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7. The sum of all I represent in these few words of St. Hilary. “These holy mysteries, being taken, cause that Christ shall be in us, and we in Christ.” And if this be more than words, we need no further inquiry into the particulars of blessing consequent to a worthy communion ; for “ if God hath given his Son unto us, how shall not he, with him, give us all things else ?” Nay, all things that we need, are effected by this," said St. Clement of Alexandria, one of the most ancient fathers of the church of Christ: “ Eucharistiæ qui per fidem sunt participes, sanctificantur et corpore et animad:” “ They, who by faith are partakers of the eucharist, are sanctified both in body and in soul.”
Fonte renascentes, membris et sanguine Christi
“How great, therefore, and how illustrious benefits" (it is the meditation of St. Eusebius Emissenus)“ does the power of the divine blessing produce! you ought not to esteem it strange and impossible ; for how earthly and mortal things are converted into the substance of Christ, ask thyself, who art regenerated in Christ. — Not long since, thou wast a stranger from life, a pilgrim and a wanderer from mercy, and, being inwardly dead, thou wert banished from the way of life. . On a sudden, being initiated into the laws of Christ, and renewed by the ministries of salyation, thou didst pass suddenly into the body of the church, not by seeing, but by believing; and, from a son of perdition, thou hast obtained to be adopted a son of God, by a secret purity; remaining in a visible measure, thou art invisibly made greater than thyself, without any increase of quantity; thou art the same thou wert, and yet very much another person in the progression of faith; to the outward nothing is added, but the inward is wholly changed; and so a man is made the son of Christ, and Christ is formed in the mind of a man. As therefore suddenly, without any bodily perception, the former vileness being laid down, on the sudden thou hast put on a new dignity,--and this that God hath done, that he hath cured thy wounds, washed off thy stains, wiped
e Hæc, sumpta et hansta, faciunt ut nos in Christo et Christus in nobis sit. Lib. viii. de Triuit. habetur de consecrat. dist.
Lib.ii. pæd. cap. 2.
away thy spots, is trusted to thy discerning, not thy eyes; so when thou ascendest the reverend altar to be satisfied with spiritual food, - by faith regard, honour, admire the holy body of God; touch it with thy mind; take it with the hand of thy heart, even with the draught of the whole inward man.”
SECTION V. Practicul Conclusions from the preceding Discourses. The first I represent in the words of St. Austin“, who reduces this whole doctrine to practice in these excellent words: “Let this whole affair thus far prevail with us, that we may eat the flesh, and drink the blood of Christ, not only in the sacrament, which many evil persons do,— but let us eat and drink unto the participation of the Spirit; that, as members, we may abide in the Lord's body; that we may be quickened by his Spirit ; and let us not be scandalized, because many do temporally eat and drink with us, who yet, in the end, shall find eternal torments:" that is, let us remember, that the exterior ministry is the least part of it: and externally and alone it hath in it nothing excellent, as being destitute of the sanctity that God requires, and the grace that he does promise, and it is common to wicked men and good. But when the signs and the thing signified, when the prayers of the church and the Spirit of God, the word and the meaning, the sacrament and the grace, do concur; then it is nous réuoy duvausus," it is a venerable cup., and full of power,” and more honourable than all our possessions ; " it is a holy thing,” saith Origen", " and appointed for our sanctification.” For Christ in the sacrament is Christ under a veil : as without the hand of faith, we cannot take Christ, so we must be sure to look here with an eye of faith; and whatsoever glorious thing is said of the holy sacrament, it must be understood of the whole sacrament, body and spirit, that is, the sacramental and the spiritual communion.
a Tract. 17. in Johan. Cortenti sint ad venerationem figuris defendentibns à vilitate secretum. Macrob. in Somn. Scip, lib. i. c. 2.
• Ποτήριον το φρικτόν.-Chry. . • "Αγιόν τι και αγίαζαν τους χρωμένους..
2. Let no man be less confident in his holy faith and persuasion concerning the great blessings and glorious effects, which God designs to every faithful and obedient soul in the communication of these divine mysteries, by reason of any difference of judgment, which is in the several schools of Christians concerning the effects and consequent blessings of this sacrament. For all men speak honourable things of it, except wicked persons and the scorners of religion : and though of several persons, like the beholders of a dove walking in the sun, as they stand in several aspects and distances, some see red, and others purple, and yet some perceive nothing but green, but all allow and love the beauties : so do the several forms of Christians, according as they are instructed by their first teachers, or their own experience, conducted by their fancy and proper principles, look upon these glorious mysteries, some as virtually containing the reward of obedience, some as solemnities of thanksgiving and records of blessings, some as the objective increases of faith, others as the sacramental participations of Christ, others as the acts and instruments of natural union; yet all affirm some great things or other of it, and, by their differences, confess the immensity and the glory. For thus manna represented to every man the taste that himself did like; but it had in its own potentiality all those tastes and dispositions eminently; and altogether, those feasters could speak of great and many excellencies, and all confessed it to be enough, and to be the food of angels : so it is here, it is that to every man's faith, which his faith wisely apprehends; and though there are some who are of little faith, and such receive but a less proportion of nourishment, yet by the very use of this sacrament, the appetite will increase, and the apprehensions grow greater, and the faith will be more confident and instructed; and then we shall see more, and feel more. For this holy nutriment is not only food, but physic too; and although to him who believes great things of his physician and of his medicine, it is apt to do the more advantage; yet it will do its main work, even when we understand it not, and nothing can hinder it, but direct infidelity, or some of its foul and deformed ministers.
