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our welcome to this, heavenly Feaft unto which we are called ; I proceed now in the second place to inform you, That it our Repentance or Return to God be real and sincere, it will produce these following good Effects in us. .si
....1 ...First," A Sense, a Sorrow and Confeffion of all our former Sins. Secondo The aim of t. ly, A stedfaft Purpose or Resolution to lead a new Life.” Thefe a te Kepen. are the genuine fruits of a true Repentance, and must always accomtance ... pany our Return to God, it we hope to have it effectual to our Salva-tion. • And! ". E r wor! icon .
" FIRST, We must labour to gain a Sense or Sight of all our former Sins and Wick edness; this will readily pretent itself to us by comparing our Lives and Adions by
the Rule and Standard of God's Word, which we must make the The Ten Com
• Measure of our * Examination. St. Paul Thews us, Rom. ïïi. 20
... that by the Law is the knowledge of Sio; and our own Experience will convince us, that there is no way more likely to discover our Iniquities, and
to humble ourselves for them, than a serious Application of God's Word to our crooked Paths · And this Daty of Self Examinatirn, is never more properly ap. plid to, than when weintend to receive the Holy Communion; for unless we see the number, and apprehend the Heinousness of our Offences, and fear the Vengeance due unto ys for them, we are altogether unfit for the Commemoration of his Death, who died for our Sins, and rose again for our Juftification. It is the sense and light of Sin that must thew us the Need and Neceflity of a glorious Redeemer, and what Obligations we are under to bless and praise God for our falvation by his Son Jesus CARIST. Of such great Ule and Advantage is this Duty of Şelf-Examination, at all times, that Pythagoras, in those Golden Verses which go under his Name, particularly recommends the same to his Scholars. « Every Night before they Nept, he enjoins them to examine themselves what Good at they had done and wherein they had tranfgressed. Run over these Things, said “ he, and if you have done any Evil, be troubled ; if Good, rejoice." This Course, if daily followed, as is suggeit:d by Hierocles, his excellent Commentator, perfects the divine Image in thole that use it. Plutarch, Epictetus, Seneca, and the Em. peror Marcus Antoninus, agree in recommending the fame. Practice by their own
efpecially holy David; I thought on my. Ways, and turned my Feet. unto thy Testimonies, Pfalm cxix. 59. And this method, no doubt, is an admira able Means to improve us in Virtue, and the most effectual Way to keep our Con sciences awake, and to make us stand in Awe of ourselves, and afraid to fin when we know beforehand that we must give so severe an Account to ourselves of every Action. And when we are employing our Minds in this Duty of Self-Exa amination, before the Communion; or at any other Time, we must discharge it as See The Daily Self-Examinantz or An Earne Perfuafive to the Duty of Daily Şelf-Examination, &c. by .....
"L:*?* b 531. I R. Warren, D, D. 1. 1.'.. . Pandortvi ini 13., B. ?.
impartially as is, poflible sfcr- us, judging as ' feverely of our own 4 Aions, as we would do of our greatest and world Enemys or otherwise we fall but flatter and deceive ourselves in a Matter of the greatest - Weight and importance, namely, the knowing the State and Condition of our Souls: But if our Enqiries are juft and true, we shall then plainly discover wherein, and how often we have gone bastray and done amiss. We fhall, hy the faithtal Discharge of this Dutv, bring to Light "all oun ungodly, unjuft, and uncharitables Actions; allow our pain and filthy “ Speeches; all cur wanton, proud and covetous Thoughes." Such a strict and impartial Examination will discover to us that accured? Thing, Sin Deut. vii. 26. which has defiled our Nature, made God our Enemy; and will exclude us the King. dom of Heaven, it not repented of, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 1o. But by such a fevere Scrutiny as this, we shall foon perceive the Number of our Tranigreffins, whiatrivile Wretches and grie vous offenders we are, how often we have broken our most fetidus:Vows and Refolutions, especially after receiving the holy Sacrament, and in Times of Sickness and Diftrets : Such a Sight and such a Prospect of Misery, as this, should excite in us a hearty Trouble and Sorrow for Sin; especially it we caft an eye upon the final Ifiue and Consequences of irgi avith relpect to the World" to come. Upon the Ungodly, says holy. David, God-will rain Snarés, Fire and Brimslone, Storm and Tempest ; tbis hall be their Portion to drink, Pfalm *i. . Great Plagues remain for the Ungodly; Indignation and Wrath, Tribulation and Angulib, upon every Soul of Man Ibat dotb Evil, Rom. ii89. The Wicked Phall be turned into Hell, and al tbe People that forget God. *Thele; and many other fuchs like Texts of Scripti re, may give us fome Idea or Notion of the deplorable Condition of the Wicked in a future State, and of God's Hatred agair At Sin. And is not this theri, without multiplying Arguments, fufficient to affect us with great Grief and Sorrow, when we confider that so long as we live in a vicioas Courte, lo long are we exposed to all those Plagues and forments which God hath in Store for wicked Men and will most certainly be their Lot and Portion, if not prevented by a cimicly Repentance?
