Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles – Article XXVIII (Part 1)

Article XXVIII.

Of the Lord’s Supper.

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 is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, 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 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 mean, whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is Faith.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

De Cœna Domini.

Cœna Domini non est tantum signum mutuæ benevolentiæ Christianorum inter sese, verum potius est sacramentum nostræ per mortem Christi redemptionis. Atque adeo, rite, digne et cum fide sumentibus, panis quem frangimus est communicatio corporis Christi; similiter poculum benedictionis est communicatio sanguinis Christi.

Panis et vini transubstantiatio in Eucharistia ex sacris literis probari non potest; sed apertis Scripturæ verbis adversatur, sacramenti naturam evertit, et multarum superstitionum dedit occasionem.

Corpus Christi datur, accipitur et manducatur in Cœna tantum cœlesti et spirituali ratione. Medium autem, quo Corpus Christi accipitur et manducatur in Cœna, fides est.

Sacramentum Eucharistiæ ex institutione Christi non servabatur, circumferebatur, elevabatur, nec adorabatur.

Section I. — History.

THIS Article treats generally of the Lord’s Supper, but more especially of the presence of Christ in that Sacrament, and of the mode in which He is received there. On this mysterious doctrine there have been four principal opinions: 1, Transubstantiation; 2, Consubstantiation; 3, The real spiritual presence; 4, The denial of any special presence altogether.

1. Transubstantiation is the doctrine of the Church of Rome. As stated by school-authors, and other more subtle reasoners among them, it means that in the Eucharist, after the words of consecration, the whole substance of the bread is converted into the substance of the Body of Christ, and the substance of the wine into the substance of His Blood; so that the bread and wine no longer remain, but the Body and Blood of Christ are substituted in their places. This, however, is said to be true only of the substance, not of the accidents. The accidents (such as colour, shape, taste, smell, consistence, &c.) all remain unchanged. The substance, which is interior to, and not necessarily dependent on these external accidents, is that which is converted. Yet we are not to call it a mere spiritual change, (though some of their writers have allowed even this,) but the change is a real and miraculous conversion of the substance of the bread and wine into the very Body of Christ, which was born of the blessed Virgin and crucified on Calvary.

2. Consubstantiation is considered to be the doctrine of Luther and the Lutherans. It differs from transubstantiation, in that it does not imply a change in the substance of the elements. Those who hold this doctrine teach, that the bread remains bread, and the wine remains wine; but that with, and by means of the consecrated elements, the true, natural Body and Blood of Christ are communicated to the recipients.

3. The doctrine of a real, spiritual presence is the doctrine of the English Church, and was the doctrine of Calvin, and of many foreign reformers. It teaches that Christ is really received by faithful communicants in the Lord’s Supper; but that there is no gross or carnal, but only a spiritual and heavenly presence there; not the less real, however, for being spiritual. It teaches, therefore, that the bread and wine are received naturally; but the Body and Blood of Christ are received spiritually. “The result of which doctrine is this: it is bread, and it is Christ’s Body. It is bread in substance, Christ in the Sacrament; and Christ is as really given to all that are truly disposed, as the symbols are: each as they can; Christ as Christ can be given; the bread and the wine as they can; and to the same real purposes to which they were designed; and Christ does as really nourish and sanctify the soul as the elements the body.”[1]

4. The fourth opinion is that of Zuinglius, who taught that the Eucharist is a bare commemoration of the death of Christ, and that the bread and wine are mere symbols and tokens to remind us of his Body and Blood.

The subject on which we are entering is one which has produced folios of controversy; alas! what should have been for our peace becoming to us an occasion of falling. But a brief view is all that is here possible.

When we consider the language of the fathers, one or two cautions are necessary. Of course their words were not measured and guarded, as ours have been in our times of trouble. Their writings are often rhetorical, that we say not sometimes turgid. They treat such questions as these practically, not argumentatively. Now in such writings, it may be very difficult to tell the exact intention of the writer, when subsequent ages have drawn subtle distinctions.

Thus much we must premise as unquestionable. The whole primitive Church evidently believed in a presence of Christ in the Eucharist. All spoke of feeding there on Christ; eating His Body and drinking His Blood. But then was it a spiritual presence or a carnal presence? Did they teach a carnal eating and drinking of Christ’s natural Flesh and Blood? or did they intend a spiritual manducation, — an eating spiritually and a drinking in by the soul of the life-giving efficacy of the Body broken and the Blood shed? Did they believe the bread and wine to be actually and literally transmuted into Flesh and Blood? or did they think the bread and wine still to remain bread and wine, though constituted Sacraments of Christ, means in God’s hand of conveying to us Christ’s Body and Blood, and so, after Christ’s own example, to be called by the name of His Body and Blood?

Here is the question; and it must be carefully noted. If there were no other alternative, but that the fathers must have been either Papists or Zuinglians, — must have held either a carnal presence, or none at all; then we must perforce acknowledge that they believed in a carnal presence, and were transubstantialists. For some presence they undoubtedly taught; some mode of feeding on Christ they undeniably believed in. But another alternative is possible, and has been acknowledged as possible, even by eminent scholastic and Romanist divines. They may have believed a spiritual presence. They may have thought, that the Eucharist conveyed Christ really, and yet spiritually, to the recipient; and they may have taught, that the soul was truly nourished by spiritually feeding on His Flesh and Blood, as truly as the body is nourished by carnally feeding upon bread and wine.

Whichever they held, a carnal or a spiritual presence, they may easily have used language which would sound like the carnal presence. There can be little doubt that their faith and feelings inclined them to the mysterious, and there was no controversy, no apparent need of caution. But then we may observe, that one clear statement that the presence was spiritual, or that the substance of the bread and wine remained, must outweigh statements innumerable, which merely sound like a belief in transubstantiation or in a carnal presence. For the latter would naturally occur where people believed in a real presence, and had never learned the necessity of guarding their words, lest they should be thought to teach a carnal and natural presence; but the former could never come from the lips or pens of those who acknowledged a literal change of the elements, and that the natural Body of the Lord was actually eaten by all who communicate.

For instance, Roman Catholics will never say, that the bread and wine remain unchanged, and that the feeding is only spiritual. But Protestants, of many different communions, have freely declared that Christ’s “Body and Blood are verily and indeed taken.” Nay! it is acknowledged by them, that the Body of Christ then received is the very Body that was born of the Virgin Mary, that was crucified, dead, and buried. For there is no other Body, no other Blood of Christ. Christ’s Body is now glorified, but still it is the same Body, though in its glorified condition. It is not even denied that we receive that Body really, substantially, corporally: for although the word “corporally” seems opposed to “spiritually,” yet it is not so of necessity. And, as we acknowledge that it is a Body which we receive, so we cannot deny its presence corporally, i. e. after the manner of a Body. Only, when we come to explain ourselves, we say, that, though it be Christ’s very Body we receive in the Eucharist, and though we cannot deny even the word corporal concerning it; yet as Christ’s Body is now a spiritual Body, so we expect a spiritual presence of that Body; and we do not believe, that we naturally and carnally eat that which is now no longer carnal and natural; but that we spiritually receive Christ’s Spiritual Body into our souls, and spiritually drink His life-giving Blood with the lips of our spirit.[2] Moreover, it has been abundantly acknowledged, not only by our English divines, but by Protestants of all sorts, that the elements, after consecration, may be called by the name of those things which they represent. But then we call them so, not because we believe them to have lost their original nature, and to have ceased to be what they were, but because, being hallowed to a new and higher purpose, they may be called that which they are the means of communicating.

It was necessary to say thus much, that we might not be startled by strong terms; and so conclude at once that we had found a doctrine, before it had yet entered even into men’s dreams. With this precaution, we shall readily see in the fathers abundant evidence that the carnal doctrine of transubstantiation had not risen in their days. Let us take one or two of the strongest expressions, and which, if not explained and qualified by other statements, would seem conclusive for transubstantiation and a natural presence.

St. Jerome and others speak of the clergy as making the Body of Christ.[3] Yet, as the words of consecration make the bread the Sacrament of Christ’s Body, and so the means of conveying His Body to the communicant, and as it was an acknowledged mode of speech, and fully sanctioned by the language of our Lord, to call the consecrated bread by the name of that of which it was the type and Sacrament; it was not unnatural that the priest, by his consecration, should be said to make Christ’s Body and Blood, even by those who believed no more than a spiritual and sacramental communication of them to the faithful.

St. Chrysostom writes, “When you behold the Lord sacrificed and lying, and the priest standing by the sacrifice and praying, and the congregation sprinkled with that precious Blood (καὶ πάντας ἐκείνῳ τῷ τιμίῳ ϕοινισσομένους αἵματι) . . . . are you not immediately transported to Heaven, and dismissing from your soul every fleshly thought, do you not with naked spirit and pure mind see the things which are in Heaven? Oh wonderful! Oh! the love of God! who, seated with the Father above, is held at that moment by the hands of all; and who gives Himself to those who desire to receive Him. And all see this by the eyes of faith.”[4] “Behold thou seest Him, thou touchest Him, thou eatest Him. He gives Himself to thee, not only to see, but to touch, to eat, and to receive within . . . . How pure should he be who partakes of that sacrifice! the hand that divides His Flesh, the mouth filled with Spiritual fire, the tongue empurpled with His awful Blood!”[5] Now these expressions are so strong that even believers in transubstantiation could hardly use them without a figure. The Roman Catholics allow that the accidents of the bread and wine remain unchanged; and would hardly therefore in literal language speak of the tongue as assuming the purple colour of Christ’s Blood. But hyperbolic expressions are common with St. Chrysostom and his contemporaries; and they use such language, that they may exalt the dignity of the blessed Sacrament; that they may induce communicants to approach it with devotion and reverence; that they may turn their minds from the visible objects before them to those invisible objects which they represent, and which as St. Chrysostom says, they may “see by the eye of faith.”

Still more remarkable perhaps are the expressions used by others of the Greek, especially the later Greek fathers, concerning the change (μεταβολὴ, μεταστοιχείωσις) in the Sacraments. So Gregory Nyssen says, “These things He gives by virtue of the benediction upon it, transmuting the nature of the things which appear.”[6] And Theophylact (the last of the Greek fathers, A. D. 1077), “Therefore the merciful God, condescending to us, preserves the form of bread and wine, but transforms them into the virtue of His Flesh and Blood.”[7] Those who translate μεταστοιχειοῦν by transelementare, think that we have here the very word made use of, which exactly answers to the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, namely, a change of the elements into something different from their original substance. Yet first of all transelementare is not certainly, nor probably, a right translation.[8] Secondly, Gregory Nyssen is speaking not only of a change in the Eucharist, but in the Sacraments generally; and whatever sanctifying efficacy may have been attributed to the water in baptism, no change of its substance was ever believed to take place. Thirdly, Theophylact only says that the elements are changed into the virtue or efficacy, not into the substance of Christ’s Flesh and Blood, — a very notable distinction. Fourthly, he uses the same word (μεταστοιχείωσις) of changes very unlike transubstantiation, e. g. the change of our bodies to the state of incorruption, and the change that is made in the faithful, when they are united to Christ.[9] Lastly, we shall find abundant proof from Greek fathers, centuries before Theophylact, to show that a conversion of substance was not believed by the early Greek Church; and therefore, that Theophylact’s transelementation must have meant something else, or that he himself must have adopted comparatively modern views.

