Thoughts, Comparisons and Contrasts Between Passover and the Lord’s Supper

Taken and greatly adapted from, “A Treatise on the Institution, Right Administration and Receiving of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper” 
Written by Richard Vines, in 1657

Passover_stained_glass

“For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven…”
                                                                    –1 Cor. 5:7-8

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IT is usual in handling the nature and use of Sacraments…

…to begin with the notion of Sacrament in general, and then to descend to particular Sacraments which we call Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, in their order.

But the Field is large, and the compass great, and therefore let’s begin where the Lords Supper itself began and that is at the Passover, at His death, and out of it’s ashes, this Sacrament of ours like another Phoenix did arise. For our Lord at his last Passover, his dying Passover, did institute and ordain this, that Lords Supper was to live and remain till he come again.  Scaliger and others have observed, the very materials of our Sacramental Supper were taken out of the Paschal Supper:, for that very Bread which the Master of the Family used by custom to bless and give to the fraternity of Christians, saying, “This is the bread of affliction which the Fathers did eat in Egypt,” and that Cup which he blessed and gave to them to drink, called the Cup of the Hymn, or “Cos hallel,” because the Hymn followed after and closed all That Bread, and that Cup. So did Christ according to the rite severally bless and give, saying, “This is my body, This Cup is the New Testament in my blood”, and so he put new Superscription or signification upon the old Metal.

And let all blind and bold Expositors know, that if they don’t expound on the many phrases and things mentioned in the New Testament, and do so from out of the old Records of the Jewish writings and their customs, then they shall be but saying their fancies, and not expounding upon the Text. Further, this fact may be confirmed by the many contextual arguments that abound.

In handling of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, I shall select such practical and preparative-Doctrine, as is necessary for your knowledge, that ye may discern the Lords body, and not be guilty of if, and for your practice, that you may examine yourselves, and not eat and drink unworthily. For if I should launch out into Controversies there would be no end. There hath been more paper written upon those six syllables, but five in English, “This is my Body,” than would be contain in a just and large Commentary upon the whole Bible.

I begin with the Passover, which was the second (for Circumcision was the first) ordinary standing Sacrament of the Jewish Church, beginning at their going forth out of Egypt, and continuing till the death of Christ, when the Lords Supper did commence or begin, and so displaced it. The Passover signified what should become the Lords Supper. For what is fulfilled in Christ in the Passover were represented the Sufferings and Death of Christ by Lamb slain roasted with fire, in the Supper by bread broken, and wine poured forth. The outward symbols or signs differ but in reality, Christ is the same under both. Also, as Circumcision their outward symbol or sign, Baptism is ours. True, they are both different signs and rites, but in inwardly, Circumcision and Regeneration were both to be one. Theirs were a bloody Sacrament, for the Blood of Christ was to be shed; but ours unbloody, for the blood is shed. And our English well translates the word Passover, the Greek and Latin keep the word Pascha, which gave some occasion to derive it from a Greek word meaning to suffer, which is a mistake. The word is Pesach, from Pasach, which is to leap, or pass over. For when Israel after long servitude in Egypt was on wing to be gone, God commanded them in their several Families to kill a Lamb or Kid, and to roast it whole, and to eat it within doors that night, to sprinkle the side and upper door-posts with the blood, not the threshold. For Christ’s Blood must not be trampled on, and in so sprinkling the side and upper door-posts they should be safe from the destroying Angel, that rode circuit that night to kill all Egyptians first-born, but he passed over all the houses of Israel sprinkled with blood, and hence the name Passover, the Etymon that is given by God himself, Exodus 12:27.

We have the kernel in this shell, the marrow of this bone, we have a Passover as well as they, but ours is Christ, our Passover is Christ, by our faith in the Word of God.

We proceed; Our Passover is Christ, who was sacrificed for us. Our Passover Christ was true Sacrifice but whether their Passover was the Sacrifice or no, it is in question’. The Papists swallow it greedily, hoping thereby to prove our Supper to be both Sacrifice, and Sacrament, as their Passover (they say) was but there are others, both Lutheran and Calvinist, as Gerard, in Harmon, and Rivet on Exodus 2. They do not yield the Passover as a proper Sacrifice, though it be so called, Exod. 12:27. For they find in Egypt at the first Passover that there was no Priest, but the head of the Family. They also note that there is no Altar, no offering of the Lamb to God, no expiation. Nor is it necessary that it should be Sacrifice, for as a Type, there is the Sacrifice for the Serpent on the Pole which signifies Christ crucified and so the Passover as Sacrament may figure out Sacrifice, as our Supper is the commemoration of Sacrifice, but not a Sacrifice.

