Page images
PDF
EPUB

of his Divine Authority. He hath appointed it for a solemn Commemoration of his great Love to us, in laying down his Life for us Men, and for our Salvatiun, and therefore he commands us to do it in Rememerance of him. · And St. Paul tells us, that as often as we eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, we do thew fort's the Lord's Death till be come. As for those Min then anonytt us who profets themselves Christians, and hope for Salvation by Jesus Christ, not to pay Cbedience to this his Command, is a downright Affront to his facred iv, ajelty, and he may juftly upbra d us Chriftians, as he did once the Jews, Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the Things which 1 say? How unworthy are we of that Salvation which he hath wrought for us, if we deny him fo Imall a Favour, such a reafinable Request, as to commemorate his Death and bitter Palun once a Month, or at least thrice a year; who did bumble himself even to the

· Death of the Cross for us miferable Sinners, M ns, own Interoff who lay in Darkness

, and in the Shadow of jould oblige thom 10 a conftant Commu ' Deatb, that he might make us the Children nion, becauje of us of God, and exali us to everlasting Lije.' great Benefits.

In this Sacramı nt of the Lord's Supper we have the Pardon and Remiffion of all our Sins, the Grace and Alistance of Gou's Holy Spirit, and the Hopes of eternal Life and Happiness freely offered unto us : And therefore, had we no Love, no Regard or Reverence to the dying Words of our crucified Saviour, yet surely the Cone fideration of our own present and future Advantage might prevail with us to be more frequent at the Loru's Taule ihan we usually are.

Hitherto a Communicant hath been And to be in Charity directed to let his Heart right towards witb all Men.

God; but this is not all, he must proceed Forgiving of Irjuries further, and enquire how it stands affected expected from a Com- towards his Neghbour, since we are exmunicant

presly forbidden, Matthew v. 23, 24. to offer up any Gift or Oblation unto God, if our Hearts are leavened with Malice, Hatred, or Revenge : If thou bring iby Gift unto the Altar, and there rememberejt that thy Brother

bat

bath ought against thee, leave there thy Gift before the Altar, and go thy Way, first be reconciled to thy Brother, and then come and offer thy Gift. Here you see that Chrift preters Mercy before Sacrifice. And it is generally agreed on by the ancient Fathers, that these Words of our Saviour do directly point at this Sacrament, on purpose to oblige all Communicants to forgive all Manner of Injuries, before they presume to eat of that Bread, or to drink of that Cup. And it is expresly said, Matt. vi. 14, 15. that our Prayers are not accepted, nor our Pardon fealed in Heaven, until such time as we forgive Men their Trespasses : and to be sure we can never be welcome or worthy Guests at this heavenly Feast, where Jesus, the Saviour of Penitents and the Prince of Peace, is spiritually present, unless our Repentance reconcile us to God, and our Charity to all Mankind.

And this Charity of the Heart, in forgiving of Charity to Injuries, must likewise thew itself by the Hand, the Poor.

in relieving the Wants and Necessities of the Poor. We read, That when this Sacrament was administered in the Apofties Days, that large Collections of Monies were then gathered for the Maintenance of the poor Clergy and Laity, Aets ii. 44, 45, 46. and i Cor. xvi. i. And Theodoret observes, that Theodofius the Emperor, when the Time came to offer, arose, and presented his Oblations with his own Hands. It was not determined how much every Man should give, but all Men were exhorted and enjoined to offer tome, thing according to their Ability, which if any neglected, the Fathers censured them as unworthy Communicants ; and to be sure nothing within our Power can so effectually recommend our Prayers and Devotions like this of Charity; It being well observed, Mat. vi. that our Saviour hath inclosed Prayer between Alms and Fasting; and therefore they are called its two Wings, withoạt which it will never fee fo high as the throne of God. While Cornélius was fasting and praying, we read that an Angel from Heaven was dilpatched to him with this happy Message, Thy Prayers and Ibine Alms are come up for a Memorial before God, Acts x. 4. He that kath Pity upon the Poor lendiik unto the Lord, and that

which he bath giver will be pay him again, Prov. xix. 17. Charge them that are rich in this Worldthat they be rich in good Works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in Store for themselves a good Foundation against the Time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal Life, 1 Tim. vi. 17, 18, 19. Do you not know, that they who minister about Holy Things live of the Sacrifice, and they who wait at the Altar, are Partakers with the Altar ? Even so bath the Lord aljo ordained, that they who preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel, 1 Cor. ix. 13, 14. If we have fown unto you Spiritual Things, is it a great Matter if we shall reap your worldly Things?

Ver 11. But we may justly complain with St Bafil Hom. in

Bafil, that we know some who will fast and Mar. xix.

pray, sigh and groan, yea, and do all Asts of Religion, which cost them nothing, but will not give one Farthing to the Poor. What Benefit is there (faith he) of all the relt of their Devotions ?

