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thirsty, longing and passionate, weary of sin, and hating vanity, and reaching out the heart and hands to Christ. And this we are taught by the same mystery represented under other sacraments ; the waters of the spiritual rock of which our fathers drank in the wilderness; the rock was Christ, and those waters were his blood in the sacrament: and with the same appetite they drank those sacramental waters withal, we are to receive these divine mysteries evangelical.
Now let us, by the aids of memory and fancy, consider the children of Israel in the wilderness, in a barren and dry land where no water was, marching in dust and fire, not wet with the dew of heaven, wholly without moisture, save only what dropped from their own brows: the air was fire, and the vermin was fire: the flying serpents were of the same cognation with the firmament,-their sting was a flame, their venom was a fever, and the fever a calenture: and their whole state of abode and travel was a little image of the day of judgment, when the elements shall melt with fervent heat. These men, like salamanders walking in fire, dry with heat, and scorched with thirst, and made yet more thirsty by calling upon God for water; suppose, I say, these thirsty souls hearing Moses to promise that he will smite the rock, and that a river should break forth from thence, observe how presently they ran to the foot of the springing stone, thrusting forth their heads and tongues to meet the water, impatient of delay, crying out that 'the water did not move like light, all at once :'--and then suppose the pleasure of their drink, the unsatiableness of their desire, the immensity of their appetite; they took in as much as they could, and they desired much more. This was their sacrament of the same mystery, and this was their manner of receiving it; and this teaches us to come to the same Christ with the same desires. For if that water was a type of our sacrament, or å sacrament of the same secret blessing, then that thirst is a signification of our duty, that we come to receive Christ in all the ways of reception with longing appetites, preferring him before all the interests of the world; as birds do corn above jewels, — or hungry men, meat before long orations.
For it is worth observing, that, there being in the Old Testament thirteen types and umbrages of this holy sacrament, eleven of them are of meat and drink : such are, 1. The
tree of life in the midst of Paradise ; 2. The bread and wine of Melchisedec; 3. The fine meal that Sarah kneaded for the angels' entertainment; 4. The manna; 5. The roasted paschal lamb"; 6. The springing rock; 7. The bread of proposition to be eaten by the priests; 8. The barley-cake in the host of Midian; 9. Samson's father's oblation upon the rock; 10. The honey-comb that opened the eyes of Jonathan; 11. And the bread which the angel brought to Elijah, in the strength of which he was to live forty days. All this is to show, that the sacrament is the life of the spiritual man, and the food of his soul, the light of his eyes, and the strength of his heart; and not only all this, and very much more of this nature, but to represent our duty also, and the great principle of preparation : meat is the object, and hunger is the address. The wine is the wine of angels; but if you desire it not, what should you do with it? for the wine that is not to satisfy your need, can do nothing but first minister to vanity, and then to vice; first to wantonness, and then to drunkenness.
St. Austin, expressing the affections of his mother Monicha, to the blessed sacrament, says, “ That her soul was, by the ligatures of faith, united so firmly to the sacrifice, which is dispensed in the Lord's Supper, that a lion or a dragon could not drag her away from thence;" and it was said of St. Catharine, “ That she went to the sacraments as a sucking infant to his mother's breasts ;" and this similitude St. Chrysostom * expresses elegantly; " See you not with what pretty earnestness and alacrity infants snatch their nurse's breast? How they thrust their lips into the flesh, like the sting of a bee. Let us approach to this table with no less desire, and, with no less, suck the nipple of the holy chalice; yet with greater desire let us suck the grace of the Holy Spirit.” And it is reported that our blessed Lord taught St. Mechtildis, " When you are to receive the holy communion, desire and wish to the praise of my name to have. all desire and all love, that ever was kindled in any heart
b Sint desiderii post escas pocula magni;
Præsertim, quia carnes assas sunipsimus agni.
* Homil. 83. in 26. Matth.
towards me, and so come to me; for so will I inflame, and so will I accept thy love, not as it is, but as thou desirest it should be in thee.”
“Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden,” saith Christ; that is, they that groan under the burden of their sins, and feel the load of their infirmities, and desire pardon and remedy; they that love the instruments of graces as they are channels of salvation ; they that come to the sacrament out of earnest desires to receive the blessings of Christ's death, and of his intercession;-these are the welcome guests; for so saith God, “ Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it :” for “ he hath filled the hungry with good things,” said the holy virgin mother; for Christ is food and refreshment to none else : for the full he hath sent empty away.'
