Part III of III: After Article 29
SUMMARY OF PAST TWO ESSAYS
In Part One of these essays, I sought to demonstrate that the Fathers held a real, objective view of Christ’s presence under the form of bread and wine, and that this can be distinguished as differing from the view of the “Jewel-school” of English Reformers, who make assertions incompatible with the patristic view. In Part Two I sought to demonstrate that the Formularies of the Anglican Church are comprehensive of the Jewel-School (which maintains a Reformed eucharistology) and early Lutheran eucharistology, which is substantially the same as the patristic view (to be distinguished from later Lutheran eucharistology, which fell into the heresy of ubiquitism).
There was one large datum which, on the face of it, might appear to contradict this claim concerning what the Articles are patient of, and that is Article 29 of the 39 Articles. I wish to offer a lucid interpretation of Article 29 in its context, and to buttress this interpretation by its immediate post-history — the Anglican divines who professed their belief in the 39 Articles and whom in their other writings, revealed their conviction of a real, objective presence of Christ in the sacrament. This latter evidence shows that the Articles were understood in their own time as being compatible with early Lutheran eucharistology, and thus, guarantees to us today that to hold the faith of the Fathers concerning the eucharist is not incompatible with subscription to the 39 Articles. This was the claim of the early Tractarians (Keble, Pusey, Williams, Palmer), but it got lost as the Oxford movement lost its way by following the flag of Ritualism. In reviving this claim, I hope to land on a conciliatory position that can unite all Formulary-adhering Anglicans, be they Classical Anglicans of the Jewel-School, Old High Churchmen, or Puseyites (Tractarians), against encroaching influences on several sides
WHAT ABOUT ARTICLE 29?
Let me begin by asserting plainly: Article 29 is 100% true. It is absolutely the case that those who are “wicked and such as be void of lively faith”, in the case that they come forward and receive and consume the consecrated bread and consecrated wine, are “in no wise…partakers of Christ” but actually receive the sacrament “to their condemnation.” That is the plain teaching of 1 Corinthians 11:27-31, and it is without doubt the selfsame doctrine that was held and taught by the Church Fathers of the early centuries, as well as Reformation divines on both sides of the English channel. In other words, all Christians can and should agree that there is no communio impiorum.
The remaining question — which is the very crux of the matter — is whether or not there is a manducatio impiorum; if what is placed in the mouth of the “wicked and such as be void of lively faith” is the real Body and Blood of Christ or not. The Reformed would swiftly answer “No, it is not” because the Body of Christ was never under the form of bread in a real and objective way in the first place. The Body of Christ, naturally located in heaven, would — in the Reformed view — be communicated to the soul of the faithful receiver upon their reception of the bread and wine (I.e. “Receptionism”); therefore, Christ in heaven would simply not communicate himself to the impious. Early Lutheranism (in harmony with the Church Fathers, as we shall see) on the other hand, would swiftly answer “Yes, the Body of Christ is given, even to the impious.” Because this view necessarily follows from the prior teaching that, by virtue of the words of consecration, the Body and Blood of Christ are now under the form of bread an wine, in a real, objective manner. But then they would qualify that the reception by the wicked would not be to spiritual benefit but spiritual detriment.
So the question is: Does Article 29 rule out the Early Lutheran affirmation of the manducatio impiorum? While some Reformed-minded Anglicans of late have attempted to answer otherwise, the answer is “No.”
Now, to be fair, Article 29 does — intentionally — suggest a Reformed view, it is not pretending to be a Lutheran article. My claim is specifically that a Lutheran view is not ruled out.
INTERPRETING ARTICLE 29 AS PERMISSIVE OF LUTHERAN EUCHARISTOLOGY
I shall substantiate this claim by scrutinizing the letter of the article, which I believe makes a Lutheran-tolerant interpretation possible, and shall solidify the case to a near-certainty by attending to the near post-history of the Article as it intersects with some Anglican divines who professed it in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Thus the word-play in the title of this essay: I am at once after the meaning of Article 29, and doubly interested in what came immediately after its publication by Convocation in 1571.
THE LETTER OF ARTICLE 29
Much ink has been spilled on Article 29, and rightly so, because on its interpretation the whole doctrine of the Real Objective Presence depends. I wish to illuminate three salient details too often neglected in contemporary analysis:
1. The Article refers explicitly to the theology of St. Augustine (“as Saint Augustine saith”), and so an examination of Augustine’s meaning is pertinent.
