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Body. And thus much of those that neglect the Communion through an Evil Conscience.
2. THERE is another fort of Men that are Guilty of the same Crime, but upon different Reasons '(at least they pretend so) such as pass for Fair and Just Men, but yet are so intangled with the Cares of the World, that they excuse their absence from the Sacrament, by pleading that they want time: As if they Lived in some strange and unknown Country, where there are not any hours in the day.
NOW as to Matter of fact, there is no question, but that Secular Concernments do hinder many from this and other Office ces of Religion; upon which account, it is the prime Duty of a Christian to Dye unto the World; and so much Christ intimated, when dividing his Benedictions, he Blessed those in the first place, who are Poor in Spirit, as you find by those Evangelists who have recorded his Sermon on the Mount ; and the Reason of it is told us, Matth. 6.24. because we cannot serve God and Mammon too : And we see it by every days Experience, that the Love of Greatness and Riches, and the Inordinate Cares of this Life, are apt to outweigh all other Confiderations. But then if we speak de Jure, of the Reasonableness and Sufficiency of their Excuses, who time after time refuse the Holy Sacrament, under a pretence, that they have not leisure to Prepare themselves for it; there are many Considerations to be offered, which shew, that this plea will rather Condemn than Acquit them ; for Brévity fake, I shall pitch upon these. this Plea is very much to be suspected and question'd, whether it be real, or only a Pretext and a Cloak to cover their Disobedience. 2. But suppose, that they are Men of some Ingenuity, who pretend variety or multiplicity of Business, Men that are Honest and Conscientious in their Callings, but yet are carried away with an hurry of Affairs, and are troubled about many things, as was said of Martha, Luke 10. 41. yet they should often call to mind the next words of our Saviour, that one thing is needful. It is not necessary to be Rich, but 'tis necessary to be Religious ; and Worldly Matters must ever give place. to things that are of an Heavenly and Spiritual Nature, when they stand together in Competition. Men were better do, as Crates the Theban did, part with all their Gold, than be void of that which is true Wisdom : And it is infinitely more desirable for them to be rid of those Riches which are a clog unto them, and hinder Dz
ness 1. That
them from going to Heaven,than upon
their Death-Beds to be troubled with a fad remembrance, that they have been more faithful Drudges to their Familes, than Friends and Servants to God.
But I hope there are many good People who use the World, yet neither Abuse ihe World, nor themselves for the World's sake. fure, 'tis possible to have our Conversation * in Heaven, even while we live upon the Earth; and 'tis no difficult Matter for a Wise Man, to serve God and himself too. Let him follow his Vocation diligently, let him deal Justly, and shew Mercy, and walk Humbly, and Pray Daily, and with a good Conscience ; and then in doing the works of his Calling, he doth in some measure work out his Salvation too. For he Obeyeth God in labouring with his hands, and in working that which is good; and so throughout the week, he doth in some sort and degree fit and prepare himself against the Sacrament on the "Lord's day. I deny not, but Men should pare off some portion of the fix days, and Consecrate it to a more solemn and strict Preparation. Yet this I say, that the following of our Secular Business with Sobriety and Honesty, is far from being a just hinderance, to keep him from attend. ing on this Ordinance. For let a Man
but lead an Holy Life (and that he may
his want of true Zeal, and a right Chriftian Spirit Yet it is not to be denied, but Men may have some more extraordinary Troubles come in upon them at fome times, than at others. Such is the course of this world, that there are floods as well as ebbings of Business in every Employment. However, 4thly,. This is to be Confidered, that the most important Matters are rarely so instant and pressing, but Men can pick out some lucid intervals, and steal away from their Cares, either to some by. Concernments that are not so cumbersome, or to Recreations that are for their Refreshment. And how can Men pretend, that they have not time to fit themselves for the Sacrament, when they may dispatch the work in a less space, than that amounts to, which many times is vainly, and sometimes sinfully employed ? If such Men were sure to purchase an Estate, by the Prayers and Penances of a week, I am apt to think, none of them would pretend that they wanted time. Or if an Office or Place were in danger to be lost, or a considerable summ of Mony like to be forfeited, unless the Sacrament be Receiv'd by such a day, 'tis likely that whatever Mens Business or Concernments are, they would be sure to keep their sides free from the lash of the Law. And