1 Corinthians 11:26
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.
Sermons
The Church's ProclamationJ.R. Thomson 1 Corinthians 11:26
Special Consideration of the Lord's Supper; Uses of Self JudgmentC. Limpscomb 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
Christ Taking Bread, and Our Taking it from HimT. Fuller, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Expressive SymbolsH. W. Beecher.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Giving as We Receive1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Doctrine of the Holy CommunionC. W. Furse, M.A.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Lord's SupperD. Thomas, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Lord's SupperJ. Waite 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Lord's Supper, a Simple Memorial1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Purpose of the Lord's SupperDean Bradley.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Remembrance of ChristH. W. Beecher.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper of Divine InstitutionBp. Beveridge.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
The Sacred FeastE. Hurndall 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
This Do in Remembrance of MeLyman Abbott.1 Corinthians 11:23-26
A Persuasive to Frequent CommunionJ. Tillotson, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
Frequent CommunionT. Fuller, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
Of the End of the Lord's Supper1 Corinthians 11:26-27
Practical Influence of the Death of ChristW. Cunningham, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
Price of the Sacrament1 Corinthians 11:26-27
The Lord's DeathJ. Parker, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
The Lord's SupperW. M. Punshon, LL.D.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
The Lord's SupperJ. Guinness Rogers, B.A.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
The Lord's Supper a Showing Forth of Christ's DeathC. Bradley, M.A.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
The Objects of the Believer's Contemplation in the Lord's SupperA. Bonar.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
The Ordinance of the Interval Between Christ's Going and Christ's ComingJ. Richardson, M.A.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper a Standing OrdinanceN. Emmons, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
The Sacramental CupT. Fuller, D.D.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
The Sacramental CupT. A. Nelson.1 Corinthians 11:26-27
What so fitted to rebuke those who profaned the Supper of the Lord, what so fitted to arouse them to a sense of their high calling, as a solemn declaration like this? The noisy, greedy, quarrelsome gatherings which seem at Corinth to have been associated with the professed observance of one of the highest mysteries of the Christian faith, naturally awakened the indignation and the reproaches of the apostle. Recalling them to a sense of the dignity of their position as witnesses to God in an ignorant and sinful world, the apostle summons the Corinthian Christians so to eat the bread and drink the cup of the Eucharist as to declare to all the sacred tidings of a Redeemer's death.

I. THIS SACRAMENT IS A COMMEMORATION OF THE PAST. The Lord's death was an admitted fact; and if anything was needed to establish the historical fact, the existence of this ordinance was sufficient and more than sufficient for the purpose. But men may forget and lose sight of an event which they do not dream of denying. And it seemed good to Divine wisdom that the crucifixion and sacrifice of the Son of God should be held in everlasting memory by means of this simple but most significant observance. It was not simply as an historical fact that the death of Christ was to be recorded, but as a Christian doctrine. Christ's was a redeeming, atoning, reconciling death; and as such was cherished in everlasting memory by those who profited by it, who owed to it their eternal hopes.

II. THIS SACRAMENT IS A PROCLAMATION TO THE PRESENT. "Ye set forth, or proclaim, the Lord's death," says the apostle. And from his expression, "as often," it may be inferred that periodically and frequently the primitive Christians kept the feast, remembering and declaring that "Christ our Passover is slain for us." There is something very affecting and at the same time very inspiring in this representation. From generation to generation and from age to age the sacrament of the Lord's body and blood publishes salvation to mankind, telling of him who tasted death forevery man, and in his cross reconciled the world unto God. It is an aspect of the Holy Communion which should not be left out of sight, upon which great stress should be laid; for some, whom words may fail to reach, may have their hearts opened to the grace and love of Christ by witnessing the silent yet eloquent declaration concerning the Saviour which is presented when the members of Christ's Church partake of the symbols of their redemption.

III. THIS SACRAMENT IS A PREDICTION OF THE FUTURE. "Till he come!" Our Lord, in instituting the ordinance, had turned the gaze of his disciples towards the future, speaking of drinking wine new in the kingdom of God, And here the eye of faith is pointed on to the glory which shall be revealed when he who came to die shall come to judge, shall come to reign!

"And thus that dark betrayal night
With the last advent we unite
By one bright chain of loving rite,
Until he come!" = —t.







And after the same manner also He took the cup.
He doubleth the elements, to show that in Christ is not only necessary and sufficient, but also plentiful and abundant, with assured redemption. To blame, then, is the Church of Rome, which is guilty of that fault whereof Benjamin was taxed; they have "stolen away the cup." If "to steal the chalice" be the phrase whereby men express the highest sin, what sacrilege is it to steal the wine of the chalice, from whom it belongeth? But let us hear what these Romanists plead for themselves.

I. FLESH AND BLOOD GO ALWAYS TOGETHER. It is superfluous, therefore, to give the laity the blood the second time, who by concomitancy had received it before. Answer — What God hath put asunder, to be taken severally and distinctly, let no man join together.

II. THERE BE MANY INCONVENIENCES, YEA, MISCHIEFS, ATTEND THE LAITY'S RECEIVING OF THE WINE; as, its sticking in their beards, spilling of it, etc. Answer — God, in the omnisciency of His wisdom, surveyed the latitude of all occurrences, yet, beholding all future inconveniences present, He appointed the laity to drink of the cup. Wine was then as subject to spilling; it hath not since gotten a more liquid or diffusive quality.

III. IN SEVERAL PLACES NO MENTION IS MADE OF WINE, but of bread only (Acts 2:42, 46; Acts 20:7). Answer — Either "bread," by a synecdoche, is here put for bread and wine; or else that phrase importeth their ordinary meetings and civil feasts. But a cart-load of these exceptions are "weighed in the balance and found too light" to outpoise Christ's institution. Let us not be so foolish as to depart from God's written Word in the sacrament, concerning giving the laity the cup, for the company of human arguments on our side; but let us stick to our commission.

(T. Fuller, D.D.)

Remembrance —

I.BEGETS HUMILIATION.

II.QUICKENS HOPE.

III.INSPIRES NEW ACTIVITY THROUGH GRATITUDE.

IV.LIFTS OUR LONGINGS HEAVENWARD.

(T. A. Nelson.)

Cleopatra put a jewel in a cup, which contained the price of a kingdom: this sacred cup we are to drink of, enriched with the blood of God, is above the price of a kingdom.

For as oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come
In the primitive Church the Lord's Supper was celebrated every day: and fit it was, needing as they did constant cordials in the time of persecution. This frequency soon abated, and St. reproves the negligence of the Eastern Churches, who received it but once a year. The Church of England requires her children to receive at the least thrice a year. But hear those who say that it is to be but seldom received.

I. THE PASSOVER WAS CELEBRATED BUT ONCE A YEAR; in whose place the Lord's Supper succeeds. Answer — The Passover was so restricted by God; in the Lord's Supper we are left to our own liberty. Finding, therefore, our continual sinning, and therefore need thereof to strengthen us in our grace, we may, yea, must oftener use it, especially seeing all services of God under the gospel ought to be more plentiful than under the law.