Plainly, the Bishops of 1563/1571 lean on Augustine for their meaning, so Augustine needs to be examined in full. Here are some other quotations worth reckoning with, “Any one who unworthily receives the Sacrament of the Lord does not, because he himself is evil, cause it to be evil, nor because he receives not unto salvation, has he received for nothing, for that was no less the Body and Blood of the Lord to those also to whom the Apostle said, ‘He that eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh damnation to himself.” and “The Lord allows Judas to receive among the innocent disciples what the faithful know to be our Ransom.” and, with great precision “The good, together with the bad, eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ, but with a great distinction, for these are clad in the wedding garment, but those have it not…And hereby, although at one and the same feast, these eat Mercy, those Judgment.” Lastly, as it comes to bear on the title of Article 29, Augustine also states that “to eat Christ” is “not only to receive his Body in the Sacrament; for many unworthy receive.” It is the case that Augustine elsewhere — famously in Tractate 26 on the Gospel of John — does deny that the wicked “eat the Body of Christ,” but it must be remembered that when he thus speaks, he is commenting on John chapter 6, in which “eating the flesh of Christ” is synonymous with saving communio with Christ, which of course the wicked do not receive. This is the very payload of the Article, “in no wise are they partakers of Christ.”
2. Matthew Parker offers an apologia on the limits of the meaning of Article 29 in his letter to Lord Burghley on June 4th, 1571.
Lord Burghley had some misgivings about the meaning of Augustine in Article 29, which Matthew Parker considered and then maintains, “I am advisedly still in mine opinion concerning so much wherefore they be alleged in the Article.”  This is a small note, but a significant one. Burghley’s wariness would have no doubt come from the Lutheran sensitivities he shared with his Queen. In answer to these expressed concerns, Parker places an upper-limit on the meaning of Augustine’s meaning, that is, it is constrained by its use as it sits in the context of Article 29. What this answer shows is that it would be possible to read more (“so much”) into the “sense” of Article 29, but Parker does not wish this to be done. What could that “more” be, but the denial of the real objective presence held by the Early Lutheran view? We are therefore given a hermeneutical bound from the framer of the Article itself.
3. If the Article had intended to exclude the Lutheran view, it reasonably could have done so in much more specific terms.
For instance, Part III.6 of the Smalcald Articles states, “Of the Sacrament of the Altar we hold that bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ, and are given and received not only by the godly, but also by wicked Christians.” If it was the intention to prohibit this view, Article 29 could plainly have said, “The Body of Christ is not received by the wicked.” or somesuch, but this is not the letter of the Article, rather it is simply that there is no saving participation in Christ, but rather condemnation, or, in the language of St. John, Christ is not eaten.
So much for the letter of the Article, which, if it was the intention of Convocation to strictly preclude the Early Lutheran/Patristic view, did not clearly succeed in their task. Still, I grant as a matter of fairness that an examination of the letter alone does not close the case one way or the other. For this we need to examine the known eucharistology of some key Anglican divines who manifestly hold to lutherano-patristic views of the eucharist, who nevertheless in good faith subscribed to the Thirty-Nine Articles.
THE NEAR RECEPTION-HISTORY OF THE ARTICLES
Subscription to the Articles after they were authorized was no small matter. In 1571 Parliament passed the Subscription Act which read, “shall first have subscribed the said Articles in presence of the ordinary, and publicly read the same in the parish church of that benefice, with declaration of his unfeigned assent to the same.” Which was further driven home with the addition in 1604 (the year before Andrewes was consecrated) with the required verbatim profession that, “I [N.N.] do willingly and ex animo subscribe to these three articles above mentioned, and to all things that are contained in them.” Subscription was serious business. Earnest, God-fearing men (like Andrewes) did not mess around with it. To be in breach of one’s subscription in any way would mean the loss of one’s preferments. While a majority of Anglican Divines after 1571 were of the Jewel School, there are nonetheless some of the “catholic” school among their number, who subscribed to Article 29 ex animo and yet also held and put into writing their Lutherano-patristic doctrine, without shame or censure. This is sufficient evidence that the Articles are thusly permissive. Let me give brief evidence on these luminaries.
I concluded the previous part of this essay with Bishop Edmund Guest (Gheast) who was a member bishop of the Convocation that gave us the Articles, who could easily write, “he took Christis bodye in his hand, receaved it with his mouthe, and that corporally, naturally, reallye, substantially, and carnally, as the doctors doo write.” To the name of Guest, four other names should be added who belonged to the Lutherano-patristic school.
