Westminster Larger Catechism
Q.172. May one who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation, come to the Lord’s Supper?
A. One who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof [a]; and in God’s account hath it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it [b], and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ [c], and to depart from iniquity [d]: in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians [e]) he is to bewail his unbelief [f], and labor to have his doubts resolved [g]; and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord’s Supper, that he may be further strengthened [h].
One who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due preparation to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, may have true interest in Christ, though he be not yet assured thereof [a];
[a] Isaiah 50:10 Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Psalm 88 throughout.
Psalm 77:1-12 I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. Ver.2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. Ver.3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. Ver.4 Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. etc. Ver.7 Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Ver.8 Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Ver.9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Ver.10. And I said, This is my
infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
Jonah 2:4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. Ver.7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
and in God’s account hath it, if he be duly affected with the apprehension of the want of it [b],
[b] Isaiah 54:7-10 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. Ver.8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. Ver.9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. Ver.10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD
that hath mercy on thee.
Matthew 5:3-4 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Ver.4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Psalm 31:22 For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.
Psalm 73:13 Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.
Psalm 73:22-23 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Ver.23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.
and unfeignedly desires to be found in Christ [c],
[c] Philippians 3:8-9 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, Ver.9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Psalm 10:17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
Psalm 42:1-2 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. Ver.2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Ver.5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Ver.11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
and to depart from iniquity [d]:
[d] 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
Isaiah 50:10 Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.
Psalm 66:18-20 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: Ver.19 But verily God hath heard me he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Ver.20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
in which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament is appointed, for the relief even of weak and doubting Christians [e])
[e] Isaiah 40:11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Ver.29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Ver.31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
he is to bewail his unbelief [f],
[f] Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
and labor to have his doubts resolved [g];
[g] Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
and, so doing, he may and ought to come to the Lord’s Supper, that he may be further strengthened [h].
[h] Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
Westminster Larger Catechism
A. Such as are found to be ignorant or scandalous, notwithstanding their profession of the faith, and desire to come to the Lord’s Supper, may and ought to be kept from that sacrament, by the power which Christ hath left in his church [i], until they receive instruction, and manifest their reformation [k].
[i] 1 Corinthians 11:27 to the end 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. Ver.28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. Ver.29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. Ver.30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. Ver.31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged etc. to the end of the chapter. Compared with Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
And with 1 Corinthians 5 to the end.
And with Jude 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
And with 1 Timothy 5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.
[k] 2 Corinthians 2:7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
End of Lesson, Day 97
For Further Study:
- Francis R. Beattie's The Presbyterian Standards
- James Fisher's Catechism on the Catechism
- John Flavel's Exposition of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism
- Matthew Henry's A Scripture Catechism in the Method of the Assembly's
- Thomas Vincent's The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture
- Thomas Watson's Body of Divinity
- John Whitecross' The Shorter Catechism Illustrated
Patriarchy and the “Sacraments”: “The Lord’s Table”