The Communion-Office here referred to, is entitled, A Communion-Office, taken partly from Primitive Liturgies, and partly from the first English reformed Common-Prayer-Book, &c. Printed London, 1718.
Advice to Such as Go into Foreign Parts
Almighty God never requireth Impossibilities of us. If, therefore, by His overruling Providence, He determine our Lot to any Place where there are no Orthodox, Lawful Bishops or Priests, to administer the Sacred Offices, particularly the Holy Sacraments; it is most certain, that there, in that Situation, God doth not require that Publick Worship of any one, which is due to Him, and which we are obliged to pay to Him, when such Bishop or Priest is to be had, although it were even with the Peril of our Lives,
We must never do Evil, no not even that Good may come of it. Therefore in this Case, we must not join in Publick Worship, either with Heretical or Schismatical Bishops or Priests; nor in Corrupt, Defective, nor Polluted Offices. Far less must we plead Necessity for so doing; because it can never possibly be necessary to do Evil upon any Account,
All Publick Offices of Devotion, all Sacraments, are only generally, but not absolutely necessary to Salvation. Therefore, as where they are lawfully to be had, according to Divine Institution, it is a most heinous Sin to neglect or despise them; so where, by God's over-ruling Providence, we are necessarily deprived of them, without any Neglect, Contempt, or Cowardice in us; there we may expect the Divine Blessing, with all the Divine Effects, Comforts, and Spiritual Advantages, of all Divine Offices, and Sacerdotal Administrations, as much in the Use of Private, Social Devotions; or, where even that cannot be had for want of Numbers, in Secret Devotions, duly performed, in Faith, with Earnestness, as in Publick Offices when to be had.
From all which it follows;
That where there are Two, Three, or more in this Situation, and removed by Providence far from all Orthodox, Lawful Bishops or Priests; it is then their Duty, there to meet together frequently and solemnly, particularly upon all Sundays and Holidays, and then to read all the proper Offices of the Church, with all the proper Responses, in such manner as is lawful for Lay-People to do: That is, by turning the Absolution in the Morning and Evening-Service into a Prayer. Thus.
Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desirest not the Death of a Sinner, but rather that he may turn from his Wickedness, and live; and hast given Power and Commandment to Thy Ministers to declare and pronounce to Thy People, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their Sins: And Who hast now, by Thy Providence, deprived us of that Blessing and Comfort, but yet hast promised, that
where Two or Three are gathered together in Thy Name, there Thou wilt be in the midst of them: Do Thou, O Lord, of Thy infinite Mercy, pardon and absolve us, and all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe Thy Holy Gospel, we most humbly beseech Thee: And grant us true Repentance and Thy Holy Spirit, that those things may please Thee, which we do at this present; and that the rest of our Life hereafter may be pure and holy, so that at the last we may come to Thy eternal Joy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Next, upon all Sundays and Holidays, after going through the Morning first Service, as above directed, let them read the Communion-Office with great Care, Attention, Seriousness, and Devotion, in Faith; that thus they may keep in Memory the most precious Death and Passion of our Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, who reconciled God the Father to our Nature, even while we were Enemies, by the Grand Atonement; and the Benefits which fallen Man receives thereby.
Let them begin with the proper Introit for the Day; and having proceeded to the Exhortation, [Dearly Beloved in the Lord, ye that mind to come to the Holy Communion, &c.] let them pass it over, and go to the Offertory, and then lay aside what they would have offered, had there been a Sacrament; and let it be given to the Poor. And then say,
O Almighty God, Possesor of Heaven and Earth, of Thine own give I Thee: Accept of this Free-Will-Offering of mine Hands, as a Testimony of mine Acknowledgment of Thy Right over all that I enjoy, as an Expression of my Love and Charity to the Poor Members of Christ's Body, and as a small Proof of my Love to Him. O grant, that all my Alms-Deeds may be done with Purity of Intention, and with such a Liberal Hand and Heart, that they may be a Sacrifice of a sweet-smelling Savour in Thy Sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then let the Prayer, which stands next the Offertory, be said thus:
O Almighty God, Who hast created, and hast appointed several Orders of Ministers in Thy Church, by the Power of Thy Holy Spirit; may it please Thee, O Lord, to assist all the Lawful Ministers of the New-Testament, and Dispensers of Thy Holy Mysteries, in the Lawful Exercise of their Office, and in all their Holy Administrations, particularly at Thy Holy Altar; that according to the Multitude of Thy Mercies, they may be worthy to offer unto Thee a Reasonable and Unbloody Sacrifice, for the Sins of all Mankind: And do Thou, O Lord, accept it, and receive it, as a sweet-smelling Savour; and send down the Grace of Thy Holy Spirit upon them, and also upon us, although, by Thy Providence, we are deprived, at present, of the Outward Means of Thy Appointment, by the Administration of Thy Ministers, with whom we do now join in Faith and in Spirit; and humbly pray Thee to accept of their Worship and Service, as Thou didst accept that of the Holy Apostles. And of Thy Goodness, O Lord, vouchsafe to receive all the pure Offerings, which are this Day offered unto Thee by Thy faithful Servants, throughout the whole Worlds for all Mankind, for whom Christ died; making them worthy, by Thy Holy Spirit, to minister at Thy Holy Altar, without Blame; That they may have the Reward of good and faithful Servants at that great and Terrible Day of Account and just Retribution; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who, with Thee, and the Holy. Ghost, liveth and reigneth, ever one God, World without End. Amen.
