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thropy, and was, for ever after, wisely wary not to come near a river. He that speaks against his own reason, speaks against his own conscience; and, therefore, it is certain, no man serves God with a good conscience, that serves him against his reason. For though, in many cases, reason must submit to faith, that is, natural reason must submit to supernatural,--and the imperfect informations of art, to the perfect revelations of God;- yet, in no case, can true reason and a right faith oppose each other: and, therefore, in the article of the sacrament, the impossible affirmatives concerning transubstantiation, because they are against all the reason of the world, can never be any part of the faith of God.
3. Whatsoever is matter of curiosity, that our faith is not obliged to believe or confess. For the faith of a Christian is pure as light, plain as a commandment, easy as children's lessons; it is not given to puzzle the understanding, but to instruct it; it brings charity to it, not darkness and obscurity. Our faith in this sacrament is not obliged to inquire or to tell, how the holy bread can feed the soul, or the chalice purify our spirits ; how Christ is united to us, and yet we remain imperfect even then, when we are all one with him that is perfect: there is no want of faith, though we do not understand the secret manner how Christ is really present, and yet this reality be no other but a reality of event and positive effect; though we know not that sacramental is more than figurative, and yet not so much as natural, but greater in another kind. It is not a duty of our faith to discern how Christ's body is broken into ten thousand pieces, and yet remains whole at the same time; or how a body is present by faith only, when it is naturally absent: and yet faith ought to believe things to be as they are, and not to make them what, of themselves, they are not. We need not to be amazed concerning our faith, when our overbusy reason is amazed in the article; and our faith is not defective, though we confess we do not understand how Christ's body is there incorporeally, that is, the body after the manner of a spirit, -or though we cannot apprehend how the symbols should make the grace presential, and yet
e Ubi ad profunditatem sacramentorum perventum est, omnis Platonicorum caligavit subtilitas. - S. Cyprian. de Spir. S.
that the grace of God in the receiver can make the symbols operative and energetical.
The faith that is required of those who come to the holy communion, is of what is revealed plainly, and taught usefully: what sets devotion forward, not what ministers to curiosity; that which the good and the plain, the easy and the simple man, can understand. For if thou canst not understand the reciprocations and pulses of thy own arteries, the motion of thy blood, the seat of thy memory, the rule of thy dreams, the manner of thy digestion, the disease of thy bowels, and the distempers of thy spleen, things that thou bearest about thee, that 'cause to thee pain and sorrow;-it is not to be expected that thou shouldest understand the secrets of God, the causes of his will, the impulses of his grace, the manner of his sacraments, and the economy of his spiritf. God's works are secret, and his words are deep, and his dispensations' mysterious, and, therefore, too high for thy understanding. St. Gregory Nazianzen 8 says of God: “ the more you think you comprehend of him in your understanding, the less he is comprehended :" like the sand of a glass, which the harder you grasp, the less you can retain: or like the sand of the
you can never number,-but by going about it, you are confounded,--and by doing something of it, you make it impossible to do the rest. Curious inquiries are like the contentions of Protogenes and A pellesh, who should draw the smallest line; and, after two or three essays, they left this monument of their art, that they drew three lines so curiously, that they were scarcely to be discerned. And, therefore, since faith is not
exigna est vis
Prudent. in Symmach. lib. 2. και Υποχωρεί αεί τοσούτον, όσον καταλαμβάνεται. - Οrat. 1.
h The circumstance to which Bishop Taylor alludes, is related by Pliny the elder, lib. xxxii. c. 10. “ Scitum est inter Protogenem et (Apellem) eum, quod accidit,” &c.—(J. R. P.)
concerned in intrigues and hard questions, it were very well if the sacrament itself were not disguised, and charity disordered, by that which is not á help, but a temptation, to faith itself. In the holy communion, we must retain an undoubted faith, but not inquire after what manner the secrets of God are appointed. • Whether it be or no,' that is the object of faith to inquire, and to accept accordingly.
What it is,' he that is to teach others, and speak mysteries, may modestly dispute; but · how it is,' nothing but ouriosity will look after'. The Egyptians used to say, that unknown darkness is the first principle of the world; not meaning that darkness was before light; but by darkness' they mean' God,' as Damasciusk, the Platonist, rightly observes; saying, “ This darkness or obscurity is the beginning of every intellectual being, and every sacramental action; and, therefore, in their ceremonies they usually made three acclamations to the unknown darkness :” that is, to God, whose secrets are pervious to no eye; whose dwelling is in a light that is not to be discerned ; whose mysteries are not to be understood by us; and whose sacraments are objects of faith and wonder, but not to be disordered by the mistaking, undiscerning eye of people, that are curious to ask after what they shall never understand.
Faith is oftentimes safer in her ignorance than in busy questions; and to inquire after the mapner of what God hath plainly and simply told, may be an effect of infidelity, but never an act of faith'. If concerning the things of God we once ask, “Why,' or • How ?' we argue our doubt and want of confidence : and, therefore, it was an excellent counsel of St. Cyril”, “ Believe firmly in the mysteries, and
i Oportet igitur nos, in somptionibus divinorium mysteriorum, indubitatam retinere fidem, et non quærere quo pacto.-S. Bernardus. An sit, fidei est inquirere,— quid sit, philosophi, quomodo sit, curiosi.
