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and tedious y, as the rules of art, if we consider that all are not to be used at all times, nor by every person; but are instruments fitted to several necessities, and useful when they can do good, and to be used no longer. For he that uses these, or any the like advices by way of solemnity, and in periodical returns, will still think fit to use them at every communion, as long as he lives; but be that uses them as he should, that is, to effect the work of reformation upon his soul, may lay them all aside, according as his work is done. But if we would, every day, do something of this; if we would, every day, prepare for the day of death, or, which is of a like consideration, for the day of our communion; if we would, every night, examine our passed day; and set our things in order ; if we would have a perpetual intercourse and conversation with God; or, which is better than all examinations in the world, if we should actually attend to what we do, and consider every action, and speak so little, that we might consider it; we should find, that, upon the day of our communion, we should have nothing to do, but the third particular, that is, “The Offices of Prayer and Eucharist, and to renew our graces by prayer and exercises of devotion.
Devotions to be used upon the Morning of the Communion. 1. O BLESSED Lord, our gracious Saviour and Redeemer Jesus, King of kings, and Lord of lords ; thou art fairer than the children of men ; upon thee the angels look, and behold, and wonder: what am I, O Lord, that thou, who fillest heaven and earth, shouldest descend and desire to dwell with me, who am nothing but folly and infirmity, misery and sin, shame and death?
2. I confess, O God, that when I consider thy greatness, and my nothing, thy purity, and my uncleanness, thy glory and my shame,- I see it to be infinitely unreasonable and
Quisquis amore venit, nescit se ferre laborem:
Ven. Fortunat. lib. iii. epigr. 57.
presumptuous that I should approach to thy sacred presence, and desire to partake of thy sacraments, and to enter into thy grace, and to hope for a part of thy glory. But when I consider thy mercy and thy wisdom, thy bounty, and thy goodness, thy readiness to forgive, and thy desires to impart thyself unto thy servants,-then I am lifted up with hope: then I come with boldness to the throne of
Even so, O Lord, because thou hast commanded it, and because thou lovest it should be so.
3. It was never heard, O Lord, from the beginning of the world, that thou didst ever despise him that called upon thee; or forsake any man that abides in thy fear; or that any person who trusted in the Lord, was ever confounded. But if I come to thee, I bring an unworthy person to be united unto thee; if I come not, I shall remain unworthy for ever; if I stay away, I fear to lose thee; if I come, I fear to offend thee, and that will lose thee more, and myself too at last. I know, O God, I know, my sins have separated between me and my God; but thy love and thy passion, thy holiness and thy obedience, hath reconciled us: and though my sins deter me, yet they make it necessary for me to come; and though thy greatness amazes me, yet it is so full of goodness, that it invites me.
4. O therefore, blessed Saviour, who didst, for our sakes, take upon thee our passions and sensibilities, our weaknesses and our sufferings, who wert hungry after the temptation of the devil, weary and thirsty in thy discourse with the woman of Samaria,-- who didst weep over Lazarus,- wert aflicted in the garden,--whipped in the Consistory,-nailed on the cross,--pierced with a spear,-wrapped in linen,- laid in the grave,- and so art become a merciful High Priest, and pitiful to our infirmities ;- be pleased to receive a weary sinner, an over-burdened conscience, an afflicted, polluted soul, into thy care and conduct, into thy custody and cure. I know, that a thousand years of tears and sorrow, the purity of angels, the love of saints, and the humiliation of the greatest penitent, is not sufficient to make me worthy to dwell with thee, to be united to thy infinity, to be fed with thy body, and refreshed with thy purest blood, to become bone of thy bone, and flesh of thy flesh, and spirit of thy spirit.
5. But what I cannot be of myself, let me be made by
thee; I come to thee, wounded, and bruised, and bleeding; for thou art my physician: arise then with healing in thy wings. I am thirsty and faint; as the hart longeth after the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God; thou art the eternal fountain, from whence spring the waters of comfort and salvation ; I am hungry, and empty, and weak, and I come running after thee, because thou hast the words of eternal life; O send me not away empty, for I shall faint and die; I cannot live without thee. O let virtue go forth from thee and heal all my sickness; do thou appear to my soul in these mysteries ; heal my sores, purify my stains, enlighten my darkness, turn me from all vain imaginations and illusions of the enemy, all perverseness of will, all violence and inordination of passions, sensual desires, and devilish angers, lust and malice, gluttony and pride, the spirit of envy, and the spirit of detraction; let not sin reign in my members, nor the devil lead my will captive, nor the world abuse my understanding, and debauch my conversation.
