THE Constant Communicant, A DIATRIBE, Proving that Constancy in Receiving THE Lords Supper Is the Indispensible Duty of Every Christian.

By AR. BURY, D. D. Rector of Exon. Coll. in Oxford

Canon Apostol. IX.


Whoever of the Faithful enter, and hear the Scriptures, but stay not out prayers and Communion, ought to be Excom­municated as disturbers of the Church.

Socrates Hist. Lib. V. Ca. 22.


For whereas All Churches through the world, on the Sabbath day, in every revolution of the week celebrate the mysteries; they of Alexandria, and they of Rome, upon a certain an­cient Tradition, have refused so to do.

OXFORD, Printed by LEON. LICHFIELD, Printer to the University, for STEPHEN BOLTON, 1631.

TO The Most Reverend Father in God WILLIAM By Divine Providence Lord ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY, Primate of all ENGLAND, and Metropolitan, And one of His Majesties most Honorable PRIVY COUNCIL, &c.

May it please your Grace,

MANY great miracles do the Romanists pretend to be frequently wrought By the Holy Sacrament of the Altar, but none so ad­mirable as what their an­cestors wrought Upon it: For what more wonderful than This, that a particular [Page] Church, by colour of a Tradition, should prevail with All other Churches throughout the whole Christian world, to reneg That Constancy, which was universally practised as indispensible for more than 400 years? That from Dispensing they should proceed to Discouraging, and therein so prevail, that those who have freed themselvs from their many other gross abuses, cannot from This; but still believ our Lord more honor­ed by Forbearing his Table, than by Fre­quenting it?

In opposition to this Vulgar error, I have in my narrow Sphaere used all o­ther endeavors, but with so litle fruit, that I must either sit down in despair, or fly to the last remedy, Writeing: which beside the advantage of fastening conviction better up­on those few that ly under My inspection, [Page] may extend it to as many others as shall bring my papers under Theirs.

But here also I meet great discoragements: I see that many worthy persons have of late be'n as careful to exhort to the Performance of the Duty, as to Worthiness in it: but with no better success, than those first messengers, who's kind Invitations brought nothing to the Lord of the Fest, but variety of excuses.

If therefor I would conform either to the Parable or to Reason, I must proceed to rougher means, compell by force of irrefra­gable arguments, the unwilling and resisting world, and by all cogent proofs assert a Truth, which by Many ages was never Doubted, by More generally Denyed, by Ours somtimes Affirmed, but never (that I know) clearly proved, viz. that it is every Christi­ans duty to be a Constant Communicant.

And this I have do'n with Such evidence, that I fear not any mans confutation; yet with litl hope to see the Table furnished with guests.

For alas! what can a poor Enchi­ridion do, toward subduing such an error, double armed with Prejudice in the Ʋn­derstanding and Partiality in the Affecti­ons, fortified with long Possession, defended by the Priests, and beloved by the Peopl?

I must therefor be unfaithful both to the service I have undertaken, and to Your Grace's right, should I either expose it na­ked and unsheltered to a Cold Advers world, or seek any other Patron than your Grace.

For as this Sacrament hath a double a­spect, so hath your Grace a double right to it's protection: As it is the greatest exer­cise of Love and duty to our Lord, by your [Page] Eminence in Piety; As it is the Principal office of Church-worship, by your eminence in Power Ecclesiastical: By the former, every good christian may claim common with your Grace in most of the following pages; but by the Later, your Grace hath a pecu­liar jurisdiction over some, particularlya those wherein I have justified the Consti­tutions of our Church, as doing what in such unhappy circumstances, is possible for retriving Primitive Constancy.

Could I say as much for the Practice! —But be it never so defective, it cannot hinder us from justifying our Church as well as St. Paul himself. For his [...] is no less generally mistaken for a derogation from That very obligation to constancy, which he employed it to prove indispensible; than [Page] is the three times in every year, which our Church defines as the Least that she can to­lerate in the Peopl, for the most that she expecteth from the Priests; who therefor think themselvs exactly conformable, if they minister it just so often and no more; though without any care, either Before-hand, to exhort the people to Receve it, or Afterward, to reprove them if they Neglect it; which yet they cannot avoid seeing them general­ly do, being so taught and accustomed, du­ring our confusions, and still biased by their sloth, or worse.

What may be allowed for the untracta­bleness of the people under our present Di­stractions, is not for Me to determin: But that those very Distractions, which now toss us between two such parties, whereof the One first robbed the Sacrament of Constan­cy, [Page] and the Other strippeth it stark na­ked of All Performance, ly on us as a just punishment for our compliance with them, is plainly enough to be discovered, without any rude intrusion into God's secrets: For Constancy in This Office is apparently the most effectual means to unite us; as being both by it's own nature most serviceable thereto, and by its singular interest in our Lord's Person, singularly intitled to his Blessing.

I therefor conceve it no impertinent di­sturbance of those great cares wherewith your Grace is too much molested, if as a kind of Church-warden-general, I make humble presentment, of that defect in Pa­rochial Churches (especially) which your residence in Cathedrals hath hindered you from discovering, bicause those Officers who [Page] ought to be eyes to your Grace and our other Fathers in God, are themselves blinded with the vulgar error;

Whereof we saw a pernicious experi­ment in the days of your Grace's immedi­ate predecessor; when a General enquiry (made upon these Questions, 1. How many inhabitants in your Parish? 2. How many refuse to join in Communion with the Church?) proved abortive, bicause those who refused to communicate in This Principal office, were not noted as refusing to join in Communion with the Church; which had they ben, the necessity of com­pulsory means would have appeared so evi­dent, that we had not now be'n in danger, to have our nineteenth Article urged a­gainst us, to disprove our being a True Church.

I know my self chargeable with a double great boldness; first in fronting these Pa­pers with your Grace's name, and then in the account I make for it: But when I first engaged in the work, I resolved not to do it by halvs, and I think I might bet­ter have omitted the better half, than This way of advantageing the whole: And since your Grace is so well known eminent for zeal in redressing whatever you shall find to need it; I have thence taken encou­ragement to believ, you would much more easily pardon such a Presumption, than such an Omission.

I therefor humbly recommend, not so much these Papers, as their Sacred subject, Our Lord's Institution, and our Churches Constitutions, to your Grace's protection; as I do your Grace's Person and pious La­bours [Page] to that of Almighty God; who, that He be pleased to make your Grace a glorious Instrument of His service in This World, and a more glorious partaker of His re­wards in a better, is the hearty Prayer of

Your Graces most humble and Dutiful Servant, A R. BƲRY.

THE CONTENTS Of the whole.

  • I. WE are not at liberty to Receive or Refuse the Lords Supper, Proved by
    • 1. Scripture, which must be regulatly examined, PART I. Chap. 1.
      • 1. Our Lord's Institution: wherein,
        • 1. The word THIS pointeth at som singular Bread and Cup. Chap. 2.
        • This singular Bread and Cup hunted out and found in a Jewish Tradition. Chap. 3.
        • No dishonor to the Lords Supper. Chap. 4.
        • This origination more plainly proved from 1 Cor. 10. Chap. 5.
        • 2. The word DO; requireth Performance. PART III.
        • We may not omit it without warrant. Chap. 2.
        • Our obligation ceaseth not, thogh Church fest­ing be not the same. Chap. 2.
        • 3. The END. PART IV.
      • The Livree of a Christian. Chap. 1.
      • Appropriate to our Lord's Person, with signal marks of his favor. Chap. 2.
      • Serviceable to our own interests. Chap. 3.
      • 2. The Apostl's Explication. PART. II.
      • [Page]His primary design was not to assert the Reverence, but the Constancy due to the Lords Supper. Ch. 1.
      • The Clause [as often as] examined by several Phaeno­mena. Chap. 2.
      • The vulgar interpretation examined. Chap. 3.
      • Objections answered. Chap. 4.
      • 3. The Examples of other Apostls and their Churches. Chap. 5.
    • 2. The Practice of Antiquity. Chap. 6.
    • 3. Answers to Objections. PART. V.
      • Deference paid to former Ages and the Sacrament. Chap. 1.
      • Concerning Unworthiness. Chap. 2.
      • Concerning Self-examination. Chap. 3.
      • Allegories of a midl nature between Reason and Scri­pture answered. Chap. 4.
  • II. Were we at liberty, Reason would perswade us to Frequency.
    • The very Being of the Sacrament must not be hazard­ed. Chap. 5.
    • Distant Communions Useless for Conversion of Sin­ners.
    • Too much Aw Vexatious to the Godly.
    • Pernicious to Peace and Charity.


THE INTRODUCTION. Shewing it necessary to enquire how often we are obliged to receive the Holy Communion.

I. The seeming impossibility and real necessity to add to what hath be'n already written concerning the Lords Supper. II. A double Objection, slighted, yet answered and turned to a dou­ble plea. The former concerning the dignity of the Sacra­ment. III. The other concerning the deference due to Anti­quity. A short retrospect upon the several stages of our de­parture from it. How later Fathers departed from the first. The Papists from the Fathers. IV The Reformed Churches from the Papists. The Moderation of the Church of Eng­land blamed by the Non-conformists, who dissented hereto­fore in One extreme, and now in Another. V. Our own Di­vines of the last age less justifiable than those of the present; who do better, yet not enough. VI. The sum of the account. A request for rigid examination, and its reason. An example of noble Ladies: An advertisement to the Reader.

PART I. Concerning the Particle THIS. Pag. 1.

CHAP. I. The Scripture cleared from the scandal arising from our contentions: by shewing the true cause and cure.

I. The Sacrament of the Lords Supper highly esteemed by our Lord and all his Churches. In later Ages many differences of Opinions concerning it. II. Not the number only, but mater of the differences scandalos to the Scripture, both to­ward Papist and Jew. III. The blame removed from the Scriptures to the Doctors. IV. The Papists, best perhaps si­lenced by our claiming the literal sens in the Wine as they do in the Bread. Our own Divines neglect the former part, which yet is the Head of the Apostl's discourse. V. The re­gular way to understand his meaning. Two Suppositions taken upon trust, with engagement. VI. The whole Discourse Paraphrased. VII. The whole Argument Analysed. And reduced to Logik form. The great Limbs more minutely to be dissected in four considerable Members: And all to be closed with an answer to what is said to the contrary.

CHAP. II. Of the Necessity to fit the word THIS with som singlar Bread and Cup. Pag. 18.

I. The difference of our Lords stile towards this Bread and Wine from That towards litl children. II. This subject re­quireth the clearest expression. III. The Particle THIS most considerable. IV. Grammar and Logick. In Logick it is considerable. 1. As a singl word, a Demonstrative must have somthing for its object precedences. Every word must [Page] be answered by som Idea. V. 2. As the subject of a Pro­position. The meaning of the Predicate must be mesured by the capacity of the subject. Offers at the import of the word rejected. 1. That Individual. 2. The whole kind. 3. Som­thing indeterminate. 4. The Action.

CHAP. III. The singular Bread and Cup hunted out and found. Pag. 28.

I. Customs of that time and place to be enquired. 1. The Custom of Festing in publik worship, fitteth the Apostl's Argument, but not our Lord's Institution. II. 2. The Pass­over fitteth our Lord's Institution, but not the Apostl's Ar­gument. Three incidental remarks upon the Jews Paschal form. III. A Jewish custom pitch't upon, exactly fitting both our Lord's and the Apostl's words. IV. An Objection answered with a story.

CHAP. IV. Pag. 37.

I. No more dishonor to This than to the other Sacrament, to be derived from a Jewish Tradition. This Tradition more worthy than That. II. In what sens our Lords Table is an Altar? Were our behavior at Table more pious, the Sacra­ment need not be ashamed of such a relation. III. Our Lords form of consecration derived from the Jewish Forms, both Festival and Sacrificial.

CHAP. V. Pag. 44.

I. A plainer proof from Chap. 10. From the sameness of names. In the Cup the Greeks aped the Jews: The Apo­stle stileth the Cup of the Lord, the Cup of blessing, which is a perfect translation of the Heb ew name. II. The break­ing of Bread, a Jewish phrase. III. Some Phaenomena not salvable but by this Hypothesis. IV. He expresly telleth us; [Page] that each part of the Jewish Tradition, by name, is a part of our Lord's Supper. V. An Illustration from our Grace-cup. VI. A Sacrament, What?

PART II. Concerning the word [...].

CHAP. I. The Apostl's design, was not to assert Reverence to the Lords Supper. Pag. 55.

  • I. The Apostl's proper design first to be enquired into.
  • II. Three steps. 1. What might be the Corinthians case?
  • III. 2. What might becom the Apostl to do in such a case?
  • IV. 3. How doth the Apostl's procedure agree with such Sup­positions?
    • 1. The former part very well agreeth with them.
  • V. 2. The later part necessarily requireth them. Proved, 1. Negatively.
    • He did not design to assert Reverence due to our Lords Supper, precisely taken.
    • The subject of the Proposition, ver. 26. is not the Lords Supper, but This Bread and This Cup.
    • The Praedicate is utterly useles (and wors) toward such a design.
  • VI. 2. Positively, The Proposition pointeth at som Determi­nate Bread and Cup.
    • The Argument reduced to a Syllogism.

CHAP. II. Concerning the Clause [AS OFTEN AS.] Pag. 70.

I. The unhappiness of this Clause. II. The true sons of the words mesured by parallel precepts. III. Serviceable re­marks. 1. With what care the Apostl recordeth this Claus. IV. 2. With partiality he treateth the Cup. V. The ju­stice he doth the Bread, joining it with the Cup in his de­ductions, VI. The Conclusion, with an Objection an­swered.

CHAP. III. Concerning the Vulgar interpretation of [as often as] pag. 85.

I. The Distinction between Suppositive and Absolute stated, because made the mesure of obligation. II. The words of the Author set forth, and III. Examined. IV. The merely suppositive sens enervates our Lords Command. And V. The Apostl's own Argument. VI. The two senses bal­lanced in order to Conscience.

CHAP. IV. Objections answered. pag. 100.

I. The First Objection [That the Tradition may be novel] answered. 1. By mater of Fact. II. By passing judgment upon it. 2. No necessity of difference in point of frequency between the breaking of bread before meat, and Grace-cup after it. 2. If the Jews Antiquities be against us, we may reject their authority. III. 3. Seeing a party of them are on our side, we may well prefer that party above the opposite. So great an agreement as is between them, could not be, [Page] 1. From Chance. IV. 2. Nor the Jews conforming their custom to Christs Institution, bicause it is incredible they should have such 1. care, 2. or wit. V. Another Objection [That we must have Fests or no Sacrament] adjourned. VI. A third Objection [That the Jews used their Grace-cup in their Houses, not their Synagogs] Answered by six steps. VII. The last Objection [The universal silence of all Ages] Answered. 1. By shewing reason why both Pri­mitive and Later ages should be silent, and 2. by shewing that the best critiks have observed it.

CHAP. V. Mater of Fact recorded in Scripture. pag. 117.

I. A transition to Mater of Fact. Not so easily understood as might have be'n expected. Two things considerable. 1. The Backwardness of the Apostl's in Understanding our Lords mind. 2. The means which our Lord used to recommend it, unprosperos: The night of Institution, by its terrors. II. Our Lord's conversation with the two Disciples in the way, and at Emaus, so ordered, as to discover the meaning of his In­stitution as well as the truth of his Resurrection; ineffectual upon a contrary reason. Their ignorance 'till the coming of the Holy Ghost. III. The second observable. Their dili­gence in obeying our Lord's will when discovered. That by their breaking of Bread must be meant the Lord's Supper, appears by, 1. The exercises accompanying it. 2. The Phrase expressing it. IV. 3. The Place, [...] must signifie the Meeting house, where the first Christians held their Conventicles for fear of the Jews. V. 4. The time. The Apostl's a d Brethren at Hire: daily. The Remote Churches on the Lo d's day. VI. The first day of the week consecrated to this office, and for that reason stiled the Lords day, dishonored by derivation from the Fourth Command­ment, [Page] cannot be worse profaned than by neglect of this office, to which it oweth its sacredness.

CHAP. VI. The Practice of Antiquity. pag. 131.

I. The constant Practice of Christ's Church in it's best ages, proved by one evidence of each kind. viz. 1. Canon, the 9th Apostolik. II. 2. One Father, Justin Martyr. 3. One Historian, Socrates. The Church of Rome under pre­tence of tradition, innovated against the Church Universal. III. 4. Enemies of each kind. 1. Protestants. IV. 2. Pa­pists. V. 3. Junior Fathers, particularly St. Augustin, whose words are recited, wherein we must distinguish between. Father and Doctor. As Father he stateth the question. The question and the practice of the Church both in Doctrine and Discipline, very different between St. Augustin's time and Ours. VI. As a Doctor he determins the question. 1. His stile very diffident, bicause his Opinion is opposit to all other Fathers. 2. His determination reacheth not Our question. Yet have later ages caght at his words, and strained them beyond his intentions, with unhappy success. His Syncre­tism rectified.

PART III. Concerning the word DO.

CHAP. I. We must answer such a Command no otherwise but by Performance. Pag. 149.

I. The cause of our disobedience to this Command, too much Fear, II. We may not commute Doing for any other ser­vice. [Page] III. The reason why som think best not to do this often, and their appeal to the Church of England. IV. The Church vindicated. V. The two opposite opinions personated. The Ʋniversity Statutes the best comment upon the Churches Rubrike. The Greek Church in great Churches celebra­teth the Holy Communion every Sunday and Holy day. VI. Those who omit the Communion it self, greater Non-con­formists, than those who neglect the Communion Ser­vice.

CHAP. II. We may not omit This duty without warrant. pag. 164.

I. Necessity may be complied with. A doubl question. II. Dif­ference between Laws Moral and Positive. The Apostl's vouching our Lords revelation a proof of the valu of the Sacrament. Fear of cheapness, no reason why we should make it scarce. III. Omission compared with unworthiness. IV. Our Warrant must be either Countermand or Dispensa­tion. V. Defect of preparation no Dispensation. VI. All other Duties in the same danger.

CHAP. III. The Obligation ceased not upon the change of the Manner of the Festing in the Church, but must be accommodated thereto. pag. 174.

I. The Apostle hath prevented such a consequence, by saying, our Lord appointed us to do this 'till he com. II. The ade­quate mesure of our doing this, is not Eating, but Meet­ing in the Church. As change of the Ceremony hindereth not Perjury from being a sin, Nor doth change of the season hinder us from stiling it a Supper. III. The Church care­ful to preserve the memory and titl of Festing. VI. The [Page] Apostl's argument holdeth by vers. 20. more for the Thing than for the Manner, wherein we cannot now be guilty as the Corinthians were. V. The Equitable and Moral sens of the Argument, accommodate to the present manner of Church-meetings. VI. Distinguish between yielding and justifying.

PART IV. Concerning the End: In Re­membrance.

CHAP. I. It is the badge of a Christian. pag. 183.

I. This the only rite whereby we honor our Lords Person. Three Considerations. 1. Every Religion distinguished from Every other by som proportion. This, Nature taught the Hea­then; and Gods Law, the Jews. II. The New Testament contracteth the multitude of Jewish rites to two; whereby Christians ar known, as the Knights of the Garter. 1. By a rite of admission, III. 2. By continual wearing the badge. IV. Those distinguishing rites must be highly va­lued. It was mortal to a Jew to omit any of them, and to a Heathen to wear them. V. This wors in a Christian up­on several accounts. 1. The Law giver. 2. The Rites, VI. 3. The Obligation.

CHAP. II. This is Appropriate to our Lords Person, and recom­mended by signal marks of his favor. Pag. 196.

I. This Command appropriat to our Lords Person and Hu­manity. And thereby 1. Endeareth all other Laws by new obligations proper to the Nature of a Man. II. 2. Is it self a New Law upon a New account. III. It is not only a Monument proper to our Lords memory, but a Statu lively representing him. IV. Our Lord expressed his e­steem by his care in recommending it in the most advanta­gees circumstances. 1. It was the Last night in his Life. 2. The night in which he was (and knew he should be) be­trayed. V. The perverse returns many make to this care. 1. The Profane make it their Last act, as if it wer to shew forth their own death. 2. Som make it their Last care, by preferring every other before it. Business, unpre­paredness, uncharitableness. VI. The Scrupulos, refusing to receve, bicause hindered by impossibl conditions, blemish our Lords wisdom and goodness.

CHAP. III. Serviceable to our own interests. Pag. 213.

I. The kindness of the Command as it regards our Interest. 1. In point of Ease. It is a sacrificial Fest, not a Sacrifice. Suffering an expression of Love: exercised by many, but not requited in this duty. II. 2. In point of pleasantness: 1. Spiritual pleasures greater than Sensual: thogh the Atheist cannot relish them. We must believe the experi­enced, not the ignorant. III. 2. Pleasures of the Christian, greater than of any other Religion. IV. 3. Pleasures of this greater than of any other Office of Christian worship. [Page] 1. It hath proper sweetness of its own. V. 2. It improveth all other Offices. 1. Preaching. 2. Swearing. 3. Prayer. This proved by the practice of those who in danger desire the Sacrament. VI. 4. Thankfulness. VII. Other Advan­tages, intimated, but not insisted on, bicause set forth by many other Writers. A brief Recapitulation of what hath be'n here said, with a Transition to what remains.

PART. V. Answers to the Vulgar opinion.

CHAP. I. Deference paid to the Former age, and to the Sacrament. Pag. 235.

I. Former ages excused for advancing Reverence, when there was no other danger, but of Irreverence; and stating pre­paration in such manner as might best serv Piety. Reason to believ, that were they now living they would press the Performance as earnestly as they have do'n Preparation. II. A Second Protest against robbing the Sacrament. III. The Adversaries opinion set forth in his own words; whereby almost all the World must be prohibited. IV. A Warrant demanded. A confession that a good Consequence is Warrant sufficient.

CHAP. II. Concerning Unworthiness. Pag. 247.

I. What [Unworthy] importeth. 1. In its singl signification. 1. In Grammar it is an Adverb. 2. In Logik a Rela­tive. [Page] II. The degree of the Crime not expressed, why? We need not be so fearful as the Papists. We deny not the Real Presence. III. 2. The Aspect of the word upon the Apostls design. 1. Personal worthiness dishonorable to our Lord. 2. Different from the Apostls mesure. IV. The Apostl oght to have warned the Corinthians of it. 1. For the Lord's Table sake. 2. For his own arguments sake. V. 3. For the Corinthians sakes, who were such as oght to have be'n forbidden.

CHAP. III. Of Self Examination. pag. 260.

I. How Self-examination is usually pressed. II. The question is not indifinite, but confined to the Present occasion; and the answer is dubl. 1. Negative. III. 2. Positive. IV. The true question concerning which we must examin our selvs.

CHAP. IV. Answereth Reason, Objecting Allegories. pag. 268.

I. A Transition from Scripture to Reason, and by the way no­tice taken of Allegories of a midl Nature between both. II. The Allegory of Covenant and Seal answered and re­torted. III. The Allegory of Member likewise answered. IV. The Allogory of Sons and Enemies. V. A General answer to all objections of this kind.

CHAP. V. Reason (as the case now standeth) forbids, to hazard the very being of the Sacrament for advancement of Reverence. pag. 275.

I. A Descent from Scripture to Reason. The case now differ­ent from what it was formerly. II. 1. Bicause the very Being of the Sacrament is hazarded. III. Every step from Constancy, an approche to That danger. At first the Prohi­bition lay onely against singl persons, not qualities; and a­gainst Persons by sentence of the Bishop. IV. From sins gros­ly scandalos a pass made to All sins. The moderation of the Church of England. V. Motives to bring tepid persons to the Sacrament, not potent. VI. A comparison of such Do­ctrines as endanger the Being, with such practices as profane the Sacrament. 1. Somthing is better than Nothing. More hope of reformation. A Protest against encorageing irrever­ence. Three good ends laid down, which the Sacrament is fit to promote, but disabled by disuse.

CHAP. VI. The Sacrament made useless toward Conversion. pag. 287

I. That it is made unserviceabl toward conversion of a sinner. Three propositions. 1. To deny it a converting vertu is disho­norable to the Sacrament, and more so to our Lord. II. No danger to the Worthy, but the whole question is about the Un­worthy: and concerning them there is more hope than fear: five reasons why the hope should be embraced. III. 2. The Sacrament hath a converting vertu, Proved 1. by the joint authority of the Apostls, and by consideration of this Apo­stl's argument. St. Augustin used the same argument with [Page] the same unhappiness. IV. No fear that such stating the Argument, should drive men as far from the Church as the Altar. V. 2. By Reason. 1. The Death of Christ ser­viceabl to convert. That he suffered more for This end than any other, proved by Scripture and Reason. VI. 2. This Sacrament setteth forth Christ's death more powerfully than Preaching. We may not imagin that he will deny it his blessing. VII. 3. The converting power promoted by fre­quent repetitions. A supposition that One solemn address may be worth Twenty, examined. An hypotyposis of such a performance. 1. Frequent offers his one time or other. 2. Repetition addeth new force to the former decaying act. 3. Teacheth to act better. So it will help, not prejudice the performance in respect of the manner.

CHAP. VII. Wors than Useless toward comforting the Godly. pag. 309.

I. The second end, Comfort of the Godly. This Sacrament founded upon Festing, the tessera of Love. II. The con­scientious griped between a fear of Unworthiness on the one side, and of Disobedience on the other. III. Hopes mingled with Fears, a snare to the Godly, which the Ʋn­godly escape. IV. The Lords table more dishonored by such preparation, than by None.

CHAP. VIII. Pernicios to Charity. pag. 318.

I. Fasting a bond of kindness among guests. Salt an embleme of Love. II. This a Fest of Charity, seasoned with a kiss of Charity. The highest Communion. Drinking and Pledg­ing. Drinking healths. The Bride-cake. The Apostl's [Page] way of Arguing our Union from this Communion. III. The kiss of charity translated kissing the Pax, Panis benedictus, a mockery. The Sacrament not only disabled from advan­cing Love, but turned to a makebate, 1. by taking away the necessity of the Supper, we take away its power to make us One body. Our Saviors precept of being reconciled be­fore we offer our gift, miserably perverted. IV. 2. By our too great aw, we not only disable the Sacrament from healing the least breach, but make it an instrument of the greatest. 1. This multiplieth questions. 2. Invenometh them. 3. Ma­keth them incurable. V. Taketh away the very subject of the question: 'better the Sacrament had never be'n instituted than so abused.

The Conclusion.

Reflecting upon the whole. I. All reduced to three questions. Qu. 1. By what Authority do we depart from Constancy? By that of the Church of Rome. II. No Doctrine hath so much of Popery as This. III. Qu. 2. With what Success? 1. By loss of Constancy we have lost tolerabl Frequency. IV. 2. By too much ad­vanceing Reverence we have made it mischievos, 1. To the honor of our Lord, 2. to the peace of his church. V. Qu. 3. Upon what Need? No such danger as is feared, of loss of reverence: or if there were any, it is much outweighed, both by prudential and conscientious considerations. VI. The Reverence which is due to the Sacrament is not such as be­longs to Gods Decrees, which require our Forbearance, but such as belongs to his Laws, which require our Performance.

THE INTRODUCTION, Shewing it necessary to enquire how often we are obliged to receive the Holy Communion.

I. The seeming impossibility and real necessity to add to what hath be'n already written concerning the Lords Supper. II. A double Objection, slighted yet answered and turned to a dou­ble plea. The former concerning the dignity of the Sacra­ment. III. The other concerning the deference due to Anti­tiquity. A short retrospect upon the several stages of our de­parture from it. How later Fathers departed from the first. The Papists from the Fathers. IV. The Reformed Churches from the Papists. The Moderation of the Church of Eng­land blamed by the Non-conconformists, who dissented here­tofore in One extream and now in Another. V. Our own Divines of the last age less justifiable than those of the present; who do better, yet not enough. VI. The sum of the account. A request for rigid examination, and its reason. An example of noble Ladies: An advertisement to the Reader.

AFTER so many Treatises and Contentions concerning the Lords Supper, it's Nature and Mysteries, the Duties we are to pay it, and the Benefits we are to receive from it, &c. it may well appear, not only need­less to write any more upon so spent a subject, but impossible to do it without troubling the World with Repetitions of what hath already, and (per­haps) too often, been said by others.

But the complaint which our judicious Sandys made in behalf of the devout Pilgrims, who with great trouble and danger visit the Holy Sepulchre, may well fit those pious persons, who travel in search after our Lords mind in this Monument, raised with great care by himself in memory of his death.

There the devout Pilgrim findeth the Grave it self bu­ried out of his sight, the herbs and flowers withered into costly, but dead Marble, and the glorious spatious Vault of Heaven, contracted into a much duller and meaner one, of a splendid magnificent Temple. And here, the consci­entious enquirer, findeth This Monument buried under so many incomprehensible Mysteries, that the Sacrament of the Altar looks no more like the Lords Supper, than doth the Temple of the Sepulchre like Joseph's Garden.

How much more had our learned and ingenious Wri­ters, advanced both the honor of the Sacrament, and the interest of Souls; if in stead of those Many, Great, and Fine Buildings, wherewith they have endeavored to beauti­fie, and really hidden it; they had left us the naked Area: a Plain, Honest account of our Lords Meaning, especial­ly in such points as are therefore necessary to be known, be­cause otherwise we cannot conform our obedience to it: Such are These,

  • Whether our Lord intended more than he expressed? and how much?
  • Whether he intended to impose it upon us as a Command or no? and how much? and with what limitations?
  • Whether all Persons be obliged to perform it? and how often?
  • Whether we may omit it in any case? and in what cases?
  • Whether, and in what cases we be not only permitted, but obliged to forbear?
  • Whether it be best to perform it seldom, or often, or con­stantly? &c.

These, and such as these, are questions so obvious, yea so unavoidable, ly so directly in our way, so cross it, and even block it up, that it may be wondered how Any one, much more how Every one, that pretendeth either to guide others, or follow his own light, should (I cannot say Neg­lect, but) Avoid them.

For they serve not to tickle the Fancy, or scratch the Curiosity, but to inform the Conscience; they do not a­muse us with impertinent Speculations, but direct us in necessary Duty; and that not in Collateral or Inferior, but in the Principal Articles: So that it seemeth no less than admirable, that any should sincerely desire to keep a good Conscience, yet neglect to understand his Obligations in the necessary points of Time and Frequency required.

For unless we can believe that our Lord most carefully established an Institution, only to be talk'd of, stared up­on, or fought for: If we believe a word of the Imperative Mode, must have an Imperative sense: If we should think our selves ill served, when having commanded our servants to do some useful work, we should find them busie them­selves in talking, or perhaps quareling about the wisdom of the Command, or the usefulness of the Work; and so leave the applauded Command unexecuted, and the mag­nified Work unperformed;

Then, after so many Inventions, yea so many Veines ex­hausted; after so much profusion not only of Ink, but Blood, unhappily spilt upon this sole Subject; it is not only Possible but Necessary, to write yet more concerning a Subject, so far from being spent, that it is untouched in those Points which are most worthy our labor.

For while some imploy their zeal in Disputing, or worse, concerning the manner of our Lords Presence, and the Adoration due to it; and others, who deny Adora­tion, strain Reverence to such a pitch, as turns it to Fear: While they forbid us to approach the Lords Table, upon any other terms than we may safely come to his Judgement [Page] Seat; while our kinder Writers help us with Schemes for self-examination and Forms of Devotion, that we may (if possible) come Worthy; but press the Duty so coldly, that it is questioned whether it be a Duty or no, and past que­stion that it is not one, to come at all Times: When so much is spoken to fright us from the Altar, and so little to oblige us to approach it, What other Fruit can we reason­ably expect from such Labors but what we see?

Many pay their Reverence by bowing their Knees to the Holy Table, and turning their Backs upon the Holier Sacra­ment; their Aw putteth them to as great distance as Neg­lect can; and this occasions others to cloak their real neg­lect, under pretence of aw: so the slothful joyn with the fearful, to plead, There is a Lyon in the way.

Many come only, Once in a year, as if our Lord intend­ed to consecrate none but the Passover: Others, not until they are dying, as if they were not to shew forth the Lords death, but their own: Others, not at all, as if it were the duty of the Priest only, because Instituted in the pre­sence of the Apostles only; and upon one pretence or o­ther, the much greater part of the People never think of it at all, no not to their very death.

In the mean time, the most zealous Servants of our Lord lament, that his last, and therefore not least Com­mand, hath lost the Obedience due to it: The greatest lovers of Piety, that it hath lost one of its greatest sup­ports, in the time of greatest need: The most affectionate Sons of the Church, that she hath in a manner lost a Sa­crament, an indispensible mark of a true Church: The ten­derest Friends of Peace, that she hath worse than lost her best Cement, which is abused to an Instrument of Division: And the most Prudent and Pious cry aloud, that it is a shame to our Government, and a wound to our Religion, that our practice should give such a publickly to the Apo­stle, when we read, That we are therefor one Bread, and one Body, bieause we eat of that one Bread.

Since therefore the Work is equally necessary and Neg­lected, he that shall labor in it will be secure from being blamed, as troubling the World with repetitions of trite Discourses.

BUT then he shall be no less sure of the contrary cen­sure, as doing it with New ones; and, which is worse, as vilifying the adorable Sacrament.

For the Temple of the Sepulchre, however venerable for the Antiquity of its Buildings, is much more so, for the Place they stand on; which though they do not so much Honor as Oppress, yet whoever should endeavor to rescue it from them, should be doubly censured, as Sacrilegious both against the Holy Temple, and Holier Ground.

Whoever will measure the Ground, whereon the mis­taking zeal of former Ages hath built so many and great Mysteries, cannot avoid shewing it uncapable to bear them; and consequently must run a severe gandelope, lashed on one side in behalf of Antiquity, and on the other in be­half of the Sacrament.

II. BUT, once throughly convinced of the Fitness, yea Necessity of the undertaking, these Fears move me no otherwise than to set me forward. From the Dignity of the Sacrament, I conclude it worthy my service; and from the Duration of the Error, I conclude it to need it. Did not Both these concur, I should not have raised Work for the Learned, or Game for the Censorious, by opposing a popular error in so Sacred a subject.

Yet lest that which sets me forward to the Work, should set me backward in the Success, I think it requisite to take such notice of the double Objection, as to justifie my self against both its parts.

1. ONE part of the Objection concernerh the Digni­ty of the Sacrament, who's greatness I most heartily ac­knowledge.

I confess we may be guilty of the Body and Blood of our Lord, in either sense, That of the Institution, or that of his preceding Doctrine, Jo. 6. wherein he interpreteth eating and drinking, by believing. And therefor we ought to examine our selves before we Receive, much mote be­fore we Publish any Opinion concerning it, as carefully as before we receive the Sacrament it self.

But this is so far from a reason against Examination, that it pleads for it: For as Both ways we may be guilty of Rash­ness, if we Receive unworthily either the Sacrament or the Opinion; so may we be of Neglect, if we consider not what we are obliged both to Do and to Teach.

I know a Gentlewoman that hardly escaped falling into water, because a poor neighbor that stood neer her, and might easily have helpt her, forbore that good office; upon this reason (as she afterward excused her self) because she durst not be so bold. Whoever accuseth me of boldness toward the Holy Sacrament, let him consider, whether he would be pleased with such reverence in a time of such need.

Whatever others do, certainly none of those good men who so sadly complain of the neglect, will blame him who labors the remedy: No, though he should abate somewhat both of Fear toward the Sacrament, and of Reverence to­ward those former Ages, which teaching men to Dread, have by consequence taught them to Shun it.

Yet is there no such danger. For neither will the In­stitution be a loser, if in stead of the Superstitious Dread which contradicts it's Nature, we pay it the Obedience which it requires, and the Love which it deserves; nor true Antiquity, if instead of the Middle ages, we vene­rate the First.

III. 2. TO that OTHER part therefor of the Ob­jection, I answer; that we ought to take none but the first and best Ages of the Church for our guides, in [Page] all such Controversies as are capable so to be determined: That those which concern Matter of Fact, are Such; since the Practices of those Ages are visible, but not (alway) their Opinions, especially in such Modern Questions as ne­ver troubled them, to declare their judgments: That the publick Offices of Christian Worship are visible, and there­for it must needs be a great crime for Later ages, therein to depart from their Fathers.

All this I not only acknowledge, but urge, and I hope no man will deny that it was as true a thousand years since. If therefor it appear, that the Middle ages have departed from the First, we must nor follow but reform the Error; and whoever shall retrive the long lost truth, ought not to be look'd upon as a Contemner, but faithful Servant of Antiquity; and so much the more deserving, by how much longer the Error hath continued.

That this is the present case needeth no other proof, than the Records of Matter of Fact, never in any case more legible; whereby we may easily discover by what steps we are go'n so far, from the authentick examples of the Apo­stles, and several immediatly succeeding Ages.

This though we shall meet another occasion to examine, yet for preventing prejudices, which perhaps might hin­der some from reading so far, I conceive fit here to offer in a more contracted Landschape.

THAT the Apostles and Primitive Christians, for some hundreds of years, were as constant at the Lords Ta­ble as at his House, is so manifest, that those who wanted not the Tentation, ever wanted the Face to deny it. And the Evasions whereby some have endeavored to shun the unavoidable Evidence, are as plainly false, as the denyal it self can be.

True it is (saith the most excellent of them) the Apostles did indefinitely admit the Faithful to the H. C. but they were persons wholely inflamed with those Fires, &c. and so goes on, [Page] describing them in such Characters as may very well fit the Apostles themselves; but how ill Some, if not Most of their Communicating Disciples, is too manifest in a cer­tain reproof, whereby one of the Apostles themselves char­ges them with such Debaucheries at the Lords Table, as had been inexcusable at their own; yet doth not there­for Excommunicate, thogh he vehemently Reproves them.

As long as there was any hope to prevail, his Successots labored in the same contention for This Cup of the Lord, against That of Bacchus: but at last dispairing of success, and thinking it better to submit to an Inconvenience than a Mischief, changed the Primitive manner of Church-meetings, from Feasting to Fasting; as upon another kind of necessity they had do'n the proper Season, from Evening after Supper, to Morning before Day: well considering, that however ill a Fasting Feast, or a Morning Supper might sound; yet those or any other Solaecisms, were less grievous, than such Profaneness, as otherwise appeared e­qually Unavoidable and Intolerable.

And as they changed the Circumstances of the Celebra­tion, so did they the Stile of their Writings: from exhort­ing to Constancy, which in those days appeared unquestion­able, they transplanted all their endeavors into pressing Reverence, which they saw too much wanting,

Wherein that they might answer the then urgent neces­sity, they put all their strength to bow the stick the oppo­sit way; spake such glorious things as dazeled the under­standings of the Readers, and advanced the Sacrament from their Contemt, first to their Admiration, and thence to their Fear.

So that which in St. Paul's time was [...], in St. Chrysostom's was made [...], which was a pretty large stride, and soon followed by another: For, Shunning naturally follows Dreading, & the people quick­ly grew willing to avoid (if possible) the terrible duty, [Page] which in a while they so deserted, that the Priest was left alone without Communicants.

Nor were the People more willing to keep a distance from the dreadful Table, than the Priests were to enclose it to themselves: So, in super-conformity to our Lord's In­stitution and his Churches practice, the Priest celebrateth the Holy Supper in all Church-meetings (and upon worse ac­counts, often without any) and in compliance with the Peoples Superstition and their own Interest, they dispense with them for Communicating, which was another large stride.

In another Age they widen the useful distance between themselves and the people with a further stride: They pass from Dispensing to Forbidding, not the whole indeed, but a full half. And thus at last, taking from the people the Need to do any thing, and the Power to do more than half, they are gotten so far from Primitive Doctrine and Practice, that they have rob'd the People of their Right; The command, of its Power; and the Instituion, not only of its Power but its Nature.

The Cup is metamorphosed from a Cup of Eucharist to a Cup of trembling; the Performance, from a Communion to a Spectacle; the Institution, from a Command to a Pro­hibition; and the Bread which at first did, and still ought to knead all Christs Members into one bread and one body, crumbles them into almost innumerable, and utterly irre­concilable divisions.

IV. FOR many who are willing to be freed from an Obligation, are not so, to be rob'd of a Right; and the corruptions of Rome being now so swollen and suppura­ted, that they could no longer hold from breaking; Most, if not All the Reforming Churches, equalled the People with the Priests, as in their Right to the Cup, so in their Obliga­tion to receive it.

Nor doth the Church of England put any other difference [Page] between them, but only in her hopes concerning their Obedience, To the Priests therefor (from whom she ap­prehended better hopes) she Enjoyneth; but to the People she only Recommendeth constancy in the performance: By the former keeping up her claim, by the latter yielding to Necessity, which yet she would not so far do as to leave even the People at liberty; but enjoyneth That, three times at least in every year, which by her Injunctions to rhe Priests she more than intimateth, desireable at least once in every week.

This moderation toward the People, the Nonconformists heretofore complained of. For Mr. Gartwright, the chief opposer of the Liturgy in Q. Elizabeth's time; and the Au­thor of the Altare Damascenum, the most violent censurer thereof in King James his time, would have all who are in the Churches Communion, forced to receive the Lords Supper, condemning them who abstein out of fear as guilty of Superstition, and not to be born with: and had more authority for This, than other of their complaints.

But the Melancholy proper to that Sect, would neither permit them to tarry long in That Extreme, nor stop till they came to the other. For they now take up for Piety That fear, which their predecessors condemned for intolerable Superstition.

While they had the Sceptre, they laid aside the Holy Table, as useless to any other purpose but That of bringing their people to examination: when upon restitution of our Government, there appeared danger of restoring this Insti­tution to its abolished power; they moved in a publick Conference, that the Rubrike which requireth every Pa­rishioner to Communicate at least three times in every year, might either be wholely left out, or so curtailed as to en­joyn no more but this, That the Communion should be cele­brated three times in every year, provided there were a compe­tent number to receive it.

Which to hinder, they employ their utmost diligence: For even those among them who yield it lawful to con­form [Page] in our other offices of Pubick Worship, will by no means do it in This.

V. NOR are our own Divines (those of the former Age I mean) altogether free of this humor: Whe­ther out of deference to the later Fathers, or an opinion that the Obligation being self-evident needeth not be pressed, or a conceit that Aw conduceth more to the advancement of Godliness, or for whatever other reason; plain it is, they have been more industrious to advance the honor of this Institution, by our Fear, than by our Obedience: For they make the Conditions of worthiness so strict, and the Obli­gation to the performance so slack, as if they designed to fright us from the one, and free us from the other; de­pending (doubtless) upon our Church-Rubrikes, and Con­stant Practice, for prevention of the inconvenience; and not intending to deal with the Sacrament, as some say our Rich: the 2d was dealt with after his deposition, served a la royale with store of costly Dishes, his Esquire taking the Essay, and all other pomps of Grandeur, but not per­mitted to tast any thing, and so destroyed with Hunger and Ceremony.

But to those who since the Restoration have written on this subject, we must not deny our just acknowledgement; that as there is greater need, so have they used greater care to press the almost forgotten duty: Yet still so, that their labors have not answered the necessity.

For they all write Ad populum, and accommodate their Discourses not to the amplitude of the Subject, but to the narrowness of their Readers capacities; whereby they are obliged to shun the strongest, and confine themselves to the weakest Arguments.

Whereas he that will stem an Error, pretending both to Piety and Universality, and backed with the rarely com­bined assistance of the Peoples inclinations and the Pastors silence, yea and encouragements; must consult rather the [Page] necessity of the Subject, than the capacity of the vulgar, whose office is not to judge of Arguments, but obey Ex­hortations.

For correction of Manners indeed, a plausible Rhetori­cal Suasory may therefore suffice, because the Readers judgment is of the Authors party: But for conviction of Errors, where the Judgment concurs with the Affections in joint opposition, there must be such greater strength, as may not only fairly perswade, but forcibly subdue Both.

If such Elenctik Discourses be too unweildy for the weak vulgar, it is to be considered, that those only are able to Reform an Error, who are so, to Understand whatever can be said to prove it one. And such, though (compara­tively) few in number, are not therefore less worthy our best service.

For every Learned person is a Publik one, and may be reckoned for as many as his Example or Discourses may in­fluence: Nor can this Holy Office ever be restored to its long lost observance, but by Their conduct who are guides to the people.

VI. THIS therefore is the sum of my account. I see the Holy Communion ly under the unhappiness of Gideon's Fleece, denyed the blessing of Restoration, which all other Offices of our Worship enjoy: The most Pious and Prudent complain, not only in relation to the Sacrament it self, but to those good ends which it was designed to serve, and which wither for want of it. Those who labor the Re­medy, do Well, but not Enough. I have long expected that some better hand would proportion the Remedy to the Need: But finding those Hopes disappointed, and the Evil unabated, can no longer forbid my self, to undertake a Work so necessary; wherein though I be obliged to com­ply with every understanding, yet am I rather to leave Many Vulgar Readers Ignorant, than One Learned one Un­convinced, and therefor must not balk any thing, how­ever [Page] difficult to be understood, if it have force answer­able.

And if I appear singular in any my Positions, That also must be imputed to the singularity of my Task. I must dig deeper than others have done, prove what they have sup­posed, disprove what they have connived at, search the bottom of those Expressions, whose Surface they have built upon: and so state the whole, that every Practical Que­stion, especially those necessary ones above-mentioned, may be satisfied both fully and convincingly.

We are to travel antiquated ways, over-grown not only with Weeds which hide every path, but Briars and Thorns which incumber them; not only with the Forgetfulness, but Prejudices of Many Generations; which to grub up, will require both strength and labor, learning and care.

1. Some Learning will be requisite, but not much. We shall not need capt Fathers, or Councils, or School-men, &c. tumble our Books, or torment our Brains, to reconcile One Author with Another, or the Same with Himself. There is but one only Text which at all speaks to the matter; and a little Logick, with sufficient Care, will discover its meaning.

2. But as much Care as you please. For I profess to fear any Learned Readers Hast, more than his Rigor: and there­for I intreat and provoke him, to view and review, exa­mine and cross-examine, sift and search every clause in this whole Dissertation, and spare me not, if he find any one inconsistent with any other, either in This Work, or the Apostles Discourse, or other Scripture, or with any other authentick Evidence, or any other rule of Reasoning.

I very well know what appearances my fundamental no­tices will make to the first glance: They will seem extra­vagant, and perhaps ridiculously contemptible, bicause not only far out of the Rode. but short of those awful ap­prehensions that we have growen up in toward the Holy Sa­crament: Yet am I fully perswaded, that the more strict­ly [Page] they are examined, the more will they appear, not only Suitable and Serviceable, but absolutely Necessary to a clear understanding of our Lords Institution, the Apostles disser­tation, and our own duty.

And were I mistaken and confuted in any collateral Po­sition, yea in almost all, yet if any One evidence remain unanswered; That One must not suffer for the defects of its fellows, but claim such submission as is due to its (however single) power.

I therefor pray my capable Reader, by all the above­mentioned and all other concerned Interests, For the Lords, the Churches, his Own and Others Souls sakes: if he va­lues the Power of Godliness much decayed, the publick Peace much endangered, or this Holy Sacrament (the great promoter of both) much neglected: By all that ought to be dear to Christians or Men, I pray him to be as severe, but withal as impartial, in examining what is here offered, as the dignity of the Subject, and the neglect it suffereth both from Doctors and People, require; and rhen to put That sentence in execution which he so finds to be just.

That I may not only exhort, but provoke you, and with­al prevent an Objection supposing it unpracticable. I tell you, what our Lord said in another case [The very stones will cry out] is in a sort verified in this.

When the defection of our Nation is almost as ge­neral as was that of Israel in Elijah's days; and those to whom it properly belongs, neglect the redress; to the shame of us Priests, yea of us Men; but to the honor of the weaker Sex, and more tempted Quality, in a place promising as little as the condition of the persons; as if Piety wrought by Antiperistasis, a number of noble La­dies, emulating the Primitive Christians, as in other offi­ces of Devotion, so in This also, have combined them­selves with their suitably pious Ministers in a Holy Socie­ty, paying our Lords day, his Supper, and his Poor, their joint rights, by celebrating the Holy Communion, with [Page] its Offertory at least every Sunday. Wherein probably they design not barely to Perform, but to Exceed the utmost Obligations of strict Duty, and by That very error so sur­mounted, deserve the applause of doing things that are more excellent: Yet leaving them the honor due to such ex­traordinary good Intentions, I must rob them of the glory of supererogating in the performance, by proving that they hardly do all that is commanded them.

Which since I cannot do with any reasonable hope or considerable success, but by convincing the Learned; nor that, but by carefully tracing the Apostles discourse through its various turnings, which will require more Care than learning, as well in Reader as Wrirer; lest those who are either unable or unwilling to undergo that task, should by the obscurity or cragginess of the Entrance, be tempted to lay aside the Whole; I was willing to have taken such a method, as by the planeness of the first part of the way, might have invited them to hold throgh the rest, how­ever uneasie.

For to trace a Story, is much easier and pleasanter than to trace an Argument: And I thought it very probable, that upon view of the Practice of Christ's Church in its best Ages, every inquisitive person would be willing to un­derstand, upon what ground That Practice was built: which finding to be no other but the Apostles reproof of the Co­rinthians, he would think it worth his labor, both to mea­sure and dig that ground, so to discover, both how the Building was supported by it, and how it self also was sup­ported; and since he could not fail to discover, that the Argument was built upon our Lords mind in his Instituti­on, with manifest indications, that the Institution it self was also grounded upon somthing antecedent: This doubt­less must invite him to dig on, till he could discover That Somthing which lay at the bottom of all as the first Foun­dation.

But finding that This method, however more proper to [Page] Invite the Reader, was less so to Convince him: I chose to proceed in the same order as the subject it self hath do'n▪ by building upward. First therefore I have opened the Ground, then shewed how our Lords Institution was built upon That Ground; then how the Apostles Argument was built upon That Institution: and lastly, how the Churches practice conformed to That Argument: and so we may most clearly understand how far our selves are concerned to con­form to That Practice.

And now to make what recompense I can for the discou­ragements which this procedure may cast upon the Reader, I know no better way than to advertise him, That if he ei­ther can not or will not take the pains to hunt after the A­postles Argument, he may pass over the first and more trou­blesom part of this Discourse, beginning at the fifth Cha­pter of the second Part; wherein I hope he will find such satisfaction, as may in a good measure deliver him from his misapprehensions, and encourage as well as oblige him, to the performance of his Duty, which is the aim of my un­dertaking; but not so completely attained without a full understanding both of our Lords and the Apostles measures whereon they built, the one his Institution, and the other his Dissertation; and himself (if he will do it regularly) must build his knowledge and practice.

For without such a discovery of the first Foundation, he may perhaps be sufficiently Perswaded, but not fully Con­vinced; whereof the Former may satisfie a Learner, but the Later is necessary for a Teacher; to which better Quality I therefore offer the following Researches, because without Their conviction first, and then endeavors, the so General Error can never be cured.

PART I. Concerning the Particle THIS.

CHAP. I. The Scripture cleared from the scandal arising from our contentions: by shewing the true cause and cure.

I. The Sacrament of the Lords Supper highly esteemed by our Lord and all his Churches. In later Ages many differences of Opinions concerning it. II. Not the number only but mater of the differenecs scandalos to the Scripture, both toward Papist and Jew. III. The blame removed from the Scriptures to the Doctors. IV. The Papists, best perhaps silenced by our claiming the literal sens in the Wine as they do in the Bread. Our own Divines neglect the former part, which yet is the Head of the Apostles discourse. V. The regular way to understand his meaning. Two Suppositions taken upon trust, with engagement. VI. The whole Dis­course Paraphrased. VII. The whole Argument Analy­sed. And reduced to Logick form. The great Limbs more minutely to be dissected in four considerabl Members: And all to be closed with an answer to what is said to the contrary.

WHOEVER shall give a clear account of our Lords mind in this Institution, shall do more than one good Work. For as he shall rescue the Holy Sacrament, from stifling under a heap of humane Inventions, so shall he the Holy Scripture, from suffering under the scandal of insufficiency, in a subject necessary to be known.

That This is such a Subject, we shall find hard to de­ny, if we observe with what Care our Lord recommended it, and upon what Reasons.

This we shall hereafter find occasion to consider more fully. At present we shall rest in the concurrent agreement of All Ages and Nations Christian.

But though All ages agree in This, that it is to be ho­nored with our best services; yet do the Last much differ from the First in the manner of payment.

The Primitive, so certainly made it the Principal part of All their publik Worship, that they gave it the honor to denominate the Whole: they consecrated a Weekly day to it, bicause (during the power of the Jews) they could nor celebrate it on their Sabbath: they imbraced it as the instrument of their Communion, both with Christ and one another, &c.

The Later departed from This constancy, not out of Neglect, but Reverence; wherewith they have so unhap­pily Over-honored, that thereby we have Lost both It, and its Benefits: Yea, which is worse, perverted it to a De­stroyer of That Communion of Love among our selves, which it promoted, while constantly celebrated among better Christians.

For when Necessity cried to the Officers of Christs Church to rescue this Holy Supper from the Profanation it then suffered, by the licentiousness of the Greeks, they imployed all their powers to put it in the greatest Distance from any such contemt.

They thought they could not speak too much, or soar too high: They were not satisfied with what the Scripture hath Said, nor what Reason can Apprehend; but laying aside their Rule, differ as much among Themselves as from It.

HENCE is it, that nothing hath be'n Said by any One, which hath not be'n Denied with equal confidence [Page 3] by Others. There are not so many Words in Scripture con­cerning it, as Differences of judgment. Philosophers had not so many Opinions concerning Mans chief happiness, as Divines have concerning this chief office of Worship.

So we somtimes espy (it is the conceit of an excellent person) a bright cloud formed into an irregular figure; when it is observed by unskilful and fantastick Travellers, it looks like a Centaur to some, and a Castel to others; some tell that they saw an Army with banners, and it signifies War; but an­other wiser then his fellows, says it looks for all the world like a flock of Sheep, and foretels plenty; and all the while it is nothing but a shining Cloud, by its own mobility and the activi­ty of a wind, cast into a contingent and inartificial shape: So it is in this great mystery of our Religion, in which some espy strange things, which God intended not, and others see not what God hath plainly told, &c.

And would to God it were no worse: But 'tis no such jesting mater. For as Opinions are Multiplied without Number, so are they Valued without Mesure; and what is spoken without Reason, is imposed without Modera­tion.

No Province in Religion is so pestered with Controver­sies among the Scholastical, Mysteries among the Contem­plative, Scruples among the Practik; none prosecuted with greater heat and less satisfaction: Every ones zele for his Opinion taking its mesure (or unmesurableness rather) from his value for the Subject.

II. WERE there no other Disputes but such as con­cern the precarious Mysteries, which have no o­ther Parent, but fanciful mens Inventions; nor no other Nurse, but Curiosity in niceties not practical; however great the Troubl might be, the Scandal would be litle to­ward the Scripture, which might with Gallio, refuse to be judge of such matters.

But when the Question is as Important, as the Subject [Page 4] is Venerable; when it pretends not to gratifie Curiosity, but to satisfie Conscience; and that, not in some Inferior, but the Capital, Critical duty: That our Lord and All his Churches should value it so High, and yet the Scri­pture treat it so Slightly, is a Mystery as Great and as Fals, as any among the multitude imposed upon it.

How then shall we escape the Scandalous Dilemma? Either the Scriprure cannot be Sufficient, if defective in so Capital a subject; or the Institution must not be so Va­luable, if the great Author both of it and the Scriprure did not think it worthy to be Legibly written.

Wer not the Recrimination more obvious than the Ob­jection, did not Tradition leave the Romanists under as great uncertainty in these great questions, as the Scriptures do us, they would undoubtedly so Urge, that we should not be able to Answer the Scandal.

But to Recriminate is a poor justification. Or if the Papists be to be answered, What say we to the Jews? If the Lord took off the vele from Moses's face, and put a thicker on his Own, How shall the Light of the Gospel triumph over the Obscurity of the Law? Not all the Ce­remonies of the Mosaik Law put together, will thicken to so opake a mask, as this One.

They hid indeed the Significance, but not the Obliga­tion of the Law. The vele was upon their Hearts, but not upon their Eyes.

They saw not the full meaning of Circumcision, but they did the Certain Time wherein they were to celebrate it: They understood not the utmost signification of the Paseal Rite, yet were they sure How often, and in what Day they were to Sacrifice and eat the Lamb. But This great office is obscure even in its Obligations. We as litle know what we are to Do, as the Jews did what they were to Believe.

How then shall we justifie the Scripture in point of Suf­ficiency against the Papists, or in point of Clearness against [Page 5] the Jews, without reneguing the Honor due to the Sa­crament?

We find a kind of Composition offered by one of our greatest Assertors, both of the Sufficiency of the Scripture and Dignity of the Sacrament: It is (saith he) not much opened in the writings of the New Testament, but still left in its mysterious nature; it is too much untwisted and nicely hand­led by the writings of the Doctors, and by them made more mysterious: and like a Doctrine of Philosophy, made intricate and difficult by the aperture and dissolution of distinctions.

But if the New Testament hath left it a Shining cloud, and the Doctors reasonings varied it into Contingent shapes; (as he expresseth it) what can we say, but either there is no need to unvele the Mystery, and then the Sacra­ment must be degraded from its Dignity, as not Worthy to be understood or celebrated, or we must have some better Oracle to fix its signification, and since other Doctors make it more Intricate, where can we hope to find satis­faction, but from the Infallible Chair?

This most excellent Author hath written so Much and so Well, both for the Scripture and the Sacrament, that I cannot doubt him willing to sacrifice This One assertion to Their Reconciliation; which also is as worthy our labor, as the advancement of Either in prejudice of the Other.

AND why should we not improve the offer now made us? wholely free the New Testament from Mysteriousness, and lay the whole blame upon the Doctors, as having not encreased only, but first caused the entangle­ment?

He that shall do this and Prove it true, if he appear Rude toward so many Reverend Persons, may well hope to be justified by the Necessity: And if he further disco­ver, not only the Cause of the entanglement, but the way to clear it; if he take the right Thred, and so draw it as to Untwist the whole, without leaving any Knot untied, [Page 6] he may deserve no worse usage than a Child, that with bet­ter Luck than Art, hath disentangled a skein of Silk, which his Parent had snarled and could not unwind.

The former half of this so justifiable work, will not require much time or labor. It is but observing (and it is obvios to the first glance) what is the regular way to dis­cover the mind of any Author; and we shall soon find how Generally, how Grosly, and how Mischievosly it hath be'n forsaken in this Subject.

If we look upon the Anatomist dissecting a dead Body, we may thence learn how we are to examine a Discourse. The Artist, who aims at no other design but to trace the ways of life, first takes a General vieu of the whole Body, and then a Particular one of every Member, examins the Texture of every Particle, the mutual Aspect of each to other, and the joint Usefulness of All to the life: But the Butcher, who aims at nothing but his Profit, chops off such members as may best advance it, makes of Them the most he can, leaving the Bowels as inconsiderable, because un­profitable to himself, thogh most serviceable to the life.

Can I help it, if truth oblige me to say, the Doctors have handled those parts of Scripture which relate to This Sacra­ment, not like Anatomists, but like Butchers? that they cut off such a Particular clause, as they think most advan­tageous for their own preconceved Opinion, treat it as a distinct Body by it self, regard not its Office in the Dis­course it ought to serve, but make the utmost they can of that One, without respect to all the Rest, &c.

In matter of Fact, nothing is rude that is true: I need not therefore stand upon manners, but boldly say, that the Doctors on both sides have so Treated, as if they had a­greed to Abuse the Apostles Discourse, and our Lords In­stitution. For the Papists cut the Institution alongst, and lay aside One Side; our Own Divines cut the Apostles Comment athwart, laying aside the Upper half.

[Page 7]IV. 1. THE Papists, that they may maintene their be­loved Transubstantiation, cut our Lords Institu­tion into Sides, make all possible advantage of That which seems most Serviceable, and lay by the Other as wors than Use­less.

For whereas the Elements are two, they make all possible advantage of the Bread. This they say must be the Lords Body in the literal sense, bicause he hath categorically said so; and since it is as easie for him to Do it as to Say it, there is no Necessity, and therefor no Reason, why we should quit the most Proper sense. For Reason must not be balanced against Faith. This must believe the Thing, though That cannot comprehend the Manner.

But the Wine all this while is laid aside as Unserviceable; All the regard paid it is but as an Attendent; It is concluded, that since the Bread is the Lords Body, the Wine must needs be his Blood, whether our Lord have said any thing at all, or any thing to the contrary concerning it, or no.

Yet our Lord honored the Wine, No Less; and the Apostle, More, than the Bread. There are no Valves that hinder the Reflux; but we may with the same Autho­thority and Evidence, interpret That by This, as This by That.

Now (if we believe the Apostle) Our Lord said not of the Wine [This is my Blood] but [This Cup is the New Te­stament in my Blood.] And the literal sense saith not more plainly of the Bread [This is my natural Body] than it saith of the Wine [This is NOT my natural Blood.] If there­fore They may argue Positively, That the Wine must be our Lords Blood, bicause the Bread is his Body; we may upon the same evidence argue Negatively, The Bread is Not his Body, but only the New Testament in his Body; bi­cause the Wine is Not his Blood, but only the New Testament in his Blood.

With the favor therefore of our better Champions, I conceive we ought to learn, as of the Adder, so of the Papist, to direct our blow to That part, they are so careful to fence, and restore the Cup to its due office. Possibly they have denyed it its right in the Peoples celebration, out of pique for the ill office it is so apt to do to their be­loved doctrine: let us restore it to Both its Rights, its ho­nor due by our Lords Institution, and its power of inter­pretation due by the Laws of Reasoning.

We cannot more effectually silence their importunity for the literal sense, than by claiming it. They who de­ny Sense and Reason, worthy to be ballanced against the Letter, cannot deny One Element to be so against the O­ther. What therefore they have put asunder, if we remem­ber our Lord to have joined together, we cannot but know our selves obliged to Receive both in the same sense, whe­ther Literal or Mystical.

If Both are to be Mystically understood, the querel is ended between us; If Literally, we make a new one be­tween the Elements. If One must comply, he that hath One grain of it, will grant, that Reason must turn the scale on that side where it shall be found. Those who deny it weight enough to preponderate the the Literal sense, cannot deny it sufficient to turn Aequilibrate Scales.

So that the defect lyeth not in the Scripture, but the Doctors; whose partiality to One side above the Other, hath made a difficulty, which an equal regard to Both sides would have prevented.

And it is yet further considerable, that they carry the same Partiality toward that side they so favor. For as our Lords Institution hath two equal parts, so hath their favor­ed Proposition [This is my Body.] And whereas the Laws of Reasoning require we should first understand the Sub­ject, and then the Predicate; the Former they wholely lay aside, and employ all their endeavors upon the Later; which I might now insist upon, as another Butcherly abuse, [Page 9] but I shall hereafter meet another occasion to call it to ac­count, and therefore hasten to what more nearly concerns our present bisiness; wherein if I should prefer reverence to persons, however worthy, above the Truth I am en­gaged to serve, I ought to be branded with a worse Chara­cter than that of Irreverence to my betters, which I expect to be accused of.

2. Our own Divines therefore I cannot avoid impeach­ing, as guilty of the same Partiality. To cut the Higher part from the Lower, is Another, but no less irregular way of dissection, especially when the Lower depends up­on the influence of the Higher, for all its Life and Mo­tion.

That the 27th dependeth as a conclusion upon the Pre­mises, is manifest by the illative [Wherefore] From the Forgoing discourse therefore ought all the Following to de­rive its Life and Power. Yet who is there that takes any notice of Those Premises or their Influence? Doth not e­very one pass by All the rest, and begin his endeavors at the Conclusion?

And as if we gloried in varying our irregularities into all possible shapes. We take the quite contrary way with the next (the 28th) verse; for whereas the Apostle there makes the Former half the harbinger of the Later, we em­ploy All our care about That, and wholely neglect This, which That is to serve.

Yea, as if it were a small matter to Neglect; we Coun­termand the express Injunction, and so dash One Precept against Another. Let a man examine himself (saith the A­postle) and so let him eat, &c. [Let a man examine himself] (say we) with all possible caution, and so let him beware that he eat Not that Bread Nor drink of that Cup, if he find himself Unworthy, whatever the Apostle have said to the contrary.

[Page 10]V. BUT it is easier to find faults than to amend them, and I promised not only to shew the cause of the embarra's, but the way out; which sure must be by the same Light, and by contrary steps. If we Therefor miss the Apostles tru meaning, bicause we miss the tru way to trace it; then must we needs be obliged to search after it in that same way, which we have so discovered to be the Right and Forsaken one.

We must therefore carefully Anatomise the whole Dis­course. First observe the Design, then the great Limbs, then the least Particles, Their proper Textures, their mu­tual Aspects, their joint Serviceableness to That Design, which animates them All to its own Use.

But as in Dead bodies (especially such as have any con­siderable time layen so) many D [...]cts disappear, which during life were as Visible as Necessary; and the Artist many times is led by mere Reason, grounded upon consent of parts, to Find out if possible; otherwise, to Suppose those secret channels whereof he finds no other evidence but necessity: So are there in This Discourse very obser­vable Suppositions, which though they were sufficiently evident when the Apostle wrote, and will ever be necessa­ry for the circulation of his Argument; yet by Length of time, and Forgetfulness (if not worse) of those who should have kept them open, are now so lost, that without careful Probing they are not discoverable.

Two such Suppositions I shall now take upon Trust, pawning all my labor to pay good Evidence for them, in a more proper Season.

1. That the Churches of Christ at That time celebrated All their Religious meetings with Fests: (This is more then half proved by the very first glance upon the Text.)

2. That in All their Church Fests, they honored some Spe­cial Bread and Cup with Special ceremonies; the Cup ever closing the Fest: This will require a fuller Examination.

Upon these two Suppositions, the Apostles Argument (otherwise unintelligible) and All his Expressions (where­of some must be otherwise impertinent) will appear most Clear, Rational and Unanswerable.

By their help therefore I shall make a duble dissection; of the Words, by a Paraphrase; and of the Argument, by an Analysis.

VI. THE Paraphrase must take in the 20th Verse, bi­cause all the rest hang to it.

20. When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lords Supper.

21. For in eating every one taketh before other his own Supper, and one is hungry and anothor is drunken.

22. What? Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the Church of God, and shame them that have not? Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

[Page 12] 23. For I received of the Lord, that which I also deli­vered unto you, that the Lord Jesus in the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, &c.

25. After the same man­ner also he took the Cup when he had supped, saying, This Cup is the New Testament in my Blood, this do ye as often as ye drink it in remembrance of me.

26. For as often as ye eat this bread, This bread, and drink this cup, you do shew forth the Lords death, &c.

27. Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [Page 13] this cup of the Lord unworthi­ly, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28. [...]. But let a Man exa­mine himself, and so let him eat of This bread and drink of This cap.

29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lords body.

33. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

34. And if any man hun­ger, let him eat at home.

When you meet in that publik place appointed to Gods Worship, your beha­vior is such that you cannot be thoght to celebrate the Lords Supper.

For whereas the whole Fest oght to be common to all the Communicants; [...]; you on the contrary in that foregoing Supper, which the Lords is to close, eat every one his own Supper apart; so that one taketh more than Temperance alloweth, and another less than Nature requires.

If your debauchery be such, that you cannot for­bear drunkenness, it were less intolerable to practise it in private in your own houses, than thus impudent­ly to affront the whole Church, and insult over them who have neither houses nor such plentiful provisions. I said indeed, verse 2. I praise [Page 12] you that you remember me in all things, and keep the Ordi­nances, as I delivered them to you. But in this, which is an Ordinance of the first Magnitude, I must make an excep­tion. In this I do not, cannot praise you.

For this Tradition I re­ceived not, as I did the rest, from my fellow Apostles, but from the Lord Jesus himself: and since you seem ether to have forgotten or mistaken it, I again repete it, That the Lord Jesus in the same night wherein he was be­trayed (being a Festival one) took Bread, &c.

After that same Festival manner also, he took the closing Cup, in its proper time, viz. after Supper, saying, As often as ye drink this Cup, in this manner, do it in remembrance of me, and not as you have hitherto do'n it.

For by this Institution, This Bread and This Cup is so advanced above its former dignity, that it is consecrated to a representa­tive of our Lords death; and as such is to be honored, and that to the end of the world; so that neither you, nor any other Christian Church, shall ever be at liberty to use it o­therwise.

Wherefore, this bread and cup are now no longer [Page 13] your own, but the Lords; and who ever useth them in a manner unworthy of that Relation, is guilty not only of Intemperance, but Sacrilege; as abusing not common Bread and Wine, but the thereby represented Body and Blood of the Lord.

But remember that it is the proper character of a Man to examin his own acti­ons: Do so in This, consi­der what you do, and act sutably to your rule. Let not the fear of so great a guilt fright you from your Duty, but from your Irreverence.

For he that doth it in a manner unsuitable to its re­lation, provoketh our Lord to anger; as leveling His Flesh with that of a Beast, and His Blood with that of a Grape; putting no difference, but treating the one in the same rude manner as he doth the other.

Wherefore, when you come together to your Church Fests, entertain you one another, [...]; you that are able, communicate your meat to those who have none of their own.

But let no man either eat or drink immoderately in Gods House; if he be given to appetite, let him rather satisfie it in his Own.

By this Paraphrase well understood and duly heeded, we shall not fail of the Apostles meaning in the whole and e­very Particle; provided we handle them regularly, which I shall now do by a Logical Analysis of the Argument.

VII. BY the Rules of Reasoning, we must First consider the Conclusion intended to be proved, and Then the Media imployed to that End; mesuring These by their serviceableness to That.

The Conclusion, is the charge of Profaneness in the Corinthians, relating to our Lords Supper. This animates, and This must interpret every word, and therefore requires to be it's self most carefully heeded: And one might think a litle heed sufficient, since it seems impossible either to Overlook or Mistake it.

He doth not only plainly lay it down, but thrice incul­cate it. And since in every proposition the Quantity is highly considerable, we must carefully observe, that he doth not accuse them as guilty of misdemeanors in Some more than Other meetings, but in All alike.

Had he charged them as guilty in Some special meet­ings, wherein the Lords Supper was more especially con­cerned, we had then understood that it was not concerned in All assemblies as such: Or had he charged them as Pro­faning the Lords Supper in All meetings, without heeding whether it were concerned in them, or no; if in Those meetings they were at liberty to have celebrated or omit­ted it, they might excuse themselves by saying, they in­tended it not in those particular ones.

