Page images

in thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee?

Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.

These things thou hast done, and I kept silence; but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.

Now consider this, ye that forget God; lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.

Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation ; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

Blessed is he, that considereth the poor; the Lord will deliver him in the time of trouble :

The Lord will deliver him, and keep him alive, and he shall be blessed upon the earth ; and thou wilt not deliver him into the will of his enemies.

The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing : thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.

But I said, Lord, be merciful to me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee.

Yet the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. O send out thy light and thy truth : let them lead me,

let them bring me to thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

Then will I go unto the altar of God, my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.

The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

Do good, O Lord, to them that are true of heart, and evermore mightily defend them. Do good in thy good pleasure unto Sion, build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

In God will I praise his word: in the Lord will I praise his word : thy vows are upon me, O God; I will render praises unto thee,

For thou hast delivered our souls from death; wilt thou not deliver our feet from falling, that we may walk before God in the light of the living ?

I will love thee, O God, and praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it; and I will wait on thy name ; for it is good before the saints.

Glory be to the Father, &c,

A Prayer for the Grace of Charity, 8c. O most gentle, most merciful and gracious Saviour Jesu, thou didst take upon thee our nature, to redeem us from sin and misery: thou wert for us led as a lamb to the slaughter : and as a sheep before the shearer is dumb, so thou openedst not thy mouth; thou turnedst thy back to the smiters, and thy cheeks to the nippers; thou wert mocked and whipped, crucified and torn, but thou didst nothing but good to thy enemies, and prayedst with loud cries for thy persecutors, and didst heal the wound of one that came to lay violent hands upon thee: O plant in my heart gentleness and patience, a meek and a long-suffering spirit, that I may never be transported with violent angers, never be disordered by peevishness, never think thoughts of revenge; but may, with meekness, receive all injuries that shall be done to me, and patiently bear every cross accident; and, with charity, may return blessing for cursing, good for evil, kind words for foul reproaches, loving admonitions for scornful upbraidings, gentle treatments for all derisions and affronts; that living all my days with meekness and charity, keeping peace with all men, and loving my neighbour as myself, and thee more than myself, and more than all the world, I may, at last, come into the regions of peace and eternal charity, where thou livest, who lovest all men, and wouldst have none to perish, but all men to be saved through thee, O most merciful Saviour and Redeemer Jesu. Amen. An Act of Forgiveness to be said, with all Earnestness and

Sincerity, before every Communion. O God, my God, I have sinned grievously against thee: I am thy debtor in a vast and an eternal debt, and if thou shouldest take the forfeiture, I shall be for ever bound in eternal prisons, even till I pay the utmost farthing. But I hope in thy mercies, that thou wilt forgive me my ten thousand talents; and I also do, in thy presence, forgive every one that hath offended me : whoever hath taken my goods privately and injuriously, or hurt my person, or contrived any evil against me, whether known or unknown; whoever hath lessened my reputation, detracted from my best endeavours, or hath slandered me, or reproached, reviled, or, in any word or way, done me injury; I do, from the bottom of my soul, forgive him; praying thee also, that thou wilt never impute to him any word, or thought, or action done against me; but forgive him, as I desire thou wouldst also forgive me all that I have sinned against thee, or any man in the world. Give him thy grace, and a holy repentance for whatever he hath done amiss : grant he may do so no more; keep me from the evil tongues, and injurious actions of all men, and keep all my enemies from all the expresses of thy wrath : and let thy grace prevail finally upon thy servant, that I may never remember any injury, to the prejudice of any man, but that I may walk towards my enemies, as Christ did, who received much evil, but went about seeking to do good to every man : and if ever it shall be in my power and my opportunity, to return evil, O then grant, that the spirit of love and forgiveness may triumph over all anger, and malice and revenge; that I may be the son of God, and may love God, and prove my love to thee, by my love to my brother, and by obedience to all thy laws, through the Son of thy love, by whom thou art reconciled to mankind, our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus. Amen.

Vers. Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers, neither take thou vengeance of our sins.

Resp. Spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood; and be not angry with us for ever. Amen.





