A Scriptural Inquiry respecting the Lord's Supper and the Lord's Table.
A lecture addressed specially to young believers
From: Aids to Believers
Read 1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 1 Cor. 11:23-34.
"The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one loaf [it is translated bread, it should be loaf, 'one loaf'] and one body; for we are all partakers of that one loaf."
Chapter 11:23-34: "For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread: and when he had given thanks he brake it and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation [it should not be 'damnation' but judgment — 'eateth and drinketh judgment'] to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."
There is nothing in the whole range of scripture, there is nothing that has been revealed in the word of God, which is fraught with deeper or more important lessons — lessons which the Holy Ghost would have every child of God to learn, every believer to enter into, as the truth about the LORD'S Supper.
I said on a previous occasion, that there was no truth which Christians ought to seek more to understand, than the truth about the one body. But with that truth the Lord's Supper is intimately associated — so closely, indeed, that the Holy Ghost uses the bread, or rather the "one loaf" broken at the supper for the purpose of illustrating the oneness of the body. "For we being many are one loaf." When I understand that I am a member of that one body — a member of the church of which Christ is the head — then my affections must necessarily go out to Him, with whom I am linked. More than that, my love in Him must go out also to His (my fellow) members, with whom I am connected in Christ: so that my knowledge about the truth of the one body, of which I am a member, brings me into direct association with Christ the Head, and with every member.
And the Supper is the occasion when the family, all the members, get together (at least ought to be together, and would be together if they were subject to the Lord) and express their corporate communion with the Lord, and consequently with each other. Can you conceive, beloved, of richer love than this? Could anyone desire a more effective plan for sustaining the due relationships between the exalted Head and the members? Such is wisdom, and such is love suited to HIM only. Alas! that so few of us enter into it at all. Like many other truths, that about the Lord's Supper as instituted by the Lord Himself, and observed in Pauline days, has been warped and distorted in no small degree. So much so, indeed, that it is now no easy matter for the godly saint to find that which corresponds to the scriptural idea of the Lord's Table and the Lord's Supper. Popery, that most perfect counterfeit of God's assembly ever issued by Satan, regards the Eucharist as a bloodless sacrifice for the sins of the living and of the dead. The Establishment again, lowering it to a "sacrament," and admits parishioners, not necessarily believers, as partakers. Dissent, not much better, makes its own human regulations for the "sacrament," and celebrates it according to human expediency. More than this; in nearly all the Churches, almost every kind of service has a higher rank afforded it than this blessed institution. Indeed, the general idea of most is, that the Lord's Day is, pre-eminently, the day for sermonizing. A most suitable time it is, indeed, for going forth in service to the unconverted; or for seeking the edification of the saints; inasmuch, as, thank God, it is a day with us of rest. But in Pauline days the Christians' primary object on the Lord's Day was to break bread. The Lord's Supper, with them, stood in the foreground of their movements on the Lord's Day. A departure, then, from this is merely human, and to go on with it is surely beneath a godly saint, who sees what the mind of the Lord is. In the midst of such confusion, then, what are we to do? Some may reply, "Of all the evils choose the least." To this I rejoin, Through the Lord's mercy, I will choose neither. What! Choose the least evil? Certainly not. If it be evil, may grace be afforded, at all cost, to turn away from it. Another says, "Let us stir here and look there, or go anywhere;" while the advice of a third is, "Give it up altogether." Now, beloved in the Lord, some of such counsel might certainly suit, if our blessed Lord had vacated His seat on high, withdrawn the Holy Ghost from us, and left us, without His word, to seek our own ways of escaping out of the labyrinth of evils surrounding us. But, ever blessed be His name! His care for His saints to-day is as unchangeably the same as it was when He was upon the earth. His love towards us, and consideration for us, are now precisely what they were in the earliest days of the Church's history. The Holy Ghost, given to "abide with us for ever, to lead us into truth," is present still to direct the simple-hearted. The word, the truth, preserved in all its preciousness, under the special guardianship of the Holy Ghost, is in our hands to-day as ever. Is this enough for you, beloved? Need you resort to tradition, synods, conferences, creeds, or articles, in the face of incomparably richer mines? Will any of us grieve our dear Lord by questioning His sufficiency? Has it indeed come to pass that faith in the all-prevailing and the omnipotent name of the Lord Jesus is lost by the saints? What have we come to? Shall we remain then in such condition? Shall we not betake ourselves, in deep humility, but in all child-like dependence, to Him? May we not look to His word, in the consciousness that light from Himself will shine in upon it? Surely we can. In such condition of soul, then, let us pursue our inquiry into what is the Lord's Supper.
It may be helpful to arrange our thoughts under the following divisions: —
1. Whom does the Lord invite as worthy partakers of the Supper?
2. Whom does He exclude?
3. What was the Lord's intention respecting the Supper?
4. How often, and till what event, did He desire it to be celebrated?
1. WHOM DOES THE LORD INVITE AS WORTHY PARTAKERS?
The communicants are spoken in the 20th of Acts as being disciples of the Lord Jesus: — "On the first day of the week when the disciples were come together to break bread." Again, in Acts 2, when many souls were converted by the preaching of Peter, you will find that they, the converts, they who were believers, "continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in BREAKING OF BREAD, and in prayers." It is very important to notice the four things in which these young believers continued. They continued stedfastly — first, in the Apostles' doctrine; that is the very foundation — nothing more nor less than the truth to stand upon. I know nothing more interesting than to observe God's order, even in the arrangement of details. It is not said that they continued stedfastly in prayer, breaking of bread, fellowship, and the Apostles' doctrine. No; saints must first know the teaching of the Word of God — "the doctrine." Other steps follow upon this.
Second, and fellowship — "They all were of one heart and soul." Why should it not be so now? The hindrance, I need hardly say, is not in God; it is in ourselves. Depend upon it that those early saints entered practically into the "doctrine" of the oneness of the body, into which they were that day baptized by the Holy Ghost. Thus they "endeavoured with lowliness, meekness, long-suffering, etc., to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." I am convinced that an energetic adherence to "the doctrine" to-day — such as God the Holy Ghost gives (I do not say man's doctrines, but a cleaving to the word of God, respecting the mind of Christ, about the one body and the one Spirit), would induce most happy "fellowship" one with another: because all would in that way have "fellowship" with the exalted HEAD.
Thirdly, in breaking of bread; and fourthly, in prayers.
We see, then, from this scripture that those who broke bread who were, in Pentecostal times, partakers of the Lord's Supper, were those who, through the preaching of the word applied to their hearts and consciences by the Holy Ghost, were brought to know Christ as their Saviour and Lord.
Constituted worthy by Him whose grace invited them, they "kept the feast" — they were obedient to their Lord. They broke bread in remembrance of One they knew and loved.
And if we look back to the original institution (Matt. 26), whom do we find gathered to that supper? The disciples — those who were attached to their Lord. They were those whom He had gathered to Himself apart from Judaism and outside of Paganism. At the time Christ came into the world there were two classes of individuals — Pagans or Gentiles, and Jews. From among the Jews the Lord Jesus had been pleased to gather round Himself a handful whom He called His disciples. As to nature they were "children of wrath even as others;" but they were brought out of the position in which they stood naturally and religiously, and brought into connection with the Lord Jesus; and such were they whom He brought around Himself on that memorable night, and requested to eat bread and drink wine, then in His presence, and after He had left this world, in remembrance of Him.
Without referring to any other scriptures, I think you and I must see, that the communicants are saved souls; and only such can enter into God's thoughts about the value of Christ. We cannot be engaged with hearing and learning who He is, nor what the value of His work, till we have the knowledge in our souls — till faith is exercised in His own word — as to our own security. Hence the disciples (assembled with closed doors for fear of the Jews, John 20) were allowed by the Lord to look at "His hands and His side." Very touching this! As if He had said, "See the everlasting marks, the unquestionable tokens of my love to you!" But when were they asked to remember the cross? After — mark this — after He had pronounced, "Peace be unto you." He had already done that, by which He could eternally link believers with Himself and with His God and Father.
If God, who had Himself dealt with sin, in all its phases, through the innocent One,* who was made sin, that we, the guilty, might become the righteousness of God in Him — I say if such was His God, so was He ours. "My God and your God." His Father now became our Father. "Go and tell my brethren, that I ascend to my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God." Can one of you, beloved friends, listen to such gracious words from the lips of the risen Man, and not have the peace which, dying and rising, He secured? The fact is, that God, so to say, binds Himself now to glorify the Man, who was the only One that ever brought perpetual glory to Him, in the very scene in which man perpetually dishonoured Him.
Hence, blessings "in Christ," "through Christ," and "with Christ," are such as God can now impart, "according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1), in a manner suited to what is due to Christ. Nothing is now too much to be done to Him, whom God delights to honour. God, before the cross, could bless a nation, "according to the promises made to Abraham." The same rebellious nation was saved from imminent judgment for Moses' sake. But now, God hath blessed us with all spiritual (not earthly) blessings; in the heavenlies (not in Canaan); in Christ (not in Abraham).
And will any say that the Lord Jesus is not far more worthy than an Abraham or a Moses? The question is not, Are we more worthy than Abraham? If that were so, I for one should answer, Certainly not. What a path of faith was his! what a path of failure ours! But CHRIST is now before God's eye, and we are blessed in Him, and by Him, and with Him.
