Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

those writers who answered Bishop Hoad]y, I think. it will appear from the following pages, that the Lord's Supper is attended with present benefits of the highest nature, and therefore cannot be a mere memorial, or a mere act of obedience, in which neither is the soul strengthened and refreshed, nor any inward and spiritual grace conferred. Strength, refreshment, and Divine assistance, are the benefits, which the Church in her Catechism, founded on Scripture, (particularly, in this part, on the sixth chapter of St. John)» teaches her children to expect from a worthy participation of the Lord's Supper j and they are benefits, which the pious, according to their own confessions, have in all ages experienced with joy * and gratitude.

* Mens deficit quam non recepta Eucharistia erigit ct accendit. Cyprian : Epist. 54 ad Corinth.

SECT.

SECTION V.

The Sixth Chapter of St. John contains Passages (from verse 25 to verse 36, and from verse 46 to verse 64) which refer to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

1 >r the present discussion, I think it very materia], that the passages respecting the eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son^of Man, in the sixth chapter of St. John, should be generally understood (as they were in my opinion certainly meant) to point out, the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the Eucharistical Feast on the One Great Sacrifice.. ,

I shall, therefore, for the sake of establishing so important an opinion, call in an auxiliary whose sermon on the subject is not more remarkable for the elegance of its composition, than its perspicuity and force, though I am aware the writer is on some occasions deemed obscure. scure. I am myself convinced that the passages in question relate to the solemn feast of the Eucharist, which our Saviour afterwards instituted, and for which he gradually prepared the minds of his disciples, by this most remarkable discourse:

"With regard," says Bishop Cleaver, "to the objection to the sacramental construction of these passages, (the passages in the sixth chapter of St. John), drawn from the non-institution of the Sacrament at the time when this discourse was delivered, I will only oppose to it one plain fact, which is this; that the same evangelist, St. John, has, in the third chapter of his Gospel, preserved a discourse of our Lord's with Nicodemus, which expressly mentions the sign and the thing signified, the necessity, and the good effects of Baptism, long before that Sacrament was instituted."

"There can, therefore, be no presumption drawn against the application of this chapter to the institution of the Lord's Supper, from the time when this discourse was delivered, which would not equally militate against the application of the third chapter to the Sacrament of Baptism; an application which is, notwithstanding, universally allowed. It should likewise be remembered by those who urge this objection, that the institution of Baptism, however early in the course of our Lord's ministry it was described and explained, Avus not enjoined till after this of our Lord's Supper."

." So much for the objection by itself considered; but I would make a further use of this discourse upon Baptism, between which and that under consideration, there is more than an accidental resemblance."

"Our Saviour had told Nicodemus that he must be born again; Nicodemus replies to the impossibility of the thing, in the obvious and literal sense of the words. Jesus in answer, with peculiar solemnity and claim to attention, points out the possibility and the means of being born again, as well as the necessity of such regeneration: "Verily, Verily, I say "unto you, except a man be born of "water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter "into the kingdom of God." To which,

D still still remarking on the want of apprehension of Nicodemus, he adds, " If I have "told you earthly things, and you believe ** not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you "of heavenly things."

"In the sixth chapter Jesus had said, "The bread that I will give is my flesh, "which I will give for the life of the "world/' The Jews again answering, as Nicodemus had done before, to the impossibility of the thing, in its literal sense, said, " How can this man give us his "flesh to eat." To which our Lord returns an answer, corresponding to that given to Nicodemus, even to the very turn of the sentence: "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." The purport of which words is repeated and confirmed in the three next verses, to which he adds, still remarking on their want of apprehension, "Doth this offend you? What, and if ye "shall see the Son of Man ascend up "where he was before?" A reply so exactly parallel to that with which he had concluded his conversation with this Master

« ForrigeFortsett »