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vouchsafed to sanctify and consecrate them by the grace of Thy Christ, and the descent of Thy Most Holy Spirit.”
Above all, in the Roman Liturgy itself, as it appears before com jaratively modern rubrics involving mediæval doctrine were added to it, there are many expressions absolutely incompatible witb Transubstantiation. For instance, just before consecration, the celebrant is directed to pray that God would make the “ host” " blessed, approved, ratified, reasonable, and acceptable, that it may become to us the body and blood of His most beloved Son.”
This is just before the host will become, and be adored, as Chrizt Himself personally present, and yet when He has become so present immediately after consecration, God is asked to “ vouchsafe to look down upon the host and chalice (i.e., rery Christ under the veils) with a PROPITIOUS and SERENE countenance, and to accept them as He was pleased to accept the gifts of His just servant Abel,” &c.
Conceive God the Father being asked in such terms to look upon His own Son-Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity—on the altar !
The very Mass itself witnesses to the fact that when it was first composed such a conception as Transubstantiation was unknown in the Church,
THE MERELY FIGURATIVE VIEW.
We have now to consider an error diametrically opposite to that of Transubstantiation.
After the Reformation, persons calling themselves Evangelical believers broached the doctrine that the consecrated elements are to be accounted nothing more than figures, types, or emblems of flesh and blood not present, but absent; and that we feed on the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion only in the same way as we may by a strong figure be said to feed on His Body and Blood when we are moved by a sermon on His Atoning Sacrifice, or when we mentally contemplate His love in dying for us.
According to this view, the bread and wine are merely intended to refresh our memories as to the great fact of Redemption, and whilst partaking of them we are, by an act of the memory, to realise that Christ's Body was broken, and that His Blood was shed for us upon the
So that when our Saviour said, “ Take, eat; this is My body,” according to this view He really said nothing more than “Devoutly contemplate My Atonement." wardly digest the truth that I suffer as your propitiatory Sacrifice.” “Feed in your hearts upon the doctrine of My Mediation.”
But to interpret,“ Take, eat; this is My body," as if oui Lord meant, “ Inwardly realise your part in My Atonehent," is secretly felt to be so unwarrantable-to explain & command which enjoins the receiving and eating of material food as meaning really nothing more than a direction to go through a certain mental process, is felt to be, on the face of it, so incongruous and unnatural, that those sects or parties who once adoptod it have gradually dropped this interpretation, and with it every aim at realising the meaning of the words, “ This is My body." They have not stopped even here, but have of set purpose thrust aside every view of Holy Communion, except the one under which it is regarded as a simple memorial feast, and to be partaken of, not in order that we may receive anything which Christ offers, but as a means whereby we are to work a certain work, viz., that of professing our individual faith in His Atonement.
I shall now show that this view of Holy Communion as a mere commemorative rite must be false--destructive of all Faith in the Sacrament as a means of
grace, and so subversive of the intention of Christ in having instituted it.
First, then, the idea that our Lord blessed and brake the bread, and gave it to His disciples as a mere figure, is contrary to the whole tenor and spirit of the New Dispensation, which is a system of realities, and not of figures of antitypes, and not of types.
The leading difference between this dispensation and the Jewish, which it superseded, consists in this, that in the Jewish the great truths of the Gospel were veiled under types, and their mere outlines were dimly discernible in shadows; whereas, under the Gospel, we have the realities of which the Jews had but the prefigurements, and the substances of which they had but the shadows.
The merely symbolical view of Holy Communion would make it appear
that our Lord instituted a legal typical rite in the centre of an Evangelical system--a rite, too, by no means, of itself, so well calculated as the slaying of the Paschal Lamb to bring to mind the Sacrifice of Himself.
The slaughter of a lamb, and the sprinkling of its blood, would far more effectually typify the atoning Death of Christ, than the blessing and breaking of a morsel of bread, or the drinking of a few drops of wine in a chalice. So that on the mere memorial, or typical view, no reason whatsoever can be given why our Lord should have superseded one rite, which, by actual blood-shedding and death, would vividly remind men of His Death, by another rite, in which the sensible reference to His Death is so much weaker-there being in it no blood-shedding and no death.
If our Lord, by “This is My body," had meant, “ This is merely a figure, or type, or emblem,” it would assuredly have once at least been so written in the Scriptures.
At such a solemn time He would not have used words which
must, of necessity, prove a share to believing hearts. By the Church from the very first—in times when to be a Christian was to be a persecuted outcast-these words have been taken as if by them the Eternal Word ordained something infinitely more than a mere type or figure. Even the great leaders of the Reformation, though they may have differed among themselves about the mode in which the bread was identified with His Body, have accepted His words as implying, and indeed bringing about, a real though spiritual presence.
It cannot be supposed, then, that He who knew all the future of His Church would, without one qualifying or warning expression, have used language so misleading.
There are four accounts of the words which Christ spake on this occasion, and in not one is the bread called a type, or figure, or sign. The writers, too, of these accounts do not strictly adhere to the words of Christ. Two of them, St. Paul and St. Luke, add the words—"Do this in remembrance of Me"--which the others have omitted, and two of them give the sense rather than the exact words of Christ respecting the cup, when they record that He said, “ This is the New Covenant in My Blood.” But this sense which they give of Christ's words wholly forbids us to look upon the cup as a mero figure or type. It is the New Covenant in His Blood. Covenants in old times were not ratified with the figure of blood, but with blood itself. So far from being a mere figure of blood, then, it must be blood in its most intense spiritual reality, as ratifying the New Covenant betwixt God and the communicant.
Besides this, we have in St. Paul's Epistles certain Eucharistic teaching which without doubt implies some mysterious communication through the elements. cup of blessing, which we bless, is it not the communion" -i. e., the communication to us, or the partaking, as our Article renders it, (not the figure,)“ of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communication " (not the type)" of the body of Christ ?"
“ And then the Apostle proceeds to assert a most remarkable result of partaking—“We being many are one bread, and one body: for wo are all partakers of that one bread" (1 Cor. x. 17)—i. e., because we partake of that one bread, which is the Communion of Christ's Body, we are all incorporated together in one Body. So far, then, from tho bread being a figure only, the right and worthy partaking of it is followed by the highest conceivable result, viz., Union with Christ as the Head of His mystical Body.
Besides this, St. Paul writes words of dreadful import respecting those who profane the Lord's Table, which imply that the relations of the elements to the things which they represent are, to the wicked, a most terrible reality—“Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” “ He that eateth and drinketh,' eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.” (1 Cor. xi. 27, 29.) With such words in Holy Scripture, it is very perilous to argue that the bread and wine are mere figures or images.
If figures, they are accounted of by God, and to be accounted of by man (so far as their profanation is concerned), as identified with the things which they figure.
All, then, which the Scripture reveals concerning this Sacrament is on one side—all leans in one direction-all points one way: for all leads the submissive heart to look for what is high and mysterious, rather than what is low and rationalistic. And no view can be lower and more
• The best MSS. omit “unworthilv” in verse 29, retaining it in verse 27.