But because they Never met in the Church without Festing, and in All such Fests they were obliged by Christs command to celebrate his Own; he therefore blameth their Fests Universally, and that in such language, that thrice varying the Phrase, he still further cleareth his meaning.

Verse 17. Your coming together is not for the better, but for the worse.

Their coming together Indefinitly, if it be not plainly e­nough equivalent to an Vniversal, is more clearly made so by ver. 18. When you come together in the Church, where the more general [coming together] is so appropriated to the [Church] that the indefinite [when] must be equiva­lent to whensoever, as yet more plainly appears by ver. 20. When you come together into one place, it is not to eat the Lords Supper. This is the extract of the whole charge, That when they came together into That holy place which was set apart for Gods worship, they so behaved themselves, that what they did, could not be taken for the Lords Supper.

A charge which now adays we should not decline; and why should the Corinthians more than we? We acknowledg (might they not say?) yea, we plead it. We cannot be said to Eat the Lords Supper: and what then? therefore we cannot be said to Profane it.

This might have be'n an evasion as Effectual as Obvios, if the Lords Supper were not concerned in Those very same meetings, which he so Described and Reproved: i. e. in All.

This therefore is the sum of his Charge, and it must be the Design of his Reasoning, to prevent any evasion; not to be do'n, but by proving, That in All their meetings the Lords Supper was Therefore Abused, because it was Con­cerned in them All.

Let us now consider by what Media he proveth it.

At the 23d vers. he beginneth his evidence: appealing to our Lords Institution, explained by a Revelation. In re­cital whereof it is most considerable, that in reporting the consecration of the Cup, he addeth words not mentioned by any of the Evangelists; nor by himself, in That of the Bread. For none of Them say, that our Lord said of the Cup [Do this as often as you drink it] nor doth Himself say that our Lord said of the Bread [Do this as often as ye eat [Page 16] it.] The Reason of this difference we shall have a fitter time to enquire hereafter.

At Present we must not neglect to observe, That as he is very careful thus to Insert these words; so is he, imme­diatly to Resume them, and settle them as the Foundation of his whole Argument. For upon this Supposition, that our Lord preferred This Bread and This Cup which was con­stantly used in All Church-meetings, to such an Office, that whether they Considered it or no, yea whether they Would or no, it must set forth his death; Then (and not otherwise) will All his Inferences follow, that the abuse of [This bread and This eup] reach That body and blood, which they so represent.

And lest This should fright them, not only from the Abuse, but the Use too, of [This bread and This cup] to prevent so great an inconvenience, he is careful to warn them, that it is no less crime to disobey our Lords Autho­rity, than to Profane his Supper: They must first examin themselves to prevent the One, and then [Eat this bread and drink this cup] to avoid the Other. And having thus se­cured the duty, both in the Thing and the Manner, he binds it by Threatnings to the end of the Chapter.

These are the great Limbs of this Body, This the Pro­cess of the Argument; Thus doth it answer his own cha­racter, The body is fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth. Not one joint too little, or too much; not One loose Expression, not One word Imperti­nent or Unserviceable; every part hath its mutual consent with every other part, and its office of Serviceableness to the whole, which also is complete, without any the least defect.

His Charge made good in its whole Latitude. The Co­rinthians convicted, All Evasions barred, The Crime dis­played, rhe Danger discovered, the Duty inforced, the only Safe way set forth, and the Fear of deserting it pre­vented.

And because some require not only Logik force, but Logik form too; This is the formal Process of the Ar­gument.

Those who so come together that they cannot be said to eaet the Lords Supper, com together for the worse. You so com to­gether, ver. 21, 22.

The Proposition (which alone needeth it) he proveth by words purposely inserted in his recital of our Lords In­stitution, ver. 25. and resumed, ver. 26.

As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye shew forth the Lords death] which Proposition signifieth nothing, unless helped with this Assumption,

As often as you come together in the Church, you eat this bread and drink this cup.

And by assistance of this Assumption, the whole is made unanswerable.

This fundamental Assumption then Deserveth and Re­quireth our utmost care. I shall therefore most diligently observe it; And for greater clearness, shall transpose the Apostles words, reading them Thus,

This cup as often as you drink, do it in remembrance of Me.

And so we find these considerables.

1. A certain special cup, pointed at by the Demonstrative THIS.

2. This cup made a standard whereby we must measure our performance.

3. The Performance which we must mesur by This standard.

4. The end for which we must do it.

And having thus stated our obligation, by examining the Apostles discourse, I shall examine what is said to the con­trary by our late Divines, who not heeding the Standard, and mesuring the duty by a (good, but) unfit one, have defeated both our Lords design and their own too.

CHAP. II. Of the Necessi [...]y to fit the word THIS with som [...] singular Bread and Cup.

I. The difference of our Lords stile towards this Bread and Wine from That towards litl children. II. This subject requireth the clearest expression. III. The Particle THIS most considerable. IV. Grammar and Logick. In Lo­gick it is considerable. 1. As a singl word, a Demonstra­tive must have somthing for its object praecedances, Every word must be answered by som Idea. V. 2. As the subject of a Proposition. The meaning of the Praedicate must be mesured by the capacity of the subject. Offers at the im­port of the word rejected, 1. That Individual. 2. The whole kind. 3. Somthing indeterminate. 4. The Action

OUR Lord, after his last Supper, treated Bread and Wine with such kindness, as at another time he did little Children: He took them up, laid his hands upon them, and blessed them.

But with This great difference, that of Those he favor­ed the Whole kind: Suffer (said he) [little children] to come to me. [Little children] indefinitely, i. e. Any little children whatsoever; and gave a Reason, comprehensive as the Precept, For of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Whereas Here, he preferreth not Bread and Wine in­definitely, nor speaketh a word of their Fitness for the honor; recommendeth not either of them as Such, but as This; i. e. Not the whole Genus, nor any Other Species, but only This, i. e. This singularly Proper cup.

So great a difference in his Expression, must needs pro­ceed from a suitable difference in his Intention.

In the Former case; his Words plainly declare his meaning, That as often as Any parents, or other friends, [Page 19] desired to bring Any Children to him for his blessing, his Disciples should admit them, whoever they wer. And had he now meant as Universally of Bread and Wine, as then he did of Children; he Easily Might, and therefor Cer­tainly would have declared such a parallel Intention, with a parallel Expression, saying, As often as you desire to set forth my death by a visibl representative, do it with Bread and Wine; for such viands ar proper to That end.

Thus I say he Might, and therefore Would have decla­red his meaning, if he had meant no more; bicause Thus it would have be'n best understood. For (as reason re­quired) it was his constant Practice to deliver his Practi­cal precepts in the clearest stile, that the dullest apprehen­sion of the most illiterate Fisherman, might understand his duty.

II. IN the Mysteries of the Kingdom indeed, especially such as might have temted his (yet) carnal followers to forsake him, he Hinted, and Intimated more than he thought fit to Express: and he gave his reason, I have ma­ny things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. He therefore spake only so much as might serv to prepare them for that Spirit of truth, which as it brought all his Sayings to their Memories, and all his Institutions to their Under­standings; so did it indue them with power from on high, to bear such truths, as were then too Big for their narrow Capacities, or too Heavy for their sensual Affections.

Now, this is a Practical Precept, Therefore Injoined, that it may be Performed; and for that reason oght so to be Expressed, that it may be clearly Understood, especially in such Necessary points as are to be Mesures of the Per­formance.

Besides, as it is a Practical precept, so it is a Positive one too. And such (above all other) require the Ful­lest and Clearest declaration of the Authors meaning:

For Precepts Moral, if they be less clearly delivered, [Page 20] may receve further light from the candle of the Lord, which shines in every mans Reason.

But Precepts Positive, having no other Mesur, but the mere Will of the Law-maker, can have no other Inter­preter but his Words, which therefor need be as Clear, as his intentions to be obeyed can be Real.

Which in This case we cannot doubt them to be, since it is appropriate to his own Personal honor, and favored with many expressions of his esteem.

If ever therefore we must mesure our Lords Mind by his Words, it must be Now: and Consequently, Now must we most carefully examin the Proper sense of Every word, by such tests as are owned by all mankind.

III. AND among his Words this Particle [THIS] as it hath the first Place, so hath it a principal Impor­tance. Our Lord made it the head stone of the corner, thogh the bilders have rejected it, and made it a stone of stum­bling.

For what St James said of the Toung, may be applied to THIS Particle. It is very litle in Bulk, but very great in Power: and that Power it exerciseth in the same Man­ner too.

The Bridle determins the motion of the otherwise wan­dring Horse; and the Helm, That of the otherwise flot­ing Ship; and THIS, the otherwise Undermined object.

If we go on with St James, and complain of it's setting on fire the course of nature, the unhappy sentence may ap­pear more gilty than Any: But our THIS is so far from the Incendiary, that had not it's help be'n refused, it wold either have Prevented or Quenched the flames.

For had the Doctors imploy'd some of That care in duly Stateing the power of the word [THIS] which they have worse than lost upon Exalting that of the word BODY; the Cup of blessing could never have spent (as it hath do'n) more blood of Christians than of the Grape.

But those who resolved to Deify the word BODY, must Sacrifice to it our word THIS: That they might destroy the principles of Natural Philosophy, they must begin with those of Grammar and Logick, which concur to re­quire our Special regard to the neglected Particle.

IV. GRAMMAR tells us, that it is a Pronoun Ad­jective and Demonstrative. As an Adjective, it cannot stand without a Substantive: and as a Demonstrative, it must have a proper Object to point at.

And Logik saith the Same, if we look upon it as a Simple word; and More, if we look upon it as part of a Proposition.

If we look upon it as a Single word, Logik calleth it Syn­categorical, which is another expression of the same office which Grammar ascribeth to it. It so points at some Singu­lar object, as to change the Vagum into Determinatum, and put as much difference between This Cup, and Any cup, as there is between Hic homo and Quidam; which is no less than what the Proper name can add to the Common nature. For if Peter be pointed at, and called This man, he is thereby as much distinguished from all other men, as if he were named.

Obj. If it be thought sufficient that there is a difference be­tween THIS and other bread, as soon as it is prepared for Consecration.

Ans. I answer, We ar not yet com'n so far. We are not now enquiring into the Consequence of the Action, but into the Meaning of the Institution; which was the Caus, of the (then futur) Action,

We know it to be no Common Bread, when it is Sepa­rate (or about to be so) from Common use: but we wold also know whether it wer not distinguished from Common bread, before the Institution required us so to Separate it: whether it had not some Praevios fitness above Any other Bread, which might prefer it before All orher, to the Of­fice [Page 22] wherewith our Lord honored it, in consideration of That singular Praevios fitness.

Now since our Lord pointed to it by the Demonstrative THIS, before ever he had Consecrated it, and thereby de­clared it Singularly capable of the Office; either it must have some Praevious singularity, or the Demonstrative must be vain, as having Nothing to demonstrate.

FOR Words are but Images of Thoghts: and as That Thoght must be vain which hath no Thing to answer it, so must That Word be, that is not answered by a Thoght: the One and the Other must be verified by some Idea.

But of All words, the necessity lieth heaviest upon THIS. Others must Signifie some proper object: This doth not only Signifie, but Point to it, and must be not only Vain, but Abusive, if professing to shew somthing, it have nothing to shew. This Priest must of necessity have somthing to offer.

I here challenge Any one to shew me, in Any Author whatsoever, any one example wherein This Demonstrative createth the first Difference, without any Praevios disposi­tion in the Object so to be pointed at: And 'till That can be do'n, we may very well receve our Lords word in the same Sense, since it carrieth the same Sound, as it doth in Moses's stile.

This (said he of the Blood of sprinkling) THIS is the blood of the Covenant: That Blood receved not All its pro­prieties from what Moses said or did: But it First differed from All other blood, by its Proper circumstances of offer­ing; and Moses finding it so Predisposed, honored it with a singular Demonstrative and Dignity.

Our Lords stile is the very same, and plainly alludeth to the same form of Consecration: This cup (said he) is the New Covenant, and therefore This blood of the New Co­venant; must (as well as that of the Old) have some Prae­vios singularities preceding the Proposition, and Fitting it [Page 23] for the honor whereto, merely by reason of That fitness it was so preferred above All other.

As we know what Honor it receved from the Instituti­on, so we must enquire what was the Singular fitness it broght to it: We are not yet com'n to the word of com­mand, DO THIS, where the Demonstrative following the Action, may derive a singularity from it: but we are yet in the porch, in the Declaration, [THIS is] &c. and de­sire to learn what THIS can signify, before any other word be spoken, which may change it to some other state, than what belonged to it before.

V. HITHERTO we have looked upon it in its Sin­gle capacity. Logik further considereth it as a Part, and the principal Part too, of a Proposition. It is no less than the Subject, considerable Always as the Founda­tion whereon the Praedicate is to be bilt; and Oftentimes as the Standard whereby its meaning is to be mesured.

For the sense of the Praedicate must ever be fitted to the capacity of the Subject: and if the ordinary signification appear too big or too little, the Inrerpreter must imitate the Prophet, who applied his Own Eyes, Hands and Mouth, to the Childs; wherein he must derive his mesures from the Speakers mind, somtimes discoverable by common Reason, and somtimes by the Speakers annexed Expositi­on. E. G.

Jacob categorically affirmeth of several of his Sons, that they are Beasts of several kinds: and immediatly limiteth the extravagant Expression to some determinate Resem­blance.

Juda is a Lions whelp] (Not in all respects, but this) From the prey my son thou art not go'n up.

Issachar is a strong Ass.] (What in the whole form? No, but in This) couching down between two burthens.

Dan shall be a Serpent in the way] (Not in All, but this One respect) He biteth the horse heels.

Our Lords stile is the same, at other times as well as now. And we may as reasonably say, Our Lord was not a Man, but a Plant, because he said [I am the Vine] thogh he interpreted himself by adding [In Me ye bring forth fruit] Yea, not so much as a Living plant, because he said [I am the door] thogh he immediatly added [by me if any enter in, he shall be saved] As we may, that this is not Bread, because he said [This is my body] when he imme­diatly glossed upon the word, by adding [Do This in re­membrance of me.]

But on the contrary, we are as much obliged to mesure This Proposition by the annexed Limitation, as either of the Other; and so to confess, that This is no more our Lords Body, than himself was a Door, or Issachar an Ass.

Now if it be true, that the Praedicate must be thus ac­commodated to the Subject; then, the less capable the Subject is, the less must we giv it of the Praedicate. If therefor Bread [as such] cannot be understood to be our Lords body; Then perhaps [as THIS] it may carry such diminishing characters, as may write it less capable.

For This reason, it is probable that former Ages have be'n industriously silent concerning it, and for This reason is the enquiry necessary.

Thogh This be a quite different question, yet it is not unserviceable, even toward our understanding the Other. It is one question, which asketh what Jacob meant by the word Ass? when he put it upon Issachar: and another to ask, which of his sons it was whom he so stiled? So it is one thing to enquire what our Lord meant by the word [Body] when he said of the Bread, This is my body: and another, to enquire what extraordinary Bread that was which he preferred to that dignity.

THE Eunuchs first question was Not concerning the Things to be suffered, but the Person that was to undergo [Page 25] them: He asked not what was meant by being led like a lamb to the slaughter, his judgment taken away in his humili­ation, or the obscurity of his generation; But of whom speak­eth the Prophet this? And the same must be our method if we will understand our Lords Institution. Before we en­quire what he meant by calling the bread his Body, we must ask of what bread speaketh the Lord this?

We may probably better understand [Into What] our Lord changed it, if we first know [From What.] Many Therefore understand not What they say, because they know not Whereof, [...], 1 Tim. 1.7. Many wold not have Spoken, Others would not have Believed, what All confess they cannot Understand, in the Praedicate of this unhappy Proposition, if they had first understood its true Subject as they ought to have do'n.

1. That our Lord spake only of that individual Bread and That individual Cup which he then distributed, so as to make Those Individuals the adaequate Subject, as well of his permanent Institution, as of That One Distribution, cannot be imagined; since Those Individuals must perish in the useing, but for ever live in such successors, as may be the Same in the General Nature of Bread and Wine, and in the Special circumstances wherewith those were ac­companied, even before their preferment.

2. That he spake of the Whole kind, Any Bread and Any Cup, we may not believe, both because of the now mentioned difference of stile in This text, and That con­cerning Children: and because such a sense would oblige us to Consecrate All bread and All wine, seeing the De­monstrative would have pointed to All alike. This sense is as much too Wide as the former was too Narrow: yet some will have a yet Wider. For

4. They conceve that our Lord was so far from pointing to any determinate Bread, that he did not to any determi­nate Thing. But the Hoc must be taken Indeterminately, [Page 26] Hoc, i. e. Hoc aliquid, This Somthing. That they may destroy the nature of Bread, they begin with that of the Pronown.

For whereas the Proper office of This Pronown, is to make the Object More determinate, by singling One out of Many, contracting the General to a Special or Particu­lar; This sense will make it Less Determinate and More General: 'twill be so far from distinguishing This bread from Other bread, that it will take away the Specifical dif­ference, whereby it is distinguished from an Egg, a Stone, or a Scorpion, &c. Which is so contrary to the nature of a Demonstrative, as Black is from White; whereof One is said to Congregate, the Other to Segregate.

And the Constant Practice of All mankind contradicts it. For whoever sheweth any thing to another, and stileth it [This] Doth not pretend to disable him from judging what it is in its kind, but to difference it from Others of the same kind; doth not pretend to Contradict his sense, but to Direct it.

If Caius shew Titus a Guinny, and say [This you shall have, if &c.] he wold do him injustice if he gave him a Shilling instead of it, pretending he meant not by the word THIS any determinate coin; nor would Any arbi­trator judge, but he must pay what the constant import of the Phrase called for, i. e. what to sense the piece appeared to be worth, which Cajus pointed to by the word THIS.

The case is the same on both sides; as it must not signi­fy Less, so must it not More; but just the same as the sense to which it is shewen takes it for: If Therefore to All senses it appear Bread, the Demonstrative will not make it Any thing else: it will leave it its Proper Nature of Bread, and Add to That Nature some Enclosure from the Common, to exclude All Other but THIS only.

4. That our Lord pointed Not at the Elements, but the Action, is the concept of a greater than Bellarmine, of our Church; which he bildeth upon the Gramma­tical [Page 27] disagreement of [...] with [...].

But it is contradicted by the Other Element; for [...] doth more necessarily require that the Demon­stration should be applyed to the Cup, than the other [...] can forbid it to be applyed to the Bread: And the two Elements being joined in the same interests, often help one another in the interpretation of what is not equally expressed, but must equally be implyed, as equally belong­ing to Both.

Nor can we abstract the Action from the Subject, but must take the whole complex together: This Action, Thus performed, with THIS Bread and THIS Cup. For our Lord first Declared what THIS IS, before He Commanded us to DO THIS.

We cannot therefore perform the Action, until we know what is the Necessary Mater: because the Action is confi­ned to THIS bread, and the Common nature of bread is determined to THIS only, with exclusion of All Other, and That before the Action hath passed upon it.

I have (I doubt) tired my good Reader with this dry kind of reasoning: I come now to another kind of evi­dence, probably more Satisfactory, certainly less Trou­blesom.

If I can shew som special Bread and Cup, that shall ex­actly fit both our Lords Institution, and the Apostl's Com­ment thereupon; This probably may be more persuasive than Any Logical Demonstration whatsoever, that there Must be such an One, let us therefor try if such can be found.

CHAP. III. The singular Bread and Cup hunted out and found.

I. Customs of That time and place to be enquired. 1. The Custom of Festing in publik worship, fitteth the Apostl's Argument, but not our Lord's Institution. II. 2. The Passover fitteth our Lord's Institution, but not the Apostl's Argument. Three incidental remarks upon the Jews Pas­chal form. III. A Jewish custom pitch't upon, exactly fitting both our Lord's and the Apostl's words. IV. An Objection answered with a story

VVHEN Grammar and Logik can discover nothing to us, but our Want, and there­by set us upon the indispensible task of enquiring after the Extraordinary Bread and Cup, honored above All Other both by our Lord and Apostle, but cannot direct us one step in our way to find them; Whither shall we go but to History, the last interpreter of Those sayings, whose Obscurity is derived only from That dust where­with time hath covered them.

It is the very frequent fate of many a good Speech (and the very Sound sheweth it so of This) that their meaning dependeth upon the Customs of remote Time and Place for which they were Calculated, and with which alone they are to be Retrived.

Let us therefor put our selvs in the Corinthians Place and Time, and enquire into their Publik assemblies, if possibly we may therein meet satisfaction.

I. FESTING in Gods Publik worship, was Then, and before that time, so Universal to All Nations and [Page 29] Religions, that it may seem derived from the light of Nature: But that it was the Practice of the Apostles and their Coaetaneos Churches, the book of their Acts suffici­ently declares; and that it was so in the Church of Co­rinth, the Apostles reproof must necessarily suppose, both in his Charge wherewith it is Ushered, and his Evidences wherewith it is Proved: And This alone can give us a good account of that solemn and otherwise insignificant, ver. 26. whose Implicit meaning is only thus to be Explicated.

As often as you Eat this Bread (which in All your assem­blies you constantly Eat) and Drink This Cup, (which you also Constantly Drink) you shew forth the Lords death (by vertue of that Institution, whereby I have declared to you by revelation from himself) he Consecrated them to That use.

By this light, as the Importance of That vers, so its Connexion both with the preceding and following, and its irrefragable Force toward his design, manifestly appear, not leaving One syllable Obscure or Unserviceable in the the whole Dissertation.

BUT thogh it suffice for the Apostles Argument, it doth not for our Lords Institution: We hereby find To what state our Lord had preferred it, but not From what? And we are obliged to enquire out such a Special bread and cup, as may answer [This] in our Lords hand, before e­ver his Church had celebrated it, or Himself commanded them so to do.

If we understand it to signify no more nor less but a Fest, it cannot be denied that [Eating bread] was but another phrase to signify Festing, and the Expression will con­cur with the Apostles Argument to say, That our Lord by This Institution commanded, that as All of All Religions, consecrated All their publik Feasts to the honor of their several Gods; so should His own Worshippers consecrate All Theirs to His own memory.

Did this sens agree as well with the Actions and Words of the Institution, as it doth with the Apostles Comment thereupon, I know not why it should be refused: But bread in That stile must signify the Whole Supper, All the Vi­ands, as well as the bread and wine; for in customary speak­ing, Eating bread signified eating flesh, fish, and what ever els was provided: whereas our Lord took the bread, brake and distributed it, leaving the rest of the Provisions un­touched the while: And beside the Bread, he took the Cup also, and that, After supper was ended, pointing to This no less solenly than to That, which in common speaking comprehended it: And all the while the Paschal Lamb was not honored with the least Touch of his finger or Word of his mouth.

II. 2. THE Paschal Lamb! Well remembred! Did then our Lord point at This, not as A Supper, but as The Passover? Let us consider,

He imbraced This Passover with the greatest affection. With a desire (said he) i. e. wirh a vehement desire, have I desired to Eat This Passover with you before I suffer; and im­mediatly (as declaring his reason) proceeded to this Insti­tution. And what could more fitly represent his death when Past, than That which most lively prefigured it while Future?

If beside this, the Jews in their Passover used our Im­portant [This] in such a Form, as did no less plainly pre­figure this Institution, than the Sacrificed Lamb did the death of the Author; then must it seem reasonable that he chose that Form, with the same affection that he did that Season: and if so, then must we mesure our Lords [This] by that of the Jews, makeing the resemblance an evidence that the One was the issue of the Other.

Let us therefore to the Jewish rituals: The Law of Moses requireth Unleavened Bread, and for That reason to This day they honor Bread with many ceremonios solenni­ties, [Page 31] Before, In, and After Supper. Particularly, they break a Cake into two unequal parts: The greater part the Master of the Fest hideth under a cushion, there to be kept safe till the end of Supper. Then doth he solenly bring it forth, distributing it among the guests, and saying, This is the bread of affliction which your fathers ate in Egypt, whoever is hungry, let him come and eat of the Paschal Lamb.

And have we not now found our so much sought for Sin­gular bread, exactly answering what This bread is more than any Other bread? Do not All features exactly con­cur? The Season, the Mater, the Form of words, All Circumstances the same?

This is so plausible, that to this very Day (thogh not for this Reason) many look upon the Passover as the Pre­decessor of the Lords Supper, and consequently the Stan­dard of our Performance: Many think that women have no right to the Lords Supper, because they had none to the Passover; and (which is more proper to our present pur­pose) that we are not obliged to receve it but at Easter on­ly, because That was celebrated only at the same season. And that the Corinthians were of this Later opinion, the more we consider it, the more probable will it appear; but most manifest, that the Apostle hath utterly confuted it: For he first reproveth them as profaning the Lords Supper, not in their Paschal only, but their Ordinary meetings, and then convinceth them that it is concerned in them All; whereby the Former error is also destroyed, unless its Pa­trons will exclude all women, not only from the Lords Ta­ble, but his House too.

The Paschal bread therefore, 'though it exactly answer our Lords Institution, yet can it by no means agree with the Apostles gloss; and we must not rest till we meet an an­swer for All Phaenomena, as well in the One as the Other.

YET have we not lost our labor. For as the Chemist, [Page 32] 'thogh he miss his great Secret, often findeth his cost and labor well paid by some profitable Experiment; so we, 'thogh we meet not full Satisfaction in our main enqui­ry, meet somthing worthy Observation.

1. That since our Lord in the same Circumstances used the same Word, we ought to understand him in the same Sens. And therefor [This bread] must be our Lords body, just so, and no otherwise but so, as the Pascal cake celebra­ted to this day by the Jews, is the very bread which their Fathers ate in Egypt.

2. That since [This in the Jewish Passover, pointeth at a Singular remarkable piece of bread, distinguished from All others of the Kind, by its Proper circumstances where­in it is to be eaten; therefore [This] in our Lords Institu­tion, must likewise point at some Special bread, known by the Circumstance of eating it, from All ordinary bread.

3. Thogh we have not hereby found what are the pro­per Marks whereby we may know [This] from Common bread, yet we have the Way wherein we are to seek it. For since there is no other defect in the Paschal, but This, that it answereth not the Apostles dissertation, which re­proveth their Ordinary Fests; it must needs concern us to enquire into the forms of their Common Fests, if possibly we may therein find, not only such a Special bread, but such a Special cup too, as may answer both our Lords de­sign, and his word [This] in his Institution, and the Apo­stles explication too, whereby he proveth them concern­ed not only in the Passover, but generally in Church Fests.

III. 3. LET us therefore again to the Jewish Ritual. Behold, at the very first Step we receve such light, as leaves Nothing unsatisfied but our Wonder, that the Jewish Rabbins should be better Commentators upon our Lords and his Apostles words, and discover more to us [Page 33] of the Original, Nature, and Design of our great Sacra­ment; than All the Christian Doctors, who so long and so much have labored to honor it with their explications.

Because they are short and full, take the words of Leo Modena, a modern Rabbin; and to remove all doubt of his veracity, you shall find the same said by Buxtorf in his Syn. Judaica: so that you cannot doubt of matter of fact, equally testified by two such witnesses, as (you are secure) agreed not to deceve you.

After they are sat down, they say for the most part the 23d Psalm: and afterward the Master of the house taketh a loaf of bread, and saith a benediction over it, which having do'n, he breaketh it, and giveth to each person about the big­ness of a great olive, and afterward every one eateth as he pleaseth: and so the first time that every one drinketh, he saith a benediction. When they have do'n eating they wash their hands, and take their knives from off the table, because (say they) the Table representeth an Altar, upon which no iron tool was to come. And if they be three or more that eat together, then doth one of them command a glass to be washed, and fill­ing it with wine, he taketh it up from off the table, saying with a loud voice, Sirs, let us bless His name with whose good things we have be'n filled. After this, the master of the house blesseth it, and prayeth for peace; and having so do'n, he giveth to each of them a little of That wine which he hath in his glass, and he himself also drinketh of it, and so they rise from the table.

The Necessity considered, which lieth so hard upon us to find some Special Bread and Cup, which may equally answer both our Saviors and Apostles THIS: we may justly, upon That single account, require any Dissenter to admit of This, or shew us a Better.

But the Resemblance considered, we may challenge him not only to shew a better Tally to our Lords Institution, but any Pictur better answering the life. Yea, upon sup­position that we were allowed to Forge what we pleased, [Page 34] we might challenge him to Invent any Hypothesis that may more exactly answer all the Phaenomena, both in our Lords Institution, and the Apostles Dissertation, to the least tit­tle. Mark I pray you.

After they are sat down, the master of the house taketh a laaf of bread (saith the Rabby.) Our Lord distributed The bread, when he had given thanks (saith St. Paul) as they sat at meat (saith St. Luke.

Then for the Cup. The first time any one drinketh he saith a benediction (saith the Rabbi.) The Lord took the Cup and gave thanks, saith St. Luke. But of This Cup because it concerned not the Lords Supper, St. Paul taketh no notice. When they have done eating, he distributeth a little of the wine (saith the Rabbi.) Our Lord took the Cup when he had sup­ped, saith St. Paul. After supper (saith St. Luke) saying, [...], THIS signal cup, THIS closing cup, &c.

Could we have Expected, yea could we have Desired greater resemblance? Are not the Mater, the Actions, the Seasons, All circumstances the same? And do not All these agree as exactly with the Apostl's Argument, and All its Clauses, as with our Lords Institution?

The very first sight discovereth such Resemblance, as manifestly declareth Relation; and rhe more exactly we vieu, the more shall we discover; nor would we doubt the One were the proper issue of the Other, did not the Parentage appear too Mean, and too long Concealed.

V. WHAT! must the adorable Sacrament of the Al­tar, which hath so long exercised the highest de­votions of devoutest Souls, must this inestimable Sacrament fall to so low a meanness, as to own a poor ordinary Feast­ing-cup for its Original? And must all the Admirable My­steries which contemplative Souls have so Long and so Much venerated; must they All dwindle into a mere Re­presentative of That death, which the Evangelists have as plainly set forth by Words, as This can do by Figures? [Page 35] And shall we believe that so many good and learned Men, who have so carefully studied, it should be so much decei­ved, and the Christian world at last, after almost 1700 years, be obliged to we know not whom for information?

To such erronios purpose may Those declame, who use to judge of the truth of the Sun-dial by their Watches, and I shall answer them by a story.

Codrus (or some such brave Prince) the night before he sacrificed his life for his people, delivered into the hands of his chief Officers a Cabinet, telling them, he therein bequeathed them his very heart, and requiring them pub­licly to produce it in every Assembly as a lasting Monu­ment of his death. It contained his directions for its use legible enough throgh its Christal covering, but much more if opened with its annexed key. They receved it with all due reverence, and while the memory of their so deserving King was yet fresh, they constantly obeyed his command. But after some ages, as their love cooled toward his Person, so did their regard to his Legacy. Which the Officers lamenting, and endeavoring not only to restore it to its due reverence, but to advance it higher, told the people, That however incredible it might seem, they must believe what their dying Lord told them; viz. That in this Cabinet he left them his very heart, which therefore they must adore as his Royal Person. And lest by opening it, any one might therein find the Kings plain directions, they laid aside the key, and then omitted the use of the Cabinet it self (except only upon extraor­dinary seasons) pretending that too frequent use sullied it. When many considering and considerable Persons com­plained, that they were brought the back way to the same contemt, as former ages were condemned for; a certain Officer of a midle rank, knowing the Kings directions could not otherwise be legible, sought about till he had found the forgotten key; and upon tryal, finding it ex­actly to answer every ward, brought it into public vieu, [Page 36] pleading, that such a concurs of lock and key in so many wards, could not be fortuit; and seeing Some key must ne­cessarily be had, they who refused This, must be obliged to produce a Better. And because the metal was objected a­gainst as base brass or iron, no way suitable to the richness of the Cabinet, and the Jewels therein contained: he fell to scouring it from that rust wherewith Time and Neglect (if not Design) [...] covered it; and finding it pure Gold, turned that Objection Against its worthiness, into an Evi­dence For is. And thinking that All cavils must be abun­dantly answered by a duble ocular Demonstration, he turn­ed it round in the lock, shewing that all its parts were as well suited to all the wards thereof, as its matter was to the worth of the Cabinet it self.

What success this had with the people, my Author doth not inform me; but this proceeding seemeth so genuine, that I shall follow it.

First, I shall shew that the Jewish Tradition was fit for the honor of a Sacrament. Secondly, That it exactly an­swereth our Lords Institution. And thirdly, That it serveth every syllable of the Apostl's Dissertation.


I. No more dishonor to This than to the other Sacrament, to be derived from a Jewish Tradition. This Tradition more worthy than That. II. In what sens our Lords Table is an Altar? Were our behavior at Table more pious, the Sacra­ment need not be ashamed of such a relation. III. Our Lords form of consecration derived from the Jewish Forms, both Festival and Sacrificial.

THAT it is a dishonor to This Sacrament to ow its original to a Jewish Tradition, can ill be object­ed by those who make no such scruple against Ba­ptism, which yet deriveth its Institution from the same Author, and its Extraction from the same Family.

That had lost its Key almost as long as This; for an Age hath not past over us, since it was found among the same Jewish rubbidge; yet are we not ashamed to expound those Evangelical allegories, Regeneration, New birth, New creature, Old man and New man, &c. by the Jewish Ri­tuals, which speak them more than Allegorical effects of Baptism upon Proselytes.

NOR is This Sacrament barely Equal, but much Su­perior to That, both by Natural and Positive Law. For the Jewish Baptism was a mere naked Ceremony, Signifi­cant (indeed) of the purity required in the person which received it, but neither Derived from it, nor Effective of it.

But This Festival solennity did not only Represent, but really Exercise and Improve, and 'twas its self the issue of true Piety.

Their affectation of Ceremonies might (for ought ap­peareth in Scripture) be all the reason which moved Them to Baptise their Proselytes: but to bless God for his Bene­fits [Page 38] is a worship acceptable to God above all burnt-offerings and sacrifice, though instituted by himself, as appeareth in the 50th Psalm, where he rejecteth Those and approveth This, saying, He that offereth me praise, he honoreth me.

And if even under the Law, much more under the Go­spel must such a Service be acceptable, which carrieth in its countenance such fair Characters of the Divine Na­ture.

And as it hath more of Gods Image, so hath it of his Superscription; more Authority from Positive, as well as more Dignity from Natural Law.

That Gods people should Baptise their Proselytes, the Law of Moses took no care; but that they should ac­knowledge his Bounty in feeding them it made special pro­vision. For Lev. 17.3. we find it thus written, What man soever there be of the house of Israel that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, and bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the con­gregation, to offer an offering unto the Lord before the taberna­cle of the Lord: blood shall be imputed to that man, he hath shed blood: and that man shall be cut off from among his people.

He that killed an Ox, yea Goat or Lamb, was, if he slew a man and rob'd God; if he did not expiate the de­stroyed life, and acquire a new title to the flesh, by offer­ing it to (that he might receive it from) the Lord of all.

This was easily enough performable when the People and Tabernacle travelled, and lodged together in the same Camp: But when the Camp was disbanded throgh the whole Land, and the Tabernacle fixed in one City, then did necessity plead for a dispensation from the unpractica­ble duty.

And this necessary Dispensation we find granted, Deut. 12.21. If the place which the Lord hath chosen to put his name there, be too far from thee: then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the Lord hath given thee, as I [Page 39] have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatso­ever thy soul lusteth after.

In which words God sheweth his kindness to his former Law, no less plainly than to his people. That must still be obeyed as far as it was practicable; and what distance was too great, while he did not determin, but left it to the piety of the people, he thereby obliged them to enlarge it as much as possible.

AND THEY in thankfulness for the favor, thoght no distance great enogh: But if the remoteness of their dwell­ings permitted them not to bring their Meat to the Altar, found a way to bring the Altar to their Meat: Not really in­deed (for That the Law forbad) but the Representation and more: taking for a rule, [...] Quod Altare expiat hoc Mensa expiat. They gave their do­mestick Tables the title of Altars, and their Meat they stiled Offering; Salt they therefor made necessary for the one, bicause Gods Law had made it so for the other: When they came to That Office, for whose sake the Alle­gory became reasonable, the Benediction; they removed their Knives upon This express reason, because the Law forbad any Iron tool to come upon Gods Altar: And by many other Ceremonies indeavored to make the Succeda­neum answer the Principal.

II. TO THIS probably, certainly to no better sens, must those frequent Expressions of our Christian Fathers be reduced.

When they speak of the Sacrament of the Altar, they use the same Allegory, but mean thus much more than the Jewish Doctors; that the Holy Fest is not only a Repre­sentative Sacrifice (as were the Jewish) but a Commemo­rative: Doth not set forth what our selves would do, if [Page 40] we had opportunity, but what our Lord hath actually suf­fered.

And if the Jews thoght it sufficient reason to call their own Table an Altar, bicause they did what themselves thoght fit to make it Represent one, much more may we call That holy Table an Altar, and That Holy Meat a Sa­crament, which (not by our own voluntary Act, but by our Lords express Command) doth not barely Represent, but Exhibit his flesh and blood.

Nor is it sufficient reason, that because som strain the Allegory too far, we should therefor abhor any use of it. Why should it be Unlawful or Unfit; yea, why should it not be most Proper, for Us to borrow the Allegory from the Same Tradition, from which our Lord borrowed the Institution? Had it be'n Sacrilegios in the Jews to stile their Table by That sacred title, our Lord doubtless would not so have justified them by honoring the Tradition: Why then should we not think it Equally lawful, since it is More proper, to give This much Holier Table the same title, wherewith the Jews honored their domestick ones without any such warrant.

WOULD to God we would so imitate the Jews, that not only the Lords, but Our own tables might some way answer That name. For it is to be considered, to Our shame, but to the honor both of That people and This their Tra­dition, and consequently to the silencing of the Objecti­on we are now answering, That the same Piety which induced them so to Consecrate their tables, conciliated such Reverence toward them, as represented what is due to the Altar it self.

Philo and Josephus of Old, and their Modern Rabins to This day, bost of their Sobriety as beyond that of any o­ther people, which (if true) may very reasonably be im­puted to the Piety wherewith they thus begin and end their freest intertenements.

We are apt to mesure others by our selves; and because we see too many of our great Tables so unlike Altars, that they shun, or run down all appearance of Religion: bi­cause we Sit down and Rise like Quakers, Riot like Corin­thians, and Talk like Atheists, without any blessing before or after Meat, or any mention of Piety (but to baf [...]le it) while we are eating: bicause we have degenerated not only from Primitive Christianity, but from the litl Piety pra­ctised so lately, even by our selvs, who a few years since would have be'n ashamed of a Grace-less meat: we are therefore apt to believe the Jews as bad as our Selves, or our Neighbors; and consequently, that there could be nothing in their Fests capable of our Lords approbation, because there is not in our own.

But if we remember that our Lord blessed his loaves be­fore he distributed them, we must needs think This ex­ample better worth our imitation, than that of the French: and if we believe he did therein comply with the Customs of his Nation, and that Those Customs were such as their Rabbins describe, we may reasonably both admit that to be true which their Writers bost concerning their Sobrie­ty, and impute That Sobriety to those Customs: and then we may well believe that the Tradition which made the Table emulate an Altar, was so far from Unworthy, that it was most Fit to be adopted into the Gospel, and digni­fied with an immortal relation to our Lords Person.

Our Key therefor is of the most noble metal possible. Had it be'n immediatly injoyned by any positive law of God, it must have be'n Destroyed, Not Perpetuated by the coming of that Body which Abolished such Shadows: Yet doth it cary such legible Intimations ever from that very [...]w, and such fair Characters of Natural Religion, and that in its prime immortal Article, Thankfulness, that it may plead as fair for such Preferment as any Custom could possibly do. So that we are so far from any need to be ashamed, [Page 42] that we may well glory in the Mater of the Key, as no way Unworthy its office.

III. YEA from this discovery of suitableness in point of Worthiness, we may derive another in point of Fitness. It will invite us to compare our Lords Form of Consecration, with som of their Sacrificial, as we have do'n his Mater with their Festival; and so doing, we shall find as great a resemblance between Those, as between These: Which must double the probability of the relati­on, seeing it carieth apparent marks, not of Father only but Grandfather too; not only of the Tradition, but the Rite of Sacrificing whence that Tradition was derived.

LET us then consider. The Institution-Supper, as it was Festival so was it Sacrificial; more particularly, it was Paschal, i. e. a Fest of unleavened Bread. And Bread was, and still is therein honored with a solen Distribution, and these words, This is the bread of affliction which your fathers ate in Egypt. Do you not perceve the air of our Lords Form? This is my body which is given for you? If not, ob­serve that of the Cup.

Moses when he sprinkled the blood of the sacrificed Heifer upon the Peopl, recordeth himself to have said, Behold the blood of the Covenant which the Lord hath made with us; the Apostle reciteth it, This is the blood of the Testament (or Covenant) which the Lord hath enjoined you. The One of these Forms is not more like to the Other than Either of them is to our Lords, This is the blood of the New Testament (or Covenant) that is shed for you.

And [...] we doubt This to be a copy of That? Can we doubt but This pointeth at That, as its shadow, now to disappear?

Neither the Jewish stile, which caleth their Table an Altar; nor the Christian, which caleth this the Sacrament [Page 43] of the Altar, can desire a more honorable approbation, than these words of our Lord give them, manifestly owning That Jewish Phrase for the Parent, and This Christian one for its Issu.

This resemblance of the Sacrificial Form, added to the other of the Festival Mater, what is it, but the Scripture-way of naming considerable persons? that we may not know Joshua the son of Nun more distinctly, than we may this Festival Ceremony the issu of that Sacrificial.


I. A plainer proof from Chap. 10. From the sameness of names. In the Cup the Greeks aped the Jews: The Apo­stle stileth the Cup of the Lord, the Cup of blessing, which is a perfect translation of the Hebrew name. II. The break­ing of Bread, a Jewish phrase. III. Some Phaenomena not salvable but by this Hypothesis. IV. He expresly tel­leth us, that each part of the Jewish Tradition, by name, is a part of our Lords Supper. V. An Illustration from our Grace-cup. VI. A Sacrament, What?

NEVER did Talies more exactly agree, than do This Institution and That Tradition, both in Sub­stances and Circumstances: Yet shall we be content to let all this pass for Accidental, and the Evi­dence thence derivable for Incompetent, if we confirm it not by a Demonstration as full and unanswerable as the Subject can bear, or the most Sceptical person require.

Suppose a Prince had be'n long lost, and his Friends had met with a person of Princely deportment, carrying in his countenance all the features, and in his voice the perfect tone of the lost Prince: This must certainly make them full of hopes that it was the same; and what greater satis­faction would they desire, than This, that som credibl per­son of his retinu should giv in his clear Testimony that it was so? And what clearer testimony could any such person give, or how could he more effectually express it? than by naming him by his proper name, and declaring that this Person, [...]med, was the Prince they desired.

If therefor we find the Apostle call the Lords Supper in each Element, by the very same names as the Jews did each Mater in their Tradition, and then declare them to be the Communion, the one of his Body, and the other of Blood, I might hope the evidence capable to silence all doubts.

Look we then back to the 10th Chapter, and observe his motions and expressions.

His Design there, is to dissuade his Corinthians from communicating with Heathens in their Idols Temples: His Medium for this, he there taketh from the same To­pik, as he doth here for the reproofs of their misdemean­ors in the Church: As Here the Lords Supper is inconsi­stent with Intemperance, so is it There with Idolatros Fests.

There is (saith he implicitely) the same relation be­tween the Church of Christ, his Table, and his Cup, with Us; as between the Temple of the Idol, his Table, and his Cup, with Them: These are the Characteristiks of an Idolater, as Those are of a Christian; and there­for you cannot use them Both, bicause you cannot at once be of Both families.

In pressing this Argument, he so manageth each part of the Lords Supper, as may best answer the Customs of the Heathen, from which he is to dissuade them.

That they used any benedictions of Bread, is nether manifest nor probable, because not so suitable to the Greeks humor, which ran all upon Drinking. But their Closing-cup is so evident, that they, who above all Nations in the World were excellent at Both, Speaking, and Drinking, could not find a word more expressive of Drunkenness, than [...], as if it were the inseparable attendant of Sa­crificeing.

And that in their other Fests they aped this Tradition, as in their Sacrificing they did the Law, appeareth by what we find in many of their Poets and other Writers.

I mention only the Scholiast, who seemeth litle more than a Translator of the last claus of our Rabby, [...]. The custom was to offer drink to the good daemon, when the Table was about to be taken away.

This doth the Apostle so lay hold on, as to express in [Page 46] their own abominable stile: therein opposing Name to Name, as expresly as he doth Cup to Cup; caleth That by the Name themselves had given it [the Cup of Devils] (for [...] is only the diminitive of their [...].) And thereto opposeth the [Cup of the Lord] by the very same Name, which the Jews in the above-mentioned Tradition knew it by.

For this I urge as most considerable, that to this day they call their closeing Cup, [...] which it is not possible to translate into Greek more exactly than the Apostle hath do'n by [...].

The Strength (or at least the Evidence) of the Argu­ment, dependeth upon the Sameness of the Name; where­by he here pointeth at the Cup, no less (yea perhaps more) plainly,, than we have seen him do in the next Chapter by his Demonstrative [This] and I think it not easy to find a third way, wherein he could have more clearly have do'n it. No properer way of determining an Individuum, than either to call him by his proper Name [Peter, or John, &c.] or by pointing at him, and saying [This man.] Thus do these two Arguments mutually enlighten each other; and Both concur to make it manifest, that the Cup of Blessing in the 10th Chap. and that pointed at by the Demonstra­tive This in the 11th Chapter, are the same with that which the Jews honored, both in the same Circumstances, and by the same Name too.

II. AND this will be yet more evident when we consi­der, that he is no less careful to speak of the Bread in the same Jewish stile, caling that also by its tra­ditional [...]lame.

For the Jews throughout their Misna and Talmud, call this part of their Tradition by the same Name, as doth the Apostle in this place, and whereby it is still knowen in the New Testament. They call it, [...] which Phrase cannot be more exactly translated than by [The breaking of [Page 47] the Bread] Yea, this is so expressive with them, that it is diverbial to stile the head of the family from this office, and the whole performance by one word.

This you may plainly discover by what the lerned and laborios▪ Doctor Castel, in his Heptaglot Lexicon, saith up­on the word [...] his words are these, [...] Rabb. Fractor. Sic dicitur Pater familias q. in convivio primus frangit pa­nem, s. cibum, illumque benedicit, & distribuit convivis. sec. illud, 1 Sam. 19.13. Hinc Phrasis illa in N. T. [...].

III. LEt us now observ how the Apostle treateth these parts of the Lords Supper under these their Proper names,; and we shall find still more proof of his respect­ing This tradition.

He caleth That [the cup of Blessing] but he doth not call This [the bread of Blessing] and why not? Two Evange­lists more expresly note, that our Lord blessed it, and the third agreeth with our Apostle, that he gave thanks before he brake it.

On the other side he caleth This [the bread which we break] but doth not stile That [the cup which we distribute] yet doth our Lord speak it more plainly of the Cup, than of the Bread, Take This and divide it among your selves.

Other reason for this duble difference of stiles we can­not Find, and Better we cannot Desire than This; that as our Lord borrowed both Parts of his Institution from the Jewish tradition, so did the Apostle both their Names.

Again, the Apostle keepeth to the Jewish stile in the Cup, saying, [You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils] but in the other part he quitteth the name of [Bread] changing it for [Table] and saying, [You can­not be partakers of the Lords [Table] and of the [Table] of devils.]

And for this he had sufficient reason, if the Greeks did [Page 48] not (what we find no reason to believ they did) consecrate Bread as they did Wine, in All, yea or Any of their Fests: but if we quit This reason, we shall hardly find ano­ther.

Yet again. The Bread had the First Place both in the Jewish Tradition, and the Lords Institution: yet ver. 16. he giveth the Cup precedence.

Why doth he thus cross his hands, as old Jacob did, preferring the Cadet before the First born? What's the reason? were his eyes dim, or his choice irrespective? By no means. For we shall again find him in the same partiality, and upon the same reason, because the Cup was more serviceable to his Argument than the Bread.

In This place it better demonstrates the inconsistency between the Church of Christ which blessed it, and an Idols Temple which did not; and in That, it better di­stinguisheth a Fest, which requireth the Lords Supper, from a common Supper, which doth not.

Yet must not the Bread be so deposed from its primoge­niture, as to be left without its blessing: Thogh the Greeks custom had no rival for it, yet our Lords Supper hath need of it, and must not be maimed of the one half; equally necessary to His Table, thogh not to the Apostles argu­ment.

Thogh therefor he cannot now (as in the Cup) oppose Name to Name, yet he doth Thing to Thing, Table to Table; and under that stile, payeth the Bread the same Justice, thogh not the same Deference, as he doth the Cup.

Look we now which way we will, we meet clear evi­dence; Direct, in the so careful caling each Element by its proper Name; and Collateral, in the no less careful Transplaceing them, suitably to the aspect they had upon his Design; yet doing right to the Institution and Tradi­tion, by mentioning the Bread, as necessary to These, thogh not to That.

[Page 49]IV. WHat more can be Expected? yea, What more can be Desired? must we prove not only that here are the same Names, but the same Person too?

This is do'n, 8.15, 16. I speak as to the wise men; judge ye what I say.

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?

The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

Can now any thing be plaine could any Lawyer or Grammarian more clearly and properly have expressed, that the same bread and cup whose names he had thus translated from Hebrew to Greek, were by our Lord translated from the Jewish Tradition to his Own Institution? Are not Those the same with These?

I cannot pretend any stronger Proof, but I shall endea­vor to Illustrate it by a Custom of our own, in our accade­mical Fests, hitherto unaccounted.

V. OUr predecessors have no less exactly translated the name of the Jewish cup into English, than hath the Apostle into Greek. What They caled [Blessing the Table] We call [Saying Grace] and This answereth That in Both senses, Praying or Praising, Imploring a Blessing upon the Meat before we eat, or returning Thanks for it after we have eaten. Our Grace-cup therefore, deriveth its Proper Name from St. Pauls Cup of Blessing, by exact translation of the word.

And this same Cup hath a Sirname, derived from the Same original by another Apostle. In Acts 20. we find the Primitive Churches met every first day of the week to break bread. And 1 Cor. 16.1. Upon this day they made their contributions to the poor; so joining their Charity to the Lords Mystical Body, with their Honor to his Natu­ral; which St. Jude so highly approveth, as to denominat [Page 50] those meetings [Fests of charity J whence our Ancestors have given this Grace-cup its Surname, the Cup of Charity, as used in those Fests of Charity. I wish they had be'n as careful to preserve the significance, as the ceremony and the duble name.

But if from These we may learn That, we find Chara­cters legible enogh to inform us: The Cup of Blessing and our Grace-cup have Both the same Name, the same Mater, the same Circumstances; after Grace, after Wash­ing, in such order that not one of the Guests can be past by; It's the Last action before rising, requireth the same Number, three at least.

We find that however the remoter Churches met the First day of the week to break bread, yet the Apostles at Je­rusalem did it daily; and Religios Fraternities think them­selves obliged, rather to take their paterns from the Apo­stolic College, than the Graecian Churches; as our Church requireth more constancy in Collegiate and Cathedral Fra­ternities, than Parochial.

When the Governors of the Church, upon urgent ne­nessity, changed the Season for the people, who were not to be trusted after Supper; they recompenced the thus injured Season, with a succedaneos Sacrament in the Grace-cup, as the Jews did their unattended Temple, with a succedaneos Sacrifice in the Tradition.

The concurrence of two such Names, evidently deri­ved from the same Cup, no less remarkable, than that of all other circumstances, dubleth the evidence.

All this may well justify a challenge to the gainsayer, ei­ther to accept of This, or produce a better: Yea perhaps it might be urged, that we cannot avoid, but that we must own either the cup of the Lord, or the cup of divels, there being no other imaginable Original for the unaccountable Grace-cup.

Yet as I will not disparage the Table in our Chappel, by equaling it with That in our Hall; so neither will I my [Page 51] better Evidences, by leveling them with a mere Conje­cture, how ever Probable.

I therefor take it, not as we may suppose it delivered down by our Ancestors, but as it is still practised among our Selvs: not as a Proof of a pios custom in the Churches of Christ, but as an Illustration of his Own meaning.

Suppose we then, that our Lord should again visit the Earth, convene a Council truly General, make a publik Fest, declare his great satisfaction in the Opportunity; and then, in its proper Season, and with all due Circumstances, take the Grace-cup and deliver it about, with the same Words as he did that in his Institution, saying, This is, &c. would we then doubt, but by the Particl This, he pointed at That Cup, so in his hand, under the long knowen cha­racter of a Grace-cup?

If This would not put us out of doubt, let us further suppose, that our Lords chief Secretary should profess, that he had to him declared his meaning; and that this un­exceptionable person, should not only describe the Grace-cup by its proper characters, but even it by its proper name, and in plain words tell us, that the Grace-cup which we drink, is the Communion of the blood of Christ: Would any one now doubt, but the Grace-cup, so Circumstanced, and so Named, and so pointed at, must be the peculiar cup of the Lord, which must cary its old Constancy to a new Dignity?

If this amount not to Full Evidence, yet sure we can­not deny it to be more then Half, and then the Civil Law will allow us to bring a Suppletory.

The Bread then, joineth its Evidence with this of the Cup. In our Lords Institution it holdeth the same Place, as in the Jewish Tradition: In the Apostles Argument, by loss of its Place, it is advanced in Power; for by its De­position so alloyed, it appeareth, that thogh rhe Apostles Argument were, yet was not our Lords Institution, com­plete without it; for which there can be no other reason given, but this, that it was an equally Necessary part [Page 52] of the Tradition, whence the whole Supper was de­rived.

Let us therefor carefully compare them: What Linea­ments? what Feature? what Meen? what Motion is there in the Tradition that is not answered, both in our Lords Institution, and in each of the Apostles Arguments? What Family can shew a Son, so lively resembling both Father and Grandfather? what Artist a Picture more exactly re­presenting the Original? what Wisdom less then that of the wonderful Counsailer, could have invented a Rite, more perfectly setting forth the Tradition it copieth, the Passion is commemorateth, the Benefits it exhibiteth, &c.

I do not upon all these Evidences crave your Sentence. There remain other necessary Enquiries to be made. We have rejected the Passover, because it answered not the Apostles Argument, thogh it better did so our Lords Insti­tution; we must bring them to the same Test, and if it a­gree not with every title, confess all our hopes vain, and labor lost.

VI. VVHICH yet I am so secure against, that I cannot forbear to anticipate the Observati­on, That this notice must silence a multitude of trifling troublesom questions, concerning the definition and quali­fications of a [Sacrament.]

For Both This and its Twin Sacrament, upon examina­tion, confess themselvs nothing els, but Jewish Traditions sublimed by our Lord to Evangelical Commands, requiring all Christians to wear them as badges of his service: as we shall have another occasion more fully to discover.

And from this we may well take occasion to warn som too zelos persons, that they need examin, whether there be as good agreement between their own Spirits, and that of our Lord, as we have found between these two Cups.

The Jews were no less zelos of Moses's Law, in oppo­sition to the Gospel, than any Papist can be of his Super­stition, [Page 53] in opposition to Reformation: Our Lord as much abolished Legal Ceremonies, as our Reformers did Popish; He as much declared against the Traditions of the Scribes, as our Church doth, or needeth to do, against Superfluos Ceremonies. Yet, behold! he was so far from refusing their Customs, for This only reason, because they were Theirs; that for This very reason, he chose them.

He could (doubtless) have invented som other rite for Matriculating Disciples, no less proper than that of Ba­ptism; and som other, for Commemorating his death, than This of the Grace-cup; yet did not disdain to bor­row Both his Sacraments, from those implacabl Enemies of his Person and Gospel, while he abolished all those Divine Ordinances that prefigured Both: Leaving us an example so to shun what is prejudicial, as to retain what may be serviceabl, and make our adversaries practice a rea­son not to Fly but Embrace it.

PART II. Concerning the word [...].

CHAP. I. The Apostl's design, was not to assert Reverence to the Lords Supper.

  • I. The Apostl's proper design first to be enquired into.
  • II. Three steps. 1. What might be the Corinthians case?
  • III. 2. What might becom the Apostl to do in such a case?
  • IV. 3. How doth the Apostl's procedure agree with such Sup­positions?
    • 1. The former part very well agreeth with them.
  • V. 2. The later part necessarily requireth them. Proved 1. Negatively.
    • He did not design to assert Reverence due to our Lords Supper, precisely taken.
    • The subject of the Proposition, ver. 26. is not the Lords Supper, but This Bread and This Cup.
    • The Praedicate is utterly useles (and wors) toward such a design.
  • VI. 2. Positively, The Proposition pointeth at som Determi­minate Bread and Cup.
    • The Argument reduced to a Syllogism.

HAVING thus found our Key as Fit as Ne­cessary, to unlock our Lords Institution; we may with the better corage prove it upon the Apostl's Discours concerning it: Wherein, as there are More, and som of them cross Wards, so if it answer them All, in All their turnings, we shall have so many the More Evidences that it is the tru one.

That we may work regularly, it will be necessary in the First place, to Enter it in due manner, i. e. begin with a right understanding of the Apostles proper Design, where­to every word is to be serviceable: For it is no small help to a travailer to know which way his journies end lies, and to cast the Country accordingly.

His General design we cannot mistake: Nothing can be plainer than This, that it is to convince the Corinthians of their guilt in profaning the Lords Supper: but the Medium whereby he prosecutes this charge, is both Generally and Grosly mistaken: and since this is the Mother error, whence all our Neglects on One hand, and all our Earnestness on the Other, and all our Disputes on All hands proceed, it cannot be too plainly exposed: and thogh it be trouble­som, yet must we crave the Reader to undergo a labor so necessary, that without it he cannot understand what the Apostle meaneth throughout his discourse.

We too hastily believe, that he endeavoreth to prove no more but this, that our Lords Person was concerned in all the abuses of his Supper; taking it for granted, that they knew how his Supper was concerned in Those Meetings which he reproved: Whereas the more we consider it, the plainer we shall find, that his Direct and Immediate en­deavor, is to prove the Later, supposing the Former as self-evident, upon the first notice of our Lords Insti­tution.

So the case of the Corinthians toward the Lords Supper, was much like the Apostles Own toward the High Priest, Acts 23.4, 5. They that stood by, said, Revilest thou Gods high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: For it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people: He reproveth the Corinthians, as the By-standers reproved Him. Profane you the Lords Holy Supper? And supposing them likewise to excuse themselves in the same manner, by saying, We wist not that it was the Lords Holy Supper, for we cannot but know, That must be [Page 57] celebrated with reverence; he argueth in such manner, as to convince them of what they seemed either not to Un­derstand, or not to Own.

II. THE understanding of This will give us great light towards discovery of every step; and that this is true, we may the better perceve if we proceed by these Enquiries.

1. Whether this might not be the Corinthians case?

2. What might become the Apostle to do in such a case?

3. How doth the Apostles procedure suit with such a Sup­posal?

1. This might very well be the Corinthians case. For

1. Possibly they might suppose that our Lord pointed at the Bread, as Paschal, not as Festival, and consequently preferred not Every Fest, but only the Passover to this honor: and for This, there are appearances of reason not contemtibl. 1. He chose the Passover for the Season of his Institution, and embraced it with such expressions of Af­fection, as seemed Proper to That Particular solennity, saying, With a desire have I desired to eat (not this [Supper] but) this [Passover.] 2. This above All other Fests, best Prefigured his death while Future, and was therefor most fit to Commemorate it, when Past. 3. The Jews said of the Lamb, This is the BODY of the Passover; and our Lord seemeth to allude to it, saying: This is my BODY. 4. The Jews distributing the Paschal Cake, said, THIS IS the Bread of affliction, &c. and our Lord distributing the Bread, said, THIS IS my Body, &c. And at That time, having newly filled their minds with phrases proper to the Season, it is very probable that they might receve our Lords words in such a sens.

2. And probably, such an error might proceed from want of a proper form of Words, to accompany the cele­bration. One of the best Doctors our Church can bost of, authoriseth me to say, That such a Form of words (how­ever [Page 58] Useful) is not indispensibly Necessary: Our Lord en­joined none, and we find not that his Apostles either Pra­ctised or Taught their Disciples any: and it was prone for the Corinthians to slide into an error concerning That cup, which carried no Inscription to declare its contents.

Certainly from hence came that which Tertullian com­plains of in his days, That Fests of Charity were cele­brated in the Church without the Lords Supper: and from hence came our loss of the meaning (which is the Soul) of our Grace-cup. And on the contrary, the Jews, with the Mater, retene also the meaning of their Tradition, be­cause both the Bread and Cup are accompanied with such a Form of words as will not suffer it to be lost.

3. And possibly, they might look upon the Whole as a mere outward Performance: For knowing how litle fondness our Lord had toward Such exercises, they might thence in­fer, that he left it in Their choice to Perform or Omit it, as Themselves should judge convenient: and their Partia­lity to their beloved riot, might incline them, both to En­tertene such an opinion and Improve it. Our Lords Sup­per must strike some Aw into their unwilling minds, Com­manding not only Sobriety, but Devotion: And how un­welcom such a check must be to the Corinthian humor, and consequently how willing they must be to free them­selfs from it; if we know not already, we shall anon.

Thus far we have considered Probabilities, we come now to Certainty.

4. Whatever they Really believed, it is Certain they might Pretend, that they believed our Lords Supper un­concerned in Those Fests which the Apostle thus reproved: and the very Possibility of such a Pretence, no less re­quired a confutation, than a Real profession of such a Belief: which requireth us to consider as our next step.

[Page 59]III. VVHat might become the Apostle to do in such a case?

If it were but Possibl for them to believ so, Himself hath taught us that he ought to suppose they Did: For-Charity thinketh no evil, but hopeth All things, believeth All things: Since therefor This was much better than Know­ingly and Willingly to affront our Lord in his Representative; This must in Charity be supposed.

And Prudence agreed with Charity, rather to seek out Excuses for them, than to expose them to the Ʋttermost. He was to deal as Sweetly and Obligingly as possibl, so to endear Himself and the Gospel to them, Praise them as much as possibly he might, Reprove them no more than Needs he must, and Excuse them when he could not Justi­fie them.

And this as it sweetened the Reproof in appearance; so did it more bitterly aggravate the Crime, if their own con­sciences upbraided them, as uncapabl of such an excuse: Since the Guilt must needs be Great, which to the Re­prover appeared Incredibl.

Nor could any Inconvenience on the Other side dissuade such a procedure. This way he might meet with them at All turns: If they wer Really mistaken, he might Rec­tifie their Judgments; if they wer not, he might Baffl their Pretences, and Both waies Reprove their Misdemea­nors; rescuing our Lords Supper from Profanation, if they intended to celebrate it, and his Commands from Neglect if they intended it not, and Himself from any appearance either of Severity towards Them, or Coldness towards our Lords Supper.

IV. 3. HOW doth his Procedure suit with such Supposals? If we carefully observe we find that the for­mer part agreeth very well with them, and the later part will agree with no other.

That he designed to treat them as Kindly as possibl, we may see in his entrance upon This Chapter: Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and keep the Ordinances as I delivered them unto you: And again in his entrance upon this very Reproof, vers. 17, Now in This that I declare unto you, I praise you not, that you com together, not for the better, but for the wors: And again by his close upon his description of their miscarriages, vers 22. What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in This? I praise you not. How Unwillingly! How Gently! and (if his thoughts wer like ours) how Coldly, doth he put in this calm exception a­gainst his late General Praise!

He had in a case far less scandalos, said, Now therefor there is utterly a falt among you: And speaking of those Di­visions, which are here also objected, as the first instance of their unworthy coming together, saith, I could not speak unto you as unto Spiritual, but as unto Carnal.

Yet here, when Divisions of the Rich among Them­selves, and their joint contemts of the Poor; their Shis­matical and Uncharitabl separations, eating every one his Own supper, and destroying the very Nature of a Communi­on; and their Intemperance in Those Suppers, affronting not only our Lords Doctrine, but his very Person; when such abuses of his very Body and Bloud, in his Own Hous, in the face of his Own Church, cryed to his utmost zele and eloquence for a Reproof loud as the Crime; in so clamo­ros a provocation, what do we meet, but a cold Negative, much short of Eli's (however condemned) reproof? Not so much as his [This is no good report. You make the peopl to abhorr the table of the Lord] but only, [I praise you not.]

We shall indeed hereafter find him lift up his now calm voice and loudly thunder both Reproofs and Threats, vers 29. He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lords body. But this, in consequence of Conviction, which by That time he sup­poseth [Page 61] his argument to have wrought in them: After which, if they should Willingly and Knowingly profane This Bread and This Cup, now proved to be the Lords Bo­dy and Bloud; their Crime would be uncapable not only of Praise, but of Excuse.

The Gentl language therefore that Ushereth in the Ar­gument, compared with the Severe, which Followeth it; doth more than intimate a supposal, that they knew not what they did; and therefor were first to be Convinced of their Error by good Evidence, and then Frighted with Threatnings, lest they should continu in the now inexcusabl wickedness.

And we may (perhaps) yet better understand his judg­ment of their Disease, by the Medicine he useth for its Cure; which is no other, but a re-minding them of what he had before Declared to them, and they (perhaps) mis­understood in This subject, wherin he seemeth thus to be­spak them.

I am loth to believ you guilty of so horrid a contemt of our Lords Person, as to drink his very Bloud, in a manner so shameful, as looketh more like the mockery of a contu­melios Jew, than the devotion of a faithful Disciple: No, I rather impute this to your Forgetfulness or Misunder­standing, of what I declared unto you concerning this most holy Ordinance; which therfor I now repete to you

Then doth he proceed to recite the whole Institution, so Particularly, as at That time he might very well think Sufficient throghly to convince them, in what he Supposed, or would seem to Suppose them, Mistaken.

I say it was at That time sufficient. For it is most ne­cessary that we distinguish between That time and Our own. The Tradition where on we suppose our Lords Sup­per founded, was Then not only in Memory, but in Pra­ctice. The Demonstrative had its Object, not only Intelli­gibl, but Visibl; they did not more plainly Hear the Word than See what it pointed at; and therfor our Lord might [Page 62] well think it superfluos to express How Often they wer to do This in remembrance of himself, since the Tradition, which That very Institution commended, sufficiently de­clared it.

[Do This] said he, [This] which you see Me do; [This] which your Whole Nation in such circumstances constantly do in conformity to the Tradition: Do [This] with the same Matter, Bread and Wine; In the same Order, First Bread, and Then Wine; at the same Season, After Supper; and (is it not equally plain?) with the same Frequency, when Three or More fest together.

This mesure of Frequency might our Lord well suppose at That time, in Those circumstances sufficiently plain, by that known rule, Exceptio firmat legem in non exceptis.

But it seems the Disciples wer either less Able, or less Willing to understand, than He had reason to expect: And how the Corinthians might mistake, we have made not im­probable conjectures. The Apostl therefor, to Clear what now appeared to Need it, telleth them plainly, that what our Lord at the time of institution did Not Express, he had since Reveled to be his meaning, viz. That as often as they drank That Cup, which he then consecrated after Supper, they must do it in remembrance of himself. Since therfor they closed (or ought to close) All their fests with the Same Cup, his Bloud was concerned in them All.

WHAT fairer account can possibly be desired of this Former part of the Apostles Process? Of the Lenity of his Reproof, of his Method in convincing them, first of their Error, and then of their Gvilt? Of his Reciteing the Lords institution, so to vindicate his Supper from Cheap­ness, of his inserting the omitted [...], so to assert the Interest that his Supper had in Their publick meetings, and of his authorizing this insertion, so to avoid the objection that might be raised from our Saviors not useing it, proved by the joint testimony of the three Evangelists.

WHAT need the Apostl do More, than baffle All their Pretences, and rectifie All their Mistakes? and what could he do Less, than prevent that most obvios Evasion, whereby they might have pleaded for Those Meetings, as unconcerned in the Lords Supper?

If any one of a contrary judgment can give a fairer ac­count of this Former part of the Apostl's discours, he will do a Great work, but he will have a Greater yet to do: For the Later part, wherein the Apostl draweth his Infe­rences, will not only Offer this as the Fairest, but Urge it as the Only sens of his argument.

V. LET us now therefor carefully examin HOW and WHAT he bildeth upon his so solen recital of our Lords Institution.

He beginneth his deductions at the 26th verse, where­in he resumeth the Last as the most Important clause, lay­ing it down as the Sum of our Lords mind in his Institu­tion, and the Foundation of all his own intended Inferen­ces therefrom, that As often as ye eat this Bread, and drink this Cup, ye shew forth our Lords death.

By This Proposition therefor must we mesur his Design: by This must we enquire, whether he intended merely to prove, that Reverence is due to the Lords Supper (as is ge­nerally supposed) or whether he mean to prove, that Some determinate Bread and Cup, was consecrate by our Lord to his Supper.

In This Inquiry we shall proceed. 1. Negatively, shew­ing that the Former cannot be his meaning. 2. Positively, shewing that the Later must be so.

1. The FORMER cannot be: This will appear whe­ther we consider the Subject or the Praedicate of the Pro­position.

1. The SUBJECT of the Proposition, is not [the Lords Supper] but [This Bread and This Cup] and therefor [Page 64] whatever the Praedicate brings, must not belong to That but to These.

That the Lords Supper precisely and formally consider­ed, is not the true subject of the Proposition, is plain, both by the express words that have not a syllabl of it, and by plain reason, which requireth it to differ from the Prae­dicate: For if the Subject differ from the Praedicate only in Syllables, not in sense; the Proposition will be no better than a tautology, a mere repetition of the same thing in other words.

It is true, the Lords Supper is concerned in the Propo­sition, but Mediatly, because of its intimate relation to This Bread and This Cup, which for its sake, are advanced above All other of the kind, consecrated first to the Lords Supper, and thereby to his Body and Blood.

And This is so much the more considerable: because, if the Apostle had no other design, but only to assert the di­gnity of our Lords Supper, he ought in all reason to have insisted upon the very Phrase, which would go far in his way.

For the very Name of the Lord challengeth Reverence: the very Sound is an Argument, it carrieth Aurhority and Commandeth Aw into the hearts of the hearers: whereas on the contrary [Bread and Wine] in their natural State, are but poor beggarly creatures, servants of our Appetites at best, and too often of our Corruptions, and need a Law to defend them from our abuses.

