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ditations. Both of these do fit us to re-' ceive holy exhortations, and useful instruc-. tions; and they again stir us up to more frequency and fervency in prayer and meditation. And these together, with all the former that I have mentioned, do prepare us for the facrament, and for keeping the holy feast of Christians in the supper of the Lord; and this again, affords such nourishment, that it makes us strong in the grace of Christ, and to perform all other duties with a greater pleasure, and with more delight to God and to ourselves.
But it must also be acknowledged, That there is some other preparation requisite to koly duties, beside all this that I have mentioned. For, though fervency in any one duty of our religion, doth fit us to be more fervent in all the rest; and though the works of our employment conscientiously discharged, do fit us for the duties of religion ; - yet to the doing of them fervently, it is needful that we lay out of our rnind all other thoughts that concern them not. Now the works of our ordinary emFf3
ployments, being about a different matter from the works of devotion; and the mind full of one thing, not being able presently to be void for other company ;we must spend some time to discharge our thoughts of such objects, as are foreign to these holy duties we go about. Conftancy in our lawful business doth hinder many indispositions and ill habits in our minds, which elfe would grow up in us; but yet they may leave fome little indispositions in us, at least to such a fervency in devotion, as we would arise unto. These therefore muft be laid aside in some meafure, and the thoughts of them give way for some time to holy purposes, that the duties of religion may enter, and more fully poffess our minds.
And when we are thus at leisure, let us fet ourselves to consider what is the end of this rite, and what lietb bid under the ceremony. This one thing feems to call for fome folemn thoughts beforehand; because it is a part of our religion, which is cloathed with an outward garment; it hath something of a positive inftitution in
it, and retains something of the ceremony, the signification of which is to be studied, left we should not discern the Lord's body. If we look not beyond the shadow, we Ihall feed nothing but our body; or if we draw aside the veil but half way, we thall lose a great part of the food of our fouls, which are instructed by every part of this holy action. We must therefore labour to uncover the face of this mysterious food, and consider it in all its fpiritual notions. When we intend to remember Christ in the facrament, let us consider whither we are going; what that table is, which is spread for us, what means that broken bread which is provided ; and for what end his precious blood was shed. Let us look into his wounds with joy and gladness, to see how his heart doth beat with love towards us. Let us open our hearts unto him, and thew an abhorrence and deteftation of those fins, for which he suffered, that he might save us from eternal ruin.
And then, we thould consider, in the pext place, what acts are most proper when
we shall be at God's table. We should think with ourselves, what hatred of fin, what defire, what love to God, and what charity to our brethren, is then to be expressed; what "prayers and interceffions, what praises and thanksgivings, are then to be offered. For we shall scarce spend our time well there, unless we be provided with some matter for our thoughts at that time. And therefore it is good to consider with ourselves, what disposition of foul doth beft agree, with every part of this sacred action. How the mind is to be affected at the breaking of the bread, and the pouring out of the wine; -how it is to be moved when they are blessed and presented unto God; and how when they are taken and received by us.
And when we have diligently pondered of this, Let us begin to stir up thofe affe&tions beforehand, which will prepare us to a more lively expression of them when we come there. Let us begin to admire at God's goodness, that he will send an invitation to such poor wretches as we are. Let us render him many thanks, for that
. the Sacrament. 441 being a Lord of such majesty, he would vouchsafe with so much humility to come and dwell in our flesh; and that he should love us better than his life, and that he will not forget us now that he lives in heaven.
; In the next place, Let us further endeavour, that all the passons and affe&tions of our souls may be quieted and fill. We must take some pains with them, that they may be so mortified and deadened to the world, that then they may not be too. quick and lively, and hinder our meditations of heavenly things. For this is a spiritual banquet, and the food gives no nourishment, but what we receive by meditation, by serious thoughts and affections, which can find no place, but only in still and quiet souls. There should be no tumults of anger and such like pafsions, because we converse with the God of love. All our storms should be husht and laid, as if we heard our Saviour's voice, saying, Peace, be fill. And therefore all holy men hayę taken an especial care, when