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just nothing to the purpose. The law is clear. shew that the Lawgiver makes this exception, or you are guilty before him.

17. Reverence for the sacrament may be of two sorts; either such as is owing purely to the newness of the thing, such as men naturally have for any thing they are not used to: or such as is owing to our faith, or to the love or fear of God. Now the former of these is not properly a religious reverence, but purely natural. And this sort of reverence for the Lord's-Supper, the constantly receiving of it must lessen. But it will not lessen the true religious reverence, but rather confirm and increase it.

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18. A fourth objection is, "I have communicated constantly so long; but I have not found the benefit 1 expected." This has been the case with many well-meaning persons, and therefore deserves to be particularly considered. And consider this first. Whatever God commands us to do, we are to do, because he commands, whether we feel any benefit thereby or not. Now God commands, "Do this in remembrance of me." This, therefore, we are to do, because he commands, whether we find present benefit thereby or not. But undoubtedly we shall find benefit sooner or later, though perhaps insensibly. We shall be insensibly strengthened, made more fit for the service of God, and more constant in it. At least, we are kept from falling back, and preserved from many sins and temptations: and surely this should be enough to make us receive this food as often as we can: though we do not presently feel the happy effects of it, as some have done, and we ourselves may, when God sees best.

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19. But supposing a man has often been at the sacrament, and yet received no benefit. Was it not his own fault? Either he was not rightly prepared, willing to obey all the commands, and to receive all the promises of God: or he did not receive it aright, trusting in God. Only see that you are duly prepared for it, and the oftener you come to the Lord's-table, the greater benefit you will find there.

20. A fifth objection which some have made against con

stant communion is, That "the Church enjoins it only three times a year." The words of the Church are; "Noté that every Parishioner shall communicate at the least three times in the year." To this I answer, first, What if the Church had not enjoined it at all, is it not enough that God enjoins it? We obey the Church only for God's sake. And shall we not obey God himself? If then, you receive three times a year, because the Church commands it, receive every time you can, because God commands it. Else your doing the one will be so far from excusing you for not doing the other, that your own practice will prove your folly and sin, and leave you without excuse.

But, Secondly, We cannot conclude from these word that the Church excuses him who receives only thrice a year. The plain sense of them is, That he who does not receive thrice at least, shall be cast out of the Church: but they by no means excuse him, who communicates no oftener. This never was the judgment of our Church: on the contrary, she takes all possible care, that the sacrament be duly administered, wherever the Common Prayer is read, every Sunday and holiday in the year.

The Church gives a particular direction with regard to those that are in holy Orders. "In all Cathedral and Collegiate Churches and Colleges, where there are many Priests and Deacons, they shall all receive the communion with the Priest, every Sunday at the least."

21. It has been shewn, first, That if we consider the Lord's-Supper as a command of Christ, no man can have any pretence to Christian piety, who does not receive it, (not once a month, but) as often as he can: Secondly, That if we consider the institution of it, as a mercy to ourselves, no man who does not receive it as often as he can, has any pretence to Christian prudence: Thirdly, that none of the objections usually made, can be any excuse for that man, who does not at every opportunity obey this command and accept this mercy.

22. It has been particularly shewn, secondly, That unwor thiness is no excuse: because though in one sense we are all

unworthy, yet none of us need be afraid of being unworthy in St. Paul's sense of "eating and drinking unworthily:" Secondly, That the not having time enough for preparation, can be no excuse: since the only preparation which is absolutely necessary, is that which no business can hinder; nor indeed any thing on earth, unless so far as it hinders our being in a state of salvation: Thirdly, That its abating our reverence is no excuse: since he who gave the command, "Do this," no where adds, "Unless it abates your reverence;" Fourthly, That our not profiting by it is no excuse, since it is our own fault, in neglecting that necessary preparation, which is in our own power. Lastly, That the judgment of our own Church is quite in favour of constant communion. If those who have hitherto neglected it on any of these pretences, will lay these things to heart, they will, by the grace of God, come to a better mind, and never more forsake their own mercies.

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SERMON CVII.

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OF FORMER TIMES.

ECCLESIASTES VII. 10.

"Say not thou, What is the Cause, that the former Days were better than these? For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this."

1. IT is not easy to discern any connexion between this text and the context: between these words and either those that go before, or those that follow after. It seems to be a detached, independent sentence, like very many in the Proverbs of Solomon. And like them, it contains a weighty truth, which deserves a serious consideration. Is not the purport of the question this? It is not wise to enquire into the cause of a supposition, unless the supposition itself be not only true, but clearly proved so to be. Therefore it is not wise to enquire into the cause of this supposition, That the former days were better than these; because, common as it is, it was never yet proved, nor indeed ever can be.

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2. Perhaps there are few suppositions which have passed more currently in the world than this, That the former days were better than these; and that in several respects. It is generally supposed, that we now live in the dregs of time, when the world is, as it were, grown old, and, consequently, that every thing in it is in a declining state. It

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is supposed, in particular, that men were some ages ago, of a far taller stature than now: that they likewise had far greater abilities, and enjoyed a deeper and stronger understanding in consequence of which their writings of every kind are far preferable to those of later times. Above all, it is supposed, that the former generations of men excelled the present in virtue: that mankind in every age, and in every nation, have degenerated more and more; so that, at length, they have fallen from the golden into the iron age, and now justice is fled from the earth.

3. Before we consider the truth of these suppositions, let us enquire into the rise of them. And as to the general supposition, That the world was once in a far more excellent state than it is, may we not easily believe, that this arose, (as did all the fabulous accounts of the golden age,) from some confused traditions concerning our first parents and their paradisiacal state? To this refer many of the fragments of ancient writings, which men of learning have gleaned up. Therefore we may allow, that there is some truth in the supposition: seeing it is certain, the days which Adam and Eve spent in Paradise, were far better than any, which have been spent by their descendants, or ever will be, till Christ returns to reign upon earth.

4. But whence could that supposition arise, That men were formerly of a larger stature than they are now? This has been a generally prevailing opinion almost in all nations and in all ages. Hence, nearly two thousand years ago, the well-known line of Virgil,

Qualia nunc hominum producit corpora tellus.

Hence, nearly a thousand years before him, Homer tells us of one of his heroes throwing a stone, which hardly ten men could lift, Olav Bgoro, Such as men are now. We allow, indeed, there have been giants in all ages, in various parts of the world. Whether the Antediluvians mentioned in Genesis were such or not, (which many have questioned,) we cannot doubt but Og the King of Basan was such, as well as Goliath of Gath. Such also were many of the children (or descendants) of Anak. But it does not

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