Heading this group is the illustrious translator of the Pentateuch of the Authorized Version, the great Bishop Lancelot Andrewes. As well as having the heart of a saint (as all who have prayed with his Private Devotions can personally attest), Andrewes was a scholar’s scholar — careful and precise in all he said and did. He is perhaps the only intellect of his time capable of going toe to toe with the learned Robert Bellarmine, which he in fact did in his Answer to Bellarmine. Bellarmine was of course the foremost Roman Catholic “apostle” of the Council of Trent, and in his many controversial works and in his multi-volume work De Eucharistia upholds the selfsame teaching as Trent — transubstantiation. Trent begins its definition of the doctrine in Chapter 1 of the First Decree of Session 13 with the words, “On the real presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist: In the first place, the holy Synod teaches, and openly and simply professes, that, in the august sacrament of the holy Eucharist, after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and man, is truly, really, and substantially contained under the species of those sensible things.”  This is what Bellarmine taught. Now witness what Andrewes writes to Bellarmine on the topic of the Eucharist:
Christ hath said, ‘This is My Body’, not ‘This is not My Body in this mode.” Now about the object we are both agreed; all the controversy is about the mode. The ‘This is,’ we firmly believe…of the mode whereby it is wrought that ‘it is’, whether in, or with, or under, or transubstantiated, there is not a word in the Gospel. And because not a word is there, we might rightly detach it from being a matter of faith…[quoting Durandus] ‘We hear the word, feel the effect, know not the manner, believe the Presence.’ The Presence, I say, we believe, and that no less true than yourselves.
Read that last sentence again: “The Presence, I say, we believe, and that no less true than yourselves” — written to Bellarmine! These words should add weight to the high (if careful) language of his famous nativity sermons, and are sufficiently grave so as to put to rest cavils that Andrewes was a Calvinist. No Calvinist ever said such words to a Roman Catholic controversialist such as Bellarmine. One need only recall Jewel’s tone to Harding to see the glaring difference of personal conviction between the two Anglican divines.
Bishop John Overall (1559-1619, Norwich) was Dean of St. Paul’s from 1601 to 1614 and served under Andrewes on the First Westminster Company for Bible Translation, before serving as bishop of Norwich for the last five years of his life.
Overall gives us two significant pieces of data concerning his Lutherano-patristic eucharistology.
First, in the Additional Notes appended to the fifth edition of Nicholl’s Commentary on the Book of Common Prayer, Overall offers the following commentary on phrases within the Communion service of the Book of Common Prayer (1559):
So to eat the Flesh of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood. By this it may be known what our Church believeth, and teacheth of the Presence of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Sacrament. And though our new masters would make the world believe she had another mind, yet we are not to follow their private fancies, when we have so plain and public a doctrine as this…And herein we follow the Fathers, who after consecration would not suffer it to be called Bread and Wine any longer, but the Body and Blood of Christ.
He goes on to explain in a passage that in no uncertain terms:
It is confessed by all Divines, that upon the words of the Consecration, the Body and Blood of Christ is really and substantially present, and so exhibited and given to all that receive it, and all this not after a physical and sensual, but after an heavenly and incomprehensible manner. But there yet remains this controversy among some of them, whether the Body of Christ be present only in the use of the Sacrament, and in the act of eating, and not otherwise. They that hold the affirmative, as the Lutherans (in Confess. Sax.) and all Calvinists, do seem to me to depart from all Antiquity, which place the presence of Christ in the virtue and benediction used by the Priest, and not in the use of eating the Sacrament.
There are three points worth noting here: One, the doctrine of a real and substantial presence, the very words on which the Fathers and the Early Lutherans agree. Two, that this is fully compatible with the language of the articles about “heavenly and spiritual manner.” And three, what a close eye Overall has on developments within Lutheranism on the continent: The Saxonic Confession of 1552 is the one confession in which there is great divergence from the plain faith of the Augsburg (despite its own claim to be in the vein of Augsburg) and in which Melancthon adds the language of “things are not sacraments except in the time of their use.” which of course undermines a candid Ausgburgian notion of a real objective presence. Overall is thus distancing himself from later Lutheran missteps, while affirming the true and orthodox patristic doctrine.
