November 6, 2008

Walter Travers (c.1548–1635) on the Solemn Commemoration of the Death of Christ

We do also administer it in both kinds, of bread and and wine. Further the minister doth take the bread and give thanks, break it and deliver it to the communicants. Likewise he taketh the cup and after thanksgiving, poureth out the wine in the cup to be delivered to all that are to be partakers of the communion. The people that do communicate receive the bread and eat it, and the wine likewise, and drink it.

Now the end and use of all this is added hereunto, which is in general the solemn commemoration of the death of Christ. In particular, and that first in regard of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, to magnify the goodness of God, in not sparing to give his only begotten Son for the redemption of the world; and to give him most due thanks for such his unspeakable grace and mercy. It is likewise to glorify our Saviour Christ, and to give thanks for his exceeding love to mankind, in that for our redemption, he hath vouchsafed to humble himself to take upon him our nature and the form of a servant, and in that nature to humble himself for us even to the death, and that the accursed death of the cross.
Walter Travers, Vindiciæ Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ: Or A Iustification of the Religion Now Professed in England (Printed at London by T. C. & R. C. for Michael Sparke, 1630), 45. I have updated some of the English.

Travers, a Puritan divine, was educated at the University of Cambridge, and then travelled to Geneva to visit Theodore Beza (with whom he formed a friendship). He was ordained by Thomas Cartwright in Antwerp. He was unwilling "to subscribe to the Thirty-Nine Articles," and "declined to receive orders in the C. of E." "Throughout the 1580's, he was one of the leaders of Presbyterian activity in London. His principal works defended the Presbyterian form of Church government as of Dominical institution and proposed a scheme for practical implementation; they provided the most important English exposition of the Presbyterian case, and as such exercised great influence in that wing of the Puritan movement." See "Travers, Walter" in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, 3rd edition (Oxford University Press, 1997), 1637–38.

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