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Of the Necessity of Receiving the

Holy Sacrament.


HOUGH Notions are for the most part more Difficult,and of far less Concernment for men'to Understand, thani

their Duty; yet such is the general Curiosity of People, that they are more intent upon Speculations, than upon Practice, and study more to be Ma fers of an Opinion, than to inform and keep a good Conscience.

HOWEVER, in regard that knowledge · is the Principle of Action, and Men are

so governed by their Perswasions, that their Practice is ever suitable to their Sentiments, the most natural way of prevailing upon them to comply with their Duty, is to instruct their Understandings in the first place, and to furnith them with such. Notions as may have a dụe influence upon them, and do naturally tend to



prompt them on to that business which lyeth before them.

THIS is the Reason, that when I entred upon the Subject of the Holy Sacrament, I thought it advisable for me to Divide my Meditations so that I might first dispatch the Notional part, which is of the greatest Difficulty ; and then proceed to the Practical, which is of the greatest Use.

PURSUANT to this Design, I have formerly discoursed at large of the Nature, of the Ends,of the Dignity, and Usefulness of this weighty Ordinance; which things if Men would but seriously consider and carry in their Thoughts, they could not easily neglect a matter of such importance, without offering violence to their Judgments, and acting against their own Reason.

BUT there is a great deal of matter yet behind, which immediately and directly serveth to engage all of us to discharge our Duty in this particular, and also to govern us in the discharging of it. And the first thing that offers it self to our Consideration, is touching that Necessity which lyeth upon us, to eat of this Bread, and to drink of this Cup:

NOW in order to our better proceeding upon this Subject, we must

note, that there is a Twofold Necessity which relateth to


the matter in hand. 1. First, Some things are Absolutely and Indispensábly. Necessary, because they are the fixt and immovable Conditions of the New Covenant,without the performance whereof, Salvation cannot be expected by us.' So, to Believe in Christ, to Mortifie our Lusts, to have a Sanctified Spirit, to be Humble, Charitable, and the like; these things are Absolutely Necessary; for without Faith, and Repentance, and entire Holiness of heart, none of us cản see the Lord. 2. Secondly, Some things are Necessary Respectively and upon Supposition ; that is, supposing that there is some Command for them, though they be not necessary in their own Nature, but are required chiefly to try and Exercise Mens Obedience: Or supposing that they are appointed as certain and effeual Means, in order to fome great and Necessary End; and as Instruments to bring us those Mercies, which our Souls stand in need of. Now, wheni we say, 'tis Necessary to receive the Saw craments of Christs Body and Blood; the meaning is not, that it is absolutely,

fimply, indispensably, and universally ne· ceffarý, so that no Man cant possibly be

saved without it. For no Rites whatsoever are to be accounted of equal moment with substantial Morality ;




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