THE COMMUNICANTS GUIDE, Directing The younger Sort, which have never yet Received, and the Elder, and ignorant sort, which have hitherto Received unworthily; How they may Receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper to their Souls comfort. Together With a Treatise of DIVINE Truths, Collected out of Ancient and Moderne DIVINES. By R: GOVE, Sometime Preacher of Gods Word, at Henton, St. George, in Sommerset.

1 CORINTH. 11. 29.
Hee that Eateth and Drinketh unworthily, Eateth and Drinketh Damnation to himself.

LONDON, Printed by J. G. for Richard Royston, at the Angel in Ivie-lane, 1654.

To all those that do desire to receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper worthily, and to their Souls comfort.

ESPECIALLY To the younger sort, which have never yet received, and to the elder, and ignorant sort, which have hitherunto re­ceived unworthily.

R: GOVE, Who can do very little, yet desireth to doe very much for the good of their Souls,

DEDICATETH These his Sacramentall instructions following.

A CATECHISME. Short for Memory, and plaine for Capacity, containing the Grounds, and Principles of the Christian Religion in generall. Which every one should know, that desires to receive the Sacra­ment of the Lords Supper worthi­ly, and to his Souls comfort.

QUESTION. OF what Religion are you? 1 Pet. 3. 15.

Ans. Of the Christian Acts 11. 26 Religion.

Q. What Religion is that?

Ans. That which teach­eth Acts 4. 1 [...] a Man to looke for salvation, only by Jesus Christ.

Q. Where is this Religion taught you?

[Page 2] Ans. In the Holy Scriptures, which are Joh. 5. 39 Hos. 8. 12 2 Tim. 3. 15, 16, 17. Joh. 20. 13 the written Word of God, and containe all things needfull for our salvation.

Q What are the principall things, and those most necessary to salvation, which are taught us in the Scriptures?

A. They are two: the one is, what we Joh. 13. 17 are bound to know; and the other is, what we are bound to practise.

Q. What are we bound to know?

A. God and our selves. Joh. 17. 3 2 Cor. 13. 5

Q. What must wee know concerning God?

A. We must know three thngs: 1. that there is a God▪ 2. What a one this God is; Heb. 11. 6 Joh. 17. 3 Psal. 111. 2 and 3. What he hath done.

Q. How doe you assure your selfe, there is a God? Joh. 5. 39 Rom. 1. 20 1 Joh. 3. 20 & 21. Joh. 4. 24 Ex. 33. 18. & 19. Ex. 34. 5. & 6. 1 Joh 5. 7 1 Cor. 8. 6 Acts 15. 18 Gen. 1. 1 Acts 17. 24 Heb. 1. 3 Psal. 119. 91 Psa. 103. 19.

A. 1. Gods Word reveales it; 2. Gods Workes confirme it; and 3. mine owne conscience doth assure me of it.

Q. What a one is God?

A. God is a Spirit most glorious in Nature, three in Persons, and one in Essence.

Q. What hath God done?

A. Hee hath decreed with himselfe from all eternity, how all things shall be; he made all things in the beginning; and hee hath ever since sustained them, and disposed of them.

[Page 3] Q. Thus much of that, which we are to know concerning God, tell me now next, what we are to know concerning our selves?

A. We are to know three things 1. What we were; 2. What we are; and 3. What we shall be.

Q. What were we?

A. We were all in our first Creation Gen. i. 27 Eccles. 7. 31 Eph. 4. 24 Psal. 51. 5 Eph. 2. 3, 4 & 5. Heb. 3. 1 1 Cor. 1. 2 perfect, and happy.

Q. What are we?

A. We are all by nature sinnefull, and miserable: but by grace in Jesus Christ, as many as God doth call, are made righte­ous, and happy.

Q. What shall we be?

A. Those amongst us that are good Mat. 25. 46 Dan. 12. 2 Joh. 5. 29 Mat. 5. 16 1 Pet. 2. 12 Tit. 2. 5 2 Pet. 1. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 1 Pet. 3. 1 shall be everlastingly blessed in Heaven; and those that are wicked shall be ever­lastingly tormented in Hell.

Q. And thus far touching our knowledge: tell me now next what is required concer­ning our practise?

A. There is required in us all a care so to lead our lives, as that thereby, God, and our Christian profession may have praise, we comfort, and others profit.

Q. How may we so leade our lives?

A. By ordering them according to the prescript rule of Gods Word, set downe partly in the Law, and partly in the Gos­spell. Psa 119. 9 Gal. 6. 16

[Page 4] Q. What doth the Lord require?

A. Piety towards God; Charity to­wards our Neighbours; Sobriety towards Tit. 2. 11. 12 Mat. 22. 36 37, 39. 1 Pet. 5. 8 Pro 12. 10 our selves; and Mercy towards all other living Creatures.

Q. What doth the Gospell require?

A. True faith, and unfeigned Repen­tance, as our only remedy for the breach Mar. 1. 15 of the Law.

Q. How are these Graces to be begun, con­tinued, and perfected in us? Mar. 9. 24 Luk 22. 23 Luke 11. 13 Jam. 5. 16 Rom 10. 17 Acts 20. 32 Rom. 4. 11 Acts 2. 38 41. Mat. 28. 19 1 Cor. 11. 23

A. By faithfull, and fervent Prayer; by a due hearing, and reading of the word; and by worthy receiving of the Sacraments.

Q. How many Sacraments hath Christ or­dained in his Church, thus to be received of us?

A. Two onely, Baptisme, and the Lords Supper.

Q. What is the use of Baptisme?

A. By Water washing the body, to as­sure us that the bloud of Christ, being ap­plied 1 Pet. 3. 21 1 Cor. 6. 11 1 John 1. 7 to the Soule of the believer, clenseth him from all his sins.

Q. What is the use of the Lords Supper?

A. To be a signe, a seale, and pledge un­to us, that Christ Jesus is given for us, and 1 Cor. 11. 24 Mat. 26. 28. John 6. 50, 51, & 54. to us for the nourishing, and preserving of us unto eternall life.

JOH. 13. 17.‘If ye know these things, blessed are ye, if ye do them.’

THE Communicants Guide, Directing The younger sort, which have never yet received, and the elder and igno­rant sort, which have hitherunto received unworthily, how they may Receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper worthily, and to their Soules comfort.

Question. WHat must he doe, that would Re­ceive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper worthily, and to his Soules com­fort?

A. He must doe that, which is required of a worthy Receiver, before he commeth to receive; whilest hee is Receiving; and after he hath Received.

Q. What is required of a worthy Receiver before he commeth to receive? 2 Chron. 30. 18. 19.

A. There is required a serious, and [Page 6] solemne preparation of himselfe.

Q. Wherein doth that serious, and so­lemne 2 Sam. 16. 5 Psal. 26. 6 2 Chro. 35 6. preparation of a Mans selfe con­sist?

A. It consisteth in two things. First, in a solemne sequestring and setting apart of some convenient time, wherein hee may, betwixt God and his own Soule meditate on that which hee is about to doe: and secondly in doing that which may prepare him for it.

Q. What time is fittest to be set apart for this businesse?

A. The whole time from the warning given of a Communion to the very time Exod. 12. 3. & 6. of receiving it, should take up some of our thoughts touching the same: but es­pecially Joh. 19. 14 & 31. we should spend some part of the day immediately foregoing it in that bu­sinesse: by retiring our selves from other Zech. 12. 12 Mat. 6. 6 Ge. 24. 63 1 Cor. 7. 5 Gen. 22. 4 & 5. Nehe 6. 3 & 4. company into some private place (if it may be) to performe the same; and by with­drawing our minds for that time from all other businesses.

Q. What are the duties which in this time thus set apart, a mam is to perform, that he may be rightly prepared?

A. They are two. The first is examina­tion; 1. Cor. 11. 28 1 Tim. 4. 5 and the second is Prayer.

Q. Concerning what must a man examine himselfe?

[Page 7] A. He must examine himselfe, whether he have in him those things which ought to be in a worthy Receiver.

Q. What are those things?

A. They are especially five. First, know­ledge; Secondly Faith, Thirdly Repen­tance; Fourthly Charity, and Lastly, an hungring and thirsting desire after Christ, and the benefits of his death, and passion.

