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The most considerable doubts and scruples, which are apt to distruct and render the minds of communicants uneasy, are such as, I think, fall under some or other of the heads of the following meditations, which I have framed as full and satisfactory, as I believe cun reisonably be expected in so small a volume.
of the meditations, hymns, and prayers.
T'e meditation for each day is placed first; because I esteem meditation to be a noble exercise of a rational and Wevout soul. To rero've and consider over and over, and
to reflect upon those divine subjects to which each meditation relates, will greatly contribute to the iinprovement of our lires, and to the rendering them more conformable to the will of Almiglity God.
Medication huth an universal influence upon the whole life of a Christian, and is an admirable instrument to quicken our progress in all the graces of God's Holy Spirit.” It illuminates our understandings with the knowledge of our dity, and stores our memory with all such arguments us are proper to excite us to the performance of it. It wings our prayers with reterence and devotion; and incriases our im. portunity by impressing a lively sense of the necessity and importance of those things we bez "f God. It habituates our minds to spiritual objects, and raises them above the perish
ing things of this life: It strengthens our holy purposes, arms is uguinst temptitions, and inflames all the faculties of our souls with earnest desires of attaining and enjoying our chiefest good.
in the use of the meditations, we should not read them over in a hasty and cursory manner ; but must proceed very drliberalely, and try whether we cannot find out something of greater importance in each sentence than may be apprehended at the first reading ; and after que lave this gone wangugla the meditatiu,, zuhich we should always do at one geuding, begging Gou to affect our minds with a constant sense of our duty in all the particulars of it: chiefly that he scuouit enable us to perform these resoiutions we have made of advancing in piety and virtue; thut he would not leave us to ourselves; but so assist us with his grace, that whut we perceive and know to be our duty, tve may faithfully fulfil
all the days of our life: I say, when the meditation is thus ended, I have immediately subjoined the hymns to be sung or said, according to the disposition of every devout reader. And the reuson of this method, I doubt not, will readily appear to every one who considers that the design of hymus is to raise the soul to a nearer conference with God in prayer, when perchance fatigued in some other part of a Christian's duty.
To the hymn you have a prayer added, which will furnish you with suitable petitions, supplications, and thanksgivings to be offered up to our heavenly Futher, through Jesus Christ, his dearly beloved Son, our Lord. Not that I presume to dictate any thing that may stifle the fer7t nicy of any one's private devotion, who may rather choose to conclude his devotions with a hymn : And it is with a view to satisfy such different tempers, that in some cases I have added more hymns than one to some of the subjects. But as God has given us no direct command in this particular, let it be far from me to act with that presumption, as to endeudour tv enforce my own intentions instead thereof.
Of the time to be spent in preparation. As to the time requisite to be spent, in our preparation for a worthy receiving the Lord's Supper, I could wish it hud been more particularly directed and commanded by the Church: yet I doubl not but that her having not done it has proceeded from her knowledge, that the best rules might hurt some one or other, it too closely followed. But I am clear in my opinion, that it is always her intertion, that her members should be as well and thoroughly prepared as they can, before they approach the Lord's table: and, for my part, I think myself bound to thank the great and good God, that I am not of the number of those selta sufficient Christians, who can lay so greut stress upon halitual preparation, as to save themselves the trouble of any preparution at all *.
Of our duty after receiving. But tchat will all the preparation in the world avail us, if, as soon (is tue hace turned our backs on the Lord's table,
* See the Preface to the First Part of the New Week's PrePARATION, page v. concerning the usefulness of actual Preparations before recei:ing the Lord's SUPPEH.
we forget that ever we were there, and remember no more our solemn engagement, nor those holy resolutions, which hace been raised in our minds by that course of devotions in the Week preparatory to our receiving the holy communion : instead of placing us in the fuvour of the Almighty, this will draw upon us that abundance and severity of his wrath, for such our mockery of his divine institution and commands.
