Thomas Smyth.

Complete works of Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D online

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this day whcwn you will serve." Let me urge on your con-
sciences the duty of deciding for God Let me remind you,
that the nearer you seem to Heaven, if at last you should fall
short of it, the more lamentable will be the event. Let me tell
you, that he that is "not with Christ is against Him, and he that
gatbereth not with Him, scattereth abroad." Oh! "remember
now your Creator in the days of your youth ; enter seriously
on the consideration of the Lord's Supper; implore fervently
the grace you require for partaking of it in a suitable state of
mind; seal your covenant with God: confess your Saviour
publicly before men; join yourselves fully to His mystical
body ; and doubt not of receiving your Saviour's grace at His
Table to enable you to fulfil your vows. Thus shall you look
back in future life on the season when you first approached the
Holy Communion, as a time ever to be recorded with devout
thankfulness to the God of your salvation."

Lastly, Let me urge the obligation of receiving the Lord's
Supper on those who are in the habit of performing this duty,
zvith the view of exhorting them to a more regular and con-
scientious discharge of it. Too many are defective in these
respects. Let me invite such to entertain an increasing esteem
of this institution, and never to rest satisfied without receiving
some distinct, and practical, and abiding advantage from it.
Let no opportunity of joining in this celebration be willingly
omitted. Rather look forward with anticipation and joy to the
seasons as they approach. Cultivate that high value and love
for it, which will always bear some proportion to your love to
the Saviour who instituted the Sacramait, and who never
ceases to bless it. Be diligent in seeking the presence and
grace of God in your preparation for it, as well as in the dis-
charge of the duties to which, from time to time, it binds you.
And may God grant that tlie writer of these lines, and the
readers of them, may ever continue united to the mystical body
of Christ, may be nourished in the union of that body by the

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most precious food provided at the Supper of the Lord our
Redeemer, and may be so strengthened and nourished by that
and the other means of grace, that they may be preserved, by
the power and mercy of their Saviour and the influence of His
Spirit, through the various temptations of this life, till at length
they attain to everlasting salvation.


40— Vol IX.

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The Young Communicant's Catechism and Closet Com-

concerning man^s natural estate.

Ques. In what estate were you bom?

Afis, In a woful, miserable estate, wanting the image and
favour of God, which man at first had, and with a sinful
nature, prone to what is evil, backward to what is good, and
exposed to the wrath of God both here and hereafter.

Q. How came you to be bom in this estate?

A. Because of my descent from sinful Adam, who fell from
his happiness, by breaking covenant with God, and incurring
the penalty thereof; whereby he lost all his grace, and was
wholly unable to recover himself.

Q. Is fallen man left without hope in this miserable estate?

A. No ; there is a noble remedy provided ; for, though the
old covenant be brcJcen and dissolved, there is an excellent new
covenant contrived, yea, revealed and tendered unto lost sin-
ners of mankind.


Q. What are these covenants which God hath made with

A. The covenant of works, and the covenant of grace.

Q. By which of these two covenants is it you can be saved ?

A. Only by the covoiant of grace, which is called the New

Q. What is the covenant of works ?

A. It is God's agreement with Adam and Eve, wherein He
promised them Kfe upon their perfect obedience to His laws,
and threatened death upon their disobedience.

Q. Why cannot you be saved by the covenant of works ?

A. Because I am neither able to fulfil the condition, nor
endure the penalty of it; that is, I can neither give perfect
obedience to God's low, nor bear His wrath whach is due for
breaking it.

Q. What is the covenant of grace by which you are to be

A. It is God's gracious agreement with elect sinners in
Qirist, in wihich He is pleased merdfulily to offer and promise

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THE lord's supper. 627

salvation to all poor fallen sinners of Adam's race, who believe
in his Son Jesus Christ.

Q. Who are all these that truly believe in Him?

A. They are such who, being made sensible of their lost
estate, are content to receive Jesus Christ as their Surety and
Saviour, and? depend uuon His righteousness and satisfaction to
divine justice as the only ground of their justification before
God; aiid are resolved, in His strei^;th', to show forth their
faith <by a sincere love and obedience to God.

