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of necessity, be present to be taken and received. Unless we believe firmly in the real presence of the Body and Blood of Christ, which the Church says is the inward part of this holy Sacrament, we cannot be worthy Communicants. St. Paul plainly teaches us this. In writing to the Corinthians, who had been guilty of great irreverence in approaching the Holy Eucharist, and had treated it as common and ordinary food, he says, "Whosoever shall eat this Bread, and drink this Cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's Body."
If, therefore, we would avoid the condemnation which some of the Corinthians had fallen under, from want of faith in Christ's real presence in the Holy Eucharist, we must take care, when we approach the Holy Table, to draw near with faith, discerning, that is, seeing by faith, the Lord's Body and Blood, under the outward veils of bread and wine.
3. The third point of special self-examination which the Church suggests is, as to whether or not we are in charity with all men. Charity is absolutely necessary to a worthy reception. It would be a mockery to approach the great Feast of Love, whilst at the same time we were cherishing in our hearts any hatred or ill-will towards our neighbour. Our Lord Jesus once said, "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." We
should be strict, in our examination of ourselves, on this head. Many people deceive themselves as to their charity. They dare to approach the Holy Altar without really casting out all malice, envy, ill-will, and hatred from their hearts. This is one reason why they do not get that spiritual strength from this Holy Sacrament, which they might and should. Banish all unkind feelings and ill-will from your heart, before you venture to receive this Holy Sacrament. Remember, all Christians are members of Christ, and, being so, they are members one of another. We should, therefore, strive with all our hearts to love as brethren, before we approach to feed upon Christ, our one Head; and put away from us all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, with all malice; and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven us.”
Besides these special subjects of self-examination which the Church gives us, she directs us also to examine our lives and conversation by "the Rule of God's Commandments.” Such an examination, of course, extends to every possible sin we have ever committed. If, after such an examination, we find our consciences burdened with serious sins, and we are in doubt as to our fitness, the Church further guides us to go to one of God's priests and open our griefs, that is, confess all our sins, and so obtain,
8 In examining ourselves touching charity, we should do well to read over carefully the xiii. chapter of St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians, wherein the nature of true charity is fully set forth. 4 Eph. iv. 17.
if truly penitent, the benefit of absolution, and such ghostly counsel and advice as the priest shall deem necessary, "for the quieting of our conscience," and enabling us to receive the Holy Sacrament without scruple and doubtfulness.
We should communicate fasting, if possible, in accordance with the custom of the Catholic Church, and out of reverence to our Lord's Body and Blood.
CEREMONIES USED IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST.
Explanation of certain Ceremonies, &c., connected with the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
N churches where the Law of the Church of England is
I strictly observed, there are always two lights burning upon
the High Altar at the time of celebrating the Holy Eucharist, designed to signify that Christ is the very true Light of the world.1 It is usual to place a cross upon or above the middle of the altar.
The top of the altar is covered, at the time of celebration, with a fine white linen cloth, which falls down over each end, in addition to the usual altar-cloth.
The priest who offers the Holy Eucharist should be vested in a cassock, alb, girdle, amice, maniple, stole, and chasuble.2
1 See Injunction by King Edward VI. A.D. 1547. This injunction only enforces what was authorised by the old English Canons. When it was issued, Royal Proclamations had the force of an act of Parliament.
To have "two lights upon the High Altar before the Sacrament," is therefore the law of the land, as well as the law of the Church.
2 These vestments were all in use in the Church of England, by the authority of Parliament, in the second year of King Edward VI. The Church of England directs them to be used, therefore, in the order at the beginning of the Prayer Book, where it is said, "And here be it noted, that such ornaments of the church, and of the ministers thereof, at all times of their ministration, shall be retained, and be in use, as were in this Church of England, by the authority of Parliament, in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth.'
At High Celebration there are two assistant ministers, one of whom, the Gospeller, wears a Dalmatic; the other, the Epistoller, a Tunic.
The Holy Eucharist being a solemn commemoration of the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ—a "shewing the Lord's death till He come," to use St. Paul's words, everything connected with it has relation to this great event. Thus, the Alb represents the white garment with which our Lord was clothed by Herod: the Girdle, Maniple, and Stole, represent the cords and bands with which He was bound, in the different stages of His Passion. The Chasuble, or outward vestment, represents the purple garment with which He was clothed as a mock king.3
In these vestments, as well as the covering of the altar, the Church makes use of five different colours; viz., white, for all festivals relating to our adorable Lord, the Blessed Virgin, the Angels, and the Saints that were not Martyrs: Red, on the feasts of Pentecost, and of the Apostles and Martyrs: Purple, which is the penitential colour, during Advent and Lent, and upon Vigils and Ember days: Green, on most other Sundays and ordinary days throughout the year.
Incense is not now often used in the Church of England, though its use is lawful. It is symbolical of prayer, according to the words of David: "Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense." (Psalm cxli. 2.)
8 The use of the above named vestments, though so expressly ordered by the law of the Church of England, has fallen into very general disuse.
Priests generally celebrate in Cassock, Surplice, Stole, and Hood. This practice, though illegal, has been so commonly adopted, that it has become very difficult for the clergy to obey the law, by wearing the proper vestments, especially from the fact, that the laity, through ignorance of the law, and dislike to any change from what they have been accustomed to, offer very strong opposition to the clergy who endeavour to obey the law in this particular. Those laity, therefore, who are anxious that the clergy should resume their proper dress in celebrating Holy Communion, should bear in mind the difficulties which beset them in fulfilling this, as well as many other of their obligations; and remember that, although priests may not be rightly vested for celebrating the Holy Eucharist, yet that this defect does not make the Holy Sacrifice less valid and real.
4 Incense appears to have been always used in the Early Church, during the celebration of the Holy Communion. Its use has been generally neglected in the English Church latterly, though it continued during the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and, in some instances, as late as George III. Incense was used at the coronation of George III.
To be used before Holy Communion.
Act of Penitence. sin, and to walk before MY most loving God, Thee in newness of life. my Creator and my I know, O God, that I Saviour! I grieve from my have merited Thy wrath inmost heart that I ever rather than Thy grace; but offended Thee, my Lord I now draw near Thy Holy and my God! whom I ought Altar, to offer unto Thee to love above all things. Him in whom Thou art Many, very many, are the always well pleased-Him graces and blessings which who is the Propitiation for Thou hast bestowed upon our sins, and through whose me; while I, alas! wretched Death and Passion alone and ungrateful sinner that I I hope for pardon and acam, have returned Thee evil ceptance. only for Thy good. But be [I desire also at this time Thou merciful unto me, O to receive the Holy SacraLord: pardon and deliver ment of Christ's Body and me from all my sins. I Blood, that I may be repent. O deepen and per- strengthened in the love of fect my repentance, and Thee, be defended against help me from henceforth the assaults of all my to shun all occasions of spiritual enemies, and be
NOTE.If you are not going to communicate on this occasion, but only to assist in offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice, omit the sentences enclosed in brackets.