Now, when the soul learns to look out of wretched, doubting self, and to look off unto Jesus, and to accept what God gives through Him, such a soul has peace; and such a person is a fit partaker of the Supper of the Lord. His blood, not our merits, gives the fitness.
In this day, when Christendom has done its worst to cover up this most blessed institution with all sorts of mysteries and superstition, it is well to see what is taught about it.
First of all, if the Supper were for the putting away of sins, how can it be called a "bloodless sacrifice," as the Church of Rome says it is? If it were a bloodless sacrifice, it would be a sacrifice worth nothing; for the Scriptures tell us that "without shedding of blood there could be no remission of sins." To put away sin, blood must be shed. Therefore this bloodless sacrifice of Popery cannot be a sacrifice for sin. Some who speak strongly against the Church of Rome — and we cannot speak too strongly against it, however much we love the saints in it — but some who speak strongly against it, are not much more enlightened about the Lord's Supper. In the Establishment it is called a "sacrament," and so also in many dissenting associations. Need I tell you that "sacrament" is immediately derived from a Latin word, which means a soldier's oath, and that the idea does not occur once in Scripture? Now, I maintain that the Lord Jesus never called upon His disciples to take any oath whatever. The Lord's Supper, of which I am speaking, is not a sacrament; indeed, the Lord never intended it to be. There are some outside the Church of Rome who have come out from her, who teach concerning this institution that it is "a means of grace" — that we go to the Lord's Supper in order to get blessing. Now, I do not say that it is not a place where God is pleased to bless His saints. On the contrary, there is nothing a saint may do, in faith and obedience, in which he does not get blessing. But this is not a prominent thought at all in the mind of the Lord Jesus in connection with this institution. Those who go to the Supper are really, distinctly, and absolutely, saved souls. In other words, those who have been blessed, and those who go to break bread and SHOW the Lord's death, are those that know the value of His death; those that go to remember the Lord are those that know Him. We are never asked to remember a person we never knew; yet at the institution of the Supper, the Lord Jesus said, "This do in remembrance of ME." If, then, it was for a remembrance, those who are to remember Him, surely must be those that have KNOWN Him. The idea, then, of going to the Lord's Table with the view of being blessed, in getting sins forgiven, or indeed to have anything to do with sin, is against the Scriptural idea of the family feast — the Lord's Supper. This cannot be laid down too strongly. The Lord's Supper is a supper for believers; the communicants are those who are absolutely saved souls; who have come to God through Jesus, and have accepted the gift of God, eternal life in Christ; those whose sins have been put away by the sacrifice of Christ, and who are indwelt by the Holy Ghost; those who can sing —
"Jesus has died, and I am clean;
Not a cloud above, not a spot within."
Those who know without any doubt that "my beloved is mine and I am His" — those who can say with the Apostle John in Revelation, "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, and His Father be glory" — those who are in that position and condition are such as should take the Supper. They are those of whom God says, "I have cast thy sins behind my back;" and again, "I, even I, am He, that blotteth out thy transgressions, for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." In other words, the communicants are members of the "one body." A believer might refuse to take his place as a member of that body, and go on in his own self-will; but he is a member for all that; and he is constituted a communicant, a worthy partaker in the Lord's mind; and should, as such, claim his place at the Lord's Table.
2. — UNBELIEVERS CANNOT BE COMMUNICANTS
If the foregoing be the case, then, it must appear very clear to you that unbelievers cannot be communicants; and if not, then, that which admits them cannot be the Lord's Table: though some believers may join with them, they do not eat the Lord's Supper.
Don't you know of many who venture to approach outwardly into the place of worshippers, who never passed the altar of burnt-offering? Will it be denied that some are allowed to be in company of those whose privilege it is to eat the "fatted calf," who never received the pardoning kiss? Is it not known that these things are allowed? A few days ago, when remonstrating with a minister of the gospel about allowing unbelievers to go and take the "sacrament," his reply was, "How are we to know them?" My heart sank at such an answer as that; I was grieved to hear such a reply. I turned rather sharply, I fear, upon that dear man, and asked him, "When the Apostle wrote, 'Greet one another with an holy kiss,' who were to be greeted? Was the holy kiss to be given to any one?" "Certainly not," he replied; "it was to be given to the believers." Well, if so, must they not have been known? The Apostle John says, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." Must they not have known the brethren in order to love them? At the time we read of, in Acts 2, when the disciples went from house to house breaking bread, and praising the Lord with one heart and one mind, did they not know one another? Surely they did! Such an answer as that, given by the Christian brother to whom I have alluded, shows what a perfect revolution has been brought about by Christendom, in its thoughts about this blessed institution of the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is not for unbelievers; it is for those who are the Lord's.
It must be admitted that members of one family, who met perhaps for the first time at a family-gathering, should be free till next Supper to speak together of the things pertaining to the head of the house, at any time and in any place. Indeed, the head of the house is common property; and would his affection be right who had no response for the name of the head? Would it not be time to wonder whether he was not an intruder, when there never appeared any reciprocity of affection for the head of the house?
Now for a greater reason (because the Holy Ghost is given to each member of the body, to kindle the intensest love to the Lord, and to each other), I should not be backward in speaking of the things of Christ to those I met at the Lord's Supper. But is it true that all who profess to eat it know the Lord? Alas, for the answer! Just follow some, and speak to them, on the next day about the Lord Jesus; and they will tell you, "This is not the place, this is not the time for such conversation; the church is the place, and Sunday is the time to speak about such things." In other words, they have no heart at all for the Person whom they said they went to remember on the day before. I should like to be shown one passage from the New Testament, which teaches or implies that any other than believers broke bread worthily or ate the Lord's Supper. We know, as a historical fact, that the persecution, which followed believers in early days, who identified themselves with a rejected Lord — persecution frequently unto death — deterred any but His own from "breaking bread in remembrance of Him."
The table of the Lord, then, is not for unbelievers; it is for believers only; the communicants are the members of "the body," baptized into such by the Holy Ghost. Those that go to remember Lord are such as know Him; and those who go to show His death are those that know the value of His death.
3. — THE OBJECT WHICH COMMUNICANTS HAVE IN COMING TOGETHER TO BREAK BREAD.
This object is fourfold — (1) the showing or commemorating the Lord's death; (2) the remembrance of the Lord Himself; (3) worship; and (4) owning the oneness of the body.
1. Showing the Lord's death
The Apostle Paul, in 1 Cor. 11 says, — "As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till He come." I do not think that word DEATH is dwelt on enough. I would have put it in the largest letters I could find. Believers gathered to break bread are to show, to announce, to memorialize the Lord's death! And why His death? If you look back to the original institution of the Supper in the 26th of Matthew — for such a thing did not exist before the Lord instituted it there — you will find that it was instituted on a very solemn occasion. On what occasion? The apostle in 1 Cor. 11 says it was "the same night." There is not an accidental word in Scripture, brethren; every word is essential; but why is it, that the Holy Ghost takes pains to say that it was the same night?" A thousand precious recollections hang round that night; precious to us now, although the occurrences were deeply sorrowful, and deeply harrowing, at the time, to Him who instituted the Supper. It was the night "in which He was betrayed;" when He was come to give up His soul unto death: when He was about to accomplish that of which He had before said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" He was about to do that which filled His soul from all eternity. On the night in question, the hour was come. Yes, that solemn hour — an hour to which the eternity that is past, if I may so speak, looked forward; and to which the one that is future will look back with the deepest interest. It was the hour when God was about to deal with sin, in the person of the sinless Substitute; when God was to be glorified, through Christ in man, who, in Adam and his posterity, had so thoroughly dishonoured God. Man, I say, in Adam and all his descendants had insulted God, and acted shamelessly in this earth. Man, in the person of the Son of Man, God manifest in flesh — blessed for ever! the Son of Man, I say, on that memorable night, had before His soul the immense barrier of separation between man and God, which He only could remove. Again, Satan was to be bruised; and, further, it was the hour when the Lord Jesus should die to purchase His bride. Christ dearly loved His Church, and gave Himself for it; but the hour in which He did so, was an hour, of all others, deeply sorrowful to Him, yet full of joy withal. He knew what was before Him — the deep sorrow and the full cup of joy; for He knew that He was doing the will of His Father. He looked forward to the time when He should have, through all eternity, a Church purchased by His blood. He knew, moreover, that the very nation at whose hands He was suffering, should need His sympathy in the hour of their calamity (Isa. 63). Further, as everything entrusted to man was spoiled in the using, so He knew that, for all things to be reconciled to God, it must be "by the blood of His cross" (Col. 1:20). With all this before him, and ten thousand times more than our poor hearts can understand, the Lord Jesus, on the "same night," instituted this Supper.
He also saw His own dear disciples who would forsake Him and flee; and, indeed, with reference to one, He had distinctly warned him, "Simon (Peter), behold Satan hath desired to have you that he might sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not." (The Lord says He has prayed, not that Peter might not deny Him, but that He might not be given up to despair after be had denied Him.)
