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men of perverse minds will entertain a doubt; though Divines of great character have imprudently denied its necessity. . The Jirst time of receiving requires peculiar attention to the duty of preparation *. Care must be taken to understand the nature of the rite, to have a due sense of the benefits annexed to it, and a full conviction of its importance. And can a person who has never read or thought of the Sacrament, till the moment when it is to be administered, be supposed- to possess 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 con
* The Jews were remarkably strict 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.
Salvalorem nostrum suscepturi totis viribus debemus nos, cum ipsius adjutorio, praeparare; etomnes animaenostra latebras diligenter suspicere, ne forte sit in nobis ali<\\xoApeccatwn, alsconditum, quod et conscientiam nostram eonfundat et oculos divinae majestatis oiTcndat.
AmBros. de Sacramentis.
In Sacrirkiis riti celebrandis majorem nullam ceremoniam fuisse videmus, quamNiHiLSiBi Con Scire, Bonos Ac nos Esse. Gyrald. Syntag. p. 17.
versation versation 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. .
But after the understanding is prepared by a competent knowledge of the nature and end of the Sacrament; preparation of the heait 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 sentiments to a due 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, moral 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 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 book for the occasion, and to give them the best instruction himself in private, as it is to be concluded he does in the pulpit. The superior orders will generally be well able to find out proper books for themselves, if they are seriously desirous of information *.
* Qui non meretur quotidii accipere, non meretur post annum suscipere. August. on Matt. vi.
At (in vitando Sacramento) aiunt se Domino deferre Reverentiam. Quis est qui magis honorat; qui mandatis oWtemperet, art qui resistat?
Ambros. de Paen. Lib. 1. cap. i.
* Inter Catholicos non est annumerandus qui temporibus Pascha, Pentecostes, et Nativitatis Domini non communicaverit. Concil. Elib.
Biatiittoi Oi xi/Qpuxot irpo; rov; Qtoruf |3«3ifovrt$.
Pythagoras apud Plutarch. de Superstitione.
Justificaiioet Sanctificatio sunt Actus Quidem PerPetuus, in quo, et Deus semper donat, et Homo semper rtcipit. Vossius de Sacr. Vi et Effic.
The Obligation to Frequency of Communion considered.
With respect to frequency or infrequently 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 Contemptible t."
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.