Of much greater public significance than these comments though, is Overall’s enduring gift to the Church: His additions of a “sacraments” section to the Catechism in 1604, ratified by the Convocation at which he was Prolocutor, and officially renamed as a “catechism” in 1662. The Catechism questions-and-answers concerning Holy Communion are without parallel among Reformed Catechisms. In the first place, whereas the answers concerning Holy Baptism follow a two-fold outward/inward structure, the answers for Communion are three-fold: The Outward part, the Inward part, and the Benefit. The Inward part is a real res, to be distinguished from what one gains by receiving this thing. The answer to the “inward part” very nearly resembles the answer in Luther’s small catechism, in its simplicity. Overall has all catechumens confess that the Inward part is, “The Body and Blood of Christ, which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord’s Supper.” Just like Luther had his catechumens profess “It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.” Contrast this with questions 78 and 79 of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), and it is plain which one is the nearer cousin to the English Catechism, e.g. Q. 78 of Heidelberg “Q. Do the bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ? A. No. …the holy bread of the Lord’s Supper does not become the actual body of Christ, even though it is called the body of Christ in keeping with the nature and language of sacraments.”
Again, the 1604 revision of the Catechism was produced by a hand that fully submitted to Article 29.
Adrien Saravia (1532-1612) is a lesser known figure from this same time period. A flemish pastor and careful theologian who initially co-labored with the Reformed on the continent in the middle years of the 16th century, he was a convert to “Anglicanism” when he became convinced of the claim of the episcopacy. He was appointed prebendary of Westminster in 1601, and also served on Andrewes’ Bible translation committee. In a treatise on the Eucharist published in 1605 and dedicated to King James, he writes:
The Sacrament of the Eucharist may be defined thus, that there is under the form of bread and wine the Communion of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ…we have here, as Irenaeus teaches, the two parts which make up the whole nature of the Sacrament, the earthly and the heavenly, namely, the bread and the wine, together with the crucified body of the Lord and his shed blood. The third thing which I wish noted is the remission of sins and eternal life, which is the virtue of the Sacrament, distinct from those two parts of it.
Notice here the use of the Augsburgian language of “under the form”, as well as the reliance on a Father (Irenaeus), and the same tripartite distinction manifest in Overall’s addition to the Catechism.
Very usefully, Saravia comments explicitly on the matter at hand in Article 29:
Of those who partake of the Eucharist, all eat the same spiritual food, and all drink the same spiritual drink; but it is certain that it has not happened, and does not happen, to all to do this to salvation… Some eat and drink to salvation, and some to judgment, the same spiritual food, namely, the flesh and blood of Christ… Those who eat and drink unworthily partake of the real and complete Supper of the Lord… It seems to me no more absurd that the flesh of Christ be really eaten in the Sacrament by the wicked than that the ark of God could be handled and carried by the wicked sons of Eli.
This is manifestly the Lutherano-patristic affirmation of the manducatio impiorum, held by a cleric of high-station (Westminster), who had subscribed to the articles ex animo, and in a book dedicated to the King. He was never tried for false-teaching on account of this book. Though the book was not published for sale (it sat fallow in the Royal Library), still, it is signal evidence that Article 29 was not understood by those who first received it as fundamentally ruling out the Lutheran view.
And, lest it be thought that somehow the careful Saravia just failed to reconcile himself with Article 29, in the same work he asserts:
The good and the bad alike eat Sacramentally with their mouths the Body of Christ and drink His Blood; but the good alone do this Spiritually… And he who thinketh it possible that the outward signs can be partaken of apart from those Things signified, which are a necessary part of the Sacrament, divideth, or rather dissolveth, the Sacrament… So Augustine teacheth upon S. John…. “he who doth not dwell in Christ, and in whom Christ doth not dwell, doubtless neither eateth Spiritually His Flesh, nor drinketh His Blood, although carnally and visibly he press with his teeth the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ”… So far as I know, no theologian at any time hath denied that the Sacrament of the Body of Christ be received carnally and visibly even by the wicked. Now that Sacrament is the bread and the Body, and the wind and the Blood. He who receiveth only the bread, receiveth no Sacrament; for either the Sacrament is received whole and perfect, or not at all.
Here we see that the selfsame passage of Augustine on which Article 29 relies is used in defense of the mandicatio impiroum.
Saravia continues to speak in high and reverent terms about Holy Communion, terms which the Fathers would be edified by, concerning that “which he holds in his hands and lifts to his mouth.” and so on, but the point is, I hope, sufficiently proved.
