5. Novr. 1693
1. Cor. 11. 27.
Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this Bread, & drink this Cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of ye body & Blood of the Lord.
In this & the next verse 2 things are observable
- 1. In this verse ye Apostle Thunders forth a needfull & Severe threatning against all such as abuse this great Ordinance of the Lords Supper. Wherefore, Whosoever &c.
- 2. In the following verse he adds a faithfull admonition, for the sake of those whom he hoped were healable & corrigible. 28. v. But let a man examine himself, & so let him eat of yt Bread, & drink of yt Cup.
- 1. First. The Apostle dos Thunder forth a severe commination or threatning against such as are guilty of abusing His holy Ordinance of yt Lords Supper. Text. Wherefore, wosoever shall eat this Bread, & drink this Cup of ye Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of ye Body and Blood of the Lord. Q.D. Whilst you celebrate ye Lords Supper, & yet suffer divisions & Schisms to reign amongst you, 18. v. Whilst in eating every one taketh before another his own Supper: whilst one is hungry, & another is drunken. 21. v. And furthermore whilst yee eat & drink of ye bread & cup of ye Lord, as if ye came to a prophane banquet; whilst ye despise ye Church of God, whilst ye shame the poor. 22. v. Ye do indeed eat unworthily of this Bread, & drink unworthily of this Cup of the Lord. And whilst you do thus, it is not a little sin that ye are guilty of. For ye do not sin simply against the Church wch ye Rent & despise, & against this great Ordinance, the use whereof ye do pervert, but ye sin also against the very body & blood of ye Lord. When Christ broke He Bread, & gave it to his Disciples ye heard him say, Take, Eat, this is my Body wch was broken for you; & when he gave them the Cup, ye heard him say, Take, Drink, This Cup is the New Testament in my Blood. Wch was shed for you. Therefore it must of necessity follow, that whosoever eateth this Bread, or drinketh of this Cup unworthily, must be guilty of the body & blood of the Lord. Hince observe
- Doctr. He that eateth the Bread, & drinketh the Cup in the Lords Supper unworthily, is thereby guilty of the Body & Blood of Christ. Here we may enquire,
- 1. What is it to Eat & Drink Unworthily?
- 2. What is it to be guilty of the Body & Blood of the Lord?
- 1. Quest: What is it to eat the Bread, & drink the Cup of the Lord unworthily?
- An: To every thing, work, or person, both in civil, and also sacred matter, there is a meetness, right, & decency belonging unto it, according unto which, he that rightly behaves himself, may be said to do it worthily, i.e. suitably, conveniently, fitly, agreeably, & becomingly, namely by doing that which is suitable & becoming the thing, or person he is concerned about: On ye otherhand he that dos otherwise than is meet, suitable, & convenient, is said to do it unworthily, i.e. inconveniently, unmeetly, & unsuitably. This is the word ye Apostle useth, unworthily. And wo is there wo will not im̄ediately cry out, & where is the person wo is Worthy to come to this sacrament of ye body & blood of ye Lord, & to eat & drink of it not unworthily? And so they either thrô tenderness of conscience abstain frō this holy banquet, being terrifyed & thunder-struck thrô a missunderstanding of these words of ye Apostle; or if they communicate, yet it is with some fear & fervor. But we are to take notice, yt ye Apostle dos not say, whosoever being unworthy shall eat & drink &c. but adverbially, whosoever shall eat & drink unworthily. i.e. otherwise than is Meet & Convenient, otherwise than such a most holy & Sacred Ordinance dos require. The Apostle dos not speak so much of the worthiness of the persons com̄unicating, as of observing the seemliness, & comeliness requisite to such an holy institution. If we consider our own persons, we must each one cry out; Lord, I am not worthy to come to thy Table. As he in an other case. 7. Luke. 6. 7. But if we consider the seemliness of the Lords Table, to which thô unworthy we are called & invited, we may, & ought to beware, least our manners be unworthy, & our demeanour be unsuitable, & otherwise than is convenient & suitable to such a holy & mysterious action. If so be that a poor man be invited to a Kings Table, howsoever unworthy he is, yet he is invited, & his Poverty will not endanger him: For he is called & invited meerly of the Kings grace: But now if he shall carry himself sawcily, scoffingly, & scurilously otherwise than is meet & suitable to one brought to the Royall Table, this is that wch will make him guilty of contempt of Kingly Majesty. So here.