Of the care of our souls. It remains for" me to desire such as have a great deal of worldly business upon their hands, (more perhaps than they can wuell turn themstlves to,) I say I would desire such to consider, that the worldly business they have, is still but the business of this world, this transient and uncertain world, that soon passeth away; and that they have another world to live in us well as in this; a world that will have no end. And therefore if we hare any care for our souls, let us take heed of the cares of this life, that they do not hinder us from receiving Christ's most blessed body and blood, as often as we can. And for that purpose, whensoever we are invited to the Lord's table, let us think thus with ourselves ; rưe have now an opportunity, put into our hands of partaking of the body and blood of our ever blessed Saviour, to preserve our bodies and souls to everlasting life: it is true, we have at this time more than ordinary business upon our hands : but what is all this world, in comparison of everlasting life and happiness? and who knows tohether we shall ever have such another opportunity so long as we live? I say, think thus, and then let us stip an opportunity if we can. If we have any regard for our immortal souls, I believe it will be very difficult, if not impossible. It is certainly our bounden duty to take care of our worldly
, concerns, in the several callings, or wiys of life allotted to us by Divine Providence ; but it must be remembered that rue must always have the fear and commandments of God in view, and be so under a perpetual obligation to perform all those promises, so lately made to his Divine Hlajesty, at his holy table. So that our Jutward or worldly employments must never remove our hearts from this duty; and when témptation and sin pursues us again, we
must remember that it is a part of our solemn vow to forsake transgression and to resist every temptation, that shall deprive us of the favour of our Maker and Redeemer, with whom we enter into a strict covenant of friendship, when we receive Christ's most blessed body and blood. By this covenant we are assured of God's omnipotent protection against all our enemies both ghostly and bodily: for, if God be with us, neither the malice of men, nor the craft of the devil, can prevaii against us. On the contrary, as on our part of the corenant, we vow entire obedience, as well as faith, we by returning into the evil ways we have so lately disavowed, shall forfeit our right to tha friendship; bring God's wrath upon us; and then we shall of all men find ourselves the most miserable, it not being in the power of any human means to escape his justice.
Some account of the method of this work. Therefore I have in this second part of the New Week's Preparation, exhibited suck meditations, hymns, and pray, ers to be used by the worthy communicant, during the week following his participation of Christ's body and blond, as I apprehend will furnish him with a right sense of his duty; which I take to be the best means he can make use of, to secure himself against the sudden surprise, and impetuous attacks of all our enemies, both ghostly and bodily. And
It is some satisfaction to me, that I can assure the reader; that I have taken the church catechişin und the communion service for ny guide ; so that he may be satisfied that what he meets with in his New Week's Preparation is strictly orthodor, and perfectly agreeable to the doctrine of the church of England, and to the word of God itself; •ing convinced, that whoever will speak upon this subject with any authority and certainty, must speak from those fountains of salvation, and not from Popish and superstitious prayer-books; as the compiler and late editor of the Old Week's Preparation have done.
Moreover, I have been advised to prefir the explanation of that part of the church catechism which relates to the sacrament of the Lord's supper, by some who believe it to be the shortest, plainest, and most comprehensive of any ex tant; and the scriptures are the authorities upon which this caplanation is founded.
A Familiar and Comprehenfive
Of that PART of the
Relates to the Sacraments, especially that of the Lord's
Supper, as warranted and supported by Scripture. THE THE church tells us, that Christ or
dained only two facraments, as generally necessary to falvation ; that is to fay, baptism and the supper of the Lord. Now, baptism was instituted by Christ, to be the rite of admission into his church, and is answerable tocircumcifion among the Jews. The Lord's fupper was ordained for the exercise and confirmation of our faith in Chrift, and appointed by him instead of the Jewish paffover; and these are thus neceffary to falvation, viz. baptifm is neceffary thereto, as being the appointed instrument of our regeneration or new birth ; and the Lord's fupper, as being that fpiritual food by which we are nourished up to everlasting life, the former to be only once, the latter often received.
These ordinances ministering to such great ends, we say are only generally and not absolutely necessary to salvation ; because we dare not take upon us to exclude all hope of God's mercy in such extraordinary cases, as the want of opportunity or capacity of re.