Gillespie on the Common Cup



A Dispute Against The English Popish Ceremonies Obtruded On The Church of Scotland, pp. 431-2

“And He took the cup and gave thanks, and said, Take this and divide it among yourselves…”

Luke 22:17

[I]t is not indifferent for a minister to give the sacramental elements of bread and wine out of his own hand to every communicant; forasmuch as our Lord commanded his apostles to divide the cup among them, that is, to reach it one to another (Luke 22:17). Some of the interpreters are of opinion, that the cup spoken of by the Evangelist in that place is not the same whereof he speaks after (v. 20); but they are greatly mistaken; for if it were as they think, then Christ did again drink before his death of that fruit of the vine whereof we read, v. 18, which is manifestly repugnant to his own words.  Wherefore, as Maldonat observes out of Augustine and Euthimius, there was but one cup; whereof Luke speaks, first, by anticipation, and, afterward, in its own proper place…. So that, to divide anything among men, is not to take it, but to give it.  And who did ever confound parting and partaking, dividing a cup and drinking a cup, which differ as much as giving and receiving. Thus we conclude, that when Christ commanded the apostles to divide the cup among them, the meaning of the words can be no other than this, that they should give the cup one to another; which is so plain that a Jesuit also makes it to follow upon this command, that Christ did reach the cup not to each one, but to the one, who would give it to his neighbor, the neighbor to the next one, and so on.” 



A Treatise of Miscellany Questions, Chapter. 18, 1649

So say I those that receive the Sacrament in their Pews, shame the poor that have no Pews, wherein they are not to be praised.  Sure it were more communion like to sit and receive at one Table.  It is the most suitable and significant setting forth of the communion of Saints, when the children of God are like olive plants round about his Table, Psalm 128:3.  Therefore the Apostle having mentioned our partaking of one bread, 1 Cor. 10:17, adds verse 21 our partaking of one Table, which is the Lord’s Table.  When Communicants come not to the Table, but abide in their Pews [as the Independents], some here some there, this is indeed a dividing of the congregation in varias partes partiumque particulas [in various parts, in parcels of divisions, which is contrary to the Independent principle that all are to partake together as one congregation].  Neither can they be said to divide the cup amongst themselves, (which by the institution they ought to do in testimony of their communion) when they are not within reach yea oftentimes not within sight of one another.  There is nothing like a dividing it amongst themselves, where they come not to the Table, and there give the cup to each other.  I know some have scrupled whether our Savior’s words, Luke 22:17take this and divide it among yourselves, be meant of the Eucharistic cup, or of the Paschal.  But they go upon surer reasons who put it out of question, that it is meant of the Eucharistic cup (which is there mentioned by Luke by way of Anticipation, I shall for the present give but this reason, which I know has satisfied some who were of another opinion (although much more might be said) that which Luke records to have been spoken by Christ concerning that cup, which He bade them divide amongst themselves, the very same do Matthew and Mark record to have been spoken by Him, concerning the Eucharistic cup, which was drunk last of all, and after the Paschal supper, viz., that thenceforth He would not drink of the fruit of the Vine until He should drink it in the Kingdom of God, which does not hold true if understood of the Paschal cup, therefore those other Evangelists plainly apply it to the Eucharistic cup, and there withal they close the history of the Sacrament, adding only that a hymn was sung, Matt. 26:27-29, Mark 14:23-25, with Luke 22:17,18.  And if notwithstanding some will not be persuaded that the words, divide it among yourselves, were meant of the Eucharistic cup, as I am confident they are in a mistake, so I hope they will at least yield this argument, a fortiori [from the greater]: If there was a symbol of communion in the Paschal cup, that the receivers were to divide it amongst themselves, sure this ought to have place much more in the Eucharistic cup, for the Lord’s supper does more clearly and fully set forth the communion of Saints than the Passover did.




Related Pages

Gillespie on the Use of a Table in the Lord’s Table

Sitting at the Table

The Common Cup

The Administration of the Lord’s Supper

The Interpretation and Defense of the Original Westminster Standards