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The writer of the present work, near the close of the last winter, engaged, at the solicitation of the printer, to revise, for immediate publication, “The New Week's Preparation for a worthy receiving of the Lord's Supper.” He soon found that, though there was a vein of piety in this work which deserved respect, there were many glaring errors of sentiment, and improprieties of language, which were calculated otö mislead and to disgust. From his engagement with the printer, it appeared necessary for him either to sanctie--"T in nis Judgment, very imperfect, and in some respects censurable; or to attempt to prepare a new one. He was induced to adopt the latter course ; and thus found himself engaged in the humble performance which is now presented to the public: ,
In the explanation of the Sacrament of the
Lord's Supper prefixed to the work, he has endeavoured to use, as much as possible, the
words of the Church in her Catechism and Office for the Communion *. In this introductory treatise, he has also made free use of an excellent tract on the Holy Communion, by Bishop Gibson, and of a Sermon of the late Bishop Seabury, on the same subject; and when he quoted their sentiments, he thought it proper to use nearly their language. As quotations from others are thus incorporated with remarks of his own, a variety of style may possibly be observed in this part of the work. It is necessary also to remark, that the devotions to be used at the administration of the Holy Communion, are not all of them entirely ori
so-- Rat for the rest of the work, the meditations and prayers to be used in the week
before the receiving of the Communion, the author is solely responsible.
In the following pages, the writer has endeavoured to keep in view two principles, which he deems most important and fundamental. These principles are: That we are
- - r • And in doing this, he has taken for his guide a short explanation of the Lord's Supper, in the New Week's Preparation.
saved from the guilt and dominion of sin by the divine merits and grace of a crucified Redeemer; and that the merits and grace of this Redeemer are applied to the soul of the believer, in the devout and humble participation of the ordinances of the Church, administered by a priesthood who derive their authority by regular transmission from Christ, the Divine Head of the Church, and the source of all power in it. These are the principles which at first promulgated by the Apostles, “in demonstration of the spirit and with power,” constituted the glory of the Primitive Church—that Church which was watered by the tears and blood of Confessors and Martyrs. These are the principles which, tho' in the present age unhappily disregarded and contemned, will again be cherished with sacred and inviolable ardour, when it shall please the Divine and Almighty Head of the Church to restore her to her original purity and perfection. Could Christians be persuaded heartily to embrace these principles, and to regulate their faith and conduct by them; the Church would be rescued, on the one hand, from those baneful opinions which
are reducing the Gospel to a cold, unfruitful, and comfortless system of heathen morals; and, on the other hand, from that wild spirit of enthusiasm and irregular zeal which, contemning the divinely constituted government and priesthood of the church, is destroying entirely her order, unity, and beauty, and undermining the foundations of sound and sober piety.
It may possibly be objected to the strain of devotion in this work, that it is visionary and enthusiastic. But surely devotional writings, in order to engage and interest the affections, ought to be, in some degree at least, fervent and animated. The devotional strains of the sweet Psalmist of Israel, breathe the rapturous spirit of those celestial courts, to which they are designed to lead the soul. If it be necessary to descend from sacred to human authority—the appeal may be made to the primitive Fathers, who poured forth their devotional feelings in language the most ardent and impassioned. The Divines of the Church of England, who imbibed their principles and their piety at the pure fountain of the primitive Church, are distinguished for their lively and animating fervour. The writings of the venerable Bishop Andrews, of Bishop Taylor, Bishop Kenn, Bishop Hall, Dean Hickes, Dean Stanhope, Bishop Wilson, &c.—(the enumeration might be extended)—and the late eloquent and pious Bishop Horne, not less instruct by sound and forcible reasoning, than animate and warm by the sacred fervour which pervades them. Far be it from the writer, humble in attainments as in years, to presume to range himself, even in the lowest seat, with these eminently distinguished servants of the sanctuary. Happy may he esteem himself, if, from the study of their works, which, next to the inspired volume he sacredly cherishes as the invaluable standard of his principles, and the animating guide of his devotions, he has caught even a feeble spark of that celestial spirit which made them burning and shining lights in the Church on earth ; and has prepared them for the highest seats of Glory in the Church triumphant.