« ElőzőTovább »
to oblige me to long for 'em, and to cause a disquiet in my soul till I be poffelled of these inestimable Treasures? If so, is it not fit, is it not reasonable, is is not neceffary that I should Eat often, and Drink often at this Table, excepcI'm afraid of being too Lively , Too Good, or too Serious. I fee here how the great Commander of Heaven and Earth offers Reconciliation to a desperate offender, preventing him. (tho' he should have been the first, and should have fought and implored God's Pardon, ) and with his Royal hands, unask'd, bestowing upon him a Patent of Grace and Mercy; how the Supream Judge, who has absolute power over our Life and Death, is willing to be friends with a wretch that owes Him ten thousand Talents, and willing frankly to forgive him all, to discharge hini of all his Debts, and to supersede all Actions againīt him; how th' Everlasting Father is ready to receive the Prodigal into his House again, to admit hiin to his Table who had [peot all his substance in riotous living, ready to kill the fatted Calf for him, to put a Ring on his finger, and to betro:h him to Himself in Righteousness; how He, before whom all the Nations are as Grashoppers, offers to imbrace a Worm that has resisted Him, spoken ill of Him, prostituted his Glory, exposed Religion, and studied and contriv'd ways to Dishonor Him. Here I see the Son of God ready with the Balfam of his Bloud to anoint the wretch that made the wounds; and Dying for one, the multitude of whose Offences has seem'd to Vie with the Number of God's Mercies; how infinite Light offers to twist its Raies with loathsom Darkness; and how the greatest Prince proceeds to those excesses of Humility as to give the greatest Sinners room and entertainment in his Banquetting-house; to call them Brethren, and Friends, and sheep of his Flock, than which there are scarce more indearing Titles. All this I behold here, and shall not such a wonderful Scene, of Charity blow those little Sparks of Affection I find within into greater Flames? Can I see here what God has done for me, who have acted more treacherously against Him , than my greatest enemy ever,did or can do against me: and shall not this rajfe Compassion in me to my Fellow.servants, and move me to lay down all Wrath and Enmity to them, whose Injuries are but Flea-bites in comparisou of thole I have offered to the best of Beings?
And since this Sacrament is so strong an Ingagement to this Charity, and th' exercise of it fo freqnensly neceflary, it stands in reason that frequent Communicating must be necessary too; the rather because we are so often in danger of breaking the Bond of Peace, and diffolving the Cement which must koit and hold Christians together. 8. 3. Of Charity necesary to a worthy Reception.
CHARITY is that Fire from Heaven which must inkindle the Sacrifice, or God will never accept it for an Ato onement : for altho' it be true that God Loves me first, yet He will not continue to love me,' or proceed in the Methods of his kindness, unless I become like unto Him, .and Love : for by my Love and Charity He will Pardon me, and He will Comfort me, and He will Judge me, and He will save me; and it can never be, well with me till Love, that governs Heaven it self, be the Prince of all my Actions and my Passions. 1 Cor. 13. 13. The grestest of these is Charity. The Offices and general Duties of Charity are Three, I Doing Good. II Speaking Good. III Forgiving Evil. First, DOING GOOD to all I can by Alms, Counsels, stopping their Entry into sin, folly, and shame, Keeping them from all the Harm I can, not Laughing at their Miscarriages, Exculing their Faults, Delighting in their Joy, Honor, and Prosperity, Ready to do all good offices to all I can converse with. See Appendix S. 45. Secondly, SPEAKING GOOD; if it be not in my Hand to do Well
, it must be in my Heart, and the contrary must never be upon my Tongue. I'm fure I can speak Well, or I can abstain from speaking Ill. I must be as careful of the Reputation as of the Life of my Brother, that is, of all Mankind. To be apt 10 Speak well of all Men, is a sign of a Charitable and good Man. Thirdly, FORGIVING EVIL. To which purpose I must follow that excellent Advice of Jesusthe Son of Sirach, Ecclus. 19. 13.17. Admonish a friend, it may be he has not done it: and if he have done it, that he do it no more. Admonish thy friend, it may be he has not said it: and if he have, that he speak it not again. Admonish a friend: for many times it is a fander, and believe not every tale. There is one that Nippeih in bis speech, but not from his heart ; and who is he That has not offended with his tongue? Admonish thy neighbor before thou threaten Him, and not being angry, give place to the
