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Industry, and to provide for our Family with Honesty ; to trust in God's Providence, and be content with our Condition: In short, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present World, that is the true Preparation; and he that thus communicates, will never be rejected of God, or deserve to be condemned by Men. I speak not thus to discourage those extraordinary Exercises which some good Christians chuse to go through before they receive the Holy Sacrament: My View is to distinguish what is really essential, from what is only circumstantial; and to make Christians comprehend, that an involuntary Omission of certain religious Exercises, of which God has prescribed neither the Number, nor the Season, nor the Length, cannot exempt us from complying, when otherwise we may, with a Duty which is absolutely commanded to Christians of all Conditions.
THE FIRST COLLECT.
To be used Morning and Evening all the Week before the Sacrament.
I THANK thee, O Lord, that thou hast wrought in me a Desire to approach thy Holy Table; mercifully grant that I may so partake of those Holy Mysteries, that my Soul may be nourished with all Goodness; and that I may evermore dwell in Christ, and Christ in me. O give me
such a Sense of thy unspeakable Goodness to poor, miserable, sinful Worms, that I may rejoice in the Lord, and evermore serve and delight in God my Saviour: Whilst I am musing, let the Fire of my Devotion kindle in the brightest Flames of Love and Admiration, at that Mercy of thine which is greater than the Heaven, and above all Blessing and Praise. Increase in me such a Sense of this and all thy Mercies, that all the Temptations of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, may never be able to quench it; but that, being enlivened and quickened thereby, I may press towards the Mark, for the Prize of the high Calling of God in Christ Jesus. Inflame my cold Heart with holy Ardours, that I may be touched with godly Sorrow in the more immediate Presence of the Great Judge of Heaven and Earth: Subdue my worldly Affections, that I may worthily praise thee here, and to all Eternity.
THE SECOND COLLECT.
ALMIGHTY God, by whose Bounty and Goodness I have now an Opportunity offered me of approaching thy Table, and
of pleading before thee the prevailing Merits of the Death and Passion of thy Son Jesus Christ: Assist me, O Lord, with thy Holy Spirit in the great Duty and Service I am about to perform; and though my many and great Sins render me unworthy of drawing near to this heavenly Feast, yet, O merciful God, let the precious Blood of my ever-blessed Saviour cleanse me from all my Sins; forgive all the evil Thoughts of my Heart, my idle and rash Words, my wicked and ungodly Deeds; and give me thy heavenly Grace, whereby I may be enabled for the future to serve thee in Holiness and Righteousness all the Days of my Life; that so living in thy Fear, I may die in thy Favour; and at last be numbered among the Saints of God in Glory everlasting, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE THIRD COLLECT.
I WILL not presume to come to thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in my own Righteousness; but in thy manifold and great Mercies. Fit me, O Lord, by an hearty Gratitude towards my Saviour, by a sincere Love of my Brethren, by
deep Contrition for my Sins, and by a sincere Resolution of a better Course of Life to approach thine Altar. Accept of the Expiation which thy Son hath made of all my Transgressions, by the Sacrifice of himself, as of a Lamb with out Spot or Blemish. Let the Remembrance of my Sins, and of his bitter Sufferings for them, pierce my very Heart, and engage me for ever to love and serve Him who laid down his Life for
Cleanse me, O Lord, from all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit, that I may be a meet Guest for thy Holy Table, and a real Partaker of those Benefits, which are represented in the Sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood. Strengthen, O Lord, all good Resolutions in me: enable me by thy Grace faithfully to perform the Conditions of that Covenant which I made in Baptism, and now intend to renew in the Holy Sacrament, by dedicating myself entirely, and for ever, to the Service of my blessed Redeemer, who hath loved me, and washed me from my Sins in his own Blood. To him be all Honour and Glory, Thanksgiving and Praise, Love and Obedience, for ever. Amen.
This Week apply yourself to meditate on divine Subjects, and stir up all the Faculties of your Soul so as to perform this high Duty, in a devout and acceptable Manner.
The Use of the following Ejaculations will tend to keep your Mind in a devout Frame.
LORD, what is Man, that thou art mindful of him; or the Son of Man, that thou regardest him?
Deliver my Soul, O Lord, from lying Lips, and from a deceitful Tongue.
Make me a clean Heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy Presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Let the Words of my Mouth, and the Meditations of my Heart, be now, and evermore, acceptable in thy Sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer.
Your conversing daily with the World will be too apt to abate your Zeal for Religion, if you do not keep alive the heavenly Flame, by Prayer, Reading, and Meditation. The Noise and Hurry of the World is apt to discompose and unfit the Mind for the Duties of Religion. So that the Man of Business, who has any serious Thoughts of another World, ought more especially to lay hold on all Opportunities to read the Holy Scriptures, to pray and meditate, which may secure him against those Dangers he daily converses with, and which may fortify him against those watchful Enemies that lie in wait to destroy him. For as they who