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their Zeal and Devotion, by all the Marks of Reverence and profound Respect, to those Figures of the Divine Presence, and Shadows of Good Things to come ; shall I be negligent in my Preparations to meet my
God himself; Shall I not indeed as much exceed the great Solicitude and pious Affection, which Kings and Peasants, Rich and Poor, universally express’d; as the Spiritual Participation of my Lord's Body and Blood, and the most precious Pledges of his Love and my Salvation, excel the Carnal Dispensation of a figurative Tabernacle, and the very distant and dark Significations of future Blessings. They adored the Representation; and shall I disregard the Substance, the End, thePerfection, of all the Levitical Institutions, the Sum of all God's Mercies, and Man's Hopes? If even David thought it no Disparagement to his Royal Character, to lay out his Time, his Study, his Strength, in the Service of the Tabernacle; to compose Psalms for the Worship of God, to string his own Harp, and himself join and preside in the Confort; Nay, even to dance before the Ark, when brought up to its Place, and, by his own Example, to teach his Subjects to exert their utmoft Might, and employ every Faculty of Body and Soul, in expressing their Zeal and Joy: What holy Gladness then is due, what inflamed Devotion, to Him, whom David in Spirit called Lord? What Songs of Praise and Thanks should adorn that Solemn Feast, where Christ exhibits to us the Heavenly Manna, the Food of Souls? How should we labour to omit no Testimony of our Reverence, no Sign of a hearty Welcome, and an humble Sense of the unspeakable Honour this King of Heaven does us, when he vouchsafes to come home, and dwell in our Hearts; and, by the consecrated Elements, verily and indeed to give and unite himself to every Faithful Soul?
See with what eager Zeal vain Men make long Pilgrimages, and fly to the remotest Corners of the
by which thou em
Travels can do them Service, without true Contrition, and serious Reformation of Life. And where these are, much more substantial Advantages may be had a great deal nearer home. For lo! the King of Saints invites us, He gives the fure 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 wife and well-weighed Grace of a stedfast Faith, the comfortable Assurances of a Devout Hope, and the Affectionate Zeal of a Sincere and Holy Love.
O 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, the Faithful in this Blessed Sacrament? Here thy
chosen and worthy Servants partake of that Heavenly Food, which nourishes their Souls to Life immortal while reprobate 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 strengthned, our Decays recruited, and our Love of Thee and Virtue ftrangely 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 Instuments of strengthning 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; fubduing furious Passions ; rectifying and moderating irregular Desires; and invigorating both the Body and Mind of feeble Sinners at once.
Such is the new Life, and Health, and sprightly Vigor, which good and godly Men experimentally find upon these Occasions. And who then can fufficiently lament the general Lukewarmness, the cold Neglect, the senslefs Stupidity of Mankind upon this Occasion ? 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 Obstinacy and Hardness of Mens Hearts, which will not see, or seeing, will not value fo inestimable Benefits; which 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 a general Difesteem; 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 fcarce persuade my felf, 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 fo 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 dispofed to accept the gracious Tenders ; when every Sermon exhorts, intreats, conjures us to be thus happy; we turn our Backs, and flight the cheap, the easy 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 whole Blame and Condemnation at our own Doors, if we refuse to take what without our Fault we can
And shall we then proceed to naufeate and disdain our greatest Blessings? To think them less valuable for being more common? No, blessed Jesus! We will acknowledge thy unspeakable Bounty; we will most thankfully confefs thee the good Shepherd, who hast provided such rich Sustenance for thy Sheep, and leadest them out into Fat Pastures. Bieffed be thy Eternal Mercy, who vouchfafest to give thy Body, not only for, but to thy poor Servants in this disconfolate State: Who not content to sacrifice it
once upon the Cross, offerest it daily in the Sacrament; and hast silenced all the Fears and Melancholy Misgivings of our own Guilt and Unworthiness, by that most tender and compassionate, that most extenfive and universal Invitation ; Come unto me all ye that labour and are beavy laden with the Burden of your Sins, and I will refresh you.
CH A P. II.
The Love of God to the Soul manifested in this
Chrif:] Beted, I come; but I do not presume to do
Ehold, Lord, thus encouraged, thus invifo, trusting in my own Righteousness, but in thy mania fold and great Mercies. I feel, alas ! my Weaknesses and Wants; and betake my self to Thee for Relief; fick and diseased, I Ay 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 Servant to his kind Master; a Creature to his compassionate Creator, who hateth nothing that he hath made ; and a forlorn disconson late Wretch, to Thee, the Holy, the Eternal, the Only Comforter. 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 félf? How shall a wicked Sinner dare to appear before thee? Or how can'st 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 seest my very Inward Parts, and knowest I have nothing in me that is good, nothing to invite such Mercy, nothing fit for