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ward parts, and knowest I have nothing in me that is good; nothing to invite such mercy; nothing fit for the reception of so pure, so glorious a majesty.
3. I will, therefore, most humbly confess my own vileness, and thy unspeakable goodness; I will most thankfully admire, and praise, and adore thy marvellous love, and exceeding abundant grace. For this is purely thine own act. Nothing on my part could deserve, nothing could move thee to it. The more unworthy I am, the more conspicuous is thy goodness, the more amazing thy mercy,
4. Since, therefore, thou art pleased to stoop so low, be it unto me according to thy word. Since thou hast thought fit to command my approach, I will most gladly testify my ready obedience; and only beg, that my own sinfulness may not render me odious in thy sight, nor frustrate these inestimable mercies to me. I will supply my want of ability by the earnestness of my zeal; and most humbly beseech thee to accept those hearty desires of the inestimable benefit by which my soul and all its faculties thirst and pant most impatiently after thee and thy righteousness. I will turn my eyes into my own heart, and entertain myself with the mortifying prospect of my own unworthiness, laying my soul low before thee; and from the sense of my sin I will flee to thy mercy, that
I may be made whole by the body and blood of my Redeemer.
5. How wise, how saving, was thy design, in the first institution of this holy supper! how rich, how delightful a banquet hast thou prepared for thy guests, by ordering thy own body and blood for the mystical entertainment of the faithful! how astonishing are the operations of thy grace and power! how incomprehensible the methods of fulfilling thy most true promise! Thou spakest the word in the beginning, and all things were created! and by the same almighty word, thou commandest bread and wine, and they nourish souls to life eternal.
6. And thou, my soul, rejoice, and be exceeding glad for so noble a favour, so heavenly a refreshment, so rich a consolation to support and sweeten thy passage through this vale of tears and misery. For every time thou attendest these holy mysteries, thou dost spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood; thou dost act, as it were, over again the work of thy redemption, and effectually partake of thy Saviour's merits and sufferings. For his love continues always the same, and the excellence and worth of his propitiation is an inexhaustible spring of mercy. Come, therefore, hither with new exalted zeal, enlarge thy heart and its desires, and doubt not, but thou shalt at every approach, return with fresh and plentiful accessions of grace.
7. Let not the frequency abate thy devotion for this favour should always seem great, this feast always honourable, and the delights of it always new. And by the force of pious meditation, the mystery will affect thy wondering mind at every repetition, as if the Son of God were just that moment born from the womb of his mother; as if thy suffering Redeemer were in that instant labouring under all his agonies; and thine own eyes beheld him hanging, and bleeding, and dying on the cross.
A Prayer on Sunday Morning before the communion.
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. John vi. 53.
ALMIGHTY God and merciful Father,
hast thou given thy only Son Jesus Christ to die for us, who didst institute a holy feast in the commemoration of that his most precious death, thereby to preserve in our minds a constant remembrance of his great love in laying down his life for our sakes: I, thy unworthy servant, who am now invited to thy holy table, do humbly adore thy Divine Majesty, acknowledging that I am not worthy of my daily bread, much less of that which came down from heaven, and which thou hast given to be the food and nourishment of our souls.
I confess, O Lord, my sins may justly cause
me to tremble, when I appear before thee: but, O most merciful Father, encouraged by thy wonderful goodness and love, in giving thy Son to die for all penitent and returning sinners, I present myself before thee at this time, beseeching thee, in great humility, to continue to me that love, and admit me to thy holy table, that I may taste and see how gracious thou art, and how wonderful in thy doings towards the sons of men.
O make my longings and desires after this divine food, some way answerable to my great need of it; that my soul being sensible of all its wants, it may no longer seek for relief from the unsatisfying objects of this world; but coming to thy holy table with a true spiritual hunger and thirst, may there find a full supply of all those graces and blessings that it stands in so much need of.
And to this end, O Lord, fit and prepare my heart to partake of so great a mercy, by giving me a just abhorrence of my own unworthiness, and an unfeigned repentance of all my sins. Root out of my heart all sinful and corrupt affections, all prejudice, hatred, and ill-will; and plant all those devout and pious, charitable and humble dispositions, that become the worshippers of the holy Jesus that when I presume to appear before thee, I may bring with me a heart raised above the corruptions that are in the world,
and full of the strongest desires and resolutions of loving and serving thee.
Deliver me, O my God, from all coldness and formality, when I attend upon thee in holy and religious duties; and grant that by going to this holy feast, I may have my pardon sealed, my weaknesses repaired, all my evil inclinations subdued, my faith strengthened, my hopes enlarged, my charity increased, and my soul so entirely and inseparably united unto thee, that nothing may be ever able to dissolve the union; but that, being begun here in grace, it may hereafter be consummated in glory, through the merits of him that died for me, even the Son of thy eternal love, Jesus Christ the righteous; to whom with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, be ascribed, as is most due, all honour, glory, power, thanksgiving, and praise, both now and for evermore. Amen.
This last prayer may be added to our other devotions the morning we receive, and may be frequently used in the week preceding, the Sacrament. See also the directions on page 58.
Ejaculations when you first come into church.
HOW amiable are thy tabernacles, O
Lord of hosts!
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, they will be always praising thee.
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.