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pounded himself imitable so signally as in this of meekness and humility for the enforcing of which, he undertook the condition of a servant, and a life of poverty, and a death of disgrace; and washed the feet of his disciples, and even of Judas himself, that his action might be turned into a sermon, to preach this duty, and to make it as eternal as his own story.
O holy and eternal Jesus, who wert pleased to lay aside the glories and incomprehensible majesty, which clothed thy infinity from before the beginning of creatures, and didst put on a cloud upon thy brightness, and wert invested with the impure and imperfect broken robe of human nature, and didst abate those splendors which broke through the veil, commanding devils not to publish thee, and men not to proclaim thy excellences, and the apostles not to reveal those glories of thine, which they discovered encircling thee, upon Mount Tabor, in thy transfiguration, and didst, by perpetual homilies, and symbolical mysterious actions, as with deep characters, engrave humility into the spirits of thy disciples, and the discipline of Christianity; teach us to approach near to these, thy glories, which thou hast so covered with a cloud, that we might, without amazement, behold thy excellences; make us to imitate thy gracious condescensions; take from us all vanity and fantastic complacencies in our own persons or actions; and, when there arises a reputation consequent to the performance of any part of our duty, make us to reflect the glory upon thee, suffering nothing to adhere to our own spirits but shame at our own imperfection, and thankfulness to thee for all thy assistances: let us never seek the praise of men from unhandsome actions, from flatteries and unworthy discourses, nor entertain the praise with delight, though it proceed from better principles; but fear and tremble, lest we deserve punishment, or lose a reward, which thou hast deposited for all them that seek thy glory, and despise their own, that they may imitate the example of their Lord. Thou, O Lord, didst triumph over sin and death; subdue, also, my proud
understanding, and my prouder affections, and bring me under thy yoke; that I may do thy work, and obey my superiors, and be a servant of all my brethren in their necessities, and esteem myself inferior to all men by a deep sense of my own unworthiness, and in all things may obey thy laws, and conform to thy precedents, and enter into thine inheritance, O holy and eternal Jesus. Amen.
Of the Institution and Reception of the holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
1. As the sun, among the stars, and man, among the sublunary creatures, is the most eminent and noble, the prince of the inferiors, and their measure, or their guide: so is this action, among all the instances of religion; it is the most perfect and consummate, it is an union of mysteries, and a consolidation of duties; it joins God and man, and confederates all the societies of men in mutual complexions, and the entertainments of an excellent charity; it actually performs all that could be necessary for man, and it presents to man as great a thing as God could give; for it is impossible any thing should be greater than himself. And when God gave his Son to the world, it could not be but he should give us all things else: and, therefore, this blessed sacrament is a consigning us to all felicities, because, after a mysterious and ineffable manner, we receive him, who is light and life, the fountain of grace, and the sanctifier of our secular comforts, and the author of holiness and glory. But as it was at first, so it hath been ever since; "Christ came into the world, and the world knew him not:" so Christ hath remained in the world, by the communications of this sacrament, and yet he is not rightly understood, and less truly valued. But Christ may say to us, as once to the woman of Samaria, "Woman, if thou didst know the gift of God, and who it is that speaks to thee, thou wouldst ask him :" so, if we were so wise, or so fortunate, to know the excellency of this gift of the Lord, it would fill us full of wonder and adoration, joy
and thankfulness, great hopes and actual felicities, making us heirs of glory, by the great additions and present increment of grace.
2. "After supper Jesus took bread, and blessed it,” and made it to be a heavenly gift: he gave them " bread," and told them it was "his body;" that body, which was broken for the redemption of man, for the salvation of the world. St. Paul calls it "bread," even after consecration; "the bread which we break, is it not the communication of the body of Christa?" So that, by Divine faith, we are taught to express our belief of this mystery, in these words: The bread, when it is consecrated and made sacramental, is the body of our Lord; and the fraction and distribution of it is the communication of that body, which died for us upon the cross. He that doubts of either of the parts of this proposition must either think Christ was not able to verify his word, and to make "bread," by his benediction, to become to us to be "his body;" or that St. Paul did not well interpret and understand this mystery, when he called it "bread." Christ reconciles them both, calling himself "the bread of life" and if we be offended at it, because it is " alive,” and, therefore, less apt to become food, we are invited to it because it is "bread;" and if the sacrament, to others, seem less mysterious, because it is " bread," we are heightened in our faith and reverence, because it is "life" the bread of the sacrament is the life of our soul, and the body of our Lord is now conveyed to us, by being the bread of the sacrament. And if we consider how easy it is to faith, and how impossible it seems to curiosity, we shall be taught confidence and modesty; a resigning our understanding to the voice of Christ and his apostles, and yet expressing our own articles, as Christ did, in indefinite significations. And, possibly, it may not well consist with our duty to be inquisitive into the secrets of the kingdom, which we see, by plain event, hath divided the church almost as much as the sacrament hath united it, and which can only serve the purposes of the school, and of evil men, to make questions for that, and factions for these, but promote not the ends of a holy life, obedience, or charity.
a 1 Cor. x. 16.
