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of its nature and efficacy? The opinion that these words relate to the Eucharist, and mean a spiritual manducation, (as it is called), removes all the difficulty which arises from supposing our Saviour intended by such extraordinary words nothing more than the reception of his doctrines in divinity, and his precepts in morality. It renders the words perfectly proper, and peculiarly apposite.
I consider these passages as thrown out to prepare the ininds of the Apostles for the institution of the Sacrament: and, under this notion, they appear in this place with singular propriety. An institution so extraordinary required that the minds of the Apostles, who, at that period, were not very docile in spiritual matters, should be gradually prepared for it.
St. John wrote his Gospel to supply · the omissions of the others, and, according to that design he had no occasion to add the history of the institution, which the preceding Evangelists had already given, and which was already known; but it was highly proper to add these passages in his sixth chapter, because they tended
to elucidate the design of the Sacrament, and to point out its momentous consequences to those who might be inclined to consider it as a bare memorial, or as. affording no present benefits to the communicant.
It is not reasonable to suppose the same expressions, and such remarkable ones, were used by the same speaker, or writer, in senses entirely different. Therefore, if our Saviour's words, “ eating the body or “ flesh,” in St. Matthew, mean the Sacrament, it is unreasonable to interpret them differently in St. John. · This chapter, considered as referring to the Sacrament, fully proves the important benefits immediately arising from it; “ He that eateth my flesh and drinketh “ my blood, dwelleth in me and I in him.”
How can God dwell in us but by communicating his Spirit to us? And how can we dwell in him, that is, in his favour, in a participation of his excellence and his happiness, but by receiving his Grace, and the inspiration of his Holy Spirit.
Most assuredly the present benefit arising from a worthy reception of the Sa
crament, crament, is the greatest that man can possibly receive, in his sublunary state; for it is the assistance of the Spirit of the Almighty; it is Light and LIFE.
But the Holy Ghost will not inhabit a temple polluted with sin. It follows, therefore, that the sin is removed, and that remission takes place, as soon as the benefit of Divine assistance is received.
When sin is sincerely repented of and done away, who can doubt but that the Father of all Mercies vouchsafes a perfect remission of all penalty incurred ? Therefore GRACE and PARDON are the great benefits annexed to the Eucharist; it being always understood, (and in an affair of so much moment it cannot too often be repeated), that the communicants, in order to partake the benefits, must receive, in the full sense of the word, WORTHILY; that is, with firm faith and sincere repentance. And in answer to the question why it is necessary to receive the Sacrament, when Grace and Pardon might otherwise be vouchsafed to Faith and Repentance ; let it be answered, that the reception of the Sacrament is commanded by him who has a right to prescribe, without assigning any reasons, his own mode of conferring his own undeserved favour*.
* “ Cum Sacramentis, ex Dei Pacto, conjuncta: est Vis QUÆDAM DIVINI SPIRITUS, per quam agunt infallibilitèr in omnibus iis, quibus DEBITE administrantur, quique illa suscipiunt, cum eâ, quam Deus in iis prærequirit, Dispositionę."
LB BLANC. On the peculiar Necessity of obeying the COMMAND in this case, let us hear Dr. TOWERGON. .
“ Besides, that every neglect of a COMMAND, is (as such) a sin against the imposer of it; and must consequently not only despoil us of his favour, but expose us also to his wrath and vengeance; besides, that suca neglect must be yet MORE sinful and dangerous, which is a neglect of such a COMMAND, as is enjoined for the SUBJECT'S PROFIT; He, who COMMANDS this or that particular, for such or such an end, must thereby be presumed to declare, that he will not give it in any OTHER WAY than that which is PRESCRIBED by him; bea cause otherwise a door would be open to the violation of his authority, which every wise Lawgiver must be supe posed to provide against.”-Towerson on the Sacra-. ment,
The primary and most important Benefit an
nexed to the worthy Reception of the Eucharist, is a Vouchsafement of Grace in more Abundance than ordinary, from which, of course, flow other Benefits, necessary to the Christian Life.
The great and prominent benefit derived from the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is, GRACE*, or the benign Influence of
* Nimis Sacramentorum Virtutem evacuant, qui volunt ca tantum esse, vel Notas Christianorum, vel Symbola mutuz Charitatis, vel Testimonia Animi erga Deum grati, vel allegoricas Commonefactiones ; quibus, tanquam Picturis, ob Oculos nobis ponatur Christiana Morrificatio, Vivivicatio et spiritualis Alimonia ; vel qui ea duntaxat Instituta volunt ad excitandam Fidem per Modum Objecti repræsentivi ; vel qui fatentur quidem esse Symbola Gratiæ; sed duntaxat antè et extra Sacra. menta collatæ ; non autem GRATIÆ PRÆSENTIS; học est, quæ in legitimo Sacramenti Usu EXHIBBATUR et TONFERATUR. Gbr. Vossius, de Sac. Vi et Effic.