Authors Eric Parker Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

Edmund Calamy: Meditate on the Sacramental Elements and Actions

In his The Art of Divine Meditation (1634), a treatise with the same name as a more popular work by Bishop Joseph Hall, Edmund Calamy the elder advises his reader to take up the practice of meditating during the sacrament of holy communion. Here I’ve listed Calamy’s 8th-10th meditations.

8. I would have you meditate of the happy condition of those that come worthily to the Sacrament; though you do not bring a legal worthiness, yet if you have a Gospe-worthiness, God will accept of you; and the bread that we break shall be the Communion of the Body of Christ; and the cup of blessing which we bless, shall be the Communion of the Blood of Christ to you; the communion of all the blessings of Heaven to thy soul. It shall be the bread of the Lord to you, and the bread of life, and the cup of Salvation unto you.

9. I would have you meditate sometimes of the Sacramental Elements; when you see the bread, I would have you meditate of the analogy and proportion between bread and the body of Christ; you know that bread is the staff of life, so is Christ the staff of a Christian; bread is not for dead folks but for living folks; bread doth not beget life, but increaseth and strengthneth life; so the Sacrament is not for those that are dead in sin; the Sacrament doth not beget Grace, but nourish and increase Grace. And then I would have you consider the analogy between Wine and the Blood of Christ; As Wine refresheth the spirit, and cheereth the heart, so the Blood of Christ cheereth the soul of every worthy receiver.

10. I would have you meditate of the Sacramental actions; for all the actions of the Minister at the Sacrament are mystical, they all represent Christ; Christ is to be read by a spiritual eye in every thing that is done by the Minister; the breaking of the bread represents Christs body being broken upon the Cross for our sins; and the pouring out the Wine, represents how Christs Blood was poured out for us; and the giving of the Wine represents how Christ is offered and tendered unto us; the taking of the bread and wine represents how thou by faith takes Christ for thy everlasting comfort. Every thing in the Sacrament is the object of Meditation; and it is a rare thing for a Christian to make the Sacramental Elements to be his Bible; when he at the Sacrament, and when he  finds his heart dull, to look at the Elements, the breaking of bread, and pouring out of wine, which are all spiritual helps to raise up thy heart unto Christ.

By Eric Parker

Eric Parker (PhD McGill University) is the editor of the Library of Early English Protestantism (LEEP) at the Davenant Institute. He lives in the deep South with his wife and two children, where he is currently preparing for ordination to the diaconate in the Reformed Episcopal Church.