On the Administration of the Sacraments in Extra-Ordinary Circumstances

“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”

Hosea 6:6

“And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then he shall take one lamb [instead of three] for a trespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth deal of fine flour [instead of three] mingled with oil for a meat offering, and a log of oil; and two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, such as he is able to get;”

Lev. 14:21-22

Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?  Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?”

Mt. 12:3-5

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Subsections

Local Church Membership is Not Necessary to Partake of Sacraments
Whether Sacraments may be Administered Privately

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Order of Contents

Intro
Both Sacraments  4
Baptism  10+
Supper  15+
.     Table  2
.     Bread  5
.     Wine  8
.     What about those who Cannot Consume Bread or Wine?  5
.     On a Minister Administering the Supper to a Mixed Group of Christians  1

On the Call of Providence  3
On Omitting the Sacraments  4


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Intro

If a sacrament, due to extra-ordinary circumstances, cannot be celebrated in the exact way that Christ so prescribed, should the sacrament (or at least that part of it) be foregone, or may it be done with external accommodations that uphold the essential, spiritual principles of the sacrament?

In the Reformation and puritan era, the Lutherans (the Biblicists of their day) largely answered that in such a case the sacrament, or that part of it, should be omitted.  The dominant answer of the Churches reformed according to the Word of God was that principled accomodations could, and should, be made.

That this was the case is seen especially in the standard, reformed, Latin handbooks of polemical theology against Lutheranism below on this page, such as by Alsted, Wendelin and Maccovius.  It was also the common practice of the reformed Church of Scotland during the era of classical presbyterianism.†

† For further historical documentation regarding the reformed after the Reformation and in the puritan era generally, see the extensive bibliographic articles below by Vitringa, as well as the standard works by Voet, De Moor and others.  On the Church of Scotland, see Walter Steuart of Pardovan and two other of her historians below; see also the related quotes by Calderwood and Gillespie.  The few exceptions to these historical patterns confirm the dominance of the majority view.

The question was a live issue in that era, most commonly arising under poor economic conditions (especially amidst war), in sieges, amongst nomadic cultures (who don’t grow grain) and in places where bread and wine are not commonly accessible, perhaps due to geography and climate (Russians, for instance, commonly did not have wine).  While water, for baptism, is much more prevalent throughout the earth, yet, nonetheless, circumstances occur where natives commonly drink other liquids and water is not easily accessible.

The issues are perinnial, even in modern societies:

If there is a significant risk for the transmission of an acute, communicable disease, may a Church use individual cups for Communion instead of a Common Cup, as Christ and the apostle Paul prescribed?

Instead of the people receiving the Common Loaf† broken by the minister in the sacramental action, in accord with historic, reformed theology and practice, may separate bread, due to health precautions, be broken up aforetime, placed in baggies, and distributed to the people after the minister breaks a loaf before them?

1 Cor. 10:17; Mt. 26:26; 1 Cor. 11:23-28

If some of Christ’s sheep have a contrary health disposition to gluten or wine, may an analogous alternative be used (such as gluten-free bread and grape juice)?  Voet and Beza argue the affirmative regarding wine in Latin articles below.  See also ‘What Constitutes Necessity?’

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The Reasons for the Reformed View

Reasons for the dominant reformed view include the following 13 principles:

1. Reformed theology has rightly held that Christ’s ordained sacraments are not natural and moral, but are positive (according to the choice of the lawgiver) and are to be done in accord with the light of nature (WCF, ch. 1, section 6).  Necessity overrides that which is positive and alterable, when needed.

2. There is a difference between the sacrament being altered apart from necessity, merely by human will (which is will-worship, Col. 2:23, and is sinful‡), and it being altered out of necessity (the light of nature being a revelation of the will of God).

1 Kings 12:32-33; Mt. 15:9; Dt. 4:2, etc.

3. God would rather have mercy than sacrifice (Hos. 6:6), and has warranted the alteration of his positive, worship ordinances under necessity for the good of his people in his Word (Mt. 12:3-5; Lk. 13:5).

4. Lev. 14:21-22 & Num. 9:5-11, about the accommodated poor man’s offering and the second chance Passover (even for being away on a journey), show that God instituted his positive ordinances of worship according to the capacity, circumstances and needs of his saints, and accommodated them thereto.  If this was true under the rigorous law of the Old Testament (Gal. 4:2-3), how much more is it true under the New Testament (Col. 2:14)?  The capacity, circumstances and needs of the saints came before the sacraments, and still do.

5. Christ could have, theoretically, chosen other things besides bread and wine for Communion; yet bread and wine are commonly prevalent and fulfill the spiritual principles Christ instituted for Communion.  If Christ chose these elements for their suitability (which He did), then their suitability is that which grounds their use in the sacrament.  So Anselm below and Beza, Theological Letters, Letter 2, p. 28 (mid).

6. Maccovius below, in an article in Latin, argues rightly that the form, or essence of the sacrament consists “in the analogy of the sign to the thing signified”.  This was the dominant reformed view.

7. Regarding the context assumed and addressed in the gospels’ accounts of bread and wine at the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and Christ’s directives, ‘Take, eat’ and ‘Drink ye’ (Mt. 26:26-27), an English Presbyterian, Henry Jeanes, said (in a similar context):

“It is an old and a good rule: Non distinguendum ubi lex non distinguit, ‘We must not distinguish where the Law does not distinguish.’  Limitations and restrictions of divine precepts that have no foundation in Scripture are indeed saucy presumptions, a taking upon us to tutor the Almighty.” – The Want of Church-Government...  (1650), p. 2

8. The spiritual takes precedent over the external and material.  To reverse this, or to hold them as equal is a serious error in theology generally.  The external and material in the sacraments is only given significance because of, and through, the Word, specifically the words of institution, which explain the rites, provide their warrant and authority, and is that which makes them what they are: holy things in their holy use unto the Lord.  So Beza, ibid., pp. 27-28.

9. If every last external detail of the sacraments were necessary for the essence of the sacraments, then no participation or fellowship could be had where the sacrament is administered in a defective fashion.  But this latter principle of Separatists is contrary to Scripture and reformed orthodoxy.

The Lutherans in the Post-Reformation era did not break the bread as a part of the rite of the Supper; they argued that this action was not spiritually significant.  The reformed held that it was spiritually significant and necessary to the right administering of the Supper, and yet the reformed did not believe that omitting the breaking of the bread overturned the essence, or validity of the Supper; and they held that Christians were yet obliged to fellowship in this Communion with the Lutherans despite this deficiency.

10. One ought to do what they can do, even when they are not able to do the whole, which part God accepts for the whole (Gen. 22:12).  Though the priestly sons of Eli corrupted the sacrifices of the people (1 Sam. 2:12-17), the people’s ordained inheritance from the Lord, yet what could the people do, and ought to do, but to offer what they could to the Lord, despite the defect they could not control?

11. The purpose of the sacraments is for edification in faith according to the spiritual realities, these being sealed physically.  If this may be had with analogous external elements (which are common and familiar staples, nutritious, life-giving and may correspond to Christ’s body being broken and his blood poured out, etc.), then the purpose of the sacraments is preserved entire, and these physical symbols yet suitably establish and confirm the promises.

12. The alternative, to go without the physical confirmation of these promises, especially long term, is worse than that these promises be so confirmed.  The 6th Commandment, respecting giving life, overrides (with qualifications) certain, positive, limitations of the ceremonies of the First Table of the Law.º  The ideal ought not to be an obstacle to the good, and we are obliged unto the greater good.  To deprive people of good, when it may be had lawfully, is detrimental and wrong.  The sacraments were made for man, not man for the sacraments (Mk. 2:27).

º See On the Relations Between the 1st & 2nd Tables of the Law.

13. Biblical principles indicate that “The communion, or supper of the Lord, is frequently to be celebrated…” (Westminster Directory for the Public Worship of God).  It is undesirable for Christians not to be able to have Communion frequently, and therefore it is better to celebrate the Lord’s Supper irregularly under necessity than not at all.  So Jeanes argues at some length (Ibid., pp. 2-5).

