The Lord’s Supper

“Oh, look to his death for life!”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan




Frequency of the Lord’s Supper

Preparing for the Supper

The Administration of  Including preparation before, the Common Cup, Wine, Common Bread, Sitting at the Table, Intinction, etc.

Communion Seasons

All the Works of the Westminster Divines on the Lord’s Supper


The Mass – Transubstantiation



Order of Contents

Books & Articles
.      Early Church
.      1500’s
.      1600’s
.      1700’s
.      1800’s
.      1900’s
A Historical Work
Barring from the Table
Not a Converting Ordinance
Mentally Handicapped?



The Early Church

Ussher, James – ‘Of the Real Presence’  in Answers to a Jesuit: with other Tracts on Popery, pp. 41-73

Ussher, p. 41

“…in the receiving of the blessed Sacrament we are to distinguish between the outward and the inward action of the communicant.  In the outward, with our bodily mouth we receive really the visible elements of bread and wine;

in the inward, we do by faith really receive the body and blood of our Lord; that is to say, we are truly and indeed made partakers of Christ crucified, to the spiritual strengthening of our inward man.”

To this effect, and other points, Ussher quotes: Augustine, Tertullian, Basil, Athanasius, Origen, Fulgentius, Clement, Eusebius, Ambrose, Macarius, Prosper, the Gloss upon Gratian, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Cyprian, Theophilus, Tatianus, Acacius, Jerome, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Gelasius, Ephraemius, the Council of Constantinople of 754 and even the Romanists: Alexander of Hales, Bellarmine, Salmeron & Kellison.

Ussher also shows in extended detail how the more orthodox notions in the early church gradually, during the Middle Ages, came to develop into the carnal doctrine of Transubstantiation.  The first rise of this transition, Ussher documents, stemmed from those who defended images of Christ at the Second Council of Nicea, 787.



1500’s Works

Bruce, Robert – Sermons on the Sacrament  1617, 318 pp.  being 5 sermons, with a biographical introduction by John Laidlaw

Calvin, John 

Of the Lord’s Supper and the Benefits Conferred by it, being ch. 17 of The Institutes of the Christian Religion, book 4

Short Treatise on the Lord’s Supper, in Tracts 2:163-198

Mutual Consent as to the Sacraments, in Tracts 2:199-244

Second Defense of the Sacraments, in Tracts 2:245-345

Last Admonition to Joachim Westphal, in Tracts 2:346

True Partaking of the Flesh and Blood of Christ, in Tracts 2:495

Best Method of Concord on the Sacraments, in Tracts 2:573

Knox, John – A Summary according to the Holy Scriptures of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper  1550  in The Works of John Knox, ed. David Laing, 3:371-76

Ridley, Nicholas – A Determination Concerning the Sacrament, in Works of Nicholas Ridley, pp. 167-179

Vermigli, Peter Martyr – A Discourse or Tract Concerning the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper  1550



1600’s Works

All the Works of the Westminster Divines on the Lord’s Supper

Patrick, Simon 

Mensa Mystica, or a Discourse Concerning the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper  1676  504 pages

Simon was an Arminian, Latitudinarian Anglican, but Joel Beeke has recommended these two works as ‘some of the best works on the Lord’s Supper’.

The Christian Sacrifice: a Treatise showing the necessity, end, and manner of receiving the Holy Communion  ToC



1700’s Works

Fleetwood, William – The Reasonable Communicant, or An Explanation of the Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper in all its parts from the Communion Service, in a Discourse between a Minister and one of his Parishoners  d. 1723, 40 pages, in Works 3:1-40

Fleetwood was an Anglican.  Joel Beeke included this in ‘some of the best works on the Lord’s Supper’.

