The Lord's Supper (Bickersteth) 1

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Posted by Derek Thomas

Some time ago, I purchased a tiny little volume by Edward Bickersteth,  A Companion to the Holy Communion. This particular edition is the twelfth, published in 1888 and measures 2" X 3". It is a pocket-sized companion designed to "assist their Devotions, in preparing for the Lord's Supper, while attending at his table, and on returning from it."  I have completely fallen in love with this little book and I intend to blog some excerpts from it over the next few weeks. I'll give them consecutively numbered headers to help you identify them (or ignore them!). But first some words on the identity of Edward Bickersteth. He was an active promoter of the Alliance...
No! Not ACE, but the nineteenth century Evangelical Alliance!

Edward Bickersteth (1786 - 1850), initially a lawyer and in 1815 was ordained and sent to Africa by the Church Missionary Society. Following his return in 1816, he became one of the society's secretaries. In 1830 he became rector of Watton. He was an active opponent of the Tractarian Movement, and was one of the founders of the Evangelical Alliance and of the Irish Church Missions Society.In addition to this volume on the Lord's Supper, he published many volumes, including A Help to the Study of the Scriptures; A Treatise on Prayer; A Guide to the Prophecies (insixteen volumes). He also compiled Christian Psalmody (Hereford, 1833), a much-used hymn-book, and edited the Christian's Family Library (50 vols.). A biography of Bickersteth in 2 volumes was written by T. R. Birks (1858), Memoir of E. Bickersteth

(In addition there is a nephew and a grandson with the same name.)

On preparation for the Supper:

"Those who wish to be comforted by this ordinance, should determine, while engaged in it, to know nothing, and to think of nothing comparatively, save Jesus Christ and him crucified, and what is directly connected with that leading and cheering truth of the Gospel. It is here taken for granted that such persons know the evil of sin, that they wish earnestly to be healed of their spiritual maladies; and steadfastly purpose to lead a new life; for no other guests are invited to the  Lord's Table. But, on this supposition, no sense of unworthiness, none of the suspicions inseparable from conscious guilt, no respect to other religious doctrines or topics, which in that season ought to engage our attention, should draw away our main thoughts from this capital truth of the Gospel. Nor shall we, if we thus steadily and singly look to the dying Saviour, depart from his table without some degree of strength and refreshment."

Posted April 29, 2006 @ 8:48 AM by Derek Thomas
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