TWENTY-NINTH LORD’S DAY.
Question 78. Do then the bread and wine become the very body and blood of Christ?
Answer. Not at all; but as the water in baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ, neither is the washing away of sin itself, being only the sign and confirmation thereof appointed of God; so the bread of the Lord’s supper is not changed into- the very body of Christ, though, agreeably to the nature and properties of sacraments, it is called the body of Christ Jesus.
The Catechism, in the answer to this Question, rejects the doctrine of transubstantiation advocated by the Papists, and also the doctrine of con- substantiation defended by the Ubiquitarians and others, and explains the- language which is here used together with the true sense of the words of Christ, This is my body. In our exposition of this question we shall consider, in the first place, the form of speech here used, and the true sense of the words of Christ, and then notice the controversies in regard to this subject. And here we must refer to this sacrament, what was said when speaking of sacramental phrases in general. It is in this way that Augustin makes an application of the general rule of sacramental phrases to the: particular instance of eating the flesh of Christ when he says, “The only way by which we can determine whether a Scriptural phrase is to be taken in a proper, or figurative sense, is to see if it can properly be referred to some moral duty, or be made to harmonise with the true faith, and if this cannot be done, then we may know that it is spoken figuratively” And then a little further on he produces this example: “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood ye have no life in you. Here Christ seems to enjoin a shameful crime.. Hence it must be understood figuratively, as teaching us, that we must partake of the passion of our Lord r and joyfully and profitably call to mind, that Ids flesh was wounded and pierced for us.” As the Scriptures sometimes speak of baptism properly,, and at other times figuratively, as we demonstrated when speaking of baptism, so they speak in like manner of the Lord’s supper. It is, for instance., a figurative mode of speech when Christ says, of the bread, This is my body; and of the cup, This is my blood: and when Paul says, This cup is the New Testament in my blood. For in all these instances the name of the thing signified is attributed to the sign by a sacramental metonymy. It is in the same way that we must understand Paul, when he says, This is my body which is broken for you, because he attributes the property of the sign (which is to be broken) to the thing signified. It is in the same way that Cyprian says: “When we drink of the cup we hang to the cross, we suck the blood, and place our tongues in the very wounds of our Redeemer.” It is in the same way that we must understand Chrysostom, when he says: “The blood of Christ is in the cup; the body of Christ which is—in heaven is placed on earth to our view; nor is it only seen; but it i& touched; nor is it only touched, but eaten; it is held, and eaten by us, as a token of love, as we sometimes fondle those whom we love,” &c. These declarations are all to be understood as spoken figuratively of the body of Christ.
These are proper forms of speech, when Christ says, This do in remembrance of me: and when the Fathers every where in their writings say, The breaking of the bread is a memorial of the sacrifice of Christ: The bread signifies the body of Christ: It is a figure, a sign, a sacrament of the body of Christ.
Since our adversaries, the Papists, and others, deny that Christ speaks sacramentally in the words of the institution, and contend that his words are to be literally understood, we must here say something in regard to this controversy. The Papists imagine that by virtue of the consecration the bread is changed, or converted into the body of Christ, the accidents only remaining. This change they call transubstantiation. There are others .again, who contend that there is a consubstantiation, or co-existence of the body of Christ in, or with the bread. These two classes of persons equally boast, that they understand the words of Christ in their natural sense, which, however, is far from being true; for the true simplicity and property of words is that to which, for a proper understanding and interpretation, nothing is added, taken away, or changed. But those who believe that the body of Christ is with, in, and under the bread, add to the words of Christ and so depart from their true simplicity; for if we are to retain simply what Christ said, and if that is not to be admitted which he did not say, then we cannot say, The bread is bread and the body of Christ at the same time; but simply, The bread is the body of Christ. For Christ did not say my body is in, or with, or under the bread; or the bread is bread, and my body at the same time; nor did he add, (as these persons do) really, substantially, corporally; but these were all the words he uttered, This is my body. Neither can the advocates of the doctrine of transubstantiation prove that they interpret the words of Christ in their natural sense, when they say that the bread is changed into the body of Christ; for this is an invention of their own. Christ does not say the bread was already made, or being made, or would be made by body; but he merely said, the bread is my body, from which it is plain that no change can be admitted if the words of Christ are understood in their literal sense. Hence it is with little success that these persons endeavor to make it appear that they interpret the words of Christ in their literal sense, when they in so many respects, and so manifestly, depart from them.
We, however, retain the words of Christ simply without any addition, or change, affirming that the bread is the body of Christ, the true and visible body which was offered for us upon the^ cross. But as these words when understood in their literal signification, teach what is repugnant to the true Christian faith, (for if the bread were the body of Christ in a proper sense, it would follow that it was crucified for us) we must interpret them sacra mentally, which is to say, that the bread is called the body of Christ, be cause it is the sign of his body, and that the cup, or the wine in the cup is called the blood of Christ, because it is the sign of the blood of Christ. The cup is likewise called the New Testament, because it is the sign of the New Testament, as baptism is called “the washing away of sin,” and “the washing of regeneration,” because it is the sign of both these things which are effected by the blood and Spirit of Christ. The true sense and interpretation then of the words of Christ, This is my body, which is given for you, is, this bread which I break and give unto you is the sign of my body, which was delivered unto death for you, and is a certain seal of your union with me, so that whosoever shall believe and eat this bread, does, in a certain sense, really and truly eat my body. The name of the thing signified is, therefore, attributed to the sign by a sacramental metonymy, and that both on account of the analogy which there is between the sign and thing signified, and also on account of the connection which the thing signified has with the sign in its proper use.
In this interpretation which we have now given of the words of Christ, we have not been deceived and led astray by philosophy, and human reason, as our adversaries basely misrepresent us; but we have been governed by those rules according to which, by the consent of all wise men, we are to judge of the correctness of the interpretation of any portion of Scripture, viz: according to the analogy or rule of faith; according to the nature of the subject or thing, and according to the testimony of Scripture which establishes the same thing. It is by the help of these three rules that the true sense of Scripture is generally determined, whenever there is any necessity to depart from the letter, to the sense of any particular portion of divine truth. 1. That no interpretation is to be received which does not agree with the rule of faith, or which is opposed to any particular article of faith, or to any command of the Decalogue, or to any express declaration of Scripture, is evident from this, that the Spirit of truth does not contradict itself. 2. That we may know if the sense, or meaning conveyed by any words corresponds with the nature of the subject spoken of, when there is any controversy, as to the true meaning, we must see, as here concerning the supper, which is a sacrament, how the Scriptures in other ] laces speak of the sacraments, and particularly of the supper. 8. And lastly, other parallel passages of Scripture must be considered, which either plainly and confessedly teach the same thing, or from which we may prove, in other words, that the same doctrine is taught concerning the same thing, as that which is comprehended in the passage under controversy: for if we can arrive at the true meaning of any other clearer and uncontroverted passage of divine truth, we may also be fully persuaded of the sense of the one about which there is a dispute, if both teach the same thing. Hence it is evident, that that interpretation of the words of Christ in reference to the institution of the Supper, which agrees with these rules must he true, whilst those which differ from them are false. Now the interpretation which we have given of these words, which indeed is riot ours, but the interpretation of Christ himself, of the apostle Paul, and of all the orthodox Fathers, agrees in every respect with these rules. There can, therefore, be no doubt of its correctness and agreement with the truth of the gospel. We shall now proceed to the arguments by which we prove that the interpretation, which we have given of the words of Christ is true. These arguments consist of four kinds.
1. The human nature of Christ at the first celebration of the Supper sat at the table in its own proper place, and is now in heaven. Hence it was not then, nor is it now corporally at the same time in the bread, or in the place of the bread.
2. Christ did not at the first Supper take into his hand, nor break his body, but the bread. Hence the bread is not properly, and in reality the very body of Christ.
3. The body of Christ was born of the Virgin; bread is made out of meal. It is not, therefore, really the body of Christ.
4. Christ said of the visible bread, which was broken, This is my body; and of the visible cup, which he gave to the disciples, This cup is the New Testament in my blood. Hence the Papists do not hold fast to the letter,, when they thus transpose the words of Christ, My body is contained under the form of bread and wine; nor do the Ubiquitarians when they say, My body is in, with, and under this bread; much less when they both say, My invisible body, which is contained under this form, or under this bread, is my body. For both of them do not only manifestly depart from the letter to a gloss of their own, but they also wickedly pervert the words of Christ in the very first gloss which they make, as if it were written, My body is under this, and in the latter they make Christ utter a foolish tautology, as if he had said, My body is my body.
5. The body of Christ which we eat in the supper was delivered to death, and crucified for us. This, however, cannot be said of the bread. Hence it is not properly, nor in reality the body of Christ.
6. The cup is the New Testament, in the same way in which the bread is the body of Christ. But the cup is the New Testament sacramentally, as we have already shown, and as we may still further prove by this argument: The Now Testament is not properly drunk with the mouth, but believed with the heart. But the cup is drunk with the mouth. There fore, it cannot properly be the New Testament. It is now in the same sense that the bread is the body of Christ, viz: in a sacramental sense.