Thorndike (1598-1672) is of the next generation of Anglican Divines — the Carolines — but his writings clearly demonstrate that a Lutherano-patristic belief in the Eucharist continued on licitly within the Church of England, under Article 29, now further clarified by the Royal Declaration attached to it in 1628, that the Articles be taken “in their literal and grammatical sense.” Thorndike had a leading hand in the Convocation responsible for the 1662 Prayerbook (another formulary). It is thus noteworthy that Thorndike writes, “the body and blood of Christ should be sacramentally present in and under the elements (to be spiritually received of all that meet it with a living faith, to condemn those for crucifying Christ again that receive it with a dead faith).”
And he ties this Lutheran language to his own receipt of the Fathers of the Early Church, while plainly asserting the mind-independent, realist nature of consecration, “The fathers … all acknowledge the elements to be changed, translated, and turned into the substance of Christ’s body and blood; though as in a Sacrament, that is, mystically; yet therefore by virtue of the consecration, not of his faith that receives.”
And, addressing the fact that “changed” doesn’t mean that the consecrated bread ceases to be bread, and moreover that manducatio does not imply saving communio:
As it is by no means to be denied that the elements are really changed, translated, turned, and converted into the body and blood of Christ (so that whoso receiveth them with a living faith is spiritually nourished by the same, he that with a dead faith is guilty of crucifying Christ), yet is not the change destructive to the bodily substance of the elements, but cumulative of them with the spiritual grace of Christ’s body and blood; so that the body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament turns to the nourishment of the body, whether the body and blood in the truth turn to the nourishment or the damnation of the soul.
When it comes to the Holy Eucharist, these four figures (Andrewes, Overall, Saravia, and Thorndike) clearly are of the same school, and it is manifestly not the “Jewel school.” Since Andrewes was the lead of the Westminster group that both Overall and Saravia were a part of, I would suggest that they be called the “Andrewes school,” which has always existed as a minority voice in Anglican Divinity, and was the doctrinal launching pad for the early Oxford Movement.
I hope (through these three essays) that I have thus far demonstrated convincingly that realist Early Lutheran eucharistology of the “Andrewes school” was not de facto proscribed by earnest subscription to the Articles, and that therefore, one can subscribe and submit to the Formularies of the Anglican Church and maintain the doctrine of the Eucharist as it was taught by the Church Fathers.
Some more recent history of Anglican Eucharistology will illuminate why I believe this argument was worth making at great length. In keeping with their old High Church up-bringing, the realist, patristic doctrine was held by Edward Pusey and John Keble from their earliest days as confirmands. Like Andrewes and Thorndike before them, Both Pusey and Keble — in keeping with their own subscriptions when they were ordained — believed the Thirty-Nine Articles to be true, and essential to maintaining the orthodox Christian faith in the Church of England, and did not see this as contradictory to their own patristic eucharistology. Pusey on more than one occasion fought to keep subscription, against the liberal school of Hampden who wanted it weakened.
Newman’s intense nature led him to overstate the case of the “catholic” teaching of the Articles in Tract 90. While hedging his language, Pusey stood by the gist of Newman’s project, both because it was close to his own view, and for the sake of their friendship. Pusey himself would overstate the case of “what the English Church teaches” in his 1869 collection of notes The Real Presence…[is] The Doctrine of the English Church.” These tractarian over-statements hurt their case, as they failed to reckon with the manifest prominence of the Jewel School, and the clear suggestive force of the Articles. It would have been much better had Newman and Pusey made the more modest proposition that the Articles do not exclude their views, rather than that they explicitly teach “Tractarianism.” In being tugged in three different directions (evangelical, liberal, and Tract 90), the binding grip of the Articles on the Church was weakened. At the same time, the extreme parties within all three movements were strengthening: Tractarianism morphed into Ritualism (which cared little for real authorities), liberalism came out in full-face unbelief (e.g. regarding the Bible, since Essays and Reviews of 1860), etc. Thus was the way paved for the discordant and divergent creation of the various Anglican “identities” of the twentieth century down to our own day.
The Anglican Church in North America, in these early decades of her life, is yet to fix a clear and sustainable theological identity. In the absence of it, there is a corporate sense of being adrift, and of every priest being an idiosyncratic docent of our great Anglican tradition. There have been some attempts to remedy this. Article 4 of The Jerusalem Declaration created by GAFCON in 2008 states, “We uphold the Thirty-Nine Articles as containing the true doctrine of the Church agreeing with God’s Word and as authoritative for Anglicans today.” But without a definitive interpretation of the Articles however, these words have the appearance of being unifying without actually creating theological unity. I have written these three essays with the hope that they might create a ground-work for an authoritative interpretation on one single matter of doctrine: The Holy Eucharist. I offer the following as a proposal for you, my brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church on this continent, as a small contribution to clarifying our Anglican theological identity.
