Obrazy na stronie

and the selfsame which good and godly men receive; but the Body of Christ they do not receive, for Christ doth not vouchsafe to deliver it to them.' And thus, he said, was his opinion and belief,

although he knew others to be of a contrary judgment.

"Being then after this demanded, whether he thought Christ's presence to be in the Sacrament, or no; he answered that Christ did give and offer to faithful Christian men His very real Body and Blood verily and really, under Sacraments of Bread and Wine; insomuch that they which devoutly come to be partakers of that Holy Food, are, by the benefit thereof, united and made one with Christ in His Flesh and Body. And therefore, he said, that Christ did distribute His Body spiritually; that He gave it truly; yet not so, nevertheless, that by these and the like words, we should conceive any gross, carnal intelligence, such as the Capernaites once dreamed of; but that (quoth he) we might labour and endeavour to express by some kind of words, the ineffable majesty of this mystery. For the manner whereby Christ is there present, and ministereth to the faithful His Flesh, is altogether inexplicable; but we must believe (quoth he) and think, that by God's mighty power, and the holy operation of His Spirit, this so notable a mystery was made; and that heaven and earth were joined together in that moment, as the blessed man, St. Gregory saith, the lowest parts are joined with the highest,' by which is understood that holy food whereby they which be regenerate by the Holy Ghost in baptism are nourished to immortality. And further he said, that Christ's Body was received in the said Sacrament by faith, which being received, both body and soul were quickened to everlasting life."—Ibid pp.272-3.


HOOPER, Bishop of Gloucester, may be regarded as another important witness to the language of this period on the Real Presence: in his "Visitation Book" of 1551-2, among his " Articles concerning the Christian Religion," we read thus:

"X. Item, that in the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of the Lord there is no transubstantiation of the bread and wine, into the Body and Blood of Christ, or any manner of corporal or local presence of Christ in, under, or with the bread and wine.. ."---Later Writings of Bishop Hooper, Parker Society,


p. 122.

[ocr errors]

Again, in the "Articles whereunto William Phelps, pastor and curate of Cirencester.... consented.... ministered unto him by John Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester, the 29th day of April, in the 5th year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth, 1551," we find :

"Item, that the same Holy Word of God doth confess, hold, defend, acknowledge and maintain, that the very natural, substantial, real, and corporal Body of Christ, concerning His

humanity, is only and solely in Heaven and not in the Sacrament and Communion of His precious Body and Blood......"

"As for the eating of His Flesh and drinking of His Blood really, corporally, materially, or substantially, it is but a carnal and gross opinion of men. —p. 153.

So, too, in "An Assertion and defence of the true knowledge and use of the Sacrament of Christ's Precious Body and Blood, made by John Wynter, Master of Arts, Parson of Stawnton, and professed by him in the Cathedral Church of Gloucester, 8 November, Anno Domini, 1551." He says:



That in the same Sacrament by no manner of means, reasons, or ways, the Body and Blood of Christ is carnally, bodily, really, or substantially present, but only spiritually to the soul and eye of faith;........And as in the breaking of the bread in the Sacrament, after the words of Christ which be these 'That is given for you,' there is no sensible feeling or painful passion, nor killing again of Christ's precious Body, no more is there in the bread, or under the bread of the Sacrament, after the words, which be these, This is My Body,' any natural, corporal, or substantial presence of the Body that died, or of the Blood that was shed; but that the bread and wine remaining in their substance be Sacraments of Christ's Body and Blood, which be present unto the eyes spiritually of faith, which is in the receiver, and not substantially nor corporally in the elements of bread and wine. And whosoever be of the contrary opinion and would defend transubstantiation or corporal presence, I do condemn his faith as an error and opinion contrary to the express Word of God.... .."—p. 155.