Q. What knowledge ought there to be in a worthy Receiver?

A. There ought to be in him (besides a competent knowledge of the grounds, Heb. 8. 10, 11. Heb. 5. 12. and principles of the Christian Religion in generall) a more particular knowledge, both of himselfe, who is to receive, and 1 Cor. 13. 5 of the true nature, and use of the Sacra­ment, which he is to receive. 1 Cor. 11. 29

Q. What must hee know concerning him­selfe, who is to receive?

A. He must know, how miserable he is by nature; and how much more miserable Psal. 51▪ 5 Rom. 5 12 Eph 2, 3. Rom 6. 23 Gal. 3. 10. he hath made himself by his actuall trans­gressions.

Q. What must hee know concerning the true nature, and use of the Sacrament which he is to receive?

A. Hee must know, first who ordained it; Secondly, for what ends it was ordain­ed, [Page 8] and thirdly, what are the parts whereof it consisteth.

Q. Who ordained this Sacrament?

A. The Lord Jesus Christ, and that in Mit. 26. 26 27, 28. 1 Cor. 11. 23 1 Cor. 11. 20 the Night when hee was betrayed, and therefore it is called the Lords Supper.

Q. For what ends was it ordained?

A. It was ordained, first to keepe in 1 Cor. 11. 24 26. John 6 54, 56 & 57. 1 Cor. 1 [...]. 24, 26 1 Cor. 10. 16, 17. 1 Cor, 12, 13. us a thankfull remembrance of the Death, and Passion of our Blessed Lord, and Sa­viour Jesus Christ. Secondly to assure us of our particular part, and interest in the benefits thereof; and Thirdly, to be a Bond, and Pledge, both of our Union with Christ, and of our Communion one with another.

Q. What are the parts, whereof this Sa­crament consisteth?

A. They are three. First, the outward Signes signifying. Secondly, the Divine Word sanctifying, and thirdly, the inward, and spirituall graces signified.

Q. What are the outward signes signi­fying?

A. Bread, and Wine, with the seve­rall actions pertaining to them, as Break­ing, Mar. 26. 26 27. 1 Cor. 11. 23, 24, 25. Giving, Taking, Eating, and Drink­ing.

Q. What is the Divine Word Sancti­fying?

[Page 9] A. The Word of Christs Institution, Mat. 26. 26 27. 1 Cor. 11. 24 25. 1 Cor. 10. 16. Heb. 5. 4. Mat. 26. 26 27. Mark. 14. 22, 23, 24. Luk. 22. 19 20. John 6. 54 pronounced with Prayers, and Blessings, by a lawfull Minist [...]r.

Q. What are the inward, and spirituall graces signified?

A. The Body of Christ Crucified, and his bloud shed for the Remission of sins: exhibited by God to the faith of the wor­thy Receiver, which receives it, and feeds on it, for the nourishing of his soule unto life everlasting.

Q. And thus farre touching the know­ledge which is required in the worthy Re­ceiver; tell me now next what faith is requi­red in him?

A. There is required, not onely a bare Esay 53. 6. 8. 10. Mat. 26. 28 Jam. 2. 19 knowledge, and perswasion, that the bo­dy of Christ was crucified, and his bloud shed for the Remission of sinnes (for even this the very Devills in Hell doe be­lieve, and yet tremble) but a particular application of the same, and of all the be­nefits thereof, unto a mans owne Soule, Gal. 2. 20 1 Cor. 5. 7 Job 19. 25 Luke 1. 47 Joh. 20. 28 whereby he believeth that Christs Body was Crucified, and his Bloud shed for the Remission of his Sins in particular.

Q. And thus far also touching the faith, which is required in a worthy Receiver: tell me now next what Repentance is required in him?

[Page 10] A. There is required in him an hearty, 1 Cor. 7. 9, 10. Luke 15. 21 Psal. 51. 3. 4 Zech. 12. 10 Hos. 14. 8 Esai. 30. 22 Acts 26. 20 2 Cor. 5. 17 and unfaigned sorrow for all his Sins past: and a full purpOse (with Gods Grace, and assistance) never to offend God by the like in the time to come, but to amend his life, and to become a new man.

Q. And thus farre also touching the Re­pentance, which is required in a worthy Re­ceiver: tell mee now next what Charity is required in him?

A. There is required a care to be in 1 Cor. 11. 18 20. 1 Cor. 12 13 Eph. 4. 16 Mat. 5. 23, 24. 1 Cor. 5. 8 Colos. 3. 13 Esai. 1. 11. & Luke 17. 4 Love, and Charity with all men, striving to be reconciled to those whom hee hath injured, and wronged; and being ready from his heart to forgive those, who have injured, and wronged him.

Q. And thus farre also touching the Cha­rity which is required in a worthy Receiver: tell me now in the last place, what hung­ring, and thirsting desire after Christ, and the benefits of his Death, and passion are re­quired in a worthy Repentance?

A. There is required in him a sense, and feeling of his want of Christ, and his righteousnesse, and of Gods Wrath due unto him for his sins, which shewing him his woefull, and miserable estate without Christ, may make him to hunger, and thirst after him, and the benefits of his John 7. 37 Rev. 22, 17 [Page 11] Death and Passion, (the only meanes of Luke 1. 53 Psa. 63. 1. Psal. 107. 9 Psal. 42. 1. Rev. 21. 6 Esay 55. 1 Esay 4 [...]. 1 pacifying Gods wrath) as much, as an hunger-starved man, and one that is rea­dy to die for thirst, doth after Meate, and drinke.

Q. And thus have you shewed me, what is the former of those two things, which must be performed by a worthy Receiver, that would prepare himself aright before he com­meth to receive, to wit, examination: tell me now which is the other of them.

A. It is prayer: wherein if after exami­nation hee doth finde in himselfe the for­mer Psal. 10. 17 1 Tim. 4. 5 Graces in any measure, he is to bless God for it, and to pray for the continu­ance, Mark. 9. 24 and increase of them; and if hee want them, or have them not in that measure, which God requireth in his Word, hee is to humble himselfe before the Lord in true contrition, and hearty Psal. 51. 17 Esay 57. 15 Esay 66. 2. sorrow for his failings, confessing them unto him, and desiring pardon of them all for Christs fake; and that his gracious Spirit may helpe his infirmities in those Rom. 8. 16 Graces hee hath, and may worke in him, those which he wanteth, that so hee may come as a worthy Receiver to this holy Table of the Lord.

Q. But what if a Man be not thus prepared when hee commeth to receive, [Page 12] is there any great danger in it?

A. Yes, for first, he that is not thus pre­pared, standeth guilty before God of the Body, and Blood of the Lord. 1 Cor. 11. 27

Secondly, insteed of Receiving that which might further his Salvation, hee shall Eate, and Drinke his own Damnati­on: 1 Cor. 11. 29 And lastly hee shall not onely be 1 Cor. 11. 30. Exod. 5. 3 2 Chron. 30. 18. & 20 damned hereafter, but shall be severely punished, also in this life, by sicknesse and weaknesse, yea, and at the end of his life by some fearefull death.

Q. And thus have you shewed me what is required of a worthy Receiver before hee commeth to Receive: tell mee now in the next place, what is required of him whilst he is Receiving?

A. There is required a reverent gesture Esa▪ 45. 23 Psal. 95. 6 Ps. 103. 1. & 2. Luke 1. 46 of Body; and a Religious disposition of minde.

Q. What gesture of body is fittest in the time of Receiving?

A. There is no certaine gesture pre­scribed in Gods Word to be used in the Receiving of the Lords Supper, and there­fore that is fittest, which is most decent, and orderly, and most agreeing to the 1 Cor. 14. 40. Mat. 18, 17 1 Cor. 8. 12 13. Discipline of the Church under which we live: So that it be not contrary to piety, or charity, and if we be left to our owne [Page 13] choyce, then that gesture is to be judged 1 Cor: 10. 32. Psal 95. 2, 3. Rev. 7. 11, 12. 1 Chron. 29 10, 11, 13. best, which may best set forth the great­nesse of the Giver, the worth of the Gift, and the humility, and thankfullnesse of the Receiver.

Q. What disposition of minde is required in a worthy Receiver, at the time of his Re­ceiving?

A. There is required, first, that his mind Exod. 3. 5. Colos. 3. 2 Phil. 1. 27 Psa. 104. 33 & 34. 1 Cor. 10. 31 Colos. 3. 17 be taken off from all worldly, and sinne­full thoughts; and secondly, that it be wholly taken up with heavenly Meditati­ons, and hearty prayers, and thanksgivings unto God.

