4. March. 1693:4
1 Cor. 11. 29.90
For he that eateth & drinketh unworthily, eateth & drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lords body.91 Here is A Reason why com̄unicants should examine themselves. 29. ver. For he that eateth & drinketh unworthily; eateth & drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lords body.
- 1. Here is the danger of eating & drinking unworthily: Such eat & drink damnation i.e. punishment as the word often Signifies. Rom. 13. 2. Gal. 5. 10.
- 2. Here is the reason of running into this hazard & danger of eating & drinking judgment viz: Mens not discerning the Lords body. i.e. not discerning between the elements & the Lords body & blood: not taking every thing in its own kind & nature: but confounding the signe wth the thing signifyed, & putting no difference between the Sacramental & common bread & wine, not using them in the manner appointed by Christ, & wth such Reverence as is due unto them, & to that end for which they were ordained; namely, the commemoration of Christs death, & our nearer & fuller communion with him.
- 3. Last: Here is the Subjects of this danger viz: He that eateth & drinketh unworthily. Hince observe
- Doctr. It is very dangerous to eat & drink unworthily of the Lords Supper. For such eat & drink damnation, or judgment, or punishment to themselves. There is a twofold unworthiness in communicants, & accordingly, there is a twofold judgment, damnation, or punishment, that such com̄unicants eat & drink to themselves.
- 1. There is an habitual Unworthiness; & such an unworthiness is to be found in all those, in whom no true saving grace is at all wrought in the Soul. Such as yet are altogether unconverted, dead in trespasses & Sins. These never did, nor never can whilst such communicate of the Lords Table, but unworthily. These the holy Ghost calls dogs & Swine & so unfit for pearls, or childrens bread. Ps. 22. 75. Matth. 7. 6.
- 2. There is an actual unworthiness; & that is when the com̄unicant indeed is a new-born soul, truly regenerated having had true grace wrought in his soul; but yet such a one thrô carelessness & negligence lives still hugging of, & under the power of some lust; Such a one was even holy David for a while. He partook of all ordinances, & yet lived impenitently under the guilt of Murder & Adultery, till God awakened him, by a private & close ministerial rebuke from the Prophet Nathan. 2. Sam. 12. 1. &c.
- 2. There is also a twofold damnation, judgement, or punishment that such as Eat & drink unworthily eat & drink to themselves
- 1. There is an eternal punishment or judgment which such eat & drink to themselves. Such as are habitually unworthy they eat & drink only of the outward symbols, not of Christs body & blood represented thereby, & so eat & drink judgment, eternal judgment to themselves. For as this bread & wine signifies Christs body & blood, which whosoever share in their salvation is represented hereby. So contrariwise this institution holds forth that all uninterested in this body & blood must dye & be damned for ever. As it ensures beleivers of their Salvation, so it seals up unbeleivers unto condemnation & damnation. As our first Parents eat death in their eating of the forbidden fruit, so do these eat & drink Eternal judgment in their eating & drinking unworthily.
- 2. There is a temporal judgment or punishment which such eat & drink to themselves. Such as are actually unworthy, in this respect eat & drink judgment to themselves. thô persons may be truly gracious as to State, yet living under the prevalency of some Sins as to act, they eat & drink unworthily, & in so doing eat & drink judgment to themselves i.e. temporal judgment, thô not eternal judgment. And the temporal judgment they eat & drink to themselves is of a twofold kind. As
- 1. Corporal, & external. Losses, pains, sicknesses, Death & the like are Judgments which the truly godly may drink deeply of for their eating & drinking unworthily at the Lords table; as here in this, 30. ver. For this cause many are weak & Sickly among you, & many sleep i.e. are dead.
- 2. Such eat & drink to themselves Spiritual & internal judgments. Such greive the holy Spirit of God & so loose the sweet influences & comforts of the holy Spirit, which otherwise they might have
- 1. Use. May be of Information, in a word or two.
