THE Crucified Jesus OR, A full ACCOUNT OF THE Nature, End, Design and Benefits OF THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORDS SUPPER. With Necessary DIRECTIONS, PRAYERS, Praises and Meditations, To be used by Persons who come to the HOLY COMMUNION. By ANTHONY HORNECK, D. D. Chaplain in Ordinary to Their Majesties.

The Third Edition, Corrected and Amended.

In the SAVOY, Printed for Samuel Lowndes▪ over­against Exeter-Change in the Strand. 1695.

ΑΓΝΩΣΤΩ ΕΥΕΡΓΕΤΗ TO THE Unknown Benefactor.

SIR,

THE following Discourse being the substance of several Sermons, Preach'd at your desire, and incouragement, before the Monthly Sa­craments, though I am ignorant who you are, and what part of the City or Country you live in, yet I thought it my Duty, to let the Publick know, that there is such a Man in the World, who is desirous to do good, and loves not to be known. This Treatise you have a proper Title too, not only as one, whose Hearts desire is to see the Church of England flourish, but as a Benefactor too; and to have Dedicated it to any other Person, had been injurious to your Character.

You were sensible how backward the generality are to come to the Holy Communion, how much ground the Church, and Christianity it self, loses by this stupid negligence of it's pretended Votaries, and how, not a few absent themselves, for want of understanding the true nature and design of this Blessed Sacrament, and therefore justly thought, that if, by a previous Monthly Sermon, Mens Hearts were warm'd into consideration of the Use and Necessity of this Ordinance, the Mists, [Page] which hitherto have clouded their Vnderstandings, would be dispell'd, and they become acquainted with their Du [...]y, which was the cause of your exciting me to this Publick Service.

Your Judgment hath not fail'd you, for since these Religious Exercises have been among us, abundance of Persons, who before look'd upon their coming to the Holy Table, either as indifferent, or unnecessary, or unseasonable, have, through the Blessing of God, be­thought themselves, considered the Obligations, that the mighty Work of Redemption lays upon them, and conscientiously applyed themselves to the frequent Use of this Universal Medicine. And all I can tell you for your incouragement, is this, That as we owe the beginning, and progress of these Monthly Sermons, to your Zeal and Influence, so you will have a share, both in the good that's done by them, and in the Re­wards of those, who are thereby brought to a serious sense of the wonderful Love of God in Christ Jesus. It was a publick good you design'd by your munificence; and that which makes the Pious Work the greater, is, that you do not care your left hand should know what your right hand doth.

The Almighty hath enrich'd your Heart with the Noblest Charity, even with that to the Souls of Men, an Empl [...]yment which God himself disdains not to travel in; and what are all the Angels of Heaven, but Ministring Spirits, sent forth to be helpful unto those that shall be Heirs of Salvation?

Nothing is more pleasing to God, than to be instru­mental in bringing many Sons unto Glory, and though you are no publick Orator, yet you help towards Mens Conversion, and in employing others to rouze them from their Spiritual slumber, your Self have a [Page] hand in their Reformation; And by that means Preach, though you be not in Orders, yet without offence to the Law, and at the same time observe the Canons of the Church, and win Souls, without being engaged in the Sacred Function. Some Criticks think, that S. Paul, in his Address to the Athenians, doth not find fault with, but commends them for Erecting an Altar To the unknown God, and if so, I hope none will blame me for raising this Monument, To an unknown Benefactor.

Good Works are the sweetest Incense that can be laid upon God's Altar; and though some, that have concealed their Names, have been discover'd by the Charitable Deeds done by them, yet yours are so order'd, that, though for some time you have thus generously employ'd part of your means, to advance this publick Good, yet still you are a stranger to me; and in that, happier than the Roman Senator, who hiding himself in the time of Proscription,L. Plotius. his Perfumes betrayed him.

May the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath already touch'd your Heart with a sense of his Glory, enrich you with all Spiritual Blessings, and make you to abound more and more in Faith, in Love, and in all Goodness. May that Great Shepherd of Souls en­lighten your Understanding with greater brightness, raise your Soul above this transitory World, teach you to despise the things that are seen, and fill you with earnest longings, after those which are not seen; that after ha­ving serv'd your Generation here, your Immortal part may be admitted to the Enjoyment and Embraces of the Holy Trinity, the Festivals of Seraphim, to Mount Sion, to the City of the Living God, to the innume­rable Company of Angels, to the general Assembly of [Page] the First-born, which are written in Heaven, to the Spirits of Men made perfect, and to Jesus the Me­diator of the New Testament, whose Blood speaks better things than that of Abel. So wishes,

SIR,
Your Affectionate Friend, And Servant, ANTH. HORNECK.

THE PREFACE.

THE vast number of Books about the Sacrament of the Eucharist, as it shews the richness of the Subject, so it disco­vers the Zeal and Industry of good Men, to up­hold the power of Religion in these perilous times, as they are call'd by the Apostle of the Gentiles. 2 Tim. 3. 1. And indeed, if we consider the influence this Ordinance hath yet on Men, who have not altogether sold themselves to do Evil, and are not gone so far, as to make a mock of Religion; it is no small motive to busie our selves in recommending and pressing the frequent use of it. I look upon it as a special Providence of God, that in this Iron Age, wherein Men have made a shift to baffle all the Rules of Disci­pline, they have yet some Reverence for this Or­dinance; insomuch, that if we can oblige them to make use of it, we may entertain great hopes of their future sobriety and seriousness: The gene­rality shun it, because they are loth to shake hands with their looser lives, and they are sensi­ble that the use of this Ordinance, and a disor­derly Conversation, are things inconsistent, and [Page] incompatible; and therefore, could we perswade them to come, we might promise our selves a rich and plentiful Harvest, there being nothing more likely, than the fruitfulness of that Ground, which is water'd with the Blood of Jesus. What I publish here, is in order to make good my pro­mise in a lesser Piece, call'd The Fire of the Altar; and when a Man hath once, either rashly, or pre­meditately, made himself a Debtor to the Publick, I think it is Justice and good Manners, if he be able, to discharge the Obligation. I do not here­by discourage the Reader, from perusing other Mens Labours, (He'll possibly think there is no danger) but desire only to promote and encou­rage the good he reaps from exacter Composi­tions. I have, in the following Discourse, en­deavour'd at once, to inform the Readers Judg­ment, to direct his Practice, and to satisfy his Curiosity; the first, by giving a rational account of the Nature of the Eucharist; the second, by taking notice of the particular Duties requisite in Communicants; and the third, by adding some Historical passages about the rise and pro­gress of some Rites, and Opinions, relating to this Sacrament. I had Thoughts toward the latter end, to have added a Chapter about Confessing of Sin to a Faithful Minister of God's Word, before Men receive the Communion; but fearing the Book would swell to an unconscionable bulk, I was forc'd to stop where I did. That which made me desirous to have said something of that Subject, was, because I find by converse, that some Romish Priests have of late been very busie with several Members of our Church, and made [Page] a mighty stir about this Sacramental Confession, as if our Church were defective in a Fundamental Point, because we press no such thing upon our Communicants. But not to mention, that Moun­tebanks do what they can to discourage Men from consulting with discreet and rational Physicians; we do not, indeed, make this Confession of sins to a Minister absolutely necessary to Salvation, nor do we enjoyn it upon pain of Damnation, be­cause we have no warrant for it in Scripture, which our Church makes the only Rule of her Faith; but that we do not encourage this Con­fession, as a thing very convenient, nay, in some cases necessary, especially, where the Sinners Conscience is burden'd, and oppress'd, and la­bours under doubts, is a malicious Slander and Calumny. We find nothing in the Apostles Ru­brick for Celebrating the Holy Commu­nion,1 Cor. 11. v. 28. concerning this Confession. But all that he saith, is this, Let a Man examine him­self, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup; which Christians may certainly do, without Confessing their Sins to a Minister. Yet where they are gravel'd in this Examination, or find themselves in perplexity about their Spiritual concerns, Reason requires, that they should come to the Priest, who is appointed by God, as Di­rector of their Consciences, and where we find, that their Souls are touch'd with remorse, and their resolution is great and magnanimous, to shake off the burthen of their Pollutions, and to give themselves up to the conduct of a better Master, there we are ready to impart to them that Absolution, which God hath bid us pronounce [Page] in his Name to their Comfort, and whereof there is as full, and satisfactory a Form in our Liturgy, as any Christian can desire. It's granted, we do not, as in the Roman Church, join the Merits of the Virgin Mary, and of the Saints, to those of Christ, in our Absolution, because we dare not, for fear of committing a hainous Sin; but we Absolve, as far, as we are impowred by the Word of God, and he that leaves this Fountain, and hews out to himself Cisterns, which can hold no Water, is in danger of being forsaken by God, and left to his own Delusions, and vain Imagi­nations.

[Page 1]THE Crucified Jesus.

CHAP. I.
Of the Name of this Ordinance, and why Distribution and Participation of Bread and Wine, usual in Christian Assemblies, is called The Lords Sup­per.

The CONTENTS.

All Societies of Men have certain Badges, whereby they are united among themselves, and distinguished from others. The Sacraments of the Christian Church are such Badges. This particularly, where Bread and Wine is Administred, call'd The Lords Supper, for four Reasons, Though Celebrated in the Morning, yet may still be call'd the Lords Supper. Some Remarks upon its Institution at Night. Divers Names given to this Sacrament by the Ancients. An Account how this Supper differs from Common Suppers. The Necessity of our giving attendance at this Ordinance. The proper dress of the Soul, which renders it a welcome Guest at this Sacrament. The Prayer.

[Page] I. IT is St. Austin's observation, that Men can ne­ver unite in the Bond of Religion, whether true of false,l. 19. contr. Faust. c. 11. except they agree in some outward Sign or Badge, as a Character of their Concord and Combination; To this purpose it was,l. 6. de Bell. Gall that even the Divides of old, as Caesar tells us, having made their Sacrifices, the Testimony of their Union, whenever any of their People did obstinately disobey their orders, the Punishment they inflicted on them, was, to interdict them the Use and Participation of their Sacrifices; and whoever fell under this Censure, was counted Criminal and impious; his Company, Dis­course and Conversation, shunn'd as the Plague; and he depriv'd of the Benefit of the Law, and look'd upon as infamous and scandalous. Such visible Badges the Son of God, when he left the Earth, thought [...] to give to the Christian World, to be Witness of their Union and Communion, viz. Baptism and the Supper of the Lord; the former, as a Mark of their being admitted into his Church; the other, to advance and increase that Spiri­tual Life, of which the former may be supposed to have sown the Seed, and laid the happy Foundation; and and though all that come and apply themselves to the use of these Ordinances, are not therefore true Members of his Church, or lively Stones in that Spiritual Building yet as these Mysteries, and frequenting of them, are standing Witnesses of their having addicted themselves and vow'd obedience to Christ's Religion; so they are means, whereby they may not only arrive to a lively sense of their Duty, but whereby their Union and Com­munion may be promoted, and proclaimed to all that are without the Pale of Christian Congregations. And were the ancient Discipline of the Church revived, and reduced to its former lustre and glory, we may ratio­nally [Page] conclude, that to be deprived of the use of these two especially of the latter, would be more infamous and grievous, than it was among the Heathen to be ex­cluded from the participation of their Sacrifices; as the Benefits, of which people are deprived thereby, are of greater consequence and concernment, than those, which the Pagans expected from their unreasonable Service.

II. As to the Sacred Rite of Distributing and Participa­ting of Bread and Wine, universally practised in the Chri­stian Church, and which is the proper subject of the en­suing Discourse, the reason why it is called the Lords Supper, is,

1. Because the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, he whose Name is Wonderful, The Lord Jesus Christ hath so­lemnly instituted, vnd ordained it. It was the fatal night, when the Jews, prompted by the Prince of Darkness, and blind with rage and envy, were come out against him, as against a Thief, with Staves and Spears, to hur­ry him to Death and to the Cross; just before this ama­zing Tragedy began, having eaten the Passover with his Disciples, and by so doing put an end to the Types and Shadows of the Ceremonial Law, he took Bread and Wine, and gave it to all the Church then present, and bid them eat and drink of it, and in so doing, have high­er thoughts, and reflect upon all the instances of his Love to their Immortal Souls, and teach their Successors to do so too. This Jesus who by wicked hands was Crucified, Acts 2. 36. and whom God hath made both Lord and Christ, was the Master and Author of this Feast, and from him it justly derives its Name.

2. Because the end of this Eating and Drinking is to Commemorate the Death of the Lord Jesus. As the end of the Passover, under the Law, was, to remember the great Deliverance from the Egyptian Bondage; and that of the Feast of Tabernacles, their being guided through the Wilderness by a Cloud, and their Ancestors dwel­in [Page 4] Booths and Tents: As the Feast of Trumpets was insti­tuted either by way of Anticipation, that they might re­member afterwards how the Walls of Jericho fell, or to refresh their Minds with Isaac's Sacrifice, (an Emblem of the Messiah's Death;) and the Feast of Weeks, or Pen­tecost, was ordained as a Testimony of their Gratitude for a Plentiful Harvest, and to put them in mind of the Liberty they gain'd, when God gave them the Law, and entred into a Covenant with them; and that of Purim to bring into their Memories, how they were rescued from the cruelty of Haman the Amalekite; and that of the Dedication, to suggest to them the Rebuild­ing of the Temple: So the Lord Jesus enjoyn'd and recom­mended the keeping of this Feast to his Followers, that they might remember, how their Master loved them, and made his Death a demonstration of Love; how he died to make them happy, and denied himself in all the Contents of Life, to make theirs blessed and glorious for ever; how he submitted to the Power of the Grave, to purchase their comfortable Resurrection, and fell a Sacrifice, that they might have hopes of Pardon through his Blood; a Remembrance so just, that if this Charity deserves not frequent Commemoration, no Mercy, no Benefit, no Favour, no Providence can deserve it, for this goes beyond all, that the Word of God calls glori­ous and beneficial to Mankind.

3. Its the Lord's Supper, because the Lord Jesus is Meat and Drink in this Feast; Meat indeed, and Drink indeed, as the expression is, John 6. 11. for though that Chap­ter speaks not directly of this Supper, yet the Phrases and modes of speech used there, may very piously be ap­plied to what is represented by the Elements in this Feast; for the Benefits, Advantages and Emoluments of Christs Death, are Food so proper to a Religious Soul, and a gracious Mind feeds so savourly upon these, that nothing deserves the name of Spiritual Meat and Drink, so much as these; and indeed, these nourish and feed the Soul, make her strong and lively; these are her Cordi­als [Page 4] and Restoratives, and in the nature of David's Oyl, Psal. 104. 15. which make her Face to shine.

4. It's the Lords Supper, because the nourishment and strength it affords or yields, is by the influence of the Lord Jesus. He sends his Spirit into the Soul, that comes to his Feast hungry and thirsty, and longing after the Riches of Gods Love, whereby the Soul is inflamed to love him, who bought her at this dear rate; and that love produces Peaceableness and Gentleness, and Faith, and Purity, and Sincerity, and Delight in good Works, which are excellent signs of the Souls growing strong in the use of the Spiritual Food. The Holy Spirit of Christ destroys the reigning Power of Sin in her, and the go­vernment of the Flesh, for the leaner this grows, and the more the authority of it is diminished, the better the Soul thrives, and the more vigorous and active it be­comes in all its faculties.

III. Though to call this Feast, The Lord's Supper when it is in most Churches Celebrated in the Morning, seems to be improper, yet the reason why it still bears the name, is, Because the same substantial Actions are still observed in the Celebration of it, that were used by Christ and his Disciples at his first institution in the night; and not only the same Actions, but the same end and de­sign is kept on foot, which we find in its first foundati­on; and whenever it is celebrated, it's still in imitation of that Supper, and that Supper is still remembred in it. The reason why Christ in instituting of it, made use of the night, which gave it the name of a Supper, was, be­cause it was to be succedaneous to the Passover, which, according to custom, was eaten at night, as the Delive­rance, which the Jews remembred then, was performed by the Angel at night: and as the Passover represent­ed the Old Covenant or Testament, and this Feast the New, so it was fit, that the later should be instituted immediately after the Celebration of the former, that both being set together, their different signification [Page 5] might more plainly appear, and Men might see, what Mercies they might expect from the bringing in of a better Covenant. This being the occasion of Christ Celebrating this Feast at night, and consequently the rea­son ceasing with the Typical Passover, the Christian Churches, in process of time, took the liberty of Cele­brating it at all seasons, as they saw it either necessary or expedient. And though what I have said about the Passover, is the Principal reason, why Christ made choice of the night for this Institution, yet, for ought we know, it might be with an intent also to hint to us, how by this Sacrament, the night of Ignorance which sat heavy on the minds of most Men, would be dispell'd; that by night is sometimes understood the night of Ignorance in Scripture, is evident from Matth. 4. 16. Es. 9. 1, 2. Rom. 13. 12. and that by the devout and religious use of this Sacrament, our Ignorance is in a great measure cured, ex­perience is a sufficient testimony: Hereby certainly our minds are signally enlightned, and we behold the Wis­dom, Love and Goodness of God, discover the me­thods and ways of Salvation, get clear Apprehensions of the Mysteries of our Faith, and see how inconsistent the Works of Darkness are with this solemn remem­brance of the Death of Christ; hereby we come to feel the Power of God toward them that Believe, and find out the Secret of the Union, that is betwixt Christ and his true Followers, and learn to know, that what is said in the Word of God, concerning the tender regard of Christ to his Church and Friends, is no Fable. Add to all this, that Christ made choice of the night, possibly to put us in mind of his sudden coming to Judgment, which is frequently expressed in Scripture by his com­ing in the night, Mark 13. 35, 36. Luke 12. 38, 39. 1 Thessal. 5, 2. Rev. 3. 3. nor is this an unsuitable Reflecti­on in this Sacrament to contemplate his coming to judge the World; for though that coming may strike terror into Men, that put the evil day far from them, and pre­pare not for their Lord's coming, yet to a Soul enlight­ned and Sanctified, it cannot but afford matter of com­fort, [Page 6] to think at such times, that the same Jesus, who was crucified, will ere long appear in Glory with all his mighty Angels to give those, that have followed him in the Regeneration, full possession of the purchas'd Glory However, at the best, the Celebration of this Feast at night was but a circumstantial thing, and therefore the Church is not obliged to keep to it, circumstantial things depending much upon conveniency, or inconveniency, which vary in several Ages; and this was the reason, that though standing at the eating of the Passover was a commanded circumstance, Exod. 12. 11. yet the Jew­ish Church, in after Ages, varied from it, even by Christs own Approbation, and turned that posture into leaning, as I shall have occasion to shew more largely in the Chapter about Kneeling at the Communion. The Church therefore sins not in Celebrating this Feast at any other time, especially in a circumstance barely related, not commanded. Yet as I said before, because this Spi­ritual Feast, kept up in all Churches, is still in imitation of Christs Supper, and that Supper is religiously remem­bred in it, and the same essential things, together with the scope, drift and design of all, are still preserved, it is not unfitly called the Lords Supper still; so that if any man seems to be contentious about the name, We have no such Custom neither the Churches of God, 1 Cor. 12. 16.

IV. Yet this is no Argument, but that it may also lawfully be called and expressed by other Names, and this we find the Christian Churches have done from time to time. Tertullian was the first that called it a Sacrament, taking the Name from the Oaths the Roman Soldiers took, that they would be true and faithful to their Em­peror, and the rather, because we vow Allegiance and Fi­delity in this Ordinance to the great Master that died for us. Others have call'd it an Oblation, because we of­fer up our humble Prayers and Supplications to the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and our Souls and Bodies too, when we remember this Beneficial Death. [Page 7] Sometimes it hath been call'd a Sacrifice, because it is not only a commemoration of the wonderful Sacrifice of Christs Death, but we chearfully offer up the Sacrifice of our Praises for this inestimable Mercy. The name of Communion occurs frequently in the Writings of the An­cients, because all sincere Christians are hereby tyed in a bond of mutual Love, participate of the same Bread, are Fellow-members of the Mystical Body of Christ, and have Communion with Christ their Head, and enjoy all the same Benefits of his Death and sufferings. The word Eucharist is used as often as any other, be­cause Thanksgiving and Magnifying the Goodness, Mer­cy, and Charity of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, are a great part of the Service here. The name Mass which they of the Roman Persuasion, and even the Luthe­ran Churches make use of, as it was not known in the Church for the first Four hundred years after Christ, so the Original of it was this, When the Lords Supper was to be celebrated after Sermon, the Deacon or some o­ther Officer of the Church, called to the People, that did not, or were not to receive, in these words, Ite, mis­sa est, Depart, the Congregation is dismissed. In time, that which was only a Preliminary circumstance of the Lords Supper, was applied to the whole Office, and the Service was called Missa, or Mass, a word which the Romanists make a great stir with, and turn into a perfect Charm, and a monstrous Sacrifice, to the great disparagement of Christs Sufferings, and the Benefits that accrue there­by to true Believers. Some of their Writers make it a Hebrew word and fetch it from the Old Testament, o­thers derive it from the Greek, others from the Northern Language; and though it expresses less then any of those Names we mentioned before, yet hath this swallow­ed up all the rest, and the more superstitious in the Ro­man Church are almost afraid to call it by any other Name; and the Mass is that which both young and Old, both learned and unlearned among them, have most fre­quently in their Mouths, though few of the Vulgar know what it means. I omit here many other Names, appro­priated [Page 8] by Writers to this Mystery; such as Collect, Oeco­nomy, Liturgy, Dominical, Agenda, Anaphora, Synaxis, &c. partly because I intend no Critical History, and partly because by the names I have already spoken of, this Sacrament is usually known in the Western Churches. That we do so often call it a Mystery, is, because the things discovered and imitated here, do altogether depend upon Divine Revelation, and are such as Flesh and Blood understand not, and the Secrets of which, none but a Person enlightned by the Spirit of God ap­prehends to any purpose, and which transcend all the Arcana or hidden points of Heathen Divinity.

V. The name of the Lords Supper puts us in mind, that this Holy Feast differs from Common Suppers.

1. In that Common Suppers are for the support of Nature, this for the support of Grace and Goodness in our Souls. The former are intended for the strength­ning of the Body, this for the corroboration of our Faith, and Hope, and Love. Our Common Supper represents to us the Ordinary Providence of God, which opens its hand, and fills the desire of every living thing: This, Gods extraordinary dispensation, which shews at what cost and charges we are made the Children of God, and fitted for everlasting habitations. The former gives us an ac­count of the Blessings of Gods Left, this of the favours of his Right Hand: The former bids us look into the nether, this into the upper Springs of the Divine Clemen­cy.

2. In our Common Suppers, our Spirits may unbend, and our Minds and Tongues take liberty of thinking and speaking of things relating to our necessary Em­ployments in the World; in this, our thoughts must rise, mount up with Wings as Eagles, pierce the Clouds, and fix on the Riches of Divine Love, retire from the World, view God, and his glorious Attributes, and u­nite with that excellent object, improve themselves in­to [Page 9] Contempla [...]ion, and adore the Mystery of Redempti­on. In the former, no other Preparation is required, but what we are to bring with us to common affairs and businesses, i. e. Gravity and Sobriety; but in this, the Heart must be prepared, the Soul chafed, the Affections warmed, prayers offered, Ejaculations press into Gods presence, and Self-examination dispose the Soul for the visits of the Holy Ghost, that it may be a worthy Guest at so great a Table, and the rather, because God is in a special manner present here; for wherever Pro­vidence displays its brighter beams of Love, there God is eminently present; that makes Heaven what it is, be­cause there the Divine Goodness shines most gloriously. In this Sacrament are set before us more then ordinary Characters of Gods Love; the Angels of Heaven, saith St. Chrysostom, stand round about the Altar, and while the Minister of the Ordinance is praising him, that lives for ever and ever, fall down at the same time re­joycing at the blessings and the Manna, which falls down from Heaven on the Children of Men; so that here we may cry out, as the Patriarch did of Bethel, How dread­ful is this place!

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. THIS Sacarament being a Feast, prepared by the Greatest Prince for his Servants, those Servants must needs be inexcusable, that refuse to give their at­tendance here. I do not deny, but their may be just excuses and lawful causes of our absence, such as Sickness, Weakness, Faintness and Distempers, Pains, Aches and some sudden Accidents and Disasters, which will not suffer us to fix our thoughts on so reverend an ordinance; but these hapning against our Wills, and importing no wilful neglect, God bears with us, under such circumstan­ces; but to act, as if we did not hear our Master call, and to suffer the World to put a stop to our coming; [Page 10] to be so enamoured with our Profits and sensual Satis­factions, as not to think our selves concerned in the Du­ty to refuse approaching, because we are loath to be at the pains of searching our Hears and trying our ways; to neglect coming, because we are loath to sequester our Thoughts from sublunary Objects and to part with our Sins; to absent our selves, because we relish the enjoy­ments of this life, before this Celestial Food; this is to slight what God esteems, and to spurn at the great­est Mercy; this is to thrust away Salvation, as if it were worth nothing, and to [...]ndervalue the pains God takes to bring us to himself; and what God must think of such Scorners, I need not tell you, for your selves may guess, except you believe God to be a Stone or Stock, how he must resent it; and one would think, it should cause some sad thoughts within you, if you believe what he saith, 1 Sam. 2. 30 They that love me, I will Honour, but they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed.

II. When the Church invites us to this Feast, we must suppose that our Lord himself makes an Address to us, as it is in Matth. 22. 4. Behold I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready, come ye to the Marriage. This Holy Ordinance is the Marriage Feast, which declares our being joyned to the Son of God, the King immortal, invisible, blessed for e­vermore, Hearken therefore, O daughter, and consider, for­get also thine own People, and thy fathers house, so shall the King greatly desire thy beauty, for he is thy Lord, and worship thou him. This Feast requires suitable Garments, not Tyrian Purple, not Persian Silks, not that outward adorning with broider'd hair, or gold, or pearl, or costly array, but the ornament of a meek and quiet Spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. A Garment of Sackcloath is a more glorious sight in the eyes of him, who is the Master of This Feast, then all the bravery of the tinckling Orna­ments of the Daughters of Sion, and a Contrite Heart invites his gracious aspect; and this the Primitive belie­vers were so sensible of, that before their coming to this Feast, they humbled their Souls with Fasting, and as [Page 11] course and uncomely as this Garb appears to sensual Men, yet He that is the lofty and Holy one, who inhabits E­ternity, hath declared his liking and approbation of it, For to that man will I look, that is of an humble a and contrite Spirit, and trembles at my word, Es. 66. 2. Es. 57. 15. We read of a Garment of Praise too Es. 61. 3. a Garment, which the Angels of Light are adorned and deckt with­al, a Garb so pleasing, that the Eternal Father smiles on them, and it smells sweeter than that of Esau; God like old Isaac, takes notice of it, and blesses them. St. Paul understood this, and wore it constantly. Hence it is, that we find him so liberal in praising the Cross of Christ; with this he seems always transported, and he seldom talks of Christ without Raptures, an object upon which he though he could never say enough. Being rapt up into the Third Heaven, he had heard the melodious voices of the four and twenty Elders, and the new Song, they sung to the Lamb that was slain; Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the Seals thereof, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, Rev. 5. 9. and he could not have a better Pattern. And now that we speak of Garments, that make us welcome Guests at this Table, we must not forget the Garment or Orna­ment of good Works, which St. Paul takes notice of, 1 Tim. 2. 10. These are the Shining Robes our Souls must be ambitious of; these adorn our Profession, charm spe­ctators, attract followers, and are apt to make People in love with goodness: and what is more, change us in­to the same Image with the Author and Finisher of our Faith, whose province and imployment was, going about and doing good, as we are told Act 10. 38. and conse­quently this cannot but be a proper Ornament, to ap­pear in, at this Banquet: And of this nature is the white Garment, we read of Eccles. 9. 8. or the Garment of In­nocence and Purity, whereby we hate the Garment spot­ted by the flesh, and keep Consciences void of offence to­ward God and toward Man. In these Garbs we may boldly shew our selves at the Table of our Lord, and [Page 12] expect the same welcome, that the Spouse received in the Canticles, Cant. 4. 10, 11. How fair is thy love, my Sister, my Spouse [...] how much better is thy love, than Wine, and the smell of all thine Ointments, than all Spices! Thy Lips; O my Spouse, drop as the Honey-comb, Honey and Milk are under thy Tongue, and the smell of thy Garments, is like the smell of Lebanon.

The PRAYER.

O Holy and merciful Saviour, merciful beyond example, who treatest me as thy Child, hast prepared a Table for me, and made my Cup run over! Be thou my Shepherd, let me want no Grace, no Mercy, no Assistance that's necessary for me in the prosecuting of mine Eternal Happiness. Dress me with thy Robes, adorn me with the Ensigns of thy Favour. Let me rejoyce at the Supper, thou hast prepared for me. Teach me to entertain thy Call with gladness. Let me see clearly, what thou hast prepared for them that love thee. Thou know­est my stubborn and lazy Heart, rouze it from its slumber; melt it by the fire of thy love; breath upon these dry Bones, and they shall live: Let me not with Esau prefer a morsel of Bread, eaten in secret, before my Birth-right to Eternal Glo­ry. Let me consider thy Condescension in inviting such a Wretch to sup with thee. Let not the evil examples, I see be­fore me, be any temptation to me. Uphold me by thy right hand. Let me dread thine anger, and count it a greater dis­grace to be despised by thee, than to be made the filth and off-scouring of all things. Give me a just esteem of thy favour, let me prefer it before all the Contents of this present World. Let me feel that thy loving kindness is better than life; this life will sade away, but thy Mercy endureth for ever. Let Goodness and Mercy follow me all the days of my life, and make me dwell in thy House for ever. Amen.

CHAP. II.
Of the Mystery of Christ's Instituting this Sa­crament, in that very Night in which he was betray'd.

The CONTENTS,

The Treachery of Judas: His Character, and how That is imitated by Nominal Christians at this day. Christ be­tray'd to wicked Men and to Devils; betray'd partly for filthy Lucre, partly for his unchangeable integrity. The same is still done by Hypocrites in Religion. This Sacrament instituted that very Night, when he was betrayed, for three Reasons, The different appearances of Sin, when Sur­veyed slightly, and when considered in its designs and Ten­dencies. While we detest the Treason of Judas, we are to take heed, we do not become guilty of the same Crime. The Prayer.

1. THough in the first Chapter I have already hinted the reason, why Christ made use of the Night, to institute this Holy Sacrament, yet the Evangelists laying an Emphasis or weight upon his instituting of it, that night, in which he was betray'd, it's fit we should search into the Mystery of it: But before we can do this some Circumstances of that Treason must be considered, which will give light to Christ's design in pitching up­on that time, and no other. The Person that did ven­ture on this height of Impiety, was Judas Iscariot, a a Man, who by this Treason, hath indeed left an E­verlasting [Page 14] Name behind him, but such an one, as all A­ges must detest, and talk of with greater Indignation, than the Heathens did of Herostratus, who, to make himself illustrious by doing mischief, burnt the famous Temple of Diana: By this Man, the Ever-blessed JESUS was betrayed; and if you will allow me to give a true Character of him, some of us in this Glass may see their own treachery and deformity.

1. He was betray'd by one, who made profession of Religion, but was a Hypocrite; i.e. his Actions contra­dicted his Profession, professing one thing, he did ano­ther, and seeming to be good, he proved a Devil. Hy­pocrisie at this day makes Men Traitors to Christ, even their coming to the Temple of the Lord, and adhering to their known Sins, their frequenting the Ordinances of God, and being unconcerned at his Promises and Threat­nings; their believing the Articles of Religion, and act­ing contrary to the design of them; their sinding fault with those sins in others, which they have no aversion from in themselve; their speaking honourably of God with their Lips, and dispensing with affronts, put upon him in their practices; and what can we call this, but Judas-like to betray the Son of Man with a Kiss; to say Hail-Master, and deliver him to be Crucified; to cry Hosanna, and by and by, Away with him; at once to embrace, and to decide him; to hug, and to contemn him; to how the knee to him, and mock him; and in imitation to the rude Soldiery, to cloath him with Purple, and to strike and buffet him.

2. He was betray'd by one, who, by no argument of love or mercy, could be wrought into a sincere reforma­tion: He had seen the Miracles of his Master; himself, by his Masters influence, did wonders, and he saw Divi­nity shine in him, nor was Christ wanting in warning, Teaching, Instructing, Entreating and admonishing of him, yet nothing could prevail with him to purge out the Leven of Malice and wickedness; and is not Christ [Page 15] betray'd this way by thousands at this day? He that des­pises you, saith he to his Servants and Instruments, des­pises me; and then if his calling to Men, by his Minist­ers, by signal providences, by Mercies, by Afflictions by their Consciences, by their Infirmities and Sicknesses, Weaknesses and approaching Death, will not make them sensible of their Duty; if in despite of his endeavours to keep them from being undone, they scorne both his Yoak and his Love, what greater treason can they be guilty of? especially where they make his mercy a shel­ter for their sin; are therefore evil, because he is good, and are tempted by his Patience, to be refractory and obstinate.

II. He was betray'd both to wicked Men and Devils.

1. To Wicked Men, such as the Scribes and Elders of the Jews, his sworn Enemies, and this way he is still be­tray'd; for though there be no Scribes, no Pharises at this day, yet there are Atheistical and sensual Men, who seeing Christ's Religion made a Clock for ill Designs and bad Practices, take occasion from thence to speak evil of it, as David having professed much zeal to God, and falling afterwards into very monstrous sins, made the Enemies of the Lord Blaspheme and laugh at the advantages, the Jews boasted of above the Doctrines and Principles of their Neighbour-Idolaters. Indeed to see Men wicked and vain under a shew of Piety, and while they profess to be followers of Jesus, live directly con­trary to the example and precepts of the Holy Jesus, makes that pretended Devotion ridiculous; and instead of converting Men of loose Principles, drives them far­ther off, and tempts them to think all Religion to be nothing but a Cheat: And though this Inference is un­just and absurd, yet still these dangerous Inferences will be laid at their door, who either contradicted the Prin­ciples of their Religion, by their actions, or made it a Stalking horse to ill Designs and Purposes.

[Page 16] 2. He was betray'd to Devils too, who seeing him in the hands of bloody and barbarous Men, left and forsaken, as it were by Heaven and that Divinity, which dwelt there, took the greater boldness to set upon him by temp­tations; and as these foes watch opportunities, and then molest most, when Men are least able to controul their insolence; so seeing the Saviour of the World thus seem­ingly forsaken, we may suppose they assaulted him with greater fierceness, partly because his design had been to destroy their Kingdom, and partly because he had so often dispossessed them of their Habitations: It is there­fore the Opinion of the Learned Men, that in the Gar­den of Gethsemane, when Christ fell into trembling fits, the Devil appeared to him in a visible and most dismal shape, which occasions an Angels descent from above to comfort him; but whether it were so or no, the Fiend seeing him betray'd, and deliver'd into the hands of his own slaves, without all peradventure, triumph'd in his misery, and insulted over him with greater scorn, and in imitation of David's Enemies, cry'd Aha, So would he have it; so doth the Hypocrite betray Christ to the Devil, who hearing the painted Christian talk of Mor­tification and contempt of the World, the two funda­mental points of his Masters Religion, and seeing him act point blank against them, doth not only deride and despise Religion, but casts reproaches on Christ himself, as if the motives, he was come to give the World, were impotent and unable to effect that mighty change, the Gospel speaks of, and which the Son of God used to Glory in, while the World was so happy as to enjoy his Presence. The Devils rejoyce to see Christ thus de­feated in his grand designs of Reformation; and though he is in Glory at this time, yet the Hypocrites actions raise a Persecution against him, and put the Devils up­on new insolencies against his Honour and Majesty; what say they, are these thy Servants and Disciples; are these the Men that are changed from Glory to Glory? What do they more than the disciples of Hell? And if the lit­tle pleasures of the World, I hold out to them, can [Page 17] preponderate, and do more with them, than the Argu­ments of thy death, and the motives drawn from a Glo­rious endless life, where is thy power, or where­in hath thy Kingdom the advantage of my Empire?

III. He was betray'd partly for filthy Lucre, partly for his unchangeable Integrity,

1. For filthy Lucre. The love of Money, the root of all evil, was the cause of it. The Thirty Peices of Silver invited the Traitor to this Enterprise: So powerful is Gold and Silver, that at this day it tempts Men to be­tray the Son of God, for we see they care not what be­comes of Religion, so their Purses swell: and are indif­ferent, whether Gods Honour be maintained or no, so their Corn, and Wine, and Oyl increaseth: This makes Men venture on the foulest sins, and draws them into actions, which should not be so much as named among Christians: This tempts them to oppress, to cheat, to flatter, to dissemble, to lie, and to forswear themselves, to comply with the sinful humours of Men, and to debase their Souls to the dirtiest and most disingenuous Actions; yet all this while, such will be counted Christians and Pro­testants, and of the true Religion, against which the Gates of Hell shall not be able to prevail,

2. For his unchangeable Integrity. He would not al­low Judas to profess himself his Disciple, and cherish base and covetous desires; the Lord Jesus, that knew his heart, we may suppose, bid him either leave his profession, or with his profession, cleanse the inside of the Cup and Platter; convinced him, that the love of God and that of the World were incompatible, and did mutually de­stroy each other: This the illnatured Disciple could not brook, and because his Master would not give him leave to enjoy Gods favour, and his own sins together, he be­tray'd him. This is the case of Counterfeit Christians at this day; because Christ will not permit them to blend his Religion with their delight in vanity, will not [Page 18] allow them to serve God and Mammon; they expose his Religion to that contempt and scorn, we have mention'd, as if they would be revenged upon God for being so un­kind to them, as not to permit an alliance to be made betwixt the Temple of God and Idols, betwixt Christ and Belial, betwixt Light and Darkness.

IV. Why Christ would Institute this Sacrament that very Night, in which he was betray'd, will appear from these following Reasons.

1. To shew, that he delighted not in the death of the Sin­ner, therefore the same Night that he was betray'd, he provided a remedy that Sinners might not die, and where­by the Offenders might be restored to life and happi­ness, if they did not wilfully reject it. That Pardon and Deliverance, and freedom from everlasting Death, is offer'd, tender'd, convey'd and sealed in this Sacra­ment to every Sinner, that is unfeignedly resolv'd to be Friends with God upon his own terms, is confess'd by all the Christian World. It was therefore Instituted that Night that Judas did betray him, to shew, that if even Judas, and all such Traytors, that should some way or other imitate him in his Actions, either had come, or should for the future come and throw away their Wea­pons, their Enmity and their Arms, quit their Hostility, and humble themselves before their offended Father, that they shall not miss of Mercy and Forgiveness, than which, there cannot be a greater sign, that he delights not in their Ruin: That Night, when he was persecuted, to provide a Refuge for his Persecutors: That Night, when his Enemies were like to practise Treason, to think on a way how that Treason might be pardoned: That Night, when they were going to undo themselves, to provide a Pool, in which they might wash and be clean: This surely spoke his desire, that they might not die. Wonderful Goodness! He foresaw the Wounds they would give to their Souls, and before they give them­selves those wounds, he prepares a Plaister to heal them: [Page 19] He saw how fierce and violent the Poison was they were going to take, and at the same time provides an Anti­dote: He saw they were going to starve their Souls, and at the same time orders Meat and Drink to be made rea­dy to preserve them from expiring.

2. He Instituted it that very Night to admonish us, that when we come to receive these Holy Elements, we should remember with grief and sorrow, how often we have betray'd his Glory to his Enemies, and by the hein­ousness of the sin, be frighted from attempting the like again; and what can be more reasonable at such times, than to reflect: Ah Wretch that I am! How like a Bruit have I lived under the Name of a Christian! I have called my Master, Lord, and have done mine own Will! I have called him Father, and when he hath bid me work in his Vineyard, have run away! I have profess'd love to the Lord Jesus, and been asham'd of him and of his Gospel! I have seem'd a de­vout Worshipper of him, and been a stranger to self-denial! And when my Profit, Ease or Credit, have been in danger, how have I left him with the Disciples and fled! How have I betray'd him by such cowardice! What occasion of reproach have I given to his Enemies! How have I harden'd others in their sins by such doings! How have I made sensual Men de­spise that noble Religion, the Son of God sealed with his dearest Blood! And shall I betray him any longer? Shall I still deli­ver him up to be mock'd! Shall I dare to do such a barba­rous thing again? No, No, I'll confess Thee before Men, my Dearest Lord, that thou mayst confess and own me in the last day before thy Father, and his Holy Angels.

3. He Instituted this Sacrament that Night, to teach us, that we must do good for evil; Judas betrays him, and that very Night he is contriving, how Judas, if he would have accepted of the offer, might be saved from Everlasting ruin: this was his method and course of li­ving in the World, to reward unkindnesses with ten­derness and compassion to the Offenders. The Jews cry Crucifie him, and he prays for them, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do; Malchus, who [Page 21] came out against him to apprehend him, and as 'tis probable, was ruder than the rest, having his Ear cut off, by his miraculous touch, is restored to his former soundness; Herod seeks to kill him, and at the same time he purges his Country from Devils and Diseases: This sure could not be done, but with an intent to shew us an example, and except we do as he did, how can we be said to be his followees! It's from this great Exam­ple, that the Apostle infers a Duty, Rom. 12. 21. Be not overcome with evil, but overcome the evil with good; and we all know, who it was that told us, that in vain we call our selves Children of God, except we do good to them that hate us, Matth. 5. 44, 45.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. VVe see here, in what a different shape Sin ap­pears from what it did before, if the nature, tendency, and design of it be rightly considered. That which before seem'd but a little Cloud or Twilight, up­on such a prospect, will appear Egyptian Darkness. Who of us makes any thing of Hypocrisie? yet have we proved before, that it is a betraying of the Son of God, especially, if it be reigning and allow'd of. So it is with other sins. The Jews, Malach. 3. 8. thought their keeping back their Tythes, and depriving the Priests and Ministers of the Lord of their due, to be a trivial thing, yet God speaks to them in Thunder, and calls it robbing of the Almighty: Will a Man rob God? Yet ye have robb'd me. Wherein have we robb'd thee? In Tythes and Offerings. So they made nothing of offering the Lame and the Blind, but God calls it profanation of his Name, Mal. 1. 12. A wise Man therefore, and he that would not cheat himself in matters of Salvation, must consider what verdict God gives of such sins, as the World makes little of, and in so doing, will find how unsafe it is, to venture on such trespasses, and what dangerous things they are. Indeed, he that exa­mines [Page 22] and ponders, what names God gives to some sins in Scripture, how he calls Covetousness Idolatry, Ephes. 5. 5. Disobedience Witchcraft, 1 Sam. 15. 23. Unbelief under the means of Grace, trampling on, and treading under foot the Son of God, Heb. 10. 29. Living in a known sin, being of the Devil, 1 John, 3. 8. Sensuality, Enmity to the Cross of Christ, Phil. 3. 18. Apostacy, Crucifying of Christ afresh, Heb. 6. 6. Love of the World, Adultery, &c. Jam. 4. 4▪ must needs have other apprehensions of such sins, than the duller, or more vitious sort of Man­kind hath; and until we do so, it's a sign we have no mind to be sincere Converts, till we look upon our Sins through the Glass of Scripture; till we give our Sins those Names, which He, that cannot err, doth give them; till we begin to call them, what they are indeed, and our hearts are concern'd and troubled about that, which such names import; our Repentance is but lame and partial, and we obstruct our way to mercy and for­giveness, and prepare for being miserable in the midst of flattering hopes and expectations.

II, As we do abhor and detest the Treason of Judas, so let's take heed, we become not guilty of it our selves. We are not in a capacity of acting that very Treason, that the ill-natured Disciple did, because Christ is not now on Earth, and the circumstances of Time, and Place, and Government, do differ; yet how that Treason may be acted over again by a behaviour and conversation agreeable to that of Judas, hath been already shew'd; and whatever we do, let's not fall into the snare, into which that unhappy Man did fall: His end, his despair; the terrors of his mind, the torments of his conscience; the contempt and scorn of God and Men, he rusht into, are sufficient discouragements from that Hypocrisie, which drove him on to those Precipices. To maintain invinci­ble Loyalty to our Great Master, is not only our Duty, but our Interest. To promote whatever makes for his Honour and Glory, is that which becomes us, not only as we are his Subjects, but as we are redeemed with his [Page 23] Blood: So great a Mercy ought to crush every rebellious thought in our Minds. Never had people a more gra­cious King; a King, which doth not only divide his Estate among his Subjects, but is resolved to advance them to the highest Dignities they are capable of. And what, if sometimes he doth afflict us? That doth not speak him a Tyrant, but a Father, or Physician rather, who lets us Blood to prevent Diseases, and launces our Wounds, that they may not fester and kill us. If he lays Burthens upon us, it is not to oppress our Souls, but our Sins; and if he make us go through the Fire, it is not that the Flame may consume us, but that the Smoke may kill the Caterpillars and Locusts, that eat the wholsom Herbs of our Graces. It is not that he delights in our Groans, but that he is desirous of our Welfare; and when he scourges us, it is necessity, and our own good, that puts him upon using that method, not a fondness to exercise his Power and Authority.

The PRAYER.

O Blessed JESUS! When I look upon thee, and behold thy Beauty and Glory, I wonder how I have been able to conspire against thee with thine Enemies! How have I been led away by false appearances, and listned to false rumours, which sinful Men have spread abroad concerning thee! Thou hast been represented to me as an Enemy to my mirth, and ease, and plenty, and temporal advantages, and I have believed it, and run blindly with the multitude to crucifie thee! I see, how a­gainst Reason, Conscience, Interest, and a thousand Obliga­tions, I have acted! O forget the Injuries I have offered thee! O remember no more the Treasons I have been guilty of! Ne­ver, never, will I wittingly or wilfully betray thee again! Let all Guile, and Hypocrisie, and Double-dealings, be put a­way from me: Make me an Israelite indeed: Let sincerity and integrity ever preserve me. Make me willing to forego all in­terests, so I may but have an interest in the love of Compla­ency. Let all enmity, all dissention, all hostility betwixt us [Page 24] cease. I agree, not only to a Truce, but to an Eternal Peace. I know, Lord, the danger of breaking the Peace lies on my side, who am naturally treacherous, fickle and inconstant, but thy Grace can cure that inconstancy. Lord, stretch forth thy mighty Arm, and hold me up, that I may never depart from thee, may always love to be with thee, always delight in thy pre­sence, always rejoice in thy love, and always seek thy honour and glory. Amen. Amen.

CHAP. III.
Of the Place where the Lord's Supper is to be ea­ten, the Church, and of Private Communion.

The CONTENTS.

The Publick Church, the fittest Place to receive the Lord's Supper in. This, proved from the Practice of the Apostles, and the succeeding Christians. The same proved from Rea­son, and the end, for which Christ died. Private Com­munions first began in times of Persecution. The Danger and Imprudence of those, who, neglecting to receive it in Publick, do not think of it till they come to lye upon their Death-beds. What a mercy it is, that we have Publick Churches, where we may serve and worship God, without fear or molestation. Great Gravity and Devotion required in the Publick Worship of God. The Prayer.

I. THat the publick Church is the most proper, most warranted, and fittest place to celebrate and eat the Lord's Supper in; seems to have been the constant belief of the Christian Church, and they have grounded their Belief on the Apostles Expostulation with the Co­rinthians, 1 Cor. 11. 20, 22. where speaking of their [Page 25] coming together into one place, and distinguishing pri­vate Houses from the Church of God, he intimates a known custom in that Age, to meet in certain Oratories, or places appointed for publick Worship, and there re­ceive the Holy Symbols. That which is commonly ob­jected, of the great Improbability of publick Buildings and Edifices, in times of Persecution, such as the Apo­stles, and the Christians, for the first three Centuries, had sad experience of, seems to carry greater weight than really it doth; for though we speak of places ap­pointed for Publick Worship, no Person of common Sense can imagine, that we mean, they had such stately and magnificent Buildings, as our Churches are at this day, the Effects of Ease, and Peace, and Plenty: These came not in, till Constantine procured the Churches Re­spit, and Freedom from their former Bondage; yet we may justly enough suppose, that even in those days of trouble, and calamitous times, they either converted some spacious upper Room, in a charitable Believer's House, into a Church, or some good Christian gave, and dedi­cated his House for that Religious Use; or the Believers, by common consent, turned it into a Place of publick Worship, which is the reason that the Disciples are said to have met in an [...], or upper Room, Act. 1. 13. possibly the same which Christ celebrated the Eucharist in; and who knows not, that mention is sometimes made of a Church in such a Man's House? as Colos. 4. 15. Salute Nymphas, and the Church at his House. Upon which words, Oecumenus tells us, He was a was a great Man,Oecum in loc. [...]. for he had con­verted his House into a Church. And though it is said, Act. 2. 46. That the Be­lievers continuing daily with one accord in the Temple, and breaking of Bread from House to House, did eat their Meat with gladness of heart; yet the Phrase [...], which we ren­der from House to House, as our Translators take notice in the Margent, may as well be rendered in the House; and then the meaning will be this, That continuing daily [Page 26] in the Temple, or frequenting the Temple daily, they broke Bread in the House, i. e. in the House by the Temple, appropriated to the publick Christian Worship, and particularly in that upper Room by the Temple, where the Apostles and Believers used to meet; in which place, when they had broken Bread, or received the Eucharist, they went home to their own Houses, and sat down to their private Meals with joy and great com­fort.

II. The succeeding Churches observ'd this very Reli­giously, and therefore call'd the Holy Communion [...], or a Convocation, because they judged it meet, the whole Church should be together when it was admini­stred: For this reason it was also call'd [...], Liturgy, which properly imports Publick Administration of an Of­fice, and therefore applied, Rom. 15. 27. to publick di­stribution of Alms, to the Magistrate's executing of his Office, Rom. 13. 4, and to the Office of Teaching and Prophecying in the publick Congregation, Acts 13. 2. And this gave occasion to Cyril of Alexandria to say in an Epistle to Coelosyrius, That the Eucharist, or Sacred Sym­bols, ought to be offered no where, but in the Churches of Be­lievers; and that he, who attempts the contrary, doth mani­festly violate the Law of God, meaning the Apostles practice before-mentioned, which, he supposes, amounts to a vir­tual Command. To this purpose the Council of Laodicea forbad all Bishops and Priests to celebrate the Commu­nion in private Houses;Soc. l. 2. c. 33. and Eustathius the Bishop of Sebastia, as Socrates tells us, among other rea­sons, was deposed from his Place and Dignity, for this, because he had given permission to have the Lord's Supper administred in private Houses, which was, saith the Historian, against the Ecclesiastical Rules: Not­withstanding this, it was customary at Rome to do so, which makes St. Hierome, in his Book against Jovinian, find fault with the abuse, and expostulate with them, Why do they not go to Church to receive Christ's Body and Blood? Are there two Christs? one in publick, another in private? [Page 27] And indeed, those Christians that insisted upon this pub­lick Administration, had the Jewish Church for their pattern; for it being taken for granted, that the Lord's Supper was succedaneous to the Passover, as the Paschal Lamb was to be kill'd in the Temple, and in publick, so it was fit, that the solemn Remembrance of the Death of that Lamb, which was to take away the sins of the World, the Antitype of the other, should be celebrated in publick, and in the Congregations of Christians. That the Paschal Lamb, which every Family among the Jews were obliged to eat of, was killed in the Temple, is more than probable; for though Philo the Jew seems to take it for granted, that every Master of a Family had Liberty to kill the Paschal Lamb at his own House; yet, as judi­cious Men have observed, Philo being an Alexandrian, and not having those opportunities of searching into the Jewish Rites that others had, who lived at Jerusalem, might ea­sily run into a mistake; the rather, because Josephus and most Jews affirm the contrary, viz. That every Master of a Family was obliged to bring the Lamb intended to be eaten at the Celebration of the Passover, to the Tem­ple, to the Priests, who were to kill it for him. If it had not been so, it is not easie to imagine how the Priests could have given so exact an account to Cestius of the number of the Jews that were come up to the Passover at that time, for they gave in an account of 55000 and 600 Persons that had presented themselves at the Feast, which in all likelihood they knew by the Lambs, the People brought to them to be slain for their respective Families; and though Jewish Customs lay no Obligations upon Christians, yet where the Gospel gives a Rule, a Jewish practice, in a case not much unlike, may serve for con­firmation of the Observance.

III. The publick eating of the Lord's Supper, doth certainly best represent the end for which Christ died; and that is the Publick Good; a Good, which Caiaphas ignorantly acknowledged and confessed, when he told the Jews, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider, that it is ex­pedient [Page 28] for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole multitude perish not, Jon. 11. 49. 50. But St. John is fuller in the explication of this Good, when he asserts, that his death is a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole World, 1 Jon. 2. 2. Many things are by Men pretended to be done for the Publick Good; but what they call Publick, is either for the Good of a Family, or Corporation, or Parish, or City, or a certain Territory, or a Kingdom: But the Death of Christ spreads its Virtues infinitely wider, not confining its Benefits to a Province, or a part of the World, but the whole Race of Mankind was concern'd in the Fa­vour, so that nothing was ever done so truly for the Pub­lick Good, as Christ's Suffering and Dying; and whoe­ver remembers it in publick, testifies his esteem and value of it, not only by his inward sense and admiration of it, but by the very place, in which he doth remember it. The Truth is, Christ was crucified publickly in the face of the Sun, and before huge multitudes, both of Jews and Proselytes, who were come to give their attendance at the Passover: Both Jews and Gentiles beheld the spe­ctacle, and Men of all sorts and conditions crouded to see so dreadful a shew, which was an Item, that the remembrance of it should be in the most publick place, the Church; the rather, because this publick remembrance doth best promote Christ's Glory, as multitudes joyning together in Confessions, and Praises, must necessarily advance it more than the Hallelujahs of two or three in private.

IV. Private Communions, or Communions in places, which were neither Churches nor publick Oratories, owe their first rise to the Churches persecutions: For when Nero and his successors in the Roman Empire, be­gan to defile the Faith with Blood; and to be a Chri­stian and a Malefactor, were made convertible Terms, the Christians were forced to serve God, as they could, and therefore celebrated the Communion in any place, to which they were driven in the common Storm, in [Page 29] Mines, in Ships, in Stables, in Prisons, in Caves, and Dens of the Earth, and where two or three Christians had the convenience of getting a Bishop or Minister, to consecrate the Elements, they chearfully remember'd their Crucify'd Lord and Master, as Dionisius of Alex­andria tells us in Eusebius. And this soon occasion'd another Custom,Euseb. Hist. which was, to send part of the Consecrated Bread and Wine to Peoples Houses,Eccl. l. 7. c. 21. and Cottages in the Country; Justin Martyr is very express in this point. And hence it came to pass, that the Christians kept the Consecrated Elements by them, to make use of them, when either sickness seiz'd them, or they found death approaching; and upon this account the Sacra­ment was called the Viaticum, or provision for a Man's Journy into another World, as we learn from Gregory the Great. Gregor. l. 7. And because the Holy Bread thus kept for use,Epistol. 62. was sometimes too big for the sick, or dying Person to swallow, they crum­bled the Bread into the Consecrated Wine, and gave it the sick Person in a Spoon, as we see in the example of Serapian in Eusebius; L. 6. c. 23. a thing, which in process of time was thought so necessary for all dying Christians, that in some places where Superstition thrust out true Devotion, in case a Person dyed before he had received the Communion, they would thrust, and force the crums of Bread, mingled with Holy Wine, into the Mouths of Persons already departed, against which profanation the Fathers thought themselves obliged to Enact very severe Canons; which was done according­ly in the Councils of Carthage, Antisiodorum, and Con­stantinople; and Julius Bishop of Rome forbad putting the Crums of Consecrated Bread in Wine, a practice, which in all probability came first from sending the Con­secrated Elements to Persons absent from the Publick, who either could not, or durst not, appear in the pub­lick Oratories; a thing that Origen either foresaw, or knew would be abused, which makes him inveigh against such presumption: So that as Persecution first brought in [Page 30] private Communions, so when those Persecutions cea­sed, the Church still obliged her Members to receive the Communion in publick, according to the first in­stitution. It is therefore wisely ordered by our Church, that People shall be exhorted in time of their health, to receive the Eucharist in publick, that they may not be disquieted for the omission of it, when Diseases or Di­stempers do suddainly seize upon them; at which times, as the Senses and Faculties are weak, so Men cannot re­ceive these Mysteries with that Vigor, Zeal, and Love, that is required in the right use of the Ordinance. And indeed, where People neglect receiving in publick, not thinking of their Duty till death put them in mind of it, we can promise them but little comfort▪ He that hath often appeared at the Lord's Table in publick, and con­cludes the scene of his life with this remembrance, may reap more than ordinary satisfaction from it, because he perfects that in private, which he so often comfortably made use of in publick; but he whose Eyes were never o­pen to see the necessity of it, till his dying groans remove his blindness, as he hath despised the Church of God, and neglected the time of his Visitation, so his Com­forts can neither be so great, nor so solid, as his, who hath frequently strengthen'd his Soul in publick with this Cordial: when the powers of the Soul are shaken with a violent sickness, and the Limbs are weak, the Spi­rits faint, and the Thoughts diverted by uneasiness and pain, Alas! How can the Soul fix on the Cross of Christ? What Sense, what touches of his Love can it have, or what guesses can it make at its Spiritual growth, and advancement in Holiness? And though, according to the old Proverb, It's better late, than never, yet it's to be fear'd, such Men come so very late, that if they were to be pictur'd, they might justly be drawn, as the Car­dinal drew Salomon, hanging betwixt Heaven and Hell, it being very doubtful which of these two would fall to their share. So that upon a review of the whole, tho' private Communions cannot be said to be altogether unlawful, especially in times of persecution, nor incon­venient [Page 31] to persons, who have frequently attended this Ordinance in publick, when they were able so in times of Peace and Liberty, and Tranquility, for Men and Women to continue strangers to publick Receiving, and to satisfie themselves with a private Communion, upon a Death bed, is a thing so inexcusable, that we cannot, but with all possible earnestness discourage it, as a thing, that's dishonour to the Church they live in; a disgrace to the Religion they profess; an impediment to their comfort, a remora to their joy, an affront to their Savi­our, and an uncertain cherisher of their hopes of Sal­vation.

The Preceeding Considerations, reduced to Pra­ctice.

I. WHat a mercy is it, that we have Publick Churches and Oratories to go to, with­out lett or hindrance; that we have no Tyrants, nor Fo­reign Enemies, no Rods, no Axes, no noise of War, no Armies of Aliens, to fright us from the Publick Ordinan­ces; that we can meet, and remember our Crucified Ma­ster, without fear, without disturbance, without danger; and that, instead of being discountenanced in the Ser­vice, we have all the encouragement that Authority can give; and our Magistrates are nursing Fathers, which not only allow of our frequenting the House of God, but al­so compel us to come in. How did the excellent David bemoan himself, when through the Malice of Saul, his Antagonist, he was forced away from the Publick Offi­ces of the Church! How much happier did he think Swallows and Sparrows to be, than himself, which had liberty to build their Nests, about the roof of the Tem­ple, and there to lay their Young, Psal, 84. 1, 2, 3. While he must be content with wishes and breathings after the Courts of the Lord, and strangers cast it in his Teeth of often, Where is now thy God! Psal. 42. 2, 3. We, that have all the external advantages of Religion, and are [Page 32] even cloy'd with the plenty of Spiritual Provision, can­not imagine the lamentable condition, that persecuted Christians are in, who are forced to serve the Lord with fear, and to attend his Ordinances with trembling, who are not permitted to sing the Songs of Zion in a strange Land, and therefore must hang their Harps up­on the Willows, sit weeping by the Rivers of Babylon, and hear the Enemy roar in the midst of the Congre­gations of the Lord. Yet, if the liberty, we enjoy, makes us wanton, and the plenty God gives us, tempts us to licentiousness; if instead of growing better, it makes us worse; and the Glory of our Temple proves an occasion of dishonouring that God, who dwells in them; if our going up to Mount Zion, makes us proud, and the means of Grace, whereof we have such store, are improved into quarrels and dissentions; if instead of Glorifying God for this affluence, we fall out among our selves, and instead of letting our Light shine before Men, espouse the works of Darkness; if instead of being obe­dient to the Faith, we disgrace it by our infidelity, and instead of the power of Godliness, content our selves with the Form of it; if the Manna we have, doth not make us Hunger and Thirst after Righteousness; and the great Truths God hath vouchsafed us, do not make our Lives great and exemplary, we have reason to fear God will remove our Candlesticks from us, and send a Famine of the Word; God did so to Jerusalem, and did so to the Eastern Churches, and we being like them, may justly expect the same Judgments.

II. The Church is the House of God, keep therefore thy foot, when thou goest to the House of God, Eccles. 5. 1. As Men that walk in danger, look to their steps, and take care where they set their Foot, so he that enters into the House of Prayer, had need enter with great cautiousness and watchfulness, for the comes before a God, who sees his Thoughts, takes notice of his Designs, and knows the secret recesses of his Soul, observes his Looks, and Postures, and Behaviour, and will at last call [Page 33] him to an account for his carelesness and irreverence. Were these things seriously thought of, how could the generality of us come into this House with no greater awe, and with as loose Affections, as if they were going to a Play? How durst we stare about in Prayer? How could we let our Thoughts rove and wander, while we seem to be engaged in Devotion? How could we hear with that indifferency? How could we apply our selves to the Duties required of us, with that coldness, which is so visible in most Congregations? How could we turn our Services into mere Formalities, and stand before the great God unconcerned, and return from his House without a relish of the Mysteries of Godliness? To see what decency and gravity Men observe in the Presence of a Prince, and to think, how little regard we have to the Presence of a Glorious God, in the House, which he is pleased to call his Tabernacle and Dwelling-place, is enough to make the Holy Angels conclude, that in the midst of his Temple we are Infidels; to see, how su­pinely some sit at their Prayers, as if they were pray­ing to a Stock or Stone; to see how others compose themselves to sleep, as if the God they come to worship, with Baal, were asleep too, and they came to honour him with that posture; to see, how some come to shew their Bravery here, and to be seen and taken notice of, and to be admired by Spectators; to see, how others strive for Places, for Superiority, and the chief Seats in these Synagogues, and there vent their Pride, their Anger, and their Malice, where they ought to express their greatest Humility and Charity; to see how others talk here of their worldly Concerns, or if they do not talk of them, act and behave themselves as if they thought of nothing else, where they are to mind only the great concerns of their immortal Souls: to see all this, what can we infer, but that Men have no Sense of the Tremendous Majesty on High? No sense of the Mysteries, the very Angels desire to look into? These things, My Brethren, ought not so to be: When therefore thou goest to the Temple of the Lord, remem­ber [Page 34] the Magnificence of that God, at whose Footstool thou goest to worship: When thou enter'st in at the door of this House, leave there thy Worldly thoughts and Carnal desires, and come fill'd with the Spirit in­to the Tabernacle of the Lord: Sit, and Stand, and Kneel there, as before the Searcher of all Hearts; re­solve to come away from thence edified, and with grea­ter store of Spiritual Blessings than thou hadst before. In praying, fix thy Thoughts upon Him who heareth Prayer; and if thou dost, thou canst not but appear in such a posture, as doth best express thy inward sense of his Greatness and Holiness. In hearing, apply the general Admonitions, and Exhortations, and Reproofs, to thine own Soul. In Reading, make some spiritual reflection on the Examples, Precepts, Promises, that are before thee. In singing, mind the Matter more than the Tune, and let thy Heart bear part in the Ex­ercise. In receiving the Supper of the Lord, let not the outward humble posture be all the Service thou per­formest, but fix the eyes of thy Understanding upon the Cross, and there contemplate the Mercy that flows from it, and from thence take Fire and Courage to abound in love to God and Man. At thy going in, beg of God to prepare thy Heart: At thy coming out, beg that thou may'st not lose the things, that have been wrought in thee; and this is to keep thy foot when thou goest into the House of God.

The PRAYER.

O Thou, in whose Temple every Man speaks of thine Ho­nour, whose Glory no mortal Man can sufficiently ex­press, whose Goodness no Tongue is able to display, whose Ho­liness transcends all the Perfections we see here below! Overawe my Spirit, when I go with the multitude to the House of God, with the voice of Joy and Praise: O let me consider, it is the All-seeing God, in whose Presence I stand, and that the Holy Angels are sent to observe my Devotion. Give me sober Thoughts, holy Affections, devout postures, steddiness of Mind, ardent Desires, modest Looks, a grave Behaviour, especi­ally when I am going to contemplate the precious Sacri­fice, offered by the Son of God for the Sins of the World; let all that is within me turn into holy breathings; represent that comfortable Object in lively Characters to my Understanding, that I may think nothing unworthy of my Saviour; banish from me all undecent Thoughts, or if thou dost not think fit to free me from Temptations, encourage me however, to resist them vigorously, that I may discover my Zeal for thy Glory, by my abhorrency of all Imaginations, that exalt themselves against the Obedience of Christ Jesus. Amen.

CHAP. IV.
Of Eating the Lord's Supper. The Nature of it, and how it is to be Eaten.

The CONTENTS.

A great difference betwixt coming to the Lord's Supper, and Eating the Lord's Supper. Several Reasons, why Men come though they do not Eat, as they ought to do. What Eat­ing the Lord's Supper is, viz. To Eat it with a relish of the Benefits of Christ's Death, with longings to be conforma­ble to Christ in his Graces, and to Eat it with unfeigned Resolutions to resist Temptations. Much depends upon the manner of any Religious Performance. Conversation with God, with our selves, and with the Holy Angels, a great means to Eat, as we ought to Eat. The Prayer.

I. THat there are many who come to the Lord's Supper, and yet Eat not the Lord's Supper, as they ought to do, is evident from Experience, and will appear more fully in the sequel of this Discourse, when we shall tell you, what it is to Eat and Drink unworthi­ly. When some of the looser sort of the Corinthian Christians, 1 Cor. 11. 20. came drunk to this Sacrament, it's certain, they only eat the Bread of the Lord, but not the Bread, the Lord, as the Fathers speak; and if Simon Magus Acts 8. 13. came to this Feast, as I am apt to be­lieve he did, for in those days, they that were baptized were soon after admitted to the Lord's Supper, as ap­pears from Act. 2. 41, 42. this must necessarily have been [Page 37] his case; and who can doubt of this Truth, that in the Age we live in, sees so many come to this Royal Sup­per, and go away unreformed, untouch'd, and unconcern­ed? than which, there cannot be a greater sign, that they do not eat the Supper of the Lord, though they ap­proach, and feed upon the External Elements: And Men may very easily know it, by such Marks as these,

1. If they come without any sense of the designs, Christ had in Instituting this Sacrament, one of which certainly was, to engage us to the generous contempt of the World, in imitation of him, who for the Glory set before him; not only undervalued the Pomp and Grandeur of the World, but endured the Cross, and despised the shame, as we are told, Heb. 12. 2. And when we see Men, and wo­men approach the Table of the Lord, with all the Gau­des and Gayeties, their vain desires prompt them to, like Ranters rather than Penitents: more like soft Syba­rites than frighted Disciples; dressed to allure Mens eyes more, than to invite the Crucified Jesus into their Souls; like players rather than like Christians: And when we see, how the very next day after this Feast, if they stay so long, they quarrel, fight, contend, and fall out about the trifles of the World; run to Theatres, and Play-houses, and with as great greediness as ever, pursue the Riches and Glories, and Fashions of the World, how can we imagine, that such Persons came with the sense of the aforementioned design of Christ, in instituting this Sacred Feast?

2. If they come without any sense of the love of God, of which, there is so curious a Picture drawn in this Sacra­ment, as is enough to make even the most hard hearted Heathen weep: And what sense of this Love can we sup­pose to have been in Men, when after their Receiving, they do not so much as look into a Bible, to see what Precepts, and Commands of Christ, they mean for the future to be more observant of? Is it possible such Men had sense of the Love of God upon their Spirits that [Page 38] day they receiv'd the Holy Elements, when the next day they offend him as boldly as ever, and hug the same sins they entertained several years before, and are now as little concerned to please God, as they were some Months ago? and consequently such Persons come to the Lord's Supper, yet do not eat, as they ought to do; for none eat it truly, but such as eat with this sense; and where this sense is, it will make the Soul cautious of offending God.

II. Yet such Guests are very common at this Table, which would make a wise Man wonder, why they will come at all, when their coming signifies so little, and, as will appear afterward, doth them more harm than good. Yet the Reasons may easily be guess'd at: For,

1. Conviction brings them to it. They are convinced, that coming is a commanded Duty, not a thing indiffe­rent, and that they may not seem dispisers and contem­ners of so great a Law, they come, though they put strange Fire in their Censers; Conviction hath great power even upon unregenerate Men: It made Felix tremble, Acts 24 25. and Judas throw down the Thir­ty Pieces of Silver, the reward of his Treason, in the Temple, Matth. 27. 4. and Simon embrace Christian Bap­tism, Act. 8. 13. And where a Man is teazed and haunt­ed by his Conscience, he'll do something to stop his mouth; and though he doth it but slovenly, yet he'll bribe Conscience with this trifle, as we do Children, that cry for a Jewel, with a Rattle; and in this manner Conviction Works upon some Men and Women, and that force puts several upon coming to the Lord's Table.

2. Their Office and Employment, obliges them to receive, and that makes not a few appear at this Table. The Law of the Land excluding Men from publick Offices and Charges, that receive not the Communion; we may very justly believe, that abundance come to satisfie the [Page 39] Statute more than their Conscience; and fear of losing or missing of the Office, they are ambitious of, hath a stronger influence upon them, than the fear of losing God's Favour; not but that a man may Eat the Lord's Supper to his great comfort and edification, because an Act of Parliament commands it, at his entrance upon an Office; for a man, who fears God, may make use of any occasion to receive, and consequently may make his present Office an opportunity of coming to the Sacra­ment: But I speak my just fears, that many receive on this account, whom neither Love to God nor to their own Souls, could have obliged to come, had it not been for such forcible means, or straits and necessities; so that the Minister of the Ordinance may thank their Office more than their Religion, that he sees them in that holy place: And most certainly this is not Eating the Lord's Supper; for nothing is properly an act of Religion, but what is a free-will-offering, and flows from an internal love of the Duty. And what is here said of accidental Employments, is too true of standing Offices of the Church. A Minister, or Clergyman, may come to the Lord's Supper, and yet not eat the Lord's Supper; he may celebrate it as a Minister, and yet not eat it as a sincere Christian; he may eat it, because his Office obli­ges him to administer it, and yet not eat it with that sense which becomes a sincere believer: And it is so with lesser Officers about a Church; Custom may carry them a great way, and for some years they may never fail to come to this Table, and yet may not eat as they ought; for they may do it upon the account of their Office only, and because it is expected of them; but the sense of the end, and of the love of God, may be wanting, which defect makes it a very lame offering.

3, Such Men however come, and to this they are led by a fancy they are willing to entertain, that other Men, who come, receive it with no greater sense or seriousness than they. They consider not, whether this will be a good Plea another day; but it gives present satisfaction, [Page 40] and this makes them espouse it. Not to mention, that it is great rashness and presumption in them, to judge of other Mens hearts, the secrets of which, they are for the most part ignorant of; and if other men should be no better than they, yet that would be no excuse, Men be­ing to live by Precepts, not by every Example that is before them; yet thus Men love to delude themselves, and by that means precipitate themselves into unspeaka­ble Dangers: For

III. This not eating as they ought, strangely hardens them in Sin. If the Cross of Christ cannot open their eyes, or make them sensible of their Errors, few things can be supposed able to do it to their comfort. If the Blood of the Covenant cannot supple their hearts, other things must be believed to be ineffectual, because God looks upon this as the most potent remedy to effect it; nor is this to be understood only of scandalous sins, but all such offences which Christ hath peremptorily forbid, though the world takes no great notice of them, such as are aversion from holy Thougts and Discourses, and neglect of those Gospel Graces the Apostle presses upon such as would not be Christians in vain. And hence it is, that where Men do not eat the Lord's Supper aright, our Exhortations to those nobler Duties of Religion are lost upon them, and all the severe threatnings we re­hearse and mention, to rouze them from their Spiritual slumber, are spoke into the wind, and they continue strangers to that Spiritual frame, which the Apostle calls, Rom. 8. 5. minding the things of the Spirit. By a Spiri­tual frame of the heart, I mean a God-like Temper, which is pleased with any thing that makes for the Glory of God; and as Fire converts all things into its own sub­stance, spiritualizeth Objects, or makes a spiritual use of them, and is truly enamoured with the severer Precepts of the Gospel, and looks upon them as perfective of our natures, and consequently thinks no Commandment grievous. Hence it is that such Men, who are strangers to this frame, their Religion turns into mere Formality [Page 41] and Hypocrisie; and however it may look in their own eyes, in the sight of God it goes for no more than Paint and Varnish, mere Glow-worm light, that shines, but warms not; glitters, but gives no Heat; blazes, but doth not touch the Heart; and, like rotten Wood, seems bright, but hath nothing of Fire in it; and this must necessarily cause very false Applications of Gospel Pro­mises, which at last produces such Self-deceptions, that when they come to appear before the Bar of God's Ju­stice, they'll not only wonder at the Cheats they have put upon themselves, but tear their hair, and smite their breasts, and be ready to kill themselves, to think how they have murthered their own Souls with kindness, and by fair Words and Speeches, enticed them into ruin.

IV. From what we have said, it will easily appear, what eating of the Lord's Supper doth import, eating it, I mean in a Scripture Sense.

1. To eat it with a relish of the Benefits of Christ's Death and Passion; even in our common Meals, we find a great difference betwixt eating and relishing, betwixt eating with and without an Appetite, betwixt tasting the juice and delicacy of the Meat, and fancying it to be no better than Chaulk or Ashes: He that eats the Lord's Sup­per aright, his Soul must eat as well as his outward Or­gans; and as Christ saith John 6. 63. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life; so the Soul that eats, as it should do, the benefits of Christ's Death, they must be Life and Spirit to her, a perfect Cordial, true Elixir, real Sweetness, comfortable Balm, and sweet­er than Honey to the Palate. These Benefits are Pardon and Peace, and reconciliation to God, and Salvation, and the Soul must be affected with them, prize them, value them practically above the Riches of the World, and count all things dross and dung, for the excellency of them; and be willing to part rather with Father and Mother, and Lands and Houses, than with the Comforts of them, and that is to relish, and then the Soul eats in­deed; [Page 42] whereas a person that either thinks not of these Benefits, or, if he thinks of them, hath no actual value for them, so as to feel in himself how highly he esteems them, and what a mighty veneration he hath for them, though he may be said to eat, yet he doth not relish them, and therefore doth not eat aright.

2. It is to eat with secret longings to be conformable to Christ Jesus in his Humility and Charity, or as the Apostle expresses it, to have the same mind in us, which was also in Christ Jesus, Phil. 2. 5. And this in another place is called hungring and thirsting after righteousness, Matth. 5. 6. and was represented of old by the secret longings of the Spouse, Cant. 1. 3. Draw me after thee and I will run. Where there is no such longing to con­form to Christ in these Virtues, a Man doth not proper­ly eat the Lord's Supper like a healthy man, for he di­gests not, the Food doth not turn into good Juice it doth not nourish him, he doth not thrive upon it. I call it longing, for the desire after these Graces, which were so eminent in Christ, must be strong and vehement, ardent, and grounded upon the Beauty, Loveliness, and Amia­bleness of them; such a longing as David expressed for the Lord's House and his Word: As the Hart panteth after the Water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God, Psal. 42, 1. How amiable are thy Tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts▪ My Soul longeth, yea even fainteth for the courts of the Lord, Psal. 84. 1, 2. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy righteous judgments at all times. And though I grant something of an Hyperbole in those Phrases, yet still they import, that his desires were strong, hearty and vehement; and such must be the desires of the Soul in eating the Lord's Supper, to be conformable to her Lord and Master.

3. It is to eat with unfeigned resolutions, to resist all known temptations to those particular this we are most prone and inclined to; this shews; that we eat with an [...] to grow strong, and that this is a true Sacrament to [Page 43] us, or a Vow, whereby we tie our selves to be faithful to our General, and to fight against his Enemies. Many a man, that comes to the Lord's Supper, feels some faint reso­lutions against Sin in general, but that works upon him no more than sparks of Fire serve to warm a frozen man; and therefore it's necessary, that, in eating, a Christian should feel invincible resolutions to subdue those particu­lar sins he is most apt to fall or rush into, and to which his Calling, Employment, Converse and Figure in the World, doth most solicite and tempt him, else he beats the Air, and fights with shadows; and if he doth not single out those Enemies that are most apt to do him mis­chief, resolution to fight against the powers of Darkness in general gives these unregarded sins, that do him most hurt, opportunity to live secure, and to keep possession of what they have already got into their clutches.

The Preceeding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. THE manner of any Religious performance makes it either pleasing or displeasing to God: This turns the scales; and two acts of Piety which seem to be the same, many times are not, because the manner of the performance makes a vast difference in the value. The examples of the Publican and the Pharisee praying in the Temple, and Abel's and Cain's offering Sacrifices, are no­torious instances of this truth. David pays his Vows, Psal. 66. 13. So doth the Harlot mention'd in Prov. 7. 14. The former is precious in the sight of God, the later odious; the reason is, the former proceeded from a sense of gra­titude, and a relish of the Sweetness of God's Service; the other from a base design to compensate God for the sins the strange Woman lived and delighted in. It is so in eating the Lord's Supper, and as St. Paul saith of the Jews, They are not all Israel which are of Israel, neither be­cause they are the Seed of Abraham are they all children, Rom. 9. 6, 7. so all that seem to eat of the Lord's Supper do [Page 44] not therefore eat to the same purpose; some eat as Ene­mies, others as Children; some as Strangers, others as Do­mesticks; some as Slaves, others as Heirs of the Promise. Look to the manner of thy Eating, Christian. Eat like a person that is sensible he sits down at the Table of the greatest Prince, the Prince himself being present. Eat like a person sensible, that the King, in whose presence thou art, is thy best and greatest Friend: Eat like a per­son sensible, that thou hast deserved to sup with Devils, to feed on Flames, and to drink the Dregs of the Cup of God's anger. Eat like a person sensible, that from the condition of a miserable Slave, thou art advanced to the Dignity of a Child and Son of God. Eat like a per­son sensible, that no merit, no desert of thine, nothing but the incomprehensible Goodness of God, hath brought thee to this Honour and Prerogative, and it's impossible thou canst eat amiss; for this sense will oblige thee to eat with joy and trembling, which is the most proper Devotion for a Creature to express in the presence of his Creator.

II. Conversation is a great means to do things as we ought. He that converses with men of his own Trade, will learn how to manage it to his advantage. He that converses with great Persons, learns how to please them. He that converses with ingenious Workmen, learns to do things to his and other's satisfaction. The same Rule is to be observed in eating the Lord's Supper; and he can­not but eat it to God's liking, and his own comfort, that before he eats converses with himself, and while he is eating, converses with God, and after he hath eaten, converses with the holy Angels.

1. Conversing with our selves before we eat, consists in asking our Hearts, What have I done? What sins are those, that I am apt to lodge in my Bosom? What evil desires am I ready to entertain? What disorders, what corruptions find countenance, or approbation in my Soul? Is it revenge? Is it rendring railing for railing? Is it frothy discourses? Is it [Page 45] vain Romantick Imaginations? Is it weariness of God's Ser­vice? Is it backwardness to Holy Duties? Is it unwillingness to to know the Will of God? Is it discontent in the condition I am in? Is it intemperance in Eating, and Drinking? Is it a desire of Vain-glory? Is it sudden Anger? Is it Impatience, or Worldly sorrow? Is it Grief and vexation, that I cannot have my Will in such outward things, as my Appetite de­sires? Is it Lov [...] and Affection to the Vanities of this World? What dangerous Guests are those? And shall I entertain them? What are these but Enemies to the Cross? And shall I make much of them? or let them go out and in without controul? Either these Corruptions must be gone, or my Saviour will not stay with me. Shall I with the Jews, refuse my great Redee­mers company, and desire a Barabbas? I am now going to the Cross of Christ, and shall I approach with these Ensigns of Rebellion in my Soul? Will Christ vouchsafe a favourable Look to me, where he sees such Satyrs dance? I am going to Mount Calvary, and shall these menstruous rags be my Attend­ance? No, no, I will not loose Heaven for this! I will set my Face against these Foes; I will let them see, that there is something dea­rer to me, than their Presence, or Company, even he, who laid down his life for me. These Bryers and Thorns shall not stop my way. Away ye evil Spirits, you have haunted me long e­nough; I'll be afraid of you no longer: I'll take courage, and fight against you; for God is on my side, Why should I fear in the day of Trouble?

2. Conversing with God, when we Eat, imports con­templating, what God hath done for us in Christ Jesus; how God was in Christ reconciling the World to him­self, not imputing their Trespasses unto them; for in this Contemplation the Soul addresses her self to God, O my God, what cost and charges hast thou been at, to redeem such a Wretch as I am! How hast thou bow'd the Heavens! Lord, thou didst make thy self a Curse for me, that I might be advanc'd to bliss! I see what a costly thing my Salvation is, since to purchase it, the Son of God did die! Yet how light do I make of Heaven! O God what moved thee to love me thus? And shall I think any thing to dear to part with for thy sake? In­to [Page 46] what Labyrinths do I run my self, while I am mine own Keeper▪ Thou hast paid dear for thy right to rule and govern me! and shall I after all, be loath to be govern'd by so Gra­cious a Master? Here I make an offering of my Heart, if thou wilt but vouchsafe to accept of it; it is a Present unwor­thy of thy Greatness and Majesty, yet thou art pleased to re­quire no other sacrifice: Hence forward speak, Lord, and thy Servant will hear; and when the Characters of thy Mercy wear out, or decay in my unconstant Soul, Lord! write them there afresh; write them with the Blood of Christ, that they may be everlasting, and may be an Eternal fence to me against the suggestions and persuasions of thine Enemies.

3. Conversing with the Holy Angels, after we have eaten, requires imitation of them in their Praises and O­bedience. Bless the Lord, ye his Angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearken to the voice of his word, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 103. 20. Praise and Obedience are inseparable Virtues, the one without the other makes dull Musick in the Ears of God. Let no Man think, that because Angels are invisible Spirits, and afar off, there is no conversing with them: He that doth their work, is their Companion, their Brother, and their Fa­miliar; with such they love to be, such persons they love to visit, and he that doth so may be as confident, they are on his right hand, as if he saw them, for God hath said so, Psal. 34. 7. and therefore it must be true, whe­ther our carnal eyes behold them or no. Praising, is not only to offer up a Psalm or Hymn, after we have eaten, but living in a sense of the love of God; and he that doth so, cannot but be obedient and faithful to him, that hath so signally manifested his mercy in his Misery.

The PRAYER.

O Thon who art the Bread of Life, who canst feed Souls, and nourish Spirits into Immortal Life; who hast food, the World knows not of; and by secret influences, canst enrich and enlighten those, that wait at the Pool, for the stirring of the Waters; O bring my mind in frame! O teach me to eat in this Sacrament of thy Love, to the satisfying my Soul! Make the food of sin odious and bitter to me. I have fed too long on that stolen Bread. Open mine Eyes, that I may see how miserable I am, if I do not relish what thou hast set be­fore me. Thou hast given me a Soul and thou would'st have it thrive. In this Sacrament is that which shall strengthen my Heart. I want only a mighty hunger, and thirst, O thou; who hast given me an Appetite after the meat which perishes, give me a Holy greediness, after that which endures to ever­lasting life! O let the Benefits of thy death, prove life to my Spirit. Raise it above this dull and Corruptible Flesh, that it may triumph over its base desires. Bring thou back my Cap­tivity, and let my Chains fall off. Let the Liberty of thy Children, which consists in a chearful going on from virtue, to virtue be my delight and ornament, so shall the King take pleasure in my Beauty, and my Soul shall rejoyce in Thee for ever. Amen.

CHAP V.
Of the various abuses of this Holy Sacrament.

The CONTENTS.

The most Sacred things in all ages have been abused. Instan­ces drawn from the brazen Serpent, Gideon's Ephod, and the Love-Feasts of the Primitive Christians. Abuses of Holy things rise from several causes. The Lords Supper hath undergone the same fate. The Holier any thing is, that is abused, the greater is the Crime. A great abuse of this Ho­ly Sacrament, is to fancy, that like a spell, it will Charm sin, out of our Souls, without strong endeavours. The abuses committed in this Sacrament, no just Temptation to neglect the use of it. The Prayer.

I. THere is nothing so sacred or holy, but hath been, and may still be, abused by sensual Men. Moses, Numb. 21. 8. by God's special Appointment, erects a fiery Serpent, or a Serpent of Polished Brass, shining bright as Fire, a symbol of God's Presence and Power to heal the tormented Israelites, who had been stung by fiery Serpents; insomuch, that if any of the persons, thus stung, look'd upon the Figure, he actually recovered: So remarkable a History, depending upon this brazen Serpent, it was laid up for a Monument; yet, in process of time, this became an object of Idolatry, which mo­ved Hezekiah to break it in pieces, and call it Nehushtan, 2 Kings, 18. 4. The very same happen'd to Gideon's E­phod, Judg. 8. 27. a thing innocently enough contri­ved, [Page 49] and in all probability piously intended as a stand­ing testimony to future Ages, what a signal Victory God had given his People over the barbarous Midianites; yet after his Death, when with his Life his Power and Au­thority over the bruitish People were gone, they went a whoring after it, i. e. fell to worship it, an accident which proved the ruine of Gideon's Family, and of thousands besides in Israel. What could be more innocent than the Love-Feasts in the Primitive Church? Mention is made of them Jud. vers. 12. They were Feasts made in the O­ratories, or places where the Primitive Christians used to assemble for the Celebration of Divine Worship, and at the charge of such as were well to pass, or richer than the rest; to these the poorer sort were invited, and sat down at the Table with the rich, ate with them, and car­ried the Leavings or Fragments home; and this being done with great expressions of Love, and managed with singular Meekness, Charity, and Humility, with bro­therly Familiarity, and with holy Discourses, without Excess or Intemperance, and all sanctified by Prayers and Psalms and reading the Holy Scriptures, the Apostles both permitted and encouraged these pious Collations; and after them, their Hearts being thus impregnated with Charity, they applied themselves to the Use and Cele­bration of the Eucharist: That which gave occasion to these Love-Feasts, was either Christ's eating the Passover with his Disciples immediately before the Communion, or the custom of the Jews, who used to eat and drink to­gether in some Chamber or Building adjoyning to the Temple, when they offered their Sacrifices, or, which is more probable, from the antient custom of the Grecians, who having brought rich Guifts, they intended for their Gods, to the Temple, converted them into Feasts of Charity, to which the Poor as well as the Rich sat down, and all ate together, no respect of Persons being observed at that time; which Practice, not a few Christians, be­ing lately crept out of the darkness of Heathenism, it's like retained, changing only the Object of their Worship, and doing that to the Honour of the true God, which [Page 50] the Pagans did to their false and imaginary Deities. Yet see the abuse of these Feasts of Charity, 1 Cor. 11. 22. espe­cially in the Church of Corinth, in the days of the Apo­stles. For St. Paul being busie abroad, partly in Planting, partly in Confirming Churches, the richer sort of the Christians at Corinth began to think it below them to ad­mit the poor to that Familiarity as to eat with them in these charitable Collations; and therefore, either promp­ted by their own Pride, or encouraged by some false Teachers, that had Mens Persons in admiration because of advantage, would indeed send the Meat and Drink they had prepared, to those Oratories or places of pub­lick worship; but when they came, they superciliously separated themselves from the Poorer sort, and ate and drank by themselves, and so freely, that many of them became drunk, and in that condition had the hellish impudence afterward to come to the holy Sacrament: If they left any thing at these Feasts, the Poor might take it, and make the best of it; if not, they were forced to go away hungry, and too often discontented. So early grew this abuse; and though in Process of time these Feasts were used after the Eucharist, and in many places in Church-yards, at the celebration of the Memories of ho­ly Martyrs, at the Dedication of Churches, and at the Funerals of holy Men and Women; yet nothing could keep out Intemperance, and Excess, and Disorders; for which reason, the Church at last thought herself obliged to abolish and put them down, which was done accor­dingly by the Council of Laodicea, in the Year of our Lord 364. by the Council of Carthage in the Year 419. and by the Council of Constantinople in the Year 692.

II. Whence Abuses of Holy things arise, is no hard matter to guess: for,

1. We find them spring from an Itch of Novelty, Men not contented with the plain and simple Truths, God hath vouchsafed to Mankind, are strangely tickled with new things, which are often called Refinings, or Im­provements [Page 51] of old Truths, under which plausible name they are easily swallowed down. Hence rose the various Idolatries in the World, that it became as modish to in­vent new Gods, as it was, to invent new Fashions in Cloaths, and Habits; Adam no doubt deliver'd the no­tion of one Eternal, invisible God, Creator of Heaven and earth, and the decent worship of him, to his po­sterity. This notion being become common and stale, the succeeding Ages thought themselves obliged to in­vent something new, and counted it more gay and glo­rious to worship the Creator in the Creature; and see­ing the Sun, and Moon, and Stars, that they were the brightest Monuments of God's Power, they easily fell into the Worship of those Luminaries, till the more bru­tish among the People adored them as Gods indeed; and this novelty once broach'd, one God brought in an­other, and as Men were still fond of Novelties, so they went on, and fell a Worshipping deceased Hero's and Princes, in whom the Image of the Supreme Deity re­sided, and who had been famous for some notable ex­ploits, or benefits; and from hence they still went on, even to the Worshipping of Trees, Herbs, Plants, Beasts, Crocodils, Fishes, and creeping things, one Age still thinking to out-do the other in new inventions of ob­jects of Worship, till it came to pass, that those were counted most Religious, that Worshipt the greatest num­ber of Gods, as the Athenians, who had more Gods than any one City besides, of which, the Apostle takes notice, Acts 17. 22, 23.

2. Another cause of these abuses, is, an Opinion, That God is pleased more with the Externals, than the Inter­nals of Religion, an Opinion, which Men are very apt to slide into, because they find the Internal Devotion is troublesome, and requires intention of the Mind, and mortification of the Affections, and the other is more easily performed. To this Original, the Corruptions that did over-spread the Jewish Church, owe their rise, who in despight of all the Warnings of the Prophets to [Page 52] the contrary, laid the stress of their Piety on the strict observations of their Sabbaths, new Moons, Sacrifices, Phylacteries, and legal Purifications. This gave Maho­met occasion to corrupt Religion; for knowing what would please the sensual inclinations of Men, he craftily drew People away from the Internal Worship and Con­secration of the Souls and Affections to the Supreme Being, and taught them to place all Devotion in these five external Acts of Worship, Saying their Prayers five times a day, keeping the Mouth Ramasan, giving the hun­dredth part of their incomes to Pious uses, Washing before Prayer, and making a Pilgrimage, if possible, to Mecca: And thus the Church of Rome, at this day, comes to deviate from the true Religion, not only by adding new Articles, of Faith to the antient Creeds, but by turning the whole Worship of God, in a manner, into Cere­monies, and external Services, Saying so many Ave-Maries, visiting such a Saint's Shrine, Processions, offering Wax-Candles to the Virgin, Praying by Beads, undergoing Penances, &c.

