Home
Authors
Titles
Keyword Search
Reference

Table of Contents

Subject Index

Previous Chapter

OUTLINES OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE

by the Rev. H. C. G. Moule, M.A., Principal of Ridley Hall, and formerly Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Author of "Veni Creator: Thoughts on the Holy Spirit of Promise," etc.
Revised edition [[third edition, Feb., 1890]]
London: Hodder and Stoughton
27, Paternoster Row.
MDCCCXC

<234> CHAPTER XI.

The Doctrine of the Sacraments.

"Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses and effectual signs of grace and God’s good-will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken (excitat), but also strengthen and confirm our faith in Him…. The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about, but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, they have a wholesome effect or operation. But they that receive them unworthily purchase to themselves damnation, as St Paul saith" (Art. XXV.).

The Latin word Sacramentum was long used loosely by Latin Christian writers, so as to include nearly anything sacred, e.g., a revealed truth (mysterium). By a large consent of the Christian Church, however, the word is restricted to denote such Christian rites as have an immediate divine institution and a revealed connexion with the conveyance of spiritual blessings. Baptism and the Supper of the Lord alone answer this description. They thus stand in a sacred position of their own.

The Roman Church reckons Confirmation, Penance, Extreme Unction, Ordination, and Marriage, as con- <234/235> stituting with Baptism and the Supper the Seven Sacraments, each instituted by Christ, and each "a visible sign of an invisible grace, instituted for our justification," i.e., in the medieval sense of justification, "for our acceptance and purification." With great ingenuity, but in vain, proof is alleged that each of the five rites has the authority of Christ as to its "matter," or element, and its "form," or efficacious verbal formula. (See Boultbee, On the Articles, pp. 212-16; and Jenkins, Romanism, pp. 87-101.)

As regards the efficacy of Sacraments in general, the medieval theology holds [1] that the Sacraments so contain grace that the reception of the Sacrament is the reception of the grace, ex opere operato, and that grace cannot be obtained by other than sacramental channels, certainly not by faith in the divine promise alone (see Canons, etc., of Council of Trent, Sess. vii., c. 6, 8). The medieval idea of "grace," in the sense here in view, is of a mysterious somewhat, an almost physical agent, capable of being contained and carried by a material vehicle, and which, received into the soul, gives it a new "habit" (habitus), a new cast, such as will come out (not of itself, but under proper impulses) in holiness and righteousness. Grace, "habitual grace," which, on this theory, only sacraments can infuse (so that they alone are, in this sense, "means of grace"), is thus nearly akin to "new birth," "new nature." Thus baptism infuses grace in the form of new birth; while it needs other impulses, divine or human, or both together, to call out the new born "habit" into holy action. (Mozley, Baptismal Controversy, Pt I., ch. vii.)

Do we gather from Scripture that this theory <235/236> rightly represents the function of Baptism and the Eucharist? We think not. Let us make a brief enquiry, and with special recollection of the need here of watchfulness over fairness, truth, and peace of spirit as before God, in view of the controversies which have so long agitated this sacred region.

The New Testament passages which beyond doubt deal with Sacraments are not very many. We put aside, by the words "beyond doubt," the discourse of our Lord, Joh. vi.; a passage about which wide differences of interpretation (in this respect) have existed in all periods (Waterland, The Eucharist, ch. vi.), and which cannot be proved exegetically to refer directly to the Eucharist. We cannot similarly exclude (as has been done) Joh. iii. as not referring to literal Baptism in the word "water." The collocation there of that word with "Spirit" seems clearly to point to something so far not of the spiritual order; while yet the question remains, of course, what is the connexion of the water with the new birth. Besides this passage we have our Lord’s parting command to His Church to baptize in the Triune Name (Matt. xxviii. 19; cp. Mar. xvi. 16), and many places in the Acts, recording the practice, and here and there indicating the doctrine ("for the remission of sins," ii. 38; "wash away thy sins," xxii. 16). In the Epistles eight or nine places deal with Baptism, teaching that in it we are baptized into our Lord (Gal. iii. 27), into His death, into His grave (Rom. vi. 3, 4; Col. ii. 12); raised with Him (Col. ii. 13); clothed with Christ (Gal. iii. 27); saved, that is, saved by the answer of a good conscience in it (1 Pet. iii. 21); all knit into one body (1 Cor. xii. 13). The Church is (Eph. v. 26) "sanctified and cleansed by the laver <236/237> of the water, attended, or conditioned, by an utterance" (of the divine name and promise). Baptism is the "laver of new birth" (Tit. iii. 5). On the other hand, baptizing appears as a work secondary to preaching the gospel (1 Cor. i. 17). The Second Sacrament appears rather more rarely in didactic passages. We have in the Acts five mentions, without comment, of the Breaking of Bread (ii. 42, 46, xx. 7, 11, xxvii. 35). We have in the Epistles two great didactic passages, only two, but fuller than any baptismal passage (1 Cor. x. 16-21, xi. 17-34). There we gather that the "cup of blessing" is the common partaking of Christ’s Blood, and the Bread, broken, of His body; that the partakers of the one bread, or loaf, are as such one body; that the Cup and the Table (so called, not altar) are the Lord’s; that the Ordinance is the Lord’s Supper [2]; that it is done "in remembrance of Him" (below, p. 264); that the partakers "show," announce, proclaim, "the Lord’s death, till He come;" that to partake unworthily is to be "guilty of His body and His blood," committing a sin which calls down "judgment," because of "non-discernment of the Lord’s Body." There is a possible further reference to the rite in 1 Cor. xii. 13; "We were all made to drink into one spirit. Then, above all, we have the holy fourfold Record of the Institution (Matt. xxvi.; Mark xiv.; Luke xxii.; 1 Cor. xi.), from which we gather the ruling fact that the Lord’s Supper stands in immediate, indissoluble connexion with His Death; that the Bread is the Body not under any aspect, but as "given," being given, yielded up in sacrifice "for us;" that the Wine is the <237/238> Blood not under any aspect, but as "shed," being shed, "for us," as the Blood of Covenant.

Such is the special New Testament material for sacramental doctrine. It will be seen that its bulk is not great. It is amply enough to secure the believing reader’s deep and reverent attention. But it is not enough to justify the inference that the holy rites stand in the front, so to speak, of Christianity. If they do stand there, it is a strange paradox that large tracts of the New Testament are as a fact silent about them, just where emphatic mentions might be looked for; e.g., the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Hebrews. [3] And meanwhile the New Testament directly cautions us against the risk of allowing even divine rites, whatever their function, to obscure the function of the moral, spiritual action of the soul (1 Cor. i. 17, x. 1-13; 1 Pet. iii. 21; cp. Mar. xii. 33, 34; Joh. iv. 23, 24; Rom. ii. 25-9). The Scripture, certainly, is far more ample and emphatic on Grace than on the Sacraments of grace; on the efficacy of penitent faith directed with profound simplicity to God and Christ, rather than on that of the administration of divine ordinances. And we believe this fact to be a pregnant and directive fact for this whole enquiry, in which sometimes investigation seems to approach first Sacraments, then Grace, instead of taking the true order.