Let them then go on, as in the Book, until they come to the Consecration, and passing that over entirety, let the Prayer which immediately follows, be said thus:
Almighty and Everliving God, Who by Thy Holy Apostle hast taught us to make Prayers and Supplications, and to give Thanks for all Men; we humbly beseech Thee most mercifully to accept of the Pure Oblations this day offered to Thee; by Thy Ministers throughout the World, and to [accept these our Alms, and to] receive these our Prayers which we offer, &c., [as in the Book.]
Then let them say the Lord's Prayer, and what follows, to the Exhortation before the general Confession; and let that Exhortation be said thus:
We who by Thy Grace, do truly and earnestly repent us of our Sins, and who are in Love and Charity with our Neighbours, and intend to lead a New Life, following the Commandments of Thee our God, and walking from henceforth in Thy Holy Ways; most humbly beseech Thee, O Lord, to give us Grace, now to draw near to Thee by Faith, and spiritually to partake of all the Blessings and Comforts of the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Thy dear Son, our, Lord, wheresoever offered by Thy faithful Ministers throughout the World: To the Increase of the Re-implanted Image of God in our Souls, and the Building us up in the Faith, in profound Humility, and perfect Resignation to Thy Holy Will. And all we beg for the Sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then let the general Confession be said: And after it, let the Absolution be turned to a Prayer, thus:
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, Who, of Thy great Mercy, hast promised Forgiveness of Sins to all them, that with hearty Repentance, and true Faith turn unto Thee, have Mercy upon us, and upon all Thy Faithful People, however distressed, and where-ever dispersed, throughout the whole World: Pardon and deliver us from all our Sins, confirm and strengthen us in all Goodness, accept of our hearty Desire to join with all Thy faithful Ministers, in all their Sacred Administrations, and with all Thy faithful People in all their Parts of the Sacred Offices. And we most humbly beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thou Thyself mayest of Thy infinite Mercy, supply and make up to us, Thy unworthy Servants, for whom Christ died; the Want of the Outward Ordinance of the Sacramental Participation, of Thy Appointment, by Plentiful Effusion of Thy Holy Spirit upon our Souls; whereby we may be made as truely Partakers of all the Blessings and Privileges purchased by the Death and Passion, Merits and Intercession of Thy Dear Son, to all the Purposes of the Divine Institution of the Holy Eucharist, as if we did actually and really receive the sacred Symbols, duly consecrated by a proper Officer (of which we are now deprived) at Thy holy Altar, in the Instituted Manner. And bring us, in Thy own due time, to everlasting Life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then let what follows be read, to the Prayer of Humble Access, which may be said thus:
We do not presume to approach Thee, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own Righteousness, but in Thy manifold and great Mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the Crums under Thy Table, but Thou art the same Lord, whose Property is always to have Mercy. Grant us, therefore, Gracious Lord, that although we cannot so eat the Flesh of Thy Dear Son, Jesus Christ, and so drink His Blood, as Thou hast appointed us to do, in the Holy Eucharist; yet that nevertheless our sinful Bodies may be made clean by His Body, and our Souls washed through His most precious Blood, that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us. Amen.
Then let them say, in Faith, every one for himself,
Although I have not now the Sacred Symbols to receive, yet I beseech Thee, O Lord, that the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for me, may preserve my Body and Soul unto everlasting Life. Amen.
Although I have not now the Sacred Symbols to receive, yet I beseech Thee, O Lord, that the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for me, may preserve my Body and Soul unto everlasting Life. Amen.
