3. Decr. 1693
1. Cor. 11. 28.
But let a man examine himself, & so let him eat of that bread, & drink of that cup. In this verse & the former, we took notice of two things (1) In the former verse the Apostle thunders forth a needfull & severe threatning against all such as should abuse this great Ordinance of the Lords Supper, of wch we spake from the last time. Now
- II. Secondly, the Apostle adds a faithful & wholesom caution, or admonition, for ye sake of those, whom he hoped were healable, & corrigible, in this verse. But let a man examine himself, & let him eat of that Bread, & drink of that Cup.
- Doctr. In order to a partaking worthily of the Lords Supper, its absolutely needfull that communicants examine themselves. This point may be gathered from ye connexion of ye text wth the former verses: where having cautioned against unworthy partaking, 27. v. He gives a direction for prevention of it. But let a man examine himself:87
- Qu: But you may say, can we partake of the Lords Supper worthily? How can that be?
- 1. An: To receive the Lords Supper worthily is not to receive it meritoriously. We cannot merit Christ, nor any of his benefits.
- 2. An: To receive worthily, is to receive worthily in a Gosple sense, or in a New Covenant sense, wch requires (1) That the person receiving be in very deed a beleiver: a disciple: one of Christs family (2) That such a communicant come preparedly, & for the future carry himself somwhat suitably. These two things help to make a person an Evangelicall worthy Com̄unicant
- 1. Then to come worthily it is required that persons come preparedly. When Sam: invited the people to Sacrifice, he calls upon them in the first place to Sanctify themselves. 1. Sam. 16. 5 And wn David intends to attend upon Gods holy ordinances, sais he, I will wash my hands in innocency, & so will I compass thine Altars, O Lord. 26. Ps. 6. Why so, we, if we would worthily attend the Lords Supper, we must first sanctify our selves i.e: We must labour to set all our graces afore-hand on Work: Our love to Christ, Our faith on Christ &c. And as we are to labour to put all our graces in exercise, so we are to labour to knock our sins in the head. We are to wash our hands in innocency i.e. We are to labour after ye greatest freedom from sinfull polution. We are to strive & labour that not one living, reigning, unwounded, & unmortifyed sin may be brought in our bosoms to the Lords Table. Now the right eyes &c
- 2. To come & partake worthily it is requisite.
- 1.) Yt we attend this ordinance regularly & suitably (as was shewn ye last time) Now such regular attendance has respect both to this Ordinance itself, & also to ourselves (1) It has respect to ye Ordinance itself, wch in all points is so to be celebrated as Christ has appointed, in his first institution of it. 23. 24. 25. verses of wch we have spoken formerly (2) It has respect to ourselves, to our own persons, yea to our whole man, both to the outward & inward man. It is a Feast, & all manner of behaviour is not fit & becoming a feast; much less this feast, this great feast, this Spiritual feast, where ye great King himself sits with us at
- 1. his Table. Therefore (1) Our Outward & bodily behaviour is to be reverent, serious, & composed. Whatsoever may be a blurr & blemish to our outward & bodily deportment at this great ordinance is studiously to be avoided. We are not therefore to allow our selves in unnecessary gazing to & fro; or useless whisperings, much less noddings & nappings, wch indeed are most odious at a feast, but how much more at this Spiritual & solemne banquet? All things in ye Church are to be done decently & in order. 1. Cor. 14. 40. i.e. gracefully & honourably, so as Christs ordinances may be graced & honoured, not discredited &
- 2. Reproached (2) Our inward man especially, is to attend this great ordinance regularly & suitably. We are to know this for certaine, that we are to have inward & Soul-worthinesse in order to an Evangelical worthily partaking of the Lords Supper. None but truly gracious persons can attend this Ordinance worthily; nor are any others meet for communion here. 15. Ps. ⅌ totū. Men must be holy in heart & life, or they can never worthily stand in the Lords Temple, much less worthily sit down at ye Lords Table. And therefore God is highly provoked, when known & visible unholy ones are brought into his house, & unto a participation of holy things. 44. Ezek. 7. 8. 9. They wo are unconverted are uncircumcised in heart, & therefore are not bidden, nor cannot lawfully offer themselves, or be received if they do offer themselves, if they be known to be such. Christ invites none but friends. 5. Cant. 1. Eat, O friends. Now these are not such. Christ invites only ye living; Now these are not such. The Prodigal whilst he was dead was not allowed to come to his Fathers Table. 15. Luke. 23. 24. So here &c.