6. O Jesus, be a Jesus unto me: and let this sacrament be a savour of life,—and thy holy body, the bread of life,-and thy precious blood, the purifier of my sinful life. Grant I may receive these divine mysteries for the amendment of my life and the defensative against my sins; for the increase of virtue, and the perfection of my spirit; grant that I may from thee, thus sacramentally communicated, derive prevailing grace for the amendment of my life; spiritual wisdom, for the discerning the ways of peace; the spirit of love, and the spirit of purity, that in all my life I may walk worthy of thy gracious favours, which thou givest to me unworthy; that I may do all my works in holiness and right intention, that I may resist every temptation, with a never-fainting courage, and a caution never surprised, and a prudence never deceived.
7. Sweetest Saviour, I come to thee upon thy invitation, and thy commandment; I could not come to thee but by thee;
O let me never go from thee any more, but enter into my heart; feed me with thy word; sustain me with thy Spirit; refresh me with thy comforts, and let me in this divine mystery receive thee, my dearest Saviour: and be thou my wisdom and my righteousness, my sanctification and redemption. Let me receive this holy nutriment, as the earnest of än eternal inheritance, as a defensative against all spiritual
danger, for the eviction of all the powers of the enemy : as an incentive of holy love, and a strengthening of my faith for the increasing of a holy hope, and the consummation of a heavenly love; that, thou being one with me, and I with thee, I may, by thee, be gracious in the eyes of thy heavenly Father, and may receive my portion among the inheritance of sons, 0 eternal and most gracious Saviour and Redeemer Jesus. Amen, Amen.
OF OUR COMPORTMENT IN AND AFTER OUR RECEIVING
THE BLESSED SACRAMENT.
Of the Circumstances and Manner of Reception of the Divine
Mysteries. It is the custom of the church of great antiquity, and proportionable regard, that every Christian, that is in health, should receive the blessed sacrament fasting. The apostles and primitive bishops at first gave it after supper, or together with it; but that soon passed into inconvenience; and some were drunken, and some were empty and despised, and the holy sacrament was dishonoured, and the Lord's body was not discerned; and God was provoked to anger, and the sinners were smitten and died in their sin ; as appears in the sad narrative which St. Paula makes of the misdemeanors and the misfortunes in the Corinthian churches. Something like to which, is that, which Socrates tells of Christians in Egypt; they celebrated the holy communion at evening, but
“ till they had filled themselves with varieties of choice meatb.”. Of some also in Africa that communicated at evening, St. Austin speaks; and of others who communicated both morning and evening; at evening, because St. Paul called it delavov Kuplanòy, 'The Lord's Supper;' and in the
* 1 Cor. xi. 21, 30.
morning, from the universal custom of the church, which, in most places, from the very days of the apostles, prevailed, that the holy eucharist should be given to none, but to them that were fasting :- Which thing was also decreed in the third council of Carthage, and hath been observed ever since. And in this the church hath, not without good reason, taken up the custom.
For besides that the intemperance of them, that feasted before they communicated, did not only give scandal to the religion, but did infinitely indispose them that came, and dishonour the divine mysteries; and such feastings would for ever be a temptation and a snare, and therefore could not be cured so well, as by taking the occasion away;besides these things, the church observed, that, in the time of the synagogue, the servants of God did religiously abstain from meat and drink upon all their solemn feast-days, till their great offices of religion were finished : and, that upon this account, the Jews were scandalized at the disciples for eating the ears of corn early on the sabbath; and Christ excused them only upon the reason of their hunger, that is, upon necessity or charity. And after all, even by natural reason and experience we find, that they pray and worship best, who are not loaden with meat and drink ; and that, therefore, this solemnity, being the greatest worship of God in the whole religion, consequently ought to be done with all advantages. It was, therefore, very reasonable, that the church took up this custom; and, therefore, they who causelessly do prevaricate it, shall bear their own burden, and are best reproved by St. Paul's words, “ We have no such custom, nor the churches of God.” But sick people and the weak, are as readily to be excused in this thing, as the apostles were, by Christ, in the case before mentioned : for necessity and charity are to be preferred before such ceremonies and circumstances of address.
1. When you awake in the morning of your communionday, give God thanks particularly, that he hath blessed thee with so blessed an opportunity of receiving the symbols of pardon, the ministry of the Spirit, the sacrament of Christ
• Ut sacramenta altaris non nisi a jejunis hominibus celebrentur, excepto uno die anniversario, quo cæna Domini celebratur. - Vide Zonar, in hunc Canon. et Concil. Matiscon. 2. et Petrum Abailardum epist. 8.