3. A Third cause of these abuses, is, a mistake of Fan­cy, and Passion, for true Religion and Revelation. From hence have come all the barbarous attempts of Pretenders to the true Religien, against Magistrates, and a well setled Church and State; From hence have risen all those Enthusiastical conceits, both in this and former Ages, whereby the Gospel it self hath been in danger of being overthrown; From hence come those rude and undi­gested Notions of Hildegard, Bridget, Catharine of Siena, Teresa, St. Francis, and others in Popery, who by their Dreams and Visions have sought to establish the errone­ous Doctrines of the Roman Church; From hence it was, that the Messaliani of Old pretended, and made People believe, that upon a Man's Regeneration, or being purg­ed from Sin, the Devil and his Angels came out of his Mouth in the shape of Swine. To say no more, in Men, and Women, whose notions of Religion are crude, and undigested, and who are made up of a strong Fancy, [Page 53] and stronger Passions, Religion must needs run into Wild-fire, and pervert the simplicity of the Gospel.

4. A Fourth Cause, is suiting Religion to our own Hu­mours, Lusts and Interest. The Tartars therefore embra­ced the Mahometan Religion, and rejected the Christian, because the former gave greater liberty to the Flesh. This made the Heathens invent to themselves Deities, that were favourers of their Vices; And from hence it was, that in the Primitive Church, Basilides, Carpocrates, Va­lentinus, the Nicolaitans, and Archonticks, denied the ne­cessity of a Holy Life, because they loved to wallow, like Swine in the Mire; and in all probability, upon this ground it was, that Hymeneus and Philetus, as the Apostle informs us, 2 Tim. 17, 18. affirm'd, and gave out, that the Resurrection was already past, because they were loath to be called to an account for their evil lives.

5. False Teachers and turbulent Souls, are another cause. Discontented Men, because they cannot be Great or Rich, or have their Will in the Church, under whose Government they live, to revenge themselves, many times will poison the Doctrine, make Proselites, and re­solve to become great by doing mischief, since they can­not be so by lawful means: To such persons we owe the Heresies of Marcion, of Novatus, of Arius, of the Do­natists, and others; and it's no more than what St. Paul hath told us long ago, for, the time will come, when they will not endure sound Doctrine, but after their own lusts, shall heap to themselves Teachers, having itching Ears, 2 Tim. 4. 3. And to this purpose St. Peter, 2 Pet. 2. 1, 2, 3. But there were false Prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false Teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable Heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction; And many shall follow their pernicious way, by reason of whom the Truth shall be evil spoken of, and through covetousness shall they, with feigned words make Merchandize of you, &c.

[Page 54] III. Nor hath the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper fared better, than other Religious Institutions; for this, in all Ages, hath had its share in the abuses of foolish Men; and while they forgot to fix their Eyes upon the Spiri­tual Nature and design of it, have entertained gross and carnal apprehensions concerning it: The Corinthians ve­ry early abated in their esteem and reverence of it, as appears from the latter part of 1 Cor. 11. The Pepuziani and Collyridianes, Hereticks, suffer'd their Women to ad­minister this Holy Sacrament: The Ebionites used Wa­ter instead of Wine, in imitation of the Athenian and Heathenish Sacrifices, which were therefore called [...], Sober and without Wine: The Montanists, Ca­taphrygians and Gnosticks proceeded to that tremendous barbarity in this Sacrament, that they took a Child of a year old, and pricked it with Pins and Needles, and drew a considerable quantity of Blood from it, which Blood they mingled with the Meal or Flower, of which they made the Sacramental Bread. The Child, if it dy­ed after these Torments, was counted a Martyr; if it survived them, they gave it the respect and veneration of a Priest; and all these horrid practices came mere­ly from hence, because they stupidly thought, that re­al Blood was necessary in this Ordinance. Some other Villanies they committed, which modesty bids me to conceal. The Artotyritae; another sort of Hereticks, made use of Bread and Cheese in this Sacrament, and to this they were led by a fancy, that because the first Inhabitants in the World offered to God the First Fruits of the Earth, and particularly the Milk of their Sheep and Kine, they were obliged to do so too. The Mes­saliani made this Sacrament an indifferent thing, and gave out, that it neither promoted nor hindred Man's Salvation; an Error which the Quakers have taken up at this day. Nor were they only profess'd Hereticks that committed these abuses, but the Popes of Rome, by degrees, brought in abundance of needless Ceremo­nies, whereby this Plain and Heavenly Ordinance was very much corrupted. Pope Alexander, about the [Page 55] Year of Christ 115, ordered, (what was indifferent be­fore,) that Wine should be mixt with Water in this Sa­crament, and that no other Bread should be used but unleaven'd Bread; that Holy Water mingled with Salt, should be consecrated before the Eucharist, that the Communicants, after they had receiv'd, might be sprink­led with it. Sixtus, about the Year 125, ordered, that no Nun, or Women, should touch the Holy Vessels, or the Cloth of the Communion Table. Hyginus, about the Year 140, enjoyn'd, that the Sacrament of the Eu­charist should ever be used, and celebrated at the De­dication of Churches. Soter, about the Year 163, that no Bishop or Priest should taste of any thing, before the Communion, but abstain from all manner of Food, be­fore they administred or received. Urban, about the Year 230, ordained, that no other Vessels should be used at the Communion, but either Golden, or Silver ones; if the Church were poor, then Pewter should be made use of. Felix, about the Year 277, ordered that the Eucharist should be celebrated no where, but in a con­secrated place. Sylvester, who lived about the Year 324, gave command, that the Altars on which the Sacrament was celebrated, should be of Stone. Syricius, about the Year 383, that no married Priest should cele­brate or administer the Eucharist. Innocent, about the Year 410, gave order, that the Names of those who had given Alms at the Communion, should be rehears'd and proclaim'd in the Church, at the celebration of this Mystery; and that even Infants should be brought to communicate in this Sacrament. Zosimus his Suc­cessor, enjoyn'd, that the Deacons, while the Sacra­ment was administring, should have their Hands cover­ed with a Linen Cloth. Thus Superstition came in by degrees; and while the People were taught an ex­ternal Veneration of the Sacrament, they neglected the fruits of Repentance, which the Worthy receiving, should have produced in them. There was an ancient Custom in the Christian Church, at the Communion, to re­hearse the Names of Martyrs, and their Glorious Acti­ons, [Page 56] and the Miracles they had wrought, both alive and dead; from hence by degrees, crept in the unhappy practice of Invocation of Saints, and Martyrs in the Eu­charist; and this being once allowed of, the Doctrine of Purgatory beginning to spread about St. Austin's time, and more universally about the time of Gregory the Great, Men fell into an Opinion, that by the Eucharist, their Names that were gone into Purgatory, being rehears'd, their Souls might be delivered out of Purgatory; some thought, that even the Souls of the Damned were in some measure reliev'd by this unbloody Sacrifice: And nothing is more common at this day, in the Church of Rome, than to say Masses for Souls in Purgatory; a Doctrine they prove from the infirmities, errors, and corrupt opinions of some of the Fathers, but which, the Scripture doth not speak the least syllable of: Into such abuses hath the World run, by deviating from the sim­plicity of the Gospel. And that, which must be mat­ter of grief and sorrow to all good Men, is, that this Sacrament, which was intended as the Bond of Peace, is made the Ball of Contention, and the Engine of Divi­sion, the motive to Hatred, and the fire of Wrath and Animosities: For this the Lutherans write Invectives a­gainst the Calvinists, and the Papists against both; and that which should have united all Men's Hearts, makes them hate one another mortally; and no other reason can be assigned for it, but Mens Pride and Passion, and their other Vices. Who doth not tremble, that reads the History of the Gunpowder-Treason, in which the Sa­crament was, without a Metaphor, made the Covenant of Blood, and the Conspirators united by it, to be bold and resolute in this Enterprize? Not to mention other abuses of sensual and carnal Men, too frequent among us, that can engage themselves in this Ordinance to follow their Master's steps; and notwithstanding these Engagements, live like Swine and Devils. Nor need we wonder why God suffers these abuses, for the per­mits them as he doth other sins, to let Men see at last, that their Condemnation is just. Besides, this makes [Page 57] those who use this Ordinance in pursuance of the right end of its Institution, more glorious in God's Eyes, for this hath still been the Privilege of the true Church of God, to flourish like a Lilly among Thorns; and what the Apostle saith of Heresie in general, is most true of these Abuses, There must be such things in the World, that those which are approved may be made manifest, 1 Cor. 11. 19.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. THE holier any thing is that is abused, the greater is the Crime. When Belshazar, Dan. 5. 1. was re­solved to be drunk, had he made himself a Beast by drinking out of common Cups, though the sin had been great, and against Nature, yet it might have passed un­punished here, as other Villanies are; but when nothing would serve his turn, but to drink his Reason and his Wits away out of the Bowls of the Sanctuary, and to add Profanation of the Vessels of the Lord's House to all his Crimes, this allarmed the Divine Vengeance im­mediately; and rather than not shew his Displeasure, God thought himself obliged to be at the Charge of a Miracle, which caused the fatal Hand upon the Wall, and the King's Overthrow followed within a few hours after: And if the Abuse of consecrated Vessels raised so great a Storm, what must the abuse of consecrated Rea­son, and Duties, and Mercies do? Sirs, your Reason is a consecrated thing, God hath set it apart for his use, that you should consider and contrive how to get a share among the Blessed hereafter; if you abuse it, and will let it serve you for no other end, but to teach you how you may grow rich and great, and fill your Bellies with hid Treasures, will not God visit for these things? and will not his Soul be avenged on such Persons? Your signal Mercies and Deliverances are consecrated things, God hath set them apart, to put you in mind of your Grati­tude, [Page 58] to teach you Submission to his Will, and to walk humbly with your God; if after these you are careless, and live as regardless of your Duty as you did before, will not God reckon with you one day for such abuses? Should a poor Man take the Cordial you send him, and fling it upon a Dunghil, how would you resent it? and can God like it, do you think, to see how like Mad­men you tear off the Cloaths he gives you, to cover your Nakedness, to see you live the reverse of his De­signs, to see you fight against him with his Mercies, and as it was in the Case of the Daughter Jerusalem, Ezech. 16-17. to see you take the fair Jewels of Gold, and of Silver he hath given you, and make to your selves Images of Men, and commit fornication with them.

II. One great abuse of this Holy Sacrament, is, to fancy, that like a spell, it will charm sin out of your mortal Bodies, so that you need be at no trouble to mortifie it. The Sacrament indeed confers Grace, but it is objectively, as it contains very great Motives to a lively Faith, and Hope, and Charity; and it confers Grace too, as a cause, without which, Grace would not be convey'd, because God hath promised in this Ordi­nance to be present, and as the Dew of Hermon, or as the Dew descends on the Mountains of Sion, so here the Lord commands his Blessing, even life for evermore: But still it doth not confer Grace Physically, as if the mere use of it would make you Favourites of Heaven, and Children of his Love. It's Physick indeed, which will work a Cure, but then the Person that makes use of it must be qualified for it, must be sensible, that he is sick, and willing to be cured of his Spiritual Diseases, and then God will look upon him, as a Father, and manifest himself to him; look upon him, as a kind Physitian, and make the Medicine effectual to him; look upon him as a Friend, and take him into his bosom, and say to him, as it is Es. 49. 8. In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of Salvation have I helped thee, and I will pre­serve thee, and cause thee to inherit the desolate Heritages.

[Page 59] III. The abuses committed by some in this Sacrament, must not tempt us to neglect the use of it. If the abuse that others have been guilty of, were a sufficient excuse to stay away, we might as well argue, that Meat, and Drink, and Cloaths, and Books, and Learning, may not be used, because ill Men have perverted the harm­less design of them. We should count that Man a fool, that should resolve, because a Man of such a Profession hath cheated him, therefore he will never deal with a Man of that Profession again; or because such a Person, who pretended to strictness of Religion, hath plaid the knave with him, therefore he will never trust a Religious Man again: The same absurdity would he commit, that from the abuse that others have run into, in the Ho­ly Communion, should resolve to abstain from it; for this would be as much, as to resolve to be mad, because others are, and have been so. God hath furnish'd us with Faculties and Powers, to discern the Dross from the Silver, and the Tin from the purer Mettal, and we have his Word, to guide us in distinguishing the use, from the abuse; and as the temperate Man still drinks Wine, though thousands in the World still pervert the use of that Creature; so a good Christian can see no rational discouragement from coming to this Table, though some have made it their bane, and turned it into their own destruction.

The PRAYER.

O Most Gracious God, who hast given us thine Ordi­nances for our Comfort and Edification, and directed us how to use them to thy Glory, Give me an Understanding Heart, and a pure Mind, that they may be a savour of Life unto Life to me. Let me not touch these Holy things with unclean Hands, but purifie my Soul and cleanse it from that filthiness, which doth so easily beset it, that I may be fit for thy Divine and Glorious Influences. Lord, without thee I can do nothing; thou art the Vine and I the Branch, convey [Page 60] thy Celestial Juice into this withered Branch, that I may re­vive and bring forth much fruit, and have my Fruit unto Holiness, and the end everlasting Life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHAP. VI.
Of Receiving the Lord's Supper Fasting, and how far it is Necessary.

The CONTENTS.

It is a thing not absolutely necessary, to receive the Lord's Supper fasting; Several Reasons to prove the Assertion. Yet, to receive it Fasting, is a thing very conventent, be­cause it quickens Devotion, and is an Act agreeable to the mortifying Prospect of Christ's Death, and warranted by the Practice of the Universal Church. Total Abstinence from Food, that Morning we receive, may be prejudicial to some Constitutions, which must therefore be indulged to eat something at Home. Cautions and Rules to be obser­ved in Eating before we Receive. The Decay of Fasting among Christians of this Age, an Argument of the Decay of Christianity. To Fasting, before we Receive, must be joined afterward Abstinence from Sin. The Prayer.

I. THat it is not absolutely necessary to eat the Lord's Supper Fasting, will appear from the following Arguments.

1. Neither Eating, nor Abstinence do in themselves commend us unto God, for neither if we Eat, are we the worse, neither if we Eat not, are we the worse, saith St. Paul, 1 Cor. 8. 8. It's not the Belly God regards so much as the Heart, and the Frame of the Soul he ever [Page 61] respects more than the Bowels; The Pharisee, that lays the stress of his Religion upon an empty Stomach, mi­stakes the Nature of God as much as the Pythagorean, who fancies God will be pleased with his chusing one sort of Food before another; Neither the former's ab­staining from Swines-Flesh, nor the other's Aversion from Beans, is an Offering acceptable to him, especially where they stand single, and have no other Virtues to bear them company. God being a Spirit, loves to converse with Spiritual Natures, and such are our Souls; and an humble and broken Spirit prevails more with him than all outward Ceremonies whatsoever. The Jews, Es. 58. 3. were as much out, when they cryed, Wherefore have we fasted, and thou seest not? as those, Luk. 13. 26. that said to Christ, Have not we eaten and drunk in thy presence? One Act of sincere Contrition, is a more pleasing Spe­ctacle to God, than a thousand external Formalities; and doing his Will, a more acceptable Sacrifice than a rueful Face, Fasting hath no intrinsick Virtue, the Gra­cious Aspect God vouchsafes it, is upon the account of something within, that looks very lovely in his Eyes, and that is a Conscience sprinkled from dead Works.

2. Christ's Example is a convincing Argument, that to receive it Fasting is not absolutely necessary. Not only St. Matthew, Matth. 26. 26. but the other Evange­lists assure us, that while Christ and his Disciples were eating the Passover, or as soon as they had eaten it, he took Bread, and Blessed it, and brake, and gave it to his Disciples, and said, take, eat, &c. Had it been a sin to do so, we may rationally suppose, the first Author of this Sacrament would have given no encouragement to it by his Example; and though it's true, that may be sometimes lawful in a Prince, which may be an Error in the Subject; yet our Great Master laid aside that Piece of State, and appeared in the Form of a Servant, and be­came obedient to that Law, he would have his Follow­ers live up to; He did not prescribe one thing, and do another, but like a watchful General, put his Hand to [Page 62] that Plough, at which he would have others labour; and it's evident enough, that while he and the Disciples were eating, or as soon as they had eated the Passover (and consequently they were not fasting) he bid them Eat and Drink of the Sacramental Bread and Wine, which ac­cordingly they did, and we may be confident he would not have led them into an Error.

3. The Apostles afterward we see, were indifferent, whether they gave it to Men fasting, or to Persons, who had been at a Meal just before, so they were but studious, of a pure and spotless Conversation, and so much ap­pears from what we read, Act. 2. 46. After they came from the Temple, i.e. after they came from the Com­mon Prayer in the Temple, which was at Nine of the Clock in the Morning, and at Three in the Afternoon they break Bread from House to House, and giving it in the Afternoon, as well as in the Morning, we may just­ly conclude they laid no stress upon Peoples receiving it fasting. However, it's plain that the Corinthian Christi­ans, by St. Pauls Allowance and Approbation, administred and received it after their Love-Feasts; and while they observed the Rules of Decency, Sobriety, and Tempe­rance, and Charity, and Seriousness in those Agapae, or Feasts of Charity, the Apostle found no fault with their Communicating after them; but when they became luxurious, and grew exorbitant, and made provision for the Flesh more than the Spirit, he justly changed his Discourse, and turned his former Gentleness into sharp Reproofs, and Apostolical Reprehensions; and he had reason, for these Doings would have soon brought this weighty Ordinance into Contempt, and made Men ab­hor the Offerings of the Lord.

II. Notwithstanding all this, to receive it Fasting, is a thing very convenient.

1. Because it quickens Devotion. That we are not to come to the Table of our Lord with an indifferency of [Page 63] Mind, or looseness of Fancy, or carelesness of Affections, none can be ignorant: The sublimest Mystery requires the sublimest Thoughts, and a Mind as clear from gross and carnal Apprehensions, as Mortality will let us; but this is not to be done without Fasting, Meat and Drink filling the Brain with Fumes, and as you have seen a Cloud coming before the Sun, intercepting, and darken­ing the brighter Rays of that noble Planet; so the greasie Steams and Vapours, which feeding before, sends up to the nobler Parts, must needs, in some measure at least, obscure the Understanding, the Sun in this Microcosm, and hinder it from spreading and dispersing its kindly Beams and Influences; and this was the Opinion, not only of the Primitive Believers, but of the Pythagoreans also, and other Philosophers, whose Great Maxim was, That the purest Thoughts flow from an empty Stom [...]ch, or Self-denial in Meat and Drink. That the ancient Chri­stians fasted so often, the reason certainly was, to give Wings to their Devotion, and to make their Prayers fly the faster, and with greater Alacrity to Heaven. This way they found was most proper to plant a Spiritual Temper in their Souls, and when they would mount up with greater Chearfulness above the Clouds, they gave themselves to Fasting and Prayer. And indeed, in some Constitutions at least, the Soul never acts more like it self, than when the Body gives it no Divertise­ment by Eating and Drinking for a time. The more the Body is fed, the leaner grows the Soul, and the leaner the Body is kept, the fatter grows the Soul; all which is evidence enough, That to receive the Holy Commu­nion Fasting, is the way to receive it with the quickest, and therefore most sutable Devotion.

2. To receive it fasting, is an Act most agreeable to the mortifying Prospect of Christ's Death and Passion. What? Look upon so dismal an Object with a full Stomach, or a pampered Body, which is enough to tempt us to say with St. Thomas in another case, Let us go, that we may dye with him, John 11. 16. He that comes to this Sa­crament, comes to dye with Christ, i. e. to dye to Sin, [Page 64] and sure no sober Man will think Eating and Drinking to be a proper Preparative for so serious a Death: How absurd is it not to have all things suitable in a great So­lemnity? In the Communion we come to behold a Fasting Saviour, fasting and abstaining, not only from Common Food that Day he suffered, but fasting from a Sense of the charming Love of God, and from the Comforts and Communications of the Divine Nature, which by a Miracle withdrew its Shine and Splendor, and left him in the Dark; a severer Fast, than if those Three and Thirty Years he lived in the World, he had eaten nothing, and can we behold this dreadful Fast, and not appear fasting before the Altar? Besides, do People make a Meal when they are going to a Feast? A greater Banquet we cannot go to, than that which the King of Heaven hath prepared; and shall we fill our Bellies be­fore we appear here, and dull our Appetite to the richer Food?

3. To receive the Lord's Supper Fasting, hath been the Practice of the Christian Church for many hundred Years; for when sad Experience taught the Fathers how unfit the preceding Love-Feasts made the Generality for Re­ceiving Christ in this Ordinance, they thought them­selves obliged, not only to separate those Love-Feasts from the Supper of the Lord, but to make strict Orders for the Celebrating of it in the Morning, and to charge all Persons to receive it with an empty Stomach; while the heat of Persecution lasted, they were forced to re­ceive it very early before Day, that they might not meet with Affronts or Disturbances from the Heathens, if if they had known of the time of their Meetings; but what Persecution made necessary at first, was made so afterwards by a Law; I mean by a Law Eccle­siastical, and therefore the Third Council of Carthage decrees expresly, That the Sacrament of the Altar should be taken and received by none, but such as are Fasting: A thing so religiously observed, especially by the Eastern Churches, that when some of St. Chrysostom's Enemies had [Page 65] informed against him, that he had given the Holy Communion to Persons, who he knew had eaten at Home, before they came to Church; he falls a protest­ing and wishing, If he had done such a thing, that his Name may be blotted out of the Catalogue of Bishops; nay, That Christ may exclude him from his Everlast­ing Kingdom. In St. Austin's time, it was become an universal practice to take and receive it Fasting: And though in Egypt not a few kept to the old Custom of re­ceiving it after their common Suppers; yet the Disor­ders, lrreverence, and Intemperance they fell into by that means, hath been defensative sufficient to wise Men from following them in that preposterous way of Re­ceiving; so that we may truly say, that this Commu­nicating with an empty Stomach, hath been the Pra­ctice of most Christian Churches ever since the Apostles days; and this was part of their Rules and Canons; and what hath been so punctually observed by most Churches of the World, ought certainly to weigh much with him that believes the Church to be the Ground and Pillar of Truth, as it is called, 1 Tim. 3. 16.

III. However, since it is possible, that some, by total Abstinence from common Food that Morning they are to receive, may make themselves unfit to receive with due Devotion, their Stomachs not being able to bear Emptiness, such must be allowed to eat something be­fore they Receive, whether they be Ministers of the Word, who must take pains, and spend their Spirits on such days, and sometimes are none of the strongest, or other Persons of a weak and sickly Constitution: But in this case, the following Rules must necessarily be ob­served.

1. That we eat no more than what just serves to support Nature against Fainting: Not only the Law of Self-pre­servation, but of Religion too, bids us keep our Bodies serviceable to our Souls. If these Tabernacles of Clay be out of order, the Soul, which, in this Valley of [Page 66] Tears at least, works by the Organs of the Body, must needs languish too; and the Pen, which is the Body, being spoiled or cracked, or weakened, the Scribe, which is the Soul, cannot write so fair as otherwise it would do. But then there is a great difference betwixt keeping the Body from fainting, and pampering of it. He that before the Sacrament eats to Satiety, cannot be supposed to bring very lively Thoughts, or a profound Sense of the great Mystery with him to the Holy Table; so that the quantity of Food that's taken before, must be such as leaves the Soul in a good Posture and Temper to be affected, and touched with the Solemnity and Greatness of the Ordinance.

2. The Food we take before, must be of the courser sort, that the Mind may be preserved in a mortified Frame. God, Es. 58. 3. finds fault with the Jews for allowing themselves in Pleasures while they fasted, to shew how unsuitable Carnal Recreations, though at other times lawful, are on such Humiliation Days. This may just­ly be applied to Eating before Men come to the Holy Sacrament: Pleasant Meat is unsuitable: To find pleasure in Eating and Drinking before, spoils the Pleasure the Soul should take in this Ordinance. Christ, before he did eat of the Eucharist, did eat, 'tis true, but it was Unleavened Bread and bitter Herbs, which I reckon was as much as Fasting; for such Food cannot be sup­posed to be very palatable: And before the Love-Feasts, that preceded the Sacrament, were corrupted, the Christians did eat so moderately, that they seemed to feed rather upon Discipline, than the Meat that was set before them, as Tertullian words it.

3. Even that small quantity of courser Food, must be taken with pious Reflections, and Contemplations of the far nobler Food, which, within a few Minutes after, we are like to be partakers of. Serpents, they say, whatever injuries are offered them, still their great care is to preserve their heads: If it be our duty to be wise as Serpents, it must [Page 67] be our care too to guard our Heads, our Minds I mean, especially where necessity forces us to eat, before we come to the Lord's Table, that the serious frame be not overthrown, and that it may appear, it is not delight in eating, but desire to be the better able to converse with God, which makes us give our Bodies such neces­sary Refreshments as their weakness requires. And if you ask me, What Reflections are most proper in this case? I need only send you to that Guest, Luc. 14. 15. who sitting at the Table, said, Blessed is he that shall eat Bread in the Kingdom of God! So he that upon such occasions gives his Body ordinary Food, may reflect on the Table in Christ's everlasting Kingdom, where God's Glory will be the Meat, and the light of his Favour the Drink, and Angels the Musicians, and glorified Saints the Com­pany, and the Eternal Love of God the Canopy, under which the vast Armies of Martyrs and Saints will feast, and gather everlasting strength; strength which no sickness, no illness, and no accidents can ever weaken or dissolve.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. WE may take notice here of the strange decay of Christianity, especially with respect to Fasting; a piece of Devotion, whereby the Primitive Believers effected very great things: And it's to be feared that the over-tenderness of Men to their Bodies in this Age, and a fancy that every thing is necessary which their Appetite craves, is no small hinderance to their eminen­cy in Virtue and Goodness. It's granted, that Men may be very vicious, and yet great Fasters too, as one John Scot in Scotland, in the year 1539. a man of no Learning,See Archbi­shop Spots­wood's Hist. Book 2. p. 69. and no good Qualities nei­ther, who was able to abstain thirty or for­ty days together from all manner of Meat and Drink; whereof the King willing to [Page 68] make tryal, shut him up in a Room within the Castle of Edinburgh, suffering no creature to come at him: A little Bread and Water indeed was set before him at his first com­ing into the room; but upon examination, it was found that he had not so much as tasted of it in the space of 32 days. And going afterwards to Rome, the like proof of his fasting was given to Pope Clement VII. and some time after, preaching against King Henry the Eighth's Divorce at London, he was shut up in Prison, where he fasted 50 days, yet continued still a dissolute man. But it is not the bare abstinence that makes a Man a Christian, but the spending a Fast religiously, and to good ends, works the Miracle of Holiness; and such were the Fasts of the Primitive Believers, who by such frequent Mortifications made their Graces tower and climb, and culminate, to the admiration of the unbelieving World; when they would conquer any Corruption, when they had a mind to arrive to any excellency in Vertue, when they wanted a signal spiritual Blessing; nay, when their Friends and Relations, or any eminent Servant of God, lay sick, they presently applied themselves to this piece of Mortifica­tion, and found great success: And it stands to reason, that where the Soul gets thus above the Body, slights the Pleasures of the flesh, determines to converse with God, and entertains herself with the thoughts of his Greatness and her own Vileness; God, who ever loves an humble Spirit, will look down and satisfie the longing Soul, and fill the thirsty Soul with Goodness. Yet,

II. Let's not think we have discharged our duty, when we have received the Lord's Supper fasting; that will signifie but little, if after receiving we do not fast from sin. This is the acceptable Lent, and must be observed more religiously than the Mahometan doth his month Ramasan: This is the Fast which the Lord hath chosen, and except our Abstinence from Food be in order to this Fast, God regards it no more than the lowing of Oxen, or the bleating of Sheep. To fast from sin, is both a Preparative for the Lord's Supper, and must be [Page 69] the consequence of it. This Fast must be the very end of our coming to the holy Table, and we eat and drink there, that we may be out of love with this dangerous Meat. Nor is this Fast from sin a thing impossible, if by sin, as we ought to do, we understand wilful and ha­bitual sin; and the Motives to this perpetual Fast are ve­ry cogent: He that believes that sin is the Food of De­vils, and the Meat of Hell, and the Festival of Fallen Angels, can have no great Stomach to it. Nothing starves the Soul sooner than sin; and as pleasant as it may be to the Palate, the Soul suffers extreamly by it, and falls into Palsies and Apoplexies. It makes it not only lean, but miserable too; it shuts her out from the care and ten­derness of a Gracious God, and, in its pernicious effects, goes beyond the Apples of Sodom; for whereas these, up­on touching of them, fall and shatter only into Ashes, that ends in eternal Fire. The Ears must be stopt there­fore against its Charms, the Eyes shut against its alluring Dresses; and thus we may wean our selves from any af­fection to this forbidden fruit.

The PRAYER.

O My God! Thou art the most Charming Object, and though the sensual World will not be persuaded to believe it, yet it is because their eyes are blinded. The enlightned Soul discovers such Beauty in thee, as transcends the fairest Pictures that mortal hands can make. Thou, who art the Creator of all Excellencies, must needs be more excellent than all thy Crea­tures. O how have I been mistaken in my choice! How gree­dy have I been after the Meat which perisheth! To fast and abstain from that, I have thought death and misery; while I could be content to live without thee; and to be deprived of the Communications of thy Goodness, hath not so much as caused the least solicitude in my Breast. The want of thy favour hath troubled me no more than the want of things which are con­trary to my Nature and Constitution. I see now, where my [Page 70] Happiness lies, and to feed on thee, I perceive, is to feed on that which is incorruptible. O kiss me with the kisses of thy Lips, and my Soul shall leap for joy. Make sin odious to me, and make me as averse from it, [...], my nature is from Poison. Let my desires be after thee alone, and let me feel, that when I enjoy thee, I have the best Meat and Drink, and that which will nourish me into everlasting Life: Let nothing satisfie me, but to live for ever; Let that be my Ambition; Let that be my Resolution; Let that be my Endeavour. My Soul hath been precious in thy sight, thou hast not yet condemn'd me with the World. Thy patience hath long waited for me, while others have been sent into Darkness, thou hast spared me, and suffered me to enjoy the Light of the Living. I will trespass upon thy Goodness no more, I feel the workings of thy Spirit in my Soul, I feel desires and propensities to Goodness, I will cherish them; O help thou me! Let those drops of Goodness in me swell into Floods, and the ri [...]ulets of Grace that run through my Soul, into larger streams. Let thy voice be heard in my Soul, thy convincing, thy converting, thy pardon­ing, thy sanctifying voice. At thy Word I will let down the Net; O let me enclose a multitude of Virtues! Good­ness hath been meat I have had an aversion from; now let it become my daily Bread. Teach me the art of Abstinence, perswade me to abstain from that, which will certainly be my ruine. Give me a Holy greediness after thy Word; let mine ears delight to hear it, and mine eyes delight to see it, and my feet delight to walk in the way of it. Lead me to the Rock that is stronger than I; let me freely-Sacrifice unto thee. Let my great endeavour be, to please my Redeemer, who hath saved my Life from the Nethermost Hell. He bids me follow him; O blessed Jesu! I will follow thee whither­soever thou goest: Only give me alitority and readiness to make haste after thee, who art the Captain of my Salvation; To wh [...]m with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be Honour and Glory for ever, and ever. Amen.

CHAP. VII.
Of the Elements in this Sacrament; and First of the Bread Christ made use of, and of the Na­ture and Design of it.

The CONTENTS.

The Bread, Christ made use of, was, in all probability, unlea­vened Bread. The reason why, in the Church of Eng­land, we make use of Bread that's leaven'd. Wheaten Bread made use of in the first Institution. Substantial Bread necessary in the Celebration of this Sacrament, not Wafers. Several Reasons why Christ made use of Bread in the In­stitution. God makes use of very mean and ordinary things, to represent great Mysteries by them. Examination neces­sary, whether we are strengthned by the Holy Bread in this Sacrament. Several signs and characters of spiritual strength, laid down. The Prayer.

I. THat Christ made use of Bread in this Sacrament, we have the concurrent Testimonies of the Evan­gelists; and considering the circumstances, he then was under, cannot but conclude, that it was Unleavened Bread he used, because at that time, when he instituted this Sacrament, no other Bread was to be had, it being the First day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as we are informed by St. Matthew, Chap. 26. 17. Now the first day of Unleavened Bread, the Disciples came to Jesus, say­ing unto him, where wilt thou, that we prepare for thee to e [...]t the Passover? If Christ did eat the Passover of Un­leavened [Page 72] Bread, and instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist after he had eaten the Passover, it must ne­cessarily follow, that he used Unleavened Bread in this Institution; for, from the first day of Unleavened Bread to the last, no Leaven was suffered to remain in any Jewish House whatsoever: For Seven days shall ye eat Unleavened Bread, even the first day ye shall put Leaven out of your Houses; for whosoever eats Leavened Bread from the first day, until the seventh day, that Soul shall be cut off from Israel, saith the Law. 12. 15. And therefore Christ, who came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it, must be supposed, to have done according to this Law, and consequently, instituting this Sacrament immediately af­ter the Passover, he could not possibly make use of any other Bread, but Unleavened, because there was no o­ther to be found in the Houses of the Israelites at that time. And whereas it is said by some, that Christ did eat the Passover, before the Jews, and consequently there migh be Leavened Bread to be had; I answer, That he did indeed eat it before the Jews, but still the same day that the Jews did eat it, Christ in the begin­ning of the Fourteenth Day of Nisan, the Jews about the latter end of it; and if so, no Leaven could be had; for, from the Fourteenth to the One and Twentieth, Religion exterminated and banished Leaven from all Mens Habitations. But here will arise a Question, If Christ made use of Unleavened Bread, Why doth the Church of England use Bread with Leaven in it, in the Ho­ly Sacrament? But the reason of this is,

1. Because the Primitive Church, and the Christians that succeeded the Apostles, and who could not but know the sense of the Apostles in this point, looked upon it as a thing indifferent, whether Leavened or Unleavened Bread were used in the Sacrament; and therefore, in times of Persecution especially, they made use of such Bread as they could get, never disputing whether it had Leaven or no Leaven in it. Indeed, about the Year 1053, there arose a great Controversie betwixt the [Page 73] Greek and Latin Churches, whether Leavened or Un­leavened Bread ought to be used in the Eucharist; The Greeks standing up for the Necessity of using Leavened, The Latins for using Unleavened Bread; And the Greeks proceeded to that Heat in the Dispute, that they asser­ted, That Unleavened Bread was no Bread at all: But in this they were so palpably mistaken, that a Child, which had read the Bible, might discover their wilful Error, the Scripture calling both the Leavened and Unleavened Compositi­on of Meal and Water,Vid. Vers. LXX. l. c. [...]. by the Name of Bread, Exod. 29. 2. and Judg. 6. 20. What Michael the Patriarch of Constanti­nople objects here, that [...] Bread is derived from a Word, importing eleva­tion, or lifting up, [...]. and therefore must be such Bread which hath received Eleva­tion and Warmth from Salt and Leaven, is a Fancy and Quibble, rather than an Argument: But this hath been the Custom of the Greeks, ever since they became Stran­gers to the Primitive Simplicity of the Gospel, to stand up for little and inconsiderable Problems of Divinity, as if they were Articles of Faith, and to defend a Cere­mony or Circumstance, as hotly as if the whole Frame of Salvation depended upon it.

2. We make use of Leavened Bread in the Church of England, because the Substance or Essence of the Sacra­ment is not at all prejudiced by it; and in things mere­ly circumstantial, the Church hath not only varied from the first Customs, but may lawfully vary, as she sees occasion, as will appear more fully from what we shall hereafter lay down concerning Ceremonies. The rea­son, why Christ made use of Unleavened Bread, was because there was no other to be had at that time; that which he chiefly intended, was Bread, which Feeds and Nourishes the Body, thereby to represent the spiritual Nourishment of the Soul, the greater thing intended in this Sacrament; and since Leavened Bread will do this, [Page 74] as well as Unleavened, we need not be very scrupulous about it; though if the Church thought fit to alter the Custom, and use Unleavened Bread, I should be ready to subscribe to it, for no other reason, but because it best represents the Temper a Christian ought to have at all times▪ but more particularly at his approaching to the Lord's Table, viz. Sincerity, and Godly Simplicity, to which the Apostle alludes, 1 Cor. 5. 8. Therefore let us keep the Feast, not with the old Leaven, neither with the Leaven of Malice and Wickedness, but with the Unleavened Bread of Sincerity and Truth.

II. As it was Unleavened Bread Christ made use of in this Sacrament, so it was Bread made of Corn, and particu­larly of that sort, which Bread is usually made of among us, and that's Wheat; for though the Jews, especially the poorer sort, used Barly Cakes, and Barly Bread some­times; and our Saviour himself took the five Barly Loaves and distributed them to the Disciples, and the Disciples to the Multitude, Joh. 6. 9. Yet in the Passover, wherein they remembred the greatest Deliverance that ever happened to the Jewish Nation, it's probable, they made their Unleavened Cakes of the best Corn, i. e. Wheat, the rather, because in their Meat Offerings and Cakes which they offer'd to God, they were command­ed to use the finest Wheat Flour, Levit. 2. 12. 45. and as their Deliverance from Egypt gave them a Title to that Land, one great blessing whereof was, their being filled with the finest of the Wheat, Psal. 147. 14 so its like, they would not in their Passover, in the Bread they used, omit the commemoration of that Mercy; and the same Bread which Christ made use of in the Passover, we must suppose, he made use of in the institution of this Sacrament; This will give us occasion to enquire, whether any other thing Men make use of, instead of Corn-Bread, may be used in this Holy Sacrament; for it's certain that in some Countries they have no Corn, and divers Authors tells us, how much the Bread differs in the se­veral parts of the habitable World, according to the [Page 75] nature of the Soil, and temper of the Inhabitants; The Egyptians heretofore made Bread of Millet, and Milk, and Water, and in some part of the West-Indies at this day, they make Bread of the roots of certain Trees, which they dry, and powder, and then make up into Paste, or Bread, and so they do in divers parts of Africa; And as it may be the lots of many Christians to be cast upon such places, so the question may justly be ask'd, Whether in the administration of the Lord's Supper, being de­stitute of Bread made of Corn, they may, with a safe Consci­ence, make use of any other; And most Divines answer in the affirmative: For tho' the Canonists, among the Papists, will allow nothing to be Bread, but what is made of Corn, yet whatever it is, that nourishes like Bread made of Corn, is Bread to them, who are so nourish'd by it: And since the reason of Christ's making use of Bread in this Sacrament, was to represent the Spiritual nourishment of our Souls, by application of the benefits of his death, or as we commonly speak, by his Body and Blood; Why should not any Nation, or People make use of that in the Sacrament, to represent this Spiritual nourishment, which serves them instead of Bread, and gives the same nourishment to their Bodies that ordinary Bread doth? especially where Bread of Wheat, or Rye, or Barley is not to be had: Yet this is not to be applied to other Fruits of the Earth, such as Pears, and Apples, and Figs, and Melons, &c. as if they, in case of necessity, might be made use of instead of Bread; for though they nourish too, yet no Nation makes use of them as their Bread: And since Bread is not only used by Christ, but by all the Christian Church­es in all Ages, something that hath the nature and the name of Bread must still be used in this Holy Sacra­ment, and all care imaginable taken, that by making use of something else, Men run not into Profanation of this Ordinance.

3. As it was unleaven'd and wheaten Bread, Christ made use of in the Institution of this Holy Sacrament; [Page 76] so it was also substantial Bread, not a Wafer, as is now used in the Church of Rome. That Christ used substan­tial Bread, no Man ever doubted, that understood, what Bread the Jews made use of in the Celebration of the Passover, and for a thousand years after Christ, the Church was wholly ignorant of Wafers. It's granted, that the Sacramental Bread was antiently called Host, from the Latin, Hostia, a Sacrifice, because the Bread represents the Body of Christ, which was offered in Sa­crifice for the sins of the World; (which name of Host the Church of Rome still applies at this day, to their Wafers in the Mass) but then it was substantial Bread, or a whole Loaf, they called by that name. How these Wafers first came in, is explain'd by Honorius Augustodunensis. Vid. Voss Disp. 19. de Sacris Coen. Dom. Symb. The report goes, saith he, that it was usual in former times for the Ministers of the Church, when the Sacrament of the Altar was to be Celebra­ted, to fetch a quantity of Meal, or Flower from every House or Family, in the place they lived in, which Custom is yet ob­serv'd among the Greeks, and of that to make the Bread, which was to be used at the Lord's Table, and distributed a­mong the Communicants: But after the Church increased in number, but decreas'd in Holiness, it was order'd for the sake of carnal Men, that those, that could, should communicate ei­ther every Lords Day, or every Third Lord's Day, or on the Festivals of the Year. But the People not coming, and there being no need of so great a Loaf, as formerly, it was thought good, to use Wafers in the form of a larger Penny; and that they might not want a Mystery for these new doings, the Peo­ple desired, instead of Flower, to offer every Man a Penny; that thereby they might acknowledge, how their Lord and Master was betraid for Thirty pieces of Silver. So far he; And it's probable, that from hence came the Easter-Offer­ings, which as yet are usual in most Churches of the Na­tion. And since these Wafers are the effects of so great no abuse, which the wickedness of the times brought in­to the Church, it can be no great encouragement for those that would preserve the solemnity of this Mystery, [Page 77] to keep them up, or plead in vindication of them. It's true, the Wafers they use this day in the Church of Rome, are made of Flower and Water: But,

1. There is not that quantity of Flower and Water in them, as is required in substantial Bread. Neither,

2. Are they wrought, or baked, as common substan­tial Bread is. Neither,

3. When they are made, are they design'd for any thing but to seal Letters withal: I mean in the ordina­ry use of them, before the Priest doth lay them upon the Altar, which shews that they are not intended for nourishing Bread, nor have they the right taste, or smell, or strength of Bread, neither are they commonly sold for Bread, nor doth any Man make use of them for his daily Bread, thereby to strengthen his Body: So that they do not answer Chrst's design, and the Analogy that ought to be betwixt the thing signifying, and that which is signified: i. e. They, being no substantial Bread, can­not exactly represent the substantial Nourishment of the Soul, and therefore have been most justly rejected by most Churches, but by that which hath made bold with God himself, with Scripture, and the express Laws of our Saviour, and substituted their own Inventions, and Traditions.

IV. Why Christ made use of Bread in this Holy Sa­crament, is next to be consider'd. Besides the gene­ral Reason I have already mentioned, viz. To repre­sent the Nourishment he intends our Souls by his Death and Crucifixion, if we lay hold of it by an active and fruitful Faith, there may these following Reasons be al­so given for it.

1. To put us in mind that he was the Person prefi­gured by the Bread, variously prepared, and ordered under the Law, and in the Temple, and in the Rituals [Page 78] of the Jews. The Shew-bread was to be before the Lord continually, [...] Exod. 25. 30. In the Original it's called, The Bread of Faces. The My­stery of it was to shew, that Christ was to be the great Mediator, who should be always in the Presence of God, behold his Face, and live for ever to intercede for us; and though other significations may be ascribed to that Rite, yet Christ being the end of the Law, we must refer all principally to him; and as the Bread in their Offerings and sacred Ceremonies was variously or­dered, so it had various significations, as the Fathers have observed. Bread, or Corn, while it was yet in the Ear, represented Christ vailed, and seen darkly un­der the Law: Bread, or Corn rather in its Flower, Christ, as he was preached by the Prophets: Bread formed and perfected, Christ, as he was clad in Flesh: Bread baken in an Oven, Christ being in the Virgin's Womb: Bread fry'd in the Pan, Christ in his Tor­ments and Agonies: Bread toasted, Christ being Cruci­fied. I will not warrant all these Applications from Scripture; however being pious, and according to the Analogy of Faith, they ought not to be superciliously rejected.

2. Bread is the Sign of Friendship. It was so not only among the Jews, but the ancient Pythagoreans too, whose Symbol it was, Take heed of breaking the Loaf, i. e. Friend­ship; and that which makes it an Emblem of Amity and Love, is, because many Corns go together to make one Loaf, and the several parts are closely compacted, do perfectly agree, and are united, and incorporated one with the other: Christ therefore made use of Bread, not only to tell us, that by eating of this Bread, we are made the Friends of Christ, and Christ is made our Friend, if we eat as becomes the Gospel of Christ; but to hint to us, how we, that call our selves Christians, should love one another, how dear we ought to be one to another, and how, like Members of the Mystical Body of Christ, we ought to be affected with one ano­thers Misery; as in the Natural Body, if one Member [Page 79] be afflicted, all the rest sympathize with it; and if one suffers, all feel the Smart and Anguish.

3. This was to excite our Hunger after Christ, as the sight of Bread raises the Appetite of an hungry Man. If Christ be the Bread which came down from Heaven, as he saith himself, John 6. 51. he must needs be the best, the sweetest, the purest, the cleanest, the wholsomest, the savouriest, and the most nourishing Bread, and to a Soul sensible of her own Vileness or Danger, the most delicious Object; such Souls he frequently calls, as knowing, that their Inclinations, Desires and Breathings to be satisfied with his Favour, must needs be vigorous and impatient of Repulses. For what makes the Cove­tous long after Gold, or the Seaman in a Storm after his desired Haven, the one can satisfie the greedy Man's Necessities, the other free the Mariner from Fears and Dangers; Christ alone can satisfie the Necessities of a wounded Soul, and he is the only Port, in which a Soul, that's weary of Sin, can find Rest and Ease, and Safety from Danger. Where Men look upon these earnest Desires as Excesses of Devotion, or Effects of a Distem­pered Brain, 'tis a sign they were never sensible of the Terror of Sin, nor did the Roaring Lyon ever fright their Souls by Suggestions of Despair, nor did they ever see themselves undone and miserable, else their Hearts, and their Flesh would cry out for the living God; Ask a Man that's sinking in the Sea, what makes him cry for a Deliverer: Ask him that's fallen among Thieves, what makes him long after some good Christian to rescue him. Did Men feel the Load of Sin, and were their Souls sensible of what they say in the Communion Ser­vice, that the Burthen is intolerable, they would need no Prompter to Cry with David, O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee: My Flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty Land, where no Water is, Psal. 63. 1.

4. Christ used Bread here, that whenever we look upon it, we might remember our Duty of Dealing our [Page 80] Bread to the Hungry; By this Phrase our Kindness and Liberality to the Poor, is expressed in Scripture, Es. 58. 7. Indeed if we reflect in this Sacrament, that we our selves are Beggars, and expect Alms from our gra­cious Master, we have great reason to do by the Poor and Needy, as we would have God do by our miserable Souls; when we come to this Table, how justly might he say to us, as Christ to the Woman of Canaan, It's not meet to take the Childrens Bread, and give it unto Dogs; for how often have we with the Dog returned to the Vomit, but he deals not with us after our Sins; He bids us open our Mouths wide and he will fill them, not with Quailes and Manna, but with that which outlasts both these, and then how natural is the Inference, Hath my God fed me, a poor Worm, this Day with the richest Bread, and shall I let his poor Members starve? Hath he in com­passion to my starved Soul, enriched it with his Love this day, and shall not I express my Love to those who are in want of common and ordinary Food?

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. THIS puts us in mind of the Apostles saying, 1 Cor. 1. 27. God hath chosen the foolish things of the World to confound the Wise, and hath chosen the weak things of the World to confound those that are mighty; Behold, when Christ institutes the Ordinances of the Eucharist, the greatest Feast, the richest Banquet that ever was seen or frequented by Mortal Men; he ransacks not the Sea for Rarities, nor bids his Servants kill and slay the Fowls of the Air, or the Cattle upon a Thousand Hills; but Bread, plain, common, ordinary Bread, he causes to be set upon the Table, and by that expresses the sublime [...]t Mystery of our Religion. God is not for outward Pomp, nor did he ever matter external Mag­nificence; but by plain and simple Things, he hath done the greatest Miracles. These were not wrought [Page 81] by Men clad in royal Robes, but by Persons who wore hairy Garments, and had Leathern Girdles about their Loins; by Men that wandred about in Sheep-skins and Goat-skins, in Caves and Dens of the Earth, of whom the World was not worthy; by Men whom the World looked upon as mad, and had seldom any Recourse to, but when Necessity forced them, and they knew not how to make shift without them. By the most con­temptible Things, he hath wrought the greatest Delive­rances. Indeed, Nothing declares his Power or Maje­sty so much, as when he makes use of the meanest Things, to effect those which are greatest. By Lice, and Frogs, and Caterpillars, he destroys the Land of Egypt; and by Three Hundred undisciplin'd Men, he defeats the vast Army of Midianites. When he brings the First-Begotten into the World, and bids all the An­gels of Heaven worship him, all this State and Gran­deur is performed in a Stable, in a Manger, in a Cra­dle: And as God, by the plainest and simplest Things, loves to bring Things of the greatest Consequence to pass, so he is for the plainest Devotion too. The Pha­risee's Sounding a Trumpet when he gives Alms, makes no pleasing Musick in Heaven; but the poor Widow, that, without making a Shew, throws in her Two Mites, even all her Living, into the Treasury, is the acceptable Votary. Therefore grieve not, Christian, because thou canst not bring a Thousand Rivers of Oyl, or Ten Thousand Rams, into the Temple of God: Bring but an humble Heart, and he will take more notice of it, than of all the Pomp and Retinue of Bernice and Agrippa.

II. Since the Bread in this Holy Sacrament is to re­present our spiritual Nourishment, it must needs be worth our enquiring whether we find that spiritual Strength and Nourishment in our Souls which is pro­mised and commanded in this Ordinance. And there can be no better Sign of our thriving upon this spiritual Food, than if,

[Page 82] 1. Our Corruptions do signally abate: As in the Bo­dy; if the ill Humours begin to be qualified, and the Sharpness of the Blood be taken off, and the Pains and Aches decay, it is a Sign the Body advances in Health, and Strength returns. It is so in the Soul; if our En­vy, or Pride, or watchful Temper, or our Laziness in God's Service, or our Indifferency in Devotion, or our Backwardness to Duties, &c. decays, and dwindles away, it is a certain Sign our Souls begin to be in an excellent Temper; for these are the Worms that hin­der our Trees from growing, which if they faint and die away, the Trees are like to come to their full Growth and Heighth, and the Fruit of them to per­fect Maturity.

2. If our Delight in the Things of God doth in­crease, our Delight in the Ordinances of God, our Delight in Meditation, our Delight in speaking and thinking of God, our Delight in Obedience, our De­light in doing good, and being helpful to others; it is as great a Sign the Soul thrives upon this spiritual Food, as it is in the Body, when a Man begins to look with a chearful Countenance, and the muddy Complexion clears up, and the once sickly Person goes about his Bu­siness with Alacrity.

3. If we loath any thing that is offensive to our Blessed Redeemer. As an healthy Stomach doth loath any thing that is prejudicial to the Body, so the Soul is then in a good plight, when that which is contra­ry to the Interest of the Cross becomes odious to her; when it goes against her to do that which must needs be displeasing to him that died for her; when it is a Grief to her to see the Sensualities Men wallow in, and to hear God dishonoured, and his Name profa­ned, is to her as if a Sword were run into her; as it was to David, Psal. 42. 10.

[Page 83] 4. If we do not content our selves with such Things in Matters of Religion as the Vulgar are satisfied withal, but set the Examples of the greatest Saints before us, re­solving to come up to their Excellency, and Zeal, and Love: If we do so, our very Enemies must be Wit­nesses that we thrive and grow strong upon this spi­ritual Diet, and make Preparation for Eating and Drinking with Christ, at his Table, in his Kingdom, Luc. 22. 29, 30.

The PRAYER.

SWeet Jesu! Who art Life to my Soul, Balm to my Spi­rit, and in the greatest Misery canst give E [...]se; I have fed too long upon bitter Herbs: Sin, that hath been sweet to my Taste, hath proved very bitter to me in the End; and what Fruit had I then of those Things, whereof I am now ashamed? No Fruit, but Poison, aud Darkness, and Aver­sion from Goodness. I have been led away by my sensual Appetite, look'd up to the evil Tree, beheld the Fruit, that it was fair, but without Consideration of the dangerous Ef­fects of it, and have eaten of it. This hath made my Soul look pale and wan; lovely, indeed, in the Eyes of Devils, but deformed and homely in thy Sight. I see I must change my Food; else I perish. And, O my Lord! What shall I feed on, that I may recover Strength? Thy Table affords the wholsomest Meat and Drink. Vouchsafe me a gracious Look, and bid me come. Pass by my former Aversion from these Delicates. Bid me sit down, and feed on Thee. Thou, Lord I am the River of Paradise, from whence Living Wa­ters flow. Oh, let this Stream enrich my Soul, that I may be like a Tree planted by the Rivers of Water, which may bring forth Fruit in due Season; no such Fruit as once it was, black, and shrievel'd, and wither'd; but which may be amiable in the Eyes of God and Man: Fruit, whereby thy Glory may be advanced; Fruit, whereby others that see [Page 84] and know me may reap Benefit; Fruit, wherein my Soul may rejoyce; Fruit, which may end in Peace, in Peace of Conscience, in Everlasting Peace. Henceforward, when I remember thee, O dearest Saviour! let me find such Vigour and Nourishment within, that I may look like Thee, altoge­ther lovely: Favour is deceitful, and Beauty is vain; but to be like Thee, is Glory, and Life, and Bliss, and Happi­ness. I therefore eat at thy Table, that I may be like Thee. Oh, speak thy Blessing upon that Meat, and it will change me into thy Image, from Glory to Glory, even by the Spirit of our God. Amen. Come, Lord Jesu! Come quickly.

CHAP. VIII.
Of Consecration, and what Consecration Christ used. Of his Thanksgiving before he broke the Bread, and our Imitation of him in that Particular.

The CONTENTS.

Of the Word Consecration, what it imports, and what Things were consecrated in Ancient Times. Consecration anciently performed with Prayer and Thanksgiving. The Virtue of Consecration, wherein it consists. Consecration of the Ele­ments in this Ordinance performed sometimes only by the Lord's Prayer. The Church of Rome deviates from that Rule. Christ placed Consecration in Giving of Thanks. Several Particulars, we may suppose, Christ gave Thanks for, mention'd. What Christ intended by Thanksgiving, with respect to our Instruction, specified. Praise and Thanks­giving essential in this Ordinance. The Way to arrive to holy Thoughts. Why this Sacrament is by the Ancient Church called Eucharist. The Prayer.

I. THE Word Consecration answers to the Hebrew [...] Cadd [...]sh, and [...] Chanach, and to the Greek [...] and [...], i. e. to set a thing apart for holy Uses; and in this respect, it is the same with Dedication; though Criticks make some difference be­twixt Consecration and Dedication; meaning, that in the former, Things profane and vulgar are set apart for an holy Use in general; in the later, vowed and assigned to a certain God, a thing common among the Heathens, while they continued in Idolatry: In the Old Testament, Consecration was used about Persons, Things, Times and Places.

[Page 86] 1. Persons; Which is the Reason why Aaron and his Sons are said to be consecrated to God, i. e. set apart and ordained to minister in the publick Service and Worship of God, Exod. 28. 3. And upon this Account, Moses, Exod. 32. 29. bids the Levites consecrate themselves; i. e. set themselves apart to revenge God's Quarrel against the Idolaters of the Golden Calf, and to give themselves to that peculiar and extraordinary Service, and express their Zeal for God's Glory, beyond all other People.

2. Things; And these are said to be consecrated, when they are set apart to be used in an holy Place, for reli­gious Purposes; as the Silver and Gold, and Vessels of Brass and Iron, the Israelites should find in Jericho, are commanded to be consecrated to the Lord, Josh. 6. 19. i. e. They shall be brought into the Tabernacle, or place of publick Worship, and there used in Divine Service, and no where else.

3. Times and Days; Of this sort were the Festivals of the Jews, which were set apart for publick Meetings, to worship God, and to perform the Duties requisite, and the Offices of the publick Liturgy, Ezra 3. 5.

4. Places; And such we find often set apart for God's publick and private Worship, as Jacob did Bethel, Gen. 28. 18, 19, 22. And Solomon and the Children of Israel de­dicated the House of the Lord, 1 King. 8. 63. i. e. They did solemnly set that House, which Solomon had built, apart, for celebrating the publick Worship of God in that place.

II. Nor is the Conseration of a Thing, a bare Setting it apart for an holy Use; but it imports also to do this with suitable Rites and Ceremonies; particularly, with Prayer and Praises: Which external Performance may influence the Senses of Spectators, and cause greater Ve­neration and Reverence. So the Temple of Solomon was consecrated with Thanksgivings, and Supplications, and offering Sacrifices, 1 Kings 8. 22, 62, 63. And the Se­venty [Page 87] Elders, Numb. 11. 17. were consecrated by Im­position of Hands, as Ministers are ordain'd at this day; and Mai [...]onides adds, with a solemn Song, or Hymn, and these words, I lay my Hands upon thee, and be thou therefore ordained to this Office, or Dignity, or Imployment. Aaron's Sons were in like manner consecrated, by being anointed with Holy Oil, the Ingredients of which we have exactly set down, Exod. 30. 30, 34, 35. And this Way of Consecrating, we find imitated and transcribed by the Heathen Nations, who did run out into strange Superstitions, and extravagant Ceremonies, in their Con­secrations of Things; as Dan. 2. 5. where Nebuchadnez­zar's Golden Image being to be consecrated, all Persons, great and low, are ordered to appear at the Sound of the Cornet, Flute, Harp, Sackbut, Psaltery, Dulcimer, and all kinds of Musick &c. And these exorbitant Ce­remonies in Consecrations of Things are very much kept up in the Roman Church; which seems to have transcri­bed Heathenism into Christianity. Indeed, Prayer and Thanksgiving were the most ancient Concomitants of Consecration: And these Constantine used at the Dedica­tion of Constantinople, having sent for this purpose to the Fathers of the Nicene Council, to assist at the Solemnity: And having built a stately Church at Jerusalem, and a­dorn'd it with Gold, Silver and Precious Stones, the Bishops, assembled in the Council of Tyre, were called in, by Supplications and Psalms, to consecrate the Build­ing; or, to set it apart for a standing Place of Publick Devotion.

III. All the Vertue that can be supposed to be in Con­secration, may be reduced to these three Particulars.

1. The Thing consecrated puts us in mind of something great, sublime and magnificent; such as God is, or some­thing which is nearly related to him: And so much we may guess from the Consecration of Aaron and his Sons; the History of which we have set down at large, Exod. 29. There was scarce a Ceremony used about them in [Page 88] their Consecration, but was and may be referred to some higher Thing. They were to be wash'd with Water, which was to put them in mind of the Purity and In­nocence that was to attend their Lives and Profession. Their rich Coat they were to wear, suggested to them their Fruitfulness in all good Works. The Breast-plate and Ephod that were put upon them, signified their Spi­ritual Knowledge and Sincerity. The curious Girdle a­bout them, was an Emblem of that Truth and Veracity they were to study. The Bonnets upon their Heads re­presented the Graces of God's Spirit they were to be adorn'd with. The Mitre and the Crown upon Aaron's Head, prefigured the Royal Priesthood of the Son of God, which was to appear in the World. The Anoint­ing Oyl that was to be poured out upon him and his Sons, told them that they must be Spiritual Men, and mind the Things of the Spirit; and that in their Consecra­tion, they were to lay their Hands upon the Head of the Bul­lock and the Ram that were to be offered, shewed, that though they were exalted above other Men, yet they were sinful Men, had need of Confession, and Depreca­tion of God's Judgments due to them for their Sins: For in laying their Hands upon those Beasts, they laid, as it were, their Sins upon them, and that Death and Misery themselves have deserved. And the same may be said of the Elements of Bread and Wine, when they are con­secrated in the Eucharist: The Consecration puts us in mind of higher Things than Bread and Wine, and sug­gests to us something more noble, and more glorious, which we are to fix our Thoughts upon.

2. Consecration directs to a greater Esteem and Venera­tion of the Consecrated Thing: Not an Esteem which pro­ceeds to Adoration; for that would make it Idolatry; but such an Esteem, whereby we raise our Thoughts, and have no such mean and low Conceits about the Thing, as before we had, when it was not yet set apart for an holy Use, but look upon it as representative of some­thing more valuable: And therefore Belshazzar and his [Page 89] Nobles incurred the Displeasure of God, because they look'd upon the Vessels of the Sanctuary as common U­tensils, Dan. 5. 1, 2, 3. And thus it is in the Holy Sa­crament: After Consecration, the Elements require an higher Esteem than before; they being now no more common Bread and Wine, but representative of the highest and most spiritual Food imaginable.

3. Consecration commands a very serious Use of the Con­secrated Thing; and, at the same time, forbids all Light­ness, Frothiness, Inattentiveness, and Careless Thoughts. And this seems to be a Principle of all Civiliz'd Nations in the World; who have, in all Ages, required greater Devotion in the Temple, than in the Market-place. And the ancient Idolaters, that worshipped their Gods in Groves, intimated no less, since those Groves caused a kind of Darkness; which Darkness, they thought, might over-awe the Worshipper into greater Seriousness and Devotion. And the same may be applied to the Eucha­rist: The Elements being consecrated, the Consecration ought to infuse very serious Thoughts into our Minds; call them away from the World, and meaner Objects, and prompt us to devout Ejaculations, to a severe At­tention, and to a suitable Admiration of the Bounty, Wisdom and Goodness of God, who appears to us in this Sacrament, with all the Charms that make Souls in love with Holiness: And all this is but suitable to the End of our coming to this Sacrament; which is, to con­secrate our selves to God, in Christ Jesus; and that is not to be done, without a very serious Use of this Ordinance, in which we acknowledge with the deepest Humility, that our Souls and Bodies, and all the Gifts and Graces we have, are the Effects of his Bounty; and declare our unfeigned Purposes to speak, and act, and think as he would have us, and dedicate our selves to his Service; professing that we will use the Blessings he hath given us, to his Glory, and the Good of his People; will resign our selves to his Providence, and be content with the Lot and Portion he shall think fit to assign us; and be [Page 90] thankful for Afflictions too, as well as for Prosperity, they being both his Gifts and Blessings; and say, and confess, under the various Dispensations we shall meet withal, Lord! not as I will, but as thou wilt. And who can forget himself so much, as to think that all this may be done without a serious Behaviour?

IV. The Church of Rome, at this Day, makes strange Work with Consecration of the Elements in the Supper of the Lord. And though they are told by one of their own Popes,Vide Platin. in Sixt. 1. & Greg. M. l, 7. Ep. 63. Gregory the Great, that the Apostles consecrated on­ly with saying the Lord's Prayer, yet they boldly, according to their Custom, place Conse­cration in the Priests muttering these Words, Hoc est Corpus meum, hic est Sanguis meus: This is my Body, This is my Blood, over the Bread and Wine: Which Words, partly by their own secret Virtue, and partly by virtue of the Priest's Office, immediately upon their being se­cretly pronounced, change the Bread and Wine into the substantial Body and Blood of Christ; whereof we shall have Occasion to speak more largely in the Sequel. And this is their Consecration, contrary to the Sense of the Primitive Church, which was of Opinion that Conse­cration was performed by Prayer and Praises. And though some think that Christ used a peculiar Form of Consecration, which is either lost, or the Church did not think necessary to preserve; yet that Fancy is alto­gether needless, since we are told by the inspired Writers, that Christ gave Thanks: In which he either observ'd the usual Form used in the Passover, Blessed be God, who hath created the Fruit of the Earth; and Blessed be God, who hath created the Fruit of the Vine: Or, Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, King of the World, who bringest forth Bread out of the Earth; and Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, King of the World, who createst tbe Fruit of the Vine: Or some other; though it is more probable that he did not vary from the common Practice of the Jews in this Particu­lar. And what is this, but Consecrating the Elements, [Page 91] and Sanctifying of them? For every Creature of God is good, and not to be refused; for it is sanctified by the Word of God, and by Prayer, saith the Apostle, 1 Tim. 4. 4, 5. The Greek Church at this Day lays the Stress of Consecra­tion upon the Prayer of the Holy Ghost, as they call it; whereby the Holy Spirit of God is invited to come down, and make a Change in the Bread and Wine. In our Church we joyn Prayer and Praises, and the Words of Institution; which is the safest Way, and such as no rational Person can find fault with, though the Words of Institution are sufficient in this Case, which we discover in our Practice, when the first Consecrated Bread and Wine are spent, and the Number of the Communicants require a new Consecration.

V. Though the Gospel tells us only in general, that Christ gave Thanks, yet we cannot but suppose, that they were particular Things he praised the Divine Boun­ty for; and it is very rational to conclude, that he gave Thanks:

1. For the Providence of God, which watches over Mankind, and brings forth Fruit out of the Earth, to satisfie the Desire and natural Appetite of Man. God, the Creator of all Things, provides Food and Sustenance for all his Creatures. He causes the Grass to grow for the Cattel: He sends the Springs into the Valleys, which run among the Hills; they give Drink to every Beast of the Field; the Wild Asses quench their Thirst, the Li­ons receive their Prey from him: He it is, that hath ap­pointed Toads and Snakes to be proper Meat for the Stork, and Flies for the Nourishment of Spiders; for some Birds of the Air he hath design'd Variety of Seeds, and Worms of the Earth for others: He provides Leaves for Caterpillars, and those Insects for the Use of other Animals; and the young Ravens that make a noise, and upon that Account are said to cry to him, are fed and maintain'd by his Power: He prevents the Crocodile from doing excessive Mischief, by making the Ichneumon [Page 92] his Enemy; and the lesser Fishes prove a Prey to the greater, by his Order. In all these Things the Divine Providence displays it self; and because the rest of the Creatures are not endow'd with Reason to celebrate God for his Bounty, he hath placed Man in the Earth, and enrich'd him with an Angelical Soul, to be the Trumpet of his Glory, and to take notice of God's feeding his Creatures of all sorts and sizes, and particularly the Chil­dren of Men; and when he sees Bread before him, the Staff of Humane Life, to admire the Wisdom, Power and Goodness of the Almighty. And upon this Account it was, that Christ, as Man and Mediator, gave Thanks; and when he took Bread, blessed the Author of it, who had made it agreeable to Man's Nature, and gave it Strength to nourish him; sent the Former and the Later Rain to nourish the Seed in the Ground, and gave his Sun-shine to warm and ripen the Corn into Perfection.

2. It was not God's Providence alone that he gave Thanks for, but for the more indearing Expressions of God's Love to Mankind too. And this we need not wonder at, when we read how at other Times he magnified his Fa­ther's Goodness to sincere Believers; particularly, Matth. 11. 25. I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, that thou hast hid these things from the Wise and Prudent, and hast revealed them unto Babes. No Man ever saw the im­mense Charity and Goodness of God to the lapsed Pro­geny of Adam, in those lively Characters that he did: We can only speak of it with stammering Tongues, and give some faint Descriptions of it; but He felt it. The Sense of that Love over-spread his Soul, and he saw the Heighth, and Depth, and Breadth, and Length of it: He beheld the Miracles of this Love in all the amazing Circumstances, and what it was for God to give a Son to redeem a Servant, to expose a Lamb to buy a Wolf, and to let an innocent Sheep be led to the Slaughter to ransom Swine. He saw how that Compassion extended it self; and what it was for the Word to be made Flesh, and to run about to seek the lost Sheep, and when he [Page 93] had found it, to rejoyce over it, and call his Friends, the Angels, together, saying, Rejoyce with me, for I have found him that was lost. He saw what it was for God to hum­ble himself, and take upon him the Nature of Man, a Thing infinitely below him, and to advance it above all Heavens, above Angels, Powers, Ceraphim and Cheru­bim, and place it at the Right Hand of God. He saw what it was for Infinite Majesty to fall in love with Mi­sery; and for him that was adored by all the Host of Heaven, to make himself of no Reputation, on purpose to magnifie his Mercy in the greatest Misery. He saw the happy Strife and Contention that was betwixt God's Justice and Mercy: He saw how these Twins struggled in the Womb of Eternity, and Mercy got the better, and triumph'd over the Almighty's Rods and Axes: He saw the Beginning, Progress, Order and Beauty of that Love: He could measure the vast Distance betwixt Hea­ven and Earth, betwixt God and Man, betwixt the Judge and the Malefactor, betwixt Infinite Purity and extream Wretchedness, betwixt Righteousness and Sin, betwixt perfect Innocence and perfect Misery. And what a Paradox it must be to the holy Angels, to see that Light, which lights every Man that comes into the World, submit to the Darkness of the Grave, that some of Adam's Posterity might be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in Light! This he saw; and, as a Man, who was to shew his Church an Example, he gave Thanks.

VI. Christ's Actions, as they were intended for our Instruction, so we cannot think that his Giving of Thanks was only to express his own Devotion, as Mediator; but that it was designed to teach us,

1. Never to sit down at our common or ordinary Meals, without praising God for the Blessings his bountiful Hand hath vouchsafed unto us. This, it seems, is so necessary, that the Holy Ghost reckons those Men among the Workers of Iniquity, that sit down to Meat, and praise not the Creator for the Provision he hath made for them, [Page 94] Psal. 14. 4. Have the Workers of Iniquity no Knowledge, who eat Bread, and call not upon the Lord? We render the Words, As they eat Bread; our Translators thinking the Expression to be a Similitude to express the Greedi­ness of Persecutors, who make a Prey of God's Servants; but the Particle As being left out in the Original, the Words denote another Sin of those Men that do eat Bread, [...] and call not upon the Lord at their Eating. 'Tis true, the Du­ty seems to be observed by most People; and there are few so profane, as not to say Grace at their Meals; but it is for the most part done so slovenly, and so carelesly, without any Sense of the Greatness of the Duty, and of the Goodness of God, that it is made a mere Formality; which is as bad as the total Omission of it. The Giving of Thanks before and after Meals must be performed with a Sense of our Unworthiness, and God's Charity: This is to be thought and taken notice of, as much as the Meat that is set before us; and Admiration of God's Compassion in feeding us will add to the Relish of the Victuals set upon the Table; and that is to eat to the Glory of God, as the Apostle saith, 1 Cor. 10. 32.

2. It was also to teach us Gratitude to our Benefactors here on Earth. Though Men are but the Instruments whereby the Almighty's Blessings are conveyed to us, yet there is a Gratitude due to them, and such Gratitude as is expressed in kind Offices, and Readiness to assist and help them when they stand in need of our Services. But then this Gratitude must not be stretched to assisting of them in their Sins, or complying with them in their Viciousness and Debaucheries, or flattering them in their sickly Passions. Man must not be pleased, to the Dis­honour of God: And where Dust and Ashes is loved more than he, he protests we are not worthy of him. But to pray for them, to honour them, to study and embrace all lawful Opportunities to express our Respect and Esteem of them, to requite their Kindnesses with equal Civilities, or spiritual Advice, and Counsel, and [Page 95] Consolation, is to act like Persons prompted by Christ's Example to be thankful.

3. It was more particularly to direct us in our Praises and Thanksgivings when we come to the Table of our dearest Lord? Here certainly, if any where, our Hearts ought to be fixed, and ready to sing, and give Praise;

1. For putting us in a Way of being pardon'd, and happy for ever. We were all concern'd in Adam's Fall, had all forfeited our Right to God's Favour, and the Happiness we might have expected at his Hands: God might have lock'd up the Gate of Mercy, and made the Access to it impossible: Having desperately turned our Backs up­on him, he might have let the Rebels sink deeper and deeper, till they had come into the bottomless Gulf of Eternal Misery; and, no doubt, all the Host of Heaven would have applauded his Justice. And for him, who was cloathed with Majesty and Honour, unexpectedly, and of his own accord, to turn the Stream, and to pro­mise a Saviour; and, instead of making a Way to his Anger, shew Men a Way to his Bosom; and in the midst of all this Confusion and Perplexity, to proclaim the acceptable Year to the poor Prisoners: How can this be thought of in the holy Sacrament, without Praise and Admiration?

2, For revealing this wonderful Love to us: A Favour, Thousands of Heathens and Infidels enjoy not at this Day; nay, are wholly ignorant of: A Love which is a Mystery, that puzzles the Understandings of the wisest Men. How God intends to deal with Heathens and Ma­hometant, is hard to determine; only in general we are told, that those who have sinned without Law, shall be judg­ed without Law, Rom. 2. 12. Nor can we assign a just and satisfactory Reason, why he makes not these Nations Partakers of the glad Tidings of the Gospel; much less, why he continues these Revelations to the Christian World, though corrupt and debauched to a Prodigy: [Page 96] But this we know, That if any Thing in the World de­serves our Praises, this, that we have such a Treasure communicated to us, deserves it; and more especially in this Sacrament, where this Mystery of Reconciliation is a most proper Object of our Meditation.

3. For passing by the Apostate Spirits, and offering the Mercy of Reconciliation to the Children of Men. The evil Angels sinned as well as we; yet the Son of God took not upon him the Nature of Angels, [...]ut took the Seed of Abraham. 'Tis true, there was more to be said for Adam's Fall, than that of Lucifer: That Son of the Mor­ning was all Spirit, and Understanding; and Man had a Body of Earth about him, which, though not troublesom in Paradise, yet was the apter to receive Impressions of Sin from external Objects. The rebellious Angels were the first that made a Breach betwixt God and the Crea­ture, and Man was seduced by them; yet still these Spi­rits, as bright as they were, were Creatures; and as Creatures, mutable; and as mutable, subject to falling; and falling, might expect Mercy and Compassion from an All-merciful Master; yet in the great Work of Re­demption, no Regard is had to them, but to Man on­ly; and he alone, with his Race and Posterity, is put in a Possibility of being saved and pardon'd; a Mercy fit to be remembred in this Sacrament, but not to be remembred without Thanksgiving and Praises.

4. For the Opportunity we have of remembring Christ's Death in the holy Sacrament: That we have Liberty to meet in the House of God, to behold his Power and Glory, to speak of his Love and Compassion, and to come to his Table, and to come of often, and so freely, without Disturbance or Molestation, without Fear of Danger from the Tabernacles of Edom, or from the Ish­maelites, from Moab, or the Hagarens. Though these are Things which seem to be no great matter to an Eye that looks on Things superficially, yet to a Person that knows how in the Greek Church the holy Sacrament is consecra­ted [Page 97] but once a Year; how in Heathenish Countries, where Ministers of the Word are scarce, this Ordinance is used but seldom; and how great an Hindrance to Goodness the celebrating it but rarely is; how apt the Inward Man, in such Cases, is to faint, and languish, and grow sick for want of it, will think himself obliged to open his Heart and Mouth in Praises at this holy Table, and adore the Divine Bounty, which hath given him Will, and Strength, and Opportunity to come to this com­fortable Ordinance.

5. For feeling our Hearts affected with the Mystery of Re­conciliation, or finding in our selves those happy Qualifi­cations which make us worthy Receivers at this Table. To feel in our Hearts a lively Faith; a Faith which, with Moses, sees him that is invisible; a Faith that over­comes the World; a Faith that purifies the Heart; a Faith that, with Abraham, moves us to sacrifice and of­fer that to God which is most dear to us; a Faith that makes us patient under Reproaches and Injuries; a Faith that is fruitful in good Works. To find in our selves an Hope that makes not ashamed; an Hope that makes us wait for the Kingdom of God, as the Husbandman waits for the Fruit of the Earth; an Hope that upholds our Hearts in Afflictions; an Hope that makes us look upon that within the Vail, into the Sanctuary of Heaven, and counts the Troubles of this present Life not worthy to be compared with the Glory which ere long shall be re­vealed in us. To find in our selves an holy Charity, which believes the best of our Neighbours, and thinks no Evil, except there be very great Cause for it; a Cha­rity which suppresses Revenge and Malice; and not only suppresses it for the present, but labours to destroy it too; a Charity which moves us to Kindness and Com­passion, not only verbal, but actual; a Charity which makes us tender-hearted, forgiving one another, and forbearing one another. To find all this in some mea­sure, must needs fill our Hearts with strong Desires and Endeavours to be thankful.

[Page 98] VII. This Praise and Thanksgiving cannot but be es­sential to this holy Sacrament, not a mere Ornamental Thing, without which the blessed Effects may be per­ceived and felt. For,

1. Is it possible to behold God's bleeding Love, and not cry Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; Praise thy God, O Zion? Is it possible to see the surprizing Humiliation of the Son of God, and not to say, Bless the Lord, O my Soul▪ and all that is within me bless his holy Name? Is it possible to see God offer himself for his Enemies, and not to s [...]ng, Lord! what is Man, that thou so regardest him? and the Sons and Daughters of Men, that thou hast such Respect to them? Is it possible to see Innocence nailed to the fatal Cross, not for any Sins of its own, but for our Trans­gressions, and not to break forth into Admiration, with St. John, Behold what manner of Love the Father hath shewn to us, that we should be called the Sons of God? The Heart must be of Stone that can survey these Wonders, and be silent, or dumb to joyful Praises.

2. What Comfort or Consolation can be supposed to flow into the Soul without it? Praise is the Gate of Mer­cy: The Soul that praises the Divine Love much, will have a greater Sense of his Love, and feel the Power of it, and feel how it melts the Heart, supples the Spirit, softens the Inward Man, and makes it fit for the Im­press of the Image of the Son of God. As the Jews say of the Spirit of Prophesse, That it rests on valiant and chearful Men; so it may be said of the Divine Love, Where the Soul is much and often engaged in Praises of it, there it loves to dwell, there it is ready to build Ta­bernacles, and take up its Residence.

The Preceeding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. EVen the meanest Capacities from hence learn the Way to arrive to holy Thoughts, viz. by making the most ordinary Blessings Occasions of Praise and Thanksgiving. Nothing is more common than Bread, yet for this the Son of Man gave Thanks; and in doing so, bid us imitate his Practice when the like familiar Mercies come before us, or present themselves to our View. About the Time of the Council at Constance, two Cardinals, as they were travelling upon the Road, not far from the City, saw a poor Shepherd weeping; and thinking that some sad Accident might have befallen him, either his Dog lost, or some of his Sheep stolen, had the Curiosity to ask him the Reason of his Tears: who answer'd, I am looking here upon a Toad, and cannot but weep to think what an ungrateful Beast I have been to my God, to whom I never before in all my Life gave Thanks that he [...]e did not make me so homely and so odious a Creature. The Truth is, you and I can hardly walk the Street, but we meet with Men either ragged, or lame, or maim'd, or blind, or dumb, or some other way deform'd, and extreamly miserable: Can we look on such Objects, and not think with our selves, what a Favour and Mer­cy it was in our great and gracious God, not to plunge us into that wretched State, but to give us Necessaries and Conveniencies, a right Shape, and Soundness of Limbs, &c. These, 'tis true, are but very ordinary Bles­sings, yet if we consider how many Thousands want them, and that God, who can do all Things, and whose Hand is to be seen in all Things, might as easily have reduced us to such a miserable Condition as he hath done others, and that it is nothing but his Infinite Goodness and Wisdom that hath made this Distinction; this can­not but quicken our Understandings: And if so, none of us can complain, that we have no Faculty of furnish­ing our Minds with holy Thoughts. To this purpose, certainly, was our Reason given us, that we might look [Page 100] on such Mercies with spiritual Reflections and Praises; and these Praises are holy Thoughts. Nay, the Task is very easie; and there is nothing lies more in our power, than, by taking a View of such Blessings, to think, This God hath done, this is part of his Charity, this is a Character of his Bounty: What am I, and what is my Father's House, that God hath brought me thus far! And as it is easie, so it is profitable too; for this will fill our Minds with humble Thoughts, and teach us to have a low Opinion of our selves; it being impossible to think our selves very un­worthy of God's Favours, and not to despise our selves.

II. I told you in the first Chapter of this Discourse, that the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper among the An­cients was frequently called the Eucharist: Here we see the Reason of it; for as the Word Eucharist imports Praise, so Thanksgiving is one of the principal Actions and Offices in this Sacrament. The Church of Rome will have it called a Sacrifice, because in the Primitive Church it went by that Name: We deny it not, but then they meant by it a Sacrifice of Praise; and this Sa­crifice we exhort every one of you to offer, when you remember your Great Master's Funeral: Give Thanks for that Death, when you are preparing your selves for this spiritual Feast; Give Thanks when you feed at this holy Table; Give Thanks when you depart from that Ban­queting-house; Give Thanks unto the Lamb that was slain, bless him for his Wounds, bless him for his Cross, bless him for his Bloody Sweat, bless him for all his Sighs and Groans, bless him for his Merits, for through these your Souls must triumph over Hell, and Sin, and Devils. But then, take heed of praising him at Church, and af­fronting him at home: These Praises must be uniform, and equal, and constant; not that you are obliged in all Places to speak of his Glory, whatever Business you have; or that you must do nothing but sing Psalms to him, where-ever you are; but your upright and Christian Be­haviour in all Places is a Glorification of his Mercy: For you are a chosen Generation, a Royal Priesthood, an holy Na­tion, [Page 101] a peculiar People, that ye should shew forth the Praises of him who hath called you out of Darkness, into his marvel­lous Light, 1 Pet. 2. 9.

The PRAYER.

O Thou who inhabitest the Praises of Israel, our Fa­thers trusted in thee; they trusted, and thou didst deliver them; they cried unto thee, and they were delive­red; they trusted in thee, and were not confounded: Praise waits for thee in Sion. Thou deservest my devoutest Praises, my most hearty Thanks, my loudest Celebrations: Can I think of what thou hast done for me, and be loath to praise thee? What should I do but praise thee? All that I see with­in me, or about me, is Mercy; my Meat, my Drink, my Clothes, are Mercies. But, Oh! what a Mercy is that Spi­ritual Food thou settest before me at thy Table! Oh, let my Mouth be filled with thy Praise all the Day long! I am sensi­ble not only of the Necessity, but the Comeliness of it too. It sets a Lustre on my Soul, it is an Ornament to my better Part, it makes me glorious in thy Sight. Oh, teach me the Art of praising thee! Let me but love thee, and I cannot but praise thee: My Love will dictate Words, and suggest Meditations, and I shall speak of all thy wondrous Works. Let this be my greatest Delight, my greatest Joy, my greatest Pleasure, that I may praise thee at last with all the Saints and Angels, to Eternal Ages, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHAP. IX.
Of Breaking the Bread, and the Mysteries of it.

The CONTENTS.

The Action of Breaking Bread, borowed from the Jews; used by Christ, to put us in mind of his Crucifixion; Of the broken State of Mankind; Of his going to break down the Partition. Wall betwixt the Jews and Gentiles; Of the Communion of the Body of Christ; Of our Coming to his Table with Broken, Contrite Hearts; Of his Readiness to comfort the Bruised and Broken Spirit; Of the Vertue and Power of his Death, in breaking the Force of God's Wrath against us; Of the Miracle that was to happen at his Death in the Earth and Rocks, &c. And of the strange Divisions that would rise about this Sacrament. The A­ction of Breaking the Holy-Bread doth not interfere with the Canon in the Rule of the Passover, that not a Bone of the Lamb should be broken. The Church of Rome is to blame for not Breaking the Bread. Christ, as well as the Disciples, received the Communion. Reflections to be made by Christians when they see the Bread broken. The Prayer.

I. AMong the Jews, as no Man durst eat Bread with­out consecrating it by Thanksgiving, so no Man gave Thanks for the Bread, but he broke part of it, did eat of it, and gave of it to the rest that were with him at the Table; and the Master of the House, if present, was usually the Person that did all this, gave Thanks, and dealt the Bread about: To this End the Loaves among the Jews were made with divers Cuts or Incisions, that when they were brought to Table, they might be bro­ken with greater Ease by the Head of the Family, and [Page 103] distributed to those that did eat with him. Among the ancient Romans it was otherwise; for though they had Cuts and Divisions upon their Loaves, yet those Cuts were but four in all, in the Shape of a Cross, to the End that when they came to reach it to their Guests, they might easily break it into four Parts: Which was the Reason why they called the Portion that fell to one Man's Share Quadra, or the fourth Part of a Loaf. If Christ imitated any Custom in Breaking of Bread, 'tis most probable he followed that of the Jews; from whose manner of living he used not to vary, if their Actions and Customs had nothing of Sin in them; shewing thereby how loath we should be, Quieta movere, to change or alter Things in a Church or Nation, which, through a long Succession of Time, have been received, provi­ded there be nothing of Immodesty, Superstition, or In­decency, or Irregularity in it. The Unleaven'd Cakes of the Jews, they use at this Day in the Celebration of their Passover, are, in all probability, Relicks of that ancient Way among their Country-men of ordering their Loaves, and making them with many Cuts and Di­visions in them, whereby the Master of the House took occasion to break off a just and convenient Piece for each Member of his Family. But though Christ, in breaking the Sacramental Bread, might borrow that Right and Action from the Jews, yet we must not suppofe, that therefore he had no farther Design in it, but rather san­ctified it into a Mystery, as he did the Washing of the Feet received among the Jews, Joh. 13. 14, 15.

II. As Breaking the Sacramental Bread was an Action design'd to represent several Things of great Importance, so the Things thereby represented may justly be suppo­sed, and piously believed, to be the following.

1. An Emblem it was of that barbarous Fact the Jews were like, in a few Minutes after, to commit against his Sacred Person, viz. Breaking his Sacred Body by the Torments of a painful Crucifixion: This Body of his, [Page 104] spotless as the Sun, harmonious as the Strings of a well-tuned Lute, the miraculous Product of the Holy Ghost, purer than Virgins Wax, big with the richest and choicest Blood, subject to no inordinate Desire, was in a few Hours like to be the Scorn of Soldiers, the Sport of Scribes, and the Laughing-stock of supercilious Pharisees; within a few Minutes, this Body was to be lash'd, buffet­ed, beaten, wrench'd, and stretch'd out upon the Cross: Here his Flesh was to be torn with Nails, the Skin to be broken, the Veins, those precious Springs, to be open'd; and he that was fairer than the Children of Men, was soon after to be without Form or Comeliness, a Man of Sorrows, rejected and despised of Men, to be handled like a Slave, treated like a Malefactor, crucified like a Thief, and used like the worst of Mankind: Therefore he broke the Bread, to represent this inhumane Attempt. Such Pains did our blessed Master take with his Disci­ples, to prevent their being surprized with his Passion: He had frequently given them notice of it, armed them against the fatal Hour, and not only in general told them he was to suffer, but here in this Action describes the ve­ry manner of it; and in Breaking of the Bread, hints to them, how that noble, that curious, that excellent Frame would be disorder'd, broken and destroyed.

2. He broke the Bread, to shew that Man, for whom he was to suffer, was in a broken, forlorn and undone Condition, a Condition which required an Almighty Sa­viour to put under his Shoulder, to rescue the miserable Creature from the Thraldom of Damnation. Mankind was indeed in a very broken State at that time, not on­ly with respect to the various Divisions that were among the Jews, and in other Parts of the World, but with re­spect to their Sins, Errours and Corruptions. Idolatry had not only over-spread the habitable World, but was come to a prodigious Heighth; many Sins, which even the Law of Nature condemned, were become Vertues: And to that Impiety Mankind arose, that not a few of their Vices were consecrated into Deities; insomuch that [Page 105] to be lewd, was Religion; and Deified Vices had their Votaries. Among the Jews, who were Keepers of the Oracles of God, the Great Seal of the King of Heaven; though they went not a whoring after Idols, yet the Re­ligion that remained among them was turn'd into mere Formality, and Outward Shew: The Moral Law, that Eternal Standard of Truth and Goodness, was in a man­ner trampled under Foot: The Traditions of the Elders enervated its Force, and the false Glosses of the Pharisees made the Divine Commands of no Effect. In a Word, the Pillars of Religion were every where broken, the ve­ry Foundation was undermin'd, and both Jews and Gen­tiles were intoxicated; the former with Hypocrisie, the other with Profaneness. How desperate both their Con­ditions were, the Apostle shews at large, Rom. Chap. 1. and 2. and more succinctly, Rom. 3. 9, 10, 11,—19. There is none righteous, no not one; there is none that under­stands, there is none that seeks after God, &c. Christ broke the Bread therefore, to shew how necessary it was for him to be broken on the Cross, to redintegrate and make whole the broken and forlorn State of Mankind; which makes him say afterward, This is my Body, which is bro­ken FOR YOU.

3. He broke the Bread, to shew that he it was who was to break down the Partition-Wall that separated the Jews and Gentiles. Till the Son of God was crucified for the Sins of the World, there was so great an Antipathy be­twext the Jews and Gentiles, that the Hatred was thought Duty, and the Enmity, Religion; and as the Heathen looked upon the Jews as the vilest of Mankind, so the Jews were even with them, and looked upon them as abominable; and to eat and drink with a Gentile, was counted a Crime; and to make any Expressions of Kind­ness or Favour, Impiety: To shew him the right Way in a Journey, or to lead him to a Spring of Water in case he were a-thirst, or to lie with him, or to contract Mar­riage with any of them, was as detestable as to eat Swines Flesh. And it was a Maxim in the Jewish Divinity, [Page 106] That the Holy Ghost could not rest upon an Heathen: Which made the Jews, Act. 11. 2, 3. fall out with Peter, because he went unto Men uncircumcised, and did eat with them, and preach the Gospel to them. Christ, by his Death and Resurrection, was to destroy that Enmity, and to make the Lamb lie down with the Wolf, and the Lion with the Calf; according to the Prophesie of Esay, Chap. 11. 6. And so it came to pass, after his Resurrection, and the Effusion of the Holy Ghost, Peter opened the Door of Salvation to the Gentiles, and the Holy Ghost came down on the Uncircumcised, as well as on the Seed of Abraham; and both Nations became one Flock, one Company, and one People, under the great Shep­herd of the Sheep, Christ Jesus; and they who before hated one another mortally, now fell into one another's Embraces, and saluted one another with an holy Kiss. Upon which Account, the Apostle says, Ephes. 2. 14,— 18. Christ is our Peace, who hath made both one, and broken down the Middle-Wall of Partition between us, having abolish­ed in his Flesh the Enmity, even the Law of Commandments contained in Ordinances, for to make in himself, of twain, one new Man; so making Peace. He broke the Bread there­fore, to signifie this glorious and charitable Act.