But further, the Lord Jesus looked forward, and knew what wrath awaited Him. Beloved, this is a solemn part of the subject. In the Garden of Gethsemane, under the very shadow of the cross, if I may so speak, the Lord Jesus, on that night, knew all that awaited Him; for although perfect man, He was also perfect God — wonderful mystery! There, in the shadow of the cross, He says, — "My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death." And, indeed, so great was His agony, that His sweat became as great drops of blood falling to the ground. You or I may put on a distressed expression of face, and appear to be in sorrow, although it be unreal; but when we read of the Lord Jesus being in an agony, we read what is true. He said what He meant; He meant what He said! He, indeed, was in an agony. "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!" What cup was that? The cup of the wrath of God — the cup which you and I filled to the very brim — which He, the innocent One, was to take for us the guilty ones, and drain to the dregs. He was perfectly innocent — He was without sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. (I cannot lay too much stress upon these things, because there are persons, who take their filthy hands, and attempt to tarnish the Person of the spotless Lamb of God.) He it was who took the cup of the wrath of God, and drank it to the dregs. He knew all that He was to do and suffer. He knew that God was to hide His face from Him. He knew that before God could ever look with complacency upon His children, He must hide His face from Christ; that in order that we might be blessed, He must take the curse due unto us; that in order that we might be made righteous in Him, He must take the place of the sinner. In view of all this then the Lord Jesus called the disciples aside, and instituted the Supper.
It was instituted on the night of the Jews' Passover. In the 12th of Exodus it is called Jehovah's passover. In John 2 it is called the passover of the Jews, and in Matthew 26, the passover, the feast of the Jews. Why this difference? The difference is very great. That which Jehovah had instituted to be a very holy and solemn thing, had dwindled down to that which the Jews took into their own hands, lowered, tarnished, and spoiled. That which was to commemorate the deliverance out of Egypt, the Jews made into a feast of their own; they lost sight of its original design; God was shut out from it. So the Lord's Supper, the Lord's Table, has been lowered, in many instances, into man's supper and man's table. I cannot speak too plainly upon this subject. I do not say at all, that everything I see to-day around me is man's table; for who am I to judge? But I am grieved to say, that in many cases, what the Holy Ghost says (in 1 Cor. 10:21, "Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and of the tables of devils") may be truly applied; substituting "tables of man" for tables of devils. Anything I spread, not on the ground of the one body, and which does not answer to the Lord's own institution, is not the Lord's Supper. If anything be the Lord's Supper, it must be that which answers to His own institution. I must embrace all believers, contemplate them all; take them all in; and we should be in fellowship with it; it must be that which shuts out all unbelievers. It must be that which contemplates all believers, and excludes every unbeliever, as having no part nor lot in the matter.
Now, beloved friends, it was His death He contemplated upon that night. The Jews, at Jehovah's Passover, were to remember the blood sprinkled upon the door-posts in Egypt, to save them from the destroying angel, when the Israelites were being delivered from Pharaoh. And what are we to show in the Lord's Supper? The death of the Lord by which we obtained eternal peace. Now, you and I ought to be deeply ashamed and grieved that that which is the remembrancer of the Lord's death has dwindled down to a mere "sacrament," or something else.
With whom are we linked up? We are linked up with a rejected Christ. It is not said that we are to show the Lord's resurrection. Surely we know He is risen from the dead, and is set down at God's right hand, to receive the reward of the work He has done. Every believer's life is safe, being as the apostle says, "Hid with Christ in God." Moreover, none can rightly remember Him in His death, who know not, in some degree, the power of His resurrection.
The death of the Lord Jesus is that which cuts us off from this world, and from all which is not of Himself. Hence we are called upon to remember it in connection with One who has been rejected — One whom the world will not own at all; and whose Lordship many, alas! of His own blood-bought ones refuse practically to admit. When we rightly understand, beloved, what it is to show His death, can our wills be allowed to dictate? We break the bread, and what does it whisper into the spiritual ear? The Lord's body once broken [Note: better 'given'. Eds.]. For what? Ay, who can give a full answer? Was it not to gather together in one the children of God scattered abroad? Then at the Supper divisions cease; no sects are known; no rivals claim. Was not His death that by which all my sins were for ever washed away? Then my sins must have no place at His Table. Could greater proof of His love be afforded than in His death? Then what so calculated to draw out mine, as to be dwelling upon His in His death? But think of the manner of the love which could institute such a precious Supper, at such a time of sorrow to Himself! Yet again: the Apostle Paul, or rather the Holy Ghost, bids us while at the table not only to look back at the death of the Lord, but also to look forward to His coming — "Show ye the Lord's death till He come." Hence, at the table, we eat as those who may be in glory with Himself before next Lord's-day. How weaning, then, is the feast calculated to be when partaken intelligently!
We must not forget, however, that abundant blessings flow forth to them who, though they have very little intelligence as to these things, nevertheless eat bread and drink wine together in obedience to the word of our departed Lord — "This do remembrance of me."
I do not speak here of privilege, but of obedience. "Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Is it because He is at present not seen by our eyes, that, therefore, there should be no loyalty of heart? It is amazing how little of true regard is paid by us to the word of our Lord. Truly may He ask us, Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say? Thousands of believers, with not a few excuses, but with no good reason whatever, absent themselves from the table of the Lord. The veriest trifle, which would have no influence in keeping them away from business, or even from pleasure so-called, is made excuse enough for their remaining "at home." The loving heart hails the first day of the week, and cheerfully the obedient feet move towards the assembly of saints, who are gathered unto the name of Him who says, "This do in remembrance of Me."
Supposing that our Queen should be dethroned, which we all would be very sorry to see; and supposing the night before the usurper came to the throne, the Queen called together all her loyal subjects and said ― "You know very well that the House of Hanover is the rightful house to reign over this kingdom; but you see these rebels are casting me off, these disloyal subjects have lifted up their heels against me. Will you, who are loyal, wear a black scarf once a year on a certain day, and let that be a token to everybody of your faithful attachment to the House of Hanover?" "Your Majesty, we will," would burst from every loyal lip. Now would such be afraid to put on that scarf as loyal subjects? Surely you know they would not; they would glory in it at all costs.
In appearing at the table of the Lord once a week, the disciples of the Lord manifest, in His own appointed way and time, their loyalty to One whom the world cast out. In this, of which the religiousness of the world has been always ashamed, the followers of Jesus, as the despised Nazarite, glory. They remember Him, not in His resurrection, not in His glory, but in His death.* Hence, moreover, the supper of the Lord stands forth as a silent condemnation to all who are not found owning Him; and, of course, to such as are ashamed to be identified with those who show His death till He come.
Take another example. A man on his deathbed calls his wife, and says, "Now, my dear, there are some people in the habit of marrying again when their husbands die. Now, I do not wish to bind you to anything; but your attachment has been so great to me, and your love so unselfish, that it would gratify me very much to think that you would remain my widow for the rest of your life." The loving wife would surely respond to the wish. And when she goes out, after his departure, in the attire of a widow, she announces her attachment to the name of her departed husband. Now, brethren, that is just what the Lord Jesus, in His matchless love, wishes of us. He delights to see us put on the black scarf once a week ― to show the widow's weeds on the first day of the week during His absence. Is it too much? He does not ask it of those who cannot do it, but of those who are "His own;" not of those who would need to be forced to do it, but of those whom love to Him should prompt to do it; and such, too, He helps, by the Holy Ghost, to do it effectually.
Now the Lord in His death cut Himself off from all that was of the old creation, and from all that was Jewish as to worship. Indeed, looking at His death as that in which man was the agent, we may say that natural men and religious men ("Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel") formed a confederacy for killing the Prince of Life, whom God raised from the dead. What depth of grace, beloved, do we behold in Him who has been pleased to call us out of the ranks of His enemies, to show His death! Of course nature and religiousness are opposed to Him still; consequently faithfulness in Him to-day will incur the hatred of His enemies. But what of that, my dear brethren? Would it not be our highest privilege even to die for such One? Surely it would. This, however, He does not ask. O may His grace be afforded us, that we may not be ashamed to confess Him fully; that we may not shrink from taking up our cross and following Him.
In announcing His death, therefore, we are reminded that we too have died out of our "old Adam" condition; that we are in no way linked up with a religiousness that is of man; but that we are one with the Lord, who is risen out of it all.
2. There is another thing that we do in the breaking of bread — we do it in remembrance of the Lord Himself.
We not only show His death, but we remember HIMSELF. Could you have affection more strong and touching than His? A person says to a friend, "I will give you a ring to put on, and when you look at it, think of me." Many friends may be very dear to us, and we would almost worship them, so long as we could see them; but when they go away from us, we forget them. Now, the blessed Lord well knew the thousand things that might so attract our hearts as to cause us, in a measure, to forget Him. Hence He designed to institute this feast, as a remembrancer of Himself.
Looked at from this point of view, we see no superstitious mysteries attaching to the Lord's Supper; we see no need for any oath-taking (sacrament) process; we behold no barrier in the way of the simple-hearted disciple. The bread and the wine, unchanged in their character, are such as the Holy Ghost uses to be remembrancers of a Person to whom, and to whom exclusively, we are sincerely attached.