A DOCTRINAL FOUNDATION FOR AN AUTHORITATIVE INTERPRETATION OF ARTICLES 28 AND 29
In the homily Of the Worthy Receiving of the Sacrament, we are exhorted to seek a “Ghostly substance” in the supper. This is a great term, from our own formularies, that can unite us. The Jewel-school can lean heavier on the first part — “Ghostly substance” — and the Andrewes-school can lean heavier on the latter — “Ghostly substance.” This term also brings into view a crucial element of biblical eucharistology uncovered in the early 20th century — the nature of the Body of Christ as he sits at the right hand of the Father. First Corinthians 15 describes Jesus’ body as a spiritual body (Gk. soma pneumatikon) — which is to say, the natural substance of his body, which was born from the womb of the Virgin Mary, was transformed in the Resurrection into a spiritual substance, or, as the 16th century might term it, a ghostly substance. Indexing the spiritual substance in the Supper with the spiritual substance of the Body of Christ in heaven is the dogmatic foundation on which an authoritative Anglican interpretation can be built.
In light of this, in order to unite the Jewel School and the Andrewes School (two schools comprehended by Parker, even if he was personally of the former) let it be agreed that:
THE PARKER INTERPRETATION
Whereas, Jesus Christ — perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting — is presently seated at the right hand of the Father;
Whereas, Christ is rightly said to be corporeally and locally in heaven;
Whereas, the Body (and Blood) of Jesus was sown in the womb of the Virgin Mary and was once a natural substance, it has been raised a spiritual body, and is now a spiritual substance;
Whereas, since the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Virgin Mary, there is and has only been one Body of Christ, properly speaking;
Whereas, the Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the supper;
Whereas, the giving, taking, and eating, are of a spiritual body, locally resident in heaven, and thus the giving, taking, and eating, are of a heavenly and spiritual manner;
Whereas, the Bread which we break (itself) is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing (itself) is a partaking of the Blood of Christ;
Whereas, the Scriptures (and the Fathers) speak of consecrated Bread and Wine as “Bread” and “Wine” even as they are also referred to as “Body” and “Blood”;
(1) Therefore, the real Body and Blood of Christ are spiritually (that is to say, substantially) eaten by the Faithful Communicant, as they consume the consecrated Bread and the Wine.
Explanation of (1): “Spiritual” and “Substantial” are not to be confused with “natural” (because there is no “natural” body of Christ any longer, since he was raised from the dead) nor “corporeal” (since the Body of Christ is corporeally in heaven). Whether brought “down” by the Spirit from heaven, or contained under the form of the elements, the (spiritual) substance of Christ’s Body is eaten, as are the natural bread and wine, whose substances remain, therefore this view is to be distinguished from “Transubstantiation,” which (per Article 28) is the doctrine that the substance of the particular Bread and Wine that has been consecrated has been changed. Two substances are given: the heavenly substance of Christ’s Body (and Blood), and the earthly substance of Bread (and Wine), but Jesus Christ does not become hypostatically united to the substance (essence) of Bread and Wine generally, and therefore this view is not rightly called “consubstantiation.“
Whereas, the mean whereby the Body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith;
Whereas, those who are void of a lively faith are in no wise partakers of Christ in their use of the supper, but rather eat and drink to their own condemnation;
Whereas, by the sacraments God doth work invisibly in us;
Whereas, only those who rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the Sacrament can be said to have participating communion with Christ Jesus in their reception of Communion;
Whereas, the Sacrament only has wholesome effect or operation on those who receive worthily;
(2) Therefore, the sanctifying effect of receiving Holy Communion correlates to the measure of faith with which the Sacrament is received.
Explanation of (2): God does not work invisibly through the Sacrament as if by “magic,” independent of the faith and right disposition with which we approach to receive the Sacrament. On the contrary, if we approach with no vital faith, there can be no efficacy in receiving. This also admits of degrees: the greater the amount of faith in the saving work of Christ Jesus on the cross, hope for his spiritual gifts in the present, and love for himself (grounded in sincere repentance and self-abasement), the greater the sanctifying “effect” on the soul will be in one’s receiving of Communion. The Liturgy of Holy Communion, if prayed with a focused mind and heart, in a state of recollection, is a central tool in disposing our souls rightly, but in itself is insufficient if not accompanied by a life (outside the liturgy) of faith and the deeds of faith, the chief of which is repentance.