The same observations apply to the passages cited from St. Cyril of Jerusalem, where he speaks of Christ’s changing the water into wine, and then adds, “Let us therefore with full assurance receive Christ’s Body and Blood; for His Body is given to thee in the figure of bread, and His Blood in the figure of wine.”[10] But here St. Cyril happily explains himself; for soon after he speaks of the Capharnaite Jews as offended at our Lord’s sayings in John vi. 53. And this, he says, was from their carnal interpretation of His words: “They, not receiving His saying spiritually, being offended went backward, thinking that He invited them to the eating of flesh.”[11] He then compares the Eucharist to the shew-bread, and says that, “as the bread is fitted for the body, so the Word for the soul. Look not therefore as on bare bread and wine, for they are, according to the Lord’s saying, His Flesh and Blood.”[12] The context plainly shows the conversion to be spiritual, not as the Jews had understood our Lord, as indicating a literal σαρκοϕαγία, or banquet upon flesh.

There is a famous passage, which the Roman Catholic controversialists coupled with the last from St. Cyril, and much insisted on, as plainly in their favour. It comes from the tract De Cœna Domini, in former times attributed to St. Cyprian, but which the Benedictine editors assign to Arnoldus, of Bona Vallis, a contemporary of St. Bernard. It speaks of the bread as “changed, not in form, but in nature.”[13] The words of our own reformer shall explain that, even if the language were (as it is not) St. Cyprian’s, it would not prove him a supporter of transubstantiation. “The bread is changed, not in shape nor substance, but in nature, as Cyprian truly saith; not meaning that the natural substance of bread is clean gone, but that by God’s word there is added thereto another higher property, nature and condition, far passing the nature and condition of common bread, that is to say, that the bread doth show unto us, as the same Cyprian saith, that we be partakers of the Spirit of God, and most purely joined unto Christ, and spiritually fed with His Flesh and Blood: so that now the said mystical bread is both a corporal food for the body, and a spiritual food for the soul.”[14]

We must not omit one passage from St. Hilary, which contains certainly some startling expressions. He is arguing against heretics, who held that the Unity of the Father and the Son was unity of will, not unity of nature. He quotes against them John xvii. 21, 23: “That they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.” And he contends, that the unity of the Father and the Son must be an unity of nature, not merely of will; inasmuch as the indwelling of Christ in His people is not by concord of will, but by verity of nature; for He took the nature of our flesh, on purpose that He might dwell in us according to that human nature; and by His human nature He dwelleth in us and we in Him. Hence our union with Him is by unity of nature, i .e. human nature. So in like manner, His union with the Father is by unity of nature, i. e. Divine nature. In the course of this argument he says, “If Christ therefore really took flesh of our body, and He is truly that Man who was born of Mary, and we truly under the mystery receive His Flesh, by means of which we shall be one; for the Father is in Him and He in us; what room is there for mere unity of will, when the natural property effected by the Sacrament, is the Sacrament of perfect unity? Christ Himself says concerning the truth of His nature in us, My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in him. Concerning the truth of His Body and Blood there is no room for doubt; for now by our Lord’s witness and our own faith, it is truly Flesh, and truly Blood. And these received, and taken in by us, make that we be in Christ and Christ in us.”[15]

The passage, strong as it is, does not stagger those who admit a true but spiritual presence of Christ’s Body in the receiving of the Eucharist, and a true but spiritual union of Christians to the human nature of their Lord. “For as concerning the word truly” they say, “it setteth not lively forth a real and substantial presence; for Christ is truly in all His faithful people, and they truly eat His Flesh and drink His Blood, and yet not by a real and corporal, but by a spiritual and effectual presence.”[16] “And although he saith that Christ is naturally in us, yet he saith also that we be naturally in Him. And nevertheless in so saying, he meant not of the natural and corporal presence of the substance of Christ’s Body and of ours; for as our bodies be not after that sort within His Body, so is not His Body after that sort within our bodies … And as the union between Christ and us in baptism is spiritual … so likewise our union with Christ in His holy Supper is spiritual … and therefore Hilarius, speaking there of both the Sacraments, maketh no difference between our union with Christ in baptism and our union with Him in His holy Supper.”[17]

Now, although such passages admit of an explanation, whether we adopt the transubstantialist theory or the doctrine of a true but spiritual presence in the Eucharist; yet it must be conceded that, if all the language of the fathers was similar to the above-quoted sentences, there would be just reason to suspect that, from the first, transubstantiation, or something near akin to it, was the doctrine of the Church. But it is easy to bring a chain of testimonies, from the very earliest ages through many centuries, which cannot be interpreted to mean transubstantiation, or a carnal presence, but which declare, though plainly for a real, yet as plainly for a spiritual feeding upon Christ.

The apostolical fathers, for the most part, speak in terms so general, that it is often almost doubtful, whether they speak of the Eucharist, or of that spiritual feeding upon Christ as the bread of life, which all allow to be possible, even without the Eucharist. Thus Ignatius, “I delight not in the food of corruption, nor in the pleasures of this life; I desire the bread of God, which is the Flesh of Christ, and His Blood I desire as drink, which is love incorruptible.”[18] Again, “Let no one be deceived; if any one be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God.”[19] His high esteem for the grace of this Sacrament he shows in general expressions, e. g. “breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, our antidote that we die not, but live forever in Christ Jesus.”[20] One passage in this early father alludes to certain sects of the Gnostics or Docetæ, who not believing that the Saviour had ever taken real human flesh, refused to receive the Eucharist, because they would not acknowledge it to be the Body of Christ. “They abstain from the Eucharist and public prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the Flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father of His goodness raised from the dead.”[21] From which we may fairly conclude, that the fathers called the consecrated bread the Body of Christ, and that some early heretics did not admit the language, or perhaps even the Sacrament, because they disbelieved in the existence of Christ’s Body. But even Bellarmine allows, that the question between Ignatius and the heretics was not the doctrine of the Eucharist, but the doctrine of the Incarnation.[22] Whatever may have been the belief of the Church as to the mode of receiving Christ’s Body in the Eucharist, the heretics would have been equally likely to reject the Eucharist, as not acknowledging that Christ had a body at all. For the Eucharist, which symbolizes, and is the means of receiving His Body, presupposes its reality. Another passage from Ignatius is as follows: “Hasten therefore to partake of the one Eucharist; for there is but one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup for the unity of His Blood; one altar, as also one bishop,”[23] &c. Here the exhortation is to avoid schism, partaking of the one Eucharist, where is exhibited to us the oneness of the Saviour we receive, and so the unity of the Church.

Justin Martyr describes the Eucharistic feast to the heathen emperor. He speaks first of the bread and wine as blessed by the presiding presbyter; and then says, “This food is called by us Eucharist, which no one is allowed to take, but he who believes our doctrines to be true, and has been baptized in the laver of regeneration, for the remission of sins, and lives as Christ has enjoined. For we take not these as common bread and common drink. For like as our Saviour Jesus Christ, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had flesh and blood for our salvation, so we are taught that this food, which is blessed by the prayer of the Word that cometh from Him, by conversion of which our flesh and blood are nourished, is the Flesh and Blood of Him, the Incarnate Jesus.”[24] There is manifestly in this passage what may be called High Eucharistic doctrine. Justin was plainly no Zuinglian. The Christians of his day took not the consecrated elements “for common bread and common wine.” But, if Justin was no Sacramentarian, neither was he a transubstantialist. Whereas he says it is not common bread, he evidently believes it to be yet bread; otherwise he would naturally have left out the epithet common, and have said, that they esteemed it no longer bread at all. Moreover, he speaks of the elements as changed into the nourishment of our flesh and blood. But he would never have said this had he believed them to have literally become the unchangeable and incorruptible Body of the Lord. It is evident, therefore, that he held no change in the elements, but a Sacramental change; although he undoubtedly declares, that in the Eucharist the Christians were taught that there was a reception of the Body and Blood of Christ. Dr. Waterland argues, that consubstantiation is as much excluded by this passage as transubstantiation,[25] though Bishop Kaye appears to admit that it sounds not unlike the former.[26] Still he has justly added, that in the Dialogue with Trypho Justin states the bread to be in commemoration of Christ’s Body, and the cup of His Blood;[27] and in another place applies to them the expression “dry and liquid food;”[28] and such language would scarcely have been used by a believer in the natural, though the language of the former passage might be readily adopted by a believer in the spiritual presence.

Our next witness is Irenæus. “As the bread from the earth, receiving the invocation of God, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two things, earthly and heavenly; so also our bodies, receiving the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, but have hope of eternal resurrection.”[29] Here we have evidently the substance of the bread remaining, still an earthly element. Yet it is no longer common bread, for by consecration thero is a heavenly or spiritual grace united to it, which makes it not mere bread, but the Eucharist.

Irenæus had to contend against the Gnostics, who denied the reality of the Body of Christ. In more than one place he argues, from the real substantial character of the Eucharistic elements, that the Flesh and Blood of Christ, of which they were the representatives, must be substantial and real. This will make his language sometimes sound as though he believed in a natural presence of that Flesh and Blood; yet, if we remember his object and attentively observe his words, we shall think otherwise. “That cup,” he says, “which is a creature, He recognized to be His Blood which is shed, with which He imbues (δεύει) our blood; and the bread which is a creature, He affirmed to be His own Body, by which our bodies grow. When, therefore, both the mingled cup and the created bread receive the word of God, and become the Eucharist of Christ’s Blood and Body, and by them the substance of our flesh grows and consists, how can they say, that the flesh is not capable of the gift of God, namely of life eternal, when it is fed by Christ’s Body and Blood, and is a member of Him?”[30]

In a fragment edited by Pfaff, we have a clear explanation of Irenæus’s view, that, by the Holy Spirit descending on the Eucharist, the Elements become so the Body and Blood of Christ, that, though they yet remain figures or emblems, still the partakers of those emblems obtain pardon and eternal life.[31] In another fragment quoted from him by Œcumenius, we read, that during persecution some slaves had informed against their masters, having misinterpreted the language used concerning the Eucharist, and so supposing that their masters fed on human flesh. This, Irenæus says, arose from their having heard the divine Communion called the Blood and Body of Christ; “and they, thinking it was in reality flesh and blood, gave information accordingly.”[32] The inference obviously is, that Irenæus did not think the bread and wine to have become really Flesh and Blood. So he, like Justin Martyr, is a witness against the Roman doctrine, and yet perhaps, as Waterland observes, still more against the mere figurists or memorialists. For it is certain, that he believed the Body and Blood of Christ to be verily and indeed taken in the Eucharist; but still he gives no indication of a belief in a change of the elements, acknowledging them to be emblems (ἀντίτυπα), and not thinking that those who partook of them, were indeed feeding upon flesh and blood.[33]

Tertullian says, “The petition, Give us this day our daily bread, may be spiritually interpreted. For Christ is our bread. I, said He, am the bread of Life: and just before, The Bread is the Word of the Living God, who came down from Heaven: and also because His Body is understood in Bread, This is My Body. (Tum quod et Corpus Ejus in pane censetur, Hoc est Corpus Meum.) Therefore, by asking our daily bread, we seek perpetuity in Christ and to be undivided from His Body.”[34] Again he writes, “Our body is fed with the Body and Blood of Christ, that our soul may be fattened of God.”[35] He speaks of Christ, as calling bread His Body.[36] “Bread,” again we read, “by which He represents His very Body.”[37] So also, “Having taken bread and distributed it to His disciples, He made it His body by saying, This is my Body, i. e. the figure of My Body. But there would be no figure, if there were no true Body. A mere phantom, without substance, would admit no figure.”[38] In the last passage, he is arguing, like Ignatius and Irenæus, against those who denied a Body to our Lord. Now surely this testimony is plain. The bread is not really Christ’s Body, but a figure of His Body, with which however He is pleased to recall (repræsentare) His Body to His followers. In this bread His Body is understood (censetur) or accounted; and so our bodies are fed with His Body, that our souls may be nourished of God. Though the bread then is a figure; yet the feeding on Christ is not merely figurative, but real, and spiritual. He is the Bread of life; and by feeding on Him we receive perpetual and indivisible union to His Body.

