Monday, November 07, 2011

Duties after the Lord's Supper

by John Willison

Q. What duties are required of us after partaking of the Lord's Supper?
1. To preserve and keep a suitable frame of spirit when we rise up and come away from the Lord's Table.
2. To examine ourselves when we go to our retiring places.
3. To order our conversation rightly afterwards.

Q. What is that suitable frame and disposition of spirit which communicants ought to have when they rise and come from the Lord`s Table?
A. We ought to come away from this ordinance:
1. In an admiring frame.
2. In a thankful frame.
3. In a rejoicing frame.
4. In a humble frame.
5. In a watchful frame.
6. In a praying frame.
7. In a charitable frame.
8. In a willing and obedient frame.
9. In a fixed and resolute frame.
10. In a longing and heavenly frame.

Q. What should be matter of admiration to us when we come from the Lord's table?
A. We should wonder at the goodness and condescension of God to us, that He should have had thoughts of love for us, provided such a Surety and sacrifice for us as His own beloved Son, entertained us at His table, taken us into covenant and communion with Himself, and given us guarantees of our everlasting inheritance; and that He who is higher than the heavens should have done all this for creatures who are by nature mean as worms, nay, polluted and loathsome in the sight of God (Psalm 8:4; Psalm 113:5-6; 2 Chronicles 6:18; 2 Samuel 7:18).

Q. What is it that we should be thankful for when we come from the Lord's table?
A. We should be thankful to God for His love in giving Christ, and for the love of the Holy Spirit in revealing Christ to us and in us. Also, we should bless God for all the blessed fruits of this love, particularly for the well- ordered covenant of grace and the seals of it; for pardon of sin, and for all the rich benefits sealed to us at a communion table; that we live in a Goshen on earth and have the prospect of a Canaan above (Luke 2:14; Ephesians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 9:12, 15; Revelation 1:5; Deuteronomy 8:10).

Q. What is it that we should rejoice in when we go from the Lord's table?
A. 1. In the persons of the glorious Trinity: in God the Father as our covenanted God and portion, in God the Son as our Saviour and Redeemer, and in God the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Sanctifier (Psalm 43:4; Romans 5:11).
A. 2. In the attributes and perfections of God, particularly in His goodness, mercy, wisdom, might, immutability, and faithfulness, as being all in confederacy with us and engaged to promote our well-being and happiness (Psalm 104:24; Psalm 73:25-26; Psalm 48:14; Habakkuk 3:17-18).
A. 3. We ought to rejoice in our Redeemer's love, His wonderful undertaking, and the glorious victories and purchase He has obtained for us (Philippians 3:3; Luke 1:47-51).
A. 4. We should rejoice in the ways of God, having our hearts lifted up in them, and enlarged both to run and to sing in the ways of the Lord, and to go about every commanded duty with pleasure (Acts 8:39; 2 Chronicles 17:6; Psalm 119:32; Psalm 138:5).

Q. Why should we come from the Lord's table in a humble frame?
A. Because we have manifold grounds for our humiliation before God at that time, when we consider:
1. Our vileness by sin, and what we deserve on that account. We have more reason to cry out than Mephibosheth had, when David promoted him to eat bread at his table and he asked, "What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon a dead dog such as I am?" (2 Samuel 9:8).
2. The defectiveness of our preparation for this solemn ordinance. Alas, our souls were not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary!
3. Our great shortcomings in the near approach we were making to a holy God; namely, that our hearts were not more deeply affected with the great sights presented to our view, and the glorious things put in our offer at the Lord`s table; that our dull affections were not more raised, our wavering minds more fixed, or our cold hearts more warmed when we were about such spiritual and heavenly work (2 Chronicles 30:18-19).
4. We are still exposed to many dangers, and surrounded by strong enemies who are never more busy and active than after we have been at the Lord's table, or admitted to nearness with God and especially when we consider our own weakness and insufficiency to grapple with them (Luke 22:31; 2 Corinthians 12:7-8).

Q. Why ought we to come from this holy ordinance in a watchful frame?
A. Because of the many evils, snares, and enemies that we are then in danger of; and therefore we must stand upon our guard and watch, particularly against these:
1. The malicious designs and devices of Satan, who is getting about seeking to rob us of any benefit we have gotten by this ordinance (Luke 22:31; Matthew 26:41; 2 John 8).
2 . We ought especially to watch against the workings of spiritual pride after this ordinance; for our wicked and deceitful hearts are most ready to be lifted up with the great favours and honour here conferred upon us.
3. We should guard against resting upon the sacrament, as if all our work were now done and our warfare accomplished. No, we are still in a military state, and may expect new assaults from our spiritual enemies; we have still the good fight of faith to fight and the work of salvation to work out, which must be done with a constant holy fear and trembling (Song of Solomon 3:7-8, Philippians 2:12).
4. We must watch against the levity and wanderings of our hearts that are prone soon to divert from the work we have been about, and study to keep them close in meditation upon a crucified Christ and the great sights which we saw at the communion table.
5. We should watch against vain and frothy discourse and the snares of company after this ordinance; for hereby many have lost that sweet relish of the things of God which they have had upon their spirits. For this reason it is much safer for communicants to retire for secret meditations, prayer, and praise after this solemn work than to be in the best of company.
6. We should watch against the inroads of worldly cares and
encumbrances, that they be not allowed suddenly to rush in upon us and rob us of the spiritual frame and comforts with which we have been privileged in this ordinance. We ought not hastily to return to our worldly business after a sacrament, but by degrees, and that with great tenderness, care, and circumspection, resolving that Christ should have the throne of the heart and that the world be kept at the footstall.
7. We should carefully guard against all temptations to passion and rash anger, and study to be meek and quiet under provocations; for if we give way to the disorders and tumultuous passions of our hearts, the Holy Spirit will be grieved and provoked to withdraw from us.
8. We should watch against sloth and formality in duty, and be endeavouring always to stir ourselves up to liveliness and spirituality in all our performances.
9. We must watch against relying on our own strength in performing duty, and study to keep ourselves constantly depending upon Christ as our Head of influences, looking to Him for quickening and strength.

To be continued