Q. Whereon should a worthy Receiver specially meditate in the time of Recei­ving?

A. Hee should especially meditate on the Death, and Passion of Christ Jesus his Saviour; of the benefits which accrue to him thereby; and of the duties, which hee oweth to God and man therefore.

Q. How may he come best to meditate on the death and passion of Christ?

A. By observing carefully what is done by the Minister, that doth admini­ster it; and himselfe that doth receive it.

Q. What doth the Minister do?

A. He doth consecrate, and set apart [Page 14] the Bread, and Wine, whereby of com­mon and ordinary Bread and Wine, it is made the Sacrament of the Body, and Bloud of Christ. He doth also breake the Bread, and poure out the Wine; and having so done, doth deliver it to each of the Communicants.

Q. What is he to meditate on when hee seeth the Minister to consecrate the Bread, and Wine by the Word of Christs Instituti­on, and Prayer, to be the Sacrament of the Blessed Body, and Bloud of Christ?

A. Hee is then to meditate, how that John 3. 16 1 John 4. 9 John 6. 27 Mat. 1. 21 1 Tim. 2. 5 Ephes. 2. 14 Ephes. 1. 6 Heb. 9. 15 God the Father, out of his meere love to mankinde, did set apart, seale, and appoint his only begotten Son to be the all-sufficient meanes, and onely Media­tour to Redeeme us from sinne, and to reconcile us to his grace, and to bring us to glory.

Q. What is he to meditate on, when hee seeth the Minister to breake the Bread, and to poure out the Wine?

A. Hee is then to meditate, that the Body of Christ was as truely crucified, Gal. 3. 1 Exod. 24. 8 John 1. 29 Esay 53. 5 and his bloud shed for the Remission of his sinnes, under the sense of Gods wrath due unto them: as hee doth now see the Bread in the Sacrament to be broken, and the wine to be poured out by the Minister.

[Page 15] Q. Lastly, what is he to meditate on, when the Minister commeth unto him, and delivereth him the Bread, and Wine, thus Consecrated, broken and poured out?

A. He is then to meditate, that as the Minister doth now offer, and deliver into his hands the Bread, and Wine, and bids him, take it, eate it, and drinke it; So doth Christ himselfe come unto him, and offer, and give unto his Faith, his very Body, and Bloud, with all the benefits of his Death, and Passion.

Q. And thus we see what the worthy Re­ceiver must meditate on in the time of Re­ceiving, upon his sight of what the Minister doth: tell me now next what he must medi­tate on, upon the sight, and sense of what he himselfe doth at that time?

A. When hee hath received the Bread and Wine at the Ministers hand, and is Eating of the one, and Drinking of the other, he must then meditate and thinke with himselfe thus: as I have now taken, and doe eate this bread, and drinke this Wine for the nourishment of my body, and life temporall; so I doe believe, that the Body, and Bloud of Jesus Christ, be­ing Rom. 3. 25 apprehended of mee by the hand of Faith, and applied by Faith unto my [Page 16] Soule, shall nourish it up unto life ever­lasting.

Q. And thus wee have seene, how the worthy Receiver is to meditate in the time of Receiving upon the Death, and Passion of Christ, and the benefits which accrue to him thereby. Tell me now next, what are the duties, which he is to perform to God, and man therefore?

A. To God hee is to lift up his heart Psal. 116. 13, 14. Psal. 63. 5 Mat. 26. 30 1 Cor. 10. 17 1 Cor. 12. 13. Psal. 16. 2. & 3. Eph. 4. 3. 15. & 16. 2 Cor. 8, 9, &c. 2 Cor. 9. 7 Gal. 6. 10 1 Cor. 16. 2 Mat. 12. 7 by way of thanksgiving for the great worke of our Redemption by the death of Christ: and unto man hee is to extend his love, by cleaving to his fellow-com­municants in one Spirit, as unto mem­bers of the same body; and by shewing mercy to the poore members of Christs body in contributing to their necessities according to his ability.

Q. And thus we have also seene, what is to be done by the worthy Receiver at the time of Receiving. Tell me now in the last place, what is required of him after he hath Received?

A. There is required, Examination, and Resolution.

Q. Wherein stands the Examination, which must be in a worthy Receiver after he hath Received?

A. It stands in this, to trie whether [Page 17] he hath gotten any good by the Sacra­ment, or not.

Q. What if he finde little, or no good by his Receiving?

A. He is then first to suspect himselfe, that some miscarriage hath beene in him, either in his preparation to, or in his per­formance of the Duty; and having found out what was the fault in either, that hindred the efficacy of the Sacrament unto him, he must judge himselfe, and be 1 Cor. 11. 31 Eze. 20 43 seriously humbled for it. And secondly, hee must endeavour by after-paines in prayer, and humiliation to quicken, and awaken the efficacy of the Sacrament un­to his Soule.

Q. But what if hee finde any good by his Receiving, what is he to do then?

A. He is first to blesse God with all Ephes. 4. 3 &c. 1 Pet. 1. 3 1 Chron. 29. 18. 2 Chron. 30. 21, 22, 23. Luke 4. 1 1 Cor. 10. 4 his heart therefore; and to acknowledge with all thankfullnesse Gods gracious dealing with him therein; and secondly, he is to be carefull, and watchfull that hee keepe up and maintaine that holy, and gracious frame of heart in himselfe, which he hath brought with him from the Sacrament.

Q. And thus have wee seene, wherein the examination of a worthy Receiver con­sisteth, after hee hath Received, Tell mee [Page 18] now wherein standeth his Resolution?

A. It standeth in this, that he be care­full, Hos. 11. 12 and doe resolve to keepe touch with God, and to expresse the power, and efficacy of the Sacrament in making good, and keeping his Vowes, and Co­venants, which hee made to, and with Psa 116. 14. 18. Eccles. 5. 3. Psal. 50. 16, 17. 23. Pro. 9. 5. 6 Colos. 1. 10 Ps. 119. 106 Hos. 8. 13 1 Cor. 11. 30 Esay 1. 11. 13 Gen. 4. 5 1 Cor. 11. 17 Joh. 13. 26, 27. Luk. 11. 24 God, of new obedience, and amend­ment of life, when he came to receive.

Q. Is there any great danger, if we do neg­lect to do so?

A. Yes, for first without this care, and Christian resolution, wee shall incur Gods heavy displeasure: Secondly we frustrate, and make voide, all that we have formerly done in, and at the Sacrament. And third­ly, we shall hereby bring our selves into a far worse condition, than we were before we came to receive.

Q. How may we come then by power to do this?

A. By watching carefully over our wayes, and courses; by examining them by Psal. 39. 1 Job 31. 1 Eccles. 5. 1 Esay 8. 20 Psal. 119. 9 Gal. 6. 16. Psal. 119. 5. 35. 88. 133 the Rule, and Square of Gods Word; and by hearty prayer unto God for his Grace, to direct, and assist us in all our wayes.

CERTAINE Cases of Conscience, About the Receiving of the Sacra­ment of the Lords Supper cleared, and resolved.

I. Case. WHether a man, who (after exami­nation of himselfe) findeth in him­selfe much weaknesse, and many defects, in respect of those things, which should be in a worthy Receiver, may yet adventure to come to Receive?

Solution. The weakenesse, and defects, which are in those that come to Receive, are either Mark. 9. 24 2 Cor. 7. 10 such as are felt, and thereupon are sor­rowed for, and striven against: or they are such, as are not felt, and so can neither be sorrowed for, nor striven against.

If our weakenesse, and defects be of [Page 20] the former kinde, wee neede not much to feare, or doubt of Gods mercy, and favour towards us, if we doe come to Re­ceive with such weaknesse, and defects in us.

For first we must know that the Sacra­ment, which we come to receive, is ordain­ed by Christ, to be as well physick for the Recovery, and strengthening of the sick, and weake in grace, as food to nourish the strong and healthy. Secondly, we must Mat. 21. 14 Luk. 14. 21 Mat. 11. 28 Esay 55. 1, 2 2 Chron. 30. 18, 19, 20. Pro. 9. 4. &c. Mat. 5. 6 know, that Christ even calleth such unto him, and hath promised in his word, not onely his gracious acceptation of them, but a full supply of their defects, and wants.

But if our weaknesse, and defects be of the latter kinde, such as wee neither feele, nor desire to understand, nor have any remorse for them, then ought we not in any case to come, but rather to forbear, Joh. 6. 37. Mat. 22. 12 untill God shall be pleased to give us more Grace.