4. The Bread which we break, is it not the Communion of the Body of Christ, saith St. Paul, 1 Cor. 10. 16. And this we may justly believe to have been our Master's Design in this Action, for the Apostle received it of the Lord; and what Christ had taught him, he communicated to his Hearers: And this Breaking both shews and com­mands our Union and Communion. Though he broke the Loaf into several Pieces, to give to the respective Communicants, yet those Pieces were still Parts of that Loaf; and this was to shew how near and dear we Chri­stians are, and ought to be, to one another: This speaks us Fellow members, and how tender we ought to be of one another's Welfare, as one Member is of the Safety of another. So that, though we are many Members, yet we all make one Loaf, one great Body, whereof Christ [Page 107] is the Head, 1 Cor. 12. 27. And this makes all Rancor, Malice, Envy, Hatred, Pride and Ill-Nature, absurd, o­dious, abominable and intolerable among Christians, not only at the holy Sacrament, but in their Conversation too: For, how strange, how surprizing would it be, to see one Piece of Bread quarrel with the other of the same Loaf? And would to God it might be as surprizing, to see one Christian fall out with the other.

5. He broke the Bread, to hint to us, with what Hearts we ought to come to the Table of our Lord, and to the Altar of the Cross; even with humble, broken, contrite Hearts. Such Hearts we might get, if it were not for our Pride: It was therefore prohibited in the Old Law, to use Leaven in God's Sacrifices and Offerings; Lea­ven was the Emblem of Pride, which makes us unfit to appear before the humble Jesus: I am broken with their whorish Heart, which hath departed from me, saith God, Ezech. 9. 6. This was literally fulfilled in Christ: And shall not we share in the Depth of that Sorrow? Shall we see him bow his Head under the Weight of our Of­fences, and shall not the Burthen appear heavy and in­supportable to our Spirits? Shall we see the innocent Lamb weep for our Stubbornness, and be unconcerned at the Spectacle?

6. He broke the Bread, to let us see how ready he is to comfort the Contrite and Broken Heart. Christian, as great as the Agonies were, thy Sins did put him to; as great as the Torments were, he felt upon thy Account; as bitter as the Death was, he suffered and tasted for thee; yet if thy Soul relents, and if that which made him die becomes loathsome and abominable in thy Sight, if a deep Sense of thy Unworthiness fills the Chanels of thy Heart, if the Fountain of thy Head runs with Wa­ter, if thine Eyes gush out in Tears, if the Weight of thy Sins presses thy Soul into an holy Self-abhorrency, if his Passion can fright thy Sins into a languishing Condi­tion, abate their Courage, and break their sturdy Necks, [Page 108] and his broken Body proves a Motive strong enough, and obliges thee to break loose from the Government of Hell; behold, those very Wounds thou madest shall be thy Balsam; and the Blood thy Sinns did spill, shall turn into Oyl, to supple thy broken Bones; with that pre­cious Liquor thy Soul shall be washed, and that which was his Death, shall be thy Life and Antidote; with that Offering of himself, once made, he will expiate thy Filth, and perfume thy Services, render them acceptable to God, give thee a Right to Heaven, comfort thee in all thy Tribulations, and call to thy Soul, Be of good chear, thy Sins are forgiven thee.

7. He broke the Bread, to let us know that his Death would break the Wrath of God, allay his Anger, pacifie his Justice, and satisfie for the Affront his Holiness had suffered from the Sins of Men, and make way for the Penitent's Admission to God's Bosom. This is St. Ber­nard's Observation; and the Mystery is rational, for by his Death he broke the Power of him who had the Power of Death, Heb. 2. 14. This was the Devil, who got that Power by Man's Apostacy, which provoked the Al­mighty's Wrath, and moved him to permit the Enemy to exercise that Power over Mankind; who was there­fore not only the Cause of Adam's Death, but of all the Deaths that followed that; for which Cause Christ cal­led him a Murtherer from the Beginning, Joh. 8. 44. And the Jews stile him the Angel of Death; and if any extra­ordinary Judgments were inflicted on Men at any time, he was still the Executioner. Besides all this, he had Power given him to fright Men with Death, either vio­lent or natural, and the dreadful Consequences of it; of all which, Man's Apostacy was the Cause. This Power given him by the Justice and Wrath of God, a­gainst the Sins of Man, was broken by the Death of Je­sus, who thereby gave all true Believers Power and Cou­rage to undervalue these Fears and Terrours, to look up­on them as Bugbears, and Things to fright Slaves withal, since this wonderful Death brings Life, and Pardon, and [Page 109] Salvation to their Souls, and makes their own Death a Passage to the full Possession of the Joys to come.

8. He broke the Bread, prophetically to fore-tell what Miracles would happen at his Death, how the Veil of the Temple would rend, the Rocks break, and the Graves burst their Bonds, and open; even then, when Men's Hearts would be harder than Flints, more impenetrable than Stones, more insensible than Adamants, less tracta­ble than the Earth, more rigid than the Grave, and less relenting than inanimate Creatures.

9. He broke the Bread: Why may not we think that hereby he signified the Breaches and Divisions that, through the Passions and various Interests of Men, would happen in future Ages in the Church, upon the Account of this Sacrament? What Strife, what Bitterness, what Contentions hath this Ordinance occasion'd betwixt the Eastern and Western Churches; and in the Western, betwixt the Papists and Protestants; and among the Protestants, be­twixt the Lutherans and those that call themselves of the Reformed Religion? Upon which Account, I cannot but think of the bitter Language that both Luther and his Followers have given to the Zwinglians and Calvinists, that differ'd from them in Opinion about the Supper of the Lord. Nor did the Fury stop here, but in many Places where any of the Zwinglians were, they were turned out, imprisoned, harrassed, expelled, driven into Exile, and forced away to Sea in a severe Winter, in Frost and Snow, when the Winds blew hard, and the Weather was exceeding tempestuous; and all, because they would not abjure these Six Propositions: 1. That these Words, Take, eat, this is my Body; and, Take, drink, this is my Blood, must not be understood literally, but typically and figuratively. 2. That the Elements in the Lord's Supper are only Signs and Symbols; and that Christ's Body is as far removed from the Bread in the Sacrament, as Heaven is from Earth. 3. That Christ is present in this Sacrament by his Virtue and Power, and not with his Body; as the Sun, [Page 110] with his Light and Operation, assists and refreshes the Crea­tures of God in this lower World. 4. That the Bread in the Sacrament is the Emblem and Figure of Christ's Body, and signifies and represents only. 5. That Christ's Body is eaten only by Faith mounting up into Heaven, not with the Mouth. 6. That only true Believers do properly eat Christ's Body; but wicked Men, who have no lively Faith, receive nothing but the bare Bread and Wine. Those that would not abjure these Doctrines, were used like Hereticks, Fanaticks and Vagabonds: By their usage, one would have taken them to have been guilty of Sacrilege, Murther, Robbery, Se­dition, Rebellion, &c. but the chief Crime, it seems, was, because having imbibed Zwinglius and Calvin's Do­ctrine about the Eucharist, they could not conform to the Lutheran Persuasion in that Point. Wonderful Barbari­ty! which one would scarce have expected from Hea­thens, much less from Christians, and Fellow-Protestants, who, together with them, protested against the Corru­ptions of the Church of Rome. Into such an unseemly Behaviour do Men precipitate themselves, when they let loose the Reins of their Passions; instead of becom­ing Repairers of Breaches, they make them wider; and render that Wound incurable, which, if wise, impartial and charitable Men had the handling of, might be heal'd up with great Facility.

III. It was, indeed, a Rule in the Rubrick of the Pass­over, Exod. 12. 46. That a Bone of the Paschal Lamb should not be broken; but that Type doth not interfere with Christ's Breaking the Sacramental Bread: For, though the Paschal Lamb represented the Lamb of God, which was to die for the Sins of the World, yet that particular Rite had relation only to that Providence in the Scene of Christ's Passion; in which, Care was taken that his Legs should not be broken, as those of Malefactors com­monly were, as St. John expresly explains it, Joh. 19. 21. And this shews the wonderful Exactness of Providence, that both foretold and fulfilled that Particular in our great Redeemer's Funeral: And though he was numbred with [Page 111] the Transgressors, yet, in many Things, his Usage was different from theirs, to let the World see that a special Dispensation attended him, and that, in the midst of all his Misery, an unknown Hand restrain'd the unruly Wills of Men, and made them, against their Intent and De­sign, correspond with God's Prescience and Determina­tion. This was so minute a Circumstance, that one would have thought it deserved no Cognisance or Pre­diction: But, as inconsiderable as it appears to vulgar Eyes, God knew it was of Consequence; and hereby he taught future Ages, at once to admire the Treasures of his Wisdom, and his Care of his only begotten Son; who, though he condescended to die so ignominious a Death, yet was to enjoy this Privilege above other Ma­lefactors, that even Infidels might see he was no common Creature. So that this Rite in the Passover must be stretched no farther than it was at first intended; and if so, it clashes not with Christ's Breaking the Bread for other Designs and Purposes.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. SInce Christ broke the Bread, and the Act is so sig­nificant, the Church of Rome is certainly in the wrong, who neglects this Breaking, and gives the Wafer whole. But we need not wonder at their Neglect of this Practice in their Rituals, who have made bold with the one half of the Sacrament, and deprived the Laity of an Essential Part of it, viz. The Cup; whereof we shall have occasion to speak more largely in the Sequel. Men who are resolved to establish their Errours, into which Igno­rance first led them, must be bold and daring; and, since the Word of God doth contradict them, invent and erect an Authority equal with that of God, and set up an In­fallible Chair, to bear the World in hand, that they can do nothing that is unlawful; and while Oral Tradition, that Nose of Wax, which you may turn and set which way you list, is pretended, there is no Doctrine so absurd, [Page 112] but may be water'd from that impure Spring: And who can question it, when the Laity are kept ignorant of the Word of the Living God, and the Scriptures as much forbidden as the Tree of Life was to Adam, lest he should eat thereof, and live.

II. As Christ broke the Bread, so it is justly supposed that he did eat of it himself; for this was the Custom a­mong the Jews, for the Master of the Family, who broke the Bread, to eat of it himself: And though he had no need of it, and the Mercy intended by this Sacrament was intended altogether for the Benefit of his Disciples and Followers, yet as he was baptized to shew a good Example, and that he might be in all Things like unto his Brethren, so he did eat of the Sacramental Bread, there­by to encourage all Christians to come and participate of that blessed Symbol. And we may add, he did it, to shew, that those that did eat worthily had Communion with him, and that he would be in them, and they in him; as those who are admitted to eat of the same Meat the Prince himself eats of, are supposed to be his Favou­rites. But if Christ did eat of the consecrated Bread him­self, the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, that Idol of the Church of Rome, falls to the Ground: For from hence it will follow, that Christ did eat and devour himself; which as it is absurd, so it wants very little of being ridiculous.

III. See here what Reflections thou art to make when thou seest the holy Bread broken before thine Eyes in this Sacrament. This thou must not look upon as an empty Ceremony, but thy Soul must flee away to Gethsemane, walk about Golgotha, take a Turn on the Mount of Olives, and stand still a while on Moriah, and behold how the innocent Isaac is bound upon the Altar, how the Son of God hangs on the infamous Tree, a Spectacle to Angels, and to Men: And here the Tremendous Object must arrest thy Thoughts, and infuse such Reflections; See here, my Sins, what Work ye have made, what Injury ye have done: The Son of the Living God could not be quiet for you in [Page 113] Heaven; ye pulled him down from the Mansions of Glory; ye afflicted, persecuted, broke him here on Earth, and left him not till ye had kill'd and murther'd him. How shall I be reveng'd upon you? How shall I testifie my Concernedness at the Suffer­ings of the Lord Jesus? How shall I convince the holy Angels that stand about me, that I condole with him? Pride and De­sire of Vain-Glory, thou shalt die; Envy and Malice, thou shalt live no longer in my Soul; Wrath and Anger, thou shalt be dispatch'd; Hypocrisie and Covetousness, thou shalt be broke to pieces; Intemperance and Luxury, thou shalt breath thy last: I'll harbour no Murtherers in my Bosom, no such Traitors shall lodge in my House. O Blessed Master! Shall I see thy Head broke with Thorns, and not cry out, O that my Head were Water, and mine Eyes a Fountain of Tears! Shall I see thy Face broke with Grief, and not blush at my daring Sins that broke it thus? Break, stubborn Heart! Break, my perverse and ungovernable Will! Break, my head-strong Passions! O Jesu, break these Cockatrices Eggs, and let all the Poyson evaporate; then, then, thy Servant shall be whole.

IV. Hear this, thou broken, thou contrite Penitent: Hear this, thou distressed Soul, that art broken with a Sense of Sin, who feelest the Burthen heavy, and bowest under it: Behold the Rock that was broken for thee; and of the Waters that flow from it, drink; yea, drink abundantly: This Water is cordial, thou needest not be afraid of Intemperance here. Hide thy self in the Holes, in the Clests of this Rock; hither flee for Refuge: When Devils haunt thee, when Temptations follow thee, when Despair, like the Avenger of Blood, is at thy Heels, run into this City of Refuge, save thy self in this Zoar; here fear no Storm, no Waves, no Tempest; here all travel­ling and weary Souls find Rest; here Devils have no Power, for they are conquered, their Dominion is taken away, their Empire broken; here is Balm of Gilead; here lives the Physician, whose Blood is for the healing of the Nations; here fix, though the Earth be moved; here shelter thy self from the Wrath to come. Christ, the same Yesterday, to Day, and for ever, will open Rivers [Page 114] in High Places, and Fountains in the midst of Valleys: When the Poor and Needy seek for Water, and there is none, He, Prince of Peace, wil hear them; He, the mighty God, will will not forsake them; He will plant in the Wilderness the Cedar, the Myrtle, and the Oyl-Tree; He will set in the De­sart the Fir-tree, and the Pine, and the Box-tree together, that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand to­gether, that the Hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it, Ezek. 41. 16, 17.

The PRAYER.

O Blessed and Crucified Saviour! How often have I broke with thee! How often have I broke loose from thee! How often have I broke the Silken Strings whereby thou hast sought to tie my Soul! How justly mightest thou turn thy Face away from me! How justly mightest thou look upon me as unworthy to be called any more to this Spiritual Feast! But remember, Lord! Remember I am Dust, remember my Frailty, and do not shut up thy Tender Mercies in Displeasure. O call after this Prodigal, and bring him home again to his Father's House: Make lively Impressions of thy Crucifixion upon my Mind: Let the Torments of thy broken Body fright me from all known Sin: Whenever I am tempted to any Thing that is evil, cry in mine Ears, or possess me with this Thought, That that very Sin did help to break thee on the Cross! A lively Apprehension of this will keep my Soul undefiled; this will break and crush my for­mer Delight in Vanity; this will embitter my Sensual Plea­sures; this will make me weary of running after other Gods; this will humble my Soul; this will subdue the vain Imagina­tions, whereby I have been wont to flatter my self into Misery. O give me a View of the Riches that are to be found in thy broken Body, that I may run no longer after broken Cisterns and may rely no longer on broken Reeds. O let my Soul feed on thy broken Body by Contemplation: Thou didst not count thy Life dear for my sake, O let me be touch'd with these Thoughts, that I may despise Death and Torments for thy sake, and may, with all Saints and Martyrs, behold thy Face at last in Eter­nal Glory. O Jesu! Great Store-house of Delight! Who hast [Page 115] the Keys of David! Spread open thine Arms of Mercy, and receive this poor miserable Creature: Behold, this straying Sheep, beset with Multitudes of Wolves, runs to the good Shep­herd: Protect me from the fiery Darts of the Enemy; embrace me, as a tender Mother doth her sickly Child, with Bowels of Mercy. Kill in me the base Desires of the Flesh; and what­ever evil Inclinations thou spiest in me, root them up. Ex­tinguish in me the impure Flames of Lust. Give me an ex­cellent Spirit, a Spirit active in the Practice and Exercise of Vertue. Raise the Powers of my Soul by thy Love, that I may love thee with all my Heart, that I may praise thee, that I may honour thee, and think nothing tedious or troublesome that may promote thy Glory. Repair this shatter'd Tabernacle, and vouchsafe to dwell in it: I have wilfully ruin'd it by my Sins, O make it whole again. Remove the Poyson, which hath infected all my Faculties. Destroy the Serpent's Seed, that lurks in the secret Corners of my Heart. If Adam could not preserve his Integrity in the State of Innocence, how shall I preserve mine in this State of Corruption, without thy special Grace and Assistance? Thy Grace is the Treasure I want, thou hast promised it, I beg it; O let me not go without it. O Je­su! Thou didst love me when I was thine Enemy, O hate me not now that I am made thy Friend. When I was lost, thou didst redeem me with thy Blood; now that I am found, O wash me with that Blood: O let me not perish now, when Heaven is bought, and an endless Bliss is purchased for me. Now that the Hand-writing against me is blotted out, let me not run into new Dangers, nor forfeit that Blessing which is so graciously tendred to me. It is the real Desire of my Soul to serve thee; and O that I might do it with Chearfulness, with Alacrity, with Fervency, and with Constancy! The Prepara­tion of the Heart is of thee, thou givest the Will; O give me Strength to do what I desire. What can I do of my self? I am naturally defiled, Original Sin sticks to me, Proneness to Evil follows me; thou must stop the Current; nothing but thy self can dry up this Fountain of Corruption; it is thy Work: And whatever Good is in me, from thee it comes, from thy Grace it doth proceed. Let the same Mercy uphold me, that hath hitherto guided me; and guide me so through the Briars [Page 116] and Thorns of Temptations, that I may not only be more than a Conqueror through him that loved me, but may at last re­ceive the Crown and Recompence of such as overcome. A­men, Amen.

CHAP. X.
Of Taking the Consecrated Bread with our Hands, and the Mystery of it.

The CONTENTS.

In the Primitive Church, the Eucharist was always taken with the Hand: This Simplicity, in progress of Time, abandon'd; and, as the Veneration of External Symbols advanced, the Bread received in certain Vessels, and sometimes upon Li­nen Cloth. The Superstition of the Church of Rome of putting the Bread into the Mouth of the Communicant laid open, and the Vanity of it shewn. The Mystery of Taking the Eucharist with our Hands, set down in three Particu­lars, viz. To put us in mind, with what Alacrity we are to accept of the Mercy offered us, to testifie our appropriating of that Mercy to our selves, and to hold it fast when we have received it. Of God's Liberality, in bidding us take the best Gift he hath to bestow. The Impiety of those that take Christ for their Redeemer, and continue disobedient, discovered. The Prayer.

I. 'TIS certain that Christ said, Take and eat; which the Primitive Church understood of taking the consecrated Elements with the Hand. And to this pur­pose saith Tertullian, We receive the Eucharist from none, but from the Hands of the President or Minister of the Ordi­nance. It was for this Reason, that in the ancient Litur­gies, [Page 117] the Deacons cried to the People, or Communi­cants, Extend your Hands: And upon this Account it was, that St. Ambrose expostulating with Theodosius, about the barbarous Slaughter he had been guilty of, tells him, How can you stretch forth your Hands, from which, as yet, innocent Blood drops down? How can you, with such Hands, receive the Body of the Lord? Nor do even the Papists themselves, who will not suffer the Lay-Communicant to touch the Wafer with his Hand, but put it into his Mouth, deny it. Whether every one in the Ancient Church did take the consecrated Elements with his own, from the Priest's or Deacon's Hand; or whether they took it out of the Dish, into which the sacred Bread was broken, with their own Hands, is not very material to determine: Though whatever Passages there may be in Clemen [...] of Alexandria, and St. Cyprian, which seem to im­port, that the Communicants did take the broken Bread out of the Dish; yet most of the Ancients do agree, that the consecrated Elements were taken from the Hands of Ecclesiastical Persons: And though, among the Jews, the Master of the Family, that broke the Bread, did not always give it into the Hands of every Guest; but ha­ving broken it, laid it upon the Table, and every one took a Piece; yet the Practice of the Christian Church, for Six Hundred Years at least, after Christ, sufficiently shews how the holy Apostles took it; whom, we may suppose, the first Churches did imitate: And as the Dis­ciples took it from Christ's Hands, so the Communi­cants afterward took it from the Apostles and their Suc­cessors Hands; which Practice continues this Day in most Churches of the Protestants, that call themselves Reformed: I say, in most; for in some, and particularly, those of the United Provinces, the Communicants take it out of the Dish, after it is broken by the Minister. It was Ignorance and Superstition that brought in a con­trary Custom: And from hence rose that Canon in the Council of Antisiodorum; celebrated about the Year after Christ, 613. Can. 36. That Women must not take the Eucharist with their bare Hands, but in a Linen [Page 118] Cloth, which they called Dominicale. Soon after, as Fol­ly and Superstition increased, some began to take the consecrated Bread in little Vessels of Gold, or of some other Metal; against whom the Sixth Council of Constan­tinople, about the Year of our Lord,Can. 101. 676. made a Canon, and forbad them to do so for the fu­ture; but to put their Hands cross-wise, and so to re­ceive it. The Pretence in receiving the holy Bread in some Thing, besides their bare Hands, was, that they might not defile the Body of Christ with their Hands; as if touching it with baser Things than their own Hands, would be more acceptable to God: For, as Solomon tells us, a living Dog is better than a dead Lion; so we may with far greater Reason say, That a living Hand is infi­nitely better than all the dead Things which are made, either of Gold, or Silver, or Brass, or any other Mineral. But though these Abuses crept in so early, yet the Cu­stom of receiving the holy Bread with their Hands con­tinued in abundance of Churches, till the latter end of the Ninth Century; by which Time it began to be cu­stomary in the Western Church to put the Eucharist into the Mouths of the Communicants, as it is practised this Day in the Roman Church, as also among the Lutheran Protestants. It is confessed, that a Canon was made in a Council of Roan, about the Year of our Lord, 685. That the Eucharist should for the future, by the Priest, L'Arroque's Histo­ry of the Eucharist, Part 1. O. 13. be put into the Mouth of the Com­municant, whether Woman, or Lay-man: Yet there are sufficient Testimonies ex­tant, that assure us, that this Canon was not observ'd eve­ry where, till about the latter end of the Ninth Century. In a Word, As Superstition grew, and the Doctrine of Transubstantiation began to prevail, so this ancient Rite of taking the Eucharist with the Hand, was abolished; and the Priests of the Church of Rome would not so much as suffer Lay-men to touch the Sacramental Bread with the Tip of their Fingers, pretending that it was only given by Christ into the Hands of Priests; an Absurdity so great, that by the same Rule it would follow, that the [Page 119] Laity must be totally excluded from the Sacrament, be­cause, at the first Institution, it was received by none but Priests. Nay, to that heighth of Folly did Men arise by degrees, not only Papists, but many also that profes­sed the Purity of the Gospel, that it was counted a great Profanation of the Eucharist, if the People did any way touch the sacred Bread; and therefore great Care was, and is still, taken, even at this Day, that the Bread be put exactly upon the Tongue of the Communicant, that he may not touch it so much as with his Teeth; So that under a pretence of Religion, Men are made to forbear that, which true Religion commands to be done. And what an Injury is it to the People, to hinder them from touching and taking the holy Bread in their Hands, when Christ laid down his Life for them, as well as for the Priests? Did the Priests receive greater Benefit by Christ's Death, than the People? Or, were some pecu­liar Advantages consigned to them by his Death, over and above what is intended for the Laity? If this could be proved, there might be some Colour for this Pre­tence: But when all equally share in his Mercies, why should not all take the Bread in their Hands, whereby they remember the Benefits of his Death? Are the Priest's Hands holier or cleaner than the People's? Would to God they were so, not only in this Sacrament, but in all Things! But, after all, what can be more weak, or sil­ly, than to imagine that the holy Bread is defiled more by the Hands and Teeth, than by the Tongue, or Bowels, or Stomach, which receive it? Is not the Tongue a Mem­ber of the Body, as well as the Hand? Or, are the Bowels, into which the Bread is received, purer than the Hand? If it be said, that by the Hands great Sins are usually committed, I would fain know whether grea­ter Sins are not daily committed with the Tongue, than with the Hand? So impertinent is this Plea, that it de­serves no Argument, or Answer. In the Greek Church, Jac. Goar. in Not. ad Miss. Chrysost. p.m. 150. the Custom of taking the holy Bread with the Hand, was kept up for many Hundred Years, till [Page 120] of late they have got a way of mingling the holy Wine with the Bread in a Spoon, whence the Communicants do take it.

II. As we are commanded to take the holy Bread with our Hands, which makes it no indifferent Thing, so we cannot suppose that Christ would command it, without intending some Mystery in that Action; and if it be lawful to guess, we may piously believe, that by that Taking, he intended these following Things.

1. It puts us in mind, with what Alacrity we should ac­cept of the unspeakable Gift, viz. The Mercy of Reconci­liation, by the Death of Christ Jesus: As we readily stretch forth our Hands to receive a Present that is plea­sing to us, so ought we to accept of what a merciful God doth so freely and so frankly bestow upon us. Ac­cept of it! You will say, Who can be supposed to refuse it? Will a Malefactor scruple to accept of his Prince's Pardon? Or, If a King put a Treasure into a poor Pri­soner's Hands, will he scorn it, or withdraw his Hand? 'Tis true, Men are willing enough to accept of a Sa­viour, so they may have him upon their own Terms: If he will give them leave to do what they please, and then save them, they are most ready to take, and to embrace him. But that is not the Acceptance I mean: For such an Acceptance implies a Contradiction, as being con­trary to the whole Design of that Reconciliation: For by his Death, he was to destroy the Works of the Devil; and therefore to accept of him, and to cleave to those Works he came to destroy, is to set Christ at variance with himself. He that accepts of this Gift, must express that Acceptance, not only by his Hand, but his Heart too, and conform also to the Design of that Gift. For, Is Christ divided? Shall I accept of a part, and not of the whole? Shall I receive him as a Saviour, and not as a Guide and Ruler too? Shall I stretch forth my Hand, to put his Sceptre of Grace and Mercy to my Lips, and break the Sceptre when I have done? This is impious, and unreasonable.

[Page 121] 2. We take the holy Bread with our H [...]nds, to testifie our Approbation of that Gift, and that we take it to our own Use and Benefit; as he that takes Food in his Hand, doth it to feed his own Body, and to strengthen himself. And, indeed, Christ is willing, that the Soul that comes to this holy Table should say, Christ is mine, for me he suffered, for me he died, for my sake he left Heaven, and confin'd himself to a Cradle, to a Stable, to a Man­ger: For me he was nailed to the Cross, for me that precious Sacrifice was offered, and I share in all the Be­nefits of his Death, as well as my Brother, my Sister, my Friend, and my Neighbour: The Estate he pur­chased belongs to me, I have a Right to it, as well as St. Paul and St. Peter, as well as Zachaeus and Mary Mag­dalene: And there is no Dispute of it, where the Com­municant brings with him Mary Magdalene's Tears, St. Pe­ter's Repentance, St. Paul's Admiration of God's Love, and Zachaeus's Charity, he may be as confident that Christ gives himself to him, as if he heard Christ saying to him with an audible Voice, in the Prophet's Language, Fear not, I have redeemed thee, thou art mine: He may justly believe, he hears Christ saying to him, Here, Christian, take that which is thine own, even my self, that Pardon, that Salvation, that Peace, that Joy, that Spirit, that Comfort, which my Death hath purchased, and my Cross hath gained. I am thy Portion, and all that I have is thine; I am thy Shield, and thy exceeding great Reward: Be not afraid to apply these mighty Blessings to my Soul; for as great, as won­derful, as rich, as magnificent as they are, and as poor, as mean, as wretched, and as naked as thou art, take them, and wear them, tye them as a Crown about thy Head: Look upon the bright, the everlasting Mansions of Bliss and Happiness; look upon all that Saints and Angels do enjoy, and please thy self with the Thoughts of it; for all is thine.

3. We are commanded to take the holy Bread with our Hands, to let us know, that having accepted of this Gift, and appropriated it to our selves, we are to hold it fast, [Page 122] and not to let it go again. Then we let Christ go, when we grow cold in our Love to him, and to his distressed Members, or to our Brethren in general. Love stays that Bride-groom of our Souls, Love preserves his gra­cious Presence, Love chains him to our Hearts. It was an excellent Resolution of the Spiritual Spouse, and that Spouse are we, Cant. 3. 3, 4. The Watch-men that go [...]ut the City, found me; to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my Soul loves? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my Soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my Mother's House, and into the Chamber of her that conceived me. This must be the Resolution of every Soul that is tender of spiritual Comfort. The Way to hold him fast, is, to kiss him with our Thoughts, to embrace him with our Minds, to cleave to him with our Affections, to cling to him with our Will, and to caress him with our Obe­dience: If he would go away from us, these are the Charms that hold him: And the Soul that, with David, hath Courage to say, and sincerely intends what it says, Psal. 18. 1. I will love thee, O Lord, my Strength, my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer, my Buckler, and the Horn of my Salvation, and my high Tower, may expect as gracious an Answer. The same we read of, Psal. 91. 14, 15, 16. Be­cause he hath set his Love upon me, therefore I will deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my Name: He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in Trouble, I will deliver him, and honour him: With long Life I satisfie him, and shew him my Salvation.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. HERE we may take a View of the immense Bounty of our Master, to his Church and People. Our Saviour pathetically describes it, Mar. 12. 1.—7. For, according to the different Conditions of his Church, he sent various Servants, to check them, to admonish them, to warn them, to represent to them the Joys and Torments of [Page 123] another World; and though not a few of these Servants were persecuted, stoned, killed, abused, and some met with cruel Mockings, with Bonds and Imprisonments, yet that did not discourage him; and having therefore yet one Son, his Well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my Son: And this Son he bids us take; and with him, all Things that can make us truly happy. And though it is true, the covetous and sensual Man would have taken it more kindly, if God had bid him take Chests of Gold, and Talents of Silver, rich Houses, and richer Lands; yet had those Gifts been very mean, and unworthy of his Wisdom and Holiness. His Gift, like himself, must be spiritual and great; and in bidding us take his Son, with all the Benefits of his Death, he bids us take the most inestimable Mercy, and that which must make us rich, and great, and glorious, to Eternal Ages. If he had bid us take the World, and the Fulness thereof, there had been no great Self-denial in that Offer: But to offer the Son of his Love, and to bid us take him as our own, whereby we enjoy all his Wealth and Treasures, the Self-denial is so great, that the Sacred Writers know not how to express it, and therefore use such Words as may serve to feed our Admiration; So God loved the World, that he gave his only begotten Son: And the Word so, implies so vast an Ocean of Love, that the Understandings both of Angels and Men, may lose themselves in the Contemplation or Survey of it.

II. Here I cannot but reflect on the Rudeness of some that take him indeed, but it is as the Soldiers at his Pas­sion took him, by Force and Violence. There are Thousands that will take him for their Saviour, whether he will or no: Though he hath protested that he will say to those who would not do the Will of his Father which is in Hea­ven, I know you not, depart from me, ye Workers of Iniquity; yet these very Persons will lay hold on him, and will be saved by him, in despight of him; and therefore do not only assemble with other Christians, under the Cross, at the holy Table, and there pretend to take him to their [Page 124] Comfort, as well as the best of them; but on their Death­beds too, after they have abused him by their carnal and sensual Lives, lived like his Enemies, lean upon him, de­pend upon him, lay hold on his Merits, support them­selves with his Sufferings, and stay themselves on him, as if they were resolved he should not shake them off: This is a Rudeness that admits of no Excuse. Not but that he is ready enough to refresh those that lay hold on him as they should do; but where Men's Hearts remain unsan­ctified, unholy, unresolved to walk in the Light, as he was in the Light, unaffected with the Love of God, un­touch'd with a Sense of Sin; there to hope, and be confi­dent they shall be saved by his Merits, is to make Christ a Patron of their Sins, and an Encourager of Hypocri­sie, and to charge him with a Lye, as if, contrary to what he hath so often affirmed, asserted, repeated and confir­med by Miracles too, not those that have followed him in the Regeneration, but those whose Hearts and Lives were never changed, shall sit upon Thrones when the Son of Man shall sit upon the Throne of his Glory, Mat. 19. 28.

III. From hence it is evident, that to take Christ for our highest and chiefest Good, a Man must believe there is something to be got by him, which the World cannot give, and beyond all that the World can afford: And this Belief must not be slight or superficial, but a Belief that considers the Consequence and Importance of this Truth; not a Belief of Speculation, but a Belief that rouzes the Soul from her Slumber. A Man that doth not heartily believe that the greatest, the best, the choicest Satisfaction flows from the Possession of this Treasure, will never labour, or toil, or put himself to Trouble to get Possession of it. So that, if ever we take the Lord Jesus according to the Rules laid down in the preceding Discourse, so as to accept of him upon his Terms, to appropriate him to our selves, and to hold him fast, we must sit down, and in cool Blood consider, whether that Bliss and Happiness is to be found in him, which the Scri­pture speaks of; and to weigh that Happiness, how far [Page 125] it transcends all other Felicities and Comforts of this World; end not to rest, till we are fully persuaded of the Truth and Reality of it: And this Persuasion will, in a manner, force and compel us to take him so, as, with the Merchant in the Gospel, to sell all we have, for that inestimable Pearl.

The PRAYER.

O Jesu! My All, my Sun, my Light, and the Glory of my Soul! Who hast taken upon thee the Form of a Servant, that I might be taken into the Number of the Kings and Princes of the other World! I have too long entertain'd my self with the Pleasures and Vanities of the World, and the uncertain Shadows and Images of Car­nal Satisfactions. I see, I see, there is that in thee, which counter-balances and out-weighs all that the World can call rich, and excellent, and beautiful: They that enjoy thee, walk in Light, and the Darkness trouble them not. O take my Soul, and reform it; Take my Will, and rectifie it; Take my Understanding, and eradiate it with thy Beams; Take my Af­fections, and inflame them. O let me not take Shadows any longer for Realities: Take me into thy School, and teach me; Teach me, how I may be thy Disciple; Teach me, how I may be satisfied with thee alone; Teach me, how I shall take thee for my Head, my Governor, and the Regent of my Soul. Take care of this poor miserable Sinner; Take thou the Government of my Heart: It is thine, thou hast bought, thou hast redeemed it, thou hast paid the Ransom. Take me Captive by thy Love: Free me from the Prison of my Corruptions, that I may be fit to be taken into the Number of such as have washed their Robes, and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb, and stand for ever before the Throne of God, and serve him Night and Day in his Temple. Amen.

CHAP. XI.
Of these Words, This is my Body, whether they im­port a Transubstantion, or Consubstantiation; and how the Bread is Christ's Body; and how Christ's Body may, and is to be eaten.

The CONTENTS.

Transubstantiation a new and monstrous Doctrine. The Fate that attended Berengarius, for denying it. The Impossibi­lity of it shewn in several Particulars. Consubstantiation, an Opinion as groundless as the former. The History of it. The Arguments the Lutheran Churches make use of, con­futed. The true Sense of these Words, THIS IS MY BODY, What it is to eat Christ's Body. Many Rhe­torical Expressions in the Fathers, concerning this holy Sa­crament, which are not to be taken literally. The same Expressions made use of still, but to be understood according to the Analogy of Faith. The same Way that Man was lost, the same Way he must recover. The crucified Body of Christ, represented in this Sacrament, a Motive to many excellent Duties. The Prayer.

I. THIS IS MY BODY: What Stirs and Diffe­rences these few Words have caused in the Chri­stian World, especially, since the Eighth Century, is unknown to none that is versed in Ecclesiastical History: The Mo­dern Church of Rome, as they place Consecration in these Words, so, to establish Transubstantiation, they take San­ctuary at this Expression. Transubstantiation, a Word not known till the Year of our Lord 1112, when Stephen Bishop of Autun first invented it, and afterwards con­firm'd [Page 127] by Pope Innocent III. in the Lateran Council, in the Year 1215, is at this Day the Darling Doctrine of the Church of Rome: A Word, first brought in by Passion and Ignorance, defended afterwards with blind Zeal, and at last established, and turned into an Article of Faith, by the pack'd Council of Trent: A Word, which long ago would have been banish'd and rejected, but that it happen'd to be owned by Men who will rather hazard all, than acknowledge themselves in an Errour: A Word, which that corrupted Church at this Day fights for; and anathematizes, curses and damns to the Pit of Hell all that dissent from their Sense and Meaning in that barbarous Expression. What they mean by Tran­substantiation, is sufficiently known; viz. A Conversion or Change of the whole Substance of Bread in this Sa­crament, into the Substance of Christ's Natural Body, immediately upon the Priest's speaking these Words,Hoc vero nihil aliud est, nce aliter nomi­nari, aut haberi po­test quam magica incantatio, Hosp. Hist. Sacrament. Part. 2. p. 103. This is my Body; as soon as the last Syllable am in the Latin Words, Hoc enim est Corpus meum, is pronounced by the Priest. If any be desirous of a full Account of this mon­strous Doctrine, the best Way to know i [...], is to view the Recantation Pope Ni­cholas forced Berengarius to subscribe, in the Year of our Lord 1059. which was this: I Berengarius, an unworthy Deacon of the Church of St. Maurice of Anjou, knowing the True and Apostolick Faith, do renounce and abjure all Here­si [...]s; and that particularly for which I have hitherto been in­famous, and which teaches, That the Bread and Wine which are set upon the Altar, are only a Sacrament after Consecra­tion, or a Representation, and not the very Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that they cannot sensually, but only in a Sacramental or Representative Way, be handled by the Priest, and broken and bruised by the Teeth of the Faithful. But I do consent to the Holy Roman Church, and to the Apo­stolick See; and profess with my Lips and Heart, that I hold that Faith concerning the Sacrament of the Lord's Table, which our Lord, and Pope Nicholas, and this Holy Synod, have, [Page 128] by Evangelical and Apostolical Authority, commanded to be held, and prescribed to me, viz. That the Bread and Wine which are place upon the Altar, after Consecration, are not only a Sacrament, but the very Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; and are sensually, and not only Sacra­mentally, but in truth, handled by the Hands of the Priest, and broken and bruised by the Teeth of the Faithful. And hereunto I swear by the Holy and Individual Trinity, and by these Holy Gospels. This was the gross and absurd Doctrine of the Church of Rome in that Age; so absurd, that even their Champions who came after were afraid of it, being sensible that Christ's glorified Body could not be handled, and bruised, and ground with the Teeth. Which made the Glossator in Gratian, reciting this Recantation,Distinct. 2. de. Consecr. Can. 74. adds, If you do not take these Words in a sound Sense, you will fall into greater Heresie than Berengarius. Yet the Gentlemen of this Church are past blushing; and though there be nothing more inconsistent with the common Principles of Mankind, than this Transubstantiation, yet they are re­solved to maintain that with Noise and Clamour, which they cannot do with Reason and Argument; and though, as they explain this Doctrine, it be rather an Annihila­tion of the Bread, or Substitution of Christ's Body, than a Transubstantiation, yet a Transubstantion it must be: And that the Vulgar may not stumble at it, abundance of Mi­racles are invented, to support it: How St. Anthony of Padua's Horse forsook his Oats, to do Obeysance to the Body of Christ, or the Wafer, after it was Transubstantia­ted: And how others have seen the Wafer bleed, when by Jews and Infidels it hath been prick'd: And how others have seen a Child appear to them, instead of the Wafer: How, upon St. Gregory's Prayers, the Wafer hath been changed into substantial Bloody Flesh: How a Protestant denying Transubstantiation, and saying, that a Spider deserves as much Reverence and Adoration as the Wafer in the Sacrament, they being both God's Crea­tures, an huge black Spider immediately spun her self down from the Ceiling, into his Mouth, &c. And these [Page 129] Miracles Bellarmine brings for Proofs and Arguments.Lib. 3. de Euch. cap. 8. But to examine the Do&rine it self, how impossible it is, that these Words should infer such a Conversion, is evi­dent from hence:

1. Because no Reason can be given, why these Words, This is my Body, should infer such a Change, any more than the Words, Take, eat; For the one, as well as the other, were spoken by Christ at the same Time, and in one Breath.

2. 'Tis impossible that these Words should infer any such Change of the Bread into real and substantial Flesh: For it would follow, that Christ had spoken what was false, and the Disciples, that were present, and to whom he spoke these Words, might have easily convinced them­selves of the contrary. That before Christ's Ascension into Heaven, they had no very Metaphysical Under­standings, nor very quick Apprehensions, any one may guess, that hath but read the Evangelical History. They that had been present at so many Miracles Christ wrought, and convinced themselves of the Reality of them by their Senses, that if there had a Miracle been wrought in this Sacrament, they would, without Dis­pute, have examined it by their Senses; and having seen no real Conversion or Change of the Bread before them into his Natural Body, would have disputed Christ's Assertion, and given him an Account of the Reason of their Unbelief: For they had seen the Miracle of his changing Water into Wine, and convinced themselves by their Taste and Eye-sight, that there was a real Change wrought; and therefore, if such a miraculous Change had been wrought here, and they could not have perceived it by any of their Senses, can any Man imagine they would have been silent, aud not contra­dicted it? There cannot be a greater Miracle, than to change Bread into Flesh: And if the Bread, which was before the Disciples, upon the Table, had been changed [Page 130] into Christ's Body, and they had perceived no such Thing by any of their Senses, they would have been amazed more than the Virgin Mary, at the Message the Angel brought her, of conceiving without the Know­ledge of a Man. They saw Christ sitting at the Table, they saw the Bread in his Hand, they saw the Bread af­ter Consecration, they saw his Body and that Bread were different Things, they did not see him vanish out of their Sight; Christ continued to be as he was, and so did the Bread; and therefore could not but take these Words to be spoken in a spiritual Sense. There was never any Miracle wrought, but what was intended to convince the Senses of Men; and they could either taste, or see, or smell, or feel, or hear it: Nay, the Design of a Miracle is clearly lost, if it convinces not the Senses; for the Design is, to surprize, or rather to persuade Men into Belief, by their seeing that, which they cannot but conclude, is wrought by the Finger of God. Except the Senses are convinced, the Miracle is wrought in vain: And that so great a Miracle, as changing Bread into Christ's Natural Body, should be wrought, and no Crea­ture be able to perceive it by their Senses, is a Thing so absurd, that it destroys the Nature of a Miracle. Tho­mas, one of the Twelve, who was so difficult in believing Christ's being risen, that he would not give Credit to Eye-witnesses, and his Fellow-Disciples, that had seen him, except he put his Finger in the very Marks of his Nails, and thrust his Hand into his Side; how would he have believed this Transubstantiation, if he had not seen the least Appearance of it, or seen the Bread continue Bread, and Christ continue sitting at the Table, as he had done before? Not to mention, that if we must not believe our Senses, what Assurance have we of our Re­ligion, the Stress whereof must be laid upon Christ's Re­surrection, and the Apostles and others seeing him risen, after he had been dead? And how can any Man be sure there are such Words in the Bible, as, This is my Body, if he may not believe his Eye-sight?

[Page 131] 3. This is my Body, differs very much from This is Transubstantiated, or Changed into my Body, or Let it be changed into my Body: This is my Body, speaks, what is al­ready in Being; not what may, or shall be effective of something else. To be, and to be changed into a Thing, are quite different Expressions: And he that says, a Thing is, or hath a Being, cannot be therefore supposed necessarily to say, that it is changed, or transubstantia­ted, or shall be so; for a Thing may be several Ways, besides being changed. That, of which Christ affirms, that it is his Body, was the Bread he took in his Hand, or that which he broke; and that may be said to be his Body several Ways, without being changed or transub­stantiated into his Body: Which very Thing hath made the wiser and more judicious Papists confess, that these Words do not necessarily infer a Transubstantiation, with­out the Decree, Order and Explication of the Church; upon which they chiefly build their Doctrine and Asser­tion. And how ridiculous this Explication of their Church is, any common Capacity may perceive, that doth but understand Grammar, and the ordinary Way of speaking in all Countries and Languages whatsoever: For, What can be more common, than to say, Such a Man is a Fox, and Such a Person is a Lion, and Such a Neighbour is a Beast, and Such a Boy is a Tyger? But doth any Man of common Sense infer from thence, that such a Person is transubstantiated into a Fox, or Lion, or Ty­ger? 'Tis true, God can do all Things; but his Power is one Thing, and his Will another; and to believe he will do that which he hath no where said, or promised to do, is notorious Presumption: And though we are not presently to reject a Thing, because our Reason can­not comprehend it; yet it is fit that what we cannot comprehend with our Reason, we should be sufficiently assured of, that God hath revealed it: Such as is the My­stery of the Trinity, the Incarnation of our Lord, and the future Resurrection, &c. And if we had but as good Ground for Transubstantiation, as we have for these My­steries; [Page 132] not only God's express Revelation, but the con­stant Doctrine of the Church, no wise Man would dis­pute it. Transubstantiation is a Thing, which neither the Scripture, nor the Primitive Church, did ever acknow­ledge: And there being nothing in the Word of God to establish it, and being, besides, contrary to all Sense and Reason, we must be first given up to believe a Lye, as some [...], it seems, are, 2 Thess. 2. 11. before we can give [...] unto it. It were endless to repeat here all the Con­tradictions and Absurdities that this Doctrine may be charged with; for Mice and Vermine will eat the con­secrated Wafer, if it lies in their Way: It destroys not only the Nature of Christ's Body, but a principal Arti­cle of our Belief too; which saith, That Christ is ascen­ded, and sitteth at the Right Hand of God; whom the Hea­vens must receive, until the Time of the Restitution of all Things, Act. 3. 21. Not to mention, that the Apostle calls the Bread in the Sacrament, even after Consecra­tion, Bread still, 1 Cor. 11. And that this Doctrine cros­ses the Nature of a Sacrament, and is confuted by Christ's saying, Do this in remembrance of me; which supposes that he is absent as to his Body, which was crucified, &c. Nor will that Place, Joh. is. 55. My Flesh is Meat indeed, and my Blood is Drink indeed, do any great Service to our Adversaries in this Controversie: For if it be Meat in­deed, how doth that infer that the Bread must needs be transubstantiated into his Flesh, since his Flesh may be Meat indeed several Ways? For, to all true Believers, that take Comfort in his Death, and are released from Sin, and the Snares of the Devil, by his Flesh that was nailed to the Cross, he may be truly said to be Meat in­deed, and Drink indeed, because their Souls are comforted by the Remembrance of it, and preserved to Eternal Life; and though he be only spiritual Meat to them, yet he is so indeed, and really, and in a very good Sense: As we say of a comfortable Word, spoken to a troubled Conscience, That that Word is Meat and Drink to it in­deed, and doth it more Good than all the Meat and Drink in the World would have done: And that all [Page 133] that Discourse, John 6. is to be understood of Spiritu­al Meat and Drink, whereby the Soul receives comfort and refreshment, Christ himself hath declared, Joh. 6 63.

II. As these words, This is my Body, do not infer a Transubstantiation, so neither do they import a Consub­stantiation, a word as hard as the former, and which hath been taken up by the Lutheran Protestants, to ex­press their Opinion, that Christ's Glorified Body is in, with, and under the Element of the Bread in the Holy Sacrament, or hid under it; a Doctrine which they ground upon the Ubiquity of Christ's Body, or being every where and in all places; which Priviledge, they fancy, was communicated to Christ's Human Nature, by its being joyn'd with the Divine▪ a thing so irratio­nal, that hereby they confound the Divine Nature with the Human: And to say, that Christ had a Body, which, as all other Bodies, must have Dimensions, heighth and, breadth, and depth, and length, and yet to make that Body every where present, is a conclusion so weak, that I am apt to believe, that if it had not been pitch'd up­on by Luther in a heat or passion, he would never have embraced it. For indeed, this was the infirmity of that ex­cellent Man, who, tho' otherwise very much mortified in his desires after the Riches, Honours and Glories of the World, yet could not endure to be contradicted, nor yield to another Man's Opinion, tho' much sounder, because himself was not the first inventer of it. And by what I can see from History, this was one great reason, why he differ'd from Zwinglius in the point of the Holy Sacrament, and embraced Consubstantiation, which implies, as is said already, that the Body of Christ is hid under the substance of the Bread; a Point that transported him into very great passion, which made him afterward, upon his Death-bed deplore, That he had been too hot in his Controversie. He that gave the first hint of this Opinion, was John Gerson, Chancel­lor of Paris, who about the time of the Council of Con­stance, not being able to digest the absolute Doctrine of [Page 134] Transubstantiation, and finding that Assertion to be full of Blasphemy and Idolatry, found out this expedient, as he thought, That Christ, as he was a Creature, and had a Body finite, could not be at one and the same time in divers places, yet being united to the Divine Nature in one Person, the Human Nature, by that conjunction had obtained, and did obtain that Prerogative, that in the Lords Supper only, and at no time else, it had the priviledge to be in many places at once. About 150 years after him, one James Faber of Stapula, enlarged this Privilege of Christ's Human Nature, and what Gerson had restrain'd only to the Sacrament, he extend­ed to the whole World, and made Christ's Human Na­ture, as extensive, as his Divinity: Luther afterward, ex­ceeding fond of this Opinion, establish'd it in the Churches of Saxony, insomuch, that he aver [...]'d Christ's Body was as much in a Baker's Shop as in the Eucharist; only in the Shop, he did not desire to be taken and wor­shipp'd, because he had not tyed himself to a Shop by any word of Promise: Nay, that his Body was in the very Rope, wherewith Judas hang'd himself, and went through doors that were lock'd, and through the very Stone, that was laid upon his Sepulchre. A strange fancy! For certainly Christ's Body was Crucified at Jerusalem, and not in all places of the World; and when he fate at Table with his Disciples, he did not sit at the same time at Rome, or in the East-Indies. How near this Doctrine approaches to the errors of the Mar­cionites and Manichaeans of old, who taught, that Christ had no real or substantial Body, but only a Bodily Shape; and that when he was felt, and found to have Flesh and Bones, it was only by special Dispensation; how near this Doctrine, I say, approaches these Errors, con­demn'd by the Antient Church, I will not determine. It cannot be denied, that Luther was not always the same, and sometimes he seem'd to deny, what he asserted be­fore; But still those among the Lutherans, that are for this Ubiquity, make him the Great Patron of their Do­ctrine. And though some of them give out, that they [Page 135] do not assert the Ubiquity of Christ's Body so much, as his Omnipresence, yet it will be a hard matter to shew, how Ubiquity and Omnipresence differ. Some pre­tend that the fore-mention'd expressions were not Lu­ther's expressions, but foisted in by some, that would fain take Sanctuary at his Books, for the defence of their Opinions; But the composers of the History of the Augsburg Confession, are ashamed of this Conceit; and the Elector of Saxony, when in the Year 1574. he came to examine the thing, found, that it was only an idle re­port, and that in the Edition of Luther's Works, there was no variation used from his own words and ex­pressions: And if Luther writes in some places against this Ubiquity of Christ's Body, it's an argument that he ought not to be believ'd in other Books, where he as­serts it. Thus came in Consubstantiation, and this Opi­nion the Lutheran Churches do at this time follow, and maintain very eagerly; And though in all other Points, they differ very little from the Protestants of the Re­formation, for with us they protest against Popish Invo­cation of Saints, Religious Worship of Images, Human Satis­factions, Indulgences, Purgatory, Worship of Relicks, Prayers in an unknown Tongue, Merit of Works, Transubstantiation, Adoration of the Sacrament, Sacrifice of the Mass, Monar­chy of the Pope, pretences of Infallibility, and blind Obedience to the decisions of Councils, &c. Yet this Point they do so stifly, and so uncharitably maintain, that the greatest part of them refuse communion with us upon this ac­count, which, as it is an error, so we believe it is no fun­damental one, especially, since all this while they are against Transubstantiation, and Adoration of the Sacrament; and though in the point of their Consubstantiation, they ground themselves much upon that saying of Christ, Matth. 28. 20. Lo! I am with you always, even into the end of the World: Yet this is easily answer'd: For,

1. From hence it doth not follow, that he will al­ways vouchsafe them his Bodily Presence: for he was after this receiv'd into Heaven, and therefore could not be present with his Body at that time.

[Page 136] 2. What he promises here, he made good, when he sent the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit of Truth upon them; Which Spirit, though not as to his miraculous Gifts, yet as to his saving Graces, is with all true Believers to the end of the World. So that,

3. His being always with them, must be understood of his Power, and Virtue, and Influence, which would be with them, and with the Churches, they should Plant unto the end of the World, as the Sun is in Heaven, and with his Virtue and Influence cherishes this lower World. And thus far we agree with them, that Christ is pre­sent in the Holy Sacrament by his Power, and Influence, and Gracious Assistances, which sincere Believers feel in their worthy Receiving; But from hence, it can never be made out, that his Body therefore is hid under the Bread in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist.

III. In what sense the Bread in this Sacrament, is the Body of Christ, we may easily guess, if we explain Scri­pture by Scripture, and compare this expression with others, not unlike it.

1. This is my Body; Suffragatur nobis [...] ana­logia, Hebrais­mus, actio cir­cumstantia, nihil non. Oeconimo Epist. ad Me­lancth. i.e. This is a sig­nificant Emblem, or Sign, or Figure of my Body: Or this Bread, thus broken, represents my Body, that shall be Cru­cified for the Sins of the World. Thus not only Rabanus Maurus, Erigena, Bruno, Berengarius, and other wise Men understood it in the Ninth and Eleventh Cen­turies, but most of the Fathers, that lived before Pas­ [...]sius, or before 800 Years after Christ. So that, This is my Body, is as much, as this Bread is representative of my Body; As Bread is proper Food for your Bodies, so my Crucified Body is proper Food for your precious and immortal Souls: As Bread strengthens your Bodies, so shall the Comforts and Benefits of my Crucified Bo­dy [Page 137] support and fortifie your inward Man: As Bread nourishes your mortal Bodies, so shall the Love, and Charity express'd in my giving my Body to be Cruci­fied for your Sins, nourish your better part, and a sense of that Love cause a reciprocal Love and Charity in your Souls: As Bread unites with your Bodies, and turns into the substance of your Bodies; So my Crucified Bo­dy, or Faith in me, who give my self for you, shall be a means of my being one with you, and of your being one with me. And this interpretation is conformable to the sense of parallel places; I am the door of the sheep, saith our Saviour, Joh. 10. 9. i.e. As the Door opens, and being open'd, the Sheep are let into the Fold, so I am he, by whose Light and Influence Men are admit­ted into the number of God's Children, or by my Gos­pel they get admittance to God's marvellous Light; by this they are let into the knowledge of the greatest My­steries; and by believing in me, Men have access to the greatest Felicity. So Joh. 15. 1. I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Husbandman, i. e. As the Vine hath Branches, so I have Disciples; As the Branches are nou­rish'd by the Vine, so are my Disciples by me; As the Vine yields an excellent Juice, so my Blood is for the healing of Mens Souls; or what a Vine is to Men on Earth, the same am I to my living Members; and what an Husbandman doth to his Vineyard, the same doth my Father to the Branches, that shoot forth from me, or to my Followers.

2. This is my Body, i. e, This Bread is my Body, as the roasted Lamb is the great Festival of the Jews, was the Passover, i. e. The Memorial of it. This Sacrament of the Lords Supper being instituted immediately after the celebration of the Passover, as hath been often hinted, the Disciples of our Lord being acquainted with that way of speaking, could not wonder at Christ's expressi­on, for thus the Jews used to say of the Paschal Lamb, This is the Passover, as we may read, Exod. 12. 11. And there was not any so rude among them, but understood [Page 138] by this phrase, that by eating that Lamb, they were to remember the Angels passing by the Houses of the Isra­elites in Egypt, to save them from Destruction. This Sense they imbibed with their Mothers Milk: and when the Father instructed his Children, he told them, that by these words, This Lamb is the Passover, was meant nothing else, but this Lamb is the Memorial, or puts us in mind of the Passover; for so God had himself explain'd it, Exod. 12. 26, 27. So that our Saviour in saying of the Bread, he broke, This is my Body, brought in no new way of speaking, but what the Disciples, and all the Jews were already sufficiently acquainted with in Sacra­mental Discourses, which makes Christ add immediate­ly, to shew that he meant no more by it, but a Memo­rial, Do this in remembrance of me: i. e. As the Lamb put the Jews in mind of the destroying Angel's passing over their Houses, so the Bread in this Ordinance puts you in mind of my Body, that shall be nailed to the Tree of the Cross for the Life of the World, and tells you, how by that Sacrifice offer'd for your Souls, ye shall escape the Everlasting Wrath of God, and the burning Lake, prepared for the Devil and his Angels, as they did the Destruction prepared for Pharaoh, and his People.

3. That Christ's Church is often called his Body, none can be ignorant, that peruses these passages, Col. 1. 18. Ephes. 5. 23 Ephes. 4. 12. 1 Cor. 10. 16. 1 Cor. 12. 27. And though that Sense we have already alledg [...]d, be the principal thing aim'd at in these words, This is my Body, yet to shew how little need there is, to have recourse either to Transubstantiation or Consubstantiation, ra­ther than run into such absurdities, we might very well say, that the Bread is an Emblem, or Adumbration of Christ's Body, i. e. of Christ's Church: For as that Bread is made up of many Particles, so Christ's Church of ma­ny Members; and as those various Crums are closely united to th'other, so the various Members ought to be link'd together in Love and Charity, according to the Royal Law, given by our Master, Joh. 13. 34. A new [Page 139] Commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another. But this we add, to shew rather, what little temptation there is, to run our selves into inextricable difficulties in the ex­plication of these words, than to express the immediate intent of this expression. All Churches agree in't, That Christ's Crucified Body is meant here, only the diffe­rence is, how the Bread is Christ's Body, and how Christ's Body is present in the Sacrament; we say, it is there spiritually, as the Bread is a Symbol, a Figure, a Sign, a Representation, and a Memorial of Christ's Body, which was offer'd for the Sins of the World; and this Inter­pretation is so easie, so intelligible, so agreeable to Sacra­mental expressions, and to the Analogy of Faith, that one would think it should be impossible for Men to con­tradict it, except they were resolv'd to defend an Opini­on, right or wrong, merely because it is their interest to do so. The Romanists indeed have of late years endeavour'd very much to perswade the World, that the Greek Church in the Levant, is of their Opinion in the Sacrament; but not to mention the rudeness and ignorance of those poor Churches, which scarce understand the Principles of their own Faith, if the Protestants had but taken the same pains with the Modern Greeks, that the Popish Mis­sioners do, i. e. bribed and paid them for their assent, and consent to their Faith, they would have been Protestants in this Article of the Sacrament, as some of them are Papists at this present. Cyril, who was Patriarch of Con­stantinople, in the year 1622, where-ever he imbibed his Doctrine, certainly was not for Transubstantiation; and though by the endeavours of the Jesuits, he was af­terwards strangled, yet that doth not make him an He­retick: And though several Synods have been held by the Greeks of late years, which have establish'd Tran­substantiation: yet it's sufficiently known, that it hath been by instigation of those of the Roman Communion, who spare no cost, that they may bring them to say, as they do. However, such Greeks, as are not yet cor­rupted by the Roman Emissaries, are so far from belie­ving Transubstantiation, that they know not what it is, [Page 140] and, as a late ingenious Travellr hath observed,Sir George Whee­ler's Voyage, l. 2. p. 128. wonder any Man should think them such Beasts, as to believe such an Absurdity. But what doth it signifie, whether the Modern Greeks, who are sunk into gross Ignorance and Barbarism, be of our Opinion, or no? 'Tis sufficient, that the ancient Greek Church is, and hath been, of the same Belief with us. The Churches of the Levant at this Day, as Learning is become a very scarce Commodity among them, so their Opinion in a controverted Point, is of no great Consequence: Where they can give Proof of an uninterrupted Succession of their Doctrine, it may be of importance; else not. The Church of the Aethiopians, or Habessines, as they have for many Centuries continued in the honest Sim­plicity of their Doctrine, so their Testimony in this Point of the Eucharist may be of some use; and by what appears, they seem to joyn with us in this Sacra­ment: For, though they pray in their Liturgy, That the Holy Ghost may descend, and come, and shine up­on the Bread, that it may become the Body of Christ; and that the Taste of the Cup may be changed, and be­come the Blood of Christ;In Ludolph. Hist. Aethiop. l. 3. c. 5. yet, by what one of their own Priests confes­sed, they believe no other Change, but a mysterious or representative one, or a Change of the use of the Bread, whereby from common it becomes sacred: And so much appears from the Exposition they give of the Words used by Christ; for they say expresly, This Bread is my Body, and This Cup is my Blood.

IV. From what hath been said, 'tis easie to conclude, what it is to eat Christ's Body in this holy Sacrament.

1. It is to contemplate Christ's crucified Body, and the Cause and Reasons of that Crucifixion; to view all this with our warmest Thoughts; to make serious Reflections on his Death and Agonies, and the Bitterness of his Pas­sion. It being spoken to our Souls, not to our Bodies, [Page 141] to take and eat this Body, the Soul hath no other Way to feed upon it, but by a pathetick Consideration of the Particulars of that Death, and the End and Design of God in it, and the Comforts and the Benefits that there­by redound to Mankind; and such a Consideration as affects our Souls, touches them to the quick, and puts them on serious Enquiries into our wretched State, and makes them break forth into Flames of Love; so that, though Christ's Body was crucified above Sixteen Hun­dred Years agone, yet a pious Soul can eat it at this Day, swallow the Charity which appears in it with her Thoughts, consider who it is that is so wonderfully con­cerned for her Safety, look upon him whom her Sins have pierced, and take a View of that Man of Sorrows who was bruised for her Iniquities, and wounded for her Transgressions; and admire the Miracles that are to be seen in all this.

2. To eat Christ's Body, is, to apply the Benefits of his Death and Passion to our Souls, and to rejoyce in them as our greatest Treasure. As he that eats with his Bo­dily Organs, applies the Food he takes with his Hands, to his Mouth and Body, and converts it into Blood and Substance; so the pious Soul is pleased with this Spiri­tual Meat, is refreshed by it, and applies the Benefits of that crucified Body to her self; and with the Thoughts of Peace, and Pardon, and Salvation, which are the Blessings that drop from that Tree, arms her self against the Assaults of the Devil, and the Terrours of Death; and believing, without wavering, that those Mercies were purchased for her in particular, and that she hath a Right and Title to them, stands up in the evil Day, and in the midst of Temptations, boldly cries with the Apostle, Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, Rom. 8. 34.

3. To make this crucified Body a Persuasive and Motive to Holiness and Obedience: To conclude from thence, that if he gave himself for us, to redeem us from all Iniqui­ty, then we must not frustrate his Expectation, nor cling [Page 142] to that Iniquity which he came to free us from: And if he died to purifie unto himself a peculiar People, zealous for good Works, then we must not defile our selves af­ter that, nor wallow in the Mire any more with the Swine; but cleanse our Minds from carnal, covetous and lustful Thoughts, our Wills from Perversenes and Stubbornness, our Affections from Fondness of this pre­sent World, and our Hands from Uncleanness. His zea­lous Love to us, must make us zealous for his Glory; to him we must consecrate our selves, and to be holy, as he is holy, must be the Business of our Lives; and so to love him, as to keep his Commandments, must hence­forward be looked upon as our bounden Duty. He tru­ly eats this crucified Body, upon whom this Crucifixion hath that Power, as to crucifie in him his known Lusts and Passions, and to engage him to purifie himself from all Filthiness, both of Soul and Body.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. IN all Writings, both Ancient and Modern, about this holy Sacrament, there are various Rhetorical Expressions used, which we must not understand literal­ly, but as Flowers strowed upon the Herse of our Bles­sed Redeemer, and as Ornaments of Speech, to repre­sent the Greatness of the Mystery. There is nothing more common among the Fathers, than to call the Bread and Wine in the Lord's Supper, the Body and Blood of Christ; and the Cup, the Vessel in which Christ's Blood is contained: And many times Christ is said to stand at the Altar, and all the holy Angels waiting at the Table; that Christ offers his Body to be bruised by the People's Teeth, and dyes them red with his Blood; that the E­lements are changed, and become the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus; and that after Prayer and Thanks­giving, they are no more what they were before; and a Thousand such Expressions besides: From which the Church of Rome presently infers, that they believed a [Page 143] Transubstantiation, or a Conversion of the Elements in­to the Substance of Christ's Body and Blood; than which, nothing can be more absurd: For if a Man com­pare these Saying of the Ancients, with other Passages in their Writings, it plainly appears, that they meant no more than that the Elements are representative of all this, and that the Expressions they use are nothing but Rhetorical Flourishes, to raise the People's Affecti­ons, and to render their Devotions brisk, lively, ser­vent, affectionate and vigorous. We do the same at this Day, when we tell you, that you come to feast with Christ, that in this Sacrament he is crucified before you Eyes, that you may see his Blood run down, that you hear him groan under the Burthen of your Sins, that you see here his Body hanging on the Cross, that you are to stand under the Tree, and catch the precious Gore, as Balsam for your Souls: All which is true, in a spiritual Sense, and we do it to make you more attentive; and set this Passion out in such lively Characters, that your Souls may be touch'd and enliven'd; and as Things re­presented in brighter Colours strike the Senses more, so we speak of these Things, as if they were visible and per­ceptible to the outward Eyes, that your Souls may more chearfully feed on the Kernel that lies in those Shells, and with greater Life embrace the glorious Benefits which come to you by that precious Sacrifice.

II. By the same Way that Man was lost, by the same Way he must recover. He was undone by eating: He must be made whole again by eating. By eating he died: By eating he must come to Life again. That Day thou eatest of this Tree, thou shalt surely die, saith God: And the same saith God of this holy Sacrament; That Day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely live. The Fruit in Paradise became a Savour of Death unto Death unto him: The holy Bread in this Sacrament becomes a Sa­vour of Life unto Life unto him. That Eating brought him into Slavery: This gives him a Title to the glorious Liberty of God's Children. In eating that Fruit, he [Page 144] thought to be like God, and made himself worse than the Beasts that perish: By eating of this Bread, he is en­abled to become like unto the Son of God, by being changed into the same Image, from Glory to Glory. That Eating made him sick: This is Health to his Navel, and Maerrow to his Bones, Prov. 3. 8. That brought the Plague: This delivers from it. That filled him with Wounds, and Bruises, and putrifying Sores: This makes his Flesh come again, like unto the Flesh of a little Child. In a Word, By eating, God's Favour was forfeited: By eating, it is regained: Let Israel rejoyce in him that made him, let the Children of Zion be joyful in their King; for the Lord takes pleasure in his People, he will beautifie the Meek with Salvation. Let the Saints be joyful in Glory, let them sing aloud upon their Beds, let them praise the Name of the Lord; for his Name alone is excellent, his Glory is above the Earth and Heaven.

III. See here, how rich a Meal God the Father pre­pares for our Souls, even the crucified Body of his Son. Shall we look upon that Celestial Food with dull and careless Thoughts? Can we behold this costly Bread, and forbear crying out, Lord! for ever give us that Bread? Christian, if thou meanest to be saved by the crucified Body of thy Lord, thou must needs eat of it: Not only thy Mouth must eat the Sacramental Bread, and chew it; but thy Soul must ascend, and employ her self in eating of the crucified Body, represented by that Bread. Thy Soul, thy Mind, thy Will, thy Affections must have the greatest Share in eating at this Table. Thy Body hath little to do here; that is only the Chariot, that brings thy Soul to this Banquet: Thy Soul not being engaged and busie here, in Thinking, Admiration, Re­solution, Love and Joy, the Cringes and Bowings of thy Body will be insignificant. The End of our com­mon Eating, is Assimilation; and in our ordinary Meals we therefore eat Food agreeable to our Bodies, that it may be united to our Substance, mingle with our Blood, and become one with our Bodies: So here [Page 145] our Souls must feed on the crucified Body of the Lord Jesus, that we may become one with him. All Crea­tures may be said to be one with Christ, as he is God, as he is their Creator; in which respect he fills Heaven and Earth with his Presence, and is not far from every one of us; and in him we live, and breath, and have our Being: Nay, in a more particular manner every Profes­sor of Christianity may be said to be one with him, as he professes the same Religion which Christ taught his Disciples: But this is not the Union aimed at in this Sa­crament; nor can the Union which respects our Pro­fession only, give any great Comfort to a Christian. The Union designed by this Sacrament, is effected by the Spirit of Christ Jesus; and the Soul that unfeigned­ly see [...] here on the crucified Body of her Master, gets the same Spirit that dwelt in her crucified Lord; which produces the same Graces in her, that shined in that great Shepherd of Souls; and the same Mind, the same Temper, the same Disposition, in substance at least, though not in the same Degree, is effected and produ­ced in her by this Spirit; as we see, Rem. 8. 11. Phil. 2. 5. And this is that Union every true Communicant is to aim at, and from hence flows a Communion with Christ in all his Privileges and Glories, whereby the Soul is raised up together with Christ, and made to sit together with him in Heavenly Places, though not by way of actual Enjoyment as yet, but by getting a Right and Title to those Privileges; as the Apostle informs us, Ephes. 2. 6. By feeding on this crucified Body, the Soul is nourished, and gathers Strength against her spiritual Enemies, becomes bold in Temptations, resolute in Dangers, couragious in spiritual Enterprizes. The Soul that comes to feed on this crucified Body, and comes not with this Intent, comes in vain; comes only to stare upon the Cross, but not to be refreshed by it: The Soul that after the Sacrament, yields wilfully to the same Temptations it did before, is ensnared by the same sin­ful Pleasure that ruin'd it before, is led Captive by the same Lusts that intangled her before, certainly feeds [Page 146] not on the crucified Body of the Lord Jesus, because the Contemplation of that Crucifixion works no suita­ble Effects; which if it did, the Soul would unfeigned­ly destroy the Body of Sin, according to the Apostle's Rule, Rom. 6. 6. and offer up her Body a living Sacri­fice, holy, acceptable unto God, as it is said, Rom. 12. 1. Make the Body obedient to Reason, and Sense to Faith, and the Flesh to the Spirit, and it would keep under the Body, and bring it into Subjection, as St. Paul did, 1 Cor. 9. 27. i. e. it would deny the Body those Satisfa­ctions, which are manifest Hindrances to the Things of the Spirit; it would force it to Temperance, to Hard­ships, to Industry and Laboriousness in God's Service; it would strive and take care that the Body might be­come a Temple of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 6. 19. [...] what the Soul doth in this Ordinance, would leave such a Sense upon us, as would not only enable, but constrain us to glorifie God, both in Body and Soul, as the Scri­pture requires, 1 Cor. 6. 20. These are the blessed Ef­fects of eating the crucified Body of the Lord Jesus: And the Soul that feeds on that Body, will find these happy Consequences; it will not go away empty from this Meal; and though for the present it doth not see all these Effects, yet there is that Impression made on her by this Eating, that these Effects will afterward discover themselves in her Life and Conversation.

The PRAYER.

O My God! What Care dost thou take of my immortal Soul, that it may not starve! Thou hast made large Provision for my Body in the Earth, in the Air, and in the Water: The Earth brings forth Herbs, and Roots, and Cat­tel to feed it: The Air affords Fowl and Feather'd Creatures to nourish it: The Water provides Fish for it: But none of all these can satisfie my Soul, that must have a spiritual Diet; and rather than it shall want, thou hast given thine own Son to be her Food! O mysterious Love! Can I, after tbis, have low and mean Thoughts of thy Goodness! O sweetest Jesu! [Page 147] if my Soul feeds not on thee, if must die, and be separated from thy glorious Presence for ever: If it feeds on thee, it is made for ever. Oh! be thou my most beloved, and most de­lightful Food. Thy crucified Body alone can keep my Soul from fainting: Thy Death must yield me Life: Thy Sufferings must give me Joy: Thy Agonies must afford me Comfort: Thy Torments must work mine Ease: Thy Nails and Thorns must be my Bed of Roses: Nothing else can give my Soul Rest. When the Snares of Death and Hell encompass me, I will lay hold on these Horns of the Altar; here I shall be safe, safer than in the Arms of Angels: Thou that diedst for me, livest for ever to intercede for me; and having such an Ad­vocate, I may come boldly to the Throne of Grace. O let me not survey this glorious Provision, made for my Soul, with carnal Eyes! O let me ponder seriously, not with flying and transient, but with steady and fixed Thoughts, how thou hast favoured, how thou hast loved, how thou hast dignified this miserable Soul of mine, that I may rejoyce in thee for ever and ever. Amen.

CHAP. XII.
Of remembring Christ in this Sacrament, or do­ing what we do here, in remembrance of him

The CONTENTS.

The Death of Christ Jesus, the principal thing to be remem­bred in this Sacrament. What kind of Death it was, shewn in four Particulars. How this Death is to be remembred: The Benefits of this Remembrance laid down. Though the Death of Christ be the principal thing, that is to be remembred in this Sacrament, yet that puts no stop to other Remembrances. Christ's Example makes it lawful to pre­serve the memory of any signal Mercy or Providence we meet with. Those that do not remember Christ's Death in this Sacrament, do very much forget themselves. The re­membrance of his Death, a Motive to forget the World, and the Vanities of it. This Remembrance, the best De­fensative against Sin. The Prayer.

I. AS these words, Do this in remembrance of me, do necessarily import the Bread in this Sacrament, to be a Memorial of Christ's Crucified Body, or that which is to put us in mind of it, and consequently sup­pose, that Christ's real Body is absent; so how Christ is to be remembred here, must needs be worth our se­rious enquiry: What Christ calls Doing in remembrance of him, the Apostle, the best Interpreter of his words, stiles, Shewing forth his Death, 1 Cor. 11. 26. So that his Death [Page 149] is the thing, that is to be remembred here by all the Communicants: And that this Death is worth our se­rious remembrance, will easily appear, if we consider, what Death, the Death of Christ Jesus was: For,

1. It was the Death of God: According to the Quali­ty of the Person dying, so his Death is more or less sur­prizing; hence the Death of a King makes a greater noise in the World, than that of a Peasant. The Death remembred here, is the Death of the King of Kings; and though, as God, he could not dye, yet it may tru­ly be said, that he that was God, did die, not in his God­head, but in his Humanity; not as dwelling in a Light inaccessible, but as dwelling in a Tabernacle of Flesh. Plutarch relates, that he had heard his Master Epitherses tells this Story,De Defect. Orat. How in the Empe­ror Tiberius's time, under whom Christ suffer­ed, intending to Sail into Italy, he went aboard of a Ship, laden with many Goods and Passengers: One Evening, coming near certain Islands call'd the Echi­nades, the Wind slackening, and the Ship being becalm'd, with a slow pace they arriv'd at last at the Isle of Paxae. Several of the Seamen and Passengers sitting up that Night and drinking, on a suddain from off the Island came a Voice, calling to Thamus, the Master of the Ship, thrice, When you are come as far as the Palodes, proclaim, that the Great PAN is dead. The Master and his Company, doubtful what to do, whether they should do according to the import of the Voice, or no, resol­ved at last, if the Wind favour'd them, to pass by the Palodes, and say nothing; but if they were becalm'd about that place, then to cry as they were directed. So sailing on, and coming to the place, they found themselves strangely becalm'd, whereupon, Thamus call'd aloud, That the Great PAN was dead; which words he had no sooner spoken, but great Howlings, and Sighings, and Lamentations were heard. By PAN, the Heathens meant the God of the Universe, or him that rul'd, govern'd and influenced all; and it's proba­ble, [Page 150] this Voice had relation to Christ Jesus, who suffer­ed about that time at Jerusalem; and that upon the news of this Death, Howlings were heard, it's very like­ly this noise was made by Fiends and Devils, whom the Death of the Son of God, filling all in all, put into those excesses of consternation and sorrow. And lest any Man should object, That the Furies of Hell had no reason to mourn at his Death, but might rejoyce rather, that their great Antagonist was gone; it must be noted, That they feared the Power and Virtue of that Death, such Virtue, as in a short time would make all the Pow­ers of Darkness tremble, and destroy their Empire. When Abner, Saul's General, was carried to his Grave, King David follow'd the Herse, and said, Know ye not, that there is a Prince, and a great Man fallen this day in Is­rael, 2 Sam. 3. 38. If such a death as Abner's deserv'd to be taken notice of, what must we think of the Death of the Lord Jesus? Not a Great Man only, but one, of whom it was said, Thou Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of thy Hands, Heb. 1. 10. How justly is this death re­membred by his Followers! And what a mixture of Passions, Amazement as well as Gladness, Trembling as well as rejoycing, ought it to cause in all Christian Hearts, to think that our God died for us! A Captain hath his like; a General his Fellow; a Prince may be parallel'd with others; a King may meet with others of his Rank and Quality; but God hath no equal.

2. It was the Death of a Person, higher than the high­est, for his Enemies: Regulus, Codrus, Mutius, and among the Jews, Moses had courage to die for their Country, and the good of the People they were related to; but still they were their Friends; but here a Person ador'd by Angels, worshipp'd by all the Host of Heaven, the Comfort of Paradise, the Joy of Seraphim, the Terror of Devils, the Lord of Life, the Eternal Son of God, the Brightness of his Father's Glory, and the express Image of his Person, dies for Men, for Men miserable [Page 151] and wretched, for Men that were Sinners, for Men that were proper Objects of his Justice, for Men that were haters of God, acted like Enemies, had affront­ed their Maker, Crucified their Redeemer, came out against him, as against a Thief, who took pleasure in trampling on his Laws, rejoyced in their Disobedi­ence, had made a Covenant with Hell, conspired against him, who had given them their Being, laugh'd on the brink of Destruction, were Heirs of Hell, and had no other Inheritance but Damnation; for such, this won­derful Person dies, and this makes his death miraculous and astonishing, Rom. 5. 8.

3. It's Death, that Nature and all the Elements were confounded at, and Heaven and Earth seem'd to be at strife, which of them should be most concern'd at it; insomuch, that we are told of Dionysius the Areopagite, the Person mention'd, Acts 17. 34. when he was yet under the Clouds of Paganism, that beholding the stu­pendous Eclipse of the Sun, which happen'd about the time, that the Saviour of the World died, brake forth into this memorable saying, That certainly either Nature was going to be dissolv'd, or the God of Nature suffer'd. If ever Nature endur'd a Convulsion-Fit, it did now: The Sun disdain'd to look upon the barbarity of the Murther, and hid his Face, that he might not see his Creator die: The Earth trembl'd, as if it were asham'd to see Men stupid at the dreadful Spectacle: The Rocks broke, as if they would testifie against the Sinners, that could stand under the Cross without broken Hearts: The Vail of the Temple was rent, as if it would chide the Wretches, that could see the Messiah suffer, without rending their Cloaths, and what is more, tearing them­selves for the crime they had been guilty of: The Graves burst their Bands, as if they were concern'd to see Men harden'd against all impressions of Compassion: The Angels, we may, without danger of Heresie, be­lieve, stopt in the midst of their Hallelujahs; and if ever there was sadness in Heaven, we may suppose it was at this time: The upper and the nether World [Page 152] seem'd to go into Mourning, because their Lord and Master gave up the Ghost: Thus much we are told by the inspired Writer, Matth. 27. 51, 52. And this makes the Death of Christ Jesus surprizing, beyond compari­son; and surely such a Death ought to be remembred.

4. It is a Death, whereby the Person suffering merited Eter­nal Life, not only for himself, but all his Followers too: A mighty Blessing, but such, as was a just reward of so deep an Humiliation! It was for this Death, that the Everlasting Father exalted Christ's Humane Nature above Powers, Angels, Principalities and Spiritual Crea­tures; and in doing so, declar'd, what those, whose Na­ture he had assumed, if they did follow him in the Re­generation, might come to, after Death, viz. Eternal Life and Glory: And what greater Blessing can be thought of, to enjoy all Blessings at once, and to all Eternity? To see God, and to be ravish'd with his Sight for ever; to enjoy Riches, Honour, Glory, Pow­er, Dominion, Pleasure, Recreation, Houses, Lands, in a most eminent manner; or to enjoy that, which is beyond all these, in inexpressible degrees, and without interruption, without ceasing, without disturbance, without envy, without fear, without danger of losing it, What can be greater? What can be more satisfacto­ry? What can be more comfortable? This the Son of God hath purchased by his Death. That Death is the Messenger of all these Glories. In that Death all these Treasures are amass'd, and heap'd, and piled up toge­ther, and then it must be worth remembring; nay, it is impossible not to remember it, where all this is believ'd.

II. How this Death is to be remembred at the Table of the Lord, will deserve our next consideration: And most certainly a slight, transient Remembrance, such as we pay to our friends and acquaintance, which are absent, at our common Meals, or at other times, as we have occasion to discourse of them, is not sufficient here; for that's not at all agreeable to the Greatness and Pro­fitableness [Page 153] of this wondeful Death. It must be such a remembrance, as,

1. Refreshes our Memories with that marvellous Love, that shines in this Death. This Love must be called to mind; even the Love of God, the Love that mov'd him to the Kindnesses, we see, and taste, and feel, and have experience of: The Love that mov'd him to give us a Saviour, the Love that mov'd him to take pi­ty of us, when we lay in our Blood, when we lay in Darkness, and in the shadow of Death. Love, Love, Love, must here be the Motto, the Watch-word, and the dear Expression: And as the Martyr in Eusebius, being ask'd divers Questions about his Name, Kindred, Relations, Family, Country, Parents, &c. still answer'd, That he was a Christian; so if here we should be ask'd, what we think, what we speak, what we mind, what we come for, what we design, what our business is, or what we delight in, Love must be the Answer to all these Questions, Love must be the burden of our Song, even the Love of the Holy Trinity; a Love, in which our Life, our Happiness, and all our Hopes are wrapt up; a Love, which nothing above and nothing below, can give us any tolerable Image of: There is nothing among all the Angels in Heaven, nothing in the Sun, or Moon, or Stars, nothing among Men, or Beasts, or Roots, or Herbs, or Stons, or Minerals, that can be said to be truly like it; all comparisons are feeble, all resemblances faint; no Language can reach it, no Rhetorick express it, no Oratory describe it, no Pencil draw it; it surpas­es our Reason, transcends the brightest Understanding, puzzels the very Angels in Heaven, and perplexes the Spirits of Light and Glory. It is all Sea, all Ocean, all Light; it hath no Bounds, no Shores, no Limits, and the greatest that ever was said of it, or can be said of it, is St. John's Expression, 1 Joh. 4. 16. God is Love, Love it self, all Love, all Charity, all Goodness; and nothing, but such perfection, could have loved such poor pitiful Worms as we are: God looks upon our giving a cup of cold Water to a Righteous Man, as an Act of Love; O [Page 154] then what an Act of Love must it be in him, to give us himself, to give us the dearest thing he had, even his own Son! Jesus wept over Lazarus, Joh. 11. 35, 36. and the Jews said, See how he loved him! But these Tears were but drops of Water; Here the Lord Jesus is seen to weep drops of Blood for us; O then see, how he loved us! We were blinder than Bartimaeus, lamer than Mephibo­sheth, fuller of Sores than Lazarus, poorer than Job, no, Comliness, no Beauty, no Form, no Excellency ap­pear'd in us. Adam's Fall had disfigurred us, defaced us, ruin'd us; in this lamentable condition God loved us, and gave his Son to die for us; and shall not this Love be remembred in his Death?

2. This remembrance requires calling to mind our Sins, which were the cause of that Death. It's true, the Love of God was the impulsive cause, but our Sins were the instrumental cause; these brought him to the Cross, and whoever remembers his Death, must neces­sarily remember that, whereby this Death was effected and procured; this was our Sin and the Infection that at­tended it: But then, if I remember my Sins in the remem­brance of his Death, how can I remember them with­out detestation? How can I remember them without abhorrency? How can I remember them without arm­ing my Soul with resolution and arguments, to fight a­gainst them? Can I look on my neglects, and not charge them with this Death? Can I remember my Love to the World, and not accuse it of having had a hand in buffeting and reproaching of him? Can I think of my Pride and Wrath, and not bid them look on the Wounds they made in that Holy Flesh? Can I reflect on my wantonness and lustful Thoughts, Desires, Words, and Gestures, and Actions, and not be angry with them for having struck Nails into his Hands and Feet? And what is said of these particular Sins, must be ap­plied to the rest, that we are either guilty of, or most inclined to; they must be so remembred, as to be re­presented to our Minds in their odious shapes, as having been accessory to his Death; and if this be done, we [Page 155] cannot but proclaim War against them, and maintain that War all our days.

3. With this, there must needs be remembred the mighty Redemption, procured and accomplished by this Death, even our Redemption from Slavery; a Sla­very so much the worse, because we were not sensible of it; and so much more grievous, by how much it was Spi­ritual. Our Bodies indeed were not laid in Iron, nor with the Israelites, forced to make Brick without Straw: There were no Task-masters set over us, to beat, and would, and bruise us; we were not chained to Trium­phal Chariots, nor forced to work in Mines and Gallies, but it was far worse, our Souls, which were the far bet­ter part of us, were led Captive by the worst of Ty­rants; the Law we were govern'd by, was the Law of Sin; the Prison we were doom'd to, was Eternal Dark­ness; the Burdens, which were laid upon us, were in­tolerable, and we were under the Power of an Usurp­er, whose Smiles were Deaths, whose Favours were Pu­nishments, and whose Kindnesses were Destruction and Ruin; under him we labour'd and toil'd in vain, and when at night, after our Travel, we looked for Wages, we could expect nothing but Fire and Flames: We read of Dracula the Transylvanian, that having one day invi­ted all the Beggars and poor Men he could light of, to a splendid Dinner or Entertainment, after they had filled their Bellies, he set Fire to the Hall where they were, and burnt them all: The same Fare we must have ex­pected of that Tyrannical Master, under whose Bon­dage we groan'd, but from this Slavery the Son of God, by dying for us, redeemed and rescued us: A Mercy, which as it deserves to be remembred above all the de­liverances that ever happened to us, so where can the remembrance be more proper, than in the Sacrament of his Death and Passion?

4. In vain is all this remembred, if we do not remem­ber to imitate this Saviour in his Self-denying Acts; for therefore all this Mercy and Love, and Charity, is re­presented to us in this Sacrament, that it may be an [Page 156] Obligation upon us to deport our selves in the World af­ter his Example: So that, as he prayed for his Enemies, so must we; as he blessed them that cursed him, so must we; as he freely forgave the Men that wronged him, so must we; as he died for the Truth, so must we; as he defended it to the last, without wavering, so must we; as he would not suffer any outward Respects to discourage him from Conscientiousness, so neither must we; as he, before his Foes, witnessed a good Confes­sion, so must we; as he did Good for Evil, so must we; as he shewed Pity to Men in distress, though they had affronted and done him an Injury, so must we; as he bore his Cross contentedly, so must we; as he despised the World, so must we. He that remembers not his Death, so as to endeavour to be like him, forgets the End of his Redemption, and dishonours the Cross, on which his Satisfaction was wrought: For the Honour due to the Cross of Christ, is not, with the Church of Rome, to pray to a piece of Wood, called the Cross of Christ, Hail Christ's Cross, our only Hope, in this most bles­sed Passion-Week! Increase the Goodness of the Good, and Par­don to the Guilty give; but to live in the World as the Lord Jesus did, who was crucified for us; and by living so, to adorn the Doctrine of the Cross of Christ Jesus; that is to admire and reverence his Cross.

III. From such a Remembrance flow more than ordi­nary Advantages; for Things are useful, according as they are managed; and consequently, if the Remem­brance here required, be used according to the Rules laid down, these following Benefits will certainly ensue upon it. For,

1. Hereby our Love to God is kindled and renewed: Love kindles Love, as Fire kindles Fire; and therefore God appears in this Sacrament, as he did to Moses in the Bush, all in Flames of Love, that those Flames may warm our Breasts: And, O happy Soul, that feels those Flames warm and heat all that is within her! When [Page 157] Love takes possession of the Soul, or rather, when the Love of God, represented in the Sacrament, raises Love in the holy soul, then the Soul becomes the Seat of Wis­dom, the Tabernacle of Holiness, the Chamber of the Celestial Bridegroom, a spiritual Heaven, a Field which the Lord hath blessed, a Spouse dearly beloved, a Gar­den of Pleasure, the Marriage-house, a Paradise of Ver­tue, into which the Lord descends, not to find out the Malefactor, and to discover his Nakedness; but to be­troth to himself the beloved Virgin, languishing with Love waiting for her Beloved, and longing for the Bridegroom's Coming: And where this Divine Love takes place, there the Love of the World expires; for, as St. Austin speaks, He cannot love that which is Eternal, that doth not cease to love that which is Temporal. And from this Love arise those happy Breathings, O Fountain of Love! Idiot. de Am. div. cap.4. Nothing is sweeter than thy Love, nothing more pleasant, no­thing more beneficial. Thy Love is not troublesome: Where thy Love is, there is true Pleasure. It is contented with it self, it knows no Bounds, it watches Opportunities to vent it self, it triumphs in its own Cell, and captivates all the Fa­culties! Thy Love, O Lord, gives Liberty, drives out Fear, tramples upon Humane Merits: It gives Rest to the Wea­ry, Strength to the Weak, Joy to the Mourners: It feels no Weariness, it feeds the Hungry, and keeps the Faint from sinking.

2. Hereby our Consciences are purged from Dead Works. This, as it is ascribed expresly to the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant, Heb. 9. 14. so it must be at­tributed to the true Remembrance of that Blood in this Everlasting Sacrament. Such a Remembrance cleanseth the Heart, purifies the Soul, makes the Dross of Sin va­nish, and the Impurity, the Mind was oppressed withal, wear away. Such a Remembrance, like the Gift of Prophecy, Jer. 20. 9. is as a burning Fire shut up in the Bones, which consumes the Hay, and Straw, and Stubble, that annoyed the House of God: For, the Beauty of [Page 158] God's Love makes Sin appear black and ugly, and cau­ses a Loathing of it. Hereby Holiness is advanced, and Grace begins to flourish; and the Rubbish being remo­ved, the Winter of Iniquity gone, the Frost in the Soul dissolved, the Flowers of the glorious Spring appear. This Remembrance chaseth Lust and Luxury; and therefore those in whom it hath these Effects, are said to wash their Robes, and make them white in the Blood of the Lamb, Rev. 7. 14.

3. Hereby Christ is invited to dwell in us: The House being thus cleansed and swept, the Noble Guest is invi­ted to make his Abode there. This Remembrance is attractive; and where the Soul is thus affected with the Remembrance of Christ's Death, he comes and inhabits that beautiful Palace; for such a Person seems resolv'd to keep his Word: And to him the Promise runs, If a Man love me, he will keep my Words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our Abode with him, John 14. 23. A wonderful Favour, this! To have him dwelling in us, who is the Light of the World, the Light of Heaven, the Light of Angels, and the Sun of Righteousness: And from hence flows the joyful Ex­clamation of the Apostle, Gal. 2. 20. Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the Life I now live, I live by Faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me: For this Faith enlightens the Soul, gives it clear Apprehensions of Christ's Love, makes her a­ctive and lively, and teaches her to overcome the World, 1 John 5. 4.