7. If the bread is properly the body, and the cup the blood of Christ, it must follow, that in the first supper the blood was separated from the body of Christ, and then they are both exhibited to us separately, as they are separate signs. But neither was the blood in the first supper without the body, nor is the body of Christ now given to us without the blood; for then at the first supper Christ was not yet dead, nor does he now die any more. The bread is, therefore, the body, and the cup the blood of Christ,, not properly, but sacramentally.
8. That which Christ himself ate and drank, was not properly his body and blood, or else he must have eaten and drunk himself. But he ate of that bread, and drank of that cup: “I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine.” (Mark 14:25.) Chrysostom says: “Christ also drank of the wine, lest his disciples when hearing these words should say, What r shall we then drink his blood, and eat his flesh? and so be troubled? For when he first made mention of this kind of eating and drinking, many became offended at his words. Hence, in order that this might not now occur, he himself first ate and drank, that he might thus lead them with a calm mind to the communion of these mysteries” Hence, the bread an cup are not properly, but sacramentally the body and blood of Christ.
9. Remembrance is not of things bodily present, but absent. Christ instituted this sacrament to his remembrance. Therefore, he is not corporally present in the bread, or in the sacrament.
10. Christ with his body is either not substantially in the bread, nor under the form of bread; or the supper is no longer to be celebrated. For the Apostle commands ue to eat of this bread and to drink of this cup, and to show the Lord’s death till he come. The celebration of this supper is r then, evidently not to be dispensed with, but must continue to the end of the world. Christ has not, therefore, come as yet, neither is he bodily present in the bread, or under the form of bread.
11. Lastly, as the bread was the body of Christ in the first supper, and as the disciples did eat the body of Christ, so in the very same sense, and in no other, is the bread now the body of Christ, and it is in the very same- way that we eat the body of Christ; for the supper which we celebrate, i& the same which the disciples celebrated. But the bread in the first supper was not essentially the body of Christ, neither did the disciples eat with their mouths the body of Christ in, or under the form of bread; for Christ reclined at the table with his disciples in a corporal and visible manner, and did not undergo any change during the whole transaction. Therefore,, the bread is not now the body of Christ, as to its essence, nor do we eat with our mouths the body of Christ in, or under the form of bread.
1. The very form of speech which is used furnishes a strong argument in favor of the view which we have presented: The bread is the body of Christ. But bread is not in its own substance the body of Christ, (for it has been by reason of this, that the idea of transubstantiation and consubstantiation has been invented.) Therefore, the language is figurative and sacramental, being such as is common to the sacraments, and which we have explained when speaking of the institution of the supper.
2. In all sacraments, when the names or properties of the thing signified are attributed to the signs, it does not signify the corporal presence of the things in the signs, but a correspondence between the signs and things signified, and a sealing of the things by their signs, and a union of these two- things in their lawful use. In this supper, now, Christ attributes the names- of the things signified (his body and blood) to the signs (bread and wine) saying, This is my body: This is my blood. Hence, we must not under stand these words as expressing any corporal presence.
3. The nature of all sacraments requires that the signs be taken corporally, whilst the things signified must be understood spiritually; and that the things which are visible are not the things signified, being only the signs and pledges of them. Hence, inasmuch as the supper is a sacrament, we must take the signs and things signified, in a sense corresponding with the nature of sacraments generally.
4. Sacramental phrases must be understood sacramentally. The words of the supper, This is my body; This is my blood, are sacramental phrases; for they attribute the names of the things signified to the signs which are used in this sacrament. They must, therefore, be understood sacramentally.
Obj. But the words of the supper do not contain any figure of speech. Therefore, they are not to be interpreted sacramentally, but literally. Ans. We deny the antecedent; for Christ himself annexes a sacramental phrase, saying, Do this: that is, eat this bread and drink this cup in remembrance of me, that ye may be admonished and assured that my body was given over to death, and my blood shed for you and given to you as the meat and drink of eternal life. The same thing may be said of this declaration of Christ, This cup is the New Testament in my blood; that is, it is the seal of the New Testament, or of the promises of grace now fulfilled by my blood.
5. That which the gospel does not promise, the supper cannot seal unto us: for the sacraments declare, exhibit, confirm and seal the same thing which the word promises. It is for this reason that the sacraments are called visible promises, and visible words But the gospel no where promises any corporal or oral eating; yea, Christ in the gospel expressly condemns, and refutes it by these two arguments:1. Because his body would in a short time be taken up into heaven, and so be far removed from the Jews to whom he spake. 2. Because the eating of his flesh in this way could be of no profit. Nor does Christ in the instance to which reference is here had, merely refer to a gross, carnal and oral manducation of his flesh, but he rejects in a positive way the eating of his flesh in every form, in which it may be done with the mouth. There is, therefore, no oral or corporal manducation to be conceived of in the supper, which is contrary to the gospel.
6. The figment of a corporal presence, and eating of the flesh of Christ under the bread, is wholly repugnant to the formal character of the sacraments. It is, therefore, to be rejected. That the antecedent is true, is evident from this, that it is neither the sign, nor the thing signified, of which two things every sacrament consists. It is not the sign, because it does not strike the senses, neither is there any thing included in it which it might signify; nor can it be said to be the things signified, because the Scriptures never speak of any change of the essence, nor of any real com mingling of the flesh of Christ, with our bodies, neither can there be any unless we embrace the reveries of the Eutychians, and Swenckfieldians; for the sacraments declare and seal unto us only such blessings as are contained in the promise of the gospel. Again, it is not the thing signified, because it is effected without faith, and is common both to the godly and the un godly, whereas the things which are signified by the sacraments are received by faith alone, and by none but the godly. And still further, if it were the thing signified, no one ever had been, or would be saved without it; for all the sacraments signify the same things, which are also given to all those who are to be saved, because they are the benefits of the Messiah, comprebended in the promise of the gospel. These benefits are the same unto all; neither is any one saved without them. There is, therefore, no room left for a substantial presence, and oral manducation of the body of Christ in, or under the form of bread in the sacrament, and it is in fact nothing more than an empty name, and idol in the world.
Obj. This oral manducation is a sign of that which is spiritual, and is a great confirmation of our faith. Therefore, the body of Christ is also a sacrament, whilst the thing signified is invisible grace. Ans. The antecedent is false, because the flesh of Christ is invisible under the bread, and cannot, therefore, signify another thing which is invisible, or confirm our faith. Sacraments, or signs ought to be visible; hence that does not de serve to be called a sacrament, (as Erasmus says) which is not accomplish ed by an external sign: for the sacraments have been instituted for this end, that they may, as it were, effectually show to our external senses what the word promises, and the Holy Spirit works in our hearts, that they may be visible testimonies, and pledges of the promise of grace exhibited and applied. It is for this reason that Augustin says: “A sacrament is a visible word.” Again, “It is a visible form, or sign of an invisible grace” Again, “A sign is a thing which differs from the form which it presents to our senses, and produces in our thoughts something else.” Again, “the signs of divine things are indeed visible; but the things themselves are in visible.” Hence also the definition of Prosper; “The sacrifice of the church consists of two things, the visible form of the signs, and the invisible flesh and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; in the sign, and the thing signified thereby, which is the body of Christ” There is, therefore, no invisible thing or action that brings to view the nature, or thing signified by the sacrament. Conseqently those who affirm that the flesh of Christ is a sacrament in, under, or with the bread, must show unto us this visible and sensible eating in the Supper, if they do not wish to stand in opposition to the general voice of the church. Again, there must be an analogy between the sign, and the thing signified; for unless the sacraments says (Angustin), have some correspondence with the things of which they are sacraments, they would be no sacraments. Now if the flesh of Christ be also a sacrament, and if the thing signified be invisible grace, what analogy and correspondence will there be between the two sacraments? There can evidently be none; from which it follows that the flesh of Christ cannot be called a sacrament, seeing it is not less the thing signified by the sacrament, than the salvation which is signified analogically by the bread, as by a sign. Hence the sacramental eating, which is effected by the mouth, does not, when considered in itself, extend to the body of Christ in any physical manner; because, by this eating, nothing more than the external signs are exhibited and received in their own nature. Augustin, inquiring how the bread is the body of Christ, and the wine his blood, says: “These, brethren, are called sacraments; because one thing is seen in them, and another is understood. That which is seen has a material form; that which is understood a spiritual benefit,” &c.
7. The communion which the word promises, and the sacraments seal, is not corporal, but spiritual. But the communion of Christ, which there is in the supper is the same which is promised in the word, and sealed in the other sacraments. Therefore, the communion which there is in the supper is no- corporal, but spiritual. The first proposition is clear; because the gospel teaches no other communion than that which is spiritual, which is effected by faith. The second proposition is also evident, because the promises of the gospel extend unto us the very same blessings which the sacraments exhibit, and promise; for the sacraments are a visible word, in as much as they promise the same thing which the word does by visible signs, and are seals of the promise of the same grace.