Clement of Alexandria, of the same date with Tertullian, says, “The Blood of the Lord is twofold: the one natural or carnal, whereby we are redeemed from corruption; the other spiritual, whereby we are anointed; and this is to drink the Blood of Jesus, to be partakers of the Lord’s incorruptibility. Also the Spirit is the power of the Word, as the Blood is of the flesh.”[39] He then goes on to speak of the wine mingled with water; and says, that the mixture of the drink and of the Logos is called the Eucharist —”Blessed and glorious grace, by which those, who partake in faith, are sanctified both body and soul.” “Christ,” he says a little farther on, “partook of wine; for He was a man. He blessed it too, saying, Take, drink, this is My Blood, the blood of the vine. He thus calls allegorically the Word, who was poured forth for many for the remission of sins, the sacred stream of gladness . . . . He showed that what He blessed was wine, by saying to His disciples, I will not drink of the fruit of this vine till I drink it with you in My Father’s Kingdom.”[40] Clement was a very mystical writer; but we can discern this much at least from the foregoing passages: that, whilst he attached great spiritual blessings to the Eucharist, he yet believed the substance of the wine to remain in it, and the Blood received therein to be spiritual, not natural Blood.

In Origen, as in his predecessors, we perceive at the same time deep reverence for the Body of Christ received in the Eucharist, and yet a belief that the reception of that Body was spiritual and heavenly, not carnal and natural. “When ye receive the Body of the Lord, with all caution and reverence ye preserve it; lest any, the least thereof, be lost, or any portion of the consecrated gift pass away.”[41] “Acknowledge that they are figures, which are written in the sacred volumes; therefore as spiritual, not carnal, examine and understand what is said. For, if as carnal you receive them, they hurt, not nourish you. Not only in the old Testament is there a letter which killeth; but also in the new there is a letter which killeth him who does not spiritually consider it. For, if according to the letter you receive this saying, Except ye eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, that letter killeth.”[42]

St. Cyprian, in his 63d Epistle, is very full on the subject of the cup in the sacrament. He is writing there against the Aquarii, who rejected wine as evil, and so used water at the communion. He argues that the tradition of the Lord should be preserved; and that nothing should be done but what Christ did before: that therefore “the Cup, which is offered in commemoration of Him, be offered mixed with wine. For whereas Christ says, I am the true Vine, the Blood of Christ is surely wine, not water. Nor can it appear that in the cup is His Blood, with which we are redeemed, if wine be absent, by which Christ’s Blood is represented.”[43] There is much there to the same purpose. But these words alone prove, that Cyprian, whilst calling the consecrated wine the Blood of Christ, and believing (as is abundantly evident through his writings everywhere) that there was in the Sacrament a real partaking of Christ, yet considered that there was still remaining the substance of the wine; for, says he, “The Blood of Christ is wine,” i. e. that cup which we drink, acknowledging it to be the Blood of Christ, is wine. Moreover, he considered the wine to be a representation or means of showing Christ’s Blood, and the cup to be offered in commemoration of Him.

St. Athanasius, quoting John vi. 16‒63, observes, “Christ distinguished between the flesh and the spirit, that believing not only what was apparent, but also what was invisible, they might know that what He spake was not carnal but spiritual. For to how many could His Body have sufficed for food that this might be for nourishment to all the world? But therefore He made mention of His ascension into heaven, that He might draw them from understanding it corporally; and that they might understand that the Flesh He spoke of was heavenly food from above, and spiritual nourishment given them by Him. For, says He, the things that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life. Which is as though He had said, My Body, which is shown and given for the world, shall be given in food, that it may be spiritually distributed to every one, and become to each a preservative unto the resurrection of eternal life.”[44]

We have already heard St. Cyril of Jerusalem, the contemporary of Athanasius, declare his belief, that the Body and Blood of Christ are given us under the figure of bread and wine, and that the Capharnaites were misled by interpreting our Lord carnally, as though He meant a banquet upon flesh, not, as He ought to be in terpreted, spiritually.[45] So, in a former lecture, speaking of the unction, which was given with baptism, figuring the anointing of the Holy Ghost, he writes, “Beware of supposing this bare unction. For as the bread of the Eucharist, after the invocation of the Holy Ghost, is no longer mere bread (οὐκ ἔτι ἄρτος λιτὸς), but the Body of Christ; so also this holy ointment is no longer simple ointment, nor common, after the invocation, but the gift of Christ While thy body is anointed with the visible ointment, thy soul is sanctified by the Holy, life-giving Spirit.”[46] Here is a denial that the bread is mere bread, not that it still continues really bread; and a statement that it is the Body of Christ, but so the Body of Christ, as the unction was believed to be the Holy Ghost; i. e. not in a natural change of the substance, but in spirit, and power, and life.

St. Jerome clearly distinguishes between the natural Body and Blood of Christ, which were crucified and shed, and the spiritual Body and Blood of Christ, which are eaten and drunken by the faithful.[47] And so we must explain that language of his, which, as we saw above, appeared to savour of the later doctrine of the Latin Church. St. Chrysostom too, who used such glowing terms of the real presence of Christ, elsewhere explains himself, that we should look on all Sacraments, not outwardly and carnally, but spiritually and with the eyes of our souls.[48] And in the Epistle to Cæsarius, which is mostly esteemed to be his, and if not his, was certainly by a contemporary of his, we read that, “before the bread is consecrated, we call it bread; but, when it is consecrated, it is no longer called bread, but is held worthy to be called the Body of the Lord, yet still the substance of the bread remains.”[49]

We must now proceed to St. Augustine, whom all agree to honour. He has so much to the purpose, that how to choose is difficult. “Prepare not thy teeth, but thy heart.”[50] “Why make ready thy teeth and thy belly? Believe, and thou hast eaten.”[51] “Our Lord hesitated not to say, This is my Body, when He gave the sign of His Body.”[52] “Spiritually understand what I have spoken to you. You are not to eat that Body, which you see, and drink that Blood, which they will shed, who will crucify me. I have commended to you a Sacrament. Spiritually understood, it will quicken you. Though it must be visibly celebrated, yet it must invisibly be understood.”[53] “What you see is bread and the cup. But as your faith requires, the bread is Christ’s Body, the cup His Blood. How is the bread His Body? and the wine His Blood? These things, brethren, are therefore called Sacraments, because in them one thing is seen, another understood. What appears has a bodily form: what is understood has a spiritual fruit.”[54] “The Body and Blood of Christ will then be life to each, if what is visibly received in the Sacrament be in actual verity spiritually eaten, spiritually drunk.”[55]

Theodoret may be our last witness, a witness against transubstantiation, but not against the truth of Christ’s presence, nor the real participation in His Body and Blood. “Our Saviour,” he tells us, “changed the names of things; giving to His Body the name of bread, and to the bread the name of His Body. His object was, that those who partake of the mysteries, should not have regard to the nature of the visible elements, but by the change of names, might believe that change which is wrought by grace. For He, who called His own Body food and bread, and again called Himself a vine, He honoured the visible symbols with the name of His Body and Blood, not changing the nature, but adding to the nature grace.”[56] And afterwards he says, “The mystic symbols depart not after consecration from their own nature, for they remain in the former substance; yet we understand what they have become, and believe and adore, as though they were what they are believed to be.”[57]

Space and time will not allow us a longer list of authorities. Those already adduced have been fairly chosen, and should be fairly weighed. The Christian student must not argue for victory, but search for truth. That search is seldom unattended by difficulties. Yet may it not in this case be safely concluded, that, weighing all considerations, and notwithstanding some remarkable phrases, the doctrine of the early ages was not in favour of a miraculous change in the consecrated elements, not in favour of a carnal presence of the natural Body of the Lord, but in favour of a real, effectual, life-giving presence of Christ’s spiritual Body communicated to the faith, and feeding the souls, of His disciples?

There is, perhaps, another possible alternative. The early Church held firmly Christ’s presence in His Sacraments. The tendency was, for the most part, not to explain, but to veil such subjects in a reverential mystery. It may therefore have been that, whereas a spiritual presence was originally and generally recognized, yet some may have suffered their reverence to degenerate into superstition, and have spoken, and perhaps thought, as though there were a carnal presence. There was probably a vagueness of apprehension on the subject among some. Their very religion tended to foster this. But one thing is certain, namely, that the doctrine of a carnal presence was never the ruled doctrine of the primitive ages, was not received, or rather was emphatically denied, by many of the greatest of the fathers, and that it does not come down to us with the sanction and authority of that which was always, everywhere, and by all men, anciently acknowledged (quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus traditum est). And another thing is most certain, namely, that, if any of the fathers did contemplate any beside a spiritual presence, it was not in the way of transubstantiation, but rather of consubstantiation. For, let us take the example of St. Hilary, who, if any one, used language most like the language of later ages. Still the very object of his reasoning was to prove, that in Christ’s Person there are two natures: one not extinguished, because the other is added. He illustrates this by the bread of the Eucharist, which still retains the nature of the bread unchanged, although the nature of Christ’s Body is added to it. Now, interpret this how we may, it is a plain witness against transubstantiation. It may mean consubstantiation; it may mean a spiritual presence; but transubstantiation it cannot mean: for it was an error of Eutyches, not of the orthodox St. Hilary, that the human nature of the Saviour was absorbed and transubstantiated into the Divine.[58]

We must now pass on to the controversies of the Middle Ages. About A. D. 831, Paschasius Radbert, a monk, and afterwards abbot of Corbie, maintained the corporal presence.[59] Whether even he taught the full-grown doctrine of transubstantiation, or only consubstantiation, our divines have questioned. Certainly he speaks some things very unlike the former, and even more resembling the doctrine of spiritual feeding.[60] Yet he says, that “after the consecration nothing but the Body and Blood of Christ are to be believed;” an expression nearly approaching, if not fully expressing, the Roman doctrine.[61]

Rabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Mentz, a divine of the highest credit in the Church, wrote against the statements of Paschasius. The work is lost indeed; but the evidence of its former existence is strong and clear.[62]

Johannes Scotus Erigena, who at this period lived at the court of Charles the Bald, and sometimes with our own king Alfred, and who at his death was esteemed a martyr, and placed in the Roman Calendar, wrote a book by the command of the Emperor Charles, against the substantial change in the Sacraments; a book, which, two hundred years afterwards, was condemned at the council of Verceil, upon the ground that it made the bread and wine to be mere empty signs.[63]

Bertram too, or Ratramnus, a monk of Corbie, wrote, also at the desire of Charles the Bald, concerning this doctrine, which now began to agitate the Church. The book is still extant, and is well worthy to be read. Its genuineness has been attacked by the Roman Catholic writers, but with little success. Others have charged him with heresy; whilst others again have allowed him to be Catholic, but yet, like other Catholics, not free from some errors.[64] The book was finally prohibited by the Council of Trent. Bertram’s statements are clear for the spiritual, and against the carnal presence in the Eucharist. “The change,” he says, “is not wrought corporally, but spiritually and figuratively. Under the veil of the material bread and wine the spiritual Body and Blood of Christ exist . . . . Both (the bread and wine), as they are corporally handled, are in their nature corporal creatures; but, according to their virtue, and what they become spiritually, they are the mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood.”[65] “By all that hath been hitherto said, it appears, that the Body and Blood of Christ, which are received by the mouths of the faithful in the Church, are figures in respect of their visible nature; but in respect of the invisible substance, that is the power of the Word of God, they are truly Christ’s Body and Blood. Wherefore, as they are visible creatures, they feed the body; but as they have the virtue of a more powerful substance, they do both feed and sanctify the souls of the faithful.”[66]

The Middle Ages, if favourable to a reverent, were not less favourable to a superstitious spirit. Hence the principles of Paschasius were more likely to gain ground than those of Bertram; yet there are not wanting testimonies, for some time later, in favour of the spiritual and against the carnal presence. Especially it has been observed that the doctrine of the Anglo-Saxon Church was more than others in accordance with the primitive truth. The famous Ælfric was born probably about A. D. 956, and died about 1051. He was abbot, some say of St. Albans, others of Malmesbury or Peterborough; and afterwards Archbishop of York.[67] Some valuable fragments of his writings remain in Latin and Anglo-Saxon, full of clear statements on the doctrine in question. “This is not,” he says, “that Body in which He suffered for us, but spiritually it is made His Body and Blood.”[68] “That housel ” (i. e. the Eucharist) “is Christ’s Body, not bodily but ghostly: not the Body which He suffered in, but the Body of which He spake, when He blessed bread and wine to housel, a night before His suffering,”[69] &c.

