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Part I. to oblige me to long for 'em, and to caufe a difquiet in my foul till I be poffeffed of thefe ineftimable Treasures? If so, is it not fit, is it not reasonable, is it not neceffary that I fhould Eat often, and Drink often at this Table, except I'm afraid of being too Lively, too Good, or too Serious. I fee here how the great Commander of Heaven and Earth offers Reconciliation to a defperate offender, preventing him. (tho' he should have been the first, and should have fought and implored God's Pardon,) and with his Royal hands, unask'd, bestowing upon him a Patent of Grace and Mercy; how the Supream Judge, who has abfolute 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 fuperfede all Actions against him; how th' Everlasting Father is ready to receive the Prodigal into his Houfe again, to admit him to his Table who had fpent all his fubftance in riotous living, ready to kill the fatted Calf for him, to put a Ring on his finger, and to betroth him to Himfelf in Righteousness; how He, before whom all the Nations are as Grashoppers, offers to imbrace a Worm that has refifted Him, fpoken ill of Him, prostituted his Glory, expofed Religion, and ftudied and contriv'd ways to Dishonor Him. Here I fee the Son of God ready with the Balfam of his Bloud to anoint the wretch that made the wounds; and Dying for one, the multitude of whofe Offences has feem'd to Vie with the Number of God's Mercies; how infinite Light offers to twift its Raies with loathfom Darkness; and how the greateft Prince proceeds to thofe exceffes of Humility as to give the greatest Sinners room and entertainment in his Banquetting-houfe; to call them Brethren, and Friends, and fheep of his Flock, than which there are fcarce more indearing Titles. All this I behold here, and fhall not fuch a wonderful Scene, of Charity blow thofe little Sparks of Affection I find within into greater Flames? Can I fee here what God has done for me, who have acted more treacherously against Him, than my greatest enemy ever,did or can do againft me and fhall not this raise Compaffion in me to my Fellow fervants, and move me to lay down all Wrath and Enmity to them, whofe Injuries are but Flea bites in comparison of thofe I ha offered to the best of Beings?
105 And fince this Sacrament is fo ftrong an Ingagement to this Charity, and th' exercise of it fo frequently necessary, it ftands in reason that frequent Communicating must be neceffary too; the rather because we are fo often in danger of breaking the Bond of Peace, and diffolving the Cement which muft knit and hold Chriftians together.
§. 3. Of Charity necessary to a worthy Reception.
CHARITY is that Fire from Heaven which must inkindle the Sacrifice, or God will never accept it for an Atonement for altho' it be true that God Loves me first, yet He will not continue to love me, or proceed in the Methods of his kindness, unless I become like unto Him, and Love for by my Love and Charity He will Pardon me, and He will Comfort me, and He will Judge me. and He will fave me; and it can never be, well with me till Love, that governs Heaven it felf, be the Prince of all my Actions and my Paffions. 1 Cor. 13. 13. The greateft of thefe is Charity. The Offices and general Duties of Charity are Three, I Doing Good, 11 Speaking Good. III Forgiving Evil. First, DOING GOOD to all I can by Alms, Counfels, ftopping their Entry into fin, folly, and shame, Keeping them from all the Harm I can, not Laughing at their Miscarriages, Exculing their Faults, Delighting in their Joy, Honor, and Profperity, Ready to do all good Offices to all I can converfe with. See Appendix §. 45. Secondly, SPEAKING GOOD; if it be not in my Hand to do Well, it must be in my Heart, and the contrary muft never be upen my Tongue. I'm fure I can speak Well, or I can abstain from speaking Ill. I must be as careful of the Reputation as of the Life of my Brother, that is, of all Mankind. To be apt to Speak well of all Men, is a fign of a Charitable and good Man. Thirdly, FORGIVING EVIL. To which purpose I must follow that excellent Advice of Jefus the Son of Sirach, Ecclus. 19. 13.17. Admonifh a friend, it may be he has not done it: and if he have done it, that he do it no more. Admonish thy friend, it may be he has not faid it: and if he have, that he speak it not again. Admonish a friend: for many times it is a fander, and believe not every tale. There is one that flippeth in bis fpeech, but not from his heart; and who is he That has not offended with his tongue? Admonish thy neighbor before thou threaten Him, and not being angry, give place to the
- Part I. law of the moft High. I muit not exact every little Ignorance, nor grow warm at every Mistake, nor be angry at an unavoidable Chance, or rafh Word; and in Malice I must be as Children, whofe little Quarrels, tho' they be fierce as a little fpark, are as foon out, and forgotten perfectly as their firft dream. I muft forgive every Man, and every Offence, whether he ask it or ot: If th' Offender does not come to me, I must go offend to him; ft. With a Mind free from all Intentions of Revenge, 2, Not to pray to God to take revenge of my Enemy, nor delight in it if it happens. 3, Never to upbraid his Crime any more. 4, I muft not purfue my own anger and revenge, and bring him to Evil, tho' I be certain the man is in the wrong, and finn'd against God in the cafe; for as I have nothing to do to Pardon God's enemies, and vile perfons; fo neither have I, as a private man, any thing to do to Punish'em, 5, I must fo Pardon my Enemy as that I indeavor to make him my Friend; not fhow him Mercy to make a Triumph, but relieve his Need, and be troubled that he needs it; not to order my Pardon that it fhall glorify my Kindness, and upbraid and reproach his fin. To Pardon my Enemy as David did Abfolom, that's true Charity. 6, I muft fo Pardon my Enemy that I restore him to rhe fame state of Love and Friendship as before, if he repents, & asks Pardon, and makes Amends as he can: as God fo freely, fo intirely Pardons, that He neither Condemns by Revenging, nor Confounds by Upbraiding, nor Loves lefs by Imputing. IN the Bleffings of Christ, and the Communion of his Body and Bloud, th' Uncharitable and Revenging man fhall neverhave a Portion. See more Part III. ch. 3. §. I. 8. ch. 4. §. 1, 4, 5, 6.