In coming together, then, to break bread, we not only express the oneness of the body, show the Lord's death, and together await His return, but we specially remember Him. Self with its failures, self with its blessings, and self with its service, is lost sight of; PERSONS, however much loved and honoured in their ministry, are ignored; circumstances the most pleasing, or cares the most depressing, are allowed no place; while the LORD HIMSELF ― Lord as the One that died ― commands the heart and the mind of the saint. "This do in remembrance of ME." This makes the Supper beautifully simple, but unspeakably precious.
3. WORSHIP is not an unimportant constituent of the meeting to break bread.
Believers may be assembled for worship without breaking bread, but I think we shall find that the spirit of worship is the proper one at the Supper of the Lord.
Christians might come together for prayer; and it were profitable if we did so oftener; and did so in the spirit of the assembly of God (that is, grasping all the saints everywhere, and by whatever name they may call themselves). Such a meeting the Holy Ghost may lead to praise and adoration ― to worship; but such is not ostensibly a meeting for worship. Again, the children of God may, as often as convenient to themselves, get together in each other's houses, or anywhere, for reading the word together (would that such meetings were more frequent; the Lord uses them for our mutual edification, and for fellowship with one another, and for comforting many a troubled and tossed-about saint in these last days). At such readings much may be said that evokes silent praise to God from many; but such is not a meeting gathered for worship.
Further, a teaching brother invites his brethren (I mean all Christians by this term) to meet him, as he deems that he has a word of edification for them. He "conducts the meeting;" in other words, before the Lord he stands responsible for that meeting. So much so, that he goes ready with the word for the time, and begins at the hour he fixed. This is not a worship meeting.
Yet, again. Numbers of believers ― knowing that in their midst (perhaps for a little while only) are many of God's ministers, with varieties of gift, and trusting to the subjection of all to the Lord, and to each other, in Him ― may gather as an assembly, in what one may term an open assembly meeting. No one amongst them has anything very definite; nothing as to the course of the meeting is fixed beforehand; all know something of the way in which the Holy Ghost directs subject hearts, and ministers, through whom He pleases, for the blessing of all; nay, more, for the glory of the name of Jesus. In such a spirit, then, of prayer, faith, and dependence they assemble. I believe that were all those present fully engaged in soul, mind, and conscience, with the Person of Christ,
I need hardly add, that a meeting for preaching the Gospel, and conducted by an evangelist, is not a meeting for worship.
I know that the word is applied to meetings such as preaching the gospel, etc.; and I know that the great majority of Christians do so; but, beloved brethren, it is a false humility that accepts ideas, because large numbers of our forefathers taught them, when the word of God explicitly teaches the contrary. (Martin Luther was right in mooting the long-lost truth of justification by faith. But do we not know that he stood alone with the word of God while hundreds of monks, with their traditions, opposed him?).
Now, worship is the spiritual act of believers, in which, by the power of the Holy Ghost, they offer to God spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to Him through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2).
Worship is the proper occupation of a saved soul with Christ, and supposes: —
(a) The reception of the "gift of God" (John 4:10), "If thou knewest the gift of God." Here is no legality at all; no carnal preparations. No; the question is, Do you know the free-giving of God? Do you know Him as the one full of grace and mercy to a poor world, who, for the sake of His beloved Son, gives eternal life to all who believe? Have you peace in your own soul with Him? else you cannot worship.
(b) "And WHO it is that saith unto thee," etc. Before the Lord could talk to the woman about worship she needed to know God as a giver, and further, to know CHRIST.
The worshipper under the Jewish economy had this in type in the altar of burnt-offerings, which was the first object he encountered at the entrance to the holy place. We (Christians) have boldness to enter in as worshippers through the blood of Jesus. It is our security; His name our passport. Indeed, the apostle (in Hebrews 10) exhorts us to "draw near," because we have "an high-priest over the house of God."
The Lord Jesus is that high-priest. And He is such over "the house of God" inhabited by the Holy Ghost, in contrast to Moses' house (Hebrews 3) where God was never revealed as the "Father," who seeketh such (spiritual worshippers) to worship Him.
To be a spiritual worshipper, then, I must believe God as to my place and standing before God "in Christ" (Eph. 1); that I am "accepted in the beloved, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." Being in Him, I am clean delivered from the law of sin and death (Romans 8). His preciousness (1 Peter 2) God counts to me. O may we learn more of what it is to be in Christ? I do not wonder that many believers, who are ignorant of the complete salvation wrought out for them by the death of the Lord Jesus, are still beset with doubts and misgivings, and, therefore, are not free to worship.
(c) There is a third qualification for a true worshipper. He must be indwelt by the Holy Ghost. To Him the Lord evidently referred in His conversation with the woman, when He told her about the living water which He would give her (compare John 4:10; John 7:38, 39). We find in these three qualifications the diagnostic marks of a Christian. I do not say a saint — for such were all believers who lived before Pentecost — I say a Christian. I am aware that to many this is a strange bit of news; but if it be true, its strangeness must lie at our own doors, and not to vagueness of expression in the word of God.
A Christian, then, is one who knows God as the free-giving God; Christ as his peace; and is indwelt by the Holy Ghost; and such is sought by the Father as a worshipper.
The worshippers are separated people, sanctified to God. They can truly say, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the wicked one" (1 John 5:19). It is God who in His rich grace has made the "difference between" that "we" and the "world" (see Exodus 11:7).
A false humility, if not the veriest unbelief, will prefer "not to be quite sure." Faith's language is, "We know." And further, "we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true; and we are in Him, that is true (even) in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20).
None can worship that cannot adopt such language; all should who can. I said before, that while worship may be the occupation of saints very frequently, although they only break bread once a week, yet that it was a very prominent feature of the feast of the Lord's Supper. When He instituted the Supper He "gave thanks" (Matt. 26:26). It is not said that He blessed the bread, but He gave thanks (the margin is said to be right). (See Mark 14:22, 23; Luke 20:11, 19; 1 Cor. 11:24.) Many, ignorant of the nature of the Supper, "bless the elements." But what have not tradition, superstition, and ignorance led to? The Lord is truly very gracious in bearing with us so long and tenderly. May the result of our "inquiry" be to find us in fellowship with Him about His Supper!
To return. The Lord's Table is a place for solemn, holy, spiritual joy. If the design were otherwise, sorrow would have filled the assembly on the night that the Lord instituted the Supper.
Who can fathom the depths of grief into which His soul was sunk on that memorable night? Who but Himself knew the bitterness of the cup of wrath which awaited Him?
Did He not know that Peter would deny Him? Think you that it cost Him no pang, when all the disciples forsook Him and fled? Was it nothing to the Son of God, that His own creatures should, as dogs howl at Him, and as bulls of Bashan beset Him round about? (Ps. 22.) As to Israel, the nation to whom He came, see how, in their chief priests and rulers, they cast Him out: and say, "Was there ever sorrow like unto His sorrow?"
Above all, He was soon to be forsaken of God (Matt. 27:46).
Yet after the Passover with His disciples, on creating this new feast, "He gave thanks." Yes; there were the unquenchable flames of love within His own bosom, which all the storms of Satan and the malice of wicked men failed to reach: they burned on that occasion without a flicker. High above these strata of sorrow were plateaus of verdure that delighted His heart. He rose superior to His griefs: He unselfishly (dear His name!) looked forward to the blessings to flow from His death. Hence, "for the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame." He could find a joy even in the sufferings which awaited Him: hence "He gave thanks."
To bring, then, our sins, our failures, our sorrows, our cares to the table of the Lord, would be to dishonour Him: through Him the Father can say, "Let us make merry and be glad." Surely it is to Him that we should carry our sins, failures, etc.; but the time for them is not the Supper-time, nor the place the Lord's-table. It is the time and place for worship, adoration, giving of thanks, and praise.
Indeed, what circumstance is there more calculated to elicit our praises as the showing the Lord's death — remembering Him?
Are we then reminded that by His death we live? Then, at the Table, we praise the life-giver. Was it the Father — our Father — who gave Him to die? Then we bless "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Is it the Holy Ghost that brings to our souls a vivid remembrance of Him whose love was stronger than death? Then we ascribe praise for the Holy Ghost, who takes of the things of Christ and reveals them unto us.
Of course, much may be done to favour, to feed, worship, at the Supper. But all the meeting should tend that way. One brother present, for instance, may open the meeting with a portion of the Word or a hymn, etc., relating to the person or work of Christ. If he be subject to the Holy Ghost, it will be the key-note of the praises of the assembly; and will, therefore, commend itself to all the spiritual.
Another (or the same one) may engage in leading the expressions of praises; while another may read another portion, give out a hymn, and so on (1 Cor. 14); but the tendency, I say, is towards worship — giving of His own, to God and to the Lord Jesus, who supplied that, which hearts, bubbling over, return to Himself.
Here let me venture a remark on Ex. 12:8 — "unleavened bread" and the "bitter herbs."
The paschal lamb, "roasted with fire" — type of the wrath endured by our Lord — caused joy to every Israelite; but when eaten, it was to be with "unleavened bread and with bitter herbs."
