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gifts. Baptism containeth not only remission of sin, actual or original, but maketh members of Christ, children of God, heirs of Heaven, hath the seal and earnest of the Spirit, the germ of spiritual life; the Holy Eucharist imparteth not life only, spiritual strength, and oneness with Christ, and His Indwelling, and participation of Him, but, in its degree, remission of sins also. As the manna is said to have" contented every man's delight and agreed to every taste," so He, the Heavenly Manna, becometh to every man what he needeth, and what he can receive; to the penitent perhaps chiefly remission of sins and continued life, to those who have "loved Him and kept His word," His own transporting, irradiating Presence, full of His own grace and life and love; yet to each full contentment, because to each His own overflowing, undeserved, good
Having then, on former occasions, spoken of the Fountain of all comfort, our Redeeming Lord, His Life for us and Intercession with the Father, as the penitent's stay amid the overwhelming consciousness of his sins, it may well suit, in this our season of deepest joy, to speak of that, which, flowing from the throne of the Lamb which was slain, is to the penitent, the deepest river of his joy, the Holy Mysteries; from which, as from Paradise, he feels that he deserves to be shut out, from which perhaps, in the holier discipline of the Ancient Church, he would have been for a time removed, but which to his soul must be the more exceeding precious, because they are the Body and Blood of His Redeemer. While others joy with a more Angelic joy, as feeding on Him, Who is the Angels' food, and "sit," as St. Chrysostom says, " with Angels and Archangels and heavenly powers, clad with the kingly robe of Christ itself, yea clad with the King Himself, and having spiritual armoury," he may be the object of the joy of
• Wisd. xvi. 20.
b Hom. 46. in S. Joh. fin.
Angels; and while as a penitent he approaches as to the Redeemer's Side, he may hope that having so been brought, he, with the penitent, shall not be parted from It, but be with Him and near Him in Paradise. "To the holier," says another," He is more precious as God; to the sinner more precious is the Redeemer. Of higher value and avail is He to him, who hath more grace; yet to him also to whom much is forgiven, doth He the more avail, because “to whom much is forgiven, he loveth much."
Would that in the deep joy of this our Easter festival, the pledge of our sealed forgiveness, and the earnest of endless life in God, we could, for His sake by Whom we have been redeemed, lay aside our wearisome strifes, and that to speak of the mysteries of Divine love might not become the occasion of unloving and irreverent disputings. Would that, at least in this sacred place, we could dwell in thought, together, on His endless condescension and lovingkindness, without weighing in our own measures, words which must feebly convey Divine mysteries; rather intent (as so many in this day seem) on detecting that others have spoken too strongly on that which is unfathomable, than on ourselves adoring that Love, which is past finding out. "When we speak of spiritual things," is S. Chrysostom's warning, on approaching this same subject, "be there nothing of this life, nothing earthly in our thoughts; let all such things depart and be cast out, and be we wholly given to the hearing of the Divine word. When the Spirit discourseth to us, we should listen with much stillness, yea with much awe. For the things this day read are worthy of awe. "Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of man and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you.'"
The penitent's joy, then, in the Holy Eucharist is not the less deep, because the pardon of sins is not, as in Bap c S. Ambrose de Jos. c. 3. §. 14.
d Hom. 47. in S. Joh. init.
tism, its direct provision. The two great Sacraments, as their very signs shew, have not the same end. Baptism gives, the Holy Eucharist preserves and enlarges life. Baptism engraffs into the true Vine; the Holy Eucharist derives the richness and fulness of His life into the branches thus engraffed. Baptism buries in Christ's tomb, and through it He quickens with His life; the Holy Eucharist is given not to the dead, but to the living. It augments life, or-death; gives immortality to the living; to the dead it gives not life, but death; it is a savour of life or death, is received to salvation or damnation. Whence the ancient Church so anxiously withheld from it such as sinned grievously, not as an example only to others, but in tenderness to themselves, lest they break through and perish; "profane," says S. Cyprian ", " the Holy Body of the Lord," not themselves be sanctified; fall deeper, not be restored; be wounded more grievously, not be healed; since it is said, he adds, "Whoso eateth the Bread and drinketh the Cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord."
