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Practice of Piety 55 - Of the Means whereby thou mayest become a worthy Receiver.

By Lewis Bayly

      These means are duties of two sorts; the former respecting God, the latter, our neighbour. Those which respect God are three-First, Sound knowledge; secondly, True faith; thirdly, Unfeigned repentance. That which respecteth our neighbour is but one, sincere charity.

      (1.) Of sound Knowledge, requisite in a worthy Communicant.

      Sound knowledge is a sanctified understanding of the first, principles of religion: As first, Of the trinity of persons in the unity of the Godhead; secondly, Of the creation of man, and his fall; thirdly, Of the curse and misery due to sin; fourthly, Of the nature and offices of Christ, and redemption by faith in his death, especially of the doctrine of the sacraments, sealing the same unto us (Heb. vi. 1, 2; John xvii. 3; 1 Tim. ii. 4; 2 Cor. xiii. 5.) For as an house cannot be built unless the foundation be first laid, so no more can religion stand, unless it be first grounded upon the certain knowledge of God's word. Secondly, if we know not God's will, we can neither believe nor do the same. For as worldly businesses cannot be done but by them who have skill in them, so without knowledge must men be much more ignorant in divine and spiritual matters. And yet in temporal things a man may do much by the light of nature: but in religious mysteries, the more we rely upon natural reason, the further we are from comprehending spiritual truth (1 Cor. ii. 14; Rom. viii. 7;)-which discovers the fearful state of those who receive without knowledge, and the more fearful state of those pastors who minister to them without catechising.

      (2.) Of sincere Faith, required to make a worthy Communicant.

      Sincere faith is not a bare knowledge of the Scriptures and first grounds of religion-for that devils and reprobates have in an excellent measure, and do believe it and tremble (James ii. 19)-but a true persuasion, as of all those things whatsoever the Lord hath revealed in his word; so also a particular application to a man's own soul, of all the promises of mercy which God hath made in Christ to all believing sinners (Heb. iv. 2;) and consequently, that Christ and all his merits do belong to him, as well as to any other;-for first, if we have not the righteousness of faith (Rom. iv. 11), the sacrament seals nothing to us, and every man in the Lord's Supper receiveth so much as he believeth; secondly, because that without faith we communicating on earth, cannot apprehend Christ in heaven, for as he dwelleth in us by faith (Eph. iii. 17), so by faith we must likewise eat him; thirdly, because that without faith we cannot be persuaded in our consciences that our receiving is acceptable unto God (Heb. xi. 6; Rom. xiv. 23.)

      (3.) Of unfeigned Repentance requisite for a true Communicant.

      True repentance is a holy change of the mind, when upon the feeling sight of God's mercy, and of a man's own misery, he turneth from all his known and secret sins, to serve God in holiness and righteousness all the rest of his days (Isa. lv. 7; Ezek. xxxiii. 11; Acts xxvi. 29; iii. 19; Luke i. 74, 75:) for as he that is glutted with meat is not apt to eat bread, so he that is stuffed with sins, is not fit to receive Christ (Heb. ii. 13, 14; Tit. i. 15;) and a conscience defiled with wilful filthiness, makes the use of all holy things unholy to us. Our sacrificed spotless Passover cannot be eaten with the sour leaven of malice and wickedness, saith Paul (1 Cor. v. 8.) Neither can the old bottles of our corrupt and impure consciences, retain the new wine of Christ's precious blood, as our Saviour saith (Mark ii. 22.) We must therefore truly repent, if we will be worthy partakers.

      (4.) The Duty to be performed in respect of our neighbour is Charity.

      Charity is a hearty forgiving of others who have offended us, and after reconciliation, an outward unfeigned testifying of the inward affections of our hearts by gestures, words, and deeds, as oft as we meet, and occasion is offered;-for first, without love to our neighbour, no sacrifice is acceptable to God (Matt. v. 23, 24;) secondly, because one chief end wherefore the Lord's Supper was ordained, is to confirm the love of Christians one towards another (John xiii. 14, 34, 35;) thirdly, no man can assure himself that his own sins are forgiven of God, if his heart cannot yield to forgive the faults of men that have offended him (Matt. vi. 12, 14, 15; xviii. 35.)

      Thus far of the first sort of duties which we are to perform before we come to the Lord's table, called preparation.