8. All the sacraments both of the Old, and the New Testament, signify the same thing, and the same communion with Christ. But the signification and communion of all the other sacraments is wholly spiritual. There fore, it must be the same as it regards the Supper. All grant the truth of the minor proposition. The major is confirmed by what the Apostle says: “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body.” “They were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud, and in the sea; and they all did eat the same spiritual meat.” (1 Cor. 12:13; 10:2.)
Obj. But all the sacraments do not signify the same thing: for baptism signifies washing by the blood of Christ, the Lord’s supper the body and blood of Christ. Ans. The thing signified is not different, because as we have already shown, to be washed with the blood of Christ, and to drink his blood is the same thing. The manner in which the thing signified, which is one and the same, is expressed, is indeed different, on account of the different signs which have not the same analogy to that which is signified. Therefore, as the thing signified and promised in baptism, and also in circumcision and the Passover, is spiritual and not corporal, so it is like wise, in relation to the Supper.
1. There are strong arguments in support of the view which we have presented, drawn from the article which has respect to the truth of the human nature of Christ. The Word assumed a nature like unto ours in all things, sin excepted; and will retain the same to all eternity for our comfort and salvation. But human nature is not infinite, nor can it be at the same time in many places nor visible and invisible. To be essentially present in many, and in all places at the same time is peculiar to the God head alone, according as it is said: “Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” (Jer. 23:34.) God is by this attribute distinguished from all creatures. Nor can the Godhead itself be at the same time visible and invisible, finite and infinite; but it remains always as to its substance invisible, incomprehensible and infinite; otherwise it would not be unchangeable. Hence we must not suppose when Christ’says, This is my body, that his body then sat visibly at the table, and was at the same time invisible in the bread: or that it now remains at the same time visible in heaven, and is also contained invisibly in the bread.
2. From the article of Christ’s ascension. Christ ascended truly, by which we mean, that he was taken up into heaven with his body visibly and locally, in such a manner that his body did not remain, nor does it now remain, on earth, but in heaven, and that he will come from thence to judge the world. Hence he is not in the bread. Or we may thus state the argument: The body of Christ is finite, seeing it is a true body. But it is now in heaven. Therefore it is not in the bread. The major proposition is established by the article of Christ’s ascension into to heaven. “While they beheld, he was taken up.” “Seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth,” &c. (Acts 1:9. Col. 3:1.) Again, if the true body of Christ is infinite, as our adversaries affirm, then it is also invisible and insensible. Hence that was not a true body of Christ, being only apparent, which was seen, suffered and moved upon the earth, and so all those things which are spoken of Christ in the articles of our faith, could not have been truly done, but must have been done only in appearance, so that we still remain under the power of death if this be true.
Here, however, two things must be observed:1. The argument which we draw from the article of Christ’s ascension, does not remove his body from the supper, as some slanderously say of us; but only from the bread; for the distance between heaven and earth, whilst it makes it impossible that Christ’s body should exist in heaven, and be in the bread at the same time, does not stand in the way of his presence in the supper to be eaten spiritually by faith. Our faith in the promise joined to the bread and wine, beholds and embraces the body and blood of Christ, and all his benefits as most truly present in the supper. 2. The argument here deduced from the two articles of faith alluded to, overthrows the conceit of Christ’s corporal presence in the bread; for if the human nature of Christ might be everywhere, or present at the same time in many places, his ascension would not prevent its being both in heaven and in the bread at one and the same time. But as the human nature of Christ is finite, and not present in many, nor in all places, it follows that the argument which we deduce from his ascension into heaven is irresistible. For as the consequence which naturally follows from the property of Christ’s human nature, in respect to the first celebration of the supper, which we may thus state: The body of Christ sat at the table; therefore it was not in the bread, nor in the mouths of his disciples: as this consequence is legitimate and irresistible, so it is a proper consequence which w r e draw from the truth of the ascension of Christ into heaven, when we thus reason: The body of Christ is in heaven; therefore it is riot in the bread, nor any where else upon the earth.
Obj. It is only human reason which decides that Christ’s corporal presence in the bread is opposed to these articles of our faith. Therefore it may not in reality be opposed to them. Ans. We deny the antecedant; because Christian faith and the word of God teach in connection with reason, that the body of Christ, which is, indeed, human and finite, cannot exist at the same time in all, nor many places; and that now since the ascension it is not on earth, but in heaven, and will remain there, until Christ come to judge the quick and the dead. Hence it is not only repugnant to human reason, but also to the word of God, that Christ’s body should be present at one and the same time in heaven and in the bread. It is, in
deed, an incontrovertible truth that human reason is not to be heard in divine things, when it is in manifest opposition to the word of God; and that it should always submit to the holy Scriptures which contain a revelation of the divine will; yet it is not to be simply and unceremoniously thrust aside or rejected, no not even in divine things, as if the word of God could teach that which is in opposition to sound reason; but we must use it aright, that so we may distinguish truth from falsehood. God has
endowed us with reason that we may be able, by the light of the understanding, to decide in regard to contradictory opinions, and that knowing with certainty what is in harmony with the word of God, and what is in opposition to it, we may embrace the former and reject the latter. If this were not so, there would be no dogma so absurd, and impious there would be nothing in the polluted sinks of Heretics, however detestible and monstrous, which could be refuted by the holy Scriptures; for all heretics and imposters always boast, that their opinions are not in opposition to the word of God, but that they only seem to contradict it, in the judgment of human reason.
To this it is objected as follows: The Scriptures attribute to the body of Christ many properties and prerogatives which are beyond and above nature, which our bodies do not possess, such as to walk upon the water, to be transfigured, to be carried up into heaven, to pass through a rock and closed doors, to be personally united to Deity, to be made a sacrifice for sin, &c. Therefore it is not absurd to say, that it is present at the same time in heaven and in the bread, or that it possesses ubiquity itself. Ans, The antecedent has falsehood mingled with what is true. The Scriptures no where affirm that the body of Christ passed through a rock, and doors that were closed. Hence we deny it. The other things which are enumerated are, indeed, spoken of in the Scriptures, but they are such things as may be found in connection with a nature that is truly human; for Peter also walked upon the water; and we shall also be transformed and ascend into heaven. But the ubiquity or presence of Christ’s flesh, in many places at the same time, is never affirmed in the Scriptures. For to be every where present, or to be present at different places at the same time, is peculiar to the Godhead alone, which is infinite; but every creature is finite ,, arid is by its own finiteness distinguished from the Creator. That, no w, which is finite cannot be at the same time in more places than one. Hence it is that the Scriptures, and the most distinguished teachers in the ancient church, speak of this presence in many places as a most forcible argument of true Divinity. Christ says himself: “The Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13.) Didymus says, “The Holy Ghost himself, if he were a creature, would at least have a substance that would be limited, as is the case with all created things. For although invisible beings are not circumscribed in place, yet they are finite, as to the property of them substance. But the Holy Ghost has not a limited substance, seeing that he dwells in many.” Tertullian says: “If Christ be nothing more than a man, how could he be present wherever he is called upon; inasmuch an to be present everywhere does not belong to the nature of man, but to that of God.” Hence our adversaries, when they imagine that these prerogatives are the cause of Christ’s presence in many, and in all places, are guilty of admitting that as a cause which is none; or they, at least, argue from things that are unlike; for the cause of these things, and that of ubiquity is quite different.
3. From the article of the communion of saints. The communion of saints with Christ is the same now that it has ever been, or ever will be,, both in regard to those who use the sacraments, and also in regard to those who are by necessity excluded from their use. For there is only one communion of saints with Christ, inasmuch as we are all one body in him. But the communion of saints with Christ has always been of a spir itual character, as the Apostle teaches when he says: “He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.” “Hereby know we, that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” “He is the vine; we are the branches.” “He is the Head; we are the members.” u He is the Bridegroom; we with the whole church constitute his Spouse.” (1 Cor. 6:17. 1 John 4:15. John 15:5. Eph. 1:22; 4:15, &c.) Or, the argument may be thus presented: all the saints have the same communion with Christ, those of the Old Testament as well as those of the New; those who have the opportunity of observing the supper, as well as those who have not the privilege. (1 Cor. 10. Eph. 4. Rom. 8.) Neither can we eat Christ in any other way, than the disciples did at the first celebration of this supper. But they ate him spiritually. Therefore^ we also eat him in a similar manner.
We argue again from this same article: The eating of Christ is the same as his dwelling in us. But this is spiritual. Therefore, the eating of Christ is also spiritual. The major is evident from the fact that we eat Christ, that he may dwell in us, and we in him, and not that he should depart from us as soon as he is eaten. “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in him.” (John 6:56.) The minor is proven by this, that Christ’s dwelling in us is the same as that of the Father. u If a man love me he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23.) But how does the Father abide or dwell in us? Assuredly by the Holy Spirit. Hence, it is in the same way that Christ abides with us and dwells in us. Here the following passages of Scripture are in point: “Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” u I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me and I in him,” &c. (1 John 4:13. Eph. 3:17. John 15:5.)
