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The Effects and Benefits of Worthy Communicating.

When I said that the sacrifice of the cross, which Christ offered for all the sins and all the needs of the world, is represented to God by the minister in the sacrament, and offered up in prayer and sacramental memory, after the manner that Christ himself intercedes for us in heaven, (so far as his glorious priesthood is imitable by his ministers on earth,) I must of necessity also mean, that all the benefits of that sacrifice are then conveyed to all that communicate worthily. But if we descend to particulars, then and there the church is nourished in her faith, strengthened in her hope, enlarged in her bowels with an increasing charity; there all the members of Christ are joined with each other, and all to Christ their head; and we again renew the covenant with God in Jesus Christ, and God seals his part, and we promise for ours, and Christ unites both, and the Holy Ghost signs both in the collation of those graces which we then pray for an exercise and receive all at once. There our bodies are nourished with the signs, and our souls with the mystery: our bodies receive into them the seed of an immortal nature, and our souls are joined with him who is the first-fruits of the resurrection and never can die. And if we desire anything else and need it, here it is to be prayed for, here to be hoped for, here to be received. Long life and health, and recovery from sickness, and competent support and maintenance, and peace and deliverance from our enemies, and content and patience, and joy, and sanctified riches, or a cheerful poverty, and liberty, and whatsoever else is a blessing was purchased for us by Christ in his death and resurrection, and in his intercession in heaven. And this sacrament being that to our particulars which the great mysteries are in themselves and by design to all the world, if we receive worthily, we shall receive any of these blessings, according as God shall choose for us; and he will not only choose with more wisdom, but also with more affection, than we can for ourselves.

After all this, it is advised by the guides of souls, wise men and pious, that all persons should communicate very often, even as often as they can, without excuses or delays; everything that puts us from so holy an employment, when we are moved to it, being either a sin or an imperfection, an infirmity or in devotion, and an inactiveness of spirit. All Christian people must come. They, indeed, that are in the state of sin must not come so, but yet they must come. First they must quit their state of death, and then partake of the bread of life. They that are at enmity with their neighbours must come-that is no excuse for their not coming; only they must not bring their enmity along with them, but leave it, and then come. They that have variety of secular employment must come;297297L’Evaque de Geneve, Introd. a la Vic Devote. only they must leave their secular thoughts and affections behind them, and then come and converse with God. If any man be well grown in grace, he must needs come, because he is excellently disposed to so holy a feast: but he that is but in the infancy of piety had need to come, that so he may grow in grace. The strong must come lest they become weak; and the weak that they may become strong. The sick must come to be cured; the healthful to be preserved. They that have leisure must come, because they have no excuse; they that have no leisure must come hither, that by so excellent an act of religion they may sanctify their business. The penitent sinners must come, that they may be justified; and they that are justified, that they may be justified still. They that have fears and great reverence to these mysteries, and think no preparation to be sufficient must receive, that they may learn how to receive the more worthily; and they that have a less degree of reverence must come often, to have it heightened: that as those creatures that live amongst the snows of the mountains turn white with their food and conversation with such perpetual whitenesses, so our souls may be transformed into the similitude and union with Christ by our perpetual feeding on him, and conversation, not only in his courts, but in his very heart, and most secret affections and incomparable purities.

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