« AnteriorContinuar »
or way, done me injury; I do, from the bottom of my soul, forgive him; praying thee also, that thou wilt never impute to him any word, or thought, or action done against me; but forgive him, as I desire thou wouldst also forgive me all that I have sinned against thee, or any man in the world. Give him thy grace, and a holy repentance for whatever he hath done amiss : grant he may do so no more; keep me from the evil tongues, and injurious actions of all men, and keep all my enemies from all the expresses of thy wrath : and let thy grace prevail finally upon thy servant, that I may never remember any injury, to the prejudice of any man, but that I may walk towards my enemies, as Christ did, who received much evil, but went about seeking to do good to every man: and if ever it shall be in my power and my opportunity, to return evil, O then grant, that the spirit of love and forgiveness may triumph over all anger, and malice, and revenge; that I may be the son of God, and may love God, and prove my love to thee, by my love to my brother, and by obedience to all thy laws, through the Son of thy love, by whom thou art reconciled to mankind, our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus. Amen.
Vers. Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers, neither take thou vengeance of our sins.
Resp. Spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood ; and be not angry with us for ever. Amen.
OF REPENTANCE, PREPARATORY TO THE BLESSED
SECTION I. “ When Isaac and Abimelech had made a covenant of peace and mutual agreement, they would not confirm it by a sacramental oath till the next morning, that they might swear fasting, for the reverence and religious regard of the solemn oath,” saith Lyra. But Philo says, they did it, symbolically to represent that purity and cleanness of soul, which he that swears to God, or comes to pay his vows, ought to preserve
with great religion.'-He that in a religious and solemn address comes to God, ought to consider whether his body be free from uncleanness, and his soul from vile affections. “ He that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is justified, let him be justified yet more," saith the Spirit of God"; and then it follows , “ He that thirsts, let him come and drink of the living waters freely, and without money;" meaning that when our affections to sin are gone, when our hearts are clean, then we may freely partake of the feast of the supper of the Lamb.
For, as in natural forms, the more noble they are, the more noble dispositions are required to their production,-so it is in the spiritual : for when Christ is to be efformed in us, when we are to become the sons of God, flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, we must be washed in water, and purified by faith, and sanctified by the Spirit, and cleansed by an excellent repentance; we must be confirmed by a holy hope, and softened by charity. So God hath ordered in the excellent fabric of human bodies : first, our meat is prepared by fire,—then macerated by the teeth,- then digested in the stomach, where the first separation is made of the good from the bad, the wholesome juices from the inore earthy parts : these being sent down to earth, the other are conveyed to the liver, where the matter is separated again, and the good. is turned into blood, and the better into spirits : and thence the body is supplied with blood, and the spirits repair into the heart and head, and thence they may be sent on embassies for the ministries of the body, and for the work of understanding. So it is in the dispensation of the affairs of the soul : the ear, which is the mouth of the soul, receives all meat; and the senses entertain the fuel for all passions, and all interests of virtue and vice. But the understanding makes the first separation, dividing the clean from the unclean. — But when the Spirit of God comes and purifies even the separate matter, making that which is morally good, to be spiritual and holy, first cleansing us from the sensualities of flesh and blood, and then from spiritual iniquities that usually debauch the soul; then the holy nourishment which we receive, passes into divine excellences. But if sensuality
it Rev. xxii. 11. .
• Ver. 17
be in the palate, and intemperance in the stomach; if lust be in the liver, and anger in the heart, - it corrupts the holy food, and makes that to be a savour of death, which was intended for health and holy blessings.
But, therefore, when we have lived in the corrupted air of evil company, and have sucked-in the vile juices of coloquintida, and the deadly henbane; when 'that is within the heart which defiles the man,—the soul must be purged by repentance, it must be washed by tears, and purified by penitential sorrow. For he that comes to this holy feast with an unrepenting heart, iş like the fly in the temple upon the day of sacrifice : the little insect is very busy about the flesh of the slain beasts; she flies to every corner of the temple “; and she tastes the flesh, before the portion is laid before the god : but when the nidour and the delicacy hath called such an unwelcome guest, she corrupts the sacrifice, and therefore dies at the altar, or is driven away by the officious priest. So is an unworthy communicant; he comes, it may be, with passion, and an earnest zeal; he hopes to be fed, and he hopes to be made immortal ; he thinks he does a holy action, and shall receive a holy blessing; but what is his portion? It is a glorious d thing to be feasted at the table of God; glorious to him that is invited and prepared, but not to him that is unprepared, hateful, and impenitent.