4. Prom the article of the forgiveness of sins. If Christ be in the bread in a corporal manner, and be given by the hands of the minister, then forgiveness of sins ought to be sought from the hands of God on account of that which is in the bread, and which the minister has in his hand, whether the bread remains at the same time with him or not. For remission of sins for the sake of Christ is most especially to be sought whenever we celebrate the supper. Those who commune ought, therefore, to pray thus:1 beseech thee, heavenly Father, that thou wouldst be gracious to me for the sake of this thy Son, who is in this bread, who is handled by the minister, and whom I eat with my mouth. This is that shocking idolatry which is practiced in the Popish mass, which is doubtless so displeasing in the sight of God, that it were better for us to suffer a thousand deaths, than that we should ever be guilty of it. The gospel teaches us, however, that we ought to ask of God the forgiveness of sins, not for the sake of Christ who is in the bread and who is carried in the hands of the minister and eaten with the mouth, but for the sake of him who suffered and died for us, and who is now in heaven at the right hand of God interceding for us. Hence, we thus argue: That which goes to establish the shocking idolatry of the mass, is to be rejected. The corporal presence and oral manducation of Christ in the bread, go to establish the idolatry of the mass. Therefore, they are to be rejected.
6. We may here yet add the arguments drawn from the sacrifice and worship of Christ. Wherever it is evident that Christ is bodily present, whether it be in a visible or invisible manner, there he is to be worshipped by having our thoughts and affections directed to that place. But Christ is not to be thus worshipped in the supper, for we are not to have our thoughts and affections turned to the bread or to the place of the bread. Therefore, he is not present in the bread in a corporal mariner, nor in the place of the bread. The major proposition is too plain to need any proof. The minor is evident from this, that since the ascension of Christ into heaven, we cannot, without being guilty of manifest idolatry, associate divine worship with any particular place or thing, unless God expressly command it, or utter some promise in regard to it; for Christ has plainly taught us that we are now no longer to restrict our devotions to any particular place or thing on earth. u The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem worship the Father. Ye worship, ye know not what; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. Bu* the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:2125.) And still further; if we are to worship Christ in the supper by having our thoughts and devotions directed to the bread, then the priests who offer sacrifices would have in their own hands that whole sacrifice, by which they offer the Son unto the Father for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness of sins; and so it would be necessary to repeat the crucifixion of Christ.
Obj. But Christ did not command that we should offer, or worship him in the bread, but that we should eat him. Therefore, neither the offering of Christ to the Father, nor the worshipping of him in the bread as the Papists do, can grow out of his corporal presence in the bread. Ans. Those who thus argue beg the question, for the Scriptures no where affirm that Christ commanded us to eat him in the bread. Then they also shift the question at issue; for the command which we have concerning the worship of Christ is general; “He is the Lord; and worship thou him.” “Let all the angels of God worship him.” (Ps. 45:12. Heb. 1(3.) This general command, without any exception, or expectation of a special precept, should constrain us all to obey and adore Christ in the bread, if it were clearly evident that he was invisibly concealed in it, not less than if we saw him present with our eyes. So Thomas acted properly, when, without waiting for any special command, he worshipped toward the place where he saw Christ’standing, exclaiming: “My Lord, and my God.” (John 20:
28.) As long, therefore, as the idea of a corporal presence in the supper prevails, so long will the idolatry of the Papists continue; for the Papists themselves, when they make an offering of Christ in the mass, will not have us to understand this as if Christ were put to death thereby, but merely as an exhibition of Christ, who is present in the bread in a corporal manner and as a seeking arid obtaining the forgiveness of sins for the sake of him whom the priests hold in their hands, and present unto the Father.
1. Parallel passages, or phrases that are alike have the same sense and Interpretation. All those phrases are regarded as similar, or as sacramental phrases in which the names, or proper effects of the things signified are attributed to the signs; as, circumcision is the covenant of God; the lamb is the Lord’s Passover; the Sabbath is the covenant of God; the Levitical sacrifices are an atonement for sin; the blood of the victims offered as sacrifices , is the blood of the covenant; the covering of the ark is the mercy- neat; that rock was Christ; the bread is the body of Christ; the cup is the New Testament; baptism is the washing away of sin, and the washing of regeneration, c. (Gen. 17:10. Ex. 12:11; 81:1(3. Lev. 1:4. Ex. 24:8; 26:84. 1 Cor. 10:3. &c.) Therefore, the interpretation of all these phrases is similar. God himself interprets some of them in this way, as may be seen by a reference to the above quotations where he calls circumcision the token of the covenant; the lamb the sign and memorial of the Passover, and the Sabbath the sign of the covenant. We may, there fore, justly interpret the rest in the same way, and say: The Levitical sacrifices signify the atonement which the Messiah made for sin; the blood of the victims is a sign which confirms the covenant, or it is the sign of the blood of Christ, by which the covenant was sanctified; the covering of the ark signified the mercy-seat; that rock signified Christ; the bread is a sacrament of the body of Christ; the cup is a sacrament sealing the new covenant; baptism is a sacrament of the washing away of sin, and of re generation, &c.
2. The blood of Christ is the New Testament in the same sense in which the cup is. But the cup is the New Testament sacramentally, that is, it is the sign of it. Therefore, the blood of Christ is also the sign of the New Testament. That the major of this syllogism is true, is evident from this, that the words of Luke and Paul: T his cujp is the New Testament in my blood; and those of Matthew and Mark: This is my blood of the New Testament, have without doubt the same meaning. The minor is proven by the first argument, and cannot be understood in any other sense; for the New Testament is not an external ceremony, or thing; but it is the gracious reconciliation with God, which the gospel promises for the sake of the blood of Christ. The cup must then either be the thing promised, or it is the seal of the promise. But it is not the promise, nor the thing which is promised. Therefore, it is the seal of the promise.
3. We may here repeat the words of Paul: “The bread which we break is it not the communion of the body of Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:16.) The bread is now the communion of the body of Christ, in the same sense in which it is also his body; because the words of Paul and Christ have the same meaning. Paul may, indeed be regarded as giving us an interpretation of the words of Christ. But the bread is the communion of the body of Christ sacramentally, that is, it is a sacrament, or sign of our spiritual communion with the body of Christ: for bread cannot properly and liter ally, be called a communion. Therefore, the bread is also sacramentally the body of Christ, which is to say, it is a sacrament, or sign of his body. That the communion, or communication of the body of Christ is spiritual, is proven by these arguments:1. Paul speaks of such a communion as that by which we being many, are one bread, and one body, which is spiritual in its nature. 2. The communion of Christ of which the Apostle speaks, excludes the communion of devils. Hence he says: “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” (1 Cor. 10:21.) This is not an argument resulting from mere impropriety, as some suppose; but from an impossibility of the thing itself. It is the same as when Christ says, “Ye cannot serve God, and Mammon;” (Matt. 6:24.) for the original word, which in both places is translated, ye cannot, is the same. Paul reasons in the same way when he says: u What concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Cor. 6:15.) 3. This communion of saints with Christ, and of Christ with the faithful the Scriptures explain spiritually, as when it is said: “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 1 (1 John 1:3-8.) This spiritual communion which the saints have with Christ, and he with them is the same as that, in which we profess our belief in the Creed. 4. Lastly, Chrysostom interprets the words of Paul as expressing a spiritual communion, saying: “Why did not the Apostle use the word ujtokh which means participation? That he might direct attention to something more excellent, viz: to that union which is of the most intimate nature.” And a little further on he says: “Why do I call it communion? because ice are the very same body of Christ. What is the bread? It is the body of Christ. What are they made who receive the body of Christ f not many, but one body; for as bread is baked out of many grains, so are we also incorporated with Christ. (Horn. 24. in 1 Cor. 10.)
4. The words of Christ, as recorded in the sixth chapter of John, are also here in point: u What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:62, (53.) In these words Christ expressly rejects the eating of his flesh with the mouth, and refutes it by two arguments which we have- noticed on a former occasion; and at the same time establishes the idea of a spiritual manducation. Hence we are not to imagine a corporal eating of the body of Christ, seeing that the Scriptures expressly condemn it.
Obj. But the sixth chapter of John has no reference to the supper. Therefore it cannot be said to prove any thing against the oral manducation of the body of Christ instituted in the supper. Ans. But it is a false argument which proceeds to the denial of the whole, when there is only a denial in part. We admit that this chapter does not refer directly to the ceremony of the supper. But it does not follow from this, that it has no reference to it whatever. It has reference to the promise, This is my body, which is given for you; for this promise is drawn from the discourse of Christ in the sixth chapter of John, and is confirmed by the signs of bread and wine. It cannot, therefore, be understood of any other eating of Christ’s body in the supper, than that which we have in his discourse in the gospel of John, which is spiritual; for as we have just seen it condemns the eating of his flesh orally. To this our adversaries reply: This chapter does not condemn an oral, but a Capernaitical eating; to which we answer that every eating of Christ’s flesh with the mouth is Capernaitical,. and, therefore, condemned; for a Capernaitical eating is riot only a bloody tearing, and eating of the flesh of Christ, and chewing it with the teeth,
but it is any kind of eating, which is done with the mouth. For the Capernaites did not say, How can this man give us his flesh to devour, to tear with the teeth, &c., but they said, How can this man give us his flesh to eat, that is with the mouth. Neither does Christ withdraw their minds from a gross eating with the mouth, to that which is more refined in its nature; but directs them to his ascension into heaven, which would take place in a short time, when his body would be far removed from their mouths, from which we may infer that it was a spiritual eating of which he spake, which is effected by the Spirit and by faith.
