Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

OF TIE

REAL PRESENCE.

How far the real presence of the body of Christ, in the sacrament, is allowed or disallowed by us, I have at large declared in another place. The sum is this: That, in the receiving of the blessed sacrament, we are to distinguislı 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. They of the adverse part have made such a confusion of these things, that, for the first, they do utterly deny, that after the words of consecration there remaineth any bread or

wine at all to be received: and for the second, do affirm that the body and blood of Christ is in such a manner present, under the outward shows of bread and wine, that whosoever receiveth the one, be he good or bad, believer or unbeliever, doth therewith really receive the other. We are therefore here put to prove, that bread is bread, and wine is wine; a matter, one would think, that easily might be determined by common sense. “That which you see," saith St. Augustine, “is the bread and the cup: which your very eyes do declare unto you." But because we have to deal with men, that will needs herein be senseless; we will for this time refer them to Tertullian's discourse of the five senses, wishing they may be restored to the use of their five wits again: and ponder the testimonies of our Saviour Christ, in the sixth of John, and in the words of the institution; which they oppose against all sense, but in the end shall find to be as opposite to this fantastical conceit of theirs, as any thing can be.

& Serm. at Westminst. before the house of commons. ann. 1620. vol. 2.

pag. 417,

bQuod ergo vidistis, panis est et calix : quod vobis etiam oculi vestri renunciant. Augustin. serm. 272. op. tom. 5. pag. 1103.

Touching our Saviour's specch, of the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood, in the sixth of John, these five things specially may be observed. First, that the question betwixt our adversaries and us being not, Whether Christ's body be turned into bread, but, Whether bread be turned into Christ's body; the words in St. John, if they be pressed literally, serve more strongly to prove the former than the latter. Secondly, that this sermon was uttered by our Saviour, above a year before the celebration of his last supper, wherein the sacrament of his body and blood was instituted : at which time none of his hearers could possibly have understood him to have spoken of the external eating of him in the sacrament. Thirdly, that by the eating of the flesh of Christ, and the drinking of his blood, there is not here meant an external eating or drinking with the mouth and throat of the body, as the Jewsd then, and the Romanists far more grossly than they, have since imagined; but an internal and a spiritual, effected by a lively faith, and the quickening Spirit of Christ, in the soul of the believer. For “ there is a spiritual mouth of the inner man," as St. Basil noteth, “wherewith he is nourished, that is made partaker of the word of life, which is the bread that cometh down from heaven.” Fourthly, that this spiritual feeding upon the body and blood of Christ is not to be found in the sacra

€ Tertull. in lib. de anima, cap. 17. cui titulus, De quinque sensibus. d John, chap. 6. ver. 52.

• "Εστι μέν τι και νοητόν στόμα του ένδον ανθρώπου, ω τρέφεται μεταλαμβάνων του λόγου της ζωής, ός έστιν άρτος εκ του ουρανού καταβάς. Basil. in Psalm. 33. op. tom. 1. pag. 144.

ment only, but also out of the sacrament. Fifthly, that the eating of the flesh, and the drinking of the blood here mentioned, is of such excellent virtue, that the receiver is thereby made to remain in Christ, and Christ in him ; and by that means certainly freed from death, and assured of everlasting life. Which seeing it cannot be verified of the eating of the sacrament, whereof both the godly and the -wicked are partakers; it proveth, not only that our Saviour did not here speak of the sacramental eating ; but further also, that the thing, which is delivered in the external part of the sacrament, cannot be conceived to be really, but sacramentally only, the flesh and blood of Christ.

The first of these may be plainly seen in the text : where our Saviour doth not only say, “I am the bread of life,” verse forty-eight, and, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven,” verse fifty-one; but addeth also in the fifty-fifth verse, "For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” Which words, being the most forcible of all the rest, and those wherewith the simpler sort are commonly most deluded, might carry some show of proof, that Christ's flesh and blood should be turned into bread and wine ; but have no manner of colour to prove, that bread and wine are turned into the flesh and blood of Christ. The truth of the second appeareth by the fourth verse; in which we find, that this fell out not long before the passover: and consequently a year at least before that last passover, wherein our Saviour insti- tuted the sacrament of his supper. We willingly indeed do acknowledge, that that which is inwardly presented in the Lord's supper, and spiritually received by the soul of the faithful, is that very thing which is treated of in the sixth of John: but we deny that it was our Saviour's intention in this place to speak of that, which is externally delivered in the sacrament, and orally received by the communicant. And for our warrant herein, we need look no further than to that earnest asseveration of our Saviour in the fifty-third verse; “Verily, verily I say unto you; except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his

