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for those who have grieved or injured thee ; and by reconciling thy self, and asking Pardon of those, whom thou hast offended. And, if they still be so perverse, as not to be reconciled upon'a due Submission,
Yet consider, Their Obstinacy and Wickedness ought to be no Qbstruction to the Performance of thy Duty. Thou hast done thy Part, and God will be sure to forgive, and accept thy Perfon, though Men do not.
What Benefit can a Man poffibly propose to himself, from the putting off Examination and Repentance, and forbearing to come to the Holy Communion Most certainly, when one is diseased, the greatest Wifdom is to get well again as soon as possibly he can: To expel the Malignity, and discharge the Venom immediately, Thụs will the Cure be easier, more speedy, more successful. For every Delay adds to the Distemper, and gathers fresh and more obstinate Mat. ter. If you omit the present Opportunity upon One Pretence, Another and more prevailing may interpose, and deprive you of the next. And thus by des grees you will be wrought upon to excuse your self again and again, and by longer Abstinence become less fit, as well as lefs willing, to return to your Duty. Whatever Burthen then you find upon your Mind, get quit, of it betimes; do not indulge, your Sloth and backwardnefs a Moment ; for there can never come any good of prolonging your Cares and Troubles, and making the common Hindrances of Worldly Business, a Reason for neglecting your great, your éternal Interest. This is most manifest, and Experience will prove the Truth of it when it is too late ; that, the longer you defer Communicating, the less you will find your felf disposed to it; and a strange Carelesnefs and Disregard for holy Exercises will insensibly creep upon your Mind, and get a mighty Head. But, which is a most lamentable thing to consider, many loose
the Ordinance, or the holy Indignation conceived
and dissolute, nay, many Thoughtless and lukewarm People, allow themselves in this Indifference; and industriously feek Pretences to defer their Repentance and Approaches to the Lord's Table, meerly to avoid, as they think, the Necessity of parting with their darling Lufts, and the keeping that strict Guard upon their Conversation, without which they must be lost to all Eternity
How cold, alas! is there Mens Love for me? How feeble their Devotion, who, upon such frivolous Pretences, can dispense with this so necessary Duty, fo glorious Privilege, of Communicating at my Table? How happy, how easy to himself, how acceptable, how dear to God, is that Man, whose Conduct is so strictly virtuous, whose Conscience fo void of Stain and Reproach, that he could every Day most chearfully, most fafely, partake of this Heavenly Feast, were the Opportunities of doing it equal to his Disposition, and might his Zeal escape the Censure of needless Oftentation? For a Man is not presently to be condemned, who does not seek, or embrace, every possible Occasion of Communicating. There may be some very allowable, and others even commendable, Reasons for abfenting. If out of deep Humility, and awful Reverence, or as a voluntary Punishment inflicted upon a Man's self for some grievous Relapse, he impose this Penance, or dread to come: The Respect paid to
against himself, may be better accepted, and more becoming, than Receiving in such circumstances. But this must not be fo far indulged, that long Disuse fhould produce Indifference and Disregard for the Sacrament. For, if once the Soul degenerate into Neglect and Spiritual Sloth, all poflible Endeavours must be used to awaken it. Not doubting, but that God will be ever present with the Assistances of his Grace, and second thy Care with Success, proportionable to
thy Vigour and Diligence, and the Sincerity of thy, good Intentions.