Q. Why is this new covenant called a covenant of grace?

A. To distinguish it from the covenant of works, wherein
the ground of a man's justification was something done by the
man himself : whereas, in this new covenant, the ground of a
man's justification is something done by a surety in his room;
and also, because the Surety himself, and all the blessings of
th^'s covenant, are most gracious and free gifts, bestowed by
God upon undeserving and ill-deserving creatures, who could
do nothing to obtain them.

Q. How can this covenant be altogether of grace, when faith
IS required of us as a condition to interest us in the blessings
of it, and likewise good works to show forth our faith ?

A. Though both these be required of us, yet the grace for
producing that faith and these works is promised to us in this
covenant, as freely as any other blessing in it; upon which
account this covenant is frequently called in Scripture a testa^

Q. Why is this covenant called a testament?

A. Because all the blessings and good things promised
therein are freely bequeathed and made over to the elect as
legacies, left and made sure to them by the death of Jesus
Christ the testator ; and also, in it there is grace left them to
perform all the duties required of them.

Q. What are the principal legacies of this testament?

A. Pardon of sin, deliverance from wrath, peace with God,
all the graces of the Spirit, with perseverance therein to the
end; safety through death, resurrection to life, and eternal

Q. How is it that this covenant or testament is established
and confirmed to us ?

A. By the death and blood of Jesus Christ, the mediator and
testator of it ; and by the outward signs and seals which He
hath instituted to be dispensed to us, with the preaching of the

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Q. What are the seals of the covenant of grace?

A. The two sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

Q. For what end hath God appointed these sacraments, or

A. To be sacred signs, memorials, and pledges of His mercy
to us through a crucified Jesus, He being the great surety and
sacrifice, to which we are appointed constantly to look for par-
don, grace, and glory.

Q. Why are Baptism and the Lord's Supper called seals of
the covenant of grace?

A. Because, like sealed charters, they confirm and assure us
of the certainty of the covenant, and all its promised blessings ;
and particularly, that God is willing in and through Christ, to
be a God to us, ainri to take us for His i>eople.

Q. What is Baptism?

A. It is a sacred washing or sprinkling with water, in the
name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Q. What doth this sprinkling signify?

A. The cleansing of our souls from sin, by Christ's blood
and Spirit ; and our entering in among the disciples and follow-
ers of Jesus Christ.

Q. Why are you baptized in the name of the Father?

A. In testimony of my choosing and owning God the Father
as my Father, and the great contriver of the gospel method
of salvation through Christ.

Q. Why are you baptized in the name of the Son?

A. In token of my choosing and accepting of the Son of God
as my great Redeemer and Saviour, in all His offices — Prophet,
Priest, and King.

Q. Why is He especially styled our Saviour?

A. Because of tlie emiraent hand He hatfo in the saJva/tion we
look for ; He preadhes it to us as our great Prophet, He pro-
cured it for us as our High Priest, He bestows it on us as our
Lord and King.

Q. Why are you baptized in the name of the Holy Ghost?

A. In testimony of my owning and accepting of the Holy
Ghost as my Sanctifier, and the great applier of Christ's pur-
chase to me; whose office it is to work saving faith and all
grace in the elect.

Q. What engagements have you come under by your bap-

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THE lord's supper, 639

A. To believe and obey the holy Trinity, and to renounce the
three great enemies thereof, viz., the devil, the world, and the
flesh ; and to live as a christian indeed, always remembering the
name by which I am called.

Q. How is it that a christian, or baptized person, ought to

A. As one that is solemnly consecrated to the faith and
obedience of the holy Trinity ; and, particularly, as one that is
washed in the blood of the Lamb, and who will not again
adventure to defile himself with sin, but will study to make
Christ his pattern.

Q. Are you not bound to renew your baptismal engagements,
and to take them upon yourself?

A. Yes, I am ; and I do it expressly, when I go to take the
second seal of the covenant, and partake of the Lord's Supper,

Q. What is the difference betwixt Baptism and the Lord's

A. The first is to be administered to us but once, but the
second often; the first doth signify our spiritual birth, the
second our spiritual nourishment: Baptism is the door of
Christ's house, by which we must enter, but the Lord's Supper
is the table at which Christ's children must feed and get

Q. What should be your great design in attending and par-
tak'ng of these sacraments ?

A. That thereby I may show my regard and obedience to the
Author of them, and that I may find a crucified Jesus in them,
and get myself assured of His love and purchase.