4. This Remembrance is making Approaches to Hea­ven and Eternal Happiness: Every fresh Remembrance is another Step to Paradise. What an Encouragement is this to come to the holy Sacrament! Every time we thus remember the Death of Christ, we get nearer to the Throne on which the victorious Son of God sits, trium­phing over Hell and Devils: For the oftner he is re­membred thus, the more our Souls are elevated, and be­come [Page 159] more spiritual in their Aspirations; and the far­ther we proceed in Grace, the nearer we come to Glo­ry. Heaven, in Scripture, is compared to an Hill, and is the Mount where God is seen: Every time we come to the Table of our Lord, and remember him thus, we climb higher, and mount up with Wings, as Eagles, till at last we reach the Top, where there is a perfect Calm, no Air, no Wind, no Tempest, no infectious Breath, to disturb the Conquerors.

IV. But though the Death of Christ be the chief Ob­ject of our Remembrance at this holy Table, yet that is no Argument, but that we may lawfully remember some other Things relating to his Person, or Greatness, or Holiness; particularly,

1. His Divine Life, before he was Incarnate: A Life, which no mortal Tongue can describe: A Life, in the Explication of which, the blessed Cheruhims themselves must fall short: A Life, known to none, but to him who knows all, who hath Life in himself, and is the Life, and the Father of the Spirits of all Flesh. How truly might he say to the Jews, Joh. 8. 58. Before Abraham was, I am! He was, indeed, from all Eternity, lived in the Bosom of the Everlasting Father, and his Life was most pure, some holy, most peaceable, most pleasant, most glorious: A Life of infinite Content, of infinite Satisfa­ction, of infinite Joy, and of infinite Love: A Life spent in Eternal Love of the great Fountain of Divinity, the express Image of which he was: A Life employed in kind Thoughts to poor Mortals, and in Divine Contri­vances how their Misery might be retriv'd, their Bands loosen'd, their Dangers overcome, their Enemies van­quished, and their Souls advanced to Celestial Man­sions: A Life undisturbed by the Noise of Wars, unac­quainted with Tumults, free from all Annoyances, un­molested by the Disorders of a giddy and confused World: A Life of Eternal Calmness, which no Waves, no Billows, no Wind, no Storms, no Tempests could [Page 160] discompose: A Life of perfect Serenity, and immense Sweetness: A Life employed in the Eternal and Incom­prehensible Enjoyment of his own Perfections, and which the inspired King gives us a very lofty Description of, Prov. 1. This life Christ lived, before he was pleased to visit this benighted World with his healing Beams; and it con­cerns us to remember this Life, that from that Considera­tion, his Humiliation, in coming to dwell among us, may appear in livelier Colours.

2. To this may be added, His laborious Life here on Earth, after he was Incarnate: A Life despicable from his Infancy, contemptible from his Cradle: A Life of Poverty, a Life of great Misery, of Distress, and a Thou­sand Inconveniencies: A Life he lived, to let us know, that the meanest and most miserable outward Condition is no Lett or Impediment to our being beloved and e­steemed in Heaven: A Life he lived, to shew with what Patience and Courage we are to bear the Troubles that a merciful God lays or sends upon us: A Life he lived, to declare to his Disciples, that through many Afflictions they are to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; and are not to promise themselves great Ease and Rest here, but are to look for a Recompence in the Resurrection of the Just: A Life employed in doing good, to shew, that we are not to be idle here, but to busie our selves in that Work which will give the greatest Satisfaction, even working out our own Salvation with Fear and Trem­bling: A Life he lived for our sakes, to facilitate our Access to Pardon, and the Throne of Mercy: A Life he lived, to make our Lives comfortable; and the Re­membrance of this Life must needs inhaunce our Esteem of his unparallell'd Goodness, who could and would de­ny himself, both in the Glory of his Divinity, and the Comforts of this present Life, for our Good, and the Welfare of our Souls.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. CHrist's Example makes it lawful to set up Monu­ments of Mercies, and to preserve the Memory of any signal Deliverance or Providence, either by Ex­ternal Symbols, or by keeping Anniversaries, and Days of Devotion. Indeed, this was a very ancient Practice, countenanced by God, and warranted by his Approba­tion. It was from hence, that Moses preserved a Pot of Manna, to put After-Generations in mind how God had fed his People in the Wilderness; And Moses said, This is the thing which the Lord commandeth; Fill an Omer of it, to be kept for your Generations, that they may see the Bread wherewith I have fed you in the Wilderness, when I brought you forth out of the Land of Egypt, Exod. 16. 32. It was from hence, that Aaron's Rod budding, blossoming, and bearing Fruit, was kept in the Ark, to tell Posterity, how miraculously the Priestood was established in the Line of Aaron, and for a Token against the Rebels, as the Holy Ghost speaks, Numb. 17. 10. It was from hence, that Joshua commanded Twelve Stones to be taken out of the River Jordan; That this, says he, may be a Sign among you, that when your Children ask their Fathers in time to come, saying, What mean you by these Stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the Waters of Jordan were cut off before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, when it passed over Jordan: And these Stones shall be for a Memorial unto the Children of Israel for ever, Josh. 4. 6, 7. In imitation of these Precedents, the Jewish Church afterward, of their own Accord, unanimously agreed to keep an Anni­versary, to remember their Deliverance from the Rage of Haman, Esth. 9. 17. Both Eusebius and Sozomen tells us of a Statue which the Woman,Euseb. Hist. lib. 7. c. 17. who was cured by our Sa­viour of her Bloody Issue,Sozom. Hist. 1. 5. c. 20. erected to his Honour at Caesarea; which lasted a considerable time, till Julian the Apostate pulled it down, [Page 162] and erected his own in the room of it. After such Ex­amples, who can think it unlawful for a private Chri­stian to keep either a Fast, or a Day of Thanksgiving, when either some signal Affliction hath befallen him, or some remarkable Mercy hath happen'd to him, and to spend that Day in Exercises of Devotion; whereby he may either work his Soul into greater Detestation of his his Sins, or into greater Admiration of God's Goodness? Such Exercises the Divine Clemency accepts of, ap­proves of them, and blesses them with new Favours; repeals the Judgments threatned, and confirms the Soul in her holy Zeal, and makes those Devotions Occasions of opening the Windows of Heaven, to shower down larger Benedictions upon her.

II. It must follow from hence, that those who do not come to remember Christ's Death in this Sacrament, do strangely forget themselves: How great is their Num­ber! What vast Multitudes of Men and Women live in this Neglect! O ye, that are sensible of their Sin and Blindness, when you meet with any of them, tell them, they forget that they are Christians, they forget that their Lord and Master hath peremptorily commanded them to come, and remember him in this Feast; and that consequently they are disobedient, perverse, stub­born, wilful; and if they obey him not, are no Servants, no Children of his: For, If he be their Master, where is his Fear? If he be their Father, where is his Honour? Tell them, they forget the Danger they run into, and neg­lect the Means whereby their Souls must be snatched from the Devil's Power, and shun the Remedy that must give Health to their Souls; and therefore are guilty of the highest Contempt, and set up their carnal, shallow, bruitish Reason, againt the Infinite Wisdom of God. Tell them, they forget they have Souls to be saved, and how long it is before a Soul be wrought into a total Con­formity to Christ; and that therefore they had need be­gin betimes, and tye and engage their Souls to God, un­der the Cross of Christ, and do it often, and force them­selves [Page 163] into an holy Life. Oh, tell them, how they will repent, when it is too late, of their Neglect of so great Salvation. Tell them, Christ will not remember them in the last Day, but prosess to them, I know you not, be­cause they were not sprinkled with his Blood, and had not the Character of Christians on their Souls; which will infallibly drive them into Desparation.

III. See here, my Friends, what an Obligation the Re­membrance of Christ's Death lays upon us all, to forget the World, and to mind the greater Concerns above. Christ died to the World; his Life, his Death, and all his Actions, shewed his Contempt of this present World. He regarded not the Vanities, the Lusts, the Recrea­tions, the Slanders, the Reproaches, the Censures of the World; but for the Glory set before him, endured the Cross, and despised the Shame. Can we remember his Death in this Sacrament, and think that he did all this, only for us to admire his Actions, without transcribing all this on our own Lives? Surely, we may live in the World, and yet not be of the World; we may sojourn in the World, yet not be greedy after the World; we may mind our Work in the World, and yet not make the World our highest Good; we may converse with Men of the World, and yet not set our Hearts upon the World; we may be industrious in the World, and yet not suffer the World to ingross our Affections; we may provide for our Families in the World, and yet not conform to the World; we may eat and drink in the World, and yet not participate of the Sins of the World; we may trade and traffick in the World, and yet not have the Spirit of the World; we may suffer Afflictions in the World, and yet be far from the Sorrow of the World; we may prudently con­trive Things in the World, and yet be Strangers to the Wisdom of the World: In a Word, Our living in the World is no hindrance to our arriving to an holy Con­tempt of it: And though there be some Difficulty in this Task, yet the Necessity of the Work, and the Reward in the World to come, and Christ's Example, and the [Page 164] Apostles Practice, and God's Readiness to assist, and the All-sufficiency of Grace, are Persuasives and Encourage­ments strong enough to prevail with any Soul that is not bent upon her own Ruin.

IV. The best Defensative against Sin at any time, is, the Remembrance of Christ's Sufferings. Not only at the Sacrament, but where-ever we are, this Remem­brance is an excellent Shield in the Day of Battel. Art thou walking, art thou standing, art thou sitting, art thou going out, or coming in? Set a Bleeding Saviour before thee: When Sinners entice thee, think of thy Sa­viour's Wounds: When thou art tempted to over-reach or defraud thy Neighbour in any Matter, think of the bitter Cup thy Master drank off: When any Lust, any vain Desire rises in thy Mind, think of thy dear Redee­mer's Groans: When thy Flesh grows weary of a Duty, remember who suffered on the Cross: When thou art tempted to be indifferent in Religion, and saint in thy Mind, look upon him who made his Soul an Offering for thy Sin: When thou art loth to overcome, think of him who, by his Death, overcame him that had the Power of Death: When impatient Thoughts assault thy Mind, think of the Lamb that before his Shearers was dumb; and sure, under this sad Scene, thou wilt not dare to sin. And there is this Advantage in such a Re­membrance, that there is a Book of Remembrance writ­ten before the Lord, for them that speak often to one another, and think of his Name; insomuch that he will remember them in that Day, when he makes up his Jewels, Mal. 3. 16.

V. To remember Christ's Death in this Sacrament with greater Life and Sense, it is very necessary to re­member him often at other times: And that is the Rea­son why Christ calls himself by many familiar Names; and the Holy Ghost gives him Titles and Epithets taken from Things we daily see, that we might not look on those Things, from which he takes those Denominations, [Page 165] without remembring him. To this End, he is called a Door, Joh. 10. 9. that we might not go in or out, but think, O thou who art the Gate of Mercy, by whom whoever enters, will find Mercy; open thy Bosom to my wounded Spi­rit, and let me find Rest in thy All-sufficiency, and the Merits of thy Passion. For this Reason he is called a Sun, Mal. 4. 2. that we might not view that splendid Luminary, without thinking, O thou glorious Light, that didst shine to those that sit in Darkness; shine into my Soul, dispel the Clouds that darken my Understanding, and warm my Heart, that it may long for thy Salvation. Hence it is, that he is stiled the Morning-Star, that whenever we take notice of that Son of the Morning, of that Harbinger of the Day, we might reflect, O thou who tellest the Number of the Stars, and callest them all by their Names; rise, rise unto me, and irradiate my Inward Man, that I may delight in Vertue. Be thou my Guide, lead me to thy Kingdom, keep me from going astray, and preserve me, that I may be thine for ever. It is from hence that he is called Alpha and Omega, Rev. 1. 8. which are Letters of the Alphabet, that we might not look upon Letters in a Book, without thinking, Lord, be thou the First and the Last in all my Actions: Let me begin with thee, and end with thee: Be thou my Book; let me read the Characters of thy Love, and rejoyce in thee for ever. For this Cause he is styled a Shepherd, that whenever we cast our Eye upon a Man of that Employment, we may beg of Christ to feed us with his Spirit: And a Lamb, that when­ever we see one, we may intreat him to cloath us with his Innocence: And a Sower, that whenever we see the Hus­band-man throwing Seed into the Ground, we may beseech him to manure the Ground of our Hearts, that we may be neither barren nor unfruitful in the Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. And he that thus remembers him, in Season, and out of Season, will, without dispute, be the better able to remember him in this Sacrament: And to such a Soul, David's Saying may justly be applied, The Righteous shall be had in Everlasting Remembrance; surely he shall not be moved for ever, Psal. 112. 6.

The PRAYER.

O Blessed Redeemer, who didst remember me when I had forgetten thee, and thoughtest of me when I did not re­gard thee! When I lay buried in the common Mass of Corru­ption, thou didst not disdain to think on this forlorn Creature! Thou didst pity me, thou sawest my Misery, and it grieved thee at thy Heart: Thy Bowels yearn'd over me, and thou didst spread thy Mantle over me! O happy Remembrance! I had been lost if thou hadst not looked upon me, I had been undone if thou hadst not cast thine Eye upon me; yet how loth have I been to think of thee! What an Aversion have I had from re­membring thee! How have I shifted off all serious Reflections on thy Love! I have more delighted in Trifles, than in thee! How sweet have the Thoughts of my Corn, and Wine, and Oil been to me; and how tedious, how irksome all Contemplation of tbee! When thou hast sometimes put me in mind of thy Suf­ferings, how have I suffered Worldly Thoughts to drive thee out of my Mind! How justly mightest thou turn thy Eyes away, and hide thy Face from me! O Sweet, O Glorious Object! Ap­pear in thy Beauty, appear in thy Glory to my Mind; that I may be throughly convinced that nothing deserves my Thoughts so much as thy self. I am resolved to remember thee with greater Delight and Constancy: Help thou me. Should not I remember thee, who hast in a manner forgotten thy self, to remember me! I can remember a Temporal Deliverance; and shall not the Deliverance of my Soul, procured by thy Death, be remembred by me! I can remember a Disaster, which hath some Years agone befallen me; and shall not I remember the infinite Misery, from which thou camest to rescue me! I will think of thee in the Night-Watches, I will think of thee when I lie down, when I awake, when I rise again. In the great Ordinance of thy Supper, I will in a most solemn manner think of thee. Teach me to remember thee here with Joy, with Pleasure, with Comfort to my Soul. Here let my Thoughts of thee be sweet. Whenever I think on thy Cross, let me re­member how by thy Charity I was freed from the Curse of God. Thou becamest a Curse for me: Ought not this Mercy [Page 167] to be remembred for ever! Write it in my Mind, engrave it upon my Heart, let this Remembrance be easie to me. Chase away all Unwillingness, all Backwardness to this Duty, from my Soul. Oh, let it become natural, and make this Remem­brance profitable to me, that my Inward Man may be renewed by it Day by Day, and abound in Love; and the longer I live, the more conformable I may be to thee, sweet Jesu; to whom, with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, be all Honour and Glory, for ever, and ever. Amen.

CHAP. XIII.
Of the other Element or Part of this holy Sacra­ment, viz. the Wine, and the Cup Christ made use of in the Institution of the Eucharist.

The CONTENTS.

Red Wine, in all probability, made use of by Christ, in the In­stitution of this Sacrament: As also, Wine mixed with Wa­ter. Too great a Stress laid upon this Mixture by the Ro­man and Eastern Churches. The Cup Christ used in this Sacrament, pretended by the Romanists to be in their Pos­session. The Cups made use of by the Ancient Churches, what Matter or Substance they were of, examined. On the Sacramental Cup, anciently was engraven the Figure of a Shepherd and a Lamb. The Cup, in process of Time, chan­ged into Silver Pipes. Christ gave the Cup to the Disciples, as well as the Bread, for weighty Reasons; to shew, that the Bread and the Cup are of the same Worth; and that those who receive the one, should receive the other also. The Abuse of the Church of Rome, in denying the Cup to the Laity, laid open. Their Reasons and Arguments answered. Why Christ made use of Wine in this Sacrament, discovered in five Particulars. The Reasons why he made use of a Cup, and no other Vessel. An Enquiry made, why Christ took the Cup, after he had done with the Cup in the Passover. The Cup in this Sacrament, contrary in its Effects to Circe's Cup among the Heathens. None fit to drink of this Cup, but Men of Valour and Courage. This Cup very comfort­able to all distressed Spirits. The Prayer.

I. THough it be not very material to know what Wine it was, Christ made use of in the Institution of this Sacrament, what Colour it was of, or whether it [Page 169] was pure and unmix'd; yet we have Reason to believe that it was Red Wine, and Wine mix'd with Water. Red, because this was the usual Wine among the Jews, and therefore called The Blood of the Grape, Gen. 49. 11. And when the Royal Prophet would express God's Ven­geance upon the Wicked and Incorrigible by Wine, he saith, The Wine is red, Psal. 75. 8. And this sort of Wine did best represent the Blood of Christ, which was to be spilt for the Sins of the World, and to make a consider­able Figure in this Sacrament. And to this purpose is that famous Prophecy, Esay 63. 1, 2, 3. Who is this that comes from Edom, with died Garments from Bozra? Where­fore art thou red in thy Apparel, and thy Garments like him that treads in the Wine-Fat? Which Words, as, by the Consent of Interpreters, they relate to Christ's Death, and bearing the Burthen of God's Anger for our Trans­gressions, so they at once express the Blood of Christ, and the Colour of the Wine that was most in use among the Jews; and consequently, 'tis very likely that Christ made use of Red Wine in this Ordinance. And as it was Red, so it is probable it was Wine mixed with Water, this also being customary in that Country, as we see, Prov. 9. 2. in which our Blessed Master lived during his Abode in the World. The Evangelists, indeed, mention no such Thing; but, in general, only tell us, that it was the Fruit of the Vine, Christ and his Disciples drank of: And this sufficiently justifies the use of pure Wine in our Churches, when the Eucharist is celebrated: And though the Jews are very peremptory in asserting, that it was the Practice of their Fore-fathers, in the Passover, as well as at other Times, to mingle Water with their Wine, which is the only Thing that makes it likely that Christ did not vary in the Institution of this Sacrament, from the Custom of using mix'd Wine; yet since the Book of God, where­by we are to be governed, is silent as to this Mixture, it follows, at least, that the Christian Churches are left to their liberty to use either pure or mixed Wine in this Sacrament. The Roman Church, at this Day, makes it a piece of Religion to use Wine mingled with Water in the [Page 170] Cup the Priest drinks of in the Celebration of the Mass. The Eastern Churches keep up the same Custom. The Armenian Christians heretofore used pure Wine, but they were censured for doing so in the Sixth Council in Trullo. And it is a very strange Uncharitableness in Theophilact, to curse these Armenian Christians for this Omission: Let them be confounded, saith he, because they mingle not Water with their Wine in the Mystery of the Eucharist. The Greeks, who are strangely superstitious, do warm their Water before they mingle it with the Wine, thereby to repre­sent the warm Blood and Water that flowed from Christ's Side after his Death: And, indeed, this was the great Reason why the Churches of old did use Wine and Water in this Sacrament,Zonar. ad Can. 32. Conc. in Trulio. thereby to put the Congregation in mind of that Blood and Water which ran out when the profane Soldier ran his Spear into Christ's Side; though some think, that the Mystery of it was to express the two Sacraments, Christ had bequeathed to his Church and Followers.Epiphan. Haer. 46. & August. Haer. 64 Philastr. Haer. 77. There were a sort of Here­ticks in the Ancient Church, who made use of Water only in the Eucharist, as thinking the Use of Wine unlawful, and an Invention of the Powers of Darkness: But the Church condemned them, as profane; and thought them unfit for her Communion. And yet, were it so, that Chri­stians lived in a Country, or Place, where they are in no possibility of getting Wine, it is not to be doubted, but that any other Liquor, which Men commonly drink, and refresh their fainting Spirits with, may lawfully be made use of, as a Symbol, or outward Sign of that in­ward spiritual Grace, which we apprehend to be in the Blood of the Ever-blessed JESUS. At this Day, in the Churches of Aethiopia, Ludolph. Histor. Aeth. l. 3. c. 6. where Wine is scarce, the Priests, in the Eucharist, make use of a Liquor, made of Water and the Stones of Raisins, bruised and infused in it; and yet, even to this Liquor they add more Water, to ob­serve the Custom before-mentioned. The same Liquor [Page 171] is used by the Cophites in Egypt, and by the Christians of St. Thomas in the Indies. And we read of others, who, for want of Wine, have kept a Linen Cloth by them, dipped in Wine, and dried; and when they had Occa­sion to celebrate the Lord's Supper, have wetted that Cloth, and made use of the Liquor thus expressed, instead of Wine: A Custom condemned, indeed, by Pope Julius; who, in case of Necessity, permitted a Bunch of Grapes to be bruised, and mingled with Water. But how can a certain Law be prescribed to People that have neither Grapes nor Wine; as it happens in many Countries far distant from the Sea?

II. As to the Cup, out of which Christ and his Disci­ples drank the Sacramental Wine, some have been so cu­rious, as to enquire, not only into the Matter, but also the Form or Shape of it. The more superstitious Sort in the Church of Rome, contend, that this Cup was of Sil­ver; and not a few among them believe, at least pretend, they have the very Cup Christ used in the first Institution of this Sacrament: But the Mischief is, that this Cup is to be seen in divers Places; at Rome, at Valentia, at Doway, at Lions, and in Helvetia: So that either none of all these Pretenders have it; or if one have the right, the rest must be Impostures; or if all have it, it must, since that time, be miraculously multiplied; which, I think, may as well be believed as Transubstantiation. The Evangelists did not think it worth while to mention any thing about it; and whether the Cup, he used, was of Earth, or Tin, or Silver, or Gold, or Stone, or Wood, tends not much to Edification. St. Chrysostom saith appositely, Though the Cup the Apostles received, and drank of, was not of Gold, yet tremendous it was, and full of Majesty and Splendour, because it was full of the Holy Ghost. 'Tis very probable, that in the more innocent Ages of the Church, when Simplicity and Godly Sincerity flourished, Christians were conten­ted with Wooden Cups, as they are at this Day in the Church of Aethiopia: These were afterwards changed into Glass; and as in progress of Time, Plenty, and the [Page 172] People's Liberality increased, and the Church fell to imi­tate the Grandeur of Courts; Cups of Silver and Gold, and sometimes decked with Precious Stones, were made use of: Which occasioned that witty Saying of Boniface the Martyr, when one asked him whether it was proper to make use of Wooden Vessels in the Sacrament; his Reply was, Heretofore the Church had Golden Ministers, and Wooden Chalices; but now we see Golden Chalices, and Woo­den Priests; because the Time he lived in was very bar­ren of vertuous and learned Men.Platin. in Zephy­rin. 1. We are told by some Historians, that Pope Zephyrinus was the first that brought in Chalices of Glass, about the Year of our Lord, 198. where­as before they had been all of Wood. And to this pur­pose St. Jerome, some time after, tells us of Exuperius, the famous Bishop of Tholouse, that he used to carry the Consecrated Bread in a Wicker Basket, and the Holy Wine in a Vial of Glass; yet they began very early, espe­cially in the greater Cities, to bring in Pomp and Gran­deur about the Vessels used in the holy Communion; as, at Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, and in other weal­thy and populous Places; which made Julian the Apo­state, seeing the rich Communion-Vessels, say scoffingly, How splendidly is the Son of Mary served? In a word, 'Tis like, as soon as the Church began to enjoy Quiet and Ease, under Constantine's Reign, Prosperity being impatient of mean and plain Usages, Men began to change the Primitive Simplicity into more stately ways of Administration of this Sacrament: Not that there is any hurt in using Silver or Golden Cups in this Sacra­ment, but so much I thought sit to mention, to shew, that as the Gospel takes notice of no such thing, as the Matter the Cup was made of, so there is no Stress to be laid upon it; and a peaceable Christian is, in this Case, to follow the Usages of the Church he lives in, and to look chiefly to the spiritual Frame of his Heart; for if that be as it should be, it is indifferent what Matter the Cup is made of in the Administration of this Ordinance. As to the Figure, Form or Shape of the Cup Christ [Page 173] made use of, Tradition saith, It was a Cup with two Han­dles, holding a Quart of Wine. 'Tis true, the Jews, in their Passover, made use of such a Measure, which was therefore called Robiit, [...] or a Fourth Part; and Christ might possibly accommodate himself to that Custom, the rather because it was a Cup that all the Disciples drank of, according to Christ's Order, Drink ye all of it; yet this is still conjectural only, and there­fore the Christian Churches are in this Case left to their Prudence and Discretion. Tertullian tells us, (and he lived about the Beginning of the Third Century,) that in his Days there was engraven on the sacred Chalice the Figure of a Shepherd, carrying a Lamb upon his Shoulders; an Emblem either of the Parable, Luk. 15. 4, 5. or of the Son of God, who walked through the Wilderness of this World, to seek those which were lost; and having found them, brought them back to the Fold again, and to his Father's House. But see how soon an innocent Custom draws on more dangerous Practices: In process of time, the holy Cup in the Sacrament be­gan to be adorned with various Images and Inscriptions: Such was the Cup which Remigius, Archbishop of Rhemes, who died in the Year 535. bequeathed to his Church, with this Inscription, Out of this Cup the People drink Life and Happiness, through the Blood of Christ Jesus. As Su­perstition afterward increased, instead of Silver Cups the People made use of, the Monks invented little Silver Pipes, through which the People were to suck the holy Wine out of the Cup the Priest made use of; which is the Reason why, in the Rules of the Carthusian Monks, this, among the rest, was one, That they shall have nothing of Silver in their Colleges, save only a Silver Chalice, and Silver Pipes, through which the Lay-men are to suck the Blood of Christ. These Things are hinted here, to shew how necessary it is to keep up to the Primitive Institution of this Sacrament; for if once Men presume to deviate from that Simplicity, they know not where to stop, and they will be tempted to hancker after new Devices and Inventions every Day.

[Page 174] III. That Christ gave the Cup to his Disciples, as well as the Bread, is evident from the Institution. And the Reasons were these:

1. To shew, that this part of the Sacrament is of the same worth and value with the other, and that we are to esteem the sacred Cup as highly as we do the Bread; for as the former represented his broken Body, so this, his spilt and flowing Blood: Nay, if there be any Pre­eminence in the one above the other, it must be ascri­bed to the Cup, or the Blood of Christ, represented by the Wine in the Cup; for upon the Blood of the Son of God the weight of Redemption lies, according to what the Apostle tells us, Heb. 9. 11, 12. But Christ being be­come an High-Priest of good Things to come, by a greater and more perfect Tabernacle, not made with Hands; that is, not of this Building, neither by the Blood of Goats and Calves, but by his own Blood he enter'd in once into the Holy Place, having obtained Eternal Redemption for us: And, Without shedding of Blood, there is no Remission; as it is, Vers. 22. And this shews how miserably the poor People are de­luded in the Modern Church of Rome, in that they are denied the Cup in this Ordinance; for hereby they are deprived of that which should afford them the greatest Comfort, and assure them of the Remission of their Sins: For, if the great Stress of Redemption must be laid on the Blood of Christ, and they are deprived of that part of the Sacrament which properly and immediately re­presents his Blood, which was shed for the Remission of their Sins, it must necessarily follow, that they are in­tolerably cheated: And what Assurance can they have from this Sacrament, that their Sins are, or will be par­doned, when they receive not that which must assure them of it? So that the Laity in that Church are left in a most uncomfortable Condition. Nor will it avail much to say, that the People believe that they receive the Blood in the Bread; for it is not Fancy or Imagination that will do any good here. Christ, certainly, did not think [Page 175] so, which made him appoint a distinct Symbol for his Blood; and, but that they are not to believe their own Senses in that Church, their Eyes and Tongues might convince them, that they do not remember the shedding of Christ's Blood for the Remission of their Sins, by drink­ing of the Wine designed for that purpose: For,

2. Christ, in giving the Cup to his Disciples, as well as the Bread, intimated thereby, that those who received the one, should receive the other also. This hath been the Sense of the Christian Church for many Hundred Years after Christ: The Greek, from the Apostles Days, to this Hour, hath inferred, and doth infer so much; and even the Latin Church, for above a Thousand Years,Georg Cassand. Consult Art. 22. was of the same Opinion. 'Tis true, in the Church of Rome, the Priest drinks of the consecrated Cup, as well as eats the consecrated Wafer: But what have the poor Sheep, the Lay-men done, that they must be excluded from the Cup? The Apostles, 'tis granted, were Priests; but they received not the holy Sacrament as Priests, but as Believers: Christ, at that time was the Priest that ad­ministred the holy Symbols to them; and Children can tell, that, according to this way of arguing, the People ought not to receive the holy Bread, because the Apo­stles were Priests when they received it. However, to do even an Enemy right, the Church of Rome is ingenuous enough in their maintaining of this Sacrilege; for the Council of Constance expresly tells us, That though Christ gave the Sacrament to his Disciples in both kinds, Concil. Constant. Sess. 13. and though in the Primitive Church, this Sacrament was received by the Faith­ful in both Kinds, yet notwithstanding all this, the Fa­thers of that Council think it fit to abrogate that Custom, and threaten the Priest with Excommunication, that shall offer to give the consecrated Wine or Cup to the Common People. And, I confess, this is plain Dealing, but in the worst Sense; as Men do justifie their Sins, and boast of their Iniquities: And with what Conscience [Page 176] any Person can be of that Church, that doth assert, and defend, and obliges her Members to comply with such manifest contrariety to the Doctrine of Christ, I know not. This I know, that Obedience to the Precepts of the Gospel is a commanded Duty, and they are ex­cluded from Christ's Favour and Friendship, that will not keep his Words; and all pretences of Love are re­jected, as Pageantry, where obedience to his Com­mands is not the product of that Love; and consequent­ly, they can expect but little Favour of him, that know­ing their Master's Will, will not do it; and being con­vinced, that he hath given this general Rule, Drink ye all of this, prefer their own Fancies, and would rather break his Command, than either acknowledge them­selves in an error, or return to the Truth, which they have forsaken.

IV. That which gave occasion to this Sacrilege in the Church of Rome, was partly the pride of the Clergy, who by receiving in both kinds, would needs distinguish them selves from the Laity; partly the Asservation, or keep­ing of the consecrated Bread in some Houses, practised by inconsiderate People in ancient times; partly the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, for the Roman Clergy per­ceiving, that the People would never receive this absurd Doctrine, if they did not make them believe that in the Wa [...]er they received Christ's Blood, as well as his Body, thereupon denied them the Cup; partly some frivolous pretences, as, that in some places Wine could not be had, others were abstemious, and naturally hated Wine; some had long Beards, and might spill the Holy Wine upon them; and some had the Palsie in their Hands, whereby they might let the Cup fall; &c. Pretences which the Primitive Church did not so much as dream of. It is certain, that this Sa­crament is a Feast, and as any ordinary Feast would look strange, if no drink were given to the Guests, so the Sacrament in the Roman Church, loses the name of a Spiritual Feast, by their denying the Cup to the Laity: And one may justly wonder, how, in that Church, [Page 177] they can understand the 6th Chapter of St. John's Gos­pel of the Holy Sacrament, since it is expresly added, v. 53. Except ye drink the Blood of the Son of Man, you have no Life in you: This very place did so much pinch Aeneas Sylvius, who was afterwards Pope, by the name of Pius II. that when the Bohemians and Taborites, de­manded the Cup in the Sacrament, upon that saying of Christ, he had no other way to extricate himself, but by alledging, that in that Chapter Christ did not speak of the Sacrament at all, but only of Spiritually Eating and Drinking, in general, viz. by Faith, or practical Belief of his Doctrine. And this Opinion, not a few of the Romanists are forc'd to espouse; yet the generality of them understand it of the Sacrament, and how the Peo­ple can content themselves under such a threatning, if that be the sense, I cannot comprehend. And though some of them plead, that there is a difference betwixt the Institution and a Precept; and though Christ insti­tuted this Sacrament in both kinds, yet he did not com­mand it to be received in both kinds; yet who sees not the weakness of this Exception, since Christ hath comman­ded us to use and administer this Sacrament, as he hath used it, and expresly adds a Command concerning the Cup, Drink ye all of this. And though in Luk 24. 30. Christ is said to be known of the Disciples by his break­ing of Bread, yet from hence it follows not, that by that breaking of Bread is meant the Eucharist, nor if we grant­ed, that the Eucharist is to be understood there, that therefore they had no Wine, since the whole action is commonly expressed by breaking of Bread, as Act 2, 42. And if this were granted, it would follow, that Christ consecrated only in one kind, which they of the Church of Rome themselves will not allow. But they, that from such expressions would infer, that Bread only was used in the Eucharist, betray their stupid ignorance of the Customs and Expressions, used among the Jews, who commonly called any Meal whatsoever, where all sorts of Food and Drink were used, by the Name of break­ing Bread; and to break Bread with a Man, was as much [Page 178] as to Dine or to Sup with him: And so the Grecians, from the other part of a Meal, called it [...], or Drinking together, as the Jews call a Feast [...] Mishteh, or Drinking; though Meat as well as Drink, was set upon the Table.Hist. Eccl. l. 13. C. 7. What some alledge out of Nicephorus, concerning a Woman, in St. Chrysostom's time, infected with the He­resie of Macedonius, who coming to receive the Com­munion, substituted or took common Bread, instead of the Sacramental Bread, which thereupon, by a Mira­cacle, was turned into a Stone, and would infer from thence, that the Laity, at that time, received the Bread only, is altogether insignificant; for not to men­tion that that Story may justly be suspected of Falshood, since St. Chrysostome himself makes no mention of it, it's evident from his Writings, that the Laity in his time received the Communion in both kinds; and if such a Miracle had been wrought before she received the Cup, how doth it follow from thence, that none of the other Communicants, which were present, did receive the Cup? God might, by that Miracle, shew and discover to her, her unworthy receiving, whereby being fright­ed, she might be afraid of receiving the other part of the Sacrament; yet still, that doth not make it out, that the Communion was in those days received only in one kind: And besides, what would the practice of a parti­cular Church signifie, if it contradicted both the pra­ctice of Christ, and of all other Churches? That the Sa­cramental Bread was carried home, kept and preserved by some in Boxes at their own Houses, which in case of necessity or imminent danger, they made use of, we deny not; but the practice of particular Persons is no Law, no Prescription, and the Papists themselves will not allow Lay-men to keep the consecrated Wafer in their Houses, and to communicate without a Priest: So that this practice of particular Persons, neither in­fers the lawfulness of it, nor the lawfulness of commu­nicating in one kind. The Primitive Churches were ve­ry much against this keeping of the consecrated Bread, [Page 179] or carrying of it home; for in St. Jerom's after the Communion,Hierom. in 1 Cor. 2. if any of the conse­crated Bread were left, the Communicants divided,Hist. Fccl. l. 17. c. 25. and eat it up; Nicephorus assures us, that it was the custom of the Church of Con­stantinople, for many years together, that if after the Communion, much Bread were left, more than the Ministers present could eat, the Boys, that were Fasting, were called from their School, and had liber­ty given them to eat it up. In Hesycheus's time,Hesych. in Levit. 18. it was customary, if after the Com­munion any Bread remained, to burn it, And in the Council of Caesar Augusta, Can. 3. about the Year of Christ 513. it was decreed, that if any did not eat all the Bread in the Eucharist, that was gi­ven him, but did carry it home, he should stand Ex­municated for ever. So that, whatever the practice of some particular persons was, the Church, we see, pro­tested against it, and abrogated it, partly because there was no example for this keeping of the Bread at home, in the Gospel, partly because it might, as afterward it did, give occasion to many Superstitions, as indeed the asservation of the consecrated Waser in the Church of Rome at this day, is nothing else; for they keep it in Boxes or Chests, that they may carry it about, and pro­mote the Adoration of it in the Circumgestation; and when any great Fire, or Wind, or Tempest happens, this is pretended to have great Virtue, either to lessen or avert those evils. It is pleaded commonly, that the Laity may, with greater convenience, receive only in one kind, and with as much profit to, as if they recei­ved in both; but that this is false, appears from hence,

1. Because nothing can be convenient for the Laity, that is against Christ's Institution and Command; and as the Bread is to lead them to the contemplation of Christ's Crucified Body, so the Cup is to direct them to fix their Thoughts on the Blood he spilt for them. And if this way of reasoning were just, why should it not be [Page 180] as convenient for the Priest to receive in one kind, as for the Laity?

2. Because the Profit that is to be received by the Communion, must be received in that method and or­der, that Christ hath thought fit to dispense it; and since Christ thought it most proper, that this Profit should be received by communicating in both kinds, to ex­pect Profit contrary to Christ's design and intention, is to deceive our selves. Some of the Papists themselves grant, and it was asserted by several in the Council of Trent, That greater Grace and Comfort was to be recei­ved by Communion in both kinds, than by Communi­on in one only; and there were some of the Primitive Fathers, that thought that the Bread extended its Vir­tue to the Body only, but the Wine to the Soul; and if this were to be allow'd of, the Laity, in the Church of Rome, must be either supposed to have no Souls, or that their Souls receive no Profit by the Sacrament, since they are denied the Wine. But however, if Commu­nion in one kind be so profitable for the Laity, why should it not be as profitable for the Clergy?

V. Why Christ made use of Wine in the Institution of this Sacrament, several Reasons may be given: As,

1. One great property of Wine is, to give Man a chear­ful countenance, and to make glad the Heart, Psal. 104. 15. And surely this was to let us see, what joy our Souls are to express at the remembrance of God's Compassion and Charity; a joy, which will appear very rational, if we frame right apprehensions of our natural condition; for, let me take a view of the state of my Soul abstract­edly from Christ's mediation and God's Love; I shall appear to my self a creature forsaken of God, destitute of Mercy, deprived of hopes of Pardon, an object of Wrath, a scorn of Angels, the sport of Devils, a com­panion of Reprobates, a prey to ravenous Birds, an heir of the burning Lake, a subject of Damnation, a slave [Page 181] to the worst of Masters, hated by Heaven, condemned by mine own Conscience, and in a worse condition than the Beasts that perish; and let me suppose that I were surrounded by Wolves and Lions, in a barren Wilderness, Vipers and Serpents crawling about my heels, every moment in danger of being torn to pieces, and in danger of a cruel, lingring, and barbarous death; and in these sad circumstances, should some kind Deli­verer leap from behind a Thicket, or come riding to­ward from afar, to rescue me from this impendent ruin, how should I rejoyce at the unexpected and unlook'd for Providence! My case, by nature, is much worse; for wild Beasts may devour me, and make an end of my pain: but here I find my self beset with hellish furies, so far from being willing to make an end of my life and pain together, that they seem resolved to increase it dai­ly; and no Angel, no Lazarus, no Messenger out of the Clouds, vouchsafes a drop of Water; and therefore, in so deplorable an estate, to see the Son of God sprig­ing in, and flying to my rescue, and crying, I will heal thy backslidings, and unto my Enemies round about me, O death, I will be thy Plague, O grave, I will be thy destruction; what joy, what gladness, what comfort must this cause!

2. By Wine he represented the everlasting joys, he intended to purchase for his followers, by his bitter death and passion; he himself gives us a hint of this, Matth. 26. 29. I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of this Vine, un­til the day that I drink it new with you in my Father's king­dom, i. e. Of this material Wine, I shall, after this, drink no more in your company; but when you are ad­vanced to the Joys and Glories of my Father's Kingdom, then I'll Drink and Feast with you again; and the Wine, I will then give you to drink of, shall be new Wine, in­finitely different from this Wine, which shall have others effects, and other operations: Wine, which the dull World is a stranger to; Wine, which Glut [...]ons and Drunk­ards shall never taste of; Wine, that shall fill your Souls with the purest Joy's with Delights, purely Spiritual and [Page 182] Celestial; so that these everlasting Joys may be called [...], Wine fulfilled, as St. Luke speaks of the Bread, Luke 22. 16. And then the Wine may be said to be compleated and fulfilled, when that, which is repre­sented by it, is actually fulfilled and conferred on the person, who are counted worthy of it. The Joys above, are the Wine of Angels; this Wine is the clear vision of God, or the Glorious sight of the Fountain of Light and Beatitude; this inebriates their Understandings, ir­rigates the Spirits of Men made perfect, makes them drunk with Joy, and their Reason is lost in Raptures and Extasies; and therefore justly styled Joy, which Eye hath not seen, and Ear hath not heard, and Heart cannot conceive: The Souls of Men, it seems, are channels too narrow to hold those joys; they over-run the Banks; and as the flame of a Candle is lost in the brighter Sun-shine, so the Divine Light in Heaven shining upon Souls, they are, as it were, lost in that Glorious splendor.

3. Wine is the Emblem of Wisdom too; so much we may guess from what we read, Prov. 9. 1, 5. Wisdom hath built her a bouse, she hath hewen out her seven Pillars, she hath kill'd her Beasts, she hath mingled her Wine, she cries Come eat of my Bread, and drink of the Wine that I have mingled: So that we have reason to conclude, that our Saviour in using Wine in this Sacrament, would express the necessity of a vigorous application of our Minds to spiritual Wisdom, even to that Wisdom which drives out sensuality, expels the Wisdom of the Flesh, despises the Wisdom of the World, and values Christian simplicity above all words which human Wisdom teaches; Wisdom which seems folly in the eyes of the World, but is really an effect of the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding; Wisdom, which concludes, If Christ hath done for me, what the Scripture saith he hath, laid down his life, spilt his blood, sacrificed himself, given himself a ransom for me, a mercy without which I could neither have been safe nor happy, and a share in which must needs be more to me, than the wealth of Kings: What can be more reasonable than that he should be my [Page 183] Master, and I his Servant, that he should command, and I obey, that he should govern, and I submit; that he should prescribe Laws, and I act according to those Laws, whatever Danger, whatever Trouble, whatever Inconvenience I put my self to. This is the Wisdom of God, or rather infused by God into the Soul; and if any sort of wisdom were hinted by Christ's using Wine in this Ordinance, it must be this Wisdom; for this is gratitude and ingenuity, and an argument, that we receive not the grace of God in vain.

4. Wine hath briskness and spirit in it, and might not this be an Item to tell us, how lively and vigorous our Love should be to Christ Jesus? and how like new Wine, our Love should be ready to burst the bottles, at least vent it self in some such ejaculations? Oh Jesu, how sweet, how lovely. how amiable art thou, how full of Beauty, how full of Glory, how full of Majesty in the midst of all thy pain and sorrow! Thy wounds look dismal, yet was never any thing more medicinal, never did any thing afford greater virtue; for they can cure sin, they are preservatives from Hell, and the surest Amulets against inffection; from these the costly Balsom flows, that must restore my wounded Soul! Oh how I love thee! Oh how I prize thee! Oh how I esteem thee! Thou art more to me than Father or Mother, more than Lands or Houses: I read of Fountains that flow'd with Oyl, when thou wast born, but that's no comfort to me; Thy wounds are the springs that send forth an Oyl precious and sweet, and odoriferous, whereby the diseases of my Heart are expell'd; This is the Oyl of gladness, anoint my Head with it, and from thence let it run down to the skirts of my cloathing, that my whole Man may be thine, and my Soul and Body, and all I have, may participate of thy grace and compassion!

5. Wine is cleansing too, and might not this be an hint of the purifying quality of the Blood of the Holy Jesus? Surely that Blood cleanses us from all sins it wash­es whiter than Snow, Fullers-Earth is not to be com­par'd with it. Though the Sinner wash himself with [Page 184] Nitre, and take much Soap, to purifie his Soul, yet that will not take away one spot, still his iniquity will be mark'd before God; but the Blood of Christ will make him clean, so clean, that God will spy no iniquity in Jacob, and no perverseness in Israel; so clean, that no wrinkle shall appear in him; one would think nothing could have been more filthy than some sinners have been, yet upon their Repentance, the Blood of Christ hath so purified, so cleans'd, so beautified their Souls, that even Angels have fall'n in love with them.

VI. That Christ made use of a Cup in the distributi­tion of the Wine, we have already taken notice of; but whether there might not be some mystery in his making use of a Cup, and no other Vessel, is a thing worth our consideration. And.

1. The Prophets had spoken of a Cup of trembling, and of a Cup of God's fury, Es. 51. 17. Jerem. 25. 15, 17, 18. This Cup the Jewish Nation was to drink of, their Commonwealth and Policy was to be destroy'd, and inexpressible Calamities were to light on them; and the second Captivity was to be worse than the first, as their Sins that caused the second, were greater than those which occasioned the first; Miseries so great, that when Christ beheld the City, he wept over it, and said, The days will come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy chil­dren within thee, and they shall not leave in thee one stone up­on another, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitati­on, Luk. 19. 41, 43, 44. This was the Cup of astonish­ment, that unhappy Nation was to drink of, so that his making use of a Cup, was an allusion to that misery; for now the time drew near, and they were going to do that, which would hasten their ruin, viz. kill the Lord of Glory, and their greatest Friend.

[Page 185] 2. Himself was to drink the Cup of the Lord's fury, to atone for the Sins both of Jews and Gentiles, and of this, the Cup he took was an Emblem. He had gene­rously and freely undertaken to open to Mankind a way to God's Favour. This way could not be made, con­sidering the Decree of God, but by his Sufferings; and and accordingly we find him drinking so deep of this Cup, that in the Garden of Gethsemane, he falls into an Agony, and his Sweat was, as it were, great drops of Blood falling to the ground, Luk. 22. 44. That which made this Cup so bitter, was the greatness of the sins of Man­kind, and the dreadful wrath of God they had deserv'd, particularly the monstrous sins of the Jewish Nation, to whom the first offers of Grace were made, and the unspeakable temporal calamities which were to come upon them for their perfidiousness, and contempt of the greatest mercies, and their total desolation and de­struction, for their hardness and wilful stupidity. These, as they were represented to his Mind in a lively manner, so it caused prodigious Grief in his Soul, insomuch that he profess'd his Soul was sorrowful unto death; This was a Cup, the most loathsome that ever mortal did take, and therefore he calls it by that name, Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from me, Luke 22. 42. He takes therefore a Cup here, that his Followers in future ages might think of the Cup he had drunk of, with so much terror and consternation.

A Cup he took, to let us see, that the Cup he took in this Sacrament, was the true Cup of Salvation: we find mention made of a Cup of Salvation, and of a Cup of Con­solation, Psal. 116. 13. and Jer. 16. 7. But the Cup in this Sacrament is of a far greater virtue. The Cup of Sal­vation among the Jews, was either the Cup of Wine they made use of in the Passover, or the Cup they drank of at Festivals or Feasts, when they rejoyced with their Friends, after some signal Mercy and Deliverance. The Cup of Consolation was properly that, which they gave [Page 186] to Mourners at Funerals, especially where People took on excessively for the death of their near Relations, or were ready to sink with Grief; But the Cup in this Sa­crament, is a Cup of Salvation and Consolation in a sub­limer Sense. By the Blood of Christ, Mankind was made capable of inheriting Life and Eternal Salvation, which is beyond being saved from Egypt, from the Mi­dianites, from the Assyrians, and from the Chaldeans, so that he that drinks of this Blood contain'd in the Sacra­mental Cup, and drinks like a thirsty Man, with a thirst after Righteousness, drinks Salvation, drinks everlasting Mercy, drinks to the content and satisfaction of his Soul, and out of his belly shall flow fountains of living wa­ters, i. e streams of Grace and Goodness shall flow from his Heart, to the watering and enriching of those that are round about him, John 7. 38. And this must needs make it a Cup of Consolation; for what greater comfort can there be, than to drink the rich draught of Pardon, of Peace, and Mercy, and Joy in the Holy Ghost, as every Soul is supposed to do, that comes to this Ordinance, with unfeigned Resolutions to have her conversation in Heaven.

4. A Cup he took, to put us in mind how necessary God's Goodness, Favour and Providence is to us, for this was expressed in the Law, by making God the Por­tion of their Cup, as we see, Psal. 16. 5. The Lord is the Portion of my Inheritance, and of my Cup; a phrase much used among the Jews of the devouter sort, when they would declare, not only their interest in God's special Providence, but the necessity of having a Right and Ti­tle to it. A Cup is a necessary Utensil in a Family and there is scarce any person so poor and needy, as to, want a Cup; so hereby they expressed both the absolute necessity of having a special interest in God's Love, and the possibility the poorest body was in, to arrive to this Priviledge. A Man may be happy without Lands and Houses, and happy without an Estate, without Fa­ther and Mother, without Children, without a Prince's [Page 187] Favour; but he cannot be happy without an interest in God's Gracious inclinations and Complacency. Even an Idolatrous Laban, Gen. 31. 30. was in some measure sensible of this Truth; for when Rachel had stollen her Father's Images, he seem'd to be much concern'd for them; If thou wouldst needs be gone, wherefore hast thou stollen my gods? As if he had said, I could have been con­tent with thy taking away my Daughters, my Grand­children, my Cattle, and my Sheep; but to steal my gods, than which nothing is more dear, or more neces­sary to me, this I cannot brook. A Cup therefore Christ made use of in this Sacrament, to tell us of what con­cernment it is to have God for our Friend; and if he be our Portion, we need no more; if he be the portion of our Cup, we have Wealth and Bliss enough, and may defie all the Powers of Hell, who in this case may assault, but cannot prevail against us. Indeed if Christ be ours, and will vouchsafe to intercede for us, we are more than Conquerors. O Jesu; Thou art our All, our Crown, our Glory; if thou be for us, we need not fear who is against us! Let thy Wounds be ours, and our wounded Spirits will be at rest: O tell us, that thine Agonies are ours, and we will tri­umph over death, and sing, O Death where is thy Sting! O Grave where is thy Victory.

5. A Cup he took, to bid us mind what he had so of­ten told the Pharisees, and to hint to us, that, whenever we see this Cup in the Sacrament, we ought to ask our Hearts, whether we make clean the inside of the Cup and Platter; as the expression is Matth. 23. 27. i. e. Whe­ther we purifie our inward Man, our Souls and Spirits, from those covetous, disorderly, unclean Desires, Thoughts and Imaginations, which are so apt to harbor there. True Religion is no outside business, but must be rooted in us, and a Sense of the Love of God, must be riveted into our Spirits, that there, God may become truly amiable to us, and what we feel within, may force, as it were, the outward Man into a suitable Fruitfulness. Most Mens Religion, like their Cloaths, adorns only the [Page 188] ovtward Man, and saying their Prayers, going to Church, and doing such little things as are no trouble to their Lusts, or sinful Appetite, are the principal Ingredients of their Divinity; but this is not the Light, which Christ's Religion gives, for that strikes the Understanding, works upon the Will, and puts all that is within us into Fermentation; This cleanses the Heart from filthiness, the Thoughts from vanity, the Mind from prejudice, the Affections from love of the World, from malice, hatred, and supercilious contempt of our Neighbors, and the desires from revenge and greediness after the Shells and Husks of outward Comforts; so that true Religion is a new Principle, which produces a new Creature, and newness of Life, 2 Cor. 5 17.

6. And why may not we piously believe, that his ma­king use of a Cup, was also to encourage our Charity and Hospitality, expressed sometimes by giving a Cup of cold water to a Disciple, in the name of a Disciple, Matth. 10. 42. He that knows any thing of this Holy Sacra­ment, knows, it is a Feast of Charity, a Feast, at which we remember our Spiritual Poverty, and lying at the Gate of Heaven, fuller of Sores, than the famous Beggar before the Palace of Dives; and can the undeserved, un­expected, and inexpressible Charity of God to our Souls, shine in our Faces, and not warm our Hearts, and Bow­els into compassion, and commiseration to the poor and needy, such especially as are of the Houshold of Faith? If we are so low in the world, and Providence hath put us in so mean a condition, that we can give no more than a Cup of cold water, and do but run to the next Well or River, and fill the Cup, and bring it to a di­stress'd and fainting Christian, a good Man, and a Di­sciple of our Lord, even that shall be interpreted favou­rably, and God will find out a recompence for it; a recompence, which shall make the Giver sensible, that it was for that Cup he gave, that he receives that Mercy; provided still, that this Charity proceeds from a sense of the Love of God, and tenderness to the necessities of [Page 189] the Humble Man. This consideration one would think should be baulked by none that comes to the Lord's Table, where the Lame, and Blind, and Maim'd are entertain'd; for such abasing Thoughts of our selves, we are to entertain here; and if so, How easie, how na­tural is the Inference? If so miserable a Creature as I, am feasted here, and God gives Bread of Life to my hungry Soul, How can I express my Gratitude better than by casting my Bread upon the Water, especially when I am promis'd to find it again after many days, floating on the Rivers of Pleasure, which are at the Right Hand of God for evermore.

VII. Both the Evangelists and St. Paul taking notice, that Christ took this Cup after he had done with the Cup in the celebration of the Passover, we must not pass it by without making some Remarks upon it. And,

1. It was to teach us Order in our Duties, and to avoid confusion in our Holy performances. God is the God of Order, and 'tis fit, his Servants should resemble him in this particular, Greater Duties must ever be preferr'd before the lesser, and Mercy many times comes to be a greater Duty than Sacrifice. Ordinarily a Duty of God's Worship, we have resolved upon, ought to be preferr'd before a Duty of Civility; and a customary visit is not to dash or hinder our intended Devotion. God must first be pleas'd, and then Man, in things law­ful and convenient; yet Charity is of so great a value in the sight of God, that many times he bids us prefer that before Devotion. When my Neighbors House is on fire, I am bound to run, and endeavour to quench that, though the hour is come, that I use to enter into my Closet to pray to my Father in secret; and my sick Neighbor wanting my help and assistance, I may just­ly prefer a charitable Visit before my accustomed Sup­lications. Nor is this all the Order, that is to be ob­serv'd in Duties; The business of our calling must be begun with Prayer, and concluded with Thanksgiving; and he that, when first he awakes in the Morning, lets [Page 190] his first Thoughts be of God, and when he is up and dress'd, applies himself to singing of a Psalm, or to me­ditating in the Law of God, by reading a Chapter in the Bible with attention, then kneels down to Prayer, either by himself, or with his Family, and afterwards goes to his lawful employment, and in the midst of that imployment forgets not, that God sees and hears him, but runs up often with his Thoughts to Heaven, takes notice of God's Providences, and before he goes into company, arms himself with Holy Ejaculations a­gainst Sin, and Infection, and at night reviews what he hath been doing in the day-time, such a person acts or­derly, and draws a Blessing down upon the work of his hands, not to mention the Peace, he thereby pro­cures to his Mind, and Conscience.

2. He took this Cup after the Paschal Cup, to shew, that after the Jewish Oeconomy, another, and much nobler Dispensation was to follow, a Dispensation not of Shadows and Types, and Images, but of Truth, of Reality, and Accomplishment; a Dispensation not requiring Sacrifices of Lambs and Bullocks, but such as press'd Spiritual Sacrifices and Oblations; a Dispensation not of Bondage and Slavery, but of Freedom and Liber­ty; a Dispensation, which should be large and diffussve, not confining its Priviledges and Influences to a single Nation, but spread them abroad to the comfort of all the Inhabitants of the World. None drank of the Cup of the Passover, but persons circumcised; but the Cup Christ takes here, all Nations, both circumcised, and uncircumcised, were permitted to participate of; all Penitents, what Kindred, People, Tongue, or Nation soever they were of.

3. He took this Cup after the Paschal Cup, to shew there was greater Virtue and Excellency in this last, than there was in the first. After me comes a Man, saith the Baptist, John 1. 30. that is preferr'd before me, for he was before me. So it may be said of the Paschal Cup, after [Page 191] that, came a Cup, which was far more Excellent and Glorious, and Beneficial, than the other. Christ came after Moses, after the Law, after the Prophets, yet went beyond them all in Light, in Knowledge, in Virtue, in Goodness, and in bringing glad Tidings; And so the Passover, tho' it was before the Lord's Supper, yet doth this Supper of the Lord transcend the other by many degrees, and both represents and confers sublimer Mer­cies than the roasted Lamb could do; for here the Bles­sed Trinity manifests it self, in greater charms than it did in the Baptism of the Lord Jesus, in which St. John saw the Heavens open, and the Holy Ghost descending on the Son of God in the shape of a Dove, and the Father compleating the stupendious Scene with an Ac­clamation, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased; For in this Sacrament the Holy Ghost falls on the Souls of sincere Believers, as Rain on the Mowen Grass, and as the Showers that water the Earth; The everlasting Father not only tells us, which is the Belo­ved Son, but by setting his Sons death before us, shews that he loved us, in a manner better than his Son, in gi­ving that Son to dye for us, than which nothing can be more kind, nothing more surprizing; the Son himself invites us, and offers to wash us from our sins with his own Blood, and assures us, That being sprinkled with his Blood, we are fafe and secure against all the Curses of the Law, and the Thunders of Mount Sina. These things were Mysteries and Paradoxes in the Passover; but this Sacrament which came after it, opens the door, and lets us in, to see this Glorious Representation, and consequently is a Richer, Greater, Holier, Sublimer, and more Heavenly Ordinance, than the Passover.

The Preeeding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. AMong the Heathen Poets there is much talk of Circe's Cup, which transform'd Men into Brutes and Swine, a Fable whereby they represented, how sensual pleasure transform'd Men into Creatures void of Reason and Discretion. But the Cup we speak of hath contrary effects, and Fire and Water are not more op­posite, than the operations of these two; For this Sacra­mental Cup transforms Brutes into Men again, and changes Beasts into the Image of the Son of God. Sin­ner, make but a trial of it, thou, I mean, that hast not had so much understanding as the Swallow, and the Turtle, and the Crane, for they know their appointed times; whereas thou hast not known the time of thy re­turn; thou that hast rusht into Sin, as the Horse rushes into the Battle; thou that hast wallowed in the Mire with the Swine, and acted like a Creature made of Earth and Dung. Take courage prepare thy self for drink­ing of this Cup; purifie thy Soul, for profane Hands must not touch it; confess thine iniquity, make War with thy Lusts, Fight with thy carnal Desires, and drink of this Cup, and thou wilt find how thy Reason will clear up, how thy Understanding will be enlighten'd, how thy beastly Qualities will die; The Blood in this Cup hath such Virtue in it, that it will transform thee by the renewing of the Mind, and make thee prove what is the Holy, Perfect, and acceptable Will of God. It's true, the bare drinking will not do it, but drinking it with Contrition, with contemplation of the Person, whose Blood is in the Cup, with consideration of the Cause, viz. the Sins that spilt it, with thankfulness for the infinite Mercy of him, that thus freely parted with it, and with resolutions to love him, that did not think [Page 163] his own Blood too dear to let it flow for the good of his enemies.Petrus de Natalibus, l. 5. 21. Petrus de Natalibus tells us of a Woman, who, having labour'd many years under very great infirmities of Body was brought exceeding weak, but drinking one day ac­cidentally out of the Cup, that a Holy Man Scion by Name, did use to drink of, she was restored to perfect health; Though we cannot promise, that this Sacra­mental Cup will work such a Miracle of the Diseases of the Body, yet surely it will transform a Soul, sick to death, into a lively and healthful constitution; though, with the Woman in the Gospel, she hath lain under her distemper, a considerable time.

II. Among the Scythyans, Herodot. l. 4. as Herodotus tells us there was a custom for the Princes of the Country to meet once a year, at a certain Feast where a Cup was set upon the Table, a Cup of Honour, which none durst presume to drink of, but such as had signa­liz'd their Valour in Battel, and kill'd more or less of their publick Enemies. Though this Sacramental Cup is too High, too Sacred, and too Lofty a thing, to be compared with Cups, used at the Feast of Barbarians; yet I may take occasion from hence to tell you, that this Holy Cup is fit for none to drink of, but such as have either shewn, or are at least resolved to shew their Valour against their Spiritual Enemies. Christian, if thou hast fought with the Old Serpent, encountred the Hellish Dragon, wrestled with Powers and Principalities, ex­prest thy Courage against Temptations, defied Goliah, the Lion and the Bear, the World, the Devil, and the Flesh; or art resolv'd to be a Champion for thy God, and fight the Battels of the Lord; Thou art that vali­ant Man, that may drink of this Cup: Thy God will give thee leave to drink of it with other Hero's, with the greatest Worthies, with Men, of whom the World was not worthy, with Men, whose Faith hath advan­ced them above the Stars, and who are to shine as the Sun in the Firmament, in their Father's Kingdom. Let [Page 194] no despairing Thoughts, no suggestion of the Devil, no slavish Fear, no pretence of Unworthiness, discou­rage thee from touching this Cup, or drinking of it. It's mingled for thee, for thee it is prepared; The King expects thee at this Feast, thou art called to this Ban­quet. Thus shall it be done to the Man, whom the King of Heaven intends to Honour. What? If thou hast not slain thy Thousands with Saul, nor thy Ten thousands with David? What if thou hast not brought thy Two hundred Foreskins of the Philistins to thy Lord and Master, thou dost a greater act in conquering thy Thoughts, thy Desires, thy Passions, thy Appetite, thy vain Imaginations, than if thou hadst laid Countries waste, ruin'd Kingdoms, or bound their Kings in Chains, and their Nobles with Fetters of Iron. Such Honour have all all his Saints.

III. Hear this, thou fainting Soul! that groanest un­der the burthen of thy Sins, goest heavy laden with Sorrow, and like Rachel, wilt not be comforted. Be­hold, thy Lord and Master touched with the feeling of thy infirmities, and afflicted in all thy afflictions, who waits to be Gracious, and loves to converse more with a weeping Publican, than with a jovial Herod, he reach­es forth a Cup to thee, a Cup of Joy, a Cup of Glad­ness, a Cup of Comfort. It is this Sacramental Cup. Drink of it, thou thirsty Soul, Why shouldst thou fear? This Cup is design'd for labouring Souls; they that have born the heat and burthen of the day are to taste of it. It is design'd to recreate, design'd to refresh, desing'd to revive, design'd to support their Spirits: Dost thou be­lieve this, Christian? Dare to believe it: Take thy Sa­viours word for it, and triumph in the Promise. The Mercy may be too big for thee to ask, but not too big for him to grant. Thou hast a Master to deal withal, who gives like himself, like a King, like a Prince, whose Stores are inexhaustible! Let no Senacharib deceive thee, regard not what such a Rabshakeh says, Hearken not to the frightful Stories of thine enemies, who rejoyce to [Page 195] see thee discourag'd, are glad to see thee forbear drink­ing of this Cup, and think it their interest to keep thee from that, which may, and will, give thee everlasting health. I have read of a precious Stone, of considera­ble value, that dropt, no Man knew how, into the Ho­ly Cup, while the Priest was administring the Sacra­ment. There needs no precious Stone to drop into this Cup, to make it of greater value; That which is in it, is of greater worth than Ten thousand Worlds; It re­presents that which neither Pearls, nor Rubies, nor Dia­monds, can counter-balance. The Papists boast much of the Gifts of their Popes, how Sylvester gave three Golden Cups to be used in the celebration of the Eucha­rist; How John the Second gave a Cup of Gold weigh­ing Twenty pound; How Gregory the Second, and Leo the Third presented their respective Churches with Cups, all beset with precious Stones; What if thou canst bring no such Presents to God, thou bringest a better when thou bringest a Spirit, a Heart, a Soul lament­ing and mourning, because thou hast departed from him, contented thy self with a form of Godliness, and under the profession of Religion, hast denied him in thy acti­ons. A Heart toucht with the sense of the unreason­ableness, odiousness, and loathsomness of all this, and finding a relish in the things of God, and of Salvation, qualifies a Man more for comfortable drinking of this Cup, than if, with the Wise Man, he had offer'd Gold and Myrrh, and Frankincense to Christ Jesus. Is not this the Cup whereby my Lord divineth, saith Joseph's Stew­ard, Gen. 44. 5. Christian, by drinking of this Sacra­mental Cup, thou may'st divine thy future happiness, guess at what will become of thee hereafter; make con­jectures of thy Glory, and conclude, that thou shalt feel the comfort of drinking the Cordials of a Blessed Eternity.

The PRAYER.

O Jesu! Great Fountain of all Goodness! who didst drink of the bitter Cup which my Sins had mingled! I am sensible there was no sorrow like thy sorrow, which was done unto thee, and wherewith the Lord afflicted thee in the day of his fierce anger. How was thy Spirit disturb'd! How sore amaz'd was thy Soul! How dismay'd thy Mind! To such an exceeding heighth of Grief and Sorrow, did the Sense of the incumbent load of my sins, and the prospect of calami­ties hanging over my head, together with the reflexion on my wretched condition, skrew up thy Affections! innumerable evils encompass'd thee, thou sawest the wrath of God flaming out against my Sin, and trembledst! Thou stoodst before the mouth of Hell which I had deserv'd, and wast astonish'd! Thou with thine own Heart Blood didst quench the wrath of Heaven! O how am I obliged to adore thy Love! O everla­sting Father! What Charity was it not to spare thine own Son, but to deliver him up for us all! What pity and compas­sion was it, O thou Eternal Son of God, thus to pour forth thy Blood! What Affection, what tenderness to my Soul, O thou Eternal Spirit, hast thou express'd in inspiring my Bles­sed Redeemer, with Charity more than Human; and in sup­porting him to undergo all pressures with invincible patience! If I forget thy Love, sweet Jesu, let my right hand for­get her cunning! What an encouragement is here to believe thy Word, which I see so punctually accomplish'd! The anti­ent Prophets foretold that Christ should suffer, and so it came to pass! Let me for ever believe thy promises: In all Dan­gers, in all Troubles, in all Necessities, let thy Promises be for my Comfort! Let me never mistrust thy Goodness, after so great an instance of thy Goodness, as the Gift of thy Son must be! How can I despair of Mercy, upon unfeigned Re­pentance, when, in this passion, Mercy was drawn out to that length on purpose, that it might reach the greatest Sinners. O Jesu! thou hast defeated all mine Enemies! Thou hast eva­cuated all the obstacles of my Salvation! Let me pretend and plead excuses no more. Now let me run with patience the [Page 197] race, which is set before me, the way being open'd into the Holy of Holies, encourage me to walk in it, with all that wait for the Salvation of God. Affect my Heart with a Religious Fear, and let thy humble Passion kill my Pride! Let my Sins appear more dreadful to me, when I contemplate thine Agonies; and let the World with all its deceitful Vani­ties become loathsome to me, when I see how little thou didst regard it. Let every thing die in me, that is not agreeable to thy Life, that when thou, who art my Life, shalt appear, I may also appear with thee in Glory. Amen. Amen.

CHAP. XIV.
Of the Covenant represented by the Cup in this Holy Sacrament.

The CONTENTS.

A seeming contradiction betwixt the Evangelists, reconcil'd. The Greek Word, which we render Testament, prov'd to signifie a Covenant too. The manner of making Co­venants in ancient times, applied to the Covenant made in this Sacrament. The difference between the Old and New Covenant, discover'd. In this Sacramental Cove­nant, the parties mutually engaging one to another, pro­ved to be God and Man. Under what Notions both par­ties are to be consider'd, explain'd. The nature of this Sacramental Covenant, its beginning, and first rudiments in our Baptism, the necessity of renewing it, when we come to some maturity of Understanding. Our consent to it, and how that consent must be qualified. This Cove­nant, if broken, after a due ratification of it, whether it may be renew'd. What things do not break or null it. What Sins they are, that make it void. How it may be renew'd by sincere Repentance, and what kind of Repentance it must be. Great presumption to enter into a Solemn Cove­nant with God, and not to consider the wieght and impor­tance of it. The great misery and wretchedness of Men, who are not actually in Covenant with God. How neces­sary it is for persons, when young, to make or renew their Covenant. No impossible thing to come to a rational Confi­dence, that we are in Covenant with God. The Mercies and Advantages of being God's faithful Confederates. The Prayer.

[Page 199] I. CHrist in describing the Nature of this Sacramen­tal Cup, or the Wine in the Cup, tells us, as St. Matthew and St. Mark relate it, This is my Blood of the New Testament, or as St. Luke and St. Paul rehearse it, This Cup is the New Testament in my Blood. St. Luke being St. Paul's companion in Travel, it's like the Apo­stle made use of St. Luke's Commentaries, which he had by him, though perhaps they were not yet published to the World, nor must we therefore suspect a contra­diction in these different expressions; for the Evange­lists, in their Histories, do not always tye themselves to the very number and order of Words and Syllables, which our Saviour spoke, but many times think it suf­ficient to express the Sense; and that the Sense is the same here, though the Expression be different, will easily appear to an impartial Reader, though it may be said, that Christ might very justly use both expressions, one after another, say that, which St. Mark, and St. Matthew mention, and afterwards that which St. Luke and St, Paul take notice of, by way of explication; and for brevitys sake, one Evangelist might set down one; and another, the Sense being the same, another.

II. The word which we render Testament, is in the Original [...], which indeed in some few places of Scripture, particularly Hebr. 9. 15. is us'd for the last Will and Testament of a Testator, but for the most part stands for a Covenant, answering to the Hebrew [...] Berith, and imports a compact, or contract of two Parties, mutually engaging to one another, to do and perform what is proper, convenient, and fit to be done, and this by the consent of all Interpreters, is the chief signification intended here; and that which will give Light to this Notion, is the custom of the first Ages of the World. For Covenants in antient times were usually made by the slaying of a Beast, and shed­ding its Blood, which was to put the Confederates in mind, that if they broke the Articles agreed upon, they [Page 200] must fear as base a death, as that Beast did suffer [...] and Providence would not only take notice of the violation, and revenge it, but by the ceremony they imprecated themselves, that in case they prov'd false to their pro­mise, such a sudden violent death might seize on them. Among the more barbarous sort of Mankind, when in these cases they had slain the Beast, they pour'd the Bloud of the Hog, or Calf, or Ox, that was shed, into a Cup, and the Confederates drank of it, to make the tye stronger, and the execration more dreadful, and consequently more forcing. But the civiller sort, after they had kill'd the Beast, to seal the Covenant, instead of Blood, fill'd the Cup with Wine, and the respective Parties drank of it, which they thought, and believ'd, to be as obligatory, as the other; In a word, hereby both parties express'd their resolution and serious intent to perform the mutual Engagements, and tacitly wished Death, and Judgment to themselves, in case of nonper­formance of the Articles: And though this cannot be applied in every circumstance to the Covenant made be­twixt God and Man in every particular, God not be­ing capable of imprecating himself, and his Word be­ing of greater weight and moment, than all the Oaths and Execrations Man can take, yet from the premises we may easily guess, that Christ alludes to these practi­ses of Mankind, in saying, This is my Blood of the New Testament; and that in this Sacrament Men enter into a Covenant with God, or rather confirm the Covenant made betwixt God and them, by the Mediation of the Blood of Jesus, who was the innocent Lamb slain from the foundation of the World; for it is with regard to that Blood, that God is not only willing to enter, but actu­ally enters into compacts, and contracts with lapsed Man, and as in the afore-mentioned federate Rites and Ceremonies, the parties engaging to one another drank of the Blood of the slain Beast, or of the Wine, which was in lieu of that Blood, thereby to confirm their mu­tual promises; so they that come to this Holy Sacra­ment, are not only admonish'd by drinking of the Cup, [Page 201] or of the Wine in the Cup, representing the Blood of Christ, to enter into solemn Engagements and Promi­ses to be true and faithful to that God, who bought them at so dear a price, as the Blood and Death of his own Son; but in actual drinking of it, profess and de­clare, that in case they prove false and treacherous to their great Confederate, break their promise wilfully, and allow themselves in it, that they deserve that ever­lasting Death and Damnation, from which that Blood was intended to deliver them; and besides, it is a tacit imprecation too, if they be not true to their Engage­ments, that then those Agonies, and Miseries, and dread­ful Death, the Son of God endured, shall fall to their share and portion, which illustrates the Apostles saying, 1 Cor. 11. 29. He that Eats and Drinks unworthily, Eats and Drinks Damnation to himself: But of this I shall have occasion to Treat professedly in the sequel.

III. There is frequent mention made in Scripture of the Old and New Covenant. By the Old is meant the Covenant or Compact, God by the Ministry of Moses made with the Israelites, as they were a Common-wealth, whereof God himself was pleas'd to be the King and President. This Covenant was fitted to the slavish temper of the People, God had to deal withal; and as God promised them temporal Felicity, eating the Good of the Land, a plentiful Harvest, increase of their Kine and Cattle, full Barns, and a rich Vintage, multitude of Children, and protection from their tem­poral Enemies, so it requir'd in the Consederates, or Jewish People, an exact compliance of their outward Man with the Precepts, Laws and Statutes God ap­pointed and gave them. The New Covenant is that Con­tract which God makes with Mankind in Christ Jesus, wherein he promises to admit sincere Believers into his special Favour, and, for Christ's sake, to bestow upon them the riches of Grace and Glory, and on our side requires renouncing all Love to a sinful Life, and resig­nation of our Souls, Spirits and Bodies, to his Will and [Page 202] Government. It's call'd New, in opposition to the Ci­vil or Political Covenant, God made with the Jewish People, as they were a Nation, immediately under his Jurisdiction; for both the Promises and Obedience under that Dispensation, were different from the Promises and Obedience of the other, one promising only Temporal Blessings, and requiring External Obedience; the other promising Spiritual and Eternal Blessings, and requiring Internal, and sincere Obedience; and though the New Covenant, which God makes with the People under the Gospel, had its beginning already in Adam's time, immediately after the Fall, and was again publish'd in the days of Abraham: Yet notwithstanding all this, it may justly be call'd New, because of the clear and ful­ler Revelation of it, when Christ the foundation of it ap­pear'd, and by his Death confirm'd all the Predictions, Prophecies, Types and Prefigurations of it, before and under the Law of Moses; for then was made a new publication of it, new Witnesses were made use of, and new Motives and Encouragements were given, and new Sacraments as Seals of that Covenant were added. And this New Covenant, the Blood or Wine, the Embleme of it, in the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, relates to; and he that drinks of that Wine or Blood, represented by it, confirms that Covenant, pro­fesses that he approves of it, will stand to it, and ac­knowledges the justness of his threatnings denounced a­gainst those, who count this Blood of the Covenant an unholy thing. Even the Civil and Political Covenant which God made with the People of the Jews, was so­lemnized by Blood. which is the reason of that passage, Exod. 24. 7, 8. And Moses took the Book of the Covenant, and read it in the audience of the People; and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do. And Moses took the Blood, and sprinkled it on the People, and said, Behold the Blood of the Covenant, which the Lord hath made with you, concerning all these words. And as in their suffering themselves to be sprinkled with that Blood, they declared their un­feigned assent, and consent to the conditions of that Co­venant, [Page 203] and profess'd that it was just with God to inflict death and ruine upon them, if they did not study to obey that Covenant; so in the New Testament, in this Holy Sacrament, those that come to be Partakers of it, are sprinkled, as it were, with the invaluable Blood of Christ, and by that, own their hearty consent to the Conditions of the New Covenant, and ratifie their Obe­dience, and God's Promises and Threatnings too, which are the Sanctions of this Covenant.

IV. In this Covenant, the Parties concern'd are God and Man; yet from hence no Person is to conclude, that God stood in need of this Alliance. We indeed had need of it, and it was our Interest, that God should do so. His vouchsafing to come to such a Contract, speaks his Goodness, and there is not a greater Argu­ment of his Clemency and Compassion: He could have been Great, Glorious and Magnificent without us, and what need had he of the Friendship of such miserable Creatures, as we are, that was All in All? His Excel­lency and Beatitude receive no addition by this Cove­nant; and what had it been to him, if we had been left in the common mass of Corruption and Perdition? What could he have lost by our Eternal Groans, or what disparagement could it have been to him to let us sink into the Gulph, when our Sins and Offences were the meritorious cause of it? It shews his infinite Good­ness and condescention, that he will enter into promises and engagements with his Creatures; and we are Brutes, if the thoughts of his Mercy, in this particular, do not force our Tongues to break forth into admiration of it. Our Misery and Wretchedness required such a favour, and without it we must have been as great strangers to happiness, as we were to power and ablility to help our selves. Commisseration to our Poverty and un­done Condition, moved the Almighty to come to terms with us, and this Covenant is our advantage and emo­lument. God gets no profit by it, and though it is a publication of his Goodness, and proclaims the Won­ders [Page 204] of his Loving-kindness, yet God might have found out other ways to manifest that; and it's we, that are the Gainers by this Contract.

V. In this Covenant, God must not be considered only, as an infinite, most perfect, and most excellent Being; but more particularly under that threefold Re­lation of [...], Son, and Holy-Ghost. Man also, is not only to be looked upon as Gods Creature, but as a Sinner fallen from God, apostatiz'd from Righteousness, and standing in need of Gods Help, Assistance, Grace and Reconciliation, and as one, who, of a Child of Wrath, is to be made a Child of God; of an Enemy, a Friend; of an Heir of Hell, an Heir of Heaven, and Co-heir with Christ: And accordingly, this Sacramen­tal Covenant is nothing else but a mutual Promise, of an offended God, and the offender, whereby both Parties do unfeignedly, and without guile, or fraud, or equivocation, declare themselves, willing, ready, and resolved to perform the things agreed upon; God, what he promises; and Man, what he engages to do. For God, consider'd as the Father Everlasting, promises here to treat us as his Children, to be tender of our Spiritu­al and Eternal Welfare, to seek our good, and turn all things to our good; to pass by the Unkindnesses, and Indignities, we have offer'd to him, to forgive, and throw them into the depth of the Sea, to impute them no more, to count us innocent, to justifie us here, and, like a Father, to provide an Eternal Inheritance for us, i. e. to glorifie us for ever. The Son of God, consider'd not only as the Eternal Wisdom of the Father, but as Me­diator and Redeemer of the World, promises to be our Intercessor and Advocate, with his Righteousness to co­ver our Infirmities, with his Wounds to cherish our Souls, to answer all the Arguments and Objections of the Devil against us, and to be our Friend, our Brother, our Shepherd. [...]nd our New and Living Way to his Father's Bosom. The Holy Ghost doth promise to en­lighten us, to be our Guide in the dark, to comfort us [Page 205] in all our Tribulations, to teach us how to pray, to assure us of God's love, to fill us with joy in believing, to increase our Graces, to strengthen us in all Difficulties, to support us in our Spiritual Dangers, to arm us with Arguments against Temptations, and to give us a Right to a future happy Resurrection. This is the mighty promise God makes to poor Sinners in the Sacrament: On the other side, we that come to the Table of our Lord, and do not intend to come in vain, do solemnly promise, particularly to the Eternal Father, that we will own that relation with joy, and walk as his Children, not fashioning our selves according to our former Lusts in our ignorance, but be holy, as he, that hath call'd us, is holy; that we will no longer live like Rebels and Prodigals under the Name of Children, but make good that Glorious Title by our Lives, shine as Lights in the World, and endeavour to be spotless and blameless, and by our Lives, and Actions, and good Works, glorifie our Father which is in Heaven. We promise here to God the Son, and the Great Redeemer, that we will not only accept of his purchas'd Blessings, but submit to his Scep­ter too, and that he shall be not only our Saviour, but our Sovereign King and Master also, to whom we will think our selves obliged to submit in all things, that he shall say unto us in his Gospel; that his Life shall be the pattern of ours, and his Example and Command shall do more with us than our Gain, or Appetite, or Interest; that we will be loyal to him, who redeem'd our Lives from Destruction, and will act as Spiritnal Subjects in his Spiritual Kingdom. We promise also to God the Holy Ghost, That we will not only expect his Benefit and Comforts, but be guided by his Motions; That we will not re [...]st his Checks and Reproofs, but hearken to them, whenever our Hearts do smite us; That we will not prefer the Dictates of a Lying Devil before his Lively Oracles, nor joyn with the Motions of our F [...]esh against his Intreaties and Obtestations: That we will make much of his gracious Visits, and take heed we do not by our Sins and Follies, defile the Tem­ple [Page 206] of the Holy Ghost: That we will cherish his kin­der Influences, and take care, that the Grace, and Talent he confers upon us, be not buried in the Earth, or laid up useless in a Napkin. And this is a Scheme of the solemn Covenant, a Believer, a Receiver, a Com­municant enters into, with the Holy Trinity, in this Tre­mendous Sacrament; a Covenant that ought to be more sacred than the Leagues of Princes, and more religiously observed than the Treaties and Engagements of the dearest Friends.

VI. This Covenant we enter into, first of all in our Baptism, when our Age is Tender, our Desires Inno­cent, and our Souls, like soft Wax, fit for any Impressi­on, and consequently fit for the Impress of the Divine Image; and though that Age be not capable of enter­ing actually into a Covenant with the Lord of Heaven and Earth; yet it's enough that our Parents and Friends, who have Power over us, do then make this Covenant with God for us, dedicate us to his Service, appoint us Candidates of Holiness, and consecrate us early to the performance of the Conditions, required in this Cove­nant; a Charity just, and a genuine effect of Paternal Care, which as it loves, the Child should share in their Temporal Enjoyments, so it cannot but desire, it should participate of the Blessings of this Covenant; And since these Blessings are not to be had without the Obli­gation of Faith, Repentance and Obedience, though the Child cannot actually exercise these Virtues, yet being offer'd to God upon these Conditions, the Pa­rents do not only shew their good Will, to have the Child enrol'd in the Book of Life, but lay the strongest Obligations on the Child, to stand to the Terms of the Covenant, when it comes to display the Glory of its Rational Faculties; and therefore may expect an actual Conveyance of the Spiritual Blessings of this Covenant to the Child by the secret Operations of the Holy Ghost; which Blessings the Child hath a Right to, till enticed by Lust, and the Vanity of the World, it grows proud, [Page 207] rebellious, and shakes of the conduct of its Guide, viz. The Spirit of the Holy Jesus: For, God knows, the World and the Devil watch the first rising of the Sun, I mean, the first Appearances of Reason, and seek to obscure and darken them by Mists of Sensuality, into which Pit the Young Man, that was in his Infancy dedicat­ed to God, too often falls, and there lies and sleeps, and many times awakes not, till Death summons him to the dreadful Bar of Heaven. Where it is so, that the Covenant, we enter'd into in the Morning of our Days, is forgotten, slighted, and polluted with Filthiness, and superfluity of Naughtiness, what can we think, but that the intended Blessings of the Covenant cease and die, and are withdrawn from the degenerate Creature, and the Promises of God being our Father, our Saviour, and our Comforter, are null'd, at least the performance of them suspended, till the Apostate comes to himself again? This early perfidiousness, too common, and too gene­ral, discovers the absolute necessity of renewing this Covenant, when we are able to understand the great­ness and importance of the Contract, and to enter into that Bond in our own Persons, especially, in the Sup­per of the Lord, and there solemnly to engage our Souls, to the performance of the Conditions, required on our side, upon which, what God hath graciously promis'd will effectually be perform'd again: an offer, not to be slighted, for it is an argument of infinite Pati­ence and Goodness, that God will give the Backslider leave to enter into the broken Covenant, and will, up­on that return, let the still streams of his Promises flow in, and Water his Soul again; so that, if this opportu­nity be neglected, we know not the Treasures of Wrath we heap up against our selves, for it looks like resolu­tion to die, and to be miserable.

VII. That God consents to this Covenant unfeigned­ly, we need not doubt; and that what he promises, he intends to fulfil, we may be confident of, since we have his Word for it, and his Nature is such, that he cannot [Page 208] lye. The great danger lies on our side, who are very mutable Creatures, and apt either to equivocate in our consent, or to consent only by halves, or to forget the Terms we have consented to. It's fit therefore, I should explain the Nature of that consent we give, or are to give, in this Covenant, especially at the Table of our Lord; where the Sacred Cup, fill'd with the Blood of Christ, at once represents Gods willingness to enter in­to a Covenant with us, and invites us to accept of the Offer; and our Drinking of it shews, we actually con­sent to all the Terms of this Covenant. Therefore to prevent Hypocrisie in this consent, I must tell you, that this consent must be,

1. Deliberate, and the effect of Consultation. Some­times a melancholy Humour seizes upon our Spirits, and not knowing how to ease our selves, we try whether Re­ligion will not qualifie our trouble, and then we are consenting to this Covenant, though we cannot tell why, or how; whence it comes to pass, that if Religion doth not presently cure our Melancholy, we grow weary, and throw it off again. Most Men have sometimes a Religious Fit upon them; and when either something hath cross'd their designs, or a disaster hath put them into discontent, they are, during that Paroxysm, re­solv'd to consent: But as it was a sudden Motion with­out a good Foundation, so it soon withers and comes to nothing It's necessary therefore, we should take pains to understand, what this Covenant means, what consent God requires, how reasonable and just that con­sent is, what a priviledge it is, that God will admit us into such a Compact, what the things are, he requires on our part, and how necessary it is, he should require such at our Hands: and after we have counted the cost, and seen, and thought, and consulted, what this un­feigned consent will stand us in, and weigh'd both the Advantages, and Inconveniencies, then, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, freely and chearfully to agree to the Conditions requir'd in this Covenant, this is a [Page 209] consent, which, in imitation of the great Planet of the Day, is like to go on to a perfect Day.

2. This consent must be hearty, the intent strong, and the desire vigorous to perform the Conditions of this Covenant; such a consent as he gives, that for a consi­derable Reward, promises to do, what we put him up­on. He fully designs it, he knows nothing that should hinder him, his Heart, his Mind, his Affections are bent upon the doing of it; for the Reward presses upon his Understanding, and the greatness of that gives force and resolution to his Will and Desire. Here must be used no underhand dealings. God is not to be put off with Complements: The Young Man, that said, I go, Sir, but went not, Math. 21. 28. stands branded for a Hypo­crite. A full purpose of Heart is requisite in this case; as serious a purpose as Men have, when under great hopes or fears, which are most likely to make their pur­pose invincible. To consent to walk as Sons of God, to embrace the Lord Jesus as our King, to prefer the Motions of Gods Spirit before the Suggestions of the Flesh; I say, to consent to all this, and not to intend very seriously to act accordingly, is to impose upon God, at least to act, as if we would do so, and to slight his Omniscience, or to carry our selves, as if he did not know our down-sitting, and our up-rising, or did not understand our Thoughts afar off, which is impious.

3. This consent ought to be impartial and entire, even to all the parts of the Conditions, express'd or under­stood in this Covenant: Here must be no accepting of Christ by halves, but our Affections must embrace him both as a Ruler, and a Friend: To accept of the Sweets of his Sufferings, and to refuse his Yoak; to rejoyce in his Mercies, and to reject his Law; or to be willing to sub­mit to some of his Laws, and to take liberty as to others, is, to divide Christ, and to part his Offices, or to hold both with Christ, and with the Devil. A King had as good have no Subjects, as disobedient Subjects; and to [Page 210] what purpose had all that costly Method of the Son of God, to purchase a People to himself, been, if the in­tent had not been to make them subject to his Will and Power? That there might be no dispute about this point, the Apostle hath left it upon record▪ Heb. 5. 9. That he became the Author of Eternal Salvation, to them that obey him; And there needs no great Logick, to infer from hence, That no Man hath a Right or Title to Salva­tion, till he actually and sincerely obeys him, and obeys him in all that he requires: For he that obeys partially, doth not obey in a Scripture sense. We our selves do not much affect Servants, that are only for what they can get, and care not how little Work they do; and God, to be sure, hath no Reason to look upon those as true Confederates, that consent only to be made hap­py by the Death of Christ, but are loath to die to the Vanities of this World, or to admit his Kingdom and Empire into their Souls: So that he, that truly consents to this Covenant, must consent not only to enjoy the Comforts of a Saviour, but that Christ shall be Master of his Will, Desires and Affections, that these shall be at his Beck, move by his Order, and be manag'd ac­cording to his Direction.

4. This consent must not only respect our future Se­riousness and Conscientiousness, but express our pre­sent Designs and Inclinations. As in Marriage, so in this Covenant, it must be a present consent that ratifies the Contract; and as in the former, I take thee for my Wed­ded Wife; and I take thee for my Wedded Husband, makes the Matrimonial Compact valid, so in this, present agreeing to the Terms propos'd and required, makes a Man a welcome Confederate, and unites, and knits him to that God, who enters into solemn Engagements in this Covenant, to discharge the Offices of a kind Husband to us; And, O God, the Father of Heaven, I do here most humbly offer and tender unto thee my filial Affe­ction: O God the Son, Redeemer of the World, I am content to be thy Loyal Sabject, and to be governed and ruled by thy [Page 211] Holy Laws: O God the Holy Ghost, preceeding from the Fa­ther and the Son, I take thee for my Guide, and my Coun­sellor, by whose advice I mean to steer my course. Such pre­sent Declarations of our consent admit us to the Bless­ings of this Covenant; so that he who enters into this Covenant, and is not willing presently, and without delay to discharge the Conditions of it, uses Tergiver­sations, and equivocates with God; and though a Man may intend, that some time hereafter; when he is freer from Business, more clear in the World, hath fewer Divertisements, and is more at leasure, he will not fail to perform all that is required of his part, yet that will not satisfie, nor answer the design of this Agreement; for who knows, what he shall do hereafter? The pre­sent time is only in our Power, and he that is not pre­sently resolv'd, is not likely, considering the Tempta­tions he may meet withal, to do any great matters for God, or for his Soul, hereafter.

5. This content must be absolute, or, which is all one, without Reserves. Secret Conditions have no place here. And that Man is not fit for the Kingdom of God, that desires first to bury his Father, or to take his leave of his Friends and Relations, and then to follow Christ, Luke 9. 59. To consent to this Covenant, and to reserve any one darling Sin; to consent to the performance of the Conditions, with exception of a single Lust, which our Place, Calling, or present Circumstances will not let us part withal, is a sign, the Heart is not upright with God, and a Man that hath not that high esteem of God's Grace and Favour, he ought to have. The Soul must come naked to the Cross of Jesus. Here must be no Bargainings with a Tremendous Majesty, no Proviso's as Pharaoh made with the Children of Israel, when he was to let them go. He was content, the elder People should march and sacrifice to their God, but the little Ones he would have staid▪ God must not be told in this Covenant, Lord! If thou wilt, let me enjoy this piece of Pride, or give me leave to vindicate my Honour, by [Page 212] avenging my self; If thou wilt let me comply with such a sinful Mans humour, wilt let me flatter him, or dissemble with him for my Profit and Interest? or if I thrive and prosper in my Trade, Profession aud Imployment; if I may enjoy temporal Felicity, and live as happily as my Neighbours, I freely consent to all the rest, that thy Power and greatness expects at my Hands. For this is to contradict the de­sign of this Covenant, which is to make us entirely his. And that no Man may stroak himself with a Fan­cy, that he never made, and never intends such formal exceptions in his consent, I must add, that where a per­son doth actually reserve such things, whether he doth formally and expresly except them or no, the case is the same, and is as much, as if such formal exceptions had been made in our entring into this Covenant; whatever our lot or fortune may be in the World, what­ever inconveniencies may happen in the strict observance of this contract, those must be overlook'd for the grea­ter benefits offer'd us on God's part in this Covenant.

