« PreviousContinue »
District of New-York, ss.
BE IT REMEMBERED, that on the fifteenth day of
May, in the twenty-eighth year of the Indepen(Seal.) dence of the United States of America, JoHN
HENRY HOBART, of the said District, hath deposited in this office the Title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as Author, in the words following, to wit:
"A Companion for the Altar; consisting of a short Explana"tion of the Lord's Supper, and Meditations and Prayers, proper "to be used before and during the receiving of the Holy Commun❝ion according to the form prescribed by the Protestant Episcopal "Church, in the United States of America.
"By John Henry Hobart, A. M.
"An Assistant Minister of Trinity Church, New-York."
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, intitled, " An Act for the encouragement of Learn"ing by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, "to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during "the times therein mentioned."
THE writer of the present work, near the close of the last winter, engaged, at the solicitation of the printer, to revise, for immediate publication, "The New Week's Preparation for a worthy receiving of the Lord's Supper." He soon found that, though there was a vein of piety in this work which deserved respect, there were many glaring errors of sentiment, and improprieties of language, which were calculated to mislead and to disgust. From his engagement with the printer, it appeared necessary for him either to sanction in nis judgment, very imperfect, and in some respects censurable; or to attempt to prepare a new one. He was induced to adopt the latter course; and thus found himself engaged in the humble performance which is now presented to the public:
In the explanation of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper prefixed to the work, he has endeavoured to use, as much as possible, the
words of the Church in her Catechism and Office for the Communion*. In this introductory treatise, he has also made free use of an excellent tract on the Holy Communion, by Bishop Gibson, and of a Sermon of the late Bishop Seabury, on the same subject; and when he quoted their sentiments, he thought it proper to use nearly their language. As quotations from others are thus incorporated with remarks of his own, a variety of style may pos sibly be observed in this part of the work. It is necessary also to remark, that the devotions to be used at the administration of the Holy Communion, are not all of them entirely original But for the rest of the work, the meditations and prayers to be used in the week before the receiving of the Communion, the author is solely responsible.
In the following pages, the writer has endeavoured to keep in view two principles, which he deems most important and fundamental. These principles are: That we are
* And in doing this, he has taken for his guide a short explanation of the Lord's Supper, in the New Week's Preparation.
saved from the guilt and dominion of sin by the divine merits and grace of a crucified Redeemer; and that the merits and grace of this Redeemer are applied to the soul of the believer, in the devout and humble participation of the ordinances of the Church, administered by a priesthood who derive their authority by regular transmission from Christ, the Divine Head of the Church, and the source of all power in it. These are the principles which at first promulgated by the Apostles, "in demonstration of the spirit and with power," constituted the glory of the Primitive Church-that Church which was watered by the tears and blood of Confessors and Martyrs. These are the principles which, tho' in the present age unhappily disregarded and contemned, will again be cherished with sacred and inviolable ardour, when it shall please the Divine and Almighty Head of the Church to restore her to her original purity and perfection. Could Christians be persuaded heartily to embrace these principles, and to regulate their faith and conduct by them; the Church would be rescued, on the one hand, from those baneful opinions which
are reducing the Gospel to a cold, unfruitful, and comfortless system of heathen morals; and, on the other hand, from that wild spirit of enthusiasm and irregular zeal which, contemning the divinely constituted government and priesthood of the church, is destroying entirely her order, unity, and beauty, and undermining the foundations of sound and sober · piety.
It may possibly be objected to the strain of devotion in this work, that it is visionary and enthusiastic. But surely devotional writings, in order to engage and interest the affections, ought to be, in some degree at least, fervent and animated. The devotional strains of the sweet Psalmist of Israel, breathe the rapturous spirit of those celestial courts, to which they are designed to lead the soul. If it be necessary to descend from sacred to human authority-the appeal may be made to the primitive Fathers, who poured forth their devotional feelings in language the most ardent and impassioned. The Divines of the Church of England, who imbibed their principles and their piety at the