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its owner. Even children commit sin if they take halfpence, sugar, or such-like trifles, when they think that they are not seen.
CRUELTY. It is a sin to cause needless pain ‘or discomfort to any beast. All who have to do with dumb animals, whether in the way of trade or of sport, should be careful in their self-examination on this point. It is not a sin to take the life of a beast, but it is a grievous sin to cause it needless pain.
SINS OF NEGLECT. Thus we sin when we do what we ought not to do. But we may sin also by leaving undone what we ought to do. There are sins of comission” as well as sins of “commission.” Who are they whom Our Blessed LORD points out as those who will be condemned to perdition in the Day of Judgment? Are they all thieves, liars, and murderers ? He does not say so. He describes them as people who have neglected to do those acts of kindness and love in which He delights. These are His words :-“Depart from Me ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat. I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink. I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in; naked, and ye clothed Me not ; sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not. Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.”
Let us learn from these solemn words that we may be condemned on account of what we have neglected, as well as on account of what we have done.
My brother or sister, have you sinned in any of these different ways ? If you answer “No," then I fear that you are deceiving yourself. and that the Devil is blinding your eyes, in order that he may keep you from getting pardon. But perhaps you will answer “YES.” Perhaps you will answer, “I have committed many of these sins most of them, perhaps—and I am very sorry.” It may be so; yet do not despair, “The Blood of JESUS CHRIST, the SON OF GOD, cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us; but if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” JESUS CHRIST died upon the Cross in order that there might be a pardon ready for every poor sinner who turns from sin and to his SAVIOUR with true repentance.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah i. 18). · Kneel down, then, at once upon your knees, my friend, and call to 'mind all the different ways in which you have sinned, and then say the following
PRAYER FOR PARDON. GOD be merciful to me a sinner; forgive me all my
sins, especially those which I now call to mind (here mention the particular sins you have remembered); forgive me for the sake of Thy Dear Son JESUS CHRIST, Who died for me upon the Cross. Wash me in His Precious Blood. Change and renew my sinful heart by Thy HOLY SPIRIT, and give me peace with Thee; through the same JESUS CHRIST our Lord. Amen.
Go through this self-examination and confession carefully before every Communion. If you have not time to do so, put off your Communion to another day.
A few Communions, carefully prepared for, will do you more good than many received without proper preparation. If on any Sunday you are not prepared to communicate, you should come to the Church and engage in prayer during the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, but without going up to the Holy Table. This, of course, is not nearly so good for you as actually receiving the Sacrament. But it is better than staying away from the Celebration altogether, and far better than receiving the Sacrament without proper preparation.
NOTE.—For all those whose consciences are burdened with a deep sense of sin, the Church has made special provision by inviting them, before coming to the Holy Table, and also when laid upon the bed of sickness, to make a special confession of their sins in the hearing of any “discreet and learned minister of God's Word,” who is directed in the Book of Common Prayer to absolve them, “if they humbly and heartily desire it,” in the following words :OUR Lord JESUS CHRIST, Who hath left power to His
Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in Him, of His great mercy forgive thee thine offences. And by His authority committed unto me, I absolve thee from all thy sins. In the Name of the FATHER, and of the Son, and of the HOLY GHOST. Amen.
Though all burdened sinners are invited to seek this absolution, none (in our Church) are obliged to avail themselves of it unless they feel drawn to it by the HOLY SPIRIT. But happy indeed are they who are thus drawn ! For indeed and in truth God has given power and commandment to His Ministers to declare and pronounce to His people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins (See St. John xx. 23).
AMENDMENT OF LIFE. Before you come to partake of the Blessed Sacrament, you must also resolve as far as lies in your power, to forsake the sins for which you have been asking forgiveness. But, remember, that an outward change of life is not enough, without a change of heart. All true amendment of life must have its beginning in the heart. By “the heart,” is meant the affections and the will. Our hearts are naturally inclined to evil. And this is true even of Christians. Our hearts must therefore be changed and renewed from day to day. Who can change the heart? Who can renew our affections and wills ? ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT. So we should often say this prayer :
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us Thy Only Be
gotten Son to be born of a Pure Virgin ; grant that we, being regenerate and made Thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by Thy HOLY SPIRIT ; through the same Our Lord JESUS CHRIST, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, and the same SPIRIT, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
But we must not only seek to be delivered from sinfulness in general; we must seek to be delivered from falling again into those particular sins which we have remembered and have confessed.
For instance, if you have had to ask God to forgive you for neglecting your prayers, you must resolve not to neglect them in future.
If you have had to ask God to forgive you for losing your temper, you must resolve, as far as possible, not to do this again. And so on with regard to all your other sins.
And these good resolutions must not be made trusting in your own strength. They must be made trusting in the strength of the HOLY SPIRIT. For remember, when the Bishop laid his hands on your head and confirmed you, he prayed that you might be strengthened by the HOLY SPIRIT.
DEVOTIONS BEFORE COMMUNION. The following prayers are intended for your use at home before you come to Church to partake of the Holy Sacrament. Use them devoutly, and upon your bended knees. Each of these prayers is an address to God the Son, our Blessed Saviour JESUS CHRIST, Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and became Man, Who died for us upon the Cross, Who rose again from the dead, Who ascended into Heaven, and Who will come again (we know not how soon) to be our Judge. It is to Him you are speaking in these prayers, so be very humble and very earnest :
1.—APPROACH TO JESUS CHRIST. O LORD JESUS CHRIST, King of Everlasting Glory, I
desire to come to Thee, and to receive Thy Body and Blood in this Heavenly Sacrament, for the strengthening and refreshing of my soul. I desire to receive Thee because this is Thy gracious will ; blessed be Thy Name for ever. I desire to come unto Thee like Magdalene, that I may be delivered from all evil, and that I may have Thee, O JESUS, Who art my only good. I desire to come unto 'Thee that I may be happily united unto Thee, so that I may henceforth abide in Thee, and Thou in me; and so that nothing in life or death may ever separate me from Thee. Even so Lord JESUS.
Text.—“Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
II.—COMMEMORATE THE PASSION OF CHRIST.
I DESIRE, O Lord JESUS, to eat Thy Blessed Body, and
to drink Thy Precious Blood, in remembrance of Thy Sufferings and Death, whereby alone we obtain forgiveness of our sins, and are made partakers of the kingdom of heaven. I desire to commemorate in these Holy Mysteries, Thine Agony and Bloody Sweat in the Garden of Gethsemane; Thy betrayal by the kiss of Judas; Thy condemnation ; Thy scourging by the Roman soldiers; Thy coronation with thorns, when Thou wast also insulted with a hollow reed, and clad in a purple robe of mockery. I desire to commemorate, moreover, how Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross through the streets of Jerusalem ; how Thou didst die upon it, and how Thou wast buried. I would also commemorate Thy Mighty Resurrection from the dead, and Thy Glorious Ascension into heaven ; from whence, I believe, Thou shalt come again to be my Judge at the last day. I adore Thee, moreover, O JESUS, and give Thee thanks for all that Thou hast done and suffered for me, and I bless Thy Holy Name for now offering Thine Own Self to me to be my meat and my drink in this Holy Sacrament. Even so, Lord JESUS. By Thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; by Thy Cross and Passion;