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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

by
Thomas Vincent


XCVII. Ques. What is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord's supper?
Ans.
It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord's supper, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord's body, of their faith to feed upon him, of their repentance, love, and new obedience; lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves.

Q. 1. What is it to receive the Lord's supper worthily?
A. 1. To receive the Lord's supper worthily, is not to receive it meritoriously, as if we were to bring any merit or worth of our own thereunto; for so none can be worthy of Christ. or any of his benefits. 2. We receive the Lord's supper worthily when we receive it with due preparation before we come to it, and with suitable behaviour when we are at the table of the Lord.

Q. 2. What is that preparation which is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord's supper?
A. There is required to the worthy receiving of the Lord's supper— 1. Habitual preparation, that the persons who receive it be in a state of grace. 2. Actual preparation, that their graces be drawn forth into exercise.

Q. 3. What is requisite for the obtaining of this habitual and actual preparation, in order to our worthy receiving?
A. It is requisite, for the obtaining of this habitual and actual preparation, in order to our worthy receiving, that we examine ourselves. "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup." — 1 Cor. 11:28.

Q. 4. Wherein are we to examine ourselves in order to our preparation for this sacrament?
A. We are to examine ourselves, in order to our preparation for this sacrament— 1. In our knowledge to discern the Lord's body, which is represented by the bread. "Not discerning the Lord's body."— 1 Cor. 11:29. 2. In our faith to apply Christ and feed upon him, and so to draw virtue and spiritual nourishment from him. "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith."— 2 Cor. 13:5. 3. In our repentance, self-judging, and godly sorrow for our sins, which have brought sufferings upon our Lord. "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged."— 1 Cor. 11:31. 4. In Our love to Christ, who in his death expressed such love to us; and in our love to one another, who are redeemed by the same blood. 5. In our new and sincere obedience to the gospel, which we must engage in, and be fully resolved, in the strength of the Lord, to perform, before we call worthily receive this sacrament. "Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."— 1 Cor. 5:8.

Q. 5. What is requisite by way of preparation for this sacrament, besides self-examination?
A. By way of preparation for this sacrament, besides self-examination, there is requisite, prayer to God for his presence, blessing, and assistance of his Spirit; and meditation, in order to the. exciting of our affections and the drawing forth of our graces into exercise.

Q. 6. Who are they that come to the Lord's table unworthily?
A. 1. Such come to the table of the Lord unworthily, as have no habitual preparation, being in a graceless and Christless state; who, having no faith, can neither discern the Lord's body, nor spiritually feed upon him; who, being without repentance, love, and new obedience, can neither bring glory to the Lord, nor enjoy communion with him by receiving this sacrament. 2. Such also come to the table of the Lord unworthily, who, although they are gracious, and have habitual preparation, yet take no care, by self-examination, prayer, and meditation, to attain actual preparation, whereby they displease God, and lose also the benefit of the ordinance.

Q. 7. If such as are gracious do take pains in self-examination, and other duties, to get their hearts prepared, and yet they are still out of frame, would they not be unworthy receivers, should they come to the Lord's table?
A. When such as are gracious do, by self-examination and other duties, endeavour to get their hearts prepared, though they be out of frame, they ought to come to the Lord's table, because God may bnng them into frame in and by the ordinance; however, they must wait there, and attend upon God out of obedience, when they cannot do it with sensible, melting, warm, and delightful affection, and their sincerity through Christ will be accepted.

Q. 8. When we doubt and fear whether we be truly gracious, may we come to the Lord's table?
A. We may and ought to come to the Lord's table although under doubts and fears, if we have a sense of' our need of, and hungering desires after, Jesus Christ, together with resolutions to give up ourselves in covenant to the Lord— this sacrament being a mean of getting evidences of God's love; and when we cannot come with assurance, we may come for assurance.

Q. 9. What must be our behaviour at the table of the Lord, that we may be worthy receivers?
A. That we may be worthy receivers, our behaviour at the table of the Lord must be humble and reverent, as to the outward gestures of our bodies and inward frame of our hearts. We must seriously mind the outward elements and actions, looking chiefly to the things signified, represemted, and exhibited in the ordinance. We must meditate upon Christ's death, so disgraceful and painful, for us — grieving for our sins, the cause of it — hungering and thirsting after him, and the benefits purchased by his death — applying the promises of the covenant and New Testament, which is of full force through the death of the Testator — drawing nourishment and all needful spiritual supplies from him, in whom all fulness doth dwell — rejoicing in his love — giving thanks for his grace — renewing our covenant — and mingling all especially with faith and most endeared love to the Lord, and with love in him one to another.

Q. 10. What is required of worthy receivers after they come from the table of the Lord?
A. It is required of worthy receivers, after they come from the table of the Lord, that they examine themselves as to their carriage and success. If they have not met, with God, and have been out of frame, that they inquire into the cause, mourn for their defects, be earnest for a pardon, and, by after pains, labour to get the benefit of the ordinance, and withal, endeavour to mend for the future. If they have met with God, and been enlarged and sweetly refreshed, they must be very thankful for assistances and enlargements, labour to retain the sweet relish they have had still upon their spirits — they must endeavour to draw more and more virtue from Christ, for the crucifying of the world and the flesh — they must be very watchful against Satan, sin, and carnal security — they must be careful to perform their vows, and keep the covenant which they have renewed.

Q. 11. What is the sin of unworthy receiving the Lord's supper?
A. The sin of unworthy receiving the Lord's supper is, that such are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord; that is, they are guilty of an affront and indignity which they offer to the Lord's body and blood. "Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord."— 1 Cor. 11:27.

Q. 12. What is the danger of our unworthy receiving the Lord's supper?
A. The danger of our unworthy receiving the Lord's supper, is the eating and drinking judgment to ourselves; that is, provoking the Lord, by our unworthy receivinnworthy nworthy mporal, spiritual, and eternal judgments upon us. "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."— 1 Cor. 11:29, 30.

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