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Friends and Fellow-Jubjects. FROM the consideration of belief and trust in
the christian religion, it is. necefsary you should know how foolish some men are, and what pains they take to frighten themselves, and become arrant cowards in the christian warfare : They profefs. to fight under the banners of Christ; and yet desert him as soon as they get into the field - He. commands us to remember him, and as a token of our remembrance to partake of his Supper, and in heart and spirit to acknowledge the infinite obliga-. tions due to him. Will you forget, or can you neglect him?
E X CU SE S
for not frequenting the HOLY COMMUNION
And a brief Account of the End and Design of the LOR D’s SUP P E R; the obligation to receive it, and the way to prepare for it; fitted to the meanest capacities ;
Extracted from the late Mof REVEREND Dr. Edward SYNGE, Archbishop of Tuam.
SECT. I. The Command of Jesus Christ to receive the sacrament of
bis laft Supper.
TT is undenied by all who pretend to be Christians,
that Christ died for our fins: That it is only for the fake of his merits and sufferings that we can hope for pardon and eternal life at the hand of God: That before his death he left this command with all that should be called by his name, that they should eat of this bread, and drink of this cup in remembrance of him ; with a view to shew. forth his death until his coming again : And lastly, That this ordinance is the communion of the body and blood of Christ, or, in other terms, the means whereby we do communicate in the benefits of that sacrifice which Chris offered, and in the merits of that death and passion which he underwent in his body, and by the shedding of his blood for us. Hence it follows, that the receiving thereof is our duty, and also a great advantage and benefit.
These things are so universally owned by all who profess Christianity, that I need not offer any thing for the proof of them, or any part of them. Surely then one would think, that when men, who are thus persuaded, do absent themselves from this or
dinance, there must be some great difficulties in their way; whereas God never denies to those who seek it, such affistance as is neceffary to porform our duty,
... SECT. II.
Some men say, they are great sinners, and therefore upon that account dare not come to the holy communion ; but it may be observed here, that they are bold enough to disobey a strict command, as if they meant to continue great finners in spite of conviction. If a man lies under the guilt of any fin, and does not refolyé to forfake and amend it, it is indeed a presumption, whilst he continues in that state, to come to the communion. But this argument extends equally to his prayers, whilft he goes on in a wilful disobedience. I wish this were seriously considered by those men, who make no scruple of addressing themselves to God in prayer, whilft, by reason of their fins, of which they have not repented, they dare not approach his holy table.
Whatever fins a man has been guilty of in times past, if he truly repents of them, and heartily fore; fakes them for the time to come, God has so often,.. and so plainly promised, in this case, to grant a
full and free pardon of them, that they cannot juftly be pretended as any obstacle which should hinder us from approaching to him in any of his ordinances.
Since then it is in the power of every man, by the assistance which God .continually offers to us, to repent of his sins, if such a man looks upon his fins as a bar between him and the holy communion, yet it is plainly such a bar, as is equally in his power to remove.
But some say, though they should sincerely reSolve to forsake their fins, yet they may be tempted to return again to them: but as no man intends to fin out of mere presumption, sins of frailty and infirmity, such as a hasty word, or a sudden and unadvised action, ought not to hinder him from coming to the holy communion ; for as St. James tells us, that in many things we offend all (a), so there is not any man upon the face of the earth who can be sure that he shall always keep himself free from all inanner of fin. On the contrary, as there is no ·man but has his share of human infirmities, so is it reasonable to conclude, that, in the course of his life, these will sometimes unavoidably surprise and betray him into some sins. We must therefore Atrive for the victory, and we may as reasonably
hope, that by God's grace, and our own diligent and careful endeavors, we shall every day more and more pevail against them. If it were a good reason for abstaining from the holy communion, because a man cannot at once get a full and perfect victory over them ; I cannot see, how even the best of men could safely venture to partake of it; and consequently, this would be the way wholly to lay aside and abolifh the very ordinance itself.
As for wilful and deliberate fins, or returning again into an habitual course of wickedness, there is no man, but by the grace of God, and his own endeavors, may, if he pleases, for ever secure' himself against it. For however God may think it fit, for our greater humility, and a farcher trial, to leave us exposed to some of the common infirmities of our nature ; yet in respect of all habitual or deJiberate fins, we may affure ourselves, that he is faithful, and will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that we may (if it be not our own fault) be able to bear it (b). Nor will he fail to draw nigh unto us, whilst we continue careful to draw nigh unto him (c). Let us then but stedfastly resolve, that we will be hearty and industrious in doing what lies in our own power, and we need not