And the True Doctrine and
Pure Administration thereof;
Refutation of both
Transubstantiation & Consubstantiation;
Dr. Zacharias Ursinus.
TWENTY-EIGHTH LORD'S DAY.
OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.Question 75. How art thou admonished and assured in the Lord's supper, that thou art a partaker of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross, and of all his benefits?
Answer. Thus, that Christ has commanded me, and all believers, to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup, in remembrance of him; adding these promises, first, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me: and further, that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ.
The questions which claim our special attention in treating the Lord's supper, are these:
The first three of the above propositions belong to the 75th and 76th Questions of the Catechism; the fourth belongs to the 80th; the sixth, seventh, and eighth belong to the 81st; and the ninth to the 82nd, and will be treated in order under each of these questions.
- What is the Lord's supper?
- What is the design of it?
- In what does it differ from baptism?
- What is the meaning of the words of the institution?
- What difference is there between the Lord's supper, and the Popish mass, and why the mass is to be abolished?
- In what does the lawful use of the Lord's supper consist?
- What do the ungodly receive in the use of the Lord's Supper?
- For whom was it instituted?
- Who are to be admitted to this Supper?
I. WHAT IS THE LORD'S SUPPER?
In considering this question, we shall first notice the different names which are applied to this sacrament, and then in a few words define what it is. It is called the Lord's Supper, from the circumstance of its first institution, which took place when Christ and his disciples were at supper, which circumstance of time the church in the exercise of her right and liberty has changed: for it was merely on account of the eating of the paschal Lamb, which the law required to be celebrated at night, and which was to be abolished by this new sacrament, that it was instituted in the evening at the time of supper, rather than in the morning, or at noon. Paul calls it the Lord's table. It is also called a covenant or assembly, from the fact that in the celebration of this supper there must be some, whether few or many, that meet together for this purpose. At the time of its institution the disciples were present, to whom it was said, "take this and divide it among yourselves," (Luke 22:17.) From this it is evident that there must have been a number present, which is confirmed by what the Apostle says when repeating the words of the institution: "When ye come together in one place this is not to eat the Lord's supper;" and adds still further, "wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another." (1 Cor 11:20,23.) And that a number of persons are necessary for the purpose of celebrating this supper may be shown from the design of it, which is that it may be a sign, and bond of love; "for we being many are one bread, and one body." (1 Cor. 10:17.) It is, again, called the Eucharist, because it is a ceremony of thanksgiving. It is often called by the fathers a sacrifice; not, however, a propitiatory, or meritorious sacrifice, as the Papists imagine; but a sacrifice of thanksgiving; because it is a solemn commemoration, and celebration of the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. In the course of time it was called mass (missa) from the offering which was given by the rich for the benefit of the poor, or from the dismission of the assembly after the sermon which preceded the celebration of the supper, of which we shall hereafter speak more fully. We shall retain the name which the scriptures apply to it, and call it the Lord's supper. This brings us to the definition which the Catechism gives in answer to the above question, where it is said: The Lord's supper was instituted by Christ, who has commanded me and all believers to eat of this broken bread and to drink of this cup in remembrance of him, adding these promises, first, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me; and further, that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ. Or, we may define it more briefly thus: The Lord's supper is the breaking and eating of bread, and drinking of wine according to the command of Christ, given to all believers, that he may by these signs declare that his body was broken, and his blood shed for them; that he gives them these things to eat and drink that they may be fed unto everlasting life; and that he will dwell in them and so nourish and quicken them for ever.
This sacrament, therefore, consists in the rite and the promise annexed to it, or in the signs and things signified. The rite, or signs are the bread which is broken and eaten, and the wine which is poured out, and drunk. The things signified are the broken body, and shed blood of Christ, which are eaten and drunk, or our union with Christ by faith, by which we are made partakers of Christ and all his benefits, so that we derive from him everlasting life, as the branches draw their life from the vine. We are assured of this our union and communion with Christ by the analogy which there is between the sign and the thing signified: and also by the promise which is joined to the sign. This analogy declares, and exhibits in a particular manner the sacrifice of Christ, and our communion with him; because the bread is not only broken, but also given unto us to be eaten. The breaking of the bread is a part of the ceremony, because a part of that which is signified, viz: the breaking of the body of Christ answers to it, of which Paul speaks, when he says: "This is my body which is broken for you." (1 Cor. 11:24.) So the wine is separated from the bread to signify the violence of his death, when his blood was spilt and separated from his body.
II. WHAT IS THE DESIGN OF THE LORD'S SUPPER?
The Lord's supper was instituted:
1. That it might be a confirmation of our faith, or a most sure proof of our union, and communion with Christ, who feeds us with his body and blood unto everlasting life, as truly as we receive these signs from the hands of the minister. This object is attained by all those who receive these signs in true faith: for we so receive these signs from the hands of the minister, as if the Lord himself gave them unto us with his own hand. It is in this way that Christ is said to have baptized more disciples than John, when he, nevertheless, did it through his disciples. (John 4:1.)
2. That we may by the observance of it make a public confession of our faith, acknowledge our gratitude, and bind ourselves to constant thankfulness, and to the celebration of this benefit. Hence it is said: "This do in remembrance of me." "For as often as ye eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (Luke 22:19. 1 Cor. 11:26.) This remembrance, or commemoration of Christ precedes and is taken for faith in the heart; after which we make public confession, and acknowledgements of our thankfulness.
3. That it might be a public distinction, or badge, by which the true church may be known, and recognized from the world. The Lord has instituted this supper for none, but those who are his disciples.
4. That it might be a bond of love, declaring that all who partake of it aright, are made members of one body whose head is Christ. "For we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread." (1 Cor. 10:17.) Those now who are members of the same body have a mutual love one for another.
5. That the people of God who assemble in a public manner might be united together in the closest fellowship; for it was instituted to be observed in the congregation, whether there be many or few present. Hence Christ says, "Drink ye all of it," and Paul says, "When ye come together to eat tarry one for another." (Matt. 26:27. 1 Cor. 11:33.)
That the Lord's supper ought not to be celebrated privately, by one person alone may be proven; 1. Because it is a communion, and is the sign of our communion with Christ: but a private supper is no communion. 2. Because it is a solemn thanksgiving; and we ought all to render thanks unto God. Hence he who regards himself as unworthy to communicate with others, declares that he is not fit to give thanks unto God. 3. Because Christ, with all his benefits, is not the property of one, but belong to all in common. A private communion would, however, make a private good out of that which is common. 4. Because Christ admitted all his disciples, yea even Judas, from which it is easy to see that a private communion is contrary to the appointment of Christ. 5. That some neglect the communion or defer it even until death, arises no doubt from some wrong notion, or influence, either because they will not commune with others, or because they think that they are not worthy. But all who believe that they are delivered from eternal condemnation by the death of Christ, and desire to advance in holiness, are worthy. Briefly, when the Lord's supper is observed by one person alone it is done contrary to the design, name, institution, and nature of the sacrament.
Objection. But Christ makes the chief design of this supper consist in his remembrance. Therefore the confirmation of our faith is not the chief design of it.
Answer. This consequence is not legitimate; for the remembrance of Christ comprises the confirmation of our faith, and the expression of our thankfulness as separate parts. It is, therefore, such an inference as if one would say, Peter is a man; therefore he does not possess a body. It is more correct, therefore, to conclude thus: Because remembrance of Christ is the supper; therefore it is the confirmation of our faith; for if Christ appointed this sacrament in remembrance of himself, he also designs the confirmation of our faith, since faith is nothing else than a faithful remembrance of Christ and his benefits. But some one may be ready to reply, It is the Holy Ghost that confirms our faith; therefore not the Lord's supper. But this again is no just conclusion; for it is the same as if any one were to say, It is God that feeds and supports us; therefore bread does not nourish us. The Holy Ghost does, indeed, confirm our faith, but it is through the word, and the sacraments, as God feeds and nourishes us, through the use of bread.
III. IN WHAT DOES THE LORD'S SUPPER DIFFER FROM BAPTISM?
Although baptism, and the Lord's supper impart and seal unto us the same blessings, such as our spiritual ingrafting into Christ, communion with him, and the whole benefit of our salvation, of which the apostle speaks, when he says: "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit;" (1 Cor. 12:13) yet they, nevertheless, manifestly differ in various respects. They differ, (1.) In outward rites. (2.) In the signification of these rites. For although the washing away of sin by the blood of Christ, by baptism, and the eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's supper, signify the same participation of Christ; yet the former is signified by plunging the body into the water of baptism, whilst the latter is exhibited, and sealed unto us in the supper by the eating of bread, and the drinking of wine. Hence whilst the sacraments agree, as to the things which they signify, they, nevertheless, differ as to the manner in which these things are expressed. (3.) They differ as to the design peculiar to each. Baptism is the sign of the covenant between God and the faithful; the Lord's supper is the sign of the preservation of the same covenant: or, baptism is the sign of our regeneration, and connection with the church and covenant of God; the Lord's supper is the sign of the nourishment and preservation of those who have already entered into the church. It is necessary that the Spirit should first renew us, of which renewal baptism is the sign; then after we are renewed it is further necessary that we should be nourished by the body and blood of Christ, the sign of which is the Lord's supper. Or to express it more briefly, God assures us by baptism of our reception into the church, and confirms us in regard to the preservation and increase of his gifts by the use of the Lord's supper. Yet Christ, who regenerates and nourishes us unto everlasting life is one and the same. (4.) They differ as to the manner of their observance. Baptism merely requires regeneration, and is applied unto all those whom the church regards as regenerated, including adults who make a profession of repentance and faith, and infants born in the church; whilst the Lord's supper requires that those who receive it examine their faith, commemorate the Lord's death, and express their thankfulness. "This do in remembrance of me." "Ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." "Let a man examine himself." (Luke 22:19. 1 Cor. 11:26,28.) All, therefore, who belong to the church, infants as well as adults, are to be baptized; whilst none but such as are capable of examining themselves and shewing the Lord's death are to be admitted to the supper. (5.) They differ in the order of their observance. Baptism precedes the Lord's supper, which ought not to be administered to any, except such as have been baptized, and that, not until they have made a profession of their repentance and faith. Hence in the ancient church, after the sermon, and just before the administration of the supper, they dismissed those who were excommunicated; likewise such as were possessed with an evil spirit, and those who were learning the first rudiments of the Christian faith, who were either not yet baptized, or had been baptized in their infancy, but did not sufficiently understand the principles of religion. So it was also in the Jewish Church, in relation to those who were uncircumcised. If those now who were baptized, were not admitted to the supper before they made a profession of their faith, much less are they to be admitted, who, although they are baptized, lead offensive and wicked lives. (6.) The Lord's supper is to be observed frequently, because it is proper for us often to commemorate his death. It was instituted to be a public commemoration, and showing of his death. It is also necessary for us frequently to have our faith confirmed in regard to the perpetuity of the covenant. The Lord's supper is, therefore, to be often repeated, as in the case of the paschal Lamb. Baptism, however, is not to be repeated, because there is no command requiring it, and because it is the sign of our reception in the church and covenant of God. The covenant once entered into is not again made void in the case of those who repent, but remains unchangeable. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. There is, therefore, no new covenant made, not even in the case of those who fall, and renew their repentance. There is merely a renewal of the first covenant. Hence it is said: "This do ye as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (1 Cor. 11:25,26.) Of baptism it is said: "As many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death." "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Rom. 6:3. Mark 16:16.)Question 76. What is it then to eat the crucified body, and drink the shed blood of Christ?
Answer. It is not only to embrace with a believing heart, all the sufferings and death of Christ, and thereby to obtain the pardon of sin and life eternal; but also, besides that, to become more and more united to his sacred body, by the Holy Ghost, who dwells both in Christ and in us; so that we, although Christ is in heaven, and we on earth, are, notwithstanding, "flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone;" and that we live and are governed for ever by one Spirit, as members of the same body are by one soul.