The Sacramentalism of the New Testament will not be viewed aright if viewed in isolation from that <238/239> of the Old. The Gospel Sacraments are most sacred parts of a sacred whole, the sacramental Idea pervading Scripture. From the beginning onward the covenantal Idea appears, and everywhere, at its side, the sacramental Institution; "certain sure witnesses and effectual signs of grace and God’s good will," "whereby He doth work invisibly in us," in the world of thought and will, "and doth not only arouse," as by a vividly presented object of sense, "but also confirm," as by its revealed designed significance, "our faith in Him;" working on the soul by way of divine (nothing less than divine) attestation and ratification. Perhaps the Tree of Life to Adam, certainly the Rainbow to Noah, Federal Sacrifice (Gen. xv.) and Circumcision (Gen. xvii.; Rom. iv. 10, 11) to Abraham, the Passover Sacrifice and Feast to Israel; are all instances of one idea-the giving of an external, and usually lasting or recurring, divine sign along with a divine promise. [4] It is the same thing, in its last and noblest development, when at length the eternal Covenant appears fully revealed, and brings with it its Laver, its Bread, its Cup.

Taken thus in harmony with the long past of the ways of God, the Christian Sacraments are, as to their place in Christianity, as intelligible (we use the word most reverently) as divine. They are in plain harmony with the first truths and inmost genius of that Gospel of sovereign and mysterious grace, of direct spiritual contact between God and believing man, of which they are the Sacraments. It would be an anomaly, requiring quite peculiar evidence, if the crowning Dispensation of salvation should depend for its spiritual efficacy not less but more than earlier Dispensations (as that represented <239/240> in the Psalms and Prophets) on bodily actions and receptions. It is in proportion at once with the Old Testament and the Gospel that the two physical Institutions of the Gospel (the phrase will be understood) should have a work to do precious, venerable, holy, divine, but a work of not infusion but attestation; as divine Seals upon the eternal Covenant, working in the line of humble but luminous faith, and in entire accord with the observed phenomena of that manifested Life of Grace which is the "intrinsic final cause" of the Gospel.

Thus let special sacramental study be approached in the line of pre-evangelical sacraments. It is a line not much followed at present; but in earlier times it was not so. Bernard (cent. xii.) speaks (Sermo in Cśnâ, Opera, ed. Paris, 1839, vol. i., p. 1948) of Circumcision as the "former sacrament" of the grace of baptism. And Mozley (Bapt. Controversy Pt i., ch. vii. and Note 19) very fully illustrates the antiquity of such views as against a later tendency to depreciate the grace and the sacraments of the Old ‘I’estament.

That the Christian Sacraments are covenanting rites appears clearly from the words of the Institution of the Eucharist. In every account the Cup, the sacramental Blood, is "of the Covenant, the New Covenant;" while the whole rite is linked indissolubly to the covenant sacrifice and feast of the Passover. And the connexion of Baptism with "the Name" of the Christian’s God speaks to the same fact. In each rite God in Christ attests and ratifies His relations and gifts of life and peace with His true Israel, individually and also as to the community. The community is especially prominent in the eucharistic rite, whose significance is quite expressly connected (1 Cor. x.) with common partici- <240/241> pation; a fact recognized by our Churrch in the strict prohibition (see Rubrics after the Communion Office, and after the Communion of the Sick) of a solitary Eucharist, even in the hour of death.

The covenant-sealing work of Sacraments was the ruling view of the framers of our Articles and Offices, in their maturest convictions. It is instructive to read, in illustration of this, the three Sacramental Sermons of Bullinger (vol. v., Parker Society,) in which that view is largely expounded. Bullinger, though a foreigner, was a chosen friend of the Anglican reformers and specially esteemed by them as a sacramental teacher. And in the reign of Elizabeth his doctrinal sermons (Decades, sets of ten) were systematically imposed by Convocation on the less educated clergy as their authorized body of divinity. Bullinger is equally ernest to preclude a false mysteriousness of theory, and to enjoin a deep intelligent reverence in use.

In our conviction, this view of the function of the holy Sacraments secures as no other view does just those two objects. In this view, alike at the Font and at the Table, the conception and expectation of blessing will be as clear and as purely spiritual as when the "means" used is, for instance, the Scripture, or secret prayer. Yet will the Sacrament have a peculiar and inestimably precious function. In it, as in nothing else, God in Christ, through ordered human ministration, but most really, is present to meet spiritual faith with material token, stepping out of His invisible and spiritual region of action just so far as to touch, as it were with a sensible contact, the believer in his faith. The Water is not transubstantiated, nor transformed, into the Spirit, nor the Bread and Wine into Christ (see further <241/242> below, p. 260). But the Water, the Bread, the Wine, are not bare signs, mere occasions of reminiscence, however tender. They are the personally given Warrants and Witnesses of eternal realities; such that as surely as they are used in faith, so surely are the blessings faith seeks certified, not by man but God, definitely, specially, infallibly, to the user. The hour of communion is thus indeed an hour with God, with the Son of God, "who loved us and gave Himself for us." It is a blessed hour of remembrance, of meditation; but far more. It is an hour in which He speaks to us, and as it were sensibly touches us, in the ordinance of, not our invention, but His command. The holy Bread, the holy Cup, are received as from His hand, as truly (to faith) as they were received at the first Administration. The disciple literally in them "touches his salvation," in its attesting and lawfully conveying Seal. He goes forth fed and refreshed with Jesus Christ, who has thus solemnly made over to him anew His sacrificed Body and His outpoured Blood; that is, His finished Sacrifice, bearing its "innumerable benefits" (below, p. 260).

This view is no modernism. In one well known passage St Bernard thus describes the special function of Sacraments (Sermo in Cśnâ, c. 2, as referred to above, p. 240): "A sacrament is a sacred sign, or sacred mystery (secretum). Many things are done for themselves alone; but other things in order to designate something else, and are themselves called signs, as they are. To take an instance from common life: a ring is given for the ring’s sake, and there is no significance; it is given to invest an heir in some inheritance, and it is a sign. The recipient can in that case say, The ring avails nothing, but <242/243> yet is it the inheritance which I sought. In this manner the Lord, drawing near His passion, took means so to invest His people in His grace, that the invisible grace might be granted (præstaretur) by some visible sign. To this end were all sacraments instituted…. Investitures vary with the things in question; for instance, a canon is invested by (per) a book, an abbot by a staff, a bishop by a staff and ring." The function of the sacrament here is that of lawful attestation, obsignation, conveyance, after the manner of title-deed. It is remarkable that a century later this passage of "the last of the Fathers" was criticized by Aquinas Summa iii., lxii., i., § 3), as inadequate, as making the sacrament a (legal) sign only, whereas "by many testimonies of the saints" it was a "cause of grace."

