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Practice of Piety 50 - Of the fourth End of the Lord's Supper.

By Lewis Bayly


      4. To feed the souls of the faithful, in the assured hope of life everlasting. For this sacrament is a sign and pledge, to as many as shall receive the same according to Christ's institution, that he will, according to his promise, by the virtue of his crucified body and blood, as verily feed our souls to life eternal, as our bodies are by bread and wine nourished to this temporal life. And to this end, Christ, in the action of the sacrament, really giveth his very body and blood to every faithful receiver. Therefore the sacrament is called the "communion of the body and blood of the Lord." (1 Cor. x. 16.)

      And communication is not of things absent, but present; neither were it the Lord's Supper, if the Lord's body and blood were not there. Christ is verily present in the sacrament, by a double union: whereof the first is spiritual, between Christ and the worthy receiver; the second is sacramental, between the body and blood of Christ, and the outward signs in the sacrament. The former is wrought by means that the same Holy Spirit, dwelling in Christ and in the faithful, incorporates the faithful, as members to Christ their head, and so makes them one with Christ, and partakers of all the graces, holiness, and eternal glory, which are in him, as sure and as verily as they hear the words of the promise, and are partakers of the outward signs of the holy sacrament.

      Hence it is that the will of Christ is a true Christian's will, and the Christian's life is Christ, who liveth in him (Gal. ii. 20.) If ye look to the things that are united, this union is essential; if to the truth of this union, it is real; if to the manner how it is wrought, it is spiritual. It is not our faith that makes the body and blood of Christ to be present, but the Spirit of Christ dwelling in him and us. Our faith doth but receive and apply to our souls those heavenly graces which are offered in the sacrament.

      The other, being the sacramental union, is not a physical or local, but a spiritual conjunction of the earthly signs, which are bread and wine, with the heavenly graces, which are the body and blood of Christ, in the act of receiving: as if, by a mutual relation, they were but one and the same thing. Hence it is, that in the same instant of time that the worthy receiver eats with his mouth the bread and wine of the Lord, he eateth also with the mouth of his faith the very body and blood of Christ: not that Christ is brought down from heaven to the sacrament, but that the Holy Spirit by the sacrament lifts up his mind unto Christ, not by any local mutation, but by a devout affection; so that, in the holy contemplation of faith, he is at that present with Christ, and Christ with him.

      And thus believing and meditating how Christ's body was crucified, and his precious blood shed for the remission of his sins, and the reconciliation of his soul unto God, his soul is hereby more effectually fed in the assurance of eternal life, than bread and wine can nourish his body to this temporal life. There must be, therefore, of necessity in the sacrament, both the outward signs, to be visibly seen with the eyes of the body, and the body and blood of Christ, to be spiritually discerned with the eye of faith. But the form, how the Holy Ghost makes the body of Christ, being absent from us in place, to be present with us by our union, St. Paul terms a great mystery (Eph. v. 32), such as our understanding cannot worthily comprehend.

      The sacramental bread and wine, therefore, are not bare signifying signs, but such as wherewith Christ indeed exhibits and gives to every worthy receiver, not only his divine virtue and efficacy, but also his very body and blood, as verily as he gave to his disciples the Holy Ghost, by the sign of his sacred breath, or health to the diseased, by the word of his mouth, or touch of his hand or garment: and the apprehension by faith is more forcible than the most exquisite comprehension of sense or reason. To conclude this point. This holy sacrament is that blessed bread which, being eaten, opened the eyes of the disciples at Emmaus, that they knew Christ (Luke xxiv. 30, 41.)

      This is that lordly cup, by which we are all made to drink into one Spirit (1 Cor. xii. 13.) This is that rock, flowing with honey, that reviveth the fainting spirits of every true Jonathan that tastes it with the mouth of faith (1 Sam. xiv. 27.) This is that barley loaf, which, tumbling from above, strikes down the tents of the Midianites of infernal darkness (Judges vii. 13.) Elias's angelical cake and water preserved him forty days in Horeb (1 Kings xix. 6, 7, 8;) and manna, angels' food, fed the Israelites forty years in the wilderness (Psal. lxxviii. 24, 25; Exod. xvi. 35;) but this is that true bread of life, and heavenly manna (John vi. 32, 35, 49, 50), which if we shall duly eat, will nourish our souls for ever unto life eternal (ver. 51, 58.) How should, then, our souls make unto Christ that request from a spiritual desire, which the people of Capernaum did from a carnal motion, "Lord, evermore give us this bread?" (John vi. 34.)

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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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