II. THINGS DONE OFTEN ARE SELDOM DONE SOLEMNLY. Manna, if rained every day, is not dainty. The frequent doing of it will make men perfunctory and negligent therein. Answer — Then sermons should be as seldom as Apollo's smiles, and prayers should not be presented to God every day, lest the commonness of the duty should bring it into contempt. Rather ministers are to instruct their people to come with reverence, notwithstanding their frequent repairing thereunto.

III. BUT LONG PREPARATION IS REQUISITE TO THIS ACTION; and therefore this sacrament cannot often be received. Answer — After the first grand preparation, where, by faith and repentance, we are first estated in God's favour, other preparations are not so difficult in doing, or tedious in time, as being but the reiterating of the same again. The good housewife that scoureth her plate once a week hath less work than she that doth it but once in a twelvemonth. Often preparing makes the work easy, and fits men the sooner for the sacrament.

(T. Fuller, D.D.)

I. A COMMEMORATIVE ORDINANCE.

1. The sacrament was instituted at the time of the feast of the Passover, and this was the memory uppermost in the minds of the disciples. Afterwards they saw as we see in the light of the perfected revelation, how fitly on that night was instituted the memorial of deliverance from a bondage greater than Egyptian, and from the deadlier peril of a death that never dies.

2. But what were the thoughts of the Redeemer? There stretched out the whole course of suffering which He had set Himself resolutely to travel. It was "the same night on which He was betrayed." It was the last supper table. Very deeply under such circumstances as those would the words sink into the hearts of the disciples. We, too, must enter into the Saviour's sorrows. For us, if we believe in Him, He breaks the bread and pours the wine, and when we eat and drink we do "show forth His death till He come."

3. And this is what we commemorate. His death —(1) Not His life, though that was lustrous with a holiness that knew not the shadow of a stain.(2) Not His teaching, though that embodied the fulness of a wisdom and truth that was Divine.(3) Not His miracles, although His course was a march of mercy.(4) His death — His body, not glorious, but broken: His blood, not coursing through the veins of a conqueror, but shed for man. You are to see your sins laid upon Him; your souls washed by Him; your doom reversed by Him; your life secured by Him; and thus "show forth His death — till He come."

II. A CONFIRMATORY ORDINANCE.

1. Its perpetuity seems to stamp it as an ordinance, confirming, on the one hand, man's faith in God, and on the other God's fidelity to man. The disciples had followed Christ's fortunes through evil and good report; but they were more faithful witnesses after this night than they had ever been before. And when in obedience to His command they partook of the ordinance which He had bequeathed to them, it is no wonder that they should come away from each successive celebration of the communion of His body and blood with braver purpose. And it is so with God's people still. By thus "waiting upon the Lord" in His own enduring ordinance "they renew their strength," etc.

2. The sacrament confirms the two things which it exhibits — the death and the second advent of the Lord. It seems to link the humiliation and the royalty, the accomplished passed and the assured future together. It is the wedlock of the believer's memory and the believer's hope; the memory which yet lingers round the Cross; the hope which already revels in the glory of the throne.

3. For the confirmation of your faith and of your devotedness God has set up this sacramental sign. It is to confirm your faith —(1) In His death. It is to confirm your faith —

(a)In its reality — that it was not a prolonged swoon.

(b)In its vicariousness, to show you that His life was offered — "the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." In its efficacy as an accepted atonement.(2) In His coming —

(a)In its certainty that the Church is not for ever orphaned of His presence.

(b)In the recompense that awaits you; for the day is coming when all wrongs shall be redressed, sin eradicated, Satan trampled under foot, the glad welcome, the abundant entrance, the triumphal and eternal song.

4. Now you are called to meet the Saviour in His confirming and witnessing ordinance. If thou seekest Jesus surely He will not send thee empty from His own table away. But for you who do not love the Saviour, there is no grace in the sacrament for you. Like the sun and rain, they will shine and fall upon the stone, and the stone will remain insensible, because it has no hidden principle of life; but if they fall upon the flower they will foster the growth, and develop the beauty, and bring out the fragrance, because the principle of life is there.

III. A COVENANTING ORDINANCE, and this follows upon the two preceding.

1. It is not only a sign but a seal: a solemn federal act which involves mutual pledges — pledges of fidelity on the one hand, and of blessing on the other. Says the Psalmist: "I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord." And in the next verse is the translation of the symbol: "I will pay my vows unto the Lord, now in the presence of all His people." And your participation in the Holy Communion is to be thus regarded as the fresh act of your espousals. If you eat and drink without discerning this great purpose, you eat and drink unworthily.

2. But I am speaking to those who love the Saviour. There is a mortal distrust, of yourselves which causes you to hesitate. Well, that you may take this Holy Sacrament for your comfort, remember that there are two parties to the covenant, and that the sacrament is the Divinely instituted seal of the fidelity of God's promise to you. The Lord speaks to the father of the new world, from which the waters have been but recently assuaged. "I do set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be a token of the covenant between Me and the earth." Here in the sacrament is the rainbow of the new and the better covenant. Behold the renewed pledge of salvation purchased, and blessing conferred upon you all who believe. Oh! the simplicity of the condition — upon him that believeth in Jesus.

(W. M. Punshon, LL.D.)

This passage is instructive when regarded in its bearing upon great and ever-recurring controversies. Around the observance of the Lord's Supper a multitude of irregularities had arisen. Here, then, if anywhere, was the opportunity for the apostle to glorify the sacrament, and to surround it with all those symbolic rites which would make its desecration impossible in the future. But we hear nothing of priest, altar, lights, incense, and genuflexions; but simply of a state of heart of those who unite in the act.

I. THE TRUE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LORD'S SUPPER. It is a "proclaiming" (R.V.) the death of Christ until He come.

1. The Lord's Supper is a memorial of the one fact in the Master's story which every natural feeling would have led His followers to conceal, and there was not a feeling of horror at the thought of the Cross which they had not experienced. The thought so familiar to us, but which the world has learned from Calvary only, of victory through suffering and the crown won by the Cross, was unknown to them. The Cross was a sign of defeat and disaster. No wonder that Peter should cry: "That be far from Thee, O Lord." The humiliation and despair of the day after the crucifixion baffle description. More pathetic utterance could hardly be spoken than "We trusted that it had been He who should have redeemed Israel."

2. There are few facts more remarkable than the revolution of feeling which is shown in the action of these men in regard to the Lord's Supper. In the hour of their reviving faith, it was the Cross to which they gave prominence, and the one characteristic of early Church life was the keeping of the feast by which they proclaimed "the Lord's death till He come." A festival of the Incarnation, or of the Transfiguration, or of the Resurrection, would have been intelligible. But this is the memorial of His death.