Not much later than Ælfric was Berengarius, Archdeacon of Angers, who appears to have been a man of great piety. He strenuously maintained the doctrine, which had been taught by Bertram, Scotus, and Æ1fric, teaching that the bread and wine remained in their natural substance, yet not denying the invisible grace of the Sacrament. It is probable that many of the Gallican Church sided with him. He was condemned, however, and with him the writings of Johannes Erigena, by a Council at Verceil under Leo IX., A. D. 1050, on the ground that they taught the bread and wine in the Eucharist to be only bare signs. Under Victor the Second, another Council was held at Tours, A. D. 1055, at which Hildebrand presided as legate, where Berengarius freely declared that he did not believe the bread and wine to be mere empty shadows. Under Nicholas II., a new council was called at Rome (A. D. 1059); where Berengarius was forced to recant, and to declare that the “bread and wine after consecration became the very Body and Blood of Christ, and that they are touched and broken by the hands of the priests, and ground by the teeth of the faithful, not sacramentally only, but in truth and sensibly.” After a time, however, he again maintained the doctrine of the spiritual presence; and Lanfranc, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, entered the lists of controversy against him, in whose work are fragments preserved to us of the writings of Berengarius. At length Hildebrand came to the papal chair, as Gregory VII. He summoned another council at Rome, A. D. 1078; and another A. D. 1079. At the former Berengarius acknowledged, that the real Body and Blood of Christ were present at the Eucharist, without saying anything of transubstantiation; and it is supposed that the Pope was satisfied with this, and unwilling to proceed further. But at the latter, the enemies of Berengarius prevailed, and he was forced to declare that the bread and wine are substantially converted into the Body and Blood of Christ, which Body after consecration is present, not only sacramentally, but in verity of substance.[70]

It is very doubtful when the term transubstantiation was first used. It is said to have been invented by Stephen, Bishop of Augustodunum, about the year 1100, in his book De Sacramento Altaris.[71]

Under Innocent III., A. D. 1216, sat the famous Council of Lateran, by which that term, and the full form of the doctrine, were sanctioned and made authoritative. Seventy chapters were drawn up by Innocent himself. When proposed to the Council, they were received without debate, and silence was supposed to imply consent. The first chapter is directed against the Manichæan heresy, and among other things, declares that, in the sacrifice of the Mass, “Christ’s Body and Blood are really contained under the species of bread and wine, the bread being transubstantiated into His Body, and the wine into His Blood.”[72] It has been acknowledged by the Schoolmen and Romanists, that before this Council the doctrine of transubstantiation was not an article of the faith.[73] From this time, however, it became established as part of the Creed of the Roman Church. The Council of Constance, A. D. 1415, in the eighth session, condemned Wicliffe for denying the doctrine of transubstantiation, and of the corporal presence. The Council of Florence, A. D. 1439, at which Greek bishops and deputies were present, left the doctrine untouched. But the instruction to the Armenians, which runs only in the name of Pope Eugenius, and was not submitted to the Council, but which Roman Catholic authors often cite as a synodical decree, says, that “by virtue of the words of Christ, the substance of the bread and wine is turned into the substance of His Body and Blood.”[74] At length the Council of Trent, A. D. 1551, decreed, that by “consecration there is a conversion of the whole substance of the bread and wine into the substance of Christ’s Body and Blood.”[75] An anathema is pronounced against all who deny such change of the substance (the forms yet remaining), a change which the Church Catholic aptly calls transubstantiation.[76] Finally in the Creed of Pope Pius IV., (A. D. 1563,) there is a profession of faith, that the Body and Blood of Christ, together “with His Soul and Divinity, are truly and really and substantially in the Eucharist, and that there is a conversion of the whole substance of the bread into His Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into His Blood; which conversion the Church Catholic calls transubstantiation.”[77]

The doctrine then of transubstantiation, and (as it is improperly called) the real presence, is the established doctrine of the Roman Church. There is still, however, a room for difference of statement and difference of thought upon the subject. It appears to be ruled, that the substance only, not the accidents, undergo a change. Now it is almost questionable, whether the accidents do not comprise all the properties of matter. If so, the change may still be spiritual rather than material. And here we get a phenomenon by no means without parallel in other Roman Catholic articles of faith. For, as in saint worship some only ask departed friends to pray for them, whilst others bow down to the stock of a tree; so in the Eucharist, the learned and enlightened appear to acknowledge a far more spiritual change than is taught to the equally devout but more credulous multitude. For the latter all kinds of miracles have been devised, and visions, wherein the Host has seemed to disappear, and the infant Saviour has been seen in its room; or where Blood has flowed in streams from the consecrated wafer, impiously preserved by unbelieving communicants. But on the other hand, by the more learned and liberal, statements have been made perpetually in acknowledgment of a spiritual rather than a carnal presence; and such as no enlightened Protestant would cavil at or refuse.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the immediate forerunner of the schoolmen (A. D. 1115), acknowledged no feeding but a spiritual feeding.[78] Peter Lombard, the famous Master of the Sentences (A. D. 1141), though speaking of the conversion of the bread and wine, declines to determine whether that conversion be formal or substantial, or of some other kind.[79] Aquinas (A. D. 1255) spoke of Christ’s Body as present, not bodily but substantially;[80] a distinction not easy to explain. Durandus (A. D. 1320) said that, though we believe the presence, we know not the manner of the presence.[81] Cuthbert Tonstal, Bishop of Durham, said that, “Before the Lateran Council it was free to every one to hold as they would concerning the manner; and that it would have been better to leave curious persons to their own conjectures.”[82] Cardinal Cajetan writes, that “The real Body of Christ is eaten in the Sacrament, yet not corporally but spiritually. Spiritual manducation, which is made by the soul, reaches to the flesh of Christ, which is in the Sacrament.”[83] And Gardiner, in his controversy with Cranmer says, “The Catholic teaching is, that the manner of Christ’s presence in the Sacrament is spiritual and supernatural, not corporal nor carnal, not natural, not sensible, nor perceptible, but only spiritual, the how and manner whereof God knoweth.”[84]

Let us now pass to the doctrines of the Reformation, merely observing by the way, that the dogma of transubstantiation, though formally decreed by the Roman Church, has never been adopted by the Greek. Luther, if not the inventor, has been esteemed the great patron of the doctrine of consubstantiation. Whilst rejecting the idea of a change in the substance of the elements, he believed in a presence with the elements, of the material substance of Christ’s Body and Blood. He appears to have had recourse to the same illustration which had been used to explain the union of the Divine and human natures in Christ; namely, that, as in red-hot iron there is the nature both of iron and fire, so in the Eucharist there is both the bread and the Body of the Lord. Strong as are his expressions in the arguments which he used with the Sacramentarians, still from his less controversial statements, we may almost be led to think that Luther did not much go beyond a faith in the spiritual presence. Controversy often produces extreme statements: and it may have been so with him.[85] He does indeed say in a comparatively uncontroversial tract, that there are “the real Body and Blood of Christ in and under the bread and wine.”[86] But then he speaks of faith as the means whereby we obtain the benefits of the Sacrament, as that to which they are exhibited.[87]

As to the public documents of the Lutherans, the Confession of Augsburg simply declares, that the Body and Blood of Christ are really given with the bread and wine.[88] But the Saxon Confession says, that “In this communion Christ is truly and substantially present, and His Body and Blood are truly exhibited to those who receive.”[89]

The great leader among the reformers, of those who took an opposite view to Luther, was Zuingle. He was not satisfied to reject a material presence; but he even denied a presence of any sort. With him the bread and wine were empty signs. Feeding on Christ was a figure for believing in Him. The Communion was but a ceremony to remind us of Him. Spiritual manducation was resting upon the mercy of God.[90] He probably may have modified these statements afterwards; yet they thoroughly belonged to his system.

Calvin took a middle course between Luther and Zuingle. With the former he acknowledged a real presence of Christ in His Supper; with the latter he denied a corporal or material presence. Having stated the view of the Sacramentarians, that to eat the Flesh and drink the Blood of Christ is merely to believe on Him, he says, “But to me Christ appears to have intended something more express and sublime in that famous discourse of His, where He commends to us the eating of His flesh; namely, that by a real participation of Him we be quickened; which He therefore designated under the words eating and drinking, lest any should think that the life we derive from Him is received by simple cognition. For as, not the sight, but the eating of the bread gives nourishment to the body, so it is needful that, for the soul to be wholly partaker of Christ, it should be quickened by His virtue to life eternal.”[91]

The elements, according to him, receive the name of Christ’s Body and Blood, “because they are, as it were, instruments whereby Christ distributes them to us.”[92] And, “if we believe the truth of God, we must believe that there is an inward substance of the Sacrament in the Lord’s Supper joined to the outward signs; and so, that, as the bread is given by the hands, the Body of Christ is also communicated, that we be partakers of Him.”[93] “That Body, which you see not, is to you a spiritual aliment. Does it seem incredible, that we are fed by the Flesh of Christ, which is so far from us? We must remember, that the work of the Spirit is secret and wonder-working, which it would be profane to measure by our intelligence.”[94] Thus then to receive Christ in the Eucharist is not merely to believe in Him; yet it is by faith we are enabled to receive Him. By believing we eat Christ’s Flesh, because by faith our feeding on Him is effected; and that feeding is the fruit of faith. “With them,” (i. e. the Zuinglians,) he writes, “the feeding is faith: with me the power of feeding comes as a consequence of faith.”[95]

Melancthon, the disciple, friend, and successor of Luther, is supposed to have hesitated between a material and a spiritual presence. In the Confession of Augsburg, which is due to him, we have already seen strong words, which sound like consubstantiation. He is said to have used in earlier days the word corporaliter, to express the mode in which Christ communicates His Flesh and Blood in the Eucharist, but to have avoided such expressions, after much intercourse on the question with Œcolampadius.[96] After Luther’s death, he had the chief voice and influence among the Lutherans; and through his peaceful counsels in Germany, and Calvin’s sound views in Switzerland, much greater concord prevailed on this question among the continental Protestants, than had existed during the lifetime of the great reformer of Wittemberg; the Lutherans and Zuinglians both consenting to modify their views and statements.[97] Insomuch that Hooker observed concerning them: “By opening the several opinions which have been held, they are grown for aught I can see on all sides, at the length to a general agreement concerning that which alone is material, namely, the real participation of Christ, and of life in His Body and Blood by means of this Sacrament.”[98]

