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“Now let a Psalm or Hymn be sung, and the congregation dismissed, with
the following, or some other Gospel"
the God of Peace, that brought again from
the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory for ever and ever. AMEN.
CELEBRATION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.
EARLY BELOVED in the Lord, forasmuch as
we are now assembled to celebrate the holy Communion of the body and blood of our Saviour Christ, let us consider these words of St. Paul, how he exhorteth all persons diligently to try and examine themselves, before they presume to eat of that bread, and to drink of that cup. For, as the benefit is great, if with a true penitent heart and lively faith we receive that holy sacrament, for then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink His blood; then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we be one with Christ, and Christ with us : So is the danger great if we receive the same unworthily; for then we be guilty of the body and blood of Christ our Saviour;
we eat and drink our own condemnation, not discerning the Lord's body; we kindle God's wrath against us, and provoke His punishment upon us.
And, therefore, in the Name, and by the authority of the Eternal God, and of His Son Jesus Christ, I separate from this Table all blasphemers of God, all idolaters, all that be in malice or envy, all persons disobedient to father or mother, and finally all such as live a life directly fighting against the will of God : charging them, as they will answer in the presence of Him who is the righteous Judge, that they presume not to profane this most holy Table.
And yet this I pronounce not to exclude any penitent person, how grievous soever his sins before have been, so that he feel in his heart unfeigned repentance for the same: but only such as continue in sin without repentance. Neither yet is this pronounced against such as aspire to a greater perfection than they can in this present life attain. For, albeit we feel in ourselves much frailty and wretchedness, as that we have not faith so perfect and constant as we ought, being many times ready to distrust God's goodness, through our corrupt nature; and also that we are not so thoroughly given to serve God, neither
have we so fervent a zeal to set forth His glory, as our duty requireth ; feeling still such rebellion in ourselves, that we have need daily to fight against the lusts of the flesh: yet, nevertheless, seeing that our Lord hath dealt thus mercifully with us, that He hath printed His Gospel in our hearts, so that we are preserved from falling into despair and unbelief; and seeing that He hath endued us with a will and desire to renounce and withstand our own affections, with a longing for His righteousness, and the keeping of His commandments: We may be now right well assured, , that these failures and manifold imperfections shall be no such hindrance against us, as that He should not accept us, and count us worthy to come to His spiritual Table. For the end of our coming is not to protest that we are just and upright in our lives; but contrariwise, we come to seek our life and perfection in Jesus Christ; acknowledging in the meantime that of ourselves we are children of wrath and condemnation.
Let us then consider this Sacrament as a precious medicine for all poor sick creatures, a comfortable help for weak souls; and that our Lord requireth no other worthiness on our part, than this : that we unfeignedly
acknowledge our sinfulness and imperfection. Then to the end that we may be worthy partakers of His merits and most comfortable benefits, which is the true eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood, let us not suffer our minds to wander about the consideration of these earthly and corruptible things, which we see present to our eyes and feel with our hands; to seek Christ bodily present in them, as if He were enclosed in the bread and wine, or as if these elements were turned and changed into the substance of His flesh and blood. But as the only way to dispose our souls to receive nourishment, relief, and quickening by His substance, let us lift up our minds by faith above all things worldly and sensible, and thereby enter into heaven, that we may find and receive Christ where He dwelleth undoubtedly, very God and very man, in the incomprehensible glory of His Father : to Whom be all praise, honour, and glory, now and for ever. AMEN.
FATHER of Mercy, and God of all consola
tion ! Thou whom all creatures acknowledge and confess as Governor and Lord : It becomes us,