VIII. But here a question will arise, If this Covenant be broken, after it is thus ratified, or establish'd in the Lord's Supper, whether, and how it may be renew'd? To give a satisfactory answer to this point, I shall lay down what is fit to be said to it, in these following particulars.

1. By Breaking this Covenant, I mean, to make it null, not only on our side, but also on God's part, so that we can have no assurance, no hope, no rational con­fidence, that God loves us any longer as his Confede­rates, as his Friends and Children, or with a love of complacency, or that he is our reconciled Father, or that we are dear to him, and Heirs of Heaven, or that the Promises of the Gospel belong to us; in a word, so to make it void, as to put our selves in the same condition, we were in, before ever we had any thoughts of giving our selves up to Almighty God in a formal Covenant, so as to become objects of God's Wrath and Indignation, to whom is reserv'd the blackness of dark­ness for ever. This being premised.

[Page 213] 2. Every thing, that clouds or darkens the comforts arising from a sense of our being in Covenant with God, cannot, must not, presently be interpreted, a total breach of it; There are many sincere Christian Israelites indeed, in whom there is no considerable guile, who either through weakness of understanding, or through some bodily distemper seizing on their nobler parts, or for want of consulting with some conscientious Divine, or through vehement assaults of the Devil, may not feel the streams of consolation, which formerly used to flow into their Souls from the chearful apprehensions they had of their being united to God by a solemn Cove­nant, who yet still go on to fulfil the conditions of this Holy Contract, and are exceeding cautious of offend­ing, or acting against the Laws of it: and most certain­ly the Mists and Fogs, which obscure and dull the bright­ness of their comforts, are no arguments of their hav­ing made void this Covenant, or that God's Paternal affection to their Souls is gone: For though they may even complain with Zion, that the Lord hath forsaken them, and their God hath forgotten them, yet still they are Children of Light in the midst of Darkness; and were but the noise of temptation over, or the distemper, which discomposes them, abated, they would soon hear God speaking to them in the Language of a Father, Can a Woman forget her sucking Child, that she should not have Compassion on the Fruit of h [...]r Womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee: Behold, I have engraven thee on the Palms of my Hands. Es. 49. 15.

3. No unallowed of Miscarriages, I mean, Miscarriages against the settled bent and resolutions of our Souls, can be said to null this Covenant: For God promising in this Covenant, to be a tender and gracious Father to us in Christ Jesus, we must needs suppose, that as a Father pities his own Children, so the Lord takes pity on them that fear him, as we read, Ps. 103. 13. There­fore, as a Father, who hath an obedient Son, if he hear him speak a rash word, or see him do an impru­dent [Page 214] act, he was never guilty of before, and perceives him blushing, as soon as he hath done it, which shews the Error was not in his Nature, or the effect of an evil Habit, but caused by some accident, or before he was aware, and consequently doth not thereupon pre­sently cast him off, or turn him out of Doors, or with­draw the affections and inclinations of a Father from him; so neither doth God from his dear Confederates, if sometimes by surprize they are overtaken in a fault, upon which their Hearts immediately smite them, and they take shame to themselves; for this shews, that it was not temper, but temptation, that caused this fall, and that it was against the bent and settled inclinations of their Souls.

4. Neither do blasphemous Suggestions null this sacred Covenant: By these, I mean not wilful Blasphemies, or reviling of God, the effects of Malice, Hatred and Enmity against God, of aversion from Goodness, and inveterate Wickedness in the Soul; for these are Cha­racters of a Mans being in Covenant with the Devil, and at Agreement with Hell: But by Blasphemous Sug­gestions are understood here, sudden Representations of things horrid, monstrous and unnatural to our Minds, which savour of Blasphemy, come in unforeseen and unlook'd for, and look indeed like our own Thoughts, but are not, but, in good truth, are Injections of the Devil, who shoots and darts such dismal things into our Understandings or Imaginations, contrary to our Will, Desire, Liking, and Approbation. Of these tedious and troublesome Guests, not a few Persons do com­plain, who with great seriousness apply themselves to the real practice of Godliness. The Enemy of Souls, being no longer able to sooth them up in carnal securi­ty, and finding them weary of the Yoak of Sin, betakes himself to this Stratagem, and tries by such Suggestions and Assaults to drive them to despair; for they are things dreadful, and such, as both Nature and Grace, and Conscience, tremble at; and very strange effects they [Page 215] have in many Christians, that are ignorant of these de­vices; They make them rise from Prayer, assault them at the very Altar, disturb their warmest Devotions, and many times tempt them to Self-Murther; and the Pa­tient frequently thinks, that a Hell is begun in his Bo­som, that he is possess'd, and hath a Legion with him. They come in, like Lightning, and cause such confusion in the Thoughts, that the tempted Christian thinks none so miserable as himself. These Suggestions, while they are resisted, detested, opposed, slighted, abhorr'd, and protested against, do not null this Covenant, be­cause they are things we cannot help, nor doth it lie in our power to hinder the Devil from trying Experiments and Conclusions upon us: All we have to do, is, not to consent, or not to yield to them, and thereby we establish the Covenant. Nor,

5. Doth want of such a degree, either of joy or sor­row, null this comfortable Covenant. There are ma­ny sincere Believers, who either, because they cannot weep so much for their Offences, as David, and Peter, and Mary Magdalen, or cannot raise their Affections to that pitch of Life, and Joy, and Briskness, that other Constitutions can in things Devotional and Spiri­tual, are apt to conclude they have no share in the Comforts of this Covenant: And the Argument they commonly make use of, to prove the inference, is, be­cause, did God love them, as his Children, he would give them the same spiritual Blessings, he gives to others. But this consequence is weak, for though God doth pro­mise, and give, to all Children Grace, and his Holy Spirit, and inclines their Hearts to his Testimonies, and whoever are of the number of true Children of God, we may confidently affirm, they have the Love of God shed abroad in their Souls; yet God hath no where promis'd, that all his Children shall have the same de­grees of Grace; much less the same degrees of Joy and Sorrow: For as there is one Glory of the Sun, another of the Moon, and another Glory of the Stars; and one Star differs [Page 216] from another Star in Glory, to use the Apostles expression, 1 Cor. 15. 41. so also is it in the Resurrection of the Soul from the Death of Sin, all are made partakers of the Grace of God, but all have not the same degrees of Grace, and the degrees of spiritual Joy and Sorrow dif­fer too.

1. Because God hereby encourages, and would en­courage, the Industry of his Children. Greater de­grees of Grace are rewards of the industrious, and the laborious have these baits laid before them. God Crowns the pains of his fervent Lovers with these Laurels, and the harder a Soul works in the Lord's Vineyard, the higher they are advanced in this spiritual Kingdom, as we may guess from the Parable of the Talents, Matth. 25, 20, 21. And of this the very Heathens were sensi­ble, when they made it a standing Maxim, That the Gods sold all their Gifts for Labour and Industry; Not to mention, that some Vessels are more capacious, and will hold more than others, and the larger the Soul is, the more it will contain.

2. That all have not the same degrees of Joy and Sorrow, the reason is, because God gives not to all his Children Constitutions alike, upon which, the external expressions of Joy and Sorrow do very much depend. If Grace meets with a moist constitution, or affectio­nate Temper, it makes the Eyes flow in stronger cur­rents, and fills those Chanels with larger streams of Tears, which a more even Temper is not capable of So, if it mingle with a sanguine and chearful complexi­on, the Joys in spiritual things must necessarily rise higher, than in Persons of a heavy or Melancholy con­stitution. Grace doth not alter the constitution, but directs it. It gives not a new habit of Body, but dis­poses the habit, it finds, to exhert and vent it self in matters of Religion, suitably to its Nature. Should all arrive to the same degrees of Joy and Sorrow, God must be at the charge of a Miracle every day, for he [Page 217] would be obliged to alter the several constitutions, which as he doth not think fit to do, so neither is it reasona­ble Men should expect it; and from hence it's evident, that a Believer may sincerely fulfil the conditions of this Covenant, and yet want the same degrees of Joy and Sorrow he sees in others, and consequently this want doth not null the Covenant.

6. All Sins allow'd of do certainly null this Cove­nant, whether they be great or small; By Sins allow'd of, I mean, not only Sins committed deliberately against knowledge, and the dictates of Conscience, but Sins also, we live, or go on in, without remorse or a ratio­nal care to be rid of them, and that such Sins as seem inconsiderable in the Eyes of the World, these as well as those of a larger size, if allow'd of, do null this Co­venant, is manifest, partly from hence, because they put the Soul into a State of enmity against God, which en­mity destroys the relation between Father and Child, for to be wilful in doing that, which I know, or may ea­sily know will displease my Father, is pure rebellion, not the error of a Child, a spot of a Leopard, not that of a Son of God; partly, hecause these little Sins, dandled and allowed of, are expresly said to exclude from the Kingdom of Heaven, or, which is all one, to make a Man least in the Kingdom of Heaven, which Kingdom is the great Blessing promis'd in this Covenant, for so we read, Matth. 5. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least Commandments, and shall teach Men so, either by word, or by his Example, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. And the reason, why even Sins, which People make nothing of, such as calling their Neighbours, Rogue and Fool, without a just cause, la­scivious desires and appetites, and revenge­ful actions,See The Happy Ascet. Exerc. 6. &c. have so severe a Sanction annexed to them, if they be cherished and lov'd, is this, because the less they are, the sooner, and the more easily they are avoided, and therefore it must argue strange aversion from God, not to oblige him in [Page 218] so small a thing; and that Men, after they have enter'd into this solemn Covenant at the Table of the Lord, may be allur'd, and enticed by Temptations, and perswaded to allow themselves in known Sins both great and small, and thereby null the Covenant, we have no reason to question, since Experience is beyond all Witnesses in the World.

7. The only Plank left us, after the Covenant is thus broken and null'd, to swim out of the Gulph of perdi­tion, and to regain God's favour, is confess'd on all hands, to be true and deep repentance, and particularly a Re­pentance attended with Fasting, Alms and great fu­ture Self-denials. In the stricter Ages of Christianity, especially in the Second and Third Centuries, it was very much question'd, whether a Person, who had solemnly and deliberately entr'd into a Covenant with God, either in Baptism▪ or in the Lord's Supper, if af­terwards he fell into some of these three Sins, Adultery, Murther or Idolatry, was capable of regaining the fa­vour of God, promis'd in this Covenant: The African Churches, especially, were very stiff in this point, yet the more moderate allow'd of a Second Repentance, rec­koning the first to be that, which had been made by a­dult Persons in either of these Sacraments, and the se­cond, if after a new fall, or wilful precipitation into any of these crimes, he rose again with very great pur­poses and resolutions; but if a Man fell again into any of these Sins, after the Second Repentance, they look'd upon the Third as impossible. Others, though they did not exclude the Persons, thus fallen, totally from the pos­sibility of God's favour and Salvation, in case he repent­ed, either the Second or third time, yet, did not think fit to receive him again into the Communion of the Church; and this, which the African Fathers look'd up­on only, as a thing convenient, Novatus enrag'd, it's like, because he could not be made a Bishop, improved into absolute necessity, which made his followers exclude all such Persons, as were fallen after their first Repen­tance, [Page 219] into any of these Sins, from their Communion. That which gave occasion to this Doctrine, was their too rigid interpretation of some places in Scripture, par­ticularly that of Heb. 6. 4, 5, 6. and the other 1 Joh. 5. 16. which places are to be understood rather of a malicious denying the Faith, and forsaking the very Profession of Christianity, and turning Jew, Heathen or Infidel, than of the aforesaid acts of Sin; The Roman Church was the first that receiv'd such sinners, after a tedious and labori­ous Repentance, into their Communion again, for which Tertullian expostulates with the Bishop of Rome, and accuses him of Rashness, imprudence, and breach of the ancient Canons. However, since the Apostle himself, 2. Cor. 2. 7. received the incestuous Person into the Communion of the Church of Corinth, and desired the Corinthians to do the like, after a sufficient demonstrati­on of his Repentance, after such falls into wilful and ha­bitual Sins, be sincere and true, exemplary and laborious, that there is just hopes, such a person may renew his Covenant, get a Title again to the promises of it, and be readmitted to God's Favour and Complacency. But then,

1. This Repentance ought to be speedy: To live long in such Sins, after the first wilful breach of this Cove­nant, is dangerous, hardens the Heart, gives the Devil greater power over the Soul, and the Person thus sin­ing knows not, but he may be given up to hardness of Heart, and to reprobate mind, in which condition he may be snatcht away by Death, and haled to the great Tribunal.

2. Such a Person must not make a trade of Repenting and sinning, for if he fall often into the same Sin, and still pretends to repent, its a sign, the Repentance is coun­terfeit, his love to God fickle and unsincere, his resist­ances of God's Spirit strong, and the inward Man left without a Guard to secure it against the assaults of the Devil.

[Page 220] 3. Upon this new Repentance, greater watchfulness than ordinary must be used, and the Penitent must be­come a gainer by his Sins, i. e. the dreadfulness of his fall must help toward the great exemplariness of his Life; and the Sins he hath lived in, must make them dread them more than ever. A very signal growth in Grace must succeed his Fall; and the Ball having been struck against the ground, must now rebound the higher. His time must now be redeem'd, and he, that hath been so careless, must now double his diligence. He must therefore love much now, because he expects, much should be forgiven him; and his greater fervor in Reli­gion, is the best demonstration of his unfeigned return from his Apostacy,

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. IT must needs be great presumption, for Men and Women to enter into a solemn Covenant with God in this Sacrament, and not to consider the weight and importance of it. Christian, when thou enter'st in­to this Covenant with the Holy Trinity, thou solemnly obligest thy self, that as thou hopest for Heaven and Happiness, as thou hopest for Pardon and Salvation, as thou hopest to have thy Sins wash'd away with the pre­cious Blood of Christ, thou wilt take Christ's Yoke up­on thee, endeavour to be humble and meek, as he was, learn of him, and die to the World, crucifie thy Lusts and Affections, fight against the vanities of the World, and labour to con [...]orm to the great example of that Sa­viour, that spilt his dearest Blood for thee. Either thou understandest, what this engagement means, or thou dost not: If not, how darest thou touch the Sacred Ele­ments with polluted Hands? If thou understandest it, and art not firmly resolv'd to take care to perform what thou promisest so solemnly, how dost thou think to escape the Judgement of God? Art thou afraid of breaking a solemn promise made to a Prince and great Man, whose Smile or Frown can either help or prejudice thee much, [Page 221] and art thou not afraid of violating thy Engagements to the great God of Heaven? What dost thou make of God? Dost thou take him to be some Heathen Deity that hath Eyes, and sees not, Ears and hears not? Dost thou oblige thy self to be his Subject, and dost thou turn Rebel? His Child, and become a Prodigal? His Con­federate, and conspire against him with his Enemies? Dost thou take him for thy Lord, and wilt not thou do what he saith? If these thy unfaithful dealings with thy Lord and Master, be enter'd into Gods Book of Ac­counts, as certainly they are, and the black Roll shall at last be open'd and read in thine Ears, dost not thou think, what Terror, Amazement, and Confusion thou wilt be in! O Sinner! There is no jesting with such Bonds and Obligations. The God thou hast to deal withal, is a jealous God, and if these Engagements can­not oblige thy Soul to a serious Conversation, they'll be witnesses to promote and hasten thy Condemnation.

II. See here, what a miserrble and doleful state it is, not to be in Covenant with God. He that is not, hath no security from the wrath of God, the Threatnings of the Gospel are in force against him, and he knows not, how soon the Thunderbolt will fall upon his Head: Like a condemn'd Malefactor, he is repriev'd for a while, and can promise himself a share only of the com­mon Blessings, which the Great Creator bestows indif­ferently upon his Friends and Enemies. Not to be in Covenant with him, is to be dead to his Paternal Grace and Favour, and to be depriv'd of those Influences, which make the Saints joyful in Glory, and cause them to sing aloud upon their Beds. Till you are in Covenant with your God, you can have no hopes of Pardon, your Sins remain upon you, and that load will crush you at last into de­spair. O think of it you that never made such a Covenant with your God in good earnest: Notbeing in Covenant with him, Christ's Blood, and Death, and Wounds, and Agonies, do not profit you: And for you, O miserable Creatures, Christ died in vain, that Damnation, Christ came to deliver the World from, continues to be your [Page 222] Portion; and should you die in that condition, you are undone to all intents and purposes. Till you are in Co­venant with God, you are under the power of Dark­ness, and under the Government of the worst of Ty­rants; you are Slaves in the midst of all your jollities, Bondmen in the midst of your Pleasures: You laugh in Chains, triumph in your Fetters, and stand upon the brink of Destruction. O do not make light of this un­happy state; your making light of it, speaks you des­perate; but being concern'd at your danger, may yet be a means to free your selves from the Net, you are at present intangl'd in: Fear of being undone, may yet keep you from it, and sorrow that you have not seri­ously thought of it, may yet turn the stream, and con­vert the Heart of God to you into Mercy and Com­passion; therefore it is, that we instruct you in meekness, if God, peradventure will give you Repentance to the ac­knowledging of the Truth, and that you may recover your selves out of the Snare of the Devil, who have been taken captive by him at his Will, 2 Tim. 2. 26.

III. From hence it appears, how necessary it is for People, when young, to make or renew this Covenant with their God; As no Man can close too early with the offers of Grace; so if this Covenant were made by all young Men and Women seriously, and with delibe­ration, what a restraint would it be upon their juvenal Desires! What a curb to their extravagant Fancies! What an Armour against Sin, and the ill examples of the World! How would this considerate Engagement keep them in, and fright them from consenting, when sinners do entice them! The reason, why it hath not this effect upon them, is, because it is not made with suitable applications of the Mind to the importance of it, or to the Greatness and Majesty of that God, with whom it is made, and to the danger and hazard they run, in breaking of it for every trifle that comes in their way, and when they have made it, they do not keep their Hearts warm by ruminating upon what they have [Page 223] done, nor do they renew it so often as they might, and should do, Were it preserv'd fresh and green, and flou­rishing in their Minds, it would harden them against impression of all those little allurements, which now draw their Affections and their Souls another way; Did they think, when a sinful shew, when vain company, when a glozing pleasure, when a base suggestion invites them to consent, I have wash'd my Feet, how shall I defile them again! I have given my self up to the disposal of him, to whom all Power in Heaven and Earth is given, How can I be faithless, and escape his Anger! I have in this Sacra­ment made a resignation of my Heart to him, that rescued me from the burning Lake, how shall I break with him, and escape his displeasure! I have consecrated my self to a greater Ma­ster, How shall I debase my self, and serve such pitiful no­things! I have but one Soul, and have given that away to my Redeemer, How shall I espouse this Vanity! I have pro­mis'd Obedience to him, that washed me with his Blood, How shall I obey his Enemy! Such Thoughts as these, repeated often, would make the Heart inflexible to all the charm­ing intreaties of the World, or the Devil; and Oh! that you would but make this Tryal, you would find, that we are not Mad, but speak the words of Truth and Sober­ness, as St. Paul told Festus, in a case not much unlike this, Acts 26. 25.

IV. It's no very difficult thing, to come to a Holy certainty, and assurance, that we are in Covenant with God. It must needs be difficult to the unwilling; and to him that hopes, God's Favour will fly into his Mouth without seeking it, any thing seems hard; and if it were difficult, the difficulty is not insuperable, especially if we look into the conditions of the Covenant, There is no man that is in his Wits, but may upon a diligent search find, and know, whether he heartily agrees to the con­ditions, and whether he promises, what is required on his part, out of love to the ways of Religion, and whe­ther he makes conscience of performing his promises. It's true, the Heart is deceitful, but that it is so, is our [Page 224] own fault, we may remedy that deceitfulness, if we will search it, and, by the Rules Christ hath prescribed in the Gospel, bring it into order. It is not to be imagin'd, that God would leave us in uncertainties, in so great a concern as this, and he that bids us apply the Comforts of this Covenant, must be supposed to have left us signs and characters, whereby we may know that we are con­federates with him, and have a right to what he hath said, he'll do for us, and there can be no greater cha­racter, than the testimony of our Conscience, that our engagements influence our Spirits, keep us in awe, pre­vail with us to be cautious, and can do more with us, than a base Lust, or any sinful gain and pleasure. If thou freely resignest thy self to the guidance and directi­on of thy Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, and the love of God, manifested in this Covenant, works upon thine Affections, and thou art content to be ruled by ois Law, art sensible of the equity and reasonableness of it, consentest to his injunctions, not only professest subjection, but actually endeavourest to submit to what he commands, and art willing without any reserves, that not only thine Understanding, Will, and Desires, but thine outward Man too, thine Eyes, and Ears, and Feet, and Gestures, and Behaviour, thy Reason, Me­mory and Passion should all be at his beck, move by his prescription, act according to his appointment, be sea­soned with his Grace, and conducted by his Wisdom; If thou art content, that all shall go, rather than his Fa­vour; if his Love, or a share in it, be dearer to thee, than the dearest of all outward enjoyments; be of good cheer, it's a good sign, and thou mayst rationally infer, that thou art in Covenant with thy Lord, and hast a right to all the priviledges, that are annex'd to it for thy encouragement.

V. And here, we may justly reflect, what a mercy it is to be in Covenant with God; a mercy indeed, which no Tongue can express, nay, no Apollos neither, as eloquent as he was, can describe, no Tertullus, no Cicero, [Page 225] no Demosthenes represent according to its worth; a mer­cy, which no Man knows, save he who receives it; a mercy weich fills the Tongues of departed Saints with praises; a mercy which unhappy Souls that groan among Devils, would give Millions for, if they had them; a mercy which sweetens all Conditions, makes Sickness easie, and Iron Chains sit soft, mitigates pain, and tem­pers grief and anguish; A mercy, which made the penitent Publican stand confounded, amaz'd the hum­ble Magdalen, caused St. Paul to go chearfully through Stripes and Imprisonment, and encouraged the Belie­vers of old to defie death and torments. He that is in Covenant with God, enjoys all that Son of God en­joys, though not as yet in fruition and possession, yet in title and reversion; God the Father carries him on his Wings, as the Eagle doth her young, the Eternal Son of God is his faithful Friend; The Holy Spirit of God speaks to him in the still voice of peace and comfort. He that is in this Covenant, is safe in the midst of Spears and Arrows, safe when he goes through the Water, safe when he passes through the Fire, safe when the Waves do roar, safe when Hell gapes upon him, safe in a Storm, safe at Sea, safe on the Shore, safe in his Life, safe in his Death; God is concern'd for him, in all his afflictions He is afflicted; The Lord Jesus is touch'd with his infir­mities, and the Spirit of God makes intercessions for him with groans that cannot be utter'd. In a word, there is no Condemnation to them, that are in Christ Jesus, to them, that walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit, Rom. 8. 1.

The PRAYER.

O God! whose pity is infinite! whose compassion knows no bounds! How shall I extol thy Humiliation! How shall I admire thy condescension to this poor Worm! Will God, the Great, the omnipotent God, look upon such an one as I? Wilt thou enter into a Covenant with this lump of Clay? wilt thou tye, and oblige thy self to do me good? The Favour is wonderful! I could not have thought it possible, but that thou hast most graciously revealed it to me. I believe, Lord! help my unbelief! Behold, I am Servant, the Son [the Daughter] of thine Handmaid. Be it unto me, according unto thy Word. I accept of thy offer. I count my self hap­py, that I may be admitted into Covenant with thee. I re­nounce the Devil and all his Works. Thou shalt be my Ma­ster, my Father, my Guide, my Director, my King, and my God, my Master to command me, my Father to counsel me, my Guide to lead me, my Director to conduct me, my King to rule me, my God to dispose of me as thou pleasest. I will know no Will, but thy Will. By the Blood of the Covenant unite my Will to thy Will. Grant me to desire, what thou de­lightest in, desiring to search after it, searching to know it, and knowing it, to fulfil it. Make me, O Lord, for thou alone canst do it, make me Obedient without contradiction, Holy without defection, Chast without corruption, Patient without murmuring, Humble without dissimulation, Chearful without licentiousness, Sorrowful without dejection, Grave without affectation, nimble in Religion without lightness, Fear­ful without despair, Upright without Hypocrisie, and fruitful in good Works without presumption. Give me a watchful Heart, a Heart not easily drawn away by vain imaginations, a Heart unbroken by afflictions, unaffected with the vanities of the World, that may not swell with prosperity, nor sink in [Page 227] adversity. Grant me understanding to know thee, diligence to seek thee, wisdom to find thee, a readiness to please thee, perseverance to wait for thee, and confidence at last to em­brace thee. O Holy and Eternal Spirit! I depend upon thy assistance. Make me faithful to my God, faithful to my Neigh­bour, faithful to mine own Soul, faithful in my Calling, faith­ful in the discharge of my Duty, faithful in my Promises, faithful in my Conversation, faithful in my Love, faithful in my Obedience, faithful in thy House, faithful in mine own, faithful unto Death, that I may obtain a Crown of Life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

CHAP. XV.
Of frequent receiving the Holy Communion, and the necessity of it.

The ONTENTS.

Frequent coming to the Lord's Table, the Practise of the Pri­mitive Christians. Receiving every Lord's Day, an uni­versal observance. Different Customs, in different Churches. Decay of a good life, the cause of Communicating seldom. The necessity of frequent Communicating, shewn in four particulars, as the Eucharist is a great preservative against Sin, an engagement to emulate Christ's Virtues, a Mo­tive to Charity, and the frequent coming, a thing very pleasing to God. Inquiry made, how often a conscientious Christian is bound to Communicate; The measures of that Obligation to be taken, partly from the Orders of the Church we live in, and partly from the fervency of our love to Christ. An Objection drawn from the danger of contempt, and disesteem of the Ordinance, if we come often, answer­ed. Arguments to prove, that lawful business in the World, is no just impediment of Communicating frequent­ly. An Expostulation, pressing frequent Receiving. The frequent Communicant, an Object of Divine Mercy. The Prayer.

I. THough the Example of the Primitive Believers is not properly a Law, yet we may have leave to infer so much from it, that being well acquainted with the Will of Christ and his Apostles, in those Practi­ses especially. which were universal, we ought not with­out very urgent reasons to depart from that Pattern▪ [Page 229] and if this Rule hold, frequent communicating at the Lords Table, will become, if not absolutely necessary, yet highly useful and expedient, since it was the practise of the best of Men, in the best of Ages, and of this the Acts of the Holy Apostles give us a very large account, particularly Ch. 2. 42. 46. which place being general­ly understood of the Eucharist, it must follow, that the Believers did daily participate of it. But this seems to have been a custom peculiar to the Church of Jerusa­lem, for though St. [...]yprian, St. Chrysostom, and St. Au­stin speak of some places in their time, where the daily Sacrifice was celebrated, yet even in the Apostles days we find, other Churches did not tie themselves to that pra­ctise, particularly that of Troas, where the Communion was celebrated every Lords Day only, as St. Luke in­forms us, Act. 20. 7. And upon the first day of the week, when the Disciples came together to break Bread, Paul preach'd unto them; and this custom the Apostles seem to have establish'd in most Churches, because it was fol­low'd almost in all places, not only while they lived, but after they had left the world; and continued for seve­ral Centuries, till Zeal and Fervor in the House of God decayed; and because none of the Ancients hath so ful­ly described this custom as Justin Martyr, who lived in the second Century, or 150 years after Christ,Just. Mart. Apol. 1. pro Christianis. [...], &c. it will not be amiss to set down his words, which are. On the day, called Sunday, all who are either in the City or Country, come together in one place, and the co­mentaries, or Writings either of the Apostles or Prophets, as time will permit, are read to the Congregation. The Reader having done, the [...] President, or the Chief Minister of the Church makes an Oration, in which he instructs the hearers; and exhorts them to a sincere imitation of the excel­lent things, that have been delivered to them. Upon this, we all rise, and apply our selves to Prayer. This done, Bread, and Wine, and Water are brought forth, and the President, as far as he is able, offers to Almighty God Prayers and Prai­ses, [Page 230] at which the People joyfully say, Amen; Whereupon distribution is made of the consecrated things to all that are present; If any be absent, the Deacons carry them to their Houses: Those, who are of the richer sort, contribute Alms every one according to his ability, and what is thus gathered, is deposited in the President's hand; and out of that he re, lieves Orphans, and Widows, and such as, by reason of sick­ness, or some other distresses, have need of it; such also as are in bonds, and poor Strangers, that come to him; in a word, he is a Steward to all that are in want; And on Sunday parti­cularly we meet thus, because it is the first day in which God, out of darkness and matter, which he had created before, fra­med this visible World, and Jesus Christ our Redeemer rose that day from the Dead, for the day before Saturday he was Crucified, and after that, which is Sunday, he appear'd to his Disciples, and bid them do what we have here related. To this purpose speaks Tertullian, who lived about Fifty years after him; and of this Lords Day, it's probable, Pliny the Heathen Governor spoke, when giving Trajan the Em­peror an account of the life and manners of the Chri­stians, he tells them that they used to meet Stato die, on a set day; In a word, for Believers to receive the Lord's Supper every Lord's Day, was counted in those Ages as necessary as publick Prayer, and hearing the Word of God explained. In Epiphanius's time it was customary, in some places to receive the Holy Communion thrice a week, and they looked upon that practise, as derived from an Apostolical Tradition, viz. Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. In some Churches, as Socrates informs us, they had a Sacrament constantly on the Sabbath-day, or Saturday, but that was much disliked by the Churches of Rome and Alexandria; St. Basil makes mention of a Custom in his time, which was to Communicate four times a week, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sun­days. Afterwards, some received the Holy Commu­nion once in three weeks. At last, as all things in pro­gress of time, deviate from the first Institution, the Chri­stians came to Receiving of it thrice in a year, which they thought, was the least, a Man, who profess'd him­self [Page 231] a Christian, could do, which occasioned that Ca­non in the Council of Turin, that a Lay-man, who did not Communicate thrice a year, should be Excommunicated, or, which is the same, not be counted a Christian; from which Historical reflections, it's evident, that, in the purer Ages of the Church, frequent Communion was counted a very necessary Duty.

II. What was necessary then, cannot, must not, be counted needless now; and the reasons that enforce the necessity of it, at this Day, are these following.

1. It must be granted, that this frequent Communi­cating is a very great preservative against Sin: The Hea­thens talk'd much of their Amulets, and preservatives against the Arts of Sorcerers and Magicians; but this, without any Superstition, may more truly be called a preservative against the Witchcraft of Sin, and offend­ing God. Nothing is more rational, for in this Sacra­ment the demerit of Sin is represented in very sad Cha­racters. In the Wounded and Mangled Body of our Great Master, in the Anguish His Soul was in, upon the account of our Sins, we behold what odious and mon­strous things they are, how abominable to God's purer Eyes, how contrary to His Holiness, and what a sepa­ration they make betwixt the Creator and the Creature; how they move Him to forsake us, to withdraw His Gracious Presence from us; What fears, what trem­blings, what shame, what ignominy, what sorrow, and what grief they cause. All this certainly is to be seen in the floods of Misery, which fell upon our Mediator, who undertook our Cause, bore our Sins upon the Cross, and was made Sin for us, put his Shoulder under our Griefs, and carried our Sorrows, was wounded for our Trans­gressions, and bruised for our Iniquities: And having taken that tremendous burden upon himself, see, how he was rejected, despised, forsaken, trampled on, what horror, what fears, what darkness fell upon Him, which is an Item, not only of what our Sins have deser­ved, [Page 232] but of what we shall feel everlastingly, if we em­brace not this Mediator as our Sovereign Lord, or are not resolved to tread in his steps; for when he cry'd, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? it was not for his own sake, that he fell into this exclamation, but for ours, to shew, that the Sinner, who, after this, would not repent, should be forsaken of God for ever: And can I see in this great Example, how God will deal with me, if I neglect the calls of Grace and Mercy? And can I be so brutish, and hug those Sins, which, upon my account, were so severely lashed in him, that was my Surety, who stept in and took the Blow, that would have lighted upon me? All the Goodness, Holiness and Divinity, that was in this Saviour of Mankind, could not make the Sins, he bore, look lovely in the Eyes of God; and though he was the Son of God, yet our Sins being laid upon him, as they were on the Sacrifice under the Law, God's Justice and Purity would not dispense with looking upon them with a favourable Eye; and though he was the dearly beloved of his Eternal Father, yet God pu­nished those Sins in him in a very terrible manner, to let us know, that if we accept not of the remedy, Christ of­fers us, do not make his Cross a motive to Conversion, they shall be thus punished in our persons, and that to all Eternity. All this is represented to us in this Sa­crament, a Saviour groaning, and weeping, and sighing under the burthen of our Sins, and thereby giving no­tice, that if we grow not weary of Sin, we shall weep, and groan, and sigh for ever; and shall not the dreadful Spectacle fill my Soul with abhorrency and detestation, of what I see so signally punished? Shall not I run away from it, and say to it, Get thee hence, thou evil and un­clean Spirit, touch me not, what agreement hath the Temple of God with Idols? And if this Holy Sacrament be so great a preservative against Sin, surely we cannot too often make use of it, especially, since we see, how easily Sin doth beset us, how often we are tempted to it, and how we are daily encompassed with suggestions and provocations to it.

[Page 233] 2. This frequent Communicating cannot but be a migh­ty engagement to a pious emulation of the Virtuous and Gracious Life of the Ever-Blessed Jesus. There is none but knows, how frequent going into company, that is of such a Temper, and seeing their Manners and way of Acting, is apt to produce assimulation of Disposition in the persons that frequent it: That Society, a Man frequently resorts to, gives a tincture to his Nature and Inclination, and consequently, the frequent seeing and conversing with the Holy and Gracious Jesus in this Sacrament, is very likely to have the same effect. For in this Ordinance, we do not only come to see him Bleeding and Dying, for his Enemies, but to look upon his eminent Virtues too, his wonderful Meekness, his deep Humility, his unparalell'd Patience, his chearful Submission to the Will of God, his admirable Self-resig­nation, his unshaken Contentedness, his generous con­tempt of the World, and his steady living in the thoughts of future Bliss and Glory? Can I see these Virtues shine in his noble Soul, and remember, that they are set be­fore me to raise my desires of being like him, and be­lieve, that God expects, and requires of me to tran­scribe them on my Temper? Can I see, how lovely, how amiable, and how beautiful these Graces are, how, in the midst of all his troubles, they proclaim him to be the Son of God; and, in despight of all the contempt and scorn of Men and Devils, speak him to be a fa­vourite of Heaven? Can I see, how in the midst of all the Affronts and Derisions, and Indignities he en­dured, these Graces still made him amiable, glorious in a Storm, bright in that dismal Night-dress, Illustrious in Misery, Magnificent in Poverty? Can I see how these Diamonds glister in the black Jet, in which they are placed, and, notwithstanding the dull matter that doth encompass them, are Diamonds still of an infinite value, prized by God, esteemed by Angels, magnified by all good Men, agreeable to Reason, conformable to Gods Nature? Can I see all this, and continue stubborn and obstinate, and an enemy to these Virtues? Is not [Page 234] this enough to make me enamour'd with them, to ob­lige me to long for them, and to cause a disquiet in my Soul, till it be possess'd of these inestimable Treasures? And if this Sacrament be such an engagement to this pi­ous Emulation, and endeavour after the same gracious Qualifications, is it not fit, is it not expedient, is it not reasonable, is it not necessary, that I should communi­cate frequently, and Eat often, and Drink often at this Table, except I am afraid of being too lively, too good, or too serious?

3. This Sacrament is a mighty promoter of fervent Cha­rity; and since the frequent exercise of this Charity is necessary, frequent Comunicating must be so too, this being the cause, or incentive, to the other. That in an eminent manner it promotes and encourages Cha­rity and Love to our Fellow Christians, Concord and Unity, Peace and Amity, readiness of Mind to do good, and bowels of Kindness to our Brethren, none can doubt, that's sensible, what Charity is represented in this Ordinance: Here I see, how the Great Comman­der of Heaven and Earth offers Reconciliation to a de­sperate Offender; and whereas the Offender should be the first, that should seek and implore God's Pardon, God prevents him, and with his Royal hands unask'd, bestows upon him a Patent of Grace and Mercy: Here I see, how the Supream Judge, who hath absolute pow­er over our Life and Death, is willing to be friends with a wretch that owes him Ten thousand Talents, and willing frankly to forgive him all, to discharge him of all his Debts, and to supersede all Actions against him. Here I see, how the Everlasting Father is ready to re­ceive the Prodigal into his House again, to admit him to his Table, who had spent all his Substance in riotous living, ready to kill the fatted Calfe for him, to put a Ring on his Finger, and to betroth him to himself in Righteousness: Here I see, how he, before whom all Nations are as Grashoppers, offers to embrace the Worm that hath resisted him, spoken ill of him, prostituted [Page 235] his Glory, expos'd Religion, and studied and contrived ways to dishonour him. Here I see the Son of God rea­dy, with the Balsom of his Blood, to anoint the Wretch that made the Wounds, and dying for the Men, the multitude of whose Offences hath seemed to vye with the number of God's Mercies. Here I see how infi­nite Light offers to twist its Rays with loathsome Dark­ness; and how the greatest Prince proceeds to those ex­cesses of Humility, as to give the greatest Sinners room and entertainment in his Banqueting-House, to call them Brethren and Friends, and sheep of his Flock, than which, there are scarce more endearing Titles: All this I behold here, and shall not such a wonderful Scene of Charity blow those little sparks of Affection, I find within, into greater flames? Can I see here what God hath done for me, who have acted more treacherously against him, than my greatest Enemy ever did against me, and shall not this raise Compassion in me to my Fellow-servants; and move me to lay down all Wrath and Enmity to them, whose Injuries are but Fleabites in comparison of those, I have offered to the Best of Beings? And if this Sacrament be so strong an engage­ment to this Charity, it stands to reason, that frequent Communicating must be necessary too, the rather, be­cause we are so often in danger of breaking the bond of Peace, and dissolving the cement, which must hold and knit Christians together. So that.

4. This frequent Cammunicating cannot but be accep­table to God, and this he declared in the example of the Primitive Believers, whose frequent receiving did so in­cline the Favour of God toward them, that the Evan­gelist takes notice, Acts 2. 47. The Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved. In this the Divine Bounty expressed its liking of their frequent repairing to the Table of the Lord: This was not only a reward of their frequent Communion, but God made that fre­quency a motive to others, to embrace the true Religion. Nothing works upon strangers more to joyn themselves [Page 236] to the Mystical Body of Christ, than to see the Pro­fessors live up to their Principles, and maintain the rules their Master hath given them; This enforces even such, as are Aliens to the Commonwealth of Israel, to encou­rage one another in the Language of those votaries, we read of Psal. 122. 1, 2, 3. Let us go into the house of the Lord, our Feet shall stand within thy Gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem is builded as a City, that is compact together, whi­ther the Tribes go up, the Tribes of the Lord, unto the Te­stimony of Israel, to give Thanks unto the name of the Lord, for there are set Thrones of Judgment, the Thrones of the House of David: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee, Peace be within thy Walls, and Pro­sperity within thy Palaces; for my brethren and companions sake, I will now say, Peace be within thee, because of the House of the Lord our God, I will seek thy good. So that what the Apostle, 1 Cor. 14. 22. says of the gift of Tongues, the same may be said of frequent Communi­cating, that it is a sign to them that believe not. Hereby they are perswaded to believe, seeing the Professors act like persons that believe what their Master hath said. This frequent Communicating shews their Zeal and Unity, and there is no Man vers'd in Ecclesiastical Histo­ry, but knows how much these two prevailed with In­fidels to come in to the Sheep-fold of Christ Jesus. It being evident therefore, that this frequent Communi­cating is very acceptable to God, how can we say, we love him, if we are loath to do what we know will please him? The Father hath not left me alone, saith our Saviour, because I do always the things that please him, Joh. 8. 29. And the same may be applied to the fre­quent Communicant; the Father will not leave him alone; He will be sure to guard him, though a thou­sand fall on his side, and ten thousand on his right hand, yet he'll take care, that no evil shall happen unto him, for he doth those things that please him.

[Page 237] III How often a conscientious Christian is bound to Communicate, the Scripture hath not thought fit to de­termine: That it ought to be done often, the Apostle doth sufficiently intimate, 1 Cor. 11. 26. but there is no Law extant in the whole Gospel, that saith, So many times a Year, or Month, or Week, you shall appear at the Lord's Table; and from hence rose that variety of cu­stoms in several Churches, we mentioned before: And what Socrates observes in this point, is very probable, that that variety of practice derived its Original from the various Judgments and Constitutions of Bishops, in their several Dioceses, which with their posterity past into a Law; yet though they varied in Times, and Days, and Hours, yet it's easier to gather from those various customs, that all made conscience of coming frequently to the Holy Communion, till Ignorance and Vice inva­ded the Priesthood, as well as the Laity; and when the Priests became regardless of this Ordinance, no mar­vel if the Laity did either despise or neglect it. And most certainly, to Communicate once, or twice, or thrice a Year, cannot be called frequent eating of this Bread, and drinking of this Cup, for this is to do it but seldom, and is an argument that we are not very so­licitous to gain, or preserve our Master's Favour and good Will, which is ever kept warm by frequent Ad­dresses and Importunity. It was therefore an unwor­thy act of Pope Innocent the Third, in the Lateran Coun­cil, in the year 1215. to make a Canon for Laymen, that it was sufficient for them to Communicate but once a year, for hereby they fell into great Ignorance, Debau­chery, and Sensuality, and that which should have re­strained them from Sin, being so seldom administred to them, they sunk daily into greater barbarity. This Pe­trus Cluniacensis was so sensible of, that, having under­stood of the Petrobrusians, that they had a Communion but once a year, he thus expostulates with them, You say, once only; but Christ and his Apostles say, not once, or twice, or thrice, or an hundred times, or a thousand times [Page 238] only, but as often as you do it. There is a great diffe­rence between as often, and once or twice. Here is the beginning of numbers, but the other expression exceeds all num­bers; here is more singularity, but in the other is infinite multiplicity. The Arabians have a Proverb, Visit seldom, and you increase Love; but, however this Maxim may hold among Men, I am sure it is not so with God, who, in the commendation of his Servants lays their stress up-the assiduity in his Service; and therefore, when the Holy Ghost speaks in the praise of Anna the Prophetess, he gives her this Character, that though she was a Widow of about fourscore and four years, yet she departed not from the Temple, but served God with Fastings and Prayers night and day. I know, this is not spoken with respect to this Sacrament, but all that I prove from it, is this, that the assiduity and frequency of Divine Worship, is that, which God is pleased to make a sign, not only of his Love, but our Sincerity too. His kindness to our Souls advances with our Importunities, and frequent Adorations cause frequent influences of his Love; and since the Holy Ghost hath not thought fit to resolve, how many times in the year we are to Communicate, on purpose to leave room for our Free-will-offerings, the Examples of the Saints of old, are a very safe Rule to go by; in our civil Affairs, where a Statute is want­ing, Customs and Presidents are a Law, and we think it reasonable it should be so; and when St. Paul calls to us in the style of a Command, Brethren, be followers of me, and mark them that walk so, having us for an ensam­ple, Phil. 3. 17. The Examples of the Saints of old will be found to be of greater force in our practise, than is generally believed; and though the antient Churches have had different customs in this particular, yet that, which most have agreed on, may justly oblige us to imitation. However, nothing is more certain, than that we are placed under Governors, whose lawful Com­mands we are to obey; and as the Governors of the re­spective Churches, have power to order the circumstan­tial and decent part of Divine Worship, so he acts most [Page 239] safely that conforms to the constitutions of the Church, he is of; and since in the Church, we are Members of, both to prevent contempt of this Sacrament by too fre­quent coming, and Peoples hardning their Hearts in Sin, by a too long neglect of it, it is thought fit to receive the Holy Communion once a Month; we have not on­ly great reason to conform to that order, but to thank God, we are encouraged to this frequent Devotion. In some particular Churches among us, a Communion every Lord' Day is kept up, according to the Primitive Rule; however, a Month is a just distance, to take no­tice what progress we make in Goodness, and what ef­fects the last Communion hath upon our Spirits, and though I can alledge no express Command for it, out of the Word of God, yet there is a Command which imports as much, even this, Obey them that have the Rule over you in the Lord, and submit your selves, for they watch for your Souls, as they that must give an account, that they do it with Joy, and not with Grief, Heb. 13. 17. But these Arguments are needless to a Soul, that hath a lively Sense of the Love of God. Love will run without a driver; and there needs no pulling, or haling him to the Com­munion, who hath seen and tasted how sweet and how gracious the Lord is. That inward Sense will make him come frequently, whether his Superiours command him or no. He that doth nothing in Religion but what his Governo [...]s force him to, doth not yet understand what that means, The Love of God is shed abroad in our Hearts. He that hath this Sense, finds a Law within stronger than the Law of all Superiors, and which hath greater power with him, than all external motives. He that loves Christ fervently, will love to be with him frequent­ly; and since the Communion Table is the place, where Christ hath promised to him, he'll be as often there as he can, except Sickness, or some such inevitable impe­diments hinder him, the rather, because here Men hear the joyful sound of Pardon, and walk in the light of God [...]s Countenance, Psal. 89. 15.

[Page 240] IV. But because I foresee, it will be objected here, That frequent Communicating will abate our esteem and veneration of this Sacrament, as all things, when grown common and familiar, are apt to breed contempt and carelesness: It's fit I should answer, and remove that pretended stumbling-block. And therefore,

1. It cannot be frequent Communicating, consider'd in it self, that abates our Zeal and Fervor to this Ordi­nance; for, let the Communion be never so frequent, the Arguments and Motives are still the same, their Gran­deur, Strength, Force and Power, is still the same; still these are able to kindle holy Fire on the Altars of our Souls, to raise admiration of God's Mercies; aud to en­liven our Spirits into Conscientiousness and severity of life; and if this be the natural tendency of these Mo­tivies at one time, it is so to another, and consequently the abatement of our esteem and veneration, is not the necessary effect of frequent Communicating; and in this the Primitive Believers are a signal instance, who, though they Communicated some every day, some eve­ry Lord's day, yet did not that frequency lessen their Veneration of these mysteries. It rather increas'd and cherish'd it; and we have reason to ascribe their con­tempt of Sublunary Contents, their Courage in Adver­sity, their Valour in Persecution, their ardent desires after another Life, their invincible Patience under reproaches, their Constancy in the severest Tryals, their wonderful Joy in Troubles, and their prodigious Self-denials to this frequent Communicating. This as it was a means to set their Master always before their Eyes, so it left an aw upon their Spirits, not to dishonour him by their lives. This was a perpetual curb to their Lusts, and ha­ving his Image constantly before them, made them walk as Children of their Father, which is in Heaven; so that, if frequent Communicating be not the necessary cause of an abatement, in our veneration of this Sacrament, it must be some other accidental thing, which may be remedied, that must occasion it. And therefore,

[Page 241] 2. Some decay in the Receiver, some indisposition in the inward Man, must be charged with this dis-esteem of the ordinance; and it is not the frequent Communi­cating, that is the cause, but want of care, and watch­fulne [...]s in the Communicant. Indeed, where People approach this Holy Table frequently, and bring no Hearts with them, no desires after a better Life, do not think it worth while to spend serious thoughts on the Death they are going to remember, come to it without any design of being like Christ, premise only a few Pray­ers out of Custom, touch the Ark with unwashen hands, dive not into their hearts, nor do prepare themselves for this Banquet, thrust themselves in, as the Guest in the Gospel, without suitable Ornaments, do not plow up the fallow Ground, or do not make it soft and Mellow with Meditation and Praises, and consider not what they come for, or to what end and purpose they give their attendance at the Altar, there we need not wonder, if frequent Communicating abates their esteem and vene­ration of this Sacrament; but this is their Sin, and fre­quent Communion is not to be blamed; it's their love to the World, that will not suffer them to bring that at­tention, watchfulness and devotion with them, as is re­quisite to the comfortable use of this Ordinance; a Sin which must be deplored, and, like the cursed thing in the Camp of Israel, removed before they come to see the goings of God in the Sanctuary. The Covetous Man a­bates not in his esteem of his Wealth and Treasure, though he look upon it every day, and the reason is, because his Affections are set upon it; and were our Affections set upon him, from whose fulness we all received Grace for Grace, our frequent Communicating would be so far from lessening our esteem of this Sacrament, that it would render it more lovely and more amiable to our Souls. Two Men of the same Trade live together, the one grows rich, the other continues poor, the one thrives, the other decays, because the one is industrious, the o­ther lazy, one minds his business the other lies in Ale­houses and Taverns: This is the Case here; if some fall [Page 242] into a disesteem of the greatness of this Ordinance, by frequent Communicating, it is because they take no pains with their Souls, before they Communicate, where­as others, who are laborious and careful, though they re­cieve never so often, they go on from strength to strength, till every one of them appears before God in Sion.

V. But since frequent Communication requires frequent Preparation, and frequent Preparation is a thing, that Persons who have much business in the World, cannot attend, how can it be supposed necessary, for such to Communicate frequently? Though Preparation be a Subject that I intend to spend a distinct Chapter upon, yet something may be said of it here by the by, and by way of anticipation, to shew the weakness of this excuse, and the vanity of this ex­ception. And therefore,

1. Business is either lawful or unlawful: If it be unlaw­ful, no conscentious Man must either involve himself in it, or continue to mind it; for whoever applys his Thoughts, Desires or Affections, to any business of that nature, puts himself in a state of Damnation, and hangs over Hell fire by a very weak and feeble Thread, even this Transitory Life, which if it chance to break, his Soul is lost; in a word, unlawful business makes a Man unfit, not only for frequent Communicating, but for Salvation too; and then his business is unlawful, if ei­ther out of greediness he takes too much of worldly business upon him, more than he can well go through with, and which must necessarily hinder him from mind­ing his everlasting concerns, or, if his business in the World necessitates, or necessarily engages him in Sin, as when a Mans business engages him to Lying, or Cheat­ing, or Stealing, or Extortion, or grinding the Faces of the Poor, or unreasonable Usury, or encouraging Men in their sins, whether Drunkenness, or Unclean­ness, or to Flattering, or Dissembling. &c. Where any such Sins are so bound up with the Worldly business, that the one cannot be performed without the other, [Page 243] there the business is unlawful, sinful, odious to God, and must be quitted, banished, abandoned, though he beg­gers himself by it, though he were to starve upon quit­ing of it, for this is inconsistent with any hopes of Sal­vation, and a Man had better die ten Thousand times, than lose the comforts of Eternal life, and to be sure it must be quitted too, that a Man may be capable of com­ming to the Holy Communion, for, without it, he is no more fit to be seen at this Table, than a Swine in a Royal Chamber. If the business be lawful, it can be no impediment to seeking first God's Kingdom and his Righteousness, for lawful business is Commanded, and one Command doth not clash with the other, and if it be no impediment to a serious course of life, except a Man will needs make it so, it can be no just impedi­ment to Prayer and Meditation, and acts of Love, and contemplating the mystery of the Cross, and consequent­ly no impediment to frequent Communicating.

2. Preparation to the Holy Sacrament is either Ha­bitual or Actual; Habitual Preparation Divines call that, when a Man's constant care is to please God, and to ap­prove himself faithful to God, and to be conscientious in all his ways, when he makes it his business, and the bent of his Soul is, to arrive to higher degrees of San­ctification, and he is fully and invincibly resolved, not to harbor any thing, that he shall know, or suspect, to be offensive to God. This habitual Preparation is as necessary as conversion it self; and I doubt not, but a Man, thus prepared, may at any time, upon a very short warning, recieve the Holy Sacrament to his Spiritual comfort, as is manifest from the example of the Primi­tive Christians, who, at first, before they were very numerous, recieved the Eucharist every day, and there­fore could not well come with any other Preparation, but what was habitual. Actual Preparation consists, as we shall shew hereafter, in retirement, suitable Prayers and Thanksgiving, in Self-examination, and Contemplation of the Death of Christ, and the Motives, Reasons, and [Page 244] Benefits of it, Resolutions &c. This actual Preparation is either more prolix, or more compendious. The prolix, or longer actual preparation is necessary, till Men be­come Masters of that gracious habit, I have already spoken of; but if this be once become the constant guest of the Soul, if this once become an Inhabitant, a shorter actual preparation is sufficient; and therefore, where a man is habitually prepared, by a Consciencious course, he may follow his lawful concerns and business in the World, and yet that need not hinder him from those shorter actual Preparations, requisite in frequent Communicating. In a Word, let a Man but once, in good earnest, proclaim War to all his known Corrup­tions and Imaginations, that exalt themselves against the constitutions and Injunctions of Christ Jesus, and he need not doubt, but that a very short actual preparati­on, though it were only some few fervent Ejaculations, will make him a worthy partaker of the comforts of Divine Love, tendered to him in this Sacrament; and consequently, lawful business can be no just impediment to such frequent preparation: But if this I shall have occasion to say more hereafter.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. IT's no wonder to see that strictness, Christ hath Com­manded his Followers to observe in their lives, de­cay and dwindle away to nothing but Shew and Forma­lity, in the Age we live in, since frequent Communi­cating is so much out of date among us. Blessed be God, all are not of this mind, and many pious Souls we have, which conscienciously appear at the Lord's Table, as often as they are called to it; but still what a vast number of miserable Souls there are abroad, who are such perfect strangers to this frequent Communicating, that some even die, and leave this World without ever thinking of it; and others delay their coming to it, till [Page 245] Death fills them with horror, upon the account of their neglect, and others come as seldom as they can. What shall I say to such Persons? What Arguments shall I use with them? How shall I aggravate their Of­fence? Are you Christians, or are you Heathens? That a Turk, a Pagan, a Jew, doth not shew himself at this Holy Table, is no wonder, for he is unacquainted with the Religion of a Crucified Saviour: But that you who profess your selves his Disciples, should be loath to come and see what hath been done for you upon the Cross, what Wonders, what Miracles of Love, God hath wrought for you on the Tree, to which the Son of God was nailed, what can we think, what can we imagine, but that you are Infidels under the name and shew of Believers? How justly may I Expostulate with you, what are you afraid of, that you either come not at all to this Well of Salvation, or come but seldom? What frights you? What stops your Journey? Are you afraid of parting with that, which is death himself to your redeemer, your Sins and Naughtiness? Are you afraid of purifying your Selves, even as he is pure? Are you afraid of living up to his Example? Are you afraid of losing your foolish Delights and Satisfactions? Do you pretend to be friends of Christ, and are you loath to accept of him for your Friend? Doth he promise to come and meet you in this Ordinance, and are you loath, or ashamed, to be seen in his Company? Had you rather keep your Trash, and Dung, and Filth, than come hither and be made clean? Tell me not that you are willing to receive him, if you will not receive him in his own way: In this Sacrament he offers himself to you, if here you will not embrace him, if here you will not express your e­steem of him, what hopes have you that he will ever be your portion? What can the Ever-Blessed Jesus think of you? What can he judge of you? What opinion can he entertain of you, but that you are his Enemies, Ene­mies to his Supper, Enemies to his Love, Enemies to your own Souls? Must you be dragg'd to your own Happiness? Must you be forc'd to drink of this Water [Page 246] of Life? While you keep off and stand out, are not you the Persons that would not have this Man, this more than Man, to Reign over you? There can no just Rea­son be given for your not coming frequently to this Ho­ly Table, but that you are loath to agree to the Terms of sincere Repentance and Obedience, he requires at your hands; and are you loath to be saved? Do you take pleasure in being Reprobates? Is it such Comfor­table thing to be excluded from God's favour? While you wilfully absent your selves, do not you refuse to be healed? Here the kind Physician comes, and declares his Willingness to cure you by the Balsom of his Wounds, and had you rather be sick, than of a healthful Com­plexion? Here is a Medicine tendered unto you, a Medi­cine for your sin-sick Souls, and had you rather perish, than rise and awake, that Christ may give you life? Hath the Son of God endured so much, gone through such a Discipline of Torments, through Fire and Wa­ter, that your Souls might live, and do you despise his Love, Do not you Despise it, when you come so seldom to apply it? Would not one think, that you have a mind to be miserable, when you are so backward to come to him, that would deliver you from your misery? Ah! did you believe the astonishing misery of God's Love, how would you breath, how would you pant, how would you hunger and thirst for this Fountain, open'd for the House of Judah and Jerusalem, It's a sign your Appetite is dull, your desires feeble, your Affections cold, your Inclinations frozen; were all things right within, the Fire would burn, and at last you would speak with your tongue; I come, Lord! I come! I delight to do thy Will! It is the Will, the Order, the Command of that God, in whom you believe to come often, and shall a­ny thing hinder you from obeying his Command? Shall not his Orders prevail with you? Can you prefer your little business before his Will? Do you believe that he must be your Judge, and will you allow always your selves in Rebellion and Contumacy under his Injuncti­ons? If any man serve me, let him follow me, and where I am, there shall also my Servant be, saith Christ, Joh. 12. 26. [Page 247] Ah! Shall so sweet a voice be lost upon you? Shall not this Invitation of the bleeding Jesus melt you! He was just going to his Cross, when he said so. He was just going to institute this Sacrament of the Cross, when he call'd so! Ah! How sweet are these words! How full of Kindness! How fragrant is this Breath! What can work more upon harden'd hearts? break, break, thou stub­born heart! The Rocks sympathize with him and cleave asunder, and cannot this voice, this voice of Mercy, make an Alteration in thy breast! O take heed, lest this Lamb, which came to take away the Sins of the World, put on another shape ere-long, even that of a Lion and roar upon you, as it is Luc. 14. 24. I say unto you, that none of those Men that were bidden shall taste of my Supper. I know, there are some honest Souls, who, out of a Sense of their own unworthyness, dare not come, and dread frequent approaching to this Table; but such I would not fright, but win to this frequent Communi­on; and all I shall say to them, at this time, is this, Are you willing Christ should, set up his Throne in your Souls? Are you willing, he should tread down his Ene­mies in you, Enemies which have usurp'd his power? Are you content, he should be formed in you, and fill all your Faculties? Are you content, all should stoop to him, and all that is within you should bow to his Scepter? If so, fear not, you cannot come too often, your frequent running to his Altar will be Incense to him, Incense, which he'll smell, as he did Noah's Sacrifice, and secure you against future Destruction.

II. The frequent Communicant ought to receive some Comfort from these Instructions. But then, by the frequent Communicant, I do not mean one, that doth indeed come often to this Table, but knows not what it is to be heated by the fire of Divine Love, whose Sins are strong, and his holy desires weak, and whose frequent coming hath made him as careless, as the vast number of Sermons he hath heard: For such a frequent Communicant God hath given us no comfo [...]ts, to such a one we have no message, no Embassy of Peace; but [Page 248] the frequent Receiver, whose choice of the better part is both confirmed and encreased by frequent Receiving, this is the Man, to whom we are bound to carry Balm and Spices, for a Present To you it is that this word of Consolation comes. Your frequent attending at this Table, is living under the precious drops of the dew of Heaven How goodly are thy Tents, O Jacob! How justly may you say, that God loves you, when you love to be often with him, whom your Souls do love! Surely your Souls will grow fat and flourishing, that are so often nourish­ed at this Table! It's a sign you long for the Courts of the Lord, and you shall certainly appear in a Nobler Court one day, a Court where nothing is mean, nothing trivial, nothing savouring of Terrestrial delights; but a Court where all the Servants are Kings, and all enjoy more, than the Greatest Monarchs of this World do: Blessed are your Eyes, for they see, and your Ears, for they hear. The oftner you see the precious Sacrifice on this Table, the more endearing it will become to you; the oftner you hear him call here, come to me, all that are wea­ry, the more desireable will he grow in your Eyes; the oftner you meet here, the greater will be the friendship be­twixt him and you, till this friend comes at last and re­cieves you to himself, so that you shall be for ever with the Lord.

The PRAYER.

O Dearest Saviour, dearer to me, than Father and Mo­ther! My Friend in all dangers, my Benefactor in all wants, my Fortress in all troubles! I cannot but confess that thou hast frequently called to me, frequently entreated me, fre­quently expostulated with me, and frequently asked me, why I would die? And I have as frequently stopt my Ears against thy call, and been deaf to thy voice, and my follies have kept pace with thy favours! I see my mistakes, I see my errors, and my Sins I desire may be ever before me, I know thy voice. It is the good Shepherd's voice, that calls me to this Table, and thy Sheep hear thy voice. I earnestly desire to be one of that number. O feed me with thy pleasures! O open mine Eyes, that I may see the rich pastures, that are to be found in thy Grave! To this Sepulchre let me repair often! O per­suade me to look often into it, that I may, with the Holy Woman, see the Angels sitting there. To increase my will­ingness to come frequently, visit me frequently with thy Sal­vation. Let not my familiarity of that sight, lessen my e­steem of the Sacred Mystery. The oftner I participate of it, the greater let my Love, my Affections and my Admiration be! Open still new Springs of Love, when I come to this Sa­crament of thy Everlasting Love, that the New Springs may still give new life to my Soul, new courage to do thy Will, new Power to tread on Serpents, new resolutions to conquer all that stops my way. And thus, my dearest Lord, transform me by the renewing of my Mind, that I may prove, what is the Holy, acceptable and perfect Wall of God. Amen, Amen.

CHAP. XVI.
Of the Perpetuity of this Ordinance, and the Necessity of its Continuance to the World's End.

The CONTENTS.

St. Pauls Command to the Corinthians, of shewing forth the Lord's Death, till he come, not to be understood of Christ's coming to them in the Spirit, but coming to Judgment. This proved largely by many arguments. The reasons laid down, why this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is to last to the end of the World. Christ's coming to Judgment, proved to be a very proper object of our Contemplation in the Recieving of the Holy Eucharist, and a help to Pati­ence and Faith, and confidence in the Goodness of God. God's Marvellous care of our everlasting welfare, shewn, in ty­ing us up in Bonds of Obedience in this Ordinance. Men who look for Grace and Salvation, as they are bound to make use of the means of Grace, so they are obliged to make use of this. The wretched state of those, who neg­lect to shew forth the Lord's Death in this Sacrament. The same temper required in Recieving the Eucharist, that we desire to be in, when we shall be summoned to Judg­ment. The Prayer.

I. THat this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is a stand­ing Ordinance, and to last to the end of the World, St. Paul expresly tells us, 1 Cor. 11. 26. For as often as you Eat this Bread, and Drink this Cup, ye do shew, or, do ye shew the Lord's death till he come. Where­by is plainly meant Christ's coming to judge the World; [Page 251] and this hath been the unanimous belief of the universal Church, since the Apostles time unto this day, which makes us justly wonder at the boldness and ignorance of Quakers, and other Enthusiasts, who have presumed to abolish this Ordinance in their Conventicles, pretend­ing, that this Sacrament was fitted only for the Infancy of the Christian Church, but intended it should cease, when Christ should come to them in the Spirit; and ha­ving already received Christ, as they fancy, in their first Conversion and Regeneration, they foolishly and ridi­culously imagine, that they have no need of receiving him again, in the use of the outward Symbols, tendered to Christians in this Sacrament. Puffed up with this airy conceit, they run into this Sinister and Childish In­terpretation of the Apostle's words, contrary to the sense of all Christian Churches, as if Till he come were as much, as Till he come to you in the Spirit, to which impertinent Exposition, nothing could possibly lead these silly Men, but the Spirit of error and contempt of all human Learn­ing, and undervaluing the common dictates of Reason, and a monstrous Spiritual Pride, which not only swells them with an opinion, that they are wiser, than all the Christians in the World besides, but tempts them to o­ther insolencies and Prophanations of the Written Ora­cles of the Holy Ghost; and therfore, lest weak Capa­cities should be ensnared by such specious pretences, it will be necessary to shew the unreasonableness of this interpetation.

1. There is not the least Syllable, not the least hint given us in all the New Testamen [...], that this Sacrament, after it was once instituted, was ever to be abolished; which made, not only the Apostles introduce it into the Christian Congregations, while they lived, but all the Churches, planted and founded by them, retained and continued it, knowing nothing to the contrary, but that this Ordinance was to be perpetual and Eternal; and therefore, as they had recieved the necessary use of it from those, who laid the foundation of their Religion, [Page 252] so they propagated the same to their posterity: Nay, among the Hereticks, that left and separated from the Church, there were very few, but what preserved the use of this Sacrament in their Congregations; and though they had the insolence of Blaspheming other My­steries of Christianity, yet this Ordinance they were a­fraid to abolish, being sensible that it was one of the Cor­ner stones of Christianity: And who could imagine other­wise, that considered, how this Sacrament succeeded in the room of the Passover, which was Item enough, that it was to last for ever; for as the Passover, after its first Institution, was to last to the end of the Jewish Oeco­nomy, that expiring with Christ's Death, so this succeed­ing, was an argument, that it was to continue while the dispensation of Christianity should last, and that is to the end of the World.

2. No Man will deny, but that those three thousand Souls, converted by St. Peter's Sermon, did receive the Holy Ghost, for St. Peter expresly promises them, Acts 2. 38. Repent and be Baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the Remissions of Sins, and ye shall re­ceive the Gift of the Holy Ghost; and this was very com­mon in those days, for true Penitents to receive the Ho­ly Ghost, immediately upon their Baptism, and some­times before their Baptism, as Cornelius and his Company, Act. 20. 44. 48. And though by the Holy Chost, in those places, are meant the miraculous Gifts of the Ho­ly Ghost, speaking with Tongues, healing diseases, &c. Yet it must be granted, that in their conversi­on, they had the Sanctifying Spirit of God, sent upon them, yet these very Persons, that [...]nd so received the Spirit, continued in breaking of Bread, and in Prayer, as we are told, Act. 2. 42. And that by breaking of Bread there, is not meant sitting down to their private and ordinary meals, is evident from hence, because it is mentioned as a part of their Devotion and publick Wor­ship, to which their ordinary Diet cannot be referred, [Page 253] and therefore it must be the Encharist, or this Sacra­ment of the Lord's Supper, that's meant by it; for by that Term it was usually expressed in the Primitive Church, as we see, 1 Cor. 10. 16.

3. Those very Corinthians to whom the Apostle writes in the place aforementioned, and gives a Command to shew forth the Lord's death in this Sacrament, till he came, had already received the Spirit of God, as we read, 1 Cor. 2. 12. Now we have received, not the Spirit of the World, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given us of God: and to this purpose he adds, 1 Cor. 6. 11. Such were some of you, but ye are Washed, but ye are Sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. These Men then had received the Spirit of God, and therefore, when the Apostle, writing to them, chap. 11. Saith, that they should shew forth the Lords death, till he come, most certainly he cannot mean, till he came to you in the Spirit, for they had received this Spirit already, and he was already come to them in the Spirit; and what sense would it have been, to say, Ye that have received the Spirit of Christ, must shew forth his death, till he come to you in the Spirit, just as good sense, as if a Man should say, Ye that are in London, must do such a thing till you come to London; so that, if this were the sense, the Apostle must have contradicted himself, or spoken that which no body knew what to make of. It fol­lows therefore, that since by his coming in Scripture is frequently meant, his coming to Judge the World, as Rev. 22. 20. 1 Cor. 4. 5. Luc. 18. 8. That here it hath the same sense, because without it, the words will not bear a reasonable construction.

4. The design of the Apostle in this 11th. Chapter, is, to rectify several mistakes, and errors, and abuses, that were crept in among the Corinthians, in their admini­stration and eating of the Lord's Supper, and this is in­timated v. 17, 18. So that his intent, in writing to them, [Page 254] must be, to inform them, how they were to behave themselves in the use of this Ordinance, what exorbitan­cies they were to abandon, what evil customs they were to retrench, what vulgar errors they were to beware of, and consequently, his intent could not be, to abo­lish this Sacrament, or to teach them to use it no long­er, than Christ should come to them in the Spirit. He that gives a Man directions about a good work, in what manner he is to perform it, what he is to take heed of in the practice of it, what Rocks and Stumbling-blocks he is to shun, doth not perswade him to leave the good work undone, or to neglect it, but chalks out to him only the way he may walk in with safety, doth still allow the work to be of Eternal Obligation, only that it may be acceptable to God, bids him beware of the Shelves and Sands, he may run upon in the prosecution of it; and though, in reformation of abuses, the thing it self, which gave occasion to the abuse, is very often cancell'd and taken away, yet that Rule holds only in things in­different. In Duties and things Commanded, such as the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is, this could not be practised, for if Ten thousand abuses were commit­ted about Prayer, yet Prayer would still be a Duty; and therefore the Apostle, reforming the errors of the Co­rint [...]ians in the administration of this Sacrament, can­not be supposed to abrogate the Sacrament it self, for as he saith, v. 20. He had received it of the Lord; i. e. by way of a commanded Duty, which therefore could not be abolished.

5. Let us admit of this odd expression of Christ's coming to them in the Spirit, if a Man have received the Spirit of Christ, that's so far from being a sufficient reason to justifie his staying away from this Sacrament, that it is a powerful motive to come to it; not only because he, that hath the Spirit of Christ, will be sure to do what Christ Commands him, but because the Spirit of Christ must be cherished, preserved, kept warm, and made much of, which is not to be done, but by frequent con­templation [Page 255] of God's Love and Charity, and compassion to, our immortal Souls, whereof this Sacrament doth not only put us in mind, but gives us a faithful representa­tion. The Spirit of God, within us, must be preserv'd by the use of such means, God hath appointed; and since this Sacrament is one of these means, he that neg­lects it, cannot promise himself a long continuance of that Spirit in his Soul; and what if Men, that have fre­quented this Ordinance, have found no good by it, for that must be their own fault, and because they come to it like Swine, no wonder if they come away from it in no better condition.

6. Though it is readily granted, that true Believers, in their first conversion, receive the Spirit of Christ, yet that puts no stop to their receiving larger and greater influences of it, by the use of this Sacrament: As Grace is begun in their first conversion, so it is increased by a conscientious use of this Ordinance. The coming to it doth not abate the power of this Spirit, but advances it. This Ordinance being a Spiritual Ordinance, the Spirit of Christ is the more likely to exert its virtue in a sin­cere Believer, that frequents it: The Cross of Christ, which is Foolishness to the Greek, is Wisdom to the Spiritual Man, and the more he looks upon it with suita­ble Devotion, the greater courage and strength he will receive from it, to fight the Battels of the Lord. The Spirit of Christ that works in a true Believer, works by rational Arguments, by Arguments that are most apt to prevail with rational Men; and since nothing can be a more effectual Argument, than the Love of Christ, ma­nifested on the Cross, and particularly in the Sacrament of the Cross, it must follow, that the first operations of Christ's Spirit in the Soul, are no hindrance to his far­ther operations in this Holy Sacrament.

7. It's true, in this Sacrament, external Symbols and Elements are made use of, but that's not at all improper, or inconsistent with a Gospel state; nor do these Sym­bols [Page 256] hinder any Man from worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth, but rather promote it. If under the Gospel, Men may make no use of external tokens, to put them in mind of Spiritual things, the Apostle was out in his Divinity, when he tells us, That the invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things which are made, even his eternal Power and Godhead, Rom. 1. 20. Christ indeed abolished the burthensome Symbols of the Ceremonial Law, but did no where tell us, that he would leave no Symbols at all in his Church to remember him by: And though we grant, what the Apostle saith, Col. 2. 20. 21. Wherefore, if ye be dead with Christ from the Rudiments of the World, why, as though living in the World, are ye subject to Ordinances, touch not, taste not, handle not? Yet it plainly appears from his discourse, that he repre­hended no other but Judaizing Christians, who having embraced the Christian Religion, were still observant of the Ancient Ceremonies, which Moses, while the Church was in its Minority, had given to the Jewish People; such as were distinctions of Meats and Drinks, touching dead Bodies, or any thing that was defiled with Leprosie, touching any thing unclean, whether Man or Beast, &c. whereof a large account is given in Levit. 7. 21. So that this Saying doth not reverse the Symbols, used in the Holy Sacrament, they being of another na­ture, and instituted upon a different design, and so far from evacuating a Spiritual Worship, that those become most Spiritual persons, that frequently exercise them­selves in a devout use of it; and therefore what arro­gance must it be, for Men to think themselves wiser than Christ himself; and when he, whose Wisdom cannot by searching be found out, hath given us these Symbols, and by them thought fit to help our infirmities, to fancy, that Christ did more than he need to have done, as if he understood not our Natures better than we? Those that look upon those Symbols, as Crutches for weaker Christians to lean upon, and such, as they themselves have no need of, had need examine and search their Hearts better, than hitherto they have done, lest they [Page 257] be unable, when the time comes, to stand before the Son of Man.

II. Why this Sacrament is to last in the Christian Church to the end of the World, or till Christ come to Judgment, may easily be guess'd at; for,

1. The means of Grace are the same and unaltera­ble to the end of the World; and whatever things bore the name of ordinary means of Grace, in the Apostles days, still bear that Name, and shall bear it, till Hea­ven and Earth do perish; for God intended but one Gospel to the Christian World, even that Gospel which we have, and, after it, we are to expect no other: This is to serve the Church, while it is a Church, and as the Church is to last to the consummation of all things, so this Gospel is to last, for which reason it is expresly call'd, The Eternal Gospel, Rev. 14. 6. And the Apostle is very peremptory in his Assertion; Though we, or an Angel from Heaven, should Preach any other Gospel, mean­ing either now, or hereafter, than what we have Preach­ed to you, let him be accursed, Gal. 1. 8. And if the Gos­be to last to the end of the World, this Ordinance of the Lord's Supper, in the Church, must needs last as long, for this is part of the Gospel, as much as Prayer, Preaching, or any other message delivered in that Book. That which is most properly called the Gospel, or Glad­tidings, is the mistery of God's reconciling the World to himself in Christ Jesus, and this is in an eminent man­ner express'd in this Sacrament, so that this Sacament is the principal part of the Gospel, the chief subject it treats of, the principal thing it aims at, the very foun­dation of the whole, For other Foundation can no man lay, than that is laid, which is Christ, saith St. Paul, 1 Cor. 3. 12. Nay, he determined with himself, not to know any thing, save Jesus Christ, and him Crucified; which is the very purport and scope of this Ordinance; and if the Gospel be a thing perpetual and eternal, the prin­cipal part of it, without all peradventure, must be so.

[Page 258] 2. The comforts of Christian Souls are to last, while Christians live in the World, and that, by virtue of Christ's Pontificial Prayer, Joh. 17. 20. 21. Neither Pray I for these alone; but for them also, which shall believe on me through their word, i. e. to the end of the World; that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, than which, there cannot be greater comforts; and if such are to last to the Worlds end, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper must needs be of the same perpetuity, for from hence flow the greatest comforts of true Believers, this assuring us, that as the material Bread, by eating, is united to ou [...] Bodies, so is Christ united to our Souls, or our Souls united to him, as Members to their Head; and to be one with Christ, it such a Treasury of Comforts, that there is no affliction, no condition so mean, or so calamitous, but may receive ease and content from this Consideration; for if I am one with Christ, my Blessed Redeemer, will be concern'd for me, will take care of me, will be with me in the Tryals that fall to my share, will support me under Temptations; assist me with his Grace, relieve me by his Presence, subdue Satan under my Feet shortly, will furnish me with Arguments to re­sist, will not leave me when I dye, but convey and con­duct my Soul, where her Head is, that it may be for ever with her Lord, and will make me partaker of the same Glories too, which himself is possest of. By this Sacrament we become one with Christ Jesus, and this comfort being to attend sincere Christians, while Chri­stians are in the World, the means, whereby that Uni­on is made, must necessarily last as long as Christianity lasts, i. e. to the Day of Judgment.

3. Lo, I am with you, saith Christ to his Disciples, who were Representatives of all future Christian Con­gregations, that should maintain the purity of his Do­ctrine and Morals, to the end of the World, Matth. 28 20. This is not to be understood of his Bodily Presence or [Page 259] Human Nature, for that was to be Translated into his Father's Kingdom, and with respect to that, he had told his Followers before, that they should not have him always with them, Matth. 26. 11. And as to his Divine Nature, though the words may be referr'd to that, yet it is to be noted, that he spoke these words, as one, who had all Power given him in Heaven and in Earth, v. 18. and therefore as Mediator, or the promised Messiah of the World; and if he spake these words, as Mediator or Head of the Church, it must follow, that he meant them of his being with them, and their Followers to the World's end, by his Spirit and virtue, and influence in their observing all things, whatsoever he Commanded them, as the words immediately preceding do evince; for he doth not tye his special Presence to a bare function of Men, as the Romanists falsly infer, but to Obedience; and as Baptism was one of the things he commanded them to use and observe, in the Verse before, so the Lord's Supper and Celebration of it was another; so that if Christ's Presence be necessary to the Worlds end, and that Presence be tied to Obedience, and this Sa­crament be one of the things he hath commanded, and in which he must be obey'd, in order to his Gracious Presence, this Ordinance also must be necessary, and must needs be kept up to the end of the World.

4 Christ's Church is to last to the World's end, for it is for his Church's sake, that the World stands so long as it doth, as the World was created upon that ac­count, because God meant to gather a Church out of the World, out of the foreseen corrupt Mass of Man­kind; so it is preserved upon that account, even that the number of those, that shall be saved, may be com­pleated; which great Truth, is, I believe, aim'd at by the Apostle, Col. 1. 15, 16, 17, 18. and to this end, this Church is said to be so durable and so firm, that the Gates of Hell shall not be able to prevail against it, Matth. 16. 18. The Devil, we may be confident, will endeavour to b [...]tter it to to the very last moment of the World's du­ration; [Page 260] and if, with all his stratagems, and continued and lasting assaults, he shall not be able to conquer or to destroy it▪ it must stand and last as long as those as­saults do last. The Apostle therefore makes mention of sincere Christians, that will be alive at Christ's coming to Judgment, 1 Thess. 4. 17. And consequently, the Church will last till then; and if the Church is to last to the Worlds end, the Marks of that Church must last as long. It's true, Holiness of life is one Mark, but that's not all the Marks the Christ's Church must have. The Sacraments are Marks too, and Marks whereby it may be better known, than by Holiness; not but that Holiness is the principal Ornament of the Church; but as those that are to joyn themselves unto the Church, are generally more inquisitive after the Constitutions and Ordinances of it, and the means whereby that Ho­liness is effected, than after any thing else, so this Sa­crament being part of those means, and therefore one of the necessary Marks, it must last to the end of the World, as much as the Church it self, and as long as there is any probability of Mens joyning themselves to the Church; and by this means Holiness of Life is sig­nally promoted, as experience sufficiently witnesses. As Christians in general, so the Church of Christ, or the respective Societies of Christians professing Christ's Do­ctrine, and imitation of his life, are compared to a City set on a Hill, and which cannot be hid, Mat. 5. 14. Not that Christ's Church must always appear outwardly Magnificent and Glorious, thereby to attract the Eyes of Spectators, no, but that the purity of Doctrine and sound Preaching of the Word, and the due administra­tion of the Holy Sacraments, together with innocence of Life, must make it visible, and this, it may be, under the greatest persecution, and when a severe Tempest falls upon her; by these Marks she may still be known; and if these are her Marks, these Marks must last as long as the Church it self.

[Page 261] III. The term therefore, to which this Holy Sacra­ment is to last, even Chrst's coming to Judgment, may very justly be taken into consideration in receiving of the Blessed Eucharist, I hinted so much, Ch. 1. Fa. 9. But must upon this occasion enlarge upon it: For

1. This consideration will help to encourage us to Patience under reproaches, Injuries, and Mens unrigh­teous dealing with us. It serves to quiet the Soul, to think that Christ knows my Sufferings, aud the Injuries that are done me, and sees my Integrity and Innocence, and will clear me in the last day before the whole World; What need I resent such an affront, when the Son of God takes notice of it, and if I am patient under it, will, in that great day, plead my Cause, set the Sin­ners Transgression, if he repents not, before his Eyes, and confound him; not that I am to wish that confusion of the offender; but my consideration, that Christ will actually do it, may promote my contentedness un­der that affliction; What need I revile my Persecutors, when he, for whose sake, I endure that persecution, will sufficiently vindicate me in that day, for it is a righteous thing with God, to recompense Tribulation, to those that trou­ble you, saith St. Paul, 2. Thes. 1. 6, 7, 8. This Judge will at last discover, how Men were mistaken in us, how un­just there Censures were, what sinister Constructions they put upon our Actions, how malicious their Slan­ders were, how unjust the Punishments they inflicted on us, how inhuman, how contrary to Charity, all their ill Lauguage was; He shall bring forth our Righteousness as the Light; and our Judgment as the Noon-day, Psal, 37. 6. and this consideration must needs be very effectu­al to promote Patience.

2. This Consideration will help to increase our con­fidence, and arm us against distrust and diffidence, for if the powers of darkness would fright us from laying hold on Christ's Merits, because he will be a very se­vere [Page 262] Judge in the last day, the timerous Christian may answer thus. True, he will be my Judge, but he hath promised to be a Father too, to those that fear him: He'll be my Judge Indeed, but he is a Judge of my Flesh and of my Bone, and who will have regard to my in­firmities: He'll be my Judge, but he is my Head withal, who will be tender of his Members: He'll be my Judge, but he is a merciful High Priest withal, who will be my Advocate, and answer the Objections I cannot con­fute. I will cling to his Precepts, I will not wickedly depart form him, I will express my Love to him in Ho­ly Obedience, I will dread his Judgments, and make his Mercy a motive to Purification. I will not give place to the Devil, I will fight against his Temptations, I will stand upon my watch, I will not lie asleep in the Bed of Sin, I will get up if I chance to fall, I will rise again when I am overtaken in a fault, I will accuse my self and beg his pardon, I will endeavour to walk wor­thy of the Vocation, wherewith I am called, with all lowliness and meekness and long-suffering, I will not take part against him with his Enemies. This is the work I have resolved upon, according to this Rule I will walk, and such a Soul, I know, this Gracious Judge will not cast away nor condemn; what inadvertencies I may run into, I will not justifie, but strive against them, and I doubt not, but his Cross will cover them, while my Heart is sincere, and my Soul is ever toward him. This Judge will absolve me, he will deal favou­rably with me, as with a person whom he hath redeem­ed. I will look upon the Promises and apply them. He hath promised, that he will not take away his kindness utterly, from such as love him; while I live, I will love him, and I question not, but as severe as he is to the ob­stinate and untractable, he will visit me with everlasting kindness.

The Preceding Considerations improved. and reduced to Practise.

I. O Let us admire the Goodness of God, and his marvellous care of our everlasting welfare! He sees, how slippery our Natures are, how fickle, how mutable, how changeable, how apt to turn from the Holy Commandment delivered to them, and therefore he ties us in Bonds, in Covenants, and in Sacraments of of Virtue, whereof the Lord's Supper is the strongest, the greatest and most Sacred, and therefore the best defensative and guard against the encroachments of Temptations; insomuch, that he, who can break through this Mound, and will not be kept in by Ar­guments drawn from the Death of Christ, but, in de­spight of the Blood of the Covenant, he hath drunk and sealed his Promise with, will plunge himself into known sins; that Man's case is desperate, that Man is truly resolved to be miserable, and will die, though the Lord Jesus call to him from the Cross, Live, in thy Blood, live: He that can Swear, and Vow to God, in this Sacrament, vow upon the Body and Blood of Christ, that he'll be Drunk no more, and Swear no more, and Lye and Cheat no more, and yet forgets the Oath of God, that is upon his Soul, and dares fall to his old Sins again; that Man's last Estate is worse than the first, and he slights him, by whom he must be saved, despises him, who alone can make him happy, refuses that Blood, which alone can cleanse him, undervalues the only Champion, that can secure him against the Rage of the roaring Lion, loses and rejects the Prop, which alone can support him against the wrath of an offend­ed God, and affronts that Friend, which alone can help and comfort him in the day of Vengeance.

[Page 264] II. This Sacrament being a standing Ordinance, and a notable means of Grace, as much as Prayer and hear­ing the Word of God, it must necessarily follow, that Men, who look for Grace and Salvation, must make as great Conscience of this, as of any other; and if they account it a Sin, to neglect Prayer and hearing the Word, they must look upon it as sinful too, to neglect this Ordinance. If this be a means of Salvation, as well as the rest, he that hopes to be saved, must seriously make use of this means, else he can have but little hopes of arriving to the end without the means. Surely, this Sacrament is a means, whereby you and I must come to love the Lord Jesus Christ, a Duty of that consequence, that he that love him not in sincerity, lies under a se­vere threatning, and is liable to a dreadful Curse, 1 Cor. 16. 22. But how shall we ever love him to any purpose, except we use the means, whereby that Love must be raised and kindled in our Breast? Doth any Man hope to thrive in the World, that will not bestir himself, be­come active in his profession, and apply himself to La­bour? Does any Man hope ot arrive to Learning and Scholarship, without Books or Reading? Does any Person hope to keep himself warm in Winter, that puts on no Cloaths? Or, was ever any so foolish, as to hope to come to his Journies end, if he sits still in a Tavern or Alehouse by the way? If this Sacrament be a means of obtaining Happiness, will that Happiness fall to our share, without using the proper means? If thou refusest to come to this Ordinance, how can God be kind to thee, how can he visit thee with the Favour he bears to his own People? How can he wash thee with the Blood of the Lamb? How can he make thee Blessed, and a compa­nion of Seraphim, and give thee a right to the Treasury of Christ's merits, when thou neglectest the means, where­by these Mercies must be consigned and applied to thy Soul? And therefore,

[Page 265] III. How wretched, how sad, must be the case of that Soul, which neglects to shew forth the Lord's Death, in this Ordinance, when the Lord shall come to Judg­ment? When the Son of God shall appear in all his Glo­ry, and the Sinner, who neglected this Holy Sacrament, shall be brought before him, it will not be an ordinary fright, the wretch will be in; especially, when the King of Glory shall accost and ask him, How canst thou hope to share in my Glory, that didst not think my Death worth remembring, in the Congregation of my Saints? How canst thou hope to participate of my Hap­piness, that wouldst not weep at my bitter Passion? How canst thou hope to be advanced to my Throne, who wast ashamed to look upon me hanging on the Cross? How canst thou hope to enter into thy Ma­ster's Joy, that would'st not, by lively representations of my suffering in the Sacrament, I ordained, be melted in Tears? How canst thou hope for a seat in the Eter­nal Mansions, where no defiled thing must enter, that wouldst not cleanse thy self from filthiness? Or how couldst thou hope to be cleansed, that wouldst not make use of my Blood to wash thy self? Here none can be hap­py, that were not Holy upon Earth, and how couldst thou expect to be Holy, that didst neglect the means which was intended to enrich thy Soul with Holiness? Such an Address of such a Majestick Person, and to an offender too, that knows, and cannot but know, that all this is true, must necessarily strike the Malefa­ctor dumb, fill him with horror, and make him cry out, though too late, O that my Head were Water, &c. Expo­stulations of displeased Princes with their Servants, that have acted contrary to their Will, in things of far less moment, have cast them into Grief and Swoons, and fatal diseases, and we must needs conclude, that in the case we speak of, as the Person offended is greater than the most puissant Prince in the World; and the neglect greater, than if a Man had neglected to provide for the [Page 266] security of a Temporal Kingdom, so the Expostulati­ons will be more terrible, and the Sinner's Heart, to whom they shall be spoken, in far greater consternati­on.

IV. This shews with what temper and disposition we ought to come to this Holy Table, even with the same temper we would, or desire to be in, if, within a few hours, we were sure to be summoned to Judgment: Were any of you to appear to Morrow Morning before the Bar of God, and had you all imaginable assurance of it, that, by such a time, you must certainly attend there, would you lie or swear, or dissemble, or break out into a passion, or pray carelesly, or be backward to do good, or be averse from Holy thoughts and discourses, &c. I trow, not; and as you would not appear before the Judge with an unmortified temper of Mind, so neither can it be adviseable to appear before him at this Table, with such a disposition. As the appearing before his Judgment Seat, would make you call your most serious Thoughts together, and make you loath the charms, the inticements, and the alluring temptations and suggestions of the Flesh, and of the World; so your appearing at this Table requires the same inclinations; for, as in the day of Judgment, the King will come forth and behold the persons cited into that Court, to see, whether they are qualified for Heaven and Happiness, so in this Feast, he comes to look upon the Guests, and to see who comes with a worldly and carnal disposition, and takes as much notice of the frame and temper of your Hearts, as he will do in the last day. Here thy great Master comes, and takes a view of thy Thoughts, Words, Desires, Af­fections and Actions, whether they proceed from a prin­ciple of Love and Submission. Happy the Soul that sits down at this Table with a sense of her duty, and the great­ness and goodness of the Master of the Feast; for such a Soul anticipates her future bliss, and feels, in some measure, the sweetness and comfort of the joyful Absolution, which [Page 267] shall be pronounced upon her with greater solemnity in the last day, even this, Come ye blessed of my Father, receive the Kingdom, &c.

The PRAYER.

O Thou Eternal Wisdom, who alone knowest what is best for me, who hast established this Ordinance in thy Church, and ordained it as a means, whereby thy loving Mem­bers may come, in the unity of the Faith, unto a perfect Man. It shall be established for ever, as the Moon, and as a faith­ful witness in Heaven: Give me, O give me, perseverance in the use of it, O Jesu! Thou art the promised Seed, the pro­mised Messiah, the promised desire of all Nations! Thou art the fruitful Vine, and by the precious Liquor that drops from thee, innumerable Souls are cherished and refreshed! Thy Sa­cred Name is as Ointment poured out! I smell the rich com­position. My Soul doth gather strength, and life from that perfume. I am the wounded Man that's fallen among Thieves. O let thy Blood heal me of my Plagues! Thou hast been lifted up to the Cross, that the Enemy of Mankind might be tro­den down. O let me participate of the Virtue of that exal­tation, that I may trample upon his Temptations. Thou hast been lifted up to draw me after Thee, and to withdraw my Heart from worldly Desires and Affections. O lift me up from the Earth, that I may relish the comfort of thy Exal­tation. Thou wast lifted up, that thou mightest be beheld by all. O let me look upon Thee, whom I have pierced by my Sins, that I may mourn for them bitterly. Thy Holy Arms were stretched out, that thou mightest embrace all that come unto Thee. I come, Lord! Take me into thy Arms and love me! O let thy Cross be my security against all my Enemies! Let thy Wounds be my refuge in the hour of Temptation! Let that innocent Blood, that dropt from thy Hands and Feet, and [Page 268] Side, wash away the spots and stains of my abominable Acti­ons. Henceforward my Hands and my Heart shall be lifted up in Prayer and Praise, and Love, and Devotion. O di­rect me, and give me grace to obey thy Directions, and leave me not till I am past all danger; O see me safe through the wilderness of this World, that I may for ever Admire and Adore Thee in thy Everlasting Kingdom. Amen.

CHAP. XVII.
Of Eating and Drinking unworthyly in this Or­dinance, and the Guilt, the unworthy Recei­ver incurs thereby.

