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Practice of Piety 46 - Of the Worthiness of the Sacrament.

By Lewis Bayly


      The worthiness of this sacrament is considered three ways: First, By the majesty of the author ordaining; Secondly, By the preciousness of the parts of which it consists; Thirdly, By the excellency of the ends for which it was ordained.

      (1.) Of the Author of the Sacrament.

      The author was not any saint or angel, hut our Lord Jesus, the eternal Son of God. For it pertains to Christ only, under the New Testament, to institute a sacrament; because he only can promise and perform the grace that it signifieth. And we are charged to hear no voice but his in his church (Matt. xvii. 5.) How sacred should we esteem the ordinance that proceeds from so divine an author.

      (2.) Of the Parts of the Sacrament.

      The parts of this blessed sacrament are three: First, The earthly signs signifying; Secondly, The divine word sanctifying; Thirdly, The heavenly graces signified.

      First, The earthly signs are bread and wine, in number two, but one in use (1 Cor. xi. 23, &c.; Prov. ix. 5.)

      Secondly, The divine, word is the word of Christ's institution, pronounced with prayers and blessings by a lawful minister (Heb. v. 4; Numb. xvi. 40; 1 Cor. x. 16.) The bread and wine without the word are nothing but as they were before; but when the word comes to those elements, then they are made a sacrament; and God is present with his own ordinance, and ready to perform whatsoever he promises. The divine words of blessing do not change or annihilate the substance of the bread and wine, for if their substance did not remain it could be no sacrament; but it changes them in use and in name. For that which was before but common bread and wine to nourish men's bodies, is, after the blessing, destinated to an holy use, for feeding of the souls of Christians. And where before they were called but bread and wine, they are now called by the name of those holy things which they signify, the body and blood of Christ: the better to draw our minds from those outward elements to the heavenly graces, which by the sight of our bodies they represent to the spiritual eyes of our faith. Neither did Christ direct these words, "This is my body, this is my blood," to the bread and wine, but to his disciples, as appears by the words going before, "Take ye, eat ye." Neither is the bread his body, but in the same sense that the cup is the New Testament, viz. by a sacramental metonymy And St. Mark notes plainly that the words, "This is my blood," &c., were not pronounced by our Saviour till after that all his disciples had drunk of the cup (Mark xiv, 23, 24.) And afterwards in respect of the natural substance thereof, he calls that the fruit of the vine, which, in respect of the spiritual signification thereof, he had before termed his blood (verse 25), after the manner of terming all sacraments. And Christ bids us not to make him, but to do this in remembrance of him; and he bids us eat not simply his body, but his body as it was then broken, and his blood shed; which St. Paul expounds to be but the communion of Christ's body, and the communion of his blood (1 Cor. x. 16;) that is, an effectual pledge that we are partakers of Christ and of all the merits of his body and blood. And by the frequent use of this communion, Paul will have us to make a shew of the Lord's death till he come from heaven (1 Cor. xi. 26; Acts iii. 21; i. 11), and till we, as eagles, shall be caught up into the air to meet him who is the blessed carcase and life of our souls (Matt. xxiv. 27, 28.)

      Thirdly, The spiritual graces are likewise two: the body of Christ, as it was with the feeling of God's anger due to us, crucified; and his blood as it was, in the like sort, shed for the remission of our sins. They are in number two, but in use one, viz. whole Christ, with all his benefits, offered to all, and given indeed to the faithful. These are the three integral parts of this blessed sacrament, the sign, the word, and the grace. The sign without the word, or the word without the sign, can do nothing; and both conjoined are unprofitable without the grace signified; but all three concurring make an effectual sacrament to a worthy receiver. Some receive the outward sign without the spiritual grace, as Judas, who, as Austin saith, received the bread of the Lord, but not the bread which was the Lord. Some receive the spiritual grace without the outward sign, as the saint thief on the cross, and innumerable of the faithful who dying desire it, but cannot receive it through some external impediments; but the worthy receivers to their comfort receive both in the Lord's Supper.

      Christ chose bread and wine, rather than any other elements, to be the outward signs in this blessed sacrament: First, Because they are easiest for all sorts to attain unto; Secondly, To teach us that as man's temporal life is chiefly nourished by bread and cherished by wine, so are our souls by his body and blood sustained and quickened unto eternal life. Christ appointed wine with the bread to be the outward signs in this sacrament, to teach us-First, That as the perfect nourishment, of man's body consists both of meat and drink; so Christ is unto our souls not in part, but in perfection, both salvation and nourishment; Secondly, That by seeing the sacramental wine apart from the bread, we should remember how all his precious blood was spilt out of his blessed body for the remission of sins. The outward signs the pastor gives in the church, and thou dost eat with the mouth of thy body; the spiritual grace Christ reacheth from heaven, and thou must eat it with the mouth of thy faith.

      (3.) Of the Ends for which this holy Sacrament was ordained.