The statements of Bernard afford, as we venture to believe, a clue to an inner or underlying meaning in much (we certainly do not say all) of the exalted language of the ancient Church about the Sacraments. From the very first, even in the New Testament itself (cp. Gal. iii. 26 with 27), language tended, because this is a deeply natural tendency, to speak of the sign and seal in terms of the thing signed and sealed, of the Sacrament in terms of the Thing (Res); so that Baptism came to be called "regeneration," "illumination," and the like, while all the time it was possible to receive the Sign without the Thing, and the Thing without the Sign (as Cornelius did, Acts x.). As time went on, it proved only too possible for the visible and tangible in religion to overlay the related spiritual and eternal; and so it was with the Sacraments. But witnesses to the original idea were still not wanting. In the patristic treatment, e.g., of Baptism (Mozley, as <243/244> quoted above) it is remarkable that regeneration and kindred terms, however close their identification with Baptism, are usually treated as meaning not merely changes of status, or gifts of latent faculty but actual and positive changes of character from evil to good, from love of sin to love of holiness. Such language is difficult, we think impossible, to reconcile, in a sacramental theory, with facts, unless the theory be that indicted in St Bernard’s words. And so far the presence of such language in the Fathers is a witness to what at least had been believed of the work of Sacraments. So we think is the primitive custom of administering Baptism by preference at Easter and Whitsuntide. If the holy rite is the infusion of new birth and nature, its delay by a day, by an hour, much more by months, is terrible. Not so if it is the solemn sealing of a covenant, whose internal realities rise above limits of date and season. And this view comes out, as it seems to us, in the discussions of the Schoolmen themselves. Lombard (cent. xii.) examines the work of Baptism in his Sententiæ, in a passage full not only of subtle thought but of strong common sense. One statement is remarkable (Lib. iv., Dist. iv., § 7): "Do not wonder that the Thing sometimes precedes the Sacrament, since sometimes it follows long after."

Much that we have said as to this aspect of language has reference to baptismal doctrine. But it bears equally on eucharistic; for the Sacraments are things of one kind. The late Dr T. S. L. Vogan (True Doctrine of the Eucharist) has shown, with much wealth of proof and strength of reasoning, that views now widely current on the Holy Communion (e.g., that in or with the Elements in the Eucharist, there, where they are, is the "Real Objective Presence <244/245> of the glorified Body of Christ, and that the blessed rite is a sacrifice of peace and propitiation), are not only not the meaning of Holy Scripture, but not the teaching of primitive antiquity when words come to be weighed. See by all means his work, especially chapters v.-xiv. The older and classical work of Waterland, On the, Eucharist (early cent. xviii.), bears in the same direction. Much of his enquiry and discussion, highly technical in parts, comes to the Bernardine view, if we may call it so, to which full reference is made by Waterland, ch. vii. One remark which he makes (at the close of chap. vii.) on the theory of Transubstantiation is a key to much of his teaching. He says that it is a needless theory, for "will nothing satisfy, except the wax and parchments [of a deed or conveyance] be transubstantiated into terra firma?"

We have said above, what our older divines fully owned, that the Sacrament is often spoken of in terms of the Thing. This, carefully remembered, explains an observable fact in much of the Anglican theology of cent. xvi, xvii. The teachers of that time habitually use the highest and noblest language about Baptism. "Our second birth is by the water of baptism," says Cranmer, for instance; and the quotation might be paralleled indefinitely. Yet these same writers, when speaking to individual consciences, speak of justification, and of regeneration, very much as the modern "Evangelical" might do. It was Cranmer who composed the Third Homily. Bishop Hall (Works, vi., 249, ed. 1837; see the passage) says, "Christ dwells in our hearts by faith; a man may have a saving faith before baptism." And Ussher (Body of Divinity, ch. xlii., ed. 1841) has this remarkable passage: "We may <245/246> rather deem and judge [as against the theory that in the baptism of infants a ‘habit of grace is infused’ [5]] baptism is not actually effectual to justify and sanctify until the party do believe and embrace the promises…. Baptism … is a seal of the righteousness of Christ, to be extraordinarily applied by the Holy Ghost, if [the infant] die in its infancy; to be apprehended by faith if it live to years of discretion. So that as Baptism administered to those of years is not effectual, unless they believe; so we can take no comfortable use of our baptism administered in our infancy, until we believe… All the promises of grace were in my Baptism estated upon me, and sealed up unto me, on God’s part; but then I come to have the profit and benefit of them, when I come to understand what grant, God, in Baptism, hath sealed unto me, and actually to lay hold on it by faith."

In the same spirit speaks the learned and saintly Beveridge. His language about the dignity of Sacraments is most exalted, but when he comes to enforce the need of Regeneration (Sermon lxxiii.) in practical preaching, he scarcely alludes to the font, but makes his whole appeal take the line of the enquiry, "Are you bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit? For there, and only there, is the sure proof that you have ever been born of Him." (See Addenda, p. 268.) So Jeremy Taylor (On the Spirit of Grace, Sermon i.), addressing unspiritual church-goers: "They were washed with water, but never baptized with the Spirit…. They would think the preacher rude if he should say they are not Christians, they are not <246/247> within the covenant of the Gospel. But it is certain the Spirit of manifestation is not yet upon them; and that is the first effect of the Spirit whereby we can be called sons of God…. If the Spirit be in you, you are in It…. If the Holy Ghost be not come on you to great purposes of holiness, … ye are yet in the flesh." The great Hooker uses language (Eccl. Pol., bk v., cc. 58-65) of the highest technicality about holy Baptism, and seems to assign to it (we do not think, by the context, that he really does so) the function of positively beginning the sanctified life where that life begins at all. Yet when he, like Beveridge and Taylor, speaks to living men, he speaks otherwise, because from another point of view. In his two Sermons on St Jude, 17-21 (Ser. i., § 4), he depicts (surely from his own consciousness) the experience of a true conversion, in words which might be used by a Whitefield, or a Wesley; and concludes : "If the Spirit have been thus effectual in the secret work of our Regeneration unto newness of life … we say boldly with the blessed Apostle, ‘We are not of them which withdraw ourselves unto perdition, but of them which follow faith to the salvation of the soul.’" Long before Hooker, Augustine had written (on 1 Joh. v., § 7) : "Let all be baptized, let all enter the Church walls; the children of God are only distinguished from the children of the devil by love. They who have not love are not born of God."

Certain points of detail connected with both the holy Sacraments, and with each, are briefly noticed below. We conclude our general treatment with the confession of belief that in the whole study two drifts of opinion are to be watchfully, while in a spirit of holy charity, avoided. One goes towards making <247/248> them the means of grace, channels sui generis for the infusion of divine nature and life. The other goes towards making them mere symbols, illustrations, occasions of recollection. It is not so. They are not creative, but obsignatory. They are not human, but divine.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY.