From the continental Protestants, we must turn to England. Cranmer and Ridley appear to have retained the doctrines of the corporal presence and of transubstantiation throughout the reign of Henry VIII. The formularies of that reign all seem to teach it. Ridley is said to have been converted to a belief in the spiritual (instead of the natural) presence, by reading the treatise of Bertram or Ratramn, probably about the year 1545.[99] At this time Cranmer was zealous for transubstantiation. But Ridley communicated to the Archbishop what he had discovered in the writings of Ratramn; and they then set themselves to examine the matter with more than ordinary care.[100] Ridley indeed refused to take the credit of converting Cranmer;[101] but Cranmer himself always acknowledged his obligations to Ridley.[102] It has been thought that Cranmer went through two changes: to consubstantiation first, and then to the spiritual feeding; and most probably there may have been some gradual progress in his convictions.[103] Yet it was constantly affirmed by him that, before he put forth the translation of the Catechism of Justus Jonas, commonly called Cranmer’s Catechism, he had fully embraced the spiritual doctrine, and that the strong phrases there used concerning the real presence and the real feeding on Christ, were intended of a spiritual presence and a spiritual feeding, not of consubstantiation.[104]

After this both Cranmer and Ridley, to whom we are chiefly indebted for our formularies, maintained a doctrine nearly identical with that maintained by Calvin, and before him by Bertram. With the latter Ridley expresses his entire accordance.[105] He constantly declares that, whilst he rejects all presence of the natural Body and Blood, in the way of transubstantiation, he yet acknowledges a real presence of Christ, spiritually and by grace, to be received by the faithful in the Communion of the Eucharist.[106] Cranmer has by some been thought to incline nearer to Zuinglianism; yet, if fair allowance be made for hasty expressions in the irritation of controversy, it will probably appear that he, like Ridley, followed the doctrine of the ancient Church, and held a real reception of Christ in the Spirit. Certainly we find him writing as follows: “I say (as all the holy fathers and martyrs used to say) that we receive Christ spiritually, by faith with our minds eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood: so that we receive Christ’s own very natural Body, but not naturally nor corporally.”[107] “It is my constant faith and belief, that we receive Christ in the Sacrament, verily and truly … But … you think a man cannot receive the Body of Christ verily, unless he take Him corporally in his corporal mouth … My doctrine is that … He is by faith spiritually present with us, and is our spiritual food and nourishment, and sitteth in the midst of all them that be gathered together in His Name; and this feeding is spiritual feeding and an heavenly feeding, far passing all corporal and carnal feeding, in deed and not in figure only, or not at all, as you most untruly report my saying to be.”[108] “I say that the same visible and palpable Flesh that was for us crucified, &c. &c, is eaten of Christian people at His Holy supper … The diversity is not in the Body, but in the eating there of; no man eating it carnally, but the good eating it both sacramentally and spiritually, and the evil only sacramentally, that is, figuratively.”[109]

These sentiments of our reformers are undoubtedly embodied in our Liturgy and Articles. One thing indeed has been thought to savour of a tendency to Zuinglianism. The first Service Book of Edward VI., drawn up undoubtedly after Cranmer had embraced the doctrine of the spiritual presence, contained, as did all the ancient Liturgies, an invocation of the Holy Ghost to bless the bread and wine; “that they might be unto us the Body and Blood of Christ.” This was omitted in the second Service Book; probably lest the grace of the Sacrament should thus seem to be tied to the consecrated elements. But a still more remarkable departure from the ancient forms was this. Whereas, in the first Service Book, the words of administration were, “The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto eternal life;” in the second Service Book they were merely, “Take and eat this, in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on Him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving.”[110] This seemed to imply that the reformers believed in no real spiritual reception of Christ’s Body in the Eucharist, but only in a remembrance of His death and passion. Accordingly, in the reign of Elizabeth the two forms were combined together, and have ever since continued in use in the Church. But though this change looked like an inclination on the part of the earlier reformers to the doctrine of the mere figurists, yet it is by no means certain that some of the alterations in the Service Book were agreeable to our leading divines;[111] and not withstanding this alteration, there remained numerous statements in our formularies to prove that a real but spiritual presence of Christ was, and is the doctrine of the reformed Church of England.

Thus we are told in the exhortation to communion, that God “hath given His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, not only to die for us, but also to be our spiritual food and sustenance in that holy Sacrament.” It is said that, “if with a true penitent heart and lively faith we receive that holy Sacrament . . . . we spiritually eat the Flesh of Christ, and drink His Blood.” In what is called the “prayer of humble access,” we ask that God would “give us grace so to eat the Flesh of His dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink His Blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His Body, and our souls washed through His most precious Blood.” In the prayer of consecration, we speak of being “partakers of His most blessed Body and Blood;” and in the post-communion we thank God that He doth “vouchsafe to feed us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.” So likewise in this Article it is professed, that “to them who worthily receive, . . . . 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.” All these are expressions in the second Service Book of Edward VI., and in the Articles drawn up in that reign. The latter part of the Catechism is of later date, but in strict accordance with the earlier documents. Its words are, that “the Body and Blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord’s Supper.”

In this XXVIIIth Article, as first drawn up A. D. 1552, there was a clause stating, that Christ in bodily presence is in Heaven, and therefore that we ought not to confess “the real and bodily presence (as they term it) of Christ’s Flesh and Blood in the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.” This nearly corresponds with the statement of the rubric at the end of our present communion Service.[112] Both the clause in the Article and the rubric were omitted in Elizabeth’s reign, lest persons inclined to the Lutheran belief might be too much offended by it; and many such were in the Church, whom it was wished to conciliate. The rubric was again restored in the reign of Charles II. The meaning of it clearly is, not to deny a spiritual, but only a “corporal presence of Christ’s natural Flesh and Blood,” “and a consequent adoration of the elements, as though they did not remain still in their very natural substances.”

The Homilies are very express. “Thus much we must be sure to hold, that in the Supper of the Lord there is no vain ceremony, no bare sign, no untrue figure of a thing absent (Matt, xxvi.); but as the Scripture saith, The table of the Lord, the bread and cup of the Lord, the memory of Christ, the annunciation of His death, yea, the communion of the Body and Blood of the Lord, in a marvellous incorporation, which by the operation of the Holy Ghost (the very bond of our conjunction with Christ) is through faith wrought in the souls of the faithful, whereby not only their souls live to eternal life, but they surely trust to win to their bodies a resurrection to immortality”[113] (1 Cor. x.)

Bishop Jewel, who perhaps was the chief writer of this Second Book of Homilies, says in his Apology: “We plainly pronounce in the Supper the Body and Blood of the Lord, the Flesh of the Son of God, to be truly exhibited to those who believe.”[114] And again, after protesting against transubstantiation, he says, “yet when we say this, we do not lower the Lord’s Supper, nor make it a mere frigid ceremony. We assert, that Christ exhibits Himself really present in the Sacraments; in baptism, that we may put Him on, in His Supper, that we may feed on Him by faith and in spirit . . . . and this we say is not done perfunctorily, nor frigidly, but in very deed and truly.”[115]

It appears, then, that our reformers symbolized herein with Calvin; though it is not likely that they learned their doctrine from him. Points of difference may be discovered between them; but in the main, Calvin, Melancthon in his later views, and the Anglican divines, were at one. There have, no doubt, been different ways of explaining the spiritual presence, among those who have agreed to acknowledge such a presence. But perhaps the safest plan is to say, that because it is spiritual, therefore it needs must be mystical. And so Bishop Taylor concludes, that our doctrine differs not from that of ancient writers, who acknowledged Christ’s presence, but would not define the manner of His presence. For he observes that we say, “the presence of Christ is real, and it is spiritual; and this account still leaves the Article in its deepest mystery; because spiritual perfections are indiscernible, and the word ‘spiritual’ is a very general term, particular in nothing but that it excludes the corporal and natural.”[116]

It would be endless, and it is unnecessary, to say much concerning our divines since the Reformation. Some perhaps, who have followed Calvin in his predestinarian theory, have followed, not him, but Zuingle, upon the Sacraments. And this too may have been the bent of those who afterwards more especially followed Arminius, both here and on the Continent.[117] But from the time of the Reformation to the present, all the great luminaries of our Church have maintained the doctrine which appears in the face of our formularies; agreeing to deny a corporal, and to acknowledge a spiritual feeding in the Supper of the Lord. It is scarcely necessary to recount the names of Mede, Andrewes, Hooker, Taylor, Hammond, Cosin, Bramhall, Usher, Pearson, Patrick, Bull, Beveridge, Wake, Waterland. All these have left us writings on the subject, and all have coincided, with but very slight diversity, in the substance of their belief. They have agreed, as Hooker says, that “Christ is personally present; albeit a part of Christ be corporally absent;”[118] that “the fruit of the Eucharist is the participation of the Body and Blood of Christ” — but that “the real presence of Christ’s most blessed Body and Blood is not to be sought for in the Sacrament (i. e. in the elements); but in the worthy receiver of the Sacrament.”[119]