On the other hand, Calvin and others, including Jewish Writers, hold it to be Sacrifice and a Sacrament for the Scripture calls it Sacrifice, and this blood was shed at first by the Pater-familias, they were the Priest, as no other priests were yet consecrated. However, the Priests or Levites were consecrated in after times, and the blood brought to the Altar, as if it was blood shed as a preservative from destroying Angels and therefore proper Sacrifice. What shall I say? I promised you not to puzzle you with Controversies and Disputes for I would rather set meat before you, which you may truly eat, than hard bones to gnaw upon.

The truth is, Sacrifice is something offered up to God by men. Sacrament is offered and given to man by God, to be eaten or used in his Name and so, that part of the offering which is offered up to God, may be called Sacrifice, and that part eaten or used by man, a Sacrament: the very body and blood of Christ was a Sacrifice, not a Sacrament. The bread and wine as used are Sacrament, not Sacrifice. The Passover was the figure of true Sacrifice, Christ; and we may call it so, because the Scripture does. It follows; “Ye shall find that after the Passover-Lamb was eaten, the next day began the Feast, Numb. 28. 6, 17, and the Passover is called Feast too, Exodus 12:15, etc. and that continued seven days, kept in great festivity and solemnity but with unleavened bread.

The Apostle alludes hereunto, “Our Passover is sacrificed, therefore let us henceforth…” We that have received the sprinkling of blood and eaten his flesh by faith, live all our days in holy rejoicing and thanksgiving, which is continual Feast and let us cast out the incestuous Corinthian out of our Society, for he is leaven, 1 Cor. 5:6, 7. “…and let us purge out of ourselves, malice, wickedness, etc. …for they are leaven,” verse 8, “that we may be holy Congregation, and holy People.” And so the argument of the Apostle stands thus, from the example of the Old Passover Those for whom Christ the Passover is sacrificed, ought as a holy Congregation and holy People to be unleavened with sin and wickedness, and to walk before God in an unleavened sincerity but for us, Christ the Passover is sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Feast, etc.

I have explained the words, and now we shall consider this Passover two ways:

1.       As Sacrifice or figure of Sacrifice, and so it refers to Christ our Passover, Christ is sacrificed for us.

2.       As Sacrament, and so it relates to us, and shows us our duty upon that Sacrifice: Let keep the Feast.

The Sacrifice is given for us, the Sacrament is given to us From the first;

Our Passover is Christ sacrificed for us. We have Passover but it is Christ sacrificed: And here before show the Analogy or resemblance between the Passover and Christ, we shall note three or four things.

1. They in the Old Church of Israel had Christ as well (though not so clear) as we, 1 Cor. 10:4. The Rock that followed our Fathers in the Wilderness, was Christ, the Passover was Christ, the personal Types, such as Isaac on the Wood, the real types, as their bloody Sacrifices, were Christ He was then in his swaddling clothes, swathed up in shadows and types, and not naked, as now, Gal. 3:1.

Those Types being anatomized, and un-emboweled, are full of Gospel, full of Christ. The death of Christ is thought faith. Christ is the marrow in the bone, the kernel in the shell, yesterday and today, and the same forever, the sum and sweetness of all the Ordinances: Therefore though they say that the types were filled with temporal promises, but had no spiritual significance, derogate too much from them, as if they were Swine swilled with husks, and speak wondrous paradox. It is impossible for us to think that those that have had so much faith, as mentioned in Heb. 11, should have no Christ!  For when we meet them in scripture, we give them the right hand of fellowship. And when we think about them they are the elder brother, and we give them a double portion of our attention.

2. Mark the form of speech, Christ our Passover, that is, our Paschal Lamb, which is also called the Passover, Exod. 12.21.

