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and may make least distinction; so, while we each think all good of the other, may we all together, strengthened by the Same Bread, washed by the Same Blood, be led, in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace and holiness of life, to that ineffable Feast, where not, as now, in Mysteries, but, face to face, we shall ever see God, and be ever filled with His Goodness and His Love.
Meantime such of us, as long to be penitents, may well feel that we are less than the least of God's mercies; that we have already far more than we deserve; (for whereas we deserved Hell, we have the antepast of Heaven;) that the children's bread is indeed taken and given unto dogs; that He, Who is undefiled, spotless, separate from sinners, cometh to be a guest with us sinners; and therein may we indeed find our comfort and our stay. For where He is, how should there not be forgiveness and life and peace and joy? What other hope need we, if we may indeed hope that we thereby dwell in Him and He in us, He in us, if not by the fulness of His graces, yet with such at least as are fitted to our state, cleansing our iniquities and healing our infirmities, Himself the forgiveness we long for; we in Him, in Whom if we be found in that Day, our pardon is for ever sealed, ourselves for ever cleansed, our iniquity forgiven, and our sin covered.
From some Writers in our later English Church on the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist.
Homily on the Sacrament.
"Thus much we must be sure to hold, that in the Supper of the Lord there is no vain ceremony, no bare sign, no untrue figure of a thing absent: But, as the Scripture saith, the Table of the Lord, the Bread and Cup of the Lord, the memory of Christ, the annunciation of His death, yea, the communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord, in a marvellous incorporation, which by the operation of the Holy Ghost (the very bond of our conjunction with Christ) is through faith wrought in the souls of the faithful, whereby not only their souls live to eternal life, but they surely trust to win their bodies a resurrection to immortality. The true understanding of this fruition and union, which is betwixt the body and the Head, betwixt the true believers and Christ, the ancient Catholic Fathers both perceiving themselves, and commending to their people, were not afraid to call this Supper, some of them, the salve of immortality and sovereign preservative against death; other, a deifical communion; other, the sweet dainties of our Saviour, the pledge of eternal health, the defence of faith, the hope of the resurrection; other, the food of immortality, the healthful grace, and the conservatory to everlasting life."
"It is well known that the meat we seek for in this Supper is spiritual food, the nourishment of our soul, a heavenly refection, and not earthly; an invisible meat, and not bodily; a ghostly substance, and not carnal; so that to think that without faith we may enjoy the eating and drinking thereof, or that that is the fruition of it, is but to dream a gross carnal feeding, basely objecting and binding ourselves to the elements and creatures. Whereas, by the advice of the Council of Nicene, we ought to lift up our minds by faith, and, leaving these inferior and earthly things, there seek it, where the Sun of righteousness ever shineth.
Take then this lesson, O thou that art desirous of this Table, of Emissenus, a godly father, that when thou goest up to the reverend Communion, to be satisfied with spiritual meats, thou look up with faith upon the holy Body and Blood of thy God, thou marvel with reverence, thou touch it with the mind, thou receive it with the hand of thy heart, and thou take it fully with thy inward man."
"Both you and I agree herein, that in the Sacrament is the very, true, and natural Body and Blood of Christ; even that Which was born of the Virgin Mary; Which ascended into heaven; Which sits on the right hand of God the Father; Which shall come from thence to judge the quick and the dead; only we differ in modo, in the way and manner of being. We confess all one thing to be in the Sacrament, and dissent in the manner of being there. I, being by God's word fully thereunto persuaded, confess Christ's natural Body to be in the Sacrament indeed by spirit and grace, because that whosoever receiveth worthily that Bread and Wine, receiveth effectually Christ's Body and drinketh His Blood (that is, he is made effectually partaker of His passion); and you make a grosser kind of being enclosing a natural, a lively, and a moving body, under the shape or form of Bread and Wine. Now this difference considered, to the question thus I answer, that in the Sacrament of the Altar is the natural Body and Blood of Christ vere et realiter, indeed and really, if you take these words indeed and really' for spiritually by grace and efficacy; for so every worthy receiver receiveth the very true Body of Christ. But if you mean really and indeed, so that thereby you would include a lively and a moveable body under the forms of bread and wine, then, in that sense, is not Christ's Body in the Sacrament really and indeed."
