תמונות בעמוד

where God means to place his holy Spirit. It is like bringing of a swine into the propitiatory; such a presence cannot stand with the presence of the Lord. It is Dagon before the ark; the shechinah, the glory of the Lord, will depart from that unhallowed place.

But because the duty of repentance, as it is a particular grace, is limited and affirmative, and therefore is determinable by proper relations and accidents, and there is a special necessity of repentance before the receiving of the sacrament; we must inquire more particularly:

1. What actions or parts of repentance are necessary in our preparation to the receiving these divine mysteries?

2. How far a penitent must be advanced in a good life, before he may come safely; and how far, before he may come with confidence ?

3. What significations of repentance are to be accepted by the church?

4. Whether in case the duty be not performed, may every minister of the sacrament refuse to admit the wicked person, or the imperfect penitent that offers himself, and persists in the desire of it?


What Actions of Repentance are specially required in our Pre

parations to the holy Sacrament? The particular actions of repentance, which are to be performed in their proper seasons, which cannot be always actual, because they have variety, and cannot be attended to altogether, all such particulars of repentance are then in their season, they have this for their opportunity. For it is an admirable wisdom of God, so to dispose the times and advantages of religion, that by the solemnities of duty, our dispersions are gathered up,- our wanderings are united,

our indifferences are kindled, - our weariness is recreated,- our spirits are made busy, - our attention is

our powers are made active, - our virtues fermented: we are called upon, and looked after, and en

called upon,

gaged. For as it is in motion, and as it is in lines, a long and a straight progression diminishes the strength, and makes languishing and infirmity; but by doubling the point, or making a new centre, the moving body gathers up his parts and powers into a narrower compass,--and by union, as by a new beginning, is rescued from weakness and diminution; so it is in the life of a Christian :- when he first sets forth, he is zealous and forward, full of appetite, and full of holy fires; but when his little fuel is consumed, and his flame abates, when he goes on and grows weary, when he mingles with the world, and by every conversation is polluted or allayed, when by his very necessary affairs of life, he is made secular and interested, apt to tend his civil regards, and to be remiss in the spiritual, by often and long handling of money, beginning too much to love it, then we are interrupted in our declining piety: we are called upon by religion, and by the sacredness of this holy duty; we are made to begin again, not to go back, but to be re-enkindled.

Every time we receive the holy sacrament, all our duties are summed up; we make new vows, we chastise our negligence, we mend our pace, we actuate our holy purposes, and make them stronger; we enter upon religion, as if we had never done any thing before; we bring again our first penitential heats. And as when we pray, and pray long, our devotion slackens, and our attention becomes trifling, and by wandering thoughts we are gone very far from the observation of the offices,—the good man that ministers, calls out to us, . Let us pray ;' and then the wandering thoughts run home, then we are troubled that we have lost so much of our prayers, as we have not attended to: then we begin again, and pray the more passionately, by how much we observe ourselves to have been more negligent before. If God did not particularly call upon us by these religious necessities, and stop us by the solemn return of the sacrament, and stir up our fires, and remind us of our duty, and make actual seasons and opportunities for actual and great attendancies on religion, if God did not make some days, and some necessities, and some opportunities for heaven; the soul and her interest would not be at all regarded. For this life is the day for the body; and our needs do indeed require

so much attendance, and employ so much of our affections, and spend so much of our time, that it is necessary some abstractions and separations of time and offices be made.

Receiving the holy sacrament, is like a lock upon the waters, which makes them rise higher, and begin a fuller stream, as from a new principle of emanation. So that the repentance which is the duty of our life, and dispersed over all the parts and periods of it, like the waters in the first creation upon the face of the whole earth, is gathered together against the day of the Lord's communion, as into a bosom and congregation of penitential waters. Then you are to mourn for your sins, and to resolve against them: then you are to remember what vows you have already made and broken, how often you have prevaricated in your duty, and by what temptation you are used to fall: then you are to renew the strength of your purposes, to fortify your tenderest part, and to cut off all advantages from the enemy : then you must prune your vine, and make the branches bleed: then the bridegroom comes, and you must trim your lamp, and adorn it with the culture of religion; that is, against the day of communion, you must sum up all the parts of your repentance; for the sacrament is a summary of all the mysteries, and all the duty of the whole religion of a Christian. But baptism and the holy eucharist do nothing for us!, unless we do good works, and perfect them with a conjugation of holy duties, bringing forth fruits meet for repentance.

