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Exhortations to Holy Communion
Book of Common Prayer 1662
When the Minister giveth warning for the Celebration of the holy Communion, (which he shall always do upon the Sunday, or some Holy-day, immediately preceding,) after the Sermon or Homily ended, or else after the Nicene Creed, he may read this Exhortation following, or the first paragraph thereof; at his discretion; provided always, that he read the whole Exhortation upon some Sunday before Christmas Day, Easter Day, and Whitsunday, the people all standing. 

DEARLY beloved, on óday next I purpose, through Godís assistance, to administer to all such as shall be religiously and devoutly disposed the most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; to be by them received in remembrance of his meritorious Cross and Passion, whereby alone we obtain remission of our sins, and are made partakers of the kingdom of heaven. 

Wherefore it is our duty to render 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 us, but also to be our spiritual food and sustenance in that holy Sacrament. Which being so divine and comfortable a thing to them who receive it worthily, and so dangerous to them that will presume to receive it unworthily; my duty is to exhort you in the mean season to consider the dignity of that holy mystery, and the great peril of the unworthy receiving thereof; and so to search and examine your own consciences, and that not lightly, and after the manner of dissemblers with God: but so that ye may come holy and clean to such a heavenly Feast, in the marriage-garment required by God in holy Scripture, and be received as worthy partakers of that holy Table. 

The way and means thereto is; First, to examine your lives and conversations by the rule of Godís commandments; and whereinsoever ye shall perceive yourselves to have offended, either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life. And if ye shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God, but also against your neighbours; then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them; being ready to make restitution and satisfaction, according to the uttermost of your powers, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other; and being likewise ready to forgive others that have offended you, as you would have forgiveness of your offences at Godís hand; for otherwise the receiving of the holy Communion doth nothing else but increase your condemnation. Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, an hinderer or slanderer of his Word, an adulterer, or be in malice, or envy, or in any other grievous crime, repent you of your sins, or else come not to that holy Table. 

And because it is requisite, that no man should come to the holy Communion, but with a full trust in Godís mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned Minister of Godís Word, and open his grief; that by the ministry of Godís holy Word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness. 

 

Or, in case he shall see the people negligent to come to the holy Communion,
instead of the former, he shall use this Exhortation.

DEARLY beloved brethren, on I intend, by Godís grace, to celebrate the Lordís Supper: unto which, in Godís behalf, I bid you all that are here present; and beseech you, for the Lord Jesus Christís sake, that ye will not refuse to come thereto, being so lovingly called and bidden by God himself. Ye know how grievous and unkind a thing it is, when a man hath prepared a rich feast, decked his table with all kind of provision, so that there lacketh nothing but the guests to sit down; and yet they who are called (without any cause) most unthankfully refuse to come.  Which of you in such a case would not be moved?  Who would not think a great injury and wrong done unto him?  Wherefore, most dearly beloved in Christ, take ye good heed, lest ye, withdrawing yourselves from this holy Supper, provoke Godís indignation against you.  It is an easy matter for a man to say, I will not communicate, because I am otherwise hindered with worldly business.  But such excuses are not so easily accepted and allowed before God.  If any man say, I am a grievous sinner, and therefore am afraid to come: wherefore then do ye not repent and amend?  When God calleth you, are ye not ashamed to say ye will not come?  When ye should return to God, will ye excuse yourselves, and say ye are not ready?  Consider earnestly with yourselves how little such feigned excuses will avail before God.  They that refused the feast in the Gospel, because they had bought a farm, or would try their yokes of oxen, or because they were married, were not so excused, but counted unworthy of the heavenly feast.  I, for my part, shall be ready; and, according to mine Office, I bid you in the Name of God, I call you in Christís behalf, I exhort you, as ye love your own salvation, that ye will be partakers of this holy Communion.  And as the Son of God did vouchsafe to yield up his soul by death upon the Cross for your salvation; so it is your duty to receive the Communion, in remembrance of the sacrifice of his death, as he himself hath commanded: which if ye shall neglect to do, consider with yourselves how great injury ye do unto God, and how sore punishment hangeth over your heads for the same; when ye wilfully abstain from the Lordís Table, and separate from your brethren, who come to feed on the banquet of that most heavenly food.  These things if ye earnestly consider, ye will by Godís grace return to a better mind: for the obtaining whereof we shall not cease to make our humble petitions unto Almighty God our heavenly Father. 
 
 

At the time of the Celebration of the communion, the Communicants being 
conveniently placed fur the receiving of the holy Sacrament, the Priest 
may say this Exhortation. 
 
DEARLY beloved in the Lord, ye that mind to come to the holy Communion of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ, must consider how Saint Paul exhorteth all persons diligently to try and examine themselves, before they presume to eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup.  For as the benefit is great, if with a true penitent heart and lively faith we receive that holy Sacrament; (for then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood; then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us;) so is the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily.  For then we are guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ our Saviour; we eat and drink our own condemnation, not discerning the Lordís Body.  Judge therefore yourselves, brethren, that ye be not judged of the Lord; repent you truly for your sins past; have a lively and stedfast faith in Christ our Saviour; amend your lives, and be in perfect charity with all men; so shall ye be meet partakers of those holy mysteries.  And above all things ye must give most humble and hearty thanks to God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for the redemption of the world by the death and passion of our Saviour Christ, both God and man; who did humble himself, even to the death upon the Cross, for us miserable sinners, who lay in darkness and the shadow of death; that he might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life.  And to the end that we should alway remember the exceeding great love of our Master and only Saviour Jesus Christ, thus dying for us, and the innumerable benefits which by his precious blood-shedding he hath obtained to us; he hath instituted and ordained holy mysteries, as pledges of his love, and for a continual remembrance of his death, to our great and endless comfort.  To him therefore, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, let us give (as we are most bounden) continual thanks; submitting ourselves wholly to his holy will and pleasure, and studying to serve him in true holiness and righteousness all the days of our life.  Amen.