Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/238

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whereof runs thus, Πάτας τοὺς εἰσίοντας πιστοὺς, etc. All believers that come to Church, and hear the Scriptures, but do not stay to join in the Prayers, and the Holy Communion, ought to be excommunicated, as bringing confusion into the Church, (Can. Apostol. 9.) It was then, it seems, reckoned a great disorder and confusion for any to go out of the Church, as they now commonly do, until the whole Service, of which the Communion was the principal part, was all over: and if any did so, they were judged unfit to come to Church, or keep company with Christians any longer. This was the discipline of the Primitive and Apostolic Church. This was the piety of the first Christians: and it continued in a great measure for some ages, as might easily be shown. But this may be sufficient at present to prove, that the Apostles and Primitive Christians did not think that they observed our Lord's command in the institution of this Holy Sacrament aright, by receiving it only now and then. For, as they would never have done it at all, but only in obedience unto that command; so in obedience to that command, they took all opportunities they could get, of doing it; at least they never omitted it upon the Lord's Day. But upon that day, whatsoever they did besides, they always did this in remembrance of what their Great Lord and Saviour had done for them. And if we desire to be such Christians as they were, we must do as they did. We nmst, after their pious example, observe our Lord's command, by eating this bread, and drinking this cup as often as we can; lest otherwise we lose the benefit of that death He suffered for us, by our neglecting to do what He hath commanded in remembrance of it.

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What effect they [my arguments] will have upon those that hear them, I know not; but fear that it will be much the same that reason and argument usually have upon the greatest part of mankind; that, very little, or none at all. But for my own part, when I seriously consider these things, I cannot but wonder with myself, how it comes to pass, that this Holy Sacrament, instituted by Christ Himself, is so much neglected and disused as it is, in a place where His religion is professed and acknowledged to be, as really it is, the only true religion in the world. And after all my search, I can resolve it into nothing else but the degeneracy of the age we live in, and the great decay of that most Holy Religion among us.