3. They who receive the blessed sacrament, must' not suppose that the blessings of it are effected as health is by
physic, or warmth by the contact and neighbourhood of fire ; but as music one way affects the soul, and witty discourses another, and joyful tidings a way differing from both the former,--so the operations of the sacrament are produced by an energy of a nature entirely differing from all things else. But however it is done, the thing that is done, is this; no grace is there improved, but what we bring along with us; no increases but what we exercise. We must bring faith along with us, and God will increase our faith; we must, come with charity, and we shall go away with more; we must come with truly penitential hearts; and to him that hath, shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly: he shall be a better penitent, when he hath eaten the sacrifice that was slain for our sins,- and died in the body, that we might live in the spirit and die no more. For he is the bread from heaven; he is “the grain of wheat, which falling into the earth, unless it dies it remains alone,---but if it dies, it brings forth fruit, and brings it forth abundantly.”
4. Although the words, the names, and sayings concerning the blessed sacrament, are mysterious and inexpli- ; cable, yet they do, nay, therefore we are sure, they signify, some great things; they are in the very expression beyond our understandings, and, therefore, much more are the things themselves too high for us: but, therefore, we are taught three things. 1. To walk humbly with our God; that is, in all intercourses with him to acknowledge the infinite distance between his immensity and our nothing, his wisdom and our ignorance, his secrets and our apprehensions ; he does more for us than we can understand. It was an excellent saying of Aristotle, which Seneca a reports of him, “ Nunquam nos verecundiores esse debere, quam quum de Diis agitur;" “we ought never to be more bashful and recollect, than when we are to speak any thing of God.”. “ Timidè de potestate deorum, et pauca dicenda sunt,” said Cicero"; “We must speak of his power and glory timorously and sparingly," with joyfulness and singleness,' or simplicity
of heart:' so the first Christians ate their bread, their eucharist; so we understand the words of St. Luke. -- 2. To walk
& Nat. Q. lib. vii. c. 30. Rakkopf. vol. v. pag. 414.
charitably with our disagreeing brother, that this may be indeed a sacrament of charity, and not to wonder if he be mistaken in his discourses of that, which neither he nor you: can understand. 3. Though it be hard to be understood, yet we must be careful, that with simplicity we admire the secret, and accept the mystery,—but at no hand, by pride or ignorance, by interest or vanity, to wrest this mystery to ignoble senses, or to evil events, or to dangerous propositions, or to our own damnation.
5. Whatever propositions any man shall entertain in his manner of discoursing of these mysteries, let him be sure to take into his notice and memory, those great appellatives, with which the purest ages of the church, the most ancient liturgies, and the most eminent saints of God, use to adorn and invest this great mysteriousness. In the Greek liturgy attributed to St. James, the sacramental symbols are called “sanctified, honourable, precious, celestial, unspeakable, incorruptible, glorious, fearful, formidable, diviner.” In the use of which epithets, as we have the warranty and consent of all the Greek churches, since they ever had a liturgy,-so we' are taught only to have reverend usages and religious apprehensions of the divine mysteries ; but if, by any appellative, we can learn a duty, it is one of the best ways of entering into the secret. To which purpose the ages primitive and apostolical did use the word eucharist;' the name and the use we learn from Origen 8 ; " the bread, which is called the eucharist, is the symbol of our thanksgiving towards God." But it is the great and most usual appellative for the holy supper ; ο άρτος ευχαριστίας, and άρτον ευχαplotnévra, we find in Ignatius", St. Clemens, Justin Martyr, the Syrian paraphrast, Origen, and ever after amongst the Greeks, and afterwards amongst the Latins. By him we understand that then we receive great blessings, since the very mystery itself obliges us to great thankfulness. I have instanced in this, as an example to the use of the other
( Υπές των αγιασθέντων, τιμίων, επουρανίων, αρρήτων, έχεάντων, ένδοξων, φοβιρών, เพรช, แม่, มร.
και "Έστι δε και σύμβολον ημίν της προς τον Θεόν ευχαριστίας» άρτος, ευχαριστία καλούpusvaço-Lib. viii, cont. Celsum.
1 Epist. ad Smyrn. Sect. 1. of this chap.