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The effects and benefits of worthy communicating.
When I said, that the sacrifice of the cross, which Christ offered for all the sins and all the needs of the world, is represented to God by the minister in the sacrament, and of fered up in prayer and sacramental memory, after the man→ ner that Christ himself intercedes for us in heaven (so far as his glorious priesthood is imitable by his ministers on earth), I must of necessity also mean, that all the benefits of that sacrifice are then conveyed to all, that communicate worthily. But if we descend to particulars, then and there the church is nourished in her faith, strengthened in her hope, enlarged in her bowels with an increasing charity; there all the members of Christ are joined with each other, and all to Christ their head; and we again renew the cove→ nant with God in Jesus Christ, and God seals his part, and we promise for ours, and Christ unites both, and the Holy Ghost signs both in the collation of those graces, which we then pray for, and exercise and receive all at once. There our bodies are nourished with the signs, and our souls with the mystery: our bodies receive into them the seed of an immortal nature, and our souls are joined with him, who is the first-fruits of the resurrection and never can die. And if we desire any thing else and need it, here it is to be prayed for, here to be hoped for, here to be received. Long life and health, and recovery from sickness, and competent sup→ port and maintenance, and peace and deliverance from our enemies, and content, and patience, and joy, and sanctified riches, or a cheerful poverty, and liberty, and whatsoever else is a blessing, was purchased for us by Christ in his death and resurrection, and in his intercession in heaven. And this sacrament being that to our particulars, which the great mysteries are in themselves and by design to all the world, if we receive worthily, we shall receive any of these blessings, according as God shall choose for us; and he will not only choose with more wisdom, but also with more affection, than we can for ourselves.
After all this, it is advised by the guides of souls, wise men and pious, that all persons should communicate very often, even as often as they can without excuses or delays. Every thing, that puts us from so holy an employment, when
we are moved to it, being either a sin or an imperfection, an infirmity or indevotion, and an inactiveness of spirit. All Christian people must come. They indeed, that are in the state of sin, must not come so, but yet they must come. First they must quit their state of death, and then partake of the bread of life. They that are at enmity with their neighbours, must come, that is no excuse for their not coming; only they must not bring their enmity along with them, but leave it, and then come. They that have variety of secular employment, must come "; only they must leave their secular thoughts and affections behind them, and then come and converse with God. If any man be well grown in grace, he must needs come, because he is excellently disposed to so holy a feast: but he that is but in the infancy of piety, had need to come, that so he may grow in grace. The strong must come, lest they become weak; and the weak, that they may become strong. The sick must come to be cured, the healthful to be preserved. They that have leisure must come, because they have no excuse; they that have no leisure, must come hither, that by so excellent religion they may sanctify their business. The penitent sinners must come, that they may be justified; and they that are justified, that they may be justified still. They that have fears and great reverence to these mysteries, and think no preparation to be sufficient, must receive, that they may learn how to receive the more worthily and they that have a less degree of reverence, must come often to have it heightened: that as those creatures that live amongst the snows of the mountains, turn white with their food and conversation with such perpetual whitenesses; so our souls may be transformed into the similitude and union with Christ by our perpetual feeding on him, and conversation, not only in his courts, but in his very heart, and most secret affections, and incomparable purities.
Prayers for all sorts of Men and all Necessities; relating to the several parts of the virtue of Religion.
A Prayer for the graces of Faith, Hope, Charity.
O Lord God of infinite mercy, of infinite excellency, who hast sent thy holy Son into the world to redeem us from an
L'Evesque de Geneve introd. a la vie devote.
intolerable misery, and to teach us a holy religion, and to forgive us an infinite debt; give me thy Holy Spirit, that my understanding and all my faculties may be so resigned to the discipline and doctrine of my Lord, that I may be prepared in mind and will to die for the testimony of Jesus, and to suffer any affliction or calamity, that shall offer to hinder my duty, or tempt me to shame or sin or apostacy: and let my faith be the parent of a good life, a strong shield to repel the fiery darts of the devil, and the author of a holy hope, of modest desires, of confidence in God, and of a never-failing charity to thee my God, and to all the world; that I may never have my portion with the unbelievers, or uncharitable and desperate persons; but may be supported by the strengths of faith in all temptations, and may be refreshed with the comforts of a holy hope in all my sorrows, and may bear the burden of the Lord, and the infirmities of my neighbour by the support of charity; that the yoke of Jesus may become easy to me, and my love may do all the miracles of grace, till from grace it swell to glory, from earth to heaven, from duty to reward, from the imperfections of a beginning and still growing love, it may arrive to the consummation of an eternal and never-ceasing charity, through Jesus Christ the Son of thy love, the anchor of our hope, and the author and finisher of our faith: to whom with thee, O Lord God, Father of heaven and earth, and with thy Holy Spirit, be all glory, and love, and obedience, and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
Acts of Love by way of Prayer and Ejaculation; to be used in private.