Certain Points of Sacramental Doctrine.

Sacraments in General.

The Church Catechism, (in its sacramental section, added 1604; drawn up by Dean Overall, on the basis of the Smaller Catechism of Dean Nowell) is verbally ambiguous on the word Sacrament; see the second and third answers. But it is plain that the first of these two is the stricter and defining statement. The other will naturally describe the word in a larger and derived sense; the sacramental institution, or occasion. Art. XXIX. is sufficient witness that the sign may be wholly disconnected from the grace.

"A means whereby we receive the same." These words of our Catechism are never to be forgotten. The question remains, however, what class or kind of means? The word "means" may equally denote either lawful "conveyance," as of title (see above, p. 242) to inheritance or possession, or infusion, as of substance or nature. We think that the former alternative is indicated as the intention of the passage, by the cast of the theology (above, p. 241) on which, as a whole, this part of the Catechism was based. Nowell’s Longer Catechism, sanctioned by Convocation, 1570, fully explains the work of sacraments, and makes no reference to infusion of life or nature. Their function is: (a) "that God’s promises may be presented to our senses, that they may be confirmed to our minds without <248/249> doubting;" (b) "that they should be certain marks and tokens of our profession." Meanwhile he says of them just below, "by the one we are born again, and by the other we are nourished unto everlasting life" (ed. Parker Society, pp. 205-207).

We may say that the Sacrament is "a means whereby we receive," inasmuch as it is the divinely given ordinance of institution (p. 242), in which the worthy receiver sees and touches, as it were, the Hand that consigns to faith the gifts of life and peace; in which he receives from it, as in a holy "deed," his possessions. It is "a pledge to assure us thereof," in closest connexion with that fact. As it is God’s ordinance of institution, so faith, taking and pondering it, finds it its powerful present "excitation and confirmation," and also its "pledge" of a glorious future. (See further Addenda, p. 268.)

"Generally necessary to salvation." The word "generally" cannot here mean strictly "universally" for no one, certainly in Western Christendom, holds this of the Eucharist in the case of infants. See further the important third Rubric (based on St Augustine) after the Office of Communion of the Sick; and, with regard to the "necessity" of Baptism "where it may be had," see the Comment on the Gospel in the Adult Baptismal Service. The word "necessary" is to be interpreted in relation to the divine blessings "conveyed" in the two Sacraments, compared with those conveyed in the alleged other five Sacraments. Without death to sin and life to righteousness, and without the Body and Blood of Christ, there is no salvation ; not so without "grace of orders," for instance. And as in the order of the Church Visible the two Sacraments are the divine counterparts of those absolutely necessary graces, they are, in relation to that order, generally necessary.

Language of Ceremony. Ceremony, by a general law of language, freely borrows the terminology of the facts related to it, but only in a certain sense. A man <249/250> may be ceremonially "made" king before he actually "becomes" king (so David, 1 Sam. xvi.) ; or again, after he actually "has become" king, as at almost every coronation. This is not accidental or arbitrary, but has to do with the permanent relations between facts and their symbols and seals. Meanwhile symbol and seal have a great work to do, only not the work of origination.

As regards the origination of grace, so to speak, by sacraments, our Articles nowhere speak of it, nor does the sacramental part of the Catechism. On the words "in my baptism," at the beginning of the Catechism, see just below.

On the word "in":-"in my Baptism"; "our spiritual food and sustenance in [the Lord’s Supper]." The phrases are ideal, mystical. "In," in sacramental language, is not a synonym for "at" so as decisively to tie the reception of the Grace to the moments of the Sacrament. Those moments have indeed a most special sacredness and blessing for the faithful recipient of the holy Elements. But the analogy of the words "in circumcision" (Rom. iv. 10) indicates, as the essential meaning of these phrases, connexion with the covenant thus sacramentally signified and ratified. And the inmost principles of the Gospel of grace warn us against the least needless pressure of conditions of time and place in the matter of reception of the life eternal.

The Scholastics, in discussing the blessings of adult baptism, argued with much subtlety that the moment of the rite cannot be the moment of "justification" (which with them means, practically, regeneration). For the sincere catechumen is already justus before God, as already repenting and believing, and the insincere can only become justus later, on repenting and believing, when, and not before, the covenanted blessing of justification becomes his.

See on this whole question the important discussion of Mozley, Bapt. Contr., Pt ii., ch. ix; and cp. Pt i., ch. ix. <250/251>

Extension of the Incarnation. One important and influential view of the Sacraments may be stated somewhat as follows. Our Lord, by His holy Incarnation, provided for the re-creation in us of the whole Nature of which He became the Second Head, and of course therefore for the re-creation of flesh as well as spirit. Now as His Incarnation was no mere abstract, or spiritual, "becoming flesh," so the impartation of its blessings must be by means not only spiritual but physical. In the Sacraments the physical and spiritual so concur that by them man in his double nature is put into not partial but complete vivifying contact with the Incarnate Glorified Lord in His whole Being (see Addenda, p. 268). This refined and in some respects beautiful theory, seems, however, to lack solid support from Scripture, though related to some of its deepest truths. The share (yet future, Rom. viii. 23) of the body in redemption, and the connexion of our union with Christ with the present sanctification and future glorification of the body, are truths most surely revealed. But Rom. viii. 11, a pregnant verse in a context full of primary truths bearing on this problem, indicates to us that in the order of grace the body is, as it were, approached through the spirit; that its glorification will be "by," or "because of," the present inhabitation of the Holy Spirit in the saint, such an inhabitation as has to do with his "minding the things of the Spirit" (ver. 5). His body meanwhile, as to actual conditions, is "dead, because of sin" (cp. 2 Cor. iv. 16), in a sense antithetical to that in which "the Spirit is life" (ver. 10). And when that body is "sown" it is "not that body that shall be" (1 Cor. xv. 37). With the Incarnate and Glorified we are indeed one, in our whole being, so that our whole being shall share the transfiguration due to that union. But that union is by the Holy Spirit alone, not by the subsidiary way of physical or quasi-physical contact with the Glorified Body of the Redeemer, however the idea of such contact may be subtilized. (See above, p. 135.) <251/252>

 

Holy Baptism.

"Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened (a non Christianis), but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New Birth whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly (rectè) are grafted into the Church" [defined Art. XIX.]; "the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; faith is confirmed, and grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.

"The Baptism of young children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ." (Art. XXVII.)