3. And could anything have set it forth with more impressiveness as the distinctive truth of Christianity? Other systems have had teachers, leaders of genius and power, and lawgivers. But where else do we find a Saviour who has died for the sins of men? Christ's claim rests not on the profundity of His wisdom, but on the infinitude of His love. So there is a fitness in the Supper as the proclamation of the gospel. The guests are not the wise or the holy, but sinners who have learned, to put their trust in Christ. They eat the bread and drink the wine as a confession that in His death alone is their hope of eternal life.

II. THE INFLUENCE WHICH THIS VIEW OF THE LORD'S SUPPER SHOULD EXERT ON US. The apostle points out distinctly when be says: "Let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup."

1. What miserable trifling are all the questions which men discuss with so much heat as compared with this! Forms of observance — what are they all when weighed in the balances with the spirit of the observance? Surely the first and chief question must be as to our right to a place at the table, and as to our preparation for filling that place with consistency. Here is a meeting-place between God and the soul. This is a renewed act of faith and most solemn confession, and this is the point in which all proving of ourselves converges; and it is one evil result of certain theories that their tendency is to keep this out of view. The attention is fixed on the priest and the altar rather than on the relations between Christ and the soul of the individual worshipper. The whole reminds us of Micah when, having detained the wandering Levite, he exclaimed, "Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest." He who comes filled with the solemn awe of the altar and the priest, and allows these to interrupt his communion with Christ, "feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside."

2. Here, then, is the one question for each communicant, What is the death to me? It is not enough that I hold as an article of my creed that Christ died for sinners. This act of communion is a profession of my personal trust in that death to deliver me from my sins. It is in the light of the Cross that we begin to understand something of the infinite tenderness of the Divine heart, and so to learn the exceeding sinfulness of sin.

3. What may be the special benefits to the soul which comes in humble faith to this banquet of love, it would be presumption in any man to decide. Who would under take to determine the possibilities of spiritual growth which may be the result? Here, as everywhere, to faith all things are possible.

(J. Guinness Rogers, B.A.)

I. IN THIS ORDINANCE THE BELIEVER CONTEMPLATES THE FULL ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THE INFINITELY IMPORTANT OBJECTS WHICH THAT DEATH WAS DESIGNED TO ATTAIN.

1. In the sufferings and death of our Redeemer exhibited in the Lord's Supper faith discerns the character of the true God unfolded, and His transcendent glory displayed, with far more brightness than by all the works of creation.

2. In the death of Christ, as represented in fide Lord's Supper, the believer by faith discerns the price of his own salvation and the only foundation of his hope before God.

3. The believer contemplates in the death of Christ, as represented in the Lord's Supper, the source of all his spiritual blessings and a never-failing spring of strong consolation in his afflictions.

4. The believer, in the ordinance of the Supper, views by faith our glorious Messiah's death as accomplishing a happy reconciliation between men and angels, and as opening to both new discoveries and new employments.

II. IN THIS ORDINANCE THE BELIEVING CHRISTIAN PERCEIVES A LIVELY AND AFFECTING REPRESENTATION OF ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED WITH THE DEATH OF CHRIST AND THE BLESSINGS TO BE THEREBY CONVEYED TO HIS PEOPLE.

1. All who sit at the sacred table partake of these elements and affectionately distribute them from one to another; thus we are reminded that there is a sufficiency in Christ to supply the wants of all His people, and that they are all children of the same family, eating at the same table, drinking of the same cup, and bound by every endearing tie to love one another and to live as brethren.

2. After partaking of the sacred symbols they retire from the communion table, from the delightful service of the sanctuary, to mingle in the duties and toils and trials of life. For it is only in the temple not made with hands that their fellowship shall be uninterrupted and their joy be full.

3. At the first celebration of the sacrament the condescending Saviour Himself was present with His disciples and gave them the cup and spake words of consolation to their fainting minds. Thus it still is as to His spiritual presence; He is in the midst of them to do them good; the cup of blessing which in His name we bless is the communion of the blood of Christ.

III. THE BELIEVING CHRISTIAN CONTEMPLATES THE SACRAMENT OF THE SUPPER AS A SACRED MEMORIAL OF HIS INESTIMABLE FRIEND, THE BEST BELOVED OF HIS SOUL; AND AS A FEAST OF COMMEMORATION, DESIGNED TO KEEP UP THE BELIEVING AND SANCTIFYING REMEMBRANCE OF WHAT SCRIPTURE TESTIFIES CONCERNING HIM,

1. Ye shew forth the Lord's death; the Lord of angels and men; the Lord of heaven and earth; the Lord of providence and grace. It wonderfully enlarges and elevates the mind of devout communicants when they can enter into the contemplation of their Redeemer's personal greatness; as the brightness of the Father's glory; as upholding all things by the word of His power; as King of kings and Lord of lords; and as the same to-day, yesterday, and for ever.

2. Again, when showing forth the Lord's death, "do it in remembrance" that He is the Mediator of the New Testament, or better covenant. When you are engaged in this ordinance you ought to rest on the sure promises of that covenant which was sealed with the blood of the Testator; be persuaded of their truth, embrace them, and plead their fulfilment.

3. Once more, when showing forth the Lord's death, not only remember that He died in the character of Mediator between an offended God and offending creatures, but survey the gradual progress of His work from its commencement before the worlds were framed to its consummation in the glorifying of all the elect.

IV. WE ARE TO VIEW THIS ORDINANCE AS A SOLEMN GOSPEL FEAST, A SACRED CHRISTIAN FESTIVAL.

1. In the everlasting gospel provision is made for the most indigent of mankind; and in this sacred ordinance the poor and needy feed with satisfaction on the rich blessings of the great salvation.

2. Provision is not the only idea which enters into our mind under the general term of a feast or supper; nourishment also is included, and when applied to this sacred ordinance it suggests this reviving sentiment, that by the right participation of the Lord's Supper humble believers are strengthened with the inestimable blessings of that well-ordered covenant which the great Master of the feast makes with all who give themselves to Him.

3. Besides nourishment and provision the comparison of the sacred ordinance before us to a feast or supper conveys to the mind all the animating ideas of fellowship and intercourse with the whole Church of Christ.

V. THIS ORDINANCE IS REPRESENTED, IN THE WORDS OF THE INSTITUTION, AS A DISTINGUISHING BADGE OF CHRISTIANITY AND A MARK OF SEPARATION BETWEEN THE FRIENDS OF CHRIST AND THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD.

1. Those who have a right to participate of this holy ordinance are in Christ, and are new creatures.

2. They lay aside the sins which beset them, and separate themselves from whatever is displeasing to their heavenly Father. They are awake to the infinite evil of sin, and are brought through Divine grace to hate it perfectly, as displeasing to God by whom they lived and on whom they rely.

3. Those who are prepared to show forth the death of Christ, love Him above all that this poor world can give or promise.

