« 上一頁繼續 »
of life, and brings him forth in the second birth; a birth that makes men heirs of heaven, and gives us a title to everlasting happiness.
3. Arise, therefore, O my soul, and intercede for pity upon the unhappy state of fallen mankind, which neither nature nor law could bring to perfection. For though they under the law were trained up in a set form of discipline, which grew and spread into a public religion, and was uniformly professed by a whole nation; yet they had but weak conceits of the kingdom of heaven, and imperfect means to bring them thither: and as to those high and supernatural mysteries, that so gloriously exalt the Christian faith, they all were blind or in the dark, and-dangerously exposed to the effects of their own ignorance, wanting those
clear and powerful motives to love their God; God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect, Heb. xi. 40. Nevertheless, this prepared them for the times of grace; so that if any riper souls came forward to the birth, there wanted spirit to bring them forth; but send out thy Spirit, O Lord, and they shall be created, and from the death of sin, be raised to the life of holiness : send out thy Spirit, and renew the face of the earth ; and our weeds and thorns shall be turned into a para dise, through Jesus Christ.
4. Let us adore that blessed Spirit, who bestoweth his favours as he pleaseth; and the more he hath given, still the more he giveth ! O Holy Ghost, fit and dispose me, thy servant, first to entertain thee, and then graciously vouchsafe to descend into my heart; and make me, the more I receive of thee, still desire to receive thee more; till I shall ascend to those satisfying joys above, where all
my faculties shall be enlarged, where they shall be filled with fulness itself, and overflow with a torrent of pleasure for evermore ; where they shall be satisfied with the plenteousness of thy house: and thou shalt give them drink of thy pleasures, as out of the river : for with thee is the well of life, and in thy light shall we see light. Psalm xxxvi. 8, &c.
But, О ungrateful man! was it not enough to receive of our God all we have and are ? was it not enough that the Son of God should come down, and live to teach thee, and die to redeem thee ? was not all this enough to make thee love him ? and love is all he aimed at, and was all that man needed. I must confess to thee, O merciful Lord, I will confess to thee, our deplorable condition. Such was, alas! the corruption of human nature, and so many and strong the temptations round about us, that without this thy last miraculous favour of sending the Holy Ghost to guide and quicken us, we
should have still remained in our old dull státe ; slow to understand, and slower to obey.
A prayer on Thursday Morning for our sanctification, pre
paratory to a worthy receiving of the Holy Sacrament.
Whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Rom. viii. 30.
ETERNALLY blessed and infinitely, glo
rious Lord God and Saviour, who keepest mercy for thousands, and forgivest the iniquities of all thy truly penitent returning sinners; I present myself this morning before thee, acknowledging my manifold sins, in hopes of obtaining thy gracious favour, and of becoming a partaker of the most holy sacrament. But, O my God, I do not presume to come to that great feast of thy body and blood, upon the least opinion of my own worthiness; for, when I reflect on my sinful life, I am even afraid to come, lest I should eat and drink my own damnation.
But when I consider thy infinite mercies unto mankind, and thy own words, calling all men without exception; and knowing that thy crucified body is not only food to nourish but physic to cure, I, that am but dust and ashes, beg leave to come to thy holy table, and with my imperfect faith to feed upon some crumbs of the bread of life.
I confess, O Lord, my wedding garments are not without seam, but I come to repair them at thy cross ; from thy bitter sorrows to derive into my soul a godly sorrow, working repentance to salvation ; from thy broken body a broken heart; from thy warm blood, flowing from thy wounded side, zeal and fervency; that I may admire, love, and serve thee, my God, as I ought to do.
O good God, to whom every thing is possible, sanctify my corrupt nature, and let thy gracious aids supply all my defects, and so help my infirmities, that I may live in thy love and fear, die in thy favour, and be prepared for receiving the great mystery on next Sunday, and for the great account I am one day to give, and be received with thy faithful servants to the joy of thy kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Here observe the directions given on page 8, and more particularly endeavour to improve your soul by reading a lesson out of the New WHOLE DUTY OF MAN, Sunday 5, Section I.
THE MEDITATION FOR THURSDAY EVENING,
On receiving the most Holy Sacrament. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh; which I will give for the life of the world. John vi. 51. 1. I WILL ascend with the blessed Jesus
up to Jerusalem, to eat the paschal lamb with his disciples, which they made
ready in a large upper room ready furnished and prepared : I will entreat him to purge my soul, and to enable me also to prepare a large upper room, wherein to entertain him, elevated from this filthy world, above the poor and empty satisfactions of it.
2. O blessed Jesus ! inspire me with faith, fill me with the love of thee, illuminate me with knowledge, cleanse me by repentance, in thy blood, that I may receive thee in the sacrament, the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, to the joy of my soul, to the establishment of it in all good, and for a protection against all evil.
3. Let us admire, O my soul, the constancy and obedience of the blessed Jesus, who, with great desire, did desire to eat his passover ; though he knew that after this feast his passion was then nigh at hand, would nevertheless go up to Jerusalem to the same, as a faithful son to his father's house, as a priest to the sanctuary, and a sacrifice to the altar.
4. Let us endeavour to practise according to his pattern, who, after supper was ended, did show a miracle of humility, washing the feet of his disciples with his own sacred hands, to give us the most perfect example of humility, and to extinguish our pride : For
5. By this means I shall partake of his graces, and be filled with his abundant love. I shall be washed from error and idle ima