law of the most High. I muit not exact every little Ignorance, nor grow warm at every Mistake, nor be angry at an unavoidable Chance, or rash Word; and in Malice I must be as Children, whose little Quarrels, tho' they be fierce as a little spark, are as soon out, and forgotten perfectly as their first dream. I must forgive cvery Man, and every Offence, whether he ask it or ot: If th' Offender does not come to me, I must go or send to him; if. With a Mind free from all Intentions of Revenge, 2, Not to pray to God to take revenge of my Enemy, nor delight in it if it happens. 3, Never to upbuaid his Crime any more. 4, I must not pursue my own anger and revenge, and bring him to Evil, tho'l be certain the man is in the wrong, and finn'd against God in the case; for as I have nothing to do to Pardon God's enemies, and vile persons; so neither havel, as a private man, any thing to do to Punish'em, 5, I must fo Pardon my Enemy as that I indeavor to make him my Friend; not show him Mercy to make a Triumph, but relieve his Need, and be troubled that he needs it; not to order my Pardon that it shall glorify my Kindness, and upbraid and reproach his fin. To Pardon my Enemy as David did Absolom, that's true Charity. 6, I must so Pardon my Enemy that I restore him to the same state of Love and Friendship as before, if he repents, & asks Pardon, and inakęs Amends as he can: as God so freely, so intirely Pardons, that He neither Condemns by Revenging, nor Confounds by Upbraiding, nor Loves less by Imputing. IN the Blessings of Christ, and the Communion of his Body and Bloud, th' Uncharitable and Revenging man shall neverhave a Portion. See more Part III. ch. 3. §. I. 8. ch. 4. §. 1, 4, 5, 6. S. 4. Of Repentance preparatory to the blessed
Sacrament. 1. I Must have renounced, perfectly renounced all Affections to Sin, and firmly purpose to Amend all, never to commit any Sin concerning which I can deliberate, and to itand upon my guard against all, by using Prayer, prudent Caution in my whole Conversation, and all the Instruments of Grace for the Destruction of the Whole body of Sin: And I must have made some
progress in the Reformation of my life ; and actually broken th' Habit of Sin ; and begun to lead a New life in all solid and material practices of Vertue, by reason of the Love of God working in my heart. 3, I must have quitted all my next and immediate Occasions of Habitual fins, all those States of Evil, tho' with the greatest inconvenience to my Affairs and Fortune , by which to long as I dwell I cannot stand uprightly, for no Interest can be laid in Ballance against a soul. 3. mat. 16. 26. What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose kis own foul or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 3, I must have made Adual Restitution; Perfect Amends, Intire Satisfaction, and be really Reconciled to my Offended Brother, if it has been in my Power; and if not, I must unfeignedly Rcfolve to do it as soon, and as well as morally I can, and do no new Injury.
S. 5. V Commandment. HAVE I not ommitted, or acted contrary to my Duty in these Relations wherein I stand ? Have I not Censured, Envied, or Railed against my Domeftical, Ecclefiaftical, or Civil Governors , instead of Honoring, Imitating, and Praying for'em? Have I not been Undutiful to my parents, Disloyal to my King, Stubborn or Unfaithful to my Master; Refractory and Unthankful to my Minister; Peevish and Unkind to my Yoke-fellow, or to my Brother or Sifter, or Friend? Have I been careful to Instruct and Incourage in Welldoing, To Reprove and Chaitise for Ill-doing, those under my Charge? Lord, have mercy upon me, and c.
$. 6. VI. Commandment. IF I have not actually taken away the Life of any perfon; Ter have I not made my Neighbors life grievous; concealed Designs againit it; or willingly haftened his Death, or wished it? Have I not by fighting or quarrelling wounded or maimed himn; or drawn him to any Vi'e which might destroy his Health , or shorten his Life? Have I not been raibiy and immoderately Angry, or used Reviling and Quarrelsomn speeches, or harbored Thoughts and purposes of Revenge? Have I not been
Intemperate in Meat or Drink; or any other ways prejudiced my own Health, or indanger'd my Life? Lord have mercy onc.
$. 7. Pfalm 116. 1 Umwell pleased': that the LORD hath heard the voice of my Prayer. That He hath inclined his ear unto me therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live. The snares of death compassed me round about: and the pains of hell gat hold upon me. I shall find trouble and heaviness, and I will call upon the Name of the LORD: O LORD, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the LORD, and righteous: yea, our God is merciful. The LORD preserveth the simple: I was in misery, and He helped me. Turn again then unto thy reft, O my soul: for the LORD hath rewarded Thee. And why? Thou hast delivered my soul from death : mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the LORD: in the land of the living. I believed, and therefore will I speak, but I was fore troubled : I said in my hafte, All men are liars. What reward shall I give unto the LORD: for all the benefits that He haih done unto me? I will receive the cup of Salvation: and call upon the Name of the LORD. I will pay my vows now in the presence of all his people: right dear in the fight of the LORD is the death of his faints. Behold, O LORD, how that I am thy servant: I am thy Servant and the son of thine handmaid, Thou hast broken my bonds in sunder. I will offer to Thee the Sacrifice of thanksgiving: and will call upon the Name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD in the fight of all his people: in the courts of the LORD's house, even in the inidst of Thee, O ferusalem. Praise the LORD. Glorg be to the Father doc. As it was c.
S. 8. V Penitential Psalm, 102, VEA my Prayer, O LORD, and let my crying come unto Thee. Hide not thy face from me in the time of my trouble: incline thine ears unto me when I call; O hear me and that right soon. For my daies, are.. consumed away like smoke: and my bones are burnt up as it were a fire-brand. My heart is fmitten down, and withered like grass: so that I forget to eat my bread.