Tag Archives: The Lord’s Supper

“His measureless benevolence” by John Calvin

“Godly souls can gather great assurance and delight from this Sacrament. In it they have a witness of our growth into one body with Christ such that whatever is His may be called ours.

As a consequence, we may dare assure ourselves that eternal life, of which He is the heir, is ours. And that the Kingdom of Heaven, into which He has already entered, can no more be cut off from us than from Him.

And again that we cannot be condemned for our sins, from whose guilt He has absolved us, since He willed to take them upon Himself as if they were His own.

This is the wonderful exchange which, out of His measureless benevolence, He has made with us:

that, becoming Son of man with us, He has made us sons of God with Him;

that, by His descent to earth, He has prepared an ascent to heaven for us;

that, by taking on our mortality, He has conferred His immortality upon us;

that, accepting our weakness, He has strengthened us by His power;

that, receiving our poverty unto Himself, He has transferred His wealth to us;

that, taking the weight of our iniquity upon Himself (which oppressed us), He has clothed us with His righteousness.

In this Sacrament we have such full witness of all these things that we must certainly consider them as if Christ here present were Himself set before our eyes and touched by our hands.”

–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (ed. John T. McNeill; trans. Ford Lewis Battles; vols. 1-2; The Library of Christian Classics; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011), (4.17.2-3), pp. 1361–1362.

[HT: Matt Merker]

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“One marvelous exception” by Charles Spurgeon

“Christ Jesus is also joined unto His people in a mystical union. Borrowing once more from the story of Ruth, we remark that Boaz, although one with Ruth by kinship, did not rest until he had entered into a nearer union still, namely, that of marriage.

And in the same manner there is, super added to the natural union of Christ with His people, a mystical union by which He assumes the position of Husband, while the Church is owned as His bride.

In love He espoused her to Himself, as a chaste virgin, long before she fell under the yoke of bondage. Full of burning affection, He toiled like Jacob for Rachel, until the whole of her purchase-money had been paid.

And, now, having sought her by His Spirit, and brought her to know and love Him, He awaits the glorious hour when their mutual bliss shall be consummated at the marriage-supper of the Lamb.

Not yet hath the glorious Bridegroom presented His betrothed perfected and complete, before the Majesty of heaven, not yet hath she actually entered upon the enjoyment of her dignities as His wife and queen.

She is as yet a wanderer in a world of woe, a dweller in the tents of Kedar, but she is even now the bride, the spouse of Jesus, dear to His heart, precious in His sight, written on His hands, and united with His person.

On earth He exercises towards her all the affectionate offices of Husband. He makes rich provision for her wants, pays all her debts, allows her to assume His name, and to share in all His wealth.

Nor will He ever act otherwise to her. The word divorce He will never mention, for ‘He hateth putting away.’ Death must sever the conjugal tie between the most loving mortals, but it cannot divide the links of this immortal marriage.

In heaven they marry not, but are as the angels of God, yet there is this one marvelous exception to the rule, for in heaven Christ and His Church shall celebrate their joyous nuptials.

And this affinity as it is more lasting, so is it more near than earthly wedlock. Let the love of husband be never so pure and fervent, it is but a faint picture of the flame that burns in the heart of Jesus.

Passing all human union is that mystical cleaving unto the Church, for which Christ did leave His Father, and become one flesh with her. If this be the union which subsists between our souls and the person of our Lord, how deep and broad is the channel of our communion.

This is no narrow pipe through which a thread-like stream may wind its way, it is a channel of amazing depth and breadth, along whose breadth and length a ponderous volume of living water may roll its strength.

Behold He hath set before us an open door, let us not be slow to enter. This city of communion hath many pearly gates, every several gate is of one pearl, and each gate is thrown open to the uttermost that we may enter, assured of welcome.

If there were but one small loophole through which to talk with Jesus, it would be a high privilege to thrust a word of fellowship through the narrow door. How much we are blessed in having so large an entrance!

Had the Lord Jesus been far away from us, with many a stormy sea between, we should have longed to send a messenger to Him to carry Him our loves, and bring us tidings from His Father’s house.

