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A Prayer to be used as soon as the Sermon
shall be ended.
O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men. Psalm cvii. 20, 21.
ETERNAL and Almighty God, by
whose bounty and goodness I have now an opportunity offered me of approaching thy table, and of pleading before thee the prevailing merits of the death and passion of thy Son Jesus Christ; I am sensible, O LORD, of my great unworthiness; but the positive command of my blessed Saviour, when he was about to lay down his life for my sake, has made it absolutely necessary, and the many spiritual wants I labour under oblige me to apply to this sovereign remedy, for the healing of those wounds which my sinful follies have inflicted on my soul.
Therefore, assist me, O LORD, with thy Holy Spirit in the great duty and service I am about to perform: grant that nothing during all the time of this holy action may make me unmindful of that reverence and respect which I owe unto thy Divine Majesty, or of that attention which becomes the celebration of these holy mysteries. Fill my heart with such an awe of thy presence, as may fix my wandering thoughts, compose my disorderly affections, and stir up my faint and cold desires, that I may feel the power of this sacred ordinance, and taste the full sweetness of this heavenly feast.
O LORD, grant that I may have such a sense of my Saviour's sufferings as may fill
my soul with love and gratitude toward him for those inestimable benefits he has purchased for me; that I may have such a sight of my sins, which occasioned all his sorrows as heartily to bewail and detest them; such a faith in that full perfect oblation and satisfaction made upon the cross for the sins of the world, that I may so importunately plead the merit of it in this commemoration of that sacrifice, as that it may render thee gracious and propitious to me a miserable sinner ; such a conviction of my own weakness and insufficiency, as may procure thy gracious aid and assistance; such longing desires of being made conformable to thy holy will and pleasure, as may transform me into thy divine image, and fix me to continue thy faithful servant all the remaining days of my life; through the merits and mediation of thy Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
COMPANION FOR THE ALTAR.
I would advise you, O earnest and sincere Com.
municant, by all means to read over the following Companion for the Altar, with the Directions and Prayers, some time before you go to the Sacrament, that you may with more readiness and devotion go along with, and bear your part in, the Communion Service; which, with very little pains, you will be able to do, especially after your first communicating; when, if you should be at a loss, and under some disorder and confusion, do not be disturbed nor troubled, but resolve to endeavour to amend what you have observed to be done amiss as soon as you have another opportunity of receiving again. And though, after your best endeavours, you should always find occasion to lament your defects and frailties in the performance of this as well as other duties of religion, yet never fear that any involuntary failings or infirmities will ever rise up in judgment againts you. God knoweth you to be so laden with imperfections, and so compassed with infirmity, that by reason of your frailty you cannot always stand upright; and that even when you would do good, evil is present with you. Only see that you regard not iniquity in your heart, and
He will look on you with compassion and love, while you begin your devotions at this holy solem
nity with the following ejaculations :MOST gracious God, I come to thy
altar to renew my baptismal covenant, of which this Sacrament is a seal. O heavenly Father, I come to testify my sense of thy love in so loving the world as to give up thy only Son to die for me. 0 blessed Saviour, I come to testify my faith in thee, and my love towards thee, and thankfully to commemorate thy wonderful love in dying for me. O LORD, I come to testify my steadfastness in the communion of thy Church, and my charity to all the world.-0 LORD, I come to this thy table from the sense I have of the want of that spiritual food to which thou invitest me in this holy Sacrament.--I know there is no food can strengthen my soul but thy body, no cordial can revive my drooping obedience but thy blood. O gracious LORD, grant that I and all that communicate with me may be fed, refreshed and nourished in our souls to life everlasting. Amen.