This Question has respect to the thing which is signified by the Lord's supper. The eating of the body, and the drinking of the blood of Christ is not corporal, but spiritual, and embraces, (1.) Faith in his sufferings and death. (2.) The forgiveness of sins, and the gift of eternal life through faith. (3.) Our union with Christ through the Holy Spirit, who dwells both in Christ and in us. (4.) The quickening influence of the same Spirit. Hence to eat the crucified body and to drink the shed blood of Christ is to believe that God receives us into his favor for the sake of Christ's merits, that we obtain the remission of our sins, and reconciliation with God by the same faith, and that the Son of God, who having assumed our nature united it personally with himself, dwells in us, and joins us to himself, and the nature which he assumed, by granting unto us his Spirit, through whom he regenerates us, and restores in us light, righteousness, and eternal life such as belongs to the nature which he took upon himself. Or to express it more briefly, it is to believeto obtain the remission of sins by faithto be united with Christ, and to become partakers of his life, or to be made like unto Christ by the Holy Spirit who works the same things both in Christ and in us.
This eating is that communion which we have with Christ, of which the Scriptures speak, and of which we make confession in the Creed, which consists in a spiritual union with Christ, as members with the head, and branches with the vine. Christ teaches this eating of his flesh in the sixth chapter of John, and confirms it in the supper by external signs. It is in this sense that the ancient fathers, such as Augustin, Eusebius, Nazianzen, Hilary and others, explain the eating of Christ's flesh as we shall hereafter show. It is plain, therefore, that neither the doctrine of transubstantiation which the Papists advocate, nor a corporal presence of Christ, and the eating of his body in the bread with the mouth, which many defend, can be established from the language which is employed in reference to the supper, which promises the eating of Christ's body.Question 77. Where has Christ promised, that he will as certainly feed and nourish believers with his body and blood, as they eat of this broken bread, and drink of this cup?
Answer. In the institution of the supper, which is thus expressed: "The Lord Jesus, in the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me: After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death until he come."
This promise is repeated by the holy Apostle Paul, where he says, "the cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? the bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? for we, being many, are one bread and one body; because we are all partakers of that one bread.
The institution of the Lord's supper establishes the true and saving communion of the body and blood of Christ. We must, therefore, diligently enquire after the true meaning of the words of the institution. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, give a particular account of the institution of the Lord's supper, which we have repeated by the apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthians. We shall here repeat the account which each one gives of the institution of the supper.
Matthew 26:26, &c.
"And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it: For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."
Mark 14:22, &c.
"And as they did eat, Jesus took bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat, this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many."
Luke 22:19, &c.
"And took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them saying: This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying: This cup is the New Testament in my blood which is shed for you."
1 Cor. 11:23, &c.
"For I have received of the Lord, that which also I delivered unto you; that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks he brake it, and said: Take eat, this is my body which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying: This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."
We shall now give a short exposition of the words of the Apostle Paul, as just quoted, and then present our views upon this most important subject.
The Lord Jesus: He is the author of this supper. It is for this reason called the Lord's supper. We must, therefore, inquire what the Lord did, said, and commanded, as Cyprian appropriately admonishes us, when he says: "If Christ alone is to be heard, we must not regard what any one before us has thought proper to be done; but what Christ, who is before all, has first done."
The same night in which he was betrayed: This circumstance is added to teach us that Christ instituted his supper at the last celebration of the Passover that he might show, (1.) That there was now an end to all the ancient sacrifices, and that he substituted a new sacrament, which should henceforth be observed, the Passover being now abolished; and that it signified the same thing which that did in the place of which it was substituted, with the exception of the difference of time. The Paschal Lamb signified that Christ would come, and offer himself a sacrifice. The Lord's supper teaches that this is already accomplished. (2.) That he might excite his disciples, and us to a more attentive consideration of the cause on account of which he instituted this supper, and that he might also show how solemnly he would commend it to our regard, in as much as he would not do any thing just before his death, except that which was of the greatest importance. Christ instituted it then at the time of his death that it might be, as it were, the testament, or last will of our testator. In a word: Paul adds this circumstance that we may know, that Christ instituted this supper as a memorial of himself now ready to die.
He took bread: The bread which Christ took was unleavened bread, such as they ate at the feast of the Passover. This circumstance, however, does not properly belong to the Supper, any more than the evening at which time it was instituted; for the use of unleavened bread at the institution was accidental. Hence we must not infer from this that there is any necessity for the use of such bread in the celebration of the Supper, or that Christ would lay down any particular way of baking, or using it. Yet still the bread which is used in the celebration of the Lord's supper differs from common bread, for whilst the latter is eaten for the nourishment of the body, the former is received for the nourishment of the soul, or for the confirmation of our faith, and union with Christ. It is here to be observed too, that Christ is said to have taken bread from the table, that is, with his hand. Hence he did not take his body; nor did he take his body with, in, or under the bread, except in a sacramental sense: for his body did not lie upon, but sat at the table.
When he had given thanks: Matthew and Mark say of the bread, when he had blessed it; and of the cup, when he had given thanks. Luke and Paul say of the bread, when he had given thanks. Hence to bless, and give thanks signify in this place the same thing, so that the mystery of the magical consecration of the Papists, cannot be found in the difference of the language here used. Christ blessed, that is, gave thanks to his Father, and not to the bread, for spiritual blessing; because his work on earth was now finished, with the exception of the last act, which was just at hand, and because it pleased the Father to redeem the world by the death of his Son: or he gave thanks because the typical Passover was abolished, and that which was true, and signified was now exhibited, and that the Church had a memorial of him; or he may have given thanks for the wonderful gathering and preservation of the church.
He brake it: He broke the bread which he took from the table, and distributed the one bread among many, and not some invisible thing which was concealed in the bread. He did not break his body, but the bread. Hence Paul says, "The bread which we break." (1 Cor. 10:16.) He distributed the one bread among many: because we being many are one body. Christ then broke the bread not merely for the purpose of distributing it, but also to signify thereby, (1.) The greatness of his sufferings, and the separation of his soul from his body. (2.) The communion of many with his own body, and the bond of their union, and mutual love. "The bread which we break is it not the communion of the body of Christ; for we being many are one bread, and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread." (1 Cor. 10:16.) The breaking of the bread is, therefore, a necessary ceremony both on account of its signification, and for the confirmation of our faith, and is to be retained in the celebration of the Supper: 1. Because of the command of Christ, Do this. 2. Because of the authority and example of the church in the times of the Apostles, which in view of this circumstance, termed the whole transaction, the breaking of bread. 3. For our comfort, that we may know that the body of Christ was broken for us, as certainly as we see the bread broken. 4. That the doctrine of transubstantiation and consubstantiation may be rejected, and abandoned.
Take, eat: This command was addressed to the disciples and the whole church of the New Testament, from which it appears, 1. That the Popish mass, in which the Priest gives nothing to be received, and eaten by the church, is not the Lord's supper, but a private supper to him that sacrifices, and a mere theatrical performance. 2. That we ought not to be idle spectators of the supper, but ought to receive, and eat it. 3. That the Lord's supper ought not to be celebrated, except where there are those to receive and partake of it. 4. That it is a sign of grace on the part of God, who exhibits unto us certain benefits which we are to receive by faith, as we take the signs with our hand and mouth.
This is my body: This, that is, this bread: as if he would say, this thing which I have in my hand, which was bread. That this is the proper interpretation is evident from the following considerations: 1. Christ took nothing but bread: he broke bread: and gave the broken bread to the disciples. 2. Paul says expressly, "The bread which we break is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" 3. It is said of the wine: "This cup is the New Testament in my blood." It is in the same way that it is here said, This, meaning this bread, is my body which is broken for you, and delivered unto death. The literal sense, if we understand the words properly, is this: The substance of this bread is the substance of my body. But to understand the words in this sense would be absurd; for bread is something destitute of life, which is baked of grain, and not personally united with the Word; but the body of Christ is a living substance, born of the virgin Mary, and personally united with the Word. Christ, then, calls the bread his body, meaning thereby, that it is the sign of his body, attributing by a figure of speech, the name of the thing signified to the sign; because he appoints this bread as the sign, and sacrament of his body, as Augustin interprets it when he says: "The Lord did not hesitate to say, This is my body, when he gave the sign of his body." Be it far from us, therefore, that we should say that Christ took bread visibly, and his body invisibly in the bread; for he did not say, In this bread is my body; or, This bread is my body invisibly; but, This bread is my body, true, and visible which is offered for you.
These, moreover, are the words of the promise added to this sacrament, for the purpose of teaching us that the bread in this use is the body of Christ, which is exhibited and given to those who partake of it and believe in this promise; or, it is the flesh of Christ which he promised that he would give for the life of the world. For this is the same promise which Christ had made before in the sixth chapter of John, where he says that his flesh shall quicken us, and that it shall contribute to the salvation of those who eat of it. Here he merely adds the sacramental rite, which clothes and seals the promise, as if he would say: I have promised in the gospel eternal life to all that eat my flesh and drink my blood; now I confirm and seal with this external rite the promise which I have made, that henceforth all that believe this promise and eat this bread may be fully persuaded and assured that they do truly eat my flesh, which is given for the life of the world, and that they have eternal life.
By this promise the bread is made the sacrament of Christ's body, and his body is made the thing signified by this sacrament; and these two, the sign and thing signified, are joined in the sacrament, not by any physical union, nor by any corporal or local existence of the one in the other, much less by a transubstantiation or change of the one into the other; but by a sacramental union whose bond is this promise which is added to the bread, requiring faith of those who use it, which union declares, seals, and exhibits the things signified by the signs. From this it appears that these things in their lawful use are always exhibited and received conjointly, but not without faith, viewing and apprehending the thing promised and now present in the sacrament; yet not present or included in the sign, as in a vessel, but present in the promise which is the better part, being the soul of the sacrament. For they want judgment who say that the body of Christ cannot be present in the sacrament unless it be in or under the bread, as if the bread alone without the promise were the sacrament, or the principal part of it.
Which for you: For my disciples; that is, for your salvation and that of the whole church.
Is broken: But the body of Christ, some one may say, was not broken, nor is it now broken. To this we reply, that the Apostle in this passage has respect to the signification of the breaking of the bread, which denotes the rending of Christ's body. For, as the bread is broken in pieces, so the body and soul of Christ were torn from each other upon the cross. The property of the sign is, therefore, by a sacramental metonymy, attributed to the thing signified.
This do: This is a command for the observance of this sacrament. This which you see me do, do ye also hereafter in my church; when congregated take bread, give thanks, break, distribute, eat, &c. He comprehends and gives command in reference to the whole transaction; and that to us who believe, and not to the Jews who were about to crucify him.
In remembrance of me: That is, meditating upon my benefits which I have bestowed upon you, and which this sacrament calls to your remembrance; feeling also in your hearts that I give you these my gifts, and celebrating them by public confession in the sight of God, angels and men, and so giving thanks for them. The design of the Lord's supper is, therefore, a remembrance of Christ, which does not consist merely in meditating upon his history, but is a remembrance of his death and benefits, including faith by which we appropriate to ourselves Christ and his merits, and gratitude or a public confession of the benefits of Christ. The parts of this remembrance, which is as it were the whole supper, are faith and gratitude, from which it appears that it was instituted to be a memorial of Christ, calling to our recollection what, and how great benefits he hath purchased for us, and with what, and how great sufferings he has obtained them, confirming in us at the same time the faith by which we receive these gifts. It does not, therefore, follow, that because Christ has instituted the supper to his remembrance, that it is not for the confirmation of our faith, any more than if I were to say, the supper does not confirm our faith, because the Holy Ghost does. It is no proper consequence to infer the denial of an instrumental cause from the fact, that we give prominence to the chief cause, no more than the denial of a part follows from a statement of the whole of which it is a part. Remembrance of Christ comprehends the remembrance of his benefits, together with faith and the giving of thanks; for Christ by the use of these signs admonishes us of himself and of his benefits, and stirs up and establishes our confidence in him, from which it naturally follows that we also publicly express our gratitude to him. Hence this supper ought not only to admonish us of our duty, as some will have it, but it should first remind us of Christ's benefit, and then of our duty; for where there is no benefit, there cannot be any gratitude.