Certain Theories of the Work of Baptism. We have indicated already in outline one widely prevalent theory; that at and by Baptism, by the will of God, the recipient gets a germ of life eternal, not otherwise ordinarily given. This germ is held to be rather a faculty than a tendency; it not only may but will come to nothing but for after mercies of God. But when, in His after dealings, spiritual fruit appears, it is to the baptismal germ, to the then implanted framework of the new nature, that we are to go back for one great part of the cause. Not many years ago a man, awakened to divine faith and love, called to see his devout and holy pastor, and told his tale of peace and joy. "These are fruits of your Baptism," was the response. But it appeared that the new convert, "born again to a living hope," had not been baptized, and came to seek the blessing of Baptism.

We have sought already to point out what seem to us to be grave objections to the theory thus indicated, objections from the nature of the Gospel, and from the facts of life-a branch of evidence never to be forgotten.

Another theory, also widely influential, is that to the worthy recipient of Baptism are given, at and through <252/253> the rite, as God’s appointed vehicle, pardon of original sin and of all past sins; the certainty of the special presence of the Holy Spirit with the soul, specially to plead with it, and generally to renew it; and also eternal life, in the sense of glory to come, contingently upon persevering faith and obedience. Such is Baptism to the sincere adult, and this is the regeneration of Baptism. The insincere gets none of these gifts in present fruition; though he gets the real benefit of recognized connexion with the Church of Christ. As regards the infant, brought to Baptism, the gifts are always certain, because the infant can oppose no obstacle to grace. As life developes the will may, or may not, yield to the Spirit: the spiritual gift may, or may not, be followed by moral transformation. (Bishop Browne on Art. XXVII.)

A serious difficulty in this view appears to us to be that it takes a lower idea of regeneration, new birth, divine spiritual filiation, than the Scriptures. A regenerate person in this view might be, and alas too often is, one who has never shown the least special yielding to the Holy Spirit’s power; who has always ignored or resisted it. But both Scripture and on the whole the Fathers (see above, p. 244) connect with regeneration, and the large mass of kindred phraseology ("child of God," etc.), the idea of actual moral goodness-not the mere faculty, but the seen character; the state of a really changed heart. And it is to be observed further, that the view of infant regeneration as secured by the absence of obstacle is nowhere stated in our Articles, or Services, or Catechism. It was noted as an innovation in England early cent. xvii.

Another view is, that the function of Baptism is to convey an outward status, to induct into Church privileges, to give to the recipient a position in which Gospel promises are, by an act of divine appointment, brought specially near for use, so that whatever belongs to the Church Visible is lawfully and already possessed for use. This very nearly approaches the last view, only with the im- <253/254> portant difference that it does not teach the definite and special dwelling of the Holy Spirit with or in the baptized. The same difficulty occurs here as in the other case; that of the use of the word Regeneration. See further below, p. 255.

To us, no view of the work of holy Baptism more commends itself than that of Archbishop Ussher, given above (p. 246). We may call it the federal view. The immemorial ritual of Baptism reminds us that from the earliest days, not to speak of Scripture itself (above, p. 240), Baptism has been viewed as a federal covenanting transaction. And in Scripture, in cases of covenanting, there is a tendency (not arbitrary, but natural) to use positive terms, and in the present tense, about things which from another point are contingent and future; the visible token being taken for the coming reality (e.g., Gen. xv. 18; Exod. xxxiv. 10, 11).

The federal view may be briefly stated as asserting that the promises of grace and salvation are assured to the recipient (child or adult), under the new and better Covenant, by its divine Christian Seal, which is to be used in humble boldness by faith, either then and there by the conscious adult Christian, or in due time by the then unconscious child.

Remission of Original Sin in Baptism (Homily iii.). This mysterious gift (Mozley, Bapt. Contr., Pt i., ch. iv., calls it "incomprehensible forgiveness," because it is of "incomprehensible sin") has been widely and anciently held to be given specially "in" Baptism, even where other gifts, as of true regeneration, were not given. Our Church refers to it in Hom. iii., but does not anywhere define it dogmatically. It cannot be said to be a direct revelation, as regards any distinction it implies between remission of sin and remission of sins. We may venture to say that its practical significance, as presented for our assent, is that Baptism is the divine sacramental attestation that, in and through Christ, man, as man, despite the Fall <254/255> and its mysterious results of inherited guilt, is wholly welcome to come personally to God in Christ.

Joh. iii. 1-8. This great passage includes a distinct allusion (above, p. 236) to the baptismal rite. But it does not say that the concurrence of the Water and the Spirit is necessary, or even normal, certainly not in point of time. And it lays down with divine emphasis the principle that in every case (ver. 8) of spiritual regeneration two facts concur, whatever are the other conditions; (a) sovereignty and mystery, "the wind bloweth where it listeth; thou knowest not whence or whither"; and (b) verifiable result, "thou hearest the sound thereof."

Ecclesiastical Regeneration. We have indicated above (p. 253) the view which may be thus designated. We refer to it here to remark that it is a true view just so far as it is held in relation to the doctrine of the Church as invisible and the Church as visible (above, p. 202). As there is Church and Church, Body and Body, so, and only so, there is Regeneration and Regeneration. The outward and visible may, and ideally should, coincide with the spiritual and real. But, alas, it does not do so actually, in too many instances. In all instances, however, the outward rite has a real and true relation to the outward and visible aspect of the Church, and has from this point "much profit every way." But this leaves untouched the question what, really and ultimately, does New Birth mean, and what makes it, and what shows it. And this question is supremely important.

Confirmation of the Baptized. This rite appears so early in Church History as to warrant its derivation from the apostolic laying on of hands in the reception of (not the graces of faith, hope, and love, but) the miraculous charismata; which do not appear in Scripture to have been ever received through any but the Apostles (p. 142). As our Service stands, it is practically the completion, or realization, of Baptism; the baptized openly and ceremonially acknowledging his baptismal covenant engagement. And <255/256> the chief Pastor both beseeches from the Lord the developed power of the Holy Spirit in the soul-thus claiming in faith its baptismal covenant heritage-and assures it, in the name of the Church, by the apostolic manual act of imposition, of the certainty of the divine promise. Confirmation is just not a sacrament, because lacking the Saviour’s institution. But it carries all the weight of attestation and "conveyance " (p. 243) that can be given by apostolic suggestion and primeval practice. It may be viewed, inter alia, as the quasi-sacrament of what some Christians call the "second blessing;" the realization of the highest life of the new-born soul in the more fully received power of the Spirit.

Infant Baptism. It is well known that a large body of Christians, since cent. xvi. especially, maintain that Baptism is only for those already believing. In our view the question is very nearly reduced to this: is Holy Baptism a covenanting ordinance? If it is, as we think most assuredly it is, then both the analogy of the Abrahamic covenant (of grace, Gen. xvi.), and the express words of the New Testament (Acts ii. 38, 39; cp. 1 Cor. vii. 14), indicate that in some sense, and certainly up to the length of a right to outward Church privileges, the children of the already members of the covenant are within it. And if so they have a right to its visible seal.

