« ForrigeFortsett »
Farther Considerations on understanding
the Petition for Bread, in the Lord's Prayer, to mean the Bread of Life, spoken of in St. John's Sixth Chapter,—that is, the Bread of the Eucharist, or the Divine Influence.
In their journey through the Wilderness, the Jews had been fed from Heaven with MANNA: it was perfectly natural, therefore, that a people, on whom so'miraculous a supply must have made a deep and indelible impression, should give the name of Bread from Heaven to all influence and assistance which they believed divine. It is no wonder that our Saviour, addressing a people whose minds were so strongly impressed with the idea of heavenly food, should call the celestial favours, which he had to bestow on them,
by by the name of Bread ; a figure, strong indeed, but a figure which, from its famili-. arity to their minds, almost ceased to be figurative. No wonder he taught them to pray for spiritual or heavenly succours, under the name of Bread, that manna which their forefathers received from Heaven, at once nourishing their bodies and confirming their faith. He condescended to assume the very name himself, (alluding to the sustenance which came down from Heaven) and to say, “ I am the Bread of Life.” To the minds of the JEWS there could be nothing harsh in this metaphor : it was their perverseness only which led them to understand the term in the gross and literal sense. They could not, without peculiar tardiness or perverseness, misunderstand the word Bread in the prayer of our Lord; because it was accompanied with an epithet (rendered from the Hebrew Epiousios) which at once shewed that it was to be considered as the food necessary to spiritual existence; since ousia, whence the epithet is derived, is not the proper word
for the life of the body, but the life of the soul; pure being, or Existence.
And this leads me to a farther consideration of the epithet Epiousios, which I translate, “necessary for spiritual essence or existence.” The word OUSIA, from which it derives its meaning, signifies, Being, ESSENCE; not temporary life, like that of the body, but pure indissoluble essence; the essence of the soul, and of the Deity, who was accordingly called by the word, from which ousia is immediately derived, o SN-I AM; that is, pure essence, not subject to mortality, but existing from everlasting to everlasting independantly of HYLE or MATTER.
The ARTOS EPIOUSIOS, in the Lord's Prayer, is a participation of this Bread of Life, this Divine Essence. According to Anastasius and Cyrillus, ΟΥΣΙΑ εστι at gayua audutagxtov, un d'Eguievov &T&pou a gos TNU EQUTOU QUOTAO. OUSIA, Essence, is that which exists from itself, unindebted to any other for its subsistence. IT is TO ON, PURE BEING. But supposing for a moment, which I
cannot however believe, that Epiousios is derived from emiw, it will then signify future, that Bread which we are hereafter to have in Heaven. There seems to be an antithesis between σημερον and επιουσιον, which is the only thing in my mind that favours this interpretation. It may then be translated thus: “Give us this day a foretaste of that Bread which is reserved for us in a future.” Allowing this to be the true translation, as some learned men have thought, the sense will still be equally favourable to my interpretation of spiritual Bread, or divine Grace: “ Give us now on earth that spiritual Bread which in Heaven is to be the food of our souls hereafter.” It cannot be understood of to-morrow's bread, as some have interpreted it ;-for it seems absurd to say, give us this day the bread of to-morrow. And, besides, our Saviour has expressly said, * Take no thought for the morrow, nei" ther what ye shall EAT, nor what ye * shall drink; for your Heavenly Father
knoweth ye have need of all these * things ;" and (as must be intended)
will mercifully supply them without your PRATER or solicitude.
If Epiousios were properly translated daily, in St. Luke, where the prayer is differently worded, the petition would run thus : “ Give us daily our daily bread," which would be a tautology; but “ Give us from day to day that heavenly bread, which is necessary to sustain the spiritual life bestowed as the peculiar privilege of Christ's religion," is a petition which elerates the mind with sublime devotion; and of a piece with the whole form of supplication.
This spiritual food, there is no doubt, is given to them who ask it with faith and true penitence, EVERY DAY. “ If ye," says our Saviour, “ being evil, know how “ to give good gifts unto your children, “ how much more shall your Heavenly Fa“ ther give the Holy Spirit to them that “ ask him.” And he himself has taught us to ask our Father, our Hearenly Father, for the Holy Spirit in the form prescribed, under the figurative appellation of Bread. But it is to be believed that larger por