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divine Qualifications, which this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper requires, to render us worthy Partakers thereof.
And what those are, is the Design of this Discourse; wherein I shall endeavour to shew what chat Preparation of Heart and Mind is, which must dispose us for a worthy Participation of the Blessed Sacrament: And herein I hope to remove all those Fears and Scruples which arise in our Minds about eating and drinking unworthily, and of incurring our own Damnation thereby, as groundless and unwarrantable; and to do this I shall take Occasion to explain that Part of our CHURCH CATECHISM, designedly intended for our Instruction, with relation to this Duty of a Sacramental Preparation, viz.
Q. What is required of them who come to the Lord's Supper?
A. To examine themselves whether the repent them truly of their former Sins: stedfastly purposing to lead a new Life, bave a lively Faith in God's Mercy through Christ, with a shankful Remembrance of bis Death, and to be in Charity with all Mir. This is that Sicramental Preparation which our Church (in as few Words as pffible) lath provided for our C: mpan'oa or Guide to the Holy Altar. Th Dutv chen of a devout Communicant confifteth in these fix following Particulars : 1. Self-Examination, to examine themselves, 2. Repentance towards God, whetber they repent then truly of their formey Sins. 3. Holy Purposes or Refolutions of a new Life, fedfaftly purposing to lead a new Life. 4 Paith in God's Mercy through Christ, to have a lively Faith, &c. 5. A Thankful Remembrance of his Death. 6tbly, and lastly, Unteigned Love or Charity for all Mankind, and to be in Cbarity with all Men.
The first Part then of a Communicant's Duty is SelfExamination : A Dury not only enjoined by human Authority, but likewise commanded by Șt Paul.
But let e Max examine bimself, and so let bing eat of that Bread, and drink of ibat Cup, i Cor. xi. 28. i Intimating, that no Man should presume to eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup, wirbeut a previous Preparation, if he meant to escape that same
Judgnent or Condemnation which these Corintbians brought upon themselves for their irreverent, finfuels and disorderly Bebavisar at ibis Sacrament; and this was the Occasion of St Paul's Caution and Reproof: He that eateth and drinketb swwortbily (says the Apostk) eateth and drinketh § Damination to bimfelf, not discerning the Lord's Body, Verfe 29.
Bur that our Preparation may be fo well performed by us as to prevent th: like Danger, let us (as the wise Man advileth) Remember the End, and we frall never do amiss, Eccl. vi 36. First, then, that we may come to this heavenly Feast boly, and adorned wiib ibe' Wedding Garment, Mat. xxii
. 11. we must search our Hearts, and examine our Confciences, not only eill we see our Sins; but until we have them; and instead of those filthy Rags of our Righteousness, we muft adorn our Minds with pure and pious Dif. positions ; ever that clean Linen, the Righteousness of the Saints, Rev. xix. 8. With these Ornaments are holý Souls fitted for the Society of that Celestial Company, which are to be met with at this Solemnity. Secondly, Another End or Defagn of this strict Preparation is, that we may be accepted of by God as worthy Communicants; that be who knowetbe lbe Secrets of all our Hearts, neither is their any Creature that is not manifest in bis Sight, but all things are naked and opened unto sbe Eyes of bim with wborn we have to do, Jer. xvii. 10. Heb. iv. 13. may approve of the Sincerity of our Repentance; and the King who comes in to view the Guests, Mat
. xxii. 11. may (though strictly speaking we are not fo) counc us worthy of his Favour and Countenance. And
Nore, This Word Damnation does not signify Eternal Condemnation, bat on the contrary, fome temporal Punishment or Judg nent, (as you dave it in the Margin of your Bible) such as Sickness or Death, witte which this City of Corinth was act:dfor their great Abuse and Profination of this folemn Institution ; so that the Sins here reproved, (viz. Gluttony, Drunkennels, and Faction, ver. 18, 21, 22.) and the Damtation here threatened, hath no Relation to us, unless it could be proved Chat any of us were ever guilty of the same Wickedness with these Co. fierbiani ; which I helieve no Man ever was, or would be suffered to approach the Lord's Table' after such a disorderly Manner, as they did, it hich were so lewd and prophane.
how to obtain so great a Blessing, these following Instruction's will help and affift us.
First, We are directed to repent as truly of Repentance.
all our former Sins. This is that Preparation which Christ himself requires of us, Mat. iii. 2, 3. A Duty, you know, which our finful Lives make always necessary for our Consideration, if ever we expect eternal Happiness hereafter, Luke xiii. 2, 3. But more especially the Dignity of this Sacrament requires, that it should be enquired into with more than ordinary Care and Circumspection; because without sincere Repentance, we cannot expect any Renefit or Advantage from the Death and Passion of Christ, which in this Sacrament we commemorate, and have the Merits of it conveyed to us by this sacred Memorial. Supposing then that this is sufficient to convince you of the Necesity and Importance of this Duty, that upon it depends our Welcome or Rejection, to or from this Heavenly Feaft unto which you are called : I proceed now, in the second Place, to inform you, That if your Repentance or Return to God, be real and sincere, it will produce these following good Effects in you.