The chief object, then, of the Holy Eucharist, as conveyed by type or prophecy, by the very elements chosen, or by the words of our Lord, is the support and enlargement of life, and that in Him. In type, the tree of life was within the Paradise of God, given as a nourishment of immortality, withheld from Adam when he sinned; the bread and wine, wherewith Melchizedek met Abraham, were to refresh the father of the faithful, the weary warrior of God; the Paschal Lamb was a cominemorative sacrifice; the saving blood had been shed; it was to be
Ep. 15. ad Mart. and Ep. 16. ad Presb.
f All the following types, as also that of the "burning coal" referred to hereafter, are received (with some others) even by the learned Lutheran J. Gerhard, (de S. Cœn. c. 2.) as are some of the verbal prophecies; all are currently found among the Fathers.
eaten with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, and with bitter herbs, the type of mortification, and by those only who were undefiled. The Manna was given to them after they had passed the Red Sea, the image of cleansing Baptism, and, as He Himself interprets it, represented Him as coming down from heaven, to give life unto the world, the food of Angels and the holy hosts of heaven; the Shew-bread was eaten only by those hallowed to the Priesthood, (as the whole Christian people has in this sense been made kings and priests,) and, when once given to David and those that were with him, still on the ground that the "vessels of the young men were holy"." The Angel brought the cake to Elijah, that in the strength of that food, he might go forty days and forty nights unto the Mount of God. In verbal prophecy, it is foretold under the images of the very elements, and so of strengthening and overflowing joy. "Wisdom," that is, He Who is the Wisdom of God, in a parable corresponding to that of the marriage feast, crieth, "Come eat of My bread and drink of the wine I have mingled." Or, in the very Psalm of His Passion and atoning Sacrifice, it is foretold, that "the poor shall eat and be satisfied;" or that He, the good Shepherd, shall prepare a Table for those whom He leadeth by the still waters of the Church, and giveth them the Cup of overflowing joy;" or as the source of gladness, "Thou hast put gladness into my heart, since the time that their corn and wine and oil (the emblem of the Spirit of which the faithful drink) increased," and "the wine which gladdeneth man's heart, and the oil which maketh his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart;" or of spiritual growth, "corn and wine shall make the young men and maidens of Zion to grow ;" or as that which alone is satisfying, "buy wine without money and without price," for that "which is not bread;" or as the
81 Sam. xxi. 5.
special Gift to the faithful," He hath given meat unto them that fear Him;" or that which, after His Passion, He drinketh anew with His disciples in His Father's kingdom, "I have gathered my myrrh, I have drunk my wine with my milk; eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
In all these varied symbols, strength, renewed life, growth, refreshment, gladness, likeness to the Angels, immortality, are the gifts set forth; they are gifts as to the Redeemed of the Lord placed anew in the Paradise of His Church, admitted to His Sanctuary, joying in His Presence, growing before Him, filled with the river of His joy, feasting with Him, yea Himself feasting in them, as in them He hungereth". Hitherto, there is no allusion to sin; it is what the Church should be, walking in the brightness of His light, and itself reflecting that brightness.
And when our Lord most largely and directly is setting forth the fruits of eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood, He speaks throughout of one Gift, life; freedom from death, life through Him, through His indwelling, and therefore resurrection from the dead, and life eternal. "This is the Bread, which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever; and the Bread that I will give is My Flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have no life in you." "Whoso eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last Day." "He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood
g S. Ambr. de Myst. fin. S. Jerome, Ep. 120. ad Hedib. q. 2. on S. Matt. xxvi. 29. "Moses gave us not the true Bread, but the Lord Jesus; Himself feasting, and the feast; Himself eating, and Who is eaten; (Ipse conviva et convivium, ipse comedens et qui comeditur.) We drink His Blood, and without Himself we cannot drink it. Let us do His will-and Christ will drink with us His own Blood in the kingdom of the Church."