In the New Testament we have not indeed any mention of Infant Baptism. But we find not the least explicit caution against it, and no injunction to Christian parents to prepare their children for Baptism. There is, on the other hand, at least high probability that existing Jewish usage made it regular for a proselyte to be baptized with his children (Wall, Infant Baptism, Introduction). The whole analogy of circumcision (which is surely present to St Paul’s mind, Col. ii. 11, 12) goes in the direction of Infant Baptism; and makes it fair to say that the silence of our Lord is much more for than against Infant Baptism. It may fairly be said that the commission, Matt. xxviii. 19, <256/257> if we may for the moment imagine it given by Moses, not Christ, might have run; "Make disciples of all nations, and circumcise them into the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"; and that this would not have excluded, but implied, infant-circumcision as the extension (which it was) of adult.

It is true that few certain notices of Infant Baptism are to be found before cent. iii., and that Tertullian even seems to deprecate it (de Bapt., c. 19). Much later still, devout Christians, like Monnica, Augustine’s mother (cent. iv.), often postponed the Baptism of their children (though getting them initiated as catechumens) till evidences of conversion appeared. But we think the evidence against the primeval use of it quite insufficient, and that such practices as Monnica’s arose not a little from an oblivion of its covenantal function and an exaggerated view of its purifying power opere operato.

Meanwhile, observe the very temperate language of Art. XXVII. on the subject. And Infant Baptism is not in such a sense "of faith" that the Christian who reverently declines its use for his children is therefore heretical. Dr Wall, whose History of Infant Baptism (1705) received the thanks of Convocation, entirely declines to make it thus de fide. He pleads, on that very ground, with the Baptists of his day not to break with the National Church on this point. Were he in a country where the national Church was not pædo-baptist he would seek Infant Baptism, in conscience, for his children, but he would attend the Communion Table of the national Church (vol. ii., ch. xi.).

Sponsors in Baptism. This institution is traceable to Jewish usage (Wall, vol. i., p. 35). Tertullian (late cent. ii.) refers to it as an established Christian institution. The purpose is partly theoretical and doctrinal, to signify that the candidate is brought to Baptism, not in virtue of merely physical descent, but because of Church connexion, which gives a reason why parents should not be sponsors; partly practical, to secure in a special way fuller Christian <257/258> influence for the baptized. In Infant Baptism the child is treated, symbolically and federally, as a catechumen; and this aspect of the rite (an aspect the exact opposite to superstition) is kept prominent by the answers given pro tempore in its name by the Sponsors. Those answers are formally and ceremonially "taken over" by the baptized at Confirmation. It is almost needless to say that morally and spiritually they are to be "taken over" so soon as reason and conscience can at all understand their import. The thought that the Sponsors till then, or till Confirmation, bear the moral responsibility for the child is not an uncommon one among the people; but it is of course an illusion. The sponsorial responsibility is most real and solemn, but (see the language of our Services) widely different from this.

Order of study. Observe that our Articles and Catechism study Baptism first in the adult, then in the infant, not vice versâ. Ideally, the baptized person "seeks the faith," is instructed, admitted as a believer, and so baptized. So, ideally, the Israelite (if Abraham was his prototype) was circumcised. But the ideal, as in many another case, while remaining a testimony and exposition of principles, ceased at once in Circumcision, and (as we believe) in Baptism, to be the rule of usage. We baptize infants because of the Covenant; we study the Covenant, and its terms, and seals, in the adult.

Sprinkling or Immersion. Baptist Christians hold that entire bodily immersion is absolutely essential to Christian Baptism. We believe this to be untenable by Scripture. True, Scripture indicates a usage of immersion in the apostolic missions, very plainly. And it connects Baptism with our Lord’s Death, Burial, and Resurrection, doctrinally. But characteristically it gives no directions in detail how to baptize; and it seems more scriptural to believe that any "washing" with the prescribed Element, in the Blessed Name, is (though a minimum) valid, than to hold that the covenanting ordinance depends for validity <258/259> on the literal immersion of the person. It is remarkable that the earliest sub-apostolic account of Baptism (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, ch. vii.) expressly provides for "pouring water on the head" where immersion cannot be had. The Church of England makes immersion her first alternative, meanwhile, in the baptismal rubrics.

 

The Holy Communion.

"The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather it is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, (ritè), worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

"Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of bread and wine) in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but it is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

"The Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the means whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith.

"The Sacrament" (observe the exact use of the word) "of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped." (Art. XXVIII.)

"The wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as St Augustine saith) the Sacrament" (again note the word) "of the Body and Blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ; but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a Thing." (Art. XXIX.)

"The offering of Christ once made is that perfect <259/260> redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits." (Art. XXXI.)

The Body and Blood of Christ. The devout and accurate study of these sacred words in their sacramental use is a pre-requisite to all true eucharistic teaching. To ascertain their divinely-intended meaning we go of course to the four Records of the Institution; by SS. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul. We find that SS. Matthew and Mark give only, "Take, eat; this is My Body;" St Luke, "This is My Body, which is being given for you; this do in remembrance of Me;" St Paul, "This is My Body which is being broken for you," or simply, "which is for you" (the reading is questioned; but even in the latter reading the omitted word is implied by the previous context). Again, SS. Matthew and Mark give, "This [Cup] is My Blood of the New Covenant which is being shed for many" ("for the remission of sins," adds St Mark); St Luke, "This Cup is the New Covenant in My Blood which is being shed for you;" St Paul, "This Cup is the New Covenant in My Blood; do this, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me."

In interpretation, we must take the longer forms. And these show us that the Body in the Eucharist is not the Body absolutely, but the Body regarded as being "given for us." And the Wine (which indeed is not verbally mentioned) is not the Blood absolutely, but the Blood regarded as being "poured out for many, for the remission of sins." It is "the Cup of the New Covenant in Christ’s Blood as being shed for us;" "the New Covenant in His Blood."

Further, we find the two Elements, two utterances, and two deliveries, side by side, but separate; the Blood separate <260/261> from the Body. At the blessed moment of the first Lord’s Supper our Lord and Saviour was living Man, His blood flowing in His veins. The qualifying words, used at such a moment, were all significant. He was putting Himself before His disciples as already in the then fast approaching state in which the Blood should be parted from the Body; that is, in the state of death. In that state the holy sacrificed Body, given for us, would be apart, and the holy Blood, poured out for us, apart. The separation of the Elements, along with the full words of delivery, is eloquent of the state of Death.

Thus indeed, "as often as we eat that bread and drink that cup, we proclaim, tell forth" (katangellein, see below, p. 264), as our creed and our peace, "the Lord’s Death, till He come."