Now that our Apostle should have No other Design, but to assert the dignity of our [Lords Supper,] yet desert that stile which would Strengthen his Argument, and take up another that would Weaken it; is so much the more un­reasonable, because he had used That more potent stile in his charge, ver. 20. and thereby obliged himself to inforce it: So that he must now desert, not only the Reason of his Argument, but the very Subject of his Charge; if he had no other design in This Proposition, but to prove [Page 65] that our [Lords Supper] oght not to be treated as he com­plained.

2. The PRAEDICATE of This Proposition is utterly useless, or worse, to such a design.

The Argument would run more Clearly, more Briefly, and more Conveniently, Without the Proposition than With it. For the Institution having stiled this Suppor of the Lord his [BODY and BLOOD] the Inference is most Natural and Cogent, therefore whoever celebrateth the [Lords Supper] unworthily, is guilty of his [Body and Blood.]

So this whole 26th verse will at best be but imperti­nently troublesom, good for nothing but to amuse our thoughts, confound our minds, and cloud the light of the Argument.

Yea, the very Phrase of the Praedicate will conspire with That of the Subject, not only to Darken the Argu­ment, but to Weaken it. For to declare it our [Lords Body and Blood] must needs command our aw more, than to say it [setteth forth his death] so that the interposition of This meaner office, between our Lords Institution and his own next Inference in verse 27. in Both whereof That higher one is given it, can serv to no other effect, but to eclipse the Light, and intercept the Influence, which o­therwise would stream more powerfully and directly from the One to the Other.

In a word: let the Otherwise minded shew what Neces­sity, yea, what Use this 26th verse serveth; what Light, or what Strength it ministreth to the Discourse: otherwise they must needs, either suppose the Apostle to talk imper­tinently, or accept of That service which his words offer; which what it is will yet forther appear.

VI. POSITIVELY therefor: This Proposition pointeth at some Determinate Bread and Cup, declaring, that Whoever eateth That determinate Bread, and drinketh [Page 66] That determinate Cup, doth Thereby shew forth the Lords death.

And now the lately disputed Particle [THIS] is no Less, perhaps More considerable in the Apostl's mouth, than we found it in our Lord's: For the sake of This Demonstrative did he so solenly recite the Institution, and resume That as the most important clause therein: From This doth he derive All his Argument, and to This doth he pay All his Service.

He observeth to what honor our Lord advanceth the Bread and Cup, From His hand doth he take them, cloaths them with the important Demonstrative as the Robe royal, rendring them conspicuosly honorable in the beholders eyes, Crowns them with the potent [...], as giving them power to prescribe mesures to our obedience, leads them in pomp, and proclaims before them, THIS is the Bread, and THIS the cup which the Lord delighteth to ho­nor: THIS Bread and THIS Cup hath he commissioned to shew forth his death: THIS Bread and THIS Cup, are the Supper of the Lord; and therefor whoever eateth THIS Bread, and drinketh THIS Cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

The Process is Pompos, yet withal it is Elegant: he so inculcateth the important particl, as to favor your ears: he so indeavoreth to satisfy, as not to surfeit you with nauseos repetitions: and therefore having so shewed it, as abun­dantly to fill you with his meaning, he withdraweth by degrees, still varying the phrase, yet so, as still to preserv the influence, even when he quitteth the sound of the Demonstrative.

That you may see both his Art and Care, I shall set down his very words.

Ver. 25. [...].

26. [...].

[Page 67]

27. [...].

28. [...].

29. [...]

In verse 26. he giveth the Bread honors before denied it; Equaleth it with the Cup, honoreth it with the same Emphatical Article, and the same potent [...], neither of which was given it in the Institution: The reason will a­non be plain; he now describeth the complete Supper, wherein the Bread is no less necessary than the Cup, thogh not equally honored with it in the Institution, as we shall see (and understand why) anon.

In verse 27. He keepeth the same stile for the Bread, but varieth it in the Cup; saith not now [THIS cup] but [The cup of the Lord.] And here we must pause, lest we seem to contradict truth: for I said but now, that the Apostl men­tioneth not [the Lords Supper] whereas here he stileth the Cup [the cup of the Lord.]

But what I said but now, I spoke of the 26th verse, wherein he cut out work for his whole following process. Again, in this very verse 27. it is yoked with [This Bread] and being thus secured from any danger of mistake, might safely be clothed with That larger title, more suitable for It than for the Bread; because it doth not only Represent his Blood, as the Bread doth his Body, but Prescribe the frequeny for celebration, which the Bread doth Not.

In verse 28. The Demonstrative is laid aside: and in the 29th, not only the Demonstrative, but the very Sub­ject. In both, a manifest Ellipsis, easily and necessarily supplied: since we cannot apprehend the Action of Eating [Page 68] and Drinking, without the Bread and Cup, nor any other Bread and Cup but only THIS, so earnestly inculcated in the same breath.

And now that I may bring the whole Argument to a closer vieu, I shall from a disjointed examination of its scattered parts, proceed to a reduction of All to Logik form, in a Syllogism of the most perfect mode.

Bar- As often as you shew forth the Lords death unwor­thily, you are guilty of his Body and Blood.

ba- As often as you eat This Bread and drink This Cup, you shew forth the Lords death.

ra As often as you eat This Bread and drink this Cup unworthily, you are guilty of his Body and Blood.

Of this Syllogism the Assumtion is set forth, [...], verse 26.

The Conclusion thence inferred, verse 27.

But the Proposition (which is generally look'd upon as the adaequate design) the Apostle no otherwise proveth, but by reciting the Institution, which abundantly declareth the relation between the Lords Supper, and his Body and Blood.

Since therefor it was necessary for him to convince them, that the Lords Supper was concerned in All their meetings, but not at all, that the Lords Body and Blood were Re­presented in his Supper; since accordingly, he payeth All his service to [This Bread and This Cup] which was used in all their Meetings, but None at all to the [Lords Sup­per] otherwise then by consequence therefrom: Since the whole 26th verse must be utterly Impertinent, and worse, if it pretend only to assert the dignity of the [Lords Sup­per] but most Cogent, if it intend to assert that of [This Bread and This Cup] since One way, he shall prove a truth, whose importance Deserved his service, and whose [Page 69] Doubtfulness Needed it; and the Other way one, who's Self-evidence superseded any Proof; one might think the choice between them not very doubtful.

Yet, ar we all this while no farther than the Entry: For the very Life of the Argument is laid up in a Clause, purposely inserted in the Close of our Lords Institution, and resumed in the Head of his Own discourse, as the strength of the whole; yet so miserably mistaken, that it is made the only Enemy to the Apostl's direct design; Dispensing with the Constancy, which he so industriosly laboreth to prove Indispensibl.

CHAP. II. Concerning the Clause [AS OFTEN AS.]

I. The unhappiness of this Clause. II. The true sens of the words mesured by parallel precepts. III. Serviceable re­marks. 1. With what care the Apostl recordeth this Claus. IV. 2. With partiality he treateth the Cup. V. The ju­stice he doth the bread, joining it with the cup in his de­deductions. VI. The Conclusion, with an Objection an­swered.

HOW unhappy our Lords Supper hath be'n in All the means he used to indear it, we have alrea­dy noted. He chose the Last night, because the words of dying friends most forcibly affect the survivors: and the horrors of the Tragical time dashed it out of the Apostl's thoghts. He then made a contrary opportunity, and by a Supper purposely contrived, evidenced his care of This memorial of his Death, equal to that of evidencing his Resurrection: And then, Joy and Wonder hindred them more from heeding This, than from believing That: Nor did Any other means prevail, till the Holy Ghost broght it to their understandings.

But their Disciples had not the same mesur of This Spi­rit. The Corinthians either mistook or soon forgot; and St. Paul found it highly necessary not only to Remind them of their duty, but further to Explain it.

And This very Explication suffers as much from the mi­stakes of Interpreters, as did the Holy Supper it self, from the profaneness of the Corinthians.

For St. Paul did no more intend to discorage our Obe­dience to our Lords Command, than did our Lord himself, to encourage Their profaneness in the Performance.

Yet in his Own words do we take refuge from his Re­proofs, as if he had taught us to place All our safety from Unworthiness, in keeping distance from Obedience.

That we should run from One extreme to a Contrary, thogh it be a great Error, is no great Wonder: thogh no­thing be more Condemned, yet nothing is more frequent­ly practised.

But that Those very words, whereby he indeavored to Prevent the Error, should be made to Serv it; That he should use his utmost care to prove Constancy indispensibl, and we should take his words for a Dispensation from it: is the Singular unhappiness of This Only clause, perverted thereby to an utter Defaisance of our Lords Command, and an utter Defait of his Own Design.

We shall therefor indevor to restore the Words to their due power.

First, by shewing what must needs be their true mean­ang: And Secundly, by exposing the Absurdities of That, which is vulgarly imposed upon them.

II. FIRST, we are to enquire into the true sense of this Clause [As often as.] And to this end we need not look back upon what we have seen in the word [THIS] For, This Claus no less peremtorily requireth a certain Standard, than That Demonstrative doth a certain Object: And the Apostle plainly joineth them together in the same power, as the dubl hinge whereon his whole Argument turneth.

These doth he jointly resume as the sum of our Lords institution; These doth he fasten as a nail in a sure place, and upon These doth he hang that chain of Consequences, whereby he convinceth his Corinthians of their crime, and discovereth the Need and Way to avoid it.

Let us first vieu the import of the Words, and Then his care concerning them.

This [...] is plainly Relative: it imports Equality in [Page 72] point of Frequency, and requireth that the new Relative should conform it self to the mesur of a Former Cor­relate.

Now it is plain, that whoever is obliged to make One thing Equal to Another, must certainly know the mesur of That Other, which he is to conform to. No Town can shew a Standard made of Air or Water, but of Wood or Me­tal, whose firm substance having a stable bigness of its own, may certainly determin the Quantity of what is to be me­sured by it.

The Apostl is very careful to prove and inculcate, that [Eating THIS bread and drinking THIS cup] is the stable Standard whereby we must mesure our Frequency in the Lords Supper: It must therefor be necessary, that it self must have its Determined Frequency, fixed by som prae­vios Law or Custom certainly foreknown, and thereby ca­pable to give mesures to any Other performance.

If therefor [THIS bread and THIS cup] be (as I hope I have proved) a Singular bread and cup, used at Certain Determinate times, then have we the Standard whereby we must mesure our Frequency in the Lords Supper: And again, if we are obliged to do This [As often as] That; then must we understand how often we must Do That. So the Relation is perfect and reciprocal. Our obligation to celebrate the Lords Supper [As often as we Eat THIS, &c.] supposeth it certain [how often] we eat it: And the Cer­tainty of difference between THIS and Other bread and wine, determineth how often we are to use Them in the Lords Supper.

Thus will our Lords mind in This Institution, be as plain as in Any other Practical Precept; The Apostles Argument as convincing as Any in All his Epistles; And our Lord's stile, conformable to that of All mankind, and that which himself frequently used, when most desiros to be understood by the meanest.

When th u fastest (saith he) anoint thy head and wash thy [Page 73] face: when thou givest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth: When ye Pray, say Our Fasher, &c. Had these exercises no other Foundation, but the pre­cariosly supposed Will of the performer; and That too, undrawn by any preceding motive: Had they never before be'n heard of in the World (as is supposed of This bread and This cup) what would such a groundless Precept have signified? Who wold thereby have be'n induced to under­go the penance of Fasting, the cost of Alms-doing, or the labor of Prayer? Or what Obligation had there be'n broken by the neglect?

Whereas now, that these Precepts did not Create New performances, but Reform Old ones; since, before our Lord had opened his lips concerning them, his Disciples very well knew how frequently Those exercises were per­formed, it must be needless to tell them what they knew already; but he must be supposed to imply it in what he bilt upon it.

And if we may paraphrase his words, we may thus do it: You often Fast, and give Alms, and Pray, and ye do well in it: I give you no new command concerning the Substance or Quantity of those good exercises; go on to do as much as you have formerly do'n; but I caution you concerning the Manner, that as often as you do them, you do them sincerely without any misture of Hypocrisie.

The language is the very same here, and so ar all mate­rials; A practice presupposed, and left to its former me­sures, a new Precept concerning a change of manner, and This mesured in point of frequency by the foreknown Standard: Our Lord's and the Apostl's meanings, as clear at That time, as the supposed practice (they both refer to) was common. I say [At That time] and insist upon it, as necessary both for Justification of the Scriptur, and Sa­tisfaction of our Own Consciences, that we must re­deem That time, that therewith we may retrive the Only proper light, whereby we may discover both [Page 74] our Lord's and Apostl's meaning.

And thogh we might now supersede any further proof, since our Lord himself may be pleaded the best Interpreter of his own Language, frequently used upon like occasions; yet because another and more acceptabl sens (shall I call it) hath gotten possession of Most, if not of All minds: I shall further observ,

  • 1. With what care the Apostle Recordeth these words.
  • 2. With what partiality he applieth them to the cup, and with what suitable partiality he honoreth the cup for their sake.
  • 3. With what care he righteth the bread, by giving it equal power with the cup in his own deductions.

III. 1. IT is very observable with what care the Apostle Recordeth this clause. None of the Evangelists mention it, and it is probable our Lord used it not in his Institution; and therefor the Apostle is careful so to Insert it, as withal to Authorise it, saying expresly, That he re­ceved it of the Lord. This is very considerable, and there­for we shall observ,

1. This Apostle was our Lords Disciple, after another rate than were the rest: He enjoyed not (as They did) an intimate conversation with him upon Earth, but was a­bundantly recompensed with Revelations from Heaven.

St. Luke (indeed) is very sparing (as became an abridger) in recording such Revelations: he mentions only That which converted him, and a very few others, relating to som of his journies: Yet in recital of his speech to King Agrippa, he plainly intimateth a larger discourse even in That First Vision, than himself had expressed; and parti­cularly, that our Lord promised to make That an earnest of More, and Those more instructive: I have (said he) appeared unto thee for This purpose, to make thee a Minister and a Witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of Those things wherein I will appear unto thee.

Which After-appearances were Such and so Many, that he declareth himself in danger of being puffed up by them.

2. What he declareth himself to have receved of the Lord, must needs be This considerabl [...].

All the rest were openly delivered at the Institution, to the whole College of Apostles; from Them he might have receved them, and to their Testimony he might have ap­peled, if his truth had be'n questioned.

But concerning These important words, they must All have joined their testimony Against him, if the Evange­lists did not join in a strange omission, neglecting to report such a considerable clause.

As therefor our Lord by a very intelligible Ellipsis, left these words unspoken, because needless at the time of his Institution; so doth the Apostle now by another Ellipsis, omit the distinction which we are supposed to understand, between This clause which he inserted, as receved of the Lord by a posthum explication, and the rest, which All the other Apostles receved without it, at his Last Sup­per.

3. These words alone he immediatly resumeth, and in­forceth as his principal Evidence, for all his deductions thence inferred.

Since this is the Basis of All, it oght to be firmly setled, and he needed our Lords authority for This only.

4. This Authority evidenceth not Only the Truth, but the Importance of what was thus delivered.

These words of deference [What I have receved] are ne­ver paid but to Truths of the first rate.

In the fundamental Article of the Resurrection, 1 Cor. 15.1, &c. when he had honored it with the most illustrios titles, The Gospel, That whereby we are to be saved, &c. he addeth This also: I have delivered (saith he) [that which I also receved] but expresseth not from whom; since the cloud of witnesses was apparent.

When he would confirm the truth of the whole Gospel, and exalt its dignity to the highest, he speaketh in the pre­sent stile, Gal. 1.11. I receved it not of man, neither was I taught it, but by Revelation of Jesus Christ.

And since the Stile is the same, the Consequence must be the same, Here as There: If I, or an Angel from Hea­ven, teach any other doctrin than what you have received, let him be accursed.

When our Lord himself hath so reveled his mind, All the inhabitants of Earth and Heaven should they combine, are nether to be believed against the Revelation, nor obey­ed against the Command.

And to what purpose such a Revelation, and such a Vouching? If These words do not Streighten the obliga­tion, they will be but Impertinent; if they Slacken it, they will be Worse. They can no other way answer the Care bestowed upon them, but by inforcing constancy in the performance.

IV. 2. MY next Observation is, the Partiality where­with the Apostle treateth the Cup, which alone is honored with these considerable words. Somthing of This Partiality we have already observed in his Argu­ment against the Cup of Devils, which added to what we are now considering, will duble the weight.

Describing the Institution, he giveth the Bread its due Place, but as cold a Treat as possible. Affordeth it not so much as the common articl, but without welt or gard, speaketh in the slightest manner, [...]; and descri­beth our Lord as equally slighting it, not stiling it [...], but Indefinitely [...]: much less giving it the power to mesur the performance.

But coming to the Cup, ver. 25. He useth it with much more deference himself, and reporteth our Lord to have used the same Partiality. He saith (indeed) that our Lord took the Cup [...]: But the Equality must relate to [Page 77] the Tradition which it equally honored, not to the Cir­cumstances wherewith it self was honored, not in Like, but in Higher manner.

1. He expresseth the exact Season [After Supper] and This in exact conformity to the Jewish stile, which useth to fix a character of emphasis upon the Cup After Supper: As we find most properly to our purpose, Berach. cap. 7. ver. 6. Wine is broght to them in the midl of the meal, they bless severally every one by himself: [...] For That After meal, one blesseth for them all. Where that prefix ל payeth deference the Wine After Supper as to Wine of note. But this is not payed to Bread, because none but the Paschal Cake was distributed After Supper; and had our Apostle spoken of That in the same stile, he had intimated that which he endeavoreth to confute, viz. that our Lords Supper was successor to the Passover.

2. He honoreth it with an emphatical Article, [...].

3. Then he describeth our Lords partiality, who did not speak of it as of the Bread, with a simpl [...], but more emphatically, [...].

4. Nor Indefinitely [This is my blood;] as of the Bread [This is my body] but with an Explication, fixing his mean­ing [This is the New Testament in my blood.]

5. And above All; the important [...] is industriosly put upon the Cup, and denied to the Bread.

Let us now reflect.

He First reciteth the consecration of the Bread: and he could no otherwise: matter of fact obliged him to it, as appeareth by the uniform testimony of all the Evange­lists which spake any thing of it. Yet he prefaceth the consecration of the Cup with the note of conformity [In like manner also.]

In which form of speaking, it is Not unusual to omit in reciting the later, what had be'n expressed in the former; the very phrase excusing, because manifesting the Ellipsis, [Page 78] used merely to avoid the tediosness of repetition.

But it is contrary both to Reason and Practice, that any thing should be omitted in the Former, and understood in the Later; and therein expressed by such a conforming Phrase, when This cannot find in That any likeness.

What the Reason of this strange method is, we shall the better discover, if we observ Another care which seemeth to cross This.

He is very punctual in reciting the difference of Time, between the consecration of the One and the Other. Our Lord took the Bread [when he had given thanks] and the Cup [when he had supped.]

His Argument wold have go'n more Smoothly, thogh not so Strongly, if in the common way of speaking he had made the later every way like the former. But how could he avoid this cross?

Should he give the Cup the precedence? he must then misreport matter of Fact.

Should he then apply these mesuring words to the Bread, that he might speak of the Cup in like manner also? He must then have confounded his Own argument: For the mesuring clause must have signified either too much or too little: too little, if this should point at the Paschal Bread; too much, if to the Ordinary.

For since, of All Fests, the Passover was most prefigu­rative of our Lords Death, and he delivered rhe Bread with such a form of words, as manifestly alluded to the Paschal cake; if to such peculiar suitableness with That Season, and That Form, he had added These words also; Would not the Demonstrative have pointed to the Bread, as Paschal? and consequently, would not these words have required us to mesure our performance of the Lords Com­mand, by that of God to Moses? And would not this have cleared the Corinthians from any profanation of his Supper, except only in the Easter Communion?

But if these words had be'n applied to the Bread, as [Page 79] blessed Before Supper, then must they have signified too much: For they would have comprehended, not only every Fest, but every Private meal. They would not be a Ru­brike for Publik worship in the Church, but Advice for Private manners at home, they would neither require Fest nor Communion, nor distinguish the Church of God from the meanest Parlor.

Possibly to Prevent, certainly to Remove both sides of mistake, and to convince the Corinthians of their obliga­tion, to close neither All their Private, nor Only their Paschal, but All and Only their Festival Suppers with our Lords: he So describeth the Institution, that it appeareth probable, that our Lord distributed the Bread at the Be­ginning, and more so, that he did it before the End of Sup­per; but manifest, that the Cup he delivered at its proper time: And since the Cup was the Adaequate character of a Fest, to the Cup only must the power be given, which these words import.

Let Any one giv Any other tolerabl account why the Apostl should thus deprive the First-born of the Blessing which naturally belongs to it, and I must confess my self to have lost a great evidence of the Relation between our Lords Institution, and the Tradition whence I endevor to prove it derived.

There are too many who have need to consider another honor to which our Lord preferred the Cup above the Bread. He said not, Eat ye [All] but said, Drink ye [All] of this: Whether This difference wer occasioned by Judas's Presence when That was distributed, and his Absence when this was so, is not so plain as it is, that it falleth very cross to the Laws of That In­fallible Church, which denying the people the Cup; takes away the better half of our Lords Supper, and the Whole of the Apostl's Argument, which cannot out-live this lose, but would not have be'n wounded so mortally by That of the Bread.

[Page 80]V. 3. MY last remark is, that in the Deductions which which himself draweth from our Lords purposly recited Institution, he payeth to the Bread joint honor with the Cup, which he had denied it for no other reason, but only for its unserviceableness to his Argument.

Those Deductions ar ushered with ver. 26. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye shew forth the Lords death till he com.

1. Here we see he applieth These relative words to Both elements, whereas in recital of our Lords Institution, he had not at all applied them to the Bread: And this, contrary to that know'n rule, which forbids the Conclusion to in­fer more than was conteined in the Premises.

Hereof what other account can there be given, or what better desired, than the Tradition offereth? In the for­mer verse he was to state our Lords mind reveled to him­self, concerning Frequency: And thereof the Cup was the only Standard, because That alone distinguished Festival Suppers from Common: But in This he is to describe the Supper it self, wherein the Bread hath right, not only to be joined with it, but to be preferred before it.

Had he now excluded the Bread, he must have intima­ted concerning It, what som, without any such color, de­clare concerning the Cup; that it were needless, bicause the Supper were complete without it: But by this care, he preventeth any such concept.

2. He addeth another Claus, not mentioned in the In­stitution ['till he com] thereby either to obviate an evasion in point of Duration, if possibly the Corinthians might pretend to shift from his reproofs, by supposing the Obli­gation worn out; or to strengthen the command, by shew­ing how great esteem our Lord had for it, as extending it to all times future as well as present.

3. But the most remarkable is this, that the Imperative is changed to the Indicative: A change so Considerable, and otherwise so unaccountable, that our glorios Dr. Ham­mond [Page 81] thinketh it not to be made. The Greek is indifferent to both; but in the Imperative there appeared a grain of sense, and none at all in the Indicative.

For if in the Subject of the Indicative proposition, we see no other difference between. This Bread and Cup, and and any Other Bread and Cup, but what our own actual Consecration hath advanced it to; if this stile be only a Periphrase of the Lords Supper, differing therefrom only in Syllables, then will the Proposition tell us no news at all: Every child will without its help understand, that as often as we eat. This bread and drink This cup (upon no o­ther reason but this, that we may thereby shew forth our Lords death) we shew forth our Lords death. And that the Apostl should so carefully bring a candl to shew us the Sun, seemed no way probable to our learned Doctor.

But if the [...] be read Imperatively, not [ye do] but [do ye] then may there be so much of reason in the Pre­cept, as there is of possibility to do otherwise. For look how much danger there is, that we may do this without shewing forth our Lords death, just so much need there is of Caution, and just so much reason will there be in the Command, which hath no other use but to prevent such danger: whereas in the Indicative, as there can be no pos­sibility of error (since the very naming of the Subject makes the Praedicate self-evident) so can there be no rea­son for the Proposition.

Yet all this while, if there be Any at all, there can be [...]ut a very small difference: for the Performance contain­eth the End, almost as necessarily as the Subject doth the Praedicate: it is almost as hard to do this without shewing forth our Lords death, as it is to doubt whether we oght to do it or no: And all that can be gotten by the change is this, that upon supposition of the Reverence which every one will certainly pay our Lords Person; the command en­joining an action in remembrance of our Lords death, will by consequence mind them of doing it with such Intenti­ons.

But be the gain litle or great, we must quit it: because the word FOR which ushereth the declaration, necessarily requireth the Indicative mode.

Had it be'n an Illative [wherefor or therefor] the [...] had be'n indifferent to the other mode. [Therefor do ye] had be'n all as proper as [Therefor ye do.] But the Causal FOR will by no means indure any other than an In­dicative: Its proper office is to confirm our Belief, or in­struct our Understanding, not to command our Will: No Author ever speaks so, nor will our Ears indure such an in­congruos sound: so that our excellent Doctor must lose on one hand, whatever he may seem to gain on the other, and he will reap but small thank from the Apostle, by deli­vering him from a supposed Solaecism in Logik, and casting him upon a real one in Grammar.

I say it is but a supposed Solaecism in Logik, and That sup­position is grounded upon our inadvertency. For grant once that our Demonstrative [This,] and our Relative [...] point to some praeviosly singular Bread and Cup; and im­mediatly we discover a sens so far from trifleing, that pro­bably it will appear too severe, certainly most worthy of so great an Apostle, most serviceable to his Argument, and most worthy our utmost consideration. For thus will it con­vince the Corinthians.

It is in vain for you to pretend that you do not celebrate the Lords Supper in Those your intemperate meetings: FOR I have so recited our Lords Institation, that you may plainly perceve it to be his meaning, that as often as you drink This cup, which he Then consecrated, and which is the same with that wherewith you close All your Church Fests, you must do it in remembrance of Him.

FOR he hath not left it in your power to make his Sup­per Concerned or Unconcerned (by celebrating it as often or as seldom as you please) in such meetings; yea; or to choose which way you will be guilty, whether of Diso­bedience [Page 83] to his Command, by Omitting the duty; or of Contemt to his Person, by Doing it unworthily: FOR he hath inlayed it upon All such Fests so inseparably, that thogh you would, you cannot take Any of them with­out it.

FOR YOU DO, whether you intend it or no, whe­ther you will or no, notwithstanding any contrary Intenti­on, You Do, you cannot but Do, what he hath thus made not only Unlawful, but utterly Impossible for you to Omit.

It is not only a Command, obliging you; but an Insti­tution, necessitating you; and you cannot avoid the Actu­al doing it, if you avoid not All Church Fests.

FOR as often as ye eat This bread, you eat That whereof our Lord said, This is my body: and as often as you drink This cup, you drink That whereof he said, This is my blood. And taking this for the sens of the 26th vers, the necessity of the 27th, and all that follow, immediatly appears; For if they be so Much; and so Unavoidably concerned; then, whoever eateth This bread and drinketh This cup un­worthily, must needs be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord, who hath so made Those the representatives of These, that whether we receve them or no, will make no difference in his imputation, because the Relation depend­eth not upon Our admittance of them for such, but upon His own Commission, constituting them for such.

So that in the recess, by intending to Omit the Lords Supper, you make your selves guilty of breaking his Com­mand which obligeth you to Do it, without escaping the other guilt of Unworthiness, since his Institution hath made his body and blood concerned in all the abuses you put upon This bread and This cup.

SINCE therefor this 26th vers cannot be Imperative, because Grammar requireth the Indicative mode always to follow the causal FOR: And since it cannot be Indicative, [Page 84] if [This bread and This cup] in the whole comprehension sig­nifie nether more nor less, than [the Lords Supper] because then, in their formal concept, they will necessarily import setting forth his death; and Logik requireth that the Prae­dicate in every Proposition, should bring somthing of news concerning the Subject;

But if we fit the Demonstrative [This] with its neces­sary Object, and the Relative [...] with its necessary Me­sure, then will the Proposition carry Weight enough to lay it as a foundation for all the Deductions which the Apostl bildeth upon it, and Light enough to shew the use of eve­ry syllabl in his Argument, and Force enogh to convict the Corinthians beyond all possibility of reply;

To doubt now whether we will accept so Serviceable, yea so necessary an Hypothesis, is no other than to put our selvs into a very hard streight: For we shall be obliged either to accuse the Apostl of transgressing the plain rules of Grammar and Logik, yea, and of Justice too, in charging the Corinthians with the greatest Crime, without suffici­ent evidence; or else to produce som Other Hypothesis of our own, which shall be at least equally serviceabl, towards clearing his discours from such great defects.

And while the adversary deliberates upon so hard a choice, I proceed to examin that Other Sens (shall I call it) which alloweth our [...] No ground to Build, or so much as to Stand upon.

CHAP. III. Concerning the Vulgar interpretation of [As often as.]

I. The Distinction between Suppositive and Absolute stated, because made the mesure of obligation. II. The words of the Author set forth, and III. Examined. IV. The merely suppositive sens enervates our Lords Command. And V. The Apostl's own Argument. VI. The two senses bal­lanced in order to Conscience.

THAT in so doing I may escape both the Task of set­ting a tolerable countenance upon an opinion so ge­nerally receved, and the Suspicion of representing it disadvantageosly; I conceve it most Convenient, if not absolutely Necessary, to exhibit it in the words of its Pa­trons — Patron I should say: For among the Many that entertein it, I know but One that hath put himself to the charge of affording it any means of Subsistence, by cloath­ing it with any proper Rules, or nourishing it with any Proofs.

But it is Such an One as may pass for a Multitude: One, that may not be named without Reverence; One, of the greatest Ornaments and Pillars of our Church; One, who professeth to fit every subject with its proper Rules and Mesures; and therefor One, whom we may believe to have said the utmost in behalf of his Opinion.

This singular Person puts it to the question, Whether our Lords words in This Institution amount to a Command? And thogh his interest persuaded him to have Affirmed it; yet the sound of These words, and inadvertency to the Cu­stom we suppose them to relate to, engaging him for the Negative, embarrased him in difficulties inextricable; from which, because he struggles to free himself by help [Page 86] of the distinction between Suppositive and Absolute; I shall first state That distinction, and Then try what service it can do in the present question.

A Suppositive Command Obligeth, just so as a Supposi­tive Proposition Declareth, viz. nothing else but a Con­nexion or Disjunction between the Parts.

An Absolute Proposition may be true, though its Sub­ject have no Being: and so may an Hypothetical one, though its Antecedent have no Truth. And as a Hypo­thetical Syllogism, Absolutely concludes Nothing without help of an Absolute Assumtion; so doth not a Hypotheti­cal Command oblige to any thing, without the help of som Positive addition: Hypothetical necessity is therefor con­sistent with Absolute liberty, because the Obligation must derive half its power from the yet undetermined Posi­tion.

E. G. If my Father should have laid upon me this Sup­positive Command, [As often as you go to London, go by land] This would not oblige me either to the Journy, or the Manner. By staying at home I should have be'n as o­bedient, as by a hundred tedios Journies. But if my In­clinations or Bisiness should call me to the Journy; then, by vertu of the Command, joined with the Urgency of my Business, wer I obliged to go, not by Water but by Land.

Such a Command would by no means have amounted to [Get you a hors, and away.] Nor can a Suppositive Com­mand amount to such an Absolute Precept, as [Let a man examin himself, and so let him eat.] But the utmost that so civil a word could amount to, is this, [If you are pleased to eat, then is it necessary you examin your self.]

This is the true state of a Suppositive Obligation: It leaveth us at full liberty, thogh it expose us to be rob'd of it, by som Absolute Proposition following.

And how impossibl it is to reconcile the Wisdom of our Lords Institution, with the Weakness of such an Obliga­tion [Page 87] cannot better be discovered, than by the succesless attemts of so habile an Undertaker, whose words I com now to examin: wherein I beg the Readers just charity to believ (what I most seriosly protest) that it is not without great reluctancy, I engage in so unwelcom an office toward a person to whom I am so much obliged: and nothing but faithfulness to so great a Subject, should compel me to ex­pose the words of him whom all good men are obliged to honor.

His Rule is,

The Institution of a Rite or Sacrament by our Blessed Savior, is a direct Law, and passes a proper obligation in its whole in­tegrity.

This one would think is as plain as heart can wish, but the Gloss quite mars the Text: for thus doth he endeavor to bend his Rule to his Conceptions, and Other Writings, concerning This Holy Sacrament.

THIS Rule can relate but to one instance, that of the Holy Sacrament of Christs body and blood; for although Christ did institute two Sacraments, yet that of Baptism was under the form of an express Commandment, and therefor for its obser­vation needs not the auxiliaries of This Rule.

But in the other Sacrament, the Institution was by Actions, and intimations of duty and relative precepts, and suppositions of action, as quoties feceritis, and the like. Now whether this do amount to a Commandment or no, is the enquiry; and though the question about the half Communion be otherwise determinable, yet by no Instrument so certain and immediate as this.

2. In order therefor to the Rule of Conscience in this in­stance I consider, that an Institution of a thing or state of life by God, and by his Christ, is to be distinguished from the manner of that thing so Instituted. When a thing is Institu­ted by God, it do's not equal an universal Commandment, but obtains the force of a Precept according to the subject matter, [Page 88] and to its appendant relations. Thus when God Instituted Marriage, he did not by that Institution oblige every single person to marry; for some were Eunuchs from their mothers wombs, and some were made Eunuchs by men, and some make themselves Eunuchs for religious and severe ends, or advan­tages of a retirement and an untroubled life. But by this Institution (say the Doctors of the Jews) every man was at first obliged, und so they are still, if they have natural needs or natural tentations. But because the Institution was relative to the publik necessities of mankind, and the personal needs of a man, therefore it was not an universal or unlimited Com­mandmene, but only so far as it did minister to the necessary end, so far it was a necessary Commandment. It was not Instituted for Eunuchs; but for whom it was Instituted, to them it was a remedy against sin, and the support of the World, and the original of Families, and the seminary of the Church, and the endearment of Friendships, and the parent of Societies; and until the necessities of the World were abated, and the needs of single persons were diverted, or broken in pieces by the di­scipline of a new Institution, it was esteemed infamous, and it was punishable not to marry.

3. But then if we consider the manner of this thing so In­stituted, it is certainly a perfect, unalterable, and universal Commandment. For although every man in every circumstance be not by vertue of the Institution obliged to marry; yet if he do's marry, by the Institution he is tyed up strictly, that at no hand he must praevaricate the mesures and limits of the Insti­tution, He that marries, must marry by that Rule and no other. He must marry one woman only while she is alive: he must leave father and mother and adhere to her; he must treat her with charity and honor; he must use her by the limits of Nature and Sobriety; he must make her the Mother of his Family; he must make her serve no desire but what is Natu­ral; and so in every thing is he limited to the first Insti­tution.

Then after a Paragraph spent in a critical account of the word Institution, wherein nothing so much concerns our present enquiry, as a word (to his purpose unhappily) dropt, that Institution does not directly signifie a Command­ment, but it supposes the persons obliged; only it superads the manner and mesures of disobedience, which is as much as I pretend to: he thus sums up his opinion.

5. And thus it is in the matter of the Sacrament, as it is in the matter of Marriage. All men are not always obliged to receve the Sacrament; for the Institution of it being in order to certain ends, and in the Recipients, certain capacities and condicions required by way of disposition, there can be but a relative, and therefore a limited Commandment of its rece­ption: but to them who receve it, the Institution is a perfect indispensible Commandment for the manner.

O the misery of slavery to an Opinion! Quantum mu­tatus ab illo! How unlike himself in his other Works, is this admirable Person, when he attemts to reduce That O­pinion to rules and mesures, which cannot consist with Any! But let us follow him step by step.

III. BY Actions] No, not by naked Actions, but by Actions with their lemmata, declaring their de­sign. Such Actions as those of Abimelech and Gideon, who said 'As ye see me do, so do ye: Actions which made the words of command, not the Less, but the More ob­liging.

Intimations of Duty] Intimation and Duty are no equal correlates: As express words of the Imperative mood, import more then Intimation; so is Duty more then an In­timation can inforce. If our Saviors modesty was so great, or his authority so litle, that he did not Com­mand, but Intimate; we may comply in Kindness, but need not obey in Duty.

Relative Precepts] must have a Foundation, and so must

Suppositions of Actions] otherwise, they are not reason­able Suppositions, but groundless Imaginations:

As quoties feceritis.] But where is the ground for any [feceritis] at all? Doth any man act without competent reason? he acteth not like a man: Doth any man suppose another will act so? yea, Doth any man suppose that Ages and Nations will act so? and that, as of duty? He betray­eth his own want of Reason, by supposing it in all man­kind.

And the like] The like What? this &c. sure was added merely for shew; and it sheweth no more but this, that somthing more needed to have be'n said, could we have knowen what. For all that hath yet be'n said, resteth at last upon a groundless Supposition, which thogh inlarged 'till it cover the face of the whole earth, will still be un­stable as water, not able to afford the good Dove footing, or so much as an Olive-leaf toward satisfaction of our con­science in our great enquiry.

It is in the matter of the Sacrament, as in the matter of Marriage] True, as to the relation between the State, and the Obligation consequent thereupon: For as every one that entereth into That State, is obliged to all the Duties which It requireth; so is every one that receveth the Ho­ly Sacrament, obliged to do it in due manner.

But is it not in This as in That, as to the Supposition of the Action it self, which is owned for the whole reason of the Obligation. For there is the firmest ground in the World whereon to bild a Supposition, that Many will do That, to which All are drawn by strong Inclination, and Most by Necessity. For however uneasie the yoke be, yet to Most it is not so galling as that of Eunuchism: Of Mar­riage therefor, Nature it self hath made the Supposition, which standeth like the Earth, firm upon its own mag­netism.

But what Pole? what Center? what Natural Inclina­tion? what Rational Motive? what Divine Command? [Page 91] what other Reason, antecedent to this Institution, doth this Supposition hang upon?

When it appeareth that men have as strong a propensity to This [feceritis] as to That, then will it appear, that it is in this mater as in That: but 'till Then, the Supposi­tions, and consequently the Institutions built upon them, will differ as much as a Castel in the Air, and a Castel upon a Rock.

I wish I could deny that [it is in the mater of the Sacra­ment, as in the mater of Marriage] in This unhappy re­spect; That Many frighted with the troubles of the Mar­ried state, refuse to engage in it; and More, frighted with the difficulty of coming worthily, and the danger of com­ing unworthily, refuse to com to This.

But then in this respect again [it is Not in the mater of this Sacrament, as in that of Marriage] for when the Di­sciples said, If the mater be thus with a wife, it is not good to marry: our Lord granted the consequence, and advised those that could receve Eunuchism should receve it. But we never find our Lord, or any Apost'l, say of the Sacra­ment, He that cannot receve it worthily, let him forbear it; nor did our Apost'l close his severe threats with saying, Let a man examin himself, and so if he find himself unwor­thy, let him forbear. But in both the one and the other without any [if] absolutely oblige us to the perform­ance.

All men are not Alway obliged to receve the Sacrament]

This is very modestly, but withal very warily and wise­ly expressed: for had he spoken all, he must have marred all: his rule would have inferred [no man is at any time ob­liged.] For mere suppositive necessity is on all hands agreed to be perfect liberty: since a counter-supposition in the o­ther scale, equally true, by counter-poising annihilates its weight.

For the Institution being in order to certain ends, and in the recipients certain capacities and condicions required by way of disposition.

The excellent person had said, 11. 2. An Institution obtains the force of a Precept according to the subject matter, and to its appendent relations.

Let that Rule be translated hither, we need seek no fur­ther for an answer. For the End of This Institution is such as All men at All times are obliged to serve; and by the last recited clause it will follow, rhat this must be so far a Necessary Commandment, as to remember our Lords death is a Necessary Duty.

Certain capacities and condicions are required] They are so, and that not only in order to the Sacrament, but abso­lutely, and by their intrinsik necessity. It is our Duty first to have them, because the Gospel, upon other indispensi­ble accounts, requires them: and then it is our duty to bring them to the Sacrament, even by this excellent Per­sons own rule.

But if we will speak distinctly, Natural capacities are not Required but Supposed; and as Marriage was not In­stituted for Eunuchs, so was not this Sacrament for chil­dren or fools. But Moral capacities are required by the Moral Law; and if they be the Foundation, they are also part of the Bilding; They were necessary to All men, be­fore they were so to Communicants, and therefor cannot make This the Less necessary to Any.

There can be but a Relative, and therefor limited command of its reception] It must Relate to, and be Limited by, Those Ends, Capacities, Condicions and Dispositions; and since Relata must be Equal, therefor the Performance must neither Exceed, nor Fall short, but Equal those Limits, i. e. we must neither Oftner nor Seldomer, nor Otherwise do it, than In remembrance of Christ, with due Dispositi­ons, and all requisite Condicions.

But Those Condicions, thogh they be Limits of our o­bedience in the Maner, do not limit our Obligation to the Performance, being themselves comprehended in it, as antecedently necessary upon the Moral account, Les a man [Page 93] examin himself, is no less a Command, than So let him eat. The Disposition it self is a part of the Duty; and the want of it is so far from a Dispensation, that it is it self a sin.

But to Them who do receve it, the Institution is a perfect and indispensible commandment for the manner.

i. e. Whoever doth it, being not thereto antecedently obliged, doth thereby thrust himself upon a very Great, but Needless Trouble and Danger. For he was under no Obligation, till he put himself under one, by undertaking an action very Difficult to be do'n Worthily, and very Dangerous if do'n Unworthily; and that, without any Ne­cessity, derived from this Institution.

This is the whole that the most Excellent person and Only Patron could make of this ungrounded sens of those Relative words: And as I said before of the whole questi­on, that we need no other than a due understanding of this One discours of the Apost'l, because we have no other Scholiast upon our Lords Institution; so say of This mem­ber of the question. We need look no further for a due discovery of this ungrounded Interpretation, than the un­happiness of this most Excellent Person: since among the multitudes that have be'n seduced by it, no other hath at­temted to put a regular countenance upon it: and This in effect doth but warn every considering person to so bear the performance, i. e. to destroy the Supposition he bilds upon.

And if this be the Best, that its Best patron can make of it; what is the Worst? we find the words twice, and in either place most studiosly mentioned; In recital of our Lords Institution they are carefully inserted and autho­rised; In the Argument thereupon bilt, they are solici­tosly resumed, and setled as the Foundation; let us see what work they make in either place.

[Page 94]IV. THIS interpretation enervates our LORD'S COMMAND. This we find abundantly ac­knowledged. It is Only from These words, Thus under­stood, that we com now from hearing a Rare person de­grade it from a Command to an Institution; such a poor Institution, as may complain with its great Author, it hath not a place where to lay it's head; It doth not Command our obedience, but Beg our benevolence, and begs also (with David's curse) in desolate places; and which is yet wors, in places laid desolat by it self, for it self forbids us to give it the entertainment it begs.

It enervats our Lords command, because it cancelleth our obligations. By doing nothing we shall be as obedient, as by our most active diligence.

For if the Command (let us for once beg That title) be purely Relative; If it do not Absolutely enjoyn the Performance it self, but only a Commensuration between It and the Maner; than is it no more obeyed when Both are equally Performed, than when Both are equally Ne­glected: He that never doth this at all, doth it no oftner than he doth it in remembrance of Christ; and therefor as often as he doth it he doth it to That end.

The Commensuration is no less exact when Both have the Most, and when Both have the Least; yea, when Both have Nothing at all. And well may that be denyed the title of a Command, which is Performed by Neglect­ing.

But what title will be due to it's great Author? If he that doth Nothing may Obey, he must do somthing Less than nothing that Commands, because he pretends to do somthing; and all the guilt of the neglect (if any be) will pass from the obediently negligent Subject, to the imper­tinently busie Law-maker: who having not Required, but Supposed the Action, neither Found nor Made any ground for the Supposition.

It forbids the benevolence it begs. For thogh it threaten [Page 95] No guilt of disobedience to the Omission, it doth to the Performance. While we may ly safe in our Neglect, we run a great risk in our Officiosness.

For he that Omitteth the Performance, disobeyeth no command, therefor cannot incur any guilt, nor deserv any punishment; but he that upon such terms approacheth the Holy Table, is already gilty of contemt towards the threat­nings denounced against Unworthy recevers, bicause he needlesly exposeth himself to them, and to com safely off, had need of more Piety in the Performance, than we can Yet discover of Wisdom in the adventure.

V. IF WE can suppose the Apost'l so regardless of our Saviors command: yet sure he had more kindness for his OWN ARGUMENT, than to use such solicitos endeavors to destroy it; and for his own Credit, than to furnish the Corinthians with a Plea, whereby they might non-suit his Charge: He was (sure) a better Disciple both to Gamaliel and our Lord, than to use such endeavors as, by the ordinary rules of reasoning, must depose both his own Discours, and our Lords Command from all power.

But such is the unavoidable consequence of the merely Suppositive sens of those important words. For it is ob­vious, that the Corinthians Might; and therefor suppo­sable, that they Would plead thus for themselves.

We are sufficiently sensible, that as often as we eat This bread and drink This cup, we shew forth the Lords death; and consequently, that whoever eateth This bread and drink­eth this cup unworthily, is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. But in these our ordinary Fests, which thou so se­verely reprovest, we have nothing to do with This bread nor This cup.

We Fest indeed as often as we meet in the Church: but with­out any Intent, and (we conceve) without any Need, to eat This bread or drink This cup. We intend to do what all Nations agree to be the proper manner of worshipping God. This is the [Page 96] Ʋniversal notion of mankind, in that so common Rite of Sa­crificing. The Votary therefor offereth his beast, that he may become a guest to his God, thereby at once Receiving and Ex­pressing a confidence that he is propitious to him.

And thogh our Lords great Sacrifice of himself, have made it needless to shed any more blood by way of atonement; yet is that so far from any reason, that we should lay aside Festing with Sacrificing; that it is a very good one, why we should take it up, if it had never be'n used before; since now we have much greater reason to rejoice in the Communion, to which God in­viteth us.

But that in all our Fests we should be obliged to celebrate the Lords Supper, since himself hath not expressed it, we under­stand not.

For either he intended we should receive it only at the same Fest, whereat he Instituted it (which was the Passover) or els he left it wholely to our discretion, to receve it as often as we should think convenient.

Now that we intend not to do it in our ordinary meetings, thy self seemest to understand. For thou declarest, when ye come together it is not to eat the Lords Supper.

Is it not, we own it, we plead it; It is not to eat the Supper, and how do we Profane it when we do not eat it? When we do Eat it, if our behavior be irreverent, we must confess our selves guilty: for we submit to thy rule, As often as we Eat This bread and Drink this cup unworthily, we are guilty; but it thence followeth not, that we are so as often as we Fest together in the Church.

It is hard to say whether such a plea were more obvios to the Apostl's Observation, or Destructive to his Argu­ment. It was therefor infinitely necessary he should an­swer it, and we find no other Answer to it but in these words, nor any other Use of Those words but for such an Answer.

This is sufficient to perswade us, so to interpret them, that the Argument be not Defective, nor Themselves Im­pertinent. [Page 97] But to fasten such a Gloss upon them, as shall make them not only Useless, but Pernicios; and the Ar­gument, not only naked of so necessary a defence, but ir­refragably retorted against the Author, is perhaps a greater abuse to Them, than the Corinthians profaneness was to the Lords Supper.

VI. FOR a close of this troublesom dispute, let us im­partially ballance the rival senses upon This en­quiry, which of all others is most important; viz. which of them affordeth better satisfaction to a pious soul, conscien­tiously enquiting how often he is obliged to receve the Ho­ly Communion? A question, wherein there are many things doubtful, but none more than This: Whether it more De­serve or Need to be answered?

1, The One sens offereth full satisfaction, by shewing us a Certain Mesure to which we must conform: And though the change long since made in the Manner of cele­brating Church Festivals, seem to have confounded it, yet if we once know what it was at the time of the Instituti­on, we may and must so accommodate the never decaying Reason to the Change, as still to answer the first Intention: For if the Corinthians were therefor obliged to Eat the Lords Supper in All their Church meetings, bicause they Fested in them All in One manner; so are we, bicause we also Fest in them All in Another manner: Since the Manner of Publik worship, the Church upon competent reasons may alter: but the Institution of our Lord indi­spensibly closing All Church Fests with his own Supper, No human power may abolish; at least not in point of the Obligation, though possibly invincible necessity may di­spense with Actual performance at som times.

So by This account, the clear answer will be, That the Church must offer the Holy Sacrament, as often as she can persuade the peopl to receve it; and every person is so often obliged to receve it, as the Church Officers shall offer it; [Page 98] and Both the Church, and every person oght to come as neer as possible, to doing it every Lords day and every Ho­ly day, i. e. All days of Church Fests.

2. But the other Sens for want of a Standard, will pack us off with an answer more Delusory than the Collier's. If we ask [How often must I do this in remembrance of Christ?] it will answer [As often as you eat This bread and drink This cup] If we then ask, [How often must I eat This bread and drink This cup] it will answer [As often as you do it in remem­brance of Christ.] This I say is more delusory than the Col­lier, in two respects.

1. Bicause it was possible to know what the Church believed. Publik Confessions, Canons of Councils, &c. All of them independent upon the Collier or his Faith, and all know'n to the Catechist. But Here, we have No Declaration or Canon which pretends to oblige, 'till our own voluntary Act do it.

2. The Collier was not the same person with the Church: He might possibly differ from her; or if he did Not, then might a further question join them Both toge­ther, and by asking [How do both thou and the Church be­lieve] call him to a determinate account of his Own and the Churches Faith.

But here [This bread and This cup] are supposed to be a mere Periphrase of the [Lords Supper] differing only in Syllables, and not at all in Signification.

It is therefor impossible that ony one can Do This, which he would never have do'n had not our Lord commanded it, and not remember That Command which must be the ad­aequate reason of the Action; and it is no less impossible to remember the Command, without remembring the Au­thor. These are so far from separable by any Forgetful­ness, that they cannot be made so by any Endeavor. And therefor it must be extremely frivolos, if the Apost'l should so solemnly press this as reveled by our Savior, That [as often as we eat his Supper, we must eat his Supper.]

Again, the entire question is compounded of Both terms: For we ask not separately [How often must we Do This?] as a distinct question from [How often must we set forth our Lord's death?] But join Both in This question [How often must we so do This, as thereby to set forth our Lord's death?]

Had the Collier be'n thus Catecised, he could not have escaped either confessing his ignorance, or giving account of his belief. But here the clearer the Question, the more unsatisfying the Answer: When different expressions are made different things, they may pretend to mesure each other; but when they are joined together as parts of one whole Suppositive duty, then we have no mesure at all:

Yea, Those very words which pretend to give us an ex­act one, rob us of one that with som Latitude might have served the turn. For without them, we could not have doubted, as now we do, whether we are under the obliga­tion of an absolute Command or no, as well to the Thing as to the Manner; nor be'n put to such hard, yet unpro­sperous shifts, to make our Lords Institution and the A­postl's Discourse worthy their Authors.

CHAP. IV. Objections answered.

I. The First Objection [That the Tradition may be novel] answered. 1. By mater of fact. II. By passing judgment upon it. No necessity of difference in point of frequency be­tween the breaking of bread before meat, and Grace-cup after it. 2. If the Jews Antiquities be against us, we may reject their authority. III. 3. Seeing a party of them are on our side, we may well prefer that party above the opposite. So great an agreement as is between them, could not be, 1. From Chance. IV. 2. Nor the Jews conforming their custom to Christs Institution, because it is incredibl they should have such 1. care, 2. or wit. V. Another Objection [That we must have Fests or no Sacrament] adjourned. VI. A Third Objection [That the Jews used their Grace-cup in their Houses, not their Synagogs] Answered by six steps. VII. The last Objection [The universal silence of all Ages] Answered. 1, By shewing reason why both Primitive and Later ages should be silent, and 2. by shewing that the best critiks have observed it.

HAVEING thus ballanced the two pretend­ers, and found the One not only Serviceable but Necessary, and the Other not only Unser­viceable, but Prejudicial both to our Lords Institution and the Apostl's Argument, I might with corage proceed on in the remains of my journy.

But sensibl how many prejudices he must encounter, who shall in so awful a subject oppose the stream, and unable to prophecy what might rise in Other mens minds, I commu­nicated what I have above written to two or three pious and learned Friends, requesting them to favor me with [Page 101] their Censures and Objections, that I might either answer them or submit to them. Two Objections I have by that means obtained, which I think requisite to Answer.

1. THE FIRST OBJECTION saith, that The Cu­stom referred to is in many particulars novel, and by which we cannot judge of the practice of the Jews in our Saviors days.

This strikes at the very heart, and must be carefully warded: I shall therefor first examin what is to be found of the Jews Opinions in the case, and then consider what judgment is thereupon to be made.

1. The Jews think the Practice so far from novel, that they think it as ancient as (it's occasion) the disbanding of the Camp in Joshua's days, and the consequent impossibi­lity of the whole Nations bringing their daily offering to the publik place of Sacrifice.

This we have found in Dr. Castel upon the word [...] where he intimateth, that the people must tary for Samuel, 1 Sam. 9. because he was the [...]. And this seemeth con­firmed by Jonathan's Targum, which is elder than our Lords Institution, and paraphraseth the word which signi­fieth Blessing, by [...] (whence perhaps our Latin Pars) which signifieth Breaking.

But my learned Objector doth not impute novelty to the whole, but many particulars, and adviseth me to con­sult the Misna in Berachoth: I have do'n so, and thereby find reason enogh to suspect the Jews care or felicity in preserving their Antiquities, but not enogh to suspect mine own Hypothesis. Indeed I find them treat the Bread and Wine much like the Apostle; They speak much more of the Later than of the Former, and it is not for a run­ning vieu to discover what difference they put between them. The 7th chap. of Berachoth beginneth thus, Three eating together are obliged, [...]. The word is proper to This exercise, and its derivatives [...] signifie the meeting, which Elias thus describeth, Three or more [Page 102] sitting at Supper, among whom one as the father of the family, or som venerable Rabbi, if such be present as a guest, is ob­liged to pray and bless the Table with an audible voice, as is said, Psal. 34.4. Magnificate Dominum meum. Magnifi­cate, there are Two at least; Mecum, there is the Third: if there be only Two, ether of them prayeth privately by himself. Here, and in most other of their Writeings, they speak indifferently of the whole, [...]. But if we com more di­stinctly to enquire, what interest the Wine hath above the Bread, we shall find nothing certain, but what Shulch: A­ruch tells us, That they are divided into three Opinions. 1. Some say the Wine is so necessary to consecrate a meal, that thogh a man eat single, if he can get no Wine, he must rather fast than eat without it; indeed he is not obliged to fast more than one day. 2. A second opinion is, That the Cup of Blessing is not at all necessary, be the number of guests never so many. 3. A third sort say with our Leo Modena, that it must not be omitted if there be three.

And this last Opinion seemeth fairly intimated in the Berachoth it self, if well interpreted. For in the eighth Chapter, reckoning up the differences between the houses of Shammai and Hillel, they thus express the last, [...]: Which words may be thus translated; There cometh to them Wine for the Poscaenium, and there is there no other but That very Cup; The house of Shammai say, he blesseth first for the Wine, and afterward he blesseth for the Meat: But the house of Hillel say, he blesseth for the Meat, and afterward he blesseth for the Wine. In which words is plain, that all agree that there is Wine, [...] (as we observed them to stile that After Supper.) 2. That there is but one cup for the whole company: and 3. That the [...] blesseth for them All.

But Zohar in Exod. p. 280. speaketh full to our purpose, and nameth the Cup by his proper name, [...] The Cup of Blessing was not used unless when there were Three, because of the mystery of the Three fathers which [Page 103] blessed, and so there is no need of the Cup unless there be Three.

The Reason is most Rabbinical, i. e. most ridiculous, but the Authority is reputed great, because most ancient, and the words are most pertinent and conclusive to our pur­pose, plainly expressing how much they stood upon the Cup of Blessing, and what number it required.

II. UPON This account of mater of Fact, it will not be hard to pass judgement, which I shall come to by steps.

1. WHETHER in our Saviors days they put such dif­ference between Bread and Cup, is not necessary for us to determin; for the Apostl's Argument will go as strongly (thogh perhaps not altogether as gracefully) without it, since his partiality to the Cup may otherwise be fairly ac­counted for.

1. Because we have seen from other pens that the Greeks understood the use of the Grace-cup, but we meet no such foot-steps of their Breaking of bread; and it was reason the Apostl should rather bild his inferences upon a custom which they knew, than upon One which they knew not.

2. Because Bread was never distributed After any Other Supper but only the Paschal, and was Then attended with a form of words sounding much like that which our Lord used in his Institution: Since hence appeared som danger, lest the Corinthians should mistake our Lords meaning, it was fit the Apostl should clear it; which he doth almost as plainly as if he had said, You know the custom of closeing a Fest with a Cup of blessing, and you may know the custom of the Jews distributing a Cake after the Passover; and probably you may think our Lord intended that his Supper should be me­sured, not by the Cup which was used after All Fests, but by the Bread which was so used only after the Passover. But I tell [Page 104] you, I have receved from the Lord himself, that you must celebrate his Supper as often as you drink the Grace cup. Here is ground enogh for his Argument and all its turnings, and we may safely spare the trouble either of enquiring or contending for the equal or unequal frequency of the ordi­nary Bread.

2. WERE the Jewish Misna or Talmūd directly a­gainst us in som material particulars, it were more reason­able to reject their Authority, than so Necessary and so Ex­act a Key. That we may see the reasonableness of This as­sertion, it will be fit to ballance them.

1. If the Jewish Doctrines in maters of their dearest Law be apparently changed from what they were in our Sa­viors days, we oght to suspect their care not to have be'n greater towards a Tradition: Let us then compare what our Lord said, with what their Talmud now saith. The Gospel informeth us, Luke 14.5. that our Lord spake to the Pharisees and Lawyers, saying, Which of you shall have an Ox or an Ass falen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day? And they could not answer him to these things: Which yet they might have do'n, if their then Doctrines had be'n agreeable to those of the Talmud, which forbiddeth to pull him out, but alloweth to carry meat to feed him; and if need be, straw to support him in the place.

And accordingly Munster furnisheth us with a pertinent story out of the Saxon Annals. A Jew (saith he) fallen in­to a Jakes on the Sabbath, would not be draw'n out, but have meat brought him thither, which the Bishop hearing of, required that the same honor should be paid to the Christian Sabbath; so the poor Jew suffered two days pe­nance for the Talmud's swerving from ancient practice.

I pretend not to equal any evidence with the Gospel: It is sufficient that I hence infer, that we may not argu from their Present customs to their Ancient, so as to reject [Page 105] any probable light, especially when so confirmed as we are by som of their own Rabbies.

III. 3. SEEING so great a party of them so state their Tradition, as most exactly jointeth with the A­postl's discours, we have great reason to believe Them to be in the right.

This, not as an arbitrator between the dissenting Rab­bins, but in defence of my Hypothesis from my worthy Friends Objection, I thus confirm from the exact agree­ment which I found between the Apostl's Argument and That Custom so stated.

This Argument must proceed from Chance, from the Jews accommodating their Custom to our Lords Institution; or from our Lords accommodating his Institution to the Jewish Custom.

It was not from either of the Former.

Therefor it was from the Last.

That the Division is adaequate needeth no proof: For Ether it must be by Chance, or it must Not, (since there can be no midl between the two ends of a Contradiction) If it were Not by chance, then ether That Custom must conform to This Institution, or This to That: (For they cannot meet unless Mahomet go to the Mountain, or the Mountain com to Mahomet.)

The Assumtion I thus prove by parts.

1. It cannot proceed from Chance: Such a concurs, of so many and so crooked particls, can be no more imputed to undiscerning chance, than can the meeting of the letters in the discurs it self. Chance may do one thing well, as a blind man may shoot a Hare, but he cannot shoot multi­tudes without missing one.

When a FINE is levied in Court, the Chirographer wri­teth two Copies at a competent distance in the same Parch­ment: In the space between them he writes two or three letters; then he cutteth the Parchment in the middle in­denturewise, so as to divide those Letters, leaving either [Page 106] indenture som part, that upon any occasion the conterparts compared together, may by so many agreements vouch ei­ther for the other.

There happened a question between three parties, con­cerning the conditions of a Fine levied time out of mind: Two of the contenders produce for proof of their pre­tences common Parchments, attested only by their Fa­thers: The third produceth an Indenture of Fine, trans­mitted to him by his Father, with its counterpart, which (by I know not what means) he had obtained out of the Scriptoire of another Family: He applieth the One to the Other, sheweth their exact agreement in every word of the Writing, every turning of the Indenture, and every stroke of the divided Letters; and proveth this could not be the effect of any collusion, bicause there had ever be'n, and still continued, a mortal feud between his own Fami­ly and That whence he had gotten the counterpart.

If this be our present Case, we are to consider 2 things: First, the agreement of the Counterparts; and 2ly, the impossibility of Collusion.

1. The Agreement of the Apostl's Argument with the Thus stated Custom, we have fully discovered.

1. In the Body of the discours in either Chapter. In the 10th chap. both Bread and Cup caled by their proper Jewish names, and under Those very names urged to be Body and Blood of the Lord. In the 11th chap. the Ar­gument no other way, Rational; This way, Unanswerable; many words and Aspects of words, no other way account­able; This way, Necessary: the Charge otherwise to be evaded; This way, Unavoidable: In the whole, not one word, or order of words, impertinent, deficient, or su­perfluos.

2. In the Indenting, every reeling step, exactly jointed with the answerably crooked process of the Argument. No discours in the World so full of odd bizarreries; every one this way rendered, rational, clear, and convictive.

In the 10th chap. the names of Both elements industri­osly so Varied, as to answer the Jewish stile; and so Tran­sposed, as to answer the Apostl's argument. In the 11th chap. the Demonstrative THIS affectedly inculcated, the [...] inforcedly appropriate to the Cup, thogh distributed in like manner with the Bread. The Bread honored above the Cup one way, & the Cup above the Bread another way.

3. Letters so cut in sunder, that in the Apostl's discours we find but one half, not to be read but by supplying the other half from the Tradition. THIS without an object, [...] without a relative, look like tails of Letters with­out heads; but by application to This custom, becom fair­ly legible.

So exact agreement in such strange variety: one would think Gods providence here acted the Chirographer, ma­naging the Apostl's pen in such a manner, that after the death of all Wirnesses, and loss or embeazling of all other Evidences, we might by this multiplied sutableness, be armed against all doubt, which either malice or carelesness of the Jews, forgetting or corrupting their Tradition, might bring upon us.

IV. 2. THE other part of my Assumtion is, that This A­greement could not be the issu of the Jews conform­ing their practice to our Lords Institution: Since the greatest Care maried to the greatest Wit, Could not produce such an offspring, and the Jews Would not employ ether the One or the Other to such a purpose.

1. It were extravagant credulity to believ they Would employ such Care. Their very differences concerning the Tradition of their Fathers, is abundant evidence that they minded not its agreement or disagreement with our Scri­ptures: And their known zele against our Lord and Apo­stle, is a yet greater one, that they would not be more careful to explain the Ones institution and the Others argu­ment, than all the Fathers of the Christian Church have be'n.

Shall we believ their esteem for their Gamaliel, so much greater than their hatred of Saint Paul, that they should he more than masorically careful to contrive a way whereby to make such a discours worthy the Disciple of their so fa­mous Master? Do they so glory in their ancestors crucify­ing the Lord of Life, that they put themselves to great care and cost to adorn the Monument which himself raised to his own memory, and That with such Figures as should blazon His great goodness and their great wickedness? Were the Jewish Rabbins so much more careful of Christs worship than the Fathers of his own Church; that when These had lost the key which must unlock his Oracles, Those took the pains to make a new one?

Whoever can believ this, shall never from Them receve the thanks which he shall deserv for such exorbitant cha­rity.

2. To believ their Wit capable of finding out such an invention, is no less incredible. So many wheels, so ma­ny motions, so smoothly and so strongly cooperating: so remote from the common practice of All other Nations; so suitable to the humor of their own, so exactly fitting e­very titl of the Apostl's discourse, and the circumstances wherein it was written, was sure above all human Wit to invent. Many discoveries appear obvious when made, which yet for thousands of years escaped the sagacity of all mankind: The very difficulties and odnesses of the Apo­stles discurs have be'n so far from Smoothed, that many of them have not be'n Observed by any Critiks and Com­mentators; and perhaps might not have be'n so now, had not their agreement with This key occasioned it.

It is not to be believed that the Apostl should make the least fals step, drop the least syllable that should be imper­tinent, much less that should be mischievos to his design: And the account that is to be given of them, must equal the sum to a farthing: Whoever will suppose the Discours worthy of a reasonabl man, much more whoever will sup­pose [Page 109] it worthy the Holy Spirit; if he reject what I offer, Let him to his study, let him summon together All his fa­culties, let him use as much liberty of invention as he please; and if he can find out any Hypothesis that shall so cleverly answer all the Phaenomena.

—erit mihi magnus Apollo.

Since therefor chance Could not, and the Jews neither could nor would conform their practice to our Lords Insti­tution and the Apostl's discurse: The conclusion must be, That both This and That were conformed to the Jewish practice: And I thank my worthy Friend for giving me oc­casion to confirm what I have said by this Reflection.

V. ANOTHER OBJECTION saith, That if our fre­quency in celebrating the Lords Supper, must be mesured by such a Grace-cup; since there can be no such Grace-cup where there is no Fest (no more than there can be an end without a beginning, or an Adjunct without a Subject) it will be as necessary that a Fest should alway usher the Lords Supper, as that the Lords Supper should attend every Fest: and so the revers of our Hypothesis, will no less severely reprove the Universal Church of Christ, for Not festing in All meetings, than did the Apostl the Corinthians, for not honoring the Lords Supper in them All: but every particular member of Christ's Church will be blameless, though he never communicate in such manner as by his Church-officers he is invited to do; since he is to do it only so often as by That Practice whence Christ's In­stitution was derived, he is obliged, i. e. only so often as a Fest is to be closed with a cup of blessing.

To answer such an Objection, and withal to justifie our Ancestors, for casting sensual Fests out of the Church, I shall say sufficient, Part III. Chap. 3. Besides these two Objections, for which I am obliged to my Friends, two o­thers offered themselves to mine own mind, which I also think fit to answer.

[Page 110]VI. IT may be further objected, That the Jewish Cu­stom concerned not Religious Worship, but Do­mestik Fests, as worthy of greater reverence, saying, What? Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in, or despise ye the Church of God? Since therefor the Grace-cup was to be drunk in their Own houses, and This in the Church, how can the One be derived from the Other?

I answer This Objection by steps.

1. It is not requisite, that the Successor should answer the Predecessor in all Circumstances: Yea, the One may be opposed to the Other in very material Ones. The Apo­stle, even when he pleadeth Christ to be the tru Sacrifice, opposeth his blood to that of bulls and goats, as in other respects, so in This of Frequency: Those were offered often, This but Once; yet were Those types of This.

2. It is requisite, that rhe Successor should be more perfect than the Predecessor; The Antitype must excel the Type, as the Gospel doth the Law; the Body the Shadow.

3. Difference of place (the ground of the Objection) is caused by difference of Dispensations: That Gods worship is no longer confined to One Place, is one of the great changes wrought by the Gospel; and This makes it needless for Us to make out own houses Temples: Gods House is so near our own, that we need no Chappels of ease.

4. This was the very design of the Tradition, they took the Names, and did what possibly they could to perform the Things; caled their Table an Altar, &c. and so pro­fessing to do their utmost, and com as near as possibly they could, to the performance which could not legally be accomplished but only at Hierusalem:

This therefor is so far from an Objection against our de­riving the Lords Supper from such a Tradition, that it is a Reason for it. It doth not in This respect contradict it [Page 111] (as at first glance it may seem to do) but comply with it: The Tradition expressed their endeavor to offer their meat in God's house, if possibly they could; and since that which they so professed to endeavor, is to us not only Pos­sible but Easy, we could not answer the very fundamental design of the Tradition, if we did not make the Lord's House the place of his Supper.

5. This difference of Place, speaks the Lords Supper successor, not only to the Tradition (which was it self but a Succedaneum) but to the Legal Sacrifices themselvs: That hindrance being removed which induced the Jews to invent such a supply, This Institution by a motion of refi­liency, passeth through rhe Succedaneum to the Principal: Yea, and the very Principal it answers, not as an Inferior, but a Superior; and therefor required a Place Superior (if possibl) not only to their own houses, but the Templ it self.

The Apostl maketh This an Instance of the greater di­gnity of Christ's Priest-hood, that he entered into a Ho­lier place than did Aaron or his seed: Since therefor this Bread and Wine hath a better title to Christs Body and Blood, than had the flesh and blood of Bulls and Goats, and yet Those might not legally be offered but at God's House; and since This very Tradition professed to do what possibly could be do'n, to Fest before God in his own House; it was not suitable either to the greater dignity of this Holier Sacrifice, or to the very significancy of the Tradi­on, that it should be celebrated (except in case of necessi­ty) in any other than God's own House.

6. As the dignity of the Sacrament, so the interest of the Poor too (Christ's body in another sens) caled for This translation.

The Rich make as many Fests as Meals, and were their own Tables the Altars, might celebrate daily Sacraments: But the Poor (to whom our Lord bears as great affection as to his Supper) seldom eat Three together (which is the necessary Number) or drink Wine (which is the Necessary [Page 112] Mater) and for this dubl defect must be excommunicate, thogh guilty of no other falt, but (what they certainly re­pent) their Poverty.

What therefor they must otherwise have lost, they gain by the publikness of the Place, which also gains the greater number: So the Poor gain the Fest, and the Table gains Guests, and the Tradition gaineth greater perfection, by being So answered as to be outdo'n by the Sacrament.

VII. THE most Obvios OBJECTION (or Prejudice rather, which hath more force thogh less weight than an Objection) cometh from the Universal silence of All ages, in a Subject of such importance. For it seem­eth utterly incredibl, that in so many hundreds of years, and thousands of Books, we should not meet one word that so much as intimateth what might justly require to be most plainly Manifested.

But This Objection, however big it looks at first sight, Will hardly stand a strict examination, or reply upon what shall be answered.

For ('pray' Reader) consider, Whence will you expect such an account? From the Primitive ages? They thoght it needless: From the Later? They thoght it Preju­dicial.

1. The PRIMITIVE ages thoght it Needless to give such an account in their Writings, bicause they constantly gave it in their Practice. It would have be'n a disparagement to the Institution to have writen upon it, as the bungling Painter did upon his rude pieces, This is a Cock, This is a Bull, &c. and it would have be'n a fulsom officiosness to inform a Reader of what he daily saw with his eyes.

