Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/251

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by the Blood of Christ, that she hath sufficiently declared, by the great care she hath taken, to have this Holy Sacrament administered constantly, as often as it was in the Apostles' and Primitive time of Christianity; that is, as often as any Christian can desire to have it. For according to the order and discipline of our Church, if a sufficient number of parishioners, against whom there is no just exception, desire to receive it every Sunday, or every day in the year, the Minister of their parish not only may, but, as I humbly conceive, is bound to consecrate and administer it to them. The want of such a number being, as far as I can perceive, the only reason that can ever justify the omission of it.

I have endeavoured to set this matter in as clear a light as I could, because it will discover to us, several things very observable concerning the Church we live in. For hereby we see how exactly she follows the pattern of the Primitive and Apostolic Church in this particular, as well as others; what great care she hath taken that the Bread and Water of Life may be duly distributed to all her members whensoever they hunger and thirst after it. With how great prudence she hath so ordered it, that all may have it as often as they will, and yet none compelled to receive it oftener than it is absolutely necessary, in order to their manifesting themselves to continue in the faith of Christ. How desirous she is that all would receive it constantly, and yet how careful that none may receive it unworthily. How uniform she hath been in her orders about it all along; and by consequence what cause we all have to bless God, that we live in the communion of such a Church; and how much it behoves us to receive the Holy Communion of her; not only as often as she strictly commands all to receive it under the pain of excommunication, but as often as she adviseth and exhorteth us to do it in order to our Eternal Salvation, and as she is ready and desirous to communicate it to us. And then we should be sure to receive it as often as we are bound, either in duty to God, or by our own interest to do it.

* * * * *

The Blessed Body and Blood of Christ, received, as it ought to be, with a quick and lively faith, will most certainly have its desired effect. But it operates, for the most part, upon our souls, as our ordinary food doth upon our bodies, insensibly and by degrees. We eat and drink every day, and by that