- 1. Hince we may learn the venome & poyson that there is in sin: In that it turns the best food & physick into rank poyson. As here this most wholsome & medicinal Ordinance of the Lords Supper, for want of right improvement becomes the bane & poyson of such com̄unicants. Text
- 1. Such eat & drink judgment, (1) Eternal judgment if they be graceless & dye So. Yea, & in the mean time Satan has greater influence upon them. As we read of Judas, after he had received the Sop, the Devil entred into him. Joh. 13. 26. 27. i.e. the Devil now gat a fuller possession of him. It was such an entrance of Satan into Judas, as was that of his entrance into Ananias, so as to fill his heart with more sin & wickedness. Acts. 5. 3. As the truly godly, rightly partaking of this ordinance, receive more, & more of the spirit of Christ. So these who communicate being altogether graceless receive more & more of the Spirit of the Devil. The like we read of the holy word of God, that it is the Savour of Death to Death to the graceless. 2. Cor. 2. 15. 16. Yea, we see it thus even most frequently in humane things. Health, Wealth, Knowledge & the like, some are the better for, & improve all to the honour & service of God, & the good of their own Souls & others; but on the other hand, others there be who make use of all these things (good in themselves) to the dishonour of God, & the hurt of their own Souls, & others.
- 2. Such Eat & drink temporal judgment to themselves thô they be truly gracious, if they eat & drink unworthily i.e. not preparedly, reverently, & according to the obligation of such an holy Ordinance
- 1. Hereby they come under corporal & outward judgments: Sicknesses, Deaths, Sorrows troubles & calamities in their persons, families, Churches, Countries. Sin is the procuring cause of trouble, & no sin more incensing than this: because this is a great sin, a being guilty of the body & blood of the Lord.
- 2. Hereby they come under Spiritual & internal judgments. Little of the Spirit; little of its assistance, & little of its comforts, because they eat & drink unworthily. Hince they are weak feeble & sickly & Sad in Soul, as well as in body. Holiness, edification, & consolation are wont to go together. Acts. 9. 31. See then the poysonous nature of Sin, that turns that to our greatest hurt wch is designed for our greatest good.
- 2. Hince See the great stupidity of such as think it enough to be com̄unicants, howsoever they do communicate. O there are them that will not be withheld from this Ordinance, but look upon such as oppose them herein to be their worst enemies, whereas they are indeed their best friends. Oh is it not a horrible crime to be guilty of the body & blood of the Lord? Is it not a prodigious evil to eat, & drink your own damnation? Well then they are far from your enemies, nay they are your best friends who do what they can to withold you from this great transgression.
- 3. Infer. Last: To say no more: Hince learn that it highly behoves the Church to have some good grounds for the receiving of Communicants. Matth. 7. 6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs &c. Philip, 3. 2. 3. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers &c. Heb. 12.14. 15. 16. If dogs eat & drink of holy things, & we cannot discern them to be such, they eat & drink damnation to themselves; but if we know them to be such, we are partakers of their evil deed, & so are like to partake of their plagues 1. Cor. 5. 1–9. 2. Cor. 6. 14. ad fine.
- 2. Use. Admonition. Have we all then utmost care that we
- 1. do not com̄unicate unworthily (1) Habitually unworthily.
- 1. Consider that it cannot benefit us. What will meat put into the mouth of a dead man advantage him? Why no more will this bread of life advantage the dead Soul
- 2. Consider the hurt of so doing
- 1. They are guilty of the highest affront to Christ: guilty of the body & blood of the Lord i.e. of doing highest affront to it.
- 2. They are guilty of the deepest wrong to themselves. They eat & drink their own damnation: And so as it fared with the profane Israelites, may it befall you justly, whilst the bread is in your mouths the wrath of God may come upon you & slay you. Ps. 78. 30. 31. Num. 11. 33.
- 2. Have we a care we do not com̄unicate actually unworthily i.e. thô there be true grace wrought in our souls, yet not watching & warring against all sins, & watching unto all duties. To deter us herefrom consider we that such eat & drink also their own damnation viz. temporal damnation thô not eternal
- 1. Corporal damnation or punishment. This brings divine displeasure upon our bodies, Relations, Estates &c. 1. Chr. 15. 13.
- 2. Spiritual damnation or punishment. Want of grace & want of Spiritual joy & comfort is the fruit of such communicating unworthily. But more of that in the next verse.