Drink ye all of this: This command condemns the conduct of the Pope who refused the laity the cup, and is likewise opposed to the sophistical figment of the concomitance of the blood with the body of Christ under the form of bread. Christ commanded all to eat and to drink. The Pope, however, will not allow the wine to any but the priests, giving nothing more than the bread to the laity, affirming that they drink in eating the bread. This shameful conduct is condemned by this command of Christ: "Drink ye all of this." That the argument of the Pope in justification of his course is a mere sophism, when he affirms that this command had reference merely to the disciples who were present at the time, who were not laymen, but priests, is evident, (1.) Because, by this argument they foolishly make the disciples mass-mumming priests. (2.) Because, the Scriptures do not recognize the distinction which they make between the priests and laity. All the faithful are called priests in the Scriptures. "And hath made us kings and priests unto God, and his Father." "Ye are a royal priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (Rev. 1:6. 1 Pet. 2:9,5.) (3.) Because, by the same pretext the whole supper might be taken away from the laity, especially from females, if it were true that none are to be admitted to this sacrament but that class of persons present at its institution. The figment of concomitance is a wicked pretext, which Christ refutes when he calls the bread by itself, his body, and the cup by itself, his blood, and gave both separately to the disciples to be eaten and drunk, and commanded them henceforth to administer them in the same way.
This cup is the New Testament: Or, the covenant according to the Greek word diaqhkh, which corresponds with the Hebrew Berith. It is called the new covenant, which means the renewed, or fulfilled covenant. The new covenant consists in our reconciliation with God, and communion with Christ and all his benefits by faith in his sacrifice already offered, without the observance of the ceremonies of the old Passover. The supper is called the new covenant with reference to its signification, because it is the sign and seal of this covenant, sealing unto us our reconciliation with God, and our union with Christ by faith. Christ in calling the supper the new covenant, comprehends both the promise and the condition expressed in the promise, which is repentance and faith on our part; from which it follows that it was also instituted to bind us to a Christian life. The new covenant is here also opposed to the old, which was the Passover with its rites. The supper signifies Christ already offered; the Passover signified Christ who should be offered. Both, however, signify our union with Christ. From what has now been said, we may infer that the drinking of the blood of Christ is not corporal; for the New Testament is only one, and includes also all the people of God who lived before the coming of Christ into the world.
In my blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sins: The blood of Christ is his death. Hence in his blood, is the same thing as in, or on account of his death. The shedding of the blood of Christ is his merit, in view of which we receive the forgiveness of sin, when it is apprehended by faith.
As often as ye eat this bread: The supper is, therefore, to be frequently celebrated, which we may also establish from its design, which is to celebrate the Lord's death.
Ye do shew the Lord's death: Believe that Christ died, and that for you; then profess his death publicly before all.
Until he come: This supper is, therefore, to be perpetuated unto the end of the world, nor is any other external form of worship to be expected.
The words of the institution, which we have now explained, may be more fully illustrated by the words of the Apostle: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16.)
The cup of blessing: It is called the cup of blessing, or thanksgiving, because it is received for this end, that we may call to mind the benefits of Christ, and so render thanks to him for his sufferings and death.
The communion of the blood of Christ: Communion is a participation in the thing which is common. The communion of the body and blood of Christ is, therefore, to be made through faith partakers of Christ and all his benefits, by the same Spirit dwelling both in Christ, and in us, and effecting the same things in us which he does in Christ: or, it is the spiritual fellowship which the faithful have with Christ, as members with the head, and as branches with the vine. The bread and wine are the communion, that is, they are the sign and testimony of our communion with Christ. This communion, as the Apostle briefly expresses it, consists in this, that we being many are one body; from which it is easy to see that this our communion with Christ is no corporal eating; for it is effected only by faith and the Holy Ghost. Christ is the head, and we are the members; all who are members have communion in all the benefits of Christ. The head and benefits are both common: hence we are all members in common and so have mutual love one to another.
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 consubstantiation 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 harmonize 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, and joyfully and profitably call to mind, that his 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 is 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 his 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.
OF THE CONTROVERSY RESPECTING THE WORDS OF THE INSTITUTION OF THE HOLY SUPPER.
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 sacramentally, which is to say, that the bread is called the body of Christ, because 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 places speak of the sacraments, and particularly of the supper. (3.) 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 be true, whilst those which differ from them are false. Now the interpretation which we have given of these words, which indeed is not 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.
- There are some which we deduce from the text itself, and from the circumstances connected with the institution of the Lord's supper.
- There are others which we gather from the nature of the thing or subject by understanding the words in a sense corresponding with the thing itself, or which is the same thing as to understand them according to the nature of all sacraments.
- There are others again which we infer from the analogy of the articles of our faith, or from a comparison of the different parts of christian doctrine.
- And lastly, there are others which we derive from parallel passages of Scripture, which teach the same things with such plainness as to leave no room for controversy.I. THE ARGUMENTS DEDUCED FROM THE WORDS, AND CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED WITH THE INSTITUTION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.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 New Testament is not properly drunk with the mouth, but believed with the heart. But the cup is drunk with the mouth. Therefore, 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, 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 and 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 us 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, 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, is 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.
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 understand 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.
Objection. But the words of the supper do not contain any figure of speech. Therefore, they are not to be interpreted sacramentally, but literally. Answer. 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 commingling 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 ungodly, 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, comprehended 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.
Objection. 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. Answer. 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 deserve to be called a sacrament, (as Erasmus says) which is not accomplished 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 invisible." 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. Consequently 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 Augustin,) 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 not 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. Therefore, 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.)
Objection. 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. Answer. 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 likewise, in relation to the Supper.
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 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 we 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 not in the bread, nor any where else upon the earth.
Objection. 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. Answer. 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, indeed, 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 impiousthere would be nothing in the polluted sinks of Heretics, however detestable 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. Answer. 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 everywhere 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, and is by its own finiteness distinguished from the Creator. That, now, 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 their 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 as 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 spiritual 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." "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. "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." "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. From 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: I beseech thee, O 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 manner, 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. "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. But 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 4:21-25.) 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.
Objection. 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. Answer. Those who thus argue beg the question, for the Scriptures nowhere 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. 1.6.) 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 and obtaining the forgiveness of sins for the sake of him, whom the priests hold in their hands, and present unto the Father.IV. THE ARGUMENTS DRAWN FROM PARALLEL PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE, WHICH TEACH THE SAME DOCTRINE IN LANGUAGE WHICH DOES NOT ADMIT OF ANY CONTROVERSY.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-seat; 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; 31:16. Lev. 1:4. Ex. 24:8; 26:34. 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, therefore, 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 regeneration, &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: This cup 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 literally, 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: "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 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 metokh, 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 we 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? not many, but one body; for as bread is baked out of many grains, so are we also incorporated with Christ. (Hom. 24. in 1 Cor. 10.)
4. The words of Christ, as recorded in the sixth chapter of John, are also here in point: "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 6:62,63.) 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.
Objection. 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. Answer. 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 Capernaltical eating is not 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 Gentiles, 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.
Irenĉus: Panis terrenus accepta vocatione a verbo Dei, non amplius est communis panis, sed efficitur eucharistia, qu constat ex duabus rebus, terrena &. clesti. 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 illum fecit: hoc est corpus meum, 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. Pĉdag. 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: Nec potest videri sanguis ejus quo redemti & justificati sumus; esse in calice, quando vinum desit calici, quo Christi sanguis OSTENDITUR, qui scripturarum omnium sacramento & testimonio predicatur. Idem: Hc quoties agimus, non dentes ad mordendum acuimus; sed fide sincera panem sanctum frangimus, & partimur, dum quod divinum & humanum est, distinguimus, et separamus, itemque simul separata jungentes, unum Deum & hominem fatemur; sed & nos ipsi corpus ejus effecti sacramento, & re sacramenti capiti nostro connectimur & unimar. Lib. 2. epistola 3. Serm. de cna.
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 hic non proposito panis & vino pueriliter adhereamus, sed sublato inaltum mente per fidem; consideremus proponi in sacra illa mensa agnum Dei tollentem peccata mundi; qui sine mactatione a sacerdotibus sacrificatur: & pretiosum ejus corpus & sanguinem vere accipientes nos, credamus hc esse nostr 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 quantity, that we may know that it is not received for satisfying, but for our 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: Hc accepta atque hausta id efficiunt, ut & nos in Christo & 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 & sanguinem Domini pro nobis oblata sunt, SIGNIFICAMUS. Idem: Hc oblatio est FIGURA COROREIS & 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 convivium; in quo corporis & sanguinis fui FIGURAM discipulis suis commendavit & tradidit. Idem: Si sacramenta quandam similitudinem carum rerum quarum sacramenta sunt, non haberent, omnino sacramenta non essent. Ex hac autem similitudine plerumque etiam ipsarum rerum nomina accipiunt Sicut ergo secundum quendam modum, sacramentum corporis Christi, corpus Christi est, sacramentum sanguinis Christi sanguis Christi est: ita sacramentum fidei fides este. Idem: Sicut ergo clestis 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: vocaturque ipsa immolatio carnis, quĉ sacerdotis manibus fit, CHRISTI passio, mors, crucifixio, NON REI VERITATE, SED SIGIFICANTE MYSTERIO: sic sacramentum fidei, quo baptismus intelligitur, fides est. Idem: Ista, fratres, idco dicuntur sacramenta, quod in eis aliud videtur, aliud intelligitur. Quod videtur, speciem habet corporalem: quod intelligitur, fructum habet spiritualem; Cont. Adem. e 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 the 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, 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 thing, 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.
Chrysostomus: Hic est sanguis meus, qui effunditur in remissionem peccatorurn: 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. hom. 83.
Theodoretus: Servator certe noster nomina commutavit, & corpori quidem idem, quod erat symboli ac signi, nomen imposuit: symbolo autem quod erat corporis. Causa mutationis manifesta est iis, qui sunt divinis mysteriis initiati, Volebat enim eos, qui sunt divinorum mysteriorum participes, non attendere naturam eorum quĉ videntur; sed propter nominum mutationem, mutationi, quĉ fit ex gratia credere. Qui enim, quod natura est corpus, triticum & panem appellavit, & vitem se ipsum rursus nominavit, is symbola quĉ videntur, appellatione corporis & sanquinis honoravit, non naturam quidem mutans; sed naturĉ gratiam 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.
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 is 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 substance 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, denotes 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. Therefore, 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 and 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.
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, and asserts that it was already before his time advocated by certain persons; and calls it a paradoxa strange view.
Guitmund attributes it to Berengarius, 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, however, 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.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 themselves 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 broken 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 sacramental 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.
Fools when they run from certain vices, rush into the opposite extremes.
Christ said, This is my body which is given for you. These words, however, 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.
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. Answer. We reply to the major of this syllogism as follows: It is, indeed, 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 was 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 and 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 eat 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.
Objection 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. Answer. 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 understood 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 light of the world; I 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 out 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.
Objection 3. Christ is omnipotent. Therefore, he can bring it to pass, that his body may be really in the bread. Answer. 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. Answer. 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?
Objection 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. Answer (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 were 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." Tertullian 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: "Our 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.
Objection 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. Answer. 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.
Objection 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. Answer. 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.
Objection 7. That which quickens and nourishes us must necessarily be received. The body and blood of Christ quicken and nourish us. Therefore, they must necessarily be received, that is, eaten and drank with the mouth. Answer. 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 us 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. Answer. 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.Question 79. Why then doth Christ call the bread his body, and the cup his blood, or the new covenant in his blood; and Paul the "communion of the body and blood of Christ?"