VI. WE NOW DIRECT YOUR MEDITATIONS TO THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DEATH OF CHRIST AND HIS SECOND COMING AS THE SOVEREIGN JUDGE OF QUICK AND DEAD. His death prepared the way for all the triumphs of the general resurrection, and the sacred ordinance of the Supper is a standing pledge, that He who was once offered up to bear the sins of many will come the second time without a sin-offering for the complete salvation of His people.

(A. Bonar.)

The Corinthians were a Church planted by Paul, watered by a long preaching among them. But notwithstanding all his pains he receives news of some corruptions crept in and overspreading that Church.

1. Concerning the carriage of men and women in the Church.

2. The celebration of the Lord's Supper.

3. The use and exercise of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:17).The apostle makes a transition from the first to the second, and taxeth them with their divisions. Observe divisions in a Church are usually attended with sad consequences. They despoil the Church of its beauty and ornaments; they here hindered a communion with one another. All communion is founded upon union; divisions shook that and brought in gross miscarriages about the Lord's Supper. For the reformation of those abuses the apostle reduceth them to the consideration of the first institution. Observe, in all reformations we are not so much to mind what this or that custom of the Church is when there is a clear word to walk by. Christ overthrows polygamy by reducing the number of persons married to the first institution (Matthew 19:4, 9).

1. How soon will corruptions creep into the best Church! The devil will sow his tares where God sows His wheat.

2. Human ceremonies are not to be urged, especially when they by abuse degenerate into superstition, carnality, and profaneness. Divine institutions, because of God's sanction, are not to be laid aside though abuses creep in. What is man's must be discarded, what is God's must be preserved. For the first doctrine. The Lord's Supper is chiefly instituted for the remembering and showing forth the death of Christ. It is not a bare historical remembrance of the death of Christ.For then —

1. Every profane man who assents to the history of Christ's death, and believes the acting of this tragedy on the Cross, and hath a notional belief of the ends of it, might be partaker of this ordinance. But the apostle puts a bar to that (ver. 28).

2. A man could not then receive more unworthily, or incur a greater damnation in this than in other acts. But here the apostle fixeth a particular guilt of the body and blood of Christ when received unworthily (vers. 27-29). As Christ's death was not a bare dying, but a death with high and glorious ends, so our remembrance of it is not to be a bare historical but a practical remembrance and declaration. As Christ's remembrance of the promises of His Father was not only an assent to the truth of them, but a recumbency on Him for the performance, so our remembrance of the death of Christ ought to be. It is not a speculative remembrance only, as when a man sees a picture of a prince, but such a remembrance as a man hath when he sees the picture of a dear friend absent from him at that time; he remembers not only his person, but the mutual love between them, the actions his friend hath done for him, which stirs up a sense of gratitude at that time.I shall show —

1. This is the end of the institution.

2. What it is in the death of Christ that is here remembered and shown forth.

3. How we should show forth this death.(1) The remembrance and declaration of the death of Christ is chiefly intended hereby. For the explication consider —

1. God was always careful of appointing and preserving memorials of His favour. The pot of manna and Aaron's budding rod were to be preserved in the ark as standing monuments of God's kindness. Stones were appointed to be set up for a memorial of the division of the waters of Jordan to give the Israelites passage to the conquest of Canaan (Joshua 4:5). The passover was instituted as a memorial of the Israelites' affliction. And is there not much more reason for a standing memorial of that mercy of which all those were but the types? It hath been the custom of all nations to have an anniversary commemoration of those heroes who have been the instruments of some public happiness to them, and of all societies to commemorate their benefactors. And is there any reason to deny that to the great Benefactor of mankind, the Redeemer of the world?

2. These memorials are necessary —(1) Because of the nature of our affections, which rather follow the orders of our sense than the commands of our souls, and are more excited by sensible than invisible objects. Most things we cannot understand but under sensible representations; we understand not God's power, goodness, justice, but by the objects we see those attributes conversant about. Hence are those frequent metaphorical resemblances of spiritual things in the Scripture, and our Saviour sets Himself forth to us under the notions of bread, wine, Bridegroom.(2) In regard of the inconstancy of our affections. What our affections rouse themselves up to receive at the first approach, they afterwards begin to flag like the strings of an instrument that sound well at the first tuning, but quickly slack and need a watchful ear and careful hand to wind them up. We want, therefore, those memorials to keep up our hearts in a warm and glowing temper.(3) In regard of the natural ingratitude and enmity we have to a crucified Christ, and the weakness of faith. What the world did, that doth every man's heart naturally, account the Cross foolishness. How is our faith weak when Christ is absent from us! He hath therefore instituted a symbol of His spiritual presence, whereby our minds might exercise themselves as well as the eyes of men did behold His body.

3. What it is in the death of Christ that is here set forth.(1) The painfulness of His death. It is the picture of Him as He hung upon the Cross.(a) This was the intent of the ancient passover. The lamb was to be killed, the flesh roasted with fire (Exodus 12:6-8).(b) Of the elements in this sacrament. Bread signifies as passing through various kinds of sufferings to be made fit for food, reaped when ripe, thrashed when housed, ground to powder and baked to be made fit for bread. The actions testify the painfulness.(2) The intention of this death for us. It is in this ordinance represented as a sacrifice-death. He is our Passover sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7, 8). In His institution it was, My body broken for you, My blood shed for you, as an expiatory sacrifice.(3) The sufficiency of this death for us. It would never else be remembered. We remember no more than what was done; we remember a whole Christ broken. God by covenant with Christ could challenge no more, and justice after the striking of that match could demand no more. Whence ariseth a redundancy of merit, an overflowing merit for ten thousand worlds, were they in being and in a sinful state.(4) The acceptableness of this death to God. All that Christ did He did by order as His Father commanded Him. Had not His death been acceptable to His Father He would not have ordered us to remember it.(5) The present efficacy of this death. It is now of efficacy, and will be to the second coming of Christ. Why else should it be remembered? To what purpose should we commemorate it if it did not retain an everlasting efficacy?(6) How we should show forth and remember this death.

1. Reverentially.

(1)With a reverence of the holiness of God.

(2)With a reverence of the justice of God.

2. Holily. We must undertake such religious services with suitable dispositions of heart.

(1)With mourning hearts for sin. A broken Christ must not be remembered without a broken heart.

(2)With deep considerations of the cursed nature and demerit of sin. It must needs be bitter, killing, condemning, cursed sin which brought Christ to such a bitter death.

(3)With strong resolutions against sin. It is a sad thing to be Christians at a supper, heathens in our shops, and devils in our closets.

3. Believingly.

(1)We should profess our adherence to Him. The showing forth His death is solemnly to cleave to Him alone for the pardon of our sins, the justification of our persons, and the sanctification of our natures.

(2)Look up to Christ in His death as a Conqueror. It is the Lord's death; He was a Lord in His death; He was a King upon the Cross as well as a Priest, as He is a Priest in heaven as well as a King. His death was His victory, His ascension His triumph. Regard it, show it forth, not simply as a death, but a conquering death.