Πρώτην αρχήν νομίζουσι σκότος υπό σάσαν νόησιν, σκότος άγνωστου, τρις τούτο επιφημίζοντες.
1 Multa etenim benè tecta latent, nescitaque prosunt;
Dum mansueta fides quædam dilata modeste
Prosper. advers. ingrat. $5. Ά Σαφές έλεγχος απιστίας το σώς περί Θεού λέγειν, -- Just. Mart.
Firmam fidem mysteriis adhibentes, nunqnam, in tam sublimibus rebus, illud quomodo aut cogitemus aut proferamus. - In Johan. lib. iv. c. 18,
consent to the words of Christ; but never so much as speak or think, How is this done?" In your faith be as particular and minute, as Christ was in his expressions of it", but no more. He hath told us, ' This is his body,'• This is his blood :' believe it, and so receive it: but he hath not told us how it is so, - it is behind a cloud, and tied up with a knot of secrecy: therefore let us lay our finger on our mouth, and worship humbly. But he that looks into the eye of the sun, shall be blind; and he that searches into the secrets of majesty, shall be confounded with the glory.
The next inquiry is,
What is the use of faith in this sacrament?- It is tied but to little duty, and a few plain articles : what, then, is the use and advantage of it? To what graces does it minister, and what effects does it produce? To this the answer is easy, but yet such as introduces a further inquiry. Faith, indeed, is not curious, but material : and, therefore, in the contemplation of this mysterious sacrament and its symbols, we are more to regard their signification than their matter; their holy employment than their natural usage; what they are by grace, than what they are by nature ; what they signify, rather than what they are defined. Faith considers not how they nourish the body, but how they support and exalt the soul; that they are sacramental, not that they are also nutritive; that they are made holy to purposes of religion, not that they are salutary to offices of nature; that is, what they are to the spirit, not what they are to sense and disputation. For to faith Christ is present; by faith we eat his flesh, and by faith we drink his blood; that is, we communicate not as men, but as faithful and believers : the meaning and the duty, and the effect of which, are now to be inquired.
1. It signifies that Christ is not present in the sacrament corporally, or naturally, but spiritually : for thus the carnal and spiritual sense are opposed. So St. Chrysostom upon those words of Christ: “ The flesh profiteth nothing: what is it to understand carnally ?" To understand them simply
# Non patiar nie quicquam nescire de eo quem amem. - Plin.
• Tò sãy rais aisteáç isti. - Chrysost. Homil. 2. in 2 Tim. Tieds any miotu pò Hãy cuyevepyEstab, — Idem. Et S. Cyril. in defens. anathem. idem asserit. In Johan. hom. 46. Vide etiam August. in Psal. 98.
and plainly as they are spoken. For they are not to be judged as they seem; but all mysteries are to be considered with internal eyes, that is, spiritually. For “ the carnal sense does not penetrate to the understanding of so great a secret,” saith St. Cyprian.-“ For, therefore, we are not devourers of Aesh, because we understand these things spiritually:" so Theophylact.
2. Since the spiritual sense excludes the natural and proper, it remains that the expression which is natural, be, in the sense, figurative and improper : and if the holy sacrament were not a figure, it could neither be a sign, nor a sacrament. But, therefore, it is called the body and blood of Christ,' because it is the figure of them, as St. Austin P largely discourses; “ For so, when Good Friday draws near, we say, 'to-morrow or the next day is the passion of our Lord;' although that passion was but once, and that many ages since: and upon the Lord's day, we say, 'to-day our blessed Lord arose from the dead,' although so many years be passed sirice: and why is no man so foolish as to reprove us of falsehood, — but because, on these days, is the similitude of those things, which were done so long since. Was not Christ oncé sacrificed? and yet he is sacrificed still on the solemnities of Easter, and, every day, in the communion of the people : neither does he say false, who, being asked, shall say that he is' sacrificed:' for if the sacraments had not a similitude of those things' whereof they are sacraments, they would be no sacraments at all : but, most commonly, by their similitudes things receive their names.” Thus Tertullian expresses this mystery: This is my body;' that is, 'the figure of my body.' And St. Gregory Nazianzen 9 calls the passover, because it antedated the Lord's Supper, “a figure of a figure."
3. But St. Austin added well, “ The body of Christ is truth and figure too.” The holy sacrament is not only called the Lord's body and blood, for the figure, similitude,
r Epist. 23. ad Bonifac. Vide eundem contr. Adimautun, cap. 19. Non dubitavit dicere Dominus,“ hoc est corpus meum,' cum signum daret corporis sui. Dicitur item ab Origine et Chrysostom [in cap. 26. Mat. homil. 83.]
Typus et symbolum :' ab eodem Origine, S. Basilio, et S. Anibrosio, et aliis, ' exemplum, exemplar, et imago.'
9 Contr. Marcion. lib. iv.