Preparing for the Lord’s Supper

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Tgiles_bruceherefore I say, seeing we come to the Sacrament to be fed by His flesh, and refreshed by His blood, to be fed to an heavenly and spiritual life: and seeing there is no profit to be had at this table without some kind of preparation: therefore let no man presume to come to this table, except in some measure he be prepared. Some will be prepared in a greater measure than others; but let no man presume to go to it, except his heart be in some measure sanctified.


Therefore my exhortation concerning the way, whereby every one of you ought to prepare yourselves that you may fit you the better to the table, is this: There is not one of you that comes to the table of the Lord, who may bring before the Lord his integrity, justice, and uprightness: but whosoever goes to the table of the Lord, he ought to go with the acknowledging and confession of his misery: he ought to go with a sorrowful heart, for the sins wherein he has offended God; he ought to go with a hatred of those sins: Not to protest that he is holy, just and upright; but to protest, and confess, that he is miserable, and of all creatures the most miserable: and therefore he goes to that table to get support for his misery, to obtain mercy at the throne of Grace: to get remission and forgiveness of his sins, to get the gift of repentance, that more and more he may study to live uprightly, holily, and soberly in all time to come.


Therefore except you have entered on this course, and have a purpose to continue in this course, to amend your past life, to repent you of your sins, and by the grace of God to live more uprightly and soberly than you have done; for God’s cause, go not to the table. For where there is not a purpose to do well and to repent, of necessity there must be a purpose to do ill: and whosoever comes to that table with a purpose to do ill, and without a purpose to repent, he comes to mock Christ, to scorn Him to His face, and to eat his own present condemnation. So let no man come to that table that has not in his heart a purpose to do better, that has not a heart to sorrow for his past sins, and thinks not his former folly and madness over-great. Let no man come to the table without this, under the pain of condemnation. But if you have in your heart a purpose to do better, though your former life has been dissolute and loose; yet if you be touched in your hearts with any feeling or remorse for your past life, go not from the table, but come with a protestation of your misery and wretchedness, and come with a heart to get grace. If with a dissolute life, (I mean not of open slanders) thou hast also a purpose not to amend, but to do worse, for God’s sake abstain.



— Robert Bruce (1589), successor to John Knox at St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh