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men of perverse minds will entertain a doubt; though Dirines of great character hare imprudently denied its necessity.
The Arst time of receiving requires seculiar attention to the duty of preparation *. Care must be taken to understand the nature of the rite, to have a dre sense of the benefits annered to it, and a full conviction of its inportance. And can a person who lias beter read or thou tht of the Sacrament, tiil the moment when it is to be administered, be supposed to prossess this knowledge, and to have this sense? Is he not likely, if he come unprepared, to err either on the side of carelessness or of superstition. His life and cosversation may be good, and so far all is well; but he will require knowledge or information on the meaning and end of the Communion. The most adventurous among those who degrade the Sacrament, will not assert that instruction is improper, previous to the first reception of the Sacrament. Preparation of the understanding is now more than ever requisite; that the Communicant may be prevented from supposing that he is commemorating an historical event only, by a positive and insignificant rite, unattended with any appropriate advantage.
* The Jews were remarkably striet in their purifications, before they presumed to eat and drink, in the presence of the Holy One of Israel; and we have a Jewish prayer for spiritual purification.
Salvatorem nostrum suscepturi totis viribus debemus nos, cum ipsius aujatorio, przparare; etomnes animzaos trz latebras dligenter suspicere, ne forte sit in nobis aliquod peccatum et sconitum, quod et conscientiam nostram confundat et oculos divinæ majestatis ocendat.
AMBROS. de Sacramentis. In Sacrificiis ritè celebrandis majorem nullam ceremoniaus fuisse videmus, quam NIFI LSIBI CONSCIRE,BOYOS AC PIOS ESSE.
GERALD. Syntag. p. 17.
versation sentiments *Qui non meretur quotidiè accipere, non meretur post annum suscipere.
But after the understanding is prepared by a competent knowledge of the nature and end of the Sacrament; preparation of the heart will be proper, not only at the first time, but at all times of communion. A devout frame, or disposition of mind must be formed; a disposition suitable to all solemn occasions, and peculiarly suitable to an act of worship, extraordinary in its nature, and intended to produce effects still more extraordinary.
Prayer and reflection are evidently the proper modes of raising the devotional
sentiments to a dize degree of height and ardour. “ Happy is that soul,” says. Bishop Taylor,“ which comes to these springs of salvation, as the hart to the water-brooks, panting and thirsting, longing and passionate, weary of sin and hating vanity, and reaching out the heart and hands to Christ.”
The different modes of producing and increasing the happy dispositions which render the sacramental feast an object of desire and delight, must vary * according to the different attainments, ages, morali conduct, and other circumstances, of different persons. Books of devotion, such as “ Companions to the Altar,” and “ Week's Preparations,” may not be necessary to learned professors of divinity, or persons of good education and religious habits; but they may be very serviceable to the husbandman from his plough, the weaver from his loom, the mariner from
AUGUST. on Matt. vi. At (in vitando Sacramento) aiunt se Domino deferre Reverentiam. Quis est qui magis honorat ; qui mandatis obtemperet, an qui resistat ? AMBROS, de Pæn. Lib. 1. cap. 1.
his cabin, the wife from her cradle, and for all the industrious tribe, who are making themselves useful to the community, while they are labouring for a morsel of food, and have little leisure, but on the Sabbath-day, for attending to the Bread of Life. The best advice that can be given to such persons is, that they apply to their Minister to point out the proper hook for the occasion, and to give them the best instruction himself in private, as it is to be concluded he does in the pul. pit. The superior orders will generally be well able to find out proper books for themselves, if they are seriously desirous of information *.
* Inter Catholicos non est annumerandus qui tem, poribus Pascha, Pentecostes, et Nativitatis Domini non communicaverit.
Concil. Elib. Βελτιστοι οι ανθρωποι προς τους Θεοςυς βαδιζοντες.
PYTHAGORAS apud Plutarch. de Superstitione. " Justificatio et Sanctificatio sunt ACTUS QUIDEM PERPETUUS, in quo, et Deus semper donat, et Homo semper recipit.
Vossius de Sacr. Vi et Effic,
SECTION XXVI. The Obligation to Frequency of Communion
With respect to frequency or infrequency of communion, the dictates of every man's conscience, supposing him well-disposed and competently informed, afford the best direction, " The law of the Church* must be his least measure; the custom of the parish, where he resides, his usual measure; the spirit of devotion his certain measure: but he who neglects it habitually does, by implication, say, that the Holy Sacrament is contemptiblet."
The obligation to frequency of Communion will appear from a due consideration of the design and end of the insti
*“ It is to be feared that they who never receive but at EASTER, and never fast but in Lent, never repent till they die !"
Rogers. “ If thou foundest it a Feast, (that is, tookest delight in it,) God should hear oftener of thee.” ROGERS. + Bishop Taylor.