Answer. Christ speaks thus not without good reason, namely, not only thereby to teach us, that as bread and wine support this temporal life, so his crucified body and shed blood are the true meat and drink whereby our souls are fed to eternal life; but more especially by these visible signs and pledges to assure us, that we are as really partakers of his true body and blood, (by the operation of the Holy Ghost,) as we receive by the mouths of our bodies these holy signs in remembrance of him; and that all his sufferings and obedience are as certainly ours, as if we had in our own persons suffered and made satisfaction for our sins to God.
Seeing then that the words of Christ, This is my body, do not teach transubstantiation, nor consubstantiation, we must now enquire, Why, then, does Christ call the bread his body, and the cup his blood; that is, why does he attribute the names of the things signified to the signs?
There are two reasons on account of which Christ thus speaks. The first is on account of the analogy which there is between the bread and the body of Christ. The other is on account of the certainty, or the confirmation of what the signs and things signified, exhibit jointly in the lawful use of the sacraments.
The correspondence, or analogy which there is between the bread and the body of Christ consists in these things: (1.) As bread and wine support this temporal life, so the body and blood of Christ are the true meat and drink by which our souls are fed unto eternal life. (2.) As bread and wine are received with the mouth, so the body and blood of Christ are received by faith which is the mouth of the soul. (3.) As bread is not taken into the system whole, but is eaten, being broken; so the body of Christ is received, being sacrificed and broken upon the cross. (4.) As bread and wine do not profit those who eat and drink them without any appetite or desire, and as it is necessary for us to come to the table hungry and thirsty; so the body and blood of Christ profit us nothing unless we come to his table hungering and thirsting after righteousness. (5.) As out of many grains one meal is ground and one bread is baked, and as out of many berries pressed together one wine floweth; so we, being many, are, by the use of these signs, made one body, and grow up into one body with Christ, and among ourselves. The certainty, or confirmation of our faith is in like manner a reason why Christ affirms of the signs, what is peculiar to the thing signified. For the signs declare that the sacrifice of Christ is accomplished, and that for our salvation, as certainly, as we have the signs; yea, that we are fed with the crucified body and shed blood of Christ as certainly as we receive the sacred signs of the body and blood of Christ.
THIRTIETH LORD'S DAY.Question 80. What difference is there between the Lord's supper and the Popish mass?
Answer. The Lord's supper testifies to us, that we have a full pardon of all sin by the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which he himself has once accomplished on the cross; and that we by the Holy Ghost are ingrafted into Christ, who, according to his human nature, is now not on earth, but in heaven, at the right hand of God his Father, and will there be worshipped by us:but the mass teacheth that the living and the dead have not the pardon of sins, through the sufferings of Christ, unless Christ is also daily offered for them by the priests; and further, that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine, and therefore is to be worshipped in them; so that the mass, at bottom, is nothing else than a denial of the one sacrifice and sufferings of Jesus Christ, and an accursed idolatry.
This Question is necessary on account of the errors, and horrid abuses which the Mass has introduced into the Church. It is otherwise asked, Why is the mass to be abolished? This question, however, is contained in the above; because the differences which exist between the Lord's supper and the Popish mass, constitute the reasons why the mass is to be abolished. For since the mass has so many things connected with it, which are in direct opposition to the Lord's supper, it must not be confounded with it, nor substituted in the place of it, nor tolerated in the church by godly magistrates; but must be abolished. Before we proceed, however, to point out the differences between the Lord's supper and the Popish mass, it is proper that we should say a few words in reference to the term, mass. And first, there are some who derive the word mass from the Hebrew masah, which signifies a tribute, or voluntary offering. The word has this meaning in Deut. 16:10, where it is said, "Thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a free-will offering of thine hand." This offering was so called, being as it were, a yearly tribute, which was given most willingly and cheerfully. It is also understood by some to signify a sufficiency, meaning that so much should be given as might be sufficient, which, perhaps, is the more correct interpretation, since God in Deut. 15:8, commanded the Israelites to open their hands wide unto the poor, and to lend that which was sufficient for their need. This the Chaldee paraphrast interprets missah; from which it is supposed that it is called mass, or missa, as if it were a tribute, and a free-will offering, which should every where be offered to God in the church for the living and the dead. But this is not probable. It is true, indeed, that the church has borrowed some words from the Hebrew; as Satan, sabaoth, hallelujah, &c.; but these and similar words were introduced into the Latin church through the Greek church, and were introduced into the Greek Testament when it was first written in the Greek language; nor have we any Hebrew words in our church which the Greek church had not before. Furthermore, if we examine the writings of the Greek Fathers it will be seen, that the word missa is never used by them; from which we are inclined to believe that the word missa was not derived from the Hebrew.
Therefore the term missa, which is doubtless a Latin word, seems to be taken from the Fathers, who used remissa for remissio. Turtullian says: "We have spoken of remission (remissa) of sins." Cyprian says: "He who was to grant remission of sins, did not disdain to be baptized." Again: "He who blasphemes against the Holy Ghost, obtains no remission of sins." Hence, as the Latin Fathers used the term remissa for remissio, so they also seem to have used missa for missio, which is derived from mittendo. But here again there is a great diversity of sentiment. For some will have it that missa is to be understood in the sense of missio, from an ancient custom of ecclesiastical rites, which was introduced into the Latin churches from the Greek, that when the sermon and lecture were over, the deacon, before the consecration of the mysteries, sent away or commanded the catechumens, the demoniacs, and such as were excommunicated, to depart, saying, with a loud voice, "If there be any catechumen still remaining in the church, let him depart;" so that missa seems to be used in the sense of missio (sending away), because it was the last part of divine service. Others suppose that it is called missa in the sense of dismissa, or dismissio, from the manner in which the ecclesiastical assemblies, or congregations, were dismissed; because, when the prayers and other services were ended, the deacon exclaimed, "Ite, missa est;" that is, Go, you may depart. Others, again, understand it thus: "Go, now is the collection of alms;" which they say were called missa, from being sent, or thrown in for the benefit of the poor. In short, it was that which was transacted in the church after the departure of the catechumens, or the collection of alms. Lombard has a different view of the subject: "It is called missa," says he, "because a heavenly messenger comes for the purpose of consecrating the vivifying body of Christ, according to the prayer of the priest: Almighty God, command that this be carried by the hand of thy holy angel to the high altar, &c. Therefore, unless an angel come, it cannot be properly called a mass." Lo the folly of the man! Again: "It is called mass either because the host is sent, of which mention is made in that service, where it is said, Ite, missa est; that is, follow the host which is gone up into heaven,go after it; or because an angel comes from heaven to consecrate the Lord's body, by whom the host is carried to the heavenly altar; whence it is also said, Ite, missa est."
We reject the idea of the mass, and also the term itself, for the reason that it does not belong to the Lord's supper, which has nothing in common with the mass, although some of the ancient writers employed the term. Nor is there any necessity that we should use this term, inasmuch as we have other words which express this mystery in a more striking manner, which are extant in the Scriptures, which call it the Lord's supper, the table of the Lord, the breaking of bread.
We may now, from what has been said, perceive the difference between the Lord's supper and the Popish mass; which difference is so great as to require that the mass be wholly abolished. The Catechism points out three things in which the Lord's supper and the Popish mass chiefly differ from each other:
1. The Lord's supper testifies to us that we have a free pardon of all sin, by the only sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which he himself has once accomplished on the cross, according as it is said: "The bread is the body of Christ, given for us." "The cup is the blood of Christ, shed for you unto the remission of sins." "This do in remembrance of me." "Ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." "This he did once, when he offered up himself." "By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." "By the which will we are sacrificed through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all." "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sin, forever sat down on the right hand of God." "For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." 1 Cor. 11. Heb. 7:27; 9:12,26; 10:10,12,14.)
The mass, on the other hand, teaches that the living and the dead have not the pardon of sins through the sufferings of Christ, unless Christ is also daily offered for them by the priests. Their Canon, which they call the less, thus teaches in reference to this subject: "Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God, receive this immaculate host, which I, thine unworthy servant, offer unto thee, the living and true God, for my innumerable sins, offences, and neglects, and for all round about me; yea, and for all faithful Christians, living and dead, that it may result in salvation to me and them unto everlasting life." Their greater Canon has the following: "Remember, O Lord, thy servants and handmaidens N.N., and all round about me, whose faith and acknowledged devotion are known unto thee, for whom we offer unto thee, or who present unto thee this sacrifice of praise for themselves and for all theirs, for the redemption of their souls, for the hope of their salvation and preservation," &c. What need was there that Christ should offer himself, if the oblation of a sacrificing priest might avail for the redemption of souls?
2. The Lord's supper testifies to us according to the articles of our faith, that Christ, as to his human nature, is now in heaven at the right hand of the Father, and not concealed under the accidents of the bread and wine; but that he exhibits to us in the Supper his body and blood, to be eaten and drunk by faith, and engrafts us into himself by the Holy Ghost, that we may abide in him, and have him abide in us, as it is said: "He that is joined to the Lord, is one Spirit." "The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" "We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." "For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest." (1 Cor. 6:17; 10:16. Heb. 8:1,4.)
The mass teaches, on the other hand, that the bread and wine, by virtue of the consecration, are changed into the body and blood of Christ, and that his body and blood, in the act of consecration, are brought down from heaven; that they are concealed, after a bodily manner, under the forms of bread and wine; that they are really handled by the hands of the minister, carried about, and eaten and received with the mouth by the communicants. These figments of the brain are opposed to the incarnation, the ascension, the intercession, and return of Christ to judgment; all of which are important articles of our faith, and also to the nature of sacraments, in which the signs must necessarily remain, and not lose their nature, as we have already demonstrated.
3. The Lord's supper teaches that Christ is to be worshipped by us in heaven at the right hand of the Father: for it does not overthrow, but establishes the articles of our faith, and the doctrine of the whole gospel, which teaches that Christ is to be sought and worshipped ABOVE. "Seek those things which are ABOVE, WHERE Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." (Col. 8:1.) Stephen, when he was stoned, saw Christ and worshipped him ABOVE, standing at the right of God. (Acts 7:55.) The ancient church also sang in her service, or liturgy, SURSUM CORDA HABEMUS AD DOMINUM, we lift up our hearts unto the Lord.
The mass teaches, on the other hand, that Christ is to be worshipped in the bread, which worship is, without doubt, idolatrous. For to worship Christ in the bread, is to direct our worship in soul, mind, thought, and as much as may be, in the motion or gesture of the body, to the place where the bread is, and looking thither, pay homage and reverence to Christ, as though he were there more especially than elsewhere. It was in this way that God was anciently worshipped at the ark, in which worship the mind was not only directed to the ark, but the body was also inclined to it as much as possible. That this is idolatry, may be proven, (1.) From this, that no creature has the power to restrict the worship of God to any thing, or place in which, or at which God has not expressly commanded us to worship him, or in which he has not promised to hear us. From this it is easy to see the cause of the difference, why the Jews, directing their worship to the Mercy Seat, did, nevertheless, at the same time worship the true God in spirit, and were assured by the divine promise of being heard; whilst those who worshipped in Dan and Bethel, and upon the high places, and in the temple of Samaria, were idolaters, worshipping what they knew not. The reason of this is explained more fully in 2 Kings 17:9. (2.) Because in the New Testament all worship which is tied, or limited to any particular place, is entirely abolished, whilst a spiritual worship is now required of us, kindled by the Holy Ghost, and offered up in true knowledge and faith. Christ himself plainly teaches this, in John 4:22,23: "Ye worship, ye know not what; we know what we worship. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." When he says, that we shall worship in spirit, not in this mountain, nor at Jerusalem, he abolishes all worship which is restricted to any particular place. Hence we must abolish and hold in abhorrence the wicked device of the corporal presence of Christ in the bread, which is the foundation of the idolatrous worship of the Papists: for as long as Christ's bodily presence in the bread is retained, whether it be by tran, or consubstantiation, so long the Popish worship will remain. For as in former times, before the ascension of Christ into heaven, it was not only lawful, but even necessary to worship Christ in whatever place he was; so now, if he is in the bread, he must be worshipped in the bread, whether we see him or not. Yea, we ought rather to believe the word of God, than any of our senses, if it taught any such thing. But if, on the other hand, we reject the corporal presence of Christ in the bread, we also abolish, by the command of God himself, this shameful worship which the Papists are wont to bestow upon the body of Christ, which they say lies concealed under the forms of bread and wine.
