The Works of the Westminster Divines on the Lord’s Supper

 

Order of Contents

Catechisms  4
General Works  4
Preparation  2
Administration of  3
Common Cup  1
Sitting at the Table  1
Barring from the Table  7
Not a Converting Ordinance  2
Transubstantiation  3
Kneeling Before  1
Rome: Taking the Cup Away  2
Don’t Like Alcohol or Physical Disability?  1
Whether Judas Ate Thereof?  1

 

 

Catechisms

Gouge, William – A Short Catechism wherein are briefly laid down the fundamental principles of Christian religion. Needful to be known of all such as come to the Lord’s Table. Whereunto is added morning and evening prayer for a family, 1616

Palmer, Herbert – An Endeavor of Making the principles of Christian religion, namely the Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Sacraments plain and easy, 1644  47 pages

Sedgwick, Obadiah – A Short Catechism being a brief instruction of the most ignorant before the receiving of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper ToC

Twisse, William – A Brief Catechetical Exposition of Christian Doctrine. Divided into Four Catechisms, comprising the doctrine of the 1. Two Sacraments. 2. Lord’s Prayer. 3. Ten Commandments. 4. And the Creed, 1632  62 pages

 

 

General Works

Bolton, Samuel – The Guard of the Tree of Life, or, A Sacramental Discourse showing a Christian’s privilege in approaching to God in ordinances, duty in his sacramental approaches, danger if he do not sanctify God in them  ToC  Buy

Burroughs, Jeremiah – Gospel Worship, or, the Right Manner of Sanctifying the name of God in general, And particularly in these three great ordinances, namely, 1. Hearing the Word. 2. Receiving the Lords Supper, and 3. Prayer Buy 1647  297 pages

Reynolds, Edward – Meditations on the Holy Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, 169 pages, 20 Meditations, in Works, vol. 3, pp. 2-171

Vines, Richard – A Treatise of the Institution, Right Administration and Receiving of the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, 20 sermons  420 pages

 

 

Preparation to Partaking

Burgess, Anthony – A Treatise of Self-Judging, in order to the worthy receiving of the Lord’s Supper. Together with a Sermon of the general Day of Judgement  ToC

Tozer, Henry – Directions for a Godly Life, especially for communicating at the Lord’s Table ToC

 

 

The Administration of the Lord’s Supper

The Westminster Standards on the Administration of the Lord’s Supper 

Excerpts from the Standards, specifically with regard to a Common Cup and Sitting at the Table

Henderson, Alexander – The Order of Ministering the Communion, or, the Lord’s Supper, 6 pages, being The Government and Order of the Church of Scotland, pp. 20-25

Henderson describes the practice of the Church of Scotland in his day, which corresponds to Rutherford’s description below.

Rutherford, Samuel – The Administration of the Lord’s Supper, 1642, 6 paragraphs, being Chapter 20, Article 6 of his A Peaceable and Temperate Plea for Paul’s Presbytery in Scotland

Rutherford describes the Biblically rich way the Church of Scotland practiced the Lord’s Supper during his day, with a preparatory sermon the day before, the singing of psalms, sitting at a table, using a common cup, with Table addresses by the minister, etc.

 

 

The Common Cup

George Gillespie on the Common Cup  2 paragraphs

Christ gave the disciples the Common Cup and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves…”  Some contemporary presbyterians argue that distributing the wine before hand into individual cups embodies this principle.  This is similar to the Independent argument at the Westminster Assembly.  Gillespie demonstrates that Christ commanding the dividing of the cup by the communicants themselves (and not the minister) is an act of communion amongst themselves, is participatory, and is not to be passive.  

 

 

Sitting at the Table

Gillespie, George – Of the Use of a Table in the Lord’s Supper, from his Treatise of Miscellany Questions, ch. 18, 1649, 20 paragraphs, with a four paragraph Introduction by Bobby Phillips.  There is also a short appendix on Gillespie on the Common Cup.

This is the fullest and most Biblically detailed article defending the practice.  Gillespie gives six arguments for sitting at a table in the Lord’s Supper.  See here for a summary of his arguments.

 

 

Barring from the Table

Gillespie, George – ‘That 1 Cor. 5 proves excommunication and (by a necessary consequence, even from the Erastian interpretation) suspension from the sacrament of a person unexcommunicated’, 6 pages, being Chapter 7 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming.

Gillespie, George – ‘That if it could be proved that Judas received the Lord’s Supper, it makes nothing against the suspension of known wicked persons from the sacrament’, 4 pages, being Chapter 10 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming.

