Preparing for the Lord’s Supper

A Puritan Paperback by Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Supper is a treatise that explains the importance, personal preparation, comfort, and ends of the Lord’s Supper. In one section of the book on preparing for the Lord’s Supper, Watson gives believers a list of ten ways they should prepare themselves for the Lord’s Supper (or as he says, “be rightly qualified”). Briefly they are:

1. With self-examining hearts. “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread,” 1 Cor. 21:28. It is not enough that others think we are fit to come, but we must examine ourselves.

2. We must come with serious hearts.

3. We must come with intelligent hearts. There ought to be a competent measure of knowledge, that we may discern the Lord’s body.

4. We must come to the sacrament with longing hearts: say as Christ, “With desire I have desired to eat of this passover,” Luke 22:15. If God prepares a feast, we must get an appetite.

5. If we would come prepared to this ordinance, we must come with penitent hearts.

6. We must come with sincere hearts.

7. We must come with hearts fired with love to Christ.

8. We must come with humble hearts.

9 We must come with heavenly hearts.

10. We must come with believing hearts.

This is a sound checklist for believers to mentally review before they partake of the Lord’s Supper—each and every time.

Who was Thomas Watson? Thomas Watson was probably born in Yorkshire, England around 1620 and died in 1686. He was married to Abigail Beadle, and they had at least seven children; four of them died young. When the Act of Uniformity passed in 1662, Watson was ejected from his pastorate. He continued to preach in private—in barns, homes, and woods—whenever he had the opportunity. After the Declaration of Indulgence took effect in 1672, Watson obtained a license for Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate, where he preached for three years before Stephen Charnock joined him. They ministered together until Charnock’s death in 1680. Watson’s depth of doctrine, clarity of expression, warmth of spirituality, love of  application, and gift of illustration enhanced his reputation as a preacher and writer. His books are still widely read today and at least two dozen are still in print. (excerpted from his biographical sketch in Meet the Puritans by Joel Beeke)

[The Puritan Paperback is an updated and edited copy of The Holy Eucharist, or, the Mystery of the Lord’s Supper Briefly Explained, available here in Kindle and here in book form. The list is from Thomas Watson’s, The Holy Eucharist: or, The Mystery of the Lords Supper. Briefly Explained (London: printed by A. Maxwel, for Thomas Parkhurst, at the Golden Bible, on London-Bridge, next the gate, 1668), pages 50-63].

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