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A prayer for forgiveness of sins. A Lmighty and everlasting God, who I hatest nothing that thou hast made; and doth forgive the sins of all them that are penitent, create and make in me a new and contrite heart, that I worthily lamenting my fins, and acknowledging my wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remiffion and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Meditation for Monday Evening. No excuse fufficient to keep us from receiving the holy facra:
ment of the Lord's fupper. Except ye eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and drink
his blood, ye have no life in you. John vi. 53. . Onsider now, O my soul! what
W advantages we might have reap: ed from that holy communion : yet all these will be loft and gone, if we do not pursue our course to arrive where Christ Tesus in calling us has determined, Philip. iii. 1.2. Remember how many-arguments the enemy of mankind started to prevent our approach to that holy table; how he fuggested that the number and greatnefs of our fins would, instead of obtaining
any benefit, only make us eat and drink our own damnation *.
2. This suggestion, though it proceed. ed from an enemy, yet, O my soul! it contains inuch truth ; for, if a man lies under the guilt of any fin, and does not repent of it, and heartily resolve to forfake and amend it; this is indeed prefumption and a fin, for such a person, while he continues in that state, to come to the
* I Cor. xi. 19. Or some temporal punijhment or judg. ment, as it is read in the margin of your Bible, such as fick.. ness or death. The unworthy receiving, which is here con. demned in the Corinthian: by St. Paul, was their disorderly and irreverent participation of the Lord's fupper; their ea:ing and drinking, withoui a due regard to the inanner and end of that holy institution; without a due respect had to the lacr 1. mental use of the bread and wine that represented the Lorel's body. It being the custom of the Christians in the apostolical times, to receive the holy Eucharif after their feat of charity, wherein the rich and the poor were wont to eat together wiih great sobriety and temperance; but in the church of Corinth this method was not observed, the poor were not admitted to this common feaft: for in-eating, every one took before each otber his own supper; so that when some wanted, others were guilty of scandalo16 excels, and gross intemperance: and the effect of it was, they did not discern the Lord's body, They made no difference between the facrament and a com. mon meal, between what was to sustain their bodies, and what.was to nourish their souls. So that to eat the bread, and drink of the cup, in the holy sacrament, without a due and direct reverence paid to the Lord's body, by separating the bread and wine from the common use of eating and drinking for hunger and thirst, was to eai untuortbily. The punishnients annexed to these miscarriiges, were infirinities, fick, ness, and temporal death, with which God corrected them, that they might not be condemned with the unbelieving world, By which it appears that temporal judgments must be under kocd by the word our translators render damnation,
holy communion; it is a deliberate affront, and even a mocking of the Divine Majesty, for a man to make a show of worship and honour to him, while, at the same time, he goes on in wilful disobedience to his known commands; and so provokes God to plague him with diver's diseases, and fundry kinds of death, with which the city of Corinth was afflict. ed for their great abuse and profanation of this holy institution, as the apostle there observes. But,
3. Hear what our Saviour Christ' faith: unless you eat the field of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whence it is easy to collect, that it is not the number or quality of our sins, but a wilful or supine continuance in them, that should deter us from that holy communion ; for whatever fins a man has been guilty of in times past, if he truly repents of them, and heartily forsakes them for the time to come, God has fo often and so'plainly promised in this case to grant a full and free pardon of them, that they cannot justly be pretended as any obstacle, which should hinder us from approaching to him in any of his ordinances.
4. Thus, my soul, thou mayst learn that it is in the power of every man (at least of every one who by a long course of
wickedness has not wholly provoked God, to withdraw his grace from him) by that grace and assittance, which God conrinually offers unto us, to repent of his fios, and amend his life ; if such a man looks upon his sins, as a bar between him and the holy communion, yet it is plainly such a bar as it is in his own power to remove; and, therefore, can never juftly be pleaded as an excuse in his behalf. And it was in consequence of this faith that thou didst bring me to that holy communion, whereby my whole manhood is so changed, renewed, and established by divine grace, that I purpose never more to omit any opportunity of refreih-:
ing the whole man with that divine food. : 5. It is not an indifferent thing, whether
or no we approach the Lord's table; and we in vain think to secure ourselves by keeping from it. When we do not receive, we cannot draw upon ourselves the punishments of unworthy receiving; but then it will be equally pernicious to us, to neglect and refuse the advantages that are provided for us at God's table; and to which we are so earnestly invited : nay, we declare our resolution to continue in our sins, if we refuse an opportunity of procuring our pardon. It fhows that we are not much concerned to do our
duty, when we avoid those occasions of - improving our strength, and of receiving that grace, without which it is impossible to perform it. Nor 'can we continue in this neglect without offending God, who has inade it our bounden duty. We cannot despise his grace, without in. creasing our guilt, and provoking his wrath and indignation against us. And by leaving undone the things which he has commanded, as well as by doing those things he has forbidden, w.expose our ki: eternal salvation. But,
6. Methinks, I perceive the enemy laying another snare to frustrate my good resolutions.; the devil sometimes, ihat he may deceive us the better, will transform himself into an angel of light. He pretends to plead the cause of God, and endea. vours to stagger our faith ; saying, that if now we break those resolutions made before receiving the Lord's supper, and return again to our sins, he doubts whether God would ever again admit us to pardon and reconciliation; and, therefore, he thinks it safer to.abstain from the holy communion, rather than to run the hazard of being-for ever excluded from the hopes of heaven. It is true St. James tells us, in many things we offend all; there is no man but what has his share, more or less,