Q. What is the Lord's Supper?

A. It is religious eating of bread, and drinking of wine,
according to Christ's institution and example, in remembrance
of His death and sufferings for us.

Q. When did Christ institute this sacrament?

A. In the same night wherein He was betrayed, and immedi-
ately after He had eaten the Jewish passover with His disciples.

Q. Why dad He institute it at that time?

A. To show that the passover was abrogated by this new
ordinance, and the Lord's Supper come in its room ; and also to
lay all His people under the stronger obligations to observe and
attend it.

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630 THE lord's supper.

Q. Why doth the time of the institution lay us under such
obligations to observe it?

A. Because tihe command and directions wiuoh He gave us at
that time are to be regarded as the solenm dying charge of a
crucified Jesus, who was going to do more for us than all the
world could do.

Q. Did Christ enjcwn this ordinance as any task or burden on
His people?

A. Not at all, but left it as a rare privrl^^ and a precious
legacy to the Church, seeing it is a bright memorial of His
dying love, a sure pledge of His second coming, and a quickener
of all the graces.

Q. What are the elements or signs appointed in this sacra-

A. Bread and wine.

Q. What do they represent unto us ?

A. Christ's body and blood, with all the benefits and bless-
ings purchased to us.

Q. What is signified by the breaking of the bread, and pour-
ing out of the wine ?

A. All Christ's sufferings ; and particularly, the breaking and
wounding of Hi^ body on the cross, and the sbeddang of His
blood to take away our sins.

Q. What is signified by giving the broken bread and poured
out wine to the communicants ?

A. God's actual making over and giving a crucified Christ,
wilih all Itoe benefits of His purchase, to believing partakers^

Q. What are these benefits here made over and sealed to

A. Remission of sin, freedom from wrath, peace with God,
peace of conscience, ad<^tion into God's family, increase of
grace, perseverance therein, sanctified mercies and crosses, and
a title to eternal life.

Q. What is signified by communicants taking the bread and
cup in their hands?

A. Their putting forth the hand of faith to receive a cruci-
fied Christ for theiT Saviour, in all His offices, and with all His
benefits, as offered to them in the gospel.

Q, In what manner ought we to receive a crucified Christ
at His table?

A. With much humility, self-denial, thankfulness, and with
ck)se and particular application of His offices and fulness of my
soul's necessities.

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THE lord's supper. 631

Q. What is signified by cunununicants eating the bread and
drinking of the wine ?

A. Their near union with Christ, their actual partaking of
the benefits of His death, the great satrsfaction they have io
Him, aind the spiritual strenglih and nourishment t^bey get from

Q. Why ought communicants to partake of the cup, as well
as of the bread ?

A. For the more full confirmation of their faith, and because
Christ said to His disciples, Drink ye all of it,

Q. Why did Christ make choice of bread and wine, as the
symbols of His body and bkxnd?

A. To hold forth their refreshing and strengthening virtue
to believing communicants; for as bread strengthens man's
heart, so wine makes it glad.

Q. Whait were Christ's words when He instituted this sacra-

A. He spoke something concerning the bread, something con-
cerning the cup, and something concerning the whole sacra-

Q. What spoke He concerning the bread?

A. He said, "Take, eat ; this is my body, which is broken for
you : this do in remembrance of me."

Q. What said he concerning the wine?

A. "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed
for many, for the remission of sins."

Q. What said He ooncerning the wihole sacrament?

A. He said, "As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this
cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he cwne."

Q. Do we partake of Christ's body and blood here in a car-
nal manner?

A. No, but only in a spiritual way.

Q. What is the meaning, then, of these words, "Take, eat;
this is my body, which is broken for you ?"

A. The plain meaning is, that the broken bread signifies and
represents Omst's body as it were broken and buried for His

Q. Is not Christ really present in the sacrament ?

A. Yes, He is so; hut yet He is not bodily, but spiritually
pres^it there.

Q. How is it we parUke spiritually of Christ's broken body?

A. We do it when our souk share of the benefits and fruits
of His bwrfcen body ; sudi as pardon of sin, increase of grace,

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632 THE lord's SUPPBE.

