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Practice of Piety 49 - Of the third End of the Lord's Supper.

By Lewis Bayly


      3. To be a pledge and symbol of the most near and effectual communion which Christians have with Christ. "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. x. 16;) that is, a most effectual sign and pledge of our communion with Christ. This union is called abiding in us, joining to the Lord, dwelling in our hearts (John xiv. 16, 23; 1 Cor. vi. 17, Eph. iii. 17)-and set forth in the holy Scriptures by divers similes:-First, Of the vine and branches (John xv. 5.) Secondly, Of the head and body (Eph. iii. 6; Eph. v. 23; Col. i. 18; Rom. xii. 4, 5.) Thirdly, Of the foundation and building (Eph. ii. 19, 20.) Fourthly, Of one loaf confected of many grains (1 Cor. x. 17.) Fifthly, Of the matrimonial union between man and wife, and such like (Eph. v. 31, 32; Rev. xxi. 2.) And it is threefold between Christ and Christians. The first is natural, between our human nature, and Christ's divine nature in the person of the word; the second is mystical, between our persons absent from the Lord, and the person of Christ, God and man, in one mystical body; the third is celestial, between our persons present with the Lord, and the person of Christ in a body glorified: these three conjunctions depend each upon other; for, had not our nature been first hypostatically united to the nature of God in the second Person, we could never have been united to Christ in a mystical body. And if we be not in this life, though absent, united to Christ by a mystical union, we shall never have communion of glory with him in his heavenly presence. The mystical union, chiefly here meant, is wrought between Christ and us by the Spirit of Christ apprehending us; and by our faith stirred up by the -same Spirit, apprehending Christ again: both which St. Paul doth most lively express-"I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." (Phil. iii. 12.) How can he fall away that holds, and is so firmly holden? This union he shall best understand in his mind who doth most feel it in his heart. But of all other times this union is best felt, and most confirmed, when we duly receive the Lord's Supper: for then we shall sensibly feel our hearts knit unto Christ, and the desires of our souls drawn by faith and the Holy Ghost, as by the cords of love, nearer and nearer to his holiness.

      From this communion with Christ, there follow to the faithful many unspeakable benefits-

      As, first, Christ took by imputation all their sins and guiltiness upon him, to satisfy God's justice for them (Rom. iv. 25;) and he freely gives, by imputation, unto us all his righteousness in this life, and all his right unto eternal life when this is ended (Phil. iii. 9;) and counteth all the good or ill that is done unto us, as done unto his own person (Matt. xxv. 35; Acts ix. 4; Zech. ii. 8.)

      Secondly, There floweth from Christ's nature into our nature, united to him, the lively spirit and breath of grace, which reneweth us to a spiritual life (Eph. iv. 23, 24;) and so sanctifieth our minds, wills, and affections, that we daily grow more and more conformable to the image of Christ (Rom. viii. 29; 2 Cor. iii. 18.)

      Thirdly, He bestoweth upon them all saving graces necessary to attain eternal life, as the sense of God's love, the assurance of our election, with regeneration, justification, and grace to do good works (John xv. 5; i. 16; 2 Cor. viii. 1, 4, 6, 7, 19), till we come to live with him in his heavenly kingdom. This should teach all true Christians to keep themselves as the undefiled members of Christ's holy body, and to beware of all uncleanness and filthiness, knowing that they live in Christ, or rather, that Christ liveth in them. From this union with Christ (sealed unto us by the Lord's Supper) St. Paul draweth arguments to withdraw the Corinthians from the pollution both of idolatry and adultery (1 Cor. x. 7, 8, 16, 21.)

      Lastly, From the former communion between Christ and Christians, there flows another communion between Christians among themselves, which is also lively represented by the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; in that the whole church, being many, do all communicate of one bread in that holy action: "We being many, are one bread and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread" (1 Cor. x. 17;) that as the bread which we eat in the sacrament is but one, though it be confected of many grains; so all the faithful, though they be many, yet are they but one mystical body, under one' head, which is Christ. Our Saviour prayed five times, in that prayer which he made after his last supper, that his disciples might be one (John xvii. 11, 21, 22, 23, 26), to teach us at once how much this unity pleases him. This union between the faithful is so ample, that no distance of place can part it; so strong, that death cannot dissolve it; so durable, that time cannot wear it out; so effectual, that it breeds a fervent love between those who never saw one another's face. And this conjunction of souls is termed the communion of saints, which Christ effects by six special means:-first, By governing them all by one and the same Holy Spirit (1 Cor. xii. 13;) Secondly, By enduing them all with one and the same faith (Eph. iv. 5;) Thirdly, By shedding abroad his own love into all their hearts (Rom. v. 5;) Fourthly, By regenerating them all by one and the same baptism (Titus iii. 5; Eph. iv. 5;) Fifthly, By nourishing them all with one and the same spiritual food (1 Cor. x. 3, 17;) Sixthly, By being one quickening head of that one body of his church (Col. i. 18), which he reconciled to God in the body of his flesh (ver. 22.) Hence it was that the multitude of believers in the primitive church were of one heart and of one soul, in truth, affection, and compassion (Acts iv. 32.) And this should teach Christians to love one another, seeing they are all members of the same holy and mystical body, of which Christ is head. And therefore they should have all a Christian sympathy and fellow-feeling, to rejoice one in another's joy, to condole one in another's grief, to bear with one another's infirmity, and mutually to relieve one another's wants.

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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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