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from the Apostles downward, doth shew, that the Wisest and most Learned among them, did look upon themselves greatly obliged by the Law of Christ, to a frequent Participation of this Mystery : Bea cause he said, Do this, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me, they concluded themselves bound to do it often ; and left they should not do it often enough, they did it daily
BUT I will not urge the Necessity of a daily Communion : Yet this we must affirm indefinitely, and in general, that 'tis necessary to communicate often; so that if nothing be wanting, but a willing and ready Mind, to omit it, is a Sin, a Violation of Christ's Law: And if we think the Primitive Christians did it too often, they are infinitely' more to be followed yet, than many now a days, who either do it not at all, or at most but once or twice a year ; and even then it may be questioned, whether it be not something else besides the Love of Christ, that doth constrain them.
2.THUS much may fuffice to be spoken of that Necessity, which is grounded upon our Lord's Command. But besides this, we are to consider, that the neglect of this Sacrament is Evil, not in it'self only, but in respect of a very Evil Cause, whence this shameful Neglect cometh; for that cannot well be supposed to be any other, than some lurking Sin and Wickedness in Mens Hearts, which makes this Sacrament so formidable in their Eyes. Since at this Ordinance, God offereth to Men all the Mercies of the Gospel, and nothing can hinder the conveyance, but an Impenitent and Wicked Heart on the Recipient's part: Hardly would any Man refuse so great Salvation, did not his Conscience tell him, that by Reason of his Love of Sin; he may take Poyson into his Mouth, instead of the Bread of Life. It must needs be, that the great Contempt of this Sacrament is caused, mostly by. some root of Bitterness that is in Men's Breasts, which renders the Cup of Blessing very unfavoury and loathfome unto them. The World generally is Evil, and many Love to be so, and for that Reason they dare not come to the Lord's Table.. How else comes it to pass, that they croud many times into the Church in Throngs and Multitudes to Prayer, and especially with itching Ears after a Sermon; when yet we see a very slender appearance (especially in some places) at the Sacrament ? Certainly we must conclude (or mistrust at least) that People are Conscious to themselves, of many Vices which they are fond of, and willingly al
low and indulge themselves in ; and rather than they will forsake those Vices, they forbear this Ordinance, because they cannot live Wickedly, and Participate too, without Eating and Drinking their own Damnation. And is not this a most horrible Crime, to value a few paltry Lusts, above the Body and Blood of Christ : And to prefer some Sensual and Bruitish Enjoyments before those Admirable and Astonifhing Blessings which are tendred at the Lord's Table ? It was the Sin of the Jews, and that which greatly kindled the Anger of the Lord against them, that they slighted the Manna (which David called the Food of Angels) and lusted after the Fleshpots of. Égypt, the Cucumbers, the Melons, the Leeks, the Onions, and the Garlick, Num. II. Much more will it be lookt upon as an intolerable Crime in us, if we make light of the greatest Blessings that Heav'n
can bestow (as, the Comforts of the Holy Spirit, the Fellowship of Christ, the Pardon of our Sins, the Peace of our Consciences, an Assurance of Glorious Immortality, and whatsoever is the Felicity of Blessed Souls ; I say if we slight and reject all these) out of favour to our Sensitive Appetites, that we may still pursue the Unprofitable Works of Darkness, and Enjoy the Pleasures of Sin, which
are both Beastly in their Nature, and very short for their continuance. As Maximus Max. Tyr. Tyrius (an' Heathen Philosopher) argued, Ser, 20 Who is fo Mad, so. Bewitched, so Byassed by his Affections, that for the love of small and Transtory Pleasures, of uncertain Enjoyments, of doubtful Hopes, and questionable Profperities, would not change bis Life fór a Better, and betake himself to that which is Solid and Unquestionable Happiness? Yet of such corrupt and abject Spirits are they, who neither Love nor dare to partake of this Covenant Feast; Men of such Debaucht Minds and Impure Consciences, that they prize the most fordid Considerations, aboye the Love of God, and.a Blessed Eternity ; like unclean Swine, that contemn the sweetest Repose in comparison of a Dunghill, and a Bed of Mire. Were not Men Earthly, and Sensual, every one wou'd strive to be a Companion at the Altar. 'Tis a Polluted Heart that hindreth Men's 'approaches; because they that are Wicked, will be Wicked still; and that is a great Reason, why the Neglect of this Sacrament is Sinful, forasmuch as it proceedeth from a linful Cause; an Evil and a Rotten Heart.
3. I Heartily wish, that all Persons who are concern'd, would seriously consider these thiogs; and be so Provident too, as to look upon the sad Consequence of
this Neglect, and see what an immediate and irreparable Injury they are like to do to their own Souls by it; which is the Third and last Consideration. For the words of Christ are plain, Joh. 6. Except ye Eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink bis Blood, ye have no life in you. This place of Scrip
ture all the Ancients do (a) Ilud in primis animadvertendum occurrit, quoties ao
with one (a) consent and pud veteres agitur de hoc Sa. mouth apply to this Blefcramento, verba Domini nostri fed Sacrament; and St. Auque Joan. cap. 6. referuntur, caro mea verè est cibus, & ftin himself urged it to Sanguis meus verè est porus : prove the necessity even of Panis quem ego dabo, caro mea eft : Et nisi ederitis «carnem
Infant Communion, which filij hominis, doc. ad hoc Sa- was then a Custom in the cramentum omnes applicant-... Church. That indeed was Nec audiendi sunt, qui tanta nu be teftium refragante , negant an Error, that proceeded illud caput Joannis huc referen- from the abundant Piety of dum. Diallacticon, Edit
. Lon- those times;and the Reason din. 1688. p. 15. 9. v.
upon which that Custom was grounded, was not strong enough; because we cannot suppose(whatever St. Austin did imagine) that when Christ (pake those words, he intended that even those should Communicate who were not capable of Preparation, and consequenıly could not eat his Flesh, nor drink his Blood after a due manner. However, it seems most manifest, that the words do refer to this Sacrament; in a secondary sense and construction. Primarily they mean the eating