The Reason of every Negative ceremonial Law, was at the time of stablishment legibl as the Letter: but in fol­lowing Generations almost utterly lost, till Maimonides discovered, that most of them pointed at som Idolatrous Ceremony, at That time practised by the neighbor Nations, [Page 113] and therefor forbidden the Jews, upon the same account as were their daghters.

And the same is the case in most Positive commands: Generally som present custom declares the contents, thogh afterward by degrees, it wears into more and more obscurity, and in process of time grows utterly ille­gible.

I instance only in the Other Sacrament. Both Scripture and Antiquity have be'n altogether as silent concerning the Origination of That, as of This. All that we read of it in the Gospel amounts to no more but This, that John mi­nistred it, the People received it, and the Pharisees que­stioned, Why Baptisest thou, if thou be not the Christ, nor Elias, nether that Prophet? No Evangelist thought fit to expound the reason either of the Action or Objection, bi­cause the Then knowen custom sufficiently manifested it; which yet was lost as much as This, to many Generations, thogh now retrived and generally owned by the Learned: and why should not This share the right of Postliminium, as it hath do'n the loss?

2. LATER ages desired to hide any such notice. They bent their endeavors to advance the honor of the Sacra­ment to the highest pitch of veneration, and might well suspect, lest such a discovery should depress its esteem. They saw how short the Greek Fests fell, not only of Jew­ish Piety, but Ordinary Sobriety, and thought so base a descent, too great a disparagement to so venerable a My­stery, which they therefor thoght might lose much of its honor, if its pedigree were not cast into the den of time to be there devoured.

And who can secure us, that upon This very reason we may not have lost som of the Primitive Writers informa­tions in This particular? We know the labors of Earlier ages lay at the mercy of the Later, to be ether preserved or suppressed, as they should judge most suitable to their [Page 114] own conceptions, we know how industrious they have be'n to strain their inventions, for dignifying the Sacrament with such mysteries as may dazel our understandings; and it is hard to imagin they should be very careful to preserve any such Papers as must bring light to confute their dearest Opinions.

Yet hath the Last inquisitive Age, in victory over the dubl hindrance, Expresly discovered the One, and Virtu­ally the Other half of the lost Hypothesis: Whether our Lord in his Institution adopted som Jewish Tradition? is at least half the question: And this is affirmed by several of the most celebrated Critiks of this Century.

Our admirable Dr. Hammond in his excellent Annota­tions, hath said enough to justifie me from affectation of novelty, in That Half which relates to our Lords Insti­tution, thogh without any eye to the Apostl's Argument, and our Duty.

On Matth. 26.26. He hath this Paraphrase: And whilest Judas was there, before any of them was risen from the Table, Jesus, in imitation of the Jews custom after Sup­per (of distributing Bread and Wine about the Table, as an argument of charity—instituted the Sacrament of the Eu­charist, as a contesseration of charity among all Christians —telling them that this taking and eating, was now insti­tuted by him as an holy rite, &c. And Luke 22.20. he thus Paraphraseth: In like manner after they had do'n eating, he took the cup of charity, usual among the Jews, and said, This cup is at this time. &c.

It is true, in both these places, and in his note upon 1 Cor. 10.16. He referreth the Institution to the Paschal Supper, which seemeth better to fit our Lords Institution; but coming to the words I have so much insisted on 1 Cor. 11.26. he found himself necessitated to enlarge the mesure; for thus he Paraphraseth those words: And do ye [in all your sacred Festivals] thus show forth, &c.

Munster likewise upon Matth. 26.21. Caeterum quando in textu subditur, Dominum accepisse panem benedixisse at (que) fregisse, sciendum quod is mos olim celebris fuit inter Judaeos, multa (que) scripta habent, de Fractione panis & Benedictione calicis.

The same saith Cameron on the same Text. The same and more hath Grotius, who further proveth, That the Greeks as well as the Jews closed their Fests with a cup of Wine solenly consecrated? And this Virtually discovereth the Other Half, which so naturally followeth, that it is strange how One could be admitted without the Other.

That the Primitive ages should wholely omit any men­tion of our Lords regard to the Jewish Customs, upon sup­position that it was sufficiently evident, That the Mid­ages should industriosly hide it upon fear of prejudice to their admirable Mysteries, That the Last age should retrive it in their search of Antiquities: Nothing of all This is so wonderful, as it is, that those who had the skill and happiness to discover These Indies, should not care to in­rich themselves with such Treasures, as without digging offered themselves, especially the wind blowing so hard as almost to compel them to Land.

For since we derive all our practical Doctrines concern­ing This duty from the Apostl's discourse to the Corinthi­ans, and That discourse appealeth to This Institution; it is manifest, we oght not to sit down by any such Customs, as can only answer That Institution as abstracted from This Argument, and not consist with This Argument so built up­on That institution: Nor is it less manifest, that the Pas­chal Customs, however large enogh for That, were too narrow for This.

Dr. Hammond could not Paraphrase the 26th vers, with­out extending it to All Festival meetings. If then there were two sorts of Customs, Som only Annual, Others or­dinarily Festival; Those, agreeing with our Lords Insti­tution, but destroying our Apostl's Argument; and These, [Page 116] exactly agreeing with Both, it cannot be very disputable, which of the two we are to receve for our standard.

Whatever weight therefor might have be'n in the Ob­jection, upon supposal of such an Universal silence, the same must be in our Answer, or rather our Plea; For the authority of such eminent persons will bear me out in my fundamental Hypothesis, viz. that our Lords Institution was derived from a Jewish Custom: and plain Reason will bear me out in what I further add; viz. that it must be Such a Custom as may agree not only with our Lords Text, but the Apostl's Gloss too.

So the wise master-bilders have laid the foundation, and I have taken such care how I bild thereupon, that I hope my good Reader will find no cause to complain, otherwise than our Modern bilders do of ancient Houses; that they are Stronger and Darker, with Thicker Walls and Less Win­dows than needed.

To the Former part of such an Objection I answer, that Thickness of Walls may be a falt in a dwelling House, but not in a Castel, which must expect to be battered and stormed by the whole Country.

To the Later part: That if I cannot be justified by the necessity which obliged me to dispute in such manner as the Subject mater required; yet I hope I shall be Pardoned, upon amendment in the remaining part of my Work, to which upon That hope I now apply my self.

CHAP. V. Mater of Fact recorded in Scripture.

I. A transition to Mater of Fact. Not so easily understood as might have be'n expected. Two things considerable. 1. The Backwardness of the Apostl's in Understanding our Lords mind. 2. The means which our Lord used to recommend it, unprosperos: The night of Institution, by its Terrors. II. Our Lord's conversation with the two Disciples in the way, and at Emaus, so ordered, as to discover the meaning of his In­stitution as well as the truth of his Resurrection; ineffectual upon a contrary reason. Their ignorance 'till the coming of the Holy Ghost. III. The second observable. Their dili­gence in obeying our Lord's will when discovered. That by their breaking of Bread must be meant the Lord's Supper, appears by, 1. The Exercises accompanying it. 2. The Phrase expressing it. IV. 3. The Place, [...] must signify the meeting-house, where the first Christians held their Conventicles for fear of the Jews. V. 4. The time. The Apostl's and Brethren at Hier: daily. The Remote Churches on the Lords day. VI. The first Day of the Week consecrated to This office, and for That reason stiled the Lords day, dishonored by derivation from the 4th Com­mandment, cannot be worse profaned than by neglect of This office, to which it oweth it's sacreduess.

HITHERTO I have labored to serve the Learned and the Inquisitive, the Able and the Willing, to search both the ground of our Lords Institution, and the Apostl's discourse concerning it; which reciprocate such light to one ano­ther, that I hope every such Reader is fully satisfied, both [Page 118] in Conscience and Curiosity. But there ar many other, who ether understand not such work, or will not suffer the fa­tigue; whom I shall now endeavor to fit with less troubl­som Discourses.

It is much easier both to Understand and to Attend the the process of an History, than that of an Argument; and the sens of Mater of Fact, as it is more Obvious, so is it generally more Potent than That of Mater of Right.

What therefor I have hitherto be'n proving to have be'n our Lord's and Apostl's mind, concerning our obligation to constancy, I shall now authorise by the suitable Practice of All the Apostl's and Primitive Churches. In This Chapter I shall search the Scripture for the Former; and in the following I shall look into humane Writers for the Later.

In This Chapter let us vieu the Scripture, and see the strange unhappiness of This Subject! We might well hope to 'scape all disputes concerning Mater of Fact: when the witness is infallibl, what can we need more but to hear him? Yes, we need understand him too; and as in the Apostl's argument we have found difficulty, bicause those expressi­ons which were familiar to His age, are worn out in Ours: So the same difficulty still pursueth us in the very History. We must not only vieu what is written, but we must [...], Search and Examin, and that carefully too, what is meant when report is made even of Mater of Fact.

But we have This comfort, that as the troubl will be now less, so will our discoveries be more various; and at eve­ry step we shall meet somthing worth the no great labor of the inquiry.

Two things will be worth our observation.

1. How careful our Lord was to recommend his Institution, and how backward the Apostls were in Apprehending his meaning.

2. How diligent the Apostl's were in Obeying his will, when well informed concerning it.

[Page 119]1. It is worth observing (be it but for our own justifica­tion) that notwithstanding our Lords care to instruct them, the Apostl's themselves were as hardly broght to under­stand his mind in his Institution, as we ar now. And it is more particularly observable, that Those endeavors which he used to recommend it to their affections, met the same success, as we have seen follow those very words of the Apostl, whereby he endeavored to prove the necessity of constancy.

Our Lord's care to recommend it appeareth especially by two Actions. 1. His timeing the Institution: Secondly, His care to mind them of it, while fresh in memory.

1. He chose the fittest Time for the Institution. The Apostl observed it, and we shall anon find another occasion more fully to consider how observable it is, that it was the Last night, and That wherein he was betrayed: and the Evangelist is careful to commemorate, with what affection he embraced That Passover, for This very reason, bicause it was the most proper for This Institution.

But That dismal night, however seasonable to endear it to Future times, was least so, for it's publication to the Present. It was natural, that the dreadful Tragedy then impending, should so confound both their Apprehensions and Memories, as utterly to rob them of all other conside­ration, but of their Lord's and their Own dangers, leaving them no power to regard the at-such-a-time-scarce-consi­derable action.

To cure This inconvenience, he applyeth a contrary re­medy, and that speedily.

II. HIS Resurrection was matter of as great Joy, as his Passion was of Grief or Fear, and he makes That an opportunity to remedy the Other.

After his Death they met together, not to Fest but Fast, bicause the Bridegroom was taken from them: the news of his Resurrection must give them the garments of gladness [Page 120] for the spirit of heaviness, and invite them both to turn their Fasting to Festing, and to close their Fests with his Sup­per, as he had both very Carefully and very Lately com­manded.

He therefor contriveth a way whereby he may at once as­sure them of the truth of his Resurrection, and the mean­ing of his Institution. The story we meet in Luke 24.13. which bicause we as litle heed now, as the Apostl's did then, will require som Animadversion.

Finding Two Disciples traveling together, to complete the necessary number, himself makes a Third. He joins himself to them, discourses with them, gives them suffi­cient opportunity and occasion to observ his countenance, his voice, his meen, and whatever els he might be know'n by. But these (it seems) were Disciples in extraordi­nary, not such as ordinarily conversed with him; and they knew him not so perfectly, as to discover him in such circumstances.

He suppeth with them, and having by his discourses ma­nifested himself a Rabbin, takes the office of [...] the Breaker, and performs it not in the Accustomed, but his Own New form; points not so much to the Bread as to his own Body, and thereby so manifested his Person, that im­mediatly they knew him.

This gives us an Hypothesis suitable to all the Phaenomena of the story, otherwise unaccountable; and if our eyes be withholden that we no more know his Meaning now, than the Disciples did his Person by the way, let us look how we shall answer these questions.

How came their eyes to be opened, [...], in or by [the] breaking of [the] Bread, more than by all his other appearances? You say, he might discover him­self When and How he pleased. True: but the question concerneth not his Power, but his Will which governs that Power, and is it self governed by his Wisdom.

We therefor further demand, Why he that Could do it [Page 121] in what circumstances he pleased, should Chuse to do it in These, rather than any Other? This say you, is a saucy question; we are not to call our Lord to account for his actions.

But may we not be bolder with his servants? his Disci­ples and Evangelist? Let us then inquire concerning them. Why were the Disciples so careful to report This very Cir­cumstance? Why the Evangelist so punctual to record, that they reported not only the Thing, but the Manner, [...], How (or in what manner) he was knowen to them by [the] breaking of [the] Bread.

Here meet an unaccountabl Will of our Lord choosing This very Manner of discovering himself, the no less un­accountabl Care of the Disciples reporting This Manner, and of the Evangelist recording both the One and the O­ther: Must All this be imputed to a fortuit concurs, with­out any design in ether of the Three, to honor the by Them Unregarded, and to Us Insignificant Circumstance?

Once more. We must never fly to a Miracle, where we find Nature: nor must we suppose our Lord to have exer­cised his miraculous Power without his Wisdom. We have a fair smooth account one way, his action suitable to his Own last Institution, in circumstances exact, his form of words [This is my Body] in the most proper manner signify­ing both Who he was, and Why he did this, must needs by natural significance open their eyes; those of their Bodies to discover his Person, and those of their Understandings, to discover his Institution. On the other side, [...], a needless, fruitless Miracle, which we cannot believ, without Neglecting our Lords wisdom, and Re­nouncing our Own.

Yet are the Apostl's eyes holden: This Season upon a contrary disorder blinding their apprehensions, as the Passion-night had do'n. For thogh He appeared to them whiles This very action was in relating, discoursed with [Page 122] them, shewed them his hands and his feet, yet at first they believed not for Joy and Wondering. Which Passions, thogh they blew from a contrary point, broght violence enogh to ruffle their minds into such confusion, that they could not discover his very Person, much less his Mind.

No less than forty days did their eyes continu thus hold­en, nor were they opened, 'till the miraculous illumi­nation of the Spirit of Truth, broght all our Lords sayings (with their explications) to mind.

The same St. Luke which records these appearances, clo­seth the Gospel with this short account of their Devotions: They were continually in the Temple praising and blessing God. And with the same character doth he describe it in the be­ginning of their Acts 1.14. They all continued with one ac­cord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. Not a syllabl of [the breaking of the Bread] here or any where els, during the whole forty days.

But immediatly upon the coming of That Spirit of Truth, which according to our Lords promise, led them into all Truth, and brought all things to their remembrance that ever he had said unto them, and not only to their Remembrance, but to their Understanding; Then did they both Remem­ber and Understand, All that our Lord said, did, and meant, concerning his Supper.

III. AND now we are com'n to the second Observable, viz: How diligent they were in performing this duty when they knew it. For immediatly we find This added to their other Devotions, Acts 2.42. They continued in the Apostl's doctrine and communion, and in [breaking of bread] and in prayer; and in vers. 46. They continuing daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did participate the food, [...], with gladness and freedom of heart.

And here, bicause it may possibly be questioned whe­ther our Lords Supper be meant, we ought to observ. 1. The Exercises accompanying it. 2. The Phrase expressing it. 3. The Place of celebration. 4. The Time.

1. The EXERGISES ACCOMPANYING it, were All Holy, Blessing God, Supplication, Prayer, All Acts of Devotion; What maketh Breaking of bread in such com­pany? What fellowship hath God with Epicurus?

2. The PHRASE is Diverbial, every one in That age understood it. Eating of Bread was their idiom for a Fest; and Breaking of Bread, for the consecration of it by this Ceremony: so that This was not only the most Proper, but the Only Phrase that could have be'n used to express both That Custom and This Sacrament.

Why St. Luke should here give the Bread the honor to denominate, when we found St. Paul so partial to the Cup; we need seek for no other reason, but This, viz. The Jews used so to speak; yet is there another.

Those cavilers who had so strained to impeach the Apo­stles, as drunk with new wine, would not have failed to slan­der their Meetings, as drunken compotations, if themselvs should have professed they met to drink the Cup. In This stile therefor is wisely consulted the honor of the Exercise: which is hereby so far removed from any suspicion of drun­kenness, that is not so bad as ordinary Eating; so far from Riotous, that it could not be suspected to be merely Civil.

IV. 3. THe PLACE where this Exercise was perform­ed, seemeth to oppose it's Sacredness, and therefor requireth more than superficial heed. The word in the Greek is [...]: Our received Translation En­glisheth it [from house to house] some Margins [at home] Ether of them importing a Common Place, would denote Common Bread: but let us consider.

The Apostl's, opposing the Religion legally established, were necessitated to hold Conventicles, for fear of the Rulers, when they met to celebrate This office, which by Them was abominated, and would certainly be per­secuted.

The Templ was a publik place for Jews and Gentiles, It was a house of Prayer for all nations, bicause Natural, U­niversal Religion taught all Nations to pray and praise God; Thus far might the Apostls communicate, as well with their Enemies as Disciples; and that they might so do, they continued daily with one accord in the Temple.

But should they have presumed There to celebrate This Christian office, and thereby to Upbraid their Rulers for having destroyed the Lord of life; they must infallibly have drawen upon themselves, not only certain Disturbance, but certain Destruction. It was therefor absolutely necessary, to cary This office to som Other place, wherein they might escape both eyes and hands of enemies: And if there were Any to be found that emulated the Templ, as the Tradition did the Sacrifice; That, above All other, might best pre­tend to the honor.

Our industrious Mede and Gregory have abundantly proved, that the Jews and their Proselytes, in their greater houses, were careful to provide a large upper room for Religious Exercises. Such was That, wherein our Lord instituted This Sacrament, Such (if not the same) was That, wherein the eleven continued with Mary, &c. in prayer and supplication, to the number of 120. Such That, wherein Paul preached when Eutyches fell down from the third loft, &c.

These large Rooms were caled [...], bicause of their situation on the top of the house, [...], either for the same reason, or for the Largeness of the windows, and perhaps [...], because their amplitude, by the same [...], as the fairest pile in a City is caled the Domo.

It was but Rational, that the Apostl's with their Disci­ples, [Page 125] finding it so far from Safe, that it was not Possibl, to perform This office in the Temple, should provide for their Quiet and Safety; and but Pious, that they should chuse such a Place as might com as near the Templ as possi­bl, both in Greatness and Holiness.

This [...], we again find joined with the Templ, Act. 15. The Angel of the Lord commanded the Apostl's to preach to the people in the Templ, vers. 20. And in the last verse we find their obedience such, that daily in the Templ, and [in every house] (if the Translation speak truth) they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ; But the Greek speaketh as before. In conformity to the Angels command, they preach­ed to the people in the Templ, that they might Convert the yet Unconverted; and they did the same and more in the [...], to confirm those that were already Discipled.

Thus far we have found fair Probabilities: Now I add a Demonstration, not heeded by the above-named Learned Authors. Hitherto we have found it in the singular num­ber, [...]; but upon cogent reason we shall find it in the plural, Acts 20.20. St. Paul having convened the Disciples of Asia, thus justifies himself to them: I have kept back nothing from you, but have preached publikly, and ( [...] (which may now be more tolerably, thogh not exactly translated) from house to house.

Now I demand any colour of reason for this change of number, other than This plain one: Asia was a large Pro­vince, There were Therein divers Churches in divers Ci­ties, and it was proper that every City should have it's proper [...]; and consequently, the Apostle must there preach, as from City to City, so from Hous to Hous. But Hierusalem was no more than One, thogh perhaps greater than two or three Cities: and required no more but One, so it were a great Meeting-house; and There, breaking of Bread might well be celebrated, [...], in one Domo.

As certainly therefor as the Plural number signifieth [Page 126] more than the Singular, and a Large Provnice needeth more Meeting-houses than a City, and the Apostl changeth numbers in conformity to the need; so certain it is, that the [...] must signifie such a House, as is appropriate to such a Meeting and such an Exercise.

V. 4. THE TIME when this was do'n, is severally stated; one way for Hierusalem, and another for remoter Churches.

1. At Hierusalem the Apostles and Brethren continued Daily in breaking of bread, as well as in supplication and prayers: but it was not, could not be so in other places.

Hierusalem was the Metropolis, There the Apostolik College kept their constant residence; they deserted their Secular calings, devoting themselves entirely to the pro­pagation of the Gospel, preaching in that Mother-city, and thence issuing their Emissaries and Orders to other Churches. There, all that believed were together, and had all things common, sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men as every man had need, Acts 2.45. and 4.35. This was no more than necessary, that those who had no­thing but their hands, might not be compelled to imploy them with their time for their bodily maintenance: and in consequence hereof, when all the Believers were impo­verished in Particular, and their common stock spent, then must they be maintained by Contribution from Other Churches, whom their Emissaries had converted to the same Faith, receiving Carn I things in exchange for Spi­ritual things.

2. To These Churches therefor another life was ne­cessary. Being to minister, not only to their Own necessi­ties, but to those of the now poor Saints at Hierusalem, they were caled to Work as well as to Believ. To his Co­rinthians our Apostle prescribeth, that in what ever caling any man is caled, he therein abide, [...], in Gods name; and to the Thessalonians, That if any one would not Work, neither should he Eat.

Yet, as the poor Saints must have a Portion of their Goods, so must God have of their Time: The Law had directed to the Seventh day. Upon that day they Might, and they Did join with the Jews in their Sabbath Devoti­ons in their Synagogs, as the Apostls did at Hierusalem in the Templ: But for This holy Supper, That Day was for the same reason no less unfit than That Templ.

What therefor we said of the necessity of another Place, is no less true concerning another Day, necessary to be consecrated to this Anti-Jewish office. And what Day more proper than the Next, not only nearest in Time, but superior in Work? On the Seventh day God rested from his work of Creation, and fested Himself in the compla­cency he receved from the vieu of its perfection. But upon the First day, our Savior triumphed in the accom­plishment of the to Him harder, and to Us happier work of our Redemtion. And as this Office was to take it's time after Reading, Preaching and Prayer (as we shall see more anon) so was it congruos that it should succeed the Sabbath, consecrate by the Law to those Offices.

The next day therefor, as every way fittest, is set apart for this Greater Mystery, in memory of our Saviors Passi­on and Benefits. This we find expresly declared, Act. 20.7. Upon the First day of the week the Disciples came together to break bread, [...], for breaking breads sake.

And for this reason was it stiled the Lords day, as appro­priate to the honor of His Person, Rev. 1.10. And in aftertimes, the day of Bread. Chrysost. Hom. 5. De Re­surrect.

And since we cannot better manifest our Love to him, than by charity to his members; and this Supper was both an Emblem and a Means of mutual Love; therefore must it be attended with Liberality to the Poor, recommended specially at this time by our Apostl to the Corinthians, as before to his Galatians; exhorting; that Upon the First day of the week, every one should lay by in store as God had [Page 128] prospered him, 1 Corin. 16.1, 2.

And for this constantly attending Offertories sake, no less than for the influence they had in promoting mutual love among the Communicants, were these stiled Fests of charity; under which character St. Jude mentions them, as the ordinary exercise of all visible Members of the Church, which els had not be'n so obnoxious to the Spots he com­plains of. Yet so incorrigibl was the General sensuality, that by Tertullians time they were relapsed into the same profaneness, with that reproved in the Corinthians: the Fests forgot their relation to the Lords Supper, and a while after, were banished out of his Church.

For som Ages did the now dead Sabbath ly in state, not as still in force by vertu of the Law, which it self was dead, but in charity to the Jews; in order to whose more probable conversion, Christians complyed with them, as far as lawfully and conveniently they Might; and they Might so, in All offices of Natural religion, as in their Templ, so on their Sabbath, thogh the Sanctity of Both were equally abolished.

But with This difference, that the [...] were without any Positive Command, honored by the Jews as so many Chappels of ease, even while the Mother-templ stood, and therefor were not by the Apostl's first consecrate to this office; But the Lords day was never sanctified by the Jews, nor upon any other account by the Apostls, but adaequate­ly for this Duties sake, which gave it both Holiness and Name, nor as Successor, but Superior to the Sabbath. And this is worthy our consideration, not only for the Sacra­ment's sake, but the Day's too.

VI. FOR to derive the LORDS DAY from the fourth Commandment, as it is Inconvenient upon other accounts, so is it Mischievous upon This; that it looseneth its relation to This office, for who's sake alone it was dignified, as with the assemblies of the Saints, so [Page 129] with it's title of the Lord's day: Nor is such an opinion consistent with the practice of the Primitive Church, which for several ages celebrated Both; the One for the Jews sake, the Other for the Sacraments, which therefor we ought to celebrate as constantly (at least) as we do That day; which cannot be duly (bicause it needs not all) be sanctified with­out it.

Were this as carefully heeded, as in Scripture it is plain­ly declared, in Reason duly accounted for, and in the Primitive times publikly practised; both the Lords Day, and His Supper, would have escaped Those Losses, which Both of them suffer by their separation; the One rob'd of it's greatest Honor, the Other of its very Being.

For as it is higher Honor to the Day, to be acknowledged an Evangelical Substance, than a Legal Shadow, and to be celebrated with this office, than without it; so is it not only Less Honorable, but More Destructive to this Holy office, to be spoiled both of the acknowledgement due to it, from the Day so preferred by it's interest, and of Safety from that Neglect, which could never have befallen it, while the Day it self is sanctified, if that Sanctification were acknowledged to relate to this Performance.

Those therefor who ar zelos for the honor of the Day, are for it's sake obliged to consider, whether any Sport, or any Lrbor, can be so pernicious a desecration of it; as the Omission of this Sacrament, who's celebration was the sole reason of the sacredness, both of the Day it self, and of its Eve; which of the two hath the greater interest in the Fourth Commandment, as being the same Seventh day which Gods peopl celebrated, as thereby consecrated; yet had not retained any difference under the Gospel from common days, but in order to the better preparation for the Sacrament, to be receved the Lords day following, and upon That account differenced not by Festing, but by Fasting.

And since necessity may drive to Mean condescensions I [Page 130] beg now, not only for the Lord's sake, but for the Lord's day's sake, for That day's sake, in who's behalf so many complaints ar made, not only To our Governors, but Against them: I beg that those who ar so zelous to have the Day restored to its due honor, would do their part to restore this Sacrament to its due celebration; whereby the Lord's Day, with his Person, would be better righted, than by Sabbatizing with Rigot more than Jewish, but with Wor­ship less than Christian.

Let us now spell all together. The Exercises accompa­nying this constant breaking of Bread, Were they not Holy? The Phrase expressing This exercise, Is it not pro­per? The Place, Was it not consecrated before? The Time, Was it not consecrated purposely? What then can be an­swered to the Apostls demand, The bread which they brake, was it not the Communion of the body of Christ? Or to Our inference? that they were as constant in the Holy Com­munion, as in Common Prayer.

CHAP. VI. The Practice of Antiquity.

I. The constant Practice of Christ's Church in it's best ages, proved by one evidence of each kind. viz. 1. Canon, the 9th Apostolik. II. 2. One Father, Justin Martyr. 3. One Historian, Socrates. The Church of Rome under pre­tence of Tradition, innovated against the Church Universal. III. 4. Enemies of each kind. 1. Protestants. IV. 2. Pa­pists. V. 3. Junior Fathers, particularly St. Augustin, whose words are recited, wherein we must distinguish between Father and Doctor. As Father he stateth the question. The question and the practice of the Church both in Doctrine and Discipline, very different beeween St. Augustin's time and Ours. VI. As a Doctor he determins the question. 1. His stile very different, bicause his Opinion is opposit to all other Fathers. 2. His determination reacheth not Our question. Yet have later ages caght at his wonds, and strained them beyond his intentions, with unhappy success. His Syncre­tism rectified.

FROM Scripture, I am now to descend to Humane Writers, to examin whether by Them we find the Practice of the Primitive Churches agreeable to That of the Apostls.

I. AND now I feel somthing like a Tentation, to imploy my Servitor to collect what the Fathers (the Eldest especially) have writen on This subject; and then stifling my Reader with a multitude of Quotations, purchase my self at Both their costs, the name of Well read in the Fa­thers and Councils, &c.

But corage, Reader! I have no more such a Design, than my Subject such Need: Where none contradicts, One com­petent [Page 132] witness of Each kind, may very well claim the be­lief of any indifferent person: and with More I will not troubl you. I shall therefor produce but One ancient Canon, One Father, One Historian, and One Enemy, of each party.

1. Of CANONS, I account Those most Ancient, which have usurped the title of Apostolical, thogh many of them bewray themselves unworthy of it. We have reasons more than enough to decline their Authority, but None to except against Their Testimony concerning Mater of Fact, such as is the Publik practice of the Visibl Church, at the Time of their Date; which is Therefor certainly Anci­ent, bicause not certainly known, since having no Councel to father them, they must needs be elder than Any. Of Those Canons, the 9th thus briefly and plainly deliver­eth the opinion we ar pleading for. All the faithful which enter the Church, and hear the Scriptures, but do not stay out the Prayers, nor receve the Holy Communion, ought to be ex­communicate, as disturbers of the Church.

To This so clear evidence I know nothing capabl of be­ing opposed, unless (perhaps) the word [faithful] be sup­posed to exclude All, but such as deserv the highest sens of That title.

But it is sufficiently know'n, that That comprehensive word conteineth All but Catechumens and Penitens: All o­thers as visibl Members of Christs Body, being in Those days honored with That stile.

And that it signifies no otherwise Here, the words them­selvs sufficiently evince: For This title is allowed to Those very Persons, who at the same time ar censured as worthy of Excommunication.

Nor can the Last clause be taken so copulatively, as if Those passed uncensured who stayed out Prayers, thogh they receved not the Holy Communion: For This was lookt upon as the greater crime of the Two. The Coun­cils of Antioch and Bracara, required that such should be driven out of the Church: and St. Chrysostom bitterly [Page 133] chides them, saying, If thou stand by and dost not Commu­nicate, thou art wicked, thou art shameless, thou art impu­dent: And we shall presently see, that none could stay out the Prayers, but they must be at least by-standers at the Communion.

Or if any thoght to avoid them Both, they were not thereby excused, as appears in the case of the Alexandri­ans: for when many of them after reading of the Gospel went away, John, surnamed the Alms-giver, then Patri­arch, followed them out of the Church, sharply reproving them, telling them, He came to administer the Eucha­rist to them, and never giving over his importunity, till he brought them back to the Holy Table.

Even those who were go'n out of the Church as resolved not to Communicate, and therefor certainly both Unpre­pared and Unworthy, did he promiscuously even com­pel.

And This zele of so Eminent a Prelate, might I vouch as my second Topik, since he cannot be denied the title of a Father of the Church.

But I urge not This (however Venerable) Authority, further than as Expositor of the true meaning of the now mentioned Canon; since by the shifts the Peo­ple made to avoid the Letter, by not [staying out Prayers] and the importunity the good Prelate used, to recal them both to Prayers and Communion; we may best Avoid any Evasions, that our Modern Teachers may use, who in Re­verence to the Sacrament fright the vulgar from it, and Justify my self in my professed endeavor to compel them to it.

And from the first Testimony thus cleared, I com to

II. 2. ANcient FATHERS, among whom Justin Mar­tyr shineth with great lustre. He florished in the midl of the Second Century, and is so Clear and so Particular, that his words may serv as well to Describe, as [Page 134] to Prove the Practice of Those days, consonant to the A­postls.

This excellent Father having before described the other Sacrament, and to its Description added (what the Church constantly did to its Celebration) That of the Lords Sup­per: proceeding afterward to giv a Several account of This, he thus reporteth its Constant Revolution.

And That day which is caled [Sunday] there is a meeting of all that dwell in Town and Country, and the Reader having do'n his office, the President makes an Oration, wherein he ex­horteth the people to imitate such goodly things. Then we all rise and pray, and (as I have said) at the end of prayers, Bread, Wine and Water are brought forth, and the Prefect a­gain poureth out with all his might Prayers and Praises, and the people answereth aloud, Amen. And there is a distribu­tion and communication made of those things, over which thanks have be'n given, to every one that is present, but to the absent it is sent by the Deacons. But those that are wealthy and willing, contribute what they see good, &c.

These words do so exactly suit the Practice of the Church to her above-recited Censure, that I know not what Light can be Added, or what Evasion Pretended, if we consider how expresly they declare,

1. That this was Every Sundays exercise. And that it was not confined to the Sunday, appeareth by what he had said before in the description of the Other Sacrament, whereof he made This a certain attendant, without de­claring that it was do'n only upon Sundays.

2. Every Christian was thoght obliged to Communicate [every Sunday at least] bicause the Church-officers were appointed to cary the Holy Supper even to the Absent.

3. They mingled Water with the Wine; This we may very reasonably believ to have be'n do'n in Conformity to the Jewish Tradition; which forbiddeth the Cup of blessing to be otherwise celebrated.

For so the Misna in Berachoth endeth the 7th Chap. [...] They bless not for the Wine, until Water be put to it: This Action they call [...] the Mingling of the Cup, as they do the other, the Breaking of the Bread.

3. The third sort of testimony promised was an HI­STORIAN. I might plead performance of That promise, by the now recited words of Justin, reporting Mater of Fact. But that you may see this was no short lived pra­ctice, I shall further offer you the testimony of a profess'd Historian, that wrote about the midl of the fifth Centu­ry: Socrates in lib. 5. cap. 21. describing the differences between several Churches in their Rites, thus speaketh concerning the Subject now in question.

Althogh All Churches All the world over, in every week on the Sabbath day celebrate the Communion, yet the Alexan­drians and Romans, upon an ancient Tradition refuse so to do. But the Egyptians which dwell near Alexandria and in The­bais, celebrate also the Communion on the Sabbath, but re­ceve it not after the manner of other Christians; for after they have Fested, and filled themselves with sundry meats, in the Evening making the Offering they Communicate in the My­steries.

Behold here a Testimony as full and as clear as can be expected from an Historian, yea from a Witness: for he nether speaketh by hear-say, nor transcribeth other mens Writings of former ages, but reporteth what himself cer­tainly knew, of the Universal practice of the whole Chri­stian World at the time of his Writing. And for our bet­ter satisfaction, let us consider,

1. That He should say the Sabbath was the day of Ce­lebration, whereas Justin Martyr puts it upon the Sun­day, can make no objection: The analogy between them having given the One the name of the Other in our own days.

2. Whereas the Egyptians Fested first, and Communi­cated [Page 136] in the Evening after they had Fested themselves, this may well be taken for a continuation of the Primitive pra­ctice in their Fests of Charity, banished at That time out of other Churches, bicause of rhe abuses they suffered from the Intemperance of the Peopl.

3. Concerning the singularity of the Roman Church.

1. It is not hard to reconcile Socrates with St. Hierom, who saith, That in His days there remained plain foot-steps of daily Communions in That Church; which also conti­nueth true in Our days, without any contradiction to our Historian: She hath still evident Foot-steps of more than Daily Communions, yet no Face of so much as Weekly; It seems that even in Socrates's days they had put it in Maskerade.

2. We see what right That Church hath to ingross the title of Catholik: It is one contradiction to confine so large a Word to any One part of the World; and it is a Greater to confine it to That part which was singular, as differing from All besides the Alexandrian Church.

3. We find what pretence that Church hath to equal her Traditions with the Scripture, since Universality is essential to a Tradition, and here she pretendeth One un­known to the whole Christian World. But most pertinent­ly to our present purpose,

4. We see whence we are to derive the neglect of Weekly Communions: When the Roman Church got the Power to impose her own Singularities upon All other, the Ambition to usurp the title of Catholik, as if she were not only the Head but the Whole, and the Confidence to set up her Inventions as authentik Traditions; then must the Universal Practice of All the Christian World be swal­lowed up, and our Lord's Institution be lost in a private Tradition, and an unintelligibl Mass: but in the Beginning it was not so.

5. The result of all is, That the Doctrine of liberty from obligation to constancy in the Lords Supper, is Popery [Page 137] most properly so caled, both in the Mater, and the Deri­vation; in the Mater, as differing from the Church Uni­versal; in the Derivation, as proceeding from no pretence of Scripture (at first, thogh it be otherwise now) but from Tradition of their own making, contrary to Tradition worthily so caled, and Scripture carefully examined.

Whoever therefor desireth a Thorogh Reformation from Popery and Popish Superstitions, let him not spend his zele about litl Ceremonies and Circumstances, but imploy it in service of the most Sacred and most properly Christian office, which needs be rescued from utter abolition by the Practices of Rome, never more grosly superstitious than in This Subject.

III. 4. THE Fourth sort of Testimony is That of ENEMIES. Those that appear such to the Constancy we assert, may be reduced to one of these three Glasses, viz. 1. Protestants. 2. Papists. 3. Junior Fathers.

Among PROTESTANTS, and Abov all others I there­for apply my self to the excellent person above praised, bi­cause I know no other that hath asserted any thing so di­stinctly as to be capabl of an answer.

This admirable Person finding the Evidence of the best Antiquity, That of the Apostl's and Primitive Fathers undeniable, endeavoreth ro Evade what he findeth neces­sary to Confess.

1. Concerning the Former we have heard him say, True it is, the Apostls did indefinitely admit all the faithful to the Holy Communion, but they were persons wholely enflamed with those Holy Fire, which Jesus Christ sent from Heaven to make them burning and shining Lights, &c. And then he spends a whole Page in such a Character as one might think intended for the Apostls themselves, did not the question necessarily cast it upon the Faithful: and then too, one might think that word must be taken in its most rigid sens for the Elect.

But was there a Judas among the twelve chosen by our Lord himself, and not One unworthy among the thousands of Disciples, whom the Apostls [indefinitely] admitted? St. Jude describeth not Such Saints (sure) where, among other black characters, he brandeth them with This, that they are spots in their fests of charity; and as litl doth he blame the officers of the Church for admitting them.

St. Paul too (I take it) doth not describe Saintly conver­sation in those Church meetings, for whose debaucheries he reproveth, not the Pastors for Admitting such Persons, but the Peopl for Committing such Leudness; yea, and So re­proveth them, as not to Excommunicate them for their domestik riots, but to require them (however unworthy in their persons) to come, but in a manner more worthy.

Had the Scriptures be'n silent, we must have be'n very tame, if without any evidence we had believed; that All Christians, in that (better then Golden) age, deserved so great an Eulogy: but after such contrary Evidence, we have nothing better to do, than to pity such an excellent Per­son, so enslaved and hardly used by an Opinion, that put­teth him to seek (but alloweth him no) shifts from such in­supportabl Evidence.

Another Confession (with its annexed Evasion) concerns the Ancient Fathers in these words.

St. Hierom and St. Augustin tells us, That even until their days, the custom of receving every day remained in the Churches of Rome and Spain, And all the ancient Fathers exhort to a frequent Communion: But just as Physitians ex­hort men to eat the best and heartiest meats; not the sickly and faint, but the strong men and the healthy.

All the ancient Fathers exhort to a frequent Communion. This is more than can well stand with his own positions, which discorage the generality from it: yet falls as much short of truth, as Frequent doth of Constant: for we shall presently meet som of them exhorting not only to Frequent but Daily Communions.

Yea, so certainly did the Primitive Christians make This not only their Constant but their Principal exercise in All their meetings, that [...] which primarily signifieth no more than a Meeting, became the diverbial word for the Lords Supper; in exact conformity to St. Luke's stile, who saith They meet to break bread: and the footsteps of the phrase remain as plain, yet as much corrupted, as do those of the Office, among the Romanists, who express their Church-meetings by Going to Mass. As certainly therefor as the Papists make the Mass the Principal exercise of their Publik worship, so certainly did the Primitive Christians make the Lords Supper the principal of Theirs; the very phrase confirming their express testimony of this truth.

They exhort men he confesseth, but evades the conse­quence by adding, they do it Just as Physicians, &c. where­as it is undeniable, that They exhorted, as the Apostls ad­mitted, All Indefinitely; and until we are shewen that they excepted any, besides Catechumens and Excommunicates; we must not clip their indefinite Exhortations, with un­warrantable Limitations, derived from no other reason but their serviceableness to our Hypothesis.

IV. ANOTHER Class of Adversaries ar the Pa­pists, who yet no less manifestly Preserv, than Contradict, the Primitive Practice; For That very Church which obligeth not the Peopl to receve, but at Easter on­ly, That very Church in whose magnified Synod at Trent, a Caveat was entered, not to derive even That anniversary obligation from our Lords, but the Churches command; That very Church, to This very day, so Prescribeth, as to Out-do the constancy of the Primitive.

Som may think it too much, that I have from the Acts of the holy Apostles, taken the Lords Supper for the reason of the Disciples meetings the first day of the week. But none (sure) can doubt, that with the Papist [to go to Church] signifieth the same, as [to go to Mass] but to go to [Hear Mass] is such an errand as the first ages never went upon.

While they admit the people only to hear or see, Their [Hoc est corpus meum] is an egregiosly; and Both words of St. Paul may be applyed to such a Mass. To the peo­ple belongs [This is not to eat the Lords Supper.] To the Priest, As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you shew forth the Lords death.] And both the One and the O­ther forsake their Duty and their Patern, while they pre­tend to stick to them.

Thus the ruins of a beautiful Structure may at once e­vidence its amplitude, and confess their own rubbidge, no way answerable to the beauty it formerly served.

We need not therefor be ashamed of this kind of proof, as if we too much honored the Church of Rome, in own­ing her Practice for an evidence of the Primitive. We take it, not as the Testimony of the Honorable, but as a Con­fession of the Guilty, when we make use of their Own words as an evidence against the Speakers practice.

When we say every Mass ought to be a Communion, what do we more plainly, than condemn the Private ones, as carrying a Contradiction in the very Terms; and the Publik ones, as carrying One or More in their Perform­ance: For they plainly contradict both the word [Commu­nion] when there are no Communicants; and our Lords Command, while in One Element they Dispense, and in the Other Prohibit what He commanded.

Yet still they do well in the Thing, thogh ill in the Manner; in this very particular deserving to be owned a true, thogh corrupt Church.

V. 3. AND what if we now reckon the Junior Fathers among our Adversaries; yea, Those very Fa­thers by name, whom we but now found vouched, as tel­ling us, That the custom of daily Communions continued in some Churches until their days?

What such Fathers, or other credible Writers, say of the Doctrines or Customs of the Churches of Christ in [Page 141] their own days, we think our selves obliged to believe up­on their credit. And upon that account we doubt not, but This custom of daily Communicating, who's foot-steps re­mained in Those times wherein they wrote, was derived as Catholik from the preceding: and if themselves Depart or Detract from what they have so witnessed to be Catho­lik, what can we do better, than distinguish the Doctor from the Father, and judge his Opinion by his Testimony.

Whether St. Augustin have so do'n, and consequently how far his authority is to sway us in the present Question, we cannot take a better way to find, than by transcribing his own words; the consequences whereof, were he alive to see, he would doubtless lament.

His Discours is in his 118th Epistle, in these words among others. Som will say that the Eucharist is not to be receved e­very day: If you ask why? he tells you, bicause som days ar to be chosen, in which a man may live more purely and conti­nently, that so he may com to so great a Sacrament more worthily; bicause he that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself. On the other side another says, If thou hast received so great a wound, and contracted so vi­olent a disease, that such remedies ar to be deferr'd: every such man ought, by the Authority of the Bishop, to be removed from the Altar, and put to penance, and by the same authority be reconciled. For this is to receve unworthily; Then to receve when a man should be doing penance, and not according to his own pleasure offer himself to, or withdraw himself from the Communion. But if his sins be not so great, as to deserve Ex­communication, he ought not to separate himself from the daily Medicine of the Lords Body. Between those possibly a man may determine the question better, if he admonishes that men should abide in the peace of Christ. But let every one do what according to his Faith he piosly believes ought to be do'n. For neither of them dishonors the Body and Blood of the Lord, if they in their several ways contend who shall most honor the most holy Sacrament. For Zacheus and the Centurion did not [Page 142] prefer themselves before one another, when one receved Christ into his house, and the other said, he was not worthy to receve him under his roof.

That by this Discourse we may undarstand what was St. Augustin's Opinion, and how far we are to be deter­mined by it, it will be requisite that we consider.

1. The State of the Question. And 2ly, His Deter­mination of it.

1. In Stating the Question, we ar to observ. 1. The Question it self. And secondly, The Practice of the Church at That time.

1. The Question it self is extremely different from Ours: So different, that we may very well subscribe to the Fathers determination. It is, Whether the Eucharist be to be receved EVERY DAY, or some days to be chosen where­in a man may live more purely, &c.

Now we pretend not to EVERY DAY: But believ that the Lords day was purposely consecrate, and afterward other holy days were added, and that every such day hath its [...], set aside to the purpose expressed by St. Au­gustine, That a man may therein live more purely and conti­nently, that so he may come more worthily to so great a Sa­crament.

If therefor This great Fathers Arbitration which was bounded to Every day, be stretched to the modern Que­stion which exceedeth All bounds; nothing will be so que­stionable as This, Whether the injury we do the Fathers Discurs, or That we do our Lord's Institution, be the greater of the two?

2. The Practice of the Church for which the Question was calculated, was extremely different from Ours: and That in two respects.

1. In point of Worship. For at Thar time the Holy Communion was daily administred by the Priests (at least in great Cities) and daily received by the devouter part of the peopl. Som (saith St. Augustine himself) Daily com­municate [Page 143] in the body and blood of the Lord, some receve upon certain days: in some places it is offered every day without in­termission, in som only upon the Sabbath and the Lords day, in some upon the Lord's day only.

2. In the point of Discipline, which in Those days ex­cluded the most scandalous both from the Communion and publik Prayers: but This by the sentence of the Bishop.

This, as it is plainly intimated in St. Augustin's above-recited words, so is it more plainly expressed by St. Chry­sostom in These words, Art thou not worthy of the Sacra­ment nor Communion? thou art not then worthy of Prayer. Thou hearest the officer standing and proclaiming, Whoever of you are in Penance, be go'n. If thou be one of those that are in Penance, thou must not communicate: For he that doth not communicate, is in Penance. Why then doth he say, Be go'n you that cannot pray, and thou impudently standest by, and art not such, but one of them that can communicate?

In which words of St. Chrysostom, two things appear very considerable.

1. That those who were excluded from the Holy Com­munion, were no less so from publik Prayer, which by the above-recited account of Justin Martyr, began at the Com­munion Service.

2. That it was not left to every mans private Caprice or Conscience, to Com or Forbear: But every one must com, if he were not under Penance by the Bishops sentence.

VI. HITHERTO we have heard St. Augustin as a Fa­ther, discursing in the Early stile a uestion suitable to his own time. We ar now to hear him as a Doctor, de­termining the Question by his own Reason. And we are to observ. 1. The stile he speaketh in. And 2. The Deter­mination he giveth.

1. His stile is not definitive. Doth not give his Sentence, but his Opinion; yea, not his setled Opinion, but his [Page 144] staggering unfledged Sentiments: Doth not Impose upon our Belief, but Propose to our Examination: Between these (saith he) possibly a man determine, i. e. No man hath yet so determined, nor can I say that any man may, but I offer it to consideration.

In This he speaketh most like a Father, that he confes­seth himself Not to speak like one, as not declaring rhe Doctrine of the Church, but his own Private Thoghts, and that how modestly! how diffidently! how contrary to his stile in other cases!

This is not the Only Doctrine, wherein he took the boldness to depart from the Opinions of his predecessors: and in those cases he expressed himself with confidence sufficiently; why so timoros now?

The Reason is as plain as the change. In the Other Questions they had not declared their minds plainly; in this they had do'n it not only Plainly but Ze­lously.

St. Cyprian had said, This bread we crave to have EVERY DAY given us, lest we who are in Christ, and daily receve the Sacrament for the food of Salvation, by interposing of any grievos crime, while restrained and not communicating, we ar forbidden the Heavenly bread, we should be separated from the body of Christ.

St. Basil had said, [...], &c. To communicate the body and blood of Christ EVERY DAY, is good and most profitable, seeing himself plainly saith, He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath everlast­ing life: now then, who can doubt, but that often to partake of the life, is nothing else, but often to live.

St. Ambrose had said, If the Eucharistical bread be daily offered, why do'st thou receve it after a Year, as the Greekt do in the East? Receve That EVERY DAY which may pro­fit thee every day. So live, that thou mayest deserv to receve every day; He that deserveth not to receve every day, deserv­eth not to receve after a year, &c.

Saint Chrysostom complained, [...], in vain is the DAILY sacrifice, &c.

So express and so earnest we see were the Exhortations of other Fathers, both Before and In St. Augustin's time, that as they gave him sufficient reason to be diffident in de­claring his own contrary opinion, so do they Us, to except against it, as singular and out-voted by his equals, if it pre­judice the Truth we have engaged to assert: which whe­ther it do or not, we are to judge by his Determination, wherein we ar to observ, 1. His Design. 2. His way of ferving it.

1. His Design in determining this Question, is the same with that of the whole Epistl: which is, to perswade com­pliance in matter of worship.

The Peace of Christ is dearer to him than his Supper it self which is to serv it: and therefor oght principally to be regarded, thogh with it's diminution.

Rectius inter eos fortasse quisquam dirimit litem qui monet ut praecipue in Christi pace permaneant.

And to This only purpose doth he bring his instance of Zacheus and the Centurion. Ne (que) enim litigaverunt inter se aut quisquam eorum se alteri praeposuit. He doth not pre­tend by their Exampls to determin the Question, but the Quarrel.

2. His Way to serv this good end, is by a toleration that every one should do what he thinketh best: which he enco­rageth with This reason, that nether of them dishonoreth the body of Christ, if saluberrimum Sacramentum certatim ho­norare contendunt.

In which last words the good Father may seem to unty the obligation I have so much contended for. For if every one may do what he thinketh best; if He do not dishonor the body and blood of Christ, who striveth to honor the Sacrament by forbearance, in sens of his unworthiness; then cannot our obligation to constancy be indispensibl, but our selvs ar judges of what is best.

Upon This Authority of so great a Father, so confirmed with pios reason, have following ages proceeded to the modern way of honoring the Lords Supper. Having learn­ed to ballance Reverence against Performance; to make the former the more weighty, they have loaded it with so many doubts and difficulties, that he must be both very good and very confident, who will not prefer the Centuri­ons safe and easie complement, before Zacheus's costly and troublesom entertainment. Thus while every one chuseth to excuse himself as unworthy that Christ should come under his roof, He may complain that he hath not where to lay his head: And All, or at least much of this pro­ceeding from the too much valuing and too little consi­dering the good Fathers words, I thoght to rescue both the Truth and Him from so great and unhappy a mistake.

For as These words will not Require, so will not his other writing Permit, that we should list Him among our Adversaries; He that caled as loud as any other Father, He that so earnestly expostulated with the desertors of the Holy Sacrament, saying, What is the reason, O hearers, that ye see the Table and come not to the banquet? He certainly did not intend to furnish his hearers with an excuse, that they did what they thoght best, upon the same reason as did the Centurion.

Nor can we easily so mistake, if we regard either the case, or his very words: Inter Eos, and Neuter Eorum, restrain his determination to Those two parties between whom he professeth to arbitrate, who both of them might plead such good precedents as might entitle them to tole­ration at least. One thinketh it best to communicate Every day, Another thinketh it better to do it only upon som certain days: The Former voucheth the Apostls and the Hierusalem Church, who continued Daily in breaking of Bread, as well as in Prayer: The Later, the Provincial Churches who met the First day of the week to break Bread.

But how wide is this from our Question, wherein One [Page 147] thinketh himself obliged to receive the Holy Sacrament as often as it is offered; and another thinketh himself free to take or refuse it as often as he thinketh fit.

Whether the good Father would have determined This Question, Inter Nos, in the same manner as he did That Inter Eos, is not so apparent, as it is, that his Instance can here have no place.

Zacheus had a Command from our Lord to come down and entertene him at his house: he did so, and honored him by the forwardness of his Obedience: The Centurion had no such command▪ and he honored Him by the humili­ty of his excuse. Had Zacheus receved no such command, who knows but he might have excused himself as did the Centurion? Had the Centurion receved such a command, who knoweth but he would have receved our Lord with the same alacrity as did Zacheus? Had he not, his own instance of his servants obedience must have condemned him.

Both of them honored our Lord, but Both cannot be imi­tated by Us. For either with Zacheus we have a Com­mand, or with the Centurion we have None.

That we have none to receve the Lords Supper EVERY DAY, we willingly acknowledge, and thereby submit to St. Augustin's determination: But whether we have one to receve it as often as it is celebrated, that we may under­stand, we must proceed to examin, The word of Com­mand, DO.

PART III. Concerning the word DO.

CHAP. I. We must answer such a Command no other­wise but by Performance.

I. The cause of our disobedience to This Command, too much Fear. II. We may not commuse Doing for any other ser­vice. III. The Reason why som think best not to do this often, and their appeal to the Church of England. IV. The Church vindicated. V. The two opposit opinions personated. The Ʋniversity Statutes the best comment upon the Churches Rubrike. The Greek Church in great Churches cele­brateth the Holy Communion every Sunday and Holy day. VI. Those who omit the Communion it self, greater Non-con­formists, than those who neglect the Communion Ser­vice.

WHAT is meant by DO when joined (as here) with its Object; one would not think so hard to Understand, as to Mistake. The force of the Imperative mode is so know'n to every litl Boy, that it is strange Doctors should miss it: nor could they, had they not be'n mis-led by the sound of Those unhappy words, which I hope now sufficiently appear de­signed to an office contrary to that rhey have so long be'n abused in.

If they are not ro be a Defaisance but Inforcement, then will the Command be for the Form as Absolute, and In­telligibl; [Page 150] for the Mater, as Serviceabl to the ends intend­ed; and every way as Obliging, as the greatest Care, join­ed with indisputable Authority, can possibly render Any.

But it is the singular infelicity of This only command, to be Disobeyed out of too much Regard. We think our selves unworthy to Do This: and ar therefor willing to believ we Do better than This, if we pay not Obedience in kind; but by som liberal Commutation, make the Com­mand a gainer, and our Selvs secure.

An error, so much the more Excusabl, bicause Natural; Fear of the Divine presence, is as much Original, and consequently as Universal, as Sin against it. Never were the Israelites so heartily obedient to Any law of God, as to That which commanded them to keep Distance from the terribl Mount where his Presence appeared.

They were so willing to forbear Touching, that they would keep out of Hearing; Speak thou with us (said they to Moses) and we will hear, but let not God speak to us lest we dy.

Yea, not only the common people, and upon such terri­ble appearances, but even the best servants of God, and upon his most gracious visits, have be'n frighted at his Presence. The best Prophets fell down at the appearance of a good Angel, and thogh the God-head doubl-veled it self in Flesh and Poverty, that Humility added to Huma­nity might prevent our dazeling; yet when the glory of his Divinity brake throgh, and shined in his Miracles, even those who rejoiced in the Benefit, feared the Be­nefactor.

The Centurion, even when he prayed that his Power and Goodness would bless his house, deprecated his Presence. When Peter had gained a miraculous draght of Fishes, the acknowledgement he paid was a Prayer, That the Lord would depart from him. And the Gadarens (who suffer more in their Reputation, than they did in their Swine) [Page 151] fell to the same prayer; not more in sens of their Loss, than Peter did in that of his Gain; but both of them in contrary circumstances, wer frighted at the same sens of their unworthiness.

Were we as uncharitable to our Desertors of rhe Lords Supper, as we generally are to the Gadarenes; we might censure their Absence, as the effect of their Covetousness. Possibly, som may fear the Offertory more than their Un­worthiness, but (sure) they must be very Few.

We must needs believ, most mens departure from Christ, to be the issu of the Same Fear, but not so excu­sable as that of Peter and the Centurion: For if the same Peter had really forsaken Christ, when he receved his Com­mand to follow him; or if the same Centurion had rece­ved the same command with Zacheus, and denyed obedi­ence to it; Peter must have had his portion with Judas, and the Centurion with the inhospitabl Samaritans.

II. AND this is our present case [Do this] is no less Imperative to us, than [Follow thou me] was to Peter; or [com down to entertene me] was to Zacheus. It leav's us not at liberty to do Any thing else in stead of This. We may as litl Commute, as Omit the perform­ance, when the Word of command pointeth out as well the Object as the Act.

Had our Lord said, Honor this, or Contemplate this, or Admire this, or Adore this, or Dread this, &c. Had he left to our choice, whether we would pay in Kind or in Value: we must needs have justified rhe Christian World, not only for a Just paymaster but a Liberal be­nefactor. So industriosly have men taxed All their Facul­ties, for an ample Contribution; their Inventions, for Mysteries; their Fancies, for Allusions; their Severi­ty, for Condicions; their Affections, for Ardor: I wish they had moderated that ardor, not permitted it to break out into devouring Flames, to destroy such mul­titudes, [Page 152] merely bicause they could not translate [Do this] into [Worship this.]

Strange! that in a command so Positive and so Plain, the Teachers themselvs should no better have learned what That meaneth, To obey is better than Sacrifice. And I know not which may claim more of our admiration, the strange Agreement among the otherwise most irreconcileable Sects of Christians, in their joint resolution to Commute; or the strange Difference in the Sacrifices they bring, for Re­compence to the piosly injured Command.

I pass by the Papists, who commute Obedience to This command, into Disobedience to Another; paying forbid­den Adoration, instead of commanded Eating; and the Non-conformists, who in stead of Obedience to our Lord, pay Disobedience to his Officers, refusing to Do this, lest they should do it in Circumstances, for This only reason to be Shunned by themselves, bicause Required by their Governors.

I ass by Both These, and All Others, but Those of our Own (I wish I could call it) Communion; who owning the Command of our Lord, and the Authority of our Church; professing conformity to Both, disobey the Com­mand in its own Defence, and shelter themselves under the protection of the Church, pretending her to have de­clared three times in a year, sufficient; and therefor more than Three times, needless.

Had they appeled to St. Augustin, they had met som sound of words, that by help of Inferences, might have afforded them som color. He did (indeed) first hang up the scales between these contrary ways of honoring our Lord, and left the Centurion aequilibrate to Zacheus.

But now almost all the weight is taken out of the One scale, and cast into the Other; the Obligation to the per­formance made so Light, and the Conditions of worthiness so Heavy, that it is Now questioned, Not whether we ar to receve Every day? but Any day? And what St. Augustin [Page 153] thought not Possibl to be questioned, is now too Generally believed; viz. that there must be a choice, not only of som Days, but som Persons above Others.

Concerning the required worthiness of Persons, I shall meet a fitter time to speak more fully: I am now to en­quire concerning Times, whether we are obliged to take All? or Any? or Few? or Many?

In which Question, we ar grow'n very much bolder than St. Augustin; He Questioned, but durst not Determin between Every day and Som days: we boldly Determin a­gainst Daily, yea Weekly, yea Monthly Communions; but stablish not Any at all.

III. IT is manifest (say som) that Scarceity advanceth, and Plenty abateth the valu of every thing. Those acts of worship which are Frequently, are also Slightly performed; and since we cannot keep Both, we were better quit Frequence than Reverence. For we shall more honor our Lord by doing this more Reverently thogh less Frequently, Than more Fre­quently with less Reverence.

And in confirmation hereof, they vouch not only Expe­rience, which sheweth that Those very persons, who strain­ed hard to enjoy the Common Prayer, when it was not to be had without difficulty, contemn it, now it is truly Common: but (as we com now from saying) the Autho­rity of our Church too, as satisfied with [three times in a year.]

This is their Opinion, and thus they defend it. It were heartily to be wished that the Antecedent wer as fals as the Consequent is weak: That there wer as litl Truth in the alleged contemt of Common Prayer, as there is Reason thence to be draw'n against making the Communion com­mon as That.

And it were further to be wished, that those who thus pretend to hear the Church, would better consider her de­clared Judgment.

But This conceit, grave as it looks, with its countenance of Piety and Prudence, we have found to be the very same with that in the Corinthians, against which the Apostle leveleth his whole Argument: And plausibl as it looks, with its Countenance of Conformity to the Church, we shall find it more guilty of Non-conformity, than what is by its patrons condemned as such: And so much the more injurious to the Church, bicause it doth not only rob her of het Authority, but her Innocence; as making her Ac­cessary to the disobedience she condemns.

And since I ow a duty to the Church, as well as to the Question, I shall not proceed further, 'till I have vindi­cated Her from so great Suspicion, and This from so great a Prejudice, as by This pretence they suffer.

IV. CONCERNING the sens of our Church in this Question, it is strange that there should be any Doubt, much more that there should be any Error, so plainly doth she declare it in her Offices and Rubriks relating to this Sacrament: preparatory whereto, she hath provided two Exhortations; the One shewing the danger of Unworthiness, the Other of Forbearance: an­swering the doubl charge of the Apostl, Let a man examin himself, and so let him eat.

I doubt this is News to Them who most are concerned in it. For if they had do'n the Church and Themselvs the right, to Read and Consider That Exhortation, which she hath appointed to be read when the Minister shall see the peopl negligent to come; they must needs be convinced, if not how great the Error is, yet certainly, how litle the Church favoreth it.

For what can be said to This Invitation? In Gods behalf I bid you All (All indefinitely) and beseech you for the Lord Jesus Christs sake that you will not refuse to come, being so lo­vingly caled, and bidden by God himself. And again, I bid you in the name of God, I call you in Christs behalf, I exhort [Page 155] you as you love your own salvation.

What to this Warning? Take you heed, lest you with­drawing your selves from this Holy Supper, provoke Gods indignation against you. And again, Consider with your selvs how great an injury you do to God, and how sore punishments hangeth over your heads for the same.

What to this Argument? You know how grievous and un­kind a thing it is, when a man hath prepared a rich Fest, deck­ed his Table with all kinds of provisione, so that there lacketh nothing but the guests to sit down, and yet they who are caled most unthankfully refuse to come, &c. which of you in such a case would not be moved? who would not think a great injury and wrong do'n unto him?

What to the close of all? These things if ye earnestly con­sider, ye will by Gods grace return to a better mind; for the obtaining whereof we shall not cease to make our humbl peticions to Almighty God our heavenly Father.

The Invitation is Universal, I bid you All. The charge lieth upon All Persons, and at All Times. For as often as the peopl (the peopl in general) are Negligent to com, so often is the Minister thus to reprove and warn them, and there is no limitation to dispens with Any Person, or ex­cept Any Time.

Thus, thus it is that the Church incourageth us to di­spens with our Duty; thus she discourageth Constancy in it: Thus she setteth up Reverence against Frequency.

But since Error cannot subsist without borrowing from Truth; let us see, what appearances there may be of the Churches countenance in the contrary opinion.

She declareth (say they) three times in a year to be suffi­cient. But

1. Churches, as well as States, ar many times necessietated to comply with the ungovernabl humors of the Peo­ple. And what if our Church have do'n in This Subject, as Moses did in That of Divorce, bicause of the hardness of the peopls hearts? chusing a great inconvenience, as an e­scape [Page 156] from a yet greater mischief?

The indevotion of the peopl is so incorrigibl, that she saw too great reason to fear, lest if she should exact the con­stancy due to it, she should thereby rather draw contemt, then Guests to the Holy Table: and therefor, lest by re­quiring All, she should lose All, thoght necessary to ac­commodate her self, not to what our Savior Requireth, but to what she might hope to Obtene.

This appeareth by the two first Rubriks, which caution against exposing the Sacrament, if there be not a conveni­ent number to communicate; i. e. if there be not the same number which is necessary for the Grace-cup, for so is the number expresly determined, to three at least. And if she thus doubted of Three, when it is so Seldom; what could she hope if it were Constantly celebrated?

2. Where she may Hope more, she Requires more. She doth not think the Priests more Obliged to communi­cate, but more Likely to be devout and obedient, than the People: When therefor there is a competent number of such (as in Colleges and Collegiat Churches there often is) where they cannot want Opportunity, if they want not Piety; There she requireth, not only three times every Year, but once every Week; and in This requiring of the Priests, she doth more than intimate what oght to be do'n by All; thogh she forbear to enjoin it, bicause of the too justly supposed hardness of the hearts of the genera­lity.

3. Nether is she satisfied with This, either in Priest or Peopl. When she saith it must be thus often [At least] she doth not declare This to be the Most that is required by our Lords Institution, but the Least that can satisfie her Own Discipline.

Those who com not So often [At least] must be punish­ee as Non-conformists; those who com not much Oftner, thogh they fall not under her Discipline, do under her Re­proofs, as we com now from hearing.

We can no more infer Three times a Year sufficient for the Communion, bicause the Church doth not punish those who come so often; than Once in a month to be sufficient for Divine Service, because the Law punisheth not those who com so often.

Rules of Government, have mesures different from Rules of Devotion.

Our Church seemeth to have taken her mesures from the Council of Agatho and Eliberis, which declare, That those who do not communicate on the Fests of Nativity, Easter, and Pentecost, are not to be accounted Catholik.

She manifestly declareth her judgment to agree with what we have all this while be'n proving. Not every Sun­day, but almost for every other Holy day; she hath ap­pointed a preparative Vigil, that we may examin our selvs with Fasting and Prayer; and every Festival hath its pro­per Communion Service, to be read at the Time and Place of the Lords Supper. Just in the same circumstances as Justin Martyr hath described the practice of the Church in His days; when the Reader and Preacher have do'n their offices, when the Catechumens are dismissed with the Be­nediction of The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, &c. Then doth the Priest go to the Holy Table, accompanied in Collegiat Churches and Chappels with one or two assistants, There to read the Communion Service every Holy day throughout the year.

V. LET us now suppose a Priest of ether party, about to read the Communion Service at the Holy Table, declaring what he believeth to be the Churches meaning in that office, and it will not be hard to judge which of the two will best deserv her thanks.

He that will make her satisfied with his three times in a year, must speak to this purpose: Behold, hither am I com'n in conformity to the Customs of the Primitive Church, and the Constitutions of our own. The first Churches celebra­ted [Page 158] the Lords Supper every Holy dry, and Ours ordaineth the Communion Service to be read every such day, in the same cir­cumstances. After the Benediction, with an Offertory, at the Holy Table.

Here am I, and my brethren ready to assist me, to commu­nicate to you and with you. If any Isaac demand, Here is the fire and the wood, but where is the Lamb? Here are all other requisites, but where is the Bread and Wine? Know that our Church doth as litl intend a Communion, as Isaac did to be Sacrificed. She doth not indeed affront your sences by Conse­crating the Elements, without Communicating them, as doth the Church of Rome, but she is no less willing to withold them from you. She is content you should communicate thrice every Year, that the memory of the Institution be not quite lost; but would have you mannerly and modest, not constant and impor­ture guests: com by such intervals, as may becom the awe due to so venerable a Mystery, not with such constancy as may signifie familiarity with it. For however our Lord intended (and the Apostls and best ages of the Church conformed them­selvs to his Intentions) that his Supper should be the constant of­fice in every Church meeting; yet experience hath proved such Constancy prejudicial to its Honor; and therefor our Church hath taken this midl away, constantly to do somwhat in obe­dience to the Lords Institution, yet to forbear the complete of­fice, in reverence to his body and blood, that as plenty hath made it cheap, so scarcity may advance its value.

To this purpose must such an one speak that will father such an opinion upon the Church.

But he that pleads for constancy, may borrow a better speach from St. Chrysostom, who complains, Here we wait, and none com; or from St. Augustin, who expostulates, What cause is there, O hearers, that ye see the Table and com not to the Banquet? Yea, or from her Own Exhortation now mentioned, which assisted with her Rubrik prescribing to the Priests once every week at the least; will complain, not only of deserting the Table, when furnished, but of Dis­coraging [Page 159] the Ministers from furnishing it, as constantly with the Holy Fest, as they do with the Office which sup­poses it.

For thus may such an one speak,

Here we attend in conformity to our Lords Institution, the Practice of the Primitive Church, and the Injunctions of our Own, to communicate with you the Lords Supper.

We do not indeed bring forth the Bread and Wine, bicause it is too manifest, that in so doing, we must either expose them to contemt, by not using them at all, or use them our selves alone.

The choice is hard, and the Church of Rome hath chosen the Later, but without escaping the Former; For how can That be caled a Communion (as by the Apostl it is) where One takes all to himself; or how is the holy Supper rescued from contemt, when all but one are idle spectators, not vouchsafing to be guests at the divine Supper?

Our Church hath taken the best cours, that in so great a streight she could, to avoid Both sides of the inconvenience. That our Lords body & blood may not be so exposed, she forbids us to celebrate the Communion unless there be a competent num­ber to communicate: and to avoid loss of any opportunity, she directs those who intend to communicate, that they signifie their readiness, by sending their names in convenient season to the Curate: By the One she provides, that the Fest be not dishonor­ed for want of Guests; and by the Other, that the Desirous be not hindered for want of the Fest.

And lest this omission of bringing Bread and Wine, should be mistaken for an intimation, that it is not our duty to receve them; she hath provided that upon Every Holy day, we be put in mind of our Obligation.

Yesterday Eve was consecrate to Fasting and Prayer; for This very purpose, that we might thereby prepare our selvs to receve the Holy Supper this day. And now, that the Com­mon Prayer is ended, and the rest of the people (who are not capable to communicate) ar dismissed with their blessing; ac­cording [Page 160] to the practice of Christ's Church in the best ages, we com up to the holy Table, in this its proper place and season, to read the Communion-service; that you may understand there oght to be a Communion joined with This Service, if you would not be wanting to your duty in receiving it.

You know we dare not adventure to expose the holy Viands, without giving you a weeks warning: nor dare we give you such warnings, as Frequently as we desire, much less as Gon­stantly as we ought, bicause we sind you too backward to enter­tene, even Those too rare Invitations which we give you.

But that you may see with what regret we submit to That necessity you thus put upon us; Our Church is careful clearly to intimate, how much more she Wisheth, than she Dareth to Command.

What reason can you imagin, for her putting so great a dif­ference between her Injunctions to the Priests, and those to the People? By our Lords Institution, ether the People are not at all obliged, or they are cqually so, with the Priests: Why then should Three times in a year be sufficient for the One, and no less than Every Sunday for the Other?

There can be no other reason but This, that thogh there be not more Due, yet there is more to be Hoped, from the Priests. From them therefor she requireth, that when they have oppor­tunity, they communicate every Sunday [At least] And how much more they might (and would do better to) exceed that [Least] This Communion-service plainly declareth: whereby our Church keepeth up the claim to that constancy which in the Primitive Church was practiced, of closing every Church-jest with the Lords Supper.

Would you duly heed it, you could not miss either the Churches Doctrine concerning your duty, or opportunities to perform it. She hath plainly enogh shew'n her Readiness to per­form Her part, and Your obligations to do Yours. Try us, Try us by the way she hath directed, Signifie your willingness by send­ing us your names; and if you then have not as many Commu­nions, as Communion-services, let the whole blame lie upon us.