Now the Passover properly was the Angels passing over the Israelite’s houses, and not the Lamb but we must learn to understand sacramental phrases, the sign called the thing signified, the figure called the thing figured, The Rock was Christ, Christ our Passover, that is, Paschal Lamb, Circumcision called the Covenant, Gen. 17:13. My Covenant shall be in your flesh. This will be allowed in every place but one, and that is this one, This is my body.

For the Lutheran stands up for corporal presence under the Signs, the Papists for change of the Bread and Wine into Christ’s body and blood. No conferences, no disputes, no condescensions will satisfy them and yet we say very fairly, The very body of Christ born of the Virgin, that died on the Cross, that sits in Heaven, is present in this Sacrament but not in the Bread or Wine, but to the faithful Receiver, not in the Elements, but to the Communicants but all this will not serve turn. These two Prepositions, Con-substantiation and Tran-substantiation have bred more wars, cost more blood since they were born (and there is neither of them in this cause six hundred years old) than can be well imagined.

3. The Passover figured Christ, and yet the Jews ordinarily saw not Christ in it. It is plain in their celebration of the Passover, or their Rituals, they take notice of, and commemorate their Egyptian slavery, and their deliverance, and so they were commanded but of Christ not syllable. It entered not into them that Lamb roasted should figure the Messiah, as they had formed him in their thoughts and so they held the Passover, as type looking backward, but not as Type looking forward. They had no knowledge, except that some of the faithful had some glimpse of it. And this is the great fault of men in all Sacraments, they mind not the inward meaning of Sacrament, nor look for the kernel, for they did not discerning the Lords body. Is this not what makes us guilty of his body and blood?

There is in all Sacraments an earthly and a spiritual aspect. Earthly men see the earthly part, they eat, they drink, but it feeds them not.  The inward spiritual part is Christ. Set spiritual food before our bodies, and set corporal before the soul, and you elude both.

4. The Passover is Christ sacrificed; not Christ Lamb unspotted, but Christ the Lamb roasted with fire, and this tells you that the Passover and our Supper represents Christ crucified, Christ dying or dead. It is the death of Christ, not his Resurrection, nor his ascension, that is here set forth; “to show the Lords death till he come”, this is the sight which sinful soul would see this is the comfortable spectacle, to see the price paying, the ransom laying down, the thing in doing hence he draws the hope and comfort of Redemption, and therefore the bread was broken, and the Cup was full of blood, to represent to the life of this life-giving Death of Christ.

The Papists have cheated the people of the blood by trick of concomitancy, telling them that the “bread is his body, and his body hath blood in it. We have words of scripture that the life is the representation of the blood that was shed, the Passover is the Lamb slain and roasted, and the blood on the door-post.  And if by providence, the Papists will allow all to eat, then we have the cup, Mat. 26. 27. Drink ye all of it. So that it is the Death of Christ here represented, and if we look one step further, it is His Sacrifice-death, which works and makes atonement.  And this is how it is with all the Sacrifices that the Passover did prefigure, for it is the Sacrifice-death that should deliver and make expiation….

This Cup (which by faith represents Christ) is the New Testament in my bloods which is shed for you and many, for remission of sins; death, and such kind of death as in our Sacrament is set forth as a Sacrifice-death therefore it is said to be sacrificed for us.

Calvin’s Manner of Celebrating the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Taken and adapted  from, “Preces Ecclesiastics”
This particular piece of liturgy came from John Calvin, with the exception of the ‘Consecrating Prayer,’ which came from the Liturgy of Geneva; and ‘The Manner of setting apart the Elements,’ which came from the Directory of Worship.

 communion03

THE

MANNER OF CELEBRATING

THE

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

The service may be introduced by the singing of a Sacramental Hymn, followed by these prayers.

The Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil : For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Invocation.

Most Gracious God! whose well-beloved Son hath once offered up His body and blood upon the Cross for the remission of our sins, and doth vouchsafe them for our meat and drink unto life eternal: Grant us grace, with sincere hearts and fervent desires,to accept this great blessing at Thy hands. May we by lively faith partake of His body and blood, yea, of Himself, true God and man, that only bread from heaven, that giveth life unto our souls. Suffer us no more to live unto ourselves, according to a corrupt and sinful nature; but may He live in us, and lead us to the life that is holy, blessed, and unchangeable for ever. Thus may we be partakers of the new and everlasting Testament, which is the Covenant of grace. And thus assure us of Thy willingness ever to be our gracious Father ; not imputing to us our sins,but as Thy beloved heirs and children, providing us with all things needful for our good, that both by our works and words we may magnify Thy Name. Fit us, O heavenly Father! at this time so to celebrate the blessed remembrance of Thy beloved Son. Enable us profitably to contemplate His love,and shew forth the benefits of His death ; That receiving fresh increase of strength in Thy faith and in all good works,we may with more confidence call Thee our Father,and evermore rejoice in Thee: Through  Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Let us now make profession of our faith in the doctrine of the Christian religion, wherein we do all purpose, by the grace of God, to live and to die.