5. From the fifty-fourth and sixth verses of this sixth chapter of John, it is also evident that to eat the flesh, and to drink the blood of Christ is to believe in Christ, to dwell in him, and to have him dwell in us; because the same effect of eternal life is attributed both to the eating of his flesh, and to faith in him. The Lord’s supper now sanctions this same eating; for apart from this there can be no other promise shown in the whole gospel, which is sealed by the supper. Therefore, to eat the body, and to drink the blood of Christ in the supper, is to believe in Christ, to dwell in Christ, and to have him dwell in us.
6. We may here also quote the words of Paul, 1 Cor. 12:13: “By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gen tiles, whether we be bond or free; and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” From this passage we may deduce the two following arguments:1. The eating of Christ in the supper is the same as the drinking. But the drinking is spiritual. Therefore the eating is also spiritual.
2. The eating of the body, and the drinking of the blood of Christ is common to all the faithful, even to the fathers of the Old Testament: for we have all been made to drink into one Spirit. But that eating which is with the mouth is not common to all the faithful; for the fathers who lived before the birth of Christ, could not in this way eat his flesh, which may also be said of infants, and many adults who have not the opportunity of observing the supper. Therefore, this eating of the flesh of Christ with the mouth, which is affirmed by our adversaries, is not that true eating, which the gospel promises, and which the supper seals.
Having now presented the arguments which may be drawn from the holy Scriptures, and from the foundation of our faith, we may next adduce the testimony of the Fathers of the early and purer church, from which it will be seen that they teach the very same doctrine, which we do concerning the holy supper. We shall merely produce, from a very large number of ex tracts that might be made from their writings, a few passages which may serve as an index to the views, which they held and taught in reference to this subject.
Irenseus: Panis terrenus accepta vocatione a verbo Dei, non amplius est communis panis, sed efficitur eucharistia, quce constat ex duabus rebus, terrena fy ccelesti. Lib. 4. c. 34.
Irenaeus says: The earthly bread being so called by the word of God, is no longer common bread; but becomes the eucharist, which consists of two things, the earthly, and the heavenly.
Terrullianus: Acceptum panem distributum discipulis, corpus suum ilium fecit: hoc est corpus rneum, dicendo; id est, FiGURA CORPORIS MEI Lib. 4. cont Marcion.
Tertullian says: The bread which Christ took, and distributed among the disciples, he made his own body, saying, This is my body, that is, The figure of my body.
Clemens Alexandrinus: Hoc est bibere Jesu sanguinem, esse participem incorruptionis Domini. Paedag. lib. 2 cap. 2.
Clemens, of Alexandria, says: To drink the blood of Jesus is to be made a partaker of our Lord’s immortality.
Cyprianus: Nee potest videri sanguis ejus quo redemti & justificati sumus; esse in calice, quando vinum desit calici, quo Ghristi sanguis OSTENDITUR, qw scripturarum omnium sacramento & testimonio predicatur. Idem: Hćc quoties agimus, non denies ad mordendum acuimus; sed fide sincera panem sanc tum frangimus, & partimur, dum quod divinum 8? humanum est, distinguimus, -et separamus, itemque sirnul separata jungentes, unum Deum & homineni fatemur; sed & nos ipsi corpus ejus effecti sacramento, & re sacramenti capiti nostro connectimur & unimar. Lib. 2. epistola 3. Serm. de coena.
Cyprian says: The blood of Christ with which we are redeemed and justified cannot seem to be in the chalice, when there is no wine in it, by which the blood of Christ is showed, which is spoken of in every sacrament and testimony of the Scriptures. Again: As often as we do this, we do not sharpen our teeth for the purpose of eating, but we break and distribute the holy bread with a true faith, whilst we distinguish, and separate that which is divine from that which is human, and joining them again when they are separated, we confess one God and man; we are also by this sacrament made his body, and are cemented, and united to our head by the thing signified.
Canon concelii Niceni: In divina mensa rursus et jam hie non proposito panis & vino pueriliter adhereamus, sed sublato inaltum mente per fide ni; consid er emus proponi in sacra ilia mensa agnum Dei tollentem peccata mundi; qui sine mactatione a sacerdotibus sacrificatur: & pretiosum ejus corpus sangui nem vere accipientes nos, credamus hcec esse nostrce resurrectionis SYMBOLA. Nam ideo etiam non multum, sed parum accipimus: ut agnoscamus quod non <ad satietatem, sed ad sanctificationem accipiatur. De divina mensa, & quid.
The canon of the Council of Nice says: Here is also the Lord’s table; let us not childishly cleave to the bread and wine set before us, but let us, lifting our minds to heaven by faith, consider that on that holy table is placed the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world, who offered himself as a sacrifice without being slain by the priests; and let us, receiving his body and precious blood, believe that they are signs of our resurrection. It is for this reason that we only receive a small quan tity, that we may know that it is not received for satisfying, but for ur sanctification.
Basilius: Apposuimus ANTITYPTA sancti corporis & sanguinis tui. In Litur.
Basil says: We have set before us the figures of the holy body and blood of Christ.
Hilarius: Hcec accepta at.que hausta id efficiunt, ut & nos in Christo fy Christus in nobis sit. De Trin. lib.
Hilary says: That which is eaten, and drunk produces this effect, that we are in Christ, and Christ in us.
Gregorius Nazianz. ANTITYPTA pretiosi sanguinis & corporis Christi. Orat. de Pasch.
Gregory Nizeanzen says: The figures of the body and precious blood of Christ.
Ambrosius: Quia morte Domini liberati sumus, hujus rei memores, in edendo & potando carnem & sangninem Domini pro nobis oblata sunt, SIGNIFICAMUS. Idem: Haec oblatio est FIGURA CORORIS & SANGUINIS Domini nostri Jesu Christi. In 1. Cor. 2. De Sacr. lib. 4. c. 5.
Ambrose says: Because we have been redeemed by the death of our Lord, we, being mindful thereof, signify in eating and drinking the flesh and blood of the Lord which were offered for us. Again: This offering is a figure of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. In 1 Cor. 11. De Sacr. lib. 4. c. 5.
Augustinus: Non dubitavit Dominus dicere, Hoc est corpus meum, cum daret signum sui corporis. Idem: Dominus Judam adhibuit ad concivium; in quo corporis & sanguinis fui FIGURAM discipidis suis commendavit & tradidit. Idem: Si sacranunta quondam similifudinem earum rerum quarum sacramenta sunt, non haberent, omnino sacramenta nan essent. Ex hac autem similitudine plerumque eliam ipsarum rerum nomina accipiunt Sicut ergo secundum quondam modum, sacramentum corporis Christi, corpus Christi est, sacramentum sanguinis Christi sanguis Christi est: it a sacra mentum fidei fides este. Idem: Sicut ergo ccelestis panis, qui caro Christi est, SUO MODO vocatur corpus CHRISTI; cum, revera sit SACRAMENTUM CORPORIS CHRISTI; illius videlicet, quod visibile, palpabile, mortale in cruce positum est: vocuturque ipsa immolatio carnis, quć sacerdotis manibus fit, CHRISTI passio, mors, crucijixio, NON REI VERITATE, SED SIGIFICANTE MYSTERIO: sic sacramentum fid ei, quo buptismus intelligitur, fides est. Idem: Ista, Jratres, ideo dicuntur sacramenta, quod in eis aliud videtur, aliud inlelligitur. Quod videtur, speciem, habet corporalem: quod intelligitur, fructum habet spiritualem, Cont. Adem. c 12. In Psal. 3. Epist. 23. ad Bonif. In fentet. Prosper, de consec. dist. 2. c. hoc est. Ser. ad infant.
Augustin says: Our Lord did not hesitate to say, This is my body when he gave the sign of his body. Again: The Lord admitted Judas to that feast in which he gave to his disciples \hv figure of his body and blood. Again: If the sacraments had not a certain correspondence with the things of which they are sacraments, they would be no sacraments at all. And it is on account of this correspondence that they very often receive the names of the things themselves. As, therefore, the sacrament of the body of Christ is, after a certain manner, the body of Christ, and as the sacrament of the blood of Christ is his blood, so the sacrament of faith is faith. Again: As the celestial bread, which is Christ’s flesh, is in some way called the body of Christ in as much as it is the sacrament of his body 7 which is to say, of that visible, tangible, and mortal body which was nailed to the cross; and as the sacrificing of his flesh, which was accomplished by the hands of the priest, is called the passion, death, and crucifixion, not in the truth, of the thiiiy, but signifying it in a mystery; so the sacrament of faith, which is baptism, is faith. Again: These, my brethren, are called sacraments, because in them one thing is seen, and another is understood. That which is seen has a corporal form, whilst that which is understood has a spiritual benefit.