But while on the Churches part there are such Invitations, and on Your part such neglects, She may well take up St. Paul's self-justification, Your blood be upon your own heads, I am clean.

Such must the Languages be of those that on either side shall pretend the Church of England's authority: and if it can be questionable which of the two is the better Expo­sitor of her Rubriks, possibly it cannot be put to a better Umpirage (if it need any) then that of our University. And by her Statutes the Communion-service is never read in the University-Church without a Communion, nor the Common Prayer without them Both.

These Statutes have added Holy days of Our own to those of the Church, but still with conformity to This rule.

We begin every Term, as with Common Prayer, so with the Communion. Nothing therefor can be more apparent than the sens of the University, which (sure) you cannot think ignorant of the Churches Doctrines.

And it may be worth som consideration, that this is the practice of the Greek Church to this very day in their great Churches. For thus saith the Learned Mr. Smith, an ocu­lar witness. At such solemnities the holy and august Sacra­ment is alway celebrated, and that with great pomp and ce e­mony: and indsed is not only a necessary, but the principal part of the Festival.

And that we may not mistake, as if this were spoken only of the Principal Fests, he saith afterward upon ano­ther occasion, In the great Churches the Priests celebrates the Sacrament upon the solem Festivals, and upon Sundays, and at other times upon occasion.

In the obligation of the Peopl also, they com not be­hind, but advance a step further than our Church; for saith the same Author, The Laiks ace obliged to receve the Bles­sed Sacrament four times a year. With which law of their [Page 162] Church they most readily comply, none omitting it, especially at Christmas or Easter, unless hinder'd by real and urgent ne­cessity. In order to their better preparation, the preceding Fests (i. e. the four Lents fore-spoken of) are appointed and observed.

VI. AND let me provoke the otherwise-minded to E­mulation. Will they own such Ministers for Conformists (if such there be) as for many Months, and perhaps whole Years together, Omit to read the Commu­nion-Service? will they not think it the duty of the Church-wardens to Present, and of the Bishop to Punish such, as Disobedient to the Churches Orders, and Muti­lators of her Offices? Why then must They Escape Pre­sentment? yea, why must they pass for the best Church­men, who for Months, and perhaps whole Years together, omit either Offering or Receiving That Communion, which That Service professeth to celebrate; and so by Neg­lecting the One, Expose the Other?

Let those now, who bost themselves the tru Sons of the Church, shew themselvs such, not by much Talking, but Studying her Thoghts, yea, her Declarations. A good son will act, not only the express Commands, but the In­clinations of his Parent: he will Enquire, and by all com­petent indications Search; and where there are manifest tokens, that More is Desired than Expressed, will do not only what the Command makes Necessary, but whatever such Indications shew to be Well-pleasing.

Since therefor the Church so plainly intimateth, that she Recommendeth More then she dares Command; how can Those pretend themselves her affectionate Sons, who do not only Neglect to comply with her so clear Intimati­ons, but downright Disobey Those Commands, which she plainly imposeth as Necessary to her Communion?

Where is now that zele for the Church? Have we no better way to shew it, than by contending for a Vesture, or [Page 163] a Gesture? Do we think her such a coquet, as to prefer a Ribon or a Lace before her Necessaries?

I speak not this to justifie any Neglect or Disobedience toward the slightest Injunctions of our Governors; but by comparing the weightier maters of the Law, with ti­thing, mint and cummin; to prove that Those who ar earnest to have these things do'n, oght not to leave the other undo'n.

I might further urge, that Those ar the worst sort of Non-conformists, who not only Deny Obedience, but Slander Those very Constitutions which require it: and so make themselvs not only Disobedient children, but False accusers: for they can hardly avoid that dubl character, who both refuse to communicate with her in This (of all others most sacred and solen) office, and accuse her as ac­cessary to That very Disobedience which themselvs pra­ctice, no less against Her Injunctions than our Lords.

But it is not my business to accuse my brethren, further than is necessary to the vindicating of my mother; which I hope I have abundantly do'n, so as to be secure from having her Name abused, to the protection of an Error so Oppo­site to her Constitutions.

CHAP. II. VVe may not omit This duty without warrant,

I. Necessity may be complied with. A duble question. II. Dif­ference between Laws Moral and Positive. The Apostl's vouching our Lords revelation a proof of the valu of the Sacrament. Fear of cheapness, no reason why we should make it scarce. III, Omission compared with unworthiness. IV. Our warrant must be either Countermand or Dispensa­tion. V. Defect of preparation no Dispensation. VI. All other duties in the same danger.

HAVING thus do'n right to our Church, I now com to do it to the Question: which is not the same in Our days as in St. Augustin's. It is nor, whether we ought to receve every Day? but, Whether we ought to do it upon every opportunity?

How frequent those Opportunities ought to be, it is not the Peopl's business to enquire, nor mine to determin. It must needs be as necessary for the Officers, as for the Con­stitutions of the Church, to yield to the invincibl hardness of the peopl's hearts.

In so corrupt an age, we may not stand upon our Lords [In the beginning it was not so] but yield to his [Suffer it to be so now.]

I therefor urge no more but this, That it is the duty of every Minister, to labor with his people to com constantly, and to offer the Holy Communion as often as he can prevail with them to receve it.

Against this so complaisant Assertion, bicause St. Au­gustin's [Page 165] out-running followers, have not only opposed his [Let every one do what he thinks best] but preferred the Cen­turions aw, before Zacheus's reception; therefor must this doubl Error be encounter'd with a doubl Question.

1. Whether our Lords [Do this] take not away our liber­ty to forbear it?

2. Supposing we had liberty to do what we believe best; whether it were not better to do it frequently than seldom?

1. Our first Question must be, Whether our Lords [Do this] leave us any liberty to forbear when we think it better? In this Enquiry we must distinguish between Laws, Moral and Positive.

II MOral Laws ar written in the fleshly tables of the heart, whose yielding nature may take impression from the various occurrences of life. Those Laws, as they ar Di­ctated by Reason, so must they be Interpreted by it, and bend to the several requires of the subject matter.

For the Philosopher cannot so fix the bounds of Vertu, but that (in many cases) the Determination of a Prudent man is necessaty to distinguish it from Vice.

But God wrote his Positive Laws in Tables of Stone, whose rigor was uncapabl of yielding. Of such Laws, the Will of the Law-giver was the Only Reason, and must be the Only Mesure. We must do Just so, no less, nor no more, nor no otherwise. Reason hath here nothing to do, but to deny it self to have the least power to Dispens, or Derogate, or Commute, or any way Decline from the ex­press voice of the Law.

Uzzah could not then plead the appearance of necessity, or the evidence of his good meaning; when the danger of the Law was greater one way, than that of the Ark was the other way.

To this surpose ler us reflect upon what we have already observed; that our Apostl vouched our Lord's authority, [Page 166] that so he might assert both the Truth and Importance of what he delivered: For we cannot now deny the Truth, without affronting the Apostl's veracity, nor the Impor­tance, without disparaging our Lord's wisdom; for the One must be said to take great care for a subject of no valu, or the Other report a falshood.

We have seen som danger that our Lord's mind might be mistaken, as if he either intended to consecrate none but the Paschal Supper, or valued the whole office at no higher rate, than he used to do outward performances.

We need no other evidence, that the Corinthians might probably believ This; than the commonness of This belief now, notwithstanding the Apostl's indeavor to confute it in both its members, by This declaration, which plainly discovereth, how much our Lord valued this office, how of­ten we must perform it, and how litl power we have to abate any thing of it.

For these reasons he doth not plead here, as before in another case of outward decency, Doth not appeal to Their Judgments, nor offer his Own: saith not, as cap. 10. [I speak as to wise men, judge you what I say] nor as chap. 7. [I give my judgment] This say I, not the Lord;] but quite contrary [This say not I, but the Lord] and the consequence is, Neither I nor an Angel from heaven must be believed a­gainst the Revelation; Neither I nor an Angel from heaven (much less a mans own humor) can any way relax the Ob­ligation.

Grant therefore now that the Observation be as Tru, as the Subject is Unhappy: suppose Frequence bring danger of Cheapness: must we therefor presume to make it Scarce? No doubtless! If we will needs hear Reason, it will tell us, that our Lord knew this as well as We: It was so Before, and In, and Ever Since His days, as it is in Ours.

How then dare any one judge That a sufficient reason to hinder him from Doing this, which our Lord judged not so, to hinder him from Commanding it. Doth not such an one [Page 167] declare himself both Superior and Wiser? If thou judg the Law (saith S. James) thou art not a Doer of the law, but a Judge. I may add, Thou art not only a Judge, but an Unjust one; if thy sentence rob the law of it's due: & so much more so, by how much greater care our Lord took to have it duly paid.

III. HE therefor that breaketh This, which is not the Least of our Lords Commandments, and teacheth men so, must be weighed in others scales, than those of St. Augustine: Not compared with the modest Centurion, or for­ward Zacheus, but with the most Disobedient Rebel, and the most Unworthy Communicant: and even so will be found more inexcusable than the worst.

For he that Doth This, however unworthily, payeth Som­thing of obedience, owneth our Lords Authority, & is easily Convinced of his Crime: But he that saith he needs not do it, doth not only deny the Law, to have power over himself; but assumeth to himself power over the Law; and renounc­eth all Need, (and therefor all Benefit) of Repentance.

He that Disobeyeth the Kings Law, may be a Felon; but he that setteth up an Opposit Authority, is a Rebel; and declaring himself (as all Rebels do) a most Faithful Subject, is thereby the more Unpardonabl. He that [doth this] unworthily, is guilty of the body and bloud of the Lord, he dishonoreth his Person, and that in his Humanity; but he that Renounceth any Obligation to do it, is guilty of his Crown and Dignity; Deposeth him from his Throne, and affronteth the Majesty of his Divinity: and his pre­tence of Reason for disobedience, whether it be Reve­rence, or his Teachers Authority, or what ever els it be; it is a Rival to obedience, and it's plausibl Pretences make it so much the more properly Rebellious.

This perhaps may seem too Severe; I grant it, nor do I believ our Lord judgeth according to such Rigid me­sures, but Rigid as they ar, they ar Just, and may be ur­ged against the Doctrines, thogh not against the Persons. [Page 168] For if the Preformance be bound upon us by a Positive Law of Christ; and Forbearance, only by my Own or my Teachers Reason; If I prefer This abve That, and Justifie my doing so; what is this but to say, I will not have That, but This to reign over me?

We may not therefor without manifest Deposing our Lord, pretend any thing Equal to his Authority; but if we will decline our obedience to This Command, we must fetch our Warrant from That alone, as dispensing with us in such cases as we oppose to our obligation.

IV. AND this Warrant must be as Express as his Command; and it must be either a Counter­mand or a Dispensation.

1. A Countermand may be either Express or Implicit.

If it be not possibl to do this without breaking some O­ther (no less evident) Law; This will amount to an Im­plicit Countermand: For then will This Law lose all its weight, by the equal Counterweight of That Other; bi­caus the Same Lord who said [Do This] will have said al­so [Do Not That;] and when such a Counter-Law is Pleaded and Proved, we must acquiesce.

But Where? Where in the name of Christ is such a Counter-Law? In what Book, whar Chapter, what Vers, do we find him say, [Do Not This?] Pretences we find in abundance; but where do we find them Authorised? Where is it written, Do not this, if there be a Judas in the company! Do it not, if you may not do it without diminu­tion of your liberty in things indifferent? Do it not, if you may not do it in such Manner, such Forms, such a Place, such Company, such Gesture, &c. as your selves like Best. Do it not, if the Form of Administration have any Mixture of humane Ordinances, or the Assembly any mixture of Profane or Suspicios Persons? Or (which is the same Kind, thogh not the same Color) Do it not as Often as you have Opportunity, if you believ your Often doing it, will oc­casion your doing it Less Reverently.

If in any of These, or any Other cases, we find any such Express, or Implicit Countermand, as with equal Clearness of Words, and equal Evidence of Sens, and equal Absolut­ness of Command, can ballance our Lordr [Do this] we must yeild; but els, whatever weight is Wanting in the Opposite Scale, is Left in the Obligation.

V. 2. AND the same rule also holdeth in the Other kind of Warrant. If we pretend our selfs not Countermanded but Dispensed wth; we must have an Ex­press Word declaring us so in That particular case.

I say we must have an Express Word: For Consequences of Our own drawing, unless they be so absolutely Unavoidabl; as to be equivalent to an Express word, may not be interpre­ted for a competent Dispensation; since it is an undoubted rule, That every Dispensation is a grievance to the law, & there­fore to be avoided as much as possibl, in defence of the Law.

There is indeed an Express word, which hath too long and too generally be'n taken for an Ʋnlimited Dispensation, not only to the Grievance, but the very Destruction of the Law: upon which Very account (besides others) I hope I h ve cleared it from that mistake, and therefor shall now say no more concerning it.

Our future troubl will be with som Consequential defea­sances, draw'n from som cautionary expressions of the Apostl, no less perverted against his meaning▪ than Those other words are against both His and our Lord's.

He declareth it a great crime to do this Unworthily, and for That reason warneth us to Examin our selfs: and from hence some hastily infer, That if we have be'n hindered from This Preparation; and some others, that if we have neglected it; then ar we, not only Excused, but Prohi­bired from the Performance.

And whoever hath any kindness for his Sloth or his Sins, very Plausibly perswades himself, That the Indulgent A­postl hath left a wide door open, to admit what he please [Page 170] for a Competent Hinderance from Preparation, and conse­quently a Competent Excuse from the unwelcom exer­cise.

But This very Unpreparedness is it self a Violation of an Express Precept: [Let a man examin himself, and so let him eat] is a doubl Precept; but so, that Either Member is an Entire Precept by its self, without retaining to the Other, as it's condicion.

It is not [Let a man eat if he be prepared] but without a­ny [If] thogh not without an [And] they ar Both, Abso­lutely, thogh Jointly, commanded. He that Eateth not, is guilty, thogh he be Prepared; He that nether Eateth nor Prepareth himself, is Dubly guilty, because he hath omit­ted a Dubl duty.

But that we may answer formally: We Deny That Con­sequence whereon the Evasion is bilt, viz. That If a Com­mand oblige to do a thing, and in due manner, the Defect in the Manner (thogh voluntary) must be a Dispensation from the Thing.

God commanded the Jews to eat the Passover with their loins girt: Wer it not ridiculos to think, that if one be un­girt, he is free, both from the Obligation and the Threat; so that notwithstanding them Both, That soul shall not be cut off from his peopl! The Girding of the Loins is often u­sed, as an expression of Preparation; and the defect of That, may as well excuse from the Passover, as the defect of This, from the Lords Surper.

VI. AND at This rate of pleading, we may as well excuse our selves from All Religios Exercises whatsoever, bicause we cannot in any of them make Any address to God unworthily, without affronting him. That our Partiality and Injustice toward This Sacrament may the more plainly appear, let us for a minute or two sup­pose (what probably the Corinthians believed) that it was not concerned in those Meetings, wherein they behaved [Page 171] themselves so irreverently: and Then consider, whether the same reproofs may not be transplanted into such Meet­ings, upon as good grounds, and with as good fruit: Might he not have pleaded with the same Evidence of reason, and even in the same words?

—You come together not for the better, but for the worse.

For first of all, when ye com together in the Church, I hear that there be divisions among you, and I partly believe it.

When ye come together therefor into one place, this is not to worspip God.

For —one is hungry, and another is drunken.

What, have ye not houses to eat or to drink in? or despise ye—

For I tell you, that as often as you meet in Gods house to worship him, you address your selves to Gods person.

For as often as you pray to God, you address your selves to his Throne, and to him that sitteth thereon.

Wherefor whoever prayeth to God unworthily, shall be guilty of affronting his Majesty.

But let a man exawin himself, and so let him address his prayer to God.

For he that prayeth to God unworthily, prayeth for damna­tion to himself, not regarding the Majesty of God.

What think you? Were any of these reproofs too se­vere? Any of those Warnings needless? Any Precept for self-examination superfluos? Or do All of them amount to a dispensation from worshipping God in his House?

May we not then take up the same Apostl's Language, expostulating with a self-condemned Jew? Thou that da­rest not take the Lords Supper in thy unhallowed lips; da­rest thou take his Prayer? Thou that darest not eat This Bread, bicause thou art not one bread with thy offending brother; darest thou use That Prayer, which maketh thy forgiving or not forgiving thy brother, the mesure of Gods forgiving or not forgiving thee? Thou that fearest to bring [Page 172] an unclean heart to God's Table, darest thou bring the same to his Throne? Thou that fearest to be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord, darest thou make thy self so of His Majesty and Purity?

Are not These as much contemned by unworthiness in Prayer, as Those by unworthiness in Communicating? Is our Lord Man only? is he not God also? Is he God of the Sacrament only? is he not of Prayer also? Is preparation therefor necessary for That only? is it not equally necessa­ry for This?

This were enogh. But it is further considerabl, that the case is very unequal on both sides. For whereas unworthi­ness is more objected in bar to the Lords Supper; the Scripture hath spoken much more against it, in relation to Prayer.

For we shall hereafter find a more proper occasion to ob­serv, that the Apostl here reproveth not the unworthiness of the Person, but only of the Performance. Upbraideth not the Corinthians with any other sins, but only such as are committed against the Lords Supper it self, and in the manner of its celebration. Doth not say, the Lords Sup­per is turned into sin, if the Communicant be guilty of Other sins. But Solomon, Prov. 15.8. saith expresly, The Sacrifice of the wicked is sin: and again, chap. 21.27. The Sacrifice of the wicked is abomination. David, Psal. 50. expostulateth in God's name, that they presume to tread his courts, and take his name into their mouths: and the Pro­phet, Isa. 4. describeth God sick of his own Ordinances, bicause unworthy persons celebrated them. Jeremiah and Amos speak the same language.

So that if we take our mesures from Scripture, we find much greater reason to examin our selvs; and upon sens of our personal unworthiness to forbear Prayer, than the Lords Supper.

Whence then this so gross partiality? Why should we take That unworthiness as a Prohibition from This duty, [Page 173] which we think not one from the other?

Were the truth duly considered, it would appear that the difference lieth not in the greater or less sacredness of the Duties, but our own greater or less Sens of their Be­nefits.

It is not Reverence, but want of Appetite; not Fear so much, as want of Love, that keepeth us at distance, Pretendedly Reverential, and Really Neglective. Why do we not els use either the same Reverence, or the same Boldness toward Both? Both equally require Worthiness, and Both equally require Performance: with This diffe­rence, that in the One we remember the Lord, in the Other our Selvs, But in Both we rob God of his due, thogh in several kinds. In the Lords Supper we own Pre­paration, and There we deny Frequency; In Prayer we own Frequency, and there we deny Preparation: so the One we Perform unworthily, and the Other we Forbear unworthily, and wipe our mouths, and say, we have do'n no wickedness.

Say not I plead now for Irreverence in the Communion, or Forbearance of Prayer: No! Religion is not to Com­pound with our Corruptions, but to Destroy them: will no more connive at Unworthiness in Prayer, for fear lest Gods Throne be as much Deserted as his Table; than at Unfrequency in Communicating, for fear lest Irreverence should be as rude with his Table as his Foot-stool: There is no necessity that we perish either by Poison, or Starving, By [DO THIS] we ar not Invited only, but Commanded so to Honor our Lord, as to Fest our own Souls.

CHAP. III. The Obligation ceased not upon the change of the Manner of the Festing in the Church, but must be accommoda­ted thereto.

I. The Apostle hath prevented such a consequence, by saying, our Lord appointed us to do this 'till he com. II. The ade­quate mesure of our doing this, is not Eating, but Meeting in the Church. As change of the ceremony hindereth not Perjury from being a sin, Nor doth change of the season hinder us from stiling it a Supper. III. The Church care­ful to preserve the memory and title of Festing. IV. The Apostl's argument holdeth by vers. 20. more for the Thing than for the Manner, wherein we cannot now be guilty as the Corinthians were. V. The Equitable and Moral sens of the Argument, accommodate to the present manner of Church-meetings. VI. Distinguish between yielding and justifying.

BUT there is yet another way. Obligations without either Countermand or Dispensation from the Au­thor, may fall by the sinking of the Ground they ar bilt upon.

Upon the death of our Parents we ar no longer obliged to honor their Persons, but only their Memories: and up­on this account, all that we have said seemeth to free us from any other duty towards This Institution, but that of speaking and thinking honorably of it.

For if This be bilt upon a Festival Tradition, then will the Apostl's declaration of our Lords will, oblige Us to do This, as often as They did That: His argument must be good against the Corinthians, and All other Churches that [Page 175] might irreverently Fest in the Church: But when the Council of Laodicea banished Festing thence, they sent This Sacrament into the Same banishment with it: This we cannot deny (since the Apostl hath so declared it) an inse­parabl Adjunct to That, but still an Adjunct, which there­for must accompany its Subject, whether in Life or Death: We must do This as often, but only as often, as we do That, which Now we never do.

This Objection deserveth our Answer, not so much for its dangerosness, as for the occasion it ministereth, for a more clear stating our duty, in accommodation to so great a change.

And to cut off at one blow all its power, we must ob­serve, that the Apostl hath prevented it by an express claus added to vers 26. which shews This not to be Mortal as ar our Parents; we must shew forth his death (not only while Festing continueth an Ecclesiastical exercise, but) till he come. Whereby he putteth it out of the Churches reach, in point of Duration, as before he had do'n, in point of Constancy.

He had proved it to be our Lords Constitution, not to be omitted in any of their Church Fests, bicause They must do This, as often as they drank That Grace-cup.

And that this humor might not fall upon another part, he further tells them, That thogh they should omit the ve­ry Grace-cup it self; yea, those very Fests which it must attend, or what ever other way they should invent; All must be unable to free them from the Immortal obligation, which they had as litl power to Abolish as to Intermit: since it must equal the World in Duration, as well as their Fests in Constancy.

This therefor, though a positive Law, is no less Indi­spensibl than a Moral; and the Church hath as much power to Dispens with the Law against Murther, as with This, whether by sapping the Foundation, or battering it with a Contrary doctrine.

[Page 176]II. EITHER therefor That Council which forbad Festing in the Church was Heretical, and then fu­ture ages must restore it by postliminium; or else the ade­quate foundation of this duty, was not Eating but Meeting in the Church.

And that This later is the case, we have the Apostl's clear Intimation (at least) if not his express Declaration. For however at That time, their Festings wer as frequent as their Meetings; and on the other side, their Misde­meanors were not in the manner of their Meeting, but in That of their Festing; yet his in thrice repeated charge, he doth not lay his accusation against These, but against Those, especially vers. 20. When ye com together in one place, it is not to eat the Lords Supper.

From which words (especially if helped with the now mentioned clause of ver. 26.) it plainly appeareth, that it Then was, and Ever must be the duty of All Christian Churches, to celebrate the Lords Supper when ever they meet in his House: Otherwise, the Corinthians must be unjustly arraigned as Criminal, having broken no Obli­gation.

God forbad Perjury, in This stile [Thou shalt not take (in the Hebrew it is, Thou shalt not lift up) the name of the Lord thy God in vain.] The Phrase is bilt upon their then Custom, of lifting up the hand in the name of God. Our form of Swearing is not by lifting up the hand above the head, but perhaps by bowing down the head to the hand: yet no man pretends the power of the Law abolished with the Ceremony it seemeth bilt upon; since the Obligation de­pendeth, not upon the variable Circumstance of Swearing, but the indispensibl Connexion between our Oath and Truth.

Just so it is here, This Institution relates to Festing, as That Law did to lifting up the hand. This requireth that our Lords Supper should accompany All our Church-meet­ings; [Page 177] as That doth, that Truth should accompany All our Oaths; and the Church may be as Innocent, and the Ob­ligation as Firm after the One alteration in the manner, as after the Other.

And 'tis worth our observation, with what temper she hath ever proceeded, that in the Great Changes she found Necessary to make, the Sacrament might not lose its right.

It seems not an Accidental, but Substantial circumstance, That This should be Instituted In and After Supper; and consequently, that it should be Celebrated in the same Sea­son, necessary both to answer its Title [the Supper of the Lord] and the Tradition whence it was taken: Yet to ce­lebrate it before day, appeareth by the unquestionable te­stimony of Pliny, to have be'n the practice in Trajan's time.

But That Persecution which Necessitated, did thereby Justifie so Great a variation.

They wer denyed the use of their Public Churches, if they had Any; their malicios enemies watched all oppor­tunities to mingle their blood with their Sacrifices: Either therefor they must do this before day, or not at all.

This was a great Change, but no Robbery: for the Sa­crament lost not so much as its Name by it, but still conti­nued to be caled the Lords Supper.

That change the Emperors Persecution made necessary; and a worse Persecution made a Greater one no less so. The unbridled luxury of the people turned it from the Supper of the Lord, to a Fest of Bacchus; and it seemed impossibl to rescu it from that wors Metamorphosis, but by turning it from a Desert after Supper, to a Break-fast in the Morn­ing.

III. AND thogh this seemed a Greater change than the Former, as taking away not only the Season of the Supper, but the very Nature of a Fest, yet was the [Page 178] Church careful to save the Institution harmless.

The Day, first consecrate to This office, still enjoyeth the title of The Lords day, and of a Fest. Four Coun­cils declared it heretical to Fast, and many Canons forbad to Kneel upon That day; it is honored with a Preparatory Vigil, and a Communion-Service; and every Other Ho­ly day (if they be not expresly consecrate to Festing) en­joy the same honor and title of Festivals.

And why (I pray' now) why all this care? Why so great a Soloecism to Fast upon our Lords day? Was he indeed (as the Scribes and Pharisees charactered him) a riotos person, and a Wine-bibber? If He were, yet certainly St. Michael and all Angels ar not, nor wer All the Saints so. John the Baptist came neither eating nor drinking. St. Paul was in fastings often; and many other Saints are honored for their very Abstinence. How can it be congruos, that the Angels should delight in That, whereof they are by Nature Un­capable; or the Saints in that, which by Grace they Shunned?

But granting this, Why then must their Eves be Fasting-days? What strange meetings of Contradictions are these? That they who in their lives loved and practiced Fasting, should after their deaths delight in Festing; and yet their very Festing-days be honored by a Fasting Usher?

Suppose This be only a Preparative, To what purpose such a bedel? Must we Therefor Fast upon the Eve, that we may have the better stomach to the following Fest?

There must questionless be som Better reason; and what Better can there be, than what we ar now observing; viz. the constant Practice of All mankind, and particularly of Christians, celebrating the worship of God with Festing; not abrogated, but thus improved, that the Supper of our Lord might be it self a Spiritual Fest, attended with a Corporal one, and ushered with a Vigil; the One proper for its genuine Celebration, the Other for our Preparation to it.

Nor, hath the Apostls argument suffered more by this change than our Lords Supper: the only difference is this, That before, it concluded by Enthymem, and now by Syl­logism.

While the custom continued of Eating this bread and drinking this cup in Every Meeting; the conclusion with­out more ado followed, Ergo, He that eateth this bread and drinketh this cup unworthily, is guilty. But now it requireth the assistance of an Assumtion, which Then was, & the Apostl supposed would Ever be self-evident, viz. that as often as they met together, they ate this bread and drank this cup. And thogh the 27th verse seemeth to have lost its force, bicause we do not eat that bread and drink that cup, as the Corin­thians then did; yet the 20th still retaineth its strength; and we ar guilty of the same charge, of so coming toge­ther as not to eat the Lords Supper, thogh we are not to be convicted by the same medium.

IV. AND if any Claus in the Apostls whole Disser­tation teach us, That charge must needs do it. None of the rest can teach us point blank, but only com­pass, and by Analogy with those sensual Debaucheries, a­gainst which they were leveled.

It can not now be said, [one is hungry and another is drunken] nor can any other of those Characters fit us, by which the Apostl describeth the profaneness he impeach­eth.

But we think our selfs obliged by Analogy to infer, that as their Sensual unworthiness made them guilty, where they abused a Sensual Fest, so any Spiritual unworthiness will make Us so, if by it we profane a Spiritual one; and for this Analogical reason we must examin our selfs, &c

Now if this seem obliging in point of Worthiness, much more must it be so in the Performance it self, For he dis­puteth for That, not only by Analogy, but Point blank. [Page 180] We find no Reproof, because no Mention, of any but Sen­sual or Schismatical unworthiness in the Corinthians; but Express, and thrice Repeted inculcation of their Meetings, as dishonoring the Lords Supper by their necessary con­nexion.

Either therefor we ar quite out of the reach of his Threats, bicause we are free from the Character he Re­proves; or if we ar Not, then are we most exposed to That now mentioned, bent against their So Coming together as not to eat the Lords Supper; since That, and only That, can literally be charged upon us:

And since his Cautionary precepts were also levelled a­gainst the Sin Reproved, they must needs strike more di­rectly upon That Omission wherein we are equally gilty, than upon the Unworthiness wherein we cannot be so.

And that inseparabl connexion between the Churches meetings and the Lords Supper, which he so industriosly proveth, must needs concern us more than any such kind of unworthiness as he mentioneth Not, since That is to continu till the end of the World, by our Lords own In­stitution; and This is not condemned but by Our own Reason, in consequence of the Apostls reproving another kind of gilt whereof we are uncapabl.

V. IF therefor we must accommodate the Apostls Disser­tation to the change, so as to shun the Unworthiness Not expresly forbidden; much more must we do so in the Constancy, so Expresly and Industriosly enjoyned. So that our concern must needs be this. As often as the Corinthians ate that bread and drank that cup, which our Lord had a­dopted to represent his body and blood; so often they shewed forth his death: and therefor whoever did unworthily cele­brate That, were gilty of profaning This: The connexion between their Meetings and their Fests, the Apostl did not, bicause he needed not mention; but That between Them and the Lords Supper, he proved inseparabl, both as [Page 181] to Intermission and Abolition: The former connexion the Church hath changed, the later she may not, in either of its members.

We ar therefor, and (till the Lord com) ever must be, obliged in All our Church meetings, to celebrate the Lords Supper, and That in such manner, as becometh his body and blood.

THIS is the Equitabl and Moral sens of the Apostls words, which was so Long and Universally paid them, by all Ages and Churches, preceding and following the change, as might create a right, even by Prescription: but on the other side, it hath be'n lost so many Ages, that the Contrary Sens pleads Contrary Prescription.

It is now no less impossibl to reduce the people to Con­stancy, than it was in the time of the Laodicean Council to reduce them to Sobriety; and therefor the Officers of the Church now find it necessary to yield to the hardness of hearts callos by time.

VI. BUT here we must carefully distinguish between Yielding and Justifying; Our Church speaketh not one syllabl to Dispens with the strictest Constancy, but on the contrary still recommendeth it, as often as she can, without exposing her Own Injunctions to the Same Con­temt, from which she endeavoreth to rescu our Lords.

She doth indeed forbid the celebration, if there be not a competent number to communicate; bicause if the Holy Ta­ble must needs be deserted, it is less dishonorable, that it be so Without the Supper than With it: She therefore leaveth it to the Ministers Discretion, how often it shall be offered: but she intrusteth their Piety, to exhort the peopl to com as often as possibl. She is Both ways careful, that neither the Willing may want a Communion, nor the Unwilling an Exhortation. She therefor complieth with the peopl's Neglect, no otherwise than did the equally valiant [Page 182] and indulgent Captain with his Armies cowardize: he Commanded, he Intreated, he Exhorted, he Reproved; but when he could by no means prevail to stop their flight, he put himself in their head, that they might seem rather to Follow their Leader, than Flee their Enemy.

But as this compliance of the Captain did not justify his Disobedient Troops, so neither do the Churches Rubriks justify either Ministers or Peopl, that are wanting to the Constancy so plainly Urged by the Apostl, Practiced by the Best ages, and Recommended by her Self.

The Sum of all is this: Since the Church had no Au­thority, nor no Intention, to slacken the Power either of our Lords Command, or the Apostls Argument; we must therefor still own them to have the same Power now as ever, and must accommodate them to our Present meet­ings as if they still were Festivals, not only in Name or Spiritually (as we acknowlege them still to be) but in Re­ality and Sensually, as at the time of his Writing they were; and in the Recess, the Obligation is no less indis­solubl against the teeth of time, and the constitutions of Governments, than against any evasions of singl persons.

But All this, the More it Obligeth, the Less it Per­suadeth. It may (perhaps) Compel us to submit to the Duty, but cannot Invite us to Embrace the Favor. And our Lord doth not use to Drive us like Beasts, we know not Why nor Whither: But to Lead us with the cords of a Man, with bonds of Love, with strong Reason and sweet Allurements, the savor of his sweet ointments, which so draw loving souls, as to make them not only Follow, but Run after him. And This duty above All others, is That way most attractive. The Command made Reasonabl by a good End, and the End made Amiabl by Relation to our Lord's own Person: as we now com to see in the remaining words, ‘In remembrance of me.’

PART IV. Concerning the End: In Re­membrance.

CHAP. I. It is the badge of a Christian.

I. This the only rite whereby we honor our Lords Person. Three Considerations. 1. Every Religion distinguished from Eve­ry other by som proper rite. This, Nature taught the Hea­then; and Gods Law, the Jews. II. The New Testament contracteth the multitude of Jewish rites to two; whereby Christians ar known, as ar the Knights of the Garter. 1. By a rite of admission. III. 2. By continual wearing the badge. IV. Those distinguishing rites must be highly valued. It was mortal to a Jew to omit any of them, and to a Heathen to wear them. V. 'Tis wors in a Christian upon several accounts. 1. The Law-giver. 2. The Rites. VI. 3. The Obligation.

HITHERTO we have seen nothing but Dry Law, the rough Issu of Authority and Will, haling us to the unrecommended performance by chains of Compulsion; without any gentler Attractives, that may Invite our Affections, or Persuade our Reason.

And as the Country hath be'n dry and barren, so have the Ways be'n craggy; Troublesom to the Best, and Un­passable to the Most understandings. The Reader must un­derstand the Rules of Reasoning, and must be ar no litle [Page 184] pains to mesure the Apostl's discurs by Those Rules.

We now com to a pleasanter Country, and smoother ways: From the Apostl's Argument to our Lords, which is full of endearments to our Affections, and free from dif­ficulties to our Understandings, thogh we never sate at the feet of Gamaliel, or any other Tutor but Love.

For whoever loveth our Lord's person, can no sooner hear that He is concerned, but he findeth abundant obliga­tion, and can easily supersede all others.

That we may take the clearer vieu of this new Suasory, we shall distinctly consider,

1. This is the Adequate Rite of Worship, whereby we own our crucified Lord.

2. As it is the Monument, so it is the Effigies of his Death and its Benefits.

3. It is not so appropriate to our Lords Own interest, as to forget Ours; for even to us it is, 1. Easy. 2. Pleasant. 3. Beneficial.

I. THIS is the Adequate Rite of Worship, whereby we own our crucified Lord. The Critical Tessera, The Badge, The Livree, whereby a Christian is distinguished from Jew, Turk, Heathen, and Atheist.

All of All other Religions agree in All other offices of Devotion; Prayer, Thanksgiving, Fasting, Preaching, are All of them Holy exercises; but of Natural Religion, common to All mankind: Only by This ar we distinguish­ed from them All, as by our proper Livree, given us by our Lord for This very End, that we may be known to be His.

'Tis true, we differ from Jews, &c. in this, that we pray in the Name of the Lord Jesus, &c. But we are not thereby distinguishable to any but such as Hear and Under­stand our words: This Sacrament is the Universal Chara­cter, whereby we are known and read of All men what­soever, even Strangers, and Deaf, thogh the one cannot hear, [Page 185] nor the other understand our words, by seeing this Action apprehend our Profession.

That we may the more fully understand the importance which this oght to cary to our care, Three Considerations will be useful.

1. Nature hath taght all mankind, and God himself hath confirmed it, That every Religion should have som solen Rite, whereby it may be known to the very ey from all Other Reli­gions.

2. Those Critical Rites, however slight in the Mater, are yet to be highly esteemed bicause of That office.

3. To this General Reason our Lord hath added Particular marks of his favor towards this Institution.

1. Nature hath taught all mankind, that Every Reli­gion should be known from every Other by Proper Rites. Nature and Reason dictated that Law to the Romans [Sa­cerdotes quae quo (que) divo decorae grataeque sint hostiae providento.] They, and all other Heathen, multiplied Rites as they did Gods; so that those who were skilful, needed not any fur­ther information, what was the God? than the knowlege of, what was the Sacrifice? and what the solennities? Jupi­ter's Rites wer different from Pluto's. What was thoght ac­ceptable to Venus, was odios to Diana: Nor would Pa [...] be pleased with the Rites of Bacchus.

And for This Reason was it required, as a necessary qua­lification in a Jewish Ruler (who was to receve and judge of an accusation concerning Idolatry) that he should be skilful in the Rites of Heathen worship, lest he should sentence any one to death, who had not worshiped the fals God in his Proper maner: For (saith Maimonides) If any one worshiped Pehor in a manner proper to Mercury, or Mercury in a manner proper to Pehor, he was guilt­ [...]s.

But if any one say, that as wer the Gods of the Hea­then, so wer their Rites, mere Creatures of human folly; and that This concept of the Jewish Doctors, was never [Page 186] authorised by any Law of God: we cannot but acknowledge, that thus much of it God hath authorised; That it is fit Every Religion should be known by its proper Rites. For

He was careful so to distinguish his Own Peopl and Worship. Circumcision, the Pass-over, Sabbath, &c. are all marked with This Asterisk [It shall be a sign between me and you] And to This Reason are reduced by the now-named son of Maimon; Most, if not All the Negative Ce­remonials, as well as the Positive.

Many indifferent things wer therefor forbidden to Gods peopl, bicause practised by the neighbor Idolaters. For how could it beseem the Majesty of a Divine Law, to forbid a Barber to round the head, or mar the corners of a beard; or the Plow-man, to sow his land with divers seed; or the Weaver, to weave a garment of linnen and woolen; or the Cook, to seeth the Kid in the dams milk; or the Gardener, to graff upon a strange stock, &c. Doth God take care for Beards, Garments, &c? No doubtless! but under those small maters, great were hidden; Those were Rites of Zabius superstition, and God would have His peopl for­bear their Ways, as well as their Daughters; that they might be know'n from Idolaters, as well by Negative as Po­sitive distinctions.

II. NOW whatever is Rational in the Old Law, is to be Reteined in the New, but Accommodated to the change This therefor hath its distinguishing Rites too, yet no more than may consist with the generos liberty, to which we ar thereby caled.

To which purpose St. Augustine speaketh very well upon another occasion: Primum ita (que) tenere te volo, quod est hu­jus disputationis caput, Dominum nostrum Josum Christum, sicut ipse in Evangelio loquitur, leui jugo nos subdidisse & s [...]r­cina [...]: Unde Sacramentis, numero paucissimus, observa­tione facillimis, significatione praestantissimis, societatem novi [Page 187] populi colligavit. All the multitude of intolerable Ceremo­nies ar reduced to two, the smalest number possibl, al­ways practised as necessary in all honorable Fraterni­ties.

For as in all such Orders, the Knight is Once publikly Instaled, and ever after weareth som Badge of his Order; so hath our Lord ordained concerning the Members of his Church: By one Sacrament they are admitted, once for All; by the Other, they ever after Appear his Disci­ples.

Of the Former, our Lords conference with Nicodemus well understood, discovereth both the Meaning and the Necessity: And well understood it cannot be, without a praevios knowledge of the Practice and Doctrine of the Jews in Baptism.

But whoever knoweth that they receved Proselytes into Covenant by Baptism, and believed that thereby the Hea­then soul was taken away, and a New one put in his place; that in conformity to this Belief, the man was said to be New-born, a New ceature, a New man, &c. and This so properly, that he lost All Relation to his former kinred, so as to be thereby free to marry his Mother, Sister, or Daughter: He who considereth this (and only He) ea­sily understandeth the Reasonableness of our Lords dis­course. For

Nicodemus, convinced that our Lord was a teacher com'n from God, bicause none could do the wonders that He did, ex­cept God were with him; Yet ashamed to confess this open­ly, bicause of his Fellow-rulers; makes his address by Night: but This our Lord, in the stile familiar to the Do­ctors, telleth him is not sufficient; for he must openly take upon himself Baptism, the badge of a Disciple.

Nicodemus not heeding the Rabinical sons of Regenera­tion, wonders at the strange and impossibl necessity of entering again into the mothers womb; and our Lord no less wonders at his wonder, that being a master in Israel, under­stood [Page 188] not a Precept so familiar; and thence taketh occasion to tell him, that his Disciples must believe much greater Mysteries. If (saith he) I tell you Earthly things and ye believe not, how will ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? Meaning by Earthly and Heavenly (as St. Paul afterward did, Phil. 2.10. and in several other places:) by the For­mer the Jewish, by the Later the Christian Mysteries; whereof he giveth a Specimen in his coming from Heaven, his returning Thither, and his being There, and his cruci­fixion for the salvation of the world.

That which we mention This for, is to shew that our Lord manifestly adopted the Jewish Tradition of Baptism into the Gospel, making it then a necessary badge of a Di­sciple; as he also afterward did, when he returned to Hea­ven, requiring his Apostles to go and Disciple all nations, Baptising them; for this reason, bicause whoever believeth and is Baptised (i. e. publikely professeth his Discipleship) shall be saved. By all which it is apparent, that our Lord appointed this as a Livree, whereby his servants must pro­fess to own Him for their Master, if they should by him be own'd and saved.

III. YET is not this the Adaequate, nay nor the Prin­cipal badge of a Christian, For we receve This but Once, and that without our own consent. As were we when this Seal was put upon us, so was its Impression, when we came to age, we wer at liberty to Own or Reneg it; and whether we do This or That, appears by no other visibl mark, but only our Receving or Neglecting This more Critical Sacrament, in due season appointed by our Lord, as a more Lasting and Alway Visible cognisance.

I say our Lord appointed this Other Sacrament [in Due season.] For had he do'n it sooner, his Disciples would have forgotten his Command before they understood it (yet could he not forbear to Prophecy of it, saying, He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life.)

But since his Death must needs be understood, when he had suffered it, even by Those who before knew not what it meant; he therefor took the time when it was in a man­ner Present, as fittest for the Institution, which was both to Commemorate it, and Distinguish his Disciples by such constant Repetitions, whereof Baptism was inca­pable.

Those who are honored with the Noble Order of the Garter, as they are solenly Installed, so ar they Obliged ever after to wear the George and the Star, as permanent badges of the Honor and Vow they have receved; and if Any person, however solenly Installed, shall afterward lay his Habit aside, he doth not only Offend against the Law of the Order, but Disclaim his Interest in it, as refusing to be esteemed a Brother of that Royal Fraternity.

This Sacrament is our George and our Star; This, if we constantly wear not, we tacitly renounce our Christianity. Those very Persons, who perhaps will not Admit (certain­ly do not sufficiently Press) this for a Necessary Duty; a­bundantly urge it to other purposes.

When they are required to assign the marks of a true Church, they name Administration of the Sacraments for One; and it will troubl any reasonabl man to deny, that if the Administration be the mark of a True Church, the Reception must be so of a True Member of the Church.

And som Ultramarine Churches have found it necessary to declare, as the Council of Agatha did of old, that those who receve not the Sacraments, oght not to be reputed as Chri­stians. For which censure, thogh we have already seen Reason sufficient, yet perhaps we may see more.

IV. 2. THOSE Rites whereby One Religion is Criti­tically distinguished from Another, however slight the Mater may seem, ar highly to be esteemed for That office.

Circumcision is nothing, and Uncircumcision is nothing, said the Apostl, yet was the One mortal in the Old Testament, and the Other in the New, and Both upon the same Rea­son; He that was circumcised was a debtor unto the whole Law.

To eat an Apple, or any other Fruit of a Tree, is a small matter; but when the forbearance was made a Sa­crament, i. e. a Specimen of the new made Creatures owning the dominion of the Creator; Then, Eating was condemned, not only as an act of Misdemeanor, but Re­bellion: and the Smith which thoght it too much that God should be so severe for an Apple, might be answered, that it was not for the Apple, but for the experiment he there­by gave of his disowning Gods authority over him.

And for This reason did God make Those offences Ca­pital, which had otherwise be'n Venial. He that was un­circumcised; He that kept not the Passover; He that brake the Sabbath, &c. That soul must be cut off from his people; bicause God had said of every one of those (other­wise slight) performances, This shall be a sign between Me and You.

This dubl care of God, as well in Negative as Positive Ceremonies, taught his peopl to infer, That if a Jew must forbear the Rites of Gentilism, then must the Gen­tile (as for the same Reason, so upon the same Penalty) forbear those of Judaism: Since the One no less than the Other, was necessary to the Discriminarive, which was the Adaequate vertu of the Law.

As God therefor made it mortal to the Jew to Neglect such Rites; so did the Jews make it to a Gentile to Usurp them, as thereby robbing them of their proper vertu; since by being common to Both, they wer disabled to distinguish the One from the Other.

The Gentile (saith the Gemera Babylonica) which obser­ved the Law of Moses, was guilty of death (How so?) bi­cause it is said, Moses commanded us a Law for an Inherit­ance. [Page 191] It is an Inheritancs to Us, not to the Gentile. Yea, their most Learned Maimonides saith, that if a Gentile ce­lebrated a Sabbath, thogh he mistook the day, yet if he did it with intention to keep the Sabbath, he was guilty of death. They did not indeed inflict death on such offenders, but stripes only; yet not without admonition, that he was guilty of death, thogh not punished with it.

Since therefor our Lord left us This Law, as Moses did His Ceremonial [for an Inheritance] the Reason being the Same in the Law, the Crime must be the Same in the Dis­obedience.

V. THE Same in its Reason, but incomparably Greater in Haynosness; For by how much the Covenant is Better, the Law-giver Greater, the Redemtion more cost­ly, &c. by so much more criminal must it be, to omit This, than any Mosaical Rite. And how much That is, if we enquire, we must do it in the stile of the Author to the Hebrews, not to seek satisfaction, but to express amaze­ment. He that despised Moses's Law, died without mercy, under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment suppose ye shall he be thought worthy, who hath troden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the Blood of the Cove­nant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath do'n despight to the Spirit of Grace?

I grant, that This dreadful Thunder is not leveled a­gainst the neglect of This Institution, as such; but against total Apostacy from Christianity: yet if we carefully ex­amin, we shall find the Reason, yea the very Phrase, reach the former. For if we reduce the Rhetorical expressions to plain Reason, we find the Christian Religion balanced against the Mosaical, and advanced above it in a triple op­position; the Law-givers, the Rites, and the Promul­gation.

In the first, both parties are expressed, Moses, and the Son of God. In the other two, One is expressed and the [Page 192] Other implyed. 2. The Blood of the Covenant where­with a Christian is Sanctified, implicitely compared with the Blood of the Heifer, wherewith a Jew was sprinkled. 3. The Spirit of Grace, in whose mirific power our Savior first, and his Apostls afterward, proclaimed the Gospel, and whom to Blaspheme was unpardonable; weighed a­gainst the Angel that proclaimed the Law at Mount Sinai.

2. The Second is to Us most considerabl, That whereas our Lord stiled This Cup the New Covenant in His Blood, The Apostl pointeth at it in the Proper Phrase, as That Character whereby a Christian Professor is to be Known viz. The blood of the Covenant wherein he was sanctified.

For he speaketh by Metonym of the Sign for the signified, a Figure Elegant, Emphatical, and Common, It is as if one should thus express a Knight of the Garter, deserting his Order: He hath torn off his Ribon, Broken in peices his George, Left off his Starr, &c. Every one seeth that the Laying aside these several peices of his Habit, are so many Descriptions of his Apostacy, bicaus the Wearing of them ar so many Cognisances of a Brother: Since therefor this Supper Hath (I should say, Had) the Same Office in the Christian Church, as Those Cognisances have in That Fraternity; therefor must the Desertion thereof be equal­ly Expressive of an Apostate from Christianity.

There is only This (and no disadvantageos) difference: That This One Singly, signifieth as much in a Christian, as Those Severals did Joyntly, either in Knight or Jew. He that kept not the Sabbath, might retene other signes of a Jew; he might be Circumcised, keep the New Moons, the Passover, &c. But at the date of this Epistl, This Cup was Constantly celebrated by Every Christian, in Every Assem­bly, as an Indispensibl (bicause Critical) Rite of public worship; so that it was the same thing to desert the Lords Table, and his Church.

God forbid we should not allow for so Great a Change, [Page 193] (however unjustifieabl) in our Publik worship; but should charge such as Apostates from Christ, who perhaps fear less to Shed rheir Own Blood in his Service, than to Drink His at his Table: yet were it to be wished that we would better consider, that Moses's own Child was in great danger to be destroyed for want of Circumcision, and he that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day, thoght as litl of Apostacy from God, as any of us do from Christ: Yea, look we upon the words before us: Who wer they that dyed without mercy as dispising Moses's law? Wer they such only as Totally fell from Judaism? Wer they not All such as neglected any One of those Rites, that wer there­for Capital, bicaus Distinctive?

When therefor all is considered, we can plead nothing but the goodness of our Intentions, or the greater goodness of Gods grace; if upon the same reason, we should be caled to account for our omission of This Rite, no less Im­portant and Indispensibl.

Yea, as we have already seen, if the Reason be the same, the Crime is much greater; not only bicause of the Better Law and Law-giver, but bicause of the Greater Contemt. There, the Law was despised; here the Per­son, who's blood is the mater of the Law: That was the Law of Moses; This the Blood of the Son of God: That was despised; This is troden under foot: and therefor up­on so Many and so Great accounts; of how much sorer pu­nishment shall he be thought worthy that is guilty of so much greater contumely.

But bicause we usually judge of the Price which the Law-giver puts upon his Law, by the Penalty which he annexeth to it; lest we be temted to think our Lords Sup­per not intended in the words we now com from viewing; And its deserter so far from worthy of any sorer punish­ment, that indeed he is worthy of None; bicause None is threatned by our Lord in his Institution: It is therefor necessary that,

Thirdly we observe,

IV. 3. VVITH What Obligation our Lord hath bound This duty upon us.

We ar here fundamentally to consider the difference, be­tween the Laws of Christ, and Those of Moses, and all O­ther lawgivers. Our Lord declared his Kingdom not of this world, and 'tis plain his Punishments ar not.

For thogh the Apostl, the more to prevail with the Co­rinthians, speak no Less, and perhaps More, of Temporal than of Eternal judgments; yet doth he herein rather speak his Own Reason, than our Lords Revelation; applying himself ad homines, to their sensual apprehensions, not to any declared threats of our Lord; who hath not bound his Command upon us by any Chains of Fear, but the much Stronger, and more proper Bonds of Love. And if the Pro­phet might make it a complaint against Ephraim, I led them with the cords of a man, with bonds of Love, yet they knew not that I healed them; it must not be Diminution, but Ag­gravation of the crime, if we break Such bonds asunder, and cast Such cords from us. The word used by the Prophet is the same, whence our English [Cable] seemeth derived, and written by the very same Letters. But we need not contend with the Translation, For rhose Bonds of Love ar Both; Cables for Strength, and Cords for Compliance; Silken Cables whose Soft, Smooth flexiblness, twineth about the heart; and whose Strength so forceth it, that it cannot so much as wish, either to Slip or Break the Obligation.

These ar called the Cords of a man; they lay hold on our Humanity, fasten upon our very Nature, prevail on us by force of Reason. And they ar the Bonds of Love; no less suitabl to the Nature of the Gospel, and more particlarly of This Institution, than to Our Own.

The very Design of the Command, is a Thankful re­membrance of the Death of the Author: and it had be'n most incongrous, ro kindle the Spirit of Thankfulness with [Page 195] the blustering of Threats. [Do this, or Dy] may very well suit with the Spirit of Bondage; But [Do this in re­membrance of my Death] to an Evangelical Spirit, is much more Potent as well as Proper; than [Do This for fear of Your Own.]

As our Lord chose this more Obliging way, so hath he Improved it with all such Endearments, as may fasten it most Powerfully upon our Affections; that so it may not be possibl for any despiser to impute his Kindness towards Us, to Coldness toward his Institution.

CHAP. II. This is Appropriate to our Lords Person and recommended by signal marks of his favor.

1. This Command appropriat to our Lords Person and Hu­manity. And thereby I. Endeareth all other Lawes by new obligations proper to the Nature of a Man. II. 2. Is it self a New Law upon a New account. III. It is not only a Monument proper to our Lords memory, but a Statu lively representing him. IV. Our Lord expressed his e­steem by his care in recommending it in the most advanta­geos circumstances. 1. It was the Last night in his Life. 2. The night in which he was (and knew he should be) be­betrayed. V. The pervers returns many make to This care. 1. The Profane make it their Last act, as if it wer to shew forth their own death. 2. Som make it their Last care, by preferring every other before it. Business, unpre­parednes, uncharitablenes. VI. The Scrupulos, refuse­ing to receve bicause hindered by impossibl conditions, blemish our Lords wisdom and goodness.

THIS, and This Only is Appropriate to our Lords Person and Humane Nature, and hath thereby a dubl singularity of power.

1. It addeth a New inforcement to former Laws upon their Old account.

2. It is it self a New Law upon a New account.

I. IT endeareth all Former Laws upon their Common account, which well cast up amounteth to this End Total: They promote Our happiness, and that in all [Page 197] Kinds and Capacities, Private and Publick, Inward and Outward, Temporal and Eternal. They exalt us above the Troubles, by putting us above the Cares and Pollu­tions of this world; make us both Useful and Amiable in our generations, Spiritual in our affections, Godlike in our conversation, Perfect as our heavenly father is perfect, as much in Happiness, as Goodness: they promote not any other interest of God, but his delight in our felicity: And This is a great argument to invite our obedience, twisted of Interest and Gratitude.

And the bonds of Gratitude which oblige us to obey God for Kindness of his Commands ar dubled by That of his Promises. He imputeth it as a Service, and promi­seth Rewards, infinitely greater than the best Service could pretend to, if we will accept of the happiness he offer­eth us.

And what can Love do more? Yes! our Lord hath do'n yet More, Infinitely More for us. He hath not only taken Care, but Paid for our happiness; and the Price was great as the Love that paid it, and the Obligation thence deri­ved greater than Both the Other. For his Laws and Pro­mises shewed the Love indeed, but mingled with the Au­thority, of a Father. His Power was thereby Governed, but not Weakned: they provide for Our happiness, with­out robbing Him of any part of his own.

What the Psalmist says of his Works, we may apply to his Laws and Promises: He spake and it was do'n, he com­manded and they were created.

But rhe work our Redemtion, cost him not onely a word speaking, but strong cries and tears; whereby he purchased to himself Another Right; so much more Obliging to Us, by how much more Costly to Himself than that of a Creator.

That our great Lawgiver should take upon himself the form of a servant, and become Obedient; yea, that of a Ma­lefactor, and becom obedient unto Death, even the death of [Page 198] the Cross: That he should with his Own bloud purchase us a Pardon, for breaking his Own so gracios Laws; and Himself, a peculiar peopl zelos of good works; and thereby capabl of his so Promised Rewards; leaving us an exampl that we should follow his steps, which it is no less Shameful to Desert, than Impossibl to Ourgo, either in Active or Pas­sive obedience: This is indeed a most Admirabl, and no less Powerful charm, to constrain us to follow such a Cap­tain: These Things for their admirable Loveliness, the Angels desire to look into; and by such cords of Love, Hu­manity must needs be Attracted;

No voice therefor of this Captain of our Salvation caled more loud upon Us to Follow Him, than That whereby he caled upon God as forsaking him. Never more a King, than when Crowned with thorns, Anointed with sweat and bloud, and Enthroned on his Cross.

There, There was he exalted on the throne of Love, There did he stretch out his inviting Arms, There did he open, not his Arms only, but his Heart, who's wide door let out his Bloud, to make room for Us. This doth him­self cal his [Exaltation] I, when I am exalted, will draw All men unto me. All Men, of All Humours and Com­plexions, All Nations and Ages.

The stubbornest metal, that will not be Broken by his Authority will be Melted by his Love; which cannot be better Kindled or Fueled in our hearts, than by the wood of the Cross.

Nor can That be better ordered, than by This Sacra­ment which was appointed for That very End.

By This he is still set forth Crucified among Us (as here­tofore among the Galations) however remote in time or place. By this he is still Exalted to his Cross. By This doth his Heart still open it self, to send forth fresh bloud; and his Mouth, to utter new cries.

But oh! those Cryes must be New indeed; and to New, but Sad purposes. On his Cross, he cried upward, [Page 199] to his seemingly deserting Father, [My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me] But at his Table, he cryeth downward, to his too really deserting disciples: My friends! My friends! why do you forsake me! Is it nothing to You, Oh all you that pass by? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow, which is do'n unto Me, where­with the Lord Once afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger for your sakes, and which you still repete by your unkind neglects of the salvation I then so dearly purchased, and now so lovingly offer.

Whether his Bloud by speaking more Sweetly, do not al­so speak more Powerfully, than his Commands, yea, or Promises can do; I neither Dare, nor Need to determin. All that I pretend to, I hope is plain, viz. That This Sa­crament, by shewing forth his Death, draweth us with a New attractive, and bindeth us with New obligations; to obey such a Lord, so purchasing, and so offering salvation.

II. 2. THIS doth not only add New Obligations to former Laws, upon their Old account; but is it self a New Law, upon a New account. This is there­for the Cord of a Man, bicause it draweth and bindeth us to our Lords humanity. He that said, [If you Love me keep my Commandments,] recommendeth them after the same proportion, as they have interest in his Person; to which therefor since This hath greatest Relation, it must also have greatest Claim to our Obedience: If you love me, you will keep all my Commandments, bicause they are Mine: but This above All, bicause it is not only My Com­mandment but My Monument.

Its Relation is so singular to our Lords Person, that it is Incommunicable even to one part of his Nature.

In all the Rest, the whole Trinity is concerned, bicause they serv the whole Divine Nature. In keeping them we obey the Father also, from whom he professeth to have re­ceved them; If we partake his spirit, the Holy Ghost is [Page 200] honored; but Spirits have not Flesh and Bloud, which in this ar commemorated. By the Rest, we serv God; By this, we honor the Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus; to whose Mediating, suffering person, this service is adaequately Proper.

All our founders, as they have provided us Maintenance, so have they such Statutes, as they thoght most conductive to the enjoyment of their bounty, and the service of God's Church: And som of them have left us particular ones, for commemoration of their own Persons: Those we own our selves obliged to Obey, but these to Embrace; and ar ready to pronounce That man Unworthy the Benefit; who should contemn the Person, in such commemorative Statutes of the Benefactor.

This is the Sole Law of the later kind; In the rest he speaketh as a Master, a Shepherd, a Lawgiver; instructeth us in our duty to God, our Neighbour and our Selvs: Eve­ry one pointeth some Other way: This Only pointeth to his Own body, and saith, Do this for My sake; Do it in re­membrance of Me, of My Body, My Bloud, My Death: The Death which I was willing to suffer for your sakes, you cannot sure think unworthy to be remembered for Mine.

WHATEVER influence this may have upon O­thers, one would think it could not fail to reach Those, who's whole Religion is employed in amoros passions to­ward our Lords Person, no way so much, or so distinctly concerned, as in This duty.

To cloath our selves with His righteousness, to lay hold upon him by Faith, to be married to him by assurance, to say None but Christ, None but Christ, He is Mine, and I am His, &c.

These and the like amorevolezzas cannot sit but with an ill grace, upon such as neglect This office; which himself hath appointed, as the Onely one, whereby we celebrate our Love to his Person, as a Man, and after the manner of Men, Visibly, and Solenly.

[Page 201]III. 2. THIS Sacrament hath not onely the Super­scription of our Lord, but the Image too. Ab­salon built himself a Pillar, for the same reason as our Lord instituted This Sacrament: That wore Absalons Name, but not his Likeness. Lots wife became a Pillar of Salt. i. e. an everlasting monument of Gods judgments: We may (for oght I know) innocently believ, as many do, that she was turned to a Statu of Salt; which in som sens might be cal­led her Body, thogh it reteined nothing of it, but the Di­mensions: But This Sacrament is more than either Monu­ment or Image; It representeth, not only his Body, but his Soul; not only his Death, but his Benefits; nor doth it onely Represent, but Exhibit them All.

Suppose we now it wer no more but a lifeless Statu; Ere­cted for no other end, but merely to commemorate his Per­son: The lowest Consequence of this lowest Supposition, must be This; that all the Honor or Contemt we shew it, must pass on, and reach his Person.

Bicause the Persons of the Caesars wer sacred, therefor wer their Statues so too: not onely Secure from violence, but Securities to such as fled to them from it; and on the contrary, those who maliced the Persons, shewed it to the Images, either by casting dirt upon them, or (if they could) by casting them down to the dirt. Whoever prophaneth this Sacrament, as the Corinthians did, defileth our Lords Statu with dirt; whoever wilfully neglecteth it, giveth it a pull, toward casting it to the ground. To forget a Com­memorative, or Hide a Representative; is no better than casting down a Statu; who's whole worth consisteth in it's Visibility.

Nor can it ever be more considerable than now, that the affront to the Person riseth in equality with the Liveliness of the Statu, and the Care and Cost imployed in setting it up. When ever we see a piece exactly artificial; we con­clude both the skill and care of the Artist suitably great. [Page 202] A great Artist gave This for the reason of his industry in Painting, I paint (said he) for Eternity. This is to shew fotrh our Lords death [till he com] and he was careful it's Perfection should be suitabl to it's Office and Duration.

What is it, dear Soul! what is it that thou wouldest con­template in thy beloved? His Passion? Behold how the Bread is broken, and the Wine poured out. His Benefits? Behold Bread that strengthens, and Wine that chears the heart. Wouldest thou melt in compassion? Behold he suf­fereth for thee. Wouldest thou be ravished with Joy and Thankfulness? Behold he Feasts thee. ctc. So Many, and so Contrary motions and aspects, All so lively represented; proclame the Author to have imployed as great Care, as Art; and as great Affection as either, in making a Piece so many ways Perfect.

IV. BESIDE these Intrinsecal endearments, ariseing from the Beauty and Design of the Law it self; we may observ our Lords care, to honour it with the most advantageos Circumstances.

Our Apostl is very careful to mind us that it was [the same night in which he was betrayed] and good reason had he, so to remark this Season; since our Lord himself expressed a wonderful Esteem for it. With a Desire (said he) have I desired to eat This Passover with you before I suffer. And why such longing for [This] above All other Passovers? Even bicause it came just before he suffered. 1. It was the last night of his life, And 2. The night wherein he was be­trayed, and foreknew he should be so; and consequently, as it was the Last, so the Bitterest of his life.

1. It was the Last. Other Passovers Prefigured his death; This both Prefigured and Accompanied it.

Had he do'n This in any Other Passover; he must both more Incongruosly have commanded his Apostls, to com­memorate what was future and unknown; and less Power­fully have recommended what was yet Distant; and per­haps [Page 203] the intervening time would have Blotted the com­mand out of their Memory, before the meaning were Print­ed upon their Understandings; which apprehended no­thing of his intended death, 'till That last night.

But now his Death being in a manner Present, Give That Life to the Law, which it Took from the Author: For the words of dying persons, Live longest, and Reign most powerfully, in the survivors affections: Potent, bi­cause they cary with them all the Powers of departing life; and Venerabl, bicause attended with all the Horrors of ap­proaching death; as coming, not only From the Soul, but With it too: They contract into a point, all the rays of dear affection in the Speaker; and most powerfully enflame it in the Hearer: A Truth, more sensibly felt by such as have received the Last requests of departing friends; than can be expressed in Any, but such Dying Language.

I doubt whether All Augustus's living caresses, expres­sed so much Love to his Livia, or stamped so Deep and Lasting impression upon her Memory; as did his dying complement: Livia conjugii nostri memor vive & vale. What Expressions and Incentives of dear Affections, did those few syllabls, at Such a Season contein? He thereby told her, that he was now to leav Empire, Life, and Her. But it was in Her Power, to preserv him in a great part of All Three, especially That, which of All was dearest to him. He had Long made her heart his Throne, and Now desired to have it for his Monument: he therefor prayed both the Gods and Her, to take care of That life, wherein was preserved the remains of his Own. To this purpose, but infinitely more obligingly, spake our dying Lord: not in the language of a faint, but quiet sickness; but in the Agonies of a tormented Soul; not in a few Complemental words, suddenly offering themselvs to Augustus's mind, and perhaps as suddenly flitting out of Livia's, certainly dying with her; but upon a premeditated Design, to set­tle a lasting Monument; whose firm durablness should Fix [Page 204] the fugitive impression; and by constant returns, perpe­tually Renew it; so to keep his Bloud from Drying up, and his Death from Dying.

His Last Command, oght to be as powerful to work Obedience in his Disciples; as wer his last Cryes, to work Faith in the Centurion; since These shewed no less the Strength of his Love, than Those did the Vigor of Life, at the very point of Death.

2. But much more, when we further consider, that as it was the Last, so was it the most Dreadful night. This Pas­sover had not onely the same bitter herbs, with others; but much bitterer Gall. He had the Devil for his guest; and he that dipped with him in the dish, was about to Betray him; And he had his merciless enemies for his attendants, wait­ing with swords and staves to take and destroy him. This was That dreadful night, wherin his Soul, oppressed with horrors, complained, That it was exceeding heavy, even to the death: The same dismal night, wherin the stabbing ago­nies of his tormented mind, made every pore of his body a wound, bleeding great grumos drops, and those so plenti­fully, as to run down to the ground. The same terribl night, wherin the dreadful prospect of his approaching sufferings so confounded his faculties; that with dubled and trebled importunities, he prayed to have That Cup taken from him, for drinking whereof he came into the World. The same amazing night, wherin he was so near sinking, that he need­ed an assisting Angel, to support him under his burthen. Even in That most hideos night, did his care of This Institu­tion, so prevail over All Those Horrors, which prevailed over his faculties; as to bring him to a truce, and he seem­ed almost to forget, what night it was.

To Forget? No, but (what was incomparably more) to Long for it, to Desire it With a Desire, i. e. with a vehe­ment desire, with such a desire, as outvoiced all the cries of his terrifying and tormenting passions.

Could we possibly understand the load that made him [Page 205] complain That his Soul was exceeding heavy even unto death; and how much his Longings for This very season, outweigh­ed so great a load; then possibly may we adjust the esteem he had for This his Dear Institution.

V. BUT if on the other side we compare the Affection, wherewith We Receive it (shall I say?) with that, wherewith we find our Lord Recommended it; we shall find Solomons words most perversly verified: As in wa­ter face answereth to face, so doth the heart of man to man: For as the Reflex is directly Opposite to the Incident; answer­ing the Right side, with the Left; so doth (our Obedience shall I say, or our Performance? no, but) our Neglect, an­swer our Lords Care.

He chose the Last night of his Life for the Institution; and many answer This, by chusing the Last of theirs, for the Performance; as if appointed to shew forth, not His Death, but Their own. When they have receved the Sentence of death in themselvs, and ar immediatly to receve That of God; Then first do they think fit to receve the Body and Blood of Christ, as a kind of Charm, somwhat better than the Sign of the Cross, to fright the Devil from seising his own.

When the Physician hath declared, or other Indications make it apparent, that there is no hope of returning to Those sins, which Therefor only they repent of, bicaus they ar Past; when the Will is sealed, wherin they bequeath That soul to God, whereof they had so long given the Devil possession; Then, in commutation for a whole life, spent in contemt of This and All other holy exercises; the Minister is sent for, som good words spoken, Absolution granted, and Sealed with This Sacrament. And now what uncharitabl Infidel can doubt, but that the man is Pardon­ed, in vertu of the One; and receved into Eternal joys, in that of the Other? since our Lord himself promised, that Whosoever Eateth his flesh and Drinketh his bloud hath Eternal [Page 206] life; or how can This Bread and Wine possibly be imagi­ned ar Any time fuller of Vertu, than when so lately re­ceved, that the digestive faculty of the stomach, hath not at all impaired it?

BUT others do not Thus put it off to the very Last. Many own it, if not a Duty, yet an acceptabl act of De­votion; Laudably, thogh perhaps not Necessarily, to be performed in the mids of life: Yet even Those, (thogh not in the Same, in Another wretched sens) make it their Last Care.

When All other Interests and Inclinations ar served; Then perhaps shall This have it's turn. But if any thing els crave it, however Slight or Trifling it be; This Holy Office must yield it Precedence.

Pretences so Slender, that a hundred twisted together, shall not be sufficient to draw one from a Gossiping, or any other Meeting; shall singl be abl to draw him from the Lords Table: With Solomons yawning Sluggard he cryes there is a Lion in the way, a Lion in the streets; when indeed he fears no danger But to his Lust or Ease.

I had business says one. But (pray Sir) what was That Business? Was it greater than what our Lord had, in That last horrid Night, wherein he forced all his dreadful crouds of griefs and fears, to give way to This Care? Was it so Importunate, that it could not be Neglected? or so Urgent, that it could not be Delayed? or so Suden, that it could not be Prevented? Didst thou use all indevors, to Keep or Dispatch it out of the way? Did it Surprise thee just in the nick, when thou wert going to the Church; and upon the very spot Disable thee from performing thy then fixed resolution? Didst thou Wrestle against it with thy utmost Strength, and yield to it no otherwise, than as to an Invincibl Necessity?

If so, thou art so far excusabl. For Necessity hath This only of good nature, that it Defends those most, who have most Resisted it. But if thou hast either Wilfully [Page 207] Draw'n this pretended hindrance upon thy self, or Care­lesly Suffered it to surprise thee, or Tamely Yielded to it, or be'n any way Defective in striving against it; look how many grains the Hindrance falleth short of Insuperabl, and thy Endevors of Perfect; so many doth thy Excuse, of Justifiable.

BUT, the business which is too Slight, may be other­wise Innocent: And if it condemn when put into the Op­posit scale; what will it do in the Criminal! Many plead their very Negligence, in excuse for their Disobedience; as if they wer therefor Not Guilty, bicaus they ar Du­bly so.

I was unprepared saith he. And I easily believ it, For None duly Prepared will be Absent. He had not Examined Himself. I know That too. For he that hath do'n so, must find that Omission of a duty, is a Crime. I may add, he hath not Examined his Obligation; for had he do'n so, he must have found, that the Same Apostl, from who's mistaken words he deriveth his excuse; speaketh Imperatively to Both alike: Let a man Examin himself, and so let him Eat.

