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comes to this feast, must have on the wedding-garment, that is, he must have put on Jesus Christ, and he must have put off the old man with his affections and lusts; and he must be wholly conformed to Christ in the image of his mind. For then we have put on Christ, when our souls are clothed with his righteousness, when every faculty of our soul is proportioned and vested according to the pattern of Christ's life. And therefore a man must not leap from his last night's surfeit and bath, and then communicate : but when he hath begun the work of God effectually, and made some progress in repentance, and hath walked some stages and periods in the ways of godliness, then let him come to him, that is to minister it, and having nrade known the state of his soul, he is to be admitted: but to receive it into an unhallowed soul and body, is to receive the dust of the tabernacle in the waters of jealousy; it will make the belly to swell, and the thigh to rot; it will not convey Christ to us, but the devil will enter and dwell there, till with it he returns to his dwelling of torment. Remember always, that after a great sin or after a habit of sins, a man is not soon made clean; and no unclean thing must come to this feast. It is not the preparation of two or three days, that can render a person capable of this banquet : for, in this feast, all Christ, and Christ's passion, and all his graces, the blessings and effects of his sufferings are conveyed. Nothing can fit us for this, but what can unite us to Christ, and obtain of him to present our needs to his heavenly Father : this sacrament can no otherwise be celebrated but

upon

the same terms, on which we may hope for pardon and heaven itself.

5. When we have this general and indispensably-necessary preparation, we are to make our souls more adorned and trimmed up with circumstances of pious actions and special devotions, setting apart some portion of our time immediately before the day of solemnity, according as our great occasions will permit: and this time is specially to be spent in actions of repentance, confession of our sins, renewing our purposes of holy living, praying for pardon of our failings, and for those graces, which may prevent the like sadnesses for the time to come, meditation upon the passion, upon the infinite love of God expressed in so great mysterious manners of redemption; and indefinitely in all acts of

virtue, which may build our souls up into a temple fit for the reception of Christ himself and the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit.

6. The celebration of the holy sacrament being the most solemn prayer, joined with the most effectual instrument of its acceptance, must suppose us in the love of God and in charity with all the world : and therefore we must, before every communion especially, remember what differences or jealousies are between us and any one else, and recompose all disunions, and cause right understandings between each other; offering to satisfy, whom we have injured, and to forgive them, who have injured us, without thoughts of resuming the quarrel, when the solemnity is over; for that is but to rake the embers in light and fantastic ashes: it must be quenched, and a holy flame enkindled: no fires must be at all, but the fires of love and zeal: and the altar of incense will send up a sweet perfume, and make atonement for us.

7. When the day of the feast is comė, lay aside all cares and impertinences of the world, and remember that this is thy soul's day, a day of traffic and intercourse with heaven. Arise early in the morning. 1. Give God thanks for the approach of so great a blessing. 2. Confess thine own unworthiness to admit so Divine a guest. 3. Then remember and deplore thy sins, which have made thee so unworthy. 4. Then confess God's goodness and take sanctuary there, and upon him place thy hopes; 5. And invite him to thee with renewed acts of love, of holy desire, of hatred of his enemy, sin. 6. Make oblation of thyself wholly to be disposed by him, to the obedience of him, to his providence and possession, and

pray

him to enter and dwell there for ever. And after this, with joy and holy fear, and the forwardness of love, address thyself to the receiving of him, to whom, and by whom, and for whom, all faith and all hope, and all love, in the whole catholic church, both in heaven and earth, is designed; him, whom kings and queens, and whole kingdoms, are in love with, and count it the greatest honour in the world, that their crowns and sceptres are laid at his holy feet.

8. When the holy man stands at the table of blessing and ministers the rite of consecration, then do as the angels do, who behold, and love, and wonder that the Son of God should

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become food to the souls of his servants; that he, who cannot suffer any change or lessening, should be broken into pieces, and enter into the body to support and nourish the spirit, and yet at the same time remain in heaven, while he descends to thee upon earth ; that he who hath essential felicity, should become miserable and die for thee, and then give himself to thee for ever to redeem thee from sin and mi, sery; that by his wounds he should procure health to thee, by his affronts he should entitle thee to glory, by his death he should bring thee to life, and by becoming a man he should make thee partaker of the Divine nature. These are such glories, that although they are made so obvious, that each eye may behold them, yet they are also so deep, that no thought can fathom them: but so it hath pleased him to make these mysteries to be sensible, because the excellency and depth of the mercy is not intelligible; that while we are ravished and comprehended within the infiniteness of so vast and mysterious a mercy, yet we may be as sure of it as of that thing, we see and feel and smell and taste; but yet it is so great, that we cannot understand it.