But more particularly there are divers degrees of unworthy com̄unicating
- 1. Some are altogether destitute of Faith are possitive unbeleivers, & therefore cannot but partake unworthily, if they partake at all. No prayer, much less can any participation in this ordinance, without faith, be acceptable to God. 11. Heb. 6. Those yt have not received Christ into their hearts cannot but unworthily, feed upon yt which represents him. 22. Matth. 12. 13. 3. Gal. 27. Food is not to be put into dead mens mouths, & if it be it will not profit & it is but a dealing wth food unworthily. So here.
- 2. Others thô they have an historical Faith, yet they have not saving Faith, have not purging faith, 2. Jae. 18 & so are yet polluted wch great & gross Sins, as Simon Magus, & Judas, 8. Acts. 13. 21. These also cannot but partake unworthily. They never were broken-hearted for their sins; They never saw their own neediness, & so never hungred after Christs Righteousness, & therefore were never invited by the saving calls of the Spirit, & if they partake it must needs be unworthily, for they are intruders upon this holy banquet. 11. Matt 28. 55. Isa. 1. 22. Matth. 12.
- 3. Last: Others there are wo in[d]eed are indued86 wth true & Saving Faith, but yet they are too regardless & negligent of their lives & conversation. Indeed they are not defiled wth grosser sins, as drunkenness, profaneness, &c yet they fall into lighter sins, & are not so carefull as they ought to be, to reform their lives, & amend their wayes. All these are said to eat & drink unworthily.
But the two first sorts of men their communion is to death & damnation. But these last have a Saving com̄union, because Christ is in them, & they in him, & thence have eternal life. 15. Joh. 4. & 6. 5. 4. But yet for their misscarriages in life, they are often punished by God, that so they may be brought to repentance, 30. 31. 32. v. of this Chap: These by Faith do truly partake of the body & blood of Christ, whereas the first & Second sort of men do partake of nothing more than the outward Symbols. All godly men, wo thô they do not want their daily sins, as Christ teacheth us. 6. Matth. 12. yet in as much as they daily bewaile them & repent of them, & sincerely endeavour amendment, they do truly com̄unicate of Christ Jesus. And these are said to eat & drink worthily. And in fine this may be affirmed of all these sorts of men; yt so much true & sincere Faith any one hath, so much such a one receives of the fruits & benefits signifyed by the sacraments, or outward Symbols.
- 2. Quest: What is it to be guilty of ye body & blood of the Lord?
- An. The meaning is that such a one is guilty of doing affront, & injury to the body & Blood of Christ. Yea such a one
- 1. is guilty of Murther; yea of a threefold Murder. (1) He is a Murderer of his own Soul. 1. Cor. 11. 29. The Soul is better than all ye world beside: 16. Matt. 26. O then! what sin is that to be guilty of murdering such a precious Soul!
- 2. Thô he be a child of God, yet by receiving unworthily he becomes guilty of the Murder of his own Body. The Church of Corinth among whom, no doubt, was some true Beleivers, when the Apostle wrote this Epistle to them was visited wth some mortall disease, some say the Plague, & that for this very sin. 1. Cor. 11. 30.
- 3. Last. Which is the worst of all Murders, such become guilty of the Murder of Christ. Text. Now one may be guilty of ye body & blood of Christ, i.e. be a Murtherer of Christ divers wayes.