If, therefore, you understand your danger, and deeply resent the evil of your infirmities and sinful state; if you confess yourselves miserable, and have all corresponding apprehensions; if you long for remedy, and would have it upon any terms; if you be hungry at your very heart, and would fain have food and physic, health and spiritual advantages; if you understand what you need, and desire what you understand; if these desires be as great as they are reasonable, and as lasting as they are great; if they be as inquisitive as they are lasting, and as operative as they are inquisitive; that is, if they be just and reasonable pursuances of the means of grace; if they carry you by fresh and active appetites to the communion, and, that this may be to purpose, if they fix you upon such methods as will make the communion effect that, which God designed, and which we need, -- then we shall perceive the blessings and fruits of our holy desires ; according to those words of David (as it is rendered in the vulgar Latin), “ The Lord hath heard the desire of the poor; and his ear hath hearkened to the preparation of their heart.” An earnest desire is a good preparation, and God will attend unto it. Concerning this, therefore, we are first to examine ourselves. Upon the
c In actis Lovaniensibus dicitur de B. Ida, ex ore et naribus fluere saoguinem solere, qni non sistebatur, donec ad sacram mensam se sisteret ad sedandum vehemens ejus communicandi cum eo, quem ardeuter amaverat, desiderium, c. 9.
Προσίωμεν τοίνυν μετά θερμότητος αυτών και πεπυρωμένης αγάπης, μη υπομεινωμεν Tipeegiav. - S. Chrys. hom. 24. in 1 ad Corinth.
account of our earnest desires, it is seasonable to inquire whether to communicate frequently, be an instance of that holy desire, which we ought to have to these sacred mye teries ? and whether all men be bound to communicate frequently, and what measure is the safest and best in this inquiry? But because the answer to this depends upon some other propositions of differing matter, I reserve it to its proper place", where it will be a consequent of those propositions.
Of our Examinalion concerning Remanent Affections to Sin. He that desires to communicate worthily, must examine himself, whether there be not in him any affection to sin remaining.- This examination is not any part of repentance, but a trial of it; for of preparatory repentance, I shall give larger accounts in its own place; but now we are to try whether that duty be done, that, if it be, we may come; if not, we may be remanded, and go away till we have performed it; for be that comes, must have repented first : but now he is to be examined whether he have or no done that work so materially, that it is also prosperously, that is, whether he have done it, not only solemnly and ritually, but effectively, whether he have so washed, that he is indeed clean from any foul and polluting principle.
When the heathens offered a sacrifice to their false gods, they would make a severe search to see if there were any crookedness or spot, any uncleanness or deformity, in their sacrifice. The priest was wont to handle the liver, and search the throbbing a heart; he inquires if the blood springs right, and if the lungs be sound; he thrusts his hand into the region of the lower belly, and looks if there be an ulcer, or a scirrhus, a stone, or a bed of gravel. Now the observation which Tertullianmakes upon these sacrificial rites, is
d Chap. 5. sect. 4.
b Miror, cum hostiæ probantur penes vos à vitiosissimis sacerdotibus, cur præcordia potius victimarum, quam ipsorum sacrificantium, examinantur? Apolog. c. 30.
pertinent to this rule:" When your impure priests look after & pure sacrifice, why do they not rather inquire into their
own heart, than into the lamb's appurtenance ? Why do they not ask after the lust of the sacrificers, more than the little spot upon the bull's liver?”—The rites of sacrifices were, but the monitions of duty; and the priest's inquiry into the purity of the beast was but a precept represented in ceremony and hieroglyphic, commanding us to take care that the man be not less pure and perfect than the beast. For if an unclean man brings a clean sacrifice, the sacrifice shall not cleanse the man, but the man will pollute the sacrifice; let them bring to God a soul pured and spotless, lest God espying a soul humbly lying before the altar, and finding it to be polluted with a remaining filthiness, or the reproaches of a sin, he turns away his head and hates the sacrifice. And God, who taught the sons of Israel in figures and shadows, and required of the Levitical priests to come to God clean and whole, straight, and with perfect bodies, meant to tell us, that this bodily precept, in a carnal law, does, in a spiritual religion, signify a spiritual purity. For God is never called the lover of bodies, but the great lover of souls; and he that comes to redeem our souls from sin and death, from shame and reproach, would have our souls brought to him as he loves them: an unclean soul is a deformity in the eyes of God; it is indeed spiritually discerned, but God hath no other eyes but what are spirits and flames of fire.
Here, therefore, it concerns us to examine ourselves strictly and severely, always remembering, that to examine ourselves (as is here intended) is not a duty completed by examining; for this carries us on to the sacrament, or turns us to the mortifications of repentance
c Submouentur in his symbolis, ut, quoties accedunt ad altaria, vel nun. copaturi vota vel reddituri, nullom vitium, nullumque morbum afferant in anima.-Philo.
a Conentur omnino nitidam et immaculatam animam in conspectum Dei producere, ne visanı aversetur. — Philo. Si mortale corpus, multo magis immortalem animam.- Idem.
e Salvatorem nostrum, fratres charissimi, suscepturi, totis viribus debemus nos cum ipsius adjutorio præparare, et omnes latebras animæ nostræ diligenter aspicere, ne fortè sit in nobis aliquod peccatom absconditum, quod et conscientiam nostram confundat et mordeat, et oculos divinæ majestatis offendat. - S. Ambros. de Sacram.