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World, only to gain a fight of the Boasted Reliques of some celebrated Saint; to be entertained with long Accounts of Miracles, to kiis a Silken Rag, or prostrate themselves before a Bone set in Gold! But alas! were all the Legends these fond Men give credit to, most true, yet what is here that can deserve their mighty Pains, or tedious Journeys ? What Shrine can pretend to fanctifie, or command Veneration in any degree, comparable to that saving and mystical Presence of God himself upon the Altar? The poor effects of such mistaken Zeal are but too manifeft. Men generally go for Curiosity and Diversion, not for the Improvement of their Minds; and they return accordingly. Better in no respect, except in having seen a thing much talk'd of which they had never seen before. 'Tis to be hoped but few are so blind, so wretchedly deluded, to iinagine, that such Penances and Painful Travels can do them service, without true Contrition, and serious Reformation of Life. And where there are, much more substantial Advantages may be had a great deal nearer home. For lo! the King of Saints invites us, He gives the sure and blessed Fruits of Righteousness and Salvation to all who worthily receive him: An Invitation, in compliance with which, Levity and Sensuality, a Roving Head,or a Gadding Humour have no part, but all is done by the wise and well-weighed Grace of a sted fast Faith; the comfortable Assurances of a Devout Hope ; and the Affectionate Zeal of a Sincere and Holy Love.
Oh, mighty Maker of the World! whom, though we plainly see in all thy Works of Wonder , yet Thou thy self remainest invisible; how astonishing are thy Dispensations to the Sons of Men? How sweet, how comfortable, how full of Efficacy, yet still how unaccountable to Sense and Reason are the Methods by which thou art pleased to communicate thy self to the Faithful in this Blessed Sacrament? Where thy
chosen and worthy Servants partake of that heavenly Food, which nourishes their Souls to Life immortal; while Reprobates and bold Intruders take empty Elements, void of Spiritual Substance and Saving Power. This is a Mystery above our Comprehension. This kindles in us holy Zeal, and engages our devoutest Affections. And by receiving Creatures, in themselves of mean and common Efficacy, we find our Weaknesses ftrengthned, our Decays recruited, and our Love of Thee and Virtue strangely heightned and confirmed. Who can express, who can conceive that hidden, that amazing Distinction made in this Holy Supper ; whose Graces and good Effects are so liberally distributed to the Faithful ; and yet Unbelievers and Impenitent Men have no Portion, no Experience at all of them? Who can discover those mystical Methods, by which Spiritual Grace is conveyed with Bodily Sustenance ? How Bread and Wine should be made Instruments of ftrengthning the Soul; of purging away the Blemishes and Reproaches of Nature ; healing her Deformities and Diseases; taking out the Stains of Sin and vicious Habits, contracted by conversing with a naughty World; subduing furious Pallions; recțifying and moderating irregular Defires ; and invigorating both the Body and Mind of feeble Sinners at once.
Such is the new Life, and Health, and fprightly Vigour, which good and godly Men experimentally find upon these Occasions. And who then can fufti. ciently lament the general Lakewarmness, the cold Neglact, the sensless Stupidity of Mankind upon this Occafion? How regardless are They of Christ? How hardly prevailed upon to accept their own Mercy, their Sanctification, their Redemption, in the Ways prescribed by himself for imparting these glorious Advantages ? How rudely do they turn their Backs upon that Feast which creates Joy in Heaven,and preserves Earth and its Inhabitants from Misery and Ruin??
Oh! the wretched Blindness, the inflexible Obstinaсу
and Hardness of Mens Hearts, which will not see, or seeing, will not value fo inestimable Benefits; but turn their very Happiness into an Occasion of Destruction, by suffering the frequent Opportunities, and the very Easiness of attaining these precious Privileges, to bring them into general Disefteem; which make the Greatness of their Master's Love, the abundant Provision for their Health and Support, a Pretence for Starving in the midst of Plenty.