la - The SECOND Part of a true Repentance is Contrition, or a forrowful Bewailing of our own Sinfulness in Thought, Word and deed. When we call to Minder the Sins and Pollics of our paft Lives, and the Dangers we are like to fall into, furely we cannot be otherwife affected, than fenfibly grieved with the Thoughts and Appreliensions of our prefent and approaching Misery, The Sofrows of David, and the Repentance of St. Peter, 1 Sam.' xii. Luke xxii Thewed themselves in Floods of T'ears, and were too great to be confined within : But our Hearts are generally so hard and unrelenting, that we fin against God, and love our own Souls without so much as a Sigkor a Tear. I know that the Tempers of People are different ; fome can thed Tears upon every light occasions and others cannot weap, though their Hearts are ready to break for Grief; and the are not to judge of the Sincerity of cur own or other People's Repentance by luch
Signs and Tokens ; nor are Tears always necessary t5 Repentance, though they very well become us; and the least we can do when we have done amiss, is to be torry for it, and to condemn our Folly, and to be fun of Indignation and Dir. pleasure against ourfulves. I roill declare my. Iniquiry, faith holy David, and be Forry for my sin, Pfal. xxxviii. 18.br Especially if we have been very wicked, ard: have multiplied our Tranfgressions, and have continued long in an evil Course, have neglected God, and have forgotten him Days without Number ; then the Measure of our Sorrowu must bear foine Proportion to the Degrees of our Sins ; if they have been as Scarlet and Crimfon, la. i. 18. that is, of a deeper Dye than ordinary, then our Sorrow must be as deep as our Guilt : If not fo great, we ought to thew fo much: Trouble and, Contrition of Spirit, as to produce in us a pénitential Conó fession of all our fôriner Sins.
Which is the Third Property of a fincere Repentance. I will acknowledge my . fin unto tbee, says holy: David, and mine Unrighteousness have I not bid. Confeffion Waid I quilt confefs my fins unto the Lord, and fo ihou forgavelt the Iniquity
of my fin, Plalm xxxii. 5. Which Confession of Sins must not be in gene. ral Terms only, that we are Sinners with the rest of Mankind, but it must be a Ipecial Declaration to God of all our most heinous Sins in Thought, Word and Deed, with all their leveral Aggravations, laying open our Sores to our heavenly Physician ; and this we must do to fhew that we condemn all our former evil and vicious Courses, with a full purpose and Relolution of Mind (by God's Adiftance) never to do the like again. Unless this be done, our Sorrow tor Sin, and the Confession of our Wickedness, can never profit us in the Sight of God, if it be nocjoined with a firm resolution of leading a new Life: Brz i na
Which is the fourth and most effential Part of a fincere Repentance, and the only Condition of finding Mercy with God. He that coveretb bis Sins all not prosper; but whifo confeflèth and for sakerb them all have Mercy, Prov. 16 xxviii. 13. Let the wicked Man fortrke bis W'aj's, and the unrichteous *
• A now knife Man bi's Thoughts, and let bim return unto tbe Lord, and be will bave Mercy upon bin, lani to our God, and he will abundantly pardon, Ifalv. 7. I tell you nay, faich Christ, but except ge repent, ye shall all likewise perish, Luké xiii. 3. Repent ye therefore, anu be converted, that your Sins may be blorted out, Aets iii. '19. Those preceding Parts of Repentance before mentioned, are only preparative to this; that which must complete and finish the Work of a new Convertisis, to become a new Creature, \ to turn from our evil ways, and to break off our Sins by Righteous " ness.” This certainly must be the Defire and Intention of all Communicants, if they hope or expect any Benefit or Advantage from this folenn Rite or Coven. ant; for he that comes with a Design or Intention of continuing in his former Sins, comés fome what like unto Fuda, that came and received, and at the fame Time continued his Resolution of betraying his Master. That which makes a Man absojutely unfit to receive the holy Sacrament, is the living in the conftant and h«bitual
Practice of any known Sin, without the least De fire or Intention of Repentance or Amendment. Such a Man's Approach to the holy Table, rodotbt, is to eat “ and drink his own Damnation, fince it is a plain Mocking of God, and a great Contempt and Abuse of his divine Authority... We njuft therefore (by the Hdp and Adistance of Goo's Grace) « retolve to lead a new Life, following the Com"mandments of God," or osherwise our former Examinations will appear but flight and superficial, our Sight and Sense of Sin trivial and indifferent, our Sorrow. and Contrition of Spirit forced and hypocritical, and our. Confessions odious and formal. Therefore examine well the Sincerity of your Repentance and Refulutions: that you neither deceive God nor yourselves: Him you cannot, becaute he is a Searcler of the Heart, and a Difccrner of the I bougłts, nor will he accept of any. ihing which is not hearty and unfeigned