(3)Plead this death with God.

(4)Plead this death against sin and Satan. Show it against every charge. Can the sins of men be stronger to condemn than the blood of God is to save?

4. Humbly.

(1)Consider in this representation what we should have suffered.

(2)Consider the deplorable misery wherein we were. How deeply were we sunk into the mire that nothing could pluck us out but the Son of God!

5. Thankfully. Such mercies as the death of Christ require high and raised thanksgivings.

(1)Blessing God for His love in offering up His Son to death.

(2)Blessing Christ for His love in dying.

(3)The costliness of this redemption by the death of Christ should excite us to show it forth with thankfulness.

(4)The gain we have by it should excite us to it. Death was bitter to Him, but comfortable to us. By His blood are the promises sealed; by His blood all the treasures of grace, mercy, peace, happiness, riches of glory, are gathered together for us.Use:

1. If the Supper be a showing the death of Christ, it is then no sacrifice, but the commemoration of a sacrifice. Sacrifices imply some kind of expiation and atonement; this is a natural notion. But the Supper is not intended as an expiation of sin or a satisfaction to God. In a sacrifice something is offered to God, in a sacrament something is exhibited to us.

2. How should the death of Christ run much in our thoughts and our affections be raised! The Lord's Supper is to be frequently celebrated and participated of. "As often," implying, it ought often to be done.For explication.

1. How often is not determined.

2. Nor can there be a constant time fixed for every particular person. Because there are varieties in the cases of good men, who may by some emergency find themselves hindered one time and not another.

3. It was anciently often participated of. Some think every day from that of Acts 2:46.

4. Yet to be frequent in it is agreeable to the nature of the ordinance and necessary for the wants of a Christian. The too much deferring cloth more hurt than the frequent communicating. The oftener we carefully and believingly communicate the more disposed we shall be for it.It ought not to be neglected upon these reasons,

1. Because of the Author. It is a feast of God's providing. The great God appointed not any trifling ordinance; His wisdom appoints none but what His power can make worthy instruments; His goodness will appoint none but what His love will make highly beneficial; the contempt of it is a slighting both of His wisdom and grace. If Jordan be appointed for the healing Naaman's leprosy (2 Kings 5:10), the waters of Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, shall never be medicinal. When God appointed lamps for the defeat of the Midianites (Judges 7:20), had Gideon slighted them as too weak, and assaulted them with his numerous host, he had received a rout instead of a victory.

2. The time when Christ instituted it shows it is not worthy of our neglect. It was a little before His death (1 Corinthians 11:23).

3. The ends of it declare the unworthiness of neglecting it.(1) The remembrance of Christ. How can we say we love Him if we do not mind Him? What value have we for Him if He be not in our thoughts? Well, but we may remember Christ otherwise without this ceremony. We may, but do we?(2) It is a seal of the covenant. This is the common nature of a sacrament to be a seal of the righteousness or justification with God by faith in Christ (Romans 4:11). It is not only a sign which represents, but a seal which confirms the benefit.(3) It is a renewing our covenant with Him.(4) It is a communion with God.

4. The benefits of this ordinance require frequency. These benefits are many.(1) Weakening of sin. Not physically, but morally. The lively representation and consideration of the death of Christ with all its circumstances is a strong incentive and assistant to the mortifying sin in us.(2) Nourishment of the soul.(3) Increase and exercise of grace. Christ is the storehouse and fountain of all the treasure of life and peace, but His ordinances are the channel.(4) Sense and assurance of love often comes in by it.(5) Union with Christ is promoted.Use:

1. How much is the neglect, if not contempt, of this institution to be bewailed!(1) It concerns such to inquire whether the reasons of their neglect be valid against a positive command.(2) Was it appointed to be neglected? Did Christ take such care to institute it and we take care to avoid it?(3) How can such free themselves from unworthy reflections upon Christ? It is either an act of wisdom or folly in Him. If of wisdom, why are we so foolish as not to observe it? If of folly, why do we at all believe in Him whom we count a foolish Saviour?(4) Is it neglected because the elements are so mean and the thing so easy in itself? Had any Israelite neglected to turn his eye upon the brazen serpent the poison in his blood had digged his grave.(5) Or do we think Christ is come again that we neglect it?(6) Why doth any one neglecter of it who hath faith observe any other command or institution?(7) Or is it unfitness that is the cause of the neglect? Hath any man heard of repentance and faith and holiness, and yet hath nothing of them? What a miserable case is this!(8) Consider what you lose and what danger you incur.

2. Use: Is of exhortation to observe it and that frequently. Though a dying Saviour is remembered, yet a living Saviour is sought for in it; and shall not we be as ready to seek a living Christ in the sacrament as the women were to seek a dead Christ in the sepulchre? (Matthew 28:1). Let us consider some questions.(1) Will any believer be guilty of disobedience to the Author of his faith?(2) Is Christ so mean a Friend as not to be remembered? The memory of a good friend should be very precious.(3) Why should we not often be in those ways where we may meet with our best Friend?(4) Have you no graces that need strengthening?(5) Why will any true believer gratify Satan? The motions to hinder those that are gracious must either be from God or Satan. From God they cannot be, who is no enemy to the ordinance He hath appointed for them.(6) Why should any believer deny to pay Christ the debt of thankfulness for His great love in that way which He hath appointed? It is a thanksgiving, a thankful remembrance, therefore anciently called the Eucharist. We have handled two doctrines from the words. There is one more yet behind concerning the duration of this ordinance. You show the Lord's death till He come. There is especially a twofold coming of Christ mentioned in Scripture.

1. His coming in the flesh.

2. His coming to judgment.The doctrine then is — the Lord's Supper is a lasting and continuing institution, not to be put down at the pleasure of any man. It will not be repealed till Christ come. Another gospel is not to be expected (Galatians 1:6, 7, etc.), and therefore while the gospel endures the appendixes, the institutions annexed to it will endure. The ordinances of Christ are like the pillar of fire and the cloud which guided the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness, and did not withdraw from them till they entered into Canaan.

1. All the ordinances of Christ are to continue in His Church, then certainly this.

2. Sacraments were thought by God needful for men in all their several states in the world. Sacraments were judged necessary by God in innocent nature. The Tree of Life had a sacramental signification of life upon Adam's obedience. Much more in lapsed nature have we need of those sensible things for the support of our faith in the promises of God. After the Fall there were various institutions brought in by degrees. Adam and Abel and Noah had their sacrifices as significant of the Messiah promised to them and expected by them. Abraham had an addition of circumcision. The Passover and other rites were added under Moses. And God always had some conduit-pipes through which to pour out the blessings of His grace upon the souls of His creatures.