The Ubiquitarians take exception against us here, and say that Christ is in the bread, not to be adored, but to be eaten; neither does he give any command that he should be adored in the bread, but that he should be eaten. This, however, which they assert, is a mere begging of the question, for Christ commanded neither. If he is in the bread it is proper that he should be there worshipped, on account of the general command: "Let all the angels of God worship him." "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God." (Ps. 97:7. Heb. 1:6. Deut. 6:13; 10:20.) They imagine Christ, therefore, to be in the bread, and yet affirm that it is not lawful to worship him. Hence Musculus and others, to solve this difficulty, fall down before the bread, and worship Christ in it. Hesshuss argues against what we have affirmed, in this way: The Divinity, although it is present in all creatures, is, nevertheless, not to be adored in them. Therefore, neither is it necessary that the humanity of Christ should be adored in the bread, although it is corporally present in it. But the cases are different; for the adoration of the Divinity is not restricted to all creatures, but is joined to the humanity which he assumed, as to its own temple. Hence, wherever the humanity of Christ is, there the Divinity will be worshipped in it, and with it, so that the ubiquity of Christ's humanity is entirely overthrown by this argument upon which they are wont to lay so much importance. For since the humanity of Christ is not to be worshipped in all creatures, and every where, it follows that it is not present every where, in all pears, apples, ropes, cheese, &c., as the Ubiquitarians write in reference to this subject.
These differences were enlarged by the addition of the following particulars, and delivered by Ursinus in the year 1569:1. The Supper testifies, that the sacrifice of Christ alone justifies; the Popish priests affirm that the mass justifies, according to the work which is done.These differences, moreover, prove that there are many and weighty causes on account of which the Popish mass ought to be suppressed, abolished, and entirely discarded from the church, viz:
2. The Supper teaches that Christ has redeemed us by offering himself for us; the Priests affirm that we are justified by Christ offered by them.
3. The Supper teaches that our salvation is accomplished by the one sacrifice which Christ offered for us upon the cross; the Priests affirm that it is accomplished by the mass being frequently repeated.
4. The Supper teaches that we are engrafted into Christ by means of the Holy Spirit, through faith; the mass deceives when it teaches that Christ enters into us corporally, or that we are engrafted into Christ by his entering into us corporally.
5. The Supper teaches that Christ ascended into heaven, after having accomplished his sacrifice; the mass-mongers will have it that he is upon the altar, as to his body.
6. The bread and wine remain in the Supper, and are not changed as to their substance, because the sacraments retain and do not change the substance of the signs; the mass-mongers teach that the substance of the bread and wine is annihilated, and that the accidents only remain.
7. The design of the Supper is the confirmation of our faith in Christ, and of his only sacrifice; the design of the mass is the confirmation of the opinion concerning works which are done, and a denial of the sacrifice of Christ.
8. The Supper teaches that Christ is to be adored in heaven; the mass-mongers adore him under the forms of bread and wine. These differences prove that the Popish mass is, in fact, nothing else than a denial of the one sacrifice of Christ, and an accursed idolatry.1. The Popish mass is a manifold corruption, or rather the abolishing of the whole rite instituted by Christ, that is, of the Lord's supper. For it takes away the cup from the laity, and adds many foolish toys, unknown to the Apostles, and never practiced by the church in her early history; when, nevertheless, no creature has the power of instituting sacraments, or of changing or abolishing their divine constitution.From what has now been said, it is evident that the mass is an idol, formed by Anti-Christ out of various accursed errors and blasphemies, and substituted in the place of the Lord's supper, which, for this reason, is properly and necessarily abolished.
2. The mass destroys the sign, and the sacrament itself, inasmuch as it changes the sign into the thing signified. It denies that there is any bread and wine present, but declares it to be the flesh and blood of Christ substantially, which is repugnant to the nature of sacraments, which does not allow the substance of the signs to be destroyed, neither does it require any physical connection between the signs and the things signified, and so does not require any transubstantiation or corporal presence in the supper; but doubtless leads us to Christ crucified, and now reigning in heaven, and thence communicating himself unto us.
3. The opinion of merit attaching itself to that which is done, is grounded in the mass: because the priests feign that the mass is a propitiatory sacrifice, which merits, by its own dignity and virtue, the remission of sins, for them, and for others by the work which is done. But this virtue did not even belong to the Mosaic sacrifices. It belongs only to the one sacrifice which the Son of God offered once for us upon the cross, to which the Lord's supper leads and directs us, whilst the mass withdraws and calls the mind away from it. It is true that the Fathers do sometimes call the supper a sacrifice, but they meant a eucharistical, or thanksgiving sacrifice, and not a propitiatory sacrifice, as the Papists maintain. And indeed the supper is that sacrifice which Christ offered, as the bread is that body which he gave for us, which, however, is to be understood sacramentally. These mass-mongers, however, make the mass, not that very same sacrifice which Christ offered, but something different from it; for, say they, it is a sacrifice without blood, by which we obtain the forgiveness of sins. Hence they do in fact deny the sacrifice which Christ offered by the shedding of his blood, when they deny that Christ has perfectly merited the remission of sins, and imagine another sacrifice for sin, although they affirm that they offer no other sacrifice than that which Christ offered. For it is one thing to offer one sacrifice once, and that sufficient to atone for all sin, which the Scriptures declare to be true of the sacrifice of Christ; and it is another thing for the same sacrifice to be frequently offered which does not agree with the sacrifice of Christ. They contradict themselves when they say, that this sacrifice alone is sufficient for the remission of sins, and this sacrifice, with others, is offered for sins.
4. There is another error concealed under this, that they should imagine themselves able to obtain the forgiveness of sins, and the deliverance of souls absent or dead and in purgatory, when the word of God declares, on the contrary, that we shall be clothed in heaven, if we are found clothed and not naked on earth; and that we shall be judged according to the characters which we have when we depart out of this life. Cyprian says, "When we have once departed this life, there is then no room for repentance, and no effect of satisfaction: here life is either lost or gained; here eternal salvation is obtained by the worship of God, and by the fruit of faith."
5. There is also here another error, because they feign that, by the offering of the sacrifice in the mass, they do not only merit the forgiveness of sins, but also other benefits, as the healing of the sick, and of sheep, horses, cattle, swine, &c. They imagine, therefore, that benefits are conferred in the mass of an entirely different character from those promised in the Gospel, and sealed by the sacraments.
6. The mass is opposed to the priesthood of Christ. Christ alone has the power of offering himself. These mass-mongers, however, imagine that the Son of God may be offered, not only by himself, but by others also; and that they offer him unto God the Father, when there is, nevertheless, no creature of such dignity as to be able to offer the Son of God as a sacrifice. The priest is greater and more excellent than the sacrifice. Hence, as they affirm that they are the priests who offer Christ, they exalt themselves above him. To this they are wont to object, saying that they do not slay, but only offer and exhibit the Son to the Father, that he may remit unto us our sins for the sake of Christ, so that they merely in this way apply that one sacrifice of the Son of God. But that which they affirm is sufficient to convict them of error, that they offer Christ with their hands; for it remains that they make themselves the priests who offer the Son of God as a sacrifice, and so exalt themselves above him. Nor does that which they affirm, when they say that they do not slay Christ, avail any thing: for there were many things offered by the priests of old, which they nevertheless did not slay; but only sacrificed, or offered, as cakes, burnt offerings, &c. The Jews slew Christ, but they did not sacrifice him; but Christ was willingly slain, and, therefore sacrificed himself, "Who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God. (Heb. 9:14.) Christ verily offered himself once a sacrifice to the Father for us. "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." "Christ, after he had offered one sacrifice for sin, forever sat down on the right hand of God. (Heb. 9:28; 10:12.) The Papists now, in opposition to these express declarations of Scripture, will have Christ offered often in the mass. They maintain that they sacrifice him often, but do not slay him. A propitiatory sacrifice, however, cannot be offered without the death of the victim; for, "without the shedding of blood, is no remission."
7. The mass is in conflict with the articles of our faith respecting the true humanity of Christ, his true ascension into heaven, and his return to judgment; for it joins to Christ a body made of bread, and imagines that Christ is concealed corporally under the forms of bread and wine.
8. The Mass is opposed to the communion of saints with Christ: for it devises the horrible figment that Christ's body is made to enter into our bodies, and to remain within us as long as the forms of bread and wine remain undigested. The Supper teaches, on the other hand, that we are members of Christ by the Holy Spirit and are engrafted into him.
9. Finally, the mass is repugnant to the true word of God, because it establishes the idolatrous worship of Christ in the bread, as we have already shown. The Papists restrict or bind the worship of Christ to a thing, to which Christ has not restricted it by any express command; and in this way they declare themselves idolaters, no less than if they were to worship Christ at a wall, or if they were to adore him falling down before a pillar.
Objection 1. The Mass is an application of the sacrifice of Christ. Therefore it ought not to be abolished. Answer. We deny the antecedent, for the reason that the merits of Christ are applied unto us by faith alone, as it is said, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." (Eph. 3:17.)
Objection 2. There must necessarily be a perpetual sacrifice in the church. Isaiah foretold that it should be "from one Sabbath to another"; and Malachi says, "They shall offer a pure offering." (Is. 66: 23. Mal. 1:11.) Answer. The sacrifices of the Christian church are eucharistical: and it is of such sacrifices that it is here declared that they shall be perpetual and pure. The Fathers call such a sacrifice of thanksgiving eucharistical, (1.) Because it is a remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ. (2.) Because, in the primitive church alms, which were a sacrifice, were offered and given to the poor, after the observance of the Lord's supper. But the Fathers never dreamed that the Supper was a propitiatory sacrifice.Question 81. For whom is the Lord's supper instituted?
Answer. For those who are truly sorrowful for their sins, and yet trust that these are forgiven them for the sake of Christ; and that their remaining infirmities are covered by his passion and death; and who also earnestly desire to have their faith more and more strengthened, and their lives more holy; but hypocrites, and such as turn not to God with sincere hearts, eat and drink judgment to themselves.
There are three things to be explained in the exposition of this Question:
- For whom has the Lord's Supper been Instituted?
- What do the wicked receive, if they come to this Supper?
- What is the lawful use of the Supper?
Hypocrites, and such as have no true faith and repentance, ought not to come to the Lord's supper, 1. Because the sacraments were instituted merely for the faithful, and such as turn to God with sincere hearts, that they might seal unto them the promise of the gospel, and confirm their faith. The word is common both to the converted and the unconverted. It is preached to those who are converted that they may be confirmed thereby; and to the unconverted that they may be converted. The sacraments, however, belong to the faithful alone; and as to the sacrament of the Lord's supper, Christ instituted it in the presence of his disciples, alone, as he said, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you." (Luke 22:15.) We, therefore, conclude from the nature and subject of sacraments as follows: What God has instituted for his household and children, that hypocrites and aliens from the church ought not to receive. 2. Paul forbids hypocrites and all wicked persons to come to the Lord's table, in words which admit of no controversy, when he commands, "That every one examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup." (1 Cor. 11:28.) 3. Because, when hypocrites and such as turn not to God with sincere hearts come to the Lord's table, they eat and drink judgment to themselves, and are guilty of the body and blood of Christ. "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body." (1 Cor. 11:29.) 4. To these considerations we may yet add the general testimony of Scripture, which forbids unbelievers to come to the Lord's supper, and condemns the use of the sacraments on the part of those who are unconverted. "Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother." "He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man." "If thou be a breaker of the law thy circumcision is made uncircumcision." (Matt. 5:24. Is. 66:3. Rom. 2:25.)