“When Isaac and Abimelech had made a covenant of peace and mutual agreement, they would not confirm it by a sacramental oath till the next morning, that they might swear fasting, for the reverence and religious regard of the solemn oath,” saith Lyra. But Philo says, "they did it symbolically to represent that purity and cleanness of soul, which he that swears to God, or comes to pay his vows, ought to preserve

with great religion.'--He that in a religious and solemn address comes to God, ought to consider whether his body be free from uncleanness, and his soul from vile affections. “ He that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is justified, let him be justified yet more,” saith the Spirit of God a; and then it follows b, “He that thirsts, let him come and drink of the living waters freely, and without money;' " meaning that when our affections to sin are gone, when our hearts are clean, then we may freely partake of the feast of the supper of the Lamb.

For, as in natural forms, the more noble they are, the more noble dispositions are required to their production,-so it is in the spiritual: for when Christ is to be efformed in us, when we are to become the sons of God, flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, we must be washed in water, and purified by faith, and sanctified by the Spirit, and cleansed by an excellent repentance; we must be confirmed by a holy hope, and softened by charity. So God hath ordered in the excellent fabric of human bodies : first, our meat is prepared by fire,—then macerated by the teeth,.--then digested in the stomach, where the first separation is made of the good from the bad, the wholesome juices from the more earthy parts : these being sent down to earth, the other are conveyed to the liver, where the matter is separated again, and the good is turned into blood, and the better into spirits : and thence the body is supplied with blood, and the spirits repair into the heart and head, and thence they may be sent on embassies for the ministries of the body, and for the work of understanding. So it is in the dispensation of the affairs of the soul: the ear, which is the mouth of the soul, receives all meat; and the senses entertain the fuel for all passions and all interests of virtue and vice. But the understanding makes the first separation, dividing the clean from the unclean.-But when the spirit of God comes and purifies even the separate matter, making that which is morally good, to be spiritual and holy, first cleansing us from the sensualities of flesh and blood, and then from spiritual iniquities that usually debauch the soul: then the holy nourishment which we receive, passes into divine excellences. But if sensuality

* Rev. xxii, 11.

h Ver. 17.

be in the palate, and intemperance in the stomach ; if lust be in the liver, and anger in the heart,-it corrupts the holy food, and makes that to be a savour of death, which was intended for health and holy blessings.

But, therefore, when we have lived in the corrupted air of evil company, and have sucked in the vile juices of coloquintida, and the deadly henbane; when that is within the heart which defiles the man,—the soul must be purged by repentance, it must be washed by tears, and purified by penitential sorrow.

For he that comes to this holy feast with an unrepenting heart, is like the fly in the temple upon the day of sacrifice: the little insect is very busy about the flesh of the slain beasts ; she flies to every corner of the temple «; and she tastes the flesh, before the portion is laid before the god: but when the nidour and the delicacy hath called such an unwelcome guest, she corrupts the sacrifice, and therefore dies at the altar, or is driven away by the officious priest. So is an unworthy communicant; he comes, it may be, with passion, and an earnest zeal ; he hopes to be fed, and he hopes to be made immortal; he thinks he does a holy action, and shall receive a holy blessing; but what is his portion ? It is a glorious d thing to be feasted at the table of God; glorious to him that is invited and prepared, but not to him that is unprepared, hateful, and impenitent.

But it is an easy thing to say, that a man must repent before he communicates : so he must before he prays,

before he dies, before he goes a journey ; the whole life of a man is to be a continual repentance e: but if so, then what particular is that which is required before we receive the holy communion ? For if it be a universal duty of infinite extent, or unlimited comprehension, then every Christian must always be doing some of the offices of repentance: but then, which are the peculiar parts and offices of this grace, which have any special and immediate relation to this solemnity ? For if there be none, the sermons of repentance are nothing but

. Exta prægusto Deum,

Moror inter aras, templa perlustro omnia.
d Est gloriosus sane convictus Deum,
Sed illi, qui invitatur, non qui invisus est.

Phædr. iv. 23. Schwabe, vol. ii. p. 302.
• See the Doctrine and Practice of Repentance, chap. 1. and 2.

« PreviousContinue »