to the 2005 edition
I AM deeply grateful to Professor T. F. Torrance for his gracious permission for Rutherford House to reprint this major work of Robert Bruce on The Lord’s Supper. I am also indebted to William Mackenzie of Christian Focus Publications for agreeing to co-publish this volume, thus ensuring as wide a distribution of it as possible. Professor Torrance’s translation of the original text, first published in 1590, remains unchanged. However, in addition to two minor footnotes, I have taken the liberty of inserting into the text occasional headings in the hope of helping readers to find their way through some fairly long paragraphs and to facilitate their understanding of Bruce’s carefully presented sermons with their profound theological content. My own second charge in the Church of Scotland was the ‘auld Kirk of Larbert’ where in 1626 Bruce is thought to have built a new manse-now known as ‘the old manse’ which still stands today as the oldest inhabited house in Stirlingshire-and where in the same year at his own expense he restored the original church which had fallen into a state of decay. There Bruce preached regularly for six years from 1625 until his death in 1631 and it is hardly surprising that vast crowds travelled to Larbert each Sunday to hear his powerful proclamation of the Word of God.
He was buried at the foot of the pulpit within the building where he had ministered in these latter years of his life, and a great stone was placed horizontally over his grave. However, as the original church building was demolished in 1820 when the present handsome Georgian sanctuary was erected, the gravestone with its challenging inscription-no longer under the Kirk roof but exposed to the elements-was beginning to be seriously eroded. I therefore sought the permission of Lord Elgin, Bruce’s direct descendent, to bring the stone into the protection of the new church.
There, just inside the main entrance, it now stands with its challenging inscription: Cristus vita et in morte lucrum, ‘Christ is life and in death is gain’ (cf. Phil. 1:21). Readers of Professor Torrance’s Introduction to this book will quickly grasp the relevance of such words. May this second edition be a significant contribution to the understanding and practice of the 21st Century church of Christ’s priceless gift to her of The Mystery of the Lord’s Supper.
DAVID C. SEARLE