The Creed.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell ; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven,and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the Holy Catholic Church,the Communion of Saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.
Amen.

Then follows the Exhortation; prefaced with the words of the institution, from 1 Corinthians 11:23-30.

Exhortation.

Attend to the words of the institution of the Holy Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ,as they are delivered by the Apostle Paul.

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus,the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also, He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.’ Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord ,unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread,and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

We have heard, brethren, in what manner our Lord celebrated the Supper among His disciples; whence we see that those who are not of the company of the faithful, may not approach it. Wherefore, in obedience to this rule, in the Name and by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I warn all idolaters, blasphemers, despisers of God, heretics, all that are rebellious against fathers and mothers,all that are seditious, contentious, injurious, and all that lead corrupt and wicked lives: that they abstain from this Table, lest they pollute the sacred food which our Lord giveth only to His faithful servants. Let each of you then, according to St. Paul’s exhortations examine and prove his own conscience, to know whether he have true repentance, and sorrow for his sins; whether he desires henceforth to lead a holy and godly life; above all things, whether he puts his whole trust in God’s mercy, and seeks his whole salvation in Jesus Christ; and renouncing all enmity and malice, doth truly and honestly purpose to live in harmony and brotherly love with his neighbour.

If we have this testimony in our hearts before God, we may not doubt that He adopts us for His children, and that our Lord Jesus addresses to us His word, admitting us to His Table, and presenting us with this holy Sacrament, which He bestows upon His followers. And notwithstanding that we feel many infirmities and miseries in ourselves as, namely, that we have not perfect faith, and that we have not given ourselves to serve God with such zeal as we are bound to do, but have daily to battle with the lusts of our flesh: Yet since the Lord hath been graciously pleased to print His Gospel upon our hearts, and hath enabled us to withstand all unbelief; and hath given us this earnest desire to renounce our own thoughts and follow His righteousness and His holy commandments: Therefore we rest assured,that remaining sins and imperfections do not prevent us from being received of God, and made worthy partakers of this spiritual food. For we come not to this Supper to testify hereby that we are perfect and righteous in ourselves: but on the contrary, seeking our life in Jesus Christ, we acknowledge that we lie in the midst of death. Let us then look upon this Sacrament as a medicine for those who are spiritually sick ; and consider that all the worthiness our Lord requires is, that we truly know ourselves to be sorry for our sins, and find our pleasure, joy, and satisfaction in Him above.

First, then, we must believe these promises that Jesus Christ, who is Infallible Truth, hath pronounced with His own lips: That He is truly willing to make us partakers of His body and of His blood, in order that we may wholly possess Him, that He may live in us, and we in Him. And although we see here only the Bread and Wine, let us not doubt that He will accomplish spiritually in your souls all that He outwardly exhibits by these visible signs: He will shew Himself to be the heavenly Bread, to feed and nourish us unto life eternal. Let us not be unthankful to the infinite goodness of our Lord,who displays all His riches at this Table, to distribute them among us. For in giving Himself to us, He testifies that all He hath is ours. Also let us receive this Sacrament as a pledge, that the virtue of His death and passion is imputed unto us for righteousness; even as though we had suffered in our own persons. Let no man perversely draw back, when Jesus doth gently invite him by His Word. But considering the dignity  of His precious gift, let us present ourselves to Him with an ardent zeal,that He may make us capable of receiving it.

And now to this end lift up your minds and hearts on high, where Christ abideth in the glory of His Father, whence we expect His coming at our redemption. Dwell not on these earthly and corruptible elements, which we see present to our eyes, and feel with our hands,to seek Him in them,as though He were inclosed in the bread or in the wine. Be satisfied to have this bread and this wine for witnesses and signs; seeking spiritually the truth where God’s Word hath promised that we shall find it. For then only shall our souls be disposed to crave food and life from His substance, when they shall thus be lifted above all worldly things, even unto heaven, and enter into the kingdom of God, where He dwells.