The words, thus studied, give no real support to certain famous theories of the Eucharist, which yet claim to be above all things jealous of the words. The Roman doctrine [6] is that at consecration the "Substance" (i.e. essence, supposed to underlie all "accidents" or physical manifestations) of the whole glorified Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, Spirit, Deity, takes the place of the "substance" of the bread and wine, so that every particle of each Element is He, as truly as His glorified Person on the throne is He; and is likewise to be worshipped. The doctrine of Luther was that, at consecration, "in, with, or under the bread is the Glorified Body;" but Luther did not teach "eucharistic adoration." A widely prevalent teaching in the English Church now is that the consecrated bread "has under its form the presence of the Glorified Body;" and that Christ is to be adored accordingly as in the Elements-a very different thing from adoring Him as present in His ordinance, as He is present in every other ordinance, e.g. in prayer, private or public, and in His Word. The words <261/262> of Institution give no real support to any of these views. Let those words be fully preserved in our interpretation, and let the sacred Blood have its place of distinct and equal honour, and it will be seen that a very large range of inferences, sometimes taught as if directly revealed truths, prove to have no basis in the words of the Lord Himself. His words point directly, not to Glory, but to Death; not to the Throne, but to the Cross; to Propitiation, Atonement, Sacrifice, Offering, there completed for ever.

It is observable that under the often glowing language of the Fathers this aspect of the Eucharist is on the whole in view. They see in the Elements not Christ as He is, but the Body and Blood of Christ as He was, and is (actually) no more, for us (see Vogan, True Doctrine of the Eucharist, Pt i., ch. xiv.). So do our Reformed Anglican divines till well within this century (ibid., ch. xv.). So certainly does our Church in Liturgy, Articles, and Catechism.

It is clear that in this view a Presence of Christ in the Elements is not to be sought. For "the Body and the Blood" are not the equivalent for Christ. They are not the whole Christ, but those parts of His blessed Constitution whose separation testified His Death. And again, that state of them and of His constitution is for ever past. As to actual being, as a state, it is no more. It therefore cannot be "there," except "in a certain manner." That manner is sacramental, mystical. The Elements which He ordained to represent validly to His true disciples His Body as slain for them, and His Blood as shed for them, now eighteen centuries ago, are most truly "there," as His warrant and conveyance to their faith of all the benefits of the Passion. In that sense, the Body and the Blood are there, and in no other sense at all revealed.

The words of Waterland (On the Eucharist, ch. vi.) are remarkable. "Spiritual feeding in this case, directly and <262/263> primarily, means … the eating and drinking our Lord’s Body broken and Blood shed; that is, partaking of the Atonement made by His death and sufferings; this is the ground and basis of all the rest…. The foundation of all our privileges is our having a part in that Reconciliation."

Waterland insists, as of course he must, on our blissful union and communion with the Glorified Lord, and how this has a holy and delightful connexion with the Eucharist. But he points out that the connexion is not direct, but indirect. Directly, we "feed on" Christ as He was, or more strictly on His Body and Blood as they were; upon the finished Work of Calvary, as our avenue to all other blessings, "the innumerable benefits of His Passion." "To be refreshed with His Body and Blood" is thus a phrase which points, directly, not to the infusion of His life-power, but to the reconciliation, peace, and joy of our acceptance in Him slain for us. Meanwhile, let the disciple never forget that the eucharistic hour is meant to be a sacredly special occasion of that exercise of faith by which indeed we "feed on Him" in the whole range of what He is to us.

The word "is." It is quite certain from the context, in the Three Gospels, and 1 Cor. xi. 1, that this word must be interpreted not literally but "in a certain manner." For the words are not only, "This is my Body," but also, "This Cup is the new Covenant." The Roman and kindred interpretations, (as Vogan shows,) in jealousy for the letter really wander remotely from it, to support a theory which it only negatives. But the important point to notice is that the use of the word "is" here by our most Blessed Lord must be understood "in a certain manner," not arbitrarily, but by a law of that human speech which He, the Man of men, used most truly of all men. For wherever in human speech the word "is" connects two nouns or thoughts not obviously homogeneous or identical, it is invariably understood "in a certain manner," that is, it <263/264> needs explanation. "This Cup is the Covenant" is a linguistic phrase of the same order as, "This note is a thousand pounds." Here we think Dr Vogan stops somewhat short of his own just conclusions. He simply declines, in deep reverence, to interpret the "is" at all. But may we not say that to seek an interpretation of "is," is as much, or little, irreverent, as to interpret "My Body and My Blood"?

But let his book by all means be read with earnest care ; it will repay the labour. An able resumé of its main argument will be found in a pamphlet by the late Dr Boultbee, The Presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. See too a book little noticed, but well worthy of attention, An Exposition of the Lord’s Supper, "by a Presbyter of the Church of England;" and The Finished Offering of Christ, by the Rev. C. H. Waller.

"Do this in remembrance of Me;" lit., "unto My remembrance, or memorial." The word poiein (do) is frequently used in the LXX. for the "doing" which in the case of a sacrifice means "offering;" and the LXX. use anamnêsis (reminiscence) once only (Lev. xxiv. 7; elsewhere, mnêmosynon) for a sacrificial "memorial." It has been held accordingly that the words of our Lord should be rendered, "Offer this to be My" (as distinguished from a Mosaic) "sacrificial memorial" (before the Father). But the word poiein is never used elsewhere in the New Testament in sacrificial connexions. And if the Lord’s words had borne a sacrificial meaning it is surely inexplicable that the New Testament should be so entirely reticent as it is (above, p. 223) about a sacerdotal function of the Christian ministry. Observe further the connexion of thought in 1 Cor. xi. 25, 26; the "for" in ver. 26. St Paul plainly means that to "show" (literally, and far better, "proclaim," as messengers or preachers, to each other and the world) "the Lord’s death, till He come," was the way to carry out His precept about His anamnêsis. It has been said that to "proclaim" there means our <264/265> pleading, asserting the fact of, His Sacrifice, before the Father. But the verb katangellein is frequent in the New Testament, and invariably elsewhere in it bears the common meaning of telling news to human hearers.

Bp Chr. Wordsworth renders Luke xxii. 19, "for the recordation of Me;" and says: "anamnêsis is not simply remembrance, which may be involuntary, but a deliberate inward act of the will, showing itself by outward signs." See his whole note, and that on "Do this," just before it.

The Hour of Communion. St Augustine, Epistt., lib. ii., ep. liv., speaks of the practice of fasting communion as apostolic, and due to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. And the obvious inference would be against communicating after the morning. But Augustine is not borne out by facts. In Egypt there were evening Communions after meals (Socrates, Hist. Eccl., v. 22). This was noted as singular, but it was the singularity of a very eminent Church. Chrysostom speaks of Communion after eating with deprecation, but quite without horror, and blames those who turned away because they had eaten. Cyprian notices without blame the use of wine in the evening, at Communion, by a sect (the Aquarians) who used water in the morning. The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles speaks of the receiving the Eucharist "after being filled" words whose natural meaning is, "after a meal," i. e., after the Agapé. Bp Lightfoot, on Ignatius, ad Smyrn., c. 8, says "In the apostolic age the Eucharist formed part of the Agapé…. This appears from 1 Cor. xi. 17 seq…. from which passage we infer that the Eucharist came, as it naturally would, at a late stage in the entertainment." See too Acts xx. 7, with Wordsworth’s note. It appears highly probable that the change to morning Eucharists took place in deference to an edict of Trajan’s (early cent. ii.) against hetæriæ-guilds, or clubs; an edict which would have included in its scope the Christian Agapæ. These, as not of divine ordinance, were probably laid aside for a time; to <265/266> be resumed later (as they were) apart from the Eucharist. And so the Eucharist was attached to the morning Sunday service.

