« ForrigeFortsett »
that it is impossible to resist their force. “ I am the bread of life,” says Christ,“ he “ that eateth me, even he shall live by me. “ Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my “ blood hath eternal life,--dwelleth in me “ and I in him.-Except ye eat the flesh 56 of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, “ ye have no life in you." The meaning of which is plainly this ; they that feed on Christ in the Sacrament have life, spiritual life in Christ; that is, they are connected with him, and supported by him, as the branch by the vine; and all that do not, have no life, but are like dead branches, or branches cut off from the vital stock of the vine, whence alone they can derive nutrition. The union of the branch and trunk is destroyed ; the union of the human with the divine nature is no more; and man, in consequence, decays and perishes like the dead branch of a tree. But let it be remembered, that none but woRTH Y receivers do really feed on Christ in the Sa. crament, though they eat and drink the elements. According to an article of our Church: “ The wicked and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do
carnally press with their teeth (as St. Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in nowise are they partakers of Christ.”
Judas was washed by our Saviour after the declaration, “ If I wash thee not thou « hast no part in me.” Judas was washed with the other disciples, yet it cannot be supposed, that he had any part in Christ. A plain proof that something was to be done in the mind of the disciples whose feet our Saviour washed, either by themselves or the Holy Spirit of Christ, before the bodily act could be efficacious. This is necessary to observe, lest objectors should argue, as they have argued, the absurdity of supposing wicked men united to Christ by a single and outward act, the act of mere manducation. “ It is “ the Spirit that quickeneth,” said our Saviour, “the FLESH PROFITETH NO66 THING,"
Some among the antients, whose opinions I forbear to cite, because they have been often cited, and my proposed limits
do not allow room, seem to have main· tained that the Spirit's operation was on
the elements, the creatures of bread and wine. In this, I doubt not, they were mistaken; the Spirits operation is, I conceive, solely on the recipients; but what they say and held proves that they believed the Spirit powerfully active in the Eucharist; and they could mean nothing less, in asserting that the elements were sanctified, than that sanctification was communicated through the elements to the Communicants, which virtually and ultimately is the same doctrine which is here maintained.
· None, who admit the doctrine of the Spirit's energy on the human heart, deny that the Spirit's assistance is afforded to man on many accounts, besides his worthy reception of the Eucharist *. But there
* “ It is no good argument to say that the graces of God are given out of the Sacrament; ergo, not by, orin, the Sacrament; but rather thus : If God's grace overflows sometimes and goes without his own Instruments, much more shall be give it, in the use of them. If God gives pardon without the Sacrament, then rather also with the Sacrament; for supposing the Sacraments in their design and institution to be nothing but signs and ceremonies, yet they cannot hinder the work of God: and therefore
is every reason to believe that it is afforded more plentifully, with more comfort, and more certainty by an ordinance of Christ himself, purposely instituted to bestow it on faith and repentance than by any other means. Indeed the Sacrament is, as it were, a seal to confirm the gifts already received, as well as an instrument of present influences from on high, and an earnest of future salvation. It is impossible to suppose, but that every blessing must follow from man's union with Christ; that is from the inAuence of Christ's Holy Spirit.
That this is the case, is, I believe, the general opinion of pious, humble Christians, taught by the Gospel, and illuminated by grace, throughout all Christian countries. It is controverted by very
Holiness in the Reception of them, will do more then Holiness alone; for God does nothing in vain. The Sacraments do something in the hands of God; at least they are God's proper and accustomed Time of Grace. They are his Seasons and our Opportunity. When the Angel stirs the Pool, when the Spirit moves upon the Waters, then there is a healing Ministry,"
Bishop TAYLOR, 11 4
few, comparatively speaking, any where; and these few are men who have been misled into a false idea of the strength of human reason, and who endeavour by a proud and superficial philosophy, to explain away all that reason cannot comprehend, in the unsearchable ways of Divine Wisdom. The misfortune is, that, not contented with their own opinions in private, they are taking pains, by publishing them, to rob the pious and humble Christians * of all the comfort they used to receive, and still expect, from the Holy Communion. God's gracet must cer
* The Norrisian Professor of Divinity, Dr. Hey, has this observation. “My own idea is this: when I say, that, in the Lord's Supper “ the Body and Blood of Christ “ which are verily and indeed taken and received by the “ faithful in the Lord's Supper ;" I mean that though I may not know precisely what may be intended in Scrip
ure by our eating Christ's Body and drinking his Blood, yet I believe that whatever is meant, a worthy receiver comes up to that meaning; he performs that action which is prescribed; he obtains that good which is annexed to it."
t" Grace is an extraordinary disposition and Vigour of mind to APPREHEND religious Truths.”—Tucker's Light of Nature,