Then let the Thanksgiving which follows be said thus:
Almighty and everliving God, we most heartily thank Thee for the many Opportunities which Thou didst in Thy great Mercy afford us, or partaking of the Body and Blood of Thy dear Son, in a Sacramental Participation, from the Hands of Thy Faithful Ministers; and, if it be Thy Will, we most humbly beseech Thee, to Restore the like unto us again, in Thy own good Time. And more particularly do we give Thanks for the Hopes we have, that although we are destitute, at present, of those sacred Symbols, which are the Sacramental Pledges of Thy Love, which Thou hast instituted to be Offered up to Thee, only by such Evangelical Priests, as are commissioned by Thy Son, yet that nevertheless, we are now in Faith, in Power, and in Effect fed with Divine Spiritual Food, purchased by the Sacrifice of the most precious Body and Blood of Thy dear Son, our Blessed Lord, Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, as a sure and inward Pledge of Thy Goodness, Mercy, Love and Favour to us; and as a Sign that we are very Members Incorporate in the Mystical Body of Thy Son, which is the blessed Company of all Faithful People, Living and Departed, who are all one Family under Christ our Head, And for our being also Heirs, through Hope, of Thy everlasting Kingdom, by the Merits of the most precious Death and Passion of Thy dear Son. And we most humbly beseech Thee, O Heavenly Father, so to assist us with Thy Grace, that we may continue in that holy Fellowship, and do all such Good Works as Thou hast prepared for us to walk in, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to Whom, with Thee, and the Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory, World without End. Amen.
Then let all present together say, Gloria in Excelsis, in English.
Then let him who reads for the rest say one or more of the Post-Communion Collects.
And then, instead of the Blessing, say,
O Holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, Three-Persons and One God, have Mercy upon us Miserable Sinners, and bless us, giving us Grace to obey Thy Voice. O Lord, continue Thy Love and Kindness and Protection to us; give us Grace to live in Thy Fear and Love; and when Thou hast served Thyself of us here, may we die in Thy Favour, and then carry us into the Mansions of Bliss, for the sake of Jesus Christ Thy only Son, our Lord, Saviour and Redeemer; to Whom, with Thee, and the Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Let him who reads for the rest, keep to the same Postures, during the Performance of these Devotions, that the rest do, that is, he and all should kneel together, or stand together.
Let not those doubt, who perform these Duties in Faith, and who carefully regulate their Lives and Conversations accordingly, but that they perform an acceptable Service to God, and beneficial to themselves, and do spiritually Communicate with all the Members of Christ's Mystical Body, and with Him the Head, very profitable to the Health of their Souls, although they do not receive the Outward instituted Sacred Symbols of the Holy Eucharist with their Mouth.
And if it should so happen, that there is but one Person alone, in this Situation; yet let that Person say all the Service, as above recommended, only saying Me for Us, and I for We; and if this be done in Sincerity and in Faith, God will accept of it, and undoubtedly reward it.
In this Case, and also when there are more to join in Social Devotion, it were well, if there be time before they begin to read the Church-Service, that every one present might say in private what follows kneeling:
An Act of Spiritual Communion, to be said when a Person is destitute of an Opportunity of External Communion, before reading the Offices of the Church.
O Lord my God and Heavenly Father, my soul hath a Desire and Longing to enter into the Courts of the Lord, for which I bless Thee: When shall I come to appear before the Presence of God, in the Assembly of His People? In the mean time, I know full well, O Heavenly Father, that Thou art every where present, that thine Eyes are in every Place, even in all the dark Corners of the Earth, and nothing can be hid from Thee. Thou art every where near to all that call upon Thee faithfully.
I entirely rely upon the Sacrifice offered by Jesus Christ for the Pardon of my Sins, for the Assistance of Thy Grace in doing my Duty for the future, and for the Assurance of a happy Resurrection to Immortality and Eternal Life.
I acknowledge it to be the bounden Duty of all Christians to communicate with Christ, and with each other, in that Holy Ordinance, where He has declared His Body to be given to God for us, His Blood to be shed for the Remission of our Sins; and has commanded us to eat the one, and drink the other. O Lord, Thou knowest the Desire of my Heart to be to this Bread, and this Cup; and that whenever Thou, in Thy Providence, shalt remove the Obstacle under which I at present lie, my Heart is ready to join with any True Orthodox Bishop or Priest, and People, in offering this Sacrifice, and partaking of this Spiritual Feast of Love: In the mean time, I greatly lament the Want of Opportunity, which my Sins have brought upon me, and promise in Thy Strength, not in my own, that if Thou wilt please to deliver me from my present Destitution, I will give Thanks unto Thy Name; I will pay my Baptismal Vows in the midst of Thy People, and will, with them, celebrate the Communion of the Body and Blood of my Redeemer.