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Arguments for Abstaining

The English, puritan, William Attersoll (d. 1640) was one of the minority divines which argued in a bit of detail that any sacrament not using water, bread and wine (for baptism and the Supper respectively) was not valid.†  In doing this though, while trenchantly arguing against the corruptions of the Papists, yet, strangely enough, he takes a definition of the essence of the sacraments which was traditionally held by the Papists themselves.‡

The Badges of Christianity. Or, A Treatise of the Sacraments…  (London, 1606), Ch. 5, ‘Of the third outward part of baptism’, pp. 144-48 & ch. 5, ‘Of the third outward part of the Lord’s Supper’, pp. 237-40

‡ “…the matter and form of every thing, are holden to be of the nature of it, and to constitute the essence: so it is in the sacraments, where the signs are the matter, and the words of institution are the form.” (Ibid., p. 238)  This was contrary to the dominant reformed view, e.g.: Francis Turretin, Institutes, 3.354-7, ‘Is the sacramental word a declarative and concionative (concionale) [preaching] word or is it the consecratory which is operative?  The former we affirm; the latter we deny against the Romanists.’; Gisber Voet, 4th Question, ‘Whether the words by which the minister either summarily propounds or briefly exposits the administration, the command and the promise of Christ before the administration, and even in the administration itself, are preaching [concionatoria] words, or rather are the form of the eucharist, and are efficaciously and directly operative, or creating?  I respond: the papists deny the former and affirm the latter.’  in ch. 2, ‘Of the Consecration of the Symbols [Elements]’ in Ecclesiastical Politics, vol. 1, book 2, tract 2, section 4, p. 744

Due to the strictness of Attersoll about the elements of the sacraments, paradoxically, he has to be lax regarding posture in the Supper (Ibid., p. 238, contra much of puritanism, especially regarding kneeling for the Supper), grouping it with other circumstances, lest a large share of the celebration of the Supper in the Anglican churches of his day (and today) be rendered invalid.

Attersoll’s strongest Biblical argument, it would appear, is his citing of Joel 1:9 & 13, saying:

“The Lord likewise threatening a general dearth of corn, wine and oil (of which things many of their offerings and oblations consisted) shows that the priests should weep and wail, because the meat-offerings and drink-offerings should cease.  But what need was there, either that the priests should have lamented, or the offerings have ceased if they might have used other elements, other signs, or other matter than God approved?” (Ibid., 146)

Two answers may be given to Attersoll’s question:

1. It is very possible that the hordes of locusts that Joel prophesied of would have left nothing whatsoever to sacrifice to God.  All of the grains, fruits and everything green would be consumed, and all the animals (wild as well as domestic) would consequently perish. (Hab. 3:17-18)  This interpretation is supported by Joel 2:13-14:

“…rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God…  Who knoweth if He will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?”

If any starved and sickly, possibly unclean animals did survive, they would hardly be appropriate on a natural level, especially under the very relevant Old Testament ceremonial, and yet spiritual teachings about the Lord (Mal. 1:8), and the shouts of providence (Mal. 1:10), to sacrifice to the Lord.  That is, they would not be appropriately analgous to the spiritual principles of the sacrifices, and hence could not suitably confirm them.

What is described here is also a very different kind of circumstantial hardship, under the foretold wrath of God, than the Lord supporting weak, unfortunate and yet hopeful new and persevering believers in Christ:  “A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench…” (Mt. 12:20)

2. Joel’s prophecies may very well have been inclusive of a time when the Temple itself would be destroyed in war, such as in the Babylonian captivity.  Hence no sacrifices could be made.  Joel 2:17 speaks of the fear of foreign domination:

“Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, ‘Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them…'”

A part of Joel’s prophecy is interpreted in the New Testament as speaking in some measure of Christ and the apostles’ generation (Acts 2:16-21).  The temple was shortly destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans.

Another argument that Attersoll dwells on runs:  “If then it be simply unlawful to change any thing in the matter of the sacraments, no pretence or necessity can ever make it lawful.” (Ibid., p. 239)  Sadly, Attersoll here errs not knowing Scripture.  Note carefully the words of Jesus (Mt. 12:3-5):

Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?  Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?”

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Against Excesses

The reformed writings below are balanced according to Scripture, nature, the truth and our natural constitutions, and are eminently faithful.  No license is here given to that which is lax, unfaithful, arbitrary, licentious, foolish, dictatorial, contrary to nature, irrevent, sacreligious or innovative:

– Ministers in ordinary circumstances serving Pepsi and doughnuts for Christ’s Supper ought to be banned from Christ’s communion.

– Ministers using a squirt-gun to baptize someone six feet away (due to respiratory precautions) is irreverant due to the cultural associations of squirt-guns.  Using a cup attached to a pole may be decent and in order if maintaining the distance is truly necessary for such a brief interaction.

The above principle of approximating the sacraments as well as possible under less-than-ideal circumstances has limits, precisely because the sacraments are not necessary to salvation (witness the repentant thief on the cross).  Specifically, reformed theology has taught, in consistency with all of this, that:

1. The sacraments cannot occur without any physical symbols, insofar as physical symbols are necessary to the essence of a sacrament.  Otherwise the sacrament would only be a spiritual promise (no different from the Word), without the sign of it, or anything sealing it.  Voet argues this in a Latin article below.

2. There can be no acute, temporal necessity for the sacraments.  The Papists and Lutherans held that there was for baptism upon the false principle that dying infants needed baptism for salvation; hence the great need for other materials if water was not available.  Reformed theology, in accord with the Word, has held that the Lord’s Supper is not necessary for a worship service.

3. Materials or signs not analogous to water, bread and wine do not portray the spiritual promises, and hence cannot confirm them.  They are useless and disfigure and obstruct more than they conduce to edification in the spiritual principles of the sacraments.  It is one thing for something approximated to stand in place of water, wine and bread, it is another for wholly different, dissimilar and contrary things to take their place.

Augustine: “For if sacraments had not some points of real resemblance to the things of which they are the sacraments, they would not be sacraments at all.” (Letter 98, ‘To Boniface’, section 9)

A minister reciting a baptismal formula and ‘splashing’ the screen of a person on a video-call over the internet by means of an image of water is not baptism.

4. The sacraments are not to be administered by non-ministers.ª  A reason for this (besides others) is that a lawful call from Christ to the public ministry is of the essence of the sacrament, insofar as sacraments are public ordinances, and the minister is a representative, and picture, of Jesus Christ in the sacramental actions.†  An extraordinary call to the ministry may be allowed, but does not normally occur, nor is normally warranted, in regular circumstances.

ª See ‘That Ministers Alone are to Administer the Sacraments’, ‘Only Ministers are to Baptize’ and ‘Who is to Administer the Lord’s Supper?’.

† See ‘The Sacramentally Significant Actions of the Supper’.

5. The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance only for the gathered church (1 Cor. 11:17-20), as it signifies and seals the unity and mutual fellowship within her (1 Cor. 10:16-17).  Hence the reformed held, contra Papists and Lutherans, that there is no necessity or warrant by which the Supper may be held privately for sick persons at home without the gathering of the Church and fellowship with her.  See ‘Contra the Private Distribution of the Lord’s Supper’.

The case is similar, though not in every way the same, with baptism (due to the Scriptural differences between baptism and the Supper).  See ‘On Exceptions to Baptizing in the Public Assembly’.

Hence, a minister providing Communion through a drive-thru to Church members passing through the parking lot in their vehicles is not licit or valid.

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Grape Juice in the Lord’s Supper?

Christ specifically instituted alcoholic wine for the Supper, not simply grape juice, and that for good reason.‡  Hence wine ought not to be deviated from in the Supper except for a truly necessary reason.  What then ought to be made of serving the Supper to former drunkards in the congregation?

‡ See ‘Wine in the Lord’s Supper’ and ‘On the Sacramental Significance of Wine in the Supper’.

In general we recommend the same practice as that of the apostles:  There were former drunkards in Corinth (1 Cor. 6:9-11), and Paul still enjoined these Christians to partake of the wine of the Lord’s Supper without tail-spinning into drunkenness (1 Cor. 11:20-21,25).  For how a washed and renovated Christian can do this through self-control, or temperance (a fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22-23), see our section, ‘What about Former Alcoholics in the Congregation?’

However, if such persons really do tail-spin into drunkeness, or there is a real likelihood that they may (for instance, take the case of administering the Supper at a mission church serving the homeless), this would be a case of causing passive scandal.º

º Where one’s action is not inherently wrong, but persons, through their own corruption, are led into sin by it.  If such consequences could be foreseen, and there is no necesary justification for the action, the case becomes one of active scandal.  See ‘On Scandal & Offenses’.