blood, ye have no life in you." Wherein there is not only an obligation laid upon them for doing of this, which in no likelihood could be intended of the external eating of the sacrament, that was not as yet in being: but also an absolute necessity imposed, non præcepti solum ratione, scd etiam medii. Now to hold that all they are excluded from life, which have not had the means to receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper, is as untrue as it is uncharitable. And therefore many of the papists themselves, as Biel, Cusanus, Cajetan, Tapper, Hessels, Jansenius, and others, confess that our Saviour, in the sixth of John, did not properly treat of the sacrament.

The third of the points proposed may be collected out of the first part of Christ's speech, in the thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth verses. “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger: and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, that

ye also have seen me, and believe not.” But especially out of the last, from the sixty-first verse forward. 6. When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them; Doth this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of man ascend up where he was before ? It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that believe not.” Which words Athanasius (or whosoever was the author of the tractate upon that place; Quicunque dixerit verbum in filium hominis) noteth our Saviour to have used; that his hearers might learn " that those things, which he spake, were not carnal but spiritual. For how many could his body have sufficed for meat, that it should be made the food of the whole world? But therefore it was that he

Γ ότι ά λέγει, ουκ έστι σαρκικά, αλλά πνευματικά πόσοις γάρ ήρκει το σώμα προς βρώσιν, ίνα και του κόσμου παντός τούτο τροφή γένηται ; 'Αλλά διά τούτο της εις ουρανούς αναβάσεως εμνημόνευσε του υιού του ανθρώπου, ίνα της σωματικής εννοίας αυτούς αφελκύση, και λοιπόν την είρημένην σάρκα βρώσιν άνωθεν ουράνιον, και πνευματικών τροφών παρ' αυτού διδομένην μάθωσιν. ά γαρ λελάληκα (φησαν) υμίν, πνεύμα εστι kai Swr). Athanas.

made mention of the Son of man's ascension into heaven, that he might draw them from this corporal conceit; and that hereafter they might learn, that the flesh, which he spake of, was celestial meat from above, and spiritual nourishment to be given by him: For the words which I have spoken unto you, saith he, are spirit and life.” So likewise Tertullian; “ Although he saith that the flesh profiteth nothing, the meaning of the speech must be directed according to the intent of the matter in hand. For, because they thought it to be a hard and an intolerable speech, as if he had determined that his flesh should be truly eaten by them; that he might dispose the state of salvation by the spirit, he premised; It is the spirit that quickeneth: and so subjoined, The flesh profiteth nothing; namely to quicken, &c. And because the Word was made flesh, it therefore was to be desired for causing of life, and to be devoured by hearing, and to be chewed by understanding, and to be digested by faith. For a little before he had also affirmed, that his flesh was heavenly bread: urging still, by the allegory of necessary food, the remembrance of the fathers, who preferred the bread and the flesh of the Egyptians before God's calling." Add hereunto the sentence of Origen ; “ There is in the New Testament also a letter which killeth him, that doth not spiritually conceive the things that be spoken. For if according to the letter you do follow this same which is said, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and

& Etsi carnem ait nihil prodesse, ex materia dicti dirigendus est sensus. Nam quia durum et intolerabilem existimaverunt sermonem ejus, quasi vere carnem suam illis edendam determinasset : ut in spiritum disponeret statum salutis, præmisit ; Spiritus est qui vivificat, atque ita subjunxit, caro nihil prodest ; ad vivificandum scilicet. Tertull. de resurrect. carnis, cap. 37.

h Quia et Sermo caro erat factus, proinde in causam vitæ appetendus, et devorandus auditu, et ruminandus intellectu, et fide digerendus. Nam et paulo ante carnem suam panem quoque cælestem pronuntiarat ; urgens usquequaque, per allegoriam necessariorum pabulorum, memoriam patrum, qui panes et carnes Ægyptiorum præverterant divinæ vocationi. Idem ibid.

i Est et in novo Testamento litera quæ occidit eum, qui non spiritualiter ea quæ dicuntur adverterit. Si enim secundum literum sequaris hoc ipsum, quod dictum est, Nisi manducaveritis carnem meam, et biberitis sanguinem meum, occidit hæc litera. Orig. in Levit. hom. 7. op. tom. 2. pag. 225.

« ForrigeFortsett »