Chrysostonras: Hie est sanguis meus, qui effunditur in remissionem peccatorum: quod dicebat, ut ostenderet, passionem & crucem mysterium esse, & discipulos consolaretur. In Matt. hom. 83. Chrysostom says: This is my blood which is shed for the remission of sins, which Christ’said to show that his passion, and cross constitute a mystery, and that it might administer comfort to his disciples. In Matt. horn. 83.
Theodoretus: Servator certe noster nomina commutavit, & corpori quidem idem, quod erat symboli ac signi, nomen imposuit: symbalo autem quod erat corporis. Causa mutalionis manifesta, est iis, qui sunt divinis mysteriis initiati. Voltbat enim eos, qui sunt divinorum mysteriorum participes, non attendere naturam eorum quae videntur; sed propter nominum mutationem, mutationi, quae fit ex gratia credere. Qui enim, quod natura est corpus, triticum & panem appellavit, & vitem se ipsum rursus nominavit, is symbola. quae videntur i appellatione corporis & sanquinis honoravit, non naturam quidem, mutans; sed naturae grafiam adjiciens. Dial. 1.
Theodoret says: Our Saviour evidently changed the names of the signs, and the things signified, and gave the same name to his body which belongs to the sign; and to the sign that which belongs to his body. The reason of this change is manifest to those who have been initiated into divine mysteries. For he designs that those who partake of these divine mysteries, should not look to the things which are seen; but on account of the change of the names should believe the change which is made through grace. For he who called, that which is naturally a body, wheat and bread, and also called himself a vine, honored the signs which are seen with the title of his body and blood, not indeed by changing their nature, but by adding grace thereto.
There is a notable saying of Macarius, the Monk, which we may also here repeat: “The bread and wine are a type or figure corresponding with the flesh, and blood of Christ; and those who receive the bread which is showed, eat the flesh of Christ’spiritually.” Macarius Homil. 27. We might add many other testimonies from the writings of the Fathers, which for the sake of brevity we omit.
We may now easily see what we are to think of the doctrine of transubstantiation. It is a wicked device of the Papists, which we shall briefly prove by a variety of arguments. Before doing this, however, it is proper that we should first state, in a few words, what the Papists understand by transubstantiation .
They suppose that by the act, or force of consecration, by which they mean the repeating, over the elements of bread and wine, the words, This is my body; This cup is the New Testament in my blood; the bread and wine are converted, or changed as to their substance, into the body and blood of Christ, so that all that remains of the bread and wine is the form, or accidents, viz.: the appearance, the smell, the taste, the weight, &c. They, therefore, consider the words, which are used in the consecration of the “elements, productive, and creative. They hold that the change is effected, or made complete, in the very instant in which the priest pronounces the last syllable, DY; This is my bo-DY, after which the elements do not remain any longer bread and wine; but become the body and blood of Christ, which are now substantially present, and contained under the form of bread and wine, so that all who partake of them, eat his body, and drink his blood with the mouth.
As to the manner in which this change is effected, they do not agree among themselves. There are some who maintain that the substance of bread and wine is changed by transubstantiation, into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, so that the bread and wine become, as to their essence, the body and blood of Christ, retaining merely their external forms, which change is called a substantial change, or a change of the substance. There are others, again, who hold that the substance of bread and wine ia not changed; but that it is annihilated, and that the substance of the body and blood of Christ takes its place, so that, after the consecration, the sub stance of Christ’s body and blood assumes the form, and accidents of the substance of the bread and wine, which change is called a formal change, or a change of the form. Lombard gives an exposition of both views, (lib. 4, dist. II.) and seems to approve of the former. The Papists call both changes transubstantiation. They affirm also that the pronoun this, de notes some vague or indefinite substance, contained under these accidents, in general, without having any reference to quantity, or quality, so that it refers neither to the bread, nor to the body of Christ; but to what was contained under the form, which, before consecration, was bread, but which, by the force of the words, became the body of Christ; so that the words, This is my body, mean according to their view, That which is contained under this, or under these forms, is my body.
They also differ widely among themselves in regard to the accidents, as to where they are grounded, or situated, whether in the body of Christ, or in the air, or in the original matter of the bread and wine, or whether they are the properties of any subject. The common opinion is, that they exist without any subject. This is the view of the Schoolmen, and of all the Papists, and consists of two principal parts; the one having reference to transubstantiation, and the other to the eating of Christ’s body with the mouth. But both of these things are inconsistent with the words of Christ, and are a wicked device. As it respects the eating of Christ’s body with the mouth, under the form of bread, it is overthrown by the same arguments by which we have established the spiritual eating of Christ’s body. And as it respects transubstantiation, we thus refute it:
1. That which is Christ’s body in the supper, remains, and is neither changed, nor annihilated, otherwise the body of Christ would not remain, or be present in the eucharist. But the bread in the supper is the body of Christ, sacramentally, as we have already shown: Therefore the bread in the supper remains, and is neither changed, nor annihilated. The minor proposition has already been proven, and may be established more fully, 1. By the words of Luke and Paul: This cup is the New Testament, &c. The bread is the communion of the body of Christ. 2. By this argument, drawn from these words: That which Christ broke, he called his body. But he broke the bread, and not some indefinite substance, or merely the accidents of the bread. Therefore, the bread is the body of Christ. 3. It is also proven thus: The pronoun this, refers either to the bread, or to the mere accidents of the bread, or to the body of Christ, or to some indefinite substance. But it cannot refer to some indefinite substance, for it was bread that Christ gave, and brake, and not something general, under the form of bread. Nor can it refer to the body of Christ, visible or invisible: for his visible body sat, and talked with the disciples; and an invisible body, Christ never had. The Papists themselves, confess that the body of Christ is not present, under the form of bread, when the priest commences to repeat the word This, but only after the change is effected, which, as we have already remarked, takes place when the last syllable of the words used in the consecration of the elements is pronounced. Nor can it refer to the mere accidents of the bread; for it was not the mere accidents that Christ broke. Therefore the particle this, cannot refer to any thing else but the bread, so that the words of Christ, This is my body, must mean, This bread is my body.
2. Christ broke bread. But he did not break his body. Therefore the bread is not, in reality, his body.
3. The body of Christ was delivered for us unto death. But the bread was not thus given for us. Therefore, the bread is not, in reality, the body of Christ.
4. Christ does not say, as the advocates of the doctrine of transubstantiation do, My body is under these forms; or, My body is contained under these forms. Therefore they do not retain, but pervert the words of Christ.
5. Christ did not say, Let this be made; but, This is my body. There fore, the words of Christ do not change the bread into the substance of his body, but merely teach, that the bread in this use is the body of Christ in a sacramental sense.
6. Paul expressly calls that which is given and received, bread, both before arid after it is eaten. Therefore, the bread is neither annihilated, nor changed into the substance of the body of Christ, but remains bread.
7. In every sacrament there are two things; the signs and the things signified, or, as Irenaeus says, the earthly and the heavenly things, without which there can be no sacrament. But transubstantiation takes away from the eucharist the sign, or that which is earthly, which is bread and wine. Therefore, it destroys the nature, or true idea of a sacrament.
8. The mere shadow, or form of bread and wine, cannot confirm faith in heavenly things, but practices a deception, inasmuch as it is not what it appears to be. But the signs in the eucharist ought to confirm our faith in heavenly things, viz.: that we are as certainly fed with the body and blood of our Lord, as we are certain that we receive the bread and the wine: for the sacraments were instituted to confirm our faith by the use of visible signs. Therefore, transubstantiation which changes the signs into a mere shadow, cannot be true.
9. Transubstantiation destroys the analogy which there is between the sign, and the thing signified, of which Augustin speaks when he says, “That the body of Christ so nourishes the soul, as the bread nourishes the body; and as one bread is baked out of many grains, so we, who partake of this one bread, being many, are made one bread, and one body” (Epis. 23, ad Bonif.) But the mere accidents of bread and wine cannot represent or sustain this analogy, because they cannot of themselves nourish; nor can we say, as the accidents of bread and wine nourish the body and sustain natural life, so the body of Christ nourishes the soul unto eternal life: for in this case the analogy would be between that which is real, and that which is a mere shadow. Therefore, the analogy which holds between the sign, and the thing signified, is evidently inconsistent with the doctrine of transubstantiation, and so refutes it.
The Papists, from what we have said, imagined that two great miracle? were wrought in the eucharist by virtue of the consecration of the elements, the changing of the substance of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, and the subsistence of the accidents of the bread and wine, independent of any subject; both of which may easily be refuted; for the former evidently contradicts the analogy of the entire Christian faith, whilst the latter is at war with all sound philosophy. And, as to that virtue which there is in the act of consecration, of which they make so much account, it is nothing more than a magical device of the devil and of human ingenuity.