As passive scandals are to be avoided and minimized if at all possible, it is not out of the question, and may be entirely right, that grape juice be offered to the person(s) instead of wine.  Though this would involve using another common cup, or an individual cup, and would detract from the spiritual principles of using only one common cup, yet the Lord loves mercy and edification in faith more than sacrifice.  See Beza and Voet argue for the allowance of a private cup in their Latin articles below.

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Conclusion

The most indepth treatment of these issues in English is the article (1641) by John Ley, a presbyterian and Westminster divine.  He sought to collate the reformed teaching on this subject.  In doing so, he considers more situations, circumstances, factors and principles than you have thought of, and provides a multitude of references to reformed divines.  The principles laid out in his article are solid.

May we learn at the feet of masters, receive their sound, timeless instructions and conclusions and establish our small knowledge and faith in what is pleasing to the Lord without departing to the right or to the left; and may Immanuel, who ordained his edifying rites for our good, commune with us in them.

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“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Tim. 2:15


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On Both Sacraments

Latin Articles

1500’s

Beza, Theodore – Theological Epistles  (Geneva: E. Vignon, 1573)

Letter 2 (1571), p. 28

Beza says something else than water may be used in necessity for baptism on p. 28 (mid).

Letter 25, ‘To the Proposed Question, What may be done with respect to one that abstains in the Lord’s Supper, who is indeed not able to bear the odor of the wine without fainting?’, pp. 167-8

As to the question (though the letter addresses the general topic and related issues more broadly also) Beza counsels to give something analogous to the wine, and that to have the person abstain, when such can be provided, is ‘for them to act superstitiously’, p. 168 (top).  That such involves using another cup besides the common cup is not prohibitive to Beza, p. 27 (top).

“In 1557, Jean de Lery, a missionary who had travelled with Gaspard de Coligny to Brazil (‘Francia antarctica’) for founding a Huguenot colony, had asked Calvin if he could use water and local food as wine and grain were not available in Brazil.  Calvin granted the request, but his letter has not been preserved.  Beza quotes from it.” – Synopsis of a Purer Theology 3.191-2, fn. 34

For more on this context, see the end of ch. 6 in Jean de Lery, History of a Voyage to the land of Brazil  tr. Janet Whatley  Pre  (Univ. of California Press, 1990), pp. 33-51, or the same in Latin, p. 69-70.  There is also a French edition.

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1600’s

Goclenius, Rudolph – ‘The Second Disputation, on Bread & Wine’  in a Twofold Disputation…  1. Contra the Theological Error of the Monothelites, 2. Physical-Theological on the Bread & Wine  (Marburg, 1610), pp. 3v-10r

Goclenius was reformed.  This is a very in-depth treatment.

Maccovius, Johannes – V. ‘Whether the Form of the Sacrament may Consist in the Analogy of the Sign to the Thing Signified?  [Yes]’  in ch. 18, ‘On the Sacraments’  in ‘Anti-Eckhardus’  in Johannes Maccovius Revived, or Manuscripts of his…  ed. Nicolaas Arnoldi  (Amsterdam, 1659), p. 674  Eckhardt was a Lutheran.

Maccovius (1588-1644) was a polish reformed theologian and professor at Franeker, Netherlands.


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On Baptism

Quotes

Anthony Walaeus

Synopsis of a Purer Theology  (Brill, 2020), vol. 2, Disputation 44, ‘On the Sacrament of Baptism’, section 17, p. 145

“The very many questions that the [Medieval] Scholastics usually raise on this point are foolish ones: whether it is permitted to use for baptism anything other than every-day water, or whether it is permitted to use lye [a liquor made from ashes of wood], urine, boiled or distilled water, or also wine, vinegar, or even sand or mud.

For as they rashly identify many materials on the assumption that baptism is absolutely necessary, so we read that Christ and the apostles consecrated and used for this sacrament nothing other than every-day water, and therefore, and therefore since these materials lack any commandment or promise, they cannot be used in faith.

Accordingly we see that also John preached in Aenon because there was much water there (John 3:23), and that Philip did not baptize the already believing Ethiopian until they came to a place where there was water (Acts 8:36).  And since there is obviously nothing more common than water (so that it has even become a proverb), instances of that sort can arise very rarely.”

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Gisbert Voet

Intro to Quote

It appears that Voet below disallows of anything besides water in the specific circumstances specified simply because the necessity in both cases is one of a claimed, temporal necessity.  The Papists and Lutherans posed such scenarios as they thought that baptism confers needed, salvific grace to dying infants.  The reformed, in rejecting the necessity of baptism for salvation, hence did not believe there could be a temporal necessity that would demand an improper administration of baptism.

Voet, in fact, goes on in his Ecclesiastical Politics, linked below, to allow for other analogous liquors to be used instead of water in baptism in cases of necessity other than a temporal necessity.

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A Syllabus of Theological Problems, which, for the Needed Thing to be Proposed or Pressed, are Accustomed to be Used in Private & Public Exercises of Disputations, Examinations, Gatherings & Consultations…  (Utrecht, 1643), 2nd Section, ‘Of Redemption’, Tract 5, ‘Of Signs’, VII. ‘Of the Sacraments’, 4. ‘Of Baptism’, ‘On the Elements, Rites & Circumstances of Baptism’

“‘Whether water is to be used for baptizing?  It is affirmed.

Whether by urgent necessity, in the place of water some other liquor may be allowed, yet such as by which the body is washed, so whether by wine, rose water, milk, etc.?  An absurd question.

Whether, if an infant is languishing and water is not present, it may be allowed to baptize with body lotion [etc.]… not differing much from water?  An absurd question.

For the rest, see in the Ecclesiastical Politics.”

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Article

1200’s

Aquinas, Thomas – Article 4, ‘Whether Plain Water is Necessary for Baptism’  in Question 66  in pt. 3 of Summa Theologiae

Aquinas concludes that “any water may be used, no matter how much it may be changed, as long as the species of water is not destroyed.”  Aquinas does not distinguish what is commanded, ideal and ordinary, from the essence of a valid baptism under necessity.

The reformed, in contradistinction to this (and Popish additions), specified that pure, simple and natural water was to be used, though they allowed for analogous exceptions where enough water could not be had.

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Latin Articles

1300’s

Guido – ‘On the Material of Baptism’  in Handbook for Curates

This gives a late-medieval discussion about the use of substances other than water for baptism, e.g. lye, urine (such as in sieges where there is no water), saliva, brandy, broth or mud.

Guido de Monte Rochen (active c. 1331) was a Spanish priest and jurist who was best known for this work.  This work was later reprinted throughout Europe in the following 200 years, with at least 119 printings, and sales which have been estimated to be three times those of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica.  It became obsolete only when the Council of Trent created the Roman Catechism in 1566.

See also, Handbook for Curates: A Late Medieval Manual on Pastoral Ministry, tr. Anne T. Thayer (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2011), pp. 16-17.

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1600’s

Alsted, Johann Heinrich – II. ‘Whether Water must Necessarily Pertain in Baptism?  [No]’  in Polemical Theology…  (Hanau, 1620; 1627), pt. 5, ‘An Examination of the Controversies which are now agitated in these times between Evangelicals, which are commonly called Lutherans and Calvinists’, Class 6, Controversies on Baptism, p. 656

Alsted (1588-1638) was a German reformed professor of philosophy and theology at Herborn.

Wendelin, Marcus F. – sections 1-2  of Exercitation 86, ‘The Orthodox Doctrine of the Material Cause of Baptism is Asserted & Vindicated’  in Vindicatory Theological Exercises for Christian Theology… Opposite…  Johann Gerhard & Other Festering Writings of Recent Lutherans Against the Orthodox…  (Kassell, 1652), vol. 2, pp. 1373-75

Wendelin (1584-1652) was a German reformed minister.  He is here arguing against Lutherans, that something analogous may be used in place of water in necessity.

