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St. Stephen, and the apostle St. Paul, used that posture in their devotions, that or lower; for St. Paul kneeled upon the shore; and our Lord himself fell prostrate on the earth. But to them that refuse, I shall only use the words of Scripture, which the fathers of the council of Turon applied to this particular: “ Why art thou proud, O dust and ashes?” And when Christ opens his heart, and gives us all that we need or can desire, it looks like an ill return, if we shall dispute with him concerning the humility of a gesture and a circumstance.
11. When thou dost receive thy Lord, do thou also receive thy brother into thy heart and into thy bowels. Thy Lord relieves thee, do thou relieve him; and never communicate, but be sure to give thy alms for one part of thy offering. St. Cyprian does, with some vehemency, upbraid some wealthy persons in his time, who came to the celebration of the Lord's Supper, and neglected the corban,' or the ministering to the saints. Remember, that, by mercy to the poor, the sentence of dooms-day shall be declared; because what we do to them, we do to Christ : and who would not relieve Christ, who hath made himself poor, to make us rich ? and what time is so seasonable to feed the members of Christ, as that, when he gives his body to feed us, and that, when his members are met together to confess, to celebrate, to remember, and to be joined in their head, and to one another? In short, the church always hath used at that time to be liberal to her poor; and that being so seasonable and blessed an opportunity, and of itself also a proper act of worship and sacrifice, of religion and homage, of thankfulness and charity, it ought not to be omitted ; and it can have no measure, but that of your love, and of your power, and the other accidents of your life and your religion.
12. As soon as ever you have taken the holy elements into your mouth and stomach, remember that you have taken Christ into
you, after a manner indeed which you do not understand, but to all purposes of blessing and holiness, if you have taken him at all. And now consider, that he who hath given you his son, with him will give you all things else. Therefore, represent to God, through Jesus Christ, all your needs, and the needs of your relatives : signify to him the condition of your soul; complain of your infirmities; pray
for help against your enemies; tell him of your griefs; represent your fears, your hopes, and your desires; but it is also the great sacrifice of the world, which you have then assisted in, and represented; and now you, being joined to Christ, are admitted to intercede for others, even for all mankind, in all necessities, and in all capacities; pray, therefore, for all for whom Christ died; especially for all that communicate that day, and for all that desire it; that their prayers and yours, being united to the intercession of your Lord, may be holy and prevail.
13. After you have given thanks, and finished your private and the public devotions, go home; but do not presently forget the solemnity, and sink from the sublimity of devotion and mystery, into a secular conversation, like a falling star, from brightness into dirt. The Ethiopians would not spit that day they had communicated, thinking they might dishonour the sacrament, if, before the consumption of the symbols, they should spit: but although they meant reverence, yet they expressed it ill. better which is reported of St. Margaret, a daughter of the king of Hungary, that the day before she was to communicate, she fasted with bread and water: and after the communion, she retired herself till the evening, spending the day in meditations, prayers, and thanksgiving, and at night she ate her meal. Her employment was very well fitted to the day; but for her meal, it is all one when she ate it, so that, by eating, or abstaining, she did advantage to her spiritual employment. But they that, as soon as the office is finished, part with Christ, and carry their mind away to other interests, have a suspicious indifferency to the things of God. They have brought their Lord into the house, and themselves slip out at the back-door : otherwise does the spousep entertain her beloved Lord, “ I found him whom my soul loveth, I held him, and would not let him go.” He that considers the advantages of prayer, which every faithful soul hath upon a communion-day, will not easily let them slip, but tell all his sad stories to his Lord, and make all his wants known; and, as Jacob to the angel, “ will not let him go, till he hath given a blessing." Upon a communion-day, Christ, who is the beloved of the soul, is gone to rest; and every secular employment, that is not necessary and part of duty, and every earthly thought does 66 waken our beloved before he please;"' - let us take heed of that.
p Cant. iii. 4.