The Consecrating Prayer.

Lord God! The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Thou that art infinite goodness and perfect love! We bring Thee the sacrifice of our praise and the offering up of our thanks, for Thine inestimable gift in sending Thy Son into the world; for delivering Him up to die for us all; and for inviting us to participate in the fruits of His atonement, at the Table of this holy feast. Lord ! what are we, to receive such priceless benefits at Thy hand? or how shall we worthily shew forth our gratitude to Thee? The heavens and the earth, O Lord ! are full of the tokens of Thy bounty: but especially doest Thou manifest Thy love,in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Accept, O Lord our God ! the homage of Thine adoring people. And grant that we, partaking of this holy Sacrament, to which we are welcomed by Thy grace, may now join ourselves by the bonds of living faith and true holiness to our Saviour: so that we shall not henceforth live unto ourselves, but that He may live in us, to lead us to that blessed life that shall have no end.

Father of Mercies! who didst not spare Thine only-begotten Son, but deliveredst Him to death for us all; and hast brought us into His fellowship that we may obtain everlasting life: We Thy servants,with a lively sense of Thy precious gift, do now consecrate ourselves entirely unto Thee. We present to Thee our bodies, and our souls, in a living, and holy sacrifice. And since Thou hast loved us so much, we acknowledge ourselves constrained to love one another. Impress our hearts, O God! with these holy inclinations: that so celebrating the remembrance of Thy dear Son, our faith may grow strong, our charity  increase, our sanctification advance and be made complete, until we be meet for the inheritance of Thy saints in light everlasting. Hear us, O Father of Mercies! we ask all in the Name of Thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord: unto Whom, as unto Thee, and the Holy Ghost, one God, be honor, praise, and glory, now, henceforth, and for ever.
Amen.

Then the Minister is to take the Bread and break it, in the view of the people, saying:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the same night in which He was betrayed, having taken bread,and blessed and broken it, gave it to His disciples; as I, ministering in His Name, give this bread unto you: saying, [here the bread is to be distributed] take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me.

After having given the Bread, he shall take the Cup, and say:

After the same manner our Saviour also took the cup; and having given thanks, as hath been done in His Name, He gave it to the disciples; saying, [here the cup is to be given,] This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins: drink ye all of it. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.

The Minister himself is to communicate, at such time as may appear to him most convenient.
Then let a eucharistic hymn be sung.
The collection for the poor may be made after this.
Then the Minister is to pray, and give thanks to God.

Thanksgiving.

Heavenly Father! we give Thee immortal praise and thanks that upon us poor sinners Thou hast conferred so rich a benefit, as to bring us into the communion of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Him having delivered up to death for us, Thou hast given for our food and nourishment unto eternal life. Now also grant us grace, that we may never be unmindful of these things; but carrying them about engraven on our hearts, may we advance and grow in that faith which is effectual unto every good work. Thus may the rest of our lives be ordered and followed out to Thy glory and the good of our fellow men: Through Jesus Christ our Lord: Who with Thee, O Father! and the Holy Ghost,liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Godhead, world without end.
Amen.

Benediction.

Now the God of Peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will,working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory for ever and ever.
Amen.

Revival! A story of conversions and the “fencing of the tables”

More than two hundred and seventy years ago…

…in the year 1742, there was an extraordinary religious awakening in the West of Scotland. It began in Cambuslang, a parish on the Clyde, near Glasgow, There were not over nine hundred souls in the parish, yet out of that number about five hundred were, it was believed, converted.

(c) National Galleries of Scotland; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationThe awakening in Cambuslang was preceded by a year’s faithful preaching of regeneration and the atonement by the pastor, Rev. John M’Culloch. Who then for twelve weeks came daily preaching –generally out-door or in tents. Whitefield (then in the zenith of his power and popularity) came to Cambuslang, and delivered a dozen discourses. This “Son of Thunder” never stayed long in one spot; as he used to say, ” More than two weeks in one place kills me as dead as a door-nail.” But his two visits to the rural parish near Glasgow were inundations of blessings to the thirsting multitudes. Mighty audiences from Glasgow and Western Scotland thronged to hear him.