3. All laws once settled are of force till they be repealed by that authority which did enact them.

4. The covenant is perpetual, and therefore the seals are perpetual.

5. The state wherein we are requires the continuance of it and of other ordinances.(1) In regard of our constant decays. Our bodies would moulder to dust were they not daily nourished; and is there not as much need of nourishment for our souls?(2) In respect of our weakness, some intercourse there must be between God and us if we be happy.Use:

1. Christ will always have a Church in the world. A Church is the seat of ordinances.

2. It is in no man's power to add to or detract from Christ's institutions. Not a pin in the temple He will have altered till He gives order. God is a jealous God, and careful of His sovereignty.

3. See Christ's love and bounty. Christ would not leave His people without a durable legacy.

4. This ordinance must not be contemned. The passover was to be observed, much more the Supper settled by Christ.

(Bp. Hacket.)

I. THE MANNER OF HIS DEATH, its violence and painfulness. The first promise spoke of a bruised Saviour. The patriarchal and Levitical sacrifices represented Him as a slain victim; and the prophets described Him in a similar way. And if we look into heaven, it is the same. He is adored there as one who has been slain. So we rightly regard this ordinance as setting forth, not Christ's death only, but His violent death on the Cross.

II. ITS EFFICACY. The institution of this ordinance by Christ is a declaration by Christ that He has removed the Divine displeasure from His people, and brought them within the full sunshine of the Divine favour. He would not call on us to celebrate continually a work which is not accomplished, or only half accomplished. This would be like a vaunting general ordering a column to be raised for a victory that was never won. It is like a continual echo of His own dying cry, "It is finished." And our celebrating this sacrament becomes in consequence a repetition on our part of this cry, a declaration that we believe in the full sufficiency of His atonement.

III. THE NECESSITY OF ITS PARTICULAR APPLICATION TO OURSELVES. We do not merely look at the sacred elements of the Lord's Supper, we eat and drink them. Without eating and drinking we might show the manner and efficacy of Christ's death; but this partaking becomes an emblem of that faith which applies the sacrifice of Christ to the soul. In His own strong language, it "eats the flesh of the Son of Man and it drinks His blood." Conclusion: Learn —

1. That a knowledge of the gospel itself is needful for a right understanding of this sacrament. It is a picture of the gospel: an embodying of its great truths in visible things. If we understand the gospel, we find no difficulty in understanding this sacrament. And then in its turn it illustrates the gospel, enabling us to understand it better. But unless we understand the gospel, we shall be in the same situation with many of the ignorant Jews under the law. The shadows of "good things" will take the place of those "good things" themselves, "carnal ordinances" will be confounded with spiritual blessings, and the emblems of a dying Saviour will be more to us than that dying Saviour Himself. Go through Roman Catholic countries — there is the crucifix, the elevated host, adored; the great Saviour Himself practically despised, and His gospel scarcely heard of or known.

2. That Christ's gospel must be highly valued and loved by us before we can rightly attend to His holy Supper.

3. That the Lord's Supper should be celebrated by us frequently. Is it a showing of His death? Then the more frequently His death is shown forth in this world of sinners the better.

4. That this sacrament is to be celebrated perpetually. It is to be a standing ordinance in the Church, unlike circumcision or the Jewish sacrifices and feasts which have passed away. It is to be celebrated till the heavens are opened and the Son of Man is revealed. Then the sacrament will have done its work. We see now a picture only; but when Christ comes, we shall see the original.

(C. Bradley, M.A.)

1. These words seem contradictory. If He was Lord, how could He die? If He died, how could He be Lord? Why show forth the memory of the Lord's death? Why not say as little about it as possible? Is it not keeping up the memory of His shame? Why not show forth His birth? He never said a word about that. He founded no birthday festival. Why not forget His death in His resurrection?

2. Note that for historical purposes the event is always called His crucifixion, but for religious purposes His death. We do not say about a man who is hanged that he died, but that he was killed. And so on the Lord's side it is always said that Christ died, on man's side that He was slain.

I. THE LORD HIMSELF ALWAYS MAGNIFIED THE EVENT. He never treated it as part of the common lot, or availed Himself of the consolation of despair, saying, it can come but once — the sooner come, the sooner done. His martyrs often said that. Christ made it the supreme fact in His history. It is easy for you who are getting on towards seventy to talk about your death. What is it to die at thirty, when you are quite strong — perfectly well? What is it at thirty — to make death the supreme thought of the mind — the meridian of your calculations? You cannot enter into it. But this is what Christ did.

II. THE LORD NEVER SPOKE OF HIS DEATH AS A FACT COMPLETE IN ITSELF. Now we do: we say the end cannot be far off. But Jesus never referred to His death as a full stop. He always connected it with His resurrection. He was always talking about coming back again. His life is a beautiful whole — not to be broken into parts, or studied in fragments, else the results of His ministry would be humiliation, victory of the enemy. What am I to make of this April day? At six it was so mild and beautiful; and at nine it was drizzling. And then, after ten, it was so bright; and just now it was so dark I could see nothing but for the gas, and presently it will be teeming with rain. Do not break the day off at any of these points, and say, What do you think of that? God says, Let it alone; take the whole year, and see what I make of it. And so Christ says, "Say nothing of this till the Son of Man be risen from the dead." The last fact explains the preceding facts.

III. THE LORD MADE THE CELEBRATION OF HIS DEATH THE ONE FESTIVAL IN THE CHURCH. There have been some poor black days in your life — you say let them be forgotten. Christ does not say so — nay, in view of this black day in His life, He boldly said that except men did eat His flesh and drink His blood, they had no life in them. He never spoke of His death as a disaster. He came upon it as from eternity, travelling in the greatness of His strength. Other men celebrate their triumphs — this Man His Cross; other conquerors tell of the banners they have wrested from the hand of the enemy — this Man celebrates His overthrow.

IV. THE LORD NEVER ASKED HIS TORMENTORS TO BE PITIFUL, OR IN ANY WAY TO MITIGATE THE AGONY OF HIS CRUCIFIXION. And this would be the less remarkable but for the fact that He did ask His Father if it were possible to let the cup pass from Him. So He was not insensible to pain. But when He comes to men, He asks no favour. Nay, when people lament His fate, He says, "Weep not for Me." And it is the more remarkable, because Pilate set the door open, and said in effect, Here is a way of escape; art Thou the King of the Jews? He put his question in a tone that offered deliverance. And yet this very self-same man, whom we have seen in this agony of blood, avails not Himself of the door so opened. Truly such a death had a meaning in it. Conclusion: Now in view of these facts, it becomes a serious question whether the reason given for this commemoration is equal to the necessities of the case. Why do you celebrate His death instead of His birth — His resurrection — the triumphal parts of His history? I answer — He was delivered for our offences. Why keep up the memory of His death? I answer, He was bruised for our iniquities. Why keep up the memory of His Cross? I answer, while we were yet sinners, He died for us. Will you, after hearing these answers, tell us, on the other hand, why we should leave such a death uncelebrated?

