True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 722

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722. VI

The people who worthily approach the Holy Supper are those who have faith in the Lord and charity towards the neighbour, so those who have been regenerated.

God, charity and faith are the three universals of the church, because they are the universal means to salvation. This is known, acknowledged and grasped by any Christian who studies the Word. Reason itself, at least if it contains any spirituality, insists that God must be acknowledged, if a person is to have any religion and any part of the church in him. If therefore anyone approaches the Holy Supper without acknowledging God, he profanes it. His eye sees the bread and wine, he tastes them on his tongue; but his mind is thinking: 'This is surely a matter of indifference. How are the bread and wine any different from what I have on my table? However, I do this to avoid being blamed by the priesthood, and so by the common people, as being an atheist.'

[2] After the acknowledgment of God the second means which makes one worthy to approach is charity. This fact is established both from the Word and from the exhortations read before people approach throughout the Christian world. We learn from the Word that the leading injunction and commandment is to love God before all else and one's neighbour as oneself (Matt. 22:35-40; Luke 10:25-28). Also in the epistles of Paul, there are three things which contribute to salvation, and the greatest of these is charity (1 Cor. 13:13). Also:

We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone worships God and does His will, He listens to him. John 9:31.

Everyone who* does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matt. 7:19, 20; Luke 3:8, 9.

[3] The exhortations read throughout the Christian world before people approach the Holy Supper show that everywhere they are sternly admonished to be in a state of charity by reconciliation and repentance. I will quote only the following passage from the prayer read to communicants in England:

The way and means to become worthy partakers of the Holy Supper is this. First, to examine one's life and conversations by the rule of God's commandments; and whereinsoever one perceives oneself to have offended, either by will, word or deed, there to bewail one's own sinfulness, and to confess oneself to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life. And if one perceives one's offences to be such as are not only against God, but also against the neighbour, then one shall reconcile oneself unto him, being ready to make restitution and satisfaction to the uttermost of one's powers, for all injuries and wrongs done by one to any other; and being likewise ready to forgive others that have offended one, as one would have forgiveness of one's offences at God's hand; for otherwise the receiving of the holy Communion cloth nothing else but increase one's own damnation. Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, an hinderer or slanderer of His Word, [an adulterer,] or be in malice, or envy, or in any other grievous crime, repent you of your sins, or else come not to that holy Supper; lest, after taking of that holy Supper, the devil enter into you, as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul.**

[4] The third means to the worthy enjoyment of the Holy Supper is faith in the Lord. This is because charity and faith make one, as heat and light do in springtime, so that their combination makes every tree to be reborn. Likewise it is spiritual heat, which is charity, and spiritual light, which is the truth of faith, which make everyone alive. It is established from the following passages that faith in the Lord has this result:

He who believes in me will never die, but will live. John 11: 25, 26.

This is the will of the Father, that everyone who believes in the Son should have everlasting life. John 6:40.

God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in Him should have everlasting life. John 3:15, 16.

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life. But he who does not believe the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him. John 3:36.

We are in the truth, in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. He is the true God and everlasting life. 1 John 5:20.

* The original in both Gospels has 'Every tree which,' and elsewhere it is so quoted by the author. ** This passage is given in Latin in the original, but is a fairly close translation from the Book of Common Prayer, the language of which is here followed.

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