But it is an easy thing to say, that a man must repent before he communicates ; so he must before he prays, before he dies, before he goes a journey; the whole life of a man is to be a continual repentance ® : but if so, then what particular is that which is required before we receive the holy communion? For if it be a universal duty of infinite extent, or unlimited comprehension, then every Christian must always be doing some of the offices of repentance: but then, which are the peculiar parts and offices of this grace, which have any special and immediate relation to this solemnity ? For if there be none, the sermons of repentance are nothing but thie general doctrine of good life, but of no special efficacy in our preparation.
c Exta prægusto Denm,
Phædr. iv, 23. Schwabe, vol. ii. p. 302. e See the Dootrine and Practice of Repentance, chap. d. and 2.
The answer to this will explicate the intricacy, and establish the measures of our duty in this proper relation, in order to this ministry.
The Necessity of Repentance in order to the holy Sacrament. 1. The holy sacrament of the Lord's Supper does not produce its intended effect upon an unprepared subjecta. He that gives his body to that which is against the spirit, and his spirit to the affections of the body, --cannot receive the body of Christ in a spiritual manner. He that receives Christ, musť in great truth be a servant of Christ. " It is not lawful,” saith Justin • Martyr, “ for any one to receive the holy eucharistical bread, and to drink of the sacred chalice, but to him that believes, and to him that lives according to Christ's commandment.” For as St. Paul argues of the infinite undecency of fornication, because it is a making the members of Christ to become the members of a harlot, – upon the same account, it is infinitely impossible, that any such polluted persons should become the members of Christ, to the intents of blessing and the spirit. How can Christ's body be communicated to them, who are one flesh with a harlot ? and so it is in all other sins ; “ We cannot partake of the Lord's table, and the table of devilso.” A wicked person, and a communicant, are of contrary interests, of differing relations, designed to divers ends, fitted with other dispositions ; they work not by the same principles, are not weighed in the same balance, nor meted by like measures; and, therefore, they that come, must be innocent, or return to innocence; that is, they must repent, or be such persons as need no repentance. And St. Ambrosed gives this account of the practice of the church in this affair : “ This is the order of this mystery, which is every where observed; that first, by the pardon of our sins our souls be healed, and the wounds cured with the medicine of repentance; and then that our souls be plentifully nourished by this holy sacrament.” And to this purpose he expounds the parable of the prodigal son, saying, “ That no man ought to come to this sacrament, unless he have the wedding-ring, and the wedding-garmente;" unless he have received the seal of the Spirit, and is clothed with white garments, the righteousness and justification of the saints. And to the same purpose it is, that St. Cyprian' complains of some in his church, who not having repented, not being put under discipline by the bishop and the clergy, yet had the sacrament ministered to them; against whom he presses the severe words of St. Paul, “ He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself;" that is, he that repents not of his sins, before he comes to the holy sacrament, comes before he is prepared, and therefore before he should. And St. Basil & hath a whole chapter on purpose to prove, “ that it is not safe for any man, that is not purged from all pollution of flesh and spirit, to eat the body of the Lord :” and that is the title of the chapter. The wicked think to appease God" with rivers of oil, and hecatombs of oxen, and with flocks of sheep: they think, by the ceremony and the gift, to make peace with God; to get pardon for their sin, and to make way for more: but they lose their labour (says the comedy') and throw away their cost,
a Non per id, quod recte foris oblatum est sacrificinm, ad se ducit Deum, intus habens peccatum.- Iren. lib. iv. c. 23. Ascon el apos tá tãpa vai tas Jusias αποβλέπουσιν ημών οι θεοί, αλλά μη προς την ψυχήν, άν τις έσιος και δίκαιος ών τυγχάνη.
o Just. Märtyr, apol. 2.
c Quam male inæquales veniunt ad aratra juvenci. — Oc. Her. ix. 29. Mitsch. tom. I. p. 42.
a Ubique mysterii ordo servatur, ut prius per remissionem peccatorum vulneribus medicina tribuatur, postea alimonia mensæ cælestis exuberet. In Luc. lib. vi. c. 37.
e Nemo huc accedere debet, nisi qui signaculum justitiæ custodierit, aut receperit. Lib. vii. c. 66.
Nondam pænitentiâ actâ, nondum facta exomologesi, nondum manu eis ab episcopo et clero impositâ, eucharistia eis datur.--Lib. iii. epist. 14.
8 Lib. ii. de baptism. cap. 3.
Pers. ii. 62. Koenig. p. 58. 1 Atque hoc scelesti in animum inducunt suum,
Jovem se placare posse donis, hostiis :
Plautus, Prolog. Rud. 22. Ernesti, vol. ii. p. 284.