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See Also:
   Practice of Piety 1 - Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God.
   Practice of Piety 2 - A Plain Description of the Essence and Attributes of God
   Practice of Piety 3 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man Not Reconciled to God in Christ.
   Practice of Piety 4 - Meditations of the Miseries of Man from Infancy to Old Age.
   Practice of Piety 5 - Meditations of the Misery of the Soul in this Life.
   Practice of Piety 6 - Meditations of the Misery of the Body and Soul in Death.
   Practice of Piety 7 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 8 - Blessedness of the Regenerate
   Practice of Piety 9 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in his Death.
   Practice of Piety 10 - Meditations of the blessed state of the Regenerate Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 11 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 12 - Of the Prerogatives which the Elect shall enjoy in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 13 - Of the Effects of those Prerogatives.
   Practice of Piety 14 - Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself.
   Practice of Piety 15 - Meditations on the Hindrances which Keep a Sinner from Piety.
   Practice of Piety 16 - How a Private Man Must Begin the Morning with Piety.
   Practice of Piety 17 - Meditations for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 18 - Brief Directions How to Read the Holy Scriptures Once A Year
   Practice of Piety 19 - A Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 20 - Meditations to stir us up to Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 21 - Another short Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 22 - Farther Meditations to stir up to Prayer in the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 23 - A brief Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 24 - Meditations Directing a Christian How To Walk All the Day with God
   Practice of Piety 25 - Secondly, for thy Words.
   Practice of Piety 26 - Thirdly, for thy Actions.
   Practice of Piety 27 - Meditations for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 28 - A Prayer for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 29 - Another shorter Evening Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 30 - Meditations for Household Piety.
   Practice of Piety 31 - Morning Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 32 - The Practice of Piety at Meals, and the Manner of Eating.
   Practice of Piety 33 - Grace before Meat.
   Practice of Piety 34 - The Practice of Piety at Evening.
   Practice of Piety 35 - Evening Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 36 - Meditations of the True Manner of Practising Piety on the Sabbath-Day.
   Practice of Piety 37 - Ten Reasons demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be moral.
   Practice of Piety 38 - The True Manner of Keeping Holy the Lord's Day.
   Practice of Piety 39 - A Morning Prayer for the Sabbath-day.
   Practice of Piety 40 - Duties in the Holy Assembly.
   Practice of Piety 41 - A private Evening Prayer for the Lord's day.
   Practice of Piety 42 - Of the Practice of Piety in Fasting.
   Practice of Piety 43 - Of the Public Fast.
   Practice of Piety 44 - Of the Practice of Piety in Holy Feasting.
   Practice of Piety 45 - Of Preparation.
   Practice of Piety 46 - Of the Worthiness of the Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 47 - Of the first End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 48 - Of the second End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 49 - Of the third End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 50 - Of the fourth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 51 - The fifth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 52 - The sixth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 53 - Of the seventh End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 54 - A Confession of Sins before the receiving of the Holy Communion.
   Practice of Piety 55 - Of the Means whereby thou mayest become a worthy Receiver.
   Practice of Piety 56 - Of the Second sort of Duties which a worthy Communicant is to perform
   Practice of Piety 57 - A sweet Soliloquy to be said between the Consecration and Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 58 - Duties After Communion.
   Practice of Piety 59 - The Practice of Piety in Glorifying God in the Time of Sickness or Death
   Practice of Piety 60 - A Prayer when one begins to be sick.
   Practice of Piety 61 - A Prayer before taking of Medicine.
   Practice of Piety 62 - Meditations for the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 63 - Meditations for One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 64 - A Prayer to Be Said of One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 65 - Meditations against Despair, or doubting of God's Mercy.
   Practice of Piety 66 - An Admonition to them who come to visit the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 67 - A Prayer to be said for the Sick by them who visit him.
   Practice of Piety 68 - Consolations Against Impatience in Sickness.
   Practice of Piety 69 - Consolations Against the Fear of Death
   Practice of Piety 70 - Seven Sanctified Thoughts and Mournful Sighs of a Sick Man Ready to Die.
   Practice of Piety 71 - Of the Comfortable Assurance of God's Forgiveness of Sins.
   Practice of Piety 72 - Meditations of Martyrdom.
   Practice of Piety 73 - A Divine Colloquy Between the Soul and Her Savior
   Practice of Piety 74 - The Soul's Soliloquy, ravished in contemplation of the Passion of our Lord.


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