So at the Lord's Supper, no leaven (evil) is to be allowed; there is not to be found the least degree of unholiness. Indeed, how could it be, in the presence of that which reminds us of God's righteous judgment on sin? "For Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us." I believe, too, that while a holy, consistent, spiritual walk is essential to the partaking worthily of the Lord's Supper, the believer who thus partakes is strengthened for practical holiness. The two are made to react upon each other.
The "unleavened bread," then, suggests moral fitness in the believer, and supposes self-judgment. An Israelite ate the Passover, and every believer may partake of the Supper; but leaven was to be excluded by the one, and every impurity of mind and life is to be judged by the other.
But what do we learn about the "bitter herbs"? — A very solemn truth.
Herbs with meat are not food; but they impart their savour to the food. Those taken at the paschal feast were to be "bitter."
Are our spirits subdued as we meditate at the table upon the sufferings of Christ?
Do we seek to realize anything of the cost to the Lord of our place of blessing?
Do not tell me about the shedding of tears on such an occasion; I ask whether the soul lingers at the scene of suffering, while we remember the Lord as the One that died. If not, do meditate upon the significance of the "bitter herbs."
It is only when these two things are strictly observed, viz., practical holiness daily, and a broken, chastened spirit at the table, that the soul can truly contemplate Christ, and so truly worship Him. Many beautiful examples of worship are given in the Word of God: —
(a) In Deut. 26, a man in the land of Canaan is to carry his basket full of first-fruits to God, and worship before the Lord his God (v. 2, 10).
Then we learn respecting worship —
1. It is by one in Canaan, not in Egypt. Answering to this is the heavenly position now before God in Christ of every true believer (Eph. 1). A Christian worshipper to-day must be a believer.
2. Everyone in the land was to present his basket of firstfruits. Every believer to-day should be a spiritual worshipper.
3. He went as a giver; and his was to be a basket full. The Lord is pleased to say, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me" (Ps. 50:23). How condescending to place us in the position of givers! Such is His grace.
4. The basket was to be a full one. For this, I judge, there was a constant gathering up. How blessed it would be if, all the week through, we were so dwelling in the presence of God, so delighting in Himself, so learning of Him from His Word, as to have a full (how large?) heart of praise and worship, to offer to God on the first day of the week, as we are gathered to break bread in remembrance of Him.
5. It was, moreover, a basket full of first-fruits. The youngest believer should be an instantaneous worshipper.
(b) Look at the leper (Luke 17:17). When he found that he was healed, he turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God. Gratitude filled his heart. He "gave thanks."
(c) From John 12 we may learn how much beyond service the Lord estimates the adoration of His person. Many of us to-day, alas! reverse this, and indulge the vanity of Judas, rather than the humble, quiet worship of the woman. Am I, by this remark, to be accused of finding fault with service? Nothing is farther from my thoughts. Would to God that all of His dear saints could be less busy with each other's failures, and with plans of self-indulgence, so as to be freer for His use in various departments! But the fact is that even our service may revolve around our insignificant selves, and be in the Lord's sight worthless. (I have frequently wondered, if we could carry our memoranda of service with us to the judgment-seat (2 Cor. 5), how many of our jottings would stand.) On the other hand true worship leaves the mind with such an exalted sense of God's majesty that abhorrence of self is the result; and such is just the condition of vessel the Lord can use (Judges 7:16; 2 Cor. 4:7). The woman was endeavouring to show her admiration of the Lord's blessed person; and when Judas found fault, the Lord said, "Let her alone." So, beloved, we may also see here, that when by illness we are laid aside and cannot serve actively, we may worship and adore One, who observes the simplest outflow of affection for Himself. Is there any one in heaven or earth so precious as He?
(d) Have you never been struck with John's conduct in the Isle of Patmos? Just observe him. Turn to Revelation 1. From verse 1 to the middle of verse 5 he is narrating — "And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth."
Properly speaking, the narrative continues in v. 7, "Behold He cometh with clouds," etc. Intermediately there is a parenthesis. Then why the sudden halt in v. 5? We notice the eye turned away from the "seven assemblies" (ekkesiais) towards "Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood."
Why, have you never suddenly stopped on your way, to admire an attractive object, which unexpectedly presented itself to your gaze? Yes, you have.
Well, the most lovely object of Heaven presented Himself to John's mind at the mention of His name; and straightway he uttered his "Selah." He halted and worshipped — "To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." He could not help himself.
Numerous similar examples are found scattered in Paul's writings (Romans 11:33-36; Eph. 1:3; 1 Tim. 6:16; Jude 24, 25).
(e) I will cite just one more passage (Revelation 5:12-14) for it is very suggestive. (I may say that the best critics omit the last seven words of v. 14.) Now, we gather from this Scripture that worship may either be attended with utterance of the lips, as in v. 12, where the crowned elders said, with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb," etc.; or worship may be silent, as in v. 14, where, after the "Amen" by the "living creatures," the elders merely "fell down and worshipped."
I have frequently wondered why saints at worship meetings sing as if they were afraid to let their voices be heard. The elders say with a loud voice. But I prefer to judge myself, for the very little silent, quiet worship paid by my soul, at such meetings. The quiet pauses at worship meetings are delightful opportunities for discharging the full baskets. I think I should say that nothing is more indicative of the paucity of worship as when brethren are seen turning over leaves of books, staring about, and acting as if there was no divine power for contemplating the glories of the person of Christ.
Is it not because we are in His presence so little? Is it not because we do not fill our baskets during the week? We must not wait till the Lord's-day to fill our baskets. That must be a poor, barren meeting, as far as worship is concerned, when we do so.
There needs, therefore, much self-judgment while we sit at the table. It may be nothing but nature desiring to be heard that leads me to announce my favourite hymn or chapter, or to indulge "a speech" in public praise. A natural disposition, I say, may prompt this. Such is not spiritual worship; self is unbridled.
On the other hand, a natural timidity, or nervousness, or fear of being found fault with, may keep me silent, when the mind of the Holy Ghost was towards my utterance. This, too, is unjudged nature. Yet, again, a false notion to please lookers-on may induce me to break the solemn silence of the worshippers, and so to keep up a sort of excitement. I need to be at Gilgal. I require the "bitter herbs." Thus we need to be very much in the presence of God where alone self is displaced, ere we can be true spiritual worshippers. (How gracious of our Lord to bear with our failures in this respect.)
Let us not forget that, although He who seeks worshippers is our "Father," yet that "God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." Falseness may escape detection by our brethren; but He looks for "truth in the inward parts;" and however much we estimate our own acts, He who is sole judge values them according to His estimate.
If the worship be in Christ, such as the Spirit of God prompts, well; else it is only so much shadow to Him; and utterly void of substance, is regarded as worthless. (If these suggestions be Scriptural I need hardly say that they stand in wide contrast to much that is called "worship" among the Ritualists, etc., now-a-days.) May nothing short of spiritual worship be yielded henceforth by every one of us, beloved brethren. If any are found identified with what the Word condemns, may grace be afforded us to quit it instantly whatever the cost.
What Christian, who is subject to the Lord, can, in the face of such Divine truth, uttered by God Himself in the person of Christ, sanction by his presence that which is neither purely Jewish nor purely Christian? I desire every Christian reader to weigh this question with all humility in the presence of God.
4. Besides celebrating the death of the Lord, remembering Himself, and worshipping; do we not find another object in the Supper? Is it not to manifest the oneness of the body?
I think so. Let us see. In 1 Cor. 10:16, 17, this idea seems to be fairly deduced, as we read, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread (or one loaf) and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread (or loaf). We saw on a previous occasion that the Lord always contemplated "one body," "one assembly." And this should be expressed in the one unbroken loaf set upon the table, afterwards broken and divided among the gathered saints.
Despite those who sing of buildings ―
"These temples of His grace,
How beautiful they stand;
The honours of our native place,
And bulwarks of our land;"
the truth remains, "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ."
And again, "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a SPIRIT, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23, 24.)
At this late hour of the night, we must be content just to offer a few practical suggestions on this point, and specially may we do so, as in the "inquiry as to what is the assembly," the subject is developed.
(1.) A table spread on any other basis than that of God's assembly is sectarian, and therefore has no claims on the godly.
To be more explicit, let us suppose that all of us in this room now, who are believers, should agree to break bread to-night, and should spread the table for ourselves only, without providing, according to the Scriptures, for all the "approved" saints. Then we might "break bread;" but it would be our own, and not the Lord's supper; for the Lord's Supper contemplates all the members of the "one body."
Again, contemplate any society of Christians meeting as a society, subject to regulations arranged among themselves, and to which all the members are agreed. Let such meet as a society to break bread. Then, I say, from 1 Cor. 10 and 11, they eat a Society's supper, and not the Lord's, although they attach, with the most pious motives, His name to their feast.
Differently constituted, as our several minds are, we cannot be unanimous in accepting plans suggested by each other. Hence, when such plans are forced there must be divisions. And this is just what the apostle tells us in the portion before us. "There must be heresies (a heretic is one with an unsubdued will; this, indulged, leads to schism), that they which are approved may be made manifest" (1 Cor. 11:18, 19).
But let all, with broken wills ("spirit of meekness") be subject to the same Lord, be directed by the same Spirit, from the same divine book, and can you expect schism in such a case?
However, in this day of abundant heresy (self-will which leads to false doctrines and divisions), we need to search diligently for our path.