Go to the next Sessions thou trifler. Go, and There learn if any Offender be quitted, upon pleading himself Therefor not guilty of the crime he is endited for, bicaus That was the consequent of Another: See if a Thief be quitted, if he plead, he stole bicaus he was Covetos: or a Murderer, if he plead he killed bicaus he was Malicios: Or a Rebel, if he plead, he Rebelled becaus Ambitios. But if neither These, nor any Other Malefactors, be quitted for pleading One crime in justification of Another; then know, that for the same reason, thou canst not be ju­stified, by pleading Unpreparedness in excuse for Disobe­dience; since That is a breach of as positive a Law as This.

BUT Unpreparedness, thogh it cannot Wholely Ju­stify, may in Part Excuse it self. It is but a Singl omissi­on, hath broken No Other Law, but this One. There ar, [Page 208] who go higher; and plead the Greatest Guilt.

Charity is the Greatest Command in the Moral; and if possibl, yet More highly enjoined in the Evangelical Law. That, is as much a Moral mark of a Discipl; as This is a Ritual one. For he that said Do this in remembrance of Me, said also, By This shall all men know that you ar my Disciples, if ye love one another.

Yet som ar so impudent, as to plead their very Uncha­ritableness, in barr of This Duty; as if they wer there­fore innocent, bicaus they cast off Both their badges; that they may not make One, give the Ly to the Other.

I am not in Charity saith One, and to this Another add­eth, I never will be. These ar indeed Unworthy to com to the Lords Table, but so they ar to be caled by his Name. I wonder not, that Such should be afraid to Eat This Bread and Drink This Cup; but I wonder, that they dare Eat, or Drink, or Sleep, at all; much more that they dare Pray in our Lords Name; and most of all, that they dare do it in his Words.

For he that saith, Forgive me as I forgive; while he de­nyeth to Forgive, needeth no other Guilt, nor no other Sentence, to exclude him, not only from This, but from the Eternal Supper of the Lord.

Under These Three heads com the general Excuses which ar pleaded as hindrances from Performing, what Nothing could hinder our Lord from Commanding. Busi­ness, Unpreparedness, Uncharitableness. The first, too slight to be mentioned. The second, too criminal to be justified: The last, too gross to be pardoned.

VI. THERE ar other less General, but less Frivolos excuses; which cary more appearance of Con­science, but not a jot more of Reason; as being equally weak upon a contrary account; These ar as much too Strong, as Those ar too Weak. These cannot be just excuses, bi­caus they ar Easy, and oght to be avoyded; nor These, bi­caus they ar Unavoidable.

For when we seriosly consider, that our Lord Therefor chose Such a season, that by the Difficulties which himself broke throgh, in the Institution, he might teach us to yield to None in the Performance; we must find it no less unreasonabl, to think he would Clog such a duty with Im­possibl Conditions; than that he would have it postponed to our Slightest Inconveniences.

For it is irrational to say, He valued it so high, as to think it worthy his Greatest Care; and yet left it so en­cumbered with difficulties, that it must Rarely, if Ever, be celebrated:

Those therefor who object such Hindrances, as must Freqently, if not Constantly occurr, and ar as hardly to be Overcom'd, as Avoided; must needs cast a great ble­mish upon That wisdom, and goodness; that should provide such a Costly Fest, use such care to sharpen our Appetites, bid us with such earnest importunities; yet lay such barrs in the way, that we may not Tast it.

Some cannot receve, bicaus they cannot do it without commu­nicating with such as they know (or at least suspect) to be Unworthy. These, if they want not Charity toward Them, whom they so Boldly, and perhaps Unjustly, condemn; certainly want Appetite to this fest: For, as none but the worst of men, ar by St. Jude branded with This character, that [they ar spots in our Fests of charity] so doth the same A­postl declare, that such Spots did not hinder the Saints from celebrating the Fests Themselves: The truly loving Soul, will not disdain to com to Christ, thogh incompassed with Publicans and Sinners.

Som cannot receve it bicaus they cannot do it except they kneel. And kneel they cannot (not bicaus it is otherwise un­lawful, but) bicaus it is commanded by their governors. These manifest their appetite greater to Disobedience, than to their Duty: Not onely bicaus they chuse to Omit This Duty, which the Lord never dispensed with, much less for­bad; but bicaus they make Disobedience to his Offi­cers, [Page 210] more eligibl than Obedience to Himself.

Som cannot receve becaus the Minister is not (at least they think him not) a Saint: These cannot have very great esteem for the Treasure, who refuse it bicaus broght in an earthen vessel.

These and such as These ar the pleas of the Scrupulos, wherein they differ no more from the Irreligios, than the Coward doth from the Sluggard. And as Every one of their pretences, hath it's Own Proper weakness; so do all agree in this One; that they cast an inexcusabl dishonor upon our Lord, as Commanding and Endearing, a Per­formance utterly Impracticabl.

For since he could not but foreknow, that in All Ages and Places, there would be som spots in the Fest, som un­worthy Ministers in the Church, and Som rules for Publik Worship, in every country: how can we suppose he should forbid us to Do this, if any such Inconvenience should ly in our way?

How could he be at once so Careful to stablish the Com­mand in midst of so Many, and so Great Hindrances; and yet so Regardless of the Performance, as to require us to yield, either to farr Less than Himself struggled with, or such as we cannot fail to meet with?

How easily ar Both Kinds of excuses answered by that One fundamental rule of Epictetus, teaching us to know our Duty and Happiness? Be careful (saith he) to distin­guish between [...] & [...]. What ever is pre­tended for an hinderance, either Is in our power, or Not. If it Be, ye must Remove it; If Not, Pass it by.

To examin our selfs, To repent, To be in Charity, &c. ar therefor our Duties, bicaus in our Power. But to Make, Alter, or Take away ceremonies, To Exclude whom we judge Unworthy, either to Give or Receve the Sacra­ment, cannot therefor be our Business, bicaus they ar not in our Power, Those cannot hinder us, becaus we can Master them; nor These, bicaus we can neither Master nor Avoid them.

Those who plead the Former, condemn Themselves, as not having do'n their endevor; and These who plead the Latter, accuse our Lord, as requiring what no endea­vors can make Possibl. And both the One and the Other may find their sentence in Those Difficulties, which our Lord therefor thoght Seasonabl for his Institution; that Thereby we might understand, he would not admit Any, for Excuses from his so highly favored service.

HOW unhappily now doth the Image out do its office! How doth our Lord suffer more in This Representative, than he did in his Body! By their agreement in deliver­ing up his Person, Herod and Pilate were made friends: But the Profane and the Scrupulos, thogh they jointly neglect the Sacrament, cannot be said to Agree, since their mutual Opposition is not thereby Abated, but En­creased.

What strange Antipathy is there in our Nature, more against This, than any Other of our Lords Commands! that Both extremes meet, not onely in Practising, but in Justifying Disobedience to it; and That, upon pretence of honor to the Author! And what luck hath This One Error, that it should be countenanced with (the livree of Truth) the Concurrent assent of Opposit parties! Were the case put in Other names, how plain would the truth appear, to the first glance of the unprejudiced ey!

It is said that Tib. Graichus, finding two Serpents in his chamber, consulted the Sooth-sayers, and being by them told, that if he let the male escape▪ his wife must dy; if the female escape, himself must dy; let go the female, so to preserv his Wives Life with his Own Death.

Suppose we now he had employed great care and cost, in procuring an excellent Picture, most lively setting forth his so great kindness; and had on his death-bed▪ recom­mended it to his Cornelia, praying her to keep it, as a token and remembrancer of his love, manifested by his voluntary death for her sake.

What would gratitude have obliged Her to do? to cast it into som by-corner out of sight? suffer it to be sullied with dust? or buried under lumber, neglected and for­gotten? Would it not have obliged her to hang it in her chief room, where she might best honor it, not only with her care to keep it from abuse, but with her frequent looks, still thereby renewing upon her heart, the contemplation of the great love of her dear Gracchus?

No one certainly can doubt, which of these two ways, best savor of Love and Gratitude.

How then can we pretend to honor our Lord, when we answer his so great care, in providing and recommending This so excellent a Representative of his death; by a con­trary care in seeking pretences to lay it aside?

We read (indeed) that som heathen worshiped Mer­cury by casting stones at his image; and som others wor­shiped Pehor by turning their back-parts to it.

Strange expressions of honor and worship, and contrary to the universal ways of mankind! Yet not so contrary to nature, as Our way of honoring the Sacrament, is to the express words of its author; who doth not onely impose the duty, by a peremtory Command to Do this; but bind it upon our hearts, by the obligations of Love and Thank­fulness, in Remembrance of his Sufferings and Benefits.

CHAP. III. Serviceable to our own interests.

I. The kindness of the Command as it regards our Interest. 1. In point of Ease. It is a sacrificial Fest, not a Sacrifice. Suffering an expression of Love: exercised by many, but not required in this duty. II. 2. In point of pleasantness: 1. Spiritual pleasures greater than Sensual: thogh the Atheist cannot relish them. We must believ the experi­enced, not the ignorant. III. 2. Pleasures of the Christian, greater than of any other Religion. IV. 3. Pleasures of This greater than of any other Office of Christian worship. 1. It hath proper sweetness of it's own. V. 2. It improveth all other Offices. 1. Preaching. 2. Swearing. 3. Prayer. This proved by the practice of those who in danger desire the Sacrament. VI. 4. Thankfulness. VII. Other Advan­tages, intimated, but not insisted on, bicause set forth by many other writers. A brief Recapitulation of what hath be'n here said, with a Transition to what remains.

THAT this appropriation to our Lords person, may not more Prejudice than Advantage This Law; as imposing upon us a duty, Serviceabl to Him­self, but to Us both Troublesom and Unprofitabl; we shall farther consider, that in This, as much as in Any of his Other Laws; he was careful to twist our Interest with our Duty; providing no less for Our Ease and Happiness, than for his Own Memory.

We therefor com now to Another kind of Obligations, derived from the Kindness of This Command; which again pointeth at the so considerabl [THIS.] And first let us see how EASY it's yoke is.

For what is This, whereby we ar So to set forth his cruel Death, that thereby it may be said our Lord is crucified among us?

Must we Pledge him in his Bitter cup, and so Do, as to Suffer in remembrance of him, what may in som kind make us Partakers of his passion?

Must we so Commemorate his Scourging as to Repete it upon our selvs, yet call the season Good-Friday? Or must our Purses be drained in som such [...]oftly Offerings, as shall That way represent the effusion of his whole stock of bloud? Or at least, must our eyes be afflicted, and thereby our Bowels tormented, with som such piteos spectacle, as may at once represent the gastly countenance of our dying Sa­vior, and strike horror into our hearts?

No: Our Lord was careful to deliver us, not only from the Curse, but from the Burthen of the Law; and there­for shunneth whatever might have the least appearance of Costly, or Troublesom; adopting only the Joyful part of Type. What was Festival, he so retaineth, as to leav out the Bitter Herbs, yea, the bitter spectacle.

The Type which prefigured This death, was to a com­passionate Ey a painful sight. A poor dumb innocent Lamb slain, the body hung up and flayed, with legs spread'd just in the posture of a crucifix, the bloud folenly poured out at the foot of the Altar: must not the Commemorative exceed the Type? and must it not be a more afflictive Spectacle? The Former it doth, but is not the Later.

For here the very Sacrifice Escapes the suffering which it Represents. The Wheat and the Grape, Represent the Benefits, but not the Sufferings: That is broken, and This is bruised, but they feel it not; That Strengthens, and This Chears; but Neither of them Afflicts the heart.

SOME may do well to consider it better: This is a sacrificial Fest, but not a Sacrifice: And between these two the Distance is so wide, that it looks like Opposition, such as is between Giving and Receving: Guilt, and Par­don; [Page 215] Fear and Joy: All postures are inverted.

In the act of Sacrificeing, the Votary appeared as a Guil­ty supplicant, confessing himself worthy of Death, and pray­ing that the vicarios bloud of his beast, might be accepted, and his Own delivered: But in the subsequent Fest, he was treated as a Guest and Friend, of his now Reconciled and Propitios God. In the One he appeared as a Malefa­ctor, dreading Punishment from his offended Judge: In the Other as a Son, enjoying Communion with his Loving Father. In the One, he Offered a Ransom; in the Other, he Receved a Treat.

Since therefor, this Institution answers the Later, and shuns the Former; it oght to be honored with a suitable Name. Since here is No Offering, but All Receving: No Costs, but All Advantages: No Bloud, but That of the Grape; and That, not now to be Shed, but only Drank; no beasts slain, but those Wild Lusts, which prey upon our Souls; nothing of Pain to the Body, or Cost to the Purs, but all joy and thankfulness to the Soul: it is so far from deserving the name of a Sacrifice; that we seem to injure it by stiling it Sacrificial.

I KNOW not what so great sympathy there is be­tween Love and Suffering, that many voluntarily run upon This, to express That. Som merely to shew forth their Love to their Lord, have waited on him with swords hang­ing at belts made of their Own skins, purposely so flayed from their flesh, as to fit that office; yet still so hanging to it at either end, as to renew the pain every step: O­thers with arrows voluntarily stuck into, and still sticking in their flesh, &c. When the ponderos Idol is pomposly carried upon its Scaffold, roling on a multitude of heavy wheels; the devout Indians oftentimes cast themselvs in the way, there to be crushed to death by their beloved God. That many offered their Sont and Daghters to Devils, the Scripture both witnesseth and condemneth; That the Turks oftentimes pull out their eyes in devotion to Ma­homet, [Page 216] Travellers inform us: What the Papists do upon Ash-wednesday, and That which they (notwithstanding) call Good-Friday, is sufficiently know'n.

Had our Lotd enjoyned Som, or All this, in answer to his suffering, would we not, oght we not have don' it? Had he required us to lay down our lives for him, what had this be'n, but to pay what we could of a debt? At other times he said, Go and sell all thou hast, and give it to the poor, and take up thy Cross and follow me: Pull out thy right ey, cut off thy right hand. But now that he saith only Do this, Eat This, Drink this; what a vast weight of contempt must That be, which shall outweigh not only the Authority, but the Love of our Lord, favoring us with a Commandment so sweetly obligeing!

Did He on his Cross drink Gall and Vineger, made infi­nitely more Bitter by my sins; and shall not I at his Tabl drink Wine, made infinitely Sweeter by his blessing? Did he Eat the Bread of Affliction for My sake; and shall not I eat the Bread of Life for His sake and mine Own? Did He Suffer death, and shall not I Enjoy, by Commemorating it?

Could any thing Easier or Cheaper, less troublsom or cost­ly, have be'n enjoined; such was his kindness, that he would have commanded That; and if we refuse This, which is the Least, it appears we will do Nothing for Him. For Him? Yea, for our Selvs. This is not a Work, but a Fest; which if it be but Insipid, though not Bitter, is to be despi­sed.

II. 2. THIS therefor is considerable as the Second kind­ness of this Institution. It is as Pleasant as Easie; and if we would speak properly, we must not call it a Com­mand, but an Invitation. For it is a Fest, yea, it is the Banquet: when men had Eaten the Fat, and Drunken the Sweet, and their hearts were merry; Then came This Supper, as the Desert, furnished with the Fruits of the Spirit, infi­nitely delicios,

And thogh the abuses thereof, made it in few ages seem necessary to change This proper Season; yet is not the bles­sed and beatifik rite thereby impoverished. Its delights were ushered with sensual mirth, rather for State, than Need; For it's own Spiritual pleasures, ar abundantly abl to fill all our great appetites, without borrowing any thing of the sensual.

For the more distinct discovery of this topik, we will rise by three steps.

1. Spiritual pleasures are greater than Sensual.

2. The Pleasures of the Christian Religion greater than those of any Other Religion.

3. The Pleasures of This Office greater than those of any Other Office of Christian worship.

1. That Spiritual pleasures are greater than Sensual, Plu­tarch hath sufficiently demonstrated in That best of his trea­tises, whose title professeth to prove, That upon the Princi­ples of Epicurus it is impossibl for a man to live happily.

Among other instances of the excellency of the pleasures of the Mind above those of the Body; he thus speaketh to our present purpose, concerning Sacrificial Fests.

Princes and Kings keep good open houses, and a full Court for all comers, and make publik Fests: But Those which are made in Sacrifices and Solemnities of the Gods, amids perfumes and incenses, where men seem to touch and convers most inti­mately with them, with all Honor and with all Reverence; such Honors, such Fests, I say, give a joy more rare, and a delight more singular, wherein He hath no part, that hath not faith nor confidence in the Divine providence. For it is not the quantity of Wine that is drunk, nor the Cookery of good vi­ands that ar eaten there, which give the joy in such Fests; but the assurance and persuasion, that God is Present, Propitios, and Favorabl, and that he accepteth the honor and service there do'n him.

That the Atheist cannot tast these delights, the Apostl hath given the Reason, The Natural man understandeth not [Page 218] the things of God, neither can he know them becaus they are spiritually discerned. His Faculty is defective: The Viands want not sweetness, but His Palate is vitiated. He is in the gall of bitterness, and therefor hath no part nor lot in This mater.

And it is no less certain, that to such Palates, the very Supper of the Lamb in heaven, would be no less Unsavory. For how can the Vision of God be beatifical to Him, that Ha­teth him? What delight can He find in the fellowship of the blessed in Heaven, who finds none in Those who resem­ble them upon earth? What Musik in heavenly Hallelujahs to Him who finds none in Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs? Can a Plowman find pleasur in a Mathematical de­monstration? or a Lion in sweet grass? or a Fish in cleer Air? The fruits of the Spirit (saith the Apostl) ar Lov, Joy, Peace, &c. Love must lead, and Joy must follow, but can never Outgo it: This Stream will never rise higher than That Fountain: He therefor, and Only He, that Lov­eth Christ; can find Joy in his Presence, and Sweetness in his Supper.

This must by no means prejudice the testimony of Those, who have Tasted and Testified the (to themselvs inexpres­sibl, no less than to the Atheist imperceptibl) joys they find in the holy Communion.

Whom shall we believ concerning the Beauty of the light? the Blind or the Seeing? Whom concerning the Sweetness of Musik? the Deaf or the Hearing?

Should one of our Sensualists be informed, that at such a Tavern, is to be had at the cheapest rate, and in the most plentiful mesure, the most spritely Wine that possibly can be tasted; and This verified by such as swear that them­selvs know the truth by their experience, as having be'n ex­hilarated by it; would they doubt the truth of this relati­on, bicaus som other who knoweth nothing of it, saith it cannot be true? Would not a good fellow yield so much to the Persuasions and Asseverations of a mouth witness, [Page 219] as to make trial of the so much magnified Wine?

When Apicius heard of the exceeding greatness of the Afri­can Lobsters; he packed up all his Goods, and made a voyage thither, with a resolution to dwell there if he found the truth answer the report.

Well fare the man that is diligent in his business! His God was his Belly, and He diligent and faithful in his Ser­vice: But better He, that is as Wise as Diligent; that first enquireth in more fundamental questions; Whether there be any flesh better than that of a Lobster? Yea, that goeth yet deeper, and enquireth, Whether there be any pleasures grea­ter than those of the belly?

Did our voluptuary First State this, which oght to be the First Question; we should find More Wine spent at the Lords Tabl, and Less at the Tavern. But this is our fun­damental folly; we will neither Believ what the most Cre­dibl persons speak, upon Their experience, nor seek the truth by Our own; nor be at so much pains, as to consider, who ar to believed in Mater of Fact; Those who profess to have tasted Both the rival Pleasures? or Those who con­fess themselvs utterly ignorant of That, which the best knowing magnifie most? Had the Religios no more judg­ment in Sensibl pleasures, than the Epicurean hath in Spiri­tual; the scales would be even: but since They have the same Palate for tasting, the same By for seeing &c. as have the most Voluptuos; but the Sensual have not the same preceptions of Spiritual pleasures, as have the Religios; now to believ a negative Testimony in mater of fact, broght by Such as profess themselvs ignorant in the main Subject of the question, against Those who profess themselvs most Knowing; is a folly hardly to be matched, but in Those, who by yauning in Ignorance, and Loss, of what they ar Credibly Informed, and may easily Experience, to be the greatest pleasure, they ar Capabl of Enjoying.

But he that hath learned how much the joys of the Spi­rit exceed those of Sens; will easily be persuaded to proceed to a secund Lesson.

[Page 220]III. 2. THE pleasures of the Christain Religion exceed those of any other Religion. Whether David knew more, I dispute not; certainly he said no more, than Plutarch might have do'n. He doth indeed declare him­self dazeled with the glory of Gods Love, both in the num­ber and greatness of his benefits: Their Number Ps. 139.17. &c. Their Greatness, Ps. 36.5. &c. Yet all this may be subscribed by a good Philosopher, upon evidence of That witness, which God gave them of Himself; Rain and fruit­ful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness.

And as wer their Apprehensions of Gods Benefits; such wer their Joys in their Benefactor; incomparably Above those of the Atheist, but no less Below those of the Christi­an.

God hung up the Sun in the Firmament, for a miroir of himself: but, bright as it is, the best sighted Heathen might apply to themselvs in comparison of the knowledge of the Gospel, what the Apostl saith of the knowledge we injoy in This life, in comparison of what we hope in the Fu­tur; [we see him in a Glass darkly] And as a child taketh the face which he seeth in a glass, for that of a real man; so did the heathen mistake the Sun, for God himself.

The wisest indeed did not so: For Plato caled Light the shadow of God; and thereby spake more gloriosly of it, than it self can shine: But much less than the Apostl saith of Christ, That he is the Brightness of his glory, the express Image of his Person.

How much more gloriosly therefor, Gods goodness shin­eth in the face of Jesus Christ, than in That of the Sun; so much must the joy of a devout Christian exceed that of a mere Atheist, Jew, or Heathen; and may well deserv the title given it by the Apostl, A joy unspeakabl and glorios.

[Page 221]IV. 3. THE Pleasures of This ar greater than those of any Other Office of Christian worship.

Symmachus in Plutarch pleading that our Sea viands ar more delicios than those of the Land, urgeth This as his main reason; that from the Sea we have Salt, which quic­keneth the gust of All other meats. Should we make the same question between This and Other Offices of Religion, we must improve the Reason, For This as it exalteth the pleasur of All the Rest, so hath it a proper one of it's own, riseing from the above noted relation to our Lords Per­son.

1. It's relation to our Lords Person is greater, and con­sequently it hath a greater sweetness! My Father's Picture hath This right to my esteem, that it giveth me some kind of enjoyment of his Presence; And for This only do I va­lu it, much above what a stranger can. But had he left it me for a Legacy, had he indeared it to my affection, by re­commendations, any way proportionabl to what our Lord hath do'n for This his Representative; I should certainly have parted with whatever else he left me, rather than with It.

This is the joy of the Sacrificer (saith Plutarch) that we have Assurance that God is Present; But whereon is This so sweet Assurance bilt? 'Tis true, Jus hospitii by the una­nimos consent of mankind, begat an obligation of Friend­ship between Host and Guest; and upon This common noti­on, was the rite of Sacrificeing grounded: But Invented, Plutarch knew not When, nor by Whom; never Stablished by Any Command, nor Encoraged by any Promis of the Gods they Fested with; Whereas Here, we find, not only our Lord's Institution, but his Presence.

He promised his presence, even at our Common pray­ers; saying, When two or three are gathered together in my name, there will I be in the mids of them: Here, we meet not only in his Name, but upon his Invitation; In Obedi­ence [Page 222] to his Command, and in Love to his Person; we Com­memorate the Sufferings of his Human Nature, and we adore the Power of his Divine; we enjoy not only his Represen­tative, but his very Body and Blood.

In Sacrificeing said Plutarch, we convers intimately with the Gods. These things, saith St. John we write unto you that your joy may be full; — that you may have fellowship with Us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

St. John probably in those words compareth, Our God and Lord, with Those in whose fellowship Plutarch placed his greatest joy: We may make another comparison be­tween the Fellowships themselvs; yea, between the several kinds of fellowships, that a Christian may have with his Lord. Several kinds of fellowships? No, There is no other kind of visibl fellowship, but This one: Other kinds of Wor­ship there are; but no other Communion.

Whether we com to God with our Praises, or our Pray­ers; whether we com to Hear him, or to call upon him; we keep an awful Distance: We Approach his Throne, but do not Sit down in it. It is boldly said by Plutarch, In Sacrificcing Fests we even touch the Gods; a Christian go­eth Higher: We do not Touch only, but Eat; we receve our Lord, not Only in our Arms, but our very Bowels. We Fest, not only With him, but Upon him: He ming­leth Souls with us, and is no more Two, but One Spi­rit.

We Fest upon his Flesh and Bloud; which himself saith ar Meat indeed, and Drink indeed; and St. John add­eth, Here is Fellowship indeed; and what more Need or Can be added to make our Joy Full?

If therefor there be any joy in the spirit, any comfort of love; what ever the Voice of David could Sing, or his heart conceve; whatever the Light of the Sun, or the Sweet­ness of Wine, or the joys of festing, can faintly shadow; ar Here in the highest perfection, earth is capabl to enjoy: as [Page 223] much above the pleasures of Sens, as the Firmament is Brighter than Earth or Sea; and as much above other ex­ercises, even of Devotion; as the Stars ar Brighter then the interstellary Firmament; whose light while they Out­shine, they Increas: Upon which later account alone, we heard Symnachus give the Sea preeminence over the Land, as mother of Salt, the Universal Sawce, exalting the Gust of All meats: But

V. 2. SALT doth not so much improve the Gust of meats; as doth This Sacrament, the Power and consequent Pleasur of other Religios Offices.

1. How the power of Preaching is thereby advanced we shall find another occasion to consider, to which therefor we adjourn it and proceed to other Religios exercises.

2. An Oath, when duly used is One kind of Worship of That God, when we thereby Invoke; an end of All strife, and all suspicions among mankind; And its Obligations at generally supposed more Indissolubl, when Bound with This Sacrament, or taken at the Altar.

The Kings of France and Spain, and All Christendom with them, agreed in This, that the Pyrenaean Treaty could not be more Inviolably confirmed, than by This Bond. And if it have not proved Security sufficient; it is no ex­ception against it's force; but a proof of the invinciblness of That Falshood, that will as litl be Slave to the most formid­abl Oath, as to a Word.

3. HOW great pleasur there is in PRAYER, we should better understand, if we were better acquainted with it. The Stoiks believed our Pleasur to consist in Freedom from Pain: It is plain, that Bodily Pleasur doth so; and the Satisfaction is pleasant, in exact Proportion with the Ap­petite which is thereby satisfied.

It is som Ease to a wounded spirit, if it can but Bleed out it's troubles, into the bosom of a Faithful friend; but much more, if That friend be as able as willing to help.

God is indeed of himself more willing to hear than We to pray, for such blessings as conduce to our True Happi­ness; but in Som Other kinds of Requests, (which thogh they com not up to the highest dignity, we think worth asking) he is Moved by Prayer; and so much the more, when it is Improved by the Manner and Season of the ad­dress. Hester, the more effectually to prevail with her great Ahasuerus, endeared her petition with a Fest: and This, we com now from finding the Sens of mankind, in that universal rite of Festing upon the Sacrifice.

Indeed God is to be laid hold on by either hand: Fast­ing or Festing, upon occasions respectively suitable, exalt the power of Prayer; the one, that we may move Com­miseration; the other, that we may obtain Bounty: by the One we kill the Beast; by the Other we hold commu­nion with God.

If therefor Hannah found her grieved mind so much eased, by having unburthened it in prayer, improved by the holiness of the place; we must have so much more ti­tle to the joys of Hope, by doing it in this exercise, as his Table is holier than was Shiloh. And if Themistocles prevailed with Admetus by presenting him his litl Son; how much greater confidence may We have, when we ob­secrate by the body and bloud of Christ!

For the young Prince was a perfect stranger to Themisto­cles, came in his way, and thence into his arms, by mere accident, without any thoght of becoming his Mediator: but our Lord came and dwelt among us, and was made sin for us: and when we obsecrate by the mystery of his Incarnation, by his Cross and Passion, by his precios Death and Burial: offering them to his Father, not only by Words, but Acti­ons, such Dramatical Actions, as in a manner Repete them; This do'n by his Own institution, must needs add unspeakabl force to thc Petition so presented.

Again, Admetus's child was wholely passive, joined not the least token of consent with Themistocles's act, for his [Page 225] Body was offered without any concurrence of his Mind: But This Supper is of our Lord's own providing: We therein offer, not only his Body and Bloud, but his Love and his Soul. Himself taght us this singular art of wrest­ling with his Father: and having promised that he would grant whatever two or three should agree to ask in his Name, taght us further to invigorate our confidence by adding his Body and Bloud.

HENCE it is, that in the Primitive Church the Prayers ever were attended with This Sacrament, as we found them described by Justin Martyr; and Optatus upbraiding the Donatists for breaking down the altars of Churches, told them that thereby they did what they could to hinder the Churches prayers, for illac ad aures dei ascende­re solebat populi oratio.

Hence is it, that in the Communion Service, we again pray for the same blessings we had prayed for in the first: for the Church Vniversal, the Kings Majesty, the whole Nation, &c.

Nor need we any other than our adversaries testimony: The Papists in ordinary cases, think ordinary masses suffi­cient; but in their greatest extremities, have recours to This, as a more powerful mediator than any their Ora pro nobis's, I instance in the case of the Duke of Montmo­rancy; whom when the incensed King could by no inter­cession be induced to pardon; a multitude of his friends, after a solen Procession, receved the Communion in his behalf; as did also the Cardinal de la Valette in a mass ce­lebrated by the Bishop of Faviers.

Yea, Those very persons we dispute with, Those who neglect it all their lives; ar careful in the End to obtain it. When they look death in the face, Then by all means must the Minister be sent for, and the necessary two or three must accompany the Sick person, however at that time most unfit, to receve the hitherto neglected Supper.

Whence this new care, but from a persuasion, that [Page 226] Now more than ever, there is great need of effectual prayer, and that this holy Sacrament is most efficacios for inforcing it?

But have we no need of effectual prayer 'till we com to dy? Need we no Pardon, nor no Blessing? Ar our Lusts so mortified, our Graces so perfect, our Salvation so se­cure, our Happiness so complete? Can we answer the kind offers of this Sacrament, as the Shunamite did those of the Prophet Elisha, when he asked what is to be do'n for thee? Do we so live upon our own, as to want No Favor? Or have we No friend, No child, No relative, that needs our prayer? Have we No petition to offer for our King or Country, Our Church or any Comember? Ar all things so perfectly well within and without us, that we need no further favor? If we think so, we need this Sacrifice to obtein pardon for That very thoght. And certainly the Continuance of so uniform and complete happiness, is a blessing worth Desiring, and therefor worth Asking; and if so, the Sacrament is worth Receving; that such Prayers may be more Prevalent, and our Minds more Satisfied, as ha­ving deposited our requests in the most Succesful manner.

For if on our Death-bed we find comfort, much more reasonably may we hope it in the mids of Life; as by the more probabl soundness of our Repentance, so by the more efficacios vertu of the Sacrament; receved then with grea­ter both Worthiness and Appetite, than the Death-bed can promis; which can naturally operate no better in acts of Spiritual, than of Temporal life; so much Less Vi­gorosly by how much More against all Appetites.

VI. 4. IF the Pleasures of Prayer be so great, those of Thankfulness must needs be much greater: For Prayer proceedeth from sens of Want, Thankfulness from sens of Abundance: That, is the work of the Indigent, This, of the Rich: That is the happiness of the Earth, drawing down the former and later rain, to satisfy it's [Page 227] drought; This the blessedness of Heaven, whose inhabi­tants have no other Imployment, nor greater Joy, than to bless God.

We cannot perhaps better understand the pleasures of Thankfulness than by comparing it with That which of all others, the world thinketh, both most Pleasant and most Honorable; Revenge, above all other Human (if it be not wors than Human) passions, may bost of the destru­ctions it hath wroght upon the earth, of Persons, yea, of Fa­milies, yea of Nations; and He is branded for a Coward, who will spare life Temporal or Eternal, when This shall require them for Sacrifice.

Now Thankfulness is no other than White Revenge; more Glorios and more Innocent. The One saith as doth the Other, I will Requite, I will do to him as he hath do'n to me, I will render to him according to his work, &c.

And is it not more Noble and Pleasant to requite Good than Evil? Ar not the satisfactions of Love sweeter than those of Anger?

Both, glory in Justice; but the One, while it pretend­eth to Do Justice, Violateth it; by invading Gods right, who hath said Vengeance is mine: The Other more than dubleth the glory of Justice, by the addition of Love.

TO THIS so excellently pleasant exercise is this Sa­crament designed, St. Paul caleth this the Cup of Blessing; The Fathers, the Eucharist; Our own Church saith, it was for a Thankful remembrance of the Death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receve thereby, And requireth Every communicant to receve it with thankfulness. And since the Pleasures of Revenge, grow in exact suitableness with the Resentments of the Passion, thereby gratified; and the Passion, with the Injury offered; so also must the Pleasures of Thankfulness answer the Benefit which giveth it birth.

Whence it must necessarily follow that as the Benefits Here communicated, ar the Greatest; so must This exer­cise [Page 228] be of All other the Pleasantest; especially bicaus the very Passion is hereby most vigorosly excited: which is a dubl advantage.

1. The Benefits hereby commemorated ar the Greatest. I hope This will not need much proof: Since it cannot be imagined what our Lord could have do'n More, than suffer the Death we hereby Commemorate. A Benefit, which as it Requireth, so doth it Exceed our highest raptures of Thankfulness. Excellently well doth our Ingenios and Pios Herbert express this.

He resolveth upon this noblest Revenge,

Surely I will revenge me on thy Love,
And try who shall victorios prove.

He instanceth in several Benefits, finding ways of suita­ble Returns; but coming to the Passion: First he adjorn­eth it as difficult▪ saying

And for thy Passion — but of that anone,
When with the other I have done.

And at last after several Other instances, closeth all by acknowledging it not only Difficult but Impossibl, to an­swer it, saying

Then for thy Passion: I will do for that—
Alas! my God I know not what.

And beginneth his next meditation with the same ac­knowledgment.

I have considered it, and find
There is no dealing with thy mighty Passion.

But our Lord himself hath be'n pleased to help us, as by his Death against our Guilt; so by This Institution, against our Inability to find a way, wherein to express our Thank­fulness for That death: When our Best wits, and Careful­est considerations cannot tell what to do: he biddeth us Do This.

Whether David Prophesied of it, is not so plain; as that he was very happy in So speaking as if he had: for he pitched upon the same Answer to the same Question, What [Page 229] shall I render (said he) to the Lord for all the benefits, that he hath do'n unto me? I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.

But with This difference; that All the Benefits which so posed David, came incomparably short of our Lord's Passion; and consequently This Cup, as it much better deserveth the Title, so doth it exceed in Pleasantness, That which he stileth the Cup of Salvation.

2. By this Cup our Thankfulness is most vigorosly incited. For as No benefit can be greater than our Lords death, so cannot our Affections be more powerfully stirred, than by This Representative; which assalts our very Senses, and strikes our Hearts by the most Lively Representation, as we have already seen.

Other Festers pretend no more than to provide Viands and Wine, as delicios as possibl; Our Lord takes care that our Palates may be quickened; As he provideth the Best Mater for our Thankfulness, so doth he the Best Manner for exalting it's Motions, and Pleasures.

Such a Commemoration improveth the kindness even of the Passion it self. He seemeth to have contrived how he might make the Remembrance of it, as Sweet to Us, as the Suffering was bitter to Himself. Certainly, shewed the same Love, in providing for our Joy, by This Com­munion; as for our Salvation, by the Effusion of That Bloud which we so Enjoy.

So that by Doing This, we do not only Render Thanks for that Greatest Benefit, his Death; but Receve a New one; and feed our very Thankfulness, which acquireth a New Obligation, and thereby new mater of Pleasure by endeavoring thus to answer the Old: And we may still go on with Davids question; What shall I render for this cup of Salvation?

By how much therefor the Joys of Thankfulness exceed All other Joys: By how much our Lords Passion, more exceedeth our utmost Thankfulness, than could All Those [Page 230] other Benefits, which so posed David; By how much This Office is more Appropriate and Serviceable to it, than Any, yea than All other offices of devotion: By so much More Pleasant must This be, than Any other Exercise, even of Religion, yea even of Christian Religion.

And if there be any truth in what St. Paul (after the Prophet) professeth, that ey hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceve, what God hath prepared for them that love him: If there be any rea­son in his invitation, to quit the satisfying pleasures of wine, for the more raptures inebriations of the Spirit; we must needs believ that our gracios Lord had the same design in This Institution, as St. John professed in his first epistl, which he ushereth with this declaration, These things I write to you, that you may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, and these things we write unto you, that your joy may be full.

Did Epicurus ever promis such Happiness? Did Lu­cullus ever make such a fest? Did Petronius Arbiter ever in­vent such pleasures? That any one who hath (I say not any spark of divine life, but) any sens or desire of Pleasure, should slight such invitations, is next to the Love that made them, the greatest Wonder, and next to That of the Jews, the greatest Injury; since this is in a manner to cru­cify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame in Effigie. Do we not put This his representative and there­in Himself, to an open shame, when we so slight it, as to postpone it to our more esteemed lusts and idleness, as unable to match them in its offers of happiness?

VII. OF HAPPINESS! Yes, it serveth not only our Pleasures, but our solid and durabl Happiness. It is not our Flatterer, but our Friend. Flat­terers often serv mens Pleasures to ill purposes and mis­chievos consequences: This doth not more seek to Please, than to Benefit. As it is a Banket to delight, so it is both [Page 231] Food to nurish, and Medicine to cure. The gracios Au­thor caleth it Meat indeed and Drink indeed, bicaus the guest hath not only present satisfaction to all his appetites, but Everlasting life to his Soul.

This, 'thogh most worthy, I insist not upon, bicaus it is not only generally acknowledged for a truth: but by our adversaries urged as the principal, if not sole encorage­ment to the performance. They honor it as a most gra­cios Invitation, thogh they deny it the authority of a Command: and while they unty the force of the Obliga­tion, make part of recompence, by motives of persuasion, drawen from our own interest.

And no more than need, For it must be wholely insigni­ficant, and totally deserted, if unfurnished of all kind of arguments: and if it have none other but such as plead our own advantages, they had need outweigh all the diffi­culties we must encounter.

AND Now (Dear Reader) we are com'n to the Rode: You cannot fail of good Company and good Guides: Variety of good books, both setting forth the Benefits of the Lords Supper, and the Preparation requisite to capacitate us for them; and Many also giving us their own good com­pany, in Devout Strains helping our devotions. And since I promised, not to repete what others have spoken; I shall (do, as guides use to do) leav you to Gods blessing and the Conduct of others, into whose company I have broght you, in a large and populos rode.

But Before we part, we may do well to sit down a while, and consider whether the way we have passed, be as Right, as we have found it Troublsom. It hath be'n so Long, and so Universally deserted, so utterly Untroden for so many generations, that there is not any appearance of a Footstep, much less of a Path: This is sufficient to make us Doubtful.

But if the Learned and Pios be not only Silent, but Opposite: If they not only neglect to Urge the perform­ance [Page 232] as Necessary; but warn us from it as Dangeros; it will certainly behove us to hearken to Such Persons, and consider their Admonitions, and their Reasons.

After a brief Retrospect therefor upon the grounds we have passed, we shall take a full vieu of what is offered on the Other Side; that so, weighing the rival evidences, we may embrace what shall appear worthy.

WE have certainly taken the only Regular way to un­derstand the Apostl's meaning: not cut off some One, or perhaps Two expressions, neglecting All the Rest, and the mind of the Author in the Whole; but carefully examin­ed, first the adaequate design of the Whole, and then every Part and Paricl, with their Consent in serviceablness to it. We have found it absolutely necessary ro fit the important Demonstrative THIS with its proper Object: both bi­caus in our Lords Institution, it is the Subject of a Propo­sition, not otherwise to be understood; and bicaus in the Apostls Dissertation, it is the hinge on which his whole ar­gument turns. We have found a Pios custom of the Jews very Fit for this honor, and exactly Suited both to our Lords Institution, and the Apostl's Comment, in every syl­labl. In the Later, (I mean the Apostl's Comment) we have met several odd phoenomena, highly worthy our Best observation, but never honored with Any; No Other way accountabl; but this way most Clear, Pertinent, and Ne­cessary. We have found This same Apostl, in the Chapter immediately forgoing, cal the Lords Cup by the Jewish name; expresly saying This is the same with That.

By this Light we have taken a careful vieu of That im­portant clause, whence is vulgarly derived a supposed li­berty to do this As Seldom as we please; and found that the Apostl was careful to insert Those words, upon a quite con­trary reason; proving it indispensibly required, that we do it as often as we meet in Christs publik worship.

From This discours of One Apostl, we proceed to in­quire into the practice of All the Rest; and found Them [Page 233] and All their Disciples, and the succeeding best ages of the Church; exercising Punctual Obedience to such a sens. We have found our Own Church laboring what she can, to re­trive the same.

From Obligations of Obedience, we proceeded to the cords of a man. Reason we find requireth, that the Badge of our profession should be constantly worn: and Kindness obligeth us to embrace an office, so Endeared as we find This, by all incentivs of Love.

In the whole journy we have not found the least Incon­sistence or Impertinence of any One syllabl: but every Word, and every Order, yea every Disorder of words, combine to declare This the true Key to Our Lords and his Apostls meaning.

And I may Boldly Challenge any one of a differing judg­ment, to match This so punctual Dissection, with any other that may suit his own Hypothesis with equal exactness: but whether they make the least pretence to it or no, will clearly appear by the examination of what they pretend the Apostl to have said to the contrary.

PART V. Answers to the Ʋulgar opinion.

CHAP. I. Deference paid to the Former age, and to the Sacrament.

I. Former ages excused for advanceing Reverence, when there was no other danger, but of Irreverence; and stateing pre­paration in such manner as might best serv Piety. Reason to believ, that were they now living they would press the Per­formance as earnestly as they have do'n Preparation. II. A Second Protest against robbing the Sacrament. III. The Adversaries opinion set forth in his own words; whereby al­most all the World must be prohibited. IV. A Warrant de­manded. A confession that a good Consequence is Warrant sufficient.

SINCE it will be very hard, if not utter­ly impossibl, to dispute against Doctrines without boldness toward their Authors; or to plead against One extreme, without seeming to abett the Other; before I pro­ceed to the ill-lookt work, I think it ne­cessary to enter a dubl Protestation against Irreverence, either toward the worthy Persons whom I am to treat as Adversaries, or the H. C. which I am to render less Dreadful.

[Page 236]1. Concerning the Pios, Learned Persons whom I am to oppose, thogh Truth will not permit us to embrace their Errors, Justice will require us to excuse them, bicause they Yielded to the then present Necessity, at a time when there was no appearance of danger on the other hand.

When a City is Inaccesibl on the One side, and Assalted on the Other; the defendants think themselvs concerned to leav That side which seemeth safe; and run to This, which needeth their help; and thogh many an (otherwise) impregnabl place, have This way be'n lost; yet still have the inhabitants be'n rather pitied as unfortunate, than blamed as unfaithful.

The Antient Fathers saw No danger of loseing Gonstancy in this duty, but Much of loseing Reverence; and ar there­for to be Justified, bicause they applied their labors to what appeared most Necessary.

But the Later Fathers broght That into Question, which their predecessors thoght above Any. Constancy first was ballanced against Reverence, and then made to Yield to it. St. Augustin first put the question, Whether it wer better to Communicate every day, or omit som days, that we might do it better upon som Others? This question when it first appeared in the World, was no bigger than a mans hand, thogh now it have overspread the whole face of the sky; It grew from days to weeks, from weeks to month's: and the Church of Rome claims thanks for having made it necessary Once in a Year.

This abuse was so gross, that the Reformers could not but correct: but they did it with such aw both toward the Later Fathers, and toward the Sacrament it self, that they seem to have be'n more careful to speak what they thoght Best than what they thoght Truest.

To preserv the Sacrament from being swallowed up by the incorrigibl luxury of Their times; the Fathers by way of necessary defence, asserted the Reverence due to it, as the Body and Bloud of Christ: and our Pios divines endevor to [Page 237] advance it to a Power suitabl to That Honor; a Power of ex­alting the Spirit of Christ, by help of such Examination, as must in all reason be That way most serviceable.

Sure enough, our Lord can not but be well pleased, that This Representative of his Death should second it, in That great and good design, for which he suffered it.

Thogh therefor they saw nothing in Scripture, nothing in Tradition, yet seeing in Reason great hopes of advantage; they thoght best to lay hold on an expression or two of the Apostl's, which (however otherwise intended) might be made of excellent use This way.

He had spoken of the Danger of Unworthiness, and the necessity of Self-examination for avoiding that danger: These two well twisted together, and well bound on, may be of excellent use, to draw men to repentance, so much the more speedy, by how much neerer the time appears of ap­proaching the dread Table.

And how can this be better do'n, than by persuading men, that no man is fit to Communicate, who is not fit to dye?

What injury to the Apostl, if useful words be not Con­fined to his Particular intention in that One place; but Ex­tended to a greater serviceablness to the General design of All his Labors? or what to the Sacrament, if it be so Rescu­ed from Danger, as to be made Victorios, not only over That Intemperance which it suffered at Corinth, but all other Sins of what kind so ever? Or what to our Lord, if the Representative of his Death, be made to promote the good ends for which he suffered it?

This could not seem more Rational, than Safe; The Commands of the Church made it Criminal, Universal Pra­ctice made it Scandalous, to fail of appearing at the holy Table, at least three times in the year; and in all appearance the condicions of Preparation might be strained to Any height, with as great Safety, as Rigor.

Our Gratios Lord justified Moses for compliance with the hardness of the peopl's hearts in a case which in the begin­ning was not so. The Pios Fathers in former ages, had cast Festing out of the Church, thogh This Supper wer by our Lords Institution appendant to it; and they had removed the Season from Evening to Morning, thogh the very title of Supper contradicted: And why should not such appa­rent Advantages on one side, yoked with such Security from any Damage, on the other; make it reasonabl, to press Preparation in such manner, that those who wer not pre­vailed on with Other reasons, might be awakened by the approach of the Sacrament, to betake themselvs to That work, which otherwise they would delay, till the approach of death.

When therefor we read what was written twenty or more years since; when the Church had not yet lost her Power, nor the Peopl their Shame; when neither Atheism nor Schism had taught it needless to Obey our Lords last command; when that neglect was thoght Incredibl which we now find incurabl; let us consider as well the Reasons, as the Words of those pios Authors; and we shall not think any thing more probabl than This, that wer they now aliv, they would change their Stile with the so changed state of the Question; and Correct or Confute whatever they have said in abate­ment of the Obligation to Constancy in the performance.

For proof hereof I give you the words of the excellent Person, whom I have so often created as an adversary.— To such persons as these (he speaks of Neuters in Religion, not so bad as to deserv Excommunication, nor so pios as to be discernably in the state of grace) I can give no other ad­vice, but that every one take his mesures of frequency by the Laws of his Church; and add what he please to his numbers by the advice of a Spiritual guide; who may consider, whether his penitent by his conjugation of preparatory actions, and heaps of holy duties, at that time usually conjoined, do or is likely to receve any Spiritual progress.

And a few lines after. To such persons as these, the Church hath made Laws for the set times of their Communion. Christ­mas, Easter, and Witsuntide wer appointed for all Christians that were not Scandalos and openly Criminal by P. Fabianus; and this constitution is imitated by the best constituted Church in the world, our dear mother the Church of England; and they who do not at these times, or so frequently communicate, ar cen­sured by the Council of Agathon, as unfit to be reckoned among Christians, or members of the Catholik Church. Now by these Laws of the Church, it is intended indeed that all men should be caled upon to discuss and shake off the yoke of their sins, and enter into the salutary state of repentance; and next to the perpetual Sermons of the Church, she had no better means to engage them into the returns of Piety, hoping that by the grace of God, and the blessings of the Sacrament, the repentance which at these times solenly begins, may at one time or other fix and abide.

By which and many other words of this admirabl person it appeareth, That thogh he denied our Lords Institution to amount to a Command, lest the Sacrament by too much Fa­miliarity, might lose that Awe which he thoght most useful to make it Powerful; yet did he upon other grounds, sup­pose every one obliged to such Frequency, as Wise and Pios persons judge most conductive to Godliness; which as it was our Lords designe in his Death, must needs be the best mesure of our behavior toward it's Representative.

St. Chrysostom expressly declared, This I speak, not that you may absent your selvs, but that you may com worthily: And we may well believ the same to have be'n the intenti­ons of All our pios divines; wer there No Other reason for it but This, That otherwise Their Own injunctions must be as insignificant as our Lord's.

For if it be not necessary for us to Receve the Lords Sup­per, neither will it be so, to Prepare our selvs in such man­ner, as they prescribe in Order to it: And then, all those Cautions against Unworthiness, and Directions for Self-Ex­aminations, [Page 240] may be serviceabl (perhaps) to other purpo­ses; They may be useful to try the truth of our Repentance, when upon other reasons we may set our selvs to that work, but 'till then, may well be laid aside, notwithstanding any obligations deriveabl from This Institution.

Since therefor All obligations, but such as ar bound upon us by our Lord and his Apostl, ar too weak; since contrary to All Expectation, as much as All Law, we have seen this greatest office of the Church, sequestred, but not restored with it's Officers; Since the declared intentions of our pios Predecessors, ar so grossly, not onely Disappointed, but Inverted; that it is generally thoght as much more Safe, as more Easie, to Forbear the whole, than to venture upon such difficulties and Dangers, as ly in the way to the per­formance; we may very well believ them so far from fond­ness toward their formerly Hopeful, but now Unhappy opini­on; that they would be as forward as any of our present Di­vines, to contribute to the remedy which the present state of the Church calls for.

II. 2. MY secund Protest is, That I am so far from any design to rob the Sacrament of its due Reve­rence, that I have already said sufficient to secure me from any such suspicion; were I not now obliged to speak such things, as look't upon in separation from my task, may repre­sent me half a Corinthian.

But this is the necessary consequence of opposing errors: For Truth is usually seated like Vertu, between two Ex­tremes; whereof whoever opposeth the One, must seem to defend the Other.

The zeal of som Fathers for Aw toward the H. St. is ta­ken as an implicit denial of our obligation to Constancy; and then improved, to a contrary obligation to Forbear­ance: And while I renounce this Later, I may seem to break those bonds in sunder, whose Obligations I do not pretend either to Break or Unty; but only so far to Slacken, [Page 241] that they may not by too streght binding, disable us from performing our necessary duty.

I therefor here invert St. Chrysostom's Protest. This I speak, not that you may com Ʋnworthily, but that you may com Constantly. I dash not One part of the Apostl's cautionary precept against the Other, to the destruction of Both; no, nor put asunder what he hath joined together. But I en­devor to shew how he hath so fitted the One to the Other, that they ar not onely Consistent, but Serviceabl each to o­ther. For when he yoked [Let a man examin himself] with [let him eat &c.] there was no strife between them; and som ages they drew very lovingly and prosperosly together: But after ages made the former draw cross, and too hard for the later.

The Greek Church appointeth a Lent preparatory for e­very of the four Solemn tides, whereon the peopl ar obli­ged to Communicate: And such among our selvs, as think it a necessary duty only upon those three great Festivals, which ar attended with their Octaves, suppose it Ushered with an Octave of preparation: But the first ages, which celebrated it every Sunday and other Holidays, could allow it no more than the 'foregoing Eve.

I deny not (for it cannot be avoided) that if we conform to them in the One, we must also do it in the Other: More than every such Eve, the necessity of most mens affairs will not allow; nor the constitutions of our Church be satisfied with less: Whether this be more agreeable both to the A­postl's mind, and the honour of the Sacrament it self, than either of the other, we com now to consider.

And first we must see what is said on the other side.

II. THAT I may here again keep my self from any suspicion of injustice, I give you our worthiest Adversares opinion in his Own words.

First; he layeth down This for his foundation. [No man is fit to Communicate, who is not fit to dy] And having there­upon raised several, completeth all with This coronis. The sum of all is This; He that is not freed from the dominion of sin: he that is not really a subject of the kingdom of grace; he in who's mortal body sin do's reign, and the Spirit of God do's not reign, must at no hand present himself before the holy Table of the Lord: bicaus what ever dispositions or alterations he may begin to have in order to pardon and holiness; he as yet hath neither; but is Gods enemy and therefor cannot receve his holy Son.

In These words, and indeed in the Whole Book, the ex­cellent Person endevored to make, the Same mesures of Re­pentance, necessary for a Communicant; as in another very Pios and Learned Treatise, he had proved necessary for Sal­vation. And thogh he Express it not; yea, 'thogh he In­tend it not, he must Imply such a Faith also necessary for This Supper of our Lord, which every where els he denieth to be so, for. That in heaven, viz. An Assurance that he is in God's favor.

For since upon these grounds, no man can Otherwise be Assured of the Lawfulnes of this action, and whatever is not so of faith is sin; the want of such Assurance, must be as strong a bar against the performance, as want of Worthiness: So, Those Few only, Those very Few, who ar not only in Gods favor, but Above all Doubt of their being so, must presume to approach his Table.

Yea, if we will follow the conduct of the Position, as far as it will lead us; we shall com to believ it less sinful to Dy in such an estate, than to Communicate. Bicause Death is Unavoidabl, and however it be damnabl to Live in a state of Impenitency, it is no New sin to Dy so. But here, we ar told that we may avoid the Lords Table without sin; and therefor must incur a Distinct guilt by Coming; and that, not only if we be Really Unworthy, but if we Doubt whe­ther we ar so or no.

And what a singularity it here! In every other contro­versie the Rival Positions use to oppose one another as Posi­tive and Negative in the same Question.

Our present question is, Whether our Lords [Do this] a­mount to a Command?

We might in cours expect no wors, than a Denial: And That very Denial too, we might hope so Tempered, as to leav. Something Answerable in Som sort, tho not fully E­qual, to the usual import of the word. An Encouragement, or Recommendation: an Invitation, or Intimation; Som­thing of som savor; as Fit, if not Necessary: At worst, if it do no way Oblige us; if neither Duty, nor Kindness bind us; yet at least we should be at full Liberty to do it, if we please.

But behold! We now find it a Command, but a Negative one. For every one is bound to Forbear it upon Such Sup­positions, as shall lay hold upon the far greatest part of man­kind. And if a Law be made for the Collective body; then must This needs be a Negative one; bicaus not one of a thousand can escape the Prohibition.

If it be said, That This Prohibition is but Suppositive; and between two such Propositions there is no Inconsist­ence; That it may very well be tru, that [If we be not wor­thy, we must not do it] I confess it, nor do I accuse this ad­mirable person of Inconsistency with Himself; but his two Suppositive Propositions of Conspiracy against our Lords Command. Bicaus the Former, if it pretend to contein the whole Command, Derogateth from it; and the Later plainly Countermandeth it. That, disableth it from O­bligeing Any to Do this; And This, maketh it Oblige al­most All men to Forbear it. The One falleth unreasonably Short of our Lords Command, and the Other more unrea­sonably Contradicts it.

[Page 244]IV. WE cannot now avoid the rudeness to demand a sight of the Warrant which may authorise any one, not onely thus to Limit, but Countermand our Lords Laws. It is an undoubted rule, Ubi lex non distinguit, non est distinguendum. And Those words which ar accused of it, we have sufficiently cleared from any such Crime. But to Countermand a Law, is much more than to Limit it; and for This, we have not yet seen the least Appearance of a Warrant; much less, so Clear, so Imperative, so Express an one, as may outvoice both our Lord and his Apostl.

Our Lords Command is Universal [Drink ye all of this] This Apostl's injunction is equivalently indefinite [Let a man eat this bread &c.] It is probabl our Lord admitted, (certain he Forbad not) Judas himself: And it is plain the Apostl Prohibited not, but Commanded the Corinthians them­selvs, bad thogh they wer. And if Either of them did at any Other time, either Repeal such unlimited Commands, or Prohibit their performance, to Any kind of Persons; when we see it, we shall submit.

Yea, (though we have no such Commission) we will take the boldness to conform, not only to an Explicit Pro­hibition, peremtorily saying, Do Not this; but any such word, as by Clear and Necessary Consequence, must Infer it.

If I say either our Lord, or This, or any Other Apostl, ever drop't a syllabl which is capable of being made a Me­dium, to forbid not onely the Most, but any One member of his Church to do this; thogh I shall think it as great a Mi­racle, as Either of them ever wroght; yet I shall Admire onely, not Oppose the Conviction.

But there is No such danger, the wonder bloweth from another point, even from the slightness of the Evidences (shall I call them) which ar brought against the whole weight of the Apostl's argument. Two loos words, cut off from their fellow members, and miserably rack't, that they [Page 245] may confess something against His or our Lords designe; a few precarios Allegories, and som shews of Probability, that our Lords Supper would be more honored, and his Ser­vice more promoted another way: These are the whole force we ar to contend with, and shall do it in the order now set down, beginning with, that which alone is worth regarding, Scripture.

And here I deny not the truth of the Supposition; if the Apostl hath said any thing which by necessary inference will forbid any one to Do this; it is as much as if he had said in express terms, [Do it not] But then the Inference must be Unavoidabl; and the saying whereon it is ground­ed, Uncapabl of any such sens, as may Comply with That Command, which it shall pretend to Weaken.

If once more we look upon the Apostl's dissertation, we shall find it to consist of Two main limbs, Positions and Deductions, which Depending upon These Positions, must by no means Contradict them.

The Positions (we have found) aim all at This, That Our Lord hath so inseparably inlayed His Supper upon all Church-meetings; that, as we May not; so, if we would, we Cannot part them.

The Inferences ar Two.

1. From Constancy in the One, he inferreth Constancy in the Other. Bicaus in All your meetings you eat This Bread, and drink This Cup, therefor in All your meetings you shew forth the Lords death by them. This Consequence we have all this while be'n proving to be his aim.

2. The Other Consequence argueth back again, from the Reverence due to our Lords Person, to Answerabl Re­verence due to his Representatives. Bicaus the Lords Bo­dy and Blood ar concerned in it, therefor you must not eat This bread and drink This cup Ʋnworthily.

And this he presseth by two important inferences; the Former setting forth the Crime in the 27 vers. The Later prescribing the Remedy in the 28. Upon these two, turn all the Interpretative Prohibitions, which must revers our Lords Command to DO this, and all his own forgoing ar­gument inforceing it.

For by the Former All Unworthy persons ar ipso facto excommunicated; and by the Later every one is bound therefor to examin himself, that if he find himself unworthy he may execute the sentence.

It must therefor needs be worth our Labor seriosly to en­quire into the true import of those two considerable words; which I shall do in their Order.

CHAP. II. Concerning Unworthiness.

I. What [Unworthy] importeth. 1. In it's singl significati­on. 1. In Grammar it is an Adverb. 2. In Logik a Rela­tive. II. The degree of the Crime not expressed, why? We need not be so fearful as the Papists. We deny not the Real Presence. III. 2. The Aspect of the word upon the Apostls designe. 1. Personal worthiness dishonourabl to our Lord. 2. Different from the Apostls mesure. IV. The Apostl oght to have warned the Corinthians of it. 1. For the Lord's Tables sake. 2. For his own arguments sake. V. 3. For the Corinthians sakes, who were such as oght to have be'n forbidden.

THE Former is set forth in vers. 27. He that eateth This Bread, and drinketh This Cup UN­WORTHILY, is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. And again, vers. 29. He that eat­eth [unworthily] eateth and drinketh damnation to himself. In the 27. is declared the Guilt, in the 29. the Punishment: And Both of them incurred by doing this UNWORTHILY.

Our main business therefor must be to mesur the import of the word [Unworthy]

And first we must view it, in it's Singl Interpretation, and then in its Aspect.

1. It's Singl import may be considered in Grammar and in Logik.

1. In Grammar we ar to consider, the Root and the Ter­mination.

[Page 248]1. The Root is [Worthy] which Rigidly importeth an Equality of worth; but in a Milder sens, is satisfied with som Proportion, thogh short of Full value.

The Chancery of the Gospel abateth much of what Strict Law requireth; Is satisfied with Suitablness, for Worthi­ness. This Allowance doth it perpetually give All such words as import Righteousness: And with This Latitude, doth our Apostl frequently use This very word. E. G. Eph. 4.1. Col. 1.10. Thes. 2.12. &c.

For if any one think he can in a Proper sens, Walk Worthy of the Gospel, Worthy of the Lord, or Worthy of God; That very thoght will make him Unworthy, of the mercy offer­ed by That Lord, in That Gospel.

2. The Termination speaketh it an Adverb, qualifying the Manner of the Action; Not an Adjective, subjected in the Agent: It is not He that eateth and drinketh, being [Unworthy] but he that doth it [Unworthily] however his Person be qualified.

The Difference between These two, is so Wide, so Evi­dent, and (in This place) so Important; that it could ne­ver escape such acute eys, as som of our adversaries enjoy, were they not muffled with that Proverbial partiality, which maketh None so blind, as him that will not see. For the first sight of it will expose the impertinence (as to This perfor­mance) of all those Schemes and Directories for Self-Exa­mination, which are so carefully set forth; as if it wer the same thing, to do this in a Manner worthy of the Office, and to make one's Self Worthy to be the Officer: This can never be too carefully observed.

I again insist upon it, that This Difference between UN­WORTHY and UNWORTHILY duely considered, will let in such light, as will abundantly discover, the ma­ny and great flaws in That hypothesis, to which so many good and wise men have so enslaved themselvs, that they ar somtimes (as we shall anon see a pitiful exampl) forced to offer violence to their ingenuity.

[Page 249]2. In Logik, it is a Relative; wherein beside the now considered Relation and Subject, is also considerabl, the Correlate, which is the Party concerned in the Worthiness or Unworthiness of the Action. And this is Generally, Grossly, and Unhappily mistaken for our Lords Person; whereas we have sufficiently proved it to be [This Bread, and This Cup.]

Bicause so much depends upon it, I again desire is may be considered, that the Apostl reproveth the Corinthians; just as a sober person would a rude Bully, if he should see him abuse a Justice of Peace, in execution of his Office.

‘Sir (might he say) Take heed what you do; you seem to take this Gentleman for your Equal, or (perhaps) your Inferior; but then are you mistaken; for This Gen­tleman, This plain Gentlman, what ever you think of him, represents the Kings person; And therefor the A­buses you offer Him, ar not private incivilities to an Or­dinary Person, but Publik Misdemeanors, &c.’

In such an Admonition, Nothing is intended to be urg­ed, but what needs it; viz. The Character of the Officer; which once known, the Nature of the Crime, and the Kings concern immediately appears.

II. THE Nature of the Crime; but it's Degree is not so plain: The Apostl in This place, by a most unusual stile, leaveth it to our Own Reasons to judge. He is guilty (saith he) of the Body and Blood of the Lord, but whether of Trampling it under foot, or only of Contemning it, or in what degree of Affronting it; the strange Ellipsis hath left uncertain.

This is very Certain, and no less Considerabl; That the affront which passeth through the Officers person, loseth much of it's force There; and cannot strike so strong upon the Kings, as if it were Directly and Immediately aimed at him.

The Character doth indeed dignify the Otherwise in­considerabl [Page 250] Person; But the Person hath it's Reaction up­on the Character. We make great allowances for the Meanness of the One, even when we pay our Honor to the Other. For we think not the same Aw due to the Justi­ce's Worship, as to the King's Majesty; nor do we judge the Crime Equally great, in the affront offered him.

As the Corinthians Crime had be'n much aggravated, so had the Apostl's own Argument be'n much strengthened; if he had not made This Bread This Cup, but our Lords body and bloud the proper object of the abuse.

Had therefor This Bread be'n the Proper Body, and this Cup the Proper Bloud of our Lord; he was now obli­ged both to Declare and Urge it. In a case so urgent, an Omission is equivalent to a Negative.

It was his business so to set forth the Dignity of This abused Bread and Cup; that by Proportion with it, their Guilt may be Aggravated. Would Truth have Consented, his Design would have Required him, to have raised his voice Higher.

He must have said, he that Eateth this Bread, and Drink­eth this Cup, eateth the body, and drinketh the bloud of the Lord; and not have com'n off with a Cold, Indefinite El­lipsis; which not expressing in What Measure, maketh no­thing plain but this, that it is in a measure much Inferior, and consequently his own argument much Weaker, than if he had declared them guilty of contemt to the body and bloud of Christ immediatly, by Using Them in such manner, as they did This Bread and This Cup.

Those indeed who still believ This Bread and This Cup, not to be our Lord's Representatives but Himself; may justly fear the Unworthiness, not only of their Persons, however carefully Prepared, but of their Worship too, however carefully Performed.

But we, who believ them no other than what the Apostl stileth them, even Then, when he most Studiosly▪ Re­commendeth them to our Reverence; when upon due Self-examination [Page 251] we find, how unworthy We ar to Receve our Lords body and bloud; may check our fears, by considering, how Vnworthy This Bread and This Cup ar to Represent them; not doubting but the same goodness, which be­stowed such honor upon the unworthy elements; will par­don and accept of Us, if we receve them in a Manner suit­able to their Office, tho not in a Degree worthy of his own Person.

Let me not be mistaken. I deny not the Reality of Christs presence in the Sacrament. When I call This Bread and Cup Representatives, I mean not, that our Lords body and bloud, ar thereby no otherwise Represented, than the Kings Per­son is by his Picture; which ar the proper goods of the Possessor, and may be treated according to his pleasure; or than a King is by a Stage-player, which only Imitateth, but Shareth not his power: But as the King is by his Offi­cer, who so Representeth his Person, as to Execute his Authority; with whom he is (tho not Personally, yet) Politikly present; Ratifying whatever he doth in his Name and stead.

This kind of Real presence our Lord himself promised, not to Affright but Incorage us. When two or three (said he) ar gathered together in my name, there am I in the mids of them, He meant doubtless no less than a Real presence; which must needs be most Eminent in Such assemblies as ar gathered together, not only in his Name, but upon his Invi­tation; And to make such a Promis, an argument to fright men away, is a strange way of honoring the Author.

From this dissection of the very words, we find, them fall very short of the force ascribed to them. They no way barr any man from Obedience, for want of Worthiness; Require not a Legal Worthiness in the Person coming; Make not the Person of Christ, the Object of the Wor­thiness required in the Performance. And upon the whole, make not the guilt of the Unworthy Performance equal to that of Disobedience; since This Directly affronteth our [Page 253] Lords Person, in his Command; That, only Indirectly, in his Representative.

III. VVE have said that the Anatomist is not only to vieu the Intrinsic Texture of the part dissected, but it's Serviceablness to the Life: to what therefor we have seen of the proper sens of the word, we shall add it's aspect upon the Apostls design, which will be a Further Evidence that he meant not so much as is gene­rally believed, bicause such supposal of Personal worthiness would have be'n, 1. very dishonorabl to our Lord, 2. very Deferent from that Mesure, himself stateth it by; and 3. very Unfaithful to the Corinthians, he requireth it of.

1. It wer a great DISHONOR to our Lord, to sup­pose it possibl, that any one can be Worthy; yea, or com within any Neerer distance than Infinite Unworthiness. For Worthiness is Relative; signifieth, if not Full Equality, yet som Proportion; between the Merit, and the Reward; the Fest, and the Guest: And, take which of the Corre­lates you please, you find a Saint reproving the concept.

To those that fear their Own Unworthiness, thus speak­eth St. Chrisostom, ‘Thou sayest thou art not worthy to Do this; neither art thou worthy to Pray, &c. We may go on, neither art thou worthy to Hear; So far art thou from being Worthy to take our Lords Body, that thou art not Worthy to take His Name into thy mouth; so far from Worthy to injoy his Bloud, that thou art not so, to injoy the light of the Sun, the fruits of the Earth, or any of those sensual delights, which Beasts may Injoy, but not Abuse as much as Thou.

On the other side, to those who fear the Greatness of the Sacrament, thus speaketh another Saint, ‘Thou abstainest from the Blessed Sacrament bicause it is a thing so sacred and formidabl, that thou not thinkest thy self worthy of it: well, suppose That: But I pray', who is worthy? Is an angel [Page 252] worthy enogh? No certainly, if we consider the greatness of the Mystery.’

Let us well consider these two Sayings, and their Rea­sonablness, and then judge of those so frequent phrases, A Worthy Communicant, A Worthy Guest, &c. whereby many unwary persons, ar more Scared, than with any thing derived from the word of God; which never taught us either to think so Slightly of our Lords Bloud, or so High­ly of our Selvs, as to believ it possibl by any endeavors to becom Worthy of it.

2. The vulgar sens is very different from that Mesure, the Apostl stateth the reproved Unworthiness by. He expresly caleth it a [not discerning the Lords body] [...], putting no difference between This, which our Lord de­clared his Own Body, and Common bread.

Our Learned Mede very well confirmeth the Jewish de­finition of Holiness, that it signifieth Separation; We Sanctify what we honor with Discrimination; and on the contrary we Profane, what we use as Common.

The heavenly vision confirmeth this, warning St. Peter from an Error in opinion, analogos to this Crime.

What God hath sanctified, that call not thou Common; To call Common, and Unclean, was all one in St. Peters sens; and not to discern the Lords body from Common bread, is all one as to Desecrate it, in St. Pauls.

And this he so presseth upon the Corinthians, as dubly to convince them. What (saith he) Have ye not houses to eat and to drink in, or despise ye the Church of God and shame them that have not? Possibly he might urge this, not as Ano­ther Crime, but as an Evidence of their unexcusablness in the Former.

They might (perhaps) plead Ignorance in That; but in This they could not: For thogh (possibly) they might not understand that they were obliged to Discern This Bread as the Lords body; yet must they needs know, they [Page 254] oght to Discern the Church as his Hous. If they knew it not to be Sacrilege, to make the Lords Cup an instrument of drunkenness; they could not but know it so, to make his Hous a Tavern.

With what partiality do som (for som others do not) treat these two parts of the Apostls reproof? With what Colossik strides do they reach both sides of Superstition? On one side they dread the Lords Supper, for want of worthiness in Themselvs; on the other side, they fear to own any reverence toward Gods Hous, for want of worthiness in It? How do they rob Peter and cloath Paul? make the Lords Hous Common, that they may dubly Sanctify his Tabl? And all the while the Apostl makes This the Corinthians crime, that they discriminated not the Lords Body from Common Bread; and This, either another Instance, or an Evidence of their Profaneness, that they discriminated not his Church, from their Own houses.

But I may not now insist upon Any other error, than That of the Corinthians, which the Apostl saith consisted in This, That they So used our Lords Body and his Hous, as if they had Both be'n Common.