II. Case. Whether we are bound to come fasting to the Communion?

Solution. NO, it is not absolutely necessary▪ for Rom 14. 17 neither was the paschall Lambe so eaten; and (we know) Christ himselfe administred it to his Disciples after Sup­per: and besides that, some are (we know) so weake, and sickly, that they cannot stay so long fasting, without prejudice to 1 Cor. 11. 34 Mat. 9. 13 Mat. 12. 7 Hos. 6. 6. their life, or health. And if it were ne­cessary, yet in that case God will have mercy, rather than Sacrifice.

But though there be no necessity of it, Vide Aug [...]. Epist. 118. yet it hath beene ever held decent, and convenient, where it may stand with the health of the body, and there is no su­perstition placed in it, as there is by some ignorant Papists, and some of our igno­rant, and popishly affected Protestants at this day: who thinke that they eate the Vid. Aqui. in Mat. [...]6. very Body, and drinke the very Bloud of Christ in a bodily manner.

III. Case. Whether must that man stay from the Sa­crament, who having wronged, and injured his Neighbour, hath sought forgivenesse, and Reconciliation at his hands, but can­not obtaine it?

Solution. NO, if so be, that he be sorry for his Mat. 5. 23, 24. offence, and be willing to make a­mends for the wrong he hath done, and doth earnestly, and heartily desire pardon, and reconciliation at his hands whom he hath wronged; for then the fault is no more his that hath done the wrong, but his that being wronged will not forgive. Mat. 18. 21, &c.

IV. Case. Whether a man be bound to forgive him that hath wronged him, if hee seeke not for Reconciliation at his hands; and if hee do not forgive him, whether hee must for this cause stay from the Sacrament?

Solution. IN forgiving an offender, there be three things to be considered. First, the let­ing [Page 23] go of all wrath, malice, and desire of revenge. Secondly, the testification of forgivenesse unto the party offending and Thirdly, the re-acceptance, and re-admis­sion of the offendour into former society, communion, and friendship. As for the Mat. 6. 14, 15. 1 Tim. 2. 8 first: a man is bound to forgive in that respect, whether the party offending ask forgivenesse, or no: that is, he must beare Esay 1. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 no malice, nor nourish in himselfe any thoughts of Revenge towards him; for if he do, he sinneth in comming to the Sa­crament; But as for the two latter, a man Luk. 17. 4. is not bound, either to testifie unto the offending party his forgivenesse of him, or to re-admit him into former communi­on, and fellowship with him, untill he be sorry for his offence, and be desirous (in what he can) to right him whom he hath wronged: neither is his not doing of ei­ther of these any barre to keep him from the Communion.

V. Case. Whether hee, whose heart is full of feares, and doubtings, may adventure to come to the Sacrament?

Solution. YEs, he may; for feares in comming are no barre to comfort: nay he that [Page 24] comes in feare, may yet goe away with much comfort, especially where in com­ming his chiefe aime is to yeeld obedience to Gods Commandement, which biddeth him come, rather than to his own feares, doubts and discouragements, which might Marke 5. 33, 34. dishearten him from comming: for obe­dience yeilded to God, out of pure con­science to his Commandement, against discouragements, and feares, may be no whit inferiour unto, nor lesse acceptable unto God, than a preparation in a more exact, and excellent degree. For it is here, as it was with the Children of Israel. Exod. 14 15. God bad them go forward, and their own distrustfull hearts bid them forbeare, because of the Sea that was be­fore them, into which they could not go, without evident perill of drowning. Yet Gods Commandement prevailing more with them, than their owne feares, for­ward they go, and instead of the danger which they feared, see what a blessed de­liverance, beyond their expectation, is by God afforded them: even that very Sea, which they feared would have beene their destruction, proved (through Gods blessing) to be the way, and meanes of their delivery.

VI. Case. What is to be done by him, that in the very instant of Receiving, feeles his heart so hard, that hee cannot lift it up unto God?

Solution. TO this, these Answers may be given. First, that hardnesse of heart is two­fold, sensible, or insensible. Felt, or not felt.

Insensible hardnesse of heart, and which is in a man, and not felt, and perceived, Zech. 7. 11 Eph. 4. 19. Exod. 10. 17. is a great, and a dangerous judgement, but the sensible, and felt hardnesse which is in Gods Children, and which they feele, and bewaile in themselves, is rather a blessing than a curse. Of this the Church complaineth, saying unto God, why hast thou hardned our hearts against thy feare? Esay 63. 17. And this must not dishear­ten, nor discourage any Communicant, but rather comfort him: for when the heart feeleth its hardnesse, and complain­eth of it, is grieved, and disliketh it, wish­ing that it were not so, this is a sure signe of a gracious estate, and that there is some measure of true softnesse in that mans [Page 26] heart, though at this time undiscerned of him. For it is by softnesse that hardnesse of heart is felt, and if there were no grace there, such a corruption as this, would lie still undiscerned, it being the part of grace, and not of corruption, to discover such corruptions in us. Secondly, we must know, that every lumpish, and heavy heart, betiding Gods Children at times, is not a hard heart: for even the best of Gods children at times may be thus affect­ed, witnesse David, Psal. 42. 6, 7. Heman, Psal. 88. 14. Ionah, Ion. 3. 4. 7. the Church of God, Esay 49. 14. yea, Christ him­selfe was not free from it, Mat. 27. 46. Thirdly, it must be remembred for our comfort, that the benefit of the Sacra­ment is not tied to the very instant of Receiving, but if before, and after, a man have beene able, and can lift up his heart unto God, he may finde comfort, though for the present he have not so lively a sense, and feeling thereof as hee desireth.

VII. Case. Whether a man may with comfort of Con­science, partake the Sacrament with those Assemblies; wherein open finners are to­lerated to participate, so that he shall not partake with them in their finnes, nor any way hinder his owne benefit by so doing?

Solution. HE may; and that for these reasons. First, because when we come to re­ceive, we are by the Apostle commanded to examine our selves in 1 Cor. 11. 28. but no where to examine others: which (if he had thought necessary to worthy Receiving, or had thought it unlawfull to communicate with others, that are un­worthy) hee questionlesse would have given a like strict command for that, as he had done for the other. Secondly, be­cause the same Apostle in 1 Cor. 11. 29. limits the crime, and penalty of unworthy Receiving, to the person himselfe that See Ezech. 18. 20. thus Receives, and not to others that Re­ceive with him. Thirdly, because neither the Prophets of old, nor Christ himselfe, nor his Apostles in the New Testament, have left us any example, to forbeare [Page 28] comming to the Sacrament, and parta­king thereof, or any other part of Gods publique worship, and service, for the known sinnes of those, that were to par­take with us therein: but have rather taught us by their example to doe the contrary; and have shewed us by their practise, that in Assemblies, where the word, and worship of God is kept pure for substance, there may be a comfortable participating of Sacraments, yea, though by connivence of governours some inor­dinate walkers be admitted.

VIII. Case. Whether the wickednesse of the Minister, who administers the Sacrament, may im­peach the sufficiency, and efficacy of the Sacrament to a believing Communi­cant?

Solution. NO, it cannot: for the vertue, and efficacy of the Sacrament depends not on the goodnesse, or evilnesse of the Minister that administers it, but on Gods blessing accompanying it, And this Divines 1 Cor. 3. 6, 7. both Ancient, and moderne have many wayes illustrated.

[Page 29] As by water that passeth through a channell of stone into a garden, though the channell it selfe receive no benefit by it, because of his owne indisposition, yet may the Garden be made fruitfull by the water that this channell conveigheth in­to it.

Secondly, by sowing of seede, wherein the seede-mans hands may be foule, and dirty, yet as long as the seed is good, the soile fertile, and it have the heate of the Sun, and the benefit of the raine descend­ing on it, the seede may grow, and pro­sper notwithstanding. Many other such illustrations of this point might be added, but these are sufficient to shew, that the Sacrament received at an evill Ministers hands, may yet have its due effect, in the heart of the worthy Receiver; and there­fore is not to be refused by us, when such do administer it unto us▪ For what man, that is in his right wits, if he be in danger of the Law, would refuse his Princes par­don, though brought unto him by him, that were never so wicked a man? Or who would thinke that pardon, the lesse force­ible, and available, because such a man brings it: let us not then refuse Gods Or­dinance, for the evill lifes sake of the Mi­nister, that is to administer it unto us: [Page 30] alwayes remembring this, that if he be a sinfull, and unworthy man, the sin is his; but if I refuse it at his hands, because he is such a one, the sinne is mine: and I shall not answer for his sinne, but for mine owne neglect.

