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I have often considered and found by experience, that there is no way so likely to influence the lives of Christians; to inspire young people with a sense of religion; to keep them from backsliding; and to secure, if possible, the growing age from the sad contagion of the prescut, as by loading them very early to an ordinance, in which all the means of grace and salvation are exhibited to their view, and in order to which they are always required to consider their ways; to renew their purposes of obedience; and to beg those graces which are necessary to fit them for heaven and happiness. I have, therefore, in the following papers, endeav
oured to make this holy ordinance, and the duties required, as plain as may be to the meanest capacity.
And I hope I have taken care, as on one hand not to flatter sinners, so on the other, not to fill the minds of young people with unnecessary fears and scruples, or with the difficulties of a due preparation, with respect to a duty which ought to be the practice of their whole lives: as if nobody ought to go to this sacrament, but such as are as perfect as ever they hope to be.
I have, therefore, in these short devotions, consulted both the capacities and tempers of young communicants, for whose use this is chiefly intended, who are apt to be impatient and weary of long prayers.
And I would hope that the specimen of devotions, before and after the communion, will not only answer that end, but will be of use to lead Christians to make proper reflec tions, when they read, at other times: for want of which these holy writings are too often read and heard without any great
benefit, and without affecting the minds, or influencing the lives of those who hear them daily.
Having observed, with concern, how often people distract themselves with turning to other books of devotion, when they should attend to the publick service of the church; to prevent this, I have added the whole communion service, with such short observations, prayers, ejaculations, &c. as may be proper to help devout minds, without diverting them from the duty they are about.
And the observations upon the rubricks, upon the commandments and warnings, &c. which should be consulted at home, will be of use to show those of our communion, how well the church has provided for the instruction, edification, and salvation, of all her members.
In short, there is nothing wanting to make this holy ordinance to be reverenced, and closed with, by all persons, and upon all occasions, but a true understanding of its mean
ing, and the blessings annexed to it: where this end is in any good measure attained, either by this, or any other books on this subject, God will be greatly glorified; which is the great end intended by the following papers, and prayed for, by
TO THE TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF THE
LORD'S SUPPER ;
WITH PREPARATORY DEVOTIONS, INTENDED FOR THE USE AND BENEFIT OF YOUNG COMMUNICANTS.
THERE a are two holy ordinances, or sacraments, appointed by Jesus Christ, as most especial means of obtaining grace and salvation: which no Christian, who hopes to be saved, must wilfully neglect. These are Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
It must be supposed, that you have already been made partaker of one of these two sacraments, viz. that of baptism, by which you were admitted into the congregation of Christ's flock, were restored to the favour of God, and had the Holy Spirit com