By Lewis Bayly
Holy feasting is a solemn thanksgiving, appointed by authority, to be rendered to God on some special day, for some extraordinary blessings or deliverances received. Such among the Jews was the feast of the Passover (Exod. xii. 15), to remember to praise God for their deliverance out of Egypt's bondage; or the feast of Purim (Esth. ix. 19, 21), to give thanks for their deliverance from Haman's conspiracy. Such amongst us is the fifth of November, to praise God for the deliverance of the king and the whole state, from the Popish Gunpowder treason. Such feasts are to be celebrated by a public rehearsal of those special benefits, by spiritual psalms and dances, by mutual feasting, and sending presents every man to his neighbour, and by giving gifts to the poor.
But forasmuch as the benefit of our redemption was the greatest that man needs from God, or that God ever bestowed upon man; and that the Lord's Supper is left by our Redeemer as the chiefest memorial of our redemption; every Christian should account this holy supper his chiefest and most joyful feast in this world. And seeing that as it ministereth to worthy partakers the greatest assurance which they have of their salvation, so it pulleth temporal judgments on the bodies, and (without repentance) eternal damnation on the souls of them who receive it unworthily; let us see how a Christian may best fit himself to be a due partaker of so holy a feast, and to be a worthy guest at so sacred a supper.
Meditations concerning the due manner of practising Piety, in receiving the Holy Supper of the Lord.
Though no man living is of himself worthy to be a guest at so holy a banquet, yet it pleases God of his grace to accept him for a worthy receiver, who endeavours to receive that holy mystery with that competent measure of reverence that he has prescribed in his word (2 Thess. i. 11; Col. i. 1, 2; Luke xx. 35; Apoc. iii. 4.)
He that would receive this holy sacrament with due reverence, must conscionably perform three sorts of duties: First, Those which are to be done before he receives; Secondly, Those that are to be done in the receiving; Thirdly, Those that are to be done after that he has received the sacrament. The first is called preparation; the second, meditation; the third, action or practice.