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may fit us for the duties of the day following; and, if thou art pleased to add another day to our lives, grant that we may make a right use and improvement
of it, to thy glory and the benefit of our • immortal souls, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who, in compassion to our infirmi. ties, have taught us when we pray to say,
Our Father, &C.
attahouť great jl our future dispositi
The Meditation for Tuesday Morning. Upon the manner of preparing ourselves to receive the holy
facrament. If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath auglit against thee ; leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and shen come and offer ihy gift. Mat. v. 23, 24. 1. M onsider, O my soul, that this nes,
cessary knowledge, when it is once attained, and which may be compafled without great difficulty, is a standing qualification for all our future communions: and as for all other pious dispositions of mind, which make us fit guests at the Lord's table, they are the same we are obliged to by our baptismal vow, and are necessary in the course of a Christian life, and in the use of all other means of grace: for except we confess our sins with a humble, penitent, and . obedient heart, and are ready to forgive those that have offended us, and ask with faith, even our
prayers and praises will find no acceptance at the throne of grace.
2. Let me then tell thee: the best preparation for the sacrament is a constant endeavour to live as becomes a Chriftian;
and thus thou hast made a good beginning in the course of thy last week's preparation ;] for they who really believe the Christian religion, and sincerely govern
their lives by the doctrines and precepts į of the gospel, have all that substantial pre
paration that qualifies men to partake of this holy ordinance; and ought to receive it at any time when there is an opportunity, though they were not be fore-hand acquainted with it, as thou hast been particularly instructed in the former part of this treatise.
3. None can suppose that they must be perfect and itrong grown Christians before they partake of these divine mysteries ; it is enough we sincerely desire to be such, and if so, we shall find the frequent use of the boly communion to be the most effe&ual means to that end. Where should we seek for comfort in this vale of tears, but from the source of all joy and confort? where shall we find strength to refiit the temptations that crowd about us, but in this divine armour?.when we are loaded with so many imperfections, «
and fometimes, by negligence or surprise, fall a prey to the tempter ;. what so proper to wash away our sins, as that precious inestimable blood, which was ihed for our salvation ?' therefore the very Sense of our unworthiness, if rightly applied, should quicken our zeal in approaching the Lord's table frequently, as the best means to make us better.
4. Indeed, when we have a foresight of our communicating, it is very advisable 17 we should trim our lamps; examine the state of our minds; renew our repent ance ; exercise our charity ; enlarge our devotions ; fpiritualize our affections; and, in order to this purpose, should retire from business and pleasure; that by: prayer, fafting, and alms-deeds, our minds may be raised to relish fpiritual enjoyments.
5. On the contrary: the living in the constant habitual practice of any known fin without repentance, will make our approach to the holy table a mocking of God, a great contempt of his authority, and our prayers also an abomination to the Lord; for to profess ourselves sorry for our sins, and resolve to førsake them, when we have no sense of the one, nor are determined to do the other, is the greatest affront imaginable to our Maker, by supposing either that he doth not know
to be performity there
our hearts, or, that he will be pleased when we offer to him the sacrifice of fools, in a multitude of words only.
6. Nor doth the danger of unworthy receiving make it safest to abstain from receiving at all, or at least to come to receive but feldom; because the danger of neglecting and contemning a plain command of our Saviour is more hazardous to our salva. tion, than performing it without some due qualification. The duty therefore being necessary to be performed, (as hath already been shown on page 49,) the true consequence we should draw from the danger of performing it unworthily, should be to excite ourselves to great care and dili
gence in preparing ourselves for the due i discharge of it; but never to delude our
felves by false reasons to such a neglect as i will certainly increase our condemnation. - 7. Though our business be lawful in its € own nature, yet if it be prosecuted to such
a degree as to take men off from the care of their souls, it ought to be put off, when it interferes with this duty ; because the
salvation of our fouls is of much greater by consequence than any affair that relates
to this world wise men proportion their - care of a thing according to its worth ;
no prudent person will spend his time upson trifles, and neglect what may be of the
greatest consequence to his soul. It must be owned that our souls are of greater worth than our bodies, and that we must certainly find a time to die, however care. less, and negligent we may be in making a due preparation for death. Besides, the care of temporal concerns and our duty to God are no ways inconsistent, provided we govern our affairs by Christian princ ciples. A great deal of business and the duties of religion may stand together. Though men of business have not leisure for much actual preparation, yet they may have all that habitual preparation upon which the great stress ought to be laid in this duty. .
8. We are assured that the conscientious discharge of our business is an admirable qualification for receiving the Lord's fupper. We serve Goi when we follow our callings with diligence, and observe justice and equity in all our dealings, when we manage the affairs of the public. with fidelity and honefty; without selling justice, without oppreffion, and without facrificing them to our private interest and passions. Besides, the greater dangers and temptations we are exposed to, the greater need we have of God's grace and assistance, which is abundantly communicated in this holy institution. It is not pru