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lite of the Sacrifice, and eat of the milk of the flock. .
“ Our Blessed Lord hath enjoined two solemn and significant rites for perpetual observance in the Church. To understand these aright, and conscientiously to practice them in perfect agreement with the intention of their Great Author, must be an object of the utmost consequence to every individual Christian, whatever his rank or attainments may be.
“ Neither your principles nor arguments are new; they have been uniformly adopted by all Socinian writers on the subject It is true likewise, that these principles, by whomsoever adopted, are themselves utterly inconsistent with the public doctrines and service of the established Church.
" What can the poor man think, or how can he act, with his Common Prayer Book in one hand, for which he hath all his life entertained a just veneration; and in the other, Dr. Bell's Practical Enquiry, which assures him that his Prayer-Book hath hitherto deceived him, and led him
to përvert the most solemn institution of his Saviour*?
“Surely it is a very serious matter to trifle thus with the consciences of men; and can only tend to weaken that influence of religious principle, which still operates among us; though, God knows, with less power, and to less extent, than might be wished.
" Your “ Practical Enquiry" calls for notice; and the unlearned believers, on whom it is imposed, ought to be warned of the danger of it. It is yet in your power, and I am convinced it is your duty, to suppress it yourself. The religious peace and comfort of thousands may be affected by it."
Thus far Bishop Bagot, with a zeal and moderation which do him honour. The “ Practical Enquiry” is not yet suppressed. The third edition of it, just purchased, lies before me; and, if its doctrines were so dangerous as Bishop Bagot represents them to have been many years ago, how much more so at the present day, when
* See Bell's. 1 Practical Enquiry,' Question 37.
the example of apostasy on the neighbouring Continent has caused infidelity to triumph in every part of Europe.
The imitators of Bishop Hoadly, on the Sacrament, seem to me particularly injudicious, and injurious to the cause of virtue and religion, when, like him, they discourage PREPARATION. Considered in the lowest sense, preparation for the Sacrament furnishes a fine opportunity for improvement in MORALITY*. The mind, at stated times, retires within itself; reviews its habits and passions, endeayours to correct whatever is found wrong, and forms resolutions for future undeviating rectitude: a most philosophical as well as religious exercise ; such as would be approved in the school of Epictetus as well as of Christ; and such as no man, who has just conceptions of the
* Hoc pos pessimos facit, quod nemo vitam suam respicit.
. SENECA Epist. 38. · The Pythagorean Philosophers called themselves to account every night for the actions of the day. . en My down you and XOLON EA' Oupiade Apoodetada .
Πριν των ημερινων εργων τρις εκαστον επελθειν. και μη παρεξης και τι δ' ερεξα; τι μοι δεον ουκ ετελέσθη.
present state of human nature, would wish to discountenance. *, .
Why shoald divines, of all men, take pains to teach that preparation is not necessary? While men think it necessary, they will certainly not neglect it entirely ; but, once prove to them that it is a superfluous work, and they will lay aside the prac. tice, notwithstanding they may acknowledge it useful, as a MORAL EXERCISE. Take away the idea of awe and veneration attached to the Eucharist, and men, in general, will not trouble themselves to withdraw from worldly cares, and meditate in silence and solitude on the state of their minds, and the course of their moral and religious conduct: 'much less will they truly repent, when theologians of great rank in the Church, and great reputation for abilities, intimate, in plain terms, that the preparation usually recommended, has crept into use merely by the misrepresen tation of those who knew not the real nature of the Sacrament, or, who gratified some selfish purpose of their own, by deluding the weak and the uninformed. I assert not that any limited time is
prescribed for preparation by scriptural authority. I do not maintain the necessity of any peculiar form or system of preparation. But, to the propriety of preparation in general, the sense of all Christen-' dom has given its sanction; and they are mischievously employed who teach men to slight it; the consequence of which will be an entire neglect of it, and of the Sacrament that should follow it. If there were no Sacrament, or no benefits annexed to the Sacrament, yet a moral exercise, like that of pious persons preparing for a religious act of great solemnity, would be in the highest degree beneficial. I can therefore see no good reason for any attempt to recommend the discontinuance of a practice, not only perfectly innocent, but very salutary.
If mere remembrance of a deceased benefactor, and attention at the celebration of the rite, constitute a worthy receiver ; then a bad man who commands histhoughts for half an hour at the Communion Table may be a better, or worthier, communicant than a very good man, who, from the invoJuntary wanderingof his mind, inay be o ff