Maccovius, Johannes – V. ‘Whether in the Sacrament of Baptism any other Liquor is able to be used in the Place of Water, if surely Water may not be Available?  [Yes, he references Beza for the same]’  in ch. 18, ‘On the Sacraments’  in ‘Anti-Eckhardus’  in Johannes Maccovius Revived, or Manuscripts of his…  ed. Nicolaas Arnoldi  (Amsterdam, 1659), p. 677

Maccovius (1588-1644) was a polish reformed theologian and professor at Franeker, Netherlands.

Voet, Gisbert – question 2, ‘Whether Some Other Liquor may be Substituted for Water, if Indeed There is Not Enough Water?’ [Yes, with respect to some things, but not others]  in Ecclesiastical Politics  (Amsterdam, 1663), vol. 1, bk. 2, tract 2, section 3, ‘Of the Administration of Baptism’, ch. 3, ‘Of the Material & Form of the Administration of Baptism’, pp. 673-4

Voet (1589-1676) was a professor of theology at Utrecht.

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1700’s

Vitringa Sr., Campegius – ‘The Question has been Agitated between our Sacred Doctors:  Whether in Case of Necessity, if Water in No Way is able to be had, Another Liquor may so be allowed?’  [Yes was the dominant view]  in The Doctrine of the Christian Religion, Summarily Described through Aphorisms  (d. 1722; Leiden, 1779), vol. 7, ch. 24, ‘Of Baptism’, pp. 14-6

Vitringa was a Dutch reformed minister and here, in the expanded footnotes, he gives a bibliography on the issue with many quotes.

De Moor, Bernardinus – pp. 411-12  of section 8  of ch. 30, ‘Of Christian Baptism’  in A Continuous Commentary on John Marck’s Compendium of Didactic & Elenctic Christian Theology  (Leiden, 1761-1771), vol. 5

De Moor (1709-1780) was a Dutch reformed professor of theology at Franeker and Leiden.


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On the Supper

Quotes

On Anselm

Louis Ellies Du Pin, A New History of Ecclesiastical Writers...  (London, 1693), ch. 3, ‘St. Anselm’, pp. 21-22

“The same principles…  are likewise to be met with in the two last letters of St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury; wherein he establishes…  That God made choice of bread and wine in this sacrament because of the analogy which there is between our spiritual and corporeal nourishment.”

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On French Huguenot Missionaries to Brazil, 1555

John Sprint, Cassander Anglicanus…  (London, 1618), ‘Reformed Practices’, p. 161

“In America: When Villagagno transported the French Coloniae into Brazil, anno 1555, under direction and protection of Gasper Colignius, Admiral of France, there was a question on occasion moved touching the elements of the Lord’s Supper, whether in defect of wine, and so of bread of wheat, they might administer the sacrament in the bread of roots and common drink of the Americans, made also of roots?

Hereof there was difference in judgment, some holding that it were better to abstain from the Lord’s Supper than to administer or receive it, seeing Christ mentions expressly, Mt. 26:16; Mk. 14:25, of the fruit of the vine: Others on the other side thought that our Savior speaking of bread and wine, mentioned them only as the common or usual meat and drink, not as determining those very elements.  To which controversy, John Lerius, the reporter that was then present, infers, ‘Albeit’ (quoth he):

‘the greater part inclined to the latter judgment yet because there was not so great scarcity of the things questioned, as then the controversy rested to be determined by further judgment, yet this peaceable disputation was cause of no kind of discord among us, who by the grace of God remained most nearly knit in our affection, in as much as I could willingly desire and wish, that there were so good agreement between all those which do profess the true Christian religion, as there was at that time among us,’ Ioan. Lerius, Histor. nauigat. in Brasil, ch. 6, fol. 69.”

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Zacharias Ursinus

The Sum of Christian Religion…  (London, 1645), 2nd Part, ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’, Question 79, ‘Why then does Christ call bread his body…’, p. 456

“…the question is, Why the bread is called Christ’s body and the cup Christ’s blood: that is, why the things signified are attributed to the signs, and the signs called by their name.

There are two causes alleged hereof:  1. For the natural analogy or likeness, which Christs body and the bread have between themselves. 2. For the certainty or confirmation of the joint-exhibition of the sign, and the thing signified in the true use.”

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Peter Martyr Vermigli

Intro

Vermigli below is arguing against the the Romanist, Dr. William Chadse defending transubstantiation, which claims that the matter of the bread and wine, when those elements are consecrated, turn into the body and blood of Christ, though the form of bread and wine (that which we see, feel and taste) remains.

One protestant argument against such was that this destroys the analogy between the bread and wine and the promises they speak of by way of analogy, which removes the essence of the sacrament.  See also, later, the Anglican, bishop, Joseph Hall use this same argument: Hall, The Contemplations upon the History of the New Testament. The Second Tome Now Complete...  (London, 1661), ch. 7, section 3, p. 390 (bot).

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in John Foxe, Acts & Monuments…  (London, 1583), ‘The Ninth Book Containing the Acts & Things Done in the Reign of King Edward VI’, ‘Arguments of Peter Martyr…’, p. 1374

“Arguments of Peter Martyr disputing with Mr. Chadsey upon the first question:

The analogy and resemblance between the sacrament and the thing signified must ever be kept in all sacraments.

In the sacrament of the Lord’s body, this analogy or resemblance cannot be kept, if bread be transubstantiated:

Ergo [therefore], the substance of bread must needs remain in the sacrament of the Lord’s body.

The major [premise] of this argument is certain by St. Austen [Augustine] (Book on Catechizing in the Rudiments; Epistle to Dardan), where he says: Sacraments must needs bear a similitude of those things whereof they are sacraments, or else they can be no sacraments.”

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Vermigli, The Common Places…  with a Large Addition of Many Theological & Necessary Discourses…  (London, 1583), ‘The Disputation of the Second Day’, p. 196

“First, whereas you say, It suffices that it is bread and wine before consecration, by which substances we be nourished, it proves not but that in the sacrament itself the conveniency is by you taken away.  For we speak not of the sacrament when it is now a sacrament, where also we affirm that the analogy must be kept.  You appoint the same to be before the sacrament; and when ye come to the sacra∣ment, you take it away, and so ye sin against the sacrament.”

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Andrew Willet

Synopsis Papismi...  (London, 1592), 13th Controversy, 8th Question, ‘Of Receiving the Sacrament in One Kind’, p. 470

“Answer 1 [to the Papists’s practice of keeping the cup from the people]:  As in some countries there is no wine to be had, so we find that in certain places and regions of the world there is no bread, such as Christ used, made of wheat or the like grain: as in some places amongst the West Indians they have a certain kind of bread made of roots called Cazabi, as Benzo witnesses.  Wherefore by this reason [of the Papists] of uniformity, we should not communicate at all, either in bread or wine, seeing that as some countries are destitute of wine, so other are of bread:

But all this not withstanding, the sacrament may be duly administered in all places in both kinds: and where they have neither bread nor wine, neither can possibly provide them, they may safely use such other elements, as do stand them in the like stead: as in the place of bread, that which comes nearest to the use thereof: and for wine, some other precious liquor, that is to be had, as in Russia instead of wine they use a certain drink like unto that which we call Metheglen.”

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Pierre Du Moulin, Sr.

The Buckler of the Faith: or a Defence of the Confession of Faith of the Reformed Churches in France, Against the Objections of Mr. Arnoux, the Jesuite…  (London, 1620), 38th Article, ‘An Examination of the Reasons Alledged by our Adversaries’, pp. 531-2

“5. They [papists] likewise say that some countries have no wine [in order to justify their witholding the cup from lay-persons].

I answer also that there are countries that have no bread; and that if men can carry the one thither, they may carry the other also: or if that be impossible, it is better in such a country to use that which serves there instead of bread and wine, rather than to be wholly or in part deprived of the sacrament…  Add hereunto that if some countries cannot have wine for the sacrament, it follows not but that they may be furnished from an infinite number of other provinces where they may have wine.”

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John Broughton

God & Man. Or, a Treatise Catechistical…  (London, 1623), ‘Of the Lord’s Supper…’, p. 138

“I.:  Why did our Savior Christ, of all other things in the world, select and consecrate bread and wine to be the symbols and representations of his body and blood?

B.:  In regard of the excellent analogy and likeness that is between the one and the other, in their several properties and effects.”

