Thursday, May 30, 2013

Christian Scriver on the Lord's Supper

Christian Scriver (d. 1693), “The Holy Supper,” in Gottholds zufällige Andachten (1663, reprint Berlin: Evangelischer Bücher-Verein, 1853), no. 390.

On this occasion they went further and began to speak of the high dignity of the Holy Supper. I am amazed, said Gotthold, and my heart rejoices in all the wonders of the love of Jesus Christ, but in none of them more than in this wondrous Sacrament, in which He truly feeds us with His holy, life-giving flesh and gives us to drink of His precious blood. Just as the sun shines brightest at noon, so the love of the Son of God gleams most magnificently in this stupendous Meal. Here His divine heart has opened itself wide, like a rose in full bloom. He gives me not His clothes, not His image, not silver or gold, not crown or scepter, but Himself with all His merit, total righteousness, all of heaven, and blessedness.

In 2 Sam. 12:3, when the prophet Nathan wanted to show how much the man loved his lamb, he said, “It ate of his own food, and drank of his own cup, and slept in his bosom, and he considered it as a daughter.” My Jesus feeds me with the bread of life, with Himself. I drink not just from His cup, but even from His holy wounds. I sleep (find rest for my soul and joy for my troubled heart in His bosom) in His sweet grace and the assurance of His love. He considers me as His son and brother, even as His own heart. He binds Himself with me in an unspeakable way. He becomes my food, drink, life, power, strength, joy, consolation, and all. Here my soul is united, mixed, joined, and penetrated by His soul; my body with His body; my blood with His blood; my heart with His heart; my weakness, misery, need, and imperfection with His divinity, glory, and holiness. Incomprehensible, wondrous love! O Jesus! You are ever a sweet “Jesus” and Savior, but nowhere do Your faithful people taste and perceive Your sweetness and kindness as much as in this precious Meal of love! Therefore one of them says that the joy of all creatures, however much a heart could have, is nothing compared to the joy found in the enjoyment of this Meal.

When I approach it, I see You in spirit and faith with Your holy wounds, dripping with blood. I hear You call out, “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you life; you shall find rest for your soul” ([cf.] Matt. 11:28–29). When I partake of it, I think that I am hearing You say to my soul: “You are in Me, and I am in you!” (John 14:20). When I walk back, my soul says, “My Beloved is mine, and I am His, and His turning is toward me” ([cf.] Song 2:16; 7:10). After this heavenly Meal, my “dessert,” if I may so speak, is the end of the golden, eighth chapter of Romans, from verse 31 to the end. How well I am then! How drunk my soul becomes! How confident my heart is! How bold I then am against Satan, sin, hell, death, and against the world with all of its amusements and vanity! Then it seems to me that I am no longer who I was; I am Christ, not personally, but Christ’s righteousness, victory, life, and all He has are my own. Then I do not know whether sin, misery, cross, need, death, or devil are in the world anymore; they only thing I know is that Jesus reigns over all and is mine.

But woe, woe! What has happened to this most holy institution? Mad reason wants to teach and correct its Lord and has turned the memorial of love into a meal of strife. Mockers and atheists laugh at it. Hypocrites dishonor it. The common crowd runs to it heedless, without repentance, faith, love, examination, preparation, without devotion and a holy intent. Godless, condemned world! What more should the kind, loving God do for you than He has already done? And how could you make it worse than you have already made it? He gave You His Son; you made Him into a servant of sin (Gal. 2:17). He offered you His grace, richly; you turned it into lasciviousness (Jude 4). He gave you His Word; you mocked it. He promised you forgiveness of sins; you took it as an opportunity to sin even more. He through His Son established a precious Meal of love; you turned it into an excuse for all hypocrisy and security. Now fulfill the measure of your malice. Soon the just and holy God will shake it out into your bosom.

O Lord Jesus! Let me be among the few who hold all that You speak, order, do, and give as high, precious, and worthy! Let your venerable Supper be my heaven on earth, until I come to heaven!
Copyright 2013 Benjamin T. G. Mayes. All rights reserved.


  1. Well done, Rev. Mayes. It is interesting to see the remnants of Orthodoxy in the midst of post-war pietism. It may be of interest to compare this older translation by Menzies:

  2. Thank you. Any hope of seeing Scriver's Seelen-Schatz in translation one of these days? It's been very significant in my family for four generations now.

  3. A glance at doesn't show that anyone is working on it, but it certainly would be a great treasure to have in English! If anyone would like to translate it, please let me know (

  4. My link in my first post above takes you to an earlier but quite readable English translation by Scottish minister R. Menzies. There the work is called "Gotthold's Emblems." Some copies are avaialable on AbeBooks as well. As for the quality of the translation, that remains to be judged.

  5. Aha! Matthew, the different title made me think it was a different work of Scriver's. Well, now we know there is a public domain translation of this work. I have it loaded up into my Google Books reader and will enjoy perusing it.