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come, I will tread in their Steps, and support my self by the contemplation of their bright Examples. Thy Holy Scriptures shall be my Comfort : In them, as in a Glass, I will view and adorn my Soul : And above all, thy Blessed Body and Blood shall be my Spiritual Sustenance. Here will I seek for Strength against Infirmities, here apply Balm to my Wounds, and Phyfick to my Diseases, and hither fly for Refuge in all my Fears, and Dangers, and Temptations.
Two things are plainly necessary to the preservation of Life, without which no Misery could be so insupportable, as that of living here. The Dismal Confinement of this Prison of Flesh can only be endured by the help of Food and Light. Thy Mercy hath not left us deititute of this Provision; but kindly given thy holy Body for my Refreshment and Sustenance,
and thy holy Word for a Lanthorn unto my Pfalm cxix.
Feet, and a Light unto my Paths. Tothele I owe, not my Comfort alone, but even my Life it felf: For the Word of God is the Light of the Soul, and the Sacrament of his Death is the Bread of Life. These are the two Tables of the Christian, resembling those of the Jewish Church heretofore, where the Divine Treasures are exposed and preserved. The One, like that of the 'Shew-Bread, furnished most richly
with the Symbols of thy precious Body; Hebr. ix.
the Other, like the Repository of the Law, containing Holy Doctrines, prescribing true and saving Faith, and leading us within the Veil to the most holy Place.
All Honour, and Praise, and Thanksgiving be to the Blessed Jesus, Light of eternal uncreated Light, for the Table of his Heavenly Doctrine, spread and adorned by the Ministry of his inspired Servants, the Prophets, Apostles, and other holy. Writers, taught by Himself, that they might teach us. All Glory and Thanks be to the great Creator and merciful Re
deemer of Mankind, for his extensive tender Love, in preparing a plenteous Feast for all the World : Not
like that Paschal Lamb of old, a Type and Shadow ! only, but the very Substance of that Shadow, the Ac
complishment of that Type ; even Christ our Pellover sacrificed for us, and exhibited to us. This Bread su
stains, this Cup cheers and rejoices the Hearts of the i Faithful; it fills them with the overflowing Delights
of Paradise, is a Pledge and Antepaft of Heaven, and, allowing for the difference of Conditions, ad mits us into Partnership with Angels themselves : The Joy of both is the same, tho' both cannot receive ic in equal Proportions.
How high and honourable is that Function, to which God hath permitted, nay, enjoined to Minister in these holy Things; to handle and deliver this blessed Bread, and give each Servant his Portion of Life by and with it, to implore with wonderful Efficacy the Divine Blefling, and exalt natural and common Things' to Purposes and Effects infinitely exceeding all the Powe ers of Nature? How clean should those Hands, how pure those Lips, how chast and holy that Body be, which so frequently, so familiarly converse with, and are united to the Author and Perfection of all Purity? Sure nothing of corrupt Communication, nothing indecent, nothing idle or trifling, nothing but what may tend to edifying, ought to come out of that Mouth, which so often blesses, and consecrates, and takes into it the Sacrament of his dying Redeemer. How should those Eyes be turned away from Vanity, how immovably fixed upon Heavenly Objects, which see their Lord's myftical Body, and invite his peculiar Presence, so frequently brought upon the Altar, by virtue of their being lifted up to the Throne of Grace, in Benedictions and Prayers of his own instituting.
To Men of this. Profession under the Law, no doubt that Precept was in a more especial manner intended,
Be ye holy, for I the Lord your God am Holy. Levit. xix.
But fure the Sanctity and exemplary Lives of Priests under the Gospel ought as much to excel those of the Sons of Aaron, as our Miniftration exceeds theirs in Glory. And therefore, grant thy Grace, O blessed God, to all who are admitted to this holy Office ; and thou, who alone workest great Marvels, exert thy Almighty Power, in enabling every such Person to serve at thine Altar, with clean Hands, and a pure Heart, with a becoming Zeal, and moving Devotion; such as may not only suit their own Character, but be a Pattern and powerful Incitement to the Piety of others. And if we cannot, (as indeed we are still but Men, and in many things offend all ) if we cannot stand before thee in pure un blemished Innocence, or come not up to all those eminent Degrees of Perfection, which we might and ought: Yet let at least our deep and godly Sorrow expiate our Offences; and our Resolutions of entire Reformation, and more conspicuous Piety and Devotion for the time to come, Our unfeigned Humility, and Charity unconfined, and Labours indefatigable, make such Reparation, as thou wilt please to accept, for the Mifcarriages occasioned by the Fraud and Malice of the Devil, or by our own Carnal Will and Frailnefs.