  1. Jer. Taylor, On the Real Presence, sect. I. 4.
  2. See this excellently laid down by Bp. Taylor, On the Real Presence, sect. I. 9‒11.
  3. “Absit ut de his quidquam sinistrum loquar, qui Apostolico gradui succedentes Christi Corpus sacro ore conficiunt, per quos et nos Christiani sumus; qui claves regni cœlorum habentes,” &c. — Hieron. Ad Heliodorum, Epist. V. Tom. IV. part II. p. 10.
  4. De Sacerdot. III. § 4.
  5. Ιδοὺ αὐτὸν ὁρᾶς, αὐτοῦ ἅπτῃ, αὐτὸν ἐσθίειςαὐτὸς δὲ ἑαυτόν σοι δίδωσιν, οὐκ ἰδεῖν μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἅψασθαι καὶ ϕαγεῖν καὶ λαβεῖν ἔνδοντίνος οὖν οὐκ ἔδει καθαρώτερον εἶναι τὸν ταύτης ἀπολαύοντα τῆς θυσίας; ποίας ἡλιακῆς ἀκτῖνος τῆν χεῖρα τὴν ταύτην διατέμνουσαν τὴν σάρκα, τὸ στόμα τὸ πληρούμενον πυρὸς πνευματικοῦ, τὴν γλῶσσαν τὴν ϕοινισσομένην αἵματι ϕρικωδεστάτῳ. — Chrys. Hom. 83 in Matt. c. 26.
  6. ταῦτα δὲ δίδωσι τῇ τῆς εὐλογίας δυνάμει πρὸς ἐκεῖνο μεταστοιχείωσας τῶν ϕαινομένων τὴν ϕύσιν. — Gregor. Nyssen. In Orat. Catechet.
  7. Διὰ τοῦτο συγκαταβαίνων ἡμῖν ὁ ϕιλάνθρωπος · τὸ μὲν εἶδος ἄρτου καὶ οἴνου ϕυλάττει · εἰς δύναμιν δὲ σαρκὸς καὶ αἵματος μεταστοιχεῖοι. — Theophyl. In Evangel. Marc. cap. CXIV.
  8. Suidas has μεταστοιχείουσα, μετασχηματίζουσα, μεταπλάττουσα. Suicer argues at length that transelementare will not properly express its sense. (See Suicer, II. pp. 363, 364). Jer. Taylor (On the Real Presence, sect. XII. num 5) adduces the words of Suarez, the learned Jesuit, in acknowledgment that μεταστοιχείωσις does not properly convey the meaning of transubstantiation.
  9. Theophyl. In Luc. xxiv. et in Joh. vi apud Jer. Taylor, ubi supra.
  10. ἐν τύπῳ γὰρ ἄρτου δίδοταί σοι σῶμα, καὶ ἐν τύπῳ οἴνου δίδοταί σοι τὸ αἷμα. — Cyril. Hieros. Catec. Mystagog. IV. 1.
  11. ἐκεῖνοι μὴ ἀκηκοότες πνευματικῶς τῶν λεγομένων, σκανδαλισθέντες, ἀπῆλθον εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω, νομίζοντες ὅτι ἐπὶ σαρκοϕαγίαν αὐτοὺς προτρέπεται. — Ibid.
  12. Μὴ πρόσεχε οὖν ὡς ψιλοῖς τῷ ἄρτῳ καὶ τῷ οἴνῳ · σῶμα γὰρ καὶ αἷμα Χριστοῦ κατὰ τὴν δεσποτικὴν τυγχάνει απόϕασιν. — Cat. Myst. IV. 2.
  13. “Panis iste, quem Dominus discipulis porrigebat, non effigie, sed natura, mutatus, omnipotentia Verbi factus est caro.” — De Cœna Domini. The tract is usually printed in the Appendix of the works of Cyprian. In the Oxford edition it is in Appendix, p. 39, and the above passage, p. 40. In the edition of Venice, 1729, it is App. p. xcix. There is also a famous passage from St. Ambrose, De Myst. IX. § 52, where he speaks of Christ’s words as changing the properties of the elements: “valebit Christi Sermo ut species mutet elementorum;” and again, mutare naturas. The answer in the text to the passage from the Pseudo-Cyprian equally applies to this from St. Ambrose. See also Bp. Cosin, Hist. of Transubstant. ch. VI. 14.
  14. Cranmer, Remains, II. p. 340; Defence of the Catholic Doctrine, Bk. II. ch. XI.
  15. “Quisquis ergo naturaliter Patrem in Christo negabit neget prius non naturaliter vel se in Christo, vel Christum sibi inesse; quia in Christo Pater, et Christus in nobis, unum in his esse nos faciunt. Si vere igitur carnem corporis nostri Christus assumpsit, et vere homo ille, qui ex Maria natus fuit, Christus est, nosque vere sub mysterio carnem corporis sui sumimus; (et per hoc unum erimus, quia Pater in eo est, et Ille in nobis;) quomodo voluntatis unitas aperitur, cum naturalis per sacramentum proprietas, perfectæ sit sacramentum unitatis: De naturali in nobis Christi veritate ipse ait: Caro mea vere est esca, et sanguis meus vere est potus. Qui edit carnem meam, et bibit sanguinem meum, in me manet, et ego in eo. De veritate carnis et sanguinis non relictus est ambigendi locus: nunc enim et ipsius Domini professione et fide nostra, vere caro, et vere sanguis est. Et hæc accepta et hausta efficiunt ut et nos in Christo et Christus in nobis sit.” — Hilar. De Trinitate, Lib. VIII. § 13, p. 222. Edit. Benedict.
  16. Cranmer’s Answer to Gardiner, Works, III. p. 254.
  17. Cranmer’s Defence of the Catholic Doctrine, &c. Works, II. pp. 406, 407. N. B. Just before the passage above quoted, Hilary had spoken of the union of Christians to Christ in baptism, as he speaks afterwards of their union in the Eucharist: “Docet Apostolus ex natura sacramentorum esse hanc fidelium unitatem, ad Galatas scribens, Quotquot enim in Christo baptizati estis, Christum induistis,” &c. — De Trin. Lib. VIII. p. 218. Ed. Ben.
  18. Ignat. Ad Roman. VII. The passage is in the Syriac.
  19. Ignat. Ad. Ephes. V.
  20. Ad Ephes. XX.
  21. Ad Smyrn. VII. The passage is not in the longer epistles, but it is in the shorter (esteemed the genuine) epistles of Ignatius, and it is cited by Theodoret (Dial. 3) and is maintained to be genuine by Cotelerius, Tom. II. p. 37, note in loc. The Greek is εὐχαριστίας καὶ προσευχῆς ἀπέχονται, διὰ τὸ μὴ ὁμολογεῖν τὴν εὐχαριστίαν σάρκα εἶναι τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν ησοῦ Χριστοῦ, τὴν ὑπὲρ ἁμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν παθοῦσαν, ἢν χρηστότητι ὁ Πατὴρ ἔγειρεν.
  22. De Eucharistia, I. 1, cited by Bp. Cosin, Hist. of Transubstantiation, ch. VI. 11.
  23. Σπουδάσατε οὖν μιᾷ εὐχαριστίᾳ χρῆσθαι · μία γὰρ σὰρξ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν ησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ ἓν ποτήριον εἰς ἕνωσιν τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ, ἓν θυσιαστήριον ὡς εἶς ἐπίσκοπος, κ. τ. λ. — Ad Philadelph. IV.
  24. οὐ γὰρ ὡς κοινὸν ἄπτον, οὐδὲ κοινὸν πόμα ταῦτα λαμβάνομεν, ἀλλ’ ὃν τρόπον διὰ λόγου Θεοῦ σαρκοποιηθεὶς ησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ Σωτὴρ ἡμῶν, καὶ σάρκα καὶ αἷμα ὑπὲρ σωτηρίας ἡμῶν ἔσχεν, οὕτως καὶ τὴν δι’ εὐχῆς λόγου τοῦ παρ’ αὐτοῦ εὐχαρισθεῖσαν τροϕὴν ἐξ ἧς αἶμα καὶ σάρκες κατὰ μεταβολὴν τρέϕονται ἡμῶν, ἐκείνου τοῦ σαρκοποιηθέντος ησοῦ καὶ σάρκα καὶ αἷμα ἐδιδάχθημεν εἶναι. — Justin. Apol. I. p. 98. “As it appears to me, Justin in this passage does not intend to compare the manner, in which Jesus Christ being made flesh by the Word of God hath flesh and blood for our sake, with that in which the bread and wine . . . . became the Flesh and Blood of Christ; but only to say that, as Christians were taught that Christ had flesh and blood, so were they also taught that the bread and wine in the Eucharist are the Body and Blood of Christ; ὃν τρόπον is merely equivalent to as.” — Bishop Kaye, Justin Martyr, pp. 87, 88, note.
  25. Waterland, On the Eucharist, ch. VII.
  26. Bp. Kaye’s Justin Martyr, p. 74.
  27. περὶ τοῦ ἄρτου ὃν παρέδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ ἡμέτερος Χριστὸς ποιεῖν εἰς ἀνάμνησιν τοῦ τε σωματοποιήσασθαι, κ. τ. λ. — Dialog. p. 296.
  28. τῆς τροϕῆς αὐτῶν ξηρᾶς καὶ ὑγρᾶς, ἐν ᾗ καὶ τοῦ πάθους ὃ πέπονθε δι’ αὐτοῦ ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ μέμνηται. — Dial. p. 345.
  29. ς γὰρ ἀπὸ γῆς ἄρτος προσλαμβανόμενος τὴν ἔκκλησιν τοῦ Θεοῦ, οὐκέτι κοινὸς ἄρτος ἐστὶν, ἀλλ’ εὐχαριστία, ἐκ δύο πραγμάτων συνεστηκυῖα · οὕτως καὶ τὰ σώματα ἡμῶν μεταλαμβάνοντα τῆς εὐχαριστίας μηκέτι εἶναι ϕθαρτὰ, τὴν ἐλπίδα τῆς εἱς αἰῶνας ἀναςτάςεως ἔχοντα . — Irenæ. Lib. IV. 32 (Lib. IV. 18, Bened.)
  30. Adv. Hær. V. 2. Of this passage we may observe, that if Irenæus had meant that the elements were changed in substance into Christ’s Body and Blood, he would never have spoken of them as nourishing our bodies, which implies the idea of digestion, acknowledged to be blasphemy.
  31. καὶ ἐνταῦθα τὴν πρόσϕοραν τελέσαντες ἐκκαλοῦμεν τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον, ὅπως ἀποϕῄνη τὴν θυσίαν ταύτην καὶ τὸν άρτον σῶμα τοῦ Χριστοῦ · ἵνα οἱ μεταλάβοντες τούτων τῶν ἀντιτύπων τῆς ἀϕέσεως τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν καὶ τῆς ζωῆς αἰωνίου τύχωσιν. — Irenæi Scripta Anecodta, fragm. 2, p. 29.
  32. οἱ δοῦλοι οὗτοι, μὴ ἕχοντες πῶς τὸ τοῖς ἀναγκάζουσι καθ’ ἡδονὴν ἐρεῖν, παρ’ ὅσον ἤκουον τῶν δεσποτῶν, τὴν θείαν μετάληψιν αἷμα καὶ σῶμα εἶναι Χριστοῦ, αὐτοὶ νομίσαντες τῷ ὄντι αἷμα καὶ σάρκα εἶναι, τοῦτο ἐξεῖπον τοῖς ἐκζητοῦσι. — Fragmentum ab Œcumenio in Comment. ad 1 Petri Epist. cap. 3, p. 498, allegatum; Irenæi Op. Grabe, p. 469.
  33. There is an excellent chapter in Beaven’s Irenæus on the subject of Irenæus’s statements concerning the Eucharist.
  34. De Oratione, c. 6.
  35. “Caro Corpore et Sanguine Christi vescitur, ut et anima de Deo saginetur.” — De Resur. Carn. c. 8.
  36. “Christus … panem corpus suum appellans.” — Adv. Judæ. c. 10.
  37. “Panem, quo ipsum Corpus suum repræsentat.” — Adv. Marcion. Lib. I. c. 14. “Repræsento — to exhibit as present; ὑποτυπόω, præsentem esse facio, ob oculos pono, refero. Repræsentare dicuntur pictores. Item oratores graphice quippiam describentes.” — Facciolati.
  38. “Acceptum panem et distributem discipulis, corpus illum suum fecit, Hoc est corpus Meum, dicendo, id est, figura Corporis Mei. Figura autem non fuisset, nisi veritatis esset Corpus. Cæterum vacua res, quod est phantasma, figuram capere non posset.” — Adv. Marcion. Lib. IV. c. 40.
  39. Διττὸν δὲ τὸ αἷμα τοῦ Κυρίου · τὸ μὲν γάρ ἐστιν αὐτοῦ σαρκικὸν, ᾧ τῆς ϕθορᾶς λελυτρώμεθα · τὸ δὲ πνευματικὸν, τουτέστιν ᾧ κεχρίσμεθα · καὶ τοῦτ’ ἐστι πιεῖν το αἷμα τοῦ ησοῦ, τῆς Κυριακῆς μεταλαμβάνειν ἀϕθαρσίας · ἰσχὺς δὲ τοῦ Λόγου τὸ πνεῦμα, ὡς αἷμα σαρκός. — Pædag. Lib. II. c. 2, p. 177.
  40. Εὖ γὰρ ἴστε, μετέλαβεν οἴνου καὶ αὐτὸς · καὶ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος καὶ αὐτός. Καὶ εὐλόγησέν γε τὸν οἶνον, εἰπὼν, λάβετε, πίετε · τοῦτό μου ἐστὶ τὸ αἷμα, αἷμα τῆς ἀμπέλου · τὸν Λόγον, τὸν περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυνόμενον εἰς ἄϕεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν, εὐϕροσύνης, ἅγιον ἀλληγορεῖ νᾶμαὅτι δὲ οἶνος ἦν τὸ εὐλογηθὲν, ἀπέδειξε πάλιν, πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς λέγων. Οὐ μὴ πίω ἐκ τοῦ γεννήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου ταύτης, μέχρις ἂν πίω αὐτὸ μεθ’ ύμῶν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ Πατρὸς ἡμῶν. — Pædag. Lib. II. c. 2, p. 186.