We are much indebted to a learned paper by the Rev. N. Dimock, in The Churchman, March, 1886.

Attitude at the Holy Communion. The Ordinance supposes the Lord to be Master of the Feast; it is His Table (1 Cor. x. 21, xi. 20). Mediately, by the ministry of His Church, but most truly, He, as at the first Eucharist, says, "Take, eat; drink ye all." In this sense He is indeed "really present." [7] And as really present He is to be reverenced and adored. Our Church enjoins us accordingly to kneel; guarding and explaining her practice in the last Rubric (as authoritative as any other) after the Communion Office. It is the custom of some Christians to sit, on the supposition that the Apostles reclined (Luke xxii. 14, etc.). In the earliest picture of the Last Supper, a.d. 586 (Marriott, Vestiarium Christianum, p. xxvi.) the Apostles appear reverently standing.

Non-communicating attendance was unknown in the primitive Church (Bingham, Antiquities, Bk xv., ch. iv., § 1, 2).

_______________

It is not willingly that we close these notes, and leave this sacred subject, and conclude this little book, with discussions which pointedly refer to differences and controversy. Let us at least, by way of actual conclusion, in some of the most ancient liturgical words still used in the Christian Eucharist, "Lift up our hearts unto the Lord." To Him, <266/267> directly to Him, Son of the Father, Lamb of God, Lord of Resurrection, Head of the Church, Life of the soul, across and above all controversies between disciple and disciple, we will, and do, lift up our hearts, as He descends to dwell in them by His Spirit, and rule them for Himself. For Him we long, looking for Him to come again, "this same Jesus, in like manner as He went up into heaven." May not one word we have written, if His mercy will grant it, becloud that look, or chill that longing, for any follower of His. If He be pleased in sovereign kindness to grant it, may some words we have written direct and clear that look, and make that longing only tenderer and deeper, till He come. <267/268>

___________________

[1] Not without exceptions. It was held by many that Matrimony conferred no grace.

[2] The passage as a whole clearly includes under this name the Eucharistic Rite proper, not only the Agapé.

[3] That Heb. xiii. 10 refers to the Holy Table is by the context extremely improbable. See Kay in the Speaker’s Commentary; and Lightfoot, Philippians, p. 265, note. Did the Writer mean to designate the Table "our altar," it is, to say the least, difficult to explain why, in view of the special perplexities of his readers, he did not make very much more of the fact.

[4] See Bp Hopkins (cent. xvii.), Doctrine of the Covenants.

[5] "For if there were such a habit of grace infused, it could not be so utterly lost, or secreted, as never to show itself but by being attained by new instruction."-Ibid.

[6] Transubstantiation (the word dates from late cent. xi.) was first definitely approached cent. ix., by Radbert, more distinctly taught in the Church cent. xi., imposed as de fide 1215.

[7] Though not in the sense of the technical phrase Realis Præsentia; i.e. the actual and unfigurative "presence," with and in the Elements, "of the Thing" (Res)-in this case the actual Body and Blood. That phrase, in connexion with the Eucharist, appears to be no older than early cent. xvi. See Vogan, True Doctrine, etc., p. 91. On the subject at large see a learned book, Doctrine of the English Church on the Eucharistic Presence, by the Rev. N. Dimock. <267/268>

 

 

ADDENDA.

P. 196.- "The flesh" and "the old man" (Rom. vi. 6; Eph. iv. 23; Col. iii. 9) are not identical. The writer ventures to quote his own comment on Eph. iv. 23 ("Cambridge Bible for Schools"): "On the whole, we may explain the phrase [‘the old man’] by ‘the old state.’ And under this lie combined the ideas of past personal legal position and moral position; all that I was as an unregenerate son of Adam, liable to eternal doom, and the slave of sin. To put off the old man is thus to quit these positions … to step into the position of personal acceptance and of personal spiritual victory; and that position is ‘in Christ.’"

P. 223.-In Rom. xv. 16, St Paul uses sacerdotal terms, speaking of himself as a leitourgos, hierourgôn to euangelion. But the passage is self-evidently figurative, poetic, in its wording. "The gospel," not an altar, is in view. This passage of St Paul’s, with its non-literal meaning, may caution us in the interpretation of many patristic passages.

P. 246.-Beveridge thus writes, at the close of the Sermon: "The children of God … ‘all things are theirs.’ … Their minds must needs be at rest, and their souls as full as they can hold of all true joy and comfort. Who then … would not be regenerate, and made a child of God, if he might? And who may not, if he will? Blessed be God, we are all as yet capable of it; for now that Christ is … exalted … to give repentance, and forgiveness of sins, if we do but apply ourselves to Him, and believe and trust on Him for it, His Father will be ours too; He will beget us again in His own likeness, and admit us into the glorious liberty of His own children."

P. 249.-"An outward … sign of an inward … grace, given," etc. (Church Catechism). A comma should stand after "grace." Durel (see our p. 223) renders here, signum … spiritualis gratiæ, quod nobis datur.

P. 251-Many theologians teach definitely that the work of Baptism and the Eucharist is to comunicate to the recipient, then and there, the "substance" (p. 261) of the Lord’s glorified Body, which "substance" is nearly or quite identified with "grace." The matter of the "Sacrament" is thus as it were animated with the essence of the <268/269> "Thing." If the remarks made pp. 261-2 hold good, this view is quite precluded by the words of Institution.

The phrase Extension of the Incarnation is employed by Bp Jeremy Taylor (Worthy Communicant, i. § 2); but with him it denotes not such an infusion of "substance," but the application by the Holy Spirit to the worthy recipient of the blessings won for us by the Incarnation.

Taylor elsewhere (Real Presence, vii. § 8) writes as follows: "The benefit reaching to the body by the holy Eucharist comes to it by the soul; therefore by the action of the soul, not the action of the body; therefore by faith, not by the mouth…. All that eat are not made "Christ’s body," and all that eat not are not disentitled to the resurrection; the Spirit does the work without the Sacrament; and in the Sacrament, when it is done, ‘the flesh profiteth nothing.’ … If the nourishment be wholly spiritual, then so is the eating." <269>

 
 

The Anglican Library, This HTML edition copyright 1999.


Subject Index

Home
Authors
Titles
Keyword Search
Reference