The CONTENTS.

Both good and bad Men frighted witb the thoughts of Eat­ing and Drinking unworthily, but the good without just cause. Wherein unworthy Eating and Drinking doth not consist, shewn in Thirteen particulars, with the reasons of the assertion: and wherein it doth consist. The danger of unworthy Eating and Drinking, proved to lie in making our selves guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. How Men involve themselves in that guilt, discovered. A great difference betwixt Receiving unworthily, and being not worthy to Receive. The great imprudence and Weakness of those, that are loath to depart with their Sins, and there­fore are unwilling to come, for fear they should make them­selves guilty of the Death of Christ, and of Damnation. The impudence and boldness of others, who come to this Sacrament, receive unworthily, and are not concerned at their danger. The Joys and Comforts which arise from Receiving worthyly. The Prayer.

I. THough from the Premises, the Reader may easily guess, what is it to Eat and Drink unworthyly, and though in Ch. 4. some general notions concerning it have been laid down, yet since it is a point, which frights, not only bad Men, but even some of those, who are otherwise piously inclin'd, from coming to the Lord's Table, it will be necessary to give a distinct explicati­on [Page 270] it, that neither the bad may think, they gain any thing by abstaining, nor the good be discouraged from coming. As bad Men have no sense of Spiritual things, which makes them live merrily in neglect of command­ed Duties, so not a few of those, whose hearts are ten­der, are apt to discompose their minds with needless scruples, whereby they too often deprive themselves of the comforts, they might reap from God's Ordinances, and besides, expose themselves to strong Temptations of the Devil, who takes pleasure to see good Men in con­fusion, hoping, that one time or other they may fall in­to his net, and when they know not how to extricate themselves out of their Labyrinths, will shake of the Yoak of all Religion, and become his Votaries, run into the the other extream, and turn either careless or Prophane. To prevent these and other dangers, it will be conve­nient to discourse of this Eating, and Drinking unwor­thily, first, Negatively, what it is not, and secondly, what it is, and wherein the sin consists. And therefore.

II. To Eat and Drink unworthily, is not, 1. To Eat and Drink at this Table with a weak Faith. By a weak Faith I mean such a belief of the truth, and necessity of the things commanded in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, as makes the Soul ready, and willing to do the things, required of her, but is attended with great fears, and doubts, with wavering, and inconstancy; and this weakness proceeds not so much from want of will to submit to Christ, as from want of understanding ei­ther the extent of the Grace of God, or the nature of the Gospel of peace, or the design of God in his Provi­dences, or the Latitude of true Christian Liberty, which defect must needs cause great mistrusts of our safety, danger of being scandaliz'd with little things, and unsted­diness in Holy Duties, as we see, Rom. 14. 1, 2. &c. yet this weakness of Faith doth not make a Man an un­worthy receiver.

1. Because Christ is willing to receive such into favour, [Page 271] and he express'd this willingness in his kind behaviour to the Man, we read of Mark 9. 22. Who believed indeed, but waveringly, and soon after cryed out, and said, with Tears in his Eyes, Lord! I believe, help thou my unbelief. The Disciples of our Lord, upon their first adhering to him, were at the best but weak in Faith, and therefore Christ calls to them so often, O ye of little Faith, yet he doth not therefore reject them. He cherish­es the very Seeds of Faith, and when it is no bigger than a grain of Muster-Seed, he makes much of it. Though the Branches of it be but tender, yet he doth not Root up the Tree, or Command the Husbandman to cut it down, lest it should cumber the Ground, or throw it into the Fire: To which purpose there is an Excellent Character given of him, Esa. 40. 11. He shall feed his Flock like a Shepherd, and gather the Lambs with his Arms, and carry them in his Bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. There are Lambs in his Flock as well as Sheep, and as these two require various management, so both may be confident of his tenderness. All Stars do not shine alike, yet even those, that give not so great a brightness, shall be preserved, as well as the greater Luminaries. Love is an acceptable present to him, and though in some, like fire under green Wood, it burns but dimly, yet he'll quench it no more, than he will the more blazing Flames. But then when I say, he will not frown on those, that are weak in Faith, I do not mean, such as have no saving, no working Faith, and as refuse to work the work of God, such are Infidels, not Men weak in Faith. Weakness of Faith supposes rea­diness to good works, but the various doubts, which at­tend it, cause this weakness. That there are such Per­sons, as Children in Grace, St. John assures us, 1 John 2. 12. Yet even their Sins, he is willing to forgive for his Names sake.

2. Because this Sacrament was instituted for the strengthening of our Faith. The weak in Faith are call­ed, and invited to it, that they may grow more robust, [Page 272] and lively; and to this end Christ offers himself in this Ordinance as Spiritual Meat and Drink, that living up­on him, and feeding upon him, we may be brought up to greater perfection; that our Souls may follow him with greater alacrity, Grace may become more active, and Faith more solid, and more defecated from Hypocrisie; And as here we contemplate Christ, so we behold his extraordinary Faith in God, that seeing it, it may give us courage to tread in his steps. His Father's promises to him, as Man, and Mediator, were great, and large, and extensive. God had promis'd, that he should be King of Heaven and Earth, that all Power should be put into his hand, and that he should be as it were, his Lieutenant-General; Ask of me, saith he, Psal. 2. 8. And I shall give thee the Heathen for thine Inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the Earth for thy possession, thou shalt break them with a rod of Iron, thou shalt dash them in pieces like a Potter's Vessel. There was little probability of the per­formance of these promises, when he was mocked, de­rided, scourged, beaten, bruis'd and crucified, when he was made liker a Worm than a Man, the reproach of Men, and despised of the People, when all that saw him laugh'd him to scorn, and did shoot out their Lips, and shook their Heads, saying, He trusted in the Lord, that he would deliver him, let him deliver him, seeing he de­lighted in him, when many Bulls compass'd him, and strong Bulls of Basan did beset him round, when they gaped upon him with their Mouths, as ravening and roaring Lions, when he was poured out like Water, and all his Bones were out of joynt, when his Heart was like Wax, and melted in the midst of his Bowels, when his strength was dried up like a Pot-sherd, and his Tongue cleav'd to his Jaws, and he was brought into the dust of Death, when Dogs compass'd him, and the Assemblies of the wicked did enclose them, when they pierc'd his hands and his Feet, as David describes his misery,Psal. 22. 6, 7. 8, 9. &c. yet in the midst of all these disasters, he believ'd the promise of his Father would be punctual­ly fulfill'd, which makes the Author of the Epistle to [Page 273] the Hebrews say, that for the Glory set before him, the promis'd Glory, He endured the Cross, and despised the shame, Heb. 12. 2. His Faith bore him up under all these Floods of ungodliness, so that he is not only the Author, and Finisher, but also the example of our Faith, an Example set before us in this Holy Sacrament, that we may light our Candle by his Fire, strengthen our Faith by his Plerophory and Confidence, and if this be the end of his being represented in this Ordinance, the weak in Faith cannot be excluded, nor can weak­ness of Faith make a Person an unworthy Receiver.

Nor, Is it want of a total purity, or of freedom from all Sin, that makes a Person an unworthy Receiver; It's true, the Gospel commands those, who mean to receive worthily, to purge out the old leaven, 1 Cor. 5. 7. And putting off the old Man with all his deceitful Lusts, Eph. 4. 22. and whoever hopes to be partaker of the benefits of Christ's death, his purpose at least must be serious, and unfeigned, without partiality, and Hypocrisie, to re­nounce all Love and Affection to a sinful Life; but still there is a great difference betwixt destroying the Reign­ing power of Sin, and being free from all Sin; of the former, the aforesaid passages must be understood, and the worthy Communicant must in sober sadness mor­tifie, and resolve to mortifie the Imperial Power of Sin in his Soul, so as not willingly and wilfully to yield un­to the sinful dictates of the Flesh, or of the World, but to prefer his God, and what he requires, before his own Temporal advantages: But from thence it follows not that the worthy Receiver must not be so much as sub­ject to errors, and inadvertencies, and falls by surprize, and before he can well recollect himself; and therefore the want of such spotlesness, is not it, that makes a Man Eat and Drink unworthily at this Table.

1. Because this Feast is not instituted for Angels, but for Men. Angels have no need of such encourage­ments [Page 272] [...] [Page 273] [...] [Page 274] to Virtue, they being determin'd to Goodness. Were Men free from all Sin, they would not stand in need of this Ordinance, which is intended to make sin­ful Men good, and good Men better. Those that are whole need no Physician, but the sick; and as Christ is the Physician in this Sacrament, so they are the sick he in­vites to come to him. The best Man that is, though he labours under no Chronical distemper, yet he hath ail­ings still, and infirmities about him, which want the Physicians hand, and Medicine, which is here most Gra­ciously tendr'd to him. [...] The Scripture of the Old Testament calls Man Enosh, infirm, weak, sickly, and though good Men are arriv'd to a far better state of health than Hypocrites and grosser Sinners, yet who, even of the strictest mortals can say, I have made my heart clean, so that no spot shall be seen there? This Sacrament therefore being ordained for Men, it must be granted, that it is ordain'd for sinful Men, not to encourage them in Sin, but to make them hate it, not only the bigger stains, but even the relicts of it, that re­main in the Regenerate. To this end Christ's Ago­nies and exquisite Torments are set before us in this Sa­crament, the Torments, I mean, our Sins, inflicted and brought upon him, that that sight may terrifie us, and fill us with abhorrency of that, which hath made the Son of God so miserable.

2. No Sinners are excluded from this Sacrament, that are willing to reform their Hearts, and Lives. Those that with Ephraim, will have no more to do with Idols, take with them words, and turn unto the Lord, say­ing, Take away▪ all our iniquity, and receive us Graciously, so will we render the Calves of our Lips; Ashur shall not save us, neither will we say any more to the works of our hands, ye are our Gods, as it is said, Hos. 14. 2, 3. Such are call'd by the great Shepherd of the Sheep, not stub­born Sinners, but penitent Sinners; not obstinate Sinners, but tractable Sinners; not Sinners that will be miserable, but Sinners, that long to be deliver'd from their misery; [Page 275] not Sinners that are resolved to walk on in the Imagina­tion of their Hearts, but Sinners who are ambitious of a clean Heart, and of a new Spirit; not Sinners that will keep their Sins, but Sinners that are weary of them; not Sinners who still find Sweetness in their Sins, but Sin­ners who are sensible of the Bitterness of them; not Sin­ners who make a Mock of Sin, but Sinners to whom Sin is a Grief and Burthen; not Sinners that make a Cove­nant with Hell, but Sinners that break that Covenant, to be the Lord's Free-men: So that, not to be free from Sin, is not to eat and drink unworthily.

Nor, 3. Doth all Dulness in holy Duties make a Man an unworthy Receiver. There is a Dulness, indeed, which proceeds from an Aversion to the holy Commands of the Gospel, from a voluntary Stupidity of Mind, and want of Relish of Spiritual Things; and this, without all peradventure, is very prejudicial to the Soul, and a bad Preparative for the Communion, and no small Im­pediment to the Grace of God. But there is a Dulness, which is the Result of Faintness, when the Spirits are spent, and the first Intenseness of the Mind is worn out: In such Cases, a Dulness and Deadness may easily rise, but much against our Wills, and, to be sure, without our Approbation. Nor is this Dulness to be seen only in Temporal Concerns, but even in Spiritual Duties and Devotions. When the first Heat of Devotion in the Morning is over, and the Spirits of the Blood, which were the Porters that serv'd to carry up our Prayers on high, are in some measure tired, the Soul that, after this, applies her self to the holy Communion in the publick Congregation. may want that Liveliness and Briskness of Thought, Desire and Affection, be­cause the first Flames, which were strongest in the Morning when we rose, are spent. Now, This Dul­ness doth not make a Person an unworthy Receiver: And the same Judgment we are to make of that Dulness which rises from natural Imperfections and Sicknesses, incident to good Men, as well as bad; such as Lethar­gies, [Page 276] Dropsies, Scurvy, Consumption, and other Distem­pers, which are either beginning, or are come to a considerable Strength: Neither the one, nor the other, if they seize us at the Communion, do make us unwor­thy Receivers.

1. Because God doth not judge of us so much by the present Liveliness and Activity of our Spirits, as by the Sincerity of our Souls. Where the Soul is bent to please God, doth not regard Iniquity in her Heart, and pre­serves so much of Fear upon her Mind, as makes her, that she would not offend God wilfully, though it were to gain the Kingdoms of the World; is willing to be better inform'd, to have her Errours discovered to her; is desirous to be strengthen'd in the Inward Man; is still ready to embrace any Good, suggested to her from the Word of God, or the Ministers of his Ordinances; there the Soul hath reason to bless God for the Sincerity that is in her, and to believe, that, notwithstanding her present accidental or involuntary Dulness, he will meet her in this Sacrament with a favourable Aspect, bid her welcome, and give her the glorious Blessings she expects in the Holy Communion: For, if there be first a willing Mind, it is accepted according to what a Man hath, and not according to what he hath not, saith the Apostle, 2 Cor. 8. 12. If that Soul finds a present Dulness, is willing to be rid of it, is so far from being pleased with it, that it is her Burthen, would be more lively in her Desires if she could; there God will certainly spread open his Arms to her, and receive her.

2. Because God rejects no Person for what he can­not help. I know, this is the common Plea of all un­converted Sinners: When they are exhorted to close with God, and to cashier their known Sins, or are re­proved for continuing in them; the String they harp upon is this, That they cannot help it. But, not to mention that, by thinking or saying so, they make God a Lyar, who saith, they can help it if they will use the [Page 277] Means the Holy Ghost prescribes; 'tis evident to all wise and considerate Men, that this pretence of Impos­sibility is nothing but Resolution and Obstinacy to con­tinue in the State they are in. And therefore, when I say, that God rejects none for what they cannot help, the meaning is, for what he sees and knows they cannot help: As a Christian who, upon the account of his Con­scientiousness, is cast into a Prison or Dungeon, God will not reject him for not frequenting the publick Or­dinances; so here, for the Dulness that seizes upon pious Christians in their holy Performances, God will not withdraw his Kindness; especially where he sees that ei­ther the faintness of their Spirits, or the prevailing Di­stempers in their Bodies, baffle all their repeated and re­iterated strivings to be lively and affectionate in their Addresses to God, and particularly in the holy Commu­nion. In this case, God regards rather the brave Inten­tion of the honest Believer, and his swimming against the Stream, than the Want of what he desires: Nor will he condemn him for not doing that which he would do, and cannot. And the same is to be said of those blasphe­mous Suggestions I mention'd, and gave an Account of, Chap. 14. Sect. 7. ¶. 4. They being things which no Man can help, (for, Who can hinder the Devil from tempting him?) if detested, they cannot make the Per­son that resists and abhors them an unworthy Receiver, though they should fly or dart into his Mind in the Act of Receiving. All that can be done to them, is, to abo­minate them when they come in; and though they may be the Devil's Sin, who frames these fiery Darts, and shapes them on his Anvil, yet they are not Sin to the as­saulted Person, who saith, I renounce the Devil, and all his Works. There is no fighting of them with Swords and Spears; they are not to be cut in pieces with Knives or Axes; are not to be expelled by Forks and Wea­pons: Resistance, and Detestation, and Prayer, and Declarations of our contrary Belief, is all the Force that can be used; and while this is done, the Soul is safe un­der all those Skirmishes of the Enemy. Nay, Who can [Page 278] promise themselves a greater Welcome to this Ta­ble, than those that resist Temptation? Resistance is a Vertue, and a Sign the Soul is touched with a Sense of God: 'Tis a Character of Grace, and Abhorrency of Evil, a Fruit of the Spirit; and those that are led by the Spirit, cannot but be worthy Communicants. What­ever Temptation we meet withal, while we consent not, we preserve the Safety of our Souls: And though it is true, that these blasphemous Suggestions come in sometimes so thick, and so fast, and make those strange Impressions on the Mind, that the Patient cannot well tell whether he consents to them, or not; yet it being, in a manner, impossible we should consent to things our very Nature abhors, and which we know to be against the common Principles riveted in our Souls, he that feels them, hath reason to believe that he consents not to them, though for the present they stun him: However, when he recovers out of his present Fright and Con­sternation, if deliberately he rejects them, 'tis enough: And though they should follow him Twenty Years to­gether, yet, if he resist and detest them Twenty Years together, they cannot make him an unworthy Commu­nicant.

4. Impossibility of forgetting an Injury doth not make a Man an unworthy Receiver. By not being able to forget an Injury, I mean, not being able so to put the Matter of Fact out of our Minds, that we shall never think of it, or remember that such an Injury was done unto us. 'Tis true, the uncharitable Man, as he is a Stranger to Christ's Religion, so it cannot be supposed that he will meet with any kind Entertainment at the Lord's Table: And whoever would not go away empty from this Or­dinance, must from his Heart forgive the Offender who hath either wronged or disparaged him, or wounded his good Name: Nay, so far he must forget the Injury too, as not to exercise Revenge when it lies in his power; nor must he remember it with Wrath and Passion, or ill Language, or with an Intent or Resolution to with­draw [Page 279] from him the charitable Offices of Humanity, or with renewing his Grudge and Hatred to him, or with making the Remembrance an Argument and Motive to desist from the Good he intended him; for he must not forget to do good to Enemies, and such as have de­spitefully used him. And though no Person is, by the Law of the Gospel, obliged to make a Person who hath been notoriously [...]alse and treacherous to him, his Bo­som-friend and Familiar, or to trust him again without Fear or Suspicion, except he sees, and is sensible of the Offender's sincere Repentance; yet still the Injury must be so far forgotten, as not to deny or refuse to help the Offender in things we can conveniently and easily serve him in. But to think sometimes of the Injury done to us, with Pity and Compassion to the Offender; or not to be able so to extinguish the Thoughts of it, that it shall not so much as beat upon our Minds again: This, I say, doth not make a Person an unworthy Receiver.

1. Because God doth not intend the Destruction of our Faculties, whereof Memory is one: Never to re­member an Injury, or not to be able so much as barely to think of it, supposes Destruction of our Memory. All that God intends in our Reformation, is the Destruction of our evil Qualities, and the Irregularities of our Fa­culties. His Design is not to annihilate our Minds, but the evil Thoughts that are apt to take up their Lodging there▪ not to abolish our Wills, but the Perverseness and Stubbornness that cleaves to them; and consequent­ly, not to destroy our Memories, but the Revenge, and Hatred, and Malice, and secret Grudges, which are apt to harbour there. Even then, when God presses upon us the Destruction of the Body of Sin, it is not that we are to kill our Natural Bodies, but the Mass of Corru­ption that lies in them. And though Christ bids us cut off our Right Hand, yet he means no more than that the Sins should be resected which cleave to it: And that is the the meaning too of pulling out the Eye; i. e. the evil Looks, and unchaste Desires, and foolish Concupiscences, which are [Page 280] apt to incorporate with that Organ. So that he who can so far rase an Injury out of his Memory, as to de­stroy his own ill-Will, his ill Designs, his evil Inclina­tions to the Offender, which are written there; his not being able totally to obliterate that such a thing was ever done to him, need not make him afraid that he shall be an unworthy Receiver in this Ordinance.

2. This Sacrament will help us totally to forget the Injury; or, if not totally to forget it, yet totally to for­get requiting the Offender according to his Demerits; and so to forget it, that the Remembrance shall cause no Commotion, no Disorder, no Tumults, no Risings in our Minds. For here we are told, and here we are made to see, how God, that hath far greater reason to stand upon Points of Honour than any Mortal Man, freely and graciously forgives and forgets our Sins and Offences against him, in the Blood of his Son, blots them out like a thick Cloud, and, notwithstanding all the Wrong we have offer'd to him, is willing to pass by the foulest Trespasses; willing to open his Gates to us, though we have lock'd our selves out; willing to vouchsafe us his Smiles again, though we have forfeited the Light of his Favour; and willing to adopt us for his Children, though we have lived like Prodigals; which must needs be a great help to make us forget the Wrongs we have suffer'd from unreasonable Men: And there­fore, he that is not able totally to forget, ought to come, that by this great Example of God's forgetting his Offen­ces, he may be persuaded totally to forget his Neigh­bour's Trespasses.

5. Worldly Business, either a Day or Week before a Man receives, doth not make him as unworthy Receiver. By Worldly Business,See Chap. 15. Sect. 5. ¶. 1. I mean lawful Busi­ness; not Playing, or Drinking, or go­ing to Stage Plays, or mis-spending our Time, &c. but such Business as appertains to an honest and lawful Calling, or Business considered abstractedly [Page 281] from the evil Concomitants of it: For lawful Business is one thing, and the way of managing of it is another. A Man may manage even his lawful Business sinfully, and run himself into Danger; but following it without Sin, as it may happen that the Day or Week before he may have greater Occasions than ordinary to look after it, as this need not hinder him from an holy Life, so neither can it be a just Impediment to his Receiving worthily.

1. Because it is our Duty to mind it on such Days of the Week as God hath permitted us to work in; which makes the Apostle enjoyn us to do our own Business, and work with our Hands, without making any distinction in Days, 1 Thes. 4. 11. 'Tis true, where publick Authori­ty, either Civil or Ecclesiastical, appoints a Day in the Week to be kept holy, or a Festival, or a Fast, or where a Person, by a Vow, hath consecrated a certain Day in the Week, to spend it entirely in religious Duties, there Working ought to be forborn; for Magistrates ought to be obeyed, and a Vow doth bind the Soul. But set aside these Cases, the Command to work extends to all Days, except the Lord's Day; and therefore, he that is to receive the holy Sacrament on the Lord's Day, is not necessarily obliged to abstain from minding his lawful Business the Day before.

2. Lawful Business doth not, need not hinder a Man from preserving holy Thoughts, holy Desires, and holy Affections, if his Soul were acquainted with any before. A good Man, in the midst of his lawful Business, will keep God in his Eye, that he may not sin against him, that he may do what is just and righteous in his sight, and that at Night he may reap Comfort from a Review of his Actions of the Day. Lawful Business is consistent with watching against Temptations, and keeping our selves unspotted from the Pollutions of the World; and this St. James calls Pure Religion, Jam. 1. 27. And if this pure Religion be joyned with our Business, I do not see [Page 282] how our lawful Business, if we mind it the Day or Week before, can make us unworthy Receivers.

3. No Man hath so much lawful Business, but, if he pleases, he may find time to retire, and enter into his Closet, and walk with God. Where a Man pretends that his lawful Business allows him no time for Devotion, 'tis to be feared he either tells a Lye, or he manages his lawful Business very ill, or imitates the carnal Sort of Mankind, who, when they have spent the whole Day, or the greatest part of the Day, in Fooleries, and need­less Business, give out, they have no time, and can find no time for God's Service. A Conscientious Man, if he be really so, will take heed how he conforms to the World in this particular; and if he manages his Affairs with discretion, I question not but he will find time to ask his Heart what it is that is nearest to him, whether God, or the World; what his chief Aim or Design is, whether to be rich, or to be good? And as he will find time to ask himself such Questions, so he will find time for pious Exercises, whereby his Soul may be brought to a serious Sense of the Mystery proposed in this holy Sacrament; and if he do so, his lawful Worldly Busi­ness the Day or Week before, as it need not discourage him from coming to this holy Table, so it need not fill his Head with Doubts and Fears, that coming to it, ha­ving been engaged in much Business the Day before, will make him an unworthy Communicant.

6. Worldly, Crosses, Troubles and Disappointments do not make a Man an unworthy Receiver. I do not deny but Crosses and Troubles of the World, if they fill the Mind with Torments, and mistrustful Cares; if they depress the Understanding, make it lie groveling on the Earth, and mind little else but Second Causes; if they possess the Soul with despairing Thoughts, drive it into Discon­tent, draw it away from Heaven, render the Promises of God insipid to her, and do so far prevail with her that the future Joys, and the Bliss of the other World, [Page 283] are insignificant things to her; these Effects do not look very amiable in the sight of God, are no very tempting Objects to the Son of God, the Master of this Spiritual Feast; and are so far from being Allurements of his Blessing, that they are like to procure his Curse: But I consider Worldly Crosses, as abstracted from all these Abuses; and, as such, they cannot make a Person eat and drink unworthily.

1. Because, What were the Communicants under the first Persecutions of the Church, but so many afflicted, distressed, troubled, and evil-entreated Christians? Their Crosses were great, their Afflictions heavy, and their Pressures grievous; they were in daily danger of losing, not only their nearest Relatives, but their Lands, Houses, Possessions; they were hunted, pursued, dri­ven from their Dwellings; the Heathens were set against them; the Jews were their Enemies; they were re­proached; they were made Spectacles to Angels, and to Men; they were tormented; they were committed to Wild Beasts; they were harassed, beaten, bruised; they were wrongfully accused of Treason, of Sedition, of Atheism, of murthering their Children, of promis­cuous Copulations, and of other Crimes; they were ha­ted, branded with odious Names; they were charged with being the Causes of Plagues, Inundations, Famine, &c. Yet nothing of these discouraged them from com­ing to this Table; they came to it to chuse, and thought themselves the fitter to approach, because they were made conformable to Christ in his Afflictions.

2. A Man may have such Crosses, and yet be very Conscientious. 'Tis far from being impossible to be af­flicted, and yet good; miserable, and yet serious; de­stitute, and yet religious; hated, and yet a Lover of God. In the midst of the greatest Troubles, a Man may put his Confidence in God, praise him for his Good­ness, rejoyce in him, because he hath promised him E­ternal Life; keep his Tongue from Evil, and his Lips [Page 284] from speaking Guile; take occasion from his Troubles, to consider the Emptiness of Sublunary Comforts, the Permanency of Spiritual Consolations, the Sweetness of God's Favour, the Beauty of God's Providences, the Wisdom of his Dispensations, the Happiness of Lazarus in the midst of all his Sores and Boyls, the Designs of God to make him humble and patient, and to fit him for Eternal Happiness. And where a Person makes this use of his Afflictions, there is nothing can dispose him better for receiving the holy Communion.

3. This Sacrament is an excellent Help to bear our Troubles and Misfortunes with a contented and chear­ful Mind: For here the Lord Jesus is represented to us as dumb under all Reproaches, unmoved at all the bit­ter Language that is given him, silent under the Rage of Enemies, meek [...]under the foulest Accusations, giving his Back to the Smiter, and not opening his Mouth un­der the Scorns and Derisions of his Adversaries, conten­ted under all his Losses, courageous under all the Ca­lumnies that False Witnesses invent against him, satisfied with the Will of God, bearing his Cross without mur­muring, answering calmly to his Oppressors, patient under his Scourges, ready to do good to those that came to apprehend him. And is not this a powerful Motive to bear what Providence thinks fit to inflict upon us? And therefore, Crosses and Worldly Troubles, separa­ted from the ill Management of them, cannot make a Person an unworthy Receiver. Where Men storm and fret, and burn with Revenge under an Affliction, will be their own Carvers, will be vindicated their own way, that way that Flesh and Blood suggests, and will rid themselves of their Trouble by unlawful Means; these, indeed, if they receive, they eat and drink unworthily: But that is not a necessary Effect of the Affliction, but a Product rather of their Wickedness and Carnality, which, instead of being cherished, must be cut off, and mortified.

[Page 285] 7. A Man's having formerly received unworthily, and coming again afterwards to the holy Sacrament, with a great Sense and Abhorrency of his former unworthy Receiving, doth not make him an unworthy Receiver. For,

1. If it did, we might as well say, that he who hath sinned grievously, cannot safely venture on a true Re­pentance: To have done ill, is no Bar to a sincere Re­turn, but a Motive to it; and though the Sin be never so great, yet if he can so order and manage his Remorse, that it may be hearty, kindly, and attended with a real and universal Change of Life, and Love to Goodness, he hath no reason to despair of Pardon; this being the great Comfort of the Gospel, That Repentance and Remis­sion of Sins should be preached in the Name of Jesus, among all Nations, beginning at Jerusalem, saith our Saviour, Luk. 24. 47. And that which will illustrate this Saying, is the Story in Sophronius, Sophr. vel Mosch. in prat. Spir. cap. 31. of two old Men of exemplary Holiness, who travelling, and tired with their Journey, the Heat of the Weather also being great, they retired into a Sta­ble or Barn that was hard by; where thinking to be pri­vate, contrary to Expectation, they found three Young Men caressing of an Harlot: However, not discoura­ged with that ill Company, they retired into a Corner of the Barn, and there read the holy Evangelists. The Harlot, at once surprized and charmed with their Se­riousness, drew near, and sat down by one of them, who thrust her away, wondering at her Confidence to joyn her self to their Company: To which she replied, I beseech you, thrust me not away from you; for though I am laden with Sin, and have made a very ill use of the Means of Grace, yet I find not that Christ drove the Harlot from him, that kneeled down at his Feet. One of them soon answer'd her, saying, That Harlot whom Christ received, did not con­tinue an Harlot. To which she instantly made this Re­turn, From this time forward, I seriously renounce this evil Life of mine, and nothing shall divert me from the greatest [Page 286] Severities of Religion. She was as good as her word, re­ceiv'd Instructions and Comfort from the old Men, fol­low'd their directions, and retired from the World: And therefore if a Man have received unworthily, and truly laments and deplores his former presumption, ap­plies himself to newness of Life, and is transform'd into a Christian temper, he may lawfully return to that Ta­ble, and there receive and expect remission of Sin, where formerly he swallow'd Death and Poyson; and tho' his Guilt hath been of a very deep Dye, yet Repentance, if unfeigned, hath that Almighty Power, that it can make Ethiopians white, and Deformity amiable: But then,

2. He that hath received unworthily, and comes to be sensible of it, and thereupon Receives again; had need watch, and take heed, he do not return to his former folly, for fear God be tired with pardoning, and speak Peace no more, for he will speak Peace unto his People, and to his Saints, but let them not return again unto folly, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 85. 8. Implying, that the Peace of God is not to be had at all times, especially after fre­quent contempt. There are offences which provoke God to say, as it is, Judg. 10. 13. Ye have forsaken me, wherefore I will deliver you no more, The Peace of God is no trifle, which Men may play withal, and command when they please; God makes another-guise account of it, where it is lost, it's not a very easie matter to regain it; and so much we may guess at from the examples of good Men, who, through strong temptations, have fall'n in­to any great Sin; It hath cost them much labour and pain to recover, and God hath on purpose with-held his Peace from their Souls a long time, that they might learn how to prize and preserve it with greater care, af­ter its return: It's folly to think, God is such a one, as we our selves, or that he is as willing to part with Peace, and Pardon, as we to have it, when ever we stand in need of it. As it is one of the greatest comforts Man can expect of God, so he expects it should be managed [Page 287] with prudence and cautionsness. It doth not lie like a drug upon his hand, which he is willing to be rid of, whenever we are pleased to take it off: If we know not how to prize it, there are those that will, and by those few God can be glorified, while others bewail the loss of it in outward darkness.

8. A Law-suit that is depending, doth not necessarily make a Man an unworthy Receiver.

1. If the Law-suit be begun for small things and trifles, such as any wise and impartial considerate Man, were he consulted with, would judge to be trivial, and of no great importance; or if it be commenced upon the account of Revenge; or against persons who are known to be insolvent, only to have our Will and base humour gratified, and to have the satisfaction of throw­ing the Indigent wretch into Prison, or if it be mana­ged in a sinful way, with opprobrious Language, and bitter Expressions, false Accusations, suborning of Wit­nesses against the adverse Party; or with harbouring Malice, Hatred, or secret Grudges in our Hearts, against him; and we feel no Godly sorrow for it, i. e. Do not resolutely, upon the account of Christian Love and Cha­rity, quit and renounce these evil companions of our Souls, and yet come to this Holy Table; there, without all peradventure, we Eat and Drink unworthily, because we Eat and Drink without consideration of the Love of Christ, and the conditions of the Pardon, we expect by his Cross; and the dangerous Meat we have swal­low'd, is not vomited up but lies raw and undigested in our Bowels, which must needs be a bar to the Grace and Mercy of God, and our own Comfort. But then,

2. If the Law-suit be commenc'd, upon the account of something that's of great importance, either to our Selves or Friends, or Heirs; if there be no other way to come to our Right, and ordinary references will not do; if it be merely to obtain reparation for the Dama­ges [Page 288] we have sustain'd, or are like to sustain; if these Suits be carried on with Meekness, with Justice, with using honest and lawful Means, with Candor and In­genuity, without addition of the hidden things of disho­nesty, without supplanting the other Party, without wounding his good Name, or mis-representing things of his side, without catching at Bulrushes, or taking advan­tages of his infirmities; if the ground and motive of the Enterprize be only, that our Neighbor, and we, may both be satisfied in the case, that's in dispute; if the Suit be managed without Pride or Passion, with Gentleness and continuation of our wonted Civility, Kindness and Charity to the Party we are at Law with, and do not upon that account, forbear the Respect we formerly shew'd him. In this case our coming cannot be pre­judicial to worthy Receiving; for as it is impossible, but Contests and Disputes will arise, and the Law of Nature requires, that Justice should be done to every Man; it must necessarily follow, that there must be Courts of Judicature, and that God not only permits, but appoints them too. It's certain, that God, in the Jewish Theocracy, ordain'd such Courts; and human So­cieties not being able to subsist without them, natural Equity requires, there should be such things in all civi­liz'd Nations, whereby Contests may be decided, Con­troversies ended, Differences superseded, and every Man come to his Right; and tho' St. Paul, 1 Cor. 6. 1, 2. &c. finds fault with the Corinthians for going to Law; yet the reason why he blames them, is, partly because they quarrell'd about smaller Matters; partly because in their Law-Suits, they forgot the Law of Charity; and partly because they did all this before Infidels and Ido­laters, and would not refer their Disputes to indifferent Men that were Christians, but impleaded one another before Judges that were Pagans; whereby the Gospel was reproach'd, Religion blasphem'd, and Christianity traduc'd, and strangers were induced to believe, that the Gospel gave Men no better Principles, than either Indaism or Heathenism, nor rais'd them to higher Vir­tues, [Page 289] than what Nature and Custom had taught others, that were not of that Religion: Nay, it's evident from the whole Discourse, that he allows their going to Law before the Saints, as it is said, v. 1. i. e. before Christians, only that was too mild a course, they thought; that was not the way to triumph over the Adversary, or to have him punish'd, and be made a publick Example; and this ill Nature St. Paul reproves, and justly forbids, and commands them, rather than do so, to suffer them selves to be defrauded, and to take wrong, v. 7. Christ indeed, Matth. 5. 40. in that saying, If any Man will sue thee at the Law, and take away thy Coat, let him have thy Cloak also seems to condemn all going to Law; but the very expression he uses, shews, that he restrains the unlawfulness of it to certain cases; i. e. if the matter be small, inconsiderable, and of no great moment, such as a Coat, or a Cloak, and other things of the same nature; and indeed it is a very lamentable case, to see how ma­ny of our People sue their Neighbors for pitiful Debts, and cast them into Prison; for proof of which, a Man need go no farther than the Marshalsea, a thing not to be thought of without horror. Besides, Christ, in the foregoing Verses of that Chapter, enters into a discourse against recompensing Evil for Evil; and to extirpate that devilish temper of Revenge, would have us deny our selves to a very high degree, rather than think of re­warding Evil with Evil; and to this purpose, instances in another Man's going to Law with us out of Spleen and Malice, in which he would not have his Disciples follow or imitate such Men, but rather than return the like injury, suffer and bear with their unjust Acts, lea­ving Vengeance to him, who hath said, I will repay; so that Christ doth not absolutely condemn going to Law, but only in these two eases. 1. If the Concern be small, and of no great moment, or consequence: And, 2. If we cannot go to Law, without Animosities, Grudges, and revengeful Thoughts and Desires against our Neigh­bours.Dr. Hammond. And hence it was, as a Learned Man of our Church observes, upon James 2. 2.

[Page 290] That the Christians, even under the Heathen Emperors, very early erected Courts of Judicature among them­selves, in which Causes were decided, and Differences about Meum and Tuum determined: And though the Assemblies spoken of in St. James, are usually interpre­ted of Religious Assemblies, yet he very judiciously shews, that it is more probable that they were Assem­blies upon the Account of hearing and deciding Causes betwixt Man and Man, because Judges are expresly mention'd, Vers. 4. And these Judges had Seats or Bench­es elevated, and higher than the Pavement, on which they sat; and had their Foot-stools also, under which the Poor were ordered to sit, Vers. 3. From whence we may guess, what kind of Partiality they used; the Poor Plaintiffs or Defendants were order'd to sit in the lowest Seats; the Richer were permitted to sit with the Judges, or the more honourable Men; which argued too great a Respect of Persons, and was contrary to the Jewish Rule, and, indeed, against the Law of Nations, which condemned all Partiality in Judgment, and gave the Poor as free Admittance to the Bar as the Rich, and required equal Consideration of both States and Condi­tions; All which not being easily applicable to Assem­blies where the Word was preached, and the Sacra­ments administred, 'tis in a manner necessary that we apply it to Courts of Justice, where Civil Affairs and Matters were debated: And if so, going to Law could not be absolutely unlawful; and consequently, the Rules and Conditions above-mention'd being observed, com­ing to this Table during the Contest, and while the Law-Suit is depending, cannot make a Man an unwor­thy Receiver.

9. Knowing that other Men are not in Charity with him, doth not make a Person an unworthy Receiver. This I have known to be the fear of otherwise well-minded Chri­stians; while their Relations, Friends and Acquaintance have been angry with them, and averse from being re­conciled [Page 291] to them, they have forborn to receive, for fear they should eat and drink unworthily. But,

1. If it be, indeed, through our own fault, that others will not be friends with us; if we have given the Of­fence, and will not humble our selves to the offended Party, nor acknowledge our Faults, nor make them Re­stitution, or Satisfaction, or Reparation for the Injury; and if thereupon, he that is offended will entertain no charitable Thoughts of us; there the Case is plain, that if we come to eat and drink at this holy Table, we come with unrepented Sins upon our Backs, because we receive, living in the Omission of a known Duty. He that might quench a dangerous Fire, and will not, is guilty of all the Mischief that ensues upon it: And he that can shut the Sluce, thereby to prevent the Inunda­tion of his Neighbour's Garden, and wilfully forbears to do it, hath an Hand in all the Hurt and Damage that his Neighbour's Ground receives. As in the Law, Exod. 21. 29. if the Owner of the Beast knew that his Ox did use to push with his Horns, and did not keep him in, he was charged with the Man's Death that followed upon it; so he that hath given just Occasion to others to be dis­pleased with him, and will apply no Remedy to heal the Breach, doth not only sin, but makes himself acces­sary to the Uncharitableness of his Neighbour, and be­comes Partner with him in his Sin: And such a Person is a very unfit Guest at his Master's Table. But,

2. If other Men hate us without a just Cause, and we have given them no Occasion of Ill-Will or Displeasure against us; or, having offended them by Words or A­ctions, if we have tried all rational and prudential Means to re-gain their Friendship, and to recover their Chari­ty, and after all this, they will not be reconciled, there their Sin and Obstinacy must not, cannot hinder us from our Duty. Indeed, if they that are so stiff, and will hearken to no Terms of Peace, come to this Table, they sin with a witness; but their causless Hatred cannot have [Page 292] the same Effect in us, it being not with their Sins, as it is with a sort of fore Eyes, whose poysonous Steams will infect those that look upon them; but the Arrows they shoot, light upon their own Heads. If it were not so, all the Apostles must have been unworthy Receivers, for all the World clamour'd against them; they were hated by Heathens, hated by the Jews, reviled by Strangers, re­proached by their Country-men; and there was greater hopes to reconcile Fire and Water, Light and Darkness, than of reconciling some People in the World to them: Yet did not this Hatred and Surliness of others make them unworthy Communicants. If my Neighbour will throw himself down from a Precipice, why should that hinder me from walking in a plain Path? And if others will be wicked, why should that be an Impediment of my being good? 'Tis true, Christ, Matth. 5. 23, 24. tells us, If thou bring thy Gift to the Altar, and there re­member that thy Brother hath ought against thee, leave there thy Gift before the Altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy Brother, and then come and offer thy Gift: Which Words seem to import, that if another Man be not in Charity with us, our Devotion cannot be accepted, till he be reconciled to us. But these Words of Christ must be explained by Vers. 22. which brings in the Discourse, Vers. 23. for there our Saviour tells us, I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his Brother without a Cause, shall be in danger of the Judgment; i. e. He that conceives Anger against his Neighbour, and hopes to escape the Guilt of Sin, must have a very just Cause for it, viz. There must be a just Cause given him by his Neighbour; and then it follows, If thy Brother have ought against thee, i. e. have ought against thee justly, which thou hast given just Oc­casion for, first be reconciled to thy Brother, and then offer thy Gift. So that it is not another Man's bare having ought against us, that makes us unworthy Receivers; but if he have ought against us that we have been the just Cause of, if we have kindled his Anger by something that we have injuriously said or done against him, there till we seek to be reconciled unto him, our Gifts, and [Page 293] what we offer to God, must needs be odious to him, because they are offer'd with an Heart that is not right with him: But where we have either done nothing that he can take just Exception against, or have done our Duty, and what became our Place and Station, without any Intent of doing him harm; or if, in case of an Of­fence given, we have, by proper Means and Addresses, sought to be at Peace with him, and notwithstanding all this, he will still have ought against us; there his Ha­tred, and the whole Guilt of it will fall upon his own Pate; nor can his Insolence or Ill-Nature darken the Light of God's Love and Favour to us, who sees we have done what became Christians, and honest Men; and though it will not satisfie the angry Man, yet his Choler cannot deprive us of the kind Looks of our Fa­ther which sees in secret, nor make us unworthy Re­ceivers.

10. A Man's having, as he supposes, received no Benefit by this holy Sacrament, and coming to it again, doth not ne­cessarily make him an unworthy Receiver: For,

1. A Man may really be the better for having been at this Sacrament, and yet, for the present, may not be sensible of it, because he may measure his not being bet­ter, by the want of some particular Qualifications he is desirous of, and over-look those Advantages he hath in good truth received by the holy Communion. Many a pious Christian is the better for this Sacrament, though he is loth to believe it; for his coming to this Table ei­ther strengthens him in his Hatred of Sin, and in his Love to Religion; or advances him in Humility, Pa­tience, Readiness to forgive Injuries, and in Charity; and yet because he feels not just after it, those lively De­sires, those earnest Breathings after God, that Fervour of Spirit, that Ardency in Prayer he expected, he may think he receives no Benefit, because he doth not get what at present he most desires, and feels not those Ex­cellencies and Accomplishments which are most upon [Page 294] his Mind; yet all this while there may be an actual Growth of Goodness in him, his other Graces may be established, his Cautiousness of offending a merciful Re­deemer increased, his Obedience and Self-denial advan­ced, his Faith of another Life augmented, his Resolu­tions to shun the very Appearances of Evil fortified; all which, upon a strict Search, and View of his Inward Man, he may find: And therefore I may justly con­clude, that if he receives the Benefit God thinks sit for him, though he receives not the Benefit he desires, that that Supposition of his, of receiving none at all, cannot make him an unworthy Receiver.

2. 'Tis possible we may receive no Benefit at all by frequenting this Ordinance; and we may know we do not, if we are the same in our Lives we were before. If the Cross of Christ doth not draw us after him; if it leaves us without Desires to be like him, or doth not check the Sins we have been fond of; if it does not make us stand in awe of God any more than we did before; if it work no Love to God, no Charity to other Men's Souls and Bodies in our Hearts; if after it, we rush into Sin as easily as before; if it prove no Bridle to our sinful Appetite, no Curb to our covetous Desires; if it re­strains us not in our Affections to the World; if it gives us no Courage to resist, no Boldness to withstand those Lusts which were dear to us; (but still this is clearly our own Fault▪ and for want of considering the Argu­ments and Motives the Cross of Christ affords us to die to Sin, for want of thinking on the Design of Christ's Death, and for want of taking pains with our selves, for want of reflecting on the Force of Divine Love, and for want of earnest Prayers and Addresses for the powerful Assistance of God's Spirit:) If it be thus with us, we have reason to be afraid God will not rejoyce over us when he comes to view our Souls in this Ordinance. However, All this need not be an Obstacle to our Re­formation: If we have done ill, 'tis our Interest to awake out of Sleep, and to redeem the Time: If we have re­ceived [Page 295] no Benefit before, upon our Amendment we may: If we have done the Work of the Lord negli­gently, upon our Reformation, God may may turn our Captivity, as the Streams in the South. It is with this Sa­crament as it is with a rich Mine, which yields no Pro­fit to the Owner, till he works it. The Benefit Men receive here, is the Effect of Labour: They must be disposed and qualified for this Gift; and that which qualifies them, is, to quit that Slothfulnes they were guilty of.

11. Communicating with Persons that receive unworthily, doth not necessarily make a Person an unworthy Receiver. For,

1. Every Man shall bear his own Burthen, Gal. 6. 5. If another be wicked, how can his Wickedness unsettle my Faith, or disorder my Devotion, except I consent to his Impiety, or suffer my self to be enticed by it? E­very Man's Sin is a personal thing, (except in case of Scandal) and the Offender only shall feel the Smart of it: He that is free from the other's Offence, shall be freed also from the Penalty due to the Offence; and then what hurt do I receive by an ill Man's communi­cating in my Company? I may eat with a Leprous, with a diseased, with a Gouty Man, at a common Table, and yet not participate of his Distemper: And why should I share in his Guilt at the Lord's Table, when I both abhor it, and keep my self from the Infection? The Soul that sins shall die, is God's standing Rule, Ezek. 18. 20. The Son shall not bear the Iniquity of the Father, nei­ther shall the Father bear the Iniquity of the Son; the Righ­teousness of the Righteous shall be upon him, and the Wicked­ness of the Wicked shall be upon him. If therefore I ap­proach with a practical Faith, and another with Unbe­lief, or, which is all one, with a Faith without Works, shall his Unbelief make the Faith of God of no effect? Rom. 3. 3.

[Page 296] 2. What Hurt did the Guests receive at the Wed­ding-Feast, Matth. 22. 11, 12. by eating with the Man who had no Wedding-Garment? Were they rejected by the Master of the Feast, because they feasted in his Company? No; All that came adorn'd with a suitable Temper, and in whose Spirit there was no Guile, re­ceived the Caresses of the King; and none but the pro­fane Wretch felt the Thunder of the Prince's Anger; of him alone 'tis said, Bind him Hand and Foot, and take him away, and cast him into Outer Darkness, there shall be Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth: As he was singular in his Sin, so he was singular in his Punishment: His coming unprepared did not divest others of their Garments, nor did his Misery reach those that sate down with him: Their own Faith saved them, while the other's Infideli­ty condemned him: The Master doth not so much as frown upon the rest, doth not so much as give them an angry Word; nor doth he expostulate with them, why they would bear him Company: They charitably believed he was a good Man, because he was invited with them; and their Charity made their own Sacri­fice acceptable, while the other's was Abomination to the Lord.

3. If I see another Man, whom I know to be, or to have been a notorious Sinner, kneel down by me at this holy Table, he must not therefore be an Object of my Scorn, but of my Pity and Compassion. I can make an excellent Use of seeing him in my Company, for I can pray for him, and beg of God that he would over­awe his Spirit with a Sense of the Death of Christ, and strike him into Repentance and Humiliation. I can in­treat my Heavenly Father to give him a Sight of the Er­rours of his Ways, and Resolutions never to profane that Cross again, on which the great Redeemer of the World suffered. I can pray that his Sight of the Bleed­ing Jesus may work upon his Soul, and fill his Heart with holy Compunctions, and his Eyes with Tears. [Page 297] I can pray that, after this Communion, he may take heed, and sin no more; that the Solemnity may leav [...] such a Fear upon his Spirit, that he may dread to of­fend God, more than putting his Hand in the Fire. And where I do so, I do at once exercise my Pity, and raise mine own Devotion; I imitate Christ on the Cross, praying for his Murtherers, and, with him, become a Sollicitor for those that have derided and spit upon him. And this, sure, cannot make me an unworthy Receiver.

4. Who hath given me a Key to other Men's Hearts, whereby I can judge, at the Receiving of the Eucharist, that my Neighbour receives unworthily? How do I know, but that he who was vicious a Week ago, may become a Penitent that Day? Or, Who assures me, that he who did cast God's Laws behind him Yesterday, may not this Day cry out, O wretched Man that I am? Who bids me trouble my Head about another's Recei­ving, when I have enough to do with mine own Heart? And while I give my self liberty to judge another, is it not a very great Sign that I am not very sensible of mine own Vileness? If I am truly concern'd about mine own spiritual Welfare, I shall not be at leisure to dive into other Men's Lives and Consciences. My own Sins will be Burthen enough to me, that I shall not need to concern my self about another's Business. If I give my self to Censoriousness at such times, I lose my Charity and Humility: And if the Rule be, to esteem others better than our selves, I do not very heartily obey that Precept while I suffer my Mind to dwell upon other Men's Faults and Errours. Christianity bids me to have humble Thoughts of my self; and if I think that all that receive with me, may be, for ought I know, better than my self, I assuredly prepare for God's Fa­vour, who ever gives Grace to the Humble.

5. If Judas the Traytor was present at this Sacra­ment, as well as the other Apostles; and his being pre­sent, [Page 298] did not make the rest unworthy Receivers; why should I think that a wicked Man's coming with me to this Table should make me one? That Judas was pre­sent at this Sacrament, we have the concurrent Testi­mony of three Evangelists; for they all confess that Je­sus sate down with the Twelve, to the Eating of the Passover; and while they were eating, Jesus admini­stred the holy Sacrament to them: So St. Matth. 26. 26. As they were eating, Jesus took Bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the Disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is my Body. So St. Mark, 14. 22. And as they did eat, Jesus took Bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat, this is my Body. Nay, St. Luke is more express, 22. 19, 20, 21. And he took Bread, and gave Thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my Body, &c. But, behold! the Hand of him which betrays me, is with me on the Table, &c. St. John, indeed, tells us, that Judas having received the Sop, in the Passover, he went immediately out, Joh. 13. 30. But since the Evangelist mentions nothing of the Sacrament, his Silence about Judas's being present at the Sacrament, can be no Argument; and his Words may justly be con­strued thus, Having received the Sop in the Passover, and stay'd till the Sacrament was administred to him and the rest of the Disciples, he immediately went out. For the Sacra­ment being administred by Christ, while they were eat­ing the Passover, by the Sop, St. John must needs be sup­posed to understand both the Passover, and that which was, without Delay, subjoyned to it; i. e. the Sacra­ment. And whereas it is objected, that the Sacrament could not have been conveniently administred if the Traytor had been present, that is a Supposition which contradicts the Matter of Fact recorded by the Evange­lists: And who can judge so well of the Convenience and Inconvenience of Things, as Christ himself? If Christ thought it convenient to give it him, who shall say, it was not so? Nor could the Disciples be much surprized at it, when they had so often heard their Ma­ster say, that the T [...]r [...]s and Wheat must grow together until [Page 299] the Harvest; and that the Kingdom of Heaven, or the Church-Militant, was like a Net, containing good Fish and bad. And though the Words Christ used in this Sacra­ment, This is my Body, which is given for you; and This is the New Testament in my Blood, which is shed for you, for the Remission of Sins, cannot be directly applied to Judas; yet since these Blessings are promised conditio­nally in other places of Scripture, they might belong to Judas conditionally, in case he repented, or brought forth Fruits meet for Repentance; as they belong'd to the other Disciples absolutely, because their Hearts were sincere, and without Hypocrisie. Nor is it strange, that Christ should say in the presence of Judas, I will not drink henceforth of the Fruit of the Vine, until the Day when I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom: For there is nothing more common in the Writings of the Apo­stles, when they address themselves to a whole Church, than to apply to them in general the Promises of the Gospel, though true Believers only have a Right in them. We remember, without ceasing, your Work of Faith, and La­bour of Love, and Patience of Hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Sight of God, and our Father: Knowing, Brethren, Beloved, your Election of God; and ye became Followers of us, and of the Lord, &c. saith St. Paul to the whole Church of the Thessalonians, 1 Thes. 1. 3, 4, 6. in which we may suppose there were divers Hypocrites, to whom these Elogies could not properly belong: And there­fore, when Christ spake these Words to the Disciples, Judas being present, it was enough that they belonged to the major part of them; and those that were quali­fied for that Mercy, might appropriate it to themselves. It is confessed that Christ, Matth. 7. 6. saith, Give not that which is holy unto Dogs: But it is evident from the Connexion of the Words, that that Saying is to be un­derstood of Reproof, or Fraternal Correction; which is to be superseded where Men are incorrigible, and Mockers of Religion, and, after several Admonitions, instead of being better, become worse, and scorn the Truth of the Gospel; a Precept of the same Import with [Page 300] that of Solomon, Prov. 9. 8. Reprove not a Scorner, lest he hate thee. If it were to be understood of publick Or­dinances, it might be applied to the Preaching of the Word, as well as to the Sacrament; and it would fol­low, that wicked Men were to be banished from the one, as well as the other; which is absurd, and contra­ry to the practice of the holy Apostles. And what if Christ calls Judas a Devil? Joh. 6. 70. Devils, 'tis true, are incapable of Receiving this Sacrament; yet we must not think that he calls him so upon any other Account, but his Hellish Qualities: For which Reason he says of all other wicked Men, that they are of their Father the Devil, Joh. 8. 44. Nay, in his Reproof to Peter, who was against his Suffering, he calls him Satan, or Devil; because to be against his Suffering, was to joyn with the Devil, who, of all things, dreaded that Death, as the Ruine of his Empire. So that Judas was still a Man, though a wicked Man; yet not so wicked, but that he was still capable of Repentance; and in giving him this Sacrament, he declared him so: And though he recei­ved nothing but the external Elements, yet in being ad­mitted to the external Symbols, he had an Item given him, that if he had come with unfeigned Faith and Re­pentance, he should have received the Promise too. And that Christ offered him these Symbols, was to tell his Followers how it would be with their Congregations in time to come; and how Wolves, as well as Sheep, would present themselves at this Table. But it is usually pleaded, that if it be granted that Judas was present at this Sacrament, yet still he had a good Out-side, he was far from being a scandalous Sinner; so that the Congre­gation could not be offended. But this Argument is of no weight at all; for, whether he were a scandalous Sin­ner, or no, as long as Christ had declared him a Devil, and a Traytor, it was as much as if he had been a scan­dalous Sinner; and the Disciples might be as confident of it, as if they had seen him run into Excess of Riot. So that Judas being present at the Sacrament, and his Presence not interfering with the worthy Receiving of [Page 301] the other Disciples, it follows, that another Man recei­ving unworthily, cannot make us, that come with sui­table Vertues, unworthy Receivers. And yet, after all this, I would not be understood, as if scandalous Sinners were not to be separated from this holy Table, by those whose Office it is to forbid and hinder them: For tho' Christ suffered Judas to be present, thereby prophetical­ly to fore-tell, how in future Ages, notwithstanding all the Care that should be taken, Hypocrites and Sinners would mingle with the Good and Sincere in this Sacra­ment; yet this contradicts not the Commission he gave to the Apostles, to do all things decently, and in order; of which orderly part, this is one great Rule, 1 Cor. 5. 11. If any Man that is called a Brother, be a Fornicator, or Co­vetous, or an Idolater, or a Railer, or a Drunkard, or an Ex­tortioner, with such an one, no not to eat. 'Tis confessed, that this is to be understood of common Meals: How­ever, the Consequence is very easie; if we are not to eat with such at common Tables, we are to forbear eating with them at the Lord's Table: But then 'tis fit withal, that the Church should excommunicate such Persons first, that there may be a Mark set upon them, whereby we may know them to be so, and avoid their Company. If the Church, either by reason of the Multitude of such Sinners, or for want of sufficient Information, cannot, or, through Neglect, doth not; a private Christian is not therefore to be scandalized at such Persons when they come to the Sacrament, nor think himself therefore an unworthy Communicant because such are present, there being no publick Mark set upon them, whereby he is au­thorized not to eat with them. The Church, indeed, doth as good as formally excommunicate all such, when, in her Admonition or Exhortation before the Sacrament, She declares, Therefore if any of you be a Blasphemer of God, an Hinderer or Slanderer of his Word, an Adulterer, or be in Malice or Envy, or any other grievous Crime, repent you of your Sins, or else come not to this holy Table, lest, after the Taking of this holy Sacrament, the Devil enter into you, as he enter'd into Judas, and fill you full of all Iniquities, and bring [Page 302] you to destruction both of Body and Soul: But though this be a kind of general Excommunication, yet except the particular Persons be taken notice of, and branded by the Church, a private Chrstian must judge charita­bly of those that come; and if he do so, their Impiety cannot hinder him from being a worthy Partaker of the Sacrament. I have been the longer upon this Point, because I have known it to be a great Scruple, that hath hinder'd many from coming to the Lord's Table, being possessed with Fear, that if they should meet with such Persons there, they should eat and drink unwor­thily

12. Eating and Drinking at this Table, with some scru­ples upon the Mind, doth not necessarily make a Man an un­worthy Receiver. By a scrupulous Conscience, I do not mean an erroneous, nor a doubtful Conscience, the former being, when a Person thinks that his Duty, which is directly against the Word and Will of God, as it was with the Jews, Joh. 16. 2. The other, when a Person doubts, whether such and such Actions be lawful or un­lawful, as it was with those Christians, Rom. 14. 23. But a scrupulous Conscience proceeds from fear, and fear caus'd by slight and weak Arguments, whereby a Per­son is satisfied, that such a Thing or Action is his Duty but Melancholy, or the Devil, or Converse with scru­pulous Persons, inject some Thoughts, which makes a Person fluctuate or waver in his performance: For ex­ample, a Man, conscious of his own wants, knows, that coming to the Lord's Table is his Duty, and according­ly he comes, yet comes with fears in his Mind; fears caus'd either by what he hath read, or by what he hath heard, or by what he hath seen in others; fears that suggest to him, that he should not have come, be­cause he hath not every thing that he observes in other good Christians. Now, I say, that eating and drinking with such scruples upon his Mind, doth not make him an unworthy Receiver.

[Page 303] 1. Because, notwithstanding these scruples, he may be sincere in his Faith and Love, he may sincerely de­sire, and be sincerely willing to keep himself unspotted from the World, and to embrace the Wisdom, which is from above, first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easie to be entreated. He may, for all this, deliberately chuse Ho­liness, as the better part, and his Faith may be carried out to embrace Christ, as his Mediator and Governor▪ and he may actuate his Love so, that he shall be afraid of the appearances of Evil; and if it be thus with him, notwithstanding his little scruple, he may be, and will certainly be, a welcome Guest at this Holy Table; for God judges of us by the sincerity of our Hearts, not by every little accidental fear that may surprize us, and to discompose a timorous Mind. And therefore,

2. Such scruples may lawfully be rejected, opposed, and banish'd out of our Minds, without danger: Nay, they ought to be resisted, and a Christian in this case is obliged not to harbour them, and to be resolute in stop­ping his Ears against them, especially where he finds so good a foundation in himself, as I mentioned in the foregoing Paragraph. To give regard to them, is the way to multiply them; and to ruminate upon them, is to let in, or to open the Door to greater per­plexities. Nor is this to act against Conscience, but ac­cording to the true Rules of Conscience, for a Scruple is a needless Fear, and without just ground, which Fear can bring no obligation upon the Party thus assaulted: And it is observed by experience, where Persons use a kind of Violence to expel such Scruples, they strength­en their Faith and their Conscience, fit themselves for greater Duties, and become more expedient in their Jour­ney, to the City of the living God.

13. Want of great Knowledge doth not make a Man an unworthy Receiver. It's confessed, that some knowledge is necessary in order to a worthy Receiving, for this is Eternal Life, that they know thee the only true God, and him, whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ, Joh. 17. 3. But the [Page 304] knowledge requisite lies within a small compass, and he that knows no more than the six Fundamental Principles laid down by St. Paul, Heb. 6. 1, 2. knows enough, in order to a comfortable Communion. Those Principles are, 1. Repentance from dead Works, That Repentance from our known Sins is absolutely necessary. 2. Faith towards God, That God must be believ'd, according to the Revelations he hath vouchsafed to Mankind, in his Word, and that the things contain'd in that Book are infallibly true. 3. The Doctrine of Baptism, That we are Baptiz'd in the Name of God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and thereby have given our selves up to his Service. 4. Laying on of hands, That the Holy Ghost, whereof that laying on of hands in Confirmation is an external Sign, is certainly dispensed and bestowed in some measure on all those that are Baptiz'd, whereby they are enabled to fight against Sin, the World, the Flesh and the Devil. 5. Resurrection of the Dead, That there shall be a Resurrection of Men's Bodies, wherein they shall be reunited to their Souls, and appear before God's dreadful Tribunal, to give an account of their Lives and Actions. 6. Eternal Judgment, That in the last Day, the controversie of Men's Happiness, or Un­happiness, shall be decided, and Men shall be either sent into Eternal Life, or into Eternal Fire. He that knows there Six Principles, and believes them, and is re­solv'd to act accordingly, hath knowledge enough to fit him for a worthy participation of this Ordinance; for these are sufficient Motives to remember the Death of the Son of God, with holy Resolutions to follow him, that we may be partakers of his everlasting Bliss. But that a Man must needs be a competent Scholar, and understand the whole Mystery of Godliness, and be able to give an account of the nicer Points of Divinity, and to answer the harder Questions about the manner and nature of those Things, which God hath revealed; This is not necessary: Ignorance of the abstruser Pro­blems of Theology, doth not make a Man an unwor­thy Receiver. For,

[Page 305] 1. So much Knowledge is only necessary, as serves to make us Practical Christians, and a small stock of Knowledge will do that; and he that knows, that Man­kind was lost by Adam's [...]all, and stands in need of a Saviour, to reconcile them to God; and that Christ Jesus the Son of God, who being in the Form of God, as­sumed our Nature, and died for us, is that Saviour, who is both able and willing to reconcile us to an offended God, upon the reasonable terms of turning from a sen­sual and sinful Life, and making his Life and Precepts the Rule of our Conversation, whereupon we shall be pardoned, and obtain Eternal Life. He that knows these few particulars, (and how easily are they learned and imbibed!) knows enough to make him a Practical Christian, if he will but act according to these Princi­ples, and this unfeigned willingness makes him a worthy Receiver; for this Sacrament, as hath been often hinted in the Premises, is to increase our Practice, to augment our Love to Holiness, to strengthen our Resolutions to follow Christ, to cleanse us from that filthines which naturally besets us, and to enlarge our Graces; and since that Knowledge, I have mentioned, is a suffici­ent Preparative for all this, it must be a sufficient Prepa­rative for the Holy Sacrament.

2. Much Knowledge very often hinders Men from the Practical part of Religion. It need not do it, and it ought not to do it, but we see it frequently doth: for Men are apt to be taken with fine Notions; and while their Delight runs all that way, they forget too often to delight greatly in God's Commandments. This is too evident in many Men, who are great Scholars, who satisfie themselves with this, that they know more than the Vulgar, and neglect those severer Parts of Pra­ctical Religion, which many of the Vulgar do conscien­tiously observe; and many an ordinay Man, that knows little more than his Creed, but makes that Creed an inforcive to Obedience, is in a happier condition, than [Page 306] the greater Literati, who trouble their Heads so much about Controversies and Criticisms, that they bestow little time upon Mortification. In the Primitive Ages, when Men knew not much, they practis'd more; as, since Knowledge hath increas'd, Men's practices have much degenerated from the simplicity of the Gospel: Not that I commend Ignorance in the Laity, as they do in the Church of Rome, but, I think, a little know­ledge improv'd into great severity of Life, is safer, and more beneficial, than great skill in Divinity, without suitable Fruits of Righteousness. So that upon a review of the whole, I may safely conclude, that want of great Knowledge doth not make a Man an unworthy Re­ceiver.

III. From what we have said, it will be easie to guess in the next place, what it is to Eat and Drink unwor­thily: For from Negatives, Affirmatives may be inferred without any great difficulty; and tho', after this Dis­course, I might spare my pains in setting down the par­ticulars, yet to assist the Weak, and to conform my self to the meanest capacity; I shall explain the Nature of this unworthy Eating and Drinking, in the following Observations.

1. To Eat and Drink unworthily, is to Eat and Drink by force. By Eating and Drinking by force, I mean, coming to this Sacrament, either because the Law of the Land Commands it, or because our Superiors, under whose Command we are, or from whom we expect some Gain and Benefit, or, in case of neglect of their Orders, apprehend some danger or injury to our Tem­poral Concerns, will not be satisfied without it: Not, but that a Servant, or whoever is under a Command of others, ought to give heed to the Pious Counsel and Advice of those that are above him, take it into consi­deration, and make advantage of that opportunity, to apply himself to the serious practice of it, and thereup­on consu [...]t with Divines, and with his own Conscience, [Page 307] how to make his Calling and Election sure; but where a Person is altogether passive in the thing, regards more what his Superiors say, than what his Conscience feels, and comes more to please those which are above him, than to discharge his Duty; where his chief motive is to give content to those, whose Favour he is loth to lose, where he would certainly neglect coming, were it not for the danger of prejudicing, what is very dear to him in the World; there, I say, he Eats and Drinks unwor­thily: For,

1. Such a Person stands more in awe of Man, than of God. God's Command cannot make him do that, which Human Injunctions can. Dust and Ashes pre­vail more with him, than the Holy One of Israel. Man's Anger and Displeasure moves and affects him more, than the Indignation of a jealous God; and with what Eyes can the Almighty look upon that Wretch, whom he sees more concern'd to please a poor Grashopper, (so Man is call'd, Es. 4. 22.) than him that sits upon the Circles of the Earth? How can he but set his Face against that Communicant, whose slavish temper he spies at his Ta­ble; whose Heart sticks close to the Earth, and makes no great account of him, who daily courts him by his Favours? How can he but frown upon that Creature, whom no Charms of an Almighty Love can melt, and the threatning of Man can affright into any thing? Who art thou that thou shouldest be afraid of a Man that shall dye, and of the Son of Man, that shall be made as Grass? And forgettest the Lord thy Maker, that hath stretched forth the Heavens, and laid the foundations of the Earth? saith God. Isa. 51. 12, 13.

2. Such a Person, his outward Man only receives the Holy Sacrament. His Soul, for which this Feast is chiefly prepared, receives nothing. The Brute only appears at the Table, the Angel stays away▪ God ex­pects the Master at this Banquet, not the Slave. The Body is not capable of this Sacred Food, the Soul is [Page 308] the proper Guest: This is it, that can expect refresh­ment at this Board; and he that comes to feed his Bo­dy only, knows not yet what this Ordinance was in­tended for; where a Man brings nothing but his Body to this Love-Feast, leaving his Soul enslaved to the Pro­fits of the World, or to the Will of Mortal Men, he must needs receive unworthily; for God's enemy, which is the World, engrosses that part, which should appear before God, and behold, and be ravish'd with his ex­cellent Greatness and Goodness, and with the admira­ble designs in spreading the Royal Table for him. To what purpose is the Carkase, while that, which should animate it, is engaged another way? Can the Shell please God, who hath so often declared, that he will be satisfied with nothing but the Kernel? And in vain doth he require the Heart, if the outward frame were Sacrifice sufficient. So that what Christ saith, Joh. 6. 63. may justly be applied here, tho' with some variation of the Sense, It's the Spirit that quickneth, the Flesh profits nothing.

2. To Eat and Drink unworthily, is, to make this re­ceiving a matter of custom only: Where Men approach, because it's fashionable, to observe the decorum of their being Members of a Church more, than to grow in a Spiritual Life, and know no other enforcive, or can give no account of any other, but this, Because it is usual for Men, who are Baptized, and profess themselves Christians, and go to the Publick to do so; there they must needs Eat and Drink [...], undecently, or unwor­thily: And this is the case of many ignorant People, both in City and Country, who come for company-sake; and because their Neighbors use to do so, who think it not a Province belonging to them to know, or dive into the mysteries of Salvation, but trust to it, that God is merciful, and will save them, though they know not why, or how; whose Affections are bound up with the Earth, and will be sensible of no higher Felicity, than what a good Crop, and a full Purse, affords. Now, [Page 309] that to receive with no higher Aims, or from no better Principles, is, to receive unworthily, will appear from hence:

1. Because such Persons receive, without being affect­ed and touched with the Riches and Treasures opened, revealed, discovered and offered in this Sacrament; Treasures greater than those the Wise Men laid down at the Feet of the Infant Saviour; Treasures beyond all Gold, and Myrrh, and Frankincense, and all the Gums the Happy Arabia yields; Treasures of higher value than those the Queen of Sheba brought to Solomon the Great; Treasures richer than those the King of Judah shewed to the Babylonian Ambassadors. To shew their Excellen­cy above all Earthly Treasures, were to prove that Light is better than Darkness, and a Ball of Diamond than a piece of Turf, or that the Wisdom of a Minister of State exceeds that of a Sucking Babe: For, if it be true, as without doubt it is, that God was crucified, or that he who was God humbled himself to an ignomini­ous Death for our sakes, and that this Love, with all its Benefits, is proclaimed in our Ears, and tender'd to our Souls in this Sacrament; there is not a Child, but must grant, that all that this World affords must be mere Pe­bles to it. And as this Treasure of the World's Redem­ption is the rich Mine discovered in this Sacrament, so he whom Custom and Company only brings to it must needs receive unworthily, because he sees not, he feels not, he is sensible of no such Treasure; which, if he were, he would go to it as a poor Beggar, almost star­ved, goes to a rich Man's House, there to receive a vast Sum of Money, beyond his Expectation; and come wondering at the Honour that God intends him, won­dering at the Favour God designs him, wondering at the Riches he shall be presented with, wondering at himself what God should see in him, to be thus liberal and bountiful to him; wondering to see what God hath provided for him.

[Page 310] 2. Such a Man eats and drinks in this Sacrament, as if it were common Bread and Wine that is set before him; he approaches, and makes no more of it, than if it were a private or ordinary Table; he considers not what this Bread and Wine represent, and, as the Apo­stle's Phrase is, discerns not the Lord's Body; discerns not that the Body of him who was the Creator of Heaven and Earth, is pointed at in these Elements. 'Tis true, materially considered, it is the same with the Bread and Wine set upon our Tables at home; but the signification of it makes it Celestial Food, separates it from common Use, raises it above vulgar Diet; and the Stamp God sets upon it, makes it truly the Bread of the Lord, and the Cup of the Lord. He whom Custom only carries to the House of God, distinguishes not the Mysteriousness and Holiness of this Food; which, if he did, he would touch it with the same Awe and Reverence that the Woman, troubled with a Bloody Issue, touch'd the He [...] of Christ's Garment, Quaking and Trembling, Mar. 5. 33.

3. To eat and drink unworthily, is, to receive without true Repentance. Where Men either do not think it requisite to leave their Sins, or pretend that they do part with them, when they do not; where they mistake the pre­sent Damp that is upon their Spirits, for a Change of Life; or the melancholy and sullen Humour that hath surprized them, for the new Nature Religion is to give them; or forbear the external Acts of their Sins they have formerly hugg'd, and run out into, but are not re­solved to mortifie their secret Desires after him; where they mistake their Act of Preparation, for the Act of pulling down the Strong Holds of Iniquity, so that their Lusts and Love to Sin remain; where they give the De­vil leave to retire a while, but are loth to take their E­verlasting Farewel of him; and therefore, after the House is swept and garnished, even after Receiving, open the Door to him again: Where it is so, there Men eat and drink unworthily. For,

[Page 311] 1. Such Persons, instead of doing Honour to Christ, affront him, are still in League with that which killed him; pretend Sorrow for their Sins, yet secretly espouse them; give out they have sent them a Bill of Divorce, but still keep close Correspondence with them; would make God and Men believe that they are Christ's Ser­vants, when they are still his Enemies; would persuade others that they have brought their Necks under his Yoak, when the [...], or that which bears rule in their Souls, is their Carnality and Sensuality. In this Sacrament a most solemn Profession is made, and ought to be made, of our Weariness of a sinful Life; which is the reason why the Church, in her Publick Office, doth particularly address her self to such Persons as find it; and to such, that comfortable place of St. John is usually applied, If any Man sin, we have an Advocate with the Fa­ther, Jesus Christ the Righteous, 1 Joh. 2. 1. that is, If any Man sin, so as to be truly weary of it; or if he hath sinned, and feels such a Remorse, that he detests himself for ha­ving done so, and thereupon bids Defiance to the Works of Darkness; We have an Advocate that will plead for us, prevail with God not to cast us away because we have forsaken him, and, by his Merits, make our Repentance valuable, that it shall prove a Propitiation for our Sins. But he that professes Weariness, yet is not tired with his sinful Course, not only mocks God, but gives himself the Lye; and seems to fancy, that he who dwelleth on high sees not the secret Intrigues and Intentions of his Soul: Which is Profanation of Religion.

2. Such a Person destroys the End for which he pre­tends to come to this holy Sacrament; for that End is, Growth in Grace: And how shall he grow in Grace, that is unresolved to part from those Sins which do so easily beset him? These things are, and cannot but be, Obstacles and Impediments to that Growth: And Worms and Caterpillars are not more noxious to young Trees, than these unrepented Sins are to this Growth; [Page 312] and a Man may as well hope that an Elm in his Ground will, within a few Years, be tall enough to over-shadow his whole House, when there is nothing but Rock at the bottom. Unrepented Sins make the Heart mere Stony Ground: Goodness may peep forth, but, having no Earth, it must necessarily wither, and come to nothing. People may pull and hale a Ship with their Arms long enough, before they can make it move, while the An­chors are not taken up▪ Their unrepented Sins are the Anchors that keep the Soul fixed to Earth and Hell; and to think Grace will move or advance while that An­chor holds it, is to imagine that an House will be built without Materials; or a Field bring forth Corn, that was never sown, or never felt the Labour and Industry of the Husband-man. The End must ever be procured by the Means; and they only betray their Folly and Simplicity, that talk of adding to their Faith, Vertue; and to Vertue, Knowledge; and to Knowledge, Temperance; and to Temperance, Godliness; and to Godliness, Patience; that have not escaped the Pollutions of the World, through Lust, 2 Pet. 1. 4, 5. This is to invert the Method of Grace; and to expect that a Tree should begin to grow at the Top before it hath a Root, or that Bread should be ba­ked before the Oven be heated. These Pollutions must first be removed; and the Ground being cleared of the Rubbish, you may go and superstruct the intended E­difice.

4. To eat and drink unworthily, is, to eat and drink without sincere Resolutions of Obedience. This is consequent to the former Article, for Obedience is a necessary Con­comitant of Repentance; and when the Repentance ends not in Obedience, the Repentance is a Cheat. A Man may, by some Reasons and Arguments, be pre­vail'd with to part with Sins that are of the bigger sort, when he thinks of coming to this Sacrament; but ex­cept he, at the same time, seriously resolves to obey Christ in every thing he commands him, and particularly, in things which are levell'd against his Worldly Interest. [Page 313] and is heartily willing to endeavour after those Vertues which are the proper Characteristicks of his Disciples, he certainly deceives his own Soul. To shake Hands with scandalous Sins, and to think that now the Work is done, without an holy Readiness to venture on those Graces which render'd the Apostles and the Primitive Believers what they were, i. e. amiable in the Sight of God; such as Humility, Meekness, Overcoming the E­vil with Good, &c. In a Word, to lop the most luxuriant Branches of the evil Tree, and not to take care that it may bring forth good Fruit, is, to do the Work by halves, and the Way to eat and drink unworthily. For,

1. Such Persons continue in Rebellion against God. What is Rebellion, but not to obey when we know his Will, and have all possible Opportunities to know it? If God will have me do a thing, and I pass it by, as if I heard him not; and when it is often inculcated and pressed upon me in Sermons, and my Memory refresh­ed with the Duty, and yet still I look upon it as need­less, or a thing which doth not concern me; what is this but Obstinacy? And I need not tell you, that Re­bellion is as the Sin of Witchcraft, 1 Sam. 15. 22. Thus Samuel tells Saul, upon his Disobedience to the Com­mand of God, of extirpating the Amalekites. 'Tis pro­bable, Saul had his Excuses, and thought God might not mean it in that rigid Sense that the Prophet's Words imported; or, that if he executed part of the Order, it would be sufficient: But these are not things that avail much with God; notwithstanding all this, the Prophet calls his Neglect, Rebellion. I know, and am sensible, that a very worthy Communicant may sometimes igno­rantly neglect a Duty, and yet preserve an Interest in God's Love; because, as soon as he comes to know his Errour, he doth not encourage it in himself, but re­forms it. But this differs very much from Disobedience to things peremptorily commanded, and which, every Day that we hear or read the Word, are represented [Page 314] to us, as necessary: Here, not to resolve to do those things, is, opposing our Wills to God's Will; and though we do not do it openly, yet, in effect, we do it; and whereas God thinks such a Vertue necessary to Salvation, we will not think it so; and, notwithstanding his assu­ring us, that without such Accomplishments, we cannot inherit Eternal Life, we fancy we may: And what is this, but crossing the Will of God? And how much does this want of Rebellion, and thinking our selves wi­ser than God? And surely, these are not very good Qualities to dispose a Man to eat and drink worthily at this holy Table.

2. Such Persons discover their Desires to be their own still, their own Masters, their own Governors, and at their own dispose; contrary to the express Assertion of the Holy Ghost, That they who pretend an Interest in Christ's Blood, are their own no more. And the Reason is exceeding strong; for, saith he, ye are bought with a Price, 1 Cor. 6. 19. 20. He that redeems a Slave out of Turkish Captivity, redeems him with this Intent, That for the future he shall not do his own Will, but his Ma­ster's that hath ransom'd him. The same we must think of the Son of God, who, we may suppose, would ne­ver have freed us from the Devil's Yoak by a voluntary Death, to give us leave to do what we list; but that we might be at his beck, and act like Persons that have, in a manner, nothing to do with our selves, but are to mind only what our Master who bought us would have us do. Now, he that comes to this Sacrament without sin­cere Resolutions to obey Christ in those commanded Virtues, which may cross, or go against his Interest, discovers his Regret at the Mystery of Redemption, dis­likes Christ's redeeming him, for this End, that he might not be his own, betrays his Wishes, and could have been contented that he had redeemed him upon softer and more favourable Terms; and, in a manner, declares and expresses his Desire that he would be his own still, after that wonderful Price that was paid for him; which, [Page 315] though unthinking Men do take no notice of, yet he that searcheth the inward parts of the Belly doth, and can­not look upon such a Person as a worthy Receiver.

5. To eat and drink unworthily, is, to eat and drink without a Speculative Esteem of Christ Jesus. Where Men are not satisfied, or not persuaded that his Love deserves sacrificing all to his Interest; and, in case Times of Trouble and Persecution should come, are unresolved to hate Father and Mother, Wife and Children, Lands and Houses, even Life it self, for Christ; and with this Irresoluteness come to this holy Sacrament; they cer­tainly want that which must make them worthy Recei­vers. For,

1. He hath expresly told us, that he that loves Father or Mother more than him, is not worthy of him, Matth. 10. 37. And if such a Person be not worthy of him, how can be worthily receive him in the Sacrament? Not to be worthy of him, is, to have no part in the Inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and reserved in Heaven for his faith­ful Servants. It is to have no Share in his Intercession, no Right to his Comforts, no Right to the Act of In­demnity he hath published for the Benefit of those who adhere to him in all Dangers, no Right to his Promises, no Right to the Privileges he communicates to those that continue with him in his Temptations, no Right to the exceeding Greatness of his Power towards them that be­lieve. And how can Christ dwell in such a Person, that looks upon the Pelf of this World, and his outward Ac­commodations, as greater things than his Favour; that is ashamed of him in a sinful and adulterous Generation; and is more taken with the Things that are seen, than with the Things which are not seen, though confirmed by Divine Promises, and a Thousand Miracles? So that it is evident, that he that comes not to this Sacrament with Resolutions and Desires to value him above all, can­not be a very worthy Receiver.

[Page 316] 2. Such a Person undervalues his miraculous Love, and is supposed to esteem it no more than the Love of a Servant, or the Love of an ordinary Friend. He doth not value it as the Love of Him, in whose Power it lay to make him everlastingly miserable; he values not the unparallell'd Condescention that appears in it, the infi­nite Humility that shines in it, the inexpressible Grace and Favour that runs through the whole Frame; prefers Dross and Dung before it, contrary to the Apostle's Example, Phil. 3. 8. will not understand the Need he has of Christ, nor the dreadful Consequences of his Sin; nor what it is to be freed from the power of the Roar­ing Lion, and from Condemnation, from Eternal Mour­nings and Lamentations, from being swallowed up by the fierce Anger of the Lord: Mercies so great, and a Love so much beyond all that this World affords, that God thought the very hearing of it would make Men [...]eap for Joy, and immediately leave all, and follow Christ.

6. It is, to eat and drink without sincere Reconciliation to our Neighbours, who have offended or provoked us to Anger. Where either our Forgiveness is slight and su­perficial, or we forbear to vent our Sp [...]een, and Malice, and Ill-will, for a time, with an intent, when a fair Opportunity offers it self, [...] Sam. 14. 31. com­pared with 2 Sam. [...]18. 14. to let the Party feel the weight of our Anger; like Joab, who was a great Master in the Art of dissembling, and could connive at the Injury Absalom had done him, give him fair Words, fawn upon him, and introduce him to the King; but when a convenient time came, re-pay'd it home with a witness. Where we are either averse from Reconcilia­tion, or make but a shew of it, and eat and drink at this Table, we cannot be supposed to eat and drink worthily. For,

[Page 317] 1. In this Case, we can have no hope that God will be reconciled to us, God's Reconciliation to Man de­pending upon Man's reconciling himself to his Neigh­bour; so that where this is wanting, the other is impos­sible, as is evident from Matth. 18. 35. He that can have no just Hope of God's being reconciled to him, comes to this Sacrament to very little purpose; or if he come with Hopes of his Favour, he must hope that God will prove false to his Word; which can never make him a worthy Receiver: So that his Hope can be no other than that of the Hypocrite; the Character of which we have, Job 8. 13, 14. His Hope shall be cut off, and his Trust shall be as the Spider's Web. He shall lean upon his House, but it shall not stand: He shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure. An ill-grounded Hope must needs be a bad Preparative for this Table, where nothing is so ac­ceptable as Sincerity; and both the Reconciliation and the Hope of Mercy being destitute of this Qualification, the Soul is under very ill Circumstances. A sound Hope, we are told, makes not ashamed, Rom. 5. 5. The Hope we speak of cannot but cause Shame and Confusion, when God shall demand of us, how we could have the Courage to hope for his Mercy, when he hath expresly told us, that he is resolved to shew none, as long as we are unacquainted with it, in Offences and Trespasses committed against us by our Neighbours.

2. Add to this, That a Person communicating under such Circumstances, shews, he hath something that is dearer to him than God's Reconciliation; even his Lust, and Ill-Nature. And what is this, but to prefer Dark­ness before Light; the Suggestions of the Devil, before the Motions of God's Spirit; a blustering Passion, be­fore the Meekness of the Holy Jesus; Bondage, before the Freedom of the Gospel; and a Blast of Honour, be­fore the soft and still Voice of the Holy Ghost? 'Tis true, If such Persons were asked whether they do so, they would have the Confidence to deny it; for Men are [Page 318] loth to have their Sins anatomiz'd, and drawn in their native Colours; but God still judges of us by the tenden­cy and complexion of our Actions, not by the soft and plausible Names we put upon them; and if our Acti­ons speak so much, God passes his Verdict of them, ac­cording to what he finds at the bottom. Tho' we may be unwilling to speak out, yet God is not afraid to de­clare what he sees, and finds; and therefore, where Men will not be heartily reconciled, and yet venture to Eat and Drink at this Table, God's judgment of us can be no other than this, That our perverseness and ill humor is dearer to us, than his being reconciled to our Souls, and surely such a person cannot Eat and Drink very worthily.

7. It is to Eat and Drink without any serious Thoughts. Where we come to this Table with Thoughts as loose, as they were in a Tavern or Market place; where we take no care to contract those Beams of our Minds, so as to unite, and fix them on the Scene before us; or on som­thing relating to it, whether it be our being Created af­ter the Image of God, and our Apostacy from that state, and the ruin and misery which came with that violent Stream; or the great necessity of being renewed to that Image, and the way that's opened to that Renovation by the Blood of Jesus; or the Honour and Privileges God offers us by his Son; or the advantages we receive by being Christians, and having an interest in the be­nefits of his Passion; or the Glory of the other World, which we are made capable of, by the Death of him, who was the Lord of Glory; or the Holy Ambition we see in the Saints of old, to be made partakers of that Glory; and their Industry and Care, and Pains, they took to attain unto it, and the Joys they found in the remembrance of Christ's Sufferings; or the Attributes of God, his Wisdom, Holiness, Justice, Mercy, Power, Love and Good-will to the Children of Men, all which appears in the Sacrifice offer'd for us, &c. As these par­ticulars are the most proper objects of our Thoughts at [Page 319] such times, so he, that lets the thoughts of his Trade, Business, and other worldly Concerns, to engross his Understanding, and go in and out at their pleasure, doth not come with that Respect and Reverence, requisite in the participation of this Ordinance. Not but that such Thoughts may accidentally, and by the wicked diligence of evil Spirits, that always hover about us, invade the Mind upon such occasions; but it's one thing, to be sur­priz'd with such imaginations contrary to our design and purpose, and another to give them Entertainment, without any serious opposition of their importunity. Not the later, but the former, makes the Communicant an unworthy Receiver. For,

1. Hereby the Holy Spirit is excluded from taking possession of our Souls, a Guest the Soul hath reason to make preparation for, and from whose Presence, it may date its fruitfulness and happiness. Serious Thoughts in­vite him to our House, and are the best attractives of that Glorious Light▪ These are the Bed where he sows his noble Seed, and on these, he moves more power­fully, than he did on the Waters of the first Creation; by these we caress illapses, and court his kinder irradia­tions. As God's Majesty is described, Psal. 104▪ 3. That he makes the Clouds his Chariot, and walks upon the Wings of the Wind, so it may be said of Holy Thoughts in this Sacrament, they are the Chariot and Vehicle, on which the Spirit of the Holy Jesus makes his entrance into our Soul▪ These dispose the Soul for his Gracious Commu­nications, and put her into a capacity of being Blessed and Enlightned by him; where he spies these, he ad­dresses himself to the Soul, in the language of the Spi­ritual Bridegroom, Cant. 5. 1. I am come into my Garden, my Sister, my Spouse. I have gathered my Myrrhe with my Spice: I have eaten my Hony-comb, with my Hony, I have drank my Wine with my Milk: Eat, O friends; yea, drink abundantly, my Beloved: Which are nothing but Rhetori­cal Expressions, of the Gracious Influences, the Spirit of God is willing to confer on the Soul, that makes prepa­ration [Page 320] for him, sweeps the House of the Rubbish of vain Imaginations, and, by Pious Contemplation, makes the Chamber ready for his Entertainment; and tho' these Expressions run all in the strain of the Perfect Tense, yet, in Holy Writ, the Perfect and the Future Tenses are used promiscuously; and as the Future many times stands for the Perfect, so the Perfect Tense very often stands for the Future, and the future Blessings are expressed by what is past, to assure us of the certainty of them, and that the Soul hath no more reason to doubt of them, than if it did already actually enjoy then.

2. Want of serious Thoughts is a kind of prophana­tion of this Ordinance. Profanation of Holy Things, consists not only in reviling and reproaching, or actual perverting them, to what is ill and forbidden; but also in not using of them with that decency and seriousness, which ought to be the proper Concomitants of them. The Jews therefore, Mal. 1. 12, 13. are said to profane the House of the Lord, not because they turned it, as their Fore-fathers, into a Den of Thieves, or Mansion of Idolatry; but because they did not bring suitable Ob­lations, and those, they brought, were brought with an unwilling Mind; and they look'd upon the Service of God, as tedious and wearisome, and did not offer such Incense as was pure, nor such Sacrifices as were whole and sound, and without blemish. And certainly, not only he prophanes God's Name, that tears it with his Oaths, and Curses, and Blasphemies, but he also, that gives it not the Honour that is due to it: Profanation of the Lord's Day, is not only to sit Drinking and Re­velling at home, or to spend it in Play and Sports, and Pastimes, and Rioting and Drunkenness, but not to san­ctifie it by publick and private Devotion; and if so, not to bring Holy Thoughts to this Ordinance, to the Al­tar of God, and to the Cross of Christ, must be a Pro­fanation of these Mysteries, as he that puts no Oil to the Lamp, extinguishes its Light, as much as he that blows it out. Holy Thoughts are part of that Honour [Page 321] and Veneration we owe to this Ordinance; and as Men count it an affront, not only to be beaten, but not to have that respect given them, which is due to their Rank and Quality, so God hath for greater reason to look up­on it, as a profanation of this Sacrament, where Men bring not with them Thoughts pertinent to the Maje­sty and Holiness of the wonderful Things manifested and represented here; and he that profanes this Ordi­nance, cannot be supposed to Eat and Drink wor­thily.

IV. But it is not enough to give an exact description of the Sin: the danger of it, is the next thing we must speak of: And this, St. Paul says, 1 Cor. 11. 27. is, ma­king our selves guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. A great guilt certainly! to be counted a murtherer of the Son of God, and to be reckon'd among Jews and Infi­dels, that embru'd their hands in the Blood of the ever Blessed Jesus; for so much the Apostle's words import; and if the unworthy Receiver incurs this guilt, he needs no other argument to discourage him from his Sin and Impiety. The Charge is dreadful; nor must we there­fore think, that it is only spoke, in Terrorene, to fright Peo­ple, as we terrifie Children, with strange things; not that there are such things in being, but to make them desist from their unlucky Enterprize or Frowardness. No, God need not make use of Bugbears, nor must we imagine, that what he saith, hath the least shadow of untruth. As dreadful as this Charge is, he means what he says, and speaks what he thinks, and unworthy Re­ceiving is neither more nor less, than making our selves guilty of the Body and Bl [...]d of the Lord Jesus: And how this is done by him that Eats and Drinks unwor­thily, deserves consideration.