CHA P. XII.
Of Preparation to the Communion.
Love Holiness, and I give what I love.
pure Heart is the thing I delight in, and
this is the Place of my Řeft. Furnish me Luke xxii. thy largest Room, and I will come and i
eat the Passover at thy House with my Disciples.Purge out thy old Leaven, and dress up every Corner of thy Heart; sweep it clean from the World, and all its corrupt Affections
throw out the Lumber and the Filth of thy Sins; if thou desire that I should come and make my abode with thee. Sit as a Sparrow alone upon the House-top, and mourn in thy Closet for all the Transgressions wherein thou hast exceeded; so will I be with thee, and comfort thee, in the Bitterness of thy Soul. This careful Preparation will be the natural Consequence of thy Sincerity and Respect for Me; For every Lover provides his best Apartment to entertain his Friend, and best beloved ; and, by his Diligence to receive so desired a Guest, expres ses the Truth and Greatness of his Affection.
Buc know withal, when thou hast done thy utmost, that even whole Years employed in Preparation cannot effect what in strict Juitice is my due. That thou art admitted to my Table, and received kindly there, is owing, after all, not to thy own Desert, but to My Grace and Mercy, which accepts thy weak Endeavours, and passes by thy Sin and Unworthiness. If Beggars with their Nakedness and Sores , have leave
to fit and feast with Princes, their Duty is, with Hus mility and Thankfulness, to acknowledge the mighty
Favour. Do then thy part, and do it in the best manner thou canst; do it diligently and heartily; Come not as by compulfion, but come willingly and gladly; come not for Fashion's fake, but come with Reverence and godly Fear, and fervent Zeal. When thy Saviour condescends to come to thee, refuse him not, nor turn thy Back and flee from his Table. I have invited, I have commanded thee, to come ; Let not thy Infirmities discourage thee, for they are all per
fectly known to Me, and I will consider and allow s for chem, and what is wanting in Nature shall be supplied by Grace.
When thou feeleft thy Heart burn with Love and Devotion, return thy Thanks to God for kindling these holy Fires. I did it, not because thou art worthy of such Grace, but because I had compassion on thy Weakness and thy Wants. When thou findest thy self cold and insensible in Religious Duties, double thy
Diligence and thy Prayers, lament thy Matth. vii,
Deadness, and continue knocking; For if
thou persevere, and wilt take no Denial, thou shalt not ask in vain, but be fed, at least, with the Crumbs that fall from thy Master's Table. Thou standest in need of me, but I have none of thee. It is for thy Benefit, not my own, that I vouchsafe to meet thee at this Sacrament. Thou comeft hither to be filled, and strengthened, and sanctified, to return better than thou camest, to receive increase of Grace, to be One with me, and dwell in me; and those who come sincerely disposed to receive me, and amend their Lives, I will in no wife send empty away. Do not then neglect those precious Opportunities; Do not absent, or come carelesly ; but make me room in thy Heart, and let it be a clean and fit Reception for fo pure a Guest, and He whom thou loveft, will go home with thee to thy Houfe.
But then observe, that there is the same Necessity of Care and Watchfulness after this Sacrament, as of Prayer and Preparation before it. For a constant virtuous Life and Itria Guard over a Man's self, is the best and most effectual Preparation to every Sacrament, and the surest Means of obtaining more and greater Degrees of Grace. A Man, who prefently returns to the World, and gives himself a loofe to the Liberties and Affections, the Business and the Pleasures of it, undoes what he had taken Pains to do before ; and defeats the good Effects of his most solemn Preparation. Be not fond of variety of Company and Diversions ; nor lavish and unwary in thy