Mean time I resign myself, and my Situation to Thee, and pray Thee, O Heavenly Father, to accept of my Will and Desire, while I cannot actually communicate by the outward Symbols of Thy Son's Institution. Let Thy most gracious Presence be with me, while I do now, in Mind and Spirit, approach Thine Altar, and offer my Mite, and join in the Devotions of Thy Church, and magnify Thy Love and Mercy in all Thy Works, and especially in the Redemption of the World through Jesus Christ, and confess my Unworthiness of the least of Thy Mercies, and especially of that which is the greatest. I lament and abhor my Sins, and renounce them for the time to come: I do sincerely love Thee, Holy Father, and Thy Son, and the Holy Ghost, the One God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I love my Neighbour after the fame Manner that I love myself: I desire, and pray Thee, for their present Welfare, and their eternal Happiness: I sincerely forgive all my Enemies, Persecutors and Slanderers, and beg of Thee to pardon and forgive them all: And I desire and 1 propose by Thy Grace, and in Thy Strength, to fulfill Thy Holy Will in all Things.
O gracious Lord God, reject not my Prayer, nor turn Thy Mercy from me, while, although absent from all True, Perfect, Christian Congregations, in Body, but present with them all in Spirit and Desire, I join with them in pleading the Merits of the All-sufficient Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Thy Son, for the Pardon of my own Sins, and the Sins of all for whom Christ died, of all sincere Penitents; for the Obtaining of all necessary Graces, and of an early, happy, and joyful Resurrection to Immortality and Eternal Life.
O Lord, give me Grace, I most humbly beseech Thee, always to labour sincerely for, and to have a true Hunger and Thirst after, the Bread and Cup that endureth to everlasting Life. O! whilst I am deprived of the Holy Sacrament itself, for the Just Punishment of my Sins, be Thou pleased, most graciously, to grant me, Thy unworthy Servant, this Power and Effect of it, by the effectual Operation of the Holy Ghost, applying the general Atonement, the Merits, Satisfaction, and Intercession of Thy Son, to my Soul: And dismiss me not without a Blessing, through the High-Priest of our Oblation Jesus Christ, Thine only Son, my Lord, Saviour, and Redeemer, to Whom, with Thee, and the Holy Ghost, be all Honour and Glory, now and for ever. Amen.
It is also to be minded, that the most proper Time of the Day for saying the Morning-Offices, is the Morning: And for saying the Evening-Office, is the Evening.
Never neglect to read all the Lessons, Psalms, and Anthems, appointed by the Rubrick every day, as ordered, if by any Means you may.
Let secret Devotion, by no means, be forgotten, or neglected, every Morning and Evening, at least.
Let some small Portion of Time be set apart every Evening, for Recollection, Meditation and Self-Examination; and let this material Duty of Self-Examination be effectually done, at least, once every Week. And let your secret Devotions be adjusted and regulated accordingly.
Let not one Duty jostle another out of its proper Time and Place.
Let your Life be so regulated, in Secret, in Private, and in Publick, at Home in your Family or Lodgings, in the Neighbourhood, in all Business, in Diversion, abroad in the World, in Conversation, &c. that upon strict and impartial Self-Examination, you may not find Reason to condemn yourself, and your Conduct, and that your Light may so shine before Men, that they may see your Good Works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.
Be sure to instruct your Children, Servants, and Family, if any such you have, in the Principles of our Holy Religion, particularly by the Church-Catechism. And I recommend William Nicholson Bishop of Glocester's Exposition of it, printed in Quarto at London, A.D. 1678.
Be careful to avoid all Religious, as well as Civil Disputes; especially with those who are Superior to you, by Birth or Age, Learning or Situation.
Always remember, that Resignation to the Will of God is a capital Article of Practical Christianity.
Beg Grace of God to be preserved from Pride, Covetousness, Envy, Anger, Malice and Falshood, for they darken the Soul.
Be not rash in making new Vows, lest you trust too much to your own Strength; but beg Grace of God to be Faithful in keeping those you have already made in Baptism.
Take great Care not to give way to Sloth, Idleness, or Indolence; they are very Pernicious. And although it is the Hand of the Diligent that maketh rich, yet do not make haste to be rich. In the Morning sow thy Seed, and in the Evening withhold not thine Hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike Good.
Observe no Omens. They are Remains of Heathenish Superstition. Do your Duty, and leave Events to God.
Avoid all Intemperance, and all Excess.
Be Wise as Serpents, and Innocent as Doves.
Fear God, honour the King, love your Neighbour as yourself. Meddle not with them that arc given to change.
And remember, that when you have done all, you are, and must say that you are, but an Unprofitable Servant.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the Beginning, is now, and ever shall be, World without End. Amen. Hallelujah.