When some of the ancient Doctors perceived these absurdities, they rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, and coined that of consubstantiation, which teaches the co-existence of two substances in the same place, or the presence of the body and blood of Christ, not under the forms of bread and wine, but in, or under the bread and wine itself. These persons maintained that the signs were not transubstantiated, or changed as to their substance; but that they were consubstantiated, by which they meant, that the bread and wine remained; but that the body and blood of Christ were substantially present with, in, and under the bread and wine, and eaten and drunk with the mouth.
Lombard refers to this view, arid asserts that it was already before his time advocated by certain persons; and calls it a paradox a strange view.
Guitmund attributes it to Herengarius, after his recantation, and calls it impanation.
Others regard Walrame as the originator of this view, against whom Anselm wrote two books which are still extant.
Others, again ascribe it to Rupert, who lived shortly after Guitmund, about the year of our Lord 1124.
Peter, cardinal of Cambray, declared that he would rather embrace consubstantiation than transubstantiation, had not the church of Rome decided differently. He lived about the year of our Lord 1416.
At length Luther, falling in with the opinion of this cardinal of Cambray, as he himself testifies, did not at first regard it as an article of faith, to believe that the substance of the bread remains, or does not remain with the body of Christ, but maintained that either view might be held without subjecting their advocates to the charge of heresy. Subsequently, how ever, it seemed more probable to him that the bread should remain, and that the body of Christ’should be present in. with, and under the bread. This is now the generally received opinion of those who call themselves Lutherans. They interpret the words of Christ, This is my body, thus, In, with, and under this bread is my body; and they boast equally as much as, the Papists, that they retain the words of Christ in their literal sense, without any trope or figure. And whenever they contend with the Papist, they refer the particle This to the bread alone, which itself, according to their view, is the body of Christ. But when they are brought into controversy with us, whom they call Sacramentarians, then the particle This, no longer refers to the bread only, but to the bread, with the body of Christ which is invisibly concealed in it, and the sense of the words, This is my body, they affirm to be this: This bread, and my body which is concealed in this bread, is my body. This their gloss, they prove, as they say, with plain and familiar illustrations, so that Christ, when he gave his body invisibly in the bread, said, This is my body, just as the farmer says of the grain in his sack, This is grain, pointing to the sack; or as the merchant, in speaking of the money in his purse, says, as he holds it up, This is my money; or as the mother says of her child lying in the cradle, This is my child, pointing to the cradle; or as the vender of wine says, as he hands the cup, This is wine. These illustrations are gathered from their writings and disputations.
But the same thing happens unfortunately to these good men, which the poet says of another class of persons:
Stulti dum vitant vitia, in contraria currunt.
Fools when they run from certain vices, rush into the opposite extremes.
For instead of the absurd miracle of the Papists, in regard to the subsistence of the accidents of the bread and wine, independent of any subject, they imagine another still more absurd, viz: the penetration of two bodies; so that they may be said to have wandered farther, than the Papists them selves from the words of Christ, whether we regard the letter or sense of the words. For the words, if taken literally, must be thus understood: This, that is, this bread, is my body; and if we have respect to the sense, or true meaning of the words, it must be: This visible bread which is bro ken and given is my true and essential body given for you. It is my true body, not by any change of the essence, as the Papists believe, (for the Word did not assume bread, neither was bread delivered or crucified for us,) but it is my true body in a mystical sense, and according to a sacra mental form of speech, as Christ himself, and Paul, and all the orthodox fathers have understood it. The interpretation which the advocates of transubstantiation put upon the words of Christ, is far from being their literal and true sense; for it is not true that the Papists retain the letter, seeing that they put in the place of the words of Christ, this is my body, this gloss: This thing, or indefinite substance contained under these forms is my body; much less, therefore, do the consubstantialists retain the literal and true meaning of the words of Christ, seeing that they substitute their own words in the place of what Christ said, saying, in, with, and under this bread is my body; or, the bread and the body of Christ, which is invisibly concealed in this bread, is my body For neither is the bread by itself, nor the bread with the body of Christ concealed in it, properly the body of Christ; as a purse, whether full or empty, is not properly and without a figure of speech called .money. And as to the various illustrations, or forms of speech, which they bring* forward for the purpose of establishing their view, they are evidently foreign; for as it respects the instances to which we have already referred, that which is expressed by them is plain, as soon as it is uttered, that grain is in the sack, money in the purse, an infant in the cradle, and wine in the cup. But that the body of Christ is in the bread, does not appear so clearly, neither can it be proved, since there is an article of the Christian faith which declares that it is in heaven.
The words of Christ, This is my body, were at first the only foundation upon which Luther based his view of the presence of Christ in the supper. Subsequently in the controversy which he had with those who opposed its view of consubstantiation, he took refuge in the years 27 and 28 to the doctrine of ubiquity, and instead of the one foundation upon which he at first based his view, he now proposed four:1. The personal union of the two natures in Christ. 2. The right hand of God, which is everywhere. 3. The truth of God, who cannot lie. 4. The three-fold manner of the existence of Christ’s body in any place. Being at length driven from these, he again betook himself to the words of Christ, and desired that all disputation as to ubiquity might be brought to an end. Since the time of Luther, however, some who profess his name, not finding a sufficient support for their cause in the words of Christ, have again taken shelter under the doctrine of ubiquity, and to this day regard it as the main stay of their peculiar view. Yet there are others who reject it altogether. It is to this diversity of sentiment that the schism of the consubstantialists traces its origin. There are some who will be Lutherans simply, who defend impanation or the existence of Christ’s body in the bread, and the oral manducation by the words of Christ alone. There are other multi-presentiary and omni-potentiary Lutherans, who hold that the body of Christ is present at the same time in many hosts on account of the omnipotency really communicated to it. And, finally, there are some omni-presentiary, or ubiquitarian Lutherans, who, for the purpose of defending the presence of Christ’s body in the bread, seize the shield of ubiquity, and teach that the body of Christ, by virtue of its union with the Word, is every where present; and, there fore, present also in the bread, before and after its use in the supper, and that the rite and consecration merely cause it to be eaten in the bread. Our young divines, that they may have a correct understanding of this controversy, must not be ignorant of these things; for, from what we have said, they may see that to this day the doctrine of consubstantiation rests upon two main pillars, or props ubiquity and the words of Christ. We have already explained what is meant by ubiquity, and given a sufficient refutation of it in the exposition of the articles relating to the personal union of the two natures in Christ, his ascension into heaven, and sitting at the right hand of God the Father, to which we refer the reader. And as to the words of Christ, they neither teach the doctrine of consubstantiation, nor will they admit of such an interpretation, the Papists themselves being witnesses in the case. The ubiquitarians also acknowledge this in their writings, and have for this reason invented the doctrine of ubiquity, because they clearly saw that their views could not be sustained by the words of Christ; but would soon be overthrown if made to rest on this foundation.
Christ said, This is my body which is given for you. These words, how ever, the consubstantialists do not retain, neither as to the letter, nor as to the sense, when they say, In, with, and under this bread is my body. We do not, therefore, need any other arguments for the refutation of consubstantiation, than the words of Christ, to which we direct the attention of the advocates of this doctrine, and thus reason with them: Christ did not say, In this bread, is my body; but, This is my body. But these forms of speech do not express the same thing; for the former declares what is in the bread, and where the body of Christ is; whilst the latter declares what the bread itself is in the eucharist. Therefore, those who teach that the body of Christ is in the bread, and not that it is the bread itself, retain neither the letter, nor the sense of the words of Christ.
Obj. 1. It is a common form of speech, when two things which are joined together are given at the same time, the one apparent, and the other not, that that alone which is not apparent should be named; as we ordinarily say of a purse filled with money, This is money; and of a cask of wine, This is wine. Christ in the supper, giving in the same manner two things jointly, viz: bread, and his body, named that only which was not apparent under the bread, saying: Take, this is my body. Therefore, the form of speech which is here used, is common and proper; and does not need any explanation. We reply to the major of this syllogism as follows: It is, in deed, a usual form of speech, when it is evident that the thing which is not apparent, and which is named, is contained in that which is apparent, as it is plain that money is in the purse, and wine in the cask; otherwise it would neither be a usual, clear, nor correct form of speech to say of an empty purse, this is money, &c. But it is not apparent, nor have the consubstantialists as yet proven, that the body of Christ was concealed in the bread, when he said in reference to it, This is my body; as it is evident that money is in the purse, and wine in the cask, when it is said, This is money, this is wine. Yea, we affirm in opposition to the consubstantialists, that the body of Christ was not concealed in the bread in the first supper, but reclined at the table, and is now in heaven, where it will remain until he will come to judge the quick and the dead. Therefore, this argument of our opponents is a begging of the question at issue. We also deny what is asserted in the minor proposition; for Christ, having taken and broken, not his body, but the bread which w-as on the table, giving it to the disciples, said: Take this (that is, this bread) is my body; which interpretation we prove by the following arguments: 1. Christ said of the cup, This cup is the New Testament. 2. Paul refers the particle this to the bread, when he says, The bread which we break is the communion of the body of Christ. 3. The bread, and the body of Christ, when taken together, are neither properly nor figuratively the very body of Christ, so that Christ by this interpretation is made to utter a vain tautology, saying, My body, is my body. We in like manner deny the consequence drawn from the above syllogism, because there is more in the conclusion than in the premises. They conclude that the form of speech is common arid proper. But the terms, common and proper, have not the same form and signification; for the most common form of speech may be figurative; as is the case with the common, and yet synecdochical forms of speech to which we have so often referred, This is money; this is wine. For who is so simple as to believe that the purse alone, or the purse with the money, is properly money. So the sacramental form of speech in reference to the Passover was common and well known to the disciples: “Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to cat the Passover?” (Matt. 26:17.) And yet they did not speak properly, but figuratively, attributing to the sign the name of the thing signified, by a sacramental metonymy. Hence all that follows legitimately from the above premises, is that the words of Christ were common, plain and understood by the disciples; but not that they were understood properly, literally, and without any figure.
