“The Duty To Partake Of The Lord’s Supper
IV. In the next place are to be considered the persons obliged, and those are the Church of Christ, as far as by scriptural qualifications they are capacitated to participation therein, who are:
1. Those who can discern the Lord’s body in this supper. The lack of this the Apostle gives as the reason of unworthily receiving it, and tells us that they eat damnation to themselves (1 Corinthians 11:29). Now, there are two ways wherein the Lord’s body may be said to be discerned in this supper:
(1) When the understanding is spiritually enlightened to perceive the true nature and ends (purpose) of this supper. And thereby the understanding is enabled to see a greater difference between this and our ordinary meals; for he who shall, for lack of knowledge therein, come to this table with no better preparation, or to no other intents, than when he goes to his own table, certainly perverts the ends of the institution and profanes the ordinance; and therefore he cannot help but incur the great displeasure of God for so doing.
(2) But there is another way of discerning the Lord’s body in this supper, and that is by spiritual taste and relish. For the palate does not have a greater ability of discerning the different relish in the variety of meats man feeds on than the soul of man that has its spiritual senses exercised has in tasting the things of God and judging the different sweetnesses thereof. This is the spiritual faculty that Jesus Christ speaks of when He tells Peter that he savored not the things that are of God, but those that are of men. (Matthew 16:23). Now, this you must well observe, you who partake of this supper, whether you relish the love of the Lord Jesus in His dying for sinners, and for you in particular. Is this great love of Christ sweet to your souls, sweeter than honey or the honeycomb? Can you admire the heights and depths of this love, and wonder that the Son of God should take a body to be bruised, wounded, and slain for the vilest of sinners, among whom you reckon yourself as one? Do you find this love of His for you drawing your hearts to a love of Him, and a readiness to part with all for Him? This is, indeed, to discern the Lord’s body in this supper; and, by this, you are enabled to see a vast difference between this supper and all the feasts of fat things that ever you were at in all your lives. If it is so with you, then you are qualified for this supper, and are, by Christ’s command, obliged to partake thereof.
2. Those who have fellowship with God in Christ are those whom Christ has obliged, by His command, to partake of this supper.
This is another qualification which the Apostle gives us in 1 Corinthians 10:18-21 where, discoursing of the nature of divine and likewise of diabolical sacrifices, and of the reason for the priest’s and people’s eating some part thereof, he also shows the reason for our partaking of the Lord’s Table which, though it is not properly a sacrifice that is there offered, yet holds some resemblance to the sacrifices of the law and to the people’s eating thereof, inasmuch as it is a commemoration of that one sacrifice which Christ offered up to the Father for our sins; of the benefits of which one sacrifice those who commune at the Lord’s Table as effectually partake as if Christ was offered up as often as you eat and drink… Thus, the Apostle, having illustrated the meaning of eating the Jewish and the Gentile sacrifice, proceeds to accommodate those notions to that of the Lord’s Table in in verse 21: “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s Table, and of the table of the devils.” You cannot serve two such contrary masters as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, and devils also; for, if you eat of the idols’ feasts, you thereby declare that you own the devils as gods; and then, coming to the Lord’s Table, you thereby declare that you acknowledge only the true God to be your God in and through Jesus Christ, your Sacrifice and Mediator, which practices are very absurd and contradictory.
The conclusion is this: those who partake of the Lord’s Table are such who from the heart take the God of that Christ whose death is remembered in that supper to be their God, and who believe that God is really reconciled to them by that sacrifice; and they declare, likewise, hereby that they will worship and serve this God in this Christ, and Him only. Now, if any of you are engaged to God in this spirit, you have fellowship with Him, and you are those who have the right to partake of this supper.”
-From the Puritan Thomas Wadsworth’s It Is Every Christian’s Indispensable Duty To Partake of the Lord’s Supper from The Puritan’s on the Lord’s Supper Published by Soli Deo Gloria Publications Morgan, PA 1997 Pages 63-67.