Directory For The Publick Worship Of God Pt. 9 - Of The Administration Of The Sacraments: Of The Celebration Of The Communion, Or Sacrament Of The Lord’s Supper.
Directory For The Publick Worship Of God
Of the Administration of the Sacraments:
Of the Celebration of the Communion, or Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
Question 1.—Is the communion, or supper of the Lord, frequently to be celebrated?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 11:25, 26. The word often indicates that the supper is repeatable and that more than seldom, Heb. 9:25, 26. Under the Law, God prescribed the times of the sacraments, but under the Gospel circumstances are at more liberty, and spiritualness is more called for. In this sacrament, we have nothing of how often, but much of how worthy.
Question 2.—Ought the ministers, and other church governors, study that frequency most convenient for the comfort and edification of the people committed to their charge?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Pet. 5:1-3. The frequency ought not to beget a customary formality, or carry beyond the sense of gratefulness, as the manna did, Num. 11:6. Nor should its seldomness beget forgetfulness, or superstition, Ps. 106:13; Ex. 32:1.
Question 3.—Are the ignorant and scandalous fit to receive the sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
Answer.—No. 1 Cor. 11:29. Those who are ignorant cannot rightly discern the Lord’s body—they cannot put a difference between the sacrament and common use, Heb. 5:14. The scandalous try to join their idolatry with Christ, which cannot be tolerated, 1 Cor. 10:16-22.
Question 4.—Where it is not convenient for this sacrament to be frequently administered, should a public warning be given the sabbath-day before the administration thereof?
Answer.—Yes. Lev. 10:3. It is the duty of the ministers of God to see that the people are sanctified as they draw nigh, Joel 2:15, 16.
Question 5.—Should there, either then or on some day of that week, be taught something concerning the ordinance, and the due preparation thereunto, and participation thereof, that all through the due use of means may be better prepared for the feast?
Answer.—Yes. Lev. 23:27, 34. It is the duty of the minister of God to give suitable explanation for the ordinance of God, Ex. 12:26; Jos. 4:6. Likewise, it is the duty of the people of God to prepare themselves for the worthy preparation of the feast, Gen. 35:2, 3; Amos 4:12.
Question 6.—Is the minister, after having ended his sermon and prayer, to make a short exhortation expressing the benefit of the Lord’s supper, together with the ends thereof, as well as the great necessity of having our comforts and strength renewed, the necessity of coming in a proper manner, and the danger of eating and drinking unworthily?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 11:24, 25, 31. The people stand in need of having their comfort and strength renewed due to daily lapses into sin and the continual assaults from the world, the flesh and the devil, Ps. 51:10; Isa. 40:31.
Question 7.—Is he then to warn those that would partake unworthily of the judgment that awaits?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 11:27, 29, 30. For those who are not nourished and confirmed in their faith by the right reception unto thanksgiving and charity, the Lord’s supper is converted into poison which plunges the soul into greater ruin, Tit. 1:15.
Question 8.—Should he exhort those that labor under the sense of the burden of their sins and yet desire to reach out unto greater progress in grace to come?
Answer.—Yes. Matt. 11:28-30. Our Saviour, though He reproved the sins of His disciples, yet received them to His table, Luke 22:19, 24.
Question 9.—Is the table to be decently covered, and conveniently placed that the communicants may orderly sit about it?
Answer.—Yes. Matt. 26:19; Mark 14:14-16; Luke 22:11-13. The proper preparation of the table around which the supper is to be celebrated was part of that apostolic example held forth in the Gospels.
Question 10.—Should the minister, begin the action with the sanctifying and blessing of the elements of the bread and the wine?
Answer.—Yes. Matt. 26:26, 27; Luke 22:19. The setting apart from common to sacramental use is by prayer and thanksgiving. The bread and wine, apart from the blessing of God, are of no spiritual use, but by His blessing they are the effectual appointed means to feast upon Christ crucified, John 6:53-58.
Question 11.—Is the bread to be placed in comely and convenient vessels, so prepared that, being broken by him, and given, it may be distributed; and the wine prepared in large cups?
Answer.—Yes. Mark 14:22, 23. It is the duty of the minister to break the bread and give it to the people as well as give the cup to those communicating, 1 Cor. 11:24, 25; 14:40.
Question 12.—Should the minister read the words of institution and, when requisite, explain and apply?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 11:23-26. The apostle Paul held forth this example when he rehearsed the purpose of the supper to the Corinthians.
Question 13.—Should the minister endeavor to perform this with suitable affections and seek to stir up the like in the people?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Pet. 5:1, 2. The people of God often mirror their ministers, Hos. 4:9.
Question 14.—Should the minister then distribute the elements while repeating the words of institution?
Answer.—Yes. Matt. 26:26, 27; 1 Cor. 11:23-25. The distribution of the elements should be accompanied by the words of institution. A sacrament consists in the joining of the Word of God with the appointed elements, Luke 22:20.
Question 15.—Afterward, should the minister seek to put the people in mind of the grace of God in Christ, held forth in the sacrament, and exhort them to walk worthy of it?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 11:26. The Lord is a gracious and merciful God to them that put their trust in Him, Ps. 103:10. This grace is held forth in the Person of Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 1:4. His people need to be often reminded to walk worthy of their high calling, 1 Thess. 2:11, 12.
Question 16.—Should the minister then conclude with the giving of thanks for His mercy and goodness and entreat for pardon of defects in the whole service?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Tim. 4:4, 5. All things being sanctified by prayer and thanksgiving, it remains to entreat God to pardon whatever defects remain, 2 Chron. 30:18-20.
Question 17.—Ought the collection for the poor be so ordered, that no part of the public worship be thereby hindered?
Answer.—Yes. 1 Cor. 16:1, 2. It is a proper end of communicating to induce God’s people to thanksgiving and charity, but this ought not to hinder the public worship.