O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory so, as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Psal. lxiii. 1, &c.
I am ready not only to be bound, but to die for the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts, xxi. 13.
How amiable are thy tabernacles, thou Lord of Hosts! My soul longeth, yea even fainteth for the courts of the -Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will still be praising thee. Psal. lxxxiv. 1, 2, 4.
O blessed Jesu, thou art worthy of all adoration, and all honour, and all love thou art the wonderful, the counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace; of thy government and peace there shall be no end: thou art the brightness of thy Father's glory, the express image of his person, the appointed heir of all things. Thou upholdest all things by the word of thy power; thou didst by thyself purge our sins: thou art set on the right hand of the Majesty on high thou art made better than the angels; thou hast by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Thou, O dearest Jesus, art the head of the church, the beginning and the first-born from the dead: in all things thou hast the pre-eminence, and it pleased the Father, that in thee should all fulness dwell. Kingdoms are in love with thee: Kings lay their crowns and sceptres at thy feet, and queens are thy handmaids, and wash the feet of thy servants.
A Prayer to be said in any affliction, as death of children, of husband or wife, in great poverty, in imprisonment, in a sad and disconsolate spirit, and in temptations to despair.
O eternal God, Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, with much mercy look upon the sadnesses and sorrows of thy servant. My sins lie heavy upon me, and press me sore, and there is no health in my bones by reason of thy displeasure and my sin. The waters are gone over me, and 'I stick fast in the deep mire, and my miseries are without comfort, because they are punishments of my sin: and I am so evil and unworthy a person, that though I have great desires, yet I have no dispositions or worthiness toward receiving comfort. My sins have caused my sorrow, and my sorrow does not cure my sins: and unless for thy own sake, and merely because thou art good, thou shalt pity me and relieve me, I am as much without remedy, as now I am without comfort. Lord, pity me; Lord, let thy grace refresh my spirit. Let thy comforts support me, thy mercy pardon me, and never let my portion be amongst hopeless and accursed spirits: for thou art good and gracious; and I throw myself upon thy mercy. Let me never let my hold go, and do thou
with me, what seems good in thy own eyes. I cannot suffer more than I have deserved: and yet I can need no relief so great as thy mercy is: for thou art infinitely more merciful than I can be miserable; and thy mercy, which is above all thy own works, must needs be far above all my sin and all my misery. Dearest Jesus, let me trust in thee for ever, and let me never be confounded. Amen.
Ejaculations and short Meditations to be used in time of Sickness and Sorrow: or danger of Death.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and let my cry come unto thee". Hide not thy face from me in the time of my trouble, incline thine ear unto me, when I call: O hear me and that right soon. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burnt up, as it were with a firebrand. My heart is smitten down and withered like grass, so that I forget to eat my bread and that because of thine indignation and wrath: for thou hast taken me up and cast me down: thine arrows stick fast in me, and thine hand presseth me sore. There is no health in my flesh because of thy displeasure; neither is there any rest in my bones by reason of my sin. My wickednesses are gone over my head, and are a sore burden too heavy for me to bear. But I will confess my wickedness, and be sorry for my sin. O Lord, rebuke me not in thine. indignation, neither chasten me in thy displeasure P. Lord, be merciful unto me, heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee.
Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness, according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences'. O remember not the sins and offences of my youth: but according to thy mercy think thou upon me, O Lord, for thy goodness. Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness: and cleanse me from my sin. Make me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, from thy all-hallowing and life-giving presence: and take not thy Holy Spirit, thy sanctifying, thy guiding, thy comforting, thy supporting, and confirming Spirit from me.
Psal. cii. 2-4. 10. 9. Psal. xli. 4.
Psal. xxxviii. 2-4. 18.
P Psal. vi. 1.
Psal. li. 2. 10. 11.