He chargeth them not Here (thogh elswhere he do) with any Other crime, but such as Directly and Immediately, desecrate the One and the Other, and that in This very exercise: Taketh no notice of their Other habitual vices, confineth his charge to This performance, in This place: Forbiddeth not to approach either the Lords Table or his Hous, bicaus they ar intemperate at their Own.

Yea, he So expresseth himself as if he would even Compound with them, indulge them their Domestik de­baucheries, provided they would forbear them Here.

Not that indeed he Justifyeth what he elswhere plainly enogh Condemneth; but to aggravate This incomparably Greater wickedness; whereof the Sacrilege so Exceedeth, as even to Hide the Immorality.

The Glutton is guilty of the Flesh of his Beast, and the Drunkard of the Bloud of the Grape; but the Unworthy [Page 255] Communicant, of the Body and Bloud of the Lord.

To be drunk with Common Wine in a Common Hous, is to abuse both Gods Benefits, and ones Own Body; but to Desecrate the Lords Hous into a Tavern, and his Bloud into a Cup of Drunkenness; to make That the In­strument, and This the Scene of Leudness; is a wicked­ness not only above Drunkenness, but even above Sacrilege it self: As it hath no Match, so it hath no Name.

If therefor you will not divorce your beloved debauche­ries, if you will needs be eating and drinking intempe­rately; yet know your Place; do not heap Sacrilege upon Lust, make not the Lords Hous, yea his very Body and Bloud, Servants to the leudness they would Check.

This is the Utmost reach of the Apostls reproof. It comprehendeth (indeed) not only the Lords Table, but his whole Hous Yet breaketh not open any Private one: Judgeth no Other unworthiness but of This Performance; Requireth a Difference, not between one Communicant and another; but between This, and other Places, and Suppers: and Consequently Forbiddeth not Any Person to Do This, which we have found All indifferently obliged to Do: but forbiddeth Every one to Do It in such a Man­ner, as shall make That Common, which our Lord hath Sanctified.

IV. 3. THE Apostl must be mortally unfaithful to his Corinthians, if upon so urgent an Occasion he did not warn them in Terms as Plain, as the Crime (if any) must be Great.

I say [upon so Urgent an Occasion] for a most Urgent one it is, Whether we look upon the 1. Lords Supper, which he professedly endeavoreth to rescu from Profanation, 2. the Argument whereby he laboreth to do it; or 3. the Persons to whom he addresseth all.

[Page 256]1. He professeth to rescu the Lords Tabl from Profana­tion, and to That End, to Close it with such a Rail, as shall Fence it from abuse: If therefor he leaves that rail so wide, as to Admit Such persons, as he oght to have kept out; he must be dubly and inexcusably unfaithful; both to the Lords tabl, which he shall so have exposed to dishonor; and to All those souls, which finding no contrary warning, may com to it, with as great Sincerity as Danger.

If I find this the Purlieus of the Corinthians guilt, that they Distinguished not the Lords Body; then may I be secure of One of those Two; Either he who distinguish­eth the Lords Body, is free from This, how full soever he may be of Other Crimes; Or the Apostl must be More guilty than the most Unworthy Communicant; since, pro­fessing to shew the True Extent of the Danger, he warned them, not to distinguish between Persons, Worthy and Unworthy; but between This and Common Bread.

Were his words Ambiguos, yet must they here cary a sens usual; in a case so Important, he oght to have Ex­plained, how much they must Now signify, above what at All other Times, and by All Persons, is ascribed to them, and which can Intend No more but This: That every one is obliged, So to Distinguish between the Lords Supper and his Own; as to shun Those indecencies, which ar ordinary in Private Houses.

2. He must be no less unfaithful to his Own Argument: bicaus contrary to all Reason, he must have neglected to strengthen it with the most Considerabl and Obvios Cor­roboration.

For if the exclusion of Unworthy Persons, wer as agree­abl to our Lords Institution; as the Consequence would have be'n serviceabl to his Own Purpose; he Might, and therefor Oght, to have urged it, and so put the holy Sa­crament at the Greatest and Safest distance from profa­nation.

For if none must com to This Table, who abuse their Own; it will be out of danger of any Other abuse, than Desertion: If none drink This Cup, who is ever drunk with Common Wine; it will be secure from Pro­moting the Drunkenness which it cannot Tolerate; If none Partake This Bread, who break not Their Own to the hungry; there will be no more danger, that any one shall be hungry, than that any other shall be drunken. And since the Apostl was now obliged to speak whatever Truth would permit, we ar reduced to This choice; whether He wer fals to the Lords Supper, his Own Argument, and his Disciples souls? or whether it be (Not Forbidden to every Unworthy Person, but) enjoined to every one, thogh as un­worthy as wer the Corinthians, to Do this.

3. The Persons to whom this reproof is addressed, wer such as may induce us to believ, that Gods Providence con­curred with the Apostl's Words, to prevent any possibility of believing what we now dispute against. For they wer the Corinthians, a peopl of all other the most Obnoxios, Proverbially Infamos for debaucheries.

This City vyed with Sodom, as for fulness of bread, so for excess of Leudness, and dismalness of Destruction. Yea, so strangely inseparabl was Luxury from every thing of Corinth; so much more incurabl, than that strange Le­prosy of Jewish houses; that the very Burning of the City, did not Purge, but Propagate it.

The confusion of Metals, melted by the raging flames from her multitude of rich Statues, made That famos mix­ture, which by the luxurios Romans, was preferred above Gold it self, as a more precios mater for their drinking cups; and to be Supremely Luxurios, something of Co­rinth must contribute: Yet was not Leudness conveyed away with her Metals, nor the Leprosy destroyed with her Houses; when it had infected Rome her self, it still stuck to the very Site of the place. For when the most advan­tageos [Page 258] situation temted Caesar to rebild it, New-Corinth soon vyed with the Old, as in Riches, so in Leudness.

Look we no further than This Epistl; we find the Apo­stle endeavors to write as Obligingly as possibl; yet con­strained to take notice of more sins in Them, than in any Other peopl.

Look we no furthar than This Dissertation; we find such Supremacy of Prophaneness, as may well be Yoked with their otherwise matchless Fornication; Both of them such, as ar not named among the Gentiles, not to be found, but at Corinth only.

This so Debauched peopl how doth the Apostl Reprove? How doth he Warn them from the Lords table? Now, sure, if ever must the sentence of Excommunication thun­der: Now must the Apostl plainly tell them, that unless they leave their Riot, their Factions, their Fornication, and All Other their Carnalities; they ar not Worthy, and therefor may not Presume, to tast of the Lords Supper.

But behold! the either Negligent or Ignorant Apostl, droppeth not a syllabl of all this Unworthiness; Urgeth No other Prophaneness, but what terminated in This Perform­ance, as it's Proper object.

What shall we now say? Were the Corinthians such Worthy Communicants, as partook no less the Lord's Spi­rit, than His Supper? Yea, were Those very Persons, Worthy to receve it, who receved it so Unworthily? Or was the Apostl so Careful, to describe their Crime, and to assert the Dignity of the profaned Sacrament; and yet so Negligent, as not to allow the least Mention, or so much as intimation, of what was so Necessary for the due Under­standing of Both? but on the contrary so Bold, as to Urge them to com, when so many must by so doing, becom Guilty of the crime he reproveth?

Where now? Where? Where ar those clear Prohibi­tions, that plain Counte [...]and, which Now if Ever, must silence our Lords [Do this?]

Why doth the Apostl take such Cold notice of their Notorios Domestik Leudness as if he seemed to Approve it? Why did he in such Scandalos persons, censure at This time No other sins; but such as they cemmitted in the very Church, at the very Altar? Why did he not af­ford One poor word, to warn them of the Danger, which himself Betrayed them to, if the Unworthiness of the Per­son could bring them any?

I say if there wer any such Danger, as is now believed; himself Betrayed his disciples into it. For he was not only a silent Spectator, did not only Permit, but Com­mand, the most Debauched Corinthians, (whom he oght to have Forbidden) without Warning them of any Other Danger, than they might well have avoided; not by living Alway Worthy, but by performing This One Action in a worthy Manner; not by such Constant Sobriety as might enable their Own houses to emulate that of God; but by behaving themselvs so Reverently in the Church, as to Dis­criminate It from their Own Houses.

CHAP. III. Of Self Examination.

I. How Self examination is usually pressed. II. The questi- is not indefinite, but confined to the Present occasion; and the answer is dubl. 1. Negative. III. 2. Positive. IV. The true question concerning which we must examin our selvs.

HAVING thus, upon full examination, found that the Crime lieth not in the Unworthiness of the Person, but of the Manner of his Per­formance; the Constancy we plead for, seem­eth already free, as well from the Second as the First pre­tended Prohibition.

For if in That the Apostl did not warn the Corinthians from Doing This by reason of the Unworthiness of their Persons; but only from doing it in a Manner Ʋnworthy of the Lords Supper; Then, in This, wherein Self-exami­nation is prescribed as a Remedy, he doth not Therefor require us to Examin our selvs, that we may Forbear if we find our Selvs Ʋnworthy: But Therefor, that duly weigh­ing within our considerations the dignity of This Bread and This Cup; which at That Time did, and at All Times oght to attend upon All Church Meetings; we may There­in behave our Selfs with Reverence suitabl.

So that strictly speaking, our Self-examination is not to work Backward upon what we have do'n, that so we may know whether we be worthy or no; but Forward upon what we ar now to do.

Yet bicause the Gramatical sens of the word [Examin­ing a mans self] seemeth to import More; and it's Utmost [Page 261] importance is bound upon us with all possibl Rigor; That we may leav Nothing unanswered, let us hear how This is urged, as an implicit Prohibition from the Duty who's Dignity it is to secure.

And here according to my wont, I shall give you the very words of the most Excellent adversary.

‘To what purpose is it, but in case he find himself unfit, to abstain and forbear to com. For if he comes UNWOR­THY, he dies for it: and therefor to examin, must signify, Let a man examin himself so, that he be approved, &c.

It's worth both our Observation and Pity, how hard this worthy person is put to it, to bend the Apostl's Words to a compliance with his Own Opinion, and at last to Break a stubborn one, that will not be Flexibl.

[UNWORTHILY] is turned to [UNWORTHY] The Former was utterly Unserviceabl, it must therefor ne­cessarily be changed, that with it the state of the Danger, and it's Remedy, i. e. the whole affair, may be Changed also.

This Sole consideration is enogh to ruine the whole su­perstructure; so that we might well supersede any further enquiry. But we will leav nothing unanswered, and there­for proceed to examin, whether the Bilding be better than the Foundation.

I will not fence with the word [...]. Let it (for me) signify as it is translated, and the Most too, that so it can import. But what then? To what purpose (asks our author) should a man examin himself?

I answer, that whether we look Far or Neer, we cannot miss of Purposes sufficient. If we look far off, to the days of old, Both Philosophers among the Heathen, and Fathers a­mong Christians, recommend This exercise, as most useful to Excellent, thogh Other purposes. But we need not go so Far, nor any Farther than the Same book which asks the question.

The end (saith it) of Examination is, that 1. We griev [Page 262] for all our sins. 2. That we resolv to amend all. 3. That we actually watch and pray against all.

And further, to recommend Frequency in this exercise, he reckoneth several fruits of it, ‘The oftener (saith he) we recollect our selvs, 1. The more weaknesses we shall observ, and 2. more faults correct, and 3. watch the better, and 4. Repent more perfectly, and 5. offend less, and 6. be more prepared for death, and 7. be more humbl, and 8. with ease prevent the contracting of evil habits, and 9. interrupt the union of litl sins into a chain of death, and 10. more readily prevail upon our passions, 11. better understand our selvs, and 12. more frequently convers with God, and 13. oftener pray, and 14. have a more heavenly conversation, and in fine 15. be more fitted for a frequent and holy Communion.’ By This time one would think the Question abundantly an­swered by the Proponent Himself: Yet may we go on, for 16. we shall stand in aw of our selvs and not sin in private, Ps. 4. and 17. we shall rejoice in our selvs and not in others, Gal. 6.4. and 18. searching our ways turn to God, Lam. 3.40. and 19. by seeing our progress already made, take corage to go on, and 20. Praise God for grace already receved, &c.

Now I hope we may take breath. It is not to Every question that we can give answers by the Score. But This is so fruitful, that none can better Furnish or Deserv a vo­lum. And it might better be proposed negatively, if the answer be to be difficult; To that good purpose doth it Not serv?

All Wise men agree, that it is the proper exercise of Wisdom: all Pios men, that it is the greatest promoter of Piety. It Weedeth out all wickedness, Planteth and Wa­tereth all graces: Were there no other reason but it's ex­cellent Usefulness, had not our Lord injoined, nor the Apostl pressed Constancy, in a performance to which so serviceabl an exercise is annexed; The very regard of the many Purposes to which it serveth, would have sufficiently recommended it.

[Page 263]II. BUT the true question at This time is, not Con­cerning it's Absolute Usefulness at Any time, But it's Pertinence to This particular office.

To what purpose Now? Now above Other times? Be­fore This, rather then Other exercises?

My swer shall be dubl.

  • 1. To shew the weakness of the consequence intended, I an­swer Negatively.
  • 2. To clear the Apostl's meaning, I answer Positively.

1. NEGATIVELY, I answer, that to examin a mans self before he do Such or Such an action, doth not import a Forbearance of That action, if upon such Exa­mination he do not approve himself: And in the place now under ey, there is not the least Intimation in the Words, nor the least Reason in the Context, to make it probabl, that the Apostl So intended, but much to the Contrary.

And here I take our worthy Author at his word. It is a Relative duty and nothing of it's self; for no man is the better for being examined if there follow nothing after it.’ True, but we have found it attended with so Large and Noble a train of good consequences, that we cannot say Nothing follows it, tho Forbearance from this duty make not One in the number: Sure it is, the Apostl hath here no service for This Forbearance, but rather excludes it.

When Pythagoras again and again importuneth his dis­ciples, that before they suffer their eyes to sleep, they thrice examin themselvs concerning the past days actions; he was never thoght to forbid them to sleep, unless upon such re­peted examination, they approved themselvs Do you now ask to what purpose it is So to examin? he swears by the highest, that it is the way to a divine life.

When Seneca giveth account of his own constancy in this exercise, he expresly declareth the effect was to warn him­self; saying, take heed, do so no more, for this time I par­don thee. Do you now ask to what purpose? You see, not [Page 264] to Condemn, but to Pardon and Admonish ones self.

What? Is there no other fruit of Self-examination, but Self-excommunication? Doth Religion, Doth the pardon­ing Gospel, more disable us from Pardoning our selvs, than Reason did Seneca?

But what need we look so far? The Apostl is of age, let him answer himself. Doth he say [Let a man examin him­self whether he be Worthy or no? and accordingly Com or Fearbear?] Yea, doth he speak in Pythagoras's stile? Doth he say [Let not any man eat this bread, till he have examined and approved himself.] This would sound so Like a Prohibition, that He might be excusabl, who should so understand it:

And wer we so to have be'n forbidden, it had be'n ne­cessary (as we have already pleaded) that the Prohibition should have be'n as express as our Lords Command; and not so Ambiguos that an honest heart might miss it. But here is nothing of such an aspect. Yea

He is equally positive for Both Performances, [Let a man Eat] is no less Imperative, than [Let a man examin himself.] He Equally injoineth Both, and therefor Both ar Equally Necessary; and any man may as lawfully forbear the One as the Other; and Both, as Either.

What therefor he hath so Joined together, no man may Put Asunder; yea, what he hath made Subordinate, no man may make Opposite.

For it is further considerabl, that Those two duties ar not Yoked together as Equals (which (yet) had be'n suffi­cient to forbid the One to draw contrary to the Other) but ar Subordinate, as Lord and Servant.

Examination, however excellent a duty, hath Here no other Place or Business, but to serv This favorite exercise; and we may now take up our Saviors argument; Eating was not made for Examination, but Examination for Eating; wherefor Eating is Lord also of Examination: And that the Servant should drive the Lord out of his Own doors [Page 265] and estate; is not more against Justice; than it is against the Apostl's intention, that Examination should barr a man from Eating.

If therefor any one persist in examining Examination it self, urging [To what purpose?] This may well be the first claus of the answer, That it must Not be to so unreason­able a purpose, as to Forbid the Performance it oght to serv: and we may proceed to

III. 2. OUR Positive answer to clear the Apostl's meaning His Purpose is to serv his main Design; to prevent the Sin, he Pleadeth against, and the Error, he Disputeth against.

If they knew not, that thogh Lords Supper was concerned in Those their meetings; he warns them of the danger of omitting the indispensibl duty, by [So let him Eat.] If they knew it, and yet feared not to Profane it; he warns them of that That danger, by [Let a man examin him­self.]

I ask not now [to what purpose] but Upon what Subject must we examin our selvs?

It is [we ar told] a Relative duty; Whereto then must it Relate? Relata must be aequalia; and for That reason we must Mesure the One by the Other.

If a Murderer be brought to examination, and the offi­cer examin him concerning Adultery, or concerning som School-probleme, &c. we might perhaps commend his Di­ligence, but (sure) not his Wisdom.

That therefor we may duly perform This exercise, we must first examin the Design; and then Our Selvs, in or­der Thereto.

The Design is apparently the Prevention of That sin whereof the Corinthians wer guilty. That Sin was their [not discerning the Lords body] nor treating it with such Distance, as oght to have be'n put between That and Com­mon bread: but abusing his Flesh and Bloud in his Church, [Page 266] with the same rudeness, as they did That of their Cattel and their Grape in theit Own Houses.

This was the Sore, and to This must the Plaster be fit­ted. Why must the Plaster be so much larger than the Sore? Why must we examin our selvs concerning such Actions, or Worthiness; whose knowledge hath no As­pect upon this Performance, but only Opposit and Malig­nant? Such an Examination as shall excommunicat, if not the Whole, certainly the Greatest part of mankind?

He that shall most carefully perform his examination; first in That manner, which the Apostl prescribeth, by Dis­cerning the infinite Distance of dignity, between the Lords table and his Own: and then in That Manner that our Worthy Author prescribeth, between our Lords Body, and his Own Soul; tho he be the Best of his age, yea, the best (our Lord only excepted) that ever was, will most clearly discover, not only that he is Now Unworthy; but that he must despere Ever to be Otherwise.

Since then the Best Examination, of the Best Person, will carry him, not only Beyond, but Contrary to the Apostl's Design; Since it will put such an Inconsistency between the Two Precepts, that [Let a man examin him­self] will inferr [Let him Not Eat] and since the Apostl doth not in any kind Intimate, that our Worthiness, but plainly Declare that our Differencing This from Common bread and wine, is to be subject of our Examination;

IV. HIS Meaning in the words now under vieu, can be no More, nor Other than This, Let a man examin himself, whether he well Understand, and Consi­der, what he is about to Do? Whether he put the due Estimate upon what he is about to Receve? Whether he put as great Difference between the Lords supper and a Common fest; as there is between the vertues of a litl Common Bread and Wine, and those of the Body and Bloud of Christ? Whether he go to gratify his sensual appetite, with Eating [Page 267] and Drinking? or to comply with his governors or neighbors, in communicating with them? or to fest his soul with Thankfulness and Love toward his crucified Savior, with Joy and Delight in Communion with him, and such other acts of devotion as so Holy an office requireth?

Let a man well examin himself concerning this, and So let him Eat, with appetites suitabl.

This I say is all that the Apostl's Design can Permit, or his Words Declare him to mean, by [Let a man examin himself] He requireth us to look Forward, not Backward; upon what we ar Going to do, in the Church, not upon what we Have already do'n there, or elswhere; upon the Difference, between This and Other Bread; not upon That, between Our Own and Other mens souls.

Yet to prevent misconstructions I add this Proviso: That I neither pretend to disparage the most Severe self-ex­amination, as it takes account of our Past actions, and Pre­sent state of soul; (For I dare swear with Pythagoras, that it is the high-way to divine life): Nor to deny that our ap­proch to This holy supper, is the Most Proper season, for This most Excellent exercise (For he that best performeth the One, will undoubtedly best perform the Other.)

All that I deny is this, That the Apostl, in This place, setteth up Examining our selvs, against Obeying our Lord; so as to Forbid any one to Eat, if upon examination he find himself Unworthy.

And I further add (thohg I have no such need) that if it wer Doubtful, yea if it wer highly Probabl; If he had so worded his precept, that in a Plausibl appearance, it might signify som such intention; yet is not a Probabl Sound of any One expression, worthy to be ballanced, against so Express a command of our Lord, and so industrious an En­deavor of the same Apostl to urge it, as we have found in the Context. For it is Good Law, and Good Reason, that no Law can be repeled but by Express terms; and there­for I still insist upon my demand; Where is that Express [Page 268] [DO NOT] which may Countermand our Lords [DO THIS.]

CHAP. IV. Answereth Reason, Objecting Allegories.

I. A Transition from Scriptur to Reason, and by the way no­tice taken of Allegories of a midl Nature between both. II. The Allegory of Covenant and Seal answered and re­torted. III. The Allegory of Member likewise answered. IV. The Allegory of Sons▪ and Enemies. V. A General an­swer to all objections of this kind.

I. I HAVE now do'n what I proposed as Necessary, and all that I conceve Possibl, for a full discovery of the Apostl's meaning, in That unhappy discours, which as it is the Only Comment we have upon our Lords Institution; so hath shared it's sufferings; somtimes Mu­tilated, somtimes Racked, somtimes Rob'd of it's due sens, somtimes Laden with more than it can bear; and by all ways Tormented; that it may say somthing in Justifi­cation of That Omission, which he designed to Prevent or Condemn.

I have given so regular and exact account of every Word, and every Aspect of words; that as I am sure no man ever Hath, so I may boldly believ no man ever Will, match it with any other. I have acted Both parts, Opponent and Respondent: On That side, I have traced the Process of his Argument, Viewed every Design, and every Medium, and every Claus, as it servs either in the One or the Other [Page 269] Office. On This side, I have reduced the Inferences from Contradicting, to Serving the Positions they depend on.

I have shewen, that as the Former half which contein­eth Positions, hath be'n so Robbed of it's due, that it can­not make good the charge in the Universality, wherein it is laid down; So hath the Later half be'n Rack't, that it may speak more, than either the words can bear, or the A­postl's designe suffer.

That he cannot intend to Forbid Every person that find­eth himself Unworthy; or to make Self-examination an Hinderance to the Performance which it is to Serv. And I may boldly say, that in the Former half, there is not a word which doth not Help; in the Later half, there is not any that Hinders the obligation of Constancy in Every un­excommunicate person; obliged by Every word, disobliged by None.

If therefor we will appeal to Scripture, and take the re­gular way to Understand it; we ar upon as Secure ground, as any Rules can make us, Yet shall we quit This place of Advantage, and descend to the Plain field, allowing Rea­son to plead, what it can to the contrary.

But before we can reach the Plain, we ar encountered with a Midl sort of Evidences (shall I call them) or Co­lors, laid upon Scripture ground; precarios Allegories, im­proved to a pretence of Reason.

These, since they ar mere Colors, no better Subjected, than in Allegories; must for That very reason, be Insuf­ficient to Convince us of Any thing but This, that Those who make use of Such arguments, want Better.

II. SOMETIMES we ar told that This Sacrament is the Seal of the New Covenant, and we ought not to see Gods Seal to a Blank &c.

In this Plea ther ar two terms, by explication whereof we ar to understand its force. 1. Covenant. 2. Seal.

[Page 270]1. COVENANT, This Notion we must not contemn, bicaus it carrieth our Lords authority. This (saith He) is the cup of the New Testament (or Covenant) in My bloud; plainly ballanceing the New Covenant, against the Old; and his Own Bloud against that of the sacrificed Heifer, which we find stiled the bloud of sprinkling.

This therefor must be so Sprinkled, as That was, upon the Whole promiscuos Peopl; not to distinguish the Elect from the Reprobate; but as Then the Jew, so Now the Chri­stian, from a Heathen, &c.

Even in the Old Covenant ther was Flesh and Spirit, the Seed of the Loins, and the Seed of the Faith. He was not a Jew which was one Outwardly, and Circumcision was not of the Flesh, but the Spirit, whose Praise was not of Man but of God.

Yet that outward Performance which had no Praise, if unaccompanied with the Spirit, was Necessary, even with­out it; sufficient to Condemn if Omitted, thogh not suf­ficient to Approve it Naked.

Thus was it in the Old, and thus is it in the New Co­venant: The Sacraments ar Outwatd badges; every Visibl Christian must wear them, that his Profession may be Vi­sibl; but No man may Rest in them, as sufficient for Salva­tion.

For Those only have a right to the Promises of the Cove­nant, who perform it's Condicions: to All the rest, the Covenant is lost; and consequently, so ar the Seals. Yet doth This no more Prohibit, or Dispens, with a mere Out­ward Christan, to receve the Sacrament; than it did a Jew, to receve Circumcision, keep the Sabath, or wear any other Cognisance prescribed by the Law. And

2. TO SEAL a Covenant, importeth an Obligation for the Future, not an Account of the Past. The Apostl tells the Galations, that He that is Circumcised is a debter to keep the whole Law; not that he is discharged, as having Kept it.

We therefor most willingly grant what ever the Allego­ry demands, viz. That by Doing This, we new Seal the Co­venant made in Baptism. Repete all our Vows, New tye all our Obligations, which our Corruptions or Infirmities, may have slackened since the last Sacrament.

But to say, that bicaus This is the Seal of the Covenant, therefor none may receve it, who hath not already perform­ed all it's Articls; is to say, that no man may seal an In­denture, who hath not already do'n what thereby he Cove­nanteth to do. i. e. It is not Lawful, 'till it be Needless.

LET the otherwise minded be requested to consider. Ar not all the congregations promiscuos, obliged to make pubik profession of their Faith? And doth not Faith import Holiness? Where then is the Difference, what the Reason, why he who is not in Covenant in the strictest sens, may not as well Communicate in the Lords Supper; as he who hath not Faith in the strictest sens, may Profess his belief. I can shew a reason why he may Better do it; but can ima­gin none, why he may not do it as Well.

He that publikly maketh Profession of his Faith, declareth himself to Have Faith: and if he have it not, he is a Lyar, a notorios Lyar, a solen Lyar, in the face of God and his An­gels. But he that Receveth the Sacrament, maketh no such bost: Vaunteth not as the Young man in the Gospel, All these have I kept from my youth up. Saith not I have Paid, but I am a Debtor to the whole Gospel; and thankfully embrace it's gratios offers, made by my Lord, and purchased with his Bloud.

This is plain Sens, and This is constant Practice. If therefor it be a kind of Forgery, to set this Seal to a Blank; it is no less Criminal, to Tear it off from our Lords Charter, which giveth every Visibl Christian a Right to it.

III. AT OTHER times we ar told, we ar not to par­take our Lords Body, if we be not his Members; and his Members we ar not, if we have not his Spirit.

Be it so, This will not exclude Any Christian; For St. John saith: Hereby know we the Spirit of God. Every Spi­rit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is com'n in the flesh, is of God: by which we perceive, what Latitude the word Spirit is capabl of, and what force there is in the Allegory.

That the whole Body and every particular Member, must partake the same Flesh and Bloud, the whole Crearion forbids us to deny: That the Church is the body of Christ, and every one of us Members in particular, the Apostl hath expressly taght us: The conclusion must needs be, that the celebration of This Sacrament, is the Duty, both of e­very Church, and every Member.

The Administration of Sacraments is generally acknow­ledged an essential requisite of a true Church; and it must be very strange, if the Reception of them, should not be so of a true Member of such a Church.

BUT as it is in All Natural bodies, so is it in This My­stical. Every Member must have both Outward Frame, and Inward Spirits, answerabl to its place in the Body, and its relation to the Head. And every Member of Christ must answer it's relation, both by an Outward Profession, and In­ward Life; whereof thogh the Former be Insufficient with­out the Later; yet is it Necessary, in Order thereto. For by outward Offices of worship, we do not onely Exercise spi­ritual life, when we have it; but Dispose our selvs to At­tein it.

So there is a Two fold Membership: By the One we Ptofess our selvs Christians, by the Other we Are so: Yea, by That very Profession, we Ar so far So, as to be both Intitl­ed to all Priviledges, and Obliged to all Duties, which be­long to Members of Christ.

IV. AGAIN we ar told, That This is the Bread of Sons and must not be given to Enemies.

The Former claus, if the Syrophaenician woman hath not answered, our Lord himself hath: For in directing us to [Page 273] call God Father, he hath given as a right to the Bread, as well as the title of Sons. And to the Later, the Apostl hath furnished us with an answer. For if when we wer Ene­mies Christ died for us; if our Enmity did not hinder him from giving us his Bloud it self; much less will it, from allowing us it's Representative.

Our Catechism teacheth us to say, I was by Baptism made a Member of Christ, a Child of God, and an Inheritor of the Kingdom of heaven. And though we know that the washing away of the filth of the flesh, will be far from Saving us, if we answer it not by a good conscience toward God: Yet is every Baptised and Unexcommunicate person, however unwor­thy, admitted to the priviledge of joining with the Church, in All such Offices, as call God our Father, and Christ our Head: And All such persons ar honored by the title of Faithful, in the writings of the Apostl's and Primitive Fa­thers.

Baptism is urged as necessary to incorporate into Christs visibl body, even those who ar not capabl to understand it. Hearing is pressed as a duty upon those who receve not the truth in the Love thereof. Prayer is required even of those, who by their actions shew themselvs not to be the Sons of God, and therefor when they pray may not properly say, Our Father.

This is no less a Sacrament, than Baptism; and more a worship of Christ, than either Hearing or Praying. Yea, All other Offices put together, do not so much advance his Per­sonal honor as this One. And is it not strange, that when All the rest ar required, This alone should be Prohibited? and That, upon no other reason, but what is common to All? And being put home, will no less rob Christ of All honor, than his Members of all Priviledges?

V. THIS therefore is our General answer to All Objections of This kind. Many ar called, but few chosen. Outward Offices belong to the Called, Inward be­nefits, [Page 274] to the Chosen. The Former ar both ways condemn­ed, whether they neglect to joyn with the Church of Christ in open Profession, or by the unsuitablness of their Lives, giv the Ly to That Profession.

And This differeth no otherwise from Other Offices, but in This, That our Saviors Person is more honored by it: and if it require so much the greater care in the Manner, so doth it also in the Thing; if we must be so much the more careful How we Do it, so must we be, That do not Omit it.

And this is sufficient not only to Answer, but make Ex­amples of all those Allegorical Objections; which indeed I should hardly have taken such notice of, did they not serv as Illustrations of our duty. For to no other purpose do our adversaries produce them. These ar but their Velites, their main strength follows.

CHAP. V. Reason (as the case now standeth) forbids, to hazard the very being of the Sacrament for advancement of Reverence.

I. A Descent from Scripture to Reason. The case now differ­ent from what it was formerly. II. 1. Bicause the very Being of the Sacrament is hazarded. III. Every step from Constancy, an approche to That danger. At first the Prohi­bition lay onely against singl persons, not qualities; and a­gainst Persons by sentence of the Bishop. IV. From sins gros­ly scandalos a pass made to All sins. The moderation of the Church of England. V. Motives to bring tepid persons to the Sacrament, not potent. VI. A comparison of such Do­ctrines as endanger the Being, with such practices as profane the Sacrament. 1. Somthing is better than Nothing. More hope of reformation. A Protest against encorageing irrever­ence. Three good ends laid down, which the Sacrament is fit to promote, but disabled by disuse.

WHATEVER we have hitherto seen, either of Scripture or Reason thereupon bilt, hath be'n so short of worthy to be ballanced against our Lords Command, his Apostl's Explication, or his Churches Tra­dition; that I cannot think it credibl, any one hath thereby be'n induced to entertene a thoght preju­dicial to them. But rather, that Pios persons finding the Sacrament to have lost much of it's honor, and it's power, by so Constant exercise; conceving it might be both more Serviceabl to Godliness, and more Esteemed it Self, if it [Page 276] had more Aw with less Frequence; and encoraged by the exampl of Former Ages, who for the like reasons had made great alterations: took Those Examples for their Guides, and Those good Intentions for their Mesures; and wer more industrios to interpret the Scriptures by such good Ends; than to conform their Doctrines to the Scriptures; now grown obscure, and hardly intelligibl, by loss of That Key which alone was capable to unlock them.

It is therefor now made a point of Discretion, and that I may pay our Lord the Honor due to his Wisdom, as well as the Obedience due to his Command; I must from the un­deniabl authority of Scripture proceed to consider what Reason will determin.

I must therefor now suppose (what I have all this while be'n disproving) that the Indulged sens of the disputed words, is the True one; that they give an ampl Commis­sion to govern our (Obedience I was wont to say, I now say) Performance, by our Discretion. I must further grant (what I wish I could deny) that we cannot be sure to pre­serv our Reverence to the Institution, without quitting, not only rigid Constancy, but Tolerabl Frequency; and upon These disadvantages com to this humbl question:

Whether the case standing as now it doth, it will more conduce to the Service of the Sacrament and it's Author; to receve it seldom, if at all; than Constantly or Frequently?

I say [the case standing as now it doth] For I think I can never too often profess, that I exalt not my self against those Venerable persons, whether of the last or former ages; who wer they now living, would (doubtless) change their an­swer to the question, with the changed state of the Subject.

II. AND FIRST I take it for very considerabl, that the difference between the State of the question Now, and Heretofore, is the same as Caesar declared be­tween the battail of Munda and Other battails; In Others, he fought for Honor; in That, for Life. And questionless, [Page 277] Those who thinking it Secure from total Desertion, thoght fit to Hazard somewhar of Frequency; would not have Ex­posed the very Being of so great a Duty, if they had imagin­ed it in danger.

It is the singular unhappiness of This onely Office; that it is laid aside upon pretence it cannot defend it self. There is the same danger in Hearing or Praying, as in Receiving Un­worthily. That is by the Apostl declared a Savor of death unto death; and This by the Wise man is stiled an Abomina­tion: Yet is That still preached, and This still practised. Be they never so ill used by their Enemies, they ar not therefor deserted by their Friends, bicaus unprosperos.

If it be pleaded, that the Sacrament is not Laid aside as Ʋseless, but Lock't up as Precios: I answer, that I very well remember, when to Secure a person signified to Imprison him; and in This case, whatever the Intention be, the Effect is the same. Action is the very Being of the Sacrament, from which if it be lock't up, it is lost, both to it's self, and all other purposes; which By it, and not Without it, it is Appointed and Fit to promote.

Our Lord stamped it with his own Image and superscripti­on; not that it might be lock't up as a Medal, but Used as Money; whose Office and Honor it is, so to represent the King, as to answer all the needs and conveniences of the Possessor. He therefor most honoreth ir, who so employeth it, as may best answer our Lords good Ends; not he that locketh it up as the Miser doth his Gold.

We must therefor consider, there is an Extreme on That side also: if Prodigality be a vice; So, and perhaps more than So, is Covetosness. Suppose there be Danger, that the more we Ʋse, the more we Spend it; there is another, that the more we forbear, the less we enjoy it. And in This, the Prodigal is justified above the Covetos, that thogh he spend his money, he doth not destroy it, but transferreth it to o­ther hands: whereas the Covetos robbeth not Himself only, but the whole Peopl of his Money, and the Money it self of it's Use.

We therefor grant it, There danger that Plenty may abate the price; but so doth Fulness bring Cheapness upon the very bread of life; yet do we not thence infer, that it must be witheld 'till a Famin raise the Market. The Dutch in time of greatest glut, do not burn All their Spices, but save sufficient to keep up the Trade.

Still I say, Former ages saw not the Danger we ly under, of losing the Whole. Had they seen it, we have no reason to doubt, they would have be'n as Zelos against Desertion, as they have be'n against Irreverence. And since we have a Tutor which they had not, Experience; let us thence learn how dangeros it is to trust our own Wisdom, in departing from out Rule.

III. EVERY step whereby our Predecessors departed from Constancy, was an approach toward this Dan­ger. And those who first adventured to pass from unworthi­ness in the Reception, to unworthiness in the Recever; so as to prohibit scandalos Persons, as well as scandalos Behavior; opened a Sluce to mischief they thoght not Credibl.

Yet while the Prohibition was a point of Discipline, not of Doctrine; while it lay onely upon Individuals not Qua­lities; nor Individuals neither, 'till censured by the Bishop; so that no man was allowed to do what he pleased; but eve­ry one Required to com unless he wer cut off from the bo­dy of the Church, and thereby driven, as well from the Lords Hous, as his Tabl; not to be restored, but after long penances, and bitter tears, and humbl prostrations, and ear­nest prayers, all openly and constantly repered at the Church porch, for several years; there appeared no danger, that any one would voluntarily absent himself, thinking it indif­ferent to com or forbear.

Yea, This very Discipline may well be urged as an evi­dence to the contrary. For the Sentence of the Bishop did not Direct what the censured person voluntarily Do, but Inflict what he must Suffer: And as no Judge Com­mands [Page 279] any Offender to Execute himself, so did none of the Fathers of those times ever require any, however scandalos, to excommunicate himself; which would have be'n look't upon as a dubl Crime, viz. Disobedience to our Lords Insti­tution, and Invasion of the Bishops Office, to whom the power of Excommunication belonged.

It was not therefor the Doctrine of Those times to teach it Indifferent to any one to Com or Forbear at pleasure: but it was their Discipline to deny our Lords Livree to such, as by his Stewards wer judged worthy to be Driven out of his house; untill by the same Stewards they should be judged worthy to be Restored, both to a Capacity and Obligation, of communicating in All Offices of his worship.

But it is too frequent that Wickedness overcometh Law: and in process of time and impiety, it so Overcame, as to take it's full Revenge upon This Discipline: Excommuni­cate it, and with it all the power of Those severe words of the Fathers of those times, which are to be mesured by it, as belonging to none but Penitents, i. e. to persons censured, and therefor obliged to suffer separation from That Altar, to which they had (for the time) lost their right by a juri­dical Sentence.

The sum is this; The Discipline of Those times, and the Fathers who enforced That Discipline, intended not to ba­nish the Communion it self from the Church, nor to Impower Any one to separat Himself from her Communion; but only to deterr sentenced Persons from intruding upon it; and how great a gulf there is between these, is sufficiently visibl.

Yet great as it is, we find it jumped over, the Rise ta­ken from That Discipline of the Antient Fathers, and the well meant desires of the Later; who loth to lose so useful a Curb, yet unabl to restore the Discipline to it's long lost power, Interpreted the severe sayings of their Predeces­sors, not by the Authors minds, but their Own: require­ing every one to be a Bishop to himself, to Excommunicate himself, if upon impartial Examination, he should find him­self [Page 280] Worthy of such a sentence: and This unhappily en­coraged men to believ that it was in their own power to Judge whether it wer fit to Com or Forbear.

IV. THIS I say gave the Rise; but if we had staid here, no harm had be'n done; since none but grosly scandalos would appear excommunicabl: For such sins stand in a mans Way, stare in his Face, roar in his Ears, are Notorios to the Whole Church; and therefor need none of those Schemes, whereby we ar directed in our Self-examination, to Search for Lurking sins, which ar not to be Discovered, but by the strictest enquiry.

And here I cannot but applaud the Wisdom and Mode­ration of our Church, who doth not (as som of her neigh­bors) Excommunicate, but Warn; not such Qualities, as the Greater, and Less Scandalous, (and therefor not-upon-such-accounts excommunicabl) part of the peopl, must upon strict examination, find themselvs in som degree guilty of; but such [Great and Grievos crimes] as the guilty persons, yea all their neighborhood, cannot avoid knowing.

And such, I say, she doth not downright Excommuni­cate, but Warn; the Difference between which two Cen­sures, may be understood by that, between her Present and Former Stile.

Before the Late and Litl alterations in our Common-prayer Book, she spake Copulatively; Bewail your sins [AND] com not; but now Disjunctively Repent of your sins [OR ELS] com not: By which change, that she intends not to leav it to our option as Indifferent, whether we will repent and Com, or remain impenitent and For­bear; we have seen her to have sufficiently declared, by another exhortation, wherein she clearly censures such a Forbearance, to be it self a very Great and Grievos crime.

Had her best sons followed her Exampl, possibly the holy office might have be'n a Gainer; certainly it had be'n [Page 281] Safe, as from Profanation on One side, so from Desertion on the Other; and so had every good Christian be'n, both from Disobedience and Unworthiness.

Som in St. Jude's time and account, wer spots in the Churches fests of charity, thogh indeed they wer None of her Members; for they denied our only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ, yet is not the Church her self blamed for not wipeing them out.

Again, there is great difference between Having a Spot, and Being One; and Yet again, there is great difference between Spots; for the word of God himself telling us, by way of discrimination, that Som mens spots ar not the spots of his children, Deut. 32.5. Plainly enogh intimat­eth, that Others ar so: And certainly those Spots which hinder not a person from being a child, must not Disherit him from a Childs Portion or a Childs Duty. Yet still those pios persons meant well, and saw no danger in their pro­cedure; at least, none to the holy Sacrament. The Dictates of the Church wer Then Reverenced, and her Injunctions Obeyed; yea the very Scandalosness of it in the eyes of the Peopl, made it look like impossibl, that Any Person, much more that any considerabl Number of persons, should sink into such non-conformity, both to our Lord's Institution, and the Churches Constitutions; as to deny this poor Quitrent, this slight Acknowledgment of Three times at least, which however short of the full due, might yet serv to keep the right alive, and in som kind answer that indulgent law of Moses, not indeed in the Caus, but the Event.

For That, upon pure Necessity, commuted Constant offering every beast they eat, into Constant journying thrice a year to Hierusalem, thereby to recompence loss in num­ber, by improvement in solemnity. And our Church upon another kind of Necessity, derived, not from the Impracti­cableness of the Law, but the hardness of the peopls hearts, was fain to admit the same commutation.

Our Former Writers lived in such times, as never que­stioned [Page 282] the necessity of doing so much at least, and suited their precepts to Their own times; not to These Dregs of error and impiety, wherein our Lords remembrancer is it self Forgotten, his Monument it self buried, and his whole Institution so demolished, that we scarce see any Appear­ance of it, but in Books; and even in Them, no appear­ance of Obligation to perform it.

It was indeed a very pios design So to manage Repen­tance and this Sacrament, that by mutual circulation they might assist each other. That the Requisites of Saving Re­pentance may bring men to worthiness of the Sacrament; and the necessity of coming Shortly to the Sacrament, may cut off the delay of repentance.

But towards the Later Part of the design, it was neces­sary, to assert the power of the Command; That so the Sa­crament may equal Repentance, as well in Necessity as in Difficulty.

For it is incredibl that those who ar not frighted to Re­pentance, by the indispensibl Necessity thereof; should be so to this Sacrament, by any Less potent motive, if there ly the same formidabl Difficulties in the way.

V. I Say Less potent motives, for I must not deny our wor­thy adversary This right, that thogh he have loo­sened the Obligation of the Command, whereby the Worst ar tied to the Performance, as their Duty; yet hath he Recommended it by such Incoragement, as must needs prevail upon all such as himself, i. e. all tru lovers of the Lord Iesus: thogh to lovers of their Lusts and Ease, they be useless or wors.

For to invite a Carnal App tite to a Spiritual Fest, what is it but to fish with a jewel, whose very lustre will Fright the fish it should Allure?

Tell the man of Bottels, that he cannot drink the Cup of the Lord and the Cup of Bacchus, but must be bound over to the languid dulness of Sobriety: Tell the amoros [Page 283] Gallant, That this Flesh of Christ will rob him of all strange flesh, and either confine him To One, or From All, his Loves: Tell the greedy Scraper, that this Heavenly trea­sure must be purchased with som diminution of his Earth­ly, and scatter a good part his heaps among the Poor, and bind his hand ftom those Gainful exercises, whereby he Gathered, and might further Increase them:

What ar These, and what ar All Other graces required to, or promised in This Sacrament, to a sensualist, but so many Warnings to stand upon the gard against such Rob­bers?

And what could have be'n more do'n or desired by it's mortal Enemies, toward a total extirpation of Any office, than to render it at once, Difficult, Dangeros, Needless, and Damageabl? All which concurr in the Honor to which our modern way of Reverence, hath exalted the H. S. in the eyes of the farr greatest part of those who ar to re­ceve it.

On the One side, a formidabl Gandelope, between the Great Troubl of Preparation that we may com Worthily, and Greater Danger of coming Unworthily after the most Laborios Preparation: On the Other side, all Necessity of running it, taken away, by a Denial that we ly under any Command; and the suppletory Motive which should encor­age us, is to the much greater part of the world, rather an Affrightment, than an Invitation.

When therefore we look upon the Advantages we may hope from streyning the condicions of Worthiness, let us cast one eye upon the Danger of losing even the Sacrament it self. When we hear the Opinions of Former ages, let us hearken to the Experience of our Own.

The Apostl and Primitive Christians had Great need to contend for the Manner: We have no Less, yea we have Gr ater, to contend for the Thing: I say we have Grea­ter, for if the Thing be lost, the Manner cannot but pe­rish with it.

[Page 284]VI. IF therefor the Revers be unanswerabl, Then must Those doctrines be more injurios to the H.S. which reach men to shun the Performance it self; than were (I say not the debaucheries of the Corinthians, who so behaved themselvs as not to Eat the Lords Supper, but) Any such Less mortal Profanations, as may leav it a Being, thogh less Honorabl.

And there ar two great reasons (at least) to believ that (as any Landlord would liefer have his rent paid in Base Mony, than wholely Witheld; so) our Lord would liefer have his Supper celebrated somwhat unworthily, than whole­ly Omitted.

1. Bicaus Somthing is better than Nothing. No mony so base as not to be Somwhat worth: A Pepper-corn is somwhat in its self; and so much more in its significancy, as the Right which it acknowledgeth is greater. The very presenting our selvs to the Lords table, is an act both of Worship and Obedience; whereas those who turn their backs upon it, deny both Them, and our Lords Title to Them.

2. Bicaus there is more Hope to Reform any Corrup­tion in the Manner, than to Retrive the Lost Thing. This is not so visibl in Any case as in the present.

Against communicating Unwhorthily, the Apostl hath spoken so Much and so Loud; that if Reason wer Silent, yea if it wer Opposit, we would not avoid the evidence: But concerning our obligation to the Performance it self, thogh in truth he spoke no less convictively to That Age, yet doth not Ours so fully understand it.

His argument needeth more Strict and Skilful examina­tion, than most men ar able to make. Yea, his words (their key being lost) ar obnoxios to be perverted; and that, not only by the Vulgar, but the Learned, to a sens quite Contrary.

And therefor in This, beyond Any case, it is dangeros to let the duty fall into Disuse; since the Lusts of the Peopl, will most readily concurr with the Error of the Priest, to bury it in deep forgetfulness; whereas Unwor­thiness in the Manner, may easier find Practice than Pa­tronage; since every one hath knowlege enogh to under­stand it uncapabl of Any.

THOGH I have already said sufficient to the Candid, yet fully to secure my self even against the malicios, I think fit more formally to protest against encoraging Un­worthiness or Irreverence.

Should I say that it is a greater crime to Murder, than to Maim a man; this sure would not bring me under any sus­picion of justifying that Great, (yet comparatively Less) injustice: Why then should I be looked on as a patron of Unworthiness, bicaus I say it is Less criminal than Dis­obedience: or of Irreverence toward the Sacrament; thogh I say, we ar no more to be frighted from It, than from any Other worship?

Those who press Prayer as an indispensibl Duty, to be performed more than once every day, ar secure enogh from any such charge: and whence comes it, than there should be greater Antipathy toward reverence, in the One than in the Other? Or why must This be more unable to over­com, and more obliged to yield to, the corruptions of the votary, than That?

If we have such veneration to the Sacrament for its Own sake; let us consider what shall it profit, if it gain all possibl Reverence, and lose its own Being?

If for our Lords sake; let us remember, that if we For­bear it, upon a Reason which He thoght not Sufficient to hinder him from Commanding it; we honor his Representa­tive above his Person, even by Neglecting it; and exalt our selfs at once against his Authority, by limiting his Law; and Wisdom, by pretending we know, better thin Himself, what is fit to be do'n for his service.

But here again we will continue our wonted Prodigality. And supposing that the Being of the Sacrament is secured: will further consider that its Power is weakened, (and con­sequently its Honor) in promoting all the good ends it is fit and designed to serv: which for brevity I shall reduce to three.

1. The conversion of Sinners.

2. The Comfort of the Godly.

3. The Edification of the Church in Love.

CHAP. VI. The Sacrament made useless toward Conversion.

I. That it is made unserviceabl toward conversion of a sinner. Three propositions. 1. To deny it a converting vertu is disho­norable to the Sacrament, and more so to our Lord. II. No danger to the Worthy, but the whole question is about the Un­worthy: and concerning them there is more hope than fear: five reasons why the hope should be embraced. III. 2. The Sacrament hath a converting vertu, Proved 1. by the joint authority of the Apostls, and by consideration of this Apo­stl's argument. St. Augustin used the same argument with the same unhappiness. IV. No fear that such stating the Argument, should drive men as far from the Church as the Altar. V. 2. By Reason. 1. The Death of Christ ser­viceabl to convert. That he suffered more for This end than any other, proved by Scripture and Reason. VI. 2. This Sacrament setteth forth Christ's death more powerfully than Preaching. We may not imagin that he will deny it his blessing. VII. 3. The converting power promoted by fre­quent repetitions. A supposition that One solemn address may be worth Twenty, examined. An hypotyposis of such a performance. 1. Fregment offers hit one time or other. 2. Repetition addeth new force to the former decaying act. 3. Teacheth to act better. So it will help, not prejudice the performance in respect of the manner.

FIRST it is plainly made Useless toward the Conver­sion of unconverted sinners, bicaus All Such ar For­bidden the use of it.

Yea, Not only those who have no good Inclinations, but those who have good Beginnings, yea those who have [Page 288] made good Progress; if yet they com short of Any qua­lification necessary to Complete saving repentance; ar there­fore excluded from all Benefit, bicaus they ar so, from all Use of it, by this sentence, Bicaus whatever dispositions or alterations he may begin to have in order to pardon and holi­ness, he as yet hath neither: but is Gods enemy and therefor cannot receve his holy son.

To Such therefor, the Sacrament can have No other power, but to Fright them away: or at best, if it offer any Invitation, it is such as Nurses use to Fallen Children; Com to me and I will help thee up.

This is not to Help, but to Mock; and must suppose those to be very children indeed, that can be incoraged by Such Exhortations, to Endeavor to raise themselvs, or Thank their exhorter.

For if Repentance must precede the Sacrament, then may it be the Caus but not the Effect; and may Dispute against it, Thou bearest not the Root, but the Root Thee.

Other good fruits it may produce, Many and Great; but not This of conversion; which it must not influence as a Root, but attend as a Fruit.

How injurios this is, I shall indevor to shew by three Positions.

1. It is dishonorabl to the Sacrament to deny it a con­verting vertu, and more so to our Lord, to deny the exer­cise of such a vertu if it have it.

2. It hath a converting vertu.

3. That vertu is better exercised by Frequent than Rare exercise.

FIRST, That it is dishonorabl to the Sacrament to deny it a Couverting vertu, I might think the plainest proposition in the world; since it is thereby robbed of the better half of it's power (for to have both a Converting and Confirming power, is more than dubl to the Later, without the For­mer, which is farr more Gracios.) But This is yet plainer, [Page 289] that it is farr less Sacrilegios to Rob the Sacrament of such vertu; than to Blaspheme our Lord, with an imagination that he should deny Them, the benefit of the Representa­tive, for Whom he shed his Bloud it self; when by This the Salvation may be Promoted, which he purchased by That.

What a wretched Baffle wer this to the Apostls argu­ment, whereby he pleadeth He that denied us not his only Son, how shall he not with Him freel giv us all things? How doth it represent the infinite lover of mankind, as an envios malicios enemy, both to Them, and his own Bloud; by taking from Them the benefit, and from This the vertu, which was to Them most Necessary, and to This most Ho­norable?

This way of Honoring our Lord is but the revers of That, whereby his enemies Reproched him. They blamed Him for Eating and Drinking with sinners; and This doctrine forbids sinners to Eat and Drink with Him. And Both ar fitted with his Own best answer, The whole need not the Phy­sician, but the sick.

It is the Honor, bicaus the Profession of a Physician, to giv his company, Not to those who most Deserv, but to those who most Need it.

Those who ar already in the state of Salvation, need not his Abilities as a Physician, to save their lives; thogh they do his Bounty, as a Fester, to cherish and glad their hearts: The Godly injoy Many and Great, but Other be­nefits; such as rather conduce to the advancement of their Happiness, than their Safety, which is above such need: They ar the Sick, they ar such as ly in a state of Misery and Danger, who's need cry loudest for his Saving power: And to help such he Came into the world, traveled about it, went out of it, and left this monument to continu in it, till he com again.

II. AND concerning Such, is our whole question. For that from the Godly there is no danger to [Page 290] the Sacrament, and consequently that in Them, Frequecy is commendable, is not doubted: The only question is concerning the Unworthy; but we oght also to consider, that concerning Them is a counterquestion no less im­portant.

For when we inquire on One side, Whether there be Danger, that the Sacrament may suffer dishonor by such mens Unworthiness? it is worth inquiring, whether there be not SOM hope, that it may Gain Honor by their Salvation?

I say [SOME] hope: For if there be Any such Hope, however Short of such Fear, in point of Probability; it will so exceed it in point of Valu, as abundantly to out­weigh it's defect in Bulk. For

1. The loss of Many Sacraments will be abundantly re­compenced by the gain of One Soul: Be the odds so great as in a Lottery; yet since One happy draught, will more than answer a Multitude of Blanks; especially when there is nothing to be Lost, but the labor of Drawing; it must needs more conduce to the honor of the Sacrament and its Author, to adventure upon the Smallest Hope That way; than to forbear upon the Greatest Fear the Other way.

2. The Salvation of One impenitent sinner is more va­luabl than the cherishing of Many already converted. The good shepherd will leav ninety and nine to seek pasture, ra­ther then suffer one strayer to perish in the wilderness.

3. The odds in point of number lieth the other way: it wer a happier world than ever we ar like to see, if there wer but ninety and nine sinners for one just person, that needs no repentance. Their very numbers wroght in our Lord compassion to the Multitude, and it wer strange if he should intend to let the greater part of mankind perish for want of This food.

[Page 291]4. Here is no need to leav the Flock, for Salvation of the Strayer. Wer there not sufficient for Both, we might perhaps plead it unfit to take the childrens bread and cast it to Dogs: but the Lords tabl is as capabl to receve All comers, as was the wilderness to afford room for never so many thousands; and the Bread is not like those two cours loaves, but like That which came from heaven, and covered the whole face of the earth: it hath both plenty and vertu sufficient to answer All Palates, and All Needs, however different; no less Salutiferos to the Sick, then delicios to Healthy: and where there is enogh and to spare, it wer strange our Lord should intend any one should perish for hunger.

5. Here is no adventure, but of the troubl to Take and eat. The shepherd needs not toyl himself with Wander­ing quest of the Lost sheep, nor with shouldering home the Found.

Our Lord is not in danger to lose any more Bloud; the greatest loss that can com, must fall upon That already spilt; which at worst, takes no Life from our Lord, thogh it bring None to the Recever.

No wounds or stripes can reach his Body, The greatest danger is, lest the shadow of his body passing by, should (now as in his life-time) fall upon som Lepers and cleanse them; without Hinderance to his Progress, or Prejudice to his Better disciples.

So that if there be any healing, saving vertu, in This other shadow of his body and bloud; to say he forbids Any to com within its reach, for This very reason bicaus they Need it; is so farr from honoring him as a good Physician, that it represents him wors than his very Accusers, of whom he asked which of You (of You my envios backbiters) Which of You having one sheep, &c.

If therefor our Blessed Redeemer have any right to what David said of the Father, His honor is great in Our salva­tion; [Page 292] his Dishonor must be proportionably great, if he deny so cheap a means of it, as shall not cost him the troubl of a Journy to seek, but only the Mercy to Admit such as need it.

III. 2. SECONDLY, This Sacrament hath a con­verting vertu.

This, 'thogh it need no other proof, but only the ap­plication of That general rule, that In Religion That is al­ways Truest which is Best; yet bicaus such a work cannot be overdo'n, I shall further prove it, 1. By the Authority of the Apostls: and 2. By Reason, shewing that Morally it must needs be so.

1. If we consider what the APOSTLS thoght of This Sacrament, we shall find, they look't upon it as a Spiritual Panacaea for All distempers of Christ's mystical body: a rich Treasure for All Arguments and All Cha­racters.

When St. Jude would Character the worst men, he bor­roweth his black from This Sacrament, if not from This Discours: These (saith he) ar spots in your Fests of Charity while they fest with you foeding themselvs without fear. When the Epistler to the Hebrews would set forth the gilt of Apo­stacy most graphically, he doth it by treading under foot the Son of God, and That, by counting this blood of the Cove­nant wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing.

In This Epistl St. Paul seemeth to affect this Topik up­on all occasions: When he would admonish them to put from among them the Scandalos person, Let us (saith he) keep the fest without leaven bicaus Christ the Passover is sa­crificed for us.

When he would dehort them from fellowship with Idols, he argueth from the inconsistency of the Lords table and the table of devils: When he would exhort them to provide for the poor, he appointeth the first day for the [Page 293] Offertory, bicause consecrated to the breaking of bread: and Here, when he would reprove them for their debau­cheries in Gods hous; to set forth the hainosness of the crime, he proveth that thereby they becom gilty of the Body and Bloud of Christ.

I say, when he would reprove them for their debaucheries in Gods hous: for I must now add to what I have already said, that as those Debaucheries were the true Occasion of the whole discours, so was the Lord's Supper employed as the best Argument, whereby to convince them of the hainosness of That crime; that whatever thoghts they might other­wise have had, concerning such Profaneness in Gods Hous, they might by This new Argument understand it greater than they wer aware of.

And what better argument could he have urged in such a case? Should he have empleaded them at the Moral bar? He knew them proof against such lectures of their own Philosophers, strenuosly, but unprosperosly declaming against them. Should he have pleaded Natural Religion? He knew that They and their Fathers had, time beyond memory, do'n the same in their Templs. Should he then urge the great difference in purity between the true God and Divels? This were proper, but remote; the impres­sion might be sufficient Plain, but not sufficiently Deep: it might convince their Reason, but not so powerfully move their Affections.

But This interest of the body and bloud of Christ, as it was new and properly Evangelical, so was it utterly unan­swerabl upon any account, either of reason or custom.

And that it was upon This Occasian and to This End urged, seemeth most plain from the very Text: For their Coming together is twice complained of, before the Lord's Supper is mentioned; and in the third place, This is im­ployed only as an Evidence of the Other: Whereas by the Laws of Reason and Custom, if This had had the chief place in the Apostls intention, it must have had the [Page 294] same in his Discurs; and not be'n put to wait behind, to com forth only as a valet to perform service to it's prin­cipal.

This is worthy more observation than the world is a­ware of: For as the thing it self is to a considering person very plain, so ar the consequences very great; and That upon an account already cast up.

For if the Apostl make use of the Lord's Supper, as an aggravation of profaneness in Gods hous, and That for This reason, bicaus all the unworthiness which we bring thi­ther, is imputed to us as broght to his table; then must it be the most potent argument that possibly can be draw'n, ether from Religion or Reason, to make us careful of our behavior in Gods hous, and consequently every where els; In Gods hous, upon the Apostl's reason, bicaus of the in­terest of our Lords table, which possesseth the chiefest place there; and consequently Every where els, bicaus of the preparations which we must cary thither, and the good impressions which we must receve there, so much the deeper, by how much better our self-examination hath prepared us.

AND This very argument do we find used by St. Au­gustin to the same Purpose, and with the same Unhappi­ness in his 252 Sermon de tempore, upon the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church or Altar. Beginning with the words of the Apostl, The templ of God is holy, which templ ye ar; for a proof how necessary it is, that we keep this Templ shut to the Devil, and open to Christ; he persuadeth every one to examin his conscience; and lay­eth do [...]n This for an undoubted truth, Qui enim agnoscens reatum suum, ipse se humiliter ab Ecclesiae altari pro emenda­tione vitae removere voluerit, ab aeterno illo & coelesti convivio excommunicari penitus non timebit. Rogo vos fratres diligen­ter attendite, si ad mensam cujuscun (que) potentis hominis nemo praesumit cum vestibus conscissis, &c. and so goeth on throgh­out the whole Sermon, arguing against unworthy coming [Page 295] to the Lords Supper in such a stile, that I verily believ our divines take thence their confidence to write as they have do'n.

I answer not for his Doctrine, but I do for his Argument, as being the same with the Apostl's, as above urged. Nor could he have argued better for care of coming worthily to God's Hous, than by urging the hainosness of coming unworthily to his Table; seeing it was as true in His time, as in the Apostl's, that whoever came to the One, came also to the Other.

But if we mesur his Argument by our own Customs, then will it be as weak, as the Supposition will be fals: For the Conclusion will exceed the Premises, and fall short of the Fathers Design; since it will not fright any from unworthiness in the Templ, but such as intend to com also to the Altar, i. e. few or none.

Yet will not this Insufficiency be the worst of its falts; it will be so far from prevailing with a profane man to quit his lusts, that it tends to harden him in them. For when such a man shall hear so much spoken against unworthy Com­municating, and so littl, or nothing against unworthy Pray­ing; how plausibly may his willing mind infer, that there is as littl need for Him to fear the later, as for his teacher to warn him from it.

I therefor offer it to most serios consideration, whether the almost general loosness of this age, be not much inco­raged, by the agreement tripartite which we seem impli­citely to have made, between Prayer, This Sacrament, and the World; whereby it is agreed, that Prayer shall enjoy Fre­quency without Reverence; This Sacrament, Reverence with­out Performance; The World, it's Lusts without Disturb­ance from either of them.

Whereas were Worthiness pressed in the now mention­ed figure, with half the vigor that it is in the Vulgar; Were half of that which our Divines speak, of prepara­tion for the Sacrament in the abstract, applied to it in con­junction [Page 296] with Common-Prayer: Did we believ our selvs to ly under the same Necessity and Conditions of worthi­ness for Gods hous, as we do for his Supper; then can we not doubt it necessary so to live, that we may be capabl to com worthily to Common-Prayer, even for it's companion's sake.

IV. NOR is there any reasonable fear, lest this should have the same malignant aspect upon the Whole, as we complain of in behalf of the Common-service; lest in-stead of bringing men to the Church with greater reverence, it should drive them quite away from it. This danger is sufficiently prevented by the Apostl's Indicative way of arguing, which telleth us that Christ imputeth guilt to us, not according to Our Performance, but his Own Institution: and This imputation will reach us at Any distance, not only from his Table, but his Hous too.

For if it be no less our duty to com to God's hous as of­ten as the congregation is held There; than it is to com to his Table as often as we com to his Hous; and if God by his scientia media seeth and punisheth the unworthiness which we would have broght to his Table if we had com'n to it; Then to what distance soever we cary it, we ar by God reputed to have broght it both to his Hous and his Table, as often as his Church meeteth at the One, and oght to do at the Other, bicaus we oght to have met it at Both.

What the Apostl saith in another case of himself, we may apply to our selvs in This, I verily as absent in the body but present in the spirit, have already judged as present: and again, When you ar gathered together and My spirit. If the Acts of the Church might be authorised by the reputed suffrage of the Absent Apostl, then may the Lords Supper be profaned by the reputed communication of the Unwor­thy Absent; since every member no less concurreth with the Church in Worship, than the Apostl did in Disci­pline.

And this is plainly enogh implyed in that practice of the then Church, which we heard testified by Justin Martyr, For sending to the Absent their parts of Communicated bread and wine, they thereby owned them to have the same interest, as if they had be'n present.

This rock therefor followeth us as it did the Israelites in the Wilderness, to what distance soever we eloin our selvs: He followeth us with imputation of Receving even when we Refuse him, to condemn us if we receve him with un­washed hands; and to condemn us dubl, if we therefor refuse him, bicaus we will not be at the troubl to wash them.

The Necessity of the H. C. thus stated; Let the con­dicions of worthiness, be multiplied and enforced with what rigor you please. Let them be more intolerabl, than plucking out Both eyes, and cutting off Both hands, so they be indispensibl: No reasonabl man will be thereby frighted from the Lords table, but every one will be so from his sins, since he every where carieth about him the same guilt and danger, thogh he com not.

Nor will the Scrupulos be at all distracted with doubts whether it be best to com or forbear, since this will be no other than to question, whether it be best to be Singly or Dubly gilty. Singly, if he com with unworthiness; or Dubly, if he dishonor the Lords table, both by Forsake­ing and Profaning it; the one in Reality, the other by Imputation.

And this must needs be the opinion of the good Alms­giver above-praised, who would not suffer the peopl to go away without the Communion, but broght them back when they were already go'n out of the Church: an im­portunity, which he would never have used, had he not believed it more sinful to Omit the duty, than to perform it, unprepared as they wer; whereof no better account can be given than this; that our obligation besets us behind and before, and layeth such hand upon us, that we cannot fly [Page 298] from it's presence; but must necessarily fly from our sins, bicaus this is the only way left us, to escape the judgments threatened to unworthy Communicants: and whether such an ordinance be a converting one or no, I shall no further dispute from Scripture: but proceed to consider Rea­son.

V. REASON will persuade that the Sacrament must be a converting Ordinance.

He that will deny this, must impute the Defect, either to the Unfitness of our Lords Death, toward such an effect, or 2. To the Insufficiency of the Sacrament, to set it forth, or 3. To our Lords denial of his ordinary Blessing. In One, or All of These, must the Defect needs ly; for if they All concurr, Nothing is wanting to a saving efficacy.

1. The defect cannot ly in the Death of Christ, which the Apostl so often tells us, he suffered to This very Purpose.

The Scripture speaketh, I say not more Clearly, but (sure) more Frequently, of his dying for our Sanctification, than for our Justification; to redeem us from the Works, than from the Wages of Sin.

If it sound ambiguosly when the Apostl saith he died to redeem us from all iniquity, he cleareth it by an immediat explication, to purchase to himself a peculiar peopl zelos of good works. What can be spoken plainer than this, That he died to redeem us from our vain conversation; that he carried our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sin might live to righteousness; to leave us an exampl that we should fol­low his steps &c.

And had the Apostls be'n silent, plain Reason would have taught it us, For as in Law, without shedding of bloud there was no remission; so was there no need of more, than the mere death of the Sacrifice; so much the fitter for That ser­vice, by how much more Pampered.

Why then must our Lord be so unhappily unlike his typi­cal Oxen? why might he not have be'n sacrificed like Them: [Page 299] by One blow and No pain; closing a Full and Easie Life, with a Death as Easie?

What could the Law have expected from Him, beyond what the Jews expect in their Messiah the Son of David; a Life Victorios and glorios, closed with a Death suitably glorios in the Bed of honor? One Drop of bloud (perhaps) certain­ly the singl Death, however Easie or Honorabl, of a Person of infinit valu; must in justice be sufficient to satisfie a Father so Willing to receve satisfaction.

To what purpose then All the (this way) Needless, and to him incomparably more Grievos, Other Sufferings? Why a Life so Poor, so Despised, so Hated, so Laborios? Why a Death so Painful, so Shameful, so Intolerabl? Why? but for the Apostl's reason; To leave us an exampl that we should follow his steps? which as they shewed us the way, so did they smooth it for us; that no man might think much to take up his Cross, and follow such a Leader.

SUCH a leader as Caesar, who did not say to his Sol­diers, Go, but Com; make, them follow him, if not for Valor, yet for Shame: It became him who was to bring many Sons to Glory, to make the Captain of our Salvation perfect by sufferings; and such sufferings too, that none of his fol­lowers shall ever be able to upbraid him, as requiring More.

To deny therefor that such a Death is fit to Redeem us, both from the Service of sin, and Fear of suffering; is to giv the Scripture the Ly, and to take from our Lords death it's Vertu.

VI. 2. AND Secundly to Deny this Sacraments suf­ficiency to set forth our Lords death; is yet (if possibl) a greater affront, both to our Lord and his Apostl; Both of them expressly declare This for it's Adaequate de­signe. As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye shew forth the Lords death till he com. What the Apostl said to the Galatians, that Christ was evidently set forth crucified a­mong [Page 300] them; was not so much ascribed to Preaching, as to This Sacrament; which so evidently sets it forth to All senses; that whoever consideringly receveth it, may say, not only we have heard with our ears, but we have seen with our Eyes, we have looked upon, our hands have handled, our mouths have tasted, and our bowels have be'n strengthened with the bread of Life.

What Orator can com neer an ordinary Painter in set­ting forth a mans countenance? By how much the Ey is tenderer than the Ear, by so much is the Mind more affect­ed by it: Now This Sacrament setteth forth the Death of our Lord, not to the Ear as Preaching doth, but to the very Ey; and that not as a Picture but as a Drama: it so Com­memorates, as to Act the Tragedy; so Describes, as to Ex­hibite it's Benefits.

How much more potent such visibl Rhetorik is than the most powerful Preaching, Antony made a memorabl ex­periment: He imployed all his Eloquence to stir up the peopl of Rome, to revenge the death of Caesar: He magni­fied his Wisdom, his Industry, and his Valor: he recount­ed his Victories, celebrated his Vertues, lamented the cruelty of his Death; Then he recited his Testament, and from the Legacies therein bequeathed, proved the greatness of his Love to them; in his life their Champion, after death their Benefactor. All this the peopl heard, thogh with Grief, yet with Patience: But when he produced his Robe, when he shewed the Holes and the Bloud, where­with the murdering Poniards had Pierced and Stained it; then did those visibl Orators, not only Move them to An­ger, but Transport them to Rage; they snatched up Wea­pons and Firebrands; and missing the Persons, destroyed the Dwellings of the Conspirators.

Such is the Designe, such the Rhetorik of This Sacrament. When the Word hath prepared the Heart by the Ear; when the Understanding is Informed, and the Affections somewhat Moved, with the recital of What our Lord suffered, And [Page 301] Why? Then doth the Sacrament complete the service, by shewing to our very Eyes, the Wounds, not of his Garments but his Flesh; and Those, not as long since made, but as now in making, Represents his Sacred bloud, not as dried up by time, but as Now, even Now, streaming from his Heart. It so Commemorates his passion, as to Repete it: and in the most inflaming manner presents to our Souls, all those incentives against sin, which our Lords death, our Lords Present death, can furnish.

He that considers, how the little sens of Religion yet left in the world, is derived from the Frequency of Preach­ing; will find too great reason to bewail the invaluabl loss it suffers, by want of so helpful an Attendant.

