Meditations on the holy sacrament of the Lords last Supper Written many yeares since by Edvvard Reynolds then fellow of Merton College in Oxford.
Reynolds, Edward, 1599-1676.
Page  40

CHAP. VIII.

Practicall inferenes from the materials of the Lords Supper.

HEre then we see first, in as much as these Elements are so neces∣sary and beneficiall to that life of man, with what appetite we should approach these holy my∣steries, even with hungry and thirsty soules, longing for the sweetnesse of Christ crucified. Wheresoever God hath bestowed a vitall be∣ing, hee hath also afforded nourishment to sustaine it, and an inclination and attractive faculty in the subject towards its nourishment. Even the new-borne Babe by the impression of nature, is moved to use the breasts before he knowes them. Now we which were dead in sinnes hath Christ quickned,* and hath infu∣sed into us a vitall principle, even that faith by which the just doa live; which being instilled into us, Christ beginneth to be formedb in the soule, and the whole man to be made confor∣mable cunto him. Then are the parts organced and fitted for their severall workes; there is an eye with Stephen to see Christ, an eare with Mary, to heare him; a mouth with Peter, to confesse him; a hand with Thomas, to touch him; an arme with Simeon, to imbrace him; Page  41 feet, with his Disciples, to follow him; a heart to entertaine him, and bowels of affecti∣on to love him. Alld the members are wea∣pons of righteousnesse; and thuse is the new man, the newf creature perfected. Now hee that left notg himselfe amongst the Heathen without a witnesse, but filled even their hearts with food and gladnesse, hath not certainly left his owne chosen without nourishment, such as may preserve them in that estate which he hath thus framed them unto. As therefore newh Infants are fed with the same nourishment and substance of which they consist; so the same Christ crucified, is as the cause and matter of our new birth, so the food which sustaineth and preserveth us in it: unto whose body and blood there must needs be as proportionable an appetite in a new Christi∣an, as there is untoi Milke in a new Infant; it being more nourishable then Milke, and faith more vitall to desire it then nature. And all this so much the rather, because he himselfe did begin unto us in a more bitter Cup. Did he on his Crosse drinkk Gall and Vinegar for me, and that also made infinitely more biter by my sinnes, and shal not I at his Table drink Wine for my selfe, made infinitely sweeter with the blood which it conveighs? Did hee drink a Cupl of bitternesse and wrath, and shal not I drink the Cup of blessingm? Did he eat the bread of affliction, and shall not I eat the Page  42 bread of life? Did he suffer his Passion, and shall not I enjoy it? Did he stretch out his hands on the Crosse, and shall mine be withe∣red and shrunken towards his Table? Cer∣tainly it is a presumption that he is not only sick but desperate, who refuseth that nourish∣ment which is both food to strengthen, and Physick to recover him. Secondly, the benefit of Christ being so obvious as the commons, and so sufficient as the properties of these Ele∣ments declare: we see how little we should be dismaid at any either inward weaknesses and bruses of minde, or outward dangers and assaults of enemies, having so powerfull a re∣medy so neere unto us: how little we ought to trust in any thing within our selves, whose sufficiency and nourishment is from without. There is no created substance in the world but receives perfection from some other things; how much more must Man who hath lost his owne native integrity go out of him∣selfe to procure a better estate, which in vaine he might have done for ever, had not God first (if I may so speak) gone out of himselfe, humbling the Divine Nature unto a personall union with the humane. And now having such an Immanuel as is with us, not only by assuming us unto himselfe in his incarnation, but by communicating himselfe to us in these sacred Mysteries: whatsoever weaknesses dis∣mayes us, his body is bread to strengthen us, Page  43 whatsoever waves or tempests rise against us: his wounds are holes to hide and shelter us: what though sinne be poyson, have we not here the bread of Christ for an Antidote? What though it be red as Skarlet, is not his blood of a deeper colour? What though the Darts of Satan continually wound us, is not the issue of his wounds the balme for ours? Let me be fed all my dayes with bread of affli∣ction, and water of affliction, I have another bread, another Cup to sweeten both. Let Sa∣tan tempt mee to despaire of life, I have in these visible and common Elements, the Au∣thor of life made the food of life unto me; let who will perswade me to trust a little in my owne righteousnesse, to spie out some ga∣spings and faint reliques of life in my selfe: I receive in these signes an all-sufficient Savi∣our, and I will seeke for nothing in my selfe when I have so much in him. Lastly, we see here, both from the example of Christ who is the patterne of unity, and from the Sacra∣ment of Christ which is the Symboll of unity, what a conspiracy of affections ought to be in us, both betweene our owne, and towards our fellow-members. Thinke not that thou hast worthily received these holy mysteries, till thou finde the image of that unity which is in them, conveighed by them into thy soule. As the breaking of the bread is the Sacrament of Christs Passion, so the aggregation of many Page  44 graines into one masse should be a Sacrament of the Churches unitya. What is the reason that the bread and the Church should be both called in the Scripture by the same name? The breadb is the body of Christ, and the Churchc is the body of Christ too? Is it not because as the bread is one Loafe out of diverse cornes, so the Church is one body out of diverse Be∣leevers; that the representative, this the my∣sticall body of the same Christ. Even as the Word,d and the Spirit,e, and the faithfull,f, are in the Scripture all called by the same name of seedg, because of that assimulating vertue, whereby the one received, doth trans∣forme the other into the similitude and na∣ture of it selfeh. If the beames of the Sunne, though divided and distinct from one another, have yet a unity in the same nature of light, *because all pertake of one native and originall splendor: if the limbes of a Tree, though all severall, and spreading different wayes, yet have a unity in the same fruits, because all are incorporated into one stock or root: if the streames of a River, though running diverse wayes, doe yet all agree in a unity of sweet∣nesse and cleerenesse, because all issuing from the same pure Fountaine: why then should not the Church of Christ, though of severall and divided qualities and conditions, agree in a unity of truth and love, Christ being the Sunne whence they all receive their light, Page  45 the Vinel into which they are all ingrafted and the Fountainm that is opened unto them all for transgressions and for sins.