Not that we are to suppose that this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper dotti reNo abfolute quire perfe&t Obedience in all our Addresses to the Holy Altar, or that Oldience cxAçcted af.cr the none must come but such as are in a finless State of Perfection': No, holy Sacra. this were imposible, because there is no-Man which liveth and finneth not for who can say, I have made my Heart clean, I am pure from my Sin? The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is not a converting, but a confirming Ordinance, intendcd to preserve and increase that spiritual Life and Grace which we received at our Baptism: So that when we come to the holy Communion we come thither for fresh Supplies of Grace and Goodness, “ for the strengthening and refreshing of our “ Souls in all Holiness and Virtue." As our natural Bodies are fed and nourish ed with those Elements of Bread and Wine, the fame Effect is wrought in the Soul, in the inward Man, by these holy Mysteries, as in the outward Man by Bread and Wine; Bread being the Staff of Life, and Wine the moft sovereign Core dial (when taken in due Proportion) to chear and rejoice the Heart. And thus our Sculs, by this Sacrament, are fortified and strengthened with Grace, Wifdom, Courage, and all other spiritual Gifts, to keep us through Faith unto Salvation. Both the Comfort and Benefit of it, are great; the Comfort of it, because it does not only represent to us the exceeding Love of our Saviour, in giving his Body to be broken, and his Blood to be thed for us; but it likewise seals to us all those Blessings and Benefits which are purchased and procured for us by his Death and Passion; namely, the Pardon of Sin, and Power againft it. The Benefit of frequent Communion is also of great Advantage, because hereby we are confirmed in all Grace and Goodness, and our Resolutions to live in Obedience and Conlormity to God's Law are strengthened and the Grace of God's holy Spirit, to do his Will, is hereby conveyed to us : it is the lovereign Remedy against all Temptations, by mortifying our Paflions, and by fpiritualizing our affections: In a Word, it is the likelieft Method to make our Bodies the Temples of the Holy Ghoft, and to prepare our Souls for the enjoyment of God to all Eternity..
And if at any time, through Ignorance, Surprize, or the Violence of any other
Temptation we fhould fallinto those very Sins which we have repented Receiving no of, and vowed against when we were at the last Sacrament, yet these redangerous: 1 lapses should not make us afraid of coining again; since we always have the Penefit of Repentance allowed us : If after a Relapse we repent, and renew our.Resolutions with a hearty Grief and Contrition of Spirit, we are made whole as before. If the wicked, saith God, will turn from all bis sins that ke bath committed ; . and ail bis Tranfgreffions tbat he kaih committed, they shall not be mentioned unto bim, Ezek. xvji 21. 22. Sin na more, fays our Saviour to the Woman taken in Adultery, and I will not condemn thee, John viii. 11. It is not the Commission of this or that great Sin that will utterly exclude us from God's Mercy and Forgiveness, for then, indeed, no Perlon could escape Damnation, becaute there is not a juł Man upon Earth, that doth God and finneth not, Eccles. vii. 20. But it is our living and dying without Repentance and Amendment, that brings God's Wrath and Vengeance upon us His Mercies are not limited ; he will not only pardon us once or twice, but always upon our Repentance and Return to him. No Time, no Age or Season, does the except against; but whenever the wicked Man turneth away from his Wickedness that be bath committed, and deth that which is lawful and right, be fball save his Soul alive, Ezek. xviii. 27. Neither is there any Sin, though never so vile and heinous in its own Nature, but shall be remitted and forgiven, unless it be that Sin against the Holy Ghost. All manner of Sins and Blasphemies Mall be forgiven unto Men, but the Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost Mall not be forgiven, Matt. xii. 31. 32. And consequently this Sin of eating and drinking unworthily, in the worst Senle, cannot be a damning Sin, because God in the Gospel (for Christ's fake) hath promiled to forgive all, our sins, upon our Repentance, and therefore this of unworthy Receiving among the rest.,
Some People, I remember, have been very much concerned and discomposed at their Devotions, upon the repetition of some few Expressions contained in the last Exhortation to the Communion ; namely,“ Of being guilty of the Body and * Blood of Christ our Saviour,—Of eating and drinking our own Damnation, 66 Not considering the Lord's Body,-Kindling God's Wrath against us,-Prou yoking him to plague us with divers Diseases and sundry kinds of Death:” These are hard sayings, and some of them too hard to be understood : But however, they are all avoided and escaped by coming worthily, that is, with Faith and Repentance : Therefore let not these terrible Expressions trouble you, or defain you from the holy Communion : Repent and believe, and you are safe and ficure from falling into any of those Dangers, which these Sentences may seem to threaten you with. So that the Want of a Preparation, as some Men have alledged, and in the Sense they generally take it, can never be a sufficient Plea or Pretence for their not coming to the holy Communion ; because after our best and strictest Endeavows to prepare ourselves, we profess (before God and the