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preparation is very remarkable, the care and anxiety of the king that all the people should be duly sanctified.
“The king had taken counsel, and his princes and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the Passover in the second month ; for they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently.” (2 Chron. xxx. 2, 3.)
And then, because some of the people who assembled had inadvertently eaten of the Passover without the legal cleansing, he prays for them to be forgiven, signifying at the same time, that though God might pardon the deficiency of their fulfilling the external law, yet he would certainly expect a preparation of the heart.
“ For a multitude of the people, even many of Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet did they eat the Passover, otherwise than it was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, the good Lord pardon every one, that prepareth his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his Fathers, though he be not cleanscd according to the purification of the sanctuary.” (2 Chron. xxx. 18, 19.)
It is then upon these Scripture principles, and from these precedents, that the Church holds out to her people the duty of preparation before a communion in the Lord's Supper. In the Catechism, to the question “ What is required of those who come to the Lord's Supper ?” she makes answer_" To examine themselves whether they repent them truly of their former sins, stedfastly purposing to lead a new life, have a lively faith in God's mercy through Christ, with a thankful remembrance of his death, and be in charity with all men;" and to the minister when he gives warning of any day to be fixed as a day of communion, shé commands certain notices to be read, in which the same duty is more explicitly and fully laid down, in order that none may presume to approach God's holy altar with heedless or irreverent minds. Whether Christians
be communicants only once a month, or happily every week, still it is the same duty, and the same voice of warning
- PREPARE YOUR HEARTS UNTO THE LORD.”
(1 Sam. vii. 3.)
These things being understood and acknowledged, as indeed they cannot fail to be, we cannot do better than follow the order of our Church, and take for our first consideration those topics of warning which she sets before the communicant in her Book of Common Prayer. Let us take this warning step by step, first reading over the words carefully, and then at each break or division of the subject, pause for the sake of meditation and reflection.
On the Sunday or Holy-day preceding, the minister of God stands forth the messenger and herald of his divine Master, even as John the Baptist, the forerunner and preparer of the way. He bids the people to get ready, to make straight their paths, to gird up their