9. These holy mysteries are offered to our senses, but not to be placed under our feet; they are sensible, but not common: and therefore as the weakness of the elements adds wonder to the excellency of the sacrament : so let our reverence and venerable usages of them add honour to the elements, and acknowledge the glory of the mystery, and the divinity of the mercy. Let us receive the consecrated elements with all devotion and humility of body and spirit; and do this honour to it, that it be the first food we eat, and the first beverage we drink that day, unless it be in case of sickness, or other great necessity; and that your body and soul both be prepared to its reception with abstinence from secular pleasures, that you may better have attended fastings and preparatory prayers. For if ever it be seasonable to observe the counsel of St. Paul, that married persons by consent should abstain for a time, that they may attend to solemn religion, it is nowk. It was not by St. Paul nor the after-ages of the church called a duty so to do, but it is most reasonable, that the more solemn actions of religion should be attended to without the mixture of any thing, that may

K – Discedite ab aris, Queis tulit hesternâ gaudia nocte Venus. -Tibril. ii. 1.12.

discompose the mind, and make it more secular or less religious.

10. In the act of receiving, exercise acts of faith with much confidence and resignation, believing it not to be common bread and wine, but holy in their use, holy in their signification, holy in their change, and holy in their effect: and believe, if thou art a worthy communicant, thou dost as verily receive Christ's body and blood to all effects and purposes of the Spirit, as thou dost receive the blessed elements into thy mouth, that thou puttest thy finger to his hand, and thy hand into his side, and thy lips to his fontinel of blood, sucking life from his heart'; and yet if thou dost communicate unworthily, thou eatest and drinkest Christ to thy danger, and death, and destruction. Dispute not concerning the secret of the mystery, and the nicety of the manner of Christ's presence : it is sufficient to thee, that Christ shall be present to thy soul, as an instrument of grace, as a pledge of the resurrection, as the earnest of glory and immortality, and a means of many intermedial blessings, even all such, as are necessary for thee, and are in order to thy salvation. And to make all this good to thee, there is nothing necessary on thy part but a holy life, and a true belief of all the sayings of Christ; amongst which, indefinitely assent to the words of institution, and believe that Christ, in the holy sacrament, gives thee his body and his blood. He that believes not this, is not a Christian. He that believes so much, needs not to inquire further, nor to entangle his faith by disbelieving his sense.

11. Fail not this solemnity, according to the custom of pious and devout people, to make an offering to God for the uses of religion and the poor, according to thy ability. For when Christ feasts his body, let us also feast our fellowmembers, who have right to the same promises, and are partakers of the same sacrament, and partners of the same hope, and cared for under the same Providence, and descended from the same common parents, and whose Father God is, and Christ is their elder brother. If thou chancest to communicate, where this holy custom is not observed publickly, supply that want by thy private charity; but offer

Craci hæremus, sanguinem sagimus, et inter ipsa Redemptoris nostri vulnera figimus lingnam.--Cyprian. de cæna Dom.

it to God at his holy table, at least by thy private designing it there.

12. When you have received, pray and give thanks. Pray for all estates of men; for they also have an interest in the body of Christ, whereof they are members : and you,

in conjunction with Christ(whom then you have received), are more fit to pray for them in that advantage, and in the celebration of that holy sacrifice, which then is sacramentally represented to God. Give thanks for the passion of our dearest Lord: remember all its parts, and all the instruments of your redemption; and beg of God, that, by a holy perseverance in well-doing, you may from shadows pass on to substances, from eating his body to seeing his face, from the typical, sacramental, and transient, to the real and eternal supper of the Lamb.

13. After the solemnity is done, let Christ dwell in your hearts by faith, and love, and obedience, and conformity to his life and death: as you have taken Christ into you, so put Christ on you, and conform every faculty of your soul and body to his holy image and perfection. Remember, that now Christ is all one with you; and therefore, when you are to do an action, consider how Christ did, or would do, the like, and do you imitate his example, and transcribe his copy, and understand all his commandments, and choose all that he propounded, and desire his promises, and fear his threatenings, and marry his loves and hatreds, and contract his friendships; for then you do every day communicate; especially when Christ thus dwells in you, and you in Christ, growing up towards a perfect man in Christ Jesus.

14. Do not instantly, upon your return from church, return also to the world, and secular thoughts and employment; but let the remaining parts of that day be like a postcommunion, or an after-office, entertaining your blessed Lord with all the caresses and sweetness of love and colloquies, and intercourses of duty and affection, acquainting him with all your needs, and revealing to him all your secrets, and opening all your infirmities; and as the affairs of your person or employment call you off, so retire again with often ejaculations and acts of entertainment to your beloved guest.

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