1. He that Eats and Drinks unworthily, makes him­self guilty of denying, that the Body and Blood of Christ was sacrific'd for him. As they that dishonour the Christian R [...]ligion, by their covetousness, and unrighteousness, [Page 322] and lewd practices, are said, To deny the Lord that bought them, 2 Pet. 2. 1. because they live, as if Christ had not bought them, or had not redeem'd them from Ini­quity: So the unworthy Receiver, being loth to mortifie his known and voluntary Sins, even in the act of Recei­ving, denies that Christ was Sacrific'd for him. His unwillingness to reform, is a tacit denial of the Mercy, and a Sign that he doth not believe it heartily: For the Holy Ghost supposes, that he, who believes it with any seriousness, will be affected with it, and stand amaz'd at this Act of God, even at this infinite, immense▪ un­searchable and incomprehensible Love: that he who needs not the society of Men or Angels, and can be Etenally happy without them, should yet have that value and respect for Mankind, who were his Prisoners, and had forfeited their Lives to his Justice, were the objects of his Wrath, and had justly deserv'd to be banish'd from his Gracious Presence for ever, as to find out a remedy, whereby they might be restored to his Favour, freed from their slavish Condition, and admitted to his Bosom, and such a Remedy, as might at once assert his Justice, and declare his Mercy, and, in order thereunto, free­ly, generously, and without compulsion, part with the Eternal Son of his Bosom, prepare a Body for him, a Body which might be capable of Dying, and fall a Sacrifice at once; assert God's just Anger against Sin, and keep off the fatal blow from Man; at once defend God'ds Right, and establish Man's Felicity, and there­by put the poor miserable Worm in a capacity of be­coming Heir to the Riches of God, who was an Heir of the Treasures of Wrath; and a companion of Bles­sed Spirits, who had deserv'd to howl with Apostate Spirits; a Child of Light, who was a Son of Darkness; and a Servant of Righteousness, who was a Slave of Sin. I say, the Holy Ghost supposes, that he that seriously be­lieves all this, will think nothing too good for God, will not stand out against so great a Mercy, will fight no more against so great and so good a Master, but will submit to him, be ready to run at his Commands; give [Page 323] himself up to the Will of so great a Benefactor, and will be hearty and sincere in serving him. Now, the un­worthy Receiver being so far from doing this, so far from turning to God with all his heart, and with all his mind, that he refuses the Dominion of God, will be a Slave to his Sin still, and had rather obey the Devil, than this most bountiful Master, who hath done so much for him; by doing so, denies that Christ's Body and Blood was sacrific'd for him; for if he believ'd it, he could not do as he doth; and tho' he may protest by all that's Good and Sacred, that he believes it, yet Words and Compliments will not absolve him; and if talking were believing, no Man, that professes Christianity, would ever be damn'd: What doth a Malefactor's plead­ing at the Bar, that he is not guilty, signifie, when the Evidences are strong, and the Matter of Fact is prov'd against him? Belief, that doth not touch the Heart, or renew the Mind, or spiritualize the Affections, is mere Infidelity; and where this Belief is not to be found, the Sinner is accused of denying the Mercy he pretends to believe: And to this purpose, saith the Apostle, They pro­fess that they know God, but in their works they deny him, Tit. 1. 16. So that the unworthy Receiver, i. e. He that receives, and yet will not reform, whatever his Profes­sion may be, in his Actions he denies, that Christ was Sacrific'd for him; and therefore makes himself guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

2. He Eats and Drinks unworthily, makes himself guil­ty of jesting with the Body and Blood of Christ; As the Fa­thers of the Council of Eliberis speak: He plays with the most tremendous things,Council. Eli­ber. c. 3. Ne lusisse de­communione Dominicâ vi­deantur. for, in coming, he seems to confess, that by the Death of the Son of God, his mise­rable Soul was redeem'd, and a Pardon purchas'd for him, and the Heavens made to bow to him, and the good Will of God procur'd, to save him for ever, and yet he doth not think all this worth forsaking a sinful Lust, or shaking a pleasing [Page 324] Dalilah from his Bosom; and what is this, but playing with the Body and Blood of Christ? Should a Man make a very curious Harangue in commendation of his Neigh­bour, compare him with Salomon, for Wisdom; with David, for Sincerity; with Jonathan, for Faithfulness; with Josiah, for Piety; for Generosity, with Moses; for Chastity, with Joseph; for Patience, with Job; with St. Paul, for Courage; with St. Peter, for Zeal; with Absolom, for Beauty; with Zacheus for Charity; with Abraham, for Hospitality; nay, with Angels for clear­ness of Understanding; and for Purity of Life, with Se­raphim: And when he hath done, abuse and reproach him, or do that, which he cannot but know, must be offensive and irksome, or prejudicial to him, gives the Spectator just occasion to think, that all that flanting Panegyric was only a jocular thing, design'd rather as an essay of Wit, than as any real affection to the Vir­tues of the commended Party. The unworthy Recei­ver doth in effect the same; for, his coming to this Sa­ment, is a tacit Commendation of Christ's Crucified Body and Blood, whereby he seems to applaud the wonderful Works that Christ hath done for him, and to proclaim to all the standers by, what an Obligation that Death is, to mortifie the body of Sin, and to be true and faithful to him, that did not count his Life dear, to do him good; and yet having no real purpose with­in, whatever external Declaration he may make, to be­come a new Man; but after he hath been at this Table, when temptations assault him, temptations to his former sins, yields to them as easily as ever, plainly declares, he was in jest, when he seem'd to magnifie this Munifi­cence of his Saviour; and from hence it must follow, that he is guilty of playing with the Body and Blood of Christ.

3, He that Eats and Drinks unworthily, seems to wish that Christ may dye again, and upon that account, is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord; for in that Christ's Death is not efficacious to pull down the [Page 325] strong holds of Sin in him, or rather, in that he will not let that death prevail with him, to the mortifying of his sinful Lusts, he seems to wish for an iteration of that Death, which may be more powerful, and have a greater influence upon the destruction of his Sin. It is a Decla­ration, as it were, that the Death of Christ, as the case stands, doth no good upon him; and therefore, since the Death of the Son of God must be the means to break the power of Sin in him, he stands in need of another death of that Saviour, which may do greater miracles upon his Soul, or sinful Temper. Christ's Death, indeed, must break the reigning power of Sin; but then, a Person, in whom this effect is to be wrought, must apply that Death, think upon it, warm his Heart with the Consi­deration of it, ruminate upon the Motives of it, and upon the greatness of his own Sin, that occasioned it, and upon the vast Advantages that flow from that Death, and be restless with God, to make it effectual to his Soul: For to think that this Death will do the work without our Labour or Industry, or pondering the weight and moment of it, is to imagine, that God will deal with us, as with Brutes, that have no understanding. As Christ died once in the end of the World, so his Death spreads his Virtue to all Penitents, from the be­ginning to the end of the World. But wherever it works a serious Reformation, it must be improv'd by Faith, and Thoughts, and Prayer, and Contemplation; and should Christ dye a thousand times, if these means be neglect­ed, his dying so often would signifie little to the incon­siderate Spectator. This is the monstrous Fancy of some Men, that they hope, the Mysteries of Religion will, or must change their Hearts, without any trouble of their own; which Conceit must needs make them con­temptible in the sight of an All-wise God, who sees them neglect the Powers and Faculties he hath given them. The unworthy Receiver therefore, finding no good by this Death of the Lord Jesus, for it makes no alteration in his Life for the better, looks, as it were, for a new Sacrifice for Sin; and since he will not be [Page 326] purged from his known Sins, by the Blood of Jesus, which hath been already spilt, if he hath any hopes of being purified from his Sin, in order to the obtaining of Eternal Happiness, seems to desire a more effectu­al Death of that great Mediator, which may, against his Will, drag him away from his sinful courses, and thereby would have Christ suffer, and be kill'd again; and consequently, makes himself guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

4. He that Eats and Drinks unworthily, kills the Lord Jesus: You will say, This is impossible, Christ being in Heaven, and incapable of any such Act of Violence. No more could Saul, if you understand it according to the Letter, persecute him, after he was glorified; yet the voice that came to him, in his way to Damascus, said, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Act. [...]. 4. The same may be said of an unworthy Receiver, he cannot, strictly speaking, kill the Lord Jesus; yet being unwilling to venture up­on a change of Life, under all the Abjurations of a bleeding Redeemer, that stubborness is Death to Christ, as God said to the Jews, Ezek. 6. 9. I am broken with your whorssh Heart: So may the Saviour of the World cry to the Communicant, that comes to remember his Death, and will not die to his known Sins, Thou piercest, thou woundest, thou killest me, by thy obstinate and refractory temper, as we say of a tender Father, that the ill course his disobedient Son takes, is death to him, because it is as grievous to him, as if one should attempt to take away his Life. The unworthy Receiver, by being loth to con­form to the Rules of the Gospel in his Practices, even while he beholds, as it were, Christ Crucified for his Sins, does an Act so unworthy, so disrespectful, so inju­rious, that it is as much, as if he made attempts upon his Life; nay, he kills the preventing Grace Christ affords him, and slays the good motions whereby Christ lives in him. Christ is said to be in us, as we are Christians; and the unworthy Receiver, being desirous and willing to maintain and keep his darling Sins, doth thereby drive Christ out of his Heart, and kill him in his own [Page 327] Soul; for Christ, and Love to a sinful Life, are inconsi­stent and incompatible things. These destroy his Life in the Soul; and therefore, in this Sense also, the un­worthy Receiver makes himself guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord.

5. He that eats and drinks unworthily, consents to the Murther the Jews were guilty of when they killed the Lord of Life, and approves of that barbarous and inhumane Act; and therefore is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. He is supposed to consent to that Murther, that is not sorry for if: And how can he be sorry for it, that is not sorry for his Sins, which were the principal Cause of it? The unworthy Receiver being supposed to be one that doth not heartily shake hands with a sinful Life, and is loth so to renounce his known Sins, as to tear them from his Heart; we cannot imagine that he is hear­tily sorry for them, for his Sorrow hath not those Ef­fects which Godly Sorrow is said to have, 2 Cor. 7. 11. For this same thing, when ye sorrowed after a Godly sort, what Carefulness it wrought in you! Yea, what clearing of your selves! Yea, what Indignation against Sin! Yea, what Fear, i. e. of offending God! Yea, what vehement Desire! Yea, what Zeal! Yea, what Revenge! The Tree is known by its Fruits: And if Sorrow for Sin must be discovered by such Effects, and these Effects appear not in the Com­municant; as he cannot be thought to eat and drink worthily, so in not being sorry for his Sins, he doth not appear sorry for the Murther the Jews committed upon the Body of our Saviour; his Sins being the Cause of that Murther. And doth not this look like Consent, or Approbation of that Murther? You will say, How can any Man be sorry for Christ's Death, when that Death is our greatest Comfort; and what Consolations the pious Soul feels, it feels by virtue of that Death? Shall a Man be sorry for that, which God had ordain'd, ap­pointed and design'd for the Relief and Redress of our Misery? If Christ had not died, we had been ever wretched and unhappy, and must have looked for no [Page 328] Friendship from above; and therefore, to charge Men with being guilty of his Death, because they are not sor­ry for it, seems to be both against Scripture and Reason. Is any Man sorry for a Treasure he finds in the Field? Or sorry for an Estate that falls to him by the Decease of a Relation? Or sorry for an Act of Oblivion which a gracious Prince imparts to Offenders, whereof himself is the Principal? But to this, the Answer is very easie; for the Benefit of Christ's Death, and the Mercy God intended Mankind by it, must be carefully distinguish­ed from the Instrumental Causes whereby Christ was brought to his Death; which were, partly our Sins, and the barbarous Cruelty of the Jews. The Benefit that came by the Death of Christ, a Christian, most certain­ly, ought not to be sorry for, but hath reason to re­joyce in, Day and Night: But that he was so inhu­manely murther'd by the Jews, and that our Sins were such abominable things in the Sight of God, that, to ex­piate them, God was moved to give up his own Son to the lawless Rage of those cruel Enemies; this requires our Grief and Sorrow. That the Jews did commit a very heinous Sin in crucifying Christ, is evident from St. Peter's Discourse, or Sermon, to the Murtherers, Act. 3. 17, 18, 19. For, though God hath decreed that Death, as an Expedient to reconcile Man to himself, and de­creed not to hinder the Jews in pursuing their wicked Designs and Purposes, but to make that Death an Anti­dote against Everlasting Death; yet that doth not ex­cuse the Jews from the Guilt of Sin in killing of him, whose Cruelty God was resolved to turn to the Good of all true Penitents, and sincere Believers; nor a Chri­stian from an hearty Sorrow, that his Sins were the de­serving Cause of it. So that a Christian may at once rejoyce in Christ's Death, and be sorry for it; rejoyce in the unspeakable Mercies procured by it, and be sor­ry that those stubborn Wretches did with that Cruelty dispatch him; or rather, that his Sins did arm those de­sperate Sinners to put the Lord of Life to death; for the Jews could have had no power to murther him, but [Page 329] that the Sins of Mankind, crying aloud for Vengeance, enabled them, and gave them Strength, and ministred Occasion to do it. So that he that is not heartily sorry for his Sins, is not heartily sorry that the Jews did mur­ther him; and therefore, the unworthy Receiver, not being heartily sorry for the Sins he hath lived in, con­sents to that Murther of the Jews, and, upon that Ac­count, makes himself guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Our Church therefore, in her Confession be­fore the Sacrament, obliges all those that come to receive to say, We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our Mis-doings. Now, he that is heartily sorry for his known Sins, will watch and strive against them, and take heed he doth not, through Carelesness, rush into them again; which the unworthy Receiver not being from the Heart resolved to do, involves himself in that Guilt we speak of.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. HEre I cannot but take notice of the great Errour of the First Council of Toledo, celebrated about the Year 400. after Christ, which made a Canon, that he who had no Wife, but, instead of a Wife, a Concubine, ought not to be kept or debarred from the holy Communion, provided that he content himself with one Concubine, and add no more. 'Tis evident that such a Conjunction is Filthi­ness and Uncleanness, condemned by the Apostle, Gal. 5. 19. Marriage it is not; and Carnal Copulations without it, are mere Fornications; as we see, Heb. 13. 4. And therefore such Persons, if admitted to the Commu­nion, could not but eat and drink unworthily. Nor doth it mend the matter, that Leo I. Pope of Rome, ap­proved of that Canon; for that only shews, that Popes are as fallible as other Men; nay, more subject to mis­take, as they are very jealous of their Riches, and Gran­deur, and Temporal Interest. Bellarmine, to excuse this [Page 330] Fault, alledges, that by Concubine in that Canon, was meant, nothing but a lawful Wife, only married, and taken without a Portion, or publick Solemnity. But this Conjecture must be false, because, both in the Civil and Canon-Laws, Concubines are Persons distinguished from lawful Wives, and but a better Name for Whores. And as that Concil did very ill to admit such Persons that were known to live in such Sins to the Sacrament, so they did as ill to prohibit Ministers Widows, if they married again,Cap. 8. or took a second Hus­band, the use of the Communion; as if an honst Mar­riage were more scandalous than Fornication. And though a Bishop or Pastor of the Church is ordered by the Apostle, 1 Tim. 3. 2. to be the Husband of one Wife, yet how doth it follow from thence, that his Widow, when he dies, must never marry again?

II. There is a great difference betwixt Receiving un­worthily, and being unworthy to receive, Every Man that thinks himself unworthy to receive these Mysteries, is not therefore an unworthy Receiver. Alas! If we go to the Worthiness of the Person that comes to this Ta­ble, Who of us can be said to be worthy to come before so holy, so jealous, so great a God? Or, Who of us is worthy of that incomprehensible and diffusive Love, re­presented to us in this Ordinance? If we reflect on the marvellous Purity of the Divine [...]Nature, Who of us can be thought worthy to approach it? The best of us have reason to cry out, at the sight of that Tremendous Ho­liness, Unclean, Unclean: There are few of us, who have not reason to complain, (to use the Words of Thomas de Kempis) that they are yet so carnal, so worldly, so un­mortified in their Passions, so full of disorderly Motions of the Flesh, so unwatchful over their outward Senses, so often entangled with vain Thoughts and Fancies, so vehemently inclined to external Comforts, so negligent of the Ornament of a meek and quiet Spirit, so prone to immoderate Laughter and Immodesty, so indisposed to Tears and Compunction, so strongly inclined to the [Page 331] Ease and Pleasures of the Flesh, so dull to Strictness and an holy Zeal, so curious to hear News, and to see gau­dy Sights; so slack to embrace what is humble and low, so covetous of Abundance, so niggardly in giving to pi­ous Uses, so close in keeping what Providence hath be­stowed upon them, so inconsiderate in speaking, so un­bridled to Silence, so loose in Manners, so covetous af­ter Gain, so greedy after the Meat which perishes, so deaf to the Word of God, so apt to sit still, so slow to labour, so watchful to idle Tales, so drowsie in God's Service, so hasty to make an end of their Prayers, so in­constant in Attention, so cold in Devotion, so unde­vout in the holy Communion, so quickly discomposed, so seldom wholly gathered into themselves, so suddenly provoked to Anger, so ready to take Displeasure at their Neighbour's Actions, so prone to judge, so severe in Re­prehension, so jolly in Prosperity, so impatient in Adver­sity, so often purposing much Good, and yet perform­ing little. There are very few of us, who have not rea­son to deplore such Defects as these; and then, Who can be worthy to feast with the King Invisible, Immortal, Blessed for evermore? But it is God that makes us wor­thy: He will not count us unworthy if we strive against these Errours, if we labour to conquer them, if we will not be Friends with them, if we proclaim War against them, if we are resolved, whatever we venture, to be rid of them, if we will not hug them in our Bosoms, if we will open the Everlasting Doors, and let the King of Glory come in; if we will hate what he hates, and love what he loves, and will continue our Hostility a­gainst those Lusts which interfere with his just Right and Prerogative. He will not go to the utmost rigour with us. He will deal gently with us, liker a Father, than a Judge. To let us go on in our Offences, without Re­morse, or a serious Care to please him, he cannot; and such is his Holiness, that he must not. He considers our Frame, that we are Dust; and therefore will not take advantage of every accidental Miscarriage: But he con­siders withal, that he hath given us his Gospel, and E­verlasting [Page 332] Motives, and his Holy Spirit, whereby we may certainly master the Corruptions we find stirring in us, though not immediately, yet by degrees; if we are but willing, and labour, and wrestle, and are active, and do not suffer our selves to be overcome by Laziness, and the Satisfactions of this present World: And upon these Terms, he is willing to count us worthy Receivers. O Sweetness incomparable! O Condescention ineffable! beyond all that Kings and Princes express to their Sub­jects! What Christian that is acquainted with this Frame, this Spirit, this humble and tractable Temper, this Re­solution, and this Willingness, and that feels these Cha­racters in his Soul, can, after all this, forbear coming, upon a pretence of being unworthy? Coming to this holy Table with such Purposes, with such Designs, with such Qualifications, let him be confident that his Father, his Saviour, his Redeemer will bid him welcome. This spiritual Frame, Christian, will make thee worthy: Thou comest not to this Sacrament to give God any thing, but to receive a Blessing from him: Thou comest not hither to contribute any thing to his Happiness, but to open thy Mouth wide, that he may fill it: Thou comest not hither to proclaim thy Perfections, but to have thy Imperfections supplied: Thou comest not hither to boast of thy Cleanness, but to be washed from their Sins: Thou comest not hither to glory in thy Merits, but to receive an Alms at thy great Master's Hands; his Grace, his Love, his Compassion will make thee worthy: Thou comest not to give him an Account of thy Riches, but as an hungry Beggar, that wants Bread, to feed on the hidden Manna. All that is required of thee, is, to look upon thy Redeemer as thy greatest Friend, and to use him like a Friend, to make his Friendship an Enforcive to love him; and so to love him, as to hearken to his Counsels, to be govern'd by his Directions, to bid fare­wel to all things that will destroy that Friendship, to re­pent of thy Unkindnesses to him, and to prefer his Ad­vice before that of Flesh and Blood; to hearken to his Instructions, more than to the false Suggestions of the [Page 333] World; and so to remember that thy Sins have contri­buted to his Crucifixion, as to punish them with Frowns and Mortifications. If thou art willing to this, he will supply thy Defects, he will satisfie thy hungry Soul, he will feed thee from his Storehouse, and make thy Soul Partaker of his purchased Possession: Let not thy Un­worthiness discourage thee. 'Tis confessed thou art a poor, vile Worm, a Sinner, a wretched Creature, not worthy of the least of all his Mercies, not worthy to be taken notice of, not worthy of the least Glimpse of his Favour; but still, if he is pleased to count and esteem thee worthy, it is Contempt of his Love if thou dost not accept of this gracious Offer, and come and li [...]t up thine Hands towards his holy Oracle. If thou wilt but look upon thy Sins as Enemies; and if they do assault thee, wilt vigorously oppose thy self against their At­tempts; and if they do surprize thee once or twice, wilt renew thy Courage against them, and do any thing ra­ther than yield to them, and set up this Resolution in thy Heart, that the Lord shall be thy God, thou shalt be worthy; he will give thee Grace, which shall make thee worthy: His Flesh shall nourish thy Soul; his Blood shall enrich the Ground of thy Heart; his Pre­sence shall give thee Life; his Assistance will make thee spiritual; his Spirit will enable thee to rejoyce in him that made thee, make thee a worthy Conqueror, wor­thy of the Tree of Life, and worthy of that Pardon he hath purchased for thee on the Cross, when in his own Body he bore thy Sins upon the Tree, that thou being dead to Sin, mightest live unto God.

III. Among the various sorts of Persons that are loth to come to this holy Sacrament, those betray strange Imprudence, as well as Obstinacy, that are loth to part with their Sins, and therefore are loth to come, for fear they should eat and drink unworthily, and make them­selves guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord, and eat and drink their won Damnation. But, O Genera­tion of Vipers! Who hath told you that this is the way [Page 334] to escape the Wrath to come? Who hath been so wise, as to inform you, that this way you may flee from the Indignation of the Lord? In what Scripture have you read, that your not coming to this Sacrament, because you are loth to prophane it by your Sins, will save you from Perdition? 'Tis very true, and you are in the right, when you suppose, that your Refractoriness to Reforma­tion and Amendment, makes you unworthy Receivers: But can you imagine that you are ever a whit the safer for not coming? Will not the Sins you live and conti­nue in, do your Work for you, and make you Heirs of Damnation? The wilful Neglect of this Sacrament is a damnable Sin: And can you think that your not com­ing will make your Condition more easie and tolerable? 'Tis true, you pretend you will not prophane it, and therefore do not come: You are sensible it requires Re­formation; and because your Circumstances will not permit you to lead better Lives, you are loth to add to your Danger, by eating and drinking unworthily. But when your not coming to this Sacrament makes you mi­serable, as well as your coming and receiving unwor­thily, 'tis strange that the Point of adding some Grains to the Bulk of your Misery, should make you afraid of coming. I will not deny, but Eating and Drinking un­worthily doth, in some measure, aggravate the Evil a Man lives in, because he adds Scorn to his Impiety; but as long as his Impenitence without coming, and his com­ing unworthily, do both involve him in the Danger of Damnation, it is a foolish Plea, to preted you dare not come, for fear of aggravating your Condemnation; as if Damnation were tolerable, and the Degrees of it on­ly intolerable. But we see what you drive at: You hope, some time before you die, and when you will not have those Opportunities of sinning that now you have, you may receive it, and save your Souls at last. But to hear Men talk of what they shall do hereafter, when they have not one Minute of their Lives at their Command, is so ridiculous, that it needs no Answer. This is certain; your Sins are sweet, and your evil Lives [Page 335] make you fit to live in the World, and therefore you will not come. But will this Argument hold Water, do you think, when God shall plead with you? Surely, your Sins are very precious things, that you dare refuse com­ing to this holy Ordinance for them. The Scripture calls them Filth and Poyson; for so they are in the Eyes of an holy God: And are they dearer to you, than the Love of God? They are perfect Leprosie: And had had you rather be full of Sores and Boyls, than come hither to be made clean? They crucified your Saviour: And will you keep that which murther'd him? They are the Disgrace and Reproach of your Souls: And will you delight in your Infamy? They are the things that separate betwixt a glorious God and you: And will you uphold that fatal Distance and Separation? They ex­clude you from the Kingdom of Heaven: And will you be content with that Exclusion? Are you wise and un­derstanding Men: And will you not open your Eyes, and see your Danger? What do you call Contempt of God, if this be not it? What do you call slighting of Incomprensible Mercy, if this do not deserve that Name? Can you hope for God's Pardon at last, that refuse to accept of it in this Ordinance? Do you believe you have Souls, and that it is your Interest to secure them against Mischief: And will you prefer a few airy, volatile Joys before their Safety? Sinner, When is it that thou dost intend to reform? Is it when an angry God looks thee in the Face, and an evil Conscience upon thy Death­bed presages thy future Torments? Is it possible that an offended God will then fly into thy Embraces, whom thou didst not care for all thy Days? Behold, in this Sacrament, the Son of God doth not only offer to re­concile thee to thy God, but shews thee the way too, how it shall be effected to thy Content and Satisfaction: Here he offers to enrol thy Name among the Friends of God; but it is impossible to make thee God's Friend, while thou maintainest thy Enmity against him: To leave thy Sins, and to come to this Sacrament, are one and the same thing; these two are inseparable, to di­vide [Page 336] them, is, to divide Light from Fire; which im­plies Impossibility. Oh, think therefore! Till I come to this Ordinance, God will be my Foe; and should I be snatch'd away while God is so, who will plead for me when I come to appear before God? I will arise there­fore, and go to my Father, &c.

IV. As squeamish as some Sinners are, there are others that dare come and receive unworthily, and be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord, and be no more concern'd, than if they had committed any trivial or indifferent Action: Such are they who are the same af­ter they have received, as they were before; vitious be­fore, and vitious after; revengeful, lascivious, unclean, malicious, proud, Boasters, intemperate, Back-biters, implacable, unmerciful before, and after too; nor doth the threatning that they make themselves guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus fright or discompose them. Lord! How stupid a thing is Sin! How hard, how insensible doth it make the Heart! What Venom doth it shed upon the Soul! Who would imagine that Men could be so perverse, Men that live under the Go­spel too, as to be guilty of murthering Christ? Mur­thering of Christ! You will say, Who can murther him now he is in Glory? What Bug-bears are these, to fright poor silly, ignorant People with? So easily do Men slide from Hypocrisie, into Prophaneness; and from Prophaneness, into the Scorner's Chair! But, What if Christ be in Heaven, and out of the reach of thy Baseness and Malice? If Christ interpret thy Con­tinuance in known Sins, after thou hast been viewing his Death and Crucifixion in this Sacrament, as mur­thering of him; how great, how heinous, and of how deep a Dye must thy Sins be! What Guilt, what Loads, what Mountains of Wrath must we suppose, dost thou lay, and pull down on thy Shoulders! Who can tell so well the venomous Influences and Tendencies of thy Sins, as he that perfectly understands the poysonous na­ture of it? If he saith, that it amounts to murthering of [Page 337] him, Will thy laughing at the Conceit excuse thy Folly when his Anger shall be kindled? Need he value thy Flouts and Jeers, that hath Flames and Vengeance at command, to lash thee into better Manners? It is im­possible he should be mistaken in his Verdict of things: And wilt thou say, he doth not speak what is true? Art thou wiser than he; Or dost thou see farther into things than he? Must his Wisdom be modell'd by thy shallow Reason; Or shall a Creature dispute the Oracle of its Creator? If he sees and knows that thy wilful Impenitence runs so high, as to make an Attempt upon his Life again, wilt not thou believe him, or darest thou charge him with a Lye? The Holy Ghost, speak­ing by St. Paul, protests so much: And wilt thou add sinning against the Holy Ghost to all thy Offences? Believe it, Sinner; 'tis Death to the Lord of Life, to see a Creature, for whom he took such pains, wallow still in those Sins after Receiving, which he was suppo­sed to abjure in Receiving. 'Tis Death to him, to see thee more tender of keeping thy Word with a Man that must die, than with him that lives for ever. 'Tis Death to him, to see thee wilful in breaking that solemn Pro­mise thou madest under his Cross, and didst seal with drinking of his Blood. Thou dost in this Sacrament make a Covenant with him, and oblige thy self, as thou hopest to have a share in his Merits, that thou wilt be guided and governed by him, who, to the Astonish­ment of Men and Angels, died for thee, (and there cannot be a more sacred Tye;) and to see thee violate that Oath, and break through that Vow, into Damna­tion, into that Damnation from which he came to re­scue thee; this is Death to him, and a new Attempt upon his Life; and if thou darest be so barbarous, so inhumane, as to do so, Heaven and Earth will be Wit­nesses against thee; and that very Blood which thou prophanest, will be a Witness against thee; and all the Saints that see thee prophane that Blood, will be Wit­nesses against thee; and it is enough to make the Lord repent that ever he died for such a Wretch. O [Page 338] then, play not with these Mysteries; for it will be hard for thee to kick against the Pricks. But,

V. Let the worthy Receiver rejoyce in the midst of all these Terrours. These Thunder-bolts do not reach him. These Threatnings do not concern him. He is safe under all these Storms: They will not fall on him, to crush him. These Hail-stones will not bruise his Head: This Weight will not sink him. He can pass through all these Messengers of Death, and fear no E­vil: Even he, who sees greater Comfort in a crucified Saviour, than in this gaudy World; and can admire the Mercies purchased by his Death, while others stand gazing on stately Buildings, and sumptuous Palaces: Even he, who makes Conscience of performing what he promises to a glorious God; and feels Desires in his Breast to be more and more conformable to the holy Life and Example of Christ Jesus; and to whom no In­terest is so dear as that of a crucified Saviour, who loves as he loves, without Hypocrisie or Dissimulation. Let such a Soul be glad in the Lord, and believe, that God will command his Loving-kindness in the Day-time, and in the Night will cover him with the Shadow of his Wings. Let him not be disquieted, nor think God hath forgotten him, when his Soul is bowed down to the Dust, and his Belly cleaves unto the Earth: Christ, the Son of God, will certainly manifest himself unto him, be present with him, pour Grace into his Heart, and Comfort into his Soul; give himself to him, be his Hiding-place, compass him about with the Songs of Deliverance, and say unto him, I will instruct thee, and teach thee in the Way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine Eye. Such a Person receives Christ indeed, receives him with all his Blessings, and with all the Spoils he recovered of the Enemy: He receives him with all the Wealth he hath fought for, and purchased with his B [...]ood. He receives him with all the precious things he hath laboured for in the Sweat of his Brows. He receives [...]im laden, and abounding with glorious Pro­mises, [Page 339] which shall, by degrees, be all fulfilled in him; for they belong to him, they are his Right, they are his Portion; Christ will make him worthy to receive them. He shall ask, and his Master will give: He shall seek, and find too: He shall knock, and the Lord Jesus will answer; and though he may knock often, yet, at last, the Gates will be opened to him. The Everlasting Door, the Gate of Grace and Mercy shall be unlocked to him, and he shall get more Grace, greater Strength, larger Influences; his Incomes shall be greater, his Revenues more plentiful: He will open the Windows of Heaven to him, and refresh his Ground with kindly Showers; They shall drop on the Pastures of the Wilderness, and the little Hills shall rejoyce on every side. Such a Receiver is like to abide in Christ, and his Word like to abide in him. He may be sure of his Love, sure of his Friendship, sure of his favourable Looks. For him Christ laid down his Life indeed; and he may be confident that he is one of his little Flock, for he hears his Voice, and is willing to be gui­ded by him: For him the Saviour of the World hath prepared a sure Refuge, a Munition of Rocks, where he shall dwell securely, free from the stormy Wind and Tempest. Such a Receiver believes in him, and he shall not die: Nay, Though he were dead, yet shall he live: Because Christ lives, he shall live too: And though his Life be hid with Chrst, in God; yet when Christ, who is his Life, shall appear, then shall he also appear with him in Glory. His Faith shall at last be turned into Fruition, his Hope into Vision, his Expectations into Enjoyment. He shall see Christ at last in his Majesty: He shall see him in his Wedding-Robes: He shall sit down with him at last, at the Supper of the Lamb, and lean on his Bo­som; and the Angels will say, Behold, the Disciple whom Jesus loved. He shall walk with him in shining Gar­ments; and the King's Daughter, which was all glo­rious within here, shall be all glorious without too: Her Glory shall be the Joy of Saints, and the Envy of all wicked Men. Such a Person rejoyced in his lig [...]t [Page 340] here, and he shall be decked with Eternal Light. He that is the Light of both Worlds, shall be his Everlasting Companion, and Darkness shall not annoy him. In a Word, Christ will lift up the Light of his Countenance upon him, and he shall be safe.

The PRAYER.

O Great and admirable Saviour! who hast said, I will give unto him that is a thirst, the Fountain of the water of Life, freely; my Soul thirsteth for thee, my Flesh longeth for thee in a a dry and thirsty Land. where no water is, to see thy Power and thy Glory! I am unworthy to re­ceive so Glorious a Guest into my Soul! I am unworthy to wash the Feet of the Servants of my Lord! Unworthy of the least Crum that falls from thy Table! The Angels, purer than the Sun, think themselves unworthy to Praise and Glorifie thee; How unworthy then must I think my self to receive thee, the sweetest, and the brightest Being, into my House! yet thou offer­est to come, and make thy abode with me. What Bounty is this! Whence is it, that the Sovereign King of Heaven and Earth will come and dwell in me, who am a sink of Misery, a stye of uncleanness, a den of filthiness! How unworthy am I of this astonishing Saviour! I freely confess, that I have de­served to be plunged into the depth of Hell, rather than to re­ceive thee, the Glory of Heaven and Earth, into a Heart so defiled, so polluted, so corrupted with Sin and Misery! Yet, since thou dost freely offer me this unspeakable Mercy, Come, Lord, and make thy Residence in my Soul. I desire to re­ceive thee with all Love, and Purity, and Devotion! To this end, destroy in me all that is contrary to thee, and enrich my Soul with all suitable dispositions to receive thee! I hate my Sins, I renounce them, I desire to think of them with horror, because they were the cause of thy Torments, and of that death thou sufferedst on the Cross; I would hate them, as the Angels, and the Saints of Heaven do. I am sensible, thou art wor­thy of all Honour and Glory, and from my Heart wish, that I never had offended and dishonoured thee! O that I had some­thing of that Sorrow I see in thy Soul, when thou madest thy Soul an offering for Sin! Thy Soul was exceeding sorrowful, [Page 342] even unto death. It was my Sin that caused that Sorrow, O let me participate of that Sorrow! O Jesu! my Light, my Righteousness, my Sanctification, my Redemption! Open mine Eyes, that I may see the vast Mercy, offered me in this Bles­sed Sacrament! Give me that Repentance, that Faith, that Love, which may make me a worthy Receiver of thy Benefits! I humble my self before thee, I throw my self down at thy feet. I give my self to thee, I dedicate my Thoughts, my Words, my Actions, my Understanding, my Will, my Affections to thy Service! Set up thy Kingdom in my Soul. Destroy my inordinate Self-Love, my Anger, my Pride, and all my disorderly Inclinations. Let thy Humility, thy Charity, thy Patience, and all thy Graces reign in me! Where thou art, there is Heaven. If thou art in me, I shall not fear what Man, or Devils can do against me; for thou wilt hide me in the secret of thy Presence from the Pride of Man, thou wilt keep me secretly, in a Pavilion, from the strife of Tongues. Blessed be the Lord, who hath shewed us his marvellous Kindness; I will sing of the Mercies of the Lord for ever, with my Mouth will I make known thy faith­fulness to all Generations. Amen, Amen.

CHAP. XVIII.
Of the sad Effects and Consequences of Unwor­thy Eating and Drinking in this Holy Sacra­ment, and First of Temporal Judgments.

The CONTENTS.

The word [...], which is rendred Damnation, explained; and its various significations discussed. Of Temporal Judg­ments in general, which are, or may be procured by Eat­ing and Drinking unworthily at the Lord's Table. Several Instances of Persons, who have felt signal Judgments, for prophaning Holy Things. This applied to the Holy Sacra­ment. How Men Eat and Drink Temporal Judgment to themselves, explained. There being many unworthy Receivers, at this day, who meet with no Signal Judg­ment in this Life, what we are to think of it, and how we are to reconcile this Impunity to the Truth of the Apo­stle's threatning. A Question resolved, whether such. Judg­ments, if they befall an unworthy Receiver, do expiate his Sins? God proved to be a consuming fire, and in what sense. Though it be dangerous to Eat and Drink unwor­thily, yet this ought to be no discouragement from coming to the Lord's Table. The Prayer.

I. THE Apostle, 1 Cor. 11. 29. in general, tells us, He that Eats and Drinks unworthily, Eats and Drinks Damnation to himself. A fearful word! The Wri­ter of the Life of Ida de Nivella tells us, that whenever she pass'd by the Altar, where the Eucharist used to be ce­lebrated, a trembling seiz'd upon all her Joynts, a kind [Page 344] of Ague fit came upon her, and a Sacred horror inva­ded her Soul, imitating the Earth in that particular; which trembled at her receiving the Body of Him, who fills Heaven and Earth with his Presence; but whether it was so or no, I enquire not. At these words of the Apostle, a serious Reader hath reason to tremble, and to be afraid, and take care he comes not to this Table, without a decent behaviour. And indeed, not a few are so frighted by these words, that they think it safer to abstain from this Sacrament, than to come to it, tho' it is evident, that they might come, and yet prevent that danger, if they were not more in love with their own, than God's Will: What we render Damnation here, is in the Original, [...], and we may justly question, whe­ther by this word is always meant, an everlasting sepa­ration from the Glorious Presence of God, having our Portion with Devils, feeling the treasures of God's ever­lasting Wrath, and suffering the vengeance of Eternal Fire. That the Word is used sometimes in Scripture in this Sense, is evident from Joh. 9. 39. [...], where, though our Translation Reads, For judgment am I come into the World, yet the Greek In­terpreters, Theophylact especially, interprets the expressi­on, of Damnation, I am come into the World, [...]. for their greater punishment, and con­demnation, and Rom. 13. 2. They that resist, shall receive to themselves [...], or Damnation. On the other side, it is as certain, that by this word is very often understood no more, than Judgment, and particularly some extraor­dinary, signal, exemplary punishment, whether Spiritu­al, or Corporal, inflicted in this present Life; there­fore our Translators finding the word ambiguous, like Men of Integrity, and Honesty, have put the word Judgment in the Margent; and indeed the words, v. 30. where the Apostle explains himself, and shews what he means by [...], import so much, For this cause, saith he, many are weak, and sickly among you, and many sleep, which words cannot be conveniently applied to any other, but some exemplary punishment in this World, inflicted on [Page 345] the first Offenders, and Prophaners of this Ordinance. However, since the Word is of that large extent, it's fit we should consider it in both significations, as it im­ports both Temporal and Eternal Judgment, and con­sider the reasonableness of the Commination; So that we shall be obliged to speak, 1. Of Temporal Judgments in general. 2. Of Bodily Sickness and Weakness. 3. Of Spiritual Sickness and Weakness, or Sleepiness. And 4. Of Damnation it self. All which are implied in this one word, and are all just consequences, and very sad effects of unworthy Eating, and Drinking in this Holy Sacra­ment.

II. I begin with Temporal Judgments in general, which he that Eats and Drinks unworthily, Eats and Drinks to himself. That Judas receiv'd this Sacrament unworthily, none of those Divines, that believe he re­ceiv'd it at all, doth doubt; but see the vengeance that attended him, he went and hang'd himself; and though it is confess'd, that his Betraying of innocent Blood was one cause of it, yet this unworthy Receiving may very well be supposed to have been another. The Judgment falling upon him, after Commission of both those Crimes, both may justly be supposed to have been the ingredients of it. The Guest that came to the Royal Supper without a Wedding-Garment, went home with Fetters on his Feet, Mat. 22. 12, 13. which was no other than an Emblem of the Judgments, that those may look for, that come defiled, and polluted with Impe­nitence, to this Table. It hath been observ'd by most Historians, both Civil and Ecclesiastical, how God, as patient as he is, for the most part, yet hath frequently reveng'd the contempt of Sacred Things, by visible Judgments. Nadab and Abihu, for offering strange Fire unto the Lord, are suddenly consumed by Fire, Levit. 10. 2. Uzziah, for invading the Priests Office, is soon after struck with a loathsome Leprosie, 2 Chron. 26. 19. and Josephus takes notice of one Theopompus, who at­tempting to take something out of the Bible, and to [Page 346] mingle it with some profane Discourses of his own, ran mad upon it, and continued so for Thirty days, till, ap­plying himself to God by Prayer, he at last recover'd; And he adds of one Theodectes a Poet, who having taken some passages out of the Word of God, to embellish his looser Verses, a sudden blindness seiz'd upon him; And to go no further than our own Chronicles, William the Conqueror destroy'd no less than 36 Mother Churches in Hampshire, to make his New Forest; And besides all this, takes away all their Plate, and Treasures, even Chalices; Soon after, his Son Robert rebels against him, his second Son Richard was kill'd in the New Forest, and himself at last is thrown by his Horse, and dies upon't, his Body for Three days lies neglected, and at last is bu­ried by a private Gentleman at Cane, where the Clergy refused to bury him, till an agreement of Rent was made; and in fine, his Bones are digg'd up again, and scatter'd abroad. William Rufus afterward, who stor'd his Trea­sure, by the sale of Church Chalices, and Jewels, was accidentally, as the Story says, kill'd by Sir Walter Tyrrel, the Arrow glancing from the Deer, and, by as signal a Providence, dispatching him, as Ahab King of Israel was kill'd by an Arrow shot out of a Bow, drawn at a venture, 1 King. 22. 34. The Heathens themselves have observ'd a signal Vengeance, which hath waited on the Profaners of Holy Things. And therefor Aelian makes this remark upon Ochus Artaxerxes, that, having spoil­ed and robb'd several Temples, he was in a short time after miserably slain, and his Body thrown to Dogs and Cats, and Vermin, and of his Shin-bones his Enemies made Hilts, and Handles for Knives and Swords, and other Instruments; and Lactantius mentions a passage concerning the Potitii, a Noble Family, who having been notoriously guilty of profaning the Sacred Rites of Hercules, Thirty of that Family died all in less than a years time; And Appius, who was the encourager of the Sacriledge, was struck blind; And Servius saith of Glaucus, the Son of Sisyphus, that having derided and mocked some Holy Rites, he was torn in pieces by his [Page 347] Horses. If it be said, that these sad accidents were in­flicted by the Devil, whom these Heathens worshipp'd, and that these were only the effects of his Tyranny over Mankind; yet from hence we may infer, that as the Devil is the Ape of God, so from God he hath learnt to punish the abuse and profanation, even of his own worship. And if Lucifer cannot endure to see his own Sacred Rites profaned, how shall we think, that God, who is of infinite Holiness, will permit such abuses to be committed in things, appertaining properly to him, without some manifestation of his Vengeance. When the French under Charles King of Sicily, had turn'd the stately Church of St. Narcissus into a Stable, and the Altars there serv'd for Mangers for their Horses; a new sort of Flies was sent by an invisible Hand, which mo­lested them, and stung them into strange and painful Distempers, and most of them perish'd miserably. And as it is with other Sacred Things, so it is more particu­larly with the most Sacred Thing of all, the Holy Sa­crament of the Lord's Supper. Bishop Morton, upon this account, tells us of one Booth in his time, a Scholar in Cambridge, who being Popishly inclin'd, yet loth to own it, would still receive the Sacrament in our Church; and coming one day to the Lord's Table, he seem'd to to take the Holy Bread with his Hands, and put it in his Mouth, but by an easie craft, he thrust it into his Pocket; and when the Devotion of the Chapel was ended, he took the Bread he had hid, and threw it over the Colledge Wall. But see the pursuing Judgment of God, soon after he threw himself over the Battlements of the Chapel, broke his Neck, and so ended his life. St. Cyprian, one of the greatest and most eminent Men in the Primi­tive Church, relates, that a Girl left by her Pa­rents in time of Persecution,Serm. 5. de Laps. to shift for her self, and taken up by her Nurse, was by that Nurse, being timorous, and loth to lose her own, and the Child's l [...]fe for being Christians, carried to the Heathen Ma­gistrate, and there made to Eat and Drink of the Bread and Wine offered to Idols, and the Heathen Deities, [Page 348] This Child afterward, her Mother returning, was by her conducted to Church, and came to the Ho­ly Eucharist with the rest of the Congregation, for in those days they gave the Eucharist to Children, as well as to adult Persons, where St. Cyprian himself was then officiating. The Deacon, as his custom was, carrying the Holy Wine about, and coming to the Child, offers her the Cup, but finds a strange a­version in her, to touch it with her Lips, for through a Divine Instinct teaching her, that the Cup of the Lord and the Cup of Devils were inconsistent, and incompatible, she turn'd her Head away, shut up her Mouth, press'd her Lips together, and refus'd it with obstinacy. The Deacon, however, (how prudent he was in doing so, I shall not dispute,) using some force upon her, poured some drops of the Eucharistical Wine into her Mouth; which she had no sooner receiv'd, but she fell a vomiting, groan'd, and sigh'd, and as the Father expresses it,In corpore & ore violato Eucharistia permanere non po­ [...]uit, Sanctificatus in Domini sang [...] ­ne potus de pollutis visceribus [...]rupit. Id. Ib. The Drink, sanctifi­ed in Christ's Blood, broke forth from her polluted entrails: And to this purpose he hath another passage of a Woman that kept the Bread of the Eucharist irreve­rently in a Chest. and when one day she went rudely to open the Chest, a Fire flashing out of the Chest, did fright her so, that she durst not come near it any more: All which Examples make it evident, that he that Eats and Drinks unworthily, Eats and Drinks, or may Eat and Drink, some extraordinary Temporal Judg­ment to himself.

III. It must be confess'd, that the expression of Eating and Drinking Judgment, is not very smooth▪ and proper, yet there is great Truth in the Metaphor, and how the unworthy Receiver Eats and Drinks Judg­ment to himself, will appear from the following par­ticulars.

[Page 349] 1. By eating and drinking unworthily, he prepares for some extraordinary Judgment; which Judgment he takes, and grasps, and attracts, and pulls to himself, as Men do Bread and Wine, or Beer, when they are go­ing to eat and drink. The Apostle, Rom. 9. 22. speaks of Vessels fitted for Destruction; they fitted themselves for it by their Sins, as a Thief, by stealing and robbing upon the High-way, fits himself for the Gallows; or as an idle, lazy Servant, that neglects his Master's Business, fits himself for his Master's Anger: So the unworthy Receiver, by eating and drinking irreverently, and with­out regard to the Obligations the Sight of Christ's Love and Death lays upon him, fits himself for Judgment, makes himself ripe for God's Vengeance, lays the Wood together, and erects the Pile; gathers Materials, and com­bustible Stuff for the Fire, that will certainly burn him; and though he doth not do it designedly, and the Judg­ment comes contrary to his Intention, yet as long as he doth that, to which such Judgments are annexed, he fits himself for Judgment, as much as he that will touch Vipers, and handle Adders, or let a Snake creep about in his Bosom, though he may intend no harm by it, yet actually prepares and fits himself for Mischief. Eat­ing and Drinking imports some Desire after, and De­light in the Victuals before us: So he that by unworthy Receiving, prepares for Judgments, seems to delight in Judgment threatned him, because he will needs do that which will certainly end in some Judgment or other.

2. The unworthy Receiver eats and drinks Judgment to himself, by incorporating the Guilt of some extraor­dinary Judgment with his Soul. Eating and Drinking unworthily, at the same time he brings Guilt upon his Soul, and appropriates the deserved Judgment to him­self; and as the Sin sticks to him, so the Demerits of the Judgment which is threatned to the Sin, sticks to him too. He eats and drinks unworthily; and the Effect it hath upon him, is, God's Indignation, which he swal­lows [Page 350] with the Food unworthily taken. God's Wrath goes along with his Sin; and as he takes the one, so he doth the other, into his Bowels. As Poyson and Death go together, so unworthy Feeding at the Lord's Table, and God's Anger go together; and they both mingle with the Spirits of the unworthy Receiver, as the Fish, at the same time that he swallows the Bait, swallows the Hook too; and he hath that fastned in him, which will be his Death. So that Job's Expression is very suitable to the Subject in hand, Job. 20. 23. When he is about to fill his Belly, God shall cast the Fury of his Wrath upon him; and shall rain it upon him while he is eating. To this pur­pose David saith of the Israelites in the Wilderness mur­muring,Psal. 78. 30, 31. and speaking against God, While their Meat was yet in their Mouths, the Wrath of God came upon them. So it may be said of an unworthy Communicant: While he is feeding at the Table of the Lord, the Wrath of God breaks forth a­gainst him, becomes due to him, and is his Portion; falls to his Lot, and he gets a Title to it. We read of Henry VII. Emperor of the Romans, that he was poy­son'd in eating of the Sacramental Bread, given him by a Monk. This, they say, was the Fate of Pope Victor II. who died of poyson'd Wine presented to him, in the Eucharistical Chalice, by his Sub-Deacon. And the same is reported of an Archbishop of York; that he fell down dead, and swelled, upon receiving the Sacramental Cup, given him by a Priest that bore some Spleen and Malice to him. These Men did, without a Metaphor, eat and drink their Death: And though he that eats and drinks unworthily, doth not just in the same manner eat and drink Judgment to himself, yet the Fate that at­tends him doth very much resemble the Misfortunes of the other; only here is the difference, that the other had a wicked Priest to put Poyson in their Cup, but the unworthy Receiver puts the Poyson in himself; and what was said of the other, may very truly be applied to him, Calix vitae, Calix mortis: The Cup of Life becomes a Cup of Death and Misery to him. Thou hast made us, [Page 351] saith the Psalmist, drink the Wine of Astonishment, Psal. 60. 3. This he spoke of the afflicted and persecuted Be­lievers of his Age; but it may be applied to the unwor­thy Receiver too. He drinks the holy Wine, 'tis true; but it will prove Wine of Astonishment to him when the Judgment of God lights upon his Head; it will asto­nish and terrifie him: And what is said, Psal. 69. 22. is true of him; His Table becomes a Snare to him: The Ta­ble of the Lord, he frequents, he turns into a Snare to his own Soul, while he involves his better part in the Guilt and Demerit of signal, exemplary Judgments.

IV. But all this seems to be a groundless Supposition; for there is no doubt, but there are unworthy Receivers at this Day, as well as formerly; yet we see no such signal Judgments executed upon any of them: And therefore, what St. Paul saith, must be either confined to the Times he lived in, or, if it extends to our Age, it doth not look like Truth.

1. God sends Judgments upon Men many times, and for their unworthy Receiving the holy Sacrament too, and they take no notice of it. When God sends Judg­ments, because he doth not at the same time signifie the Crimes laid against Men, or doth not set a Mark upon them to give notice for what Sin the Judgment comes, neither the Sufferer, nor the Standers by, especially the more careless sort, take any Cognisance of his Anger: And the Reason why God doth not, at the same time that he sends the Judgment, send a Messenger to tell the Sinner what the Judgment is for, is, because he hath given him Reason and Power to enquire and search into his Heart and Ways; upon which Search he may satisfie himself, and come to the Knowledge of himself. It hath been a very old Custom for Men not to take notice of God's Judgments, but to ascribe them to Second Causes, to Fate, or Chance; whereby God's Design in them hath been lost, and his Displeasure, signified in the Punish­ment, dis-regarded. God complains of it, Isa. 42. 25. [Page 352] Therefore hath he poured upon him the Fury of his Anger, and the Strength of the Battel; and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew it not; and it burnt him, and he laid it not to heart. And so we read, Hos. 7. 9. Strangers have devoured his Strength, and he knows it not; yea, gray Hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knows it not. Where Men are inconsiderate, and observe not the Pro­vidences of God, and the Operations of his Hand, they may easily fall into a Conceit, that he sends no signal Judgment upon an unworthy Receiver, when he doth. But let a Man enquire seriously into the Cause of his present Misfortunes, and into the Reasons of the Misery or Affliction he lies under, or if he will lay himself open to a faithful and conscientious Minister of the Gospel, he may, without any great difficulty, find, especially, if he hath formerly been at the Table of the Lord, with­out considering what he did, that God's Judgment up­on the Account of his eating and drinking unworthily, slumbers not. God speaks once, yea twice; yet Man per­ceives it not, said Elihu, one of the Eastern Princes, and J [...]b's Friends, Job 33. 14. It must needs be so where Men's Reason lies dormant, and is not active. But an intelligent Observer will see, that these threatned Judg­ments are not so confined to the Corinthians, but that they reach a great way farther, even to Men we con­verse with; and that these Judgments are more fre­quent, than the generality of unbelieving People think they are.

2. If God doth not send always exemplary Judg­ments upon unworthy Receivers, it is an Argument in­deed of his Patience; but the Sinner is not thereby se­cured from the Stroak, for that which doth not come to day, may come to [...]orrow; and besides, having de­serv'd the Blow by his unworthy Approaches to the Ta­ble of the Lord, the Sword hangs over him by a very slender Thread, and waits only for God's Summons, to fall on the Offender's Head: And what if God exerci­ses Patience for the present? Who knows how soon that [Page 353] Patience will be tired, and turn into a tempestuous In­dignation? The Sinner hath still reason to fear it; and that which seems to be far off this Week, may the next be upon his Back, and consume both Root and Branch This is certain, 'Tis a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the living God, Heb. 10. 31. And if the Sinner be once fallen into the Hands of an angry God, though he may spare him for a while, as he did the stubborn Pharaoh, who had long before deserv'd to be destroyed, only God by his Providence held him up, that he might shew his Power in him; yet when-ever the Judgment comes, the Dealy will but aggravate the Doom, and change the intended Rods into deadly Scorpions. Had it been executed presently upon unworthy Receiving, it would have been gentle, and easier to be born; but the Delay gives it Strength, and makes it sorer; and when-ever it comes, it comes with greater Weight and Fury.

V. 'Tis very probable, that some will be so curious, as to desire to know, whether, in case any Temporal Judgments do fall upon an unworthy Receiver, they ex­piate the Communicant's Crime; or whether they may be called Satisfactions, which God accepts of, for the Offence committed against his Majesty. To this, the Answer is, as follows.

1. That the Punishment inflicted by a Civil Magi­strate, atones for the Offence committed against the Law; and that the Offence is ipso facto forgiven, when the Offender suffers the Penalty, we cannot deny: And to a Man that superficially reads the Old Testament, even the Saints of those Ages will seem to have been of Opi­nion, that with the removing of the Temporal Judg­ment, the Sin, for which it was inflicted by God, was at the same time removed too: As, Psal. 85▪ 1, 2. Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy Land; thou hast brought back the Captivity of Jacob; thou hast forgiven the Iniquity of the People; thou hast covered all their Sin. And Psal. [Page 354] 103. 3. Who forgiveth all thine Iniquities; who healeth all thy Diseases. Which Places seem to import, that David believed that the removing of the Judgment did, at the same time, remove the Sin, and the Guilt of it: But still we must suppose, that though Repentance is not men­tion'd, yet it is included; and that they did not lay the Stress of Pardon upon the Removal of the Judgment so much, as upon the Repentance which was occasion'd by the Judgment. And therefore, whatever those Places may seem to import, considering that the Fathers of the Old Testament did all eat the same spiritual Meat, and did all drink the same spiritual Drink; for they drank of the Spi­ritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ, 1 Cor. 10. 3, 4. we must conclude, that since, under the New Testament, Expiation of Sin is not allowed of without Repentance, the Fathers under the Law could have no other Apprehensions of Expiation: And though they mention the Removal of the Temporal Judgment, as an External Sign of the Expiation of their Sin; yet the Internal Mark of it, and the principal, was their Repentance; and while they name the one, they do not exclude the other. The Jews at this Day, lay the Stress of Pardon upon the Removal of the Judgment, whether they repent of the Sin that caused it, or not; [...]ay, they go so far, as to make their Death an Expia­tion for all their Sins: By which Rule, no Jew can be damned. And this comes, in a great measure, from their mis-understanding of that Passage, Isa. 22. 14. And it was revealed in mine Ears by the Lord of Hosts; Surely, this Iniquity shall not be purged from you till you die, saith the Lord of Hosts. Which Words import no more than this, That God, with the Death of those wicked Men, will put an end to the Scandal they have given to others by their Iniquities; and that by their Death, God will purge the City, or the Land, from such Abominations; but not that their Death shall be an Atonement for their Sins. And therefore,

[Page 355] 2. Nothing doth properly expiate Sin, but the Blood of Christ; and as without shedding of Blood, there is no Remission; so by the shedding of Christ's Blood, Men are put in a Possibility of being pardon'd. But Repen­tance is the Preparative for the Application of that Blood. Till a Man repents, he hath no Title to that Blood, or the Benefits of it: And though God may re­move the Temporal Judgment, yet if it works no Re­pentance, the Sin shall be produced against the Offen­der in the last Day. All Temporal Judgments, though they speak God's Displeasure at Sin, yet they are inten­ded, withal, for the Offender's Reformation. And to this purpose Elihu speaks excellently well, Job 33. 19, 20, 27. He is chasten'd also with Pain upon his Bed, and the Multitude of his Bones with strong Pain; so that his Life abhors Bread, and his Soul, dainty Meat; his Flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his Bones that were not seen, stick out. He looks upon Men; and if any say, I have [...]inned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; he will deliver his Soul from going to the Pit, and his Life shall see the Light. And therefore, if this Judgment which falls upon an unworthy Receiver, instead of softening and melting his Heart, doth but harden him; there the Judgment is so far from expia­ting his Offence, that it hastens and aggravates his Ever­lasting Condemnation; and this very Sin will be re­membred in Hell, and double his Shrieks and Agonies. And this is rational to believe; for when God, by that Temporal Judgment, cannot reclaim him, the last Re­medy that God makes use of, to bring him to a better Mind, is lost, his Folly is incorrigible; and as that Judgment was a Talent he should have improved into Repentance, so dis-regarding it, and making no other use of it, than Pharaoh of his Plagues, and becoming more setled upon his Lees, he justifies God's Proceed­ings against him in the last Day; which, though they seem [...]evere to the Sufferer, who is loth to feel the pain, yet they are reasonable; and he whom Tempo­ral [Page 356] Judgments could not reclaim, must know at last, to his Cost, there is no jesting with the Anger of an Infi­nite Majesty.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to farther Practice.

I. THE Apostle is in the right, when he tells us, Heb. 12. 29. Our God is a Consuming Fire. In­deed, to the Tractable, and Docile, who consider his Providences, and take notice of his Loving-kindness; who see the Vanity and Uncertainty of the World, and build their Nest among the Stars of Heaven; who are sensible of the Danger of walking after the Flesh, and deliberately chuse to walk after the Spirit; who run away from Sodom, get themselves out of Babylon, will not be infected by the Sins of the World, and earnestly desire to be strengthen'd in the Inward Man, with all Might: To such he is all Kindness, all Love, all Mer­cy, all Light, all Compassion, all Charity: as we see in the Parable of the Prodigal, where the Father's Acts towards the penitent Sinner are so full of Sweetness, so full of Affection and Tenderness, that nothing can be imagined more kind, or loving, or favourable. But Men who undervalue the Methods of Salvation, will be happy their own Way, make light of that which they ought to prize above their Lives, are unconcern'd about the Sins that cost the Eternal Son of God his Life; will needs dream of God's Mercy, while they obstruct it by their Ingratitude; and hope to enter into Heaven, not­withstanding their Neglect of purifying their Hearts and Lives; nay, can come to this Sacrament, and will not be divorced from those Sins, which here they profess an unfeigned Sorrow for. Such Persons shall know, and feel, that God is Jealous, and that the Lord revenges; that [Page 357] the Lord revenges, and is furious; that the Lord will take Vengeance of his Adversaries, and reserves Wrath for his E­nemies, Nah. 1. 2. He is, indeed, slow to Anger, and doth not wllfully afflict the Children of Men; but Bold­ness in Impenitence wakens his Vengeance; and where his Patience tempts them to greater Wantonness, there is no dallying with their Errours. These things hast thou done, saith God, and I kept silence, and thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thy self; but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine Eyes, Psal. 50. 21.

II. Because it is so dangerous to eat and drink unwor­thily, yet that ought not to discourage any Person from eating and drinking in this Sacrament. Worthy Eating and Drinking here, is not dangerous at all; so far from being dangerous, that it is a Duty, and beneficial, and a Key to the choicest Mercies. And if it were dange­rous, why should it fright any Soul from coming? 'Tis dangerous to go to Sea: Yet doth the Sea [...]man there­fore forbear his Voyage? 'Tis dangerous to climb a Tree: Yet doth the Husband-man therefore let his bet­ter Fruit drop down, without getting up to gather it? 'Tis dangerous to fight against a numerous Enemy: But is the Soldier therefore dis-hearten'd from venturing in­to the Battel? Danger helps us to look to our Steps; and if there be Difficulty in an Attempt, it whets our Courage, and makes us fall on with the greater Force and Earnestness: So that if worthy Eating and Drink­ing were dangerous, it were an Invitation to an inge­nuous Temper to apply himself to it: But in this there is no Danger. What Danger can there be in Repen­tance? What Danger in doing the Will of God? What Danger in performing our Duty? What Danger in se­rious Endeavours to cleanse our selves, that we may be pure, even as God is pure? What Danger in eating and drinking with a Lively Faith in the Promises of the Go­spel? What Danger in making the Love of God, and the serious Contemplation of it, a Motive and Occasion to grow in Grace? If there be any Danger, it is in the [Page 358] Unworthy Eating and Drinking at this holy Table; and in that, indeed, there is as much Danger as there is in cutting our selves with Knives and Lances, or in running a Sword into our Bowels: And who but a Mad-man will do so? There is nothing so good, nothing so safe, no­thing so sound, nothing so innocent, but Men may cor­rupt it by their evil Inclinations: So they may abuse God's Name, and Day, and Word, and Ordinances, and the Duty of Prayer, and the Ministry; and what not? Unworthy Eating and Drinking, is a sinful Eat­ing and Drinking. Let Men separate the Sinfulness from the Duty, let them pare away that poysonous Rind, and there is no Danger; and you may eat and drink at this Table with as little Danger, as you eat and drink at home; there is no Danger here, but what you make your selves: The Danger rises not from the Eu­charist, but from your Hearts. That which makes it dangerous, is, your Love to Forbidden Fruit while you eat and drink here. This you harbour, this you che­rish; and that makes your feeding dangerous: But cast out that old Leaven, and you may feed as peaceably, as contentedly, as securely, as Children under their Fa­ther's Wings, as People that sit under their own Vine, and under their own Fig-tree.

The PRAYER.

O Jesu! whom I see coming toward me in this Sacra­ment, not with Balm, and Myrrhe. and Spices, hut with that which is infinitely better, even with the Balsom of thy Blood, to anoint me, to wash me, and to make me whole, to make this blind Creature see, and this lame Man to walk, this Dumb to speak, this Deaf to hear, and to dignifie this Beggar, even me, the weakest in thy Flock, the poorest in thy House, the meanest person in thy Spiritual Kingdom! What shall I say of this Mercy? What can I think of it? Thou art both the Giver, and the Gift; the Feeder, and the Food; the [Page 359] Guest, and the Feast; the Offerer, and the Oblation: O deal with me after thine infinite Goodness! I have deserved to be left, to be forsaken, to be rejected, to be cast away from thy Presence! But, O! let not this miserable Beggar go away from thy Door without an Alms; scatter thy Bounty, and let me gather it. The poorer I am, the greater Object I am of thy Pity! I bring my Heart to thee to reform it; I come to offer my Soul, to thee; be thou intreated to renew it by thy Holy Spirit. Bring me to a more lively and nearer conjuncti­on with thy self, that I may become a living Member, incor­porated into thy Mystical Body, and may live not longer by mine own Spirit, but by Thine, which is the Spirit of my Spirit, the Soul of my Soul, and the very Life of my Life. Thou art my Sun, from whose Beams I must receive the Light of Grace; Thou art my Fountain, from which I must draw Living Water. Thou art the Root, from which I must receive Sap of increase. Thou art my Head, from which I must receive Life and Being. O! let me feel the force of this Sacrament in my Soul, Power against Sin and Satan, and ability to serve thee. Corroborate my Spirit, that I may obtain Victory; put off the anxious Cares of the World, and put on Joy, flowing from Remission and pardon of my Sins. I am sensible, that Thy Table is the strength of my Soul, the Sinews of my Mind, the Band of my Confidence, my Health, my Light, and my Recovery. Being sprinkled with thy Blood, I shall be able to turn to fight the Armies of Aliens, the Armies of my Spiritual Enemies, and prevail against them, and go on from Virtue to Virtue, till I shall Hunger and Thirst no more in thy Everlasting Kingdom. Amen, Amen.

CHAP. XIX.
Of Bodily Sickness, Weakness, and untimely Death, which is sometimes by way of Judg­ment, inflicted on Unworthy Receivers of this Blessed Sacrament.

The CONTENTS.

Sickness, and Weakness, and Death, are either Corporal, or Spiritual. Some Reasons laid down, why God makes use of Sickness, and Weakness of Body, to Chastize the Un­worthy Receiver. How a Person may know, whether the Sickness and Weakness of Body, that is upon him, comes upon him for his Unworthy Receiving. How Sickness and Weakness of Body, and an untimely Death, can be said to be inflicted for Unworthy Receiving, when we see, that even the most worthy Receivers sicken and dye, and sometimes suddenly, and before their time, and when it is evident, that these are effects of Natural Causes. The time of Adversity, a time of serious Consideration. The Soul that loves the Lord Jesus in sincerity, hath no reason to be troubled, when Sickness or Affliction comes, as if it came for Unworthy Receiving. Worthy Receiving, the best Preparative for Death. Those that neglect coming, have reason to fear, that all the Miseries which befal them, come upon them for their neglect. The Prayer.

I. HAving told you in the foregoing Chapter, that the word [...], or Judgment, doth import both Temporal Judgment, and Damnation, and shewn, how the unworthy Receiver makes himself liable to exem­plary [Page 361] Temporal Judgments in general; it's fit I should, in the next place, in imitation of St. Paul, speak of the particular Temporal Judgments, the unworthy Com­municant pulls upon himself, whereof one is Bodily Sicckness, Weakness, and untimely Death; for thus we read, 1 Cor. 11. 30. For this cause, i.e. upon the account of this unworthy Eating and Drinking, many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep; as if he had said, This your unworthy Receiving brings Sickness, Weak­ness, and a preternatural and unusual Sleep upon you: This must needs be meant here, for ordinary Sleep, or the usual Rest of the Body can be no punishment; and, to tell you, that by Sleep in Scripture, is frequently un­derstood Death, or separation of the Soul from the Bo­dy, or dissolution of this natural Life, were to tell you, what all Men know, that have but look'd into the Bible; nor can any be ignorant, that these Phrases are often used in a Spiritual Sense for Spiritual Weakness, and Sickness, and Death, which will oblige me to take both significations into consideration. And that God did, in the Primitive Ages of Christianity, inflict and visit unworthy Communicants with weakness and sickness of Body, and with an untimely Death sometimes, especi­ally if they continued impenitent, thereby to put them in mind of their Offences, and to exhort them to a­mendment of Life, all Interpreters agree; and the same Temporal Judgments, an unworthy Receiver hath rea­son to fear, and look for at this day, insomuch, that if many a Man's sickness and weakness of Body, and not living out halfe his days, were throughly examin'd, and look'd into, it would be found to proceed, in a great measure, from this Cause, even his unworthy Receiving of the Holy Symbols.

II. If we enquire into the Reasons why God makes use of Sickness and weakness of Body, to lash the un­worthy Receiver in this Life, we must conclude, that, considering how all Afflictions and Judgments of this Life are curative, and intended to work a change in the [Page 362] Offender for the better, the Reasons why God makes use of Sickness, particularly, in punishing the unworthy Receiver, are these following:

1. Sickness weakens the Flesh, abates and lessens its vi­olent desires, whereby it comes to pass, that the Spiri­tual part gets from under the slavery it lay enthrall'd in, while the Flesh prevail'd, and puts the Sinner upon serious Thoughts; for now it gets leave to exercise its Authority, which before was over-aw'd, and crush'd, and oppress'd, by the usurping Tyrant, and thereby oc­casions terror and consternation in the whole Man about his unworthy Receiving. While the Flesh is predomi­nant, and bears Rule, Faith and Reason are mere pri­soners, and whatever they suggest is not hearken'd to. The Flesh still baffles their Arguments, and admits of nothing, but what pleads in favour of its brutish Appe­tite. Sickness coming, and weakning the Flesh, and rendring all the delights of the World insipid and unsa­voury, the Soul recovers her freedom, and is now at liberty to think of her former Life, to survey the Acti­ons of her past Practices, and, among other Errors, to reflect upon her unworthy Receiving, to aggravate this particular Offence, and thereby to incline the sinner's Eyes and Hea [...]t to penitential Tears, for now the Man having no hurry of business, no noise of vain company, no external Gayeties, no Musick of sensual Pleasures, to call him away from minding the things that belong to the happiness of his Soul, he is more at leisure to ruminate upon what he hath been doing, and the dread­fulness of his Sin, viz. feeding irreverently at this Table, and not discerning, that the Body of the Son of God was offered to his Soul, and if any thing will melt or turn him, this is very likely to effect it.

2. Sickness puts the unworthy Receiver in mind of Death; for he that falls sick, knows not, but his Illness may end in Death; and there are few Men, but are of this opi­nion, when once they take their Bed; fear, that they [Page 363] shall or may dye, makes them seek out for proper Helps and Remedies, send for Physicians, if they be able, and sometimes for Divines too; think of making their Wills, set their House in order, and, after all, leave nothing untried, whereby they may prevent the stroak of Death; Sickness being of that nature, and having this influence on men, may therefore be suppos'd to put the unworthy Receiver in mind of his Death; and as it puts him in mind of Death, so if he have any sense of Religion left, it minds him also of an approaching Judgment, and sug­gests to him, that, for ought he knows, he will shortly be in another World, be summon'd to give an account of his Life to God, and appear before the Judge of Quick and Dead, even before Christ Jesus, the Son of God; whose Death hath had no influence upon his Life, whose Blood he hath trampled under foot, whose Suf­ferings he hath not much thought of, whose Love hath made no great impression upon him, whose Charity hath wrought in him no considerable tenderness to his Neighbour, whose Presence in the Sacrament he hath undervalued, and whose entreaties to become Wise unto Salvation, and meek and humble, and serious and blame­less, he hath stopt his Ears against; and how little Mer­cy he must expect of that Judge, whom to please, he hath not been much concern'd. This Kindness Sick­ness may be supposed to do to the unworthy Commu­nicant, viz. to put him in mind of his Death, and fu­ture account, and the Judge, whose Body and Blood he hath profan'd; and his anger and indignation against such Profanation; and what can be supposed more ef­fectual to promote Repentance, and Godly Sorrow, and new Resolutions to awake from the Dead, that Christ may give him Life? And therefore, God makes use sometimes of Bodily Sickness to afflict the unworthy Communicant, But where Death seizes on the unworthy Commnicant, either before he can bethink himself, or before a previous lingring Sickness hath melted and wrought his Heart into a Spiritual Life, there the Man's case is deplorable indeed; for to think, that God will [Page 364] accept of his Death, as a Satisfaction for his Sin, and save him however, is to make a new Divinity, and to erect Principles, which the Scripture knows nothing of. 'Tis true, in some Cases, where God cuts off a young Man in [...] Flower of his Age; a young Man, I mean, whose Li [...]e hath been blameless, attended with holy Fears, and a Conscientious Behaviour, at home and abroad; his untimely Death may be said to be a Tem­poral Affliction for some accidental Miscarriages, and single Inadvertencies, such as never swelled into an Ha­bit, or setled Approbation; by which Affliction he is saved and freed from the greater Condemnation, ac­cording to the Apostle's Rule, 1 Cor. 11. 32. But when we are judged, i, e. with Temporal Judgments, such as Sickness, Weakness, and Untimely Death, whereof he had spoken, Vers. 30. we are chasten'd of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the World. In this Case, i.e. in Accidental Miscarriages, God may be said to ac­cept of the lesser, for the greater Judgment, upon his Account, who died, and rose again, for those who hear his Voice. But where the Sin is habitual, rooted in the Heart, hath invaded the Complexion, and is allowed of, and thought harmless, and void of Hurt; there an Untimely Death is no Security against Condemnation, no Shelter against the Wrath to come: How far it may abate or qualifie the future Indignation, I am not able to say; but it is no Deletory, no Fortisication, no Charm against that Storm.

III. But here a Difficulty will arise, How a Person may know that the Sickness or Weakness of Body that is upon him, comes upon him for his unworthy Recei­ving? To which, I answer;

1. There is not a more ready Way to know it, than by ransacking our Life; and particularly, our publick Devotions. If, in our present Sickness, we find, upon Examination, that when we came formerly to the Sup­per of the Lord, we came without any sincere Intent, [Page 365] Desire, or Resolution, to be wrought into Love and Obedience to Christ Jesus, by the Sight of his Cross, and Death, and Charity; that we came, and went a­way, unconcerned, unmoved, untouched, at this Me­dicamentum Immortalitatis, this Physick of Immortality, Dionys. Areop. de Hier. Eccl. cap. 5▪ as St. Dennis calls it; or, that we thought that the Blessings pro­mised to the Faithful, and to those who strive, and fight the good Fight, would fall to our share, and be con­veyed to us in this Ordinance, without a due Contri­tion, and Endeavours to tread in our Master's Steps; we may easily infer, that we were unworthy Receivers; and that, among other Causes of our Sickness, this is one, and the principal too; even our unworthy and ir­reverent Feeding at the Lord's Table.

2. Is any sick among you? Let him send for the Elders of the Church, saith St. James, Chap. 5. Vers. 14. In the Primitive Church, the sick Person, especially he that was doubtful of his Spiritual Condition, sent for Seven Ministers or Presbyters of the Church, as so many Phy­sicians, to consult about the State of his Soul; before whom he faithfully spread his Case, giving them as can­did an Account of himself as he could; and so left it to them, to judge and give Sentence in his Cause. And this also is a very rational Way to come to a satisfacto­ry Knowledge, whether the present Sickness proceed from unworthy Communicating, or not. And there­fore, he that falls sick after he hath been at the Lord's Table, let him send for a faithful Guide and Director, and impartially signifie and reveal to him the Constitu­tion of his Soul, what it hath been, and what it is; and the Actions of his Life, the manner of his Worship in publick and private, and how and which way he used to address himself to God; what his Thoughts and Pre­parations were, when he used to go to the Table of the Lord; what he felt after Receiving; whether it left an Awe upon his Spirit, a Fear desiring his own Soul; what his Design was in Receiving, and how far he clo­sed [Page 366] with God: And a pious, judicious Divine may be very helpful to the sick Person, to direct, instruct and inform him, whether the Sickness be an Effect of his un­worthy Receiving, or not. And, lest any should cavil here, and object, What matter is it whether a Man know the Occasion of his Sickness, and what it was that brought it upon him? I shall offer, by way of Answer, these few Particulars:

1. If there were nothing but Curiosity in the Case, something might be said for a Man's being so inquisi­tive. In Natural Causes of Distempers, Men think no Curiosity great enough; and if either we our selves, or Children, or Relations, fall sick, common Curiosity tempts us to ask the Physician, what he thinks the Cause of our Illness is; nay, if the Cause be unknown, both to our selves, and others, we have very often the Curio­sity to have the Body of a Friend, or Child, open'd, to know the Cause. And why People should not be as cu­rious in Spiritual Things, as they are in Natural, I know no Reason. The Providences of God, and his Designs, in the various Accidents that befall us, certainly deserve our Curiosity and Inquisitiveness, much more than things of an inferior Nature. Nor is it impossible to find out the particular Cause, why God sends such a Sickness upon certain Persons, when himself hath declared in his Word, in what Cases, and upon what Provocations he will send it.

2. If the Sickness be found to be a Consequence or Effect of unworthy Receiving, this helps to strengthen our Faith in the Promises and Threatnings of God; and finding, that what the Apostle hath said so many Hundred Years agone, comes to pass still, this is a very strong Argument that he spake by the Spirit of God, and a Motive to admire the Veracity of God, and En­couragement to believe the other Promises and Threat­nings of the Word of God. Nothing is a greater Con­firmation of Faith, than Experience; and he that hath [Page 367] seen the things the Scripture speaks, very frequently ac­complished, hath enough to turn his Faith into a full Assurance.

3. If the unworthy Receiver knows that it is his Sin, committed in the holy Sacrament, that hath brought the present Sickness upon him; if after that, he recovers, and escapes, it will be an Obligation upon him to come to it with greater Circumspection; For he that hath suf­fered in the Flesh, saith St. Peter, hath ceased from Sin, 1 Pet. 4. 1. And therefore, having suffered for his un­worthy Receiving, that Suffering will make him weary of his Sin; which he cannot be, except he comes for the future, and draws near with a pure Heart; holding fast the Profession of the Faith, without wavering; as it is said, Heb. 10. 22, 23. But,

IV. While we are discoursing of this particular Judg­ment, another Doubt arises, viz. How Sickness of the Body, and an untimely Death, can be said to be inflict­ed for unworthy Receiving, when we see even the most worthy Receivers sicken, and grow weak, and die young many times, in the Prime and Flower of their Age: And nothing is more vulgarly known, than that Sickness and Death are nothi [...]g but the Product of Na­tural Causes? I answer;

1. Though even very excellent Christians, who may be supposed to have been very penitent and worthy Re­ceivers, ever since they frequented the Ordinances of God with any Sense and Understanding; though even such do sicken, and many times die suddenly, and in the midst of their Race; yet that proceeds from other Causes: And these Accidents are either Trials of their Faith and Patience, or Preparatives for Heaven, or Pre­servatives from Sin, or Occasions to glorifie God, or Opportunities to promote the Honour of Religion, or Chastisements for some rash and imprudent Actions, to prevent their being condemned with the World. Ac­cording [Page 368] to which Rule, we are to judge of the untimely Death of that Prophet, 1 Reg. 13. 24. who cried against the Altar of Bethel: A good Man, no doubt; but be­ing persuaded by the crafty old Prophet, who preten­ded a Counter-Inspiration, he went back, and ate Bread in the place against which he was warned; for which imprudent Act, a Lion found him, and slew him. And such was the Death of Uzzah, 2 Sam. 6. 7. who, out of a good intent, put forth his Hand to uphold the Ark, that was in danger of falling, the Oxen that drew the Cart, shaking it: For which, God struck him dead up­on the place. And this was the Case of Josiah, a Man noted for his singular Piety; yet going up rashly against Pharaoh Necho, was killed in Battel, though, according to the Course of Nature, he might have lived many Years longer. Thus God chastised the impremeditated Errours of his Servants in this Life, that they might not fall a Prey to the greater Condemnation hereafter. One and the same Effect, may have very different Causes; and the Reasons of Things that happen in the World, are various. The same thing may be a Mercy to one, which is a Judgment to another; as the Pillar of a Cloud, Exod. 14. 19, 20. was Darkness to the Egyptians, and Light to the Israelites: And the Meat sent to Elijah, was a Character of God's Love; whereas that sent to the Is­raelites, upon their murmuring, was a Fore-runner of his Wrath and Anger. And this may be applied to Sickness, and Untimely Death: In the unworthy Re­ceiver, it is a Punishment; in the Worthy, a singular Mercy. A Prince may send two Persons, one whom he hates, another whom he loves, to Prison, with very different Intents; the one, with an Intent to have him executed according to Law; the other, to preserve him from the Rage of his Enemies: And the same may be said of Sickness, which, we see, lights indifferently, up­on Good and Bad.

2. Though Sicknesses, and Untimely Death, are go­vern'd by Second Causes; by Colds, and Heats; by [Page 369] hard Labour, and Straining; by excessive Passion, and Grief, and Joy; by tedious Journeys, and dangerous Voyages; by Fevers in the Blood, and Contrariety of pugnant Humours; by Winds, and Storms; by Fire, and Water; by a Pestilential Breath, and going to in­fected Places, &c. yet he that sits at the Stern of the great Vessel, must not be supposed to look on carelesly, or to be nothing but a Spectator of the Conspiration of the Second Causes. These Second Causes are constant­ly govern'd by a Power supream; and by his Order and Influence they move. He directs, and bids them concur to produce such Effects; and while they seem to act by Chance, and in the dark, he himself hath pregnant Reasons, why he causes such a Concourse of inferior Causes; and these Reasons he hath thought fit to reveal in his Word, where we are to seek them. So that though an unworthy Receiver may get his Sickness and Death by Quarrelling, by Gluttony, by Drunken­ness and Intemperance, by being wounded and bruised by rude and insolent Men, yet Providence is not asleep all this while; and though he doth not command or ap­prove the Sins which are the Occasion, or the imme­diate Causes of the ensuing Sickness, yet he wisely per­mits them, resolves not to hinder them from producing such Effects, for Reasons his Eternal and infinite Wis­dom hath pitched upon; so that they may very well be intended as Punishments and Judgments, even while they are the natural Effects of Second Causes: And God, in punishing the unworthy Receiver with Sickness, and untimely Death, lays Righteousness to the Line, and Justice to the Plummet; there being nothing more just, than that he should fall sick, that hath been sick of God's Service; and he come to an untimely Death, that hath disregarded the Death of Christ Jesus, and counted it an unworthy thing. And what if some unworthy Re­ceivers live as long as other Men, and perhaps to a ve­ry great Age; yet that doth not make the Apostle's Words less true; nor is it any Security to the Offenders, that therefore they shall go scot-free. The Threatnings [Page 370] of God that concern this present Life, if they are not executed in this Life, shew however what the Sinner hath deserved; and not being executed here, if that which should have been inflicted here, is added to the Punishment hereafter, he hath no great reason to brag of his escaping here. Sometimes the Sinner bethinks himself, and repents, and turns from his Errour, and by that means escapes the sad Effects of his Threatning; for all Threatnings have this implicite Condition inclu­ded, In case the Offender doth not make his Peace with God. Add to all this, That if the Threatnings of God be exe­cuted upon some Persons, guilty of the Sin to which the Threatning is made, it is enough to vindicate the Veracity of God: And if any Sinner, of the same Size and Degree, do escape, still the Threatning shews what they may expect, if they turn not.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. THE Wise Man's Advice, surely, is very rea­sonahle, Eccles. 7. 14. In the Day of Adversity, consider. Times of Affliction are considering Times. Affliction is sent on purpose to teach, and to instruct us: 'Tis intended to put us in mind of the Sins we have forgotten, or been wilfully ignorant of; the Sins of our Childhood, the Sins of our Youth, the Sins of our ri­per Age, and the various Neglects and Defects of our holy Services. And therefore, in the Old Testament, the Word [...] Jasar, which stands for Affliction, im­ports not only Correction and Chastisement, but In­struction too: It is an excellent School-master; and he that submits to its Teachings, will become wiser than a Multitude of Books will make him. Therefore, my Son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord; nor faint when thou art rebuked of him, Heb. 12. 5. Consider who it is that sends the Rod, and what the Design of the unwel­come Messenger is. Consider how much thou needest it, and how justly thou hast deserved it. Consider how [Page 371] it is intended for thy Good; and how thou shouldest have forgotten why thou camest into the World, but for this Remembrancer. Consider how little Reason thou hast to take it ill, when the dearest Servants of God have passed through this Fire; and how, without it, thou wouldst have continued a Stranger to thy self. Consider its Mercy, that he will call home the straying Sheep, and will not let thee wander in the Wilderness of Sin: And that when he strikes, his Intent only is to beat the Dust out of thy Clothes, not to hurt the bet­ter part. This Consideration will go near to produce that excellent Temper in thee, which David speaks of; Surely, I have behaved and quieted my self, as a Child that is weaned of his Mother: My Soul is even as a weaned Child, Psal. 131. 2.

II. Let not him that is weak in Faith, yet loves the Lord Jesus Christ in Sincerity, makes Conscience of his Laws, and would not willingly offend him, to gain the World; let him not be frighted when Sickness, or any outward Disaster and sad Accident befals him, as if that were a certain Argument, that therefore he hath received unworthily. The Enemy may suggest such a Thought; but, Christian, explode it as boldly as it comes. They are other Reasons that make thy Heavenly Father lay his chastening Hand upon thee. His Design is, to make thee entirely conformable to his own Son; to that Son, who, for the Glory set before him, endured the Cross. He was made perfect through Suffering; so would God make thee perfect through Affliction. If a Person be never so holy, yet if he hath not passed through the Furnace of Affliction, he wants Perfection. Afflictions gave the Son of God, as he was Man, a Title to his Fa­ther's Kingdom; and they are Items to thee, that thou shalt reign with Christ for ever. These Troubles that encompass thee, are to make thy future Joys the greater, and thy Crown more bright and shining. Fear not that thou hast received unworthily, while thy Conscience bears witness that thine Eyes, thy Heart, thy Affections, [Page 372] were toward him in the holy Sacrament, and are so still: If thy Treasure and thy Heart was in Heaven then, and thou still endeavourest to preserve that Frame, thy Eating and Drinking hath done thee good, and thou hast been refreshed by it, and the Lines did fall to thee in pleasant places. These present Afflictions are thy Securi­ty, that God loves thee; and as they tell thee that thou hast no continuing City here, so they help to prepare thy Soul for the Possession of that Inheritance which shall last for ever.

III. Worthy Receiving of the Lord's Supper, is the best Preparative for Death. No Man can die uncom­fortably, that makes it his Business, as often as he comes to this Table, to receive worthily. Death cannot hurt him, let it be natural or violent, untimely or orderly; for, by this worthy Receiving, he hath laid up a good Foundation against the Time to come Death may destroy his Body, but cannot kill the Soul. Death may fright him, but it cannot undo him. It may dis-lodge his Spi­rit, but it drives it to a nobler Habitation. It may ex­pel the Guest, but it gives him a Title to a better Buil­ding. His worthy Receiving gives him an Interest in Christ's Death; and because Christ lives, he shall live also. Death may come blustering, and make a Noise; but in that Whirlwind his Soul rides to Heaven. Let his Death come by Sword, or Famine, or Torment, or Fire, or Water, it makes no Alteration in his Happiness. To him, to live, is Christ; and die, Gain: And he knows who hath said, I am the Resurrection, and the Life. The worthy Receiver never dies, for he lives in Christ, who abides for ever. Christ will not suffer that Soul to pe­rish, in which he hath been pleased to make his Habita­tion. He is concern'd to secure her Happiness; and his Eyes are open upon her, to do her good. Her worthy Receiving arms her against the Fears of Death, and scat­ters the Mists which Death doth cast before her Eyes. Receiving worthily, makes the Soul a sit Habitation for the Spirit of God; and If the Spirit of him that raised up [Page 373] Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal Bodies by his Spi­rit that dwells in you, Rom. 8. 11.

IV. As the unworthy Receiver, when Sickness, or some other heavy Judgment, lights upon him, hath rea­son to believe, that it is for his unworthy Receiving; so he that wilfully neglects coming to this holy Sacrament, may very justly conclude, that all the Troubles and Mi­series that befall him, do, in a great measure, befall him for that Neglect. 'Tis hard to determine which is the greater Sin, whether Receiving unworthily, or not Re­ceiving at all; both will admit of great Aggravations: And as these Sins are in a manner equal, so it is not ir­rational to conclude, that the Judgments threatned to the one, may be inflicted for the other too. As the Jews say of the Golden Calf, that an Ounce of that Sin is an Ingredient into all the Calamities that came upon them; so there is not a Cross that the wilful Neglecter of this Sacrament feels, or endures, but he hath reason to think that this Neglect contributes towards it; and all his Mi­series call to him, though he will not hear the Voice, not to neglect so great Salvation; and if all these Calls cannot awaken him into a Sense of his Duty, how must his Reckoning swell, and how inexcusable must he be, whom neither the still Voice of Prosperity, nor the shril­ler Sound of Adversity, can convince? Take, eat, this is my Body; and Drink ye all of this, is a Duty, as much as doing by others the same that we would have others to do us. It will appear, and be made out one Day, that this was not an Evangelical Counsel only, which the more Reli­gious Sort, that are ambitious of the highest Place in Heaven, need only mind, if they please. It was said to all the Disciples, that represented the Church-Militant: And if thou professest thy self a Member of that Church, thou art no more excused from the Performance of it, than thou art from coming to Church, and attending the other Ordinances of God. But if these Motives cannot prevail, God hath Enforcives which shall; but from these, Good Lord deliver us.

The PRAYER.

O God! When thou with Rebukes dost chasten Man for Iniquity, thou makest his Beauty to consume away like a Moth! Hear my Prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my Cry; hold not thy Peace at my Tears. Oh, let the Afflictions which have befallen me, and which thou shalt hereafter think fit to send upon me, help towards the strengthening of my Faith in Christ Jesus. Thou hast sometimes laid thy Hand upon me, thy Afflicting Hand, and I have taken no notice of it. Thou hast smitten me, and I have not looked up to Hea­ven, from whence the Stroak did come. Thou hast corrected me, and I have not been the better for it. I have been like a Beast before thee; so foolish was I, and ignorant. Oh, teach thou me! Let me read my Duty in my Crosses. And whatever Trouble comes upon me, let that Trouble direct me to the Cross of my dear Master, the Lord Jesus. Enlarge my Contemplations of the Cross of Christ, by the Crosses that knock at my Door. Let these make me more zealous to participate of the Benefits of the Cross of Christ. In these Crosses and Troubles, let me find Motives to come with greater Serious­ness to the Table of my crucified Redeemer. Let these prompt me to run to the Tree which yields the Fruit of Righteousness. Let not these discourage me from loving thee; but rather in­flame my Affections, to make thee my Hope and Fortress, my Light, and my Salvation. Let me look upon the Joy that all my Troubles will at last end in, and take Comfort in all my Tribulations. Imprint this Belief upon my Soul, that thou knowest better what is good for me, than my Carnal Heart. I am apt to hanker after the Flesh-pots of Egypt; but let me see the richer Table in thy Kingdom. I am apt to be fond of these outward Comforts: Oh, quench my Thrist after them! Let me see clearly, that to feed on thy Love, is better Diet than this Earth affords. Give me thy Peace; not as the World gives, but as thou usest to give thine own People. Oh! give me what I want: Thou knowest my Necessities better than I. Give me better things than my Flesh desires, even those which may pre [...]erve me by thy Power, through Faith, unto Salvation, through Jesus Cheist our Lord. Amen.

CHAP. XX.
Of Spiritual Weakness, Sickness and Death, the Second Temporal Judgment, inflicted some­time on the Unworthy Receivers of this holy Sacrament.

The CONTENTS.

The Eucharist a Cure for all Diseases, yet many continue weak and sick after it. The Cause shewn to be in themselves. The Signs of Spiritual Weakness, Sickness and Death. God inflicts these Spiritual Judgments upon Unworthy Re­ceivers by degrees. The Justice of it vindicated, in four Particulars. Spiritual Weakness and Sickness, proved to be a greater Judgment than the Corporal. Of the End of our Eating and Drinking worthily at this Table, which is Spiritual Health; and wherein that consists. Spiritual Judgments more common than Men think or suspect. Our Souls are capable of Diseases, as well as our Bodies. Se­veral Instances and Proofs given of it. The Cure of Spi­ritual Weakness and Sicknesses, laid down in several Par­ticulars. The Prayer.

