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79 Lord's day, A. 20. 7. and that Custom continued for feveral Centuries of this 'tis probable Pliny the young spoke when he gave Trajan th' Emperor an Account of the Life and Manners of the Chriftians above 100 years after Chrift. And Fuftin Martyr, who liv'd 150 years after Christ, and Tertullian about 50 years after him relate the fame. In Epiphanius his time, about 400 years after Chrift, it was cuftomary in fome places to receive thrice a Week, Viz. Sundays, Wednesdays, and Frydays: and they look'd upon that practice as deriv'd from an Apoftolical Tradition. Socrates, firnamed Scholafticus, who liv'd in the 5th. Century, that in fome Churches they had the Sacrament conftantly on the Sabbath, or Saturday. S. Bazil in the 5th. Age, makes mention of a Custom in his time to Communicate four times a week, Sundays, Wednesdays, Frydays, and Saturdays. Afterwards fome receiv'd the Communion once in three Weeks. At last, as all things in progress of time deviate from the first Inftitution, the Chriftians came toReceiving of it thrice a Year, which they thought was the leaft a Man, who profess'd himfelt a Chriftian, could do: which occafion'd that Canon in the Counfil of Turin, That a Lay-man who did not Communicate thrice a year fhould be excommunicated, or, which is the fame, not be counted a Chriftian, And the 21th. Canon of our Church runs thus, In every Parish Church and Chapel where Sacraments are to be adminiftred with in this Realm, the holy Communion shall be miniftred by the Parfon. Vicar, or Minifter, fo often, and at fuch times as every Pa rishioner may Communicate, at least thrice in the Year,(whereof the Feast of Eaftor to be one) according as they are-appointed by the Book of Common Prayer. Provided that every Minifter as oft as he adminiftreth the Communion shall first receive that Sacrament himself. And it is manifeft the Church names three times a year as the very loweft degree of De votion, lefs than which it would account profaneness: and we have little or nothing to fay for our Communicating fo feldom as once a Month, but only this, that in moft places it is no oftener adminiftred. And by the XI Injunction of King WILLIAM III. Anno 1694. to th' Archbishops, Bishops, and reft of the Clergy, they were to Celebrate it frequently. All which plainly fuppofes, and recommends to us the often ufe of it, or rather implies an Obligation upon Christians to imbrace all opportunities of Receiving it. For
the Senfe and Meaning of any Law or Inftitution is be understood by the general Practice which follows immedia tely upon it.
S. 4. The Neceffity of Receiving appears by 6 reasons.
1 FROM th' obliging Nature of the Benefits and Fruits of it. Heb. 19.9. Bleffed are they who are called to the Lamb's Supper. And I may not live to have another opportunity or not have the like Grace and Affiftance from God, if I defpife this offer. 2, From th'obliging Import, and Expresness of our blefled Lord, fupream King, and Mafter, his Command about it, by name inferted, and particularly fpecified when S. Paul receiv'd his Commiffion. 3. It and Baptifm, these two cheap and eafy things, are his only Poffitive Commands, instead of the heavy yoke of the numerous, expenfive, and laborious Jewish Precepts. 4, It was his Dying and laft Command. 5. The neglect and contempt of this Sacrament, argues the neglect and contempt of his Love and BloudThedding, than which no fin in God's account can feem more hainous. 6, It is a Command which cannot without great Danger be neglected: for God has threatened to Punith the wilful neglect of his Sacraments under the Law with eternal Condemnation both of Body and foul: and Chrift in the Gospel will have hisCommands under the penalty of hisCurfe obey'd Nothing hinders why I may not come freely to the Lord's Table, except I had rather want the Love of God, than leave my filthy fins. If I pretend fear of Difpleafing God, it is, in reality, but a fear of being too ftrictly ingaged for to Pleafe Him. IF I would but fear to do that which God has forbidden, Ishou'd not then fear to do that which God has Com. manded. fee Part. 3. 8. 3. §. 8.
§. 5. AND this young people are alfo obliged to. as foon as they are capable of Examining themfelves, that is, are able to judge of what their Sponfors undertook for 'em in Baptifm, and understand what the Defign of Chrift's Death is, and what Offices of Love, and Acts of Justice are due to their Brethren. To remember their Redeemer, as well as their Creator in the daies of their youth; and to clofe affoon as they can with th' offers of Grace. And their early felf examination makes way for early Gravity, and helps to ripen their Understandings, and joyn'd with the
holy Sacrament is the way to reftrain their juvenal Defires, curb their extravagant Fancies, and arm them against Pride, Peevifhnefs, Quarrelling, Idleness, and other youthful fins, and is the best Antidote against Infection from a Debauch'd and Irreligious world. See Part 3. ch. 1. §. 6. §. 6. PREPARATION is evidently Neceffary for reafons.
1. Because it has ever been the Practice of all God's Saints. 2, Because I'fhall lofe all the Benefits of it, if I don't Prepare for th' Efficacy of this Sacrament is Receivd. according to the proportion of the Faith of the Receiver. 3, Because all thofe Tempers required to a worthy Com munion are neceffary parts of Duty, and of a good Man; So that if I'm not prepared for this Sacrament, I'm not fit for Prayer, or any other part of God's Worship, and Service, and by Confeqnence, not fit to dy in peace, or hope for happinefs. 4, Because I've God's command for t, Chrift's Example, and the Counsel of the Holy Ghost. 5, Because God has ever fmitten with fearful Iudgments those who have prefumed to use his holy Ordinances without due fear and Preparation.