      The excellent and admirable ends or fruits, for which this blessed sacrament was ordained, are seven.

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See Also:
   Practice of Piety 1 - Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God.
   Practice of Piety 2 - A Plain Description of the Essence and Attributes of God
   Practice of Piety 3 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man Not Reconciled to God in Christ.
   Practice of Piety 4 - Meditations of the Miseries of Man from Infancy to Old Age.
   Practice of Piety 5 - Meditations of the Misery of the Soul in this Life.
   Practice of Piety 6 - Meditations of the Misery of the Body and Soul in Death.
   Practice of Piety 7 - Meditations of the Misery of a Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 8 - Blessedness of the Regenerate
   Practice of Piety 9 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in his Death.
   Practice of Piety 10 - Meditations of the blessed state of the Regenerate Man after Death.
   Practice of Piety 11 - Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 12 - Of the Prerogatives which the Elect shall enjoy in Heaven.
   Practice of Piety 13 - Of the Effects of those Prerogatives.
   Practice of Piety 14 - Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself.
   Practice of Piety 15 - Meditations on the Hindrances which Keep a Sinner from Piety.
   Practice of Piety 16 - How a Private Man Must Begin the Morning with Piety.
   Practice of Piety 17 - Meditations for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 18 - Brief Directions How to Read the Holy Scriptures Once A Year
   Practice of Piety 19 - A Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 20 - Meditations to stir us up to Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 21 - Another short Morning Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 22 - Farther Meditations to stir up to Prayer in the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 23 - A brief Prayer for the Morning.
   Practice of Piety 24 - Meditations Directing a Christian How To Walk All the Day with God
   Practice of Piety 25 - Secondly, for thy Words.
   Practice of Piety 26 - Thirdly, for thy Actions.
   Practice of Piety 27 - Meditations for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 28 - A Prayer for the Evening.
   Practice of Piety 29 - Another shorter Evening Prayer.
   Practice of Piety 30 - Meditations for Household Piety.
   Practice of Piety 31 - Morning Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 32 - The Practice of Piety at Meals, and the Manner of Eating.
   Practice of Piety 33 - Grace before Meat.
   Practice of Piety 34 - The Practice of Piety at Evening.
   Practice of Piety 35 - Evening Prayer for a Family.
   Practice of Piety 36 - Meditations of the True Manner of Practising Piety on the Sabbath-Day.
   Practice of Piety 37 - Ten Reasons demonstrating the Commandment of the Sabbath to be moral.
   Practice of Piety 38 - The True Manner of Keeping Holy the Lord's Day.
   Practice of Piety 39 - A Morning Prayer for the Sabbath-day.
   Practice of Piety 40 - Duties in the Holy Assembly.
   Practice of Piety 41 - A private Evening Prayer for the Lord's day.
   Practice of Piety 42 - Of the Practice of Piety in Fasting.
   Practice of Piety 43 - Of the Public Fast.
   Practice of Piety 44 - Of the Practice of Piety in Holy Feasting.
   Practice of Piety 45 - Of Preparation.
   Practice of Piety 46 - Of the Worthiness of the Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 47 - Of the first End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 48 - Of the second End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 49 - Of the third End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 50 - Of the fourth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 51 - The fifth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 52 - The sixth End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 53 - Of the seventh End of the Lord's Supper.
   Practice of Piety 54 - A Confession of Sins before the receiving of the Holy Communion.
   Practice of Piety 55 - Of the Means whereby thou mayest become a worthy Receiver.
   Practice of Piety 56 - Of the Second sort of Duties which a worthy Communicant is to perform
   Practice of Piety 57 - A sweet Soliloquy to be said between the Consecration and Sacrament.
   Practice of Piety 58 - Duties After Communion.
   Practice of Piety 59 - The Practice of Piety in Glorifying God in the Time of Sickness or Death
   Practice of Piety 60 - A Prayer when one begins to be sick.
   Practice of Piety 61 - A Prayer before taking of Medicine.
   Practice of Piety 62 - Meditations for the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 63 - Meditations for One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 64 - A Prayer to Be Said of One That Is Like to Die.
   Practice of Piety 65 - Meditations against Despair, or doubting of God's Mercy.
   Practice of Piety 66 - An Admonition to them who come to visit the Sick.
   Practice of Piety 67 - A Prayer to be said for the Sick by them who visit him.
   Practice of Piety 68 - Consolations Against Impatience in Sickness.
   Practice of Piety 69 - Consolations Against the Fear of Death
   Practice of Piety 70 - Seven Sanctified Thoughts and Mournful Sighs of a Sick Man Ready to Die.
   Practice of Piety 71 - Of the Comfortable Assurance of God's Forgiveness of Sins.
   Practice of Piety 72 - Meditations of Martyrdom.
   Practice of Piety 73 - A Divine Colloquy Between the Soul and Her Savior
   Practice of Piety 74 - The Soul's Soliloquy, ravished in contemplation of the Passion of our Lord.

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