Objection. But God commands all to observe the sacraments, and Christ says, "Take, drink ye all of this." Therefore, the ungodly do not sin by coming to the Lord's table. Answer. We reply to the antecedent that God does, indeed, command all to observe the sacraments; but then he requires that they be used lawfully, to do which there must be faith and repentance. God commands all to be baptized, and to observe the supper: but he also commands them to repent and believe. "Repent and be baptized." "Let a man examine himself." (Acts 2:38. 1 Cor. 11:28.)
Objection 2. We are all unworthy. Therefore, none ought to come to the Lord's table. Answer. We reply to the antecedent, that we are all unworthy by nature, and in ourselves; but we are made worthy by the grace of Christ, if we come with faith and a good conscience. Augustin says: "Come with boldness; it is bread and not poison." No one ought, therefore, to absent himself because of his unworthiness, seeing that all who come with faith and penitence are counted worthy guests. "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." (Is. 66:2.)
Objection 3. Those who keep from profaning the supper act properly. Those now who stay away from the Lord's table on account of being at enmity with some one, and for other sins, keep from profaning the supper. Therefore, their conduct is such as is right and proper. Answer. We reply to the major proposition by making a distinction: Those who keep from profaning the Lord's table act properly, if they keep from it in such a way as they ought, viz: by repenting of those sins which render them unworthy; but they act unwisely and wickedly, who, when they absent themselves from the Lord's table, continue in sin, hypocrisy, and a state of enmity with their neighbor, for they add sin to sin, and contempt to profanation. We must not do evil, that good may come.
1. From the definition of eating. To eat Christ is to be made a partaker of the substance, merit, efficacy and of all the benefits of Christ, as it is said, "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him; even he shall live by me." (John 6:56,57.) But the wicked and unbelieving are not made partakers of Christ. Therefore, they do not eat Christ.
2. From the manner and means of eating. Christ's body is eaten by faith alone, because we receive him with all his benefits by faith only. The body of Christ is the food of the soul and not of the belly, of the heart and not of the mouth, as it is correctly expressed in Luther's catechism: "These words, FOR YOU, require believing hearts." But the ungodly and hypocrites have no faith. Therefore, they do not receive the body of Christ.
3. Christ offers his body in the supper, to be eaten by them alone for whom he offered himself upon the cross. But he offered himself upon the cross only for those that believe, and not for the ungodly or for hypocrites. "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me." "This is my body which is given for you." (John 17:9. Luke 22:19.)
4. The body of Christ is the vivifying bread, which, whosoever receives, receives life at the same time; for Christ's Spirit is not separate from his body. "He that eateth my flesh dwelleth in me, and I in him." (John 6:56.) But the ungodly in receiving the signs do not receive life. Therefore, they receive the signs without the things signified.
5. The ungodly eat and drink judgment to themselves. Therefore, they do not eat and drink the body and blood of Christ. This argument is of force according to the rule of contraries. For to eat judgment to themselves is, through unbelief and abuse of the sacraments, to be driven from Christ and separated from him and all his benefits; or, it is grievously to offend God by abusing the sacraments by receiving them without faith and repentance, and so to bring upon themselves temporal and eternal punishment if they do not repent. To eat Christ, on the contrary, is to be made a partaker of Christ and of all his benefits by faith; for no one can eat Christ, and yet not be made at the same time a partaker of his merit, efficacy, and benefits. Hence, no one can at the same time eat Christ, and also condemnation to himself.
6. When Paul says, 1 Cor. 10:21, "Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils," he affirms that there is something in the Lord's supper of which the ungodly cannot partake. But they do partake of the signs of bread and wine at the Lord's table. Therefore, he excludes them from a participation in the body and blood of Christ, the things signified in the supper. To this it is objected that when the Apostle says ye cannot, he means ye cannot partake with a good conscience, and unto salvation. But this is a false gloss; because the Apostle does not reason from what is unprofitable, but from what is impossible. Ye ought not to partake with them that sacrifice to idols. Why? Because this is to partake with devils. But it is impossible that ye should at the same time be partakers of the Lord's table and of the table of devils; because it is impossible to serve two masters at the same time, as Christ says, "No man can serve two masters. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." (Matt. 6:24.) It is in the same sense that the Apostle here says, "Ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."
7. Christ says, (Matt. 15:26,) "It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs." The body of Christ is the children's bread, that is, it is the bread of the faithful. Therefore Christ does not cast his body to dogs, meaning the wicked, contrary to his own doctrine. "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine," &c. (Matt. 7:6.)
8. From the authority of the Fathers, who taught the same thing in reference to this subject. See Augustin lib. 21, cap. 25, de civit. Dei., and in Johan. tract. 26, and 59, and in sent. Prospori cap. 3,39. Ambrose says of the Supper: "Although the sacraments suffer themselves to be taken or handled by those who are unworthy, yet those persons cannot be partakers of the Spirit, whose unbelief or unworthiness contradicts so great holiness." And a little farther on he says: "And as for those who are present at these sacred mysteries with cold hearts and souls, and who even partake of these gifts, they do indeed lick the rock [allusion to 1 Cor. 10], but they neither suck any honey or oil from it; because they are not enlivened by any sweetness of charity, nor by the sanctity of the Holy Spirit: they neither judge themselves, nor make any distinction in regard to the sacraments, but use these holy gifts without any reverence, as if they were common food, and impudently push themselves to the Lord's table with unclean garments, for whom it had been better if they had been cast into the sea with a millstone tied about their neck, than to receive with their unclean consciences one morsel at the hands of the Lord, who even to this day creates, sanctifies, blesses and distributes to godly receivers his most true and holy body."
The reasons, on account of which unbelievers, and such as are ungodly bring upon themselves condemnation by eating and drinking, are, 1. Because they profane the signs, and by consequence the thing signified, by taking to themselves those things which were not instituted for them, but for the disciples of Christ alone. 2. Because they profane the covenant of God, by taking to themselves the signs of the covenant. They desire to appear in covenant with God, when in fact they are in league with the devil and not with God, whom they endeavor, as far as they can, to make the Father of the wicked. 3. Because they do not discern the Lord's body, and trample his blood under their feet. God does, indeed, offer his benefits to them, but they do not receive them by faith, and so mock God, whilst they profess to receive the benefits of Christ, inasmuch as they neither do, nor will any thing less, and thus they add this new offence to their other sins. 4. Because they condemn themselves by their own judgment; for in coming to the Lord's table they profess that they approve of this doctrine, and that they believe that there is no salvation out of Christ. And yet, in the meanwhile, they are conscious that they are hypocrites, and so condemn themselves.
Those, therefore, who argue that if the ungodly eat to themselves condemnation, they must eat the body of Christ, reason falsely. Yea, it may be said that the contrary is rather true; for if they eat to themselves condemnation, they do not eat the body of Christ. For to eat Christ and to eat condemnation are contraries, which cannot hold true at the same time. But, say our opponents, they eat unworthily; therefore they nevertheless eat. We grant that they do indeed eat; but they merely eat bread, and not the body of Christ; for it is expressly said, Whosoever shall eat this bread unworthily. But, say they again, Christ is not only a saviour, but also a judge; to which we reply, that he is not a judge of those by whom he is eaten, but of those by whom he is despised; for it is said of them that eat, "He that eateth me, even he shall live by me." (John 6:57.) And of those that despise Christ, "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matt. 7:23.) As the gospel is the savour of life unto life when it is believed, and is the savour of death unto death when it is despised, so Christ, when he is eaten, quickeneth, and when he is despised, judgeth. Christ now is despised, when he is offered to the unbelieving in the word and sacraments, and is rejected by their unbelief. But it is still further objected: The ungodly are guilty of the body of Christ; and therefore must eat it. But the cause of their guilt is not the eating of Christ, but the eating of the bread without Christ; because it is said, Whosoever shall eat of this bread unworthily, &c. An abuse of the sign is a contempt cast upon Christ himself; as an injury done to the charter or seal of a king is an injury done to the king himself, and is an offence against his injured majesty. But how, it is asked, can the ungodly eat judgment to themselves, and be guilty, when it is a good work to receive the sacraments? We reply, that the receiving of the sacraments is in itself a good work, and when it is accompanied with the true and lawful use thereof; otherwise it is a work which God does not command, but forbids, as he himself says: "He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man," &c. (Is. 66:3.) So Paul says: "This is not to eat the Lord's supper," &c. "If thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision." (1 Cor. 11:20. Rom. 2:25.) If this were not true, we might thus conclude: The receiving of the body of Christ is a good work; therefore the ungodly cannot by this receiving be guilty of the body of Christ.
1. In retaining and observing the rites and ceremonies instituted by Christ. This, too, must be done, not ludicrously, nor by one person privately, but in a regular assembly of the church, whether great or small. The rites which Christ has instituted are, that the Lord's bread be broken, distributed, and received, and the Lord's cup be given to all the communicants, in remembrance of his death. 2. When the rites are observed by those persons for whom they were instituted by Christ; that is, when the bread and wine are received by those whom Christ designed should receive them; which persons are not his enemies, but his disciplesthe faithful. The observance of these rites without faith and repentance, is not the use, but the abuse of them. 3. When the supper is received, and the whole transaction is directed to the end for which it was instituted by Christ, viz: in remembrance of the Lord's death, which is for the confirmation of our faith, and the rendering of true gratitude.Question 82. Are they also to be admitted to this supper, who, by confession and life, declare themselves infidels and ungodly?
Answer. No; for by this the covenant of God would be profaned, and his wrath kindled against the whole congregation; therefore it is the duty of the Christian church, according to the appointment of Christ and his apostles, to exclude such persons by the keys of the kingdom of heaven, until they show amendment of life.
They are to be admitted to the Lord's supper by the church,
1. Who are of a proper age to examine themselves, and to commemorate the Lord's death, according to the command: "This do ye in remembrance of me." "Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread." "Ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (1 Cor. 11:25,26,28.) The infant children of the church are, therefore, not admitted to the use of the Lord's supper, even though they are included among the number of the faithful.
2. Those who are baptized, and who by baptism are made members of the church. The covenant entered into with God in baptism, is renewed in the observance of the Lord's supper. It was for this reason that none, except those who were first circumcised, were permitted to eat the passover. Therefore, Turks, Jews, and all other aliens from the church are to be debarred from the use of the supper.
3. Those who profess true repentance and faith in word and in deed, or who exhibit a profession of faith and repentance in their deportment, whether it be made truly and sincerely, or by secret hypocrisy. The church is not to judge in regard to that which is secret and hidden. It, therefore, admits all whom it judges to be members of Christ, that is, all whom it hears and sees professing repentance and faith by confession, and the external deportment of the life, whether they be truly pious, or hypocrites whose true character is not yet known.
Those, however, are not to be admitted to the Lord's table, who simply declare that they believe all these things, whilst they continue to lead ungodly and sinful lives; for he that says he believes, and yet has not the fruits of faith, lies, and denies in deed what he affirms in words, according to the declaration of the Apostle, where he says: "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him; being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (Titus 1:16.) So the apostle James declares, 2:20. "That faith without works is dead."
The reasons why only those are to be admitted to the Lord's supper, who by confession and life profess repentance and faith, are:
1. Because the church would profane the covenant of God, if it were to admit to the holy communion the unbelieving and impenitent; for he that does a thing, and he that consents to it are regarded in the same light by the law. To profane the covenant of God, is to commend and recognize those as the confederates, or friends of God, who are his enemies, and to represent God as such an one, as is in league with hypocrites and wicked men. There are two ways in which the covenant of God is profaned. The one is by administering the signs of the covenant to those, to whom God promises nothing; the other is by using the signs without repentance and faith. For they do not only profane the covenant of God, who take to themselves the signs of the covenant, whilst they are impenitent, but those also, who knowingly and willingly administer the signs to such persons as God has excluded from his covenant. Those, therefore, who give the signs of the covenant to the ungodly, make God the friend of the wicked, and make the children of the devil the children of God.
