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of government,” says Burnet, “ was at that time much turned to the drawing over the body of the nation to the Reformation, in whom the old leaven had gone deep ; and no part of it deeper than the belief of the corporeal presence of Christ in the Sacrament; therefore it was thought not expedient to offend them by so particular a definition in this matter, in which the very word real presence was rejected.”[8) In like manner, in the second Book of Common Prayer, published by Edward VI., was inserted a long rubric, rejecting“ all adoration unto any real presence of Christ's natural flesh and blood.” This also was laid aside by order of Elizabeth. “ It being the Queen's design,” says Wheatley,“to unite the nation as much as she could in one faith, it was therefore recommended to the divines, to see there should be no definition made against the aforesaid notion, but that it should remain as a speculative opinion not determined, but in which every one might be left to the freedom of his own mind.” (1) King James imitated the
(8)“ Burnet, Exposition of the xxxix Articles, p. 308. “ This part of the Article was omitted, in 1562, probably with a view to give less offence to those who maintained the corporeal presence, and to comprehend as many as possible in the Established Church.” Bishop of Lincoln's Elements of Christian Theology, vol. 2, p. 483. .
(h) Wheatley's Ilustration of the Book of Common Prayer, p. 334.
caution of his predecessor ; and in commissioning Bishop Overal, then Dean of St. Paul's, to add to the Catechism the explanation of the Sacraments, was careful that the real presence should be taught in such a manner as might satisfy the patrons of that doctrine.fi)
The 28th Article of the Church of England declares that “the body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner.” Catholics say the same.“ The Holy Synod openly and plainly professes that in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially present under the appearances of those sensible objects. Nor in this is there any repugnance, that Christ, according to his natural manner of existence, should always remain in heaven at the right hand of his Father; and that, at the same time he should be present with us, in many places, really, but sacramentally, in that way of existence which, though in words we can hardly express it, the mind, illuminated by faith, can conceive it to be possible to God, and which we are bound firmly to believe ; for so all our ancestors, as many as were members of the true Church of
(1) See Dr. Lingard's Tracts, from which the above quotations are taken.
“ The body
Christ, who wrote on the subject of this holy Sacrament, openly professed.”(k)
Dean Nowell, in his Catechism for Schools, first published in 1570, says the same. and blood of Christ are given to the faithful in the Lord's Supper, are received, eat, and drank by them, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner, but truly and really (verè tamen atque reipsa). So that, when it was asserted by a Catholic controvertist, that, according to the doctrine of the Church of England, the bread of the supper is but a figure of Christ, Bishop Montague had some reason to answer ; “ Is but a sign or figure, and no more! - Strange!-and yet our formal words are, This is my body; this is my blood. This is, is more than this figureth, or designeth ; a bare figure is but a phantasm. He gave substance, and really subsisting essence, who said, “ This is my body, this is my blood.”(1)
“ I know,” says the elegant and learned writer from whom this argument is taken, “ that both this divine, and others who have held a similar language, have on other occasions taught the contrary doctrine ; but this corroborates my assertion, since it shews that, in endeavouring to defend the tenets of the established creed, they were com
(a) Council of Trent, Sess. xiii. c. 1. p. 86. ^) New Gag. p. 250. 1624.
pelled, first, to acknowledge a real presence, and then to explain it away till it meant a real absence." The article says, “ the body of Christ is given, &c.— Now, Archbishop Wake's catechism, entitled, The Principles of the Christian Religion Explained, asks this question ; “ Are the body and blood of Christ really distributed to every communicant in this Sacrament? And the answer is,“ No, they are not. For then, every communicant, whether prepared or not, would alike receive Christ's body and blood there.” Is not this contradictory to the Article? The Article says, " the body of Christ is given;"—the Archbishop's catechism, that it is not given. * “ That which is given," says he, “by the priest to the communicant, is, as to its nature, the same after the consecration that it was before ; viz. bread and wine, only altered as to its use and signification.” He says again : “ That which is given by the priest, is, as to its substance, bread and wine; as to its sacramental nature and signification, it is the figure or representation of Christ's body and blood, which was broken and shed for us. The very body and blood of Christ as yet it is not. But being with faith and piety received by the communicant, it becomes to him, by the blessing of God, and the grace of the Holy Spirit, the very body and blood of Christ." - We have seen, that the Article at first
says the body of Christ is really present, for
how can it be given, if it be not there? yet at last it asserts that it is not there; and that to bring it there, it must first be received by faith. In the Archbishop's definition a real and true presence is also expressed ; and yet when the Bishop asks how the bread and wine become to the faithful and worthy communicant the very body and blood of Christ, he replies: “ As it entitles him to a part in the sacrifice of his death, and to the benefits thereby procured to all his faithful and obedient servants!” If this has any meaning at all, it signifies that, instead of a real presence of the body and blood of Christ, there is in the Sacrament a title to the inheritance of the merits of his death; that is, some spiritual benefit, but by no means the very body and blood of Christ, as he had said before!
The late Bishop of Durham, in his celebrated Explanation of the Doctrine of the Lord's Supper, thus expresses himself: “ To eat Christ, is to incorporate with the mind the spiritual food of faith and righteousness. To eat Christ, is to imbibe his doctrines, to digest his precepts, and to live by his example. We eat Christ, by having him in our minds, and meditating on his life and sufferings. To eat Christ, is to believe in him ; and to eat his flesh is to keep up the remembrance of him, especially of his death. To eat the body of Christ, therefore, and to drink his blood at the Sacrament, are figurative terms to denote an act