Gillespie, George – ‘Whether it be a full discharge of duty to [only] admonish a scandalous person of the danger of unworthy communicating; and whether a minister, in giving him the sacrament, after such admonition [and not barring him from the Table], be in no way guilty?’  6 pages, being chapter 11 of of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

Gillespie, George – ‘Whether the admission of scandalous and notorious sinners to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper be a pollution and profanation of that holy ordinance?  And in what respects it may be so called.’ 6 pages, being chapter 15 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

Gillespie, George – ‘An argument of Erastus (drawn from the baptism of John), against the excluding of scandalous sinners from the Lord’s Supper, examined.’  1 page, being chapter 16 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

Gillespie, George – ‘The Antiquity for the suspension of all scandalous persons from the sacrament, even such as were admitted to other public ordinances’  8 pages, being chapter 17 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

Palmer, Herbert – A Full Answer to a Printed Paper entitled, ‘Four Serious Questions concerning excommunication and suspension from the sacrament, etc.’, Wherein the several arguments and texts of scripture produced are particularly and distinctly discussed: and the debarring of ignorant and scandalous persons from the sacrament is vindicated ToC

 

 

The Lord’s Supper is not a Converting Ordinance

Gillespie, George – ‘Whether the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper be a converting or regenerating  ordinance?’ and ‘Twenty arguments to prove that the Lord’s Supper is not a converting ordinance’, 7 & 9 pages, being chapters 12 & 13 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

Gillespie, George – ‘Mr. Prynne’s twelve arguments, brought to prove that the Lord’s Supper is a converting ordinance, discussed and answered’, 8 pages, being chapter 14 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

 

 

 

Transubstantiation

Featley, Daniel – Transubstantiation Exploded: or an Encounter with Richard the Titulary Bishop of Chalcedon concerning Christ’s presence at his holy table.  Faithfully related in a letter sent to D. Smith the Sorbonist, styled by the Pope Ordinary of England and Scotland, Whereunto is annexed a public and solemn disputation held at Paris with Christopher Bagshaw D. in Theology, and rector of Ave Marie College, 1638  276 pages

Featley, Daniel – A True Relation of that which passed in a conference, at the end of Paternoster-Rowe, called, Amen, Touching Transubstantiation, April 18, 1623, 1624, 32 pages, the pages are numbered: 117-149.

Gataker, Thomas – A Discussion of the Popish Doctrine of Transubstantiation wherein the same is declared by the confession of their own writers, to have no necessary ground in God’s Word: as also it is further demonstrated to be against Scripture, nature, sense, reason, religion, and the judgment of the ancients, and the faith of our ancestors, 1624  13 pages

 

 

Kneeling Before the Lord’s Supper

Nye, Phillip – The Lawfulness of Hearing the Public Ministers of the Church of England proved, by Mr. Philip Nye and Mr. John Robinson, two eminent Congregational divines. Together with the judgment of Dr. Goodwin, Dr. Owen, and other independents, as well, ancient as modern, concerning forms of prayer, parish churches, and communion with them, and the judgment of other nonconformists about kneeling at the sacrament Toc

 

 

Romanists’ Taking the Cup Away From the People

Featley, Daniel – The Grand Sacrilege of the Church of Rome in taking away the sacred cup from the laity at the Lord’s Table: detected and convinced by the evidence of holy Scripture and testimonies of all ages successively from the first propagation of the catholic Christian faith to this present, together with two conferences: the former at Paris with D. Smith, now styled by the Romanists B of Calcedon; the later at London with M Euerard, priest, 1630  306 pages

Ley, John – A Comparison of the Parliamentary Protestation with the Late Canonical Oath and the Difference between them as also the Opposition between the doctrine of the Church of England and that of Rome, so cleared that they who made scruple of the oath may cheerfully and without doubt address themselves to take the protestation, as also a further discussion of the case of conscience touching receiving the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper when either bread or wine is wanting [lacking] or when by antipathy or impotence the party that desires it cannot take it, wherein the impiety, injury and absurdity of the popish half-communion is more fully declared and confuted, 1641  59 pages 

 

 

What if I don’t Like, or have Health Problems to, Alcohol?

Ley, John – A Comparison of the Parliamentary Protestation with the Late Canonical Oath and the Difference between them as also the Opposition between the doctrine of the Church of England and that of Rome, so cleared that they who made scruple of the oath may cheerfully and without doubt address themselves to take the protestation, as also a further discussion of the case of conscience touching receiving the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper when either bread or wine is wanting [lacking] or when by antipathy or impotence the party that desires it cannot take it, wherein the impiety, injury and absurdity of the popish half-communion is more fully declared and confuted, 1641  59 pages

 

 

Whether Judas Partook of the Lord’s Supper?

Gillespie, George – ‘Whether Judas received the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper’ and ‘Whether Judas received the sacrament of the Passover that night in which our Lord was betrayed’, 12 and 6 pages, being Chapters 8 & 9 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

 

 

 

Related Pages

The Lord’s Supper

The Administration of the Lord’s Supper

The Common Cup

Sitting at the Table

Table Addresses

Common Bread

Wine

Transubstantiation

All of the Writings of the Westminster Divines Online

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