Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/249

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own salvation, that ye will be partakers of this Holy Comilnunion." There are several such pathetical expressions in that Exhortation, wherewith the Church most earnestly exhorts, adviseth, admonisheth all persons to come to this Holy Sacrament. And this Exhortation every Minister is to read publicly before all his congregation, whensoever he sees them negligent to come to it; as all are, who come but two or three times a year, where they may have it oftener if they will. They plainly live in the neglect of it, and therefore ought to have this Exhortation read to them, according to the order of the Church. Whereby she hath sufficiently demonstrated, that she doth not think it enough for people generally to receive it only three times in a year; but that it is her opinion, that they ought, and her hearty desire they would receive it as often as it is, or, according to her order, ought to be administered among them.

But then she wisely considers withal, that being a National Church, made up of all sorts of persons, it is necessary that her general Rules and Orders should be accommodated as much as possible, to the several conditions and circumstances that many of them may be sometimes in. And therefore, although she exhorts all her members to frequent and constant Communion, yet she does not think fit to command, and oblige them all, under the pain of excommunication, to receive oftener than three times a year, lest some might be thereby tempted to come sometimes without that preparation and disposition of mind that is requisite to the worthy partaking of so great a Mystery. I say, under pain of excommunication; for that is the meaning and the effect of this law, that they who do not communicate at least three times in a year, may, and ought to be cast out of the Communion of Christ's Church, as no longer fit to be called Christians, seeing they live in such a gross neglect of Christ's own command, and of that duty whereby Christians are in an especial manner distinguished from other men. Other men, as Jews, Turks, and Heathens, may fast and pray and hear Sermons, in their way; but to receive the Sacrament of Christ's Supper, is proper and peculiar only to Christians, or such as profess that religion which Jesus Christ hath settled in the world. And therefore they who receive the Sacrament, do thereby manifest themselves to be Christians. They who do it not, make it at least doubtful whe-