The institution of the Lord’s Supper must be regarded, by every spiritual man, as a peculiarly touching proof of the Lord’s gracious care and considerate love for His Church. From the time of its appointment until the present hour, it has been a steady, though silent, witness to a truth which the enemy, by every means in his power, has sought to corrupt and set aside, namely, that redemption is an accomplished fact to be enjoyed by the weakest believer in Jesus. Eighteen centuries have rolled away since the Lord Jesus appointed “the bread and the cup” in the Eucharist, as the significant symbols of His broken body and His blood shed for us; and notwithstanding all the heresy, all the schism, all the controversy and strife, the war of principles and prejudices which the blotted page of ecclesiastical history records, this most expressive institution has been observed by the saints of God in every age. True, the enemy has succeeded, throughout a vast section of the professing church, in wrapping it up in a shroud of dark superstition—in presenting it in such a way as actually to hide from the view of the communicant, the grand and eternal reality of which it is the memorial—in displacing Christ and His accomplished sacrifice, by a powerless ordinance—an ordinance, moreover, which by the very mode of its administration, proves its utter worthlessness and opposition to the truth. (See note to page 28.) Yet, notwithstanding Rome’s deadly error in reference to the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, it still speaks to every circumcised ear, and every spiritual mind, the same deep and precious truth—it “shows the Lord’s death till he come.” The body has been broken, the blood has been shed ONCE, no more to be repeated: and the breaking of bread is but the memorial of this emancipating truth.

With what profound interest and thankfulness, therefore, should the believer contemplate “the bread and the cup” Without a word spoken, there is the setting forth of truths at once the most precious and glorious—grace reigning—redemption finished—sin put away—everlasting righteousness brought in—the sting of death gone—eternal glory secured—”grace and glory” revealed as the free gift of God and the Lamb—the unity of the “one body,” as baptised by “one Spirit.” What a feast! it carries the soul back, in the twinkling of an eye, over a lapse of eighteen hundred years, and shows us the Master Himself, “in the same night in which he was betrayed,” sitting at the supper table, and there instituting a feast which, from that solemn moment, that memorable night, until the dawn of the morning, should lead every believing heart, at once, backward to the cross, and forward to the glory.

This feast has, ever since, by the very simplicity of its character, and, yet, the deep significance of its elements, rebuked the superstition that would deify and worship it, the profanity that would desecrate it, and the infidelity that would set it aside altogether; and, furthermore, while it has rebuked all these, it has strengthened, comforted, and refreshed the hearts of millions of God’s beloved saints. It is sweet to think of this—sweet to bear in mind, as we assemble, on the first day of the week, round the supper of the Lord—that apostles, martyrs, and saints have gathered round that feast, and found therein, according to their measure, refreshment and blessing. Schools of theology have arisen,—flourished, and disappeared—doctors and fathers have accumulated ponderous tomes of divinity—deadly heresies have darkened the atmosphere, and rent the professing church from one end to the other—superstition and fanaticism have put forth their baseless theories and extravagant notions—professing Christians have split into sects innumerable—all these things have taken place; but the Lord’s Supper has continued, amid the darkness and confusion to tell out its simple yet comprehensive tale. “As oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Cor. 11: 26) Precious feast! Thank God for the great privilege of celebrating it. And yet is it but a sign, the elements of which must, in nature’s view, be mean and contemptible. Bread broken—wine poured out—how simple faith alone can read, in the sign, the thing signified, and therefore it needs not the adventitious circumstances, which false religion has introduced, in order to add dignity, solemnity, and awe to that which derives all its value, its power, and its impressiveness from its being a memorial of an eternal fact which false religion denies.

May you and I, beloved reader, enter with more freshness and intelligence into the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, and with deeper experience into the blessedness of breaking that bread which is “the “communion of the body of Christ,” and drinking of that cup which is “the communion of the blood of Christ.”

In closing these few prefatory lines, I would just observe that this edition only differs from the former in the alteration of a sentence or two, and the addition of a few notes. I now commend this little book to the Lord’s gracious care, praying Him to make it increasingly useful to the souls of His people.

C. H. M.