« ForrigeFortsett »
his guard for a moment, though he comes prepared with faith, repentance* and charity. If unseemly behaviour at the time of celebration be all that is meant by unworthy receiving (as the depredators sometimes contend) then it is scarcely possible in our Churches to receive unworthily; for a man who should behave indecently would either be turned out by the beadle, or rejected by the minister.
Doctrines and opinions so absurd would hardly require refutation, if they were not obtruded on the multitude by artful means, and recommended by an imposing authority *.
* Ou the subject of Examination previously to the reception of the Sacrament, the following passage from an old and sensible Divine is worthy observation.
"The Apostle's word "Examine" is understood by the learned in three different senses, 1st. Some understand it as a metaphorical expression taken from the art of the goldsmith, trying the purity of his g old ;ox t/ia^etv being a proper word to them in the exercise of their art; as in 1 Pet. i. 1. Ivat To AOK1MION vpw T»; mrta; ittiku Tipwrepov
2ndly. Others, because Bread and Wine taken in the Sacrament are both Food and Physic, insist on the similitude of a physician, giving preparatives to his patient before the exhibition of the efficient medicine.
R 3 3dly.
3dly. The greater part consider the word examine as a verbumforenseetjuridicum; as the Magistrate examines or questions an offender.
The latter appears to be most consonant to the Apostle's sense.
The man who examines himself must personate three several parts; the offender, the accuser, the judge. Conscience must be the accuser, and reason the judge, who, secundum allegata et probata, will acquit or condemn.
The interrogations upon which every man is to examine himself are these:
1. Dost thou repair to the Sacrament with a competent measure of Knowledge?
2. Dost thou come with unfeigned Repentance?
3. Dost thou come with a lively Faith?
4. Dost thou comewith Love undissembled,freely from thy heart to forgive all injuries committed against thee? Some, when they are to partake of the Sacrament, say to their wickedness or malice, as Abraham said to his two servants, Gen. xxii. 5. Abide you here, and I will go yonder, and Worship, and come again to you.
We must, when we communicate, not only suspend the act of wickedness and malice, but depose the habit."
. .-. . • . - r .... .1 ;,■•■ .
The Necessity and Propriety of Preparation for the Sacrament; with a few Suggestio?is on the Means. "APIA AHOIS.
1 He necessity of preparation for the Sacrament is evident from the nature of the case*, even if Scripture did not point it out, which is far from being true, in the opinion of the best, wisest, and most learned Divines that have adorned this country. "He that leads a good life," says Dr. Stanhope. "is never unprepared to receive the Sacrament." This is assented to; if by a Good life is meant a
* Lavabo, ut Rem dlvinam faciam. Plautus.
|:i- . .-..'. Orpheus.
- "E•f«?, E*«t ect giCnXw." Calm ft
-f' Procu], 0 procul este, profani
Conclamat vatcs." Viro.
** Odi profanum vulgus et arceo." Hor.
R 4 Christian Christian life; a life of obedience to the precepts, and of faith in the doctrines of Christianity. But are not the best of Christians subject to lapses, from infirmity? Is not the weakness of human nature such as to require continual efforts to preserve it from degeneracy? Has not the experience of mankind evinced, that those who cease to be progressive in ascending the hill of Virtue, soon become retrograde?
The benefits sought in the Eucharist are Grace,or the favour of God, and ParDon. These benefits, there is every reason to think, will not be bestowed on the impenitent; and it cannot be said of any7 man that he needs no repentance. The general habits of his life may be virtuous, yet, if he considers attentively his sins of omission, as well as commission, he will find that he has much to regret in the course of a conduct which, comparatively speaking, may be called good and exemplary.
But what shall we say of the multitude of all ranks constantly engaged in pleasurable pursuits, or in anxious, heart-corroding
roding quest of gain and advancement in life? Are they the persons, however reputable they may be, who, leading a good life, never can come unprepared to receive the Sacrament? Supposing them to preserve their integrity amidst conflicting passions and interests, and in the haunts of pleasure, where the sinews of virtue are always in danger of being relaxed, yet experience will justify the assertion, that they seldom have time or inclination to attend seriously to the dutiesand doctrines of the Christian religion. Are men, however good their credit in the world, to come with minds heated. with worldly contests, with envy, with rivalry, with voluptuous affections, to the Altar? Surely before such persons venture to receive the Sacrament, preparation is absolutely necessary. The reason of the thing determines, that preparation is necessary for the majority of mankind, even if Scripture had been silent on the subject; and the most respectable Divines had left the point undecided.
Of the propriety of preparing for the reception of the Sacrament, none but