But see His kindness, He has built His house next door to ours, nay, more, He takes lodging with us, and tabernacles in poor humble hearts, that so He may have perpetual intercourse with us.

O how foolish must we be, if we do not live in habitual communion with Him! When the road is long, and dangerous, and difficult, we need not wonder that friends seldom meet each other, but when they live together shall Jonathan forget his David?

A wife may when her husband is upon a journey, abide many days without holding converse with him, but she could never endure to be separated from him if she knew him to be in one of the chambers of her own house.

Seek thy Lord, for He is near; embrace Him, for He is thy Brother. Hold Him fast, for He is thine Husband; and press Him to thine heart, for He is of thine own flesh.”

–Charles Spurgeon, “Bands of Love; or Union With Christ” in Till He Come: Communion Meditations and Addresses (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim, 1865/1978), 188-191.

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“The delight of the Lord’s Supper” by John Calvin

“Pious souls can derive great confidence and delight from this sacrament, as being a testimony that they form one body with Christ, so that everything which is His they may call their own.

Hence it follows that we can confidently assure ourselves that eternal life, of which He Himself is the heir, is ours, and that the kingdom of heaven, into which He has entered, can no more be taken from us than from Him; on the other hand, that we cannot be condemned for our sins, from the guilt of which He absolves us, seeing He has been pleased that these should be imputed to Himself as if they were His own.

This is the wondrous exchange made by His boundless goodness. Having become with us the Son of Man, He has made us with Himself sons of God. By His own descent to the earth He has prepared our ascent to heaven. Having received our mortality, He has bestowed on us His immortality.

Having undertaken our weakness, He has made us strong in His strength. Having submitted to our poverty, He has transferred to us His riches. Having taken upon Himself the burden of unrighteousness with which we were oppressed, He has clothed us with His righteousness.”

–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), 4.17.2.

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“The bond of love” by John Calvin

“We shall benefit very much from the Lord’s Supper if this thought is impressed and engraved upon our minds: that none of the brethren can be injured, despised, rejected, abused, or in any way offended by us, without at the same time, injuring, despising, and abusing Christ by the wrongs we do; that we cannot disagree with our brethren without at the same time disagreeing with Christ; that we cannot love Christ without loving Him in the brethren; that we ought to take the same care of our brethren’s bodies as we take of our own; for they are member’s of our body; and that, as no part of our body is touched by any feeling of pain which is not spread among all the rest, so we ought not to allow a brother to be affected by any evil, without being touched with compassion for him. Accordingly, Augustine with good reason frequently calls this Sacrament ‘the bond of love.'”

–John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, John T. McNeill, ed, Ford Lewis Battles, trans, Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960 [1559]), IV.xvii.38.

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“The Lord’s Supper” by Thomas Watson

“In the sacrament we see Christ broken before us, and his broken body is the only comfort for a broken heart.”

–Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Supper. First published as The Holy Eucharist in 1665. (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2004), p. vii.

“A sacrament is a visible sermon.” p. 1-2.

“We write in our letters, ‘Your friend until death!’ But Christ wrote in another style, ‘Your friend after death!’ Christ died once, but loves ever. He is now testifying his affection to us; he is making the mansions ready for us. He is interceding for us. He appears in the court, as the Advocate for the client. When He has done dying, He has not done loving.” p. 25-26.

“It is not enough to do what God has appointed, but as he appointed.” p. 39.

“Let us dress ourselves by a Scripture-mirror, before we come to the Lord’s table; and, with the Lamb’s wife, make ourselves ready.” p. 40.

“A sight of God’s glory, and a sight of sin, may humble us. Was Christ humble, who was all purity? And are we proud, who are all leprousy? Oh, let us come with a sense of our own vileness. How humble should he be who is to receive an alms of free grace!” p. 50.

“The jewel of faith is always put in the cabinet of a good conscience.” p. 54.

“Let us pray for furnace-grace, to be like those three children, ‘Be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods’ (Dan. 3:18). They would rather burn than bow.” p. 75.

“Wicked men, while they live, are blinded by the god of this world. But when they are dying, the eye of their conscience will begin to be opened and they shall see the wrath of God, flaming before their eyes; which sight will be a sad Prologue to an eternal tragedy.” p. 86.

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