For I can scarce persuade my self, but that, if this holy Sacrament could be had in one place, and from one single Hand only, Men would with eager Zeal repair thither, and vast Crowds of People strive to partake of so rare a Blessing. But now, when every Church, and every Festival, when every Priest, and almost every Lord's Day exhibits this Delicious Food, brings it home to our Doors, and offers it to as many as are religiously and devoutly disposed to accept the gracious Tenders ; when every Sermon exhorts, entreats, conjures us to be thus happy; we turn our Backs, and light the cheap, the easie Favour. Yet manifest it is, that the Kindness of our Lord is not the less, but much the greater, for putting the Terms of our Salvation within our own Power, and leaving the wholeBlame and Condemnation at our own Doors, if we refuse to take what without our Fault we can ne. ver want. And shall we then proceed to nauseate and disdain our greatest Blessings? to think them les valuable for being more common? No, blessed Jesus.! We will acknowledge thy unspeakable Bounty ; we will most thankfully confess thee the good Shepherd, who haft provided such rich Sustenance for thy Sheep, and leadelt them out into Fat Paftures. Blessed be thy Eternal Mercy, who vouchsafest to give thy Body, not only for, but to thy poor Servants in this difconsolate State: Who, not content to facrifice, it
once upon the Cross, offereft it daily in the Sacrament; and haft silenced all the Fears and Melancholy Misgivings of our own Guilt and Unworthiness, by that most tender and compassionate, that moit extensive and universal Invitation; Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden with the Burthens of your Sins, and I will refresh you.
CHA P. II.
The Love of God to the Soul manifested in this
vited, I come ; but I do not presume to do so, trusting in my own Righteousness, but in thy manifold and great Mercies. I feel, alas! my Weaknesses and Wants; and betake my self to Thee for Relief: fick and diseased I fly to the Physician of Souls; hungry and thirsty to this Fountain of Living Water, and Bread of Life ; poor and needy to the Bountiful King of Heaven ; a Seryant to his kind Master ; a Creature to his compassionate Creator, who hateth nothing that he hath made ; and a forlorn difconfolate Wretch, to Thee, the Holy, the Eternal, the only Comforter. But whence is this
But whence is this to me, that my God should vouchsafe to come unto me? Or who am I, that thou should'st communicate to me thy own self? How shall a wicked Sinner dare to appear before thee? Or how canft Thou, who art of purer Eyes than to behold Iniquity, endure to make such condescending Approaches, to a Soul polluted with Sin and with Uncleanness? Thou seeft my very Inward Parts, and knoweft I have nothing in me that is good, nothing to invite such Mercy, nothing fit for
the reception of so pure, so glorious a Majesty ; I will therefore most humbly confess my own Vileness, and Thy unspeakable Goodness ; I will most thankfully praise, and admire, and adore thy marvellous Love, and exceeding abundant Grace. For this is purely thy own Act. Nothing on my part could deserve, nothing could move thee to it. The more unworthy I am, the
more conspicuous is thy Goodness, the more amazing - thy Mercy and Condescension. Since therefore thou
art pleased to stoop so low, be it unto me according to thy Word : Since thou hast thought fit to command my Approach, I will most gladly testify my ready Obedience ; and only beg, that my, own sinfulness may not render me odious in thy sight, nor frustrate these inestimable Mercies to me.
O sweeteit, kindest Saviour! What humble Reverence, what devout Thankfulness can be great enough? What Praise can be sufficiently expressive of that Love, which admits so poor, so miserable a Wretch, to the Participation of those Divine Mysteries, the Dignity whereof no Tongue of Men or Angels can worthily set forth? But when I thus address to my Lord, and am allowed such intimate Familiarities with him, what sort of Reflections ought to fill my Breast? To approach thee with all the profound Respect due upon such Occasions, is impossible ; I will therefore supply my want of Ability by the earneftness of my Zeal'; and most humbly beseech thee to accept those hearty Desires of the inestimable Beneft, by which my Soul and all its Faculties thirst and pant most impatiently after Thee and thy Righteousness. When Thou art the Subject of my Meditations, the Matter is too vaft for regular Thought ; the Idea's too dazling bright for a finire Understanding ; and I quickly feel my telf lost in Wonder and Astonishmert. I will therefore turn my Eyes inward, and entertainmy self with the less pleasing indeed, but not less profitable, Prospect