« הקודםהמשך »
ces of religion, in order that such devout emotions, such a desire for heavenly enjoyments, may be excited in their minds, as shall prevent them from being buried in the cares and pursuits of this life.
Art thou deterred from the holy communion, O my soul, by a sense of thy unworthiness? But this sense of thy unworthiness, when it produces a resolution to forsake thy sins, is the first qualification of a devout communicant; for it is the first step towards reconciliation with God. Jesus Christ particularly invites those who are weary and heavy laden with the burden of their sins, and earnestly desire to be delivered from them, to come unto him and receive rest. And to these humble penitents does he dispense, in his holy supper, pardon, comfort, and spiritual strength.
Art thou afraid, O my soul, to come to the holy table, because in the daily business of the world thou art surrounded with temptations which may lead thee to break thy solemn resolutions? The lawful business of life never exposes men to temptations, which they cannot, through the assistance of God's grace, overcome by care and watchfulness. A view of the temptations to which thou art exposed should lead thee to the table of the Lord, for new supplies of spiritual strength to resist them.
Art thou deterred from this holy sacrament, O my soul, by the apprehension that sin committed after receiving it, will never be forgiven? Do not thus impiously distrust the mercy of God. Through the frailty of thy nature, and the manifold temptations which encompass thee, thou dost frequently transgress, and fall short of thy duty. Thou hast, therefore, the greater need of that mercy, and those succours of grace, which are conveyed in the holy eucharist to the humble and penitent. Be watchful over thy ways; pray for the grace of God to enable thee to perform thy vows of obedience to him; strive to get the mastery over thy sinful passions; and then come with humble confidence to that holy supper which seals to thee the gracious assurance that thou hast an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and that he is the propitiation for thy sins. Frequent commemoration of the love of thy Redeemer in the holy communion will tend to cherish all thy pious graces, and especially that lively faith in his mercy which will produce peace of conscience, and joy in the favour of thy God.
Do not delay thy reception of the Lord's Supper in the presumptuous expectation of being able to receive it on the bed of death. Alas! how canst thou prepare for this holy ordinance amidst the pains and agonies of a dying bed? How canst thou be certain, that death will not suddenly arrest thee? Do not flatter thyself with the uncertain hope of length of days, or of such warning of death
as will enable thee to prepare for its sum
Enter in earnest, and without delay, on the business of salvation. Inform thyself in the nature of the holy communion. Make suitable preparation for receiving it. Partake frequently of this heavenly banquet, during the period of health. Thus accustomed to the duties and exercises of the Christian life, thou wilt be fitted to receive the holy eucharist during sickness, or on a dying bed, as thy support at this trying hour, as the seal of God's pardon, as the pledge of thy triumphant passage through the grave and gate of death to immortal blessedness and glory.
Vain are all the pretences which would keep thee from the table of the Lord. By neglect of this holy institution, thou wilt forfeit inestimable blessings, thou wilt incur the heaviest guilt. To work out thy salvation, is the one thing needful; to secure immortal blessedness, an object of supreme importance. In tender compassion, the Redeemer hath provided, in his holy supper, the means of thy reconciliation to thy offended God, and of thy restoration to holiness and glory. Impressed with his infinite goodness, and earnestly desirous to be partaker of his salvation, resolve to commemorate his love in his holy supper; and receiving in penitence and faith the symbols of his body and blood, become partaker of his mercy, his grace, his everlasting glory.
Suited particularly to the State of a Person who, having lived in forgetful
ness of God, and in the neglect of his Christian Obligations, is awakened to a sense of his Guilt and Danger, and is desirous to seal his Pardon and Reconciliation with God, in the Holy Sacrament.
O LORD GOD, to whom I am bound by the most powerful and endearing ties! For thou art the author and preserver of my being, the source of all my mercies, my everlasting Redeemer and Judge: Thou hast lighted up in my soul those immortal powers, by which I am rendered capable of the fruition of thee, the fountain of perfection and bliss. Thy gracious Providence has conducted me through the dangers and trials of life;—thy rich bounty has supplied all my wants, and crowned my lot with mercy and loving-kindness;—thy uumerited grace has offered to me the blessings of everlasting life and redemption. O my God! I acknowledge, that the sincere and ardent service of my past life, would have been a feeble return to thee, for thine infinite love. With shame I confess, that even this inadequate tribute has been withheld from thee. With shame I confess, that though the solemn engagements of Baptism were imposed upon me, and its quickening grace conferred; though the fountain of thy mercy has been opened to me, in the sacrament of the body and blood of thy Son; though the sacred obligations and exalted rewards of thy service have been continually displayed to me, in the ministrations of the sanctuary; though thy Providence has called, thy Holy Spirit warned me, I have yet continued insensible to the claims of thy love, to my own highest duty and happiness. O Lord, I have violated the most solemn obligations. I have been insensible to the most exalted privileges. I have resisted the solicitations of thy grace, though urged by the precious blood of thy beloved Son, which was poured forth a sacrifice for my sins. For ever blessed be thy long-suffering mercy, O my God! that thou hast not given me up to the fruit of my own ways, that thou hast not inflicted upon me the punishment due to my ingratitude and guilt. Blessed be that grace, Almighty God, which has awakened me to an apprehension of my guilt and danger, to a sense of thine infinite claims to my homage and obedience. O do thou strengthen my desires of returning unto thee; my humble but earnest resolutions of choosing thee, as my satisfying portion. And for as much as thou hast opened to the humble and penitent, in the holy sacrament of the altar, the renovating fountain of grace and mercy, let me not neglect this endearing pledge of my Saviour's love. Prepare my heart, by the powerful influence of thy grace, for worthily receiving the crucified body and blood of my blessed Lord. Awaken my contrition, quicken my faith, enliven my love, confirm my resolutions of obedience; that going to the altar, relying on my Redeemer's merits and his righteousness, I may obtain reconciliation with thee, my God-may receive supplies of that quickening grace, which will conduct me through the sorrows and temptations of this mortal pilgrimage, to the blissful fruition, in the heavenly Zion, of the everlasting glories of the Godhead; to whom, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, my almighty Creator, my merciful Redeemer, my eternal Sanctifier, be ascribed all power and might, majesty and dominion, henceforth and for ever. Amen.