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Antonius Thysius

Synopsis of a Purer Theology  (1625; Brill, 2020), vol. 3, Disputation 45, ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’, section 24, p. 191

“But if [the sacrament is held] where bread and wine are not used, or where they cannot be obtained in abundance, it is possible to use whatever takes the place of bread and wine, or whatever is the equivalent for those peoples.”

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Gisbert Voet

A Syllabus of Theological Problems, which, for the Needed Thing to be Proposed or Pressed, are Accustomed to be Used in Private & Public Exercises of Disputations, Examinations, Gatherings & Consultations…  (Utrecht, 1643), 2nd Section, ‘Of Redemption’, Tract 5, ‘Of Signs’, Title VII, ‘Of the Sacraments’, subtitle 5, ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’

“Whether both the symbols of bread and wine are to be administered?  It is affirmed.

Whether usual and truly ordinary bread [is to be used]?  It is affirmed.

What in place of wine ought to be administered where wine may not be had?  What is analogous.

Of what kind [is to be administered to] those that abstain from the supper?  The same [as the previous answer].

Whether water ought to be mixed with the wine?  It is denied.”

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Richard Vines

A Treatise of the Right Institution, Administration & Receiving of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper…  (London, 1657), Ch. 6, ‘Of the Outwards of this Ordinance of the Supper’, section 3, ‘Of the Elements of Bread & Wine’, pp. 72 & 75  bound after Sermons Preached upon Several Public & Eminent Occasions…  (London, 1656)  Vines was a presbyterian and Westminster divine.

“…Bread and Wine…  Christ did not take these two by accident, because He found them then on the table, but by choice and election for their use in signifying…

But what shall those places or countries do that have no bread of corn, no fruit of the vine: I confess that though God said in the Passover, a lamb or kid, yet Christ expresses nothing there of other materials, and therefore in case of extreme necessity, where the proper elements cannot be had, they must either be without the ordinance, or celebrate in that which is analogical and which passes for bread with them, or wine with them; which it’s better (say some, Moulin, Buckler, p. 531; Beza, Epistle 2) to do, than wholly to be deprived; but this eclipse is not likely to be seen in our horizon, therefore I shall not further discuss it.”

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Robert Gell

Gell’s Remains, or, Several Select Scriptures of the New Testament Opened & Explained… (London, 1676), Notes & Observations upon 1 Corinthians 11:26, pp. 182-3

“3. Touching the material parts of the sacrament, what elements He appointed: even such as of all other are of most general use among all nations, bread and wine, those which most befit a common salvation, Jude verse 2, and a common Savior, 1 John 2:1.

4. Touching the formal part of it, which consists in his manner of consecration, and the analogy between the outward elements and spiritual and heavenly things signified under them, that it may be known to be a spiritual meat [food], even the Word, the bread of life, and spiritual drink, even the quickening and enlivening Spirit.”

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Johannes Braun

Doctrine of the Covenants, or a System of Didactic & Elenchtic Theology  (Amsterdam, 1688), p. 593  as trans. in Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics  ed. Ernst Bizer  tr. G.T. Thomson  (Wipf & Stock, 2007), p. 631

“Should there be a gathering destitute of bread and wine, as perchance among the Indians, who for bread use the baked marrow of a certain tree, or a fixed root, or rice, or such other things, the gathering may–if, I say, there is no bread of corn–safely use what it is accustomed to use in place of bread.  It is not so much the outward form and kind of corn that ought to be regarded, as the nourishment and what chiefly nourishes.  The same must be said if wine is lacking.  Something else might be applied, in place of wine, as scarcely any nation is discoverable, which has not some beverage which it uses to restore the spirits in place of wine.”

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Herman Witsius

section 12  of ch. 17, ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’  in bk. 4 of The Economy of the Covenants Between God & Man…  (NY: George Forman, 1798), vol. 3, p. 425

“XII.  But as it is possible, nay, frequently happens, that, in some countries, neither bread nor wine are used, as in America and other parts of the world, where instead of bread they have a food prepared of pulse, or herbs, or of the fruits or even the bark of trees; and instead of wine their drink is made of honey or sugar, or other aromatics, or even the juice of the coco tree:

It is justly queried, whether in those countries, they are wholly to abstain from the Lord’s supper, or whether, instead of bread and wine, it may be lawful to use that food in the supper which answers the purposes of bread and wine, and is adapted for strengthening the body and cheering the heart.

Indeed, we think that no rash innovations should be made in the use of the sacraments: but then necessity has no law.  And it seems very hard, should anyone take upon him to order that the natives and the foreigners in those spacious countries of the world should be deprived of the Lord’s supper, and their Christianity maimed without the sacramental food.  Especially as the principal thing in the analogy is retained when that food and drink is made use of, by which the body may be properly nourished and the heart made glad.”

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Articles

Bucanus, William – ‘What if Bread such as we have & Wine be Wanting [Lacking] in Some Countries, with what Signs is the Supper to be Administered?’  in Institutions of Christian Religion Framed out of God’s Word…  (London, 1606), 48th Common Place, ‘Of the Supper of the Lord’, pp. 756-7

Bucan (d. 1603) was a professor of divinity at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Ley, John – A Case of Conscience Concerning the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper when either the Bread or Wine is Wanting, or when there is a Desire, yet with an Antipathy to Them, or Disability to Receive Them  (London, 1641)  21 pp.

Ley (1583-1662) was a presbyterian, Westminster divine.  This is the most thorough treatment in English; it is sound and good.  He discusess the numerous views, citing many contexts, circumstances and references to theologians.  He does not address extraordinary cases of baptism in this article.

There is a reference in the article to a substitute used in the Middle Ages for bread and wine, called manus Christi, ‘the cordial (or hand, or support) of Christ’, which was a cordial made by boiling sugar, usually with rose water or violet water, that was given to feeble persons.  Ley argues against it, as was common for the reformed.

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Latin Article

Vitringa, Campegius – 5th Question, ‘Whether Other Signs Analogous to Bread & Wine may so be Used?’ [Yes in extraordinary circumstances]  in The Doctrine of the Christian Religion, Summarily Described through Aphorisms  (d. 1722; Leiden, 1779), vol. 8, ch. 24, ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’, pp. 46-8

Vitringa was a Dutch reformed minister and here, in the expanded footnotes, he gives a bibliography on the issue with many quotes.


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On the Use of a Table & Sitting Around it

Quotes

1600’s

David Calderwood

The Re-Examination of Two of the Articles Abridged: to wit, of the Communicants’ Gesture in the Act of Receiving, Eating & Drinking…  ([Holland?] 1636), ‘Of the Communicants’ Gesture in the Act of Receiving’, p. 14  Calderwood was an arch-Scottish presbyterian minister and theologian, who was the major mouthpiece for them between 1618-1637.

“We require not of necessity an artificial table of timber: a bull-hide or a plot of ground may serve in time of necessity, and answers analogically to a standing table, as the plot of ground did whereabout the multitude sat in rows by fifties and fifties, Mark 6.

Neither do we stand upon the fashion, whether it be long or round; but we require that the communicants always sit table-ways [like at a table], so that they may observe the form of a feast or banquet: For in that this holy action is called a ‘supper’, it is imported that it was celebrated in the form of a feast or banquet, as [Johannes] Piscator observes in his observations upon Mt. 26.  We do not require all the forms used at common feasts, but these which Christ the institutor, and Master of the feast thought sufficient.”

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A Solution of Doctor Resolutus, his Resolutions for Kneeling  ([Amsterdam, 1619]), ch. 1, ‘A Table Gesture is Necessary’, pp. 5-6

“The [opposing] Doctor takes needless pains to prove sitting in the act of receiving the sacramental elements of bread and wine, not to be necessary.  For we hold not sitting in special [to be] absolutely necessary in the act of receiving, but [rather] a table-gesture in general, whether sitting or standing about the table, we hold necessary; howbeit not to the essence, yet to the right ministration of the sacrament.

And of these two table gestures, we hold sitting most aggreeable to the institution: for Christ setting down before his apostles, a pattern, conformed whereunto they should celebrate that holy action thereafter, celebrated the same sitting: and this gesture ougt not to be changed, no not in another table gesture without some urgent necessity.

To stand at the minister’s hand [giving the elements], or to take in passing by, we account [to be] no table-gesture; for there is no use in that case more of a table-gesture, than if it were a dressor, or cup-board; and that kind of gesture takes away the distribution of the communicants [between themselves], which is not taken away by standing about the table.

