« AnteriorContinuar »
words,) it will be sufficient for the justification both of them and of us to shew, that the language of the Church itself does in fact express the same thing though in different terms. Still, I fully admit, that Christian discretion would bid us forbear from the use of the phrase, if the objection to it were founded on a sincere apprehension of giving offence to tender consciences; and not, as there is too much reason to believe, on an aversion to the great truth which it is employed to express." Charge, p. 69-71.
The following summary of the " Anglo-Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist" is added, not with any view of introducing the respected Author into the controversy, but as extracted from a work which since the publication of the first Edition has received the sanction of the most Reverend the Archbishops of Canterbury and Armagh, to whom it is, with permission, inscribed.
"This Catholic and Apostolic Church has always avoided any attempt to determine too minutely the mode of the true Presence in the Holy Eucharist. Guided by Scripture, she establishes only those truths which Scripture reveals, and leaves the subject in that mystery, with which God for His wise purposes has invested it. Her doctrine concerning the true Presence appears to be limited to the following points:
Taking as her immoveable foundation the words of Jesus Christ: "This is My Body......This is My Blood, of the new Covenant;" and "Whoso eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood hath eternal life;" she believes, that the Body or Flesh, and the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Creator and Redeemer of the world, both God and man, united indivisibly in one Person, are verily and indeed given to, taken, eaten, and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper, under the outward sign or form of Bread and Wine, which is, on this account, the " partaking or communion of the Body and Blood of Christ." She believes that the Eucharist is not the sign of an absent body, and that those who partake of it receive not merely the figure, or shadow, or sign of Christ's Body, but the reality itself. And as Christ's divine and human natures are inseparably united, so she believes that we receive in the Eucharist, not only the Flesh and Blood of Christ, but Christ Himself, both God and man.
Resting on these words, "The Bread which we break is it
not the communion of the Body of Christ?" and again, “ I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the Vine;" she holds that the nature of the Bread and Wine continues after consecration, and therefore rejects transubstantiation, or "the change of the substance" which supposes the nature of bread entirely to cease by consecration.
"As a necessary consequence of the preceding truths, and admonished by Christ Himself, " It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you they are Spirit and they are life;" she holds that the Presence (and therefore the eating) of Christ's Body and Blood, though true, is altogether "heavenly and spiritual," of a kind which is inexplicable by any carnal or earthly experience or imagination: even as the Sonship of the Eternal Word of God, and His Incarnation, and the Procession of the Holy Spirit, are immeasurable by human understandings.
Believing according to the Scriptures, that Christ ascended in His natural Body into Heaven, and shall only come from thence at the end of the world; she rejects, for this reason, as well as the last, any such real Presence of Christ's Body and Blood as is "corporal" or organical, that is, according to the known and earthly mode of existence of a body.
"Resting on the Divine promise, "Whoso eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, hath eternal life," she regards it as the more pious and probable opinion, that the wicked, those who are totally devoid of true and living faith, do not partake of the Holy Flesh of Christ in the Eucharist, God withdrawing from them so "divine" a gift, and not permitting His enemies to partake of it. And hence she holds, that such a faith is "the means by which the Body of Christ is received and eaten,” necessary instrument in all these holy ceremonies;" because it is the essential qualification on our parts, without which that Body is not received; and because "without faith it is impossible to please God."
"Following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Apostles, and supported by their authority, she believes that "the blessing," or "consecration" of the Bread and Wine is not without effect, but that it operates a real change: for when the Sacrament is thus perfected, she regards it as so "divine a thing," so "heavenly a food," that we must not "presume" to approach it with unprepared minds, and that sinners, although they only
partake of the Bread and Wine, partake of them to their own condemnation, because they impiously disregard the Lord's Body, which is truly present in that Sacrament. Hence it is that the Church believing firmly in the real Presence of the precious and blessed Body and Blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ," speaks of the Eucharist as "high and holy mysteries," exhorts us to consider the "dignity of that holy mystery," that "heavenly feast," that "holy table," "the banquet of that most heavenly food," even "the King of kings' table."
"Such is the simple, the sublime, and, what is more, the true and scriptural doctrine of our Catholic and Apostolic Churcha doctrine which cannot be accused of heresy except from ignorance or uncharitableness. Even our adversaries are compelled sometimes by the force of truth to clear the Church of England from the imputation of disbelieving the sublime mysteries of this Holy Sacrament, and reducing it to a common spiritual exercise, in which the mind of the individual derives edification, and perhaps grace, from the contemplation and remembrance of an absent Redeemer's sufferings.
"Our doctrine leaves this subject in the sacred mystery with which God has enveloped it. It is not to be denied that the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation facilitates the mental conception of that mystery: but it has the fatal defect of being opposed to the plain language of Scripture; and if those statements are to be explained away, and reduced to merely figurative expressions, according to the doctrine of Paschasius Radbertus and his school; the Berengarians, Zuinglians, and Socinians, may with reason claim a similar privilege of arbitrarily explaining away into figures the very passages in which the doctrine of the true Presence itself is conveyed.
"The Roman doctrine of transubstantiation is entirely founded on human reasoning from the nature of bodies, and the supposed incompatibility of the scriptural statement that the Eucharist is Bread and Wine, literally understood, with the other expressions of Scripture. But what Bossuet has observed of the philosophical reasonings of the School of Zurich and Geneva against the real Presence, " que les reçevoir en matière de religion, c'est détruire non seulement le mystère de l'eucharistie, mais tout d'un coup tous les mystères du Christianisme," is perfectly applicable to those of Romanists for their transubstantiation." Palmer's Treatise on the Church, vol. ii. p. 526–533.
TO THE ENGLISH WRITERS QUOTED.
HOLY Eucharist-Benefits of the use of the high language of the
Sayings of the Fathers acknowledged specifically, Bp. Ridley, p. 35,
Churches of England and Rome differ therein, not as to the Real
Our Lord's words "This is My Body" to be believed; the mode
The Eucharist no untrue sign of a thing absent. Homilies, p. 33.
The very, true, natural Body and Blood of Christ which was born,
The Body and Blood of Christ are really and substantially present in
58, 9. truly, really, and substantially, Bp. Forbes, p. 59. actually,
By the word Amen, the Communicant professes his belief in the
Present to all that worthily receive, Abp. Sharp, p. 81.
To the un-
Under the forms or species of bread and wine, Sutton, p. 57. Grabe,
Real Presence confessed generally, Bps. Ridley, &c. (See above head
That Presence caused by the Consecration, not by our Faith, Bp.
Not in receiving only, Bp. Overall, p. 42. Herbert, p. 62.