Whereas, a close analysis of the formularies and early history of Anglican divinity reveals that Early Lutheran as well as Reformed eucharistologies were considered and accommodated;
Whereas, there has been considerable disagreement in recent decades on this very question;
Whereas, there are extreme parties on either side who have attempted to exclude the “other” party from their legitimate claim within the Anglican patrimony;
(3) Therefore the Anglican Church has always left open to her Children one of two views: (a) That the Body (and Blood) of Christ are given to the soul of the Faithful communicant in the act of receiving (through or along-side the consecrated elements), or (b) That the Body (and Blood) of Christ are given under the form of Bread (and Wine), really existing objectively “in” the consecrated elements.
Explanation of (3): “In” is put in scare-quotes since a distinction needs to be made between a localized and a mystical in-placement (see Part IV below). The Anglican Formularies suggest (a) but permit (b). The benefit of (a) is that it insures against localizing or false-conceptions of a corporeal presence on earth, and emphasizes the necessity of worthy receiving by the individual communication. The danger of (a) in a materialist and “disenchanted” age is that it can tend to drift toward an un-real sense of eating, akin to a mere mental memorial. The benefit of (b) is that it insures against this drift in emphasizng the reality of a real presence, which further enforces the gift-quality of the Eucharist. The danger of (b) in a lax and lukewarm age is under-appreciating the necessity of worthy reception, and thus drifting into the (popularly conceived) notion of “ex opere operato” that the sacrament has a sanctifying effect independent of the disposition of the communicant. The dangers of (a) and (b) must be guarded against. Only these two views can rightly be said to be coherent with our Formularies.
Whereas, the body of Christ is locally (corporeally) in heaven;
Whereas, in the Lord’s Supper, the body of Christ is given only after a heavenly manner;
Whereas, the Sacrament was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped;
Whereas, the view that the Body (and Blood) of Christ are really and objectively present under the form of bread and wine is permitted by the Anglican formularies;
(4) Therefore, if the Body (and Blood) of Christ is objectively under the form of Bread (and Wine), it nevertheless is not to be understood as being present locally, as if when the consecrated bread is carried across the sanctuary, Christ himself had in some way, “moved.”
Explanation of (4): Anglican clergy should be strict in not themselves exercising the Romish devotional practices of “Benediction” and “Adoration” of the Blessed Sacrament, since these tacitly teach a localized presence. Manual elevation of the consecrated bread in the midst of the celebration, and reservation of the Sacrament for the Communion of the sick may be allowed, but should be done with great discretion, lest they too propagate the error of a localized presence. The Body of Christ is present in the sacrament in a mystical manner, comprehensible more to faith than to reasoning vis-a-vis dimensional space.
Hopefully, High Reformed Anglicans, Old High Churchmen, and Tractarians can agree on this “Parker Interpretation”, and, if so, we might begin to rally afresh around our Formularies, for the good of our beloved Church.
- It is unfortunate that this is the technical term utilized in this discussion, since it accidentally might imply more than it intends. The question at hand is simply oral reception: Is the bodily mouth utilized in the feeding on Christ in the Eucharist. Consumptis or comesus or some other lexeme would be a better latin word to convey the meaning actually conveyed by the term in historical-theology. Manducatio is the latin gloss for the Greek trogon, which has its unique usage in John chapter 6. No doubt this is part of why this terminology was so slippery in early Reformation dialogues like Wittenberg. To make matters worse, the doctrine (by that name) became inter-twined with the later (heretical) Lutheran doctrine of ubiquity. ↑
- Thanks to Brian Garrish “Receptionism” has been more precisely taxonomized as an umbrella term for several sub-species of Reformed eucharistology: Symbolic Instrumentalism, Symbolic Parallelism, etc ↑
- It is worth nothing also that there is a variation on this teaching held by St. Cyprian (and later, William Palmer of Worcester) in his On the Lapsed that, the moment the Sacrament touches the lips of the wicked, Christ then miraculously withdraws his presence from being “in” that particular piece of bread. John Keble entertained this view seriously also. ↑