Casaubonus does acknowledge the gesture of Christ and his apostles at the Paschal supper to have been not a simple lying, but a gesture consisting partly of sitting, and lying…  Seeing therefore the Hebrew, Chaldaic and Rabbinical writers do interpret the one word indifferently by the other [whether sitting or lying], our vulgar translators [of the Bible] have done right in expressing Christ’s gesture by the word ‘sitting’.  The Doctor himself at Perth Assembly [1618] confessed that our gesture of upright sitting and his apostles’ gesture at the Paschal supper were analoga [analogous].

If Christ had celebrated the Paschal supper in the days of David [1 Sam. 4:18; 20:25-34] or Solomon [1 Kings 2:19; 10:19; 2 Kings 4:10; 2 Chron. 9:18], before the custom of sitting at table in beds entered among the Jews [as a cultural custom], He had used the gesture of upright sitting, as the Jews did then and as the Jews do at this day when they celebrate the Paschal supper.”


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On the Bread

Quotes

John Weemes

The Christian Synagogue…  (London, 1623), 3rd bk., ch. 2, ‘Of the Illustration of Doctrine by Comparisons’, p. 281

“In every comparison there must be some dissimilitude.

…‘Proportions are alike, but not the same.’  Christ’s body is not divided in parts as the bread; therefore there is no analogy betwixt Christ crucified and the bread?  It follows not, for similitudes disagree in some things.

Similitudes are not to be taken from things altogether different: as an ancient writer makes a comparison betwixt the ten plagues of Egypt and the Ten Commandments: so those who make the comparison betwixt the 70 disciples and the 70 palm trees; the 12 fountains and the 12 apostles: here the comparison is far sought.

The comparison must agree in the main point, else it is not a comparison;”

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Thomas Watson

The Holy Eucharist, or, The Myystery of the Lord’s Supper Briefly Explained...  (London, 1668), ‘The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper’, pp. 7-9

“Question:  Why did Christ take bread rather than any other element?

Answer: … 2. Christ took bread because of the analogy; Bread did nearly resemble Him, John 6:48, ‘I am that bread of life.’  There is a threefold resemblance:

1. Bread is useful.  Other comforts are more for delight than use.  Music delights the ear, color, the eye, but bread is the staff of life.  So is Christ useful.  There is no subsisting without Him, John 6:57, ‘He that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.’

2. Bread is satisfying.  If a man be hungry, bring him flowers or pictures, they do not satisfy, but bread does satiate.  So Jesus Christ the bread of the soul, satisfies; He satisfies the eye with beauty, the heart with sweetness, the conscience with peace.

3. Bread is strengthening, Ps. 104:15, ‘Bread which strengthens man’s heart.’  So Christ, the bread of the soul, transmits strength.  He strengthens us against temptations, He gives strength for doing and suffering work.  He is like the cake the angel brought to the prophet, 1 Kings 19:8, ‘He arose and did eat, and went in the strength of that meat forty days, and forty nights, unto Horeb the Mount of God.'”

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Latin Articles

Alsted, Johann Heinrich – IV. ‘What Kind of Bread is to be used in the Sacred Supper?’  [Common bread, or in necessity, something befitting the spiritual design of the institution]  in Polemical Theology…  (Hanau, 1620; 1627), pt. 5, ‘An Examination of the Controversies which are now agitated in these times between Evangelicals, which are commonly called Lutherans & Calvinists’, Class 7, Controversies on the Holy Supper, p. 662

Alsted (1588-1638) was a German reformed professor of philosophy and theology at Herborn.

Voet, Gisbert – Question 5, ‘What if there is not enough of any bread made out of wheat, wheat flour, barley, spelt, oats or typha[?], may bread made out of another material be used?  I respond: that is to be administered as far as it is analogous to our bread, in place of it providing either that out of rice, beans, peas, chestnuts, or fruits of a tree… or a root of the earth.’  in Ecclesiastical Politics, vol. 1  (Amsterdam, 1663-1676), pt. 1, bk. 2, tract 2, Section 4, ’Of the Administration of the Lord’s Supper’, ch. 1, ‘Of the Symbols, or the Elements (so Called)’, pp. 732-3

Voet (1589-1676) was a professor of theology at Utrecht.

De Moor, Bernardinus – On the Bread, p. 575 of section 5  in ch. 31, ‘Of the Sacred Lord’s Supper’  in A Continuous Commentary on John Marck’s Compendium of Didactic & Elenctic Christian Theology  (Leiden, 1761-1771), vol. 5

De Moor (1709-1780) was a Dutch reformed professor of theology at Franeker and Leiden.


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On Wine

Quotes

William Steuart of Pardovan

Collections & Observations Concerning the Worship, Discipline & Government of the Church of Scotland…  (Edinburgh: W. Gray, 1770), bk. 2, Title 4, section 3, p. 98  Steuart in this work is summarizing the practice of the 1500’s and 1600’s, reformed Church of Scotland.

“…in case a society of Christians should want [lack] the fruits of the vine of all sorts, I cannot think but it might be supplied by some composure as like unto it as could be made: and if any church labored under that invincible necessity, were it not safer for them to [yet] interpret that as a call and warrant to communicate [in the Supper], though wanting [lacking] the fruit of the wine, than to construct it [as] an authorizing them in a perpetual neglect of that sacrament?”

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Andrew Edgar

Old Chuch Life in Scotland  (London, 1885), pp. 147-8

“[Robert] Wodrow states that in his day [late-1600’s to early-1700’s] the wine used at communions in Holland was white wine, and that in Norway and Denmark it was not wine at all that was used but malt liquors.”

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Latin Articles

Alsted, Johann Heinrich – VIII. ‘Whether it be Necessary that Wine be used in the Sacred Supper?  [Not in necessity; something else answering the spiritual institution may be used.]’  in Polemical Theology…  (Hanau, 1620; 1627), pt. 5, ‘An Examination of the Controversies which are now agitated in these times between Evangelicals, which are commonly called Lutherans and Calvinists’, Class 7, Controversies on the Holy Supper, pp. 665

Alsted (1588-1638) was a German reformed professor of philosophy and theology at Herborn.

Maccovius, Johannes – Question 25, ‘Whether in the Place of Wine in the Eucharist Simple Water is able to be Administered, or Another Kind of Potion?  He denies; we affirm [in cases of necessity, where it is an analogous substance].’  in ch. 20, ‘On the Most Holy Eucharist’  in ‘Anti-Eckhardus’  in Johannes Maccovius Revived, or Manuscripts of his…  ed. Nicolaas Arnoldi  (Amsterdam, 1659), p. 691

Maccovius (1588-1644) was a polish reformed theologian and professor at Franeker, Netherlands.  Eckhard, Maccovius’s opponent, was a Lutheran.

Voet, Gisbert – Ecclesiastical Politics, vol. 1  (Amsterdam, 1663-1676), pt. 1, bk. 2, tract 2, Section 4, ’Of the Administration of the Lord’s Supper’, ch. 1, ‘Of the Symbols, or the Elements (so Called)’

Question 11, ‘Whether only wine, and of what kind, ought to be used, and how much?’ [In necessity something else analogous may be used], p. 737

Voet (1589-1676) was a professor of theology at Utrecht.

Question 12, ‘Whether water ought to be kept from being mixed with the wine?’ [Yes; exception is made for dilution in necessary circumstances]

Question 13, ‘Whether, where wine cannot be had, a drink which analogously approximates the usual wine may be able to be substituted? or rather all use of the Supper, or at least the cup, ought to be omitted?  I respond:  the latter is denied; the former is affirmed.’, pp. 738-40

De Moor, Bernardinus – On the Wine, pp. 581-3 of section 6  in ch. 31, ‘Of the Sacred Lord’s Supper’  in A Continuous Commentary on John Marck’s Compendium of Didactic & Elenctic Christian Theology  (Leiden, 1761-1771), vol. 5

De Moor (1709-1780) was a Dutch reformed professor of theology at Franeker and Leiden.


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What about those who Cannot Consume Bread or Wine due to a Significant Adversion?

