelling, Idleness, and other youthful lias, and is the best Antidote against Infectiun frum a De. bauch'J and Irreligious world. See Part 3. ch. 1. §. 6. S. 6. PREPARATION is evidently Neces
sary for 5 reasons. 1. Because it has ever been the Practice of all God's Saints. 2, Because I'shall lose all the Benefits of it, if I don't Prepare:. for th’Efficacy of this Sacrament is Receivd according to the proportion of the Faith of the Receiver. 3, Because all those Tempers required to a worthy Com, munion are neceffary parts of Duty, and of a good Man; So that if I'm not prepared for thls Sacrament, I'm not fit for Prayer, or any other part of God's Worship, and Service, and by Conseqnence, not fit to ly in peace, or hope for happiness. 4, Because I've God's command for it, Christ's Example, and the Counsel of the Holy Ghoft. 5, Because God has ever smitten with fearful Iudgments those who have presumed to use his holy Ordinances without due fear and Preparation. 8. 7. Preparation consists in the serious Confider
ation of three things. First, Of the Worthiness of the Sacrament, termed to discern the Lord's Body : which is consider'd three ways; By the Majesty of th' Author ordaining; By the Preciousness of the Parts whereof it consists; and By th' Excellency of the Ends for which it was Ordain'd. Secondly, Ofmine own Unworthiness, which is to Judge my Self; by Examining my Life according to the Ten commandnients of Almighty' cod, and my Baptismal Vow , and New covenant. Thirdly, Of the Means whereby I may become a worthy Receiver, call'd Communication of the Lord's
. Body ; consisting in the Puties of a Sound Knowledge; a Lively Faith; Sincere Charity; Unteigned Repentance; Earnest Affections and Desires towards God, and Religion, and particularly towards those Divine Mysteries; Self Resignation; Meditation of Christ's Pafiion with Reflcctions on my self; and Prayers futable to th’ Occasion. All which are Explain’d in this I Part. :
S. 8. The Author of this Sacrament WAS not any Saint, or Angel, but our Lord feu Chrift, th' Eternal and only Begotten Son of God, far ahove all Principalities and Powers, higher than Angels or Archangels, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, He whose Name is Wonderful : for it pertaineth only to Christ under the New Testament to Institute a Sacrament, because He only can promise and perform the Grace that it signifies. How Sacred should I esteem the Ordinance that proceeds from fo Divine an Author. S. 9. The
Preciousness of the Parts consists in . Firft THE Earthly Signs fignifying; Bread and Wine, in number Two, but One in use. zly. The Divine Word Sanctifying; the Word of Christ's Inítitution pronounced, with Prayers and Blessings by a Lawful Minister, making those Elements a Sacrament. The Word does not change or Annihilate the Substance of the Bread and Wine, (for then it could be no Sacrament.) but changeth them in Use and Name. 34. The Spiritual Graces signified; in number Two, the Body of Christ, (as it was, with the feeling of God's
anger due to us) crucified; and his Bloud (as it was in like fort) Shed for the Remission of our Sins; but in use One, Viz. Whole Chrift, (who is in Heaven bodily, and no where else) but this Mystically, and after an ineffable Manner, with all the Benefits purchased by Him, Offer'd to all, and given indeed to the Faithful. The Sign without this Word, or this Word wirhout the Sign can do nothing; and both conjoin'd are unprofitable without the, Grace fignified; but all Three concurring make an Effectual Sacrament to a worthy Receiver.
9.10. WHEN the Minister gives Warning ofan approaching Communion (which is generally seven days before, except for Christmas when it falls not upon a Sunday, and Afcenfionday, which is alwaies on á Thursilay, and in these cases, which I alwaies know, I may use the Devotions for Sunday, the 7th. day before, for Monday the 6th., for Tuesday, the 5th. day before, donc as I have noted, and) I must Try and Judge my Self by the Rule of God's Commandments &c; (judging the same of my own Actions, as I would if they were done by the worst of my enemies; ) The first of which forbids Apostacy, Déifying the Creature, and Diittrust of God
The 2d. I dolatry , Superstition, Slight and careless Worship. The 3d. Blasphemy, Swearing fallly, or vainly, Curfing, Profaning holy things, and Sacriledge. The 4th. Neglect of the Sabbath, and other Holy times, and mifpending them in Idleness, or Debauchery. The 5th. In Superiors, Negligence , Pride, and Evil example; In Inferiors, Disobedience, Contempt, and Resisting. The 6th. Taking away life, Quarrelling, Anger, Revenge, and Cruelty. The 7th. Adultery, Fornication, Wanton defires, words, and behavior, and Drunkenness. The 8th. Theft, Robbery, Oppression, Cheating, Unjust detainings, and Idleness
. The 9th. False testimonies, Lying, Slandering, Talebearing, and Flattery. The oil, Covetousness, Envy at others, and Discontent with my own Condition. Lord have mercy upon me, and write all these thy Laws in my beart, I beseech Thee.
S. 11. Or in the words of our Catechism.; BY the Ten Commandments I learn two things : my Duty towards God, and my Duty towards my Neighbor.
My Duty towards God is to believe in Him, to fear Him, and to love Him with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my Soul, and with all my strength; to worship Him, to give Him rhanks, to put my whole trust in Him, to call upon Him, to honor his holy Name, and his Word, and to serve Him truly all the days of my life.
mp Duty towards my Neighbor, is to love him as my self, and to do to all Men as I would they should do unto me. To love, honor, and succour my Fatherand Mother. To honor and obey the King, and all that are put in Authority under him. To submit any self to all my Gora crnors, Teachers, spiritual Pastors, and Masters. To order my self lowly, and reverently to all my Betters. To hurt no body by word or decd. To be true and juit in: all my Dealing. To bear no malice nor hatred in my heart. To keep my hands from picking and itealing, and my tongue from evil speaking, lying and flandering. To keep my Body in temperance, soberness, and Chastity. Not to cover nor desire other mens goods; but to learn and labor truly to get mine own Living, and to do my Duty, in that state of life, unto which it shall please God to call me.