2. If the church were to admit to the Lord's supper, knowingly and willingly those who by confession and life, declare themselves infidels and ungodly, the wrath of God would be kindled against the whole congregation. And that the wrath of God is in this way kindled against the church, the apostle Paul clearly affirms when he says: "For this cause many are weak, and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." (1 Cor. 11:30,31.) God is, therefore, angry with those who consent to, or connive at the profanation of this sacrament and punishes them, because he punishes the wicked who were admitted by their consent; for the Lord's supper is equally profaned by both.
3. Christ has given command not to admit such as are ungodly at his table. If any one denies the existence of such a command in reference to the Lord's supper, the sense, or substance of it may easily be proven, since Christ instituted his supper for his disciples, and for them alone, as may be inferred from what he said: "With desire, I have desired to eat this Passover with you." "Take this, and divide it among yourselves." "This cup is the New Testament in my blood which is shed for you." (Luke 22:15,17,19.) The Lord's supper was, therefore, instituted for the disciples of Christ alone, and so the command, Take this, &c., pertains to them. All others, for whom Christ has not died, are excluded. To these reasons we may add the following,
4. Clear and forcible demonstration: Those who deny the faith, are not to be regarded as members of the church, no not even of the visible church. All those now who refuse to repent, deny the faith according to what the Apostle says: "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him; being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (Titus 1:16.) Therefore, those who refuse to repent are not to be regarded even as members of the visible church, and so are not to be admitted to the sacraments of the church, but should be excluded from them as aliens, so long as they continue to lead impenitent and ungodly lives. As for those hypocrites, however, whose true character is not known by the church, they are to be admitted to the Lord's supper with the godly, as those who by confession and life profess repentance and faith. Yet none should come, except such as truly believe; for all others, including even those hypocrites whose true character is not known by men, eat and drink judgment to themselves, and profane the Lord's supper.
Objection. The church does not profane the covenant of God by admitting hypocrites to the Lord's supper. Therefore, it does not profane it by admitting those who are known to be impenitent. We reply to the antecedent as follows: The church does not do wrong by admitting hypocrites, that is, such as are not known to be hypocrites; because it is compelled to acknowledge them as sincere in view of the confession which they have made of their faith, and the repentance which they have feigned. But if the church were knowingly and willingly to admit known and avowed hypocrites, or such as deny repentance and faith, both in word and deed, it would do wrong. To this it is objected: But there are many impenitent persons who intrude themselves, and profane the covenant, especially where the proper discipline of the church is not maintained, and yet the church does no wrong in admitting them. Therefore, it is not wrong that other persons denying repentance should be admitted to the Lord's table. Answer. The church in this case does no wrong, not because it is no sin to admit such as are impenitent, but because it admits them ignorantlynot knowing that they are such. But the impenitent who push themselves forward to the Lord's table, profane the covenant, not to the condemnation of the church, or of those who commune with them, but to their own guilt; for they by so doing bring judgment upon themselves. Yet the church should carefully observe and inquire into the character of those who are admitted to the Lord's table, and the minister, where excommunication, or church discipline is not exercised,1 is excused, if he does not willingly administer the supper to those who abuse it, and if he is instant in admonishing and reproving them, and if he desires them to avoid these abuses; for "blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness." But the sin will rest upon others, viz: upon those who abuse the sacraments, and who connive at these things.
2. The Lord's supper is a sacrament of the New Testament, in which, according to the command of Christ, bread and wine are distributed in the assembly of the faithful, and received in remembrance of Christ; or that Christ may testify to us, that he feeds us unto eternal life by his body and blood broken and shed for us, and that we may return thanks to him for his benefits.
3. The first and chief design or use of the Lord's supper is, that Christ may declare to us that he died for us, and feeds us with his body and blood unto everlasting life, that he may, by this declaration, establish and increase our faith, and so by consequence this spiritual food in us. The second end is the giving of thanks for these benefits of Christ, and a public and solemn profession of our duty to him. The third, is to distinguish the church from all other religions. The fourth, that it may be a bond of mutual love. The fifth, that it may be a bond of the public assemblies of the church.
4. The first end of this sacrament which is a confirmation of our faith in Christ, the Lord's supper has, because Christ himself gives this bread and wine by the hand of the minister in remembrance of himself; that is, that he may admonish us by this symbol, as by his visible word, that he died for us, and that he is to us the bread of everlasting life, whilst he makes us his members; and because he has added to this rite the promise that he will feed those who eat this bread in remembrance of him, with his own body and blood, when he says, This is my body; and because the Holy Spirit by this visible testimony influences the minds and hearts of the faithful to believe with stronger confidence the promise of the gospel.
5. There is, therefore, a double meat and drink in the Lord's supperone external, visible and earthly, which is the bread and wine; the other is internal. There is also a double eating and receivingthe one external, and signifying which is the corporal receiving of the bread and wine, accomplished by the hands, mouth, and senses; the other internal, invisible and signified, which is the fruition of Christ's death, and a spiritual ingrafting into his body, accomplished not with the hands and mouth, but by the Spirit and faith. There is, finally, a double dispenser of this meat and drinkthe external of the external, which is the minister of the church, giving to us with his hand the bread and wine; the internal of the internal, which is Christ himself, feeding us with his body and blood.
6. The signs which serve for the confirmation of our faith are bread and wine, and not the body and blood of Christ; for the body and blood of Christ are received, that we may live for ever; whilst the bread and wine are taken, that we may be confirmed in regard to that heavenly food, and enjoy it more and more.
7. The bread is not changed into the body of Christ, nor is the wine changed into the blood of Christ; nor are the bread and wine abolished to give place to the body and blood of Christ; nor is the body of Christ substantially present in the bread, or under the bread, or where the bread is; but the Holy Ghost employs this symbol in the right use of the Lord's supper, as a means for the purpose of stirring up our faith, by which he more and more dwells in us, inserts us into Christ, and brings it to pass that we are justified through him, and draw from him everlasting life.
8. When Christ says, This, that is, This bread is my body, and This cup is my blood, the form of speech is sacramental, or metonymical, so that the name of the thing signified is attributed to the sign, to teach that the bread is the sacrament, or symbol of his body, that it represents him and declares that the body of Christ was offered for us upon the cross, and is given unto us as the bread of everlasting life, and is, therefore, the means which the Holy Ghost employs for preserving and increasing this food in us, as Paul says, The bread is the communion of the body of Christ, by which it is meant, that the bread is the thing by which we are made partakers of Christ's body; and in another place, We have all been made to drink into one Spirit. The same thing is also taught when it is said, that the bread is called the body of Christ on account of the resemblance which there is between the sign and the thing signified, viz, that the body of Christ nourishes the spiritual life of the believer, as bread supports our natural life; and on account of the certain joint-reception of the sign and the thing signified in the lawful use of the sacrament. This, too, is the sacramental union of the bread, which is indicated by the sacramental mode of speaking, common in relation to this subject, which is no local conjunction as some imagine.
9. As the body of Christ is, therefore, both his natural and sacramental body, which is the bread of the eucharist; so the eating of the body of Christ is twofold: the one sacramental of the sign, viz, the external and corporal receiving of the bread and wine; the other real, or spiritual, which is the receiving of the very body of Christ. To believe, too, in Christ dwelling in us by faith, is to be ingrafted by the power of the Holy Spirit into his body, as members to the head, and branches to the vine, and so to be made partakers of the benefits of the life and death of Christ. It is, therefore, evident that those who thus teach, are falsely accused and represented, when it is said that they make the supper consist in the bare signs, or in a participation of the merits of Christ alone, or of his benefits, or of the Holy Spirit, whilst they exclude the true, real, and spiritual communion of the body of Christ itself.
10. The lawful use of the supper consists in this, that the faithful observe this rite instituted by Christ in remembrance of him, or for the purpose of stirring up their faith and gratitude.
11. As the body of Christ is eaten sacramentally in the right use of the supper, so without this use, as in the case of unbelievers and hypocrites, it is sacramentally eaten, but not really; that is, the sacramental symbols or signs, which are the bread and wine, are, indeed, received, but not the things which the sacraments signify, viz, the body and blood of Christ.
12. This doctrine of the Lord's supper is based upon many and most solid arguments. It is confirmed by all those passages which speak of the Lord's supper. Christ, too, calling the visible and broken bread, and not something invisible in the bread, his body which was given, or broken for us, which, as it cannot be understood properly or literally, himself adds the declaration, that that bread is truly received in remembrance of him, which is as if he had said, that the bread is a sacrament of his body. He also says, that the supper is the New Testament, which is spiritual, one and everlasting. Paul, in like manner, says, that it is the communion of the body and blood of Christ, because all the faithful are one body in Christ, who can have no fellowship or communion with devils. This same apostle also makes the same ingrafting into Christ by one Spirit in baptism and the holy supper. The same thing is confirmed by the entire doctrine and nature of sacraments, which exhibit to the eyes the same spiritual communion of Christ to be received by faith, which the word, or promises of the gospel declare in the ear. It is for this reason that the signs are called by the names of the things signified, and have the reception of the things themselves joined with them in the lawful use of the sacraments. The articles of our common faith establish the same thing, which teach that the body of Christ is a true human body, not present in many places at the same time, but is now placed in heaven to remain there until the Lord come to judge the quick and the dead; and that the communion of saints with Christ is effected by the Holy Spirit, and not by an interpenetration of the body of Christ into the bodies of men; and is, therefore, the doctrine which has been held and professed with great agreement by the whole church in her earlier and purer days.
The Lord's supper differs from baptism, (1.) In the rite and manner of signification. The dipping or washing in baptism signifies the remission and removal of sin by the blood and Spirit of Christ, and our fellowship with Christ in his afflictions and glorification; the distribution of the bread and wine signifies the death of Christ to be laid to our account for the remission of sins, and our ingrafting into Christ, so as to be made his members. (2.) They differ in their operation. Baptism is the testimony of our regeneration, of the covenant made with God, and of our reception into the church; the Lord's supper testifies that we are to be perpetually nourished by Christ dwelling in us, and that the covenant once entered into between God and us shall ever be ratified in regard to us, so that we shall forever remain united with the church and body of Christ. (3.) They differ as it respects the persons to whom they should be administered. Baptism is administered to all who are to be regarded members of the church, whether they be adults or infants; the Lord's supper is to be given to none except those who are able to understand and celebrate the benefits of Christ, and to examine themselves. (4.) Baptism is to be received but once, because the covenant once entered into with God is always ratified in the case of those who repent; the Lord's supper is to be often received, inasmuch as it is necessary for our faith that we frequently renew that covenant and call it to mind. (5.) They differ in the order which is to be observed. Baptism precedes the Lord's supper; the Lord's supper should be given to none except those who are baptized.
14. Those who examine themselves, and who are possessed of true faith and repentance, are worthy guests at the Lord's table. Those who have not this testimony within themselves, ought not to approach the Lord's table, lest they eat and drink judgment to themselves; nor should they defer that repentance which is necessary in order that they may come, and so bring upon themselves hardness of heart and everlasting punishment.
15. The church ought to admit to the Lord's supper all those who profess to receive the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, and who have a purpose to live in conformity thereto; but should exclude all those who are unwilling to abandon their errors, blasphemies, or sins, when they are properly admonished by the church, and convicted of their errors and sins.