S. 7. Preparation confifts in the ferious Confideration of three things.
Firft, OF the Worthiness of the Sacrament, termed to difcern the Lord's Body: which is confider'd three ways; By the Majefty of th' Author ordaining; By the Preciousnefs of the Parts whereof it confiits; and By th' Excellency of the Ends for which it was Ordain'd. Secondly, Ofmine .own Unworthinefs, which is to Judge my Self; by Examining my Life according to the Ten commandments of Almighty od, and my Baptifmal Vow, and New covenant. Thirdly, Of the Means whereby I may become a worthy Receiver, call'd Communication of the Lord's. Body; confifting in the Duties of a Sound Knowledge; a Lively Faith; Sincere Charity; Unfeigned Repentance; Earneft Affections and Defires towards God, and Religion, and particularly towards thofe Divine Mys teries; Self Refignation; Meditation of Christ's Paffion with Reflections on my felf; and Prayers futable to th Occafion. All which are Explain'd in this I Part. :
§. 8. The Author of this Sacrament WAS not any Saint, or Angel, but our Lord Fes Chrift, th' Eternal and only Begotten Son of God, far ahove all Principalities and Powers, higher than Angels or Archangels, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords He whofe Name is Wonderful: for it pertaineth only to Chrift under the New Teftament to Institute a Sacrament because He only can promife and perform the Grace that it fignifies. How Sacred fhould I efteem the Ordinance that proceeds from fo Divine an Author.
S. 9. The Precioufnefs of the Parts consists in First THE Earthly Signs fignifying; Bread and Wine, in number Two, but One in ufe. 2ly. The Divine Word Sanctifying; the Word of Chrift's Inftitution pronounced, with Prayers and Bleffings by a Lawful Minifter, making thofe Elements a Sacrament. The Word does not change or Annihilate the Subftance of the Bread and Wine, (for then it could be no Sacrament.) but changeth them in Use and Name. 3ly. The Spiritual Graces fignified; in number Two, the Body of Christ, (as it was, with the feeling of God's anger due to us) crucified; and his Bloud (as it was in like fort) Shed for the Remiffion of our Sins; but in use One, Viz. Whole Chrift, (who is in Heaven bodily, and no where else) but this Myftically, and after an ineffable Manner, with all the Benefits purchased by Him, offer'd to all, and given indeed to the Faithful. The Sign without this Word, or this Word wirhout the Sign can do nothing; and both conjoin'd are unprofitable without the Grace fignified; but all Three concurring make an Effectual Sacrament to a worthy Receiver.
§. 10. WHEN the Minifter gives Warning of an approaching Communion (which is generally feven days before, except for Christmas when it falls not upon a Sunday, and Afcenfion day which is alwaies on á Thursday, and in thefe cafes, which I alwaies know, I may use the Devotions for Sunday, the 7th. day before, for Monday the 6th., for Tuesday, the 5th. day before, &c as I have noted, and) I muft Try and Judge my Self by the Rule of God's Commandments &c; (judging the fame of my own Actions, as I would if they were done by the worst of my enemies;) The first of which forbids Apoftacy, Deifying the Creature, and Diittruft of God
The 2d. I dolatry, Superftition, Slight and careless Worship. The 3d. Blafphemy, Swearing falfly, or vainly, Curfing, Profaning holy things, and Sacriledge. The 4th. Neglect of the Sabbath, and other Holy times, and mifpending them in Idlenefs, or Debauchery. The 5th. In Superiors, Negligence, Pride, and Evil example; In Inferiors, Difobedience, Contempt, and Refifting. The 6th. Taking away life, Quarrelling, Anger, Revenge, and Cruelty. The 7th. Adultery, Fornication, Wanton defires, words, and behavior, and Drunkennefs. The 8th. Theft, Robbery, Oppreffion, Cheating, Unjuft detainings, and Idlenefs. The 9th. Falfe teftimonies, Lying, Slandering, Talebearing, and Flattery. The 10th, Covetousnefs Envy at others, and Discontent with my own Condition. Lord have mercy upon me, and write all these thy Laws in my heart, I befeech Thee.
S. II. Or in the words of our Catechifm.: By the Ten Commandments I learn two things: my Duty towards God, and my Duty towards my Neighbor.
my Duty towards God is to believe in Him, to fear Him, and to love Him with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my Soul, and with all my ftrength; to worship Him, to give Him rhanks, to put my whole truft in Him, to call upon Him, to honor his holy Name, and his Word, and to ferve Him truly all the days of my life.
Duty towards my Neighbor, is to love him as my felf, and to do to all Men as I would they fhould do unto me. To love, honor, and fuccour my Father and Mother. To honor and obey the King, and all that are put in Authority under him. To fubmit my felf to all my Governors, Teachers, fpiritual Paftors, and Mafters. To order my felf lowly, and reverently to all my Betters. To hurt no body by word or decd. To be true and just in all my Dealing. To bear no malice nor hatred in my heart. To keep my hands from picking and stealing, and my tongue from evil fpeaking, lying and flandering. To keep my Body in temperance, fobernefs, and Chaftity. Not to eovet nor defire other mens goods; but to learn and labor truly to get mine own Living, and to do my Duty, in that ftate of life, unto which it fhall please God to call me.