access to God, spiritual discoveries, kx>siii|^ of bands, or the

Q. How long did Christ intend this sacrament should con-

A. Until His second coming.

Q. Why no longer?

A. Because in heaven there will be no need of sacraments
to represent Gfartst, He being atways present there in a bodily


Q. What further account can you give of the nature and
design of this sacrament ?

A. It doth evidently partake of the nature of a seal or feast,
and also of an oath.

Q. What hath it of the nature of a seal ?

A. It is justly called a seal of the covenant of grace, because,
like a sealed charter, put into our hands, it doth make over,
seal, and confirm to us a right and title to all the benefits and
fruits of Christ's purchase, which are therein promised to

Q. What kind of a seal is this sacrament?

A. It is a spiritual seal, and of great value, seeing it is a seal
of Christ's own devising and engraving, whose inscription is,
Christ loving us ; and whose image is, Christ dying for us.

Q. What hath this sacrament in it of the nature of a feast ?

A. It is justly called a feast, as it brings food, nourishment,
and delight to the souls of worthy comtnunicants, the invited

Q. What sort of a feast is it?

A. It is a spiritual feast, a marriage feast, a feast on the
sacrifice of the Son of God ; a feast of Christ's making, of a
strange nature, in which Christ is both the master and matter
of the feast, the provider and provision, the entertainer and the
food ; for "His fle®h is meat indieed, and His bkx>d is drink

Q. In what respect is this sacrament of the nature of an

A. In respect the word sacrament was used among the
Romans (from whence it is borrowed) for a military oath,
whereby they bound themselves to be true and faithful soldiers
to their general ; so, in this ordinance, we, in effect, swear allegi-

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THE lord's supper. 633

ance to the King of heaven, over the broken body and shed
blood of the Son of God ; and also bind ourselves to be true
and faithful soldiers to Qirist, our captains-general in the spirit-
ual warfare.

Q. What are the main ends you have in view, in coming to
this ordinance ?

A, To keep up the remembrance of Christ's death and suf-
fearing, to enjoy commtmion with Him, to renew my baptismal
covenant, to get my faith strengthened and confirmed, and all
my graces quickened.

Q. What are the sufferings of Christ which you are to
remember at His table?

A. Those which are recorded in His Word

Q. What do you remember of these just now?

A. I remember the assaults aad temptations He met with
from the dievil ; the reproach an<I persecutions He endured from
wicked men ; Hts soul suffering and agoniies in the garden of
Gethsemane; the cruel mockings, buffetings, crowning, spit-
tings, and soourgings He endured in <he high priest's palace,
and in Pilate's judgment-hall ; and lastly, His bloody sufferings
and bitter death om Mount Calvary, when He was nailed to the
cross, forsaken by His friends, derided! by His enemies, and
deserted of God.

Q. What was the cause of these sufferings ?

A. Christ's own« love, and' our sins; for having in His aston-
ishing free love, undertaken to satisfy divine justice for us,
"He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our

Q. Are we not then under the strongest obligations to keep
up this sacramental remembrance of Christ?

A, Surely we are ; for He is matchless in His love to us, poor
sinful worms, having remembered us in our low estate, and
done and suffered more for us than all the world could or
would have done. And likewise hath strictly enjoined us,
among His last words, to continue to celebrate this nKmorial of
His death.

Q. Why do we need this memorial? Are we in any hazard
of forgetting His matchless love?

A. Yes; for so worldly are our hearts, so unbelieving our
minds, so treacherous our memories, and so wavering our
affections, that we are apt to be ensnared by the world's allure-
ments, and to let Christ and His love sKp out of our thoughts.

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634 THE lord's supper.

Q. Is not the fresh and frequent remembrance of a crucified
Christ in the sacrament very useful and advantageous to us ?

A. Yes.

Q. In what respect is it useful ?

A. For weakening and killing of sin, for melting a hard
heart, for overcoming Satan's temptations, for quickening and
increasing grace, and for giving comfort in all tribulation.

Q. What kind of remembrance ought we to have of His suf-
ferings and death at His table?

A. It should be an affectionate and believing, a mournful
and sin-loathing, and yet a joyful and thankful remembrance.

Q.How can we both mourn and rejoice at the same time?

