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are gathered together in his Name, there will be be in the midst of them : Which he hath no where faid of private Prayer, though both are very good, nay, both are absolutely neceffary for the beginning and ending of a Christian Life: And it is a very bad Sign of some evil Principle or other, for any Man to be much a Stranger to the House of Prayer, which is one of the greatest Blessings and Privileges (if we know how to value the same) that we can have in this world, and has always been accounted such among all wise and good Men. It is certain, that the Turks, whom we call Infidels, go to their public Devotion five times every Day; and shall not they rise in Judgment against us Christians, who cannot afford to go once or twice a Day to God's House, when we have both Leisure and Opportunity? If Men shall be judged for every idle Word, to be sure they shall not pass unpunished for all the Neglects and Omissions of their Duty of this Nature. But to proceed :
To this Duty of fervent Prayer, the Communicant should spend some Portion of Time in Reading and Reading and Meditation, to raise his Soul into a devout and heavenly Temper: The proper Office of Reading, is to gain spiritual Fuod and Sustenance, and of Meditation, to digest it. Those divine Subjects most proper for our serious Contemplation on this folemn Occasion, I think, are " our Saviour's Sermon on the
“ Mount; the Love of God in the Salvation “ of Sinners, through Jesus Christ; Repen
tance, Faith, Charity, * Death and Judg
ment; the happy Condition of a future State “ of Blessedness, and the miserable Condition 6 of the Damned in Hell.” These and the like, as they offer themselves unto you, should be meditated upon, until some Sorrow of Mind, fome Ardor of Devotion, fome Act of Faith, fome Flame of Love and Charity arise in your Souls.
Thus have I briefly represented to you both the Nature and Neceffity of a Sacramental Preparation, which in great measure contains the whole Duty of a Chriftian's Life; namely, “ Repentance towards God, Faith towards
our Lord Jesus Christ, and Charity towards " our Neighbour :" And I also hope, whosoever among us will but endeavour to prepare themselves for the holy Communion, according to the forementioned Directions, may (by the Help of God) upon all Occasions come to the Lord's Table, without the least Fear or Danger of “ eating and drinking Damnation “ to themselves.”
And now seme People may censure this Discourse, as giving too great Liberty and Encouragement to approach the Lord's Table with less Preparation than otherwise Men
* See Mr. Norris's effeftual Remedy against sbe Fear of Dearb, Price 6 d.
would venture to do. But I know no Ground or Reason for any such Suggestion, if they impartially consider the Ex The Church cellence and Perfection of that Catechifin. Guide and Companion I have followed throughout the Whole: And to represent this Duty of frequent Communion otherwise than what the Church requires, is an Injury both to God and to ourselves : And I dare affirm, that no Part of divine Worship has suffered more on this Account, than that of the holy Communion; Thousands of people not daring, in all their Life-time, (though very good Livers) to partake of the Lord's Supper, for fear of eating and drinking their own Damnation.
For farther Instruction, see A Treatise of
Sacramental Covenanting with Christ;
The Family Companion, or Forms of Prayer for every Day in the Week, Morning and Evening; composed for the Use of private Families. Allo Prayers and Thanksgivings upon several Occasions, as well for the Use of particular Persons as Families. By 7. Meriton. Printed for 7. Beecroft
, at the Bible and Crown in Pater-nofter-Row,
Prayers and Meditations
Preparative to a
What the Church of England requires
from her Communicants.
A Prayer to God for his gracious Alistance and
Direction in our Sacramental Preparation.
*OLY, holy, holy Lord God of
* Sabaoth, Heaven and Earth are fall H Yg of thy Majesty and of thy Glory:
I the unworthiest of all Creatures
do here, in all Humility of Soul and Body, proftrate myself before thee, acknowledging my own Weakness and Insufficiency to do any thing that is good or wellpleasing in thy Sight : And therefore, humbly implore the special Influence of thy Grace and holy Spirit, to further these my Endeavours for a worthy Participation of the holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, which
he has commanded me to do in Remembrance
of him, and of those Benefits which we receive at thereby. 'Teach me, O Lord, the right Way,
and lead me in the Paths of holy Preparation, that I may be received as a worthy and welcome Guest at this thy heavenly Table.
Pofa sess my
Mind with a true Sense of the Greatness of this Mystery, and the Excellency of thy Mercy, in preparing this Table for our spiritual Food : Inspire my Soul with pure and pious Dispositions ; and instead of those filthy Rags of my Righteousness, clothe me with the Righteousness of the Saints, that my Heart may be a clean, though homely, Receptacle for my Saviour, and one Day fitted for the blessed Society of Saints and Angels in Heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Our Father, &c. See Psal. xxiii. xxvi. cxi.
A Prayer for the Gift and Grace of Repentance.
, of purer Eyes than to behold Iniquity, and haft more especially enjoined all those who compass thine Altar to wash their Hands in Innocency, vouchsafe me unfeigned Repentance for my past Sins, a hearty Sorrow and Contrition of Spirit to lament my Sinfulness, and moft firm and stedfast Purposes to lead a new Life. It is the Voice of thy wondrous Goodness and Mercy, that if the Wicked shall forsake his Ways, and the unrighteous Man bis Thoughts, thou wilt have Mercy upon him, and al undantly pardon him.