Willison, John  d. 1750

A Lecture on 1 Cor. 11:17 to the end concerning the Lord’s Supper  in Works, 3:402-413

A Sacramental Catechism, or, a Familiar Instructor for Young Communicants, Plainly unfolding the nature of the Covenant of Grace, with the Two Seals thereof, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, wherein especially the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is fully and distinctly handled, 269 pages



1800’s Works

Bannerman, Douglass 

The Special Meaning of the Lord’s Supper; Christ’s Presence in the Ordinance to the Believerin The Scripture Doctrine of the Church, p. 237-9

The Lord’s Supper; its Significance for the First Disciples; how Observedin The Scripture Doctrine of the Church, p. 375-8

D. Bannerman was James Bannerman’s son.

Bannerman, James – The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, in The Church of Christ 2:128-185

Hodge, Charles – The  Doctrine of the Reformed Church on the Lord’s Supper  1857  in Essays and Reviews, pp. 341-92, being a review of John Nevin’s The mystical Presence.  A Vindication of the Reformed or Calvinistic Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, 1846

Houston, Thomas – The Lord’s Supper: its Nature, Ends and Obligations, and Mode of Administration  1878, 380 pages

Houston (1803-1882) was a Reformed Presbyterian.



1900’s Works

Berkhof, Louis – The Lord’s Supper, 1950, 32 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology 



A Historical Work

Carr, Kevin – Robert Bruce on the Nature of the Lord’s Supper, and Preparation for its Observance, 2010, 42 pages

Robert Bruce’s sermons on the Lord’s Supper, 1590, are a Scottish classic.  Here is an article giving a bit of the life of Bruce, putting the sermons in their historical context, and summarizing their theology and significance.



Barring from the Table

Gillespie, George

‘That 1 Cor. 5 proves excommunication and (by a necessary consequence, even from the Erastian interpretation) suspension from the sacrament of a person unexcommunicated’, 6 pages, being Chapter 7 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming.

‘That if it could be proved that Judas received the Lord’s Supper, it makes nothing against the suspension of known wicked persons from the sacrament’, 4 pages, being Chapter 10 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming.

‘Whether it be a full discharge of duty to [only] admonish a scandalous person of the danger of unworthy communicating; and whether a minister, in giving him the sacrament, after such admonition [and not barring him from the Table], be in no way guilty?’  6 pages, being chapter 11 of of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

‘Whether the admission of scandalous and notorious sinners to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper be a pollution and profanation of that holy ordinance?  And in what respects it may be so called.’ 6 pages, being chapter 15 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

‘An argument of Erastus (drawn from the baptism of John), against the excluding of scandalous sinners from the Lord’s Supper, examined.’  1 page, being chapter 16 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

‘The Antiquity for the suspension of all scandalous persons from the sacrament, even such as were admitted to other public ordinances’  8 pages, being chapter 17 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

Palmer, Herbert – A Full Answer to a Printed Paper entitled, ‘Four Serious Questions concerning excommunication and suspension from the sacrament, etc.’, Wherein the several arguments and texts of scripture produced are particularly and distinctly discussed: and the debarring of ignorant and scandalous persons from the sacrament is vindicated  ToC



The Lord’s Supper is not a Converting Ordinance

Gillespie, George

‘Whether the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper be a converting or regenerating  ordinance?’ and ‘Twenty arguments to prove that the Lord’s Supper is not a converting ordinance’, 7 & 9 pages, being chapters 12 & 13 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming

‘Mr. Prynne’s twelve arguments, brought to prove that the Lord’s Supper is a converting ordinance, discussed and answered’, 8 pages, being chapter 14 of Book 3 of Aaron’s Rod Blossoming



What About the Mentally Handicapped?

The Discipline of the Reformed Churches of France – Ch. 12, ‘Of the Lord’s Supper’, Canon VI  1559  in Synodicon in Gallia Reformata, vol. 1, p. xlviii



A Bibliography

Houston, Thomas – Works on the Lord’s Supper  1878, 8 pages, being 40 works on the Supper from the Early Church to the 1800’s, in The Lord’s Supper: its Nature, Ends and Obligations and Mode of Administration, pp. 343-50  




Related Pages

The Sacraments