IX. Case. How often is a man bound in Conscience to receive the Sacrament of the Lords Supper?

Solution. THere is no set time, nor times for this prescribed in the Scriptures. Nei­ther hath the practice of the Church in all ages been one, and the same.

For we read th [...] in the Primitive times of the Church, they used at first to re­ceive it every day; afterwards every Lords Day; afterwards it came to once a moneth; afterwards to thrice a yeare; and at last came the Councell of Trent and decreed, that at least once a year it should be received.

And therefore in this variety of See Dr. De­ [...]isons Hea­venly Ban­quet, page 165. practise, we must for our better guidance herein, observe the circumstances of ne­cessity, conveniency, and utility.

[Page 31] For the first, tis true, that we have daily neede of the remembrance of Christs Death, and consequently of the Sacra­ment. As our bodies have daily neede of nourishment by our corporall foode, so have our Soules by our spirituall. Yet must not this be the onely guide, or ground of our Receiving, but we must also have respect to conveniency.

For seeing there is required a due, and diligent preparation for the Receiving of this Sacrament, the same must moderate our necessity, so that we should as well look to our fitnesse as to our neede.

But yet in the third place, the due con­sideration of the inestimable benefit, and comfort wee obtaine by Receiving this Sacrament, must stir us up, so oft as with conveniency we may, to be partakers of 1 Cor. 11. 25, 26. See Num. 9. 13. this blessed banquet, so that (if it were possible) wee might every day be fit to communicate: or at least so often as the Sacrament is administred.

X. Case. What quantity of Bread, and Wine must be taken by him, that Receiveth?

Solution. SO much of each, as may give both nourishing, and cheering to the body. And therefore that custome taken up by the younger sort, of only kissing the Cup, or taking but a drop, or two of Wine into their mouths, is not to be approved; for Christs Ordinance is not to sip, but to Mat. 26. 27. drinke at the Communion.

XI. Case. Whether such persons, as are at contention, and goe to Law one with another, may with good conscience come to the Lords Table?

Solution. QUestionlesse they may, so that they go to Law lawfully: for it is a true Rule in Lawes, both divine and humane, which the Apostle sets downe in 1 Tim. 1. 8. that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully. Now to use the Law lawfully, there be these conditions required.

[Page 33] 1. That it be done not for every little trifle, which will bear an action, but onely for such things, as if they be not remedied, will breed a further inconvenience, and which nothing but Law can remedy.

2. That it be not done out of a cove­tous minde, to have from another more than in conscience he thinkes is his due, but onely desires to preserve his owne right, which by Gods Law and mans, be­longs unto him.

3. That it be not done out of an ambi­tious minde, more to get the victory of his adversary, than to gaine the truth.

4. That it be not done fraudulently, by any unlawfull, and unjust meanes, as by bribery, subordination of witnesses to sup­port a bad cause, or the like.

5. That there have beene used all law­full meanes before to compremise it by re­ference to Christian Neighbours, and Friends, and by being willing to part with some of his right for peace and quiet­nesse sake, rather than to try extremity of Law.

6. And lastly above all, that it be not done uncharitably, out of desire to be revenged on his adversary more, than to have his wrong righted.

And because this last is the maine [Page 34] obstacle of all (because where Charity is wanting, there can be no fitnesse to receive this Sacrament) therefore all that goe to Law, should be well advised, and make a narrow search into their hearts (which are deceitfull above all things, and in this more than in any o­ther things, because of Selfe-Love, and Selfe-seeking ends) whether they can hate the wrong done without hatred to the person doing it: for they that can­not doe so, (let their pretences be other­wayes what they will) they are not fit Guests for the Lords Table.

Certaine EXCƲSES Made, and pretended by Ignorant People for not Re­ceiving the Sacrament of the Lords Supper so often as they should do, removed.
Many are the Excuses, which are made, and pretended by Ignorant People for not Receiving the Sacrament of the Lords Supper so often, as they should do: but the chiefest of them, and those that are most common in the mouths of the ignorant, are these that follow.

I. Excuse. They have no leisure.

HAve they leisure to fill their bodies every day, and want they leisure to feede their soules? Our Saviour in Ioh. 6. 27 [Page 36] gives them better counsell. Labour not (saith he) for the meate that perisheth, but for the meate that endureth to eter­nall life.

II. Excuse. They want Cloathes.

IT is not outward apparell, but the in­ward ornaments that make us gracious in the sight of God. And therefore be 1 Pet. 3. 3, 4. Mat. 22. 12. our outward apparell never so meane, if wee have on us the wedding garment of Faith, made of the fleece of that Lambe John 1. 29 1 Pet. 5. 5. Mat. 5. 23. 24. Acts 2. 46 1 Cor. 5. 8. of God, which taketh away the sinnes of the World, lined inwardly with humility, and trimmed outwardly with Charity, God will bid us welcome to his Table.

III. Excuse. They are not in Charity.

WHat is this but to excuse one sinne with another? Our neglect, or contempt of Gods Ordinance, by our un­charitable affection to our brother, and that is so farre from excusing us in the [Page 37] sight of God, that it doth much aggravate our sin.

For why are they not in Charity? What is the cause of it? Is it not their owne rankorous heart, their owne malitious, and revengefull will, and nothing else, that keepes them from it? And because their neighbour hath wronged them, will they, rather than they will forgive their Neighbours wrong more wrong God, and their own soules?

IV. Excuse. They are not prepared.

ARt thou prepared to pray, and art thou not prepared to receive the Communion? The same things that make us unfit to receive the Communion, make See B. An­drewes Sermon part. 2. page 36. us as unfit to pray: for except a man abandon the purpose of sinne, Psal. 66. 18. and except he be in Charity, Mat. 6. 14. hee is no more fit to pray, than to communicate, and therefore should abstaine from the one, as well as from the other.

V. Excuse. Their Wives are sick, or lie in, or their Husbands are from home, or not well, and therefore they will stay till they be retur­ned, or well againe, and then they will come, and receive together.

INdeed for matter of sicknesse of the one, or other party, where there is a necessity of our attendance on them, there may be some excuse, for I make no que­stion, but in this case God will have mer­cy, rather than Sacrifice. But where there is no such necessity, I see not how we can be excused.

And as for the other, viz. the Husbands or Wives being from home, how that can excuse any from communicating, when God calls them thereunto, I know not. For our Receiving of the Sacrament, must not depend upon others Receiving of it, albeit they be never so neere, or deare un­to us.

VI. Excuse. They use to Receive at Easter every yeare, and they hope that it is sufficient.

THis Communicating once a yeare at Easter, was hatched in Popery, when ignorance prevailed in the Church: and is by no meanes to be followed of us, to whom God hath afforded better meanes of knowledge. And indeed it were a shame, that Protestants in profession, should be Papists in opinion.

But what is it, that makes them to put off their Receiving to this time?

If it were their respect, and reverence to the Sacrament, as fearing, if they should receive it oftener, they should not come so well prepared to it, as they hope to be then: that indeed were some (though but a poore) Excuse. But that is not it: it is rather, either because they place more holinesse in that time above other, and so thinke the better the day, the better the worke, which is meere popish super­stition, or rather, because it is the custome, and fashion so to doe, which is prophane irreligion.

Whereas good Christians looke rather [Page 40] to Christs Command, and their own ne­cessity, than to any thing else, and be­cause he commands it, they doe it; and their own need, and necessity of it makes them to do it, not once in a yeare, but as often as it may be done.

VII. Excuse. They would come, and Receive, but their Ministers will not suffer them.

IF their Ministers doe hinder them without cause, they shall beare their condemnation: but if for want of Know­ledge, Repentance, Charity and the like, (which their profession, or practise doe witnesse) he do stay them from it, and be diligent, and willing to teach, and warne them, and they continue still in their ob­stinacy, and wickednesse, their bloud shall be upon their own heads.

VIII. Excuse. That they are conscious to themselves of some great, and crying sinnes, which they have committed, and of which they have not yet sufficiently repented, and therefore they will stay till the next op­portunity of receiving, hoping by that time to have more fully repented of them, and to be better prepared.

THis Excuse indeed might be the more tolerable, if hee that hath committed such sinnes were sure of these two things. First, that he shall have longer time to repent in; and Secondly, that he shall have grace to repent having had such a time. But of neither of these can any man for the present be assured of. 'Tis true, God hath promised indeed to have mercy upon a Sinner, at what time soever he shall truly repent, and turne unto him; but he hath no where promised to give him either time, or grace to repent when he will. And there­fore if thou art wise, or desirest to be wise for the everlasting good of thy Soule, dispeede thy Repentance out of [Page 42] hand, and take the present opportunity that God offereth thee, as not knowing whether God will ever offer thee the like opportunity againe: being also assured of this for thy comfort, that God in all our graces, and so in Repentance too, looketh not so much at the measure of them, as at their sincerity.

Plaine EXPRESSIONS OF Sacramentall Truths TO Uulgar Capacities.
By the helpe of which, the younger, and ignorant sort may easily under­stand, and remember the most ne­cessary things belonging to the Sa­crament of the Lords Supper.

EXPRESSION I. Of this, That the Sacrament of the Lords Supper doth truely, and really exhibite to the wor­thy Receiver, the Body and Bloud of Christ, with all the benefits of his Death, and Passion.

FOr it is here, as it is in a Lease A Lord of a Mannor makes, seales, and [Page 44] delivers a Lease of a Farme to a Tenant, containing two, or three hundred Acres of Land, butting, and bordering thus, and thus, upon condition that the Te­nant shall pay him such a Fine, and so much yearly Rent.

The Tenant [...] receives the Lease, and having it in his hand, shewes it to his friend, and tells him that he hath for two hundred pounds a yeare three hundred Acres of Land.

The Parchment, Inke, and Wax of the Lease, have not the very Acres of Ground, nor Trees, nor other appurte­nances thereunto belonging, being, and growing therein, and yet by vertue of that Parchment, Inke, and Wax made a Lease and sealed, and delivered by the Land-lord, the Tenant will possesse them all.

I demand then how it commeth to passe, that this piece of Parchment, and this Inke, and Wax thus made a Lease, and thus fealed and delivered, hath power to conveigh really, and actually this ground, with his appurtenances to this Tenant?

To which the Answer is, that the power it hath to performe this, com­meth not from the Parchment, Inke, and [Page 45] Wax, but from the legall power, and authority of the Law-giver, who did de­cree, and ordaine, that a Deed concei­ved in such, and such forme of words, and thus sealed, and delivered, should be effectuall, and powerfull to give a Tenant reall possession of such Lands, and all the appurtenances thereof.

And just so is it in the Sacrament, for by it Christ doth give us his very Body, and Bloud, his Merits, and his Righte­ousnesse; by it he passeth over unto us a Deede of all the joyes of Heaven; he Seales unto us a pardon of all our sinnes, and of all the Punishments belonging unto them, but upon this condition still, that wee doe truely pay unto him his Rent; to wit, true Repentance for all our sinnes, true Charity towards our Neighbours; true Faith in his Bloud; and a new, and sincere obedience to his Com­mandements.

So that when we receive this Sacra­ment after this manner, we may say. Here have I the Body, and Bloud of Christ my Saviour, here have I Remission of all my sinnes; and the Kingdome of Heaven passed over unto mee. And yet that bit of Bread, which I have eaten, hath not the Kingdome of Heaven lying in it [Page 46] nor the Body of Christ moulded up in it, or converted into it; neither hath the Wine, which I have drunken, the Bloud of Christ within it, or is converted into it.

Whence then have they this power? In their owne nature they have it not; whence then can they convey all this to mee?

I answer, the power which they have, comes from the Law-giver Jesus Christ, who Decreed, Instituted, and Ordained that those Elements of Bread and Wine received in his manner, and on his con­ditions, should be powerfull, and effectu­all to convey unto me, and make me partaker of his blessed Body, and Bloud, and of all the benefits of his Death, and Passion.

EXPRESSION II. Of this, That a wicked man, and an unworthy Re­ceiver, may at the Sacrament Receive the outward Elements of Bread, and Wine, without receiving any benefit by the Body and Bloud of Christ.

FOr it is here as in the usance of a con­veyance. Now we know, that if a conveyance made to Peter, lying upon a Table be given to Richard, or to any other person to whom it doth not be­long; or which Richard, or any other person fraudulently taketh away; it doth them no good at all, by reason the Co­venant was not made with any of them, but with Peter onely: So the unworthy Receiver, being not the party to whom the promise is made of receiving Christ, with the benefis of his Death, and Pas­sion, receives onely the bare outward Elements and not the things signified thereby.

EXPRESSION III. Of this, That the consecrated Bread and Wine, are not to be taken as common Bread, and com­mon Wine.

FOr it is with this, as it is with Wax stamped with the great Seale: for as that in substance differs not from other Wax, but yet in value is farre more ex­cellent, and may not be abused, or unre­verently used, without contempt, or great wrong offered to the King or State whose the Seale is: So the Bread, and the Wine in the Sacrament, though in sub­stance it differ not from other Bread and Wine, yet concerning the use to which it is now put, and designed, it is much more pretious than any other Bread or Wine in the World, being now appoint­ed by, God to be a Signe, and Seale, and an exhibiting instrument of the Body and Bloud of Christ, and therefore can­not be profaned, or abused without con­tempt of Christ Jesus, and his holy Ordi­nance.

EXPRESSION IV. Of this, What a shamefull thing it is to come unpre­pared to the Lords Table.

IT were a matter of foule shame for a Man to come, and sit downe at a great Mans Table in rags, and in nasty, and filthy cloathes; and in such a case, how apt would every one be that sees him, to take him up, and say, Art thou not a­shamed to come to such a Mans Table in so base a fashion? What an uncivill fel­low art in such a garbe and pickle to come into such a presence? And is it not then a matter of fouler shame to come rudely, unpreparedly, and in so unbeseeming a manner to the Lords Table?

Of this, That the receiving of the Lords Supper, without those graces that are to be in a worthy Receiver, will do us no good.

FOr what is this, but the having of a Seale to a blanke? And what is a [Page 50] Man the better for that? What is a Man the better for having the Broade Seale to a piece of Parchment, that hath no­thing written in it? He hath nothing but a piece of Parchment, and Wax, hee hath neither Land, nor Living, sealed, and conveyed unto him thereby. And just so it is in this case.

EXPRESSION VI. Of this, That ignorant persons, though they pretend never so much their good meanings, and their good minds, cannot be worthy Re­ceivers.

IGnorant persons use to plead for them­selves that they have not the know­ledge, and understanding that others have, and cannot answer as others doe, yet they hope they have as good mea­nings, and come with as good minds as the best.

But alas, how sillily is this spoken? for 'tis as if one should say; though I have a blinde Eye, yet I have as good an Eye, as he that can see farthest. For wherein lieth the goodnesse of the Eye, [Page 51] but in the sight, and the goodnesse of the minde but in the knowledge of God? Prov. 19. 2.

EXPRESSION VII. Of this, That without Faith we can be no worthy Receivers.

FOr he that will receive Christs Body and Bloud for his Soules Comfort, must have an Eye to see Christ, and his Worth; must have a foote to come unto him; must have an hand to receive, and lay hold upon him; and must have a mouth to feed on him.

Now Faith is all these to a worthy Re­ceiver. It is the Eye of the Soule, John 8. 56. Esay 17. 7. 2 Chron. 20. 12. It is the foote, by which we come unto Christ, John 6. 35. It is the hand by which we receive him, John 1. 12. Yea, it is the mouth by which we feede on him. John 6. 53.

Now can a man see without an Eye? Come without a foote? Receive with­out an Hand? Feede without a mouth? No surely he cannot. No more can we [Page 52] see Christ in the Sacrament, without the Eye of Faith; come unto him, without the foote of Faith; receive him without the hand of Faith; or feed on him without the mouth of Faith.

EXPRESSION VIII. Of this, That impenitent sinners are not fit Guests for the Lords Table.

FOr it is here as it was at the Passe­over: there (as we reade Exod. 12. 45. 48.) no stranger, no hired servant, no uncircumcised person might eate thereof.

Now an impenitent sinner is all these. 1. He is a stranger to God. Psal. 58. 3. Eph. 4. 18.

2. He is a servant of sinne, Iohn 8. 34. hired for the vaine pleasures, profits, and preferments of this World to doe the Devill service, 2 Pet. 2. 19. 2 Tim. 2. 25, 26.

And 3. he is an uncircumcised person, Acts 7. 51. Ierem. 6. 10.

And therefore 'tis no wonder that an [Page 53] impenitent person is so unfit a Guest for the Lords Table.