16. The Pope is guilty of corrupting the sacrament of the Lord's supper, in that he has removed from it the breaking of the bread, and refuses the cup to the laity. He is also guilty of the same thing in having changed the Lord's supper, by the addition of so many ceremonies not delivered by the Apostles, into a theatrical mass. These innovations, however, are still more wicked and idolatrous: That the mass is a propitiatory sacrifice, in which Christ is offered to the Father, by the sacrificing priests, for the living and the dead, and is, by virtue of the act of consecration, substantially present, and remains as long as the forms of bread and wine continue uncorrupted; that the mass confers the grace of God and other benefits upon those for whom it is offered; that Christ is eaten orally, even though those who approach the Lord's table are destitute of any good desires or purposes; and that he is concealed and carried under the forms of bread and wine for the purpose of being adored. In view of these base corruptions, the mass ought to be abolished in all Christian churches. These corruptions may be included under these heads: (1.) Transubstantiation. (2.) The worship of bread. (3.) Making a sacrifice out of the Lord's supper. (4.) Mutilating the Lord's supper by various human devices.Certain principal arguments of the Consubstantialists against the sincere doctrines of the Lord's Supper, and those whom they call Sacramentarians; with a refutation of them.The errors of the Sacramentarians, say they, are these: (1.) That they make the Lord's supper consist merely in naked signs and symbols. Answer. We teach that the things signified are, together with the signs, exhibited and communicated in the lawful use of the supper, although not corporally, but in a manner corresponding to sacraments. (2.) The Sacramentarians, say they, hold that Christ is present in the supper only according to his efficacy. Answer. We teach that Christ is present, and that he is united to us by the Holy Spirit, although his body is at a great distance from us, just as whole Christ is present in the ministry, although differently, according to the one nature. (3.) We, say they, believe that an imaginary, figurative and spiritual body of Christ is present in the supper, and not his true, essential body. Answer. We have never spoken of an imaginary body, but of the true flesh of Christ, which is present with us, although it remains in heaven. We teach, moreover, that we receive the bread and body, but in a manner peculiar to each. (4.) We, say they, hold that the true body of Christ which hung upon the cross, and his blood which was shed for us, is distributed, and that it is spiritually received only by those who are worthy guests, whilst such as are unworthy receive nothing but the bare signs, and these to their condemnation. Answer. We admit the whole as being in accordance with the word of God, with the nature of the sacraments, with the analogy of faith, and with the communion of the faithful with Christ.The general points in which the Churches, which profess the Gospel, agree and differ in the controversy respecting the Lord's Supper.They agree in these particulars: (1.) That the Lord's supper, as well as baptism, is a visible pledge and testimony annexed by Christ himself to the promise of grace, chiefly to this end: that he may confirm and strengthen our faith in this promise. (2.) That in the true use of the supper, as well as in all other sacraments, two things are given of God, and secured by us, viz: earthly, external and visible signs, as the bread and wine; and heavenly, internal, and invisible gifts, as the true body of Christ, with all his gifts, benefits and heavenly treasures. (3.) That in the supper we are made partakers not only of the Spirit of Christ, and his satisfaction, righteousness, virtue, and operation, but also of the very substance and essence of his true body and blood, given for us upon the cross, and shed for us, and that we are fed with the same unto eternal life; and that Christ declares and makes this known unto us by this visible reception of bread and wine in the supper. (4.) That the bread and wine are not changed into the flesh and blood of Christ, but remain true and natural bread and winethat the body and blood of Christ are not enclosed in the bread and wine; and, therefore, the bread and wine are called the body of Christhis body and blood in this sense; that his body and blood are not only signified by these, and set before our eyes, but also because as often as we eat or drink this bread and wine, in the true and lawful use, Christ himself gives us his body and blood to be the meat and drink of eternal life. (5.) That without the lawful use, the taking of bread and wine is no sacrament, being nothing more than a vain, empty ceremony and spectacle, such as men abuse to their condemnation. (6.) That there is no other lawful use of the supper, except that which Christ instituted and commanded to be observed, viz: that which is in remembrance of him, and which declares his death. (7.) That Christ does not command a hypocritical remembrance of himself, and declaration of his death; but such as embraces his sufferings and death, and all the benefits which he has obtained by these in our behalf, by a true faith and with sincere thankfulness. (8.) That Christ will dwell in none but such as believe, and in them also who, not through contempt, but through necessity, cannot come to the Lord's supper; yea, in all believers, from the beginning of the world to all eternity, even as well, and in the same manner, as he will dwell in them who have observed the Lord's supper.
They disagree in these particulars: (1.) That one class contends that the words of Christ, This is my body, must be understood literally, which they, however, do not prove; others, again, hold that these words are to be understood sacramentally, according to the declaration of Christ and Paul, and according to the rule by which we are to judge of the truth of any article of our faith. (2.) The former class of persons will have the body and blood of Christ essentially present in or with the bread and wine, and so to be eaten, that together with the bread and wine received from the hands of the minister, it enters by the mouth of those who receive them into their bodies; the other class of persons believe that the body of Christ, which in the celebration of the first supper sat at the table with the disciples, now is, and will continue, not on earth but in heaven, until Christ shall come again to judge the quick and the dead, and yet that we who are on earth notwithstanding, as often as we eat this bread with a true faith are so fed with his body and made to drink of his blood, that we are not only cleansed from our sins through his sufferings and shed blood, but are, also, so united to him and incorporated into his true, essential, human body, by his Spirit dwelling both in him and in us, that we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone; and are more firmly and closely united to him, than the members of our body are united with our head, so that we draw and have in, and from him, everlasting life. (3.) The first class of persons referred to maintain, that all who come to the Lord's supper and eat and drink of the bread and wine, whether believers or unbelievers, eat and drink corporally, and with their bodily mouth the flesh and blood of Christ, believers to life and salvation, and unbelievers to damnation and death. The other class of persons believe that unbelievers abuse, indeed, the outward signs to their condemnation, whilst none but the faithful eat and drink by a true faith, and by the Spirit, the body and blood of Christ unto eternal life. [This last paragraph is inserted with slight alterations from the old English translation by Parry.]
- What was the Passover?
- What was its design or use?
- What are the points of resemblance between the Paschal Lamb and Christ?
- Has it been abolished, and what has succeeded it?
This feast God commanded the Jews to celebrate with great solemnity every year, at which time seven days were devoted to its observance. "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord, throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread," &c. (Exod. 12:14,15; see also Exod. 12:17-18; 23:15. Levit. 25:5. Deut. 16:1.)
1. That the blood of the lamb sprinkled upon the door posts might be a sign of the angel passing over them, and of the preservation of their firstborn. "And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are, and when I see the blood I will pass over you." (Exod. 12:13.) This end, after the first performance of the rite, and the passing over of the angel, ceases, although the analogy of it remains for ever: for God formerly spared, and now spares the faithful for the sake of the blood of Christ; by which we mean that he remits their sins, as is taught in the next object specified.
2. That it might be a type of the sacrifice of the Messiah yet to be offered, or that it might be a sign of the deliverance which would be wrought out by Christ, and so be a sign of God's grace to the church. This was the chief end of the yearly passover. This is proven by the following arguments. "A bone of him shall not be broken." (John 19:36.) This type John declares was fulfilled when Christ's bones were not broken upon the cross. Therefore the lamb was a type of Christ, and of his sacrifice. Again: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." (1 Cor. 5:7.) The paschal lamb, therefore, signified Christ, and the sacrificing of it, signified the sacrificing of Christ. Again: the church understood the signification of other sacrifices, that they were types of the sacrifice of the Messiah; for the ancient fathers were not so destitute of reason as to seek the remission of sins by the blood of bulls: much more therefore did they, by faith, behold in the paschal lamb the Messiah, and his sacrifice. Lastly, John calls Christ "the Lamb of God;" and "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;" (John 3:29. Rev. 13:8;) because he was adumbrated by that lamb which was slain at the Passover.
3. That it might be a memorial of the first Passover, and deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. God desired that the remembrance of such a great benefit should be preserved among his people, lest their posterity might become ungrateful. "Seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; (for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste) that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life." (Deut. 16:3.)
4. That it might be a bond which would unite public assemblies, and perpetuate the ecclesiastical ministry. "And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation," &c.
5. That it might be a sacrament which would distinguish the people of God from all other nations. "There shall no stranger eat thereof." "And when a stranger shall sojourn with you, and will keep the passover of the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near, and keep it, and he shall be as one that is born in the land; for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof." (Exod. 12:43,48.)
A comparison between the Type and the Thing signified.
THE TYPE WAS, THE THING SIGNIFIED IS, 1. A lamb from the flock 1. Christ a true man. Is. 53:2,3, and John 1:14. 2. Without blemish, set apart 2. Without sin. Is. 53:5,7,8. Heb. 7:26. 3. To be slain and roasted. 3. Who suffered and died. 1 Cor. 5:7. 4. No bone was broken. 4. He died without having his bones broken. John 19:36. 5. Was slain in the evening. 5. In the end of the world. Heb. 1:2; 9:26. 6. The posts were to be sprinkled with blood, 6. His satisfaction is imputed unto us. Is. 58:5. Rom. 8:24. 7. That the destroyer might pass over the houses of the Israelites. 7. That we might be delivered from eternal death. Heb. 2:14. 8. It was to be eaten, and that in every family. 8. There must be an application of Christ to every one by faith. Rom. 1:17. John 6:47. 9. It was all to be eaten. 9. According to all the articles of our faith. Tim. 3:16. 10. Without leavened bread. 10. Without hypocrisy. 1 Cor. 5:8. 11. With bitter herbs. 11. With the endurance of the cross. Matt. 10:38. 12. With haste, and in the attire of travelers. 12. With a desire to progress in the Christian life, and with the expectation of eternal life. Luke 8:15. Heb. 13:9,15. 13. By the circumcised alone. 13. None but the regenerate eat him, and to these alone is he profitable, and they alone receive not the sacrament to their condemnation. John 6:56; Heb. 13:10; 1 Cor. 11:26.
That the ancient Passover, with all the other types which prefigured the Messiah which was to come, was abolished at the coming of Christ, is evident, (1.) From the whole argument of the Apostle in the Epistle to the Hebrews respecting the abolishing of the legal shadows in the New Testament. "The priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old." (Heb. 7:12; 8:13.) (2.) From the fulfillment of these legal shadows. "These things were done that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. A bone of him shall not be broken." "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us." (John 19:36; 1 Cor. 5:7.) (3.) From the substitution of the New Testament; for Christ, when he was about to suffer, and die and sacrifice himself as the true Passover, closed the ordinance relating to the paschal lamb with a solemn feast, and instituted and commanded his supper to be observed by the church in the place of the old passover. "With desire, I have desired to eat with you this passover, before I suffer." "This do in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:15,19.) Christ here commands the supper, not the ancient passover, to be celebrated in remembrance of him. As baptism has, therefore, succeeded circumcision, so the Lord's supper has succeeded the passover in the New Testament.
1. Let the reader note that while Christian Charity will teach us to bear patiently with Churches rising out of the darkness of Popish corruption, and continuing in a course of reformation, yet, at the same time, ministers must not sit by from the duties of ministerial discipline until its exercise is approved by civil rulers, or by the people over whom they have been set in authority. As the Keys of the Kingdom are put into their hands neither by the people, nor by the civil rulers, but by Jesus Christ, they must exercise their commission in a constant obedience to him, and not to the wills and pleasures of those who either hesitate to submit to, or make opposition to the rule of Jesus Christ over themselves and their realms. Although there may yet be churches where neither excommunication nor church discipline are exercised, yet there are no churches where either excommunication or church discipline are not authorized and instituted as part of the ministry of that church. If civil rulers make opposition to its exercise, they thereby set their "authority" against the authority of him who is King in Zion, and choose to themselves a lot amongst those concerning whom the LORD says to his Son, Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel, Psalm 2.9. If ministers obey them, they set aside a part of their ministerial commission received from the Head of the Church, and take up a new limited commission from those who have no authority concerning such matters. Thereby they confederate themselves with those who endeavour to lay hold upon the inheritance of the Son of God; and without speedy repentance, they shall share either in the same judgments, or others more fitted to the sacrilegious nature of their crime.JTK.