Meditations on the holy sacrament of the Lords last Supper Written many yeares since by Edvvard Reynolds then fellow of Merton College in Oxford.
Reynolds, Edward, 1599-1676.

CHAP. I

Mans Being to bee imployed in working: that working directed unto some Good, which is God; that Good, a free and voluntary Re∣ward, which wee here enjoy onely in the right of a Promise, the seale of which Pro∣mise is a Sacrament.

THE Almighty power and wis∣dome of God hath given unto his creatures, a triple degree of perfection, their Being, their Working, and their Good; which three are so subordinate to each other, that Working is the end and scope of Being, and Page  2Good is the end and scope of Working. But no Being, can produce any Work, no Work reach unto any Good, without something that may be a rule of working, and a way to Good; and therefore Almightie God in the work of the Creation imprinted in each creature a secret principle, which should move, governe, and uniformly direct it to its proper work and end, and that principle we call a Law, which by assigneing unto each thing the kinde, mea∣sure and extent of its working, doth lead it on by a strait and in fallible line unto that Good, for which it worketh. All other Creatures below the spheare of reason, being not only in the quality of their nature of a narrow and strait perfection, but in their duration finite and perishable, the good unto which this Law of their creation directs them, is a finite Good likewise. But men and Angels being both in nature more excellent than all others, and in continuance infinite and immortall, cannot possibly receive from anything, which is a meere creature, and lesse perfect than themselves, any compleat satisfaction of their desires, and therefore must by a circle turne back unto God, who is aswell the Omega, the end and object of their working, as the Alpha, the cause and authour of their being. Now God being most free, not only in himselfe, but in the diffusion and communication of himselfe, unto Page  3 any thing created (which therefore he can∣not be naturally or necessarily bound unto) and being also a God infinitely beyond the largest compasse of the creatures merit or working, it followes that neither Men nor An∣gels, can lay any necessary claime unto God, by a debt of Nature, (as a stone may unto the Center by that naturall impresse which di∣rects it thither;) but all our claime is by a right of Promise and voluntary Donation, so that that which in other meere naturall creatures is cald the Terme or Scope, is in reasonable creatures the Promise or Reward of their working. Feare not Abraham, I am thy exceeding great reward; So then we have here our Good which is God, to bee commu∣nicated unto us, not in the manner of a ne∣cessary and naurall debt, but of a voluntary, and supernaturall Reward: Secondly we have our working required as the meanes to lead us in a strait line unto the fruition of that Good: and in as much as mans will, being mutable, may carry him unto severall operations of different kinds, wee have thirdly a Rule or Law, to moderate the kind and manner of our working, whereby we reach unto our desired Good; which Rule when it altereth (as in the new Covenant of grace it doth) the quality of that work, whereby we reach unto our desired Good doth alter likewise. Now fourthly wee must farther observe that be∣tween Page  4 our working, which is the motion to∣wards our Good, and our fruition, or resting in it, there is a distance or succession of time: so that while we are in our estate of working, we doe not enjoy God by any full, reall pre∣sence or possession, but only by a right of a Covenant and Promise, which makes the Apo∣stle say, that in this life we live by faith and not by sight. Now Promises or Covenants re∣quire to have annexed unto them Evidence and certaintie, so farre as may secure the party that relyes upon them: which in humane ontracts is done, by giving our words, and setting to our seales for confirmation. And now lastly in as much as that Dutie, on condi∣tion whereof God maketh this Promise of himselfe unto us, is the work of the whole man, the Evidence and Confirmation of the Promise is by God, made unto the whole man likewise, and to each facultie of man, which it pleaseth him in mercy the rather to doe, because of that dependance of our soules on the inferiour and subordinate powers, and of that necessary connexion which there is be∣tweene the inward reason, and the outward senses. God then (presupposing ever the per∣formance of conditions on our part) doth se∣cure hs Church, and give evidence for the discharge of his covenant and promise, first to the soule alone by the testimony of his Spirit (which is both the seale and the witnesse of Page  5 Gods Covenant:) and secondly both to the soule and to the senses by that double bond, his word written or preached, and his seale visibly exhibited to the eye, and taste, but especially unto the taste, in which objects are more really and with lesse fallibilitie uni∣ted to the faculty, in which there appeareth a more exquisite fruition of delight, in these good things which are pleasing; and lastly in which the mysticall union of the Church to its head, unto the making up of one body is more naturally exprest. And these seales an∣nexed unto the word or patent of Gods Pro∣mise, have been ever proposd unto the Church in all its estates, and are nothing else but that which we call a Sacrament. So that as the testimony of the Spirit is an invisible seale, and earnest to the soule, so is the Sa∣crament a visible seale and earnest to the sense; both after a severall manner, ratifying and confirming the infallible expectation of that future Reward, which as well the senses as the soule shall in Gods presence really enjoy after they have fulfilled the service which God requireth.