EXPRESSION IX. Of this, That impenitent persons comming to the Sacrament in their sinnes instead of do­ing themselves good, doe themselves a great deale of harme.

FOr it is here as it is in an unwhole­some, and diseased stomach: now we know that an unwholsome, and dis­eased stomach, what ever foode it re­ceives, it so alters it, that it rather nou­risheth the Disease, than the body, and turnes all the wholsome nourishment it takes to the increasing of that, rather than of any health, or strength to the body.

So an impenitent Soule comming to Gods Ordinance in its sinnes, doth turne the wholesome nutriment of the Sacrament to the feeding of its diseases, and the increasing of its own sorrow and mischiefe.

EXPRESSION X. Of this, That no Man can grow, thrive, or be nou­rished by the use of the Sacrament, that is not in Charity when he cometh to Re­ceive.

FOr the whole Church is a body, and every Christian is a Member of that body. Now a member (we know) that will grow in the body, and thrive, must necessarily be united to, and conjoyned with the body. If a member be separa­ted from the body, it cannot be nourish­ed, nor grow: an Hand, or an Arme rent, or cut off from the body, cannot be nourished, nor grow. Nay, though a part of the body be not separated from the rest, yet if there be but a dislocation of a part, so that it be onely out of joynt, it cannot thrive, and prosper till it be set in joynt againe. So it is in the body mysticall, it is a growing body, e­very member thereof growes, and in­creases, Colos. 2. 19. as long as it is joyn­ed to the rest of the members in love, Eph. 4. 16. but being disunited from the rest, or out of joynt, by reason of [Page 55] want of Love, and Charity, it can be neither nourished, nor thrive, nor in­crease with the rest of the body, though it receive this spirituall food of the Sacra­ment never so often.

EXPRESSION XI. Of this, That they, that would be partakers of the Body, and Bloud of Christ in the Sa­crament, must come thereunto with Hungring, and Thirsting desires after Christ, and the benefits of his Death, and Passion.

FOr it is here as it is at a Feast, or Banquet, let the Feast be replenish­ed with never so many dainty Dishes, and Cates; and the Banquet with never so many delicates, yet if the parties (that be to eate of it) have formerly filled themselves with other Meates, they care not much for the Cates of the one, nor the Delicates of the other, Proverbs 27. 7.

But let one, that is almost hunger-star­ved, or is almost ready to die for thirst, come to such a Feast, or Banquet, be­cause [Page 56] he feeles the paines, and pinches of emptinesse in his stomach, you shall not neede to perswade him to fall to it; the very sense of his owne wants, and the refreshing which hee hopeth to finde by that repast, will be to him an Argument sufficient to make him to doe it.

So 'tis in receiving of the Sacrament; if a man come with thoughts of his own worthinesse, and fulnesse of grace, and goodnesse in himselfe, he cannot get any good by his Receiving, for he feeles no want of Christ, nor his Merits; but let a poore hunger-starved Soule, who feeles his want of Christ, and seeth in what a miserable estate hee is without him, and knoweth the Riches, Excellen­cies, and All-sufficienices that are in him; let such a one (I say) come to the Sa­crament, and hee shall surely be re­plenished, and finde the benefit, and comfort thereof. See Esay 55. 1, 2. Iohn 7. 37. Revel. 22. 17. Math. 5. 6. Luke 1. 53.

EXPRESSION XII. Of this, How that Gods Admeasurements of grace, and spirituall good in the Sacrament, are suitable to the inlargements of Mens hearts, and their hearty desires for grace therein.

THere are three things (we know) that fit a vessell to receive a great measure of liquor. The first is, when it is of large capacity. A small Vessell may be filled, but yet a small Vessell cannot have so much poured into it, as a Vessell that is of larger capacity. The larger the Bucket is, that is let downe in­to the Well, the more Water it brings up.

The second is when it is an open Ves­sell. For though a Vessell be of never so great capacity, yet if the Mouth of the Vessell be shut, and closed up, though it be throwne into the Sea, where there is Water enough, yet it fills not.

Thirdly, when the Vessell is wide open. For though the mouth of a Vessell be open, yet if it be not wide open, it doth [Page 58] not fill so readily. Take a Bottle, or narrow-mouth'd Glasse, and dowse it under the Water, yet it may be pulled up againe, with little, or no Water in it, though it be of great capacity, be­cause the narrownesse of the mouth hin­ders the ready and quick passage of the Water into it: Whereas a wide-mouth'd Vessell, as a Paile, or Bucket, is no sooner under Water, but it is instantly filled, because the wouth of the Vessell, is wide, open and broade. And just so it is in the Sacrament, if we desire a libe­rall largenesse of Gods Mercy, and Christs Merits, we must come thereunto with hearts inlarged with Hungring, and Thirsting desires after Christ, and his Righteousnesse; and the more our hearts are inlarged herewith; and the more open, and ready they are to receive it, the more shall the Sacrament empty it selfe with abundant blessing upon our Soules.

EXPRESSION XIII. Of this, That a worthy Receiver ought to be as care­full of his behaviour, and demeanour at the Sacrament, as of his preparation be­fore he commeth to it.

FOr as it is not enough for a Man to to dresse, and trim up himselfe in his handsomer apparell before he comes to a great Mans Table; but there is a great care also to be had of that carriage, and behaviour, that beseemes such a Mans Table, and person. For though a Man come handsome, and cleanely apparel'd to a great Mans Table, yet he may there carry himselfe so rudely, unmannerly, and uncivilly, that he may give great of­fence.

So is it with one that is to Receive the Communion. 'Tis not enough for him to get his heart into an holy, and fit­ting frame before he comes to Receive, but he must have a care also to have it in a convenient frame during the time of the whole action. For though a Man have bestowed much paines with his heart before his comming, yet if there be [Page 60] not a care of due behaviour in the acti­on, all his former paines may be lost. See Prov. 23. 1. second Epist. of Iohn v. 8. Mat. 22. 11.

EXPRESSION XIIII. Of this, That it is not enough to come to the Sacra­ment, and to see what is there done, un­lesse wee can by Faith applie them to our selves, and get the efficacy and vertue of Christs Death to become ours.

A Conduite (we know) is full of Water, now a Man that would fill his Vessell with the Water thereof, must bring it to the Conduite, to the Cocke, and set it there; but yet that is not e­nough; nay if that be all, and he doe no more, he may goe home againe with an empty Vessell: therefore the Man that would fill his Vessell, when hee hath brought it to the Conduite, and set it under the Cock, doth also turne the Cock, and then the Water runnes forth, and fills his Vessell. So 'tis in the Sa­crament. Christ is the Conduite of all [Page 61] grace, and spirituall good, and he that would be f [...]lled must come to him. His Ordinances, the Word, and Sacrament, they are the Cocks of this Conduite: so that a man that would be filled with grace, must not onely goe to Christ in his Ordinances, and bring his Vessell to these Cocks, but when he hath so done, he must turne them too, and let them runne into his Vessell; and this onely can a mans faith doe, by applying of Christ, and what he hath done for mans salvation to a mans selfe in particular. See Luke 1. 17. Iohn 20. 28. Gal. 2. 20.

EXPRESSION XV. Of the same,

A Child (we know) may see, and looke upon the Mothers Breasts; may handle them, kisse them, and play with them, but all this while the Child is never the fuller. Therefore the Child, when it would be satisfied, it layes its mouth to the Breast, gets the Nipple into his mouth, and then suckes, and drawes with all the strength, and might it hath, and so fetch­eth forth the Milk out of the Mothers [Page 62] Breast. So must it be done in this case of the Sacrament. Men may come to the Sa­crament, and there gaze upon the Ele­ments, and eate, and drinke them, and yet not receive the sweete of the Ordi­nance, but if they would have the milke out of this breast, they must fall to suck­ing, and to drawing with all their might, and strength. And this doe men doe, when in the use of it, they set their faith on worke, which sucks vertue out of the Sacrament, and from Christ in it, morti­fying vertue to kill their lusts, healing ver­tue to cure their soules, and quickning vertue to enable them to the duties, and actions of spirituall life.

A Catalogue of certaine grosse Ignorances touching the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, yet remaining, and reigning in the hearts and mindes of the vulgar sort of Communicants in most places, and Parishes of this Land, Purposely Set downe, that such ignorant Soules may see their Errours, and learne to amend them.

The I. Ignorance. Touching Preparation.