But our inquiry must be yet a little more particular.

There are some actions of repentance, which must be finished and made perfect, before we receive the holy communion: and there are some, which will be finishing all our life. Concerning the first, the question is, which they are, and what must be done concerning them. Concerning the second, we are to inquire how far we must have proceeded in them, before we may communicate.

Those parts of repentance which must be finished, before we approach the blessed sacrament, are these.

enodes trunci resecentur, ut alte
Exeat ad cælum ramis felicibus arbor.- Georg. ii. 78.

Parum est baptizari, et eucharistiam accipere, nisi quis factis et opere perficiat. - S. Cyprian.

1. We must have renounced, perfectly renounced, all affections to sin, and firmly purpose to amend all, to sin no more, to lead a new life in all solid and material practices of virtue. This we learn from Origen: "We eat the bread which is made a holy thing, and which sanctifies and makes holy all them, who use it with holy and salutary purposes," and designs of living holily: not by a solemn and pompous profession only, but with a real and hearty resolution, resolving not to say so, and be a fool; but to say so, because indeed we mean so; not to profess it because it is the custom of Christians, and the expectation of the solemnity, but because we intend really to be quit of the sin for ever, Now concerning our purposes of amendment, these things are to be taken care of.

1. That they be made prudently, attentively, sincerely, and with intuition upon a credible, possible, and designed effect. For there are some that make vows (purposes I cannot call them), which they believe impossible to keep; and no man can wisely purpose such things, of which he hath such belief: but they believe themselves inevitably engaged to commit a sin, and yet as inevitably engaged to say they will not. The Greeks tell of a famous fool among them; her name was Acco; who, when she saw herself in a glass, would discourse as wisely as she could to the other woman, and supposed her own shadow to be one of her neighbours; with whom sometimes she had great business, but always huge civilities; only she could never agree which of them should go away first, or take the upper hand. Such wise resolvers are some persons; they take the shadow of it for a substance, and please themselves by the entertainment of the images of things; and think that the outside, and the words of a promise, are the only thing that God requires : they and their promises do not know which shall go away first; the resolution quickly dies, and the man presently after; but the sin lives and abides there still, and will do so for ever.

Cast about and see; have you promised what you are likely to perform, and do you intend it in good earnest never to consent to sin, in no circumstance, and for no

"Αρτους έσθίομεν γινομένους άγιόν τι, και αγίαζαν τους μεθ' υγιούς προσθέσεως αυτό Xfwuévous. — Advers. Celsum. lib. viii.

argument, and by no temptation ? For he that resolves never to commit that, which he knows he shall commit, is like him, who resolves he will never die; his vain resolution sets not his death back one hour. It is hypocrisy and lying to say it before God, and it is folly and madness to pretend that we will do it, to ourselves. But of this I have already spoken

2. He that, in his preparation to the holy communion, purposes to live a holy life, must not judge of the goodness of his purposes by the present intendment, but by the consequent performance. He must not think it is well yet, because many good purposes are broken by temptations, disordered by supervening accidents, frustrate by impotency, and laid aside by purposes to the contrary ; such which Plutarcho compares to windy eggs, which, though they look fairly, yet produce no birds. Now by this consideration, it is not intended, that a man must defer his communion till he hath fully performed all his purposes of a holy life, for then he should never communicate till he dies ? : but by this we are advised to make such inquiry, and to use such cautions, and to require such indications of the reality of our purposes, as become wise, interested, and considering persons, who are undone if they be deceived, and receive damage by the profane and unholy usages of the divine mysteries, if they were cozened and abused themselves in the sincerity and efficacy of their preparatory purposes. Plato tells, that Alcibiades did sometimes wish Socrates had been dead, because he was ashamed to see him, for that he had not kept the promises, which he had so often made to him. If we, who often have communicated, do find that the purposes of reformation, which we have formerly made, proved ineffective ;- if we perceive that we have begged pardon for our lust, and yet still remain under the power of the passion; - if we have deplored our pride, and yet cannot endure to have others preferred before us;- if we have resolved against our hasty angers, and yet, after the communion, find

« Chap. ii. sect. 3.

• Tούς μεν ούν όρνισι τας υπηνεμίους λοχείας και ωδίνας, ατελών τινων και αψύχων itonpepata dipàs aérovou civas, &c.-Xyland. de Audit. t. ii. p. 38. E. (J. R. P.)

See Great Exemplar, part ii. sect. 12. n. 34.


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