Quotes

French Reformed Churches  1559

The Discipline of the Reformed Churches of France, Ch. 12, ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’, Canon 7  in ed. John Quick, Synodicon in Gallia reformata…  (London, 1692), Introduction, Section 12, pp. xlviii

“The bread in the Lord’s Supper shall be administred unto them who cannot drink wine; they protesting seriously that it is not out of contempt that they do forbear it; besides they doing their utmost endeavor for it, yea bringing the cup as near unto their mouth as they can, and taking and touching it with their lips, all occasions of offence will be by this means in this case avoided.”

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Francis Turretin

Institutes (P&R), vol. 3, 19th Topic, Question 25, ‘Communion under Both Kinds’, sections 35-37, pp. 463-4  This is contra Rome withholding the cup from the laity.

“XXXV.  The argument drawn from ‘the abstemious,’ who commune only under one kind, cannot favor our opponents.  The insuperable exception of a few ought not to overthrow a general rule.  Their abstaining from the cup is not voluntary and free (which would be altogether culpable), but involuntary and invincible on account of a natural and unavoidable inability.  Therefore, if they do not use the cup, they are not on that account to be considered as violators of the divine command, because the precept has reference only to those who can use wine and not to those in whom God has placed such an invincible impediment (and whom on that account He wished to dispense [dispensare] from this precept).

But so far is this from infringing the command of Christ that it rather strengthens it the more, as an exception added to a rule is wont to bind it more strongly.  For since they only are excused from taking the cup who have a disgust for wine, by that very thing all others are determined to be bound to receive it.  This is illustrated by the example of the deaf; for although the command to hear the Word is given to all, it binds only those who can hear and not the deaf.  And if the deaf are exempted from it, falsely would anyone infer from this that it was also lawful for others to be excepted.

XXXVI.  The article of discipline of our churches by which the abstemious are excused from the use of the cup, provided they show reverence only by the movement of the cup to the mouth (by which they follow the institution of Christ and do not abstain from it through contempt but from inability), cannot help the Romanists (cf. ‘The Discipline of the Reformed Churches of France,’ 12, Canon 7 in Quick, Synodicon [1692], 1:xlviii).

(1) Our practice differs widely from the Roman.  It is one thing to bear with the weakness of those who cannot use wine; another to takw away from and prohibit the cup to those who are without such weakness.  The former is done by us; the latter by Romanists.

(2) The article of discipline is a work of charity and accommodation (synkatabaseos) towards a few out of unavoidable necessity.  But the dogma of the Romanists is an absolute and simple interdiction towards all without necessity and against the express command of Christ.

(3) The discipline does not intend that the species of the sacrament should be divided; nay, it intends that the sacrament should be retained entire and be conjointly extended and distributed to the people by the ministers (although both species cannot be received by the abstemious, but only one).  But the Roman doctrine and practice wishes the sacrament to be divided and the communion mutilated by the priests.

According to us the abstemious ought not only to desire the cup, but also to do everything to overcome their weakness; but the Romanists so take away the cup from the people that it is wrong for them to ask for it or to touch it.  In one word, while according to our opinion nobody is kept from the use of the cup; nay, pastors are commanded to offer both kinds and believers to do all they can for its reception; by the Romanists the use of the cup is expressly forbidden to the people.  It is evident that there is a great and wide difference between our opinion and theirs.

XXXVII.  Now although the abstemious receive the sacrament only under one kind, their communion is not on that account to be considered wholly profitless (illusoria).

(1) The entire sacrament is extended to them by the minister and if they are compelled to abstain from one kind, it is not done spontaneously and contemptuously, but from sheer weakness and unavoidable necessity.

(2) Although the species in the sacrament are indivisible by the ordination of God, this has respect to those only who can use them and not to others (whom He Himself dispenses by the obstacle placed in their way).  For as He made the law, so He alone can dispense from it whom He pleases; and separate the species in certain cases, who joined them and willed them to be joined.

(3) The defect of use (or of either species through the taste) can in some measure be supplied both by the wish and from the sight, touch, smell and other sensations.

(4) Although both signs are not received, they do not cease to be made partakers of the whole thing signified, which is indivisible.”

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Article

Ley, John – A Case of Conscience Concerning the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper when either the Bread or Wine is Wanting, or when there is a Desire, yet with an Antipathy to Them, or Disability to Receive Them  (London, 1641)  21 pp.

Ley (1583-1662) was a presbyterian, Westminster divine.  This is the most thorough treatment in English; it is sound and good.  He discusess the numerous views, citing many contexts, circumstances and references to theologians.  He does not address extraordinary cases of baptism in this article.

There is a reference in the article to a substitute used in the Middle Ages for bread and wine, called manus Christi, ‘the cordial (or hand, or support) of Christ’, which was a cordial made by boiling sugar, usually with rose water or violet water, that was given to feeble persons.  Ley argues against it, as was common for the reformed.

William Steuart of Pardovan – bk. 2, Title 4, ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’, section 2, p. 97-98  in Collections & Observations Concerning the Worship, Discipline & Government of the Church of Scotland…  (Edinburgh, 1770)

Steuart in this work is summarizing the practice of the 1500’s and 1600’s, reformed Church of Scotland.

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Latin Articles

Beza, Theodore – Letter 25, ‘To the Proposed Question, What may be done with respect to one that abstains in the Lord’s Supper, who is indeed not able to bear the odor of the wine without fainting?’  in Theological Epistles  (Geneva: E. Vignon, 1573), pp. 167-8

As to the question (though the letter addresses the general topic and related issues more broadly also) Beza counsels to give something analogous to the wine, and that to have the person abstain, when such can be provided, is ‘for them to act superstitiously’, p. 168 (top).  That such involves using another cup besides the common cup is not prohibitive for Beza, p. 27 (top).

“In 1557, Jean de Lery, a missionary who had travelled with Gaspard de Coligny to Brazil (‘Francia antarctica’) for founding a Huguenot colony, had asked Calvin if he could use water and local food as wine and grain were not available in Brazil.  Calvin granted the request, but his letter has not been preserved.  Beza quotes from it.” – Synopsis of a Purer Theology 3.191-2, fn. 34

For more on this context, see the end of ch. 6 in Jean de Lery, History of a Voyage to the land of Brazil  tr. Janet Whatley  Pre  (Univ. of California Press, 1990), pp. 33-51, or the same in Latin, p. 69-70.  There is also a French edition.

Voet, Gisbert – Question 14, ‘What ought to be done if one, through some idiosyncracy, is an abstainer, not having the strength to smell or to taste the wine without great aversion, disquiet and great fainting of soul, and consequently without fearing some indecorum in the celebration of the Supper?’ [They may drink out of a separate cup an analogous drink]  in Ecclesiastical Politics, vol. 1  (Amsterdam, 1663-1676), pt. 1, bk. 2, tract 2, Section 4, ’Of the Administration of the Lord’s Supper’, ch. 1, ‘Of the Symbols, or the Elements (so Called)’, pp. 740-41

Voet (1589-1676) was a professor of theology at Utrecht.


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On a Minister Administering the Supper to a Mixed Group of Christians

Intro to the Article

In 1650 many ministers in the episcopal Church of England were presbyterian in outlook and sought for reform unto this end.  While some progress had been made following the Westminster Assembly, the work was still very incomplete.  Oliver Cromwell, the self appointed ‘Protector’ of England, arose to civil power at this time, who was an Independent; hence Independent churches were arising all around, sometimes with presbyterian ministers.

The Church of England’s theology was Erastian, which did not allow for ruling elders in the churches, nor for the ecclesiastical ministry to have a right of Chuch discipline.  These conditions made it difficult, if at all possible, for ministers to have adequate oversight of their parish, and to adequately bar (beyond verbal warnings) scandalous, professing Christians from disgracing the Lord’s Supper.

In Independent churches without ruling elders, especially in large congregations, the conditions were similar.  A minister, under regular order, does not have, nor should have, of himself the power of jurisdiction to bar persons from the Lord’s Supper.

Hence, among conscientious presbyterian ministers in these situations, there was a very real question of whether they should administer the Lord’s Supper at all, especially in light of their obligation to maintain the integrity of the Supper and the attendent, publicly scandalous abusing of it that may likely ensue.  Many ministers had determined in the negative, at least for the time, till further presbyterian reform could be made.  Such systematic reform never occured thereafter.