And when the Communicant has thus far advanced Prayer. towards the Altar, in his Examination, Repentance, &c. he must not forget another excellent Preparative belonging to this Duty, of communicating worthily, which although it be not mentioned in our Church Catechism, yet it is always implied, as a necessary Part of our Sacramental Preparation, i.e. Prayer *, private and publick; a Duty upon which all our present and future Blessings depend, Mat. vii. 7, 8. and xxi. 22. And so near a Relacion hath this Duty of Prayer with this Sacrament, that all those Blessings therein contained and promised, are only in Return to our Prayers ; and no doubt but that Man who makes a conscientious Practice of this Duty in his Closet, and at Church, can never be unprepared for this Sacrament, nor want a Title to God's peculiar Favour and Blessing; For the Eyes of the Lord are over the Righteous, and his Ears are open unto their Prayers, 1 Pet. iii. 12. The constant Exer

cise

See the Devout Soul's Daily Exercise, in Prayers, Contemplations and Praises : containing Devotions for Morning, Noon and Night, for every Day in the Week With Prayers and Thanksgivings for Persons of all Conditions, and upon all Occasions. By R. Parker, D.D.

cife of Prayer, is the best Method to get the Mastery over our evil Inclinations and corrupt Affections, and to overcome our vicious Habits : lt preferves a lively Senle of God and Religion in our Minds, and fortifies us against those Temptations that assault us; it spiritualizech our Nature, and raiseth our Souls above this World, and fupports us under the Troubles and Calamities of this Life, † by lancti. fying fuch Am ctions; it leads us gradually to the Perfection of a Christian Life, and preserves that Union between God and our Souls, which feeds our spiritual Life with Grace and Goodnes; without it, we in vain pretend to discharge those Christian Duties incumbent on us, or to prosper in our Temporal Affairs, which must have God's Bleffing to crown them with Success. And as Prayer in general has these great Blessings and Advantages attending it, fo give me Leave to suggest to you under this Head, That

those publick Prayers and Devotions, which Publick Prayers we offer unto Gud in our Churchis, are not recommended.

only more acceptable to him, but also much more edifying and advantageous to ourselves ; * they cannot but be more acceptable to God, because thereby his Honour and Glory is much more considerably advanced and maintained in the World, than by our private Devotions : By these outward Signs and Tokens, we publickly declare to all the World that in ward Rogerd and Esteem which we have for his divine Perfections and Goodneis; hereby we let our Light so fbine bu ore Men, that they may see our good Works, and glorify our Faiker which is in Heaven, Mar. v. 16. There is no Duty in Scripture more frequently commanded, none more earnestly pressed upon us, than this of Publick Prayer,

We

+ See The Daily Companion, with Cbriffian Supports under the Troubles of it is World, &c.

* See a Sermon concerning the Excellency and Usefulness of the Common Praver, preached by William Beveridge, D D. late Lord Bihop of St Alapb, at the Opening of the Parish Church of St Peter, Cornhill, London.

Also The Clurchman's Daily Companion, shewing the Necessities and Advantages of frequenting the publick Prayers. By Dr. Warren,

We have the Example of all good Men in all Ages for it; and of Christ himfelf, who was daily in the Temple and in the Synagogues, and, no Question,' frequented thote Places at the usual Hours of Prayer, because then he had the fairest Opportunity from thore Publick Assemblies, to instruct, and to Exhort to Faith and Repentance. 2dly, We may expect greater Blessings and Succeis to our Requests and De. fires, when we juin in the publick Prayers of our Church, than from private; because our Saviour has in a special Manner promised to such Affemblies his immediate Prefence, that where two or three are gathered togetber in bis Name, there will be be in the midst of them, which he hath.no where faid the like of privati, though both are very good, nay, both are absolutely necessary for the Beginning and Ending of a Christian Life ; and it is a very bad Sign of some evil Principle or other, for any Man to be fuch a Stranger to the House of Prayer ; which is one of the greatest Bleslings and Privileges (if we know how to value the fame) that we can have in this world, and has always been acă counted such among all wife and good Meri. It is certain that the Turks, whom we call Infidels, go to their publick Devotions five Times every Day; and shall chey, not rise in Judgment againit us Christians, who cannot afford to go once or twice a Day to God's House, when we have boili Leisure and Opportunity. If Men shall be judged for every idle Word, to be sure they shall not pais unpunished for all the Neglects and Onisins of their Duty of this Nacure. But to proceed !

To this Duty of frequent Prayer, the ComReading and Meditarian.

municant should spend some Portion of Tiine

in Reading and Meditation, to raise h's Soul into a devout and heavenly Temper : The proper Office of Reading is, to gain Spiritual Food and Sustenance, and of Meditation to digeft it. Those divine Subjects, most proper for our serious Contemplation on this folemn Occasion, I think, are our Saviour's Serinon on the Mount, the Love of God in the Salva:ion of Sinners throug! Jesus Christ, Repentance, Feith, Cherily, * Death and Judgment; the happy Condition

of • See An Effe&ual Remedy againji iwe Fiar of Death, by Juan Norris, M.A.

Rr

« PreviousContinue »