A. We may upon different accounts; for, as we should
mourn for our sins that pierced Qirist and put Him to deatii, so
we ought to rejoice in His wonderful goocbuess, that undertoc*
to be our surety and sacrifice to save us from sin and wrath :
and the more we are helped to mourn, we have still the greater
ground to rejoice and be glad ini Him.

Q. How so?

A. Because a mourning heart for sin is a good evidence of
a person's interest in Christ and his purchase.


Q. Are all partakers to be reckoned welcome guests at this
holy feast?

A. No.

Q. Who, then, are such?

A. Only believers, and worthy partakers of it.

Q. Who are these?

A. They are such who by faith do cordially consent to the
covenant of grace, sincerely aim to dio hotfiour to Christ at His
table, by showing forth His death, and study preparation for it.

Q. Who are the unwelcome guests ?

A. Those who never closed with the offers of the gospel, and
neglect preparation for this feast ; and particularly those who
continue in love and league with sin, while they pretend kind-
ness to Christ, and to renew covenant with Him.

Q. What is to be understood by the worthiness of those who
are called worthy partakers?

A. Not any worthiness in a legal sense, for we are all unwor-
thy before God of the least mercy ; but only a gospel suitable-
ness and meetness of the soul's state and frame to attend this
holy institution.

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Q. May not even a believer be guilty of partaking unwor-

A. Yes, he may, if he n^lect self-examination, indulge any
known sin, or want grace in exercise.

Q. What is the duty of worthy partaking, and wherein doth
it lie?

A. It is, in short, to eat and drink at Christ's table, with a
believing smri thankful remembrance of His dying love, locJcmg
by faitJi to Him, that we have pierced, for salvation, and lodg-
ing our souk in His wounds, mourning for sin that pierced
Him, and solemnly resolving, in His strength, it?hat we wiH
pierce Him no more.

Q. What is the advantage of worthy partaking?

A. Hereby remis^on of sins through Christ's blood is
assured, the power of sin is weakened, the graces of the Spirit
are strengthened, the soul's diseases are cured, the doubts of
the mind are resolved, and sweet views of Christ and glory are

Q. What is the sin of unworthy communicating, and wherein
doth it lie?

A. It is to partake without due preparation and right ends,
or to eat and drink without suitable knowledge and reverence,
without reconciliation to God and our neighbour, or without
the exercise of the sacramental graces, such as faith, love and
repentance ; or to approach while we entertain any known sin.

Q. What is the danger of unworthy partakers ?

A. Hereby the guilt of Christ's body and blood is contracted,
and God highly provoked ; and the guilty person draws down
judgments and ccwidemnation upon himself, if it be not time-
ously prevented by repentance smd free mercy.

Q. Why is a man's unworthy partaking charged mainly upon
his not discerning the Lord's body in the sacrament?

A. Because the unworthy communicant doth not consider,
that the bread here is solemnly consecrated to represent the
Lord's body, but eats it as carelessly as if it were common
bread ; and because he puts not due respect and honour upon
the body of our crucified Lord, here set forth, but treats it as
if it were the body of a mere man, or common person.

Q. How shall we prevent this sin and danger?

A. By entering into God's covenant ; and making due prepa-
ration for approaching to His holy table, botih habitual and

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Q. What is the necessity of making such preparation for
attending this ordinance ?

A. Because the approach we make to God in it is very near
and awful; and the Author of it is a holy, jealous, and heart-
searching God, who will shortly call us to account ; and because
we are assured there is great benefit by a worthy approach, and
as great danger by an unworthy,

Q. What is our habitual preparation?

A. Our being in a gracious state.

Q. What is the actual preparation requisite for approaching
to the Lord's table?

A. It mainly lies in these two, — examination of ourselves,
and exciting of our graces into lively exercise.

Q. What sort of examination is needful before our partak-

A. There is a public church examination necessary by church
officers, that the Lord's table be not abused by the ignorant and
profane : and there is a private self-examination necessary by
our own consciences, that the Lord's Supper be not unworthily
received through unbelief, impenitency, formality, earthlincss,
pride, malice, or any secret sin entertained by us.

Online LibraryThomas SmythComplete works of Rev. Thomas Smyth, D. D → online text (page 59 of 68)