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of my own Unworthiness ; Laying my Soul low before thee, and from the sense, how little, how meer a nothing, how much worse than
nothing I am, will take the measure of thy Greatness, and form Idea's of thy infinite Goodness. I praise thee, O my God, from the bottom of my Heart; and extol thy Name for evermore. I despise and deteft my self ; and with the deepest Humility put my Soul into thy Hands, that thy Favour and Grace may exalt me, and make this despicable Wretch something, who without thy Mercy is less than nothing.
Oh the wide Extremes! Oh the unmeasurable Distance! between God, the Essence and Perfection of Holiness, and Man, the very Abstract of Filth and Sin. Yet does this God extend Compassion, and look down with Pity, on those who are not worthy so much as to lift up their Eyes to Him. Yet does he come to Us, delight to be with Us, promise to dwell with Us; call, and entreat, and importune Us, to fit and eat deliciously with him. İnvites the Na
ked and Hungry, the Beggers and Vas. Pfal. Ixxviii. gabonds to his own Table, feeds them with Angels Food, Feafts them with the Bread of Hea-.
ven, even that living Bread which came John vi.
down from Heaven, on purpose to give Life unto the World.
Oh! whence could all this mighty Love proceed? what account can be given of such wonderful Condefcension, such tender Regards to loft unworthy Creatures? What Thanks, what Praise, what humble Adoration do those fo highly obliged, so particularly favoured Creatures owe in return for them? How Wise, how Saving was thy Design in the firft Institution of this Holy Supper? How rich, how delightful a Banquet haft thou prepared for thy Guests, by ordering thy own Body and Blood for the mystical Entertainment of the Faithful? How astonishing
are the Operations of thy Grace aud Power ! How incomprehensible the Methods of fulfilling thy most true Promise! Thou spakest the Word in the beginning, and all things were created ; and by the same Almighty Word, thou commandest Bread and Wine, and they nourish Souls to Life Eternal.
This is indeed a Subject, contrived, not for the Exercise of our Reason, but of our Faith. We are not able to account for the mighty Efficacy of Elements in their own Nature Contemptible and Weak. We knew not how that God, whom the whole Heavens cannot contain, should dwell in the Hearts of Men; but this we know, that thou hast promised, by and with this Sacrament, to enter into, and abide in, all worthy Receivers ; and thy Truth is sufficient to silence and vanquish all those imaginary Difficulties, which Cavilling and Curious Men form to themselves about it. Come then, and enter; and live, and Reign in me for ever ; cleanse and adorn with thy Grace the Place of thy peculiar Residence; Preserve my Heart and Body free from all Impurity, and remove far away whatever may be offensive to thy holy Eyes ; let this Vessel of mine be constantly possessed in San&ification and Honour; that, with a peaceful and spotless Conscience, I may frequently approach, and eagerly-receive these adorable Mysteries, which thou hait appointed, for the Comfort and Salvation of those whom the King of Heaven delights to Honour; and for devout and lively Commemorations of thy own most bitter, but most meritorious and precious · Death.
And Thou, my Soul, rejoice and be exceeding glad for fo noble a Favour, fo heavenly a Refrefhment, so rich a Consolation, to support and sweeten thy Pafx fage through this Vale of Tears and Misery. For, Every time thou attendest thefe holy Mysteries, thou doft Spiritually ear the Flesh of Cbrift, and drink bis Blood;
thou doft act as it were over again the Work of thy Redemption, and with great effect partake of thy Saviour's Merit and Sufferings ; for this Love continues always the same, and the excellence and worth of his Propitiation, isan inexhaustible Spring of Mercy. Come therefore hither with new exalted Zeal, enlarge thy Heart and its Desires, and doubt not, but thou shalt at every approach, return with fresh and plentiful accessions of Grace. Let nor the frequency abate thy Devotion ; for this Favour should always seem great ; this Feast always honourable, and the Delights of it always new. And by the Force of Pious Meditation, the Mystery will affect thy wondring Mind at every Repetition, as if the Son of God were just that Moment born from the Womb of his Immaculate Mother; as if thy Suffering Redeemer were in that instant labouring under all his Agonies ! and thy own Eyes beheld him hanging, and bleeding, and dying on the Cross.