But one thing must always be observ’d, That when the Hindrances to Communicating are real, and important, and necessary; not frivolous Excuses induItriously fought, or readily laid hold on, to cover Impiety and Negligence; the Person so detained is present in Wish and Inclination, though not in actual Attendance. And then the Benefit of the Sacrament, and all the saving Effects of it, are as fully imparted to him, as his Appearance in the Congregation, and the Elements themselves could have ensured them. For ’tis a great Mistake to imagine, that good Men receive not the Advantages of Christ's Body and Blood, except just then, when they receive the outward and visible Signs of them. Every Day, every Hour furnishes Opportunities of Communicating Spiritually; and a Man thus composed can never be surprized, never find any Difficulty to comply with any Occasion of doing it publickly. For an innocent Life, and a devout Mind, are a constant Preparation. But, when the usual Seasons return, and especially the solemn Festivals, wherein the great and glorious Mysteries of the Christian Religion are commemorated; then such a one will think it his Duty to join with the publick Assemblies, in this fublimest Instance of Piety and Thankfgiving; he will approach with a Heart full of Affection and Reverence ; and esteem this Homage due, not only to himself for the Comforts and Advantages he may expect from it, but more especially to Me, for the Honour and Tribute of Praise, by which ry Name and Mercies ought to be thus magnified among Men. And this is a Fruit, which can only redound to me by open and visible Acts of Worship. Whereas the Other of private Improvement and mystical Communion with Christ, is attained in secret, and conftantly follows upon every religious Meditation con
cerning my Incarnation, and Sufferings, or any other of the mysterious Works, by which the Redeinption of Mankind was compleated, and the pious Affections of Christians are cherished and inflamed.
They, who reserve themselves for the Feasts of the Church only, and take no Care to put their Souls in a due Posture for Receiving, except only when such Solemnities call them to it, are seldom or never prepared as they ought to be.
He is the safe, the happy Man, who makes it his frequent Practice, and constantly offers up himself a Sacrifice to his God. In the Act of Communicating keep Rule and Order, and let not thy Haste or Impatience, the length of thy private Devotions, or any other Singularity of thy own Fancy, give Disturbance to the common Usages and Ceremonies of the Congregation, whereof thou art a Member. For take this along with thee, That, even in this part of Worship, where Zeal and Devotion are most acceptable Ingredients, yet these very Qualifications, when indulged out of Season and Measure, Jose all their Value; and are not half so pleasing in the Sight of God, as unaffected Modesty, and an humble decent Compliance with the establish'd Orders and Customs of the Church, and the Convenience of others; who ought not to be disturbed, or incommoded, for the fantastical or peculiar Ways of any private Person whatsoever,
press the Charms, the 'Transports, of that Soul, which feasts with thee at thy Table; That
Table, where no common Food is placed, but the Divine Entertainment of thy own Body and Blood? An Entertainment delịcious, above all that Man can express or imagine! What Satisfaction should we take to come into thy Tabernacle, and fall low on our Knees before thy Footstool, to open wide our Hearts for the Delights of thy House, and, with Mary Magdalen, to wash thy holy Feet with Tears of Love? But where, alas! is this Devotion to be found ? Where are thofe Eyes overflowing with pious Sorrow? Or, if that Sorrow be swallow'd up in Joy, yet ought we not even thus to approach thee with dry Eyes; but Tears of Joy fhould trickle down apace, when we consider our mighty Privilege, and the Happiness of being admitted to thy blessed Presence, and made Partakers of the Bliss of Angels. For, as They really behold thy Face in Glory, fo am I sure to fee, and to receive thee, in the mystick Elements; tho'covered there under a different form, and shrouded in a Veil of Bread and Wine.
I adore thy Goodness, which thus condescends to the Infirmities of Human Nature, and in much Com, passion is pleased, under these sensible Representations, to hide that glorious Majesty, whose Native Lustre is too piercing bright, for Me, or any Created Being, to behold in its full Strength. But tho'my Eyes fee thee not as thou art; yet here, I know, I have thee most effectually: And do therefore most humbly adore that Divinity on Earth, which Angels prostrate themselves before in Heaven. I do it through a Glafs, and I gaze
with the Eyes of Faith; They are permit
ted to do it Face to Face, and to know even as they are known. And, tho this Glass be dark and dim, yet it is fuch as I ought to be content with, fince Mortality admits of nothing better; nor can I attain any higher Perfection, till the Day of Everlasting Life dawn, and the thick Shadows of Figures are scat
I Cor. xiii.