THe Preparation, especially of the younger sort, is to put on their best dresse, their siner apparell, and to be a little braver when they come to the Sa­crament, than at other times. But for a [Page 64] Spirituall preparation of the heart, to fit it for so holy a duty, and service, that is a thing that is never once looked after, nor thought upon.

The II. Ignorance.
Touching their demeanour at the time of Receiving.

IT is pittifull to behold the demeanour of the ordinary sort of people at the Sacrament; they come thither, they know not wherefore; and they doe there they know not what; they know not which way to looke, or turne themselves about any holy Meditations. Many times their mindes are like a Clock, that is over-wound above his ordinary pitch, and so stands still; their thoughts are amazed at the height of these mysteries, and for the time they are like a block, thinking nothing at all: or else their thoughts fall flat on the Earth to base▪ and bodily things: Yea, some are so wonderfully simple, as to imagine they come thither for a draught of sweete Wine, and a morsell of finer Bread. Or at the best, they raise their thoughts no higher than [Page 65] the Communion Table, thinking that if they have received the outward Elements in a reverent manner, behaved them­selves decently during that action, for­borne their worldly businesse before, and after, tempered their tongues from all uncivill speech, and demeaned them­selves mannerly for that day, then that they have done a right acceptable piece of Service to God. The which stupidity of theirs cannot but be much commise­rated of those, unto whom it is given to know any thing concerning the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God.

The III. Ignorance. Touching their comming at certaine times to Receive, though never so unprepa­redly.

MAny have a conceipt, that if they Cbrysost. ad Epist. Hom. 3. come at such, and such times, what ever their lives be, yet it skilleth not, the very comming at such times is a dis­position sufficient for the Service they come about. But▪ let such men know, that at what time soever they come, if they come not preparedly, be the time never [Page 66] so solemne, yet shall they instead of a blessing, meete with Gods curse and hea­vy indignation. See Iob 20. 23. Psal. 78. 29, 30, 31. Psal. 69. 22. but especially 1 Cor. 11. 27. 29, 30.

IV. Ignorance. Touching their good meanings, as if that were a sufficient Preparation.

IGnorant persons use to pleade for themselves, that 'tis true they have not the knowledge, and understanding that others have, and cannot answer as others doe, yet they hope they have as good meanings, and come with as good minds as the best.

But poore soules, how miserably doe they delude themselves? For ignorant mindes cannot be good minds, neither can such mindes have good meanings: for without knowledge the minde is not good, Pro. 19. 2. And the minde being not good, how can the receiving of such a one, but be an abomination to God? See Pro. 21. 27. And therefore let such poore ignorant Soules looke to them­selves, and for all their good mindes, and [Page 67] meanings, labour to get some competent measure of the knowledge of God, and Christ, before they offer to meddle with this holy Ordinance of God. And espe­cially let such looke to themselves, that have the meanes and may be taught, and instructed, but yet in a wilfulnesse, and Rebellion of Spirit, will not be taught, nor instructed that they may be fitted before they come to the Sacrament, but will continue in their ignorance, and wilfully come to the Sacrament therein. For what can such expect, but that God should say to them, as he doth to others of the like kinde, Psal. 50. 16. 17. What hast thou to doe, that thou shouldst take my Covenant in thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction?

The V. Ignorance. Touching their Repentance.

THey thinke that if they can say, I cry God mercy for my sinnes; and if they can make a shew of sorrow for them, and be sad, and demure for the day where­in they Receive, and for that day leave their uncharitablenesse, their adul­tery, [Page 68] their Drunkennnesse, their Swear­ing, and their other sinnes, to which they are given, though the next day, or assoone as the next occasion is of­fered, they fall to them afresh: they thinke that they have repented sufficient­ly for them, and have done as much as God requireth at their hands.

They doe with their sinnes when they come to Receive, as Abraham did with his Servants, when he went to Sacrifice Isaac, Gen. 22. 5. for as he then said to his young Men, abide you here with the Asse, and I, and the Lad, will goe yon­der, and worship, and come to you a­gaine: So say these in effect to their sins, and lusts: stand you awhile aside, for I must goe to the Sacrament, and receive the Communion, doe but stand by a while, and when the Sacrament is over, or at the furthest, when the Sacrament day is over, I will come to you againe. Or they do as the Serpent is said to doe; who when he goes to Drinke, first vo­mits up all his poyson, but assoone as he comes back againe, he licks, and sucks it up all againe, and is as venemous as ever he was before.

And in particular with their unchari­tablenesse they deale just as Themistocles, [Page 69] and Aristides are reported to have done Plu [...]. Reip. Gerend. Pracept. with theirs, for when they went Ambas­sadours, or to lead an Army toge­ther, they used to lay downe their mu­tuall hatred in the borders of their Coun­try, and left their enmity behinde them there, till they came home againe, but then they resumed it, and were as deadly Enemies as ever they were be­fore.

So these men, when they goe to the Communion, they can be content to leave their hatred, and malice at home, or perchance at the Church-doore, but when they come out, or not long after, with the Serpent they resume their poy­son againe, and with Themistocles, and Aristides, their Hatred Malice, and desire of revenge.

But this is but meere mockery, and such must know, that God will not be thus mocked. Gal. 6. 7. For there can be no true Repentance, where there is not at least an hearty desire, a full purpose, and a sincere, and earnest endeavour to leave those sinnes, which, at our, comming to the Communion, we made shew to repent us of. And where such Repentance is wanting, such Receivers (like the Pharisees Proselite, Mat. 23. 15.) doe [Page 70] make themselves twofold more the Children of Hell, than they were before, as having added both to the guilt of their impenitency the fresh guilt of the pro­phanation of Gods Ordinance; and having doubled their hardnesse▪ and in­creased their strength to follow sin with the more greedinesse.

The VI. Ignorance. Touching their comming to the Communi­on without Charity.

MAny that have no great care, nor make any great Conscience of com­ming to the Sacrament without know­ledge, Faith or Repentance; yet will seeme to make some scruple of comming without Charity. Yea, many though they will not abstaine, for that they be common Swearers, habituall Drun­kards, uncleane persons, and the like notorious sinners in many other respects: yet if there be a breach, and a falling out betweene them, and others, they will by no meanes meddle with the Sacra­ment, [Page 71] but will abstaine from com­ming to it purposely for that very reason.

But if these Men out of Conscience Scruple their comming to the Sacra­ment without Charity, why then scru­ple they not their living without it too; and their want of those other as necessary graces, Knowledge, Faith, and Repentance? For a good Consci­ence in one thing, is a good Conscience in all.

The VII. Ignorance. Touching their not Receiving oftner.

WHen they are told of their neg­ligence in not comming oftner to the Communion: they will answer, that they hope they doe well there­in; for they beare as good a Soule to GOD, as the best of them all; they thanke GOD they love their Church, and say their Prayers duely: but in­deede they were not wont to receive [Page 72] their Maker so often, they come at Easter, as their honest Neighbours doe, and they thanke God they never mis­sed, and they doubt not but that in so doing they have sped as well as the best, and therefore that they should be loath now to change their Cu­stome.

The end.

A Catalogue of some new Bookes Printed for R. Royston, at the Angel in Ivy-lane.

THe Reall Presence and spiritu­all of Christ in the Blessed Sacra­ment, proved against the Doctrine of Transubstantiation. By Jer. Tay­lor, D. D. in 8.

Of Schisme, A defence of the Church of England, against the ex­ceptions of the Romanists, of funda­mentalls in a notion, referring to pra­ctice, by H. Hammond, D. D. in 12.

The matching of the Magistrates Authority, and the Christians true liberty in matters of Religion, By Wil. Lyford B. D. and late Minister of Sherborn in Dors. in 4.

The Grand Conspiracy of the [Page] Members against the mind, of Jewes against their King, As it hath beene delivered in foure Sermons, By John Allington, B. D. in 12.

The Quakers wilde Questions Ob­jected against the Ministers of the Gospell, and many sacred Acts and Offices of Religion. With briefe answers thereunto. Together with A Discourse of the Holy Spirit, His impressions and workings on the Soules of Men. By R. Sherlock, B. D. in 8.

Certain Considerations of present concernment, Touching this reform­ed Church of England. With a Par­ticular Examination of An. Champny (Doctor of the Sorbon) his exceptions against the lawfull calling and ordi­nation of the Protestant Bishops and Pastors of this Church. By H. Ferne, D. D. in 12.

Englands faithfull Reprover, and Monitour. in 12.


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