"Always my protestation reserved, I answer, thus; that in the Sacrament is a certain change, in that that Bread, which was before common bread, is now made a lively presentation of Christ's Body, and not only a figure, but effectuously representeth His Body; that even as the mortal body was nourished by that visible bread, so is the internal soul fed with the heavenly food of Christ's Body, which the eyes of faith see, as the bodily eyes
see only bread.
Such a Sacramental mutation I grant to be in the Bread and Wine, which truly is no small change, but such a change as no mortal man can make, but only that omnipotency of Christ's word." Works, edit. 1843. p. 274.
"Think not because I disallow that Presence which the first proposition maintaineth (as a presence which I take to be forged, phantastical, and beside the authority of God's word, perniciously brought into the Church by the Romanists,) that I therefore go about to take away the true Presence of Christ's Body in His Supper rightly and duly ministered, which is grounded upon the word of God, and made more plain by the commentaries of the faithful Fathers. They that think so of me, the Lord knoweth how far they are deceived. And to make the same evident unto you, I will in few words declare what True Presence of Christ's Body in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper I hold and affirm, with the word of God, and the ancient Fathers.
"I say and confess with the Evangelist Luke, and with the Apostle Paul, that the Bread on the which thanks are given is the Body of Christ in the remembrance of Him and His death, to be set forth perpetually of the faithful until His coming.
"I say and confess the Bread which we break to be the communion and partaking of Christ's Body with the ancient and the faithful Fathers.
"I say and believe, that there is not only a signification of Christ's Body set forth by the Sacrament, but also that therewith is given to the godly and faithful the grace of Christ's Body, that is, the food of life and immortality, and this I hold with Cyprian.
"I say also with St. Augustine, that we eat life and we drink life; with Emissene, that we feel the Lord to be present in grace; with Athanasius, that we receive celestial food which cometh from above; the property of natural communion, with Hilary; the nature of flesh and benediction which giveth life, in Bread and Wine, with Cyril; and with the same Cyril", the virtue of the very Flesh of Christ, life and grace of His Body,
a The passage quoted at more length in the Sermon, p. 13.
b See Sermon, p. 7. n. i. &c.
the property of the Only-Begotten, that is to say, life, as He Himself in plain words expoundeth it.
"I confess also with Basil, that we receive the mystical advent and coming of Christ, grace, and the virtue of His very nature; the Sacrament of His very Flesh, with Ambrose; the Body by grace, with Epiphanius; spiritual flesh, but not that which was crucified, with Jerome; grace flowing into a sacrifice, and the grace of the Spirit, with Chrysostom; grace and invisible verity, grace and society of the members of Christ's Body, with Augustine.
"Finally with Bertram, (who was the last of all these,) I confess that Christ's Body is in the Sacrament in this respect; namely, as he writeth, because there is in it the Spirit of Christ, that is, the power of the Word of God, which not only feedeth the soul, but also cleanseth it. Out of these I suppose it may clearly appear unto all men, how far we are from that opinion, whereof some go about falsely to slander us to the world, saying, we teach that the godly and faithful should receive nothing else at the Lord's table, but a figure of the Body of Christ." P. 201, 202.
Bishop Bilson, (quoted by Bishop Mountagu.)
"The disagreement is only in de modo præsentiæ, the thing is yielded to on either side, and there is in the Holy Eucharist a real Presence. 'God forbid,' saith Bishop Bilson, we should deny that the Flesh and Blood of Christ are truly present and truly received of the faithful at the Lord's table. It is the doctrine that we teach others, and comfort ourselves withal.” (p. 779 of the subject.) Appeal, c. 30 init. p. 289. See also Bp. White, below, p. 57.
Being assembled for no other cause which they could imagine but to have eaten the Passover only that Moses appointeth, when they saw their Lord and Master with hands and eyes lifted up to heaven first bless and consecrate for the endless good of all generations till the world's end the chosen elements of Bread and Wine, which elements made for ever the instruments of life by virtue of His Divine benediction, they being the first that were commanded to receive from Him, the first which were