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gain in that posture, whether it was before, or at, or after the Administration of the New Sacrament. For after the Palo over-Supper, our Lord spent much time in the upper Room with his Disciples; some, in instituting this Mystery ; lome, in giving hints to Judas, and in discovering the Treachery of his Heart by degrees: Some, in discoursing upon the necessary Virtue of Humility ; some in comforting the Spirits of his sorrowful Retinue; fome in teaching them Love and Charity ; some in Prayer; and some in singing an Hymn before they departed. Now we cannot certainly tell what particular point of time it was, yet St. John and his Fellow-Disciples lay upon their Pallets the second time ; and therefore it is not evident, whether they communicated of the Symbols of their Master's Passion, in that Recumbent posture or ·no.
Some again are of Opinion, that the Disciples received the Sacrament in a standing pofture; because the Jews were wont to stand when they Blesled, and gave Thanks to God; and they were acts of Worship which the Lord Jesus performed at the Institution of this Ordinance; and therefore he might perform them perhaps after the accustomed männer : but ftill this is only Opinion and Probability ; it is not certain, because the Scripture gives us no account of it; 'tis altogether filent as to this matter; and therefore we dare not (we must not) define positively, or subscribe to the truth of it. Upon the same (and possibly better) reasons, what if lome should affirm, that the Disciples received in a kneeling posture : I know the notion will seem to be new; but yet it seems to be built upon as fair an Hypothesis, as any of the former ; at least that they communicated in an Adoring and Worshipping manner. This I am sure of, that there are as substantial and certain grounds for this opinion, as for any of the rest : This plainly appears, that divers Persons being surprised with a sudden apprehension of our Saviour's dignity, of the greatness of his Power, did (after the accustomed manner in that Country) fall down before his Feet, so that St. Peter himself did it, upon the miraculous Draught of Fish, Luke 5. And why might not all the Disciples do this, at his institution of the Blesed Sacrament (which he told them was the representation of his own Flesh and Blood) especially after he himself had Preached unto them a Lecture of Humility, when he had washed their Feet Indeed, the Sacred Story gives us no Authority to affirm this
positively and dogmatically; but yet there are probable Arguments for Mens Conjesture this way: And as far as I can see, all other Opinions are but Conjectures; and I hope we may have leave to opine as well as other Men.
BUT we cannot be so confident, as to determine this matter, in regard that we want the Testimony of Scripture, though Reason may be on our side. And herein.we would give a Pattern to our Diflenting. Brethren, to be modest in Om pinions, for 'which they have no solid Foundation; where, I pray, is the ground they go upon, touching the unlawfulness of Kneeling, as a thing repugnant to the Example of the Apostles; since it cannot be proved, what that Example was? Į¢ might be a posture of Kneeling and Adoa řation, for ought they know. Sitting it was not (I dare confidently affirm:) In all probability, 'twas riot a standing posture neither ; perhaps it was the posture which we customarily use; if not, it was a leaning posture upon Pallets: And no body
now infifteth upon that for an Example 1 3. AND yet, Thirdly, were the Ex
amples both of Christ's Disciples, and of Christ himself, apparently such, as some * Men conjecture, they would not yet be
leading and Authoritative Precedents to us in this point. For 'tis generally agreed by all Christian Divines, that the Example of Christ is not universally to be followed (much less the Example of his Disciples.) In some things 'tis not possible, in other things 'tis not proper, in' many things 'tis not necessary for us to follow that Copy. Where we haye the Example and the Precept too, there indeed we are bound (and I wish Men would consider of those weighty things, rather than of Matters of Nender importance.) But where we have no Command, there. to take an Example for our Rule, is to make our selves guilty in some instances of Folly, and in some of Superstition, and Presumption, The Practice of our Lord and his Disciples is no Rule for us in Circumstantials and Rites,, unless they are made necessarily Practical by some positive Direction and Command. Now we have no Command in this Case, the jh one way, or the other (no, not evi dent Example) to direct us, and therefore they talk vainly and impertinently, who Condemn Kneeling' at the Sacrament as an unlawful.Pofture;. lnce no Law can be derived either from Christ's Precept, or from His or his Disciples Practice, that doth evidently rise up in Judgment against the it.
THE Church then being left to her Liberty what posture to use, thought fit to chuse that of Kneeling, for these three Reasons, chiefly.
L. TO testifie our belief of our Sao viour's Godhead. Had he been a meer Creature, as all other Men are, we might have had some encouragement to present our selves at his Table, as his Fels. lows, and in a common Table-Gesture, as those are wont to do, who deny the Doctrine of his Divinity. But being the Eternal Son of God, and equal to the Father, he hath a Right and Claim to the humblest Services we can think of, to express in some measure the sense we should have of his Infinite Greatness and Majesty ; especially at an Ordinance which was instituted in Honour to him.
2. AS a Posture that is most suitable to the Nature of the Mystery it self. Here we Commemorate the Lord's Infinite Goodness and Love, his unexpressible Sufferings for us, and his humbling of himself to Death, even the Death of the Cross. Here we feed upon the Symbols of his Body and Blood for the Pardon of all our Sins. Here we Seal anew unto God our Covenant of Faith, Mortifica.. tion, and Obedience; and God reneweth unto us his Covenant of Grace and Mer