Whitefield frequently addressed 20,000 souls in a day!

At the first communion season after his visit, no less than seventeen hundred persons sat down to the tables, which were spread under tents. A few weeks after, the Lord’s Supper was dispensed again; and probably it was the most extraordinary communion service ever witnessed on earth. No less than forty thousand people gathered to witness the solemnities. Preaching went on for several days previous under Whitefield and others; but on the second Sabbath in August, the Pentecostal scene culminated.

The day was mild and genial, the air fragrant with the breath of new mowed hay, and the fields yellow with the wheat-harvest. At half-past eight on that memorable Sabbath morning, the “action sermon” was preached. Then came the “fencing the tables;” *  then, immediately after this, the table was spread, and the first company passed into the Lord’s Supper. During the whole day the sacred service went forward; no less than twenty-four companies of over one hundred, each sitting down in rotation! The whole number who partook of the sacred emblems was about three thousand.

The soft twilight was stealing over the “braes” when the last group left the communion tent, and there was only light enough left to read four lines of a psalm as a doxology. A grey haired pastor turning homeward from the hallowed place, exclaimed, in the fulness of his grateful heart,” Lord! now let Thou, Thy servant, depart in peace; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”

Such a revival could not be without abiding fruits. Accordingly, we are told that after the close of the extraordinary meetings, the morals of the whole neighborhood were changed. Profanity became almost unknown. God’s day was honoured in every dwelling. Nearly every house became a house of prayer. Evil speaking ceased. Old enmities and family feuds were forgotten. Every father was a kinder parent; every child more dutiful. Religion went into men’s daily business as a controlling principle; skeptics owned its power, and scoffers were silenced before the beauty and majesty of daily godliness. May He who holds the seven stars in His right hand renew such a period!

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*  “fencing the tables” means the special address in the ministration of the Lord’s Supper. This was a term often used among the Scotch Presbyterians. It is a lecture from the minister just before the distribution of the elements, pointing out the character of those who have and of those who have not a right to come to the Lord’s table. It was formerly called “debarrings,” because in it the ministry debarred from the sacrament those who were not supposed to be worthy.

Taken from “The Religious Anecdotes of Scotland.”

This Do in Remembrance of Me: My Own Private Thoughts When Approaching The Lord’s Supper

At the time of receiving…

lords_supper-1024x484Lord, I am here to remember your completed sacrifice against my sin, and to remember your grace against my corruption, and your love against my fears.

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I believe your word; I remember your command; I adore your goodness; I wait for your redemption. Thank you for effecting your completed sacrifice on the cross and making it the seal of mercy, and the conveyance of life to me. O Lord Jesus, come into my heart.

I look to You for mercy and strength to keep mercy. I profess my faith in Christ, that I have pardon and peace with God, life and righteousness only by his death and merits; and to own my obligation to live unto him that died for me, in faith, love, and self-dedication. I look for Christ’s love and likeness; for the benefit and for the efficacy of the cross; to have the load of sin taken from my heart; and any other load, which Christ thinks fit, laid upon my back.

I look to You to help me leave sin behind me, and to receive Christ instead of it; and if I do the one, having laid my sins on Christ, with a will to forsake them, I am sure of the other.  Lord, grant me the peace, and all that comes with it, as well as love, patience, resignation, thankfulness, deliverance from the fear of death, and a hearty longing for eternity, I look to the cross for the pardon of sin, for the kindling of love, for the turning of my heart, for the renewal of my will.

I look to You, not to give, but to receive; not to tell you how good I am, but to think how good you are. I have a great many sins and wants to tell you Lord, more than would take up the whole day; and when I have told you all that I know of in myself, it is not the half, but a very little of what you know about me. I bring myself and my sin to you, believing that you will be all to me, and do all for me that is in your heart.

I go as a Sinner to a Saviour. To whom else should I go, with my blind eyes, foul leprosy, hard heart, and rebellious will? You tell me what I must have, I know not how many graces I need; but I cannot stay for them; my wants are urgent; I am a dying man. My Lord, with your own kindness, you say, “come; do this; remember me.” Your invitation is qualification enough for me to participate today; and I long to feed on you, to thank you, to take you into my heart. I will  behold you crucified, and your blood poured out for me, in spite of all my sins and fears; and though all the saints on earth stood up with one mouth to forbid me, I go to put myself under your wings, and to fly to you for refuge from the monster sin, ready to devour me.