Beloved brethren, I hesitate not to say that such a search is not very easy. But the very difficulty of it should lead us in all meekness and self-abnegation to Him who can conduct us along "a way which no fowl knoweth, which the vulture's eye hath not seen: the lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it" (Job 28:7, 8; Ps. 107:7).
I say nothing here of societies that knowingly admit unbelievers to their communion. I confess to be no little surprised at any godly saint being in fellowship with such. The difficulty we have to encounter is with companies of Christians, real believers, who themselves endeavour to exclude, as far as they can judge, unconverted persons. One of the tests is given in the Scripture before us. I should therefore inquire, Are you gathered on the principle of the one body? That is, could every true believer, every godly saint, be gathered with you according to the Word of God? Or are you gathered around a minister, a doctrine, or a few doctrines?
(2.) Again, to be an expression of the "one body," for there to be communion of the body of Christ, there needs a oneness of judgment as to the divine and spotless person of Christ the Head
"No man, speaking by the Spirit of God, calleth Jesus accursed" (1 Cor. 12:3). Therefore that cannot answer to the manifestation of the "one body," which allows of evil teaching respecting the Lord Jesus: for it must not be forgotten that it is the presence of the Holy Ghost which constitutes the one Body; and He never sanctions anything derogatory to the Lord. But some may ask, Who are to be the judges of the doctrine? To such I reply, Take heed of the spirit which prompted the question. Am I to infer that any teaching may be allowed in an assembly without being challenged? The Holy Ghost gives a standard in the text I last quoted, and the godly must compare with it. Has it come to pass that saints of God are to be less careful of what is taught about the person of Christ than they are about doctrines, which, in their opinion, more directly concern their safety? How quickly, for instance, would the statement be challenged that if a believer died without partaking of this Holy Eucharist he would be lost. Yet many pass heedlessly on, as if they were perfectly indifferent to any heresy respecting the person of the Lord. I say, therefore, that that cannot be the expression of the "one body" of Christ, where evil doctrines as to His Divine person are persistently held and taught.
It is perhaps necessary that I should call special attention to these remarks, for there are not a few assemblies that at first sight seem to be the very "beau ideal" of what answers to an expression of the "one body," and saints unwittingly have fellowship with them.
I certainly think that in every case Christians should inquire (of such as can inform them, and in whose veracity they have confidence) into the history of a gathering which presents itself to them for communion with it. If it consists of believers only, own the presence of the Holy Ghost, and no human presidency; if it exclude those holding doctrinal evils, or walking in an immoral way; and further, if it recognises such as are similarly gathered, then it seems to me that my place should be with it for the Lord's Supper.
But other difficulties present themselves. In the same place there may be two or three assemblies, ostensibly gathered on the same ground, and yet not in fellowship with each other. What then! (May the Lord Himself teach us, in all our difficulties, to lean on His unerring wisdom.) Am I to choose that at which there is most teaching? Shall that in which most love is attract me, or shall I rather identify myself with that which receives every and any one on his own testimony? Respecting the last, let us bear in mind that even Paul the Apostle was not received into the fellowship of the Jerusalem brethren till Barnabas took him by the hand, till he was introduced (Acts 9:26). If godly care is not thus exercised, who then might not sit at the table? I should certainly refuse on this principle to break bread with such a gathering.
As to a second having "very loving and dear saints at it," I rejoice before the Lord when saints love one another. Would that we dwelt more in company of Him whose name is Love, that so we might love each other more! But alas! that that external appearance, very pleasing to nature, should attract so many. In dealing with the things of God, I need an exercised conscience, besides a loving heart. Now, CHRIST, and not "loving saints," is God's Divine centre for rallying His saints. Hence, if He be not implicitly submitted to, such a gathering has no claims on me, though there were never so much love.
True love must be "in the Spirit," not in the flesh. However, at love I am not to look, nor must I be discouraged if I do not find it. This I believe, that those who love most are least loved (2 Cor. 12:15).
Lastly, beautiful teaching is obtained "at a third gathering." Granted. But I repeat that CHRIST and not doctrines is the centre of gathering.
Better be in fellowship with a "feeble folk," who are gathered on divine principles, than be where there is "much teaching" with much human will. Alas! that not a few are merely attached by teaching.
But to return. I should get the history of the gatherings, and exercise my judgment, in much dependence on divine guidance, as to which (or neither) to be in fellowship with.
I will assume a case for illustration. A believer sees from God's word that he should cease his connection with religious sects. I do not say with saints, but with systems of human arrangement. He remains at home. Like the seven thousand in Elijah's time who had not the energy to challenge evil, but had grace to refuse to mingle with the false worshippers, he quietly waits on the Lord; he betakes himself in much prayer to the word, and he waits for direction.
He hears of a gathering which propagates false doctrines respecting the person and work of Christ. He investigates it patiently and quietly, and finds the charge to be alas! a true one. With such he cannot break bread.
A second will not receive the teachers of evil doctrines, but will not refuse such as go in and out with such teachers. Now God charged the sin of Achan upon "all Israel" (Joshua 7:11); the "leaven" of one man's sin (1 Cor. 5) upon the "whole lump." Such was His divine estimate of the unity of Israel, and such His idea of the oneness of His Church. Again, the Holy Ghost distinctly says that a receiver of a person teaching anything than the true doctrine as to the person of Christ, "is a partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 2). Hence, if persons will act in such independence of the mind of the Lord, I must, although with a broken heart, refuse identity with them. I have to please the Lord, not my tastes; I must seek His approval, not my brethren's; although thankful to get both.
Supposing I find some who are gathered in the unity of the Spirit, refusing in every way association with moral and doctrinal evil: then let us thank God for such; and follow righteousness, faith, love, peace with them (2 Tim. 2). With such I would break bread by all means. Indeed I would claim my place at the Lord's Table with them; and if the saints are godly they would not refuse me — if my confession and walk be for Christ.
Judging from the case of Paul, already referred to, it would seem to be the more godly way that two or more at the table, who know any godly believer desiring to have communion with them at the Lord's Supper, and in whose judgment their brethren had confidence; I say that it seems a happy way for such to commend the believer to the gathering. No test seems Scriptural but the one confession of the Christ of God. The gathering, on such recommendation of two or three witnesses, should "receive him to the glory of God."
If he be ignorant, the Holy Ghost can instruct him, and hence his ignorance should be no barrier to his reception; on the contrary, those who commended him should feel a special care for him, helping him on in divine things in the name of the Lord. In fact, I am not aware of anything, but immoral walk, or a tenacious adherence to heretical doctrines, that should exclude any believer from the Lord's table; do you? Then why are you all not at it? If He graciously invite you is it humility to refuse? The contrary is the fact. Let us take care that pride, or selfishness, or a shrinking from the cross, is not the hindrance.
THE LORD'S TABLE, THEN, IS LARGE ENOUGH FOR ALL HIS SAINTS, AND IS AN EXPRESSION OF THE ONE BODY; BUT AT ITS NARROW ENTRANCE IS WRITTEN IN LARGE LETTERS, "HOLINESS BECOMETH THINE HOUSE, O LORD, FOR EVER" (Ps. 93:5).
May our spiritual condition correspond daily with our ecclesiastical position.
It may be asked, why be so very particular? The reason is on the surface — IT IS THE TABLE OF THE LORD. "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I" (Matt. 18:20). Of course I see no occasion with Rome for deducing transsubstantiation, nor with Luther for consubstantiation, from this. I reason not on the statement. It is enough for faith that the Lord is to be owned, as present with His gathered saints, according to His word. And by the power of the Holy Ghost, too, sweet communion — "a blessed antepast of heaven" is enjoyed by the soul in His presence in a very special way. May we know still more of this; and may large numbers of our dear brethren, who deny themselves the privilege, be drawn to share the joy of such as revel in "fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ."
4. Having endeavoured to show who are the partakers of the Lord's Supper, and who are excluded, and what is the design of the feast; let us notice, and very briefly, how often, and till what event, the feast should be commemorated.
Consistently with the principle of law, Jehovah enjoined on Israel the keeping of the Passover once a year. In keeping with the dealings of God in grace with us now, the Lord fixes no definite periods by an enactment in so many words. But let me say, once for all, that a distinct intimation of His mind is, or ought to be, quite enough for a child of grace; and respecting the Supper such intimation is not lacking.
There were "yet many things" which the Lord would have said to His disciples, if they could bear them (John 16:12). Howbeit the Spirit of truth, given after His ascension, was to guide them into all truth.
It is our wisdom, therefore, to see His will where it is expressed in the Gospels; then to look in the Acts of the Apostles for the way it was carried out, as in the Epistles for the interpretation of the Acts.
(a) HOW OFTEN?
1. Before the Lord's crucifixion, He said to His disciples, "Do this as often . . . in remembrance of Me." The point there, I judge, is, not the time but the object of the Supper is contemplated.