First, A Sense, a Sorrow, and Confeffion of all The Nature
bur former Sins. Secondly, A stedfaft Purpose of a true Red
or Resolution to lead a new Life. These are the pin:ante.
genuine Fruits of a true Repentance, and must always accompany our Return to God, if we hope to have it effectual to ou: Salvacion. And,
First, We must labour to gain a Sense or Sigbt of all our former Sins and Wickedness. This will readily present itself to us by comparing our Lives and Actions by the Rule
or Standard of God's * Word, which we must The Ten Com- make the Measure of our Examination +. St
Paul thews us, Rom. iii. 20. That by the Law is the Knowledge of Sin; and our own Experience will con
• See An Explication of the Creed, tbe Ten Commandments, and the Lord's Prayır, bey fohn Rawler, B. D. the Author of the Cbriftian Memirst:
+ See The Daily Self-Examinant : or, An Earnest Perfuafivé lo sbe Daty of Daily S/-Examination, &c. By Dr. Warren.
vince us, that there is no way more likely to discover our In quities, and to humble ourselves for them, than a serious Application of God's Word to our crooked Paths; and this Duty of Self-Examination is never more properly applied to, than when we intend to receive the Holy Communion: For unless we see-shie Numits, and apprehend the Heinousness of our Offences, and fear the Vengeance due unto us for them, we are altogether unfit for the Conmemoration of his Death, who died for our Sins, and rose again for our Justification. It is the sense and Sight of Sin, that must she'w us the Need and Necessity of a glorious Redeemer, and what Obligations we are under to bless and praise God for our Salvation by his Son Jesus Christ. Of such great Use and Advantage is this Duty of SelfExamination at all Times, that Pyibagoras, in those Golden Verles which go under his Name, particularly rec mmends the same to his Scholars. Every Night before they Nept, he enjoins tbem to examine themselves, wbat Good
they bad done, and wberein th:y bad transgressed. Run over these Things (said he) and if you have done Evil, be troubled ; if Good, rejoice. This Course, if daily followed, as is suggested by Hierocles, his excellent Commentator, perfects the Divine Image in those that use it. Plutarch, Epictetus, Seneca, and the Em. peror Marcus Antoninus, agree in' recommending the same Practice by their own Examples; but especially Holy David, I bought on my Ways, and turned my Feet unto thy Testimonies, Plal. cxix. 59. And this Method, no doubt, is an admirable Means to approve us in Virtue, and the most effectual Way to keep our Consciences awake, and to make us stand in awe of ourselves, and afraid to fin, when we know before-hand that we must give so severe an Account to ourselves of every Action. And when we are employing our Minds in this Ducy of Self-Examination, before the Cominunion, or at any other Time, we must discharge it as impartially as is possible for us, judging as kverely of our own Actions, as we would do of our greatest and worst Enemy; or otherwise we shall but facter and gective ourselves in a Matter of the greatest Weight and
Importance, viz. of knowing the State and Condition of our own Souls : But if our Enquiries are just and true, we shall then plainly discover wherein, and how often we have gone astray and done amiss. We shall, by the faithful Difcharge of this Duty, bring to Light all our ungodly, unjust, and uncharitable Ailions; all our vain and filthy Speeches ; all cur wanion, proud, ond covetous Thoughts. Such a strict and . impartial Examination 'will discover to us that accursed Thing Sin, Deut. vii. .26. which has defiled our Nature, nade God our Enemy, and will exclude us the Kingdom of Heaven, if not repented of, 1 Cor. vi..9, 10. But by such a severe Scrutiny as this, we shall-soon perceive the Number of our Transgressions, whaç vile Wretches and grievous Offenders we are, how often we have broken our most furious Vows and Resolutions, especially after the receiving the Holy Sacrament, and in Times of Sickness and Distress : Such a Sight, and such a Prospect of Misery as this, should excite in us a hearty: Trouble and Sorrow for Sin ; especially if we calt an Eye upon the final Issue and Consequences of it, with respect to the World to come. Upon the Ungodly (saith Holy David) God will rain Snares, Fire and Brimstone, Storm and Tempejt, this fall be their Portion to drink, Pfal. xi. 6. Great Plagues remain for the Ungodly, Indignation and Wrath, Tribulation and Anguish, upon every Soul of Man that doth Evil, Rom. ii. 8, 9. The Wicked hall be turned into Hell, and all the People that forget God. These, and many other such like Texts of Scripture, may give us some Idea of Notion of the deplorable Condition of the Wicked in a future State, and of God's Hatred against Sin. And is not this then, without multiplying Arguments, sufficient to affect us with great Grief and Sorrow, when we consider that so long as we live in a vicious Course, so long are we exposed to all those Plagues and Torments which God hath in Store for wicked Men, and will most certainly be their Lot and Portion, if not prevented by a cimely Repentance?
The second part of a true Repentance is contrition, or a sorrowful Bewailing of our own Sinful
ness, in Thought, Word, and Deed. When we call to mind the Sins and Follies of our past Lives, and the Dan