  41. “Cum suscipitis Corpus Domini, cum omni cautela et veneratione servatis, ne ex eo parum quid decidat, ne consecrati muneris aliquid dilabatur.” — In Exod. Hom. XIII.
  42. “Agnoscite quia figuræ sunt quæ in divinis voluminibus scripta sunt, et ideo tanquam spiritales et non tanquam carnales examinate et intelligite quæ dicuntur. Si enim quasi carnales ista suscipits, lædunt vos et non alunt. Est enim et in evangeliis litera quæ occidit. Non solum in veteri Testamento occidens litera depreenditur; est et in novo Testamento litera quæ occidat eum qui non spiritaliter quæ dicuntur adverterit. Si enim secundum literam sequaris hoc ipsum quod dictum est: Nisi manducaveritis carnem meam, et biberitis sanguinem meum, occidit litera.” — In Levit. Hom. VII. n. 5.
  43. “Ut calix, qui in commemoratione Ejus offertur, mixtus vino offeratur. Nam cum dicat Christus; Ego sum vitis vera; sanguis Christi, non aqua est utique, sed vinum. Nec potest videri sanguis ejus, quo redempti et vivificati sumus, esse in calice, quando vinum desit calici quo Christi sanguis ostenditur.” — Cyprian. Epist. LXIII.; Cæcilio Fratri, p. 148. Oxf.
  44. τὸ πνεῦμα πρὸς τὰ κατὰ σάρκα διέστειλεν, ἵνα μὴ μόνον τὸ ϕαινόμενον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ ἀόρατον αὐτοῦ πιστεύσαντες μάθωσιν, ὅτι καὶ ἅ λέγει οὐκ ἔστι σαρκικὰ ἀλλὰ πνευματικά · πόσοις γὰρ ἤρκει τὸ σῶμα πρὸς βρῶσιν, ἵνα καὶ τοῦ κόσμου παντὸς τοῦτο τροϕὴ γένηται; ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο τῆς εἰς οὐρανοὺς διαβάσεως ἐμνημόνευσε τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, ἵνα τῆς σωματικῆς ἐννοίας αὐτοὺς ἀϕελκύσῃ καὶ λοιπὸν τὴν εἶρημένην σάρκα βρῶσιν ἄνωθεν οὐράνιον, καὶ πνευματικὴν τροϕὴν παρ’ αὐτοῦ διδομένην μάθωσιν. ἂ γὰρ λελάληκα, ϕησὶν, ὑμῖν πνεῦμα ἐστι καὶ ζωή. ἶσον τῷ εἰπεῖν, τὸ μὲν δεικνύμενον καὶ διδόμενον ὑπὲρ τοῦ κόσμου δοθήσεται τροϕὴ, ὡς πνευματικῶς ἐν ἐκάστῳ ταύτην ἀναδιδοσθαι, καὶ γίνεσθαι πᾶσι ϕυλακτήριον εἰς ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς αἰωνίου. — Athanas. In illud Evangelii, “Quicumque dixerit,” Op. Tom. I. p. 979.
  45. Cyril. Cateches. Mystag. IV. 1, cited above.
  46. Cat. Myst. III. 3.
  47. “Dupliciter vero sanguis Christi et caro intelligitur: vel spiritualis illa et divina, de quo Ipse dixit: Caro mea vere est cibus, et sanguis meus vere est potus: et, Nisi manducaveritis carnem meam, et sanguinem meum biberitis, non habebitis vitam æternam: vel caro et sanguis quæ crucifixa est et qui militis effusus est lancea. Juxta hanc divisionem et in sanctis ejus diversitas sanguinis et carnis accipitur, ut alia sit caro quæ visura est salutare Dei, alia caro et sanguis quæ regnum Dei non queant possidere.” — Hieronym. In Ephes. cap. i. v. 7. tom. IV. pt. I. p. 328.
  48. τί δέ ἐστι τὸ σαρκικῶς νοῆσαι; τὸ ἁπλῶς εἰς τὰ προκείμενα ὁρᾶν, καὶ μὴ πλέον τι ϕαντάζεσθαι. τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι σαρκικῶς. χρὴ δὲ μὴ οὕτω κρίνειν τοῖς ὁρωμένοις, ἀλλὰ πάντα τὰ μυστήρια τοῖς ἔνδον ὀϕθαλμοῖς κατοπτεύειν. τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι πνευματικῶς. — Chrysost. In Joann. c. vi.; Homil. XLVII. Tom. VIII. p. 278.
  49. “Sicut enim antequam sanctificetur panis, panem nominamus: divina autem illum sanctificante gratia, mediante sacerdote, liberatus est quidem ab appellatione panis; dignus autem habitus Dominici Corporis appellatione, etiamsi natura panis in ipso permansit, et non duo corpora, sed unum Corpus Filii prædicamus,” &c. — Chrysost. Ad Cæsarium Monach. Tom. III. p. 743. On the history and genuineness of this Epistle see Cave, Histor. Literar. Tom. I. p. 315; Routh’s Scriptor. Eccles. Opuscula, p. 479; Jenkyns’s Cranmer, II. p. 325, note.
  50. “Noli parare fauces, sed cor.” — De Verbis Domini, Serm. 33, Tom. V. p. 566.
  51. “Quid paras dentes et ventrem? Crede et manducasti.” — In Joann. Tract. 25, Tom. III. pars. II. p. 489.
  52. “Non enim Dominus dubitavit dicere Hoc est Corpus Meum, cum signum daret Corporis sui.” — Contra Adimantum, Tom. VIII. p. 124.
  53. “Spiritaliter intelligite quod locutus sum: non hoc Corpus quod videtis mandicaturi estis, et bibituri illum sanguinem quem fusuri sunt qui me crucifigent. Sacramentum aliquod vobis commendavi. Spiritaliter intellectum, vivificabit vos. etsi necesse est illud visibiliter celebrari, oportet tamen invisibiliter intelligi.” — In Psalm. xcviii. Tom. IV. p. 1066.
  54. “Quod videtis, panis est et calix, quod vobis etiam oculi vestri renunciant: quod autem fides vestra postulat instruenda, panis est Corpus Christi, calix sanguis Christi . . . . Quomodo est panis corpus ejus? et calix, vel quod habet calix, quomodo est sanguis ejus? Ista, fratres, ideo dicuntur sacramenta, quia in eis aliud videtur, aliud intelligitur. Quod videtur, speciem habet corporalem, quod intelligitur fructum habet spiritalem.” — Serm. 272 ad Infantes, Tom. V. pars I. p. 1103.
  55. “Vita unicuique erit corpus et Sanguis Christi, si quod in sacramento visibiliter sumitur, in ipsa veritate spiritaliter manducetur, spiritaliter bibatur.” — Serm. 2, De Verbis Apostoli, Tom. V. pars I. p. 64.
  56. δέ γε Σωτὴρ ὁ ἡμέτερος ἐνήλλαξε τὰ ὀνόματα · καὶ τῷ μὲν σώματι τὸ τοῦ συμβόλου τέθεικεν ὄνομα, τῷ δὲ συμβόλῳ τὸ τοῦ σώματος. οὕτως ἄμπελον ἑαυτὸν ὀνόμαασας, αἷμα τὸ σύμβολον προσηγόρευσεν. Δῆλος ὁ σκοπὸς τοῖς τὰ θεῖα μεμυημένοις. ἐβουλήθη γὰρ τοὺς τῶν θείων μυστηρίων μεταλαγχάνοντας, μὴ τῇ ϕύσει τῶν βλεπομένων προσέχειν, ἀλλὰ διὰ τῆς τῶν ὀνομάτων ἐναλλαγῆς πιστεύειν τῇ ἐκ τῆς χάριτος γεγεννημένῃ μεταβολῇ. ὁ γὰρ δὲ τὸ σῶμα σῖτον καὶ ἄρτον προσαγορεύσας, καὶ αὖ πάλιν ἑαυτὸν ἄμπελον ὀνομάσας, οὗτος τὰ ὁρώμενα σύμβολα τῇ τοῦ σώματος καὶ αἵματος προσηγορίᾳ τετίμηκεν, οὐ τὴν ϕύσιν μεταβαλὼν, ἀλλὰ τὴν χάριν τῇ σύσει προστεθηκώς. — Dial. 1, ed. Sirmond. Tom. IV. p. 17.
  57. Οὐδὲ γὰρ μετὰ τὸν ἁγιασμὸν τὰ μυστικὰ σύμβολα τῆς οἰκείας ἐξίσταται ϕύσεως · μένει γὰρ ἐπὶ τῆς προτέρας οὐσίας καὶ τοῦ σχήματος καὶ τοῦ εἵδους, καὶ ὅρατά ἐστι καὶ ἁπτὰ, οἷα καὶ πρότερον ἦν, νοεῖται δὲ ἅπερ ἐγένετο καὶ πιστεύεται, καὶ προσκυνεῖται ὡς ἐκεῖνα ὄντα ἅπερ πιστεύεται. — Dial. 2, ed. Sirmond. Tom. IV. p. 85.
  58. See above, p. 69.
  59. Cave places him A. D. 841.
  60. “Christus ergo cibus est angelorum, et sacramentum hoc vere caro ipsius et sanguis, quam spiritualiter manducat et bibit homo.” — De Corpore et Sanguine Domini, c. 5.
  61. “Quia voluit (Dominus), licet in figura panis et vini, hæc sic esse, omnino nihil aliud quam caro Christi et snaguis post consecrationem credenda sunt.” — Ibid. cap. 1. Bishop Cosin gives several specimens of his language (Hist. of Transubstantiation, ch. XXV. s. 29), and argues, that there is nothin in his whole book “that favours the transubstantiation of the bread, or its destruction or removal.” However, he quotes Bellarmine and Sirmondus as esteeming him so highly, that they were not ashamed to say that he was the first that had written to the purpose concerning the Eucharist; but there are some spurious additions to his book, which speak a stronger language than the book itself. See also Cave, H. L. Tom. I. p. 585.
  62. See Cave, H. L. p. 542.
  63. Ibid. Tom. I. p. 549.
  64. Index Expurgator. Belgic. jussu et auctoritate Philip. II., cited by Aubertin. De Eucharist. p. 930; Cosin’s Hist. of Transubst. ch. V. § 35; Bishop Taylor, On the Real Presence, § XII. 32.
  65. “At quia confitentur et Corpus et Sanguinem Christi esse, nec hoc esse potuisse nisi facta in melius commutatione, neque ista commutatio corporaliter sed spiritualiter facta sit, necesse est ut jam figurata facta esse dicatur: quoniam sub velamento corporei panis, corporeique vini, spirituale corpus Christi, spiritualisque sanguis existit . . . . Secundum namque quod utrumque corporaliter contingitur, species sunt creaturæ corporeæ; secundum potentiam vero, quod spiritualiter factæ sunt, mysteria sunt Corporis et Sanguinis Christi.” — Ratramnus, De Corpore et Sanguine Domini. London, 1686, p. 24.
  66. “Ex his omnibus, quæ sunt hactenus dicta, monstratum est quod corpus et sanguis Christi, quæ fidelium ore in ecclesia percipiuntur figuræ sunt secundum speciem visibilem: At vero secundum invisibilem substantiam, i. e. divini potentiam Verbi, Corpus et Sanguis vere Christi existunt. Unde secundum visibilem creaturam corpus pascunt, juxta vero potentioris virtutem substantiæ, mentes fidelium et pascunt et sanctificant.” — Ibid. p. 64.
  67. See Cave, H. L. Tom. I. p. 588; Soames’s Anglo-Saxon Church, ch. IV. pp. 218‒229. There appear to have been two Ælfrics, one Archbishop of Canterbury, and the other of York. The latter, a friend and disciple of the former, is generally supposed to have been the author of the Homilies. See Hardwick, Ch. Hist. of the Middle Ages, p. 187.
  68. “Non sit tamen hoc sacrificium Corpus Ejus in quo passus est pro nobis, neque Sanguis Ejus, quem pro nobis effudit: sed spiritualiter Corpus Ejus efficitur et sanguis.” — Ælfrici Epistoles ad Wulfstanum; Routh. Opuscula, p. 520.
  69. From Ælfric’s Epistle to Wulfsine, Bishop of Sherburn, Routh. p. 528. The passage quoted is from the Old English translation of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The Anglo-Saxon is given by Dr. Routh (loc. cit.) with the English and Latin versions.