I. AS Corporal, so even Spiritual Weakness, Sick­ness, and Death, proves too frequently an Ef­fect of Eating and Drinking unworthily at this Table: Nay, these Spiritual Sicknesses are more common than the other. 'Tis true, they cause no Pain, no Aches, no Torments in the Bowels; they are not felt, as the Pleu­risie, or Cholick, or Twisting of the Guts; but they are Sicknesses still: And because we find such Things, and God manifests his Anger often against unworthy Re­ceiving, [Page 376] by such Symptoms we have reason to believe, the Apostle aimed at these, as well as at Bodily Diseases, when he avers, For this Cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 'Tis true, there is not a more proper Medicine for all the Diseases of the Soul, than this holy Sacrament. To which pur­pose,De Sacram. Dist. 3. Albertus Magnus saith very appo­sitely,Tract. 1. cap. 4. If in the Eucharist, in the Remem­brance of our Saviour's Passion, we reflect on his Humility, it will free us from the Infection of Pride. If we think of his wonderful Charity, we shall be delivered from the Evil of Envy. If we consider with what Alacrity he went to die for us, and to offer himself in Sacrifice for us, it will be an An­tidote against Weariness of his Service, and Backwardness to Devotion. If we ponder his Bounty, and how liberally he gives us himself, and all he hath, we shall be rid of Covetousness. If we lay his Meekness and Patience to heart, it will be an excellent Remedy against Wrath and Anger. If we remem­ber how frugal his Supper was, and how far from Pomp and Ostentation, and how mean the Food was he made use of, it will check our Gluttony and Voracity. And if we cast our Eyes on the bitter Herbs he eat, the Emblem of his bitter Pas­sion, we shall not be troubled much with Luxury. And to this purpose was the Saying of Inno­cent III.De Myster. Miss. l. 4. c. 44. That the Mystery of the Cross frees us from the reigning Power of Sin; and the Mystery of the Eucharist, from a Desire of Sin. And if the Woman in the Gospel was cured of her Infirmity by touching but the Hem of Christ's Garment, what Virtue may we suppose in his whole Body, if it be touched by a lively Faith in this Ordinance! If God hath given to the Fat of Vipers Virtue to expel Poyson, shall not we think there is greater Virtue in Christ's cru­cified Body, to cure the Diseases of the Soul? If he gave Virtue to the Tree of Life in Paradise, to prolong Age, and to procure Perpetuity of Duration; shall not Christ's Flesh, represented by the Symbols here, confer Life, and Health, and Salvation much more? If he have given some Minerals Virtue to disperse Fumes and [Page 377] Vapours; shall not we believe there is greater Virtue in the Incarnate Son of God, to disperse the Clouds and Fogs that molest and annoy the Soul? This cannot be denied; and we may rationally believe, that this Sa­crament is intended by God to cure all the Distempers of the Soul: But if that Medicine be not used as it ought, the Soul, instead of growing stronger, becomes more weakly, more sickly, and draws nigh unto the Gates of Death.

II. What this Spiritual Weakness, Sickness and Death, is, will not be very difficult to discover. If you mind the Apostle's Expression, there is a Gradation in the Judg­ment he speaks of; Weakness is a lower Degree of Mise­ry than Sickness, and Sickness a lower Degree than Death. The first Act of God's Displeasure against Receiving un­worthily is, to inflict Weakness; if that works no Re­formation, then Sickness; and if this doth not make the Sinner rise, then Spiritual Death.

1. Spiritual Weakness. And this may be said to con­sist in these following Particulars:

1. In the Loss of Lively Apprehensions of Spiritual Things, which were formerly vouchsafed to the unworthy Receiver. Even Men that are Hypocrites in Religion, and whose Hearts were never throughly changed, have sometimes Flashes of Heaven or Hell, coming either from with­out, or from within. Ahab certainly had a very great Sense of God's Displeasure, and a Sight of Divine Ven­geance surprized his Mind, when he rent his Clothes, and put Sack-cloth upon his Flesh, and fasted, and lay in Sack-cloth, and went softly, 1 King. 21. 27. And some of us may have known some Persons, who have been given to Drinking, or Swearing, or Lying, or Uncleanness, or Quarrelling; when their Office, or Employment, or Station in the World, or some such External Cause and Motive, have put them upon Receiving the Holy Sacrament; before they have come to this Table, they [Page 378] have had some very serious Thoughts, and you might observe in them a Demureness of Behaviour, some Ap­prehensions of the Necessity of Repentance; and some­times their Hearts have been so touched, that even a few Tears have dropped from their Eyes, as a Testi­mony of their being moved at the Thoughts of Christ's Death and Passion; but the Sacrament being over, their Devotion hath been at an end too, and they have returned to their old Sins; which made them unwor­thy Receivers, because this shews, they were not hear­tily resolved, when they came to this Table, to subdue their Corruptions. Their lively Apprehensions of Spi­ritual Things, they formerly had, have thereupon grown dark and decayed, become languid and faint, and no Foot-step of them hath been left. Those Flashes of good Thoughts, though short and transitory, had they been improved, would have signally strengthen'd their Souls, and encouraged their practical Love to Christ Je­sus: But being careless and regardless of that Improve­ment, God justly lets those lively Apprehensions decay; and thence comes their Spiritual Weakness. God could uphold those lively Apprehensions; but they having no Love to them, God, by a secret Judgment, lets them wear out: And then, What can be the Issue, but Spiri­tual Weakness?

2. Irresoluteness to resist Temptations, is another Symptom of this Spiritual Weakness. When the Soul is either un­resolved, whether it shall resist such known Tempta­tions, or not, or resist them but faintly; it is a Sign the Powers of the Soul are shaken, and the Plague is begun in the Heart. By Temptations, I mean, such Tempta­tions as are agreeable to our sinful Temper and Inclina­tion; or such as our Calling and Employment makes us subject to. He that observes, and takes a View of such Sinners as Receive unworthily, cannot but spy in them a very feeble and irresolute Resistance of such Tempta­tions: For, notwithstanding whatever Resolutions they made before Receiving; whatever Prayers and Suppli­cations [Page 379] for God's Grace and Assistance, they offered, and put up before; yet, after they have been at this Table, the old Temptations return, even the same dear Friends that enticed and persuaded them to sin before; their Resistance is very weak, and they know not well what they shall do, whether they shall displease their own, and other Men's vain Desires, or no. Perhaps some little horror, or kind of damp, the Sacrament for the present leaves upon their Minds, hath so much force up­on them, that they make some attempts, and use some trifling endeavours to resist; but as this resistance is not an effect of an active Faith, but only of slavish fear, so it doth not preserve them untainted, and undaunted, in the hour of Temptation, which is an Argument, both of Spiritual Weakness, and God's Judgment, because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, as St. Paul speaks, Rom. 28.

2. Spiritual Sickness, the signs of which are as fol­lows.

1. Want of relishing the Things of God, and the Mysteries of Religion. By this, we conclude, that a Man is sick in his Body, if the Bread, or Wine, or Apples, or Meat he swallows, seem to him Food or Drink, different from what they appear to sound and healthy; and, by the same Argument we may infer, that a Man's Soul is ve­ry sick, when the Promises, Precepts, Commands, Mer­cies, Privileges, and Immunities, of the Gospel, are in­sipid and unsavoury to him, and his Soul finds no sweet­ness, no agreeableness, no juice, no life, no pleasantness no delight, no pungency in them. If these appear to her as common things, and affect her no more than what the Great Mogol doth in the Indies, or what Men talk on the Coast of Guinea. If they raise no wonder, no admiration, no affection, no appetite, no strong desire in her; if she can hear them, read of them, survey them, think of them, without being touch'd with the conse­quence and importance of them, the Soul is infallibly [Page 380] under some great distemper, and the whole Head is sick, the whole Heart is sick, grievously sick, and the wound is dangerous; and that this Spiritual sickness dis­covers it self too often in unworthy Receivers, we need no other proof, but what their known aversion gives us; I mean, their aversion from good Thoughts and Discour­fes, after they have been at the Table of the Lord. Read­ing the Word, digesting it, and endeavouring to see wondrous things in that Law, and meditating of some part of it day and night, is irksome to them, tedious: and when something savouring of Heaven and Eterni­ty is propos'd to them, they stand upon Thorns all the while, nor can the goodness of God prevail with them, to deny themselves in any thing they have a mind or strong inclination to, a certain sign of their being sick, and of God's Judgment upon their Souls.

2. Another symptom of this Spiritual sickness, is When a known Sin becomes habitual, and the few single Acts pass into temper, and come to be incorporated with nature, and turn into constitution and complexion. In this case, the Soul may be judged very sick, as sick as the Body that is troubled with the Stone or Gout, and where the distem­per, or Morbific Matter, is so dispers'd through the Mass of Blood and Joynts, that tho' it admits of respite, and lucid intervals, sometimes; yet, as the Humours that feed it, gather strength again, so the Distemper re­turns. And this sickness doth evidently discover it self in unworthy Receivers, who were formerly but Punies and Novices in certain sins; but, after their unworthy Receiving, harden themselves in the practice of them, commence Graduates, and drink them in, as the Ox doth the Water; and they become their Darlings, their Benjamins, as dear to them as their Right Eye, as dear as their Foot or Hand, than which there cannot be a surer sign of their being spiritually sick, and lying under the weight of a spiritual Judgment.

[Page 381] 3. Spiritual Death: And this also is to be known by symptoms, which are these;

1. When the Conscience smites no more: When it gives over striving with the Sinner, he is dead, as that Body, in which the Pulse hath left off beating. So it was with the Prodigal, of whom Christ expresly saith, Though his natural life was sound and whole, that he was dead. No remorse, no regret, appear'd in his Soul. All was still, as in a Charnel-House, no noise within to fright him. All was turn'd into the silence of the Grave. He de­lighted in his nastiness, in his Mud, and Dung, and Filth, and Swinish Desires, nothing prick'd him, no­thing stung his Heart. And that this Death is to be found in some unworthy Receivers, is manifest from their Actions, for they become stupid in their Errors, and having baf [...]led their Conscience, laid that inward witness to sleep, and hush'd it into a fatal slumber; It stirs not, it moves not, and they know not when they sin, and when they do not. To that insensibleness they bring themselves, that when God calls, they cannot see with their Eyes, nor hear with their Ears, nor understand with their Hearts.

2. Another Symptom of this Spiritual Death is, When the Sinner begins to look upon Religion, either as a trick of Divines, or Politicians, or a needless thing. This excludes all sense of another world, the only thing whereby the Soul lives, and therefore that being gone, the Soul is dead, and that he, who hath the power of Death, even the Devil, hath killed and mortified all the good Seed that lay scattered in his Breast. Indeed, this is such a degree of Death, which unworthy Receivers do not ve­ry ordinarily arrive to, yet sometimes they fall, even in­to this Gulph; for what should hinder them from tumb­ling down so low, that have lost their hold in a Cruci­fied Saviour, from whose Arms they have broke loose, unwilling that he should have any thing to do with them, [Page 382] but just to save them, if he pleases? The Bands of Love and Obedience, are the only things that preserve the Soul from Death; and the unworthy Communicant ha­ving made a shift to throw those Cords from him, be­ing loth to be tied and held by them, he sinks into con­tempt of these things, and, from thence, into scorning of Religion it self. In all which, the Judgment of God is clearly to be seen; for though God doth not call by an audible Voice from Heaven, that it is so, nor set a mark upon the unworthy Receiver, as he did on Cain, whereby spectators may know, that this is a sign of the Divine Judgment upon him; yet it's enough, that we are told in the Word of God, Woe to them, when I de­part from them, Hos. 9. 11.

III. And, from hence, it's easie to guess, how God inflicts this spiritual Judgment upon unworthy Recei­vers.

1. By a gradual withdrawing his Holy Spirit from them; This Spirit is called Oyl, Heb. 1. 9. and Unction, or Anointing, 1 Joh. 2. 27. Whatever the quantity of that Oil was, that was put in their Lamps; as that abates, so the strength of their Soul abates, and from hence comes Spiritual Weakness, Sickness, and Death. The Spirit of God is the Pillar that supports the House; if this Prop be removed, the Inference is easie, that the House will not be of any long standing. There are general Gifts of the Spirit of God, common to good and bad Men under the Gospel, and there are some, that are pe­culiar to those that walk after the Spirit; and, as in an unworthy Receiver, we can suppose none but general Gifts; so even these, upon his Abuse, and misemploy­ing of them, are gradually removed, as Men take meat and victuals away from insolent Beggars, that throw their Gift upon a Dunghil; and as a charitable Pension is withdrawn, when we find, that the Party, which en­joy'd it, spends it in Ale-houses and Taverns, or in Play.

[Page 383] 2. By a gradual permitting the Devil to exercise his Power and Jurisdiction upon them. God doth not very frequently suffer the Enemy to fly upon the Offender with all his force, or to ruin him at once, but he lengthens his Chain by degrees, to see, whether the Sinner will yet give himself leave to think, and attempt to be freed from that intole­rable Yoak and Slavery; but, that tenderness and pati­ence of Almighty God becoming fruitless and ineffectu­al, the Judge gives the Executioner greater liberty to darken his Mind, to pervert his Will, and to sear his Conscience. Time was, when but one Devil was per­mitted to Tyrannize over him; but if instead of being angry and displeas'd at that single foe, the unworthy Communicant embraces, and makes him his friend, then that Devil takes with him seven other Spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in, and dwell there, and the last state of that Man is worse than the first, saith Christ, Matth. 12. 45. Nor is there any thing of injustice in these pro­ceedings of God. For,

1. It is nothing but Lex Talionis, a just Retaliation, a Rule, whereby God ordinarily governs himself in the execution of his Judgements. H [...]s. 6. 4. He tells Judah and Ephraim, Your Goodness is as a Morning Cloud, and as the early Dew it passes away. The Judgment therefore is made proportionable, Hos. 13. 3. Therefore they shall be as the Morning Cloud, and as the early Dew that passes away, so here; the Sin is spiritual, the Judgment is so too. The unworthy Receiver wrongs his own Soul, and, in his Soul, the marks of God's Wrath appear.

2. God, in this case, doth no more than what we our selves do, and think our selves very reasonable and just for doing so. A Father reduces his spend-thrift Son to a smaller Allowance, and the ground that will not bear any thing after a world of Toil, we Dung, and Dig, and Manure no more. In this manner, and for Reasons [...]ike these, God withdraws his Holy Spirit from the unworthy Receiver.

[Page 384] 3. As the Devil is God's Minister of Justice, his Jay­lor and Hangman, so he may justly make use of him to judge and lash the unworthy Receiver, the rather, be­cause he wilfully hearkens to the base suggestions of his sworn Enemy; and who finds fault with a Prince or Magistrate for sending an Executioner to behead or hang those that have committed Treason, or conspired against their lawful Sovereign.

4. That God doth gradually send this Spiritual Judg­ment upon unworthy Receivers, this speaks his Good­ness, Compassion and Patience, and shews, how loth he is to give up Ephraim, how loth he is to deliver up Israel to the rage of the Enemy, how loth he is to make them as Admah, and to set them as Zeboim; so that there is Charity mingled with the Justice, and, in the midst of his Anger, he remembers Mercy.

IV. And this will give us occasion to enquire, which of these two Judgments is greater, the Temporal or the Spiritual. And here, if we consider the mischief done by them, we must conclude and assert, that the Spiritu­al is greater. For,

1. Pain, and sickness of Body, may yet bring a Man, or drive a Man, to a true Repentance, and a sight of the Errors of his ways, as we proved in the foregoing Chapter; but this Spiritual Weakness makes the way, and passage, to Repentance, more difficult, and the more any thing doth hinder a Man from Repentance, the more dangerous it is. Spiritual Weakness, Sickness, and Death, supposes, that the faculties, which should be chiefly employed in the product of Repentance, are out of order, and violated; such as the Understanding the Will, and the Affections. Bodily Sickness very of­ten puts these into a new fermentation, and a strong de­sire after Spiritual Things. But when the very Tools, whereby the Soul is to work, are blunt, and their edge [Page 385] rebated, or are become rusty and useless, the work is very likely to be left undone. If therefore the light that is in thee, be darkness, how great is that darkness! saith our Saviour, Matth. 5. 23.

2. The Spiritual Judgment is the more dangerous, because it is less perceiv'd, and taken notice of, than Bo­dily sickness. If a Man feel the smart and pain of his Wounds and Sores, they oblige him to seek out for a Physician for Remedy, for Counsel and Advice; and so we find it is, for the most part, with all Diseases of the Body, which cause anguish and grief, and great in­convenience and disorder in the Body; yet, among these various distempers, some there are, where the poi­son creeps along in the secret parts, and Men perceive it not, till it seizes upon the Vitals, invades the very Heart, and tolls the Bell for Death; and these we count the most dangerous. Of this nature, is Spiritual sickness and weakness. It leaves the Body in the same temper it found it in, causes no prickings in the Back, no stitches in the side, no disturbance in the Head. It lets Men eat and drink, and sleep and walk, and do their business; and as to the outward Man, they feel no inconveni­ence, which makes them think, that they have nothing of a distemper about them, that all is safe, and they ail nothing. For this Spiritual sickness cannot be perceiv'd without Thinking, and Self-examination, which being neglected, Men feel it not; whence it comes to pass, that it spreads insensibly in the dark, while Men are asleep, and, by degrees, corrupts the Soul, till all its goodness be consumed; and consequently, this Spiritual Judgment is greater than the Corporal.

3. The Spiritual Judgment is a sign of God's greater anger too; and though it will not enter into the thoughts of a sensual Man that it is so, or that any thing can be a sign of God's Anger, but what relates to losses, and disappointments, and crosses in the outward Man, and in the World; yet enlighten'd [Page 386] Souls have ever look'd upon Spiritual sickness and Death, as a sign of God's heavier wrath and indignation, be­cause in this case, God doth as it were let Men alone, leaves them to themselves, and his not punishing of them with Bodily troubles, looks like an aversion from their Persons, and so much we may guess from what we read, Hos. 4. 14, 17.

The Preceding Considerations reduced into farther Practice.

I▪ IF Christ, and his Apostles, press Eating and Drink­ing worthily at this Table, it is, because they would have our Souls be in perfect health; and they are then in perfect health, when they rejoyce in the Lord always. Thomas Aquinas upon that saying, Cant. 1. 13. A bundle of Myrrhe is my well-beloved unto me, observes, that as Myrrhe preserves Bodies from corruption, so Christ taken, and contemplated, in the Holy Sacrament, pre­serves the soul from various Diseases. Health is best known by Fruits and Actions; and as a sick Man can­not perform, what the healthy doth; so that Christian, that doth not act like a healthy Man, can boast of no great matter he hath receiv'd in this Holy Ordinance. This is intended to give our Souls the strength of a Lion, the swiftness of Eagles, the alacrity of Angels, and the temper which was in the incarnate Son of God; and if we Receive worthily, we shall certainly feel these ef­fects, in some degree at least; For it's plain, that they are felt by others, that are worthy Communicants, and what should hinder us from feeling the same, if we come furnish'd with the same qualifications? Those that are acquainted only with Men, as carnal as themselves, may possibly think, that when we talk of things of this nature, we speak Spiritual Romances, and tell them Stories next to Fables: But those that have been con­versant with Persons wh [...] [...]ave chosen the better Part, [Page 387] must needs perceive what health and vigor worthy Re­ceiving adds to their Souls; For what makes them, that they delight in the Law of the Lord in the inward Man? of [...] What makes them afraid of the very appearances [...]y vil? What makes them converse with God so often [...] Prayer, and Holy Thoughts? What makes them contented under their Misfortunes and Disasters? What makes them take such comfort in the Cross of Christ? What makes them silent, and patient under pri­vate injuries? What makes them stand up for the Glory of God, when they see it profan'd and abused? What makes them so ready to deny themselves? What makes them so solicitous about their Everlasting State? What makes them kind and tender-hearted, and so easie to be intreated to that which is Good? What makes them forgoe their Interest rather than wrong their Conscien­ces? Is it not their worthy Receiving? And what bet­ter signs can there be of the Spiritual health, and flou­rishing state and condition of their Souls? Christ in this Sacrament doth not only communicate to them an empty Name, or a fruitless Title, but makes them fruit­ful Trees; and it must needs be so, for they, that be planted in the House of the Lord, shall flourish in the Courts of our God, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 92. 13.

II. Who, that seriously considers the Spiritual Judg­ment we have spoken of, must not deplore the condi­tion of abundance of nominal Christians, that Receive worthily? The Persons upon whom this Spiritual Judg­ment is executed, are not far from every one of us. To find them out, we need not send you to the Sands of Africa, nor to the Lybian Desarts, nor to Barbarians, nor to Negro's and Americans: No, these very Persons, you may see and know at home, and in the midst of our mixt Congregations. How many have I known, that have come to this Holy Sacrament, and, after that, have grown worse than ever? Their Drunkenness, and Lewdness, their Selfishness, and Covetousness, their Ex­travagant, and Ungodly Speeches and Actions, which [Page 388] before were but Embrio's and Infants, after Receiving, have become Gyants and strong Men: What an argu­ment is this of their unworthy Receiving? What an ar­gument of God's Judgment? What an argument, that God hath withdrawn his Holy Spirit from them? What an argument that they are left to the power of the De­vil? O that they were sensible, what a Judgment this is! O that they knew what a fearful State this is! O that their Eyes were open to see, that they are in the very suburbs of Destruction! O that the Vail were taken away, that they might behold the death, the ruin, the misery, the wrath, the indignation of God, they run into! O thou, that openest the Eyes of the Blind, and raisest them that are bow'd down, and loosest the Pri­soners, open the Eyes of these unhappy Souls, that they may see the precipice they stand upon, and turn back and save themselves from this untoward Generation.

III. Let us all very seriously believe, that our Souls are capable of sickness, and misery, and death, as well as our Bodies. Indeed they cannot die, so as to cease, or to be annihilated, for they are not made of Earth and matter, and contrary humours and principles, as our Bodies are, but certainly they can die to God's Favour, and to a sense of Eternity. This Belief, if it be sound, and strong, cannot but have a mighty influence upon our Lives. If we believe this, as we ought, with ap­prehensions of the danger we are in, we shall be as much afraid of things that will cast our Souls into sickness, or hurry them into death, and misery, as we are afraid of going to a Pest-house, where People lye languishing under their Plague-sores. Ah! sinful Man, how couldst thou neglect coming to the Supper of the Lord, if thou didst believe, that this neglect will bring a Consumpti­on on thy Soul? How could'st thou Receive with an im­penitent Heart, if thou didst believe, that thy impeni­tence will kill thy Soul? How durst thou venture on those sins, that are poison and venom to thy Soul? How could'st thou be so careless of the approaching [Page 389] Judgment of God, if thou didst believe that this care­lesness will infallibly bring a Palsie upon thy Soul? How could sinful delights be so charming to thee, if thou didst believe, that they will throw thy Soul into a violent Fe­ver? Why shouldst thou make thy Soul sick, when the great Physician offers thee health, and Salvation? The sickness of thy Soul is much harder to be cured, than the most Chronical distemper of the Body. Not but that God can heal it, as easily as the other, and need say no more, than Christ to the Paralytick in the Gospel, Arise, take up thy Bed, and Walk, and thou art presently whole; but he will not, except thou be willing too. This thy Spiritual sickness is wilful, that makes Christ backward to remove it; and if ever thy Soul be cured, it must cost thee great Mortifications, Rivers of Tears, strong Throws and Agonies, and Troubles in the inward Man, and who would make work for such a costly and labo­rious Cure, that may be well without it? Let the Phy­sician be never so skilful, if the Patient will not follow his prescriptions, what hopes can there be of his Reco­very? If thou wert but willing to follow Christ's pre­scriptions, thy Cure might be effected, even after thou hast brought thy Soul to the mouth of the Pit, and to the brink of the Grave; and if you ask me, what these prescriptions are, I must tell you, that they are these following.

1. Like New-born Babes to imbibe the sincere Milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, if so be ye have tasted, that the Lord is Gracious, to whom coming, as to a living Stone, disallow'd indeed of Men, but chosen of God and Pre­tious, ye also, as lively Stones, are built up a Spiritual House, an Holy Priesthood, to offer up Spiritual Sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 2. 2, 3, 4. weak and sick­ly Persons have need of Milk; we use it in Bodily Di­seases, when they have weaken'd the Body; and, it seems, it's necessary also for the recovery of Souls, wea­ken'd by Sin; but then the Milk is not such, as Cows, and Sheep, and Goats do give, but it is the Word of the [Page 390] Lord, which endures for ever; and to apply our selves to pondering, and meditating in it, and to make it the rule of our life, and manners, is drinking of that Milk.

2. To pull out the Right Eye, and to cut off the Right Hand, Matth. 5. 29, 30. i. e. To shun those Looks, and Actions, which are Provocations to Sin. As he, that means to recover of Bodily sickness, must avoid all things, that would irritate the morbifick matter; so he, whose Soul is sick, and would be cured, must carefully avoid the occasions of those sins, which have made him sick; and he that would be drunk no more, must avoid the Company that used to perswade him to intempe­rance; and he that would be tempted no more by the Harlot, that drew him in, must not come near her house, Prov. 5. 8.

3. Not to repine at the bitter draughts, Christ gives you to drink of; but to say, as he in his Agonies, The Cup which my Father hath given me, shall not I drink it? Joh. 18. 11. Whether this bitter Cup be the Cup of Mor­tification, of Fasting, of Severities, of being reveng'd upon thy self, and of deep Humiliation, or the Cup of Bodily affliction; if he bids you drink of it, it must be thankfully taken, else expect no cure; and that which ought to encourage us to drink of it, is this, that this bitterness will end at last in sweetness unspeakable, and ineffable Consolations.

4. To sell all with the Merchant in the Gospel, to get the Pearl of Price, i. e. God's love and favour, Matth. 13. 45, 46. The meaning is, nothing must come in competition with the great concern of your Salvation, nothing must be suffered to be laid in the Bal­lance with Eternal Happiness; whatever would preju­dice that, must be rejected, and left to those that know not how to prize it. To secure that, all must be ven­tur'd, and if even Father and Mother should be the tempters to discourage us from it, even their Friendship [Page 391] must be lost, and all that we expected from them count­ed unworthy to be compared with the Glory, which ere long shall be revealed in us.

The PRAYER,

MOST Glorious God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Heaven is thy Throne, and the Earth is thy Foot-stool. Where is the House that Man can build unto thee? And where is the Place of thy Rest? Thou dwellest not in Temples made with Hands; yet in an humble, sound, sincere and pure Heart, thou hast promised to fix thy Habi­tation. Oh, that my Heart were so! When shall I be rid of my vain, foolish, wicked, and dangerous Thoughts? Oh! When wilt thou purge and cleanse this House from the Rub­bish which annoys it? When wilt thou adorn my Soul with profound Humility, which may be an Invitation of thy Gra­cious Presence? How apt am I to look off from Thee! How apt to mind poor transitory Things! How little am I ac­quainted with that Fervency of Spirit which I see in others! Great Physician! Heal thou me: Thou hast healed Thou­sands; Oh, let me be one of that Number. It may be, of all that Multitude, there was none so miserable as I am; yet no Spots, no Stains are too hard for Thee to wash out. I have delighted in my Filthiness, and, with the Swine, ta­ken pleasure in the Mire. Oh, Let me consider how nobly I am born; and hate that mean and servile Spirit! I am born of God: So thy Apostle tells me. Oh, Let my God be ever in my Heart, and let me do God-like Things, even Things that savour of Heaven, and a Super-natural Temper. Touch my Soul, sweet Jesu! Touch it with the Rays of thy Favour in this Sacrament, that I may seek after Thee alone, think on Thee alone, and love Thee alone. Chase away all sinful Sickness from me, and make me sick of Love; that [Page 392] joyfully, without Tediousness, I may continue in Well-doing. Thou art a Saviour! Be thou so to me; and save me from my Sins. Give me an healthful Soul, a good Conscience, and a sound Mind, and Purity of Heart; and with that Purity, frequent Rejoycing in thy Name, Tranquility of Spi­rit, Multitude of holy Thoughts, Innocence of Life, ardent Love, and Everlasting Charity. Let no Temptations defile me; but let these rather purge, and joyn, and unite me to Thee. Give me a constant Zeal for thy Honour and Glory; and let me be for ever delighted with thy Praises. Amen, Amen.

CHAP. XXI.
Of Damnation, which the Unworthy Receiver Eats and Drinks to himself.

The CONTENTS.

The Word made use of by St. Paul, in threatning Unworthy Receivers, ambiguous on purpose to fright them from the Sin. How Men eat and drink their Damnation in this holy Sacrament. The Justice of God, in inflicting Dam­nation on Unworthy Receivers, vindicated. The Threat­ning of Damnation being denounced by St. Paul, to the prophane Corinthians, that came drunk to this holy Or­dinance; how that can be applied to sinful Men in this Age, who are not in a possibility of coming drunk to the Lord's Table, since the Eucharist is with us administred and received in the Morning, and most of those who come, do come with some Preparation. Whence it comes, that Damnation doth not fright Men more, it being the greatest Misery Man is capable of. The Severity of this Threatning puts Communicants in mind, what a Value and Esteem they are to have for the Death of Christ. Yet it is no just Discouragement from Approaching with sincere Desires and Resolutions to become conformable to Christ Je­sus. The Prayer.

I. THE Judgment the unworthy Receiver pulls up­on himself, is not only Temporal, but Eternal too. To this End, I have already told you, that the Word [...], used by the Apostle, in his Threatning denounced against unworthy Receivers, signifies not only Judgment in general, but also Damnation. And, indeed, the Holy Ghost doth purposely make use some­times [Page 394] of ambiguous Words, especially in Threatnings, to rouze Men the more from their Slumber, and to give them notice, that if the lesser Punishment, threat­ned in the Expression, is either delayed, or cannot prevail, that then the greater, included in the same Word, shall take place. Thus the Word [...] Sheol, in the Old Testament, used much in Threatnings, im­port both the Grave, and Hell; and in Comminations against wicked Men, it doth not only signifie an un­timely Grave, but a far greater Punishment beyond it; even Eternal Darkness, and Everlasting Howlings; to shew, that if the former Danger cannot fright, the la­ter shall, when it is too late to repent. And so here; the Word [...], including both Temporal Judgment, and Damnation, we must believe, the Apostle hath some farther Prospect than this present Life; and that he uses the Word, not only to terrifie the unworthy Receiver with Sickness and Weakness of the Body, and a Spiri­tual and Temporal Judgment; but at the same time bids him take heed, that in case any of the former doth not, for Reasons best known to Providence, light up­on him; or, in case the Thoughts of the former do not work upon him, and transform him into a better Man, he doth not run himself into Hell-Fire, and E­ternal Misery. It is plainly to tell him, that since the Word includes both Judgments, Temporal, and Eter­nal, he hath no reason to flatter himself, that it will be only a Temporal judgment; but may justly fear, he shall in our God's Everlasting Indignation. And there­fore our Church retains both Significations of the Word, in her Exhortation before the Sacrament: So is the Danger great, if we Receive the same unwor­thily; for then we are guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ our Saviour, we Eat and Drink our own Damnation, not considering the Lord's Body, we kindle God's Wrath a­gainst us, we provoke him to plague us with di­vers Diseases, and sundry kinds of Death.

[Page 395] II. How an unworthy Communicant eats and drinks Damnation to himself, is the next thing we are to explain. And this he doth this following Way:

1. He makes himself obnoxious to the fierce Anger of the Judge, that is to decide the Controversie of his Life and Death to all Eternity; and this Judge is the Son of God, Christ Jesus; who hath protested, that Not every one who saith unto him, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the King­dom of Heaven; but he that doth the Will of his Father, which is in Heaven; and therefore will say unto them in the last Day, I know you not; depart from me, ye Workers of Iniquity. And there is nothing more certain, than that the unworthy Receiver is resolved not to do the Will of his Father which is in Heaven; whose Will is, that Men should honour the Son, as they do the Father, Joh. 5. 23. i. e. believe in him, as they do in the Father; and come to this Sacrament, like Persons redeemed from their vain Conversation, resolved to war against the Lusts of the Flesh, like Soldiers of the Cross; and to remember the Death of the Son of God here, with that Respect and Devotion they owe to God; resolved to live and die with him, like Persons who have listed themselves under his Colours, with an Intent to fight against his Enemies, and to take heed they do not dis­honour the Son of God, by an evil Heart of Unbelief, in departing from the Living God. This is the Will of God; and since Christ, the Judge of the World, is the Person appointed to examine whether this Will of God hath been obeyed, the unworthy Receiver, dying in Impeni­tence, and coming before him, and it appearing that he hath nothing less than the Will of God; professed, indeed, that he would do it, pretended Service and O­bedience to him, and yet done his own Will, though exhorted and moved to do the Will of God by number­less Arguments, Arguments big with the greatest Charms; what can his Obstinacy cause, but Anger in the Judge, Anger implacable, since he would continue dead and [Page 396] unconcerned under the lively Oracles of Heaven, and under the most lively Representations of the Love of God? The Effect of which Anger, is, the Sentence of Everlasting Condemnation; Depart from me, ye Cursed, into Everlasting Fire, &c. Matth. 25. 41. And for this Reason the Psalmist calls to all, Kiss the Son, lest he be an­gry, and ye perish from the right Way, when his Anger shall be kindled but a little, Psal 2. 11.

2. He puts himself in the same State and Condition, that other ungodly Sinners are in; to whom is reserved the Black­ness of Darkness for ever: And that State and Condition is Wilful Disobedience to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And what the Consequence of this State is, St. Paul explains, 2 Thes. 1. 7, 8, 9. The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven, with his mighty Angels, in fla­ming Fire; taking Vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with Everlasting Destruction from the Pre­sence of the Lord, and from the Glory of his Power. And that this is the unworthy Receiver's Condition, is mani­fest from hence, because he knows not God, i. e. he will not know him, nor obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. He might know that God is an holy God, and hath called him to Holiness, and is not to be put off with blind, lame, and slovenly Devotion; and yet he will not, nor doth he, obey the Gospel, which obliges him, by virtue of the Grace of God appearing to all Men, to renounce Ungodliness and Worldly Lusts. This Ungodliness, and these Worldly Lusts, he retains, and cherishes, and makes much of, notwithstanding his coming to the Lord's Table; and so putting himself in the same State and Condition that other ungodly Men are, no wonder if he makes himself liable to the same Damnation.

3. He makes himself fit Company for the Damned, and the Sufferers in Hell. Those that are in that miserable State, did as he doth; and he doth as they did. They [Page 397] suffer'd the Profits and Pleasures of the World to justle out a serious Sense of Religion; so doth the unworthy Recei­ver. They had a Form of Godliness, and denied the Power thereof; so doth he. They, some of them at least, came to this Sacrament with unmortified Lusts, with unsubdued Passions of Anger and Pride, and with ungovernable De­sires after the World, and had no real Intent to become Proselytes of Righteousness; so doth he. They did not think that the holy Sacrament was such an Inforcive to a Change of Life, as Divines talked of; so doth he. They made no great matter of this Ordinance, but thought it expedient to comply with the Custom of the Country, and the Usages of the Church they lived in, and that was all; and so doth he. They made nothing of promising and breaking their solemn Promises to God; no more doth he: And being like them in Man­ners, no wonder if he be like them in Torments too: Being their Companion in their Sins, 'tis just he should be a Companion with them in their Misery: Having been their Associate in Hypocrisie, 'tis fit he should have his Portion with Hypocrites.

III. But here the Sinner, I know, will be apt to cla­mour, and say, What Justice can there be in it, that God, for eating a Piece of Bread, and for drinking a few Drops of Wine irreverently and unworthily, without observing some Punctilio's, and Nicer Rules of Divinity, should inflict Eternal Damnation upon a poor Creature? To which I answer,

1. Every supreme and absolute Law-giver hath liberty to set what Penalties he thinks fit upon the Breaches of his Law. If he will appoint a Punishment that is very dreadful, for a certain Offence, the Interest of the Sub­ject is, to keep the Law, not to quarrel with the San­ction. At this rate, a Man might plead, What great matter is there in opening a Window at Night, to get into an House, to steal some small, inconsiderable thing in the House? And shall this be made Felony, without [Page 398] Benefit of the Clergy? All wise Law-givers have their Reason, why they inflict severe Penalties upon Offen­ders; and 'tis fit that an Infinite Majesty should both threaten and appoint Punishments suitable to his Gran­deur. Where the Law, and the Sanction of it, is suffi­ciently known, Men do not accuse the Law-giver of of Cruelty, if the Offender runs himself into Danger; but rather blame the senseless and foolish Man, who, knowing the Severity of the Sanction, might have easily denied himself in his sinful Purchase, and secured his Life and Welfare: And the less the Fault is, for which a severe Punishment is appointed, the more easily might it have been avoided; and not to avoid it, when the Forbearance was so easie, is an Argument of strange Presumption; so that the Contempt and Presumption are so severely punished, and not the Fault it self. Let us apply this to the Case in hand: The Supreme Law-giver thinks fit to inflict Damnation on the unworthy Receiver. Either this unworthy Receiving is a very lit­t [...]e Sin, or a very great one: If a great one, the Pu­nishment cannot be thought too great; for it is propor­tion'd to the Greatness of the Authority which is despi­sed, and to the infinite and incomprehensible Mercy which is slighted; not to mention, that unworthy Re­ceiving is a Complication of many Sins, and more than one go into the Composition. If it be little, it is more easily shunned; and then the Presumption comes to be very great, and that Presumption is justly punished with great Severity. Besides, Who can judge so well of the Contempt, and the heinousness of it, as he that knows all things, and can best judge how great the Indignity is which is offered to God in the Sin? Nay, the Greatness of the Penalty discovers the Greatness of the Impiety, the Foulness of the Crime, the deep Dye of the Trans­gression, and the dangerous Tendency of the Offence. A Christian, from the Greatness of the Penalty, is to conclude, there must be more in the Sin, than appears to his Eyes; and to infer, that if the Offence were not greater than ordinary, so severe a Penalty would not [Page 399] have been laid upon it. So that, at the same time, the Greatness of the Punishment serves to fright the Sinner from continuing in his Sin, against he comes next to the Table of the Lord; and is a strong Engagement to him to take nobler Resolutions, to come with greater Reve­rence, and with better Purposes, that he may escape Damnation.

2. That which makes the Penalty just, is, the Rea­son the Apostle gives, 1 Cor. 11. 29. Because he discerns not the Lord's Body. And what is it, not to discern the Lord's Body?

1. The unworthy Receiver discerns not, that the Bread and Wine in this Ordinance, set apart for an ho­ly Use, and consecrated by the Words of Institution, represents the Body and Blood of the Son of God: Which Consideration should over-awe him into the greatest Reverence and Devotion. He considers not that by laying his Hands upon the Body of the Son of God, he vows Faith and Allegiance to him; and there­fore, refusing that Faith and Allegiance in his Actions, is supposed to look upon that Bread as common, which God hath made representative of the greatest Mystery. He considers not, that by eating of this Bread, his Soul, at the same time, pretends to feed on the Body of Je­sus Christ, and to apply the Mercies and Benefits of his Death; whereby he brings himself under an Obligation to live as a Member of Christ's Mystical Body; not ac­cording to the Lusts of the Flesh, but according to the Will of him that bought him at so great a Price. And being, at the same time, unresolved to do so, he mocks the Lord Jesus Christ, and plays with Vows made in a place where Angels give their Attendance.

2. He discerns not, he considers not what it is, for God to take a Body upon him for a poor Sinner's sake, to redeem him from Damnation. For God to take a Body upon him, is a thing so astonishing, so miracu­lous, [Page 400] that if the greatest Prince of the World should voluntarily make himself a Beggar, and wallow in Dirt and Slime, to deliver a Slave out of Prison in a Foreign Country, it is not so much, nor a thing of that great Consequence. For God to take a Body upon him, that he might die for the Sinner, and make him capable of inheriting Everlasting Bliss, is a Mercy which runs so high, that Reason is at a loss, and it is enough to make the Mind grow giddy at the Consideration; and con­sequently, it is so great an Engagement to devote our selves to the Service of that God who hath done this, that no Obligation can be thought greater, or more likely to prevail with Men of Common Sense and In­genuity. And therefore, for the unworthy Receiver not to discern or consider this, must be a Contempt that is without a Parallel.

3. He considers not, that it is the Body of his Lord and Master that is present in the Figure, in this Ordi­nance; even the Body of that Lord, whose Servant he is, and owns himself to be. He discerns not, that in eating of the holy Bread, he acknowledges. Christ Jesus to be his Lord and Master, at whose Beck he means to run, by whose Command he intends to act, and by whose Will he designs to be ruled. So that the unwor­thy Receiver runs himself into strange Contradictions; He acknowledges at the Receiving of the Eucharist, that Christ is his Lord and Master, and yet is not willing to be govern'd by his Laws; his Lust and sinful Desires still continue his Masters; the Devil is still his Master, the World is still his Master, and Sin still reigns in his Mortal Body; Christ is only his Master in shew, these in good earnest; he in Complement, these in sober Sad­ness: And when this Contempt hath all these Aggra­vations in it, who can complain that God is unjust in inflicting Damnation on the unworthy Receiver, if he turns not?

[Page 401] IV. But still they were only the prophane Corinthinians, against whom this Judgment is denounced; Men who came drunk to this holy Sacrament: And since no Bo­dy in this Age can be presumed, or supposed, to come in such a Posture to this Sacrament, why should the Penalty mentioned by St. Paul, be enforced upon Men now living, who are not guilty of the same Sin, and in no possibility almost of committing it, i. e. of com­ing drunk and disguised to the Lord's Table? To which, I answer:

1. Not to mention, that Whatever things are written afore-time, are written for our Learning, 'tis a great Mis­take, that the Apostle restrains the Penalty to being drunk with Wine, or any other strong Liquor, in the Use of this Ordinance. He applies it, not only to this Sin, but also to Want of Self-Examination, and not to discern the Lord's Body; as will appear to any Man that compares the 28th and 29th Verses in that Cha­pter; I mean, the 11th of the First Epistle to the Co­rinthians. And besides, Though their coming drunk to this Sacrament gives Occasion to the Discourse, yet he makes a general Inference, or Conclusion; He that, or Whosoever eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks Dam­nation to himself. So that if there be more Ways of un­worthy Receiving, than coming drunk to this Ordi­nance, it will follow, that they all come under the reach of this Penalty.

2. If one wilful Sin, or Sin allowed of, or Sin of Temper, Custom and Inclination, which a Man is not heartily resolved to strive against, makes him an unwor­thy Receiver, another must be supposed to do the same; for all Sins allowed of, are of the same Nature, though the Object be changed: And therefore, whether a Man be loth or unresolved to part with his drunken Cups, or unresolved to mortifie his Envy, or Malice, or Pride, or Hatred, or Revengeful Desires, or Opprobrious [Page 402] Language, or Injustice, or Cheating, or Lying, &c. the Change of the Object makes no Alteration in the unworthy Receiving; and therefore, no Alteration in the Penalty. If a Corinthian Christian, that professed himself a Member of Christ's Church had come drunk to the Lord's Table to Day, and come again in the same Posture, and in the same Disguise, the Lord's Day following, there is no Dispute of it, but coming again with the same Sin upon his Back, would have made himself an unworthy Receiver: And if not parting with a known Sin, against he came next, made him an un­worthy Communicant, it stands to reason, that he who is given to lying, and to Cheating, or to any other known Sin, and comes to the Sacrament without a full purpose to reform it, draws the same Guilt upon him­self, that the prophane Corinthians did. 'Tis true, Com­ing with the Guilt of other Sins allowed of, is not so scandalous a thing as coming drunk; but with respect to God, who is offended by it, and against whose Laws the Sin is committed, they are of the same Na­ture with Coming disguised, or drunk, to the Lord's Table; and therefore such Men are liable to the same Penalty.

3. Though a vicious Person in this Age cannot well come drunk to this Sacrament, because it is commonly received in the Morning, and most Men make some little Preparation, and approach sober, yet he may come drunk with evil Habits of Sin; and then he comes drunk with evil Habits, when he is so besotted with the Sins which Custom, or Company, or something else, hath made sweet, and easie, and pleasant to him, that whatever is feigned and pretended, as to general Pur­poses, to mend his Life before he receives, yet he is not heartily resolved to part with such particular Sins as he is very prone to; and all the Love and Charity set before him [...]n the Lord's Supper, cannot work in him a Change of Mind, or an unfeigned Resolution to use the proper Means to [...]hake off the Sin which is become natural to [Page 403] him: And whether a Man come to the Sacrament drunk in a natural Sense, or drunk in a spiritual Sense; whe­ther he come to it drunk with Wine, or drunk with Sin, there is no great difference in the Crime, the Sin is still the same; especially, since all those who lay claim to the Promise of Pardon and Salvation, are peremptorily commanded to cleanse themselves from all Filthiness, both of Flesh and Spirit, 2 Cor. 7. 1.

The Preceding Considerations reduced to Practice.

I. HEre I cannot but take notice, how little the things which are not seen with our Bodily Or­gans, though of the greatest Consequence, are minded by the Generality, even those that pretend to believe them. Damnation is, certainly, the most dreadful thing imaginable; yet most Men make so little of it, that the Fear of losing Twenty or Thirty Pounds discomposes and disorders them more than the Apprehension that they shall lose the Light of God's Countenance for ever. What can we imagine to be the Reason of it? Surely, it must be, because it is not seen: And therefore Peo­ple do not heartily believe it, nor seriously think of it. And yet, when a thing is very certain, and God hath spoke it, and we have all the Assurances that the thing is capable of, that it is so, though it cannot be seen with the Eyes of Flesh; yet being certain, the Thoughts of it surely might effect, and work upon, and discompose the Soul, in a manner, as much as Sight and Sense. But here lies the Misery; the greatest part of Men are un­thinking Animals; they believe, but think not; they think, but not of that which concerns them most. This makes Damnation only a big Word to set off a violent Passion, but it frights not; nay, is so far from frighting, that not a few do barbarously wish it to their own Souls; yet still, not only Faith, but Reason, saith, there is such a thing; and the Justice of a Supream Being requires so much: So that he that will be frighted with Damnation, [Page 404] must first deliberately examine the Reasons which may convince him of the Being and Reality of it, and then reflect and ruminate upon the Terrour and Consequen­ces of it: And if this be done, and the Divine Assistance, which must co-operate with all spiritual Endeavours, to make them effectual, be heartily implored, Sin, Vanity and Lust, and foolish Desires must necessarily fall, and faint before it, and a Change of Life cannot but follow, and a Man's Carefulness to please God must needs be the happy Consequences of it.

II. The Penalty God inflicts upon unworthy Recei­vers, shews how God would have us value and esteem what he hath done for us in Christ Jesus. The Death of Christ for poor Sinners God looks upon to be so great a thing, that he expects that every Soul, upon hearing of it, and sufficient Demonstration of the Truth of it, should be so surprized with the Mercy, as imme­diately to throw off the Works of Darkness, and put off the Old Man, with all his deceitful Lusts, and to be­come an obedient Subject of Christ's Kingdom. God sets that high Value upon it, that he expects that every Soul, to whom the News comes, immediately lay Force upon the Kingdom of Heaven, rejoyce that he is made capable of Pardon, and an Inheritance incorruptible; and for the Glory set before him, fall to work, and seek first the Kingdom of God, and the Righteousness there­of: And therefore, for any Person who professes him­self a Christian, to entertain this Message coldly, lazily, and with Indifferency, is an Act so unworthy, so dero­gatory from the Sublimity and Excellency of the Fa­vour, that we need not wonder if he lashes this low, slavish and pitiful Temper of ours with the severest Ven­geance. Can we think, because we have no extraordi­nary Esteem of the Mercy, that God will set light by it because we do? Oh! Let us entertain it with the pro­foundest Respect, and the deepest Veneration; and think our selves the happiest Creatures living, that we have this Act of Divine Bounty and Charity revealed to [Page 405] us. But then, it is impossible we should think our selves so, except we walk worthy of the glorious News, and transcribe on our Lives the glorious Zeal, and Fervour, and Sincerity of the Apostles, and Primitive Believers.

III. As this severe Threatning, denounced against un­worthy Receivers, is the strongest Dissuasive possible from Eating and Drinking unworthily, so it is no just Discouragement to Receive with sincere Desires, and Resolutions to become conformable to Christ's Holiness. God frights from sinning, not from doing well; from wronging our own Souls, not from Endeavours to save them; from Impenitence, not from true Repentance. All that is to be done, Christian, in this Sacrament, in order to Receiving worthily, is, to lay and prostrate thy self at the Feet of Jesus, and to cry, Lord, What wilt thou have me to do? Speak, Lord, for thy Servant hears. Such humble Souls escape the Danger, and may be con­fident of a gracious Look from the King of Saints. But then, if we fall down before the Throne and the Lamb, and make this Profession, let it come from the Heart, and let our Tongues speak what our Minds think, and our Wills mean to stand to; and let our Desires to be one with him, be such as Simplicity dictates, lest our Hearts and Tongues not going together, we may be found Lyars, and fall into Condemnation. And, Oh that every unworthy Receiver would consider what Damnation means! Consider it, thou dull and careless Man; and then tell me, whether Christ requires any thing unreasonable of thee to prevent it? Thou that runnest from an House on fire, and from a Land-flood, or Deluge, that threatens to overwhelm thee; wilt not thou do all thou canst to escape Damnation, that De­luge of God's Wrath, and that Fire of his Anger which no Man can quench? Should this Damnation be thy Portion at last, we may easily imagine what thy Wishes will be; the same that all inconsiderate Souls are very full of, when they have ruin'd and undone themselves: Oh, that I had been wise before the Fact, and come to the [Page 406] Lord's Table with a better Frame; put on the Lord Jesus, and made his Vertues and Graces my Study, my Delight, and my Pattern! But these are the Wishes of Fools: And, I did not think it would come to this pass, is a Saying, which we look upon as a Character of a weak, and a Childish Understanding. Both he that receives unworthily, and he that never received yet, both have yet Opportunity to turn from their evil Ways. Therefore, Seek ye the Lord, while be m [...]y be found: Call ye upon him, while he is near. Let the Wicked forsake his Way, and the unrighteous Man his Thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have Mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abun­dantly pardon, Isa. 55. 6, 7.

The PRAYER.

O Lord, Great, and Incomprehensible! Slow to Anger, and great in Power; and who wilt not at all ac­quit the Wicked! Thy Way is in the Whirl-wind, and in the Storm; and the Clouds are the Dust of thy Feet. Thou rebukest the Sea, and makest it dry, and driest up mighty Rivers. The Mountains quake at thy Word, and the Hills melt, and the Earth is burnt at thy Pre­sence; yea, the World, and all they that dwell there­in. Who can stand thine Indignation? And who can abide the Fierceness of thine Anger; where thy Fury is poured out like Fire, and the Rocks are thrown down by thine Arm? Who would not fear thee, O thou great Pre­server of Men! Yet thou, Lord, art good, and a Strong Hold in the Day of Trouble; and thou knowest them that trust in thee. In my Approaches to thy holy Table, let me so reflect upon thy Mercy, as not to forget thy Justice. Let me so look upon thy Friendship, as to cast an Eye, withal, upon thy Seve­rity to thine Enemies. Thou offerest me thy Friendship in this Ordinance: How great is thy Goodness! Oh, let me entertain the Offer with Admiration! God will dwell with simple Man, and therefore requires a Temple; a Temple, not made with hew'n Stones, not of polish'd Marble, not of painted Walls; [Page 407] but of living and shining Gems, and of such Golden Ornaments as Rust cannot touch, and Dust cannot blacken; a Temple pu­rified with the Fire of Love, trimmed with an holy Conver­sation, and decked with variety of Vertues. Make my Soul, I beseech thee, such a Temple, and come and fix thy Tents here for ever. Thou art the Judge to whom I am accountable for my Receiving: Let me remember, that as that didst rain down Manna from Heaven upon thy People, so thou didst rain down Fire and Brimstone too upon Sodom and Gomor­rah. Let me so rejoyce in the Mercies thou rainest down upon me in this Sacrament, as to fear thy Judgments in case I abuse those Mercies. If of every idle Word Men shall give an Ac­count in the Great Day, what Account will they have to give of prophaning this sublime and mysterious Ordinance! If the Dust of thy Apostles Feet shall bear witness in that Day a­gainst the Obstinate and Impenitent, what a Witness will the Body of the Son of God be against those who would not be warm'd with the Sight and Contemplation of it into Vertue! Let these things sink deep into my inward Parts, and teach me so to triumph in thy Praise, as to tremble at thy Presence! Yet, Oh, let not my Goodness be the Effect of a slavish Fear of Damnation, so much as of Love and Delight in thy holy Ways! Let Kindness do more with me, than Terrour; and let my Heart melt more with the Sight of thy Condescension, than with the Sight of thy Flaming Sword. Teach me to serve thee with Pleasure and Affection; and let the Glory of thy Name be the End of all my holy Exercises. Let thy Love be ever fixed in my Heart; and be thou my Rest, my Tranquility, my Peace, my Meat, my Drink, my Food, my Treasure, my Pos­session, and my Portion, for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

CHAP. XXII.
Of Preparation; And First, of Meditation of Christ's Passion.

The CONTENTS.

Preparation for this Holy Sacrament reduced to Five Heads. Meditation of Christ's Passion, with reflexions on our Selves, Self-Examination, [...]udging our Selves, Self-Resignation, and Devotions suitable to the Occasi­on. Christ himself meditated of his own Passion, before he administred this Sacrament to his Disciples. Meditati­on of Christ's Passion, useful to bring things to our Minds we did not think of before, to enflame the Soul with the Love of Jesus, and to make us remember his Death with a quicker Sense. A Paraphrase upon the XXII and XXIII Chapters of St. Luke's Gospel. What God said to the Jews, may be the more justly said to us Christians, What could have been done more to my Vineyard, that I have not done in it? A vast difference betwixt reading of Christ's Passi­on, and meditating of it. Some Rules and Cautions about this exercise of Meditation. The Prayer.

I HAving in the foregoing Chapters explained the Doctrine, Nature, Use, End and Design of this [...]. It will be necessary to direct the [...] Preparations for this Blessed Ordinance. [...] may be said to comprehend.

  • [Page 409]1. Meditation of Christ's Passion, with Reflections [...] [...]n our Selves.
  • 2. Self-Examination.
  • 3. Judging our Selves.
  • 4. Self-Resignation.
  • 5. Devotion suitable to the occasion.

I begin with Meditation of Christ's Passion, call'd by Damian, Damian in spec. Monach. The Believer's Refuge in the hour of Temptation, his Shade in the heat and sweat of Afflictions, the everlasting Fewel of Di­vine Love, and the best Sauce or Remedy in all Troubles and Vexati [...]ns. And Christ himself seems to have shewn us an example of seasoning our Hearts with this pre­vious Meditation; for before he instituted this Sacra­ment, before he distributed the Bread and Wine to the Disciples in the Eucharist, he contemplates his own Suf­ferings in the Paschal Lamb, he ate of. He saw on the Table a Lamb dead, flead, and roasted at the Fire: This suggested to him, how himself was, in a few hours after, to be kill'd, and scourg'd, and feel the heat and fire of mighty Torments. He saw his Friends eat the Pas­chal Lamb in haste, and he could not but reflect what haste his Enemies would make to apprehend him. In the unleaven'd Bread and the bitter Herbs that were set before him; he saw the Gall and Vinegar he was to taste; and if the Disciples, at that time, did eat the Passover with staves in their hands, that could not but put him in mind of the Cross to which he was to be nailed.

II. What it is that makes Meditation of Christ's Passi­on necessary, as an act of Preparation for this Holy Sa­crament, we shall easily know, if we consider,

[Page 410] 1. Meditation brings things to our Minds, we did not think of before. Though we know before, that Christ was unjustly accused by the Jews, beaten buffet­ed, crown'd with Thorns, inhumanly murther'd; yet Meditation discovers things to us, we took no great no­tice of before, it helps us to enlarge upon the passages of his Passion; and these cannot but be very instructive to our Minds. This puts us in mind of the dignity of the Person that suffer'd all this; how it was not a mere Man, not a mortal King, not an Angel, not one of the Higher Orders of Ministring Spirits, but the Son of God that laid down his Life, a Life more precious than the Lives of all created Beings put together. This puts us in mind of the indignity of the Persons, for whom he suffer'd▪ what vile Creatures they were, Creatures of whom he could expect no advantage, and fear no dan­ger, and such as were his Enemies. This puts us in mind of the vast multitude of his troubles and miseries, how his Body did not only suffer, but his Soul too, how he suffer'd in his Habit and Dress, by having it pull'd off from him, and divided among the ruder Soldiers, how he suffer'd in his Honour, and Reputation, by being call'd a Glutton, a Wine-bibber, a Blasphemer, Stir [...]ing up of the People, and possess'd with a Devil; how he suffer'd in his Wisdom, by being call'd Impostor, and treated like a Fool, and Madman; how he suffer'd in his Power, by being accus'd as a Magician, as one that dealt with a Familiar, and was in league with the Prince of Devils; how all sorts of Persons did contri­bute to his Suffering, a Disciple, whom he had nou­rish'd, and brought up in the Nurture and Admonition of the Lord, Kings, and Governors, Judges, Harlots, Soldiers, High Priests, Scribes, Pharisees, Ecclesiasticks, Seculars, Jews and Gentiles, Men and Women. This puts us in mind, how every Member of his Body was put to grievous pain; how his Head was crown'd with Thorns; his Hair pluck'd off by the rude usage he en­dur'd; his Cheeks beaten; his Face sullied; his Back [Page 411] crush'd; his Neck and Arms tied with Cords; his Shoul­ders bruis'd by the Cross; his Hands and Feet pierc'd with Nails; his Side open'd with a Lance, and his whole Body made black and blue with stripes: How all Senses suffer'd, his Eyes seeing the Mockeries of the multitude; his Ears hearing the Blasphemies of his Enemies; his Smell forced to endure the stench of dead Bodies on Mount Calvary; his Taste tormented with Thirst, and what is worse, with Gall; and his feeling with variety of blows. This puts us in mind, how his Soul endurd more, far more yet, than his Senses, the Sins of Man­kind lying like an heavy load upon her: This represents how that was afflicted with a Sense of God's Anger a­gainst sin, and with the Damnation of thousands, that would not prevent their ruine; and how, as the sins of Mankind were without number, so his Grief and Sor­row was without measure. This puts us in mind, how his Pain and Torments became more pungent, and af­flictive, by reason of the delicacy of his Complexion, how his imagination being most lively, had therefore a quicker sense of Misery, how his Torments were with­out any alloy, differing in this case from the Torments of the Martyrs of old, who had great comfort admi­nistred to them in their Sufferings, Comforts so power­ful, that they walk'd on glowing Coals, as on a Bed of Roses, and in the midst of Flames, had a cooling Dew sprinkled upon them: This suggests how he drunk the bitter Cup without mixture, without a drop of Honey to sweeten it; and how this makes him the Martyr of all Martyrs, and the King of all afflicted Saints; and upon that account may be said to have endured more, than all Men put together, ever suffer'd in this World. This puts us in mind, with what affection he suffer'd, how he chose to suffer, for the Joy and Comfort he should thereby procure to all sincere Believers, how Love to Mens Souls engaged him to these Sufferings; and where­as a few drops of his Blood might have serv'd turn, to redeem Mankind, he would, notwithstanding all this, to testifie his infinite Love, shed every drop of Blood in [Page 412] his Body for their sakes. This puts us in mind with what fervency and earnestness he went to meet his Cross, and in order thereunto bid the Traitor make haste, and do quickly what he design'd to do, and with what ala­crity he embrac'd his Torments; and therefore sung a Hymn with his Disciples, before he was apprehended by the Murtherers, to shew the joy he took in laying down his Life for his Sheep. Meditation doth the Pain­ters work, which embellishes the courser Draught, gives it Features, Lineaments, curious Strokes, and all its pro­per Dresses, whereby the Mind is signally edified, and affected with the Picture.

2. Meditation of Christ's Passion enflames the Soul with the Love of Jesus. At Patras, a City of Achaia, P. Jean. Bapt. de St. Jure de la Con­nois. & de l'amour de nostre Seign. Liv. 1. Sect. 2. there lived a Heathen Priest, Coresus by name, who, intend­ing to Marry, set his Affections upon one Callirrhoe, a Virgin of that Town, whom he courted, and loved entirely, but the more he courted her, the more refractory she was, till she even abus'd him and reproach'd him, and shut the door against him. The Priest, seeing no way to compass his designs, consults his Oracle, and Idol, but receives no answer. In the mean while, a killing sickness seiz'd the Town, a Distemper which made Peo­ple mad, and dye raving. The evil being become uni­versal, and spreading daily more and more, some of the chief Men of the Town, resolve to send an Embassie to one of the Heathen Gods, in another City, which gives them this Answer. That this Plague should not cease, till one Callirrboe▪ a Virgin in that Town, were offer'd in Sacrifice, or some Person for her. The news of the Oracle being noised about the Town, Callirrboe goes to all her Friends, to see whether any would suf­fer for her, but finding none so fond, she prepares for de [...]th, and coming forth at the day appointed, dress'd in her Funeral Robes, Coresus that was to be the Execu­tio [...]er, appears with his Sword to cut off her Head, for [Page 413] it was his Office upon such dreadful Solemnities; but as he is preparing to give the fatal blow, his Bowels be­gan to yearn; and to destroy a Person whom he had loved with most cordial affection, was so severe a try­al to him, that rather than be guilty of so barbarous a Fact, in the presence of the whole Assembly, he runs the drawn Sword into his own Bowels; and as the Blood was now issuing in Rivers from his Body, pro­fesses to the Damfel that he dyed for her, so sincere, so strong, so fervent was his Love. Callirrhoe astonish'd at the sight, and confounded with the enterprize, her stubborn Heart melts, and now would have saved his Life with her own, but it was too late; yet to make him amends, her Love to him on a sudden grows so violent, that she resolv'd not to out-live him, and at the same instant, made her Life a Sacrifice to bear him company. Meditation of Christ's Passion produces, in a manner, the same effect, for as it represents Christ's dying for the stubborn sinner, and [...]ying for love of him, it raises reciprocal flames in the considerate Soul. It puts the case, Suppose there should be a King most Wise, most Rich, most Potent, most Beautiful, most Gracious, in the very flower of his age, who being about to Marry, should cast his Eyes and Love upon a poor Country Maid, his Subject, and withal very much de­formed, homely, ignorant, despised, and disregarded by the meanest Men, adorned with no good Quality, that should cause attraction, and solemnly Marry her, What an obligation would that be to that poor infirm Creature, advanced to a Throne from nothing, from worse than nothing, to entertain that Royal Husband with marvellous respect, and to behave her self in his Presence with all possible Reverence, and Love, and Modesty, considering what she hath been, and what she is come to by his means? What an obligation to Treat him with all Respect, Honour, and Humility? What an obligation to love him with a most ardent, most tender, and most affectionate Love, and to be most true and faithful to him, loving none like him, who has deserv [...]d [Page 414] so much at her hands? What an obligation to commend and praise him, and to express her Sense of his unspeakable Favour to her? What an obligation, when he is sick, to tend him, to be about his Bed, to declare her Sorrow, and Grief, and Compassion by her Tears, especially since he hath humbled himself beyond example to espouse her? What an obligation, when he is absent, to speak of him, to long for him, and to be impatient for his re­turn? What an obligation to sing his Virtues, his Conde­scension, his Mercy, and his Charity, and to magnifie his Wisdom, his Goodness, his Beauty, and his Love to her? What an obligation, to give him content in all things, and to deport her self every where, so as to please him? What an obligation, if she have committed the least of­fence, to think of it with great regret and remorse, to beg his Pardon, and to implore his Mercy? What an obligation to endure any thing, any trouble, any cross, any inconvenience for his sake, and to think her self happy, that she is in a capacity to suffer any thing for his Name? What an obligation to be entirely subject to him, and to yield to all things he desires of her? Finally, What an obligation to think her self most happy in his love, and to rejoyce in being thus advanced by him, to a state she could never have wish'd, or hoped for? Me­ditation having put this case, applies it to the present occasion, and saith, Thou, O my Soul, thou, art that poor, despicable, contemptible Maid, that the Monarch of the Uni­verse, the Wisest, the most Potent, the greatest Prince in the World, did fall in love with. There was no Beauty, no Wis­dom, no good Qualities, no Perfection, no Amiableness in Thee, for which he should think of thee for his Spouse; and that which surpasses all admiration, this Sovereign Prince, this Prince of Princes, could not gain this wretched Maiden but by enduring a Thousand Torments, by spilling of his Blood, and hazarding his Life, and he freely and cheerfully Sacrifi­ced himself to obtain thy Love. He required no Dowry of thee, for he was infinitely Rich, and thou miserably Poor. He loved thee not in a foolish Passion, for he is infinitely Wise He chose thee not for his Pleasure, for thou wert defiled to a [Page 415] Prodigy, and himself is happy, and was happy in himself, from all Eternity; nor did he Marry thee by force, for he is Omnipotent; but it was mere Love, mere Charity, mere Com­passion, that he set his Affections upon thee; and by his Mar­rying thee, he hath ennobled thee, aggrandiz'd thy Fortune, made thee Wise, and Rich, and Great, and Beautiful, and hast not thou reason to love him with all thy heart, and with all thy strength? And by such Meditations of Christ's Pas­sion, the Soul is enflamed with the Love of the Lord Jesus. Add to all this,

3. What can be a more proper preparative for this Sacrament, wherein the Passion and sufferings of our Lord, are most solemnly remembred, than a previous Meditation of his Sufferings; For hereby the Soul will be more expedite in that remembrance, and remem­ber that Death, not only with greater facility, but with greater Sense, and greater Affections too. It is so with Men, that are to speak in Publick, they premeditate what they are to say, and think much of the thing they are to be upon, when they come before the Assembly; and I see no reason, but this may be a good prepara­tive for acting in publick too. Certainly, he that actu­ates his Faculties thus in private, will be better able to exercise them in publick; for hereby the Heart is sea­son'd, and when it appears before God in this Ordinance, the sense, which the private Meditation hath lest upon it, fits it the better for participation of Christ's Merits. This previous Meditation softens the Earth, makes it fit for the Master's use, and for his sowing the good Seed of Grace in it, when the Soul comes into the Courts of the Lord. And as he, that means to Pray with good attention, in publick, must not forget his secret Prayers at home; so he that will reflect with comfort on his Sa­viour's Death at Church, must meditate of it in his Closet, one helps the other; and if these go hand in hand to­gether, it is the way to put the Soul in an excellent Frame. These private Meditations are the Dresses of the Soul, she puts on at home, that she may look more [Page 416] beautiful and amiable, when she comes to stand in her bridegroom's Presence in the Temple.

III. How this Meditation is to be order'd, and mana­ged, must be in great measure lest to the Wisdom and Discretion of the Party concern'd; yet I should think, that the best way would be to lay the Holy Evangelists before us, who all have given exact account of their Master's Sufferings, especially in the last Scene of his Life here on Earth, and to make Spiritual Reflections, either on the whole History in general, or on some of the principal Points contain'd in it. To give the Rea­der an account of the Proposal, I will present him with a Scheme of Meditations on the XXII and XXIII Chapters of St. Lukes Gospel, which I do the rather pitch upon, because, I think this Evangelist hath given us the fullest account of the Circumstances and Particulars of Christ's last Sufferings; and I shall go from Verse to Verse, not so much to prescribe mine own way, as to give the devout Reader an hint, how he may improve those Historical Passages, and enlarge upon them, ac­cording to the Gifts, parts and abilities, God hath given him.

The XXII Chapter of St. Luke's Gospel Paraphrased.

1. Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread [...]rew nigh, which is called the Passover.

BEhold, O my Soul; How busie the Jews are to re­move all Leaven out of their Houses against the Passover! How loth hast thou been these many years to remove the Leaven of Vanity out of thy Heart, when thou hast gone to meet thy Blessed Redeemer! What [Page 417] excuses hast thou framed! What Apologies hast thou made, that thou mightst not part with that Apple of thine Eye! What a Benjamin hath it been to thee! How unwilling hast thou been to quit it! Ungrateful Crea­ture! Canst thou name the Name of Christ, and keep that, which will render that Name, and all the Sweets contain'd in it, unsavory, and insipid to thee!

2. And the Chief Priests and Scribes sought, how they might kill him, for they feared the People.

AND hath not this been thy Case, O my Soul? Hast not thou feared Men, more than God? Hast not thou been more afraid of Dust and Ashes, than of the Holy One of Israel? How often couldst thou have dispens'd with God's seeing thy folly, if it could have been concealed from the knowledge of Men! And when thou hast avoided and shun'd a Sin, hath it not been more for fear of blemishing thy Credit and Reputation in the World, than of love to the Law of God? Hath not Temporal Interest restrain'd thee from Sin, more, than God's All-seeing Eye? Think how unkindly, and un­worthily thou hast dealt with thy best and greatest Friend, and act for the future upon nobler Principles.

3. Then entred Satan into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the Twelve.

O My Soul! Though thou hast not been guilty of the formal Act of Judas's Crime, yet hast not thou too often open'd the door to thy mortal Enemy? Hast not thou given him invitations to enter into thee by carnal Security, and taking too great liberty in thy conversation? When thou hast left thy self without a Guard, and hast not watch'd over thy Senses, hath not this been an Item to the Serpent to creep into the Gar­den, and to hide himself among the Bushes? Nay, when thou hast given way to his evil suggestions, hugg'd his temptations, and embraced the evil, he hath promp­ted [Page 418] thee to; when thou hast harbour'd Malice against thy Neighbour, when thy Heart hath swelled with Pride, when thy Breast hath been filled with Envy, when thou hast delighted in Froth, and idle Talk; have not these been Signs of Satan's entring into thy Heart? When in hearing the Word, in Prayer, and in other Devo­tions, thou hast admitted foolish, impertinent, frivolous Thoughts into thy Mind, and kept out Considerations suitable to the Duty thou wert engaged in; was not this to give the Devil Admittance into thy Bosom? And shall so dangerous a Guest lodge any longer there? Oh, bid him be gone, that thy House, and all thou hast, may be in safety.

4. And he went his Way, and communed with the Chief Priests and Captains, that he might betray him unto them.

AND what pains hast thou taken, O my Soul, to be­tray thy blessed Redeemer, when thou hast joyned with his Enemies, the World, the Flesh, and the Devil? When thou hast lain in the World's Arms, and solaced thy self with its Airy Pleasures, in despight of all Christ's Calls and Intreaties to the contrary? What hath thy liv­ing in Strife and Variance been, but a Conspiring with the Devil, against the Holy Jesus, that Prince of Peace? When thou hast been peremptory and resolute to satisfie the Lusts of the Flesh, and its inordinate Desires, hath not this been exposing the excellent Religion thou pro­fessest, to the Contempt and Scorn of Men? And how much doth this want of betraying thy Master that bought thee, and thy God who redeemed thee?

5. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him Money.

HOW hast thou rejoyced in Sin, O my Soul! How hast thou been tickled with the Infirmities and Re­proaches of thy Neighbour! How merry hast thou been [Page 419] in ill Company! How glad when thou hast heard of the Fall or Trouble of a Person thou hast had a Grudge a­gainst! What Pleasure hast thou taken in fantastick Dres­ses, in following the sinful Humours of vain Men, and gratifying thy foolish Lusts! How hast thou laughed when thou shouldst have mourned, and sported thy self with Actions that should have drawn Rivers of Tears from thine Eyes! How merry hast thou been among thy Cups! And how much more hath idle Talk, and sinful Lusts, and prophane Jests, raised and cheared thy Spi­rits, than the most affectionate Sermon! What strange Enterprizes hath Money tempted thee to! What sinful Compliance, what Contempt of the Will of God, hast thou been put upon by the Hopes of Gain: And how much more real Joy hast thou felt in a full Purse, than a rich Conscience!

6. And he promised, and sought Opportunity to betray him unto them, in the Absence of the Multitude.

HOW faithful is the unhappy Judas in performing his Promise! Yet how many Promises hast thou made to God, O my Soul; and hast not regarded them! What Promises of Love; what Promises of Obe­dience; what Promises of Reformation! When thou hast been sick, what Vows of Seriousness, what Prote­stations of Cautiousness, and Fear of offending God for the future! Yet when God hath restored thee; when the Almighty hath been so favourable to thee, as to give thee the Desires of thy Heart; how careless hast thou been of thy strongest Promises! How regardless of the strictest Engagements! How negligent of thy Duty! How hast thou returned to thy former Vomit; and, with the Swine that was washed, to her wallowing in the Mire.

7. Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed.

HOW many Easter-Days hast thou lived to see, O my Soul! Days, when thou shouldst have risen with Christ from the Death of Sin, and applied thy self unto a Life of Righteousness! Yet thou art the same still, thou wert so many Years ago. What Lust hast thou mortified, what Corruption hast thou killed, what dar­ling Desires hast thou sacrificed for Christ? Art not thou as dull and as dead in God's Service, as thou hast been heretofore? The Sins that thou hast left, was it the Love of God, or the Change of thy Condition, that made thee abandon them? On the blessed Day of thy Sa­viour's Resurrection, may be, thou hast been devout and serious; but what strange Liberty hast thou given thy self soon after! How hath thy Piety and Goodness died again, and thy Carefulness to please God given up the Ghost, and expired!

8. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and pre­pare us the Passover, that we may eat.

HOW often, O my Soul, hath God sent his Spirit and his Messengers to thee, with an Order to pre­pare and meet thy God by a serious Repentance! Yet thou hast either resisted his Spirit, or disobliged his Mes­sengers, or undervalued their Summons. How little hast thou regarded the Condescention of so great a God! How little hast thou minded the Favour God did thee, in visiting so worthless a Creature! Dost not thou re­member how thou hast pretended that thou hadst either Farms to see, or Oxen to buy, or an House to look af­ter; and thus hast put off thy God, that would fain have gathered thee, as an Hen doth her Brood under her Wings.

9. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou, that we prepare?

HOW careful are the Disciples, that they may do nothing contrary to their Master's Will! How do they enquire after the very place, where he would have them prepare! O my Soul! How little hast thou been concerned, whether thy God were pleased, or not! Thou hast been so far from observing the Circumstan­tials of Religion, that thou hast not minded the Sub­stance. How hast thou rushed into Sin, as the Horse rushes into the Battel; without being sollicitous or con­cerned about offending God! How little hast thou en­quired what thy Lord and Master requires of thee! How contentedly ignorant hast thou been of his Laws, and how loth to know thy Master's Will, that thou mightest not be obliged to do it!

10. And he said unto them, Behold, when you are en­tred into the City, there shall a Man meet you, bear­ing a Pitcher of Water; follow him into the House, where he enters in.

HOW strangely doth Providence order things! Just at the Disciples entring into the City, God orders this Man to meet them! How wonderfully, O my Soul, hath God made the Second Causes to meet for thy good! How hath God turned such Men's Hearts towards thee, into Mercy and Compassion! How often, when thou hast been in Trouble, hath God sent thee a Deliverer! How often, when thou hast seen no probability of Help, hath God come in with his Salvation: Yet how careless hast thou been of his Providence! How apt hast thou been to ascribe these Events to Second Causes! Dost not thou blush to think thou shouldst be so dull, as not to see God in such Dispensations!

11. And ye shall say to the good Man of the House, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the Guest-Chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my Disciples?

HOW often, O my Soul, hath thy great Master at­tempted to enter into thy Heart, and to make that his Guest-Chamber! And how surly, how ill-na­tur'd, how impudent hast thou been in refusing so great a Guest, whose Presence would have enriched thee with infinite Treasures! Temporal Profit, Honour, Ease and Pleasure have but gently knocked at the Door, and thou hast listen'd, and heard, and run to open to them. See where thy Love and thy Treasure lies; Christ hath stood without, knocking and calling, Open to me, my Sister, my Spouse; for my Locks are wet with Dew: But how loth hast thou been to rise from thy Bed of State, or from thy Couch of Luxury, to let in that Heavenly Friend! Were it not just, when thy Prayers knock at Heaven Gate, that he should fling them back into thy Face, and say, As thou wouldst not hear when I called, so shalt thou call, and I will not hear?

12. And she shall shew you a large Upper Room, fur­nished; there make ready.

AND, O my Soul, hath not thy Lord shewn thee very often a large Upper Room, even Heaven it self, where the Supper of the Lamb is to be kept, and to which thou hast been invited! Yet how hast thou pre­ferred this Dunghil Earth before it! How contemptible have those Everlasting Mansions been in thine Eyes! How hast thou hugged thy Plenty here below, and how contentedly hast thou lived without any Assurance that the Eternal Riches shall fall to thy share! How little hath that Heaven affected thee! How little have thy Affecti­ons been stirred with the Thoughts of it! How often hast thou looked upon that glorious Place, without any Longings to be there, or to feast there with thy great Redeemer!

13. And they went, and found as he had said to them, and made ready the Passover.

THis is the Property of God, that he cannot lye: If he saith or fore-tells things, they must necessarily come to pass: Yet how hast thou lived, O my Soul, as if thy God were false to his Word! Thou hast lived in Sin, and yet hast believed that God would receive thee at last into Glory! Thou hast embraced Follies, which he hath protested shall exclude thee from the Kingdom of Heaven, and yet hast fancied that thou shalt be happy! What is this, but to make God a Lyar, and to hope that he will not be so good as his Word? When thou hast hoped for Heaven without Holiness, for a Crown without Conquest, for an Everlasting Re­ward without bearing the Heat and Burthen of the Day, and for the same Felicity the Son of God enjoys, with­out imitating him in his Meekness, Patience, Humility and Charity. Hast not thou plainly flattered thy self, that God would break his Word, and act contrary to his Promises and Threatnings?

14. And when the Hour was come, he sate down, and the Twelve Apostles with him.

SEE how the great Saviour of the World disdains not to sit down at the Table with a Company of Fisher-men! Yet how scornfully, O my Soul, hast thou looked sometimes upon thy Neighbour! What high Thoughts hast thou had of thine own Worth: And how hast thou undervalued the Man or Woman that have had to no other Crime but Poverty! Thou hast thought thy Inferiors scarce worth talking to. How un­like thy Redeemer is this Pride and Haughtiness! Were Grace an Inhabitant of thy Heart, what low Thoughts wouldst thou have of thy self! How readily wouldst thou converse even with the meanest Saint! How wouldst thou learn to esteem Men more for their Holiness, than [Page 424] for their Riches! And how lovely would a Creature that hath the Image of God upon him, look in thine Eyes! Far more lovely than the greatest Monarch, or Lady, that have nothing to recommend them, but their outward Splendor.

15. And he said unto them, With Desire I have desi­red to eat this Passover, before I suffer.

HOW doth God long for our Happiness! How fer­vent are his Desires to do us good! Yet how little have these Longings prevailed with thee, O my Soul! Notwithstanding all these Desires of God to make thee happy, how hast thou longed after the muddy Waters of Sensual Pleasures! Nay, longed to be for ever mise­rable, when, in despight of his Intreaties not to neglect so great Salvation, thou hast longed for the stolen Wa­ters of sinful Delights, coveted Death, and been ena­moured with Destruction! How hath God intreated thee to close with him upon his own Terms; and how hast thou grieved him with thy Refusal! How hath the Al­mighty beseeched thee, by his Ambassadors, to be re­conciled to him; and yet thou hast stood out, and baf­fled the Stratagems of Mercy!

16. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.

CHrist rejoyces that the Shadows are at an end, and that the Substance or Antitype is approaching; for as the Passover was a Sign of the Jews Deliverance from Egyptian Bondage, so that Deliverance was a Sha­dow or Emblem of our Deliverance from Sin here, and our Exemption from all Misery and Trouble in Heaven, which was now to be effected by the Death of Christ. But, O my Soul, how hast thou hunted after Shadows, and left the Substance unregarded? What are the Glo­ries of this World, but mere Shews? Yet how fond art thou of them, and how strangely hast thou been ena­moured [Page 425] with them? These Shadows intimate, that there are more substantial Glories in the Everlasting Mansions; yet these thou passest by, and the other thou art delight­ed with. See how thou dotest on those painted Coro­nets, those Butter-flies, those Airy Nothings; while, with the Cock in the Fable, thou tramplest on the Pearl, even on the Pearl of Price; to purchase which, the Spi­ritual Merchant in the Gospel sold all he had.

17. And he took the Cup, and gave Thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among your selves.

HOW thankful is our Great Mediator for every Mercy he received from his Everlasting Father! Yet how ungrateful hast thou been, O my Soul, to thy mighty Benefactor! What Mercies hast thou received at his Hands, and what strange Returns hast thou made for them! Thy God hath been kind to thee, and thou hast been base and unworthy. How hast thou fed on his Blessings, and ascribed them to thy Wisdom and In­dustry! How hast thou lived upon his Charity, and spurned at his Laws! Foolish Creature, Dost thou thus reward the Lord thy God? Thou shouldest not eat a bit, but send some Thanksgiving-Ejaculations to Hea­ven; yet thou contentest thy self with a careless Grace, and never thinkest more afterward of God. How little dost thou mind the Providences that are sent upon thee! And while thou considerest not the Operations of God's Hands, how canst thou be thankful?

18. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the Fruit of the Vine, until the Kingdom of God shall come.

INdeed, Heaven hath the best and choicest Wine, e­ven the Wine of Angels. This Wine is, the ravish­ing Love of God: This transports the Understanding, and wraps up the Intellect in Extasies of Joy and Com­fort. A brutish Man knows not this, neither doth a Fool understand it. And hath not this been thy Case, [Page 426] O my Soul? How weary hast thou been of thinking of this Banquet! How soon have thy Spirits tired with me­ditating of that Love! How ready hast thou been to think of the World, and the last Night's Revel; and how backward to reflect on this richer Entertainment! What a Weariness hath it been to thee, to survey these Glories, to walk about that Jerusalem, and to behold the Towers and Bulwarks of it?

19. And he took Bread, and gave Thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my Body, which is given for you: This do in remembrance of me.

HEre begins the happy Institution of the holy Sacra­ment of Christ's Body and Blood, and the great Command to remember the Death of Jesus; and, to­gether with that, an Item of the greatest Love that can be shewn to poor Mortals: Yet how backward, O my Soul, hast thou been sometimes to come to this holy Sa­crament! Thou should'st have longed for an Opportu­nity to remember this Death with the People of God. What is this Bread, but an Emblem of the Communion of Saints, and a Representation of thy Communion with the Great Head, the Lord Jesus? Yet how little Delight hast thou taken in this Ordinance! How often hast thou come out of Formality only! How little have thine Af­fections been moved with that stupendous Love! Either Sin, or Malice to thy Neighbour, or some Worldly Trouble, hath made thee stay away. The Thoughts of this Love should have thrown down all thy Strong Holds of Iniquity, and left thee in a calm, holy, spiri­tual Temper: But how hast thou preferred thy little Concerns in the World before this Feast! And what Hazards hast thou run of being doomed to a Spiritual Famine; as those Guests, against whom the Master of the Feast protested, that they should never taste of his Supper!

20. Likewise also the Cup after Supper, saying, this Cup, is the New Testament of my Blood, which is shed for you.

AT how dear a rate was the remission of our sins purchased! The Blood of the Son of God was the Price! Greater Love hath no Man shewn, than that he lay down his life for his Friends; but here is one that laid it down for his Enemies, that they may be pardoned! How hast thou looked upon this pardon, O my Soul, sometimes without standing amazed at the height, and breadth, and depth, and length of the love of God! How cold hast thou been in thy desires after this precious Blood! Thou should'st have stood under the Cross, waiting for the drops that trickled down! But the familiarity of the joyful news of it, alas! hath too of­ten wrought in thee a dis-esteem of it▪ Nay! how light hast thou made of this remission! and by making so light of it, thou hast profan'd it too, when thou hast sinned, because God is willing to pardon sinners, and hast made that pardoning Blood an encouragement to indulge thy self in thy carnal satisfactions; hath not this been count­ing the Blood of the Covenant an unholy thing!

21. But behold the hand of him, that betrays me, is with me on the Table.

AND didst thou never approach the Table of thy Lord with a treacherous Heart, O my Soul! Hast not thou pretended Friendship, when thou hast been an Enemy, while thou hast been loth to part with a darling bosom sin, or to examine, what secret sins thou wert guilty of, that thou mightest not be forced to part with them! Hast not thou shewn much love with thy Lips, while thy Heart hath gone astray from thy Redeemer? Thou hast, it may be, confessed thy self to be a sinner in general, and so hast joyned thy self to the croud of God's People, and come to the Sup­per [Page 428] of thy Lord! But while thou hast been loth to de­scend to any particular sins, hast not thou thereby dis­covered thy secret love to sin, and thy feigned and coun­terfeit love to the Holy Jesus!

22. And truly the Son of Man goes, as it was deter­mined; but woe unto that Man, by whom he is be­trayed!

HOW dreadful a thing is it to be instrumental in a Sin! And yet thou hast made nothing of it, O my Soul! How hast thou suffer'd thy self to be imployed by others in things, which have been apparently unlaw­ful! How apt hast thou been to tell a Lye after ano­ther, especially for a near Relation or a Superiour! How apt hath thy Conscience been to dispense with Offen­ces against a Gracious God, to please those from whom thou hast expected some benefit and advantage! Hath not the Word of God been Blasphemed by wicked Men through thy neglect of thy Saviours Commands! How often hast thou scandalized and given offence to other Men by thy unchristian? And how little hast thou minded the threatnings of the Holy Ghost in this case? And while thou hast not only sinned thy self, but holpen to draw others into sin, hast not thou thereby made thy self lyable to the Righteous Judgment of God?

23. And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.

INdeed Self-examination is the only way to come to a right knowledge of our selves: Yet how careless, O my Soul, hast thou been of this Duty! How easily mightest thou have found, that thou wert guilty of such a sin, and didst transgress such a Command; but thou would'st not! How much better is it to be acquainted with our own Hearts, than to be strangers to our selves! And what danger dost thou involve thy self in, for want of this Holy search! How dost thou prepare for Self-delusion! [Page 429] And how impure must thy Heart grow! what a Dunghil, what a sink, what a stye of filthiness, where it is not purged by such explorations! The Disease be­ing known, it may be cured; but lying hid, it kills and destroys, when we think all is safe! How easie a matter were it to enquire, whether thou art that Hypocrite, that unprofitable servant, that loiterer, that slothful Person, that busie body, which the Holy Ghost condemns! Yet thou hast shunned this search, and been afraid of it, as of Poison! Whereas it is the only Medicine, from which thou may'st promise thy self an happy recovery.

24. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted greatest.

SEE how worldly Thoughts will croud in, if we do not watch, even when we are engaged in the most serious acts of Worship! And hast not thou found such worldly sensual Thoughts enter into thy Mind, O my Soul, when thou hast been employed in the great­est Duties, even at the Holy Sacrament it self! And have not they come in with thy allowance, and approba­tion, and when they have surpriz'd thee, hast not thou harboured them, made much of them, and been loth to expel them! How reverend should thy Thoughts be upon such occasions! How free from such Extravagan­cies! How sequestred from a vain World! How should they be taken up with the love of God! How should the Glory of God ingross their strength and power! See by this, which way thy Byass leans! Behold by this, how strongly thy Heart bends to things below! O when will it fix upon the things which are above!

25. And he said unto them, the Kings of the Gentiles exercise Lordship over them, and they that exercise Authority upon them, are called Benefactors.

HOW unfit and improper is it for a Christian to conform to the Word! As improper, as for a Man [Page 430] of reason to imitate Children or Mad-men! Yet how fond hast thou been, O my Soul, of the pomp and glo­ries of this World! How hast thou admired the Riches, and the Grandeur of it! How hast thou wished thy self in such a great Man's place! Though the Apostles were somewhat ambitions before Christ's Ascension into Hea­ven, yet, after the effusion of the Holy Ghost, they saw with other Eyes, and despised these sublunary Honours and Dignities, as much as they esteemed them before. O my Soul! when wilt thou follow this great example! By the Rules of thy profession, thou art to despise the World, and though thou art in the World, yet not to love the World! Notwithstanding this Command, how dost thou hancker after these Onions and Garlick, those certain Marks of the House of Bondage! How strong is thy Appetite to follow the fashions of the World! And how apt art thou to make the humour of the age thy pattern!

26. But ye shall not be so; but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

AY! Self-denial is that, which doth best become a Christian; that's the best Ornament he can put on, and which makes him look most lovely in the Eyes of God: Yet how inconsiderable hath this dress been in thine Eyes, O my Soul! How loth hast thou been to deny thine Eyes such a dangerous object, thine Ears such a Syren's Voice, thy Mouth such a delicate dish, thy Feet such vain company, thy Tongue such a smutty jest, thy Hand such a lustful touch, and thy Mind such a lascivious or covetous thought! How hast thou thought thy self un­done, when thou hast not had, what thy sensual appe­tite did crave! and how raging have thy desires been after that which would ruin thee! How loth hast thou been to deny thy self in superfluities, and to bestow them on the poor! How hard hast thou thought it to shun such a place, where thou knewest, thou shouldst be tempt­ed and be perswaded unto Sin!

27. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at Meat, or he that serveth? Is not he, that sits at Meat? But I am among you, as one that serveth.

HOW beautiful is Humility! The Son of God himself is enamoured with it, tho' his business was to Command, not serve, yet he chuses to serve, rather than to exercise Authority! How unlike thy Saviour hast thou been, O my Soul! How Proud! How Self-conceited! How apt to prefer thy self before others! And how apt to think better of thy self than others! How apt to despise mean services in the Church of God! and how loth to be employed in things that make for God's Glory; merely because thou hast been afraid they would blemish thy credit and reputation in the World! How loth hast thou been to visit thy poor Neighbor, or to dress his Wounds, or to tend him, when destitute of Friends or Kindred! What a disparagement hast thou thought it to pay respect to thine Inferiors! and how hast thou chosen the Upper Rooms at Feasts, and other Meetings, and loved the praise of Men more than the praise of God!

28. Ye are they, which have continued with me in my Temptations.

IT is not enough to stand a blow or two, but to hold out to the end. To stay with Christ a few Weeks or Years, and then to forsake him, is base Cowardice; yet how weary, O my Soul, hast thou been of thy Ma­ster's service! How soon hast thou been tired with De­votion! How dull hath Prayer made thee! If thou hast been fervent for a few days, how soon hast thou given over! What excellent progress didst thou make in Re­ligion, when low in the World, and how art thou chan­gest, since prosperous fortunes have flown in upon thee! Or if thou hast believed and rejoyced in the light for a time, how hast thou in the hour of Temptation turned [Page 432] thy back, and like an hireling fled away! The Fruit thou hast brought for