Yet it would appear, that those who are willing to think of HIM in His death would, from this Scripture, see their privilege of celebrating the Supper frequently. I say privilege, and a blessed privilege it is. And doubtless, we would see this the more were we less engaged with ourselves. To be looking in at self, enshrouded with doubts as to our acceptance "in the Beloved," is a fruitful source of legality respecting the Lord's Supper. So, again, when we habitually permit worldliness, bad tempers, evil thoughts, etc., it becomes us to own them to God. In such case it is occupation with our doubts, or with our failures; and hence we are not free to be engaged with Christ. I repeat, therefore, that were we less engaged with self, we would be freer to eat the Lord's Supper more often.
The Lord, then, before His death did not say how often, but intimated freedom to eat the Supper as frequently as the disciples could have communion in spirit with Himself.
(2) Consistently with this, we find the disciples, after the Lord's ascension, and after the descent of the Holy Ghost, "continuing daily (or every day) with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house" (or rather in the house, at home, not in the temple), etc.
It appears, from this Scripture, that the disciples soon after Pentecost broke bread daily.
(3) The Lord's-day, or first day of the week (our Sunday) seems to have been specially honoured by the Lord Jesus, as His resurrection-day. It is called (Rev. 1) "the Lord's-day (kuriake hemera. The same word, kuriakon, 1 Cor. 11:20, is used for the Lord's supper. It is not a common day in the one case, nor a common meal in the other, but the LORD's-day and the LORD's Supper), a very distinct and different day from the seventh day or the Sabbath (our Saturday), observed by the Jews.* Now it was on this day, the first day of the week, the LORD's-day (our Sunday) that the Lord appeared to the assembled disciples, spoke peace to them, and showed them His hands and His side (John 20). More than this. The day was not only thus honoured as the Lord's, and therefore full of privilege for His saints, but He positively "broke bread" with two of His disciples (Luke 24:30) on the "first day of the week."
Lastly, we find the special vessel of the Church's testimony — I mean the Apostle Paul — in the midst with the disciples, who "came together to break bread" upon the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). I conclude, therefore, that the proper time for celebrating the Lord's Supper is every first day of the week — not once a month nor once a year, but once a week, and that on the Lord's-day. I should like to add a remark or two in this place.
(1.) The chief aim of saints, when assembled on the Lord's-day, should be to break bread. If this be lost sight of, then many will go away disappointed, if no word of edification or exhortation be spoken. I believe that when the object of the meeting is held prominently before the soul there will not be the delaying to break the bread; it will be done at an early portion of the meeting. Of course the laying down of plans might reduce this blessed feast to the merest routine, and quench the action of the Spirit of God. On the other hand, if the mind be not correctly instructed, the merest superstition will be interpreted as the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Spiritual walk and much self-abnegation are needed for recognising what is of the Holy Ghost and what is of nature.
(2.) There may be, however, if there be present any whom the Holy Ghost can use, a word of edification or exhortation, etc., spoken, as in the case referred to. Paul, a servant of God, present with the disciples, discoursed to them. But the disciples, remember, did not assemble to hear Paul preach. The word is distinct enough — "Came together to break (or with the object of breaking) bread." It seems also, from this passage cited, that the discourse was subsequent to the Supper.
Sometimes we have to regret that some intrude their speeches upon us, whom a little more modesty might suggest to be silent; and many are silent whom a little fear hinders from being used; and we ourselves are prejudiced for or against, and thus may be losers. But such are our failures and do not touch the Divine principles which we have been seeking to enunciate.
Let them cast us upon Him, who values the motives of honest and sincere hearts, even when our actions are truly humbling. Better go on, however, in the most abject weakness, ay, even with failures, than resort to human expediency, which would be rebellion (read Ex. 32:1; 1 Sam. 8:5).
(b) TILL WHAT EVENT?
How cheering to the loving heart it is to be reminded at the Supper, that another first day of the week may find all the saints of God together in glory with the Lord! Do you not observe that, in 1 Cor. 11:26, not a shadow is allowed to obstruct our proper and proximate hope? Shall we make plans for carrying on our cause? No; the Lord is coming. Shall we remain away from the Table on the slightest pretences for another week? No; for the "Lord is at hand." Need we allow the present ruinous appearance (to us) of the Church, to cause faint-heartedness, and thus relax our testimony to His grace? Certainly not; for the same Lord who permits us to look back at the cross, while we eat of the bread and drink of the cup, bids us look forward to His coming, — "Behold, I come quickly."
Here saints are shy of each other; here they misunderstand one another; here they are so divided that very few indeed in any one place are gathered together at the Supper. Frequently the godly mourn over it, knowing that they will never in the earth meet in any place all the saints. But is there no cheering beam of comfort? Shall we all never meet together? Oh yes! we shall. And not only we of this generation, but all the saints from Adam. And we shall see, too, the holy apostles, prophets, martyrs, and others who ate of the same Supper 1800 years ago, of which we now partake. Paul will be there, and "the woman of the city," and the Samaritan woman, and John, and all whom now we know, and yet so little love. Oh, what a meeting will that be! (I wonder whether one of my hearers shall be absent. God forbid! At any rate, I declare unto you that Christ receiveth sinners still).
But, beloved brethren, we shall see in brightest glory the One who condescends to invite you and me to show His death, till He come." "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout . . . the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain (till the coming) shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we be ever with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words."
How vast is the field for contemplation, as we, from God's Divine stand-point, gaze upon the Lord's Supper and the Lord's Table.
I trust it will be borne in mind that it is a search for truth from the Scriptures which has been engaging us, and not a review of men's thoughts nor of men's acts. I have been endeavouring not to deduce a system of thoughts from the practice of saints, but, on the contrary, to see that our conduct should be according to the Divine standard.
I trust the Lord will graciously help us to reject whatever I have said that is not of Himself; supply to us all which in this inquiry is deficient; and grant special grace to all of us, to live out practically, at all costs, to ourselves, whatever we discover to be His mind, for His own glory. Amen.
1. The Lord's Supper is for all saints. Every believer, spiritual in walk and doctrine, is constituted a worthy partaker by the LORD HIMSELF:
2. That is not the Lord's Table which admits persons who are not of the family; known and recognised as such by the godly; nor has that any claim on the Spiritual which is in fellowship, directly or indirectly, with anything derogatory to the spotless person of Christ; or which, as an independent meeting, disowns the "one body:"
3. Where there is the Table of the Lord in any place, there all the godly should be assembled to eat the Lord's Supper; each should claim his place at the Table:
4. The design of the Supper is for the saints —
(a) To celebrate the Lord's death,
(b) To remember Himself,
(c) To worship (as priests),
(d) To manifest the "one body:"
5. Scriptural warrant respecting the frequency of the meeting for breaking bread is ONCE A WEEK at least, and that on the Lord's-day — the resurrection day:
6. It being a fact that the Holy Ghost is now in the assembly to conduct its meeting at the Lord's Supper, saints should, in subjection to Him, and in much self-judgment, assemble for the Supper, however feeble they may be, without any reference whatever to human presidency or carnal arrangements:
7. The Assembly is to eat the Supper, as waiting the return of the Lord — "till He come."
Dr. C. J. Davis.
 It cannot be too distinctly laid down that the specific teaching for post-Pentecostal saints ― i.e., for the Church of God ― is such as was specially given to the apostles and prophets; and, we may add, to Paul in particular. I do not mean to insinuate that we should neglect the Old Testament teaching. Far be the thought! I am sure we too much neglect it. Indeed, do we not allow business, and the greed to "get on in the world," so to absorb all, or most of our time, as to leave very little, or none, for quiet private, prayerful meditations? What spiritual mind can fail to derive a feast each time the Levitical types are considered? Who does not know how the sacred biographies of the Enochs, Noahs, Abrahams, Elijahs, Daniels, influence our lives to-day? I rather urge the reading of the Old Testament upon my younger brethren. But the teaching as to the Church's calling, relationship, and destiny, is such as was given to the apostles and prophets, and Paul in particular. Those who question that the "prophets" spoken of in Eph. 2:20, are New Testament prophets, such as Barnabas, Simeon, and Manaen (Acts 13), need only consult Eph. 3:5, to have their question settled. "The mystery ― which in other ages was NOT made known to the sons of men, as it is NOW revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." See also 1 Cor. 12:28, "God hath set some in the Church: first, apostles; secondly, PROPHETS; thirdly, teachers," etc. Now no one pretends that apostles are any other than New Testament apostles. The prophets here alluded to are also New Testament prophets; and they come second in God's order of precedence, as we say.
 "Holy One" would be a fuller statement of the truth. — ED.
 Literally it is "breaking bread at home." Our version would imply that the Lord's Supper was shifted about from house to house. It is not so. It had then as now a settled character attached to it. — ED.
