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Exhortations and Devotions
NOTE. The following method of preparation is intended rather as a guide than a form or office to be strictly adhered to. Its object is to suggest to those who have but little time to think them out for themselves some freshness of meaning to the familiar phrases in which our Church requires those who come to the LORD's Supper to examine themselves. As it is better not to confine the work of such an examination to one evening, it is suggested that the two first questions should be taken on Thursday, the third and fourth on Friday, the fifth and concluding devotions on Saturday. For those who communicate more often than once a week, an outline of Preparation is suggested on pp.
How to prepare for the Holy Eucharist.-We have seen that the leading thought of the Service is Eucharistic. We come to give most humble and hearty thanks to Almighty GOD, our heavenly Father, for that He hath given His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ not only to die for our sins, but also to be our spiritual food and sustenance. But we cannot do this alone. It is only through Christ and in union with His Oblation that we can offer up our Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving. We need Communion. This, then, is our aim-Eucharist through Communion. Are we looking forward to it with
1. Have we a thankful remembrance of Christ's Death —a full trust in God's mercy through Christ-feelings of charity towards our neighbour? These are essential to a spirit of gratitude.
2. Do we share His feelings about sin? Are we desirous of living as He lived? These are essential to our communion with Him.
It will be better to be clear on this last point first, for every one will see how impossible it would be to plead the Sacrifice upon the Cross unless we are one with its spirit. We shall therefore begin our preparation by serious self-examination as to our thoughts, words, and deeds, and then suggest some help by which we may see whether we steadfastly purpose to lead a new life.
PRAYER FOR AN EARNEST PREPARATION.
ALMIGHTY Father, I desire in acknowledgment
of the many and great blessings Thou hast given me, through Thy Son Jesus Christ, to join in offering to Thee that Memorial which He commanded us to make.
I desire to offer It for Thine own honour, adoration, and glory, in remembrance of His Cross and Passion, and in thanksgiving for all the benefits procured thereby.
And in union with it I desire to offer up all that I am or have, body, soul, and spirit, together with the praises of Thy Holy Church. Help me now by Thy Holy Spirit to make such preparation as may make me less unworthy to receive His blessed Body and Blood, Who is both Priest and Sacrifice. Help me to see my sins and grieve over them, but to see also the fulness of Thy mercy in Christ Jesus.
Help me to be stirred and moved by the devout remembrance of His Passion; but grant that it may lead ine to a more entire consecration, a more serious purpose to lead a new life in charity with all men.
Hear me, O Father, for His sake. Amen.
I. DO I REPENT ME TRULY OF MY FORMER SINS?
Self-Examination.-The answer to this is not so easy as we might at first imagine. Repentance means selfknowledge and shame. And for this we need the aid of the Holy Ghost, Whose work it is to convict of sin (John xvi. 18). Seek His aid in some such prayer as you will find on the page opposite, and then carefully think over these words of Archbishop Magee exhorting you to be definite: "Too many penitents content themselves with general acknowledgment of their sinfulness, while they shrink from the labour and pain of searching out each sin, and pondering upon its guilt, and bringing it distinctly and by name before GOD for pardon. Such persons will never have that deep and humbling sense of their own sinfulness which they ought to have. If you would be really penitent, you will call up each sin, one by one, for judgment, you will not hastily dismiss it from your mind, but you will examine it, and consider all the circumstances of it, until you see all the guilt there was in it, and until you feel for it the shame and sorrow you ought to feel. You will confess it distinctly by name; you will say to GOD, not merely, Father, I have sinned,' but 'Father, I have done this evil, and this, and this too, in Thy sight have mercy upon me, pardon me, and strengthen me against these sins in time to come.'