I look to the Cross to know You and myself; to wonder at the reconciliation of strict punishment with free pardon; to see the greatness of my sin, and the greatness of my hope, in the greatness of the sacrifice therein represented; to sin no more, because I believe there is no condemnation for my sin; to be raised as high as heaven, and humbled in the dust; to be astonished at the mystery of Christ crucified, and to profess that I know less of God than ever.

Let me be daily thinking of the cross, daily in a state of thankfulness for it, daily living under it, resolving to receiving you in faith and humility, daily learning of your sacrifice of  love and undeserved mercy, making your love and life my pattern, and dreading the sin which could be expiated with no less a sacrifice.

“Do this in remembrance of me;” –I remember who I am, and what thou are; I will remember you as my Saviour; I will remember you as my Master; I will remember your love; I will remember you as hating my sin; I will remember you as bearing my sin; I will remember you and fear not; help me to remember you and sin not; help me to remember you, to live for you, by you, and through you.

Now knowing, and assuredly believing, the promises of God made over to me for the forgiveness of my sins, through faith in the blood of Christ;

I do from a detestation of my sinfulness, and a hearty sense of my want of pardoning grace, accept once again, your covenant of rest and peace: Trusting in you for the accomplishment of my whole salvation, in the way of gospel holiness, by your Spirit; and resolving without delay to put myself into your hands for that purpose. May you keep me steadfast in this faith and engagement, and carry me on from strength to strength that I may be one with you, my Saviour, and I live for you, and I love you with all my heart, and with all my soul.  

Amen.

Behaving Yourself at the Lord’s Table

by Thomas Haweis (1734-1820)

Having thus improved the short time before the Lord’s Supper, when we come to the Table, we must mind the grand business we have to do there…

lord__s_supper_by_bclary-d37hhzp…which is to receive Christ’s pledge, in token that he hath received us, and to make a solemn surrender of our souls to him; so that henceforth our Maker is our husband, and we are no longer our own, but his.

Whilst the Minister, then, is about to put the elements into our hands, and to make his prayer over us, this surrender should be made in the following way.

1.    Deliberately

this_do_in_remembrance_of_me_16x20-largeHaving counted the cost, on one hand we see a merciful and all-sufficient Saviour, who hath all grace to pardon, and all power to renew promising us to undertake for us, to bless, preserve, and comfort us  yet withal, we being corrupt and fallen creatures, this cannot be done without a course of self-denial and mortification of our members upon earth, though to encourage us to it, this be most intimately connected with eternal glory. On the other hand, we see the indulgences of flesh and sense, the pleasures of sin for a season, but withal the curse of God in time and in eternity, we are therefore through grace fully disposed to renounce the one, and choose the other. This cannot be done too clearly and coolly. Before at our devotions, we cannot be too lively and fervent in spirit, here we cannot be too deliberate; choosing Christ as our best portion, whatever mortification and self-denial, whatever reproach, whatever difficulties may attend his service, that so we may not in a fit of devotion swear we will go with him to prison and to deaths and then by and by, when corruptions strive, and Satan tempts, or tribulation comes, be offended, and go back from our engagements, but so simply and steadily set our hands to the plough, as never to look back, but be faithful unto death, that we may receive the crown of life,

2.    Humbly.

bread-wineWe may not be confident, but in the Lord, and the power of his might. We are promising things, the least of which is above our strength. God must work in tis to do, as he hath wrought in us to will; and it is with this we must surrender up ourselves to him, humbly sensible that we are not in any wise sufficient of ourselves, but we commit our souls into his hands, as a faithful Creator, The sense of our own nothingness should especially lie upon our hearts, when we are admitted to this awful covenant, and receive the seals of it into,our hands. All is from the Lord; he alone that hath begun his work in us, can perfect the same, and enable us to abide faithful to the vows which are upon us.