- 1. Christ is really present, thô not corporally & locally, in this Sacrament. Christ looks on, & beholds the injury done to the Elements, as done to himself. He that offers violence to the Kings Coyn, Statue, or Royalties is guilty of Treason. So here
- 2. The same bent & dispo[si]tion of the heart which carries a man to profane the Elements, the same would carry him to crucify Christ. Christ is Sacramentally united to the Bread & Wine.
- 3. In ye Sacrament Christ is set forth as crucifyed. 3. Gal. 1. 57. Isa. 5. 6. Our sins crucifyed him: He whose heart is not affected wth such an object allows the deed of the Jews, & is an accessary post factum.
- 4. There is a great resemblance between the acts of such a one, & the acts of Judas (1) Judas was a disciple, so is such a one (2) Judas betrayed Christ for a small matter. 11. Zech. 13. so such a one for a base lust (3) Last Judas betrayed Christ wth a kiss. 26. Matth. 48. So, such a one at ye Sacrament. Nay the Sins of such in some respects dos exceed Judas’s (1) Judas betrayed, & the Jews Murdered Christ, when he was abased, but such now Christ is glorifyed (2) Judas betrayed Christ but once, but such betray him often.
- 5. Such would make Christ dye in vain. Christs death is infinitely beneficial. It is usefull for Satisfaction, & it is usefull for Sanctification. Usefull to satisfy Gods wrath, & usefull to Sanctify our hearts. But now such tread & trample all underfoot as most vile & good for nothing. 10. Heb. 29.
A word or two of use briefly, & I shall conclude
- 1. Use. Hince we are taught that it is not enough to make a Profession. Men may & ought to profess Religion & godliness, it is their duty so to do; yea, & not so to do, Christ tells us that he will reckon for another day. 8. Mark. ult. So that this is duty, but yet this must not be rested in, as sufficient to salvation. For men may profess Christ in this world, at ye highest rate, & yet be rejected by him at the great day. 13. Luke. 26. 27.
- 2. Use. Hince we are farther instructed ye the higher mens profession is, ye greater is their sin in ye abuse of it. To hear ye word of God irreverently: To pray in our closets, or families, hypocritically: Or not to live in some gracious degree suitable to our hearing & praying are great sins. But yet to come to the Lords Table unworthily is a greater sin, & according to the degree of our com̄unicating unworthily, such is the degree of our being guilty of ye body & blood of the Lord: Than wch what sin can be greater? Murder is a bloody sin indeed; but what is the Murder of Man, to ye Murder of God-man? 20. Acts. 28.
- 3. Use. Therefore may be of most solemne Caution, to us all, yt we look well & throughly to it, yt we be not of the number of such as Eat & Drink unworthily of ye body & blood of ye Lord
- 1. Have we a care, as we would not be found guilty of ye body & blood of the Lord, in the highest degree, that we be not of the two first sort of such as Eat & drink unworthily. Namely such as have no true saving faith; such as never truly repented of our sins. Such as are altogether Christless, & so altogether graceless. See ye wofull case of such in ye parable of the marriage of the Kings Son. 22. Matth. 11. 12.13.
- 2. Have we a care we be not of ye latter sort neither of such as Eat & Drink unworthily. Such as indeed have true Faith true grace, but yet do not make conscience of daily living in the exercise of our graces. Thô such do not eat their final damnation, yet they Lay themselves hereby open to divine wrath & temporal condemnation. 1. Cor. 11. 29. 30.
- 4. Use. Last: By the rule of contraries, hince we are instructed, yt such as Eat of this Bread, & Drink of this Cup worthily, such do partake of the body & blood of Christ, wth great benefit & profit. And as by these words of the Apostle those wo partake unworthily may be deterred from com̄union; So those Who may eat & drink worthily may be excited to communion
- Qu: But how may I know that I shall eat & drink worthily?
- 1. An: If thou hast true Faith in ye promises.
- 2. An: If thou hast high esteem of this great & holy Ordinance.
- 3. An: If thou art carefull to observe all the rites & ceremonies of it according to Christs institution.
- 4. An: If in the whole of thy life thou art studious of an holy conversation.