For if That (maimed as it is) do in Som (however Lit­tl) mesure, prevail by it's Singl and Deserted strength; how much more might we hope from their united Forces, if Jonathan secunded his Armor bearer!

To say that we might Then sing of them, as the daghters of Israel did of their victorios Princes, Preaching hath sa­ved it's Thousands, and the Sacrament it's Ten thousands, would be but a cold Eulogy: We have no reason to doubt, that as there is more than Ten to One, difference in their Powers, so would there be in their Successes: Unless we will needs doubt of our Lords ordinary blessing upon his so belo­ved ordinance; which we have far more reason to believe, he would assist with the Spirit, not only of a David but a Samson; as being a Nazarite, appropriat to himself. Ther­for

THIRDLY, I shall say but this litle to such a scru­ple: That as it would look almost like a Miracle, if an Ho­nest Constant Communicant should miss a blessing; so we may be sure, that if there needed a Miraculos Power to bless such an one, it would not be wanting.

For it is incredibl, that he who promised, that when ever two or three ar gathered together in his name, there he will be in the mids of them, should not be most Especially, and most [Page 302] Graciosly present with those, who meet, not in his Name only, but at his Table, upon his Own kind invitation, to fest, not With him only, but Upon him.

Of this I say no more, bicaus Those whom I dispute with, ar so far from denying our Lords especial Presence; that they make it the Reason for Their Absence, who most need it, but how much they thereby honor our Lord and his Supper, let what I have above said declare: for I hasten to my third position.

VII. 3. MY THIRD Position is, that the Convert­ing Power of the Sacrament is better Exerci­sed, and it's Honor more Advanced, by Frequent, than by Seldom Celebrations.

The question is concerning the Greater or Less probabi­lity of the Conversion of a Sinner: whom we must suppose arrived to neither of the Opposit perfections; neither Worthy on the One side, nor Atheistical on the Other; but in a Midl state; sensibl of his duty, both to our Lord and his Church; Willing (or rather Submitting) to do, what he shall be convinced to be required of him; but Wa­vering between his Obedience to our Lords Command, which seemeth to require Frequency at least; and the A­postls indulgence, backed with appearance of Reason, which recommendeth Aw and Distance, as necessary to preserv that Reverence, which it is supposed will best advance both the Honor of the Sacrament, and Benefit of the Recever.

For such an one may plead, that if I ow any person Twen­ty shillings, and pay him One Guinny, I do better, than if I paid him Twenty silver shillings: So if One Solen Address, be more worth then Twenty of the Constant; it will be bet­ter to com One time for Twenty, With such Solennity, then Twenty times for One Without it: And consequently, our Lord will accept of That, as more perfect obedience than This.

At present we dispute not, that in This Institution, the [Page 303] Number of pieces is the very Essence of the Obligation; but admit the supposed liberty of paying One Golden per­formance, in lieu of Many Less valuabl; and upon This Supposition, require that the Pretence may be made good: viz. That the One for Twenty may be Such, as shall recom­pence by the greater Valu, the defect in Number.

This One Solen address must have not only a plainer Stamp (as every new Coin may have) but purer Metal; not only more Outward Solennity, but more Inward Devotion.

For if a man bow the knee never so Solenly, and give the title of King never so Formally; yet if in So doing, he put no better then a Dry, Hollow, Light, Reeden Scepter into our Lords hand; he acteth more like a persecuting Jew, than a Loyal Disciple.

And in the present inquiry, Those who ar to make the Address ar supposed to ly in a state of Enmity, and Need of Conversion, for concerning the Godly, there is no doubt, but the oftener the better.

What ever Outward deference such enemies bring, if it have nothing of the power of Godliness; it doth not honor our Lord with his Own Sceptre; For the Sceptre of his King­dom is a right Sceptre, a love of Righteosness, and hatred of iniquity: What ever wanteth This, wanteth That Divine life, without which the most Solen worship, is no better than a gay Pageant; who's Forced motions pass for Solen, mere­ly bicaus Unwieldy; the Absence of inward life giving the Ly to them all.

That we may the better Compare them, it will be requi­site we bring to vieu both the Rivals.

And first let us bring forth that Shew, wherewith our Lord is to be better Served and Pleased, than with literal Obedience,

WHEN the Unwelcom season is now at hand, which Indispensibly exacteth the painful task; the Unwilling vo­tary (if he can deserv That name) finding No way to escape it, forceth himself to look Sadly upon his still Beloved [Page 304] sins, Confineth himself for som tedios days, to the Lothed conversation of that Troublsom stranger, his Conscience; wherewith he Communeth in such Awkward manner, as plainly betrayeth his Unacquaintedness with it's language, not to be supplied by the vainly courted assistance of those good Books, which at such times only, he taketh the Pen­ance to read; and after the appointed days, languished a­way in this heartless Exercise, which he calleth Preparation; he receveth (I say not the Lords Supper, but) the holy Sym­bols; with great Solennity (we grant) but with as little Benefit or Relish, as Appetite; and goeth home with This on­ly comfort, that the Tedios work is do'n; and the Stately, Lifeless machin may be laid aside, till the Revolution of ano­ther Solennity, call it forth to stalk abroad again, with the same Troubl, to the same Little purpose.

Let our adversaries now deal freely; can they suppose such Pageantry acceptabl to God? can such Counters as have somthing of the due Image and Superscription, but nothing of the due Metal; not only pass for Current in the Kingdom of God; but bear a greater Valu, than such pieces, as com out of his own Royal Mint? can God be pleased with such performances as please not the Votary himself? can he be so much Better pleased with them, that One of them shall be reputed payment for Multiplied o­missions of Duty?

Or (which is more pertinent to our present enquiry) can such an exercise destroy the kingdom of the Devil in the un­willing Soul? &c.

I grant, Somthing hath be'n do'n toward it, The man hath be'n put in mind of his need of Christs bloud, and the Love that first Spilt it, and now Offered it; and This hath somwhat awakened the sens of the Obligation he hath, to Lov and Serv him; which cannot but make som impression upon his mind, which for som time, and in som mesure, may check his lusts, and quicken his care.

All this I hope, and for This very reason complain, that [Page 305] the good sparks should dy away; which by Repetition of the same exercise, might be blowen up to such a vigoros Flame, as might wholly Destroy those lusts, which ar now a littl Disordered, but not Subdued: For the Litl that this hath do'n, is a sufficient evidence how much More might be do'n; if so hopeful an exercise were duly Prosecuted with such Constancy, as we have found required by our Lord; and comes now to be considered by Reason, in counterbal­lance to its rival Solennity, and this we do by steps.

1. Multiplied repetitions one time or other will proba­bly hit the mark. He who is missed by Many a Sermon, and Many a Communion, may happily be struck to the heart by the Next.

There was a time, when One Sermon converted Thou­sands, but miracles ar ceased; and now Many, perhaps Thousands, of Sermons, ar necessary to convert One: Yet can we not charge God, as wanting to Necessary means, since the Miraculos efficacy is supplied by the Moral power of multiplied Repetition.

Too many of those who Separate These ordinances in their Practice, do them the right to Join them in their Discourses; pleading the same color of reason against fre­quency in Preachings and Communions; and those who do Not, but will have These rare for reverence sake, and Those frequent for their effects sake; need no other evidence of the Weakness of their Objection against Frequence in the Communion, than its too great Strength; whereby it will cast down what they would keep up; so that they ar redu­ced to This choice, either that Preaching must be Less fre­quent, for fear of the Objection; or the Objection renegued, lest Preaching should be rob'd of Frequency, for preserva­tion of Reverence.

And as the Objection is equally Deficient, so is Frequen­cy equally Useful to Both. Who knoweth but That Ser­mon, or That Communion which he is forsaking, may be [Page 306] the critical One, which is to convert him?

When an Affliction hath bruised, or a Blessing melted the heart; When the man hath Lost a friend, or Escaped a danger, when a Neighbors unexpected death hath warned him of his Own frailty, or a good Angel hath unaccountably stirred the pool, and he is by som secret disposition [...] set in due order, and almost perswaded to be a Christian; then the Sermon or Communion, coming upon him in his soreness, prevaileth by nicking the critical Opportunity.

We know not the secret walks of Gods providence, nor the advantages of Som seasons above Others, by influences imperceptibl: that therefor we may not miss the Proper, but Ʋnknowen one, it will concern Every man, to say of Every one, This is the day of the Lord, This is That sin­gular hour, wherein I am to receve That flesh and bloud of Christ which must save me.

He that truly considers the valu of Salvation, and his own need of it; will not think much to ly in the way that Jesus of Nazareth Passeth by; or rather, wherein he Com­eth on purpose, to heal and save.

2. Repetition both Preserveth the otherwise decaying Power of former acts, and addeth new of its own. The sturdiest oak is felled by Many of those stroaks, whereof every particular one was inconsiderabl; but if they com at such distance, that the scratch (rather than wound) which the first made, be healed up before it be secunded; the tree may be a litl moved, but not at all weakened.

If a man be but Litl, yet if he be At all affected; if he do but consider, What he Doth, or Oght to do; if he think on the Death of Christ, and it's Reason; if he inde­vor to commemorate it in due manner, or but consider that he oght so to do; These Acts of Consideration and Re­flection, however weakly performed, contribute their litl proportion, toward the great work; as every stroke of [Page 307] the oar doth to a long voyage, but will soon be caried away by the contrary stream, if it be not quickly renewed.

For as in Bodies, so in Souls, there is continual Deperdi­tion, and there needeth continual Reparation: The Sym­bols do as truly represent Our Need, as their Principals Vertu: This Flesh is meat indeed, and This bloud is drink in­deed, as in their Cherishing and Strengthening Vertu, so in the Constancy, wherewith they ar to be receved; and Those who ar so easily satisfied with far Distant Commu­nions, seems to Betray the Weakness of their spiritual Life, by That of their Appetite.

3. Repetition will improve the power of Every Singl Act, by making the Agent more expert.

No Tutor like Exercise. It teaches us to do those things, both Easily and Perfectly; which to the inexpert, appear not only Difficult but Impossibl.

And upon this account, is Frequency so far from a hin­derance; that it is of all moral means, most Proper to bring us to Worthiness.

That Self-examination which all Christians confess ne­cessary before we com to the Lords table, is by the best Philosophers prescribed before we go to sleep: and Seneca incorageth his Lucilius to the practice upon This considera­tion; that Exercise will make it as Easy, yea, as Pleasant, as Profitabl.

For the same reason it is adviseable, that we stablish se­veral Periods: the end of every Week for the past Week, of every Moneth for the past Moneth, of every Year for the past Year, and every eve of the Communion for the Inter­val from the Last: which Intervals, were they left to our discretion, we oght to shorten as much as possibl, even for This very Reason; that by Frequence, we may learn to examin our selvs still Better: so that if we have no other Obligation, nor no other Design, but to com as Worthily, we must com as Frequently as Possibl.

So in the Result, Worthiness must not be Opposed to Fre­quency as it's Rival; but Proposed, as it's Encoragement. For whether we ey the Honor of the Sacrament in the Abstract; or the Vertu of it, in Reference to the Salva­tion of mankind: They ar Both promoted more by the Constancy of our Approaches, than by the Awfulness of our Distance.

CHAP. VII. Wors than Useless toward comforting the Godly.

I. The second end, Comfort of the Godly. This Sacrament founded upon Festing, the tessera of Love. II. The con­scientious griped between a fear of Unworthiness on the one side, and of Disobedience on the other. III. Hopes mingled with Fears, a snare to the Godly, which the Ʋn­godly escape. IV. The Lords table more dishonored by such preparation, than by None.

THE Secund great and good End to which the Holy Sacrament is to be serviceabl, is the Joy and Comfort of the Godly: and to This, the modern way of honoring, hath made it not only Useless but Pernicios.

That we may have the fuller vieu of the Former mem­ber of this position, it may be fit to look a litl upon the Almost forgotten Significancy of Festing, wherein this Sa­crament is founded.

COMMUNION at Table hath ever be'n lookt upon, as an Obligation of mutual kindness (among the whole company, but more especially) between Host and Guest; Such an Obligation as created a right, Equal, and somtimes Superior, to that of Bloud it self.

Nether Consanguinity nor Affinity wer sufficient to Hin­der or Heal a breach between Laban and Jacob, thogh Un­kle and Nephew by Bloud, Father and Son by Mariage: But when That Quarel ended in a Govenant of kindness; a Fest sealed it, as more obliging than Both Those Rela­tions.

Yea even Paternal affection, when it would exalt it self to the Highest possibl rapture, caled in the assistance of This endearment. Take me som venison (said Isaac to his Firstborn) and make me savory meat, such I love, that I may eat [that my soul may bless thee.]

The venison was not only to strengthen his body, but heigthen his mind; the Fest made a new relation, Host and Guest, signified somthing of addition to Father and Son, and improved his title to Blessing. From this Jus Hos­pitii was derived the Rite of Sacrifice.

When God accepted the Sacrifice, he signified his Love to the Votary, first by som Other tokens, (as appears by the story of Cain and Abel) and then by Entertening him at his Table.

For God was the Hous-keeper; the Altar, his Table; the Sacrifice, his Meat; and the Votary, his Guest: Fested with That Flesh, whose propriety he had now Transferred to his God; and again Receved from him, in token of Communion.

Nothing can be plainer than this from 1 Cor. 10. The same Persons, by the Same Ceremonies, in the 20 vers. Offer Sacrifice to Devils; and in 21. drink the cup of Devils, ar par­takers of the table of Devils, and have fellowship with Devils; and all this, as their Guests, treated by their Gods, with the Sacrifices, themselvs had offered to them.

Upon This account have we found Plutarch, in the best of his treatises, prove the mirth of the Religios, trans­cend that of the Epicurean; and St. John preferr that of a Christian, above that of a Heathen:

What behavior becoms a Guest at This table of the Lord, if we understand not by what we have already said; let us learn by exampl. The Apostls and their fellow commoners eat it with chearfulness: the next and all succeeding ages, stile it the Eucharist: Our Own Church saith it was or­dained for a thankful remembrance of the death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receve thereby.

How joyful an exercise Thankfulness is, he that under­stands not, may learn of David. My mouth (saith he) shall be filled with marrow and fatness when my heart praiseth thee with joyful lips.

It is generally believed that the Pleasure of Drinking is greater than that of Eating, and to this St. Paul inviteth us, saying Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be ye filled with the Spirit, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord, giving thanks, &c. Meat, Wine, Mu­sik: nothing now can be wanting but Company; and that St. John promiseth, Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ, and these things write we unto you that your joy may be full: The word is [...], which signifieth Communion, and This alone of All religios exer­cises, have we found capable of That Name; and This above them All, is best furnished for it.

Meat indeed, and Drink indeed, and Fellowship indeed, and the most intimate Union; Whether we look to the Sig­nificance of Festing in General, or the Design of This in Particular; Whether we regard the Exampl or Exhorta­tions of the Apostls, the Authority of the Church Ʋni­versal, or our Own in Particular; which way soever we look, we must expect a Desert suitabl to the other provisi­ons. The fruits of the Spirit must attend the Supper of the Lord, and what Those ar, the Apostl tells us: The fruits of the spirit ar Love, Joy, Peace.

If therefor in stead of These, we ar treated with Wild­ings, such as in stead of setting our hearts on praising God, shall set our teeth on edge; whatever thanks we owe to the Lord of the Table; there can be litl due to the Ministers, either from Lord or Guests.

II. LET us then tast the Provisions, wherewith our modern divines treat us, and see whether they can say with St. John, These things we write unto you that your Joy may be full: If they can, we must borrow a gloss of [Page 312] St. Paul, who exhorteth to Rejoice in as much as ye ar par­takers ( [...]) Communicants, with Christs sufferings.

For they so set forth his sufferings, as to repete them up­on his Guests. They gave me gall to eat, and when I was thirsty they gave me vinegre to drink, said David. The Letter was verified in our Lords Personal sufferings; and the Me­taphor, in those of his dearest friends, and at his Own table.

We may go farther, and say that as they ar partakers of Christ's sufferings, so ar they of his enemies curses too. For this their table is made a snare to take themselvs withall; and that which should have be'n for their wealth, is to them an oc­casion of falling; which will be the more applicable to our unhappy Communicants, if our excellent Dr. Hammond mistake not; who interprets the [Table] in that place, to signify the Sacrificial; and [...], the votaries portion.

For how is This Beatifik Wine mingled with Vinegre! This Bread with Gall! How is This Joyful Table made a Snare, to Catch, Intangle, and Gripe, the most worthy guests! And how doth the tenderness of conscience give deeper reception to the Snare, and acuter sens to the Tor­ment!

How few ar they, that upon the required Examination, find in themselvs a full Assurance, that if they Dy at the Table, they shall be Saved! And how must All others (however worthy) be tormented, between hunger and thirst after the Flesh and Bloud of Christ, on the One side, and fear to be poisoned by them, on the Other! On the One side, by fear of Eating and Drinking damnation, if they com in That state of (doubted) unworthiness; and on the Other, of deserving it, if they omit a Duty.

I say a [Duty.] and every true Lover of our Lord saith the same. For whatever Latitude the disputed words may be stretch'd to; they know, our Lord did not So Institute and Recommend his Supper, only to be Neglected: But, if he required Constancy; then is every Omission, a Sin by [Page 313] Disobedience to his Law: If Not, then it is (if possibl) a greater one against Greater obligations of love.

For to a Loving, Generous Soul, a Trust is a Greater Obligation, than a Command: and Thankfulness will pay More, than is Due.

And then, further considering the work it self, and it's fruits; they conclude Constancy to be Due, if not to our Lords Institution, yet to their own Interests; which Inter­ests reciprocally comprehend our Lords honor: since they cannot neglect his Blessings, offered in This Sacrament, without contemt to That bloud, which Once so dearly Pur­chased, and Still so kindly Offers them.

In these things no Divine is silent. All Concurr in set­ting forth the Blessings; and by Encoraging, Oblige every one that loveth our Lords Person, or desireth his Grace, to lay hold upon Every opportunity to Worship the One, and Enjoy the Other.

III. BUT when on the Other side, we ar told that the Lord is no less present as a Judge than as an Host: no less ready to Condemn the Unworthy, than to Bless the Worthy: And that Those ar Unworthy, who com in any other state of Soul, than they may safely dy in: They now need be, not only very Good, but very Bold, that shall dare to com upon such Dangeros terms:

For if the Person be never so Worthy, never so Safe; yet unless his Salvation be as Certain to Himself, as it is with God; he may not presume to com, bicaus he cannot bring with him a full assurance; and every Distrust will put him at the same distance, as real Unworthiness.

YET seeing such persons have Hopes mingled with Fears; thogh they have no full Assurance that they ar Wor­thy, they have a good mesur of Hope, that they may be so; These very Hopes beget Fears, that if they should For­bear the Lords supper, they should disobey his commands, Bicause they have Doubts of their Worthiness, they dare [Page 314] not Com, lest they should com unworthily; and bicaus they have Hopes, they dare not Forbear, lest they should omit a Duty, by forbearing causlesly: So they see danger on ether hand; they dare nether Com nor Forbear, lest they should do, ether the One or the Other unworthily.

So their very piety and hopes of Salvation (thereupon bilt) which should be their greatest joy, is to Them an oc­casion of falling into a most griping Snare, which hath no hold upon such as have nether hopes nor fears.

Let us now consider by what motives the Generality ar (Led shall I say? no, it is the Goodness of God that Leadeth, but) Haled to repentance; even by chains of fear forged in Hell fire,

Since those who ar most Religios upon fear of damnation, must needs be most timoros: where can we hope to find (I say not That Family, or City, but) That Kingdom, that can shew us the scant number Three (which we have found Necessary to make up a Communion) who can com with Confidence?

And what then shall That rare Phoenix do, which want­ing neither Worthiness, nor Confidence, must want Com­pany?

I plead not now the danger of Solitude to the Table, but That of Torment to the Communicant: God be blessed, som ar so Heroically pios, as to trust their Saviors Goodness, notwithstanding their Teachers Rigors, or their Own Fears; hoping their good intentions shall be Accepted, and their unworthiness pardoned, if they com with Honest, thogh Un­worthy hearts.

But upon every turn of the Wind, what Storms ar such good souls tossed with! When they look backward, how do they fear lest they may have receved unworthily! When they look forward, how do they fear lest they should do so again, if they com; or as bad, if they forbear! How earnestly do they Labor both for such Worthiness, as they ar told is Necessary to avoid guilt; and for such Assurance of [Page 315] it, as may make them no less Quiet than Safe! How often doth the very earnestness of the later, hinder them from obteining it! And how much still do their flutterings intan­gle them!

How often doth this wrestling with the heart, inrage the spleen! how often is the bloud sharpened by this contending against it's cooruptions! How often doth earnestness after Assurance kindl earnestness in Others passions, and then how rigidly is This very effect of laboring for worthiness, censured as a symptom of unworthiness!

I know an excellent Lady, troubled upon this very ac­count; that none of the meanest of our Divines (to say no more now) prescribed This, as One rule of prepara­tory examination, that we examin the irregularity of our pas­sions, dissuading us from the Next communion, if we find not our selvs to have gotten ground of them since the Last.

And doth not the Snare finely encircle us? Our very Indeavors after worthiness, the more Eagre they ar, the more they sharpen our Bloud, and consequently our Passions, and make us more Unworthy; and This sens of Unworthi­ness obligeth us to Contend with all possibl Earnestness, to master those Passions, which by That very Contention, ar Strengthened:

We now need no less help of the Physician, to sweeten our Bloud; than of the Divine, to comfort our Consci­ence; and if the goodness of God help us not more than Both; we must either live Excommunicate from the Lords table, or Indanger our souls, by approaching it: And Ei­ther way, must be Griped with endless fears, as having ei­ther Omitted the greatest duty of Love, or Performed it Unworthily.

But all this is so inconsistent with the very nature of a Sup­rer, so contrary to the gracios purposes of our Lord, and sentiments of best Christians; that I am almost persuaded to say, that Such preparation dishonoreth the Holy table as much as None.

The Mourning weed (sure) is no less unfit for a Wed­ding garment, than the Souldiers Buff, or the Laborers Russet.

It is tru, our Lord will never interrogate such guests, as did the King in the parable, Friend how camest thou in hi­ther not having a wedding garment! Himself knoweth, that the very Uneasiness of the garment is abundant evidence, that their Affections ar as Honest as Unsuitabl, and their welcom shall be suited to their Intentions.

But whatever Reward they shall receve hereafter, it is manifest that at Present they suffer More, and more Grie­vos perplexities, from This which oght to be the most pleasant; than from All other the most mortifying duties.

For in those, the greatest austerities ar sweetened by the pleasures of the spirit, festing their consciences with this sa­tisfaction, that they ar doing Gods work; whereas in This, they ar not only rob'd of That Satisfaction, which is More properly due to it, but griped with Anxieties as intolerable as undue.

Which yet to Souls as considerative as pios, is less Affli­ctive; than the Scandal thence arising, first to the Holy Table, and thence to Religion in general. For it must add Shame to Grief, when they see the best Arguments for Reli­gion, that present Happiness can offer, retorted against it.

No greater joy (saith Plut.) than that of Religios fests, wherein the Epicurean hath no part. No greater, nor more numeros troubles (saith our experience) than those which torment the Communicant, wherein those who forbear have no part.

For the most worthy Communicant may be perplexed with fears, that he is one of the unworthy, against whom St. Paul's threatnings ar leveled; but he that absenteth himself, keepeth the same distance, both from That danger, and the troubl of preparation, as from the Table: For as is the Danger, so is the Fear of it, Great, but Condicional:

Bicaus Great, it falls heavy upon the Obedient; bicause [Page 317] Condicional, it cannot reach Others, who's neglect keeps them out of its sphaere of activity.

True: upon the whole complex, the Religios mans con­science is incomparably kinder, even in its fears, than that of the Irreligios, even in his jollities; but we now consider them, not in relation to our Lords Throne, but his Table: And in This Precise respect, we think it plain, that as This duty is stated, it must needs cause Great troubl to the One, and None to the Other.

For the Irreligios will therefor be free from any Troubl from it, if he Forbear; bicause he believeth himself so from any Obligation to Com: But the Religios, whether he Com or Forbear, will hardly escape Disquiets, so much the more Grievos, by how much the Duty is more Im­portant.

Whether it wer not better to Level This in equal dignity with other holy offices of Gods worship (which is the utmost the Apostl pleaded for) than thus to Advance it above them All; and for its maintenance in That height, put it to ex­ercise such unjust Tyranny, over its most loving and faith­ful subjects, no less contrary to its Own Nature, than Their Happiness; If it be not already plain enogh, it will appear more so, when we find This unhappy way of honoring it, no less mischievos to the Publik peace of the Church, than to the Private, of the best of its members.

CHAP. VIII. Pernicios to Charity.

I. Festing a bond of kindness among guests. Salt an embleme of Love. II. This a Fest of Charity, seasoned with a kiss of Charity. The highest Communion. Drinking and Pledg­ing. Drinking healths. The Bride-cake. The Apostl's way of Arguing our Union from this Communion. III. The kiss of charity translated kissing the Pax, Panis benedictus, a mockery. The Sacrament not only disabled from advan­cing Love, but turned to a makebate, 1. by taking away the necessity of the Supper, we take away its power to make us One body. Our Saviors precept of being reconciled be­fore we offer our gift, miserably perverted. IV. 2. By our too great aw, we not only disable the Sacrament from healing the least breach, but make it an instrument of the greatest. 1. This multiplieth questions. 2. Invenometh them. 3. Ma­keth them incurable. V. Taketh away the very subject of the question: better the Sacrament had never be'n instituted than so abused.

THE Third good end to which the Holy Sacra­ment is directed, is the cementing of All Christi­ans together in Mutual Charity.

A Festival board is a Corporation: the Communion holdeth, not only between Head and Members, but be­tween Member and Member too.

And it is Such, that our Lord reckoneth it among the Pretences, that shall be made to his favor at the great day. Many shall say at That day Lord, Lord, have we not eaten and drunk, [IN THY PRESENCE] We see he [Page 319] reckoneth Eating and drinking [in his Presence] 'thogh not at his Own table (for he made few fests, but accepted of many) worthy to be ranked with Prophecying and doing many wonderful works in his Name, as an equal token of fa­vor, receved or deserved.

Salt was by Gods Law required in Every Sacrifice, and is so by Universal Tradition, in Every Fest: We startl at the spilling of it, as an unhappy omen: The reason given by som, is that it is the embleme of Love, and it is au­thorised by our Lord, saying Have Salt [...] among your selvs, and have Peace one with another.

II. THIS uniting vertu is more conspicuous in our Lords Supper, than in Any Other; and the Apostls seasoned it accordingly. Greet one another with [an holy kiss] saith St. Paul: with [a kiss of Charity] saith St. Peter. And the later seemeth to fit the Salt to the Vi­ands, in Name as well as in Nature. St. Jude caleth the Supper [a fest of Charity] The kiss therefor wherewith it must be seasoned, might very properly be stiled [a kiss of charity] That, was the strongest Engagement; and This, the properest Seal. That, the Table; This, the Salt.

The first time we find the Holy Supper celebrated, we find it deserv the name which it afterward obteined: Well might it be caled a [Communion] for it was the most per­fect, that ever the world admired, Act. 2.44. All that believed wer together, and had all things common, and sold their possessions and goods, and par [...]d them to all men as every man had need, and continuing daily in the Templ, and break­ing bread in the common hous ( [...]) partook the norish­ment with gladness and singlness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the peopl.

And that we may not imagin those two Communions, of Goods, and of the Lords Supper, to be fortuitosly met; the Apostl expresly telleth us, that the One was the caus of the Other: We being Many ar One Bread and One Body [For] we ar all partakers of That One Bread.

It might upon too frequent occasions appear consider­able, that he putteth an emphasis upon the Universality, both in the Reason and the Consequence. [All] ar One Body, bicause [All] ar Partakers of That One Bread.

I might further observ (from J. Martyr's testimony) how upon This account, the Primitive Christians commu­nicated even with the Absent, by sending them portions of the holy Supper, as symbols of their interest, both in the Fest and their Love.

And I might hence not improbably derive our own cu­stom, of drinking to the Present and the Absent, as a sym­bol of Love to Both: A notion so much the more plau­sibl, bicause (after the Greekish mode) we have made the Cup aequivalent to a whole Fest.

And among Us, to drink to any person, is so acknow­ledged a pledg of kindness, that it passeth in Law for a Releas, if pleaded to an action of Scandal or personal in­jury: and he that drinks the so offered cup, is said to PLEDGE him that began it: i. e. he accepteth, and reciprocateth, or continueth on, that Pledge of love.

In the Greek Church, the Solemnities of Marriage ar closed with this ceremony: The Priest blesseth a cup of wine, and Bridegroom and Bride both drink of it.

And as in the Primitive Church the holy symbols were caried to the Absent, so do we communicate our pledge of Kindness to our Absent friends, by communicating it to them, and somtimes by drinking their healths; which can have no wors meaning, than a declaration of our good wishes to them, and an intention to communicate to them all that kindness which a Fest can signify or exercise.

But since the Apostl draweth not his Argument from the Cup, but the Bread; it will be fitter for us to take notice, that Thence also ar drawen obligations to mutual Kindness. Companions, [...], ar such as eat of the Same Bread. And David's complaint that he that eat of his bread had laid wait for him, was not grounded upon the unthankful­ness [Page 321] of the beneficiary, as one whom he had nurished with his bounty; so much as the incivility of his [Companion] that had familiarly conversed with him at the same table.

Nor ar we short of the Greeks in our Bridall ceremony: For our Bride-cake answereth their Bride-cup: with this advantage, that when the New-married cople have first taken their parts, the rest is communicated to other friends, in pledge of a common affection among the whole Company.

But no Custom, Ancient or Modern, is so consider­able, as the Apostl's way of Arguing. He doth not urge it as Probabl, but Contingent; Apt to produce the effect, but Capabl to be disappointed; Doth not say, It is Fit, or it is Intended; we May, or Oght to be made One by it, &c. But we [Are] and For this Reason we [Are One] Both the Effect, and the Reason are Actually existent, and so, secure not to be hindered from being.

The Kiss of Charity was as certain an attendant upon This holy fest, as the Fest it self was upon Every holy meeting. The Communicants parted with the most Af­fectionate Kisses, the most Endearing Embraces, and all other expressions of most Ardent Love: All this constant­ly repeted at every meeting, still feweled their mutual love, and kept the divine fire alive, as did the daily Sa­crifice, That upon Gods holy Altar.

Such was the Significancy, such the Efficacy of This holy fest. As nothing could be more Proper, so nothing could be more Prosperos. Behold (said the Persecutors) how the Christians love one another! And behold (saith the Apostl) the Reason why they do so! It is bicaus they eat of That One Bread, That Fest of Charity, seasoned with the holy Kiss of Charity.

III. BUT how miserably in our days is the Osculum Pacis translated into Kissing of the Pax! Pri­mitively, the Kiss was begun by the Priest, and caried on [Page 322] throgh the assembly; Now, the Priest delivereth som paint­ed toy, to be kissed by the peopl; and no other kiss thoght on.

And for the Bread, what a fine trick do both Latine and Greek Churches agree in, to mock its Charitifik vertu! They take a loaf, half consecrate it, distribute it among the peopl, but not at the holy Tabl, and every one carieth his morsel to his several home, where he somtimes Eats and ofterner Keeps it: Is not this to mock the Apostl? All ar perhaps partakers of That One bread; but so, as Not to be made One body: For they do not so properly Com­municate, as Dispers it; render it rather an Embleme of Separation, than of Union; not of One Body, but Many scattered Particles.

So we greet not one another (as the Apostl prescribeth) with a kiss of charity, but the Picture which we have made of the Lords Supper, with a kiss of veneration; and That Picture no more like the life, than the Modern kiss is like the Primitive: and the whole vertu is lost with all tokens of its uniting power. And would to God it wer no wors than lost.

Our abuse doth not only falsify the unhappy Proposition, but Convert it with that worst kind of Conversion.

We [Cannot be] one Body, bicause we [Cannot eat] that One Bread: A conversion too properly per Impossibile; bi­cause our many and irreconcileable contentions, make That Impossibl to Us, which to the Apostl seemed Cer­tain and Necessary, by reason of This very bread: It is not a Fest of charity, but an Apple of Contention; in stead of kissing, we bite one another, and turn the Peace­maker to an Incendiary.

Litl did the Apostl think of this holy Banket, when he said, Mark those which cause divisions among you, and Avoid them. Yet this dubl plaint do we now put up against the Modern way of honoring it: It first makes It to cause division, and then causeth Us to avoid it.

  • [Page 323]1. By taking away the Obligation to Eat this Bread, we disable it from making us One Body, and so deprive it of the Blessing of a Peace-maker.
  • 2. By too superstitios fear of it, we not only disable it from heal­ing the Least breach, but make it an Instrument of the Greatest: and so make it a Curs instead of a Blessing.

1. By taking from our selvs the Obligation to Eat This Bread, we take from it, the Power to make us One Body. This is as clear, as That common Axiom, Sublata causa tollitur effectus.

We cannot (sure) doubt but our Gracios Lord designed as great Vertu to his Own table, as to the Legal Altar; which by a Plain (thogh Suppositive) Precept, he preferred to the Power of a Peace-maker; saying, If thou bring thy gift to the Altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath oght against thee; leav there thy gift before the Altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then com and offer thy gift.

But by our misapplication of the Suppositive Command, we have utterly defeated the design of the Precept.

The Method we like well enogh, First to be reconciled, and Then to com; and think we obey it sufficiently, if This be the Last action of our life; and That, the last, save This One: Quite contrary to our Lords Precept, who for avoiding delay, bids us, not cary back our gift, but leave it before the Altar, as an earnest of our speedy return; which we cunningly escape, by not coming thither at all.

We agree (indeed) with the best ages in the Antecedent, That none but the charitable must communicate; but we thence infer conclusions directly opposit. For They con­clude Positively: Therefore I must be reconciled, that I may communicate: but We, Negatively: Therefor I will Not Communicate, bicause I will Not be Reconciled: They There­for thoght Charity Necessary, bicause they thoght the Communion so: and We taking away the Necessity of Communicating, take away all its influence upon Charity.

When therefor we consider the vast difference between the Present, and Primitive ages, in point of Charity; whatever cause we have to Lament, we have none to Ad­mire, unless we look upon it's Cause. For our neglect of the Lords Supper, may well challenge our wonder; but that This should beget it's genuine issu, is no wonder at all.

If it be pleaded, that our forbearance proceeds not from Neglect, but Reverence; This will give cause of a yet greater complaint; for such is our Second, viz. that

IV. 2. BY our too superstitios fear of This Bread, we not only disable it from healing the Least breach, but make it an Instrument of the Greatest.

For it is but just, that if we commute Obedience for Reverence, we should make the Compensation as great as the Loss; or at least, we should do our utmost, to make it so; first by Thinking and Speaking most honorably; and then, by valuing our Opinions in proportion to our Esteem of the Subject.

While therefor Som (in complyance with the Former) say more than Others can Believ or Comprehend; and then (in conformity with the Later) think themselvs obliged to do their utmost, to bring All men to their own Sentiments; what consequence can be more natural than this, that there be More, and more Aigre contentions about This, than Any other Subject; which cannot ether so much confound our Judgments, by it's Mysteriosness, or engage our Zele, by it's Worth.

What Reason would thus persuade us to expect, Experi­ence compelleth us to see and bewail.

1. This multiplieth questions. Our too much fear maketh us therefor scrupulos in every Litl thing, bicause the Greatness of the Subject maketh nothing seem Litl.

Whether the Bread must be Leavened or Unleavened, who would have imagined worth disputing? yet was it thoght not only worth a Dispute, but a Quarrel; and that nether small nor short, but Fierce, and for several centu­ries of years, between the Greek and Latine Churches. Whether the Table stand East and West, or North and South, who would have thoght worth a contention? and who would think the posture of the Communicant, less inconsiderable than That of the Table? Yet ar Those made maters, not only of Contention, but of Schism. In Other offices of publik worship, who thinks himself a Judge ether of Priest or Peopl? but many scruple to Re­ceve the Lord's Supper, ether From an unworthy Minister, or With an unworthy Communicant, &c.

2. As it multiplieth questions, so doth invenom them; turns Questions to Quarrels; and those Fierce, perhaps Bloudy. What lamentable effects have we heard, seen, and felt, of mens zele, more heated in This, than in Any Other Fornace! Concerning Transubstantion and Single-communion, between Papists and Reformed: Concerning Consubstantiation, between Lutherans and Calvinists: Con­cerning Postures and Circumstances, between Conformists and Separists among our selvs.

3. As it maketh controversies More, and Fiercer, so doth it make them more Irreconcileable. No part of the gulf so wide, between us and our adversaries on ether hand.

If we look upon the Papists, how neer are the Janse­nists Ours! and what hindereth them from being entirely so, but their zele for Transubstantiation! The Religieuses of Port-royal ar by the Jesuites accused for Haeretiques; and by the author of the Provincial Letters, justified by This, as an adaequate evidence, that they daily adore the body of Christ in the Sacrament.

If this be an adaequate justification from the Suspicion, we may well conclude it a competent hindrance from the Thing: so that were All other controversies at an end (as in a manner they are) This One must keep the Schism in­curable: And That consideration is sufficient to discorage the endeavors of such good men, as were those who At­temted, and in good mesure Promoted, the Universal peace of Christendom, never to be accomplished 'till this bitter root be grub'd up.

On the other side, if we look upon the Non-conformists, we find many among them who join with us in All other offices, but dare not do so in This. They think its extra­ordinary Sacredness requires extraordinary Caution; and every step toward compliance with our Rubriks, looks like in devotion toward the Mystery.

They think themselves obliged, to examin with all pos­sibl rigor, not only Themselvs, but their Brethren, yea, their Governors too: and every appearance of Unworthi­ness, whether in Persons or Ceremonies, is apprehended as infectios and dangeros.

And of This what can be a more natural consequence, than that we should exercise our zele for the Holy Institu­tion; not by Performing it, but by Declining it, and Complaining against both our Governors and Brethren, for so blocking up our way to it!

Suppose we now all Other mountains leveled. Suppose the Surplice taken from the Priests back, and the Ring from the Brides finger; Suppose there wer nether any swearing in the Litany, nor cross in Baptism: Yea, suppose All Liturgies, Ceremonies and Rubriks laid aside, and the Ho­ly Table naked, not only of plate, but of cloth; yer while it is thoght that a great part of the Sacraments Honor, con­sists in being above all Human Power, in point of forms and circumstances, and a great part of Our Duty, in refu­sing to submit to the prescriptions of our Governors; This humor alone will turn it from a Fest of Charity, to a Rock [Page 327] of Offence; since no wisdom of Man can contrive how to celebrate it in such a form as shall please those, who can­not in conscience conform to Any.

VI. YEA, so Contentios is this Superstition, that it contends with the Sacrament which it striveth to honor; treating it as Joab did Amasa, with a kiss and a stab. For amids all it's care concerning the Manner, it de­stroyeth the Thing, by denying our Obligation to the Per­formancc.

With what face can we condemn the Doctrine of Tran­substantiation, upon that absurdity which our selvs main­tein? How can we decry the doctrine of Accidents, sub­sisting without their Subjects; while we labor so much a­bout the Manner, which is but an Accident, and take away the necessity of the Thing, which is the Subject; and That for This very end, that the Accident may subsist the more perfectly?

All other Controversies leav the Subject of the Questi­on, and therewith a possibility of accommodation: This takes away the One with the Other: To This therefor a­bove All other, is due that odios glory, which Lucan a­scribes to the litl Seps, above all other venomos Creatures:

—tibi palma nocendi:
Eripiunt omnes Animam, tu sola Cadaver.

This doth not only turn the most gratios Institution to an Useless Carkas, by robbing it of its serviceableness to Love, which is its life, but destroyeth the very Mater of the Performance it self; yet so, as to leave it the mischievos power of corrupting carkasses, which, while themselvs perish, infest the living.

This therefor is the sum of the great honor to which we advance the Sacrament: It may very well be omitted in point of Performance, but cannot be hindered from mul­tiplying [Page 328] and perpetuating dissentions: And this conse­quently is the honor, which we thereby pay its great and good Author; that since its Mischievousness is apparent, but not it's Necessity, he had do'n us a greater favor if he had never instituted it; and a yet greater, if he had so declared his will concerning our obligation to the Per­formance, that we might have escaped both Disobedience to himself, and Contentions in his Church, and yet en­joyed the benefit of so gracious a Legacy.

For how can we justifie his Wisdom or his Goodness, if he were so careful to bequeath us such a legacy, so service­abl both to his own honor and his Churches happiness; yet so unkind as to clog it with such condicions, as must render it Inaccessibl to the Most, Tormentive to the Best, Dangeros to every Single person, Mischievous to the Church in general, and Necessary to None? whereas by a plain determination of his will, inforced by his Com­mand, he might have prevented all Inconveniences, and promoted all Good effects.

Had it not be'n better, that the Christian World had never heard of it, than suffered so many mischievs by it? What Fires hath it kindled? What blood hath it drawn? What wounds hath it made in the authors Mystical body, more grievos to him, than those it commemorateth of his Natural? What member which it hath not tormented? What Church, what Person hath escaped its mischievous influence?

And on the other side: Where ar its good fruits? Where is that Church? Where is that Person that can in these last Ages boast of any so great benefits obteined by it, as may in any proportion pretend to recompence so many and great mischievs?

The Conclusion reflecting upon the whole.

I. All reduced to three questions. Qu. 1. By what Authority do we de­part from Constancy? By that of the Church of Rome. II. No Do­ctrine hath so much Popery as This. III. Qu. 2. With what Success? 1. By loss of Constancy we have lost tolerabl Frequency. IV. 2. By too much advanceing Reverence we have made it mischievos, 1. To the honor of our Lord, 2. to the peace of his church. V. Qu. 3. Upon what Need? No such danger as is feared, of loss of reverence: or if there were any, it is much outweighed, both by prudential and consci­entious considerations. VI. The Reverence which is due to the Sa­crament, is not such as belongs to Gods Decrees, which require our For­bearance; but such as belongs to his Laws, which require our Per­formance.

MAY not so many and great abuses make This holy Sacrament ashamed (as the Prophet is described in Zachary) of it's Commission? May it not say of the wounds in its hands? These ar the wounds wherewith I have be'n wounded in the house of my friends.

They ar, indeed, but in the Hands, not in the Heart; destroy not its Being, but leave it such an one as Epicurus allowed God: incomprehensibl in Majesty, Glory, and Idleness; exalted as much above our Concerns as our Un­derstandings: but wounded in the Hands, maimed and pain­ed, unserviceabl and troublsom, to the Church in Gene­ral, and every member in Particular.

And This in the house of friends: Reverence for it's my­steries, Zele for it's honor, Care for it's service; by be­ing wise overmuch, and righteous overmuch: Wise over­much, even wiser than our Lord himself; and Righteos overmuch, even more than can well stand, ether with the nature of a fest, or the frailty of mankind: By spinning our Lords institution to such fineness, as robbeth it of it's strength; and straining the Apostl's discours to such rigor, as maketh the duty impracticabl: By practising up­on the body of Christ, as Empiriks do upon those of their patients, against all Rules, and often without any Need.

Yes, 'tis even so! The Sacrament they say was grow'n Plethorik, it must therefor bleed away somthing of Con­stancy, for preservation of Reverence: and these ar the wounds it receved from the hands of Chyrurgeons, exercise­ing Phlebotomy. But

  • 1. By who's Prescription?
  • 2. With what success?
  • 3. Ʋpon what need?

ar questions so important, that it may be worth our labor, to sum up all that we have said, or can be said, into those three enquiries.

1. By who's Prescription? What Doctor durst presume thus to practise upon the Body and Blood of the Lord, con­trary to his own Institution?

Were we to answer by conjecture, we should not long deliberate; but we have better evidence than bare suspi­on, even as good as can be wished; the testimony of an Historian beyond exception, who could neither dare to impose upon the world, nor could himself be deceved, in matter of Fact, notoriously known, even to the most ignorant.

We have already heard from Socrates, who made an end of his History in the year of our Lord 441. and shall now again more heedfully take his report.

Whereas (saith he) All Churches over the whole world, on the Sabbath days, in every week celebrate the Mysteries; they of Alexandria and Rome, upon som ancient Tradition; refuse so to do. But the Egyptians, who ar neighbors of the Alexandrians, and the inhabitants of Thebais, do indeed meet on the Sabbath, but partake not the Mysteries, after the manner of Christians: for after they are filled with all manner of meats, about evening, they offer and receve the Mysteries. And again, in Alexandria, on the fourth day, and that which [Page] is caled the preparation-day, the Scriptures ar read, and the Teachers interpret them, and all things belonging to a meeting ar performed, except the celebration of the Mysteries.

As the first clause of these words speaketh the Holy Sa­crament constantly celebrated every Sunday, so doth the last, witness the same for every other Holy-day: for by ob­serving it as a singularity in the Church of Alexandria, that their weekly Lectures were defective for want of This; he plainly supposeth it notorios, that it was celebrated every where els in all Church-assemblies.

And concerning the Sundays-Sacrament, we must observ.

1. The Church of Alexandria was but Accessary, and that of Rome Principal. For as the former furnished the later with her Corn, so was her self filled with the Wealth and Merchants of Rome, for who's sake she complyed with her customs: But the voisinage, who had no such tenta­tions, liked not the trade, but refused to consent to their own Metropolis, in so gross an innovation.

Yea, they thence took such jealosie, as to stand the more stifly to such other customs of their Ancestors, as all the rest of the World thoght fit to be changed. Nor, in­deed, could they well justify the One without the Other. For if they refused to reneg constancy for This very rea­son, bicause their Ancestors practised it, then could they not deny the consequence which was pressed upon them, that they must upon the same reason stick to the ancient, but now generally disused circumstances, which made it the close of a Fest.

2. The Evidence, whereon This innovation was found­ed, was not derived from Scripture or Reason, or any o­ther competent Topik; but a pretended Tradition, a pri­vate Tradition, a Tradition whispered to the Church of Rome and her Zany of Alexandria, so close in the ear, that [Page] it could not be heard by any other Church equally Aposto­lik: not more contrary to the practice of the rest of the World, than to the very Nature of Tradition, which can­not be but Universal.

3. The vantage they have since made of This inven­tion, hath made it plain, that they therefor wer thus in­dustrios to advance this Sacrament obove all other offices of Worship, that they might thereby advance both their own Church above other Churches, and their Priests above the Laity in their own: The Former, by exalting this their proper tradition, above the joint practice of all other Churches; and the Later, by putting the People at di­stance from the Altar, and consequently from the Priest, who must needs appear more worthy of reverence, by the privilege he had, to Partake the Sacrament, while the People must only Adore it.

II. I QUESTION whether All their Doctrines put together, I am sure not any One singl, hath so much of Popery, both Form and Matter, as our modern way of robbing the Lords Supper of due constancy.

1. This is the Soul and Life of Popery. To Equal Tra­dition with Scripture, and engross to themselvs the power of declaring what is Tradition; This is the Pope's tripl Crown, by this he dominereth over the Conscience and Understanding of the whole Christian world. And This Particular Tradition is the first-born of That invention, and the most valiant of the whole race. None like it in Boldness, for it first durst openly affront the whole world; none like it in Atchievments, for it hath triumphed, not only over the Church Universal, but over the Apostl himself.

[Page]1. With the Church Universal, she hath hereby dealt, as her Nero did with her Predecessor-city. Among all his pranks, none like That of firing the City, and then en­enlarging his House upon the ruines. If a City be to the whole World, as a singl House is to a whole City; then to make a Private Tradition devour the Universal Tradi­tion of the whole World, was another kind of Neronian fire, and the title of Roman Catholik, an exact tally of Roma domus fiet, &c.

2. With the Apostl she hath dealt (if possibl) more rude­ly: turned his own artillery upon himself, baffled him with his own weapon.

For He, that he might convince the Corinthians, that our Lord required constancy; pleadeth a private Traditi­on, I have (saith he) receved of the Lord what I delivered to you. The Church of Rome employeth the very same e­vidence (Trueth only excepted) in direct opposition to This very Tradition of the Apostl, receved and practised by all the Churches of Christ: for having no other pre­tence to rob the Lords Supper of This constancy, I have (saith she) receved it by tradition, that it is not to be celebra­ted every Sunday.

The Corinthians could not oppose any thing to the Apo­stl's testimony concerning His tradition, without giving him the ly; nor was there any other way for Other Churches to avoid This of the Church of Rome: And who durst be so rude to the capital Church of the Empire? If All the Christian World have so venerated that Impe­rial Church, as to sacrifice to her authority their own eyes, who but a race of impudent Heretiks, will question her ve­racity, after so many ages of possession? And if in such a Question as This, the whole Catholik Church yielded to her authority, with what fore-head can any other Church, much more any private Person, oppose her in any O­ther?

For if after such a concession, This same Church shall pretend a Tradition, that it is the duty of every other Church to yield themselvs up to her conduct, by implicit Faith and blind Obedience, what is this more than is al­ready granted? He that hath given up his eyes, so as not to discover the brightest evidence, must contradict him­self, if he believ them in any less manifest: For it is to deny his own concession, viz. that the Church of Rome is to be believed against all contrary evidences, whenever she shall declare tradition. This therefor, as it was the First and Greatest essay, so it is the most Prosperos that that the Church of Rome ever made or can make, of an unlimited power over the Word of God, and the Under­standings of Mankind.

2. This is the most Material Articl, the Greatest limb of Popery. Both sides agree to make this Sacrament the adaequate Test, whereby to distinguish a Romanist from such as they call Heretik; and This was the first step, where­by it mounted to the controverted adoration.

When once it was obteined, that Other offices of pub­lik worship might be celebrated without This, it was not hard to gain one step more; for if it be as Well in point of Duty, it must seem Better in point of Prudence, to make it Venerable by Distance, than Cheap by Familiari­ty: And if it be Best to make it Venerable, then will it be best to speak the Most, that can help to make it so: and when once it came to This, that he speaketh Best who speaketh Most: what wonder if Alexander claim adora­tion?

But to Adore the Sacrament, and Trample upon the Institution: To pretend that This is but a Positive Law, and therefor subject to the Churches power; and then with an express non obstante, not only to Universal tradi­tion, but to our Lords Command; to forbid the One half to the Peopl, exalting their own Authority in the One, and their Wisdom in the Other against His: This was a [Page] jump, which even the Church of Rome it self durst not make, but after long exercise of omnipotence.

And as she herein exceeded all her Former Ages, so doth she in This All her Other Doctrines. In Other Do­ctrines they cheat men of their mony, by scaring them with Purgatory, soothing them with Indulgences, whead­ling them with Merits, cullying them with Absolution up­on the Priest's own terms, fooling them with Foppish ce­remonies, &c. But by This, they pull out their very Eys, forbidding them to believe any of their Senses.

If countermanding that singular Law which is appro­priate to our Lords own Person; if tearing away that badge which himself made the cognisance of his Church; if to affront him in Both his Natures, his Divine, by de­rogating from his Authority; and his Humane, by de­facing his Image, can deserv the title; then must This above All Doctrines, be most worthy to be stiled An­tichristian.

In brief and plain: Ether the Church of Rome is to be followed, in opposition to the Church Universal, or the Church Universal, in opposition to the Church of Rome: If the Church of Rome be to be followed, why do we de­ny implicite Faith to any her Other traditions? If the Church Universal be to be followed, why do we forsake her in This point of Constancy, which she paid the Sacra­ment, 'till the Church of Rome out-faced her?

III. VVE have seen by who's Prescription this Phle­botomy hath be'n exercised, let us now en­quire with what Success? And this will occasion another Question, viz. Whether of the two we have more rea­son to be ashamed of? The Practice is two-fold, and e­ther part is answered by its proper success. On the One side, the Sacrament is rob'd of Constancy, and That is followed by loss of tolerable Frequency: On the Other side, That Loss is recompensed by Veneration, and This [Page] is followed by as great Mischiefs as the Author designed Benefits.

1. By loss of CONSTANCY we have lost tolerabl Fre­quency. The Obligation ones untyed, and Latitude al­lowed, without any other limit, but what love shall pre­scribe; and the Performance drest up in such frightful manner, as is more apt to produce Dread than Love; what other fruit can reasonably be hoped for, than what we see, that the generality should rather exercise their Aw by Shunning, than their Lov by Frequenting it?

This was to som degree prevented by the Rubrikes of our Church, 'till they wer deposed from their Authority, by a sort of men, who making distance from Rome their mesure of truth, must by That rule have restored the Con­stancy, which to banish was the proper act of Popery: But Antipodes, while they stand in greatest Opposition, dwell in the same Latitude; and so do these men with the Church of Rome in som of her worst Doctrines.

For as they also call it the Scepter of Christ's Kingdom, to advance the Ecclesiastical Power above the Temporal; so do they endeavor to make this Sacrament an instrument to subject the People to the Minister.

When they hoped to 'stablish their Discipline, how briskly did they summon the People to the Communion! How insolently did they depose them All, even such as were every way better than themselvs, to the state of Ca­techumens! not admitting them to the Lords Table 'till they had undergo'n Their examination. But when they found that they could not prevail, ether with the People voluntarily to submit themselvs, or with the Governors to compel them to it: How quickly did they take pet! How sullenly did they cast away the Sacrament, as Useless to Any good purpose, since it was So to their Own!

My banishment from the University cast me into a cor­ner, where the Dispute was publikly managed by word and [Page] writing, from the Pulpit and from the Press; whether the Lord's Supper wer to be celebrated in an unpresbyterated Church? and the Negative so generally prevailed throgh­out the Land, that during their whole reign, in som pla­ces the very Table it self, and in most others, the Use of it, was quite cast out of the Church.

When the Church of England was about to be restored, and their Representatives wer desired to make their Pro­posals; that they might ether hide or justify so great a neglect, they moved to be freed from That Rubrike, which obligeth the peopl to communicate at least three times in every year: And to This day they make it a di­stinct cause of separation; so that som who join with us in other offices, dare not do it in This: And their greatest Champion, thogh he have his proper Congregation, bosteth that he hath not 'ministered it these eighteen years; with no less Non-conformity to his own pretences, than to the stablished government.

1. One pretence is, that nothing must be do'n in the Pub­lik worship of God, without express warrant in his word: Then certainly much less, must any thing be omitted, which his Command hath made necessary. For the gene­ral Precept for Decency, may virtually contein such Par­ticulars, as our Governors shall judge Decent; but no­thing less than a Particular and Express warrant, can free us from a Particular Institution, not only Expresly en­joyned, but several ways Inculcated.

2. Another pretence is, that our Church is not rightly constituted according to the mind of Christ: And we have discovered by the Nature of the thing, by the language of the Apostls, and by the unanimos consent of all the Chri­stian world, that the Sacraments ar indispensibl marks of a Christian Church; which since his Congregation wants, by his own principless he must abandon it.

[Page]3. A Third great pretence is, that We have too much Popery in our Worship: And we have found that robbing the Publik worship of This Sacrament, is the very Soul and Body of Popery; but with This difference, that the Popish Doctors intended to make it bleed away somthing of Con­stancy; and Non-conformists bleed it to death.

WE see whence our neglect of the Sacrament took it's first Birth, and whence it's Nourishment. Popery gave it the one, and Schism the other: Yet how many among our selvs cherish it, that renounce both Parent and Nurse! Glad of the liberty which (right or wrong) they enjoyed during our confusions, and loth to return to the troubl they suffered, from such a curb to their dear lusts and ease.

They find that divines require no less for a worthy Com­munion, than for a saving Repentance: Repentance they press as absolutely Necessary, but the Communion they think not so: Who then can be so sottish, as to delay his Repentance, without giving the Sacrament as long a day? Every mans Reason must needs concurr with his Sloth, to persuade him, that if it be a damnable Sin to com Un­worthy, but None to Forbear; then must it needs be his wisest cours, to avoid a task, dubly prejudical, first to his Ease, and then to his Salvation.

When our Lord commanded us to pluck out our eys and cut off our hands, he enforced it with a Reason, as cogent as the Command could be rigid: For it is better to enter in­to life with One ey foot or hand, than to be cast into Hell-fire with two. But so to state this duty as to say, If you will do This, you must quit your beloved lusts; but if you will not do it, you miss som benefits, but incurr no dan­ger; how few such a declaration will persuade rather to renounce their lusts and ease, than This (Duty shall I call it? no, but) Burthen; Reason might have taght our an­cestors to Conjectur, and Experience compelleth us to bewail.

Experience, which many call the fools mistress, bicause [Page] those who apprehend not other evidence, cannot avoid This: Experience which is many times the Severest, and alway the Best instructor; doth so plainly and sadly re­prove us, that however excusable Other ages may have be'n, who thoght themselvs secure from the ill consequen­ces, our Own and Future times cannot be so, if we be not convinced by them.

We somtimes see men encumber their lands, when they intend to grace them, with Fair but Fruitless bildings, and then sell houses, land, and all, to pay the so contracted debt: But we never see any so fond of such bildings, as to sell the Land for their preservation, if by pulling them down, they can pay the debt with the materials. Let us be as wise in our generation: our 'forefathers thoght (as such bilders usually do) that the Sacrament could well bear, and be improved by the cost they put it to; that it would be more advanced both in honor and power, than preju­diced, by abatement of constancy; but never thoght of staking its very Being, against any hopes whatever: That, they thoght secured by the Laws of the Church, and the unfailing practice of it's very worst members; who for shame of their neighbors or fear of their governors, durst not neglect it at any of the appointed seasons.

But now, that the late Schism hath out-mischiefed all their fears, it is not to be doubted, but those very wri­ters, who heretofore discoraged the performance by their rigors, wer they now living, would no less industriosly press it; had they no better reason than this, that the bild­ings go with the land; bicaus those who think it needless to receve the Sacrament, cannot think it necessary to exa­min themselvs by way of preparation for it.

Let us then learn by experience: we have seen the trial of Both ways: Primitive Christians practised Constancy with as great Success as Obedience; The Church of Rome first seduced the world from it, and thereby advanced Themselvs more than the Sacrament; Our Schismatiks [Page] out-shot the Church of Rome, not only Abated, but De­stroyed the Office, root and branch. What need we less intelligibl comments, upon our Lord's or Apostl's words? our very senses inform us what is to be do'n: And how­ever former ages may be excused by the goodness of their intentions, we cannot be so, if we refuse to be con­vinced by manifest experience, plainly confuting their plau­sibl designes.

IV. THE other part of the practice, is the advance­ment of REVERENCE: for as Frequen­cy, for want of a Damm to fence it, is swallowed up; so Reverence for want of one to restrain it, hath swollen fur­ther and further 'till it came to Adoration: and this is an­swered by a success so much wors than the Other, as a Mischief is wors than Nothing: for it is mischievos both to the Honor of our Lord, and the Peace of his Church.

I. To the HONOR of our Lord: bicause it restoreth Both those Religions which he came and died to abolish; turning This, which he instituted for a livree of Christianity, to a cloak both of Heathenism and Judaism.

1. Heathenism, by making it an Idol, much after the Old Pagan mode: For the Old Heathen believed they could by force of words, bring their God to enhabit the statu they consecrated to him, and then worshiped That statu, not a as carved piece of wood, but as the body of the God; and the Papists believ they can by like force of words, make bread and wine the Body of Christ, and then worship it after the manner of the heathen; yet eat it too, and therein exceed them.

2. Judaism, by burying true Spiritual worship under a heap of dumb ceremonies. Our Lord gave This as a cha­racter of the Gospel-worship; God is a Spirit, and they [Page] that worship him, must worship in Spirit and in Truth: But the Papists have turned Spiritual worship out of door, to make room for a mass of pageantry, who's Mysteries ar no more understood by the Priest, than is the Language by the Peopl.

But thogh no meaning can be perceved in the Retail, yet This is plain in the Gross; that the Sacrament is to be Admired, but not Understood.

II. To the PEACE of the Church, the Ten Perse­cutions have not be'n so pernicios. The King of France after all his bloody atchievments, must yield it a greater right to his vaunt, Behold what destructions I have wroght upon the earth!

God be blessed, we ly not at present under such violent paroxysms as our 'forefathers suffered: Nether Warr nor Persecution rage among us, but we hear of Oppressions among our Neighbors, Plots among our selvs, Jelosies, Disputes, Distractions, which thogh they do not utterly Destroy, do yet Disturb the peace of the Church; as Fears and Perplexities of conscience do the souls of it's best members.

These ar the fruits of our modern way of honoring the blessed Sacrament: Neglect of Constancy hath produced Constancy of Neglect; we have So put it at Distance, as to put it out of sight. Yea, it is wors than Destroyed, for it is made Destructive of that Spiritual devotion toward God, that mutual Charity toward each other, that inward Comfort in our Own souls, which our Lord instituted it to advance.

V. OUR THIRD enquiry is, What Need? For it oght not to be thoght, but the Necessity must be proportionate to the Remedy. Nice persons somtimes take physik without need, only to prevent they know not what: in such cases the Physician prescribes none but gentl [Page] medecines; such as may do no more, than only purge the patient out of som of his superfluos mony: Such a cours therefor as we find taken with This institution, must per­suade us to expect som very urgent Necessity, or som ap­parent and great Danger, no other way to be escaped.

And a great danger we hear of; A danger of contemt. But what contemt? Is this holy Bread any where cast to the dogs? Is this Cup wors abused to drunkenness? Is the whole Supper any where profaned as the Apostl testifi­eth it to have be'n the by Corinthians? or as their Persecu­tors slanderosly reported of the Primitive Christians? All this were so much less than the abuses it now suffereth from the remedies, as Lust is less than Murder: but the Least of them is incomparably more than our greatest fears.

For indeed there is no pretence of any other danger, than Negative or Comparative: It will not be capabl of A­doration at Rome, nor of Veneration among our Selvs; 'twill be as cheap as Common-prayer, by too much familiarity: it must therefor keep state like the Eastern kings, who preserv Aw in their peopl by keeping Distance.

That Distance causeth Aw, cannot be denied: This ob­jection verifieth it. For while we look upon it at distance, it looketh dreadful as a Lion; but if we com to a closer vieu, we shall find it a less formidabl beast.

To this end we have already distinguished the world into it's two parties, the Godly and the Ungodly; and found that from nether of them was any such danger to be feared: Not from the Godly, for no Constancy will make them quit their Reverence; Not from the Ungodly, for they have none worth preserving.

1. The Godly will never quit Reverence upon any the great­est Frequency, as plainly appeareth by their uniting Both in Prayer: Evening and Morning and at Noon-day will I pray, and that Instantly, said David. Not the less Instantly, bicaus Constantly. Such Constant Experience oght to deal [Page] with this Fear, as its patrons pretend Constant performance will with Reverence, Abate at least, perhaps Destroy it.

2. That shew of Reverence which Ungodly men bring to the Communion is not worth preserving, much less is it worth purchasing at so dear a rate, as disobedience.

We haveb lately examined the Pageant, and found, that however goodly shew it makes in the eyes of children and the populace, it must be contemptibl in the eyes of God, who seeth and hateth it's want of inward life; which it Therefor wanteth, bicaus it wanteth such Frequency as is most likely to beget it.

Since therefor True Reverence, which alone is Worth our care, Needs it not, bicaus it is secure from danger; and that Empty shew of revercnce which is in danger, is not worth our care to preserv it; From This topik of Pru­dence, there is not to be had one grain to turn the emty scale.

But on the contrary, in This very Topik we shall meet such considerations, as without help from any Other, shall very much outweigh those fears.

1. It is much better run the risque of abating Reverence, than of Losing the Sacrament it self. Somthing, however cheap, is better than Nothing; and Obedience, than Sa­crifice. But it is not singl Disobedience, when accom­panied (as here) with pretence of Prudence: which no less affronteth our Lord's Wisdom than his Authority; oblikely intimating that he could not 'foresee or prevent the danger.

2. Probability is much lighter than Experience. We do but Suspect the danger, and we have Experience to the contrary. On One side; more than 400 years experi­ence, proved that Constancy and Reverence drew happily together to God's glory and his Churches benefit: On the Other side, many hundred years experience hath mani­fested, [Page] that by their separation, a multitude of mischievs have overwhelmed the world.

T. Livy said That Experience is the best judge and cor­rector of Laws: If it may correct Laws, much better may it Disobedience to Laws.

3. This probabl Fear is answered by a more probabl Hope, that by their re-union, Common-Prayer would gain more than the Sacrament lose.

We have found that St. Paul, and after him St. Augu­stin, used this Sacrament as an argument for reverence in God's hous: and the Later went a step further, improving it for Purity of life: if the Argument be good, why should it be lost?

Hnd not Jehoshaphat accompanied the Kings of Israel and Edom, in their address to the Prophet, their three ar­mies had perished: and how much of devotion is lost, for want of joining the Lords Supper with other offices of his worship, who can divine?

4. If Prayer and other Religios offices gain not altogether so much as the Sacrament may lose; yet will the service of God be advanced by the Great; bicause Frequency will abundantly recompence the disadvantage in the Particular.

Quick (thogh Light) returns make rich merchants: and a little gain repeted every Sunday and other Holiday, will enrich piety, thogh purchased with greater abatement from the Sacrament, as it is now rarely celebrated.

Thus our adversaries own Topik, Prudence will write upon their pretended necessity for abatement of Con­stancy, Mene Mene tekel: how light then will it appear, when so many and weighty obligations shall be weighed against it!

The Positive Command of our Lord, not only Expressly enjoined, but Carefully Recommended, by the extraor­dinary season of the Institution, in the Last night of his [Page] Life, and no less carefully interpreted by posthum revela­tions after his death: The Singular worth of the Duty it self, appropriate to his Own Person, the Livree of his Church, the Monument and Effigies of his Death and be­nefits; The great vertues of the performance, the cement of charity among his members, the Comfort of his faith­ful servants, the advancer of devotion in his wor­ship, &c.

Against so great a weight, nothing cast into the opposit scale, but the mistaken sound of an unhappy word, mis­interpreted and abused upon loss of it's key, by Modern Doctors; but That mistaken Sound again infinitely out­weighed, by the Apostl's design manifestly imploying That very word for enforcement of Constancy; and the autho­rity of Modern Doctors, out-voted by the unanimos con­sent of more than 400 years universal practice of the Ca­tholik church, which having not yet lost the key, per­fectly understood the Apostl's mind, by uninterrupted tra­dition; not to be destroyed but by the Church of Rome, nor by That, upon any other Evidence, than of a pre­tended Tradition; not to be gainsaid, thogh not to be credited, by other less potent Churches.

VI. SO great a weight born up by an emty scale! This could never be, did we pay This Sacrament That Reverence which is due to it.

I say That which is Due to it: For we oght to be careful in distinguishing: There is One kind of Reverence Due to Gods Laws, and Another to his Decrees: Moses long since and very clearly stated the difference, Deut. 29.29. Secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are reveled belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this Law.

Secret things to God, who hath reserved them for his own Knowlege and Execution: and the Reverence which we ar to pay to them, requireth us to keep an Awful Distance; [Page] not to intrude, but to admire, and cry out Oh the depth of the riches hoth of Wisdom and Knowledge of God! how un­searchabl — But Those things which ar reveled belong to us: Faithful Study and Diligent Practice is the Reve­rence they claim. Oh how I lov thy Law! All the day long is my study in it, said David, in conformity to his character of the Blessed man Ps. 1.

And it is wonderfully unhappy that our most learned ages have most grossly erred on Both sides. Concerning the Secret things that bolong to God, how irreverently busy! To marshal his Presence and Decrees in due order, to pre­scribe limits for his Justice and Goodness, to mesure the influences of his Decrees and his Grace upon our Li­berty, &c. is every one's work: While those things which ar reveled concerning this Sacrament, ar reverenced by be­ing treated as Mysteries, with an Awful Distance, with Admiration, Ignorance, and Forbearance.

I am therefor so farr from deposeing it from due Rever­ence, that my whole endeavor hath be'n to restore it from the grossest Contemt, which hath so long left it in the meanest state of Neglect, Unstudied and Unpractised.

Yes, it is Ʋnstudied: in the mids of that multitude of disputes, which have so long and so much pestered the Christian world, concerning Sacraments in General, and This in Particular, still our Lord's Institution lieth Unstu­died: Unstudied as a Law, bicause Overstudied as a Mystery: Unstudied in what belongs to Us, bicause Overstudied in what belongs to God.

What? can he be said to have studied the Law, that understands not it's first Rudiments? That knoweth not whether it be a Law, or no? Whether it be a Law Abso­lute, or only Condicional? Is he learned in a Law, that knoweth not how farr, or how often it obligeth to Action? When, and in what cases the obligation ceaseth? &c.

If this be to Love a Law, what is to Slight it? If this be Reverence, what is Contemt?

A Contemt so much the Greater, by how much Less la­bor the study requireth. Did it require the reading of many large volums, the loss of much sleep, the wast of much time; the Neglect might be imputed, not so much to want of Reverence, as of Corage: But All the words of this Law, were delivered by our Lord in one Breath, and explicated by his Apostl in a Few Lines: and how can you pretend Reverence to the One or the Other, if you let the least tittl fall to the ground?

I pray' now, have you indeed studied All the words of this Law? Have you well examined what bread and cup the Demonstrative THIS points at? or what is the im­port of the Imperative DO?

Or have you studied All the words of the Apostl's com­ment? Yea, have you examined All it's clauses, or the Design of them All? Why did he charge his Corinthians with profaning the Lord's Supper in All their meetings? And how did he make good That Charge? What meant he by such industrios inserting and repeting a claus un­mentioned by any Evangelist? and what standard doth it relate to? What is the intent of the whole 26th vers? how doth it summ up the evidence of the 'foregoing, or support the inferences following?

These and many other main limbs, Which of our asser­tors of Reverence have honored with any enquiry?

If to Neglect the most fundamental clauses, and largest limbs of a Discours, so to handl a Law as to disabl it from obligeing, so to order a Duty as to render it impracticable, be to pay Reverence, I cannot but confess my self gilty of haveing denied it.

On the Other side I have be'n so bold, both with our Lord's and Apostl's words, as to examin every syllabl and every look: taken them to a strict account, what service they do to the author's designe? What agreement they maintein with their fellow-members? what order they keep, and why? Traced the diatribe throgh all it's turn­ings, [Page] and hunted out the reason of them all: Suffered not the least Phoenomenon to 'scape the most rigid exami­nation: and over and above, compared all with the practice of the other Apostls and the primitive Churches.

This I take to be the Best way of Reverence, except One, wherein I hope my good reader will join with me; which is, to pass from Studying to Doing all the words of This Law.


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