§. 4. Of Repentance preparatory to the blessed
1. I Muft have renounced, perfectly renounced all Affections to Sin, and firmly purpofe to Amend all, and never to commit any Sin concerning which I can deliberate, and to ftand upon my guard against all, by ufing Prayer, prudent Caution in my whole Conversation, and all the Inftruments of Grace for the Deltruction of the Whole body of Sin: And I must have made fome
progrefs in the Reformation of my life, and actually broken th' Habit of Sin; and begun to lead a New life in all folid and material practices of Vertue, by reason of the Love of God working in my heart. 3, I must have quitted all my next and immediate Occafions of Habitual fins, all thofe States of Evil, tho' with the greatest inconvenience to my Affairs and Fortune, by which fo long as I dwell I cannot ftand uprightly, for no Intereft can be laid in Ballance against a soul. . Mat. 16. 26. What is a man profited, if he fhall gain the whole World, and lofe his own foul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his foul? 3, I must have made Actual Reftitution; Perfect Amends, Intire Satisfaction, and be really Reconciled to my Offended Brother, if it has been in my Power; and if not, I must unfeignedly Refolve to do it as foon, and as well as morally I can, and do no new Injury.
S. 5. V Commandment.
HAVE I not ommitted, or acted contrary to my Duty in thefe Relations wherein I ftand? Have I not Cenfured, Envied, or Railed againft my Domeftical, Ecclefiaftical, or Civil Governors, inftead of Honoring, Imitating, and Praying for' em? Have I not been Undutiful to my Parents, Difloyal to my King, Stubborn or Unfaithful to my Mafter; Refractory and Unthankful to my Minister; Peevish and Unkind to my Yoke-fellow, or to my Brother or Sifter, or Friend? Have I been careful to Inftruct and Incourage in Welldoing, To Reprove and Chaftife for Ill-doing, thofe under my Charge? Lord, have mercy upon me, and &c.
§. 6. VI. Commandment.
IF I have not actually taken away the Life of any 'perfon; Yes have I not made my Neighbors life grievous; concealed Defigns against it; or willingly haftened his Death, or wifhed it? Have I not by fighting or quarrelling wounded or maimed him; or drawn him to any Vie which might deftroy his Health, or fhorten his Life? Have I not been rafhly and immoderately Angry, or ufed Reviling and Quarrelfom fpeeches, or harbored Thoughts and purposes of Revenge? Have I not been
Intemperate in Meat or Drink; or any other ways prejudiced my own Health, or indanger'd my Life? Lord have mercy ¿oc.
§. 7. Psalm 116.
I am well pleafed': that the LORD hath heard the voice of my Prayer. That He hath inclined his ear unto me therefore wilt I call upon Him as long as I live. The fnares of death compaffed me round about: and the pains of hell gat hold upon me. I fhall find trouble and heavinefs, and I will call upon the Name of the LORD: O LORD, I befeech Thee, deliver my foul. Gracious is the LORD, and righteous: yea, our God is merciful. The LORD preferveth the simple: I was in mifery, and He helped me. Turn again then unto thy reft, O my foul: for the LORD hath rewarded Thee. And why? Thou haft delivered my foul from death: mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD: in the land of the living. I believed, and therefore will I speak, but I was fore troubled: Í faid in my hafte, All men are liars. What reward fhall I give unto the LORD: for all the benefits that He haih done unto me? I will receive the cup of Salvation: and call upon the Name of the LORD. I will pay my vows now in the prefence of all his people: right dear in the fight of the LORD is the death of his faints. Behold, O LORD, how that I am thy fervant: I am thy Servant and the fon of thine handmaid, Thou haft broken my bonds in funder. I will offer to Thee the Sacrifice of thanksgiving and will call upon the Name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD in the fight of all his people: in the courts of the LORD's houfe, even in the midft of Thee, O Jerufalem. Praise the LORD. Glory be to the Father &c. As it was &c.
§. 8. V Penitential Pfalm, 102,
E my Prayer, O LORD, and let my crying come unto Thee. Hide not thy face from me in the time of my trouble: incline thine ears unto me when I call; O hear me and that right foon. For my daies are.. confumed away like fmoke: and my bones are burnt up as it were a fire-brand. My heart is fmitten down, and withered like grafs: fo that I forget to eat my bread.