CH A P. III.
The Benefit of Communicating often.
Disciple. -Brous to partake of thy Promise, to be
Ehold, I come to thee, O Lord, defienriched with thy Gifts, and feasted with that Heavenly Banquet, which thy Compassion hath prepared for hungry and drooping Souls. I know, O Lord, in Thee is all I need, all I can desire; my Health and Safety, my Hope and Strength, my Honour and Glory. Quicken therefore and Cherish the Soul of thy Servant, for unto Thee, O blessed Jesus, do I lift up my Soul. It is my earnest longing to receive thee with a becoming Reverence and Devotion ; the height of
my Ambition to bring thee Home to my House zand, withŽachæus of old, to be blessed, and reckoned by thee among the true Spiritual Sons of Abraham. My Sğul desires to be fed and strengthened by thy Body,
Heart to be entirely knit, inseparably united, to Thee. Tiste £
Give me but thy felf, and, whatever else thou withi holdest, I am fatished: For all thiðgs besides are mi
serable Comforters, and rather: aggravate than abate my Wretchedness: ? Without thy Confolations I am not able to fubfift. And therefore feel an absolute neceffity of coming to thee often, for fresh supplies of Grace and Strength. My Spirits languish and fink, and if I fast too long, I perish for want of feasonable Recruits from this heavenly Sustenance Thy. Bowels heretofore yearned over the Malcicudes, who came from far to hear thy Saving. Do&rine, and be healed of their Bodily Di/tempers. Thou would it not fend them away empty, but wert pleased to feed Martt. i. them by a Miracle, left they should faint by the way. Extend the fame Compassion towards me, and let this Sacrament sustain-my-fainting Soul, in this Wilderness, barten and remote from any true Comfort. For thou art the sweet; the reviving Food of finking and weary Spirits, and they who worthily partake of this Repast, are nourished unto Life Eternal. I am fadly fenfible of my Infirmities, and frequent Relapses into Sin, and how urgent my Occafions are for these repeated Refreshments ; I quickly cool after my warmest Refolutions ; my Purposes of Goodness ficken and languish apace, and these Decays muft end in Spiritual Death, did not my Prayers, my Self-examinations, my Confessions and Holy Sorrows, preparatory to this holy Feaft, often return: Did not this Divine Suftenance cleanse and renew my Affe&ions; confirm my Purposes of doing well, excite and inflame my Zeal and Love for God and good Works;
Obstinate Fafting would not more certainly quench all my Vital Heat, and destroy my Body , than too long Abstinence from this Spiritual Food will waste
and quite extinguish the Sout and all its Powers of Li. ving well.
I find, and heartily bewail, a fatal Tendency to Evil, and my Experience, from my very Cradle, thews me how strongly I incline to Sin, and fall from bad to worse, except a Remedy from above check this Indispofition, and succour and support me from plunging into Hell. This Holy Communion is that Remedy, lo calls back my wandring Steps, prevents my falling by Relapse or Negle&, and strengthens me in Grace and Goodness
. And, if even in my studied and most laboured Devotions, I am fo often cold, fo lukewarm a the best ; how frozen should I be, how insensible and dead, were these helps laid aside, and no such Apx plication used to warm and quicken me? Though therefore my Life be not so perfect, that I am always in a fit Difpofition to communicate, yet it fhall be my iCare, at folemn and proper Seafons, not to lose the Benefit of these holy Mysteries, or ever to refuse my own Happiness. For this is the Sovereign Balm of wounded Consciences; the great Preservative of decaying Souls; the cheering Comfort of the Faithful, mourning their present State of Banishment, and groaning earnestly for a Release from the Amictions and Infirmities of those Mortal Bodies, to which thy Providence hath for a time confined them. And the oftner they thus remember their God, the greater is
that Affection, and humble Devotion, with which they court and embrace their beloved Spouse and Lord.
But oh! how amazing is thy Love? and what is Man whom thou thus vouchfafest to visit ? when the great God, the Creator of the World, and Father of the Spirits of all Flesh does not disdain to defcend