Henry Jeanes (1611–1662) was an English presbyterian minister that had administered the Supper, with certain qualifications, in such conditions.  A group of presbyterian ministers hence asked him to write out his reasons for this, in the hopes that he might be able to shed more light on the question for them.  The article below is Jeanes’s answer.  It is excellent.

Answering the question stated in the title of the article, of whether the Supper may be administered without ruling elders or a presbyterian church government, is quite simple:  At the end of Acts 2, the apostles, who were ministers, administered the Supper to the large and growing Chuch from house to house.  Commentators, presbyterian included, nearly universally agree that they had no ruling elders, or sessions, or presbyteries.  Why an affirmative answer to the question is right, though, is a much trickier thing to explicate.

And this is the primary value of the article for us:  It clearly, carefully and in a balanced fashion, according to right, detailed, classic presbyterian principles shows how these things consist with each other in their right relations, it giving us an exponentially greater understanding of the Lord’s things.

A modern application of the question today is:  Whether a minister, presuaded that weekly communion is too frequent for the adequate self-preparation of the people, in how it actually plays out, and for the elders to maintain adequate circumspection of the people’s right partaking of the Supper, and yet this church practice is not going to be reformed anytime soon, whether that minister may yet in good conscience administer the Supper in these conditions for the time?  The principles discussed in the article would appear to be for the affirmative.

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Article

Jeanes, Henry – The Want [Lack] of Church-Government [is] No Warrant for a Total Omission of the Lord’s Supper. Or a Brief & Scholastical Debate of that Question which has so Wonderfully Perplexed Many, Both Ministers & People: Whether or No the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper may (according to Presbyterial Principles) be Lawfully Administered [by a Minister] in an un-presbyterated church, that is, a church destitute of ruling elders. Wherein the affirmative is confirmed by many arguments, and cleared from objections, especially such as are drawn from the unavoidableness of mixed communions without ecclesiastical discipline  (London, 1650)  72 pp.


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On the Call of Providence

Quotes

Samuel Rutherford

The Divine Right of Church Government…  (London, 1646), ch. 2, question 1, ‘Whether kneeling or sitting be the most convenient and lawful gesture in the act of receiving the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood?’, p. 193  This section of Rutherford is dense and nuanced, he making many points; the following isolated points are intended to be pertinent and helpful.

“Occasional, properly, is that which has a reason, not from the nature of the thing itself, but from such occasional occurrences of providence, as God will not alter, and its that which has no moral, nor sacred conveniency with the nature of worship, but has only a conveniency for such a time and place, as Christ’s preaching in a ship, when He is at the seaside, and a multitude are to hear Him: the ship has no agreement with the nature of preaching more than a house has…

Christ might have changed bread and wine [of the First Supper], in flesh, and milk, or water…”

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Intro to Gillespie’s Quote

In the Church of Scotland in the 1600’s the presbyterians sat at a table for the Lord’s Supper, as is Biblically prescribed.  As congregations regularly had more people than could fit at such tables in one sitting, so the minister would rehearse the sacramental actions for each sitting of communicants.

The Independents objected to this on the grounds that it deviates from the institution of Christ, who only ever performed the sacramental actions once, not many times.

Gillespie’s argument from providence below applies equally to the issues on this webpage:  In Christ’s institution of the Lord’s Supper, by providence, wine and bread were readily available.  If Christ had been with disciples in a country which was destitue of wine and bread, would He have abstained from celebrating the Supper with them, or would He have used what answered the spiritual principles of his instituted sacrament with what was readily available and fitting?

The quote below shows that the presbyterians (Gillespie was a major mouthpiece for them) self-consciously, while desiring to be faithful to the smallest detail in the Lord’s things, yet held the same details to be flexible according to God’s will in necessity and providence.

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George Gillespie

A Treatise of Miscellany Questions…  (Edinburgh, 1649), ch. 18, ‘Of the Use of a Table in the Lord’s Supper’, p. 221

“Fourthly, the flux and reflux (so to speak) of several successive [seatings of] tables [for the Lord’s Supper in one congregation], where there is a great number to communicate, and the repeating, or pronouncing and applying to those several tables of receivers, the words, ‘Take ye’, ‘eat ye’, which Christ pronounced but once in one act of distribution, these things (I say) cannot be justly charged as deviations from the example of Christ, when the same providence which limited Him to a fewer number, calls us to distribute to a great number:

Neither can they [the Independents] who so charge us [the presbyterians], ever make good what they allege, unless they prove that although Christ had been distributing this sacrament to all the 500 disciples to whom He appeared after his resurrection [1 Cor. 15:6] (suppose I say, there had been so many communicants), yet He had given them all at once the elements, and had said but once, ‘Take ye, eat ye’, and that there had been no intermission at all, nor no partition into several successive companies.  If this can be proved, then they say much against the use of successive tables, otherwise not.”

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Francis Turretin

Institutes…  (P&R), vol. 3, Topic 18, Question 23, ‘…is an ordinary call [to the ministry] always necessary?  We distinguish’, p. 223

“the duty of piety and love (which rests upon all) and necessity (or God Himself, who has thrown men into that necessity) not only do not forbid, but enjoin and give the power to provide for what will contribute to personal salvation and the edification of neighbors, although the received rites and orders cannot be observed.”


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On Omitting the Sacraments

See also our sections regarding that the Sacraments are not necessary to a worship service and that the Sacraments are only to be administered by a minister.  Also, the Supper is not to be distributed privately, nor is baptism apart from extra-ordinary circumstances.

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Quotes

On the Late-1500’s

Thomas Burns, Old Scottish Communion Plate (Edinburgh, 1892), pp. 16-17

“…for the [Scottish] Church [in the late-1500’s], as we have seen, was extremely poor, and poverty had frequently been urged as an excuse for the non-observance of the sacred feast.”

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Samuel Rutherford

The Due Right of Presbyteries (1644), pt. 1, pp. 454-455

“2.  There is no such moral necessity of the sacraments as there is of the ministry of the Word, and consequently of some use of the keys where a scandalous person may infect the Lord’s flock.  For where vision ceases the people perish, but it is never said, where baptism ceases the people perish; and therefore uncalled ministers in case of necessity, without ordination or calling from a presbytery, may preach and take on them the holy ministry and exercise power of jurisdiction, because the necessity of the souls of a congregation in a remote island requires so, but I hope no necessity in any [of] the most extraordinary case requires that a midwife may baptize, or that a private man remaining a private man may celebrate the Lord’s Supper to the Church without any calling from the Church.”

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Henry Jeanes

The Want [Lack] of Church-Government…  (London, 1650), p. 2  Jeanes was an English, presbyterian minister.

“…Christs Command, Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24-25, ‘This do in remembrance of me.’  All Christ’s commands are to be observed, even in an un-presbyterated church, unless there be some dispensation from Christ Himself to the contrary.”

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Latin Article

Voet, Gisbert – Question 2, ‘Whether the Communion & Sacramental Chewing of Christ, from Christ Instituted & Mandated (Mt. 26:26 with 1 Cor. 11:24-28), is able to be had without the Symbols?  I Respond: it is Denied.’  in Ecclesiastical Politics, vol. 1  (Amsterdam, 1663-1676), pt. 1, bk. 2, tract 2, Section 4, ’Of the Administration of the Lord’s Supper’, ch. 1, ‘Of the Symbols, or the Elements (so Called)’, pp. 731-2

Voet (1589-1676) was a professor of theology at Utrecht.

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“Elisha sent a messenger…  saying, ‘Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.’  But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, ‘Behold…  Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.  And his servants…  said, ‘…if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, ‘Wash, and be clean’?'”

2 Kings 5:10-13

“Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?”

Lk. 13:15

“The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.”

Mk. 2:27

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Related Pages

On Extraordinary Acts of Church Government under Necessity, Superintendents & Assessor Elders, etc.

The Sacraments

Baptism

Lord’s Supper

The Administration of the Lord’s Supper

Sitting at the Table in the Supper

The Common Cup

Wine in the Supper

Common Bread in the Supper

That Romish Baptism is Valid

Intinction

On Holding Public Worship & Church Courts by Distance Through Technology, & on Using Satellite Churches, under Necessity & for Edification

Historic Reformed Quotes on Social Distancing & the Adaptation of the Church in a Time of Spreading Disease

On Works of Necessity & Mercy on the Sabbath

On the Relations Between the 1st & 2nd Tables of the Law