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learned prelate, who appears to have stų. died the subject with much attention, and has written upon it with great ability.
But I have no reluctance in declaring it my full conviction, that when a poor dying mortal humbly and heartily desires to receive the Holy Sacrament, the Priest may administer it without scruple or strictness of examination, (which time and circumstances will hardly admit,) and if he is in error, he will be pardoned by the God of mercy. How must it aggravate the sufferings of a sick and dying man, stretched on the bed of pain, and distressed in mind, to be told, on his expressing his earnest desire of the Sacrament, and his sincere faith and repentance, that he is not fit for it, and that it cannot be administered to him! To the minister's discretion it must be left to converse with the sufferer in such manner and on such topics as circumstances may indicate and allow ; and if, after all proper explanations, the sufferer continues to desire the Eucharist, I should think it a want of Christian charity to refuse it. A mistake of this kind, if it should be a mistake, com
mitted through tenderness and compassion, though it may be severely censured at the tribunal of human judgment, will be viewed with indulgence at the throne of supreme wisdom and mercy.
Be it ever remembered, that in extreme cases, like that which I now suppose, “ the hopes of pardon are to be held out in proportion to the apparent penitence;” so says the judicious prelate above cited ; but he does not say, nor will any man of sound understanding and a feeling heart say, that in such extreme cases, the Sacrament is to be refused to the sick and dying, when they eagerly desire it. Far from the bed of affliction, sickness, and death, be such wretched comforters, such severe and austere priests, as, relying on their own self-CONCEIT, would deny the last consolation, when earnestly requested by an agonizing fellow-creature. The Errors of CHARITY, will, 1 hope and believe, be ever pardoned by the God of Love and Mercy.
SECTION XXVIII. *
The small Number of Persons, comparative
ly speaking, who receive the Sacrament throughout a Country, like our own, professing Christianity.
If the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, as the Church asserts,“ be generally necessary to salvation,” and many most important benefits, (as I hope has been proved, be annexed to it, how greatly is it to be lamented, that few in comparison, ever think of receiving it. Select any great and populous parish in the kingdom, and you will perhaps find, that scarcely one in ten among the inhabitants, has done that which the Church declares “ tQ be generally NECESSARY TO SALVATION *.”
.* If there be a man who comes to qualify 'himself 6 for a place upon the TEST ACT, and who looks upon " the Church Service as an idle, insignificant parade, to
The poor and laborious are certainly no less interested in communicating at the Altar Table than persons in the middle and higher classes; yet a very great majority of the poor and laborious are found to neglect it entirely, and to resign their breath without having once tasted what is called in Scripture, the BREAD OF LIFE, the Means of their Soul's Subsistence.
To a mind which duly reflects, this consideration cannot but be matter of charitable regret. It must operate in exciting the endeavours of all who have opportunities, to recommend the performance of this : duty to every individual, from the Prince and the peer to the peasant and the beggar. Theduty of receiving the Sacrament, and of preparing for it, should be the frequent subject of animated addresses from the pulpit ; of affectionate instructions in the family, and of FRIENDLY CONVERSE in the cottage. . The old Canons of the Church are very strict in requiring a general attendance
him God is no more present at the Communion Table than at the Gaming Table.”
Tucker's Light of Nature. .
on this boly rite: 'They declare all per: sons who come to Church and join in the prayers, and yet turn their backs on the Eucharist, excommunicate. That such severity should be revived is not desirable: Many might be compelled by it to attend with minds unprepared, and in a state which might render them unworthy." Ex: ample and persuasion are the modes to be now adopted. Instruction in the nature, end, design, and benefits, must be first given with patient perseverance. Little tracts should be distributed ; but caution should be used, lest those books, which, by explaining away the mystery and benefits, render the Sacrament a mere nullity, should insinuate themselves: and lest the imitators of Bishop Hoadly should find their way into the cottage, instead of Bishop Wilson. The pulpit is certainly the proper place for instructing the poor; but unfortunately the very poor, those who are ashamed of their ragged and squalid appearance, seldom enter the church. In many churches there is no PLACE for them, yet of such was Lazarus and other paupers recorded in the Gospel, to whom the com