14. But what we do by devotion and solemn religion that day, we must do every day?; by the material practice of virtues we must verify all our holy vows and promises; we must keep our hearts curiously; restrain our passions powerfully; every day, proceed in the mortification of our angers and desires, in the love of God and of our neighbours, and in the patient toleration of all injuries which men offer, and all the evil by which God will try
Let not drunkenness enter, or evil words go forth of that mouth', through which our Lord himself hath passed. The heathens used to be drunkt at their sacrifices, but, by this sacrifice eucharistical, it is intended we should be filled with the Spirit. If we have communicated worthily, we have given ourselves to Christ; we have given him all our liberty and our life, our bodies and our souls, our actions and our passions, our affections and our faculties, what we are, and what we have-and in exchange have received him; and we may say with St. Paul“, “ I live: but not I, but Christ liveth in me." So that we must live no more unto the world, but unto God; and, having fed upon manna, let us not long to return to Egypt to feed on garlick. “ For as when men have drunk wine largely, the mind is free, and the heart at liberty from care,—so when we have drunk the blood of Christ, the cup of our salvation,--the chains of the old man are untied, and we must forget our secular conversation :" so St. Cyprian*.- But the same precept is better
4 Tu, pane vitæ accepto, facis rem mortis, et non horrescis ? Nescis quam multa mala proficiscantur et subeant ex deliciis.-S. Chrysost. homil. 27. in 1 Cor.
r Ille crucem, plagas, alapas, sputa aspera, passus,
Waldfrid. Abbas de Pass.
Queis nostrum supero cum atre jungo genus. Nazianz. • Μεθύειν, μετά το θύειν.
ů Gal. ii. 20. * S. Cyprian. lib. ii. ep. 3. ad Cæcilium.
given by St. Paul y, “ But the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new." He that hath communicated, and does not afterwards live by the measures of that day's duty, hath but acted a scene of religion ; but himself shall dearly pay the price of the pompous and solemn hypocrisy.
Remember that he is sick, who is not the better for the bread he eats ; and if thou dost not, by the aids of Christ whom thou hast received, subdue thy passion and thy sin, thou hast eaten the bread of idleness; so,
” saith St. Jerome', does every one, who, when he hath taken of the sacrifice of the Lord's body, does not persevere in good works, imitating that in deed, which he hath celebrated in mystery.”—Let us take heed; for the angels are present in these mysteries, to wait upon their Lord and ours. And it is a matter of great caution, which was said by Vincentius Ferreriusa : the angels that assist at this sacrament, would kill every unworthy communicant, unless the divine mercy and long-sufferance did cause them to forbear a speedy execution, that the blessed sacrament might acquire its intention, and become a savour of life unto us.'
y 2 Cor. y. 14, 15.
Ad carnis improperium degenerat.
• Serm. 4. de Corpore Christi.
Acts of Virtues and Graces relative to the Mystery, to be used
before or at the Celebration of the Divine Sacrament.
1. The Address. It is well, O sweetest Saviour Jesus, it is very well, that thou art pleased to be a daily sacrifice for us, and to become our daily super-substantial bread to feed our souls. Certain it is, that we, by our daily failings and the remaining pollution of our sins, frequently sink down into the bottom of thy displeasure. But do thou grant, that, being refreshed by the sacrament, recreated by thy grace, strengthened by thy Spirit, and comforted with thy miraculous sweetness, my heart and my affections may be lifted up on high.
II. O grant, that by thee my soul may be lifted up to thee, and from herself may pass into thee, with a pure mind, with an unfeigned religion, with an unblamable faith, and burning devotion; with filial piety, and a profound reverence.
For thou art the true God, the Word of life, the bright image and splendour of thy Father's glory, the reward of saints, and the Lord of angels, the brightness of an eternal light, the unspotted mirror of eternal purity.
An Act of Love. Thee alone, O Lord, my soul desires; thou art eternal sweetness in my soul. If the perfume of thy ointment be sufficient to all the world, what is the refection of thy table ? If we live by every word proceeding out of thy mouth, what felicity and joy is it to live upon thee, the eternal Word, chewing thee by faith, and digesting thee by love, and entertaining thee in our hearts for ever? How shall not my bowels melt into thee, the Sun of Righteousness? How is it that I do not forget all deliciousness besides thee?
A single pleasure, poor and empty, wearying and unsatisfying, hath often made me to forget thee. Now that thou art truly and effectively present with me, how can any other pleasure in the world seem pleasant to me any more? I will