- It must be admitted that so many of the Lutherano-patristic school on this side of the Oxford Movement have laid such great emphasis on the real objective presence that they have pastorally sometimes massively failed to teach the totally necessary and concomitant truth of Article 29: That just as the wicked are not benefited but rather injured by receiving the Sacrament, so the degree to which we approach the sacrament with lively faith is fundamentally related to the degree to which Christ in heaven mediates his gift of grace to us in the act of receiving. This great truth, rightly emphasized by the Jewel-school and the Homily on Worthy Receiving, should be a pillar of Anglican eucharistology, and its neglect by the so-called heirs of the Tractarians has been their loss. ↑
- It is worth noting that Augustine as quoted is actually the Venerable Bede’s interpolation of an Augustine quotation, which nevertheless captures Augustine’s sense deftly. ↑
- Augustine, On Baptism Against Donatus, V.8, quoted in An Explanation of the Thirty-Nine Articles, Vol. II by Alexander Penrose Forbes (London, 1868), 584 ↑
- Augustine, Epistle 43. Ibid. ↑
- Augustine, Against Donatus, after the Council, 27. Ibid. For additional citations from Augustine on the same topic, see E.B. Pusey’s The Real Presence the Doctrine of the English Church, 262-265 For a catena of other Fathers who assert the reception of the wicked with great clarity, see pp. 279-293 in the same work. ↑
- Augustine, Sermon 129 (Cardinal Mai edition) cited in Pusey’s The Real Presence As Contained in the Fathers, 540-542 ↑
- Letter 288 as can be seen at https://www.google.com/books/edition/Correspondence_of_Matthew_Parker_D_D_Arc/xyuJc12nMcAC?gbpv=1&bsq=alleged%20in%20the%20article ↑
- Thompson, Mark ‘A History of Subscription to the Thirty-Nine Articles’ 136-137 on https://churchsociety.org/docs/churchman/125/Cman_125_2_Thompson.pdf ↑
- http://www.thecounciloftrent.com/ch13.htm ↑
- Andrewes, Lancelot Answer to Bellarmine c.i ↑
- Which, one must recall, were given by a man who had a star engraved on his eucharistic vessels, adding gravity to the words “There is Christ” to be sure. https://books.google.com/books?id=tcYvAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA113&lpg=PA113&dq=star+canister+andrewes+eucharis#v=onepage&q=star%20canister%20andrewes%20eucharis&f=false ↑
- Regrettably not available on Google Books. I have cited these from the end-notes to Dr. Pusey’s sermon on the Holy Eucharist a Comfort to the Penitent (1843), available here: http://anglicanhistory.org/pusey/pusey5.html ↑
- It is sometimes urged that these words are not the words of Overall himself. Nicholl’s notes, “MSS. Notes written in an interleaved Common Prayer Book in the Bishop of Durham’s library, printed in the year 1619, supposed to be made from the collections of Bishop Overall, by a friend or chaplain of his.” If the author was not Overall, the case remains that such words were penned by a near-associate (Cosin is less likely) who also took the oath of subscription. Given the friendship between Overall and Andrewes, Overall being the source for the notes seems eminently plausible. ↑
- https://biblehub.com/library/schaff/the_creeds_of_the_evangelical_protestant_churches/the_anglican_catechism_a_d_1549.htm ↑
- https://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/confessions/heidelberg-catechism#toc-the-holy-supper-of-jesus-christ ↑
- Biography included in Darwell Stone’s The Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, Vol. II (Longmans, 1909), 57, 220. ↑
- Saravia, De Eucharistia, translation by Denison, p. 29, accessible here: http://anglicanhistory.org/england/saravia/eucharistica.pdf ↑
- Thorndike, Works, edn. Haddan, 1844-1854: IV, 38 ↑
- Ibid., 73. ↑
- Ibid., 82. ↑
- This is actually none other than the conclusion of Darwell Stone after his chapter on the English Reformation in Vol. II of A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, 249-250, “The Thirty-Nine Articles of 1571..deny Transubstantiation and Zwinglianism alike, to assert the real reception of the body and blood of Christ, and to leave open whether the body and blood are present at consecration or only at Communion. The writings of individuals in the reign of Elizabeth afford further indications of the toleration of differing beliefs as to the Eucharistic presence.” ↑
- Which some have guessed is the work of Bishop Jewel, I am personally convinced that Parker had at least a contributing hand ↑
- The cavil has been raised, that the original edition of the homilies had ‘sustenance’ instead of ‘substance’ and that in later editions ‘substance’ was an error introduced by the printers. Thankfully GoogleBooks has the first edition of the Second Book of Homilies, and ‘Substance’ can plainly be seen: https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Seconde_tome_of_Homilies_of_such_mat/dLBkAAAAcAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&bsq=ghostly ↑