  70. “Corde credo et ore profiteor panem et vinum quæ ponuntur in altari, per mysterium sacræ orationis et verba nostri Redemptoris substantialiter converti in veram ac propriam et vivificatricem carnem et sanguinem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et post consecrationem esse verum Christi Corpus, quod natum est de Virgine, et quod pro salute mundi oblatum in cruce pependit — non tantum per signum et virtutem sacramenti, sed et in proprietate naturæ et veritate substantiæ.” — Concil. Tom. X. p. 378. See Cosin’s Hist. of Transubst.; also Mosheim, E. H. cent. XI. part II. ch. III.
  71. In B. Patrum, Tom. X. p. 412. See Jer. Taylor On the Real Presence, sect. XII. 32.
  72. Concil. Tom. XI. p. 117.
  73. See Bramhall’s Answer to M. de la Milletière, pt. I. disc. I.; Works, Anglo-Cath. Lib. I. p. 14; Jer. Taylor, On the Real Presence, § I. 2.
  74. See Cosin, On Transubstantiation, Bk. VII. § 30.
  75. Sess. XIII. cap. iv.
  76. Sess. XIII. De Eucharist. can. IV.
  77. “Profiteor pariter in missa offerri Deo, verum, proprium et propitiatorium sacrificium pro vivis et defunctis, atque in sanctissimo Eucharistiæ sacramento esse vere, realiter et substantialiter corpus et sanguinem, una cum anima et divinitate Domini nostri Jesu Christi, fierique conversionem totius substantiæ vini in sanguinem, quam conversionem Catholica Ecclesia transubstantiationem appellat.”
  78. “Eadem Caro nobis, sed spiritualiter utique, non carnaliter exhibeatur.” — Sermo. De S. Martino. See Jer. Taylor, Real Presence, § I. 8; Cosin, On Transubstantiation, ch. VII. § 13, who gives several quotations from St. Bernard to this effect.
  79. “Si autem quæritur qualis sit illa conversio, an formaliter an substantialiter, vel alterius generis, diffinire non sufficio.” — Sent. IV. Dist. 10. See Cosin, as above, § 15.
  80. See Jer. Taylor, as above, § XI. 20.
  81. “Verbum audimus, motum sentimus, modum nescimus, præsentiam credimus.” — Neand. Synops. Chron. p. 203, quoted by Jer. Taylor, as above, § I. 2.
  82. Tonstal, De Eucharist. Lib. I. p. 46; Jer. Taylor, as above
  83. “Manducatur verum Corpus Christi in sacramento, sed non corporaliter, sed spiritualiter. Spiritualis manducatio, quæ per animam fit, ad Christi carnme in sacramento existentem pertingit.” — Opusc. Tom. II. Tract. 2, De Euch. c. v. ; Jer. Taylor, as above, § VII. 8.
  84. Cranmer’s Works, III. p. 241, Answer to Gardiner.
  85. See, for instance, De Sacramento Altaris, Opp. Tom. I. p. 82.
  86. “Esse verum corpus et sanguinem Domini Nostri Jesu Christi, in et sub pane et vino per verbum Christi.” — Catechismus Major, Tom. V. p. 641.
  87. Ibid.
  88. “De Cœna Domini docent quod cum pane et vino vere exhibeantur corpus et sanguis Christi, vescentibus in Cœna Domini.” — Confess. August. Art. X.; Sylloge, p. 172.
  89. “Vere adesse Christum, et vere exhiberi sumentibus corpus et sanguinem Christi.” — Sylloge, p. 282.
  90. “Sacramentaliter edere esse aliud non potest quam signum aut symbolum edere.” — De Vera et Falsa Religione, Opera Zuinglii, pars 2, Tom. I. fol. 215. He denies that there can be any spiritual Body of Christ, except His Church, fol. 216. Again: “Sacramentum est sacræ rei signum. Cum ergo Sacramentum Corporis Christi nomino, non quicquam aliud, quam panem, qui Corporis Christi pro nobis mortui figura et typus est, intelligo.” — De Cœna Domini, Ibid. fol. 274. “Spiritualiter edere Corpus Christi nihil est aliud, quam spiritu ac mente niti misericordia et bonitate Dei, propter Christum.” — Fidei Christianæ Expositio, Ibid. fol. 555.
  91. Institut. IV. xvii. 5.
  92. “Corpris vero et sanguinis nomen eis attributem, quod sint velut instrumenta, quibus Dominus Jesus Christus nobis ea distribuit.” — Calvinus, De Cœna Domini, Opuscula. Genevæ, 1552, p. 133.
  93. “Ita in communione, quam in Christi corpore et sanguine habemus, dicendum est, mysterium spirituale esse, quod nec oculis conspici, nec ingenio humano comprehendi potest. Figuris igitur et signis, quæ sub oculorum sensum cadunt, ut naturæ nostræ imbecillitas requirit ostenditur; ita tamen ut non sit figura nuda et simplex, sed veritati suæ et substantiæ conjuncta. . . . . “Necesse est igitur nos in Cœna vere corpus et sanguinem Christi recipere, cum utriusque communionem Dominus repræsentet. Quid enim sibi vellet, nos panem comedere ac vinum bibere, ut significent carnme ipsius cibum esse nostrum, et sanguinem potum, si veritate spirituali prætermissa, vinum et panem solummodo præberet. . . . . “Itaque fatendum est si vera sit repræsentatio quam adhibet Deus, in cœna substantiam interiorem sacramenti visibilibus signis conjunctam esse, et quemadmodum panis in manu distribuitur, ita Corpus Christi, ut Ejus participes simus, nobis communicari. Hoc certe etiam, si nihil aliud esset, nobis abunde satisfacere deberet, cum intelligimus Christum nobis in Cœna veram propriamque corporis et sanguinis sui substantiam nobis donare — ut pleno jure ipsum possideamus, et possidendo in omnem bonorum suorum societatem vocemur.” — Ibid. pp. 133, 134.
  94. “Corpus, quod nequaquam cernis, spirituale est tibi alimentum. Incredibile hoc tibi videtur, pasci nos Christi carne, quæ tam procul a nobis distat? Meminerimus, arcanum et mirificum esse Spiritus Sancti opus, quod intelligentiæ tuæ modulo metiri sit nefas.” — Calvin. In 1 Cor. xi. 24, cited by Waterland, On the Eucharist, c. VII.
  95. “Illis manducatio est fides, mihi ex fide potius consequi videtur.” — Institut. IV. xvii. 5.
  96. See Jer. Taylor, On Real Presence, § I. 9.
  97. See Mosh. E. H. Cent. XVI. sect. III. pt. II. ch. I. 27, and ch. II. 12.
  98. Hooker, E. P. Bk. V. ch. LXVII. 2.
  99. Ridley’s Life of Ridley, p. 166.
  100. Burnet, Hist. of Reformation, pt. II. Bk. I. p. 107.
  101. Ridley’s Life, p. 169.
  102. Cranmer’s Remains, (Jenkyns,) IV. p. 97.
  103. The subject is discussed by Dr. Jenkyns, note to Cranmer’s Works, IV. p. 95.
  104. Cranmer’s Works, II. p. 440, III. pp. 13, 297 344.
  105. See Enchiridion Theologicum, I. p. 56.
  106. “I say that the Body of Christ is present in the Sacrament, but yet sacramentally and spiritually (according to His grace) giving life, and in that respect really, that is, according to His benediction, giving life. . . . The true Church of Christ doth acknowledge a presence of Christ’s Body in the Lord’s Supper to be communicated to the godly by grace and spiritually, as I have often showed, and by a sacramental signification, but not by the corporal presence of the Body of His Flesh.” — Works, Parker Society, p. 236. “That heavenly Lamb is (as I confess) on the table: but by a spiritual presence, and not after any corporeal presence of the Flesh taken of the Virgin Mary.” — Ibid. p. 249. “Both you and I agree in this, that in the Sacrament is the very true and natural Body and Blood of Christ, even that which is born of the Virgin Mary . . . . We confess all one thing to be in the Sacrament, and dissent in the manner of being there. I confess Christ’s natural Body to be in the Sacrament by Spirit and grace . . . . You make a proper kind of being, inclosing a natural Body under the shape and form of bread and wine.” — Fox, Martyrs, II. p. 1598. Lond. 1597, cited by Laud against Fisher, § 35.
  107. Remains, III. p. 5.
  108. Remains, III. pp. 288, 289.
  109. Ibid. p. 340. See also II. p. 441, IV. p. 16.
  110. Two Liturgies of Edward VI. p. 297. Oxf. 1838.
  111. See above, p. 12, note 1.
  112. Concerning that rubric see above, p. 106, note 1, p. 113, note 2. Luther much insisted on the ubiquity of the human nature of our blessed Lord, derived to it from the union with the Divine nature. But we must not believe the human nature transubstantiated into the Divine, as Eutyches taught. St. Augustine observes that Christ, according to His human nature, is now on God’s right hand, and thence shall come to judgment; and according to that nature He is not everywhere. “Cavendum est enim, ne ita divinitatem adstruamus hominis, ut veritatem Corporis suferamus.” — Epist. 187, Tom. II. p. 681, quoted above, p. 113, note 2. See this subject most admirably handled by Hooker, E. P. V. 55.
  113. Second Book of Homilies, “First part of the Sermon Concerning the Sacrament.”
  114. “Diserteque pronunciamus in cœna credentibus vere exhiberi Corpus et Sanguinem Domini, carnem Filii Dei.” — Juelli Apologia. Ench. Theolog. p. 126.
  115. “Non tamen cum ista dicimus, extenuamus Cœnam Domini aut eam frigidam tantum cæremoniam esse docemus. . . . . Christum enim asserimus, vere sese præsentem exhibere in sacramentis suis; in baptismo, ut Eum induamus, in cœna, ut Eum fide et spiritu comedamus, et de Ejus cruce et sanguine habeamus vitam æternam; idque dicimus non perfunctorie et frigide, sed re ipsa et vere fieri.” — Ibid. p. 129. Compare Noel’s Catechism, Ench. Theol. p. 320, where the same doctrine is propounded.
  116. Jer. Taylor, § I. 2.
  117. There is a very pious work by one of the Arminian writers in the English Church (Horneck’s Crucified Jesus). It has much to edify and spiritualize, but if I understand it, its doctrine is purely Zuinglian.
  118. Book V. lxvii. 11.
  119. Book V. xvii. 6.


E. Harold Browne

(Edward) Harold Browne was an English bishop, born at Aylesbury and educated at Eton and Cambridge. He was ordained in 1836, and two years later was elected senior tutor of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. From 1843 to 1849 he was vice-principal of St David’s College, Lampeter, and in 1854 was appointed Norrisian professor of divinity at Cambridge. His best-known book is the Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles (vol. i., Cambridge, 1850; vol. ii., London, 1853), which remained for many years a standard work on the subject and is still beloved today. In 1864 he was consecrated bishop of Ely.

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