Obj. 2. Christ said, This is my body. Christ now is true. Therefore, we must believe him, setting aside all philosophical subtlety; and as a matter of consequence, must understand his words simply, and literally. Ans There is here an incorrectness in regarding that as a cause, which is none. For the truth of Christ merely brings it to pass that his words are true; yea, most true, which we ought to believe, setting aside all philosophical subtlety; but this is no reason why the words of Christ should be under stood literally, and properly; for he who speaks figuratively may also speak that which is true, as Christ was no less true, yea, the truth itself, when he said: I am the lie/lit of the world; 1 am the door; I am the good shepherd; I am the true vine; my Father is the husbandman; and ye are the branches; than when he said: This is my body. Those, therefore, who have the boldness to say that figurative forms of speech are lies, ought to be hissed ought of our schools, and denounced. We may also invent the argument and reason thus: Christ is true; therefore, he did not say, that his body was concealed in the bread, when all the disciples saw that it reclined at the table. So we may also in like manner retort the consequence which our adversaries draw from the above syllogism and say: The words of Christ are to be understood simply; therefore, no interpretation is to be put upon them, which conflicts* with the letter, as when it is said. in, with, and under the bread is the body of Christ, or that the bread is the closet or covering of the body of Christ.
Obj. 3. Christ is omnipotent. Therefore, he can bring it to pass, that his body may be really in the bread. Ans. That, however, is no just conclusion which infers that a thing will be done, because it may be done. The question is not, what Christ can do, but what he will do. He has no where promised the presence of his body in the bread, or in the place of the bread. We do not, therefore, take anything from his omnipotence, when we reject such a presence as our opponents advocate. To this it is, objected as follows: The bread is present in the place of the supper. The bread is the body of Christ. Therefore, the body of Christ is present in the supper. Ans. But the minor proposition of this syllogism is figurative, according to the confession of our adversaries themselves; for James Andreae, in the controversy at Maulbronn, when he could in no other way extricate himself from the difficulties which pressed themselves upon the views which he advocated, openly confessed that when it is said, The bread is the body of Christ, the language is figurative; but that it is proper when it is said, This is my body. This same Andreae afterwards wrote, that when the phrase, The bread is the body of Christ, is used, it is to be understood properly, and without any figure. Is this not to blow hot and cold from the same mouth?
Obj. 4. The words of Christ cannot be changed. Christ said this is my body. Therefore, the word signifies ought not to be substituted for is. Ans. 1. We grant the whole argument; for we do not substitute the word signifies, for is, nor do we change the words of Christ, but we retain them as they w r ere uttered by Christ himself. But we maintain that the true and natural sense of these words is, that the bread is the body of Christ symbolically, that is, it is the sacrament or sign of the body of Christ; or, it signifies the body of Christ. Christ himself interprets these words thus, when he said, This do in remembrance of me. So does Paul when he says, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood” Tertulian says: “The bread which Christ took and distributed among the disciples he made his body, saying, This is my body, that is, it is the FIGURE of my body” Ambrose in like manner, says: “This offering is the FIGURE of the body and blood of our Lord” Augustin also says: “Oar Lord did not hesitate to say. This is my body, when he gave THE SIGN of his body.” 2. We may turn the arguments against our opponents thus: The words of Christ must not be changed. Therefore, the interpretation which the advocates of transubstantiation put upon the words of Christ, when they say, Under these forms is, or is contained my body, is false; as also that of the advocates of con- substantiation, when they say, In, with and under this bread, is my body invisibly present. 3. The words of Christ must not be changed, so as to express a different idea from that which he intended. And yet they are often to be changed in order that we may properly understand them, as when he said, “Pluck out thine eye.” “If any man will take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” (Matt. 5:29, 40.) Words must, therefore, be understood according to the nature of the things spoken of. Obj. 5. The language used in testaments must be understood properly, unless there be something about the will of the testator which gives occasion for contention. The supper is the New Testament. Therefore, the language used in reference to it must be understood properly. Ans. We reply to the major proposition, that the language used in testaments must be understood properly if it be spoken properly; and figuratively, if it be spoken figuratively. But if it is maintained that every word must be understood properly, we deny the major; for it is sufficient if the language be clear and intelligible, although it may not be spoken properly, but figuratively. When we know the intention and will of the testator, it is useless to dispute about the language, or words of the testament. So God in the Old Testament spoke figuratively of circumcision, of the Paschal Lamb and of sacrifices. So Christ also spoke figuratively in the New Testament, when he said, Take and drink, This cup is the New Testament in my blood. For there is here a double figure:1. A synecdoche, when he commands them to drink the cup, meaning the wine in the cup. 2. A metonymy, when he calls the cup the New Testament, meaning the reconciliation of the human race with God, sealed with his blood.
Obj. 6. The eating of bread is with the mouth. But the eating of the body is also the eating of bread. Therefore the eating of the body is with the mouth. Ans. The minor proposition must either be understood figuratively, or else it is false. If it is spoken figuratively, it must be thus understood: The eating of the body is the thing signified, and sealed by the eating of the bread. If it is thus understood it proves nothing, inasmuch as there is a change in the kind of affirmation which is made. But if it be understood properly it is false; for the eating of bread is external, corporal and visible; whilst the eating of the body is internal, spiritual and invisible. They are, therefore, not properly one and the same kind of eating; but as the thing signified is distinct from the sign, so the reception of both the sign, and the thing signified is distinct, although each occurs at the same time in the lawful use of the sacraments.
Obj. 7. That which quickens and nourishes us must necessarily be received. The body and blood of Christ quicken and nourish us. There fore, they must necessarily be received, that is, eaten and drank with the mouth. Ans. Nothing can be inferred from mere particulars. Or we may thus reply to the major proposition: That which nourishes and quickens us naturally, by being brought into contact with the body, as is the case with common bread, does not, indeed, nourish and strengthen us, unless it be eaten with the mouth. But it is far different as it respects the nourishment of the soul, which is spiritual. The body of Christ does not nourish us naturally, for it does not produce in us any new qualities, as medicine; but it nourishes and quickens us in a manner different from that which is natural, which requires that we should receive it differently. Now as to the manner in which the body and blood of Christ nourish us, it has, in the first place, a respect to his merit. For the body of Christ was delivered, and his blood shed for us; and it is in view of this that God grants unto us eternal life. Hence Christ’s body and blood must quicken us in this manner, as meriting for us eternal life. Secondly, we are quickened and nourished, when we receive by a true faith the merit of the body and blood of Christ; that is, when we believe that we shall have eternal life for the sake of the merit of Christ’s body, and blood broken and shed for us. This faith now rests upon Christ as crucified, and not as dwelling in us after a corporal manner. Thirdly, we are quickened by the body and blood of Christ when we are united to him by the same Spirit, who works the same things in us, which he does in Christ; for unless we are ingrafted into Christ, we do not please God, who will receive us into his favor, and grant unto UP the remission of our sins, only upon the condition, that we are ingrafted into Christ and united to him by that faith, which the Holy Ghost works in us. This now being the manner in which we are quickened and nourished by the body and blood of Christ, there is no necessity that his body and blood should descend, or be made to enter into our bodies, in order that we may be quickened by them.
To this it is objected: Our bodies, as well as our souls, are fed and nourished with the body and blood of Christ unto everlasting life. Therefore, it is necessary that our bodies, as well as our souls, should eat and drink. Our bodies now eat and drink orally. Ans. The major of this syllogism, whatsoever is fed with the body of Christ is nourished unto eternal life, which is omitted, is false if understood in its general sense. For we might ask, Do the different parts of the body, therefore, eat, because they are nourished by the food which is received by the mouth? It is sufficient that eating is by the mouth, as an instrument provided by nature, for the purpose of communicating nourishment to the whole system. So it is not necessary, that our bodies should eat with the mouth the body of Christ, in order that they may be nourished unto eternal life. It is sufficient that we receive spiritual food with the mouth of faith, that spiritual nourishment and life may be transfused through the whole man.
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