 Some have tried to prove that Judas ate the Lord's Supper with the other disciples, and hence other Judases should be tolerated. I shall try to prove that Judas was not at the Supper. Remember then that on the night the Supper was instituted the Paschal Lamb of the Passover was also eaten. Look (1) at Mark 14. (In Mark, as in Matthew, we find more attention to the order of events.) Here, from verse 17 to 21, the Paschal meal is eaten; then the Lord's Supper in verse 22. Note here, that the conversation as to who should betray Him preceded the Eucharist. (2) In Matthew 26:17-25, we see again the Paschal feast; and then (verse 26) the Supper. Notice here, also, that the question of the betrayer preceded the holy Eucharist, and neither here nor in Mark is it positively said that Judas was present. (3) John 13 settles the question. Judas, who had eaten the Passover bread (ver. 18), and dipped in the dish (ver. 26), "Went out immediately." Although John does not add to the account of the Passover that of the Lord's Supper, yet he does tell us that the conversation was at the Passover, and that Judas went out immediately. I conclude, therefore, from these Scriptures taken together, that Judas went out immediately after the Paschal feast, and before the Eucharist was partaken; that is, Judas did not eat the Lord's Supper at all. Lest Luke 22 should present any difficulty, I may just add that Luke never adheres to chronological order in his gospel. He deals generally with moral events, arranging them with that idea rather than in regard to the order of their sequence; e.g. most accept the order of the temptations given by Matthew; but it must have occurred to all that although Luke mentions them, he does so in a different order. Again, as another remarks, Luke gives the Sermon on the Mount, but not in a connected manner (chaps. 6 and 9). Now in chap. 22 he gives the account of the Passover and of the Supper; but the order, as is his wont, is different. "The table" of verse 21 refers to that of the Passover. I conclude, therefore, that Judas did not partake of the Lord's Supper; because — (1) Neither of the Evangelists says that he did; (2) The conversation in which he joined, took part, was at the Paschal feast — before the Lord's Supper; (3) John positively avers that after the sop (and therefore before the Supper) he "went out immediately." I would add that, in my judgment, it is not a point of real importance whether Judas ate the Lord's Supper or not. Did the disciples know the traitor? They did not (Matt. 26:22). But the Lord knew. We act, however, upon our knowledge of persons and things, not upon the Lord's omniscient knowledge. Is it not so? — ED.
 Blessedly true; but He was more, as to His humanity, that "holy thing" (Luke 1:35). — ED.
 The remembrance of Christ is not confined to His death. We are free as led of the Holy Ghost to remember the Blessed One at the Lord's table in all that He was and did in and preceding His death. "In or for a remembrance of Me," and "Ye do shew the Lord's death," are distinct, although vitally connected, truths. — ED.
 Worship is the act of a believer approaching God as a "priest unto God," presenting Him whom God can accept. It is not stupid or ignorant wonder; but intelligent homage of one who is brought to God in Jesus Christ. Such adoration may prompt praise, expressed in song or otherwise; praise to God Himself, or to the Lord Jesus, "The Lamb slain," and worthy to receive honour etc. And such praise should be, in the assembly of saints, such as all can have fellowship in. Worship may also incite to prayer ― as, for example, for deeper acquaintance with the person of Christ; grace to walk, when out from the meeting, worthy of Him. And such prayer, in the assembly, should embrace all saints, although only a handful ― "two or three" ― are present to say "amen." Here Christendom fails. Here all of us should accept our share of the common shame. Worship is that which goes to God from man; just as in the ministry there is an outflow to man from God. God condescending to receive in the one; God graciously giving the other. Ministry is called worship by people generally. But what does God receive from man? That which He himself gives ― the gift of God ― viz., Jesus Christ. Do you remember one of the curses in Jude? It is for going "in the way of Cain." What did he? He offered the fruits of the ground to God. Now, God had no respect to it. Why? Because the ground had been cursed. Then suppose I offer to God anything of this earth ― stones, bricks, wood, etc., nicely arranged in the latest style of architecture, is that Christ? No. Then the word is, "Woe unto you!" How solemn! May the Lord let it reach to the consciences of all of us! Of course we see now why Abel's offering was accepted, because he offered the lamb to God. Christ was offered to God. He is the very essence of worship ― "the sweet incense." But was God's refusal of Cain a reason why he should hate, and afterwards slay, Abel? No; It should have led him to repentance and to fellowship with Abel. "Marvel not, my brethren ― you who desire to present Christ only to God ― marvel not if the world hate you." Come what may, let us accept GOD'S plan for worship. I do not say it is best. Oh, no; it is the right one. Everything beside is false.
 The word Christian occurs, as far as I can see, three times only in the bible, and they are all in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). Now-a-days, many assume the title without any conscience whatever as to union with, and standing in, Christ. In the early days of Christianity, i.e., soon after Pentecost, to be a Christian was to be exposed to reproach and shame: yea, even to death; for it expressed identification with Christ, whom the world hates.
 It should be borne in mind that thanksgiving preceded taking of the cup; as well as the breaking of the bread.
 The Lord — ED.
 Spiritual worship is not connected with this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem. The Lord most distinctly showed, in His conversation with the woman, how the end was come of worship in "temples made with hands." In the most solemn manner He said, "Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father."
 1. If, when at the table, I announce a chapter or a hymn, or attempt to express the praises of the assembly, when it was only self-acting throughout, and not the Spirit of God, in the assembly, using whom He will, I act out of communion with "the body of Christ." On the other hand, when the "one body" is recognised, and all the members are subject to the "ONE SPIRIT," there will be most harmonious music throughout; not an instrument will be out of concert: the praises, the songs, the chapters, the exhortations, and everything will so accord, that all who know nothing of the "one Spirit," present to conduct the choir, will go away declaring that all was pre-arranged by the actors.
2. In 1 Cor. 11 another thing altogether is alluded to. There, a person eating and drinking unworthily, eats and drinks judgment (or that which merits censure from the Lord), not discerning the "Lord's body.” In 1 Cor. 10, the Church, as one assembly, is the thought. Here a much more serious idea presents itself. The Corinthians seem to have been living in a most carnal way: and instead of recognising the divine presence of the Lord, they partook of His Supper as they would a common meal; hence one was hungry and another was drunk. They did not discern the "Lord's body." This the Apostle sharply corrects; and, inasmuch as they did not judge themselves, the Lord judged them. Many were weak and sickly, and others died (slept). This leads me to remark that there is a wide difference between a worthy partaker and the partaking worthily. The blood of Christ renders the believer a worthy partaker, but the manner in which he should partake ― the worthily ― respects the condition of soul in which the believer approaches the table. Wherefore, "let a man examine himself; and so (in a worthy manner) let him eat," etc. The examining of oneself is essential to the giving up of a practice, which, in an unjudged condition, was indulged. Now the Lord had said of the bread, "This is my body which is for you." The bread, unchanged as such, pictures to the simple soul the body of the Lord [...]. We need to be walking in the Spirit to "discern the Lord's body."
 A person going from one place to another should seek "letters of commendation" to the gathering whither he is going (2 Cor. 3:1; Acts 28:21). This saves very much unpleasantness, both to himself and to those who may not know him. I may here add, that there is no scriptural reason why a saint walking in the Spirit should not partake of the Lord's supper on every first day of the week if he be not prevented by unavoidable circumstances; and, in such case, of course the Lord sees him in fellowship still with His own thoughts. Some stay away, conscious of failure in walk. If a man be living in sin, I wonder that the Table is not the most miserable situation he could occupy. If a saint, on the other hand, grieves the Holy Ghost in any way, the remedy is confession (1 John 1), with a view to forgiveness and restoration of joy in God; then seeking divine grace to forsake the evil (for that confession is not real, not true, which has to be daily repeated), the word is, "Let a man examine himself, and so let him" (stay away? no), "so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup" (1 Cor. 11:28). Observe further, that he is to examine himself; not only the sin, but also, and chiefly, the self, the nature, that caused it. And why? Because it is the Supper of the LORD.
 Soundness in the faith and a corresponding godly walk are essential in all who would eat the Lord's Supper. — ED.
 Christians who do not see the pre-eminent claims of the Lord's-day upon them, and confound it with the Sabbath, need only read Matt. 28:1 in its connection. It is universally admitted that the sixth day of the week ("the Jews' preparation day," Luke 23:54) was that on which our Lord was crucified. Hence the superstitious introduction of "Good Friday." Hence the day on which the Lord lay in the grave was the seventh day, "the Sabbath" (Saturday). "That Sabbath day was an high day" (John 19:31). Think of the heartlessness of a people, that could have an high day while the Lord of the Sabbath lay low in the grave. To return. Paley says, and many believe him, that the Sabbath day was changed from the seventh to the first day of the week. Where is it said so in Scripture? And will saints have what the Word of God gives not? Now I prefer to believe what the Holy Ghost has declared. Not only does He not say the day was altered, but He records in more places than one the difference between the two days. Hence the Scripture in Matthew: "In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week." (See also Mark 16:1, 2; Luke 23:56; Luke 24:1; John 19:42; John 20:1). If persons will still persist in calling the Lord's day the "Sabbath," notwithstanding these Scriptures ― "If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant."
 Lest any should use this scripture for supposing that some gathered to break bread were unconverted, and that Paul was announcing the truth by which they should be saved, I venture to remark that the verb translated preached is dielegeto (hence dialeknos ― a discourse, a conversation), discoursed or conversed. This is quite consistent with a teacher teaching, or an exhorter exhorting. But if persons will contend that it is preaching, then it is necessary to bear in mind that Paul's gospel included more than the knowledge of forgiveness ― which many, alas! are satisfied to hear from week to week, and no more. Paul's gospel comprehended the knowledge of forgiveness; standing in Christ (Eph. and Col.); the possession of the body by God through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost; baptism of believers into one body by the Holy Ghost; the coming of the Lord in the air for His Church, etc. (1 Thess.)>