3. Some so observe the literal sense of the words, that they understand them also in a natural: some so alter them, by metaphors and preternatural significations, that they will not understand them at all in a proper. We see it, we feel it, we taste it, and we smell it to be bread; and, by philosophy, we are led into a belief of that substance, whose accidents these are, as we are to believe that to be fire, which burns, and flames, and shines: but Christ also affirmed, concerning it, "This is my body;" and if faith can create an assent as strong as its object is infallible, or can be as certain in its conclusion, as sense is certain in its apprehensions, we must, at no hand, doubt but that it is Christ's body. Let the sense of that be what it will, so that we believe those words, and (whatsoever that sense is which Christ intended,) that we no more doubt in our faith than we do in our sense; then our faith is not reprovable. It is hard to do so much violence to our sense, as not to think it "bread;" but it is more unsafe to do so much violence to our faith, as not to believe it to be "Christ's body." But it would be considered, that no interest of religion, no saying of Christ, no reverence of opinion, no sacredness of the mystery, is disavowed, if we believe both what we hear and what we see. He that believes it to be "bread," and yet verily to be "Christ's body," is only tied also, by implication, to believe God's omnipotence, that he, who affirmed it, can also verify it. And they, that are forward to believe the change of substance, can intend no more, but that it be believed verily to be the body of our Lord. And if they think it impossible to reconcile its being bread with the verity of being Christ's body, let them remember that themselves are put to more difficulties, and to admit of more miracles, and to contradict more sciences, and to refuse the testimony of sense, in affirming the special manner of transubstantiation. And, therefore, it were safer to admit the words in their first sense, in which we shall no more be at war with reason, nor so much with sense, and not at all with faith. And, for persons of the
b Acceptum panem et distributum discipulis corpus suum illum fecit, Hoc est corpus meum, dicendo, id est, figura corporis mei. Figura autem non fuisset, nisi veritatis esset corpus. - Tertul. lib. iv. contr. Marcion. c. 40.
Quòd si quicquid ingreditur in os, in ventrem abit, et in secessum ejicitur, et ille cibus qui sanctificatur per verbum Dei perque obsecrationem, juxta
contradictory persuasion, who, to avoid the natural sense, affirm it only to be figurative, since their design is only to make this sacrament to be Christ's body in the sense of faith, and not of philosophy, they may remember, that its being really present does not hinder but that all that reality may be spiritual; and if it be Christ's body, so it be not affirmed
id quod habet materiale, in ventrem abit, et in secessum ejicitur, et ille cibus qui sanctificatur per verbum Dei perque obsecrationem, juxta id quod habet materiale, in ventrem abit, et in secessum ejicitur, &c. et hæc quidem de typico symbolicoque corpore.· - Origen. in c. 15. S. Matt.
Τὰ σύμβολα τοῦ σώματος τοῦ δεσποτικοῦ καὶ τοῦ αἵματος μετὰ τὴν ἐπίκλησιν ἐπιβάλλεται, καὶ ἕτερα γίνεται, ἀλλ ̓ οὐκ οἰκείας ἐξίσταται φύσεως· μένει γὰς ἐπὶ τῆς προτέρας οὐσίας, καὶ τοῦ σχήματος, καὶ τοῦ εἴδους, καὶ ὁρατά ἐστι, καὶ ἑπτὰ, οἷα καὶ πρότερον ἦν. - Theod. Dial. 2.
Idem disputando contra Eutychianos, docentes humanam Christi naturam conversum iri in divinam, eodem scil. modo quo panis in corpus Christi, ait, Certè eodem scil. modo, hoc est, nullo.
"O dè owτǹp i hμérigos, &c. Our blessed Saviour, who hath called himself the living Bread and a Vine, hath also honoured the visible signs with the title and appellation of his Body and Blood, not changing their nature, but adding to nature, grace. - See the Dialog. called " the Immoveable."
Sacramenta quæ sumimus corporis et sanguinis Christi, divina res est. Propter quod per eadem Divinæ efficimur consortes naturæ, et tamen non desinit esse substantia vel natura panis et vini; et certè imago et similitudo corporis et sanguinis Christi in actione mysteriorum celebrantur. — P. Gelasius, libr. contr. Nestorium et Eutychetem.
Non quòd propriè corpus ejus sit panis, et poculum sanguis; sed quòd mysterium corporis ejus sanguinisque contineant. - Facundus.
Si nam sacramenta quandam similitudinem non haberent earum rerum, quarum sunt sacramenta, omnino sacramenta non essent: ex hac autem similitudine plerumque ipsarum rerum nomina accipiunt. — S. Aug. Epist. 23.
Quod ab omnibus appellatur sacrificium, signum est veri sacrificii, in quo caro Christi post assumptionem per sacramentum memoriæ celebratur. - Idem contr. Faustum Manich. lib. x. c. 2.
Apud Gratianum de Consecrat. dist. 2. c. 48, citatur Augustinus in libro Sententiarum Prosperi in hæc verba: “Sicut ergò cœlestis panis, qui Christi caro est, suo modo vocatur corpus Christi, cùm reverâ sit sacramentum corporis Christi, illius viz. quod visibile, quod palpabile, mortale in cruce positum est; vocaturque ipsa immolatio carnis, quæ sacerdotis manibus fit Christi passio, mors, crucifixio, non rei veritate, sed significante mysterio : sic sacramentum fidei quod baptismus intelligitur, fides est."
Si ergò hæc vasa sanctificata ad privatos usus transferre sic periculosum est, in quibus non est verum corpus Christi, sed mysterium corporis ejus continetur; quantò magìs vasa corporis nostri, &c.-S. Chrysost. Opere Imperf. in Matt.
Sicut nam antequam sanctificetur panis, panem nominamus, divinâ autem illum sanctificante gratiâ, mediante sacerdote, liberatus quidem est ab appellatione panis, dignus autem habitus est Dominici corporis appellatione, etiamsi natura panis in eo permansit, &c. - Idem in Epist. ad Casarium, in Biblioth. Pp. Colon. 1618.