(J. Parker, D.D.)

To "show forth" here means to pro-claim. In communicating we set forward the death of Jesus, according to the views we may entertain of it. The most important views will be brought before us if we consider it as it is described in Scripture —

I. AS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL OUR HOPES OF GOD'S FAVOUR AND OF ETERNAL LIFE. In it we see One who was God's equal suffering in His human nature as the only means by which sin could be expiated and sinners saved. We cannot doubt that this atonement is sufficient, and see, therefore, in the death of Christ the complete removal of all barriers to our salvation, and a way thrown open for our restoration to blessedness.

II. AS THE SOURCE OF THE MOTIVES BY WHICH OUR CONDUCT OUGHT TO BE REGULATED.

1. What could be more fitted to make us feel deeply and realise strongly our obligation to devote ourselves to God's service than this gift of God's love?

2. Is there any sin which the contemplation of Christ's death should not prompt and enable us to subdue — any grace which it is not fitted to implant and to cherish? Are any of you disposed to be proud? — then think of Him who humbled Himself. Are any of you disposed to be selfish? — then think of Him who submitted to a cruel and shameful death for the good of those who had no claim upon His regard. Would any one see an example of compassion and fortitude — of love to God and love to man, in circumstances well fitted to touch his heart and to produce decided imitation? — let him look to the death of Christ.

III. AS THE GREAT GROUND OF OUR CONSOLATION AMID TRIALS AND AFFLICTIONS.

1. That the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering reminds us of the important and salutary place which suffering holds in the moral government of God, and cordially reconciles us to the great principle that it is by much tribulation that we must enter the kingdom.

2. Christ, having endured the Cross, being now set down at the right hand of God, is an encouragement to His people to bear their trials with resignation, and to press on with diligence — Christ's success having ensured theirs, and the result in His case being substantially a pattern of what is to be the result in ours.

3. The death of Christ is peculiarly fitted to afford believers encouragement and consolation in looking forward to their own encounter with the last enemy. The King of terrors is indeed a formidable foe, but Christ, by dying, has deprived him of all power to hurt; and when we know this we shall no longer be subject to bondage through the fear of death, but shall be enabled to say, "O Death, where is thy sting?" etc. Conclusion: These are some plain views of the death of Christ as set before us in the Scriptures. As often as ye eat that bread, and drink that cup, you show them, and thereby pledge yourselves to hold them forth more fully in the whole tenor of your conversation.

(W. Cunningham, D.D.)

Christians —

1. Represent Christ. They defend and declare His truth; uphold and make known His honour; illustrate and maintain His laws.

2. Copy Christ. All He is, they desire to be. All He has, they expect to share. All He requires, they are glad to do.

3. Commemorate Christ. He is the tie which binds them all together; the light which gives to each his colour; the circle which prescribes to each his course. Before He left them He said, "Do this in remembrance of Me." And till He returns He continues to say, "Ye do show the Lord's," etc.

I. OF WHAT DOES THIS ORDINANCE CONSIST?

1. What is it that is fed?(1) Not the body only. "If any man hunger, let him eat at home" (chap. 1 Corinthians 11:34).(2) But —

(a)The memory, because it goes back to the Cross.

(b)The faith, because it goes up for the grace.

(c)The heart, for it goes forward to the glory.

2. What is it on which the faithful feed? Not on the material Christ. "The natural body and blood of our Saviour Christ are in heaven, and not here." The food is not on an altar to satisfy the claims of God, but on a table to satisfy the soul of man. To man physical, the things taken are bread and wine. To man spiritual, the things appropriated are the body and blood of Christ.

II. TO WHAT DOES THE ORDINANCE REFER?

1. It is a doctrine solidified into an act. It is a profession published by a feast. It is a sign as to the past, and is a seal as to the future. Like a milestone by life's wayside, it has two faces: one tells whence we come; the other, whither we are going. It is the old oath in which the great army of the Cross have sworn fealty to their Lord. It is the old well, at which all the pilgrims have rested and been refreshed on their way to Zion. It is the old cry, by which, in gloom or joy, the saints encourage one another to go on. It is the old challenge, by which the true men distinguish friends from foe.

2. It represents His death; for the broken bread and the poured-out wine find their parallel only at the Cross.

3. It implies life; for only living souls can feed together on that bread from heaven.

4. It promises immortality; for they who really feed upon the living Christ, in their living spirits, by a living faith, have this prospect given: "If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever" (John 6:51).

III. TO WHAT DOES THE ORDINANCE POINT? "Till He come."

1. To the glory of Jesus. Intelligent love delights in the Master's honour, His glorified body, His grand espousals, His many crowns.

2. To the gathering of the redeemed in the heavenly banqueting house.

(1)For the perfect communion.

(2)In the presence of the ever-loving Lord.

3. But if at the table we show the Lord's death, what do we show in the world?

(1)Servants of the Crucified, are we dead with Him?

(2)Saved by His dying love, are we severe to living men?

(3)Talking of the dawn, are we walking in the dark?

(4)Pointing to heaven, are we cleaving to earth?

(J. Richardson, M.A.)

God often appointed standing memorials to perpetuate great and extraordinary events. Aaron's rod and the pot of manna; the stones taken from Jordan; the Passover, etc. And the apostle tells that the Lord's Supper was appointed to commemorate not Christ's birth, temptation, etc., but His death.

I. WHY THE SACRAMENT WAS DESIGNED TO COMMEMORATE CHRIST'S DEATH IN PARTICULAR. Because —

1. It was the most striking scene that ever took place with respect to Him or any other being. It was rendered so by many singular circumstances.

2. It was the strongest expression of His marvellous love to this sinful and perishing world. "Greater love hath no man than this," etc. But Christ suffered death for sinners, and that in a most painful and humiliating way.

3. It alone made atonement for the sins of the world, and laid a foundation for the pardon and salvation of all penitent, believing sinners. All Christ did before His death, and all He has done since, and all He ever will do hereafter, depends upon His death, and without it would be of no avail.

II. REFLECTIONS.

1. This exhibition of a crucified Saviour is a solemn address to our understandings, and calls for our most serious and fixed contemplation upon the most glorious truths which can employ the minds of heavenly intelligences.

2. This significant ordinance addresses your hearts, as well as your understandings, and calls for the most grateful affections to the Father and Son.

3. As the ordinance reminds you of Christ giving Himself for you, so it equally reminds you of your obligations of renewedly giving yourselves to Him.

III. IMPROVEMENT. Since the sacrament was appointed to be a memorial of Christ's death, then —

1. Christians with good reason experience much comfort and derive much benefit from it.

2. Those who never find any satisfaction in it have reason to fear that they are enemies to the Cross of Christ.

3. None are duly prepared to observe it who do not cordially approve of the vindictive justice of God. It was this which rendered the death of Christ necessary, and. which it was the design of His death to display.