- Qu. If it be asked, wo is the Chh to receive?
- An: Those that are visibly holy; & whom in charity, we are obliged to think that they are able to discern ye Lords body, & have faith to feed upon Christ, for ye nourishment of their Souls. They must in some degree have these two visible Jewells i.e. visible to a rational & unbyassed Christian charity viz: knowledge & Faith
- Qu: But now if ye questions be, who ought to come, & offer themselves to com̄union?
- An: All such, & none but such as are truly Godly. If any dead in their sins, still altogether impenitent & unconverted do come, upon the perill of their own Souls be it; yea, it shall &c. Oh remember we ye bold intruder, wo came wthout ye Wedding garment 22. Matth. 11. 12. But yet more particularly; if we would attend this great ordinance worthily in an evangelicall sense, in a Gosple sense, then we must know that our inward man, our soul, is to be adorned wth these qualifications. Briefly
- 1. With Faith. There must be an hungring & thirsting after Christ. Christ must be our Souls food. And look yee, how we long for, & are greedy after meat & drink, when we are very hungry & thirsty. So we are to hunger & thirst after Christ. And ye more of this the more worthy, & ye more welcome we are. 6. Joh. 63. The Spirit quickeneth the flesh profiteth nothing. Indeed it is most true here. Except wo the body feeds upon ye outward elements, ye soul also feeds upon Christ Jesus, our partaking of ye Lords Supper will not, cannot, profit us. It will not be for ye better, but rather for ye worse.
- 2. With knowledge. In some measure our souls must be qualifyed wth all ye great saving truths of the Gosple, ye knowledge whereof is necessary to ye obtaining of eternal life. We must know ye there is a God, & but one God, in three persons. And yt Christ is ye eternal Son of God, & yt he must be submitted to as Lord & Saviour. Yet this alone is but a common work of illumination wrought by ye Spirit & not sufficient of it self. 1. Cor. 12. 3. We must therefore So own & know Christ as thereby to be transformed by the Spirit into ye image of Christ. This is the knowledge, & this is ye grace, we are exhorted to grow in. 2. Pet. 3. ult. And without this knowledge we shall not be able rightly to discern ye Lds. body
- 3. Last: Wth holy affections. We are to come wth godly Sorrow for our sins. These bitter herbs we are now in eating of this our Passover to feed upon, as yt wch cost Christ his bitter death. We are to come wth Love. Love to Christ: Love to his ordinances: Love to his Saints, his disciples. Especially those yt are of ye same particular Church, & sit down together at one & ye same Table of the Lord, have need to look well to themselves, to their souls, in this particular. To eat with divisions, & sinful prejudices, marrs all our holy feasting. The Apostle sais, yt such do no[t] eat the Lords Supper. 8. 20. v.
- 2. To come worthily it is required, yt we carry it for the future as those beforementioned. As those wo in a Gosple-sense are worthy of this Ordinance; as those who have prepared for this ordinance, & as those wo have regularly, & orderly, & in some measure suitably attended on it. To come worthily means also to goe away worthily. To carry it afterwards as those who have not forgot where we have been, & wt. we have been doing. As for instance briefly,
- 1. for ye future (1) We are to maintain holy resolves, & carefull watches against sin. It becomes him wo has been plighting his service to his Lord, to have a great care yt he do not afterwards correspond wth. his enemies. So here. 1. Cor. 10. 21. Ye cannot drink the Cup of ye Lord, & ye cup of Devils; Ye cannot be partakers of the Lords Table, & of the Table of Devils. 6. Matth. 12. No man can serve two Masters &c. 2. Cor. 6. 14. What fellowship hath light wth
- 2. darkness (2) We are to strive earnestly for more grace. More faith, more knowledge, more Love &c. It becomes him wo comes to Heavens Treasury & Magazine, where all good is not only offered, but promised, to ye true beleiver, to be looking, pleading for, & expecting of the same, & to be getting all yt may be gained. It is dishonourable to a Kings child to be lean from day to day. 2. Sam. 13. 4. Why truly, if such are lean daily, as Amnon was, it is because, as he did, they hanker after their lusts. So much for worthy partaking: How in a Gosple-sense we may partake worthily