3.    Cheerfully.

We are a willing people; we give up our souls to Christ and all we have and are, to be for ever his, not merely because we are bound to do it, as because we delight to do it. We are a free-will offering; drawn, not driven; hearty, not reserved j love fixes our choice, and Christ is to us all in all. We wish we had a thousand hearts to give him; we would not hesitate to part with any thing he calls for;  we would delight in that which he commands. With a willing mind, we take his easy yoke and light burden, and are pleased with every opportunity of renewing our bonds, that we may thereby be united closer to the Lord, our head.

4.    Sincerely.

JesusCommunion-This indeed is the life of the whole. A double heart, a reserved surrender, is an abomination before God. If our eye pities, or our heart spares one evil temper, one sin—if we should dissemble with our lips, and flatter him with our tongue, woe unto us ! he that seeth our thoughts afar off, would condemn us even on our knees at the table. Though we should deceive ourselves by our hypocrisy, God cannot be mocked. We must be sincere before him, our naked souls should be exposed to his view, and an honest appeal to our hearts, that God himself knows we desire to make no reserve.

See to this, that you make no partial surrender; God must have all our hearts or none: if we divide them, by fixing one part on the world; if we would plead for ever so little of its sinful indulgences -, if we want to reconcile the services of God and mammon; allowing part of our affections to the pleasures, vanities, interests, or gain of this present evil world, and think God will be satisfied with the remainder, we are utterly mistaken.

The true surrender is to give up all, and to take Christ as Lord of all, our King to reign over us, as well as our propitiation and atonement. This is sincerity, much talked of, but little known. See that it be your own case: without it the strongest promises, the greatest outward reformation, the most lively pangs of devotion, a torrent of tears, or the most solemn remorse, will but deceive you. Coolly, humbly, cheerfully, and wholly, without partiality, and without hypocrisy, desire to give up your soul to Christ; that so you may be able to adopt the words of an excellent Christian, and testify as he did,

 But if I might make some reserve,draft_lens9708151module86930951photo_1267128158jesus_bread_lords_supper_
 And duty did not call,
I love my Lord with such a love,

That I would give him all.”

It will be a blessed ordinance indeed, if you can see such to be the frame of your heart at Christ’s Table, and seal it by the solemn pledges of the Body and Blood of Christ, which are put into your hands. Here then yon will see at the first view the absurdity and ignorance it betrays, to be coming up to the Lord’s Table reading some book pf devotion, and in a formal dull way to be supplying the want of spirituality by such a lifeless repetition of a number of words. Surely if you come to give up your heart to Christ, if you feel like obligations lying upon you to do so, you can never need to read it out of a book; your eye should be on your heart, not the paper; and you should be looking to the dear Saviour, whom you are remembering, and calling forth this heartiness simplicity, and sincerity of soul, with which you choose the Lord for your portion.

Thus you may know how to behave at the Lord’s Table.

communion-invitationsMeet the author and part of your Christian Heritage:  Thomas Haweis (surname pronounced to rhyme with ‘pause’) 1734-1820. Sponsored by the Reverend Joseph Jane of St Mary Magdalene Parish Church in Oxford, in 1748 he entered Christ’s College. There he organised a prayer group often seen as a successor to the Wesleys’ “Holy Club”. After graduation, he was ordained into the Church of England by the Bishop of Oxford in 1757 to serve as curate to Joseph Jane.

In 1762, he was appointed to the Lock Hospital, London, under the guidance of the Chaplain, Martin Madan. At this time he met Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon and preached in many of her chapels. Although offered an incumbency in Philadelphia by George Whitefield, he opted instead to become Rector of All Saints, Aldwinkle, in 1764, retaining the living until his death in 1820.

In 1774 he was appointed Chaplain to the Countess of Huntingdon. He insisted that no one other than a Church of England clergyman be allowed to preach in any chapel where he ministered. However, once the chapels forming the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connection were forced to register as dissenting chapels, Haweis withdrew from her service.

By her will, the Countess of Huntingdon left management of the Connexion to four trustees. The Principal Trustee appointed was, most unexpectedly, Thomas Haweis, who continued to preside over the Connexion, comprising at that time about 120 chapels, even though he continued as a Church of England priest. He made every effort to ensure the Connexion kept as close to the Church of England as was possible and that only the Book of Common Prayer was used. Many of these chapels became part of the Free Church of England in 1863.

Haweis was also one of the founding fathers of the Missionary Society.