4. It is of great importance to maintain this sacred ordinance. The continuance of the Christian religion in the world greatly depends upon the continuance of the memorial of Christ's death.

5. If the sacrament be a standing memorial of Christ's death, then we may see how little the gospel is prized by the great body of the Christian world.

(N. Emmons, D.D.)

I. FOR THE PERPETUITY OF THIS INSTITUTION, implied in those words, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till He come": or the words may be read imperatively and by way of precept, show ye forth the Lord's death till He come. So that it is a vain conceit of the enthusiasts concerning the dispensation of the Holy Ghost, when, as they suppose, all human teaching shall cease, and all external ordinances and institutions in religion shall vanish, and there shall be no farther use of them. Whereas it is very plain from the New Testament, that prayer, and outward teaching, and the use of the two sacraments, were intended to continue among Christians of all ages. And if this be the end and use of this sacrament, to be a solid remembrance of the death and sufferings of our Lord during His absence from us, that is, till His coming to judgment, then this sacrament will never be out of date till the second coming of our Lord. The consideration whereof should mightily strengthen and encourage our faith in the hope of eternal life so often as we partake of this sacrament.

II. THE OBLIGATION THAT LIES UPON ALL CHRISTIANS TO THE FREQUENT OBSERVANCE AND PRACTICE OF THIS INSTITUTION, I shall briefly mention a threefold obligation lying upon all Christians to frequent communion in this holy sacrament.

1. We are obliged in point of indispensable duty, and in obedience to a plain precept and most solemn institution of our blessed Saviour, that great Lawgiver.

2. We are likewise obliged hereunto in point of interest. The benefits which we expect to be derived and assured to us by this sacrament are all the blessings of the new covenant.

3. We are likewise particularly obliged in point of gratitude to the careful observance of this institution. Can we without the most horrible ingratitude neglect this dying charge of our Sovereign and Saviour, the great Friend and Lover of souls? A command so reasonable, so easy, so full of blessings and benefits to the faithful observers of it.

III. Third particular I proposed, which WAS TO ENDEAVOUR TO SATISFY THE OBJECTIONS AND SCRUPLES WHICH HAVE BEEN RAISED IN THE MINDS OF MEN, AND PARTICULARLY OF MANY DEVOUT AND SINCERE CHRISTIANS.

1. That the danger of unworthy receiving being so very great, it seems the safest way wholly to refrain from this sacrament, and not to receive it at all. But this objection is evidently of no force if there be as great or greater danger on the other hand, viz., in the neglect of this duty. Nay, of the two it is the greater sign of contempt wholly to neglect the sacrament, than to partake of it without some due qualification. And indeed scarce any man can think of coming to the sacrament but he will by this consideration be excited to some good purposes, and put upon some sort of endeavour to amend and reform his life. But, on the other hand, as to those who neglect this sacrament, there is hardly anything left to restrain them from the greatest enormities of life, and to give a check to them in their evil course: nothing but the penalty of human laws, which men may avoid and yet be wicked enough. For if this be a good reason to abstain from the sacrament for fear of performing so sacred an action in an undue manner, it were best for a bad man to lay aside all religion, and to give over the exercise of all the duties of piety, of prayer, of reading and hearing the Word of God, because there is a proportionable danger in the unworthy and unprofitable use of any of these. I cannot more fitly illustrate this matter than by this plain similitude: he that eats and drinks intemperately endangers his health and his life, but he that to avoid this danger will not eat at all, I need not tell you what will certainly become of him in a very short space. There are some conscientious persons who abstain from the sacrament upon an apprehension that the sins which they shall commit afterwards are unpardonable. But this is a great mistake. To draw to a conclusion of this matter: such groundless fears and jealousies as these may be a sign of a good meaning, but they are certainly a sign of an injudicious mind. For if we stand upon these scruples, no man perhaps was ever so worthily prepared to draw near to God in any duty of religion but there was still some defect or other in the disposition of his mind, and the degree of his preparation. But if we prepare ourselves as well as we can, this is all God expects. We cannot surely entertain so unworthy a thought of God and our blessed Saviour as to imagine that He did institute the sacrament not for the furtherance of our salvation, but as a snare, and an occasion of our ruin and damnation.

2. Second objection, which was this.That so much preparation and worthiness being required to our worthy receiving, the more timorous sort of Christians can never think themselves duly enough qualified for so sacred an action.

1. That every degree of imperfection in our preparation for this sacrament is not a sufficient reason for men to abstain from it. For then no man should ever receive it. For who is every way worthy? The graces of the best men are imperfect. And if we will neglect the use of these means, it is to no purpose for us to pray to God for His grace and assistance.

2. The total want of a due preparation, not only in the degree but in the main and substance of it, though it render us unfit at present to receive this sacrament, yet does it by no means excuse our neglect of it. One fault may draw on another, but can never excuse it. We will not do our duty in other things, and then plead that we are unfit and unworthy to do it in this particular of the sacrament.

3. The proper inference and conclusion from a total want of due preparation for the sacrament is not to cast off all thoughts of receiving it, but immediately to set about the work of preparation, that so we may be fit to receive it.

IV. Fourth and last thing I proposed, viz., WHAT PREPARATION OF OURSELVES IS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO THE WORTHY RECEIVING OF THIS SACRAMENT. Which I told you would give me occasion to explain the apostle's meaning in the last part of the text, "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup." I think it very clear from the occasion and circumstances of the apostle's discourse concerning the sacrament that he does not intend the examination of our state, whether we be Christians or not, and sincerely resolve to continue so; and consequently that he does not here speak of our habitual preparation by the resolution of a good life. This he takes for granted, that they were Christians and resolved to continue and persevere in their Christian profession. But he speaks of their actual fitness and worthiness at that time when they came to receive the Lord's Supper. But let a man examine himself, that is, consider well with himself what a sacred action he is going about, and what behaviour becomes him when he is celebrating this sacrament instituted by our Lord in memorial of His body and blood, that is, of His death and passion. But some will say, Is this all the preparation that is required to our worthy receiving of the sacrament, that we take care not to come drunk to it, nor to be guilty of any irreverence and disorder in the celebration of it? I answer in short, this was the particular unworthiness with which the apostle taxeth the Corinthians, and which he warns them to amend. It is of great use for Christians by way of preparation for the sacrament to examine themselves in a larger sense than in all probability the apostle here intended. And because this work of examining ourselves concerning our state, and of exercising repentance towards God and charity towards men is incumbent upon us as we are Christians, and can never be put in practice more seasonably and with greater advantage than when we are meditating of this sacrament, therefore besides our habitual preparation by repentance and the constant endeavours of a holy life, it is a very commendable custom in Christians before their coming to the sacrament to set apart some particular time for this work of examination. The best preparation for the sacrament is the general care and endeavour of a good life. And he that is thus prepared may receive at any time when opportunity is offered, though he had no particular foresight of that opportunity.

(J. Tillotson, D.D.)

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