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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."
That we may now celebrate the Supper of the Lord to our comfort, it is above all things necesSary:
1. Rightly to examine ourselves.
II. To direct the Supper to that end for which Christ hath ordained and instituted the same, namely, to His remembrance,
The true EXAMINATION of ourselves consists of these three parts:
First. That everyone consider by himself his sins and the curse due to him for them, to the end that he may abhor and humble himself before God; considering that the wrath of God against sin is so great, that, rather than it should go unpunished, He hath punished the same in His Beloved Son Jesus Christ, with the bitter and shameful death of the cross.
Secondly. That every one examine his own heart, whether. he doth believe this faithful promise of God, that all his sins are forgiven him only for the sake of the passion and death of Jesus Christ; and that the perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed and freely given him as his own, yea, so perfectly as if he had satisfied in his own person for all his sins, and fulfilled all righteousness.
* Greek, Kpqua-Dutch, Oordeel. Eng., judgment, condemnation.
Thirdly. That every one examine his own conscience, whether he purposeth henceforth to show true thankfulness to God in his whole life, and to walk uprightly before Him; as also, whether he hath laid aside unfeignedly, all enmity, hatred, and envy, and doth firmly resolve henceforth to walk in true love and peace with his neighbor.
All those, then, who are thus disposed, God will certainly receive in mercy, and count them worthy partakers of the table of His Son Jesus Christ. On the contrary, those who do not feel this testimony in their hearts, eat and drink judgment to themselves.
Therefore, we also, according to the command of Christ and the Apostle Paul, admonish all those who are defiled with the following sins, to keep themselves from the table of the Lord, and declare to them that they have no part of the kingdom of Christ: such as all idolaters; all those who invoke deceased saints, angels, or other creatures; all those who worship images; all enchanters, diviners, charmers, and those who confide in such enchantments; all despisers of God and His Word, and of the Holy Sacraments; all blasphemers; all those who are given to raise discord, sects, and mutiny, in church or state; all perjured persons; all those who are disobedient to their parents and superiors; all murderers, contentious persons, and those who live in hatred and envy against their neighbors; all adulterers, whoremongers, drunkards, thieves, usurers, robbers, gamesters, covetous; and all who lead offensive lives.
All these, while they continue in such sins, shall
abstain from this meat, which Christ hath ordained only for the faithful, lest their judgment and condemnation be made the heavier.
But this is not designed, dearly beloved brethren and sisters in the Lord, to deject the contrite hearts of the faithful, as if none might come to the Supper of the Lord, but those who are without sin. For we do not come to this Supper to testify thereby that we are perfect and righteous in ourselves; but on the contrary, considering that we seek our life out of ourselves, in Jesus Christ, we acknowledge that we lie in the midst of death, Therefore, notwithstanding we feel many infirmities and miseries in ourselves; as namely, that we have not perfect faith, and that we do not give ourselves to serve God with such zeal as we are bound, but have daily to strive with the weakness of our faith, and the evil lusts of our flesh; yet, since we are, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, sorry for these weaknesses, and earnestly desirous to fight against our unbelief, and to live according to all the commandments of God, therefore we rest assured that no sin or infirmity, which still remaineth, against our will, in us, can hinder us from being received of God in mercy, and from being made worthy partakers of this heavenly meat and drink.
BELOVED in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us now also consider to what end the Lord hath instituted His Supper, namely, that we do it in remembrance of Him. Now, after this manner are we to remember Him by it.
1. That we be confidently persuaded in our hearts, that our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the promises made to our forefathers in the Old Testament, was sent of the Father into the world : that He assumed our flesh and blood: that He bore for us the wrath of God, under which we should have perished everlastingly, from the beginning of His incarnation to the end of His life upon earth : that He fulfilled for us all obedience to the divine law, and righteousness, especially when the weight of our sins and the wrath of God pressed out of Him the bloody sweat in the garden, where He was bound that we might be freed from our sins: that He afterward suffered innumerable reproaches, that we might never be confounded ; that He, although innocent, was condemned to death, that we might be acquitted at the judgment-seat of God: yea, that He suffered His blessed body to be nailed on the cross, that He might affix thereon the handwriting of our sins: that He also took upon Himself the curse due to us, that He might fill us with His blessings : that He humbled Himself unto the deepest reproach and pains of hell, both in body and soul, on the tree of the cross, when he cried out with a loud voice, My God, My God! why hast thou forsaken me? that we might be accepted of God, and never be forsaken of Him: and finally that He confirmed, with His death and shedding of His blood, the new and eternal testament, that covenant of grace and reconciliation, when He said, It is finished.
2. And, that we might firmly believe that we belong to this Covenant of Grace, the Lord Jesus Christ, in His Last Supper, “ took bread, and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to dis disciples, and said, Take, eat, this is My body which is broken for you, this do in remembrance of Me: in like manner also, after supper, He took the cup, gave thanks and said, Drink ye all of it; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins; this do ye, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me." That is, as often as ye eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, you shall thereby, as by a sure remembrance and pledge, be admonished and assured of this My hearty love and faithfulness toward you : that whereas you should otherwise have suffered eternal death, I have given My body to the death of the cross, and shed My blood for you; and as certainly feed and nourish your hungry and thirsty soul with My crucified body and shed blood to everlasting life, as this bread is broken before your eyes, and this cup is given to you, and you eat and drink the same with your mouth, in remembrance of Me.
From this institution of the Holy Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ, we see that He directs our faith