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lower · rate, than by delivering him up to Torments and Death for us all? What doth it mean, but to let our Zeal a work upon mortifyiug all our Lusts and Affeations, and upon perfecting Holiness in the fear of God, because Christ gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all Iniquity,and Purifie unto himself a peculiar People, zealous of good works? What doth it mean, but to make us ever watchful and circumspect, left we tread under foot the Blood of the Son of God? Because, if we fin wilfully after we have received the Knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more Sacrifice for Sin, Heb. 10. 26. It is, secondly, a Memorial of Christ's Love, Love stronger than Death, that made him give his life a ransom for the ungodly. And what doth this mean, but to kindle in our Hearts. the most ardent Affections to Him again, who fo loved us, as to die for us? The greatest Affection this, that 'tis possible for any Mortal Man to express, down his Life for the Brethren But yet, infinitely short of that, which the Son of God expressed upon the Cross, for his Enemies : In this he commended his Love towards us, above all proportion and comparison, in that while we were yet Sinners Christ died for us,the Just for the Unjuft. It is
thirdly, a fæderal Solemnity, whereby we renew the Covenant we entred into at our Baptism, Vowing, Promising, and
Engaging over the Symbols of Christ's Body and Blood; and Swearing, as it were, with our Hands laid upon the Redeemer of our Souls, that we will henceforth walk in Newness of Life. And what doth this mean, but to bind us with the most Solemn Securities, and uşder the most dreadful Penalties," to renounce the Devil and all his Works; to deny all the Lusts of the Flesh, so as not to follow or be led by them; and not ony to offer up our Hearts and Spirits unto the God of Purity, but to present even our Bodies a living Sacrifice, Holy and Acceptable to him ? And for the farthering of all these Noble Ends, this Mystery is, in the Fourth place, the very Means of Grace and Salvation, an Instrument that conveys to us the present Poslession of all necessary and suitable Assistances, and a Title under Seal to all the Evangelical Promises, and particularly to this, that he that persevereth unto the end, the same shall be saved; and that to them who by patient continuance in well-do: ing, seek for Glory and Honour, and Immortality, God will render Eternal Life, Rom. 2. 7. And what doth this mean
too, fame less
too, but that we should grow in Grace; that we must not grieve the good Spirit of God, whereby we are Sealed to the day of Redemption; but that we should be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his Might, and give all manner of diligence to make our Calling and Eledion unto Grace sure and effectual, by adding to our Faith, Virtue (or Courage) and to Virtue, Knowledge, and to Knowledge, Temperance; and to Temperance, Patience ; and to Patience, Godliness and to Godliness, Brotherly Kindness; and to Brotherly Kindness, Charity; Charity, in the bighest degree, to all Mankind, and even to our Enemies ? Thus, you see, the nature of the Ordinance, it self is such, that it is not only highly useful for the present, but of mighry Importance for the future; it hath a tendency forward; and it drives at mighty Ends, which our endeavours are to be employ'd about, after the Celebration of it is over ; that we may be more and more Partakers of the Divine Nature, and come every day nearer and nearer to the Life of God.
TO confirm this still, we may observe, Secondly, That those very Preparations which are required in order to our worthy Communicating, do all look the same way, and have a direct tendency to the fame purpose. Thus Faith, or the hearty belief of the truth of our Religion upon those Evidences and Motives it carries with it, is naturally productive of constant Obedience to the Precepts of it, throughout the whole course of our lives. For as it discovers to us the Folly, the Shamefulness, and the bitter Fruits of Sin; so it shews us on the other hand the ex cellence of Virtue, and the beauty of Holiness. It proposes Christ's Yoke as an easie thing, especially to such as make a due use of the Spirits Aslistance, and accustom themselves to the familiar practice of Religion. And though at the first entrance upon a Life of Holiness, there may be many difficulties for us to grap. : ple with, Affections to be regulated, evil Habits to be eradicated, Pleasures and secular Advantages to be denied, when they stand in competition with our Duty: and though in the progress of our life many temptations from within and with out us are to be resisted ; many hardships and tryals to be expected, and a bundance of discouragements of several kinds to be met with before we die; yet we learn from our Religion, that the present satisfactions which attend a course of Virtue are so great, and the future Rewards which are to crown it, are so end
less and unspeakable, that upon weighing the one against the other, we cannot but conclude, that neither the Pleasures nor the Sufferings of this life are worthy, in the least measure to be compared with the Glory which shall be revealed Now if we bring such a Faith as this with us to the Sacrament, if we be strong and stablish'd in it, this alone will naturally ferve to defend us as with a Shield from all Fiery Darts of the Devil; and to render us puissant enough to overcome the World, i Joh. 5. But to prepare us the better still for an uninterrupred course of . Virtue, we are moreover to repent us throughly for all our past Sins, and to present our felves before God with new Hearts and new Spirits, which is not required as a Temporary Disposition, to be brought only at this time before the Altar, there to languish and die with Vows that are Abortive, and that yield either no Fruits at all, or at least no perfect Fruits of Repentance : No, this is to be the beginning of a new life, the first rise and starting towards the Race that is set before us; and as we run it,our Repentance must improve and grow, from Shame and Sorrow for Sin, to an Hatred of, it; from this Hatred of it, to strong Resolutions against it ; and from thote