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COME unto me all ye that labour and are
heavy laden, and I will refresh you.' The bread that I will give, is my flesh; which I will give for the life of the world. Take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you ; this do in remembrance of me. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. The words which I spake unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Matt. xi. 28. John vi. 51. I Cor. xi. 24. John vi. 56, 63.
2. Rise, then, my soul, and take thy swiftest wings, fly to this great mystery. There we shall see the Prince of Peace sacrifice himself to reconcile us with the Father: there we shall see, O stupendous mercy! the Son of God with heavenly food entertaining the sons of men. Can we, O dear Redeemer! believe the wonders of this mystery, and not be ravished with admiration of thy great goodness ? can we acknowledge thy perfect veracity, and not believe this wonder of thy love ? let us not then refuse to believe our God, because his mercies transcend our capacities. None but infinite wisdom could ever have invented so strange, and high, and prodigious a mystery. None but an inconceivable infinite goodness would ever have imparted so dear, and tender, and rich a blessing.
-- 3. When the impiety of men was at the height, and their treacherous heads plotting to betray thee, then did thy wisdom mercifully consult to overcome our malice with thy bounty. Immediately thou contrivedst an admirable way to invite all the world to a feast of wonders : a feast ! where thy sacred body should be our food, and thy precious blood our drink. A feast ! in which are continually wrought new miracles of love for us. Thus, as if it had not been love enough to have given thyself on the cross for us, thou hast found out a way to give thyself to us in the holy sacrament: to unite us with thyself by the most intimate union that is possible for us to conceive, and which we can better feel than express; to become the life, the strength, the support, and comfort of our beings: nay, to become even one with me, and be unto me the very soul ,of my soul. O Lord my God! this is so inconceivable a blessing, this is so divine an union, that the very angels, with awful admiration, contemplate thy wonderful condescension in it.
4. Lord, who are we, unworthy sinners, that thou thus regardest · our wretched dust? what is all the world compared to thee, that thus thou seemest to disregard thyself? it was for our sakes, and to draw us up to thy love, that thou hast commanded us to commemorate and represent thy passion, and present the merits of it before thy Father, on earth, as thou dost present them to him in heaven. It was for our sakes, and to help the infirmities of our nature, that thou didst appoint a commemorative sacrifice of that one oblation of thyself once offered upon the cross ; and bread and wine so offered and blessed as symbols of thy body and blood. What great blessings are these, O Jesu! that demand my praises !
5. Yet more blessed is the heart that desires thy coming, and longs to see thee in thy glorious self. O my adored Redeemer! when will that happy day appear, when mine eye may behold thee without a veil ? when will the clouds and shadows pass away, that - thy beams may shine on me in their full brightness ? object not against me, dearest Lord, that none can see thy face and live. Those fears thy love has changed, and my fixed hope is now to live by seeing thee. Say not, O thou mild and gracious Majesty, if I approach thy presence I must die. Rather instruct me so to die, that I may live for ever in thy presence.
Here, if thou desirest to know the reason why Christ or. dained this Sacrament, consult the New WHOLE DUTY OF MAN, Sunday 6, Section I.
The prayer on Monday Morning, to implore
God's assistance in the course of this week's preparation for receiving the holy sacrament.
I acknowledge my faults, and my sin is ever before me. Psal. li. 3.
MOST glorious and ever-blessed God,
in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore; vouchsafe, I beseech thee, to discharge my mind of all superfluous cares, and immoderate desires of the things of this world, and enable me so to employ my time this week, as may effectually prevent or resist all temptations. Let thy grace, O Lord, so powerfully assist my endeavours, and direct my will, and strengthen my intentions, that I may do such things as are agreeable to thee, and suitable to the dignity of a Christian: and that I may fill up all the spaces of this week with meditations upon the most holy sacrament, with acts of religion and fervent charity, SO that when the devil assaults me, he may not find me idle, and that my dearest Lord, at his sudden coming, may find me improving the talent committed to my care, that I may enter into the joy of my Lord; to which, I beseech thee, bring
me, through the merits and intercession of thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
Now repair to the public service at the church; or, if you have not that opportunity, spend your leisure time in a devout perusal of that pious treatise, necessary for all families, as well as every private Christian, lately published by the King's authority, viz.
THE NEW WHOLE DUTY OF MAN, &c.
And I heartily wish that every poor (as well as rich) family in the kingdom was furnished with one of these Books : it is a great pity they should be any where wanting. Great charity, therefore, it would be for rich landlords, and others of easy fortunes, to bestow this pious and useful Book upon their poor and uninstructed neighbours, tenants, and servants, that the knowledge of God and religion may be promoted amongst them; which would make greatly for the good and welfare both of church and state. For though brain-sick opinions and false principles may make men proud and headstrong, and troublesome to their governors and superiors ; yet solid knowledge and sincere godliness, will make men humble and meek, quiet and peaceable, obedient to their superiors and ministers, full of charity to their neighbours, and ready to do erery good work.
Be sure to retire soon this evening to examine thy conscience.