Having thus considered the opinions on the Real Presence prevalent at this time among the leading persons who conducted Ecclesiastical Affairs, we are brought in historical order to the Articles and the Prayer Book of 1552. For the purpose of this enquiry, it is not material to ascertain whether the XXIXth of these 42 Articles had been finally settled at the time when the Prayer Book was published: there seems indeed no reason to think the contrary: for although the Book came into use on the 1st November, and the Articles did not receive the Archbishop's last corrections until the 24th of the same month, and were only published in the May of the following year (1553), there is nothing in the language of the Article which (judging from what we have already seen) could well be a subject of dispute among the authors and revisers of it. The Article runs thus:

(1.) "XXIX. Of the Lord's Supper. The Supper of the Lorde is not onely a sign of the loue that Christiens ought to haue among theimselues one to another, but rather it is a Sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death, insomoche that to soche as rightlie, woorthelie, and with faieth receiue the same, the breade whiche we breake is a communion of the bodie of Christe. Likewise the Cuppe of blessing is a Communion of the bloude of Christe.

(2.) "Transubstanciation, or the chaunge of the substaunce of breade and wine into the substaunce of Christes bodie and bloude cannot be proued by holie writte, but is repugnant to the plaine woordes of Scripture, and hath giuen occasion to many supersticions.

(3.) "Forasmoche as the trueth of mannes nature requireth, that the bodie of one, and theself same manne cannot be at one time in diuerse places, but must nedes be in some one certeine place : Therefore the bodie of Christe cannot bee presente at one time in many and diuerse places. And because (as holie Scripture doeth teache) Christe was taken up into heauen, and there shall continue unto thende of the worlde, a faithful man ought not, either to beleue, or openlie to confess the reall and bodelie [Realem et Corporalem] presence (as thei terme it) of Christes flesh and bloude, in the Lordes Supper.

(4.) "The Sacramente of the Lordes Supper was not commaunded by Christes ordinaunce to be kepte, carried about, lifted up, nor worshipped."

Now, it must be plain, I think, that the 3rd paragraph of this Article is the deliberate judgment of the Convocation* of 1552 on a point which, as we have seen, had been long debated in connection with the docrine of Transubstantiation; and the Church of England, thus speaking Synodically, cautiously limits herself to a negative statement; that statement is simply and solely a denial and a condemnation of the, then still prevalent, opinion or belief that Christ's NATURAL FLESH AND BLOOD Was present in the Sacrament of the Altar in some REALL and BODILIE i. e., in some CARNAL, PHYSICAL ORGANICAL, and withal LOCAL manner. The expression "as thei terme it," interpreted, as it must be, by the language which has been already quoted from controversial and other Documents of the six preceding years, seems to me to demonstrate this. Such a belief, and moreover the open profession of it, was, in the judgment of the Synod, what "a faithful


[ocr errors]

The title proves this:-" Articles agreed on by the Bishops and o'her learned men in the synod at London, in the year of our Lord God 1552, for the woiding of controversy in opinions, and the establishment of a godlie concord in certain matters of Religion. Published by the King's Majesty's commandment, in the month of May, 1553. Rich. Graftonus, typographus regius excudebat, Lond. mense Junii, 1553."

[ocr errors]

man ought not to hold or promulge: how much he might or must hold, or what language he should use to express his belief in the Eucharistic Presence, the Synod did not attempt to determine: indeed we may fairly presume that the various opinions of its members must have been an effectual bar to any such definition, if it had been even thought of all that the Convocation decreed was-that a specific belief, and its recognized verbal expression, which were avowedly one logical result of the theory of Transubstantiation, "ought not" to be persisted in-all that it seems to have meant was, to discountenance, discourage, and prevent the continuance of this belief and form of words.

Coeval with this Synodical decision appeared the 2nd Prayer Book of Edward VIth certain complaints which, as is well known, had been made by the more eager of the reforming party in England, and in particular the censures of Bucer, are stated to have led to the revision of the former Book. Whether the concessions which this revision implied were wise or not, it is unnecessary and might look immodest for me here to discuss. But it is of consequence to ask-was the new Book, with its altered language and arrangement, designed to teach another and a lower doctrine than that embodied in the earlier Book? To this question I feel no hesitation in replying, as my firm conviction, that it was not. Such indeed is but the recorded opinion of many who have critically compared the two; though some of them have thought that the Doctrine of the first Book, on the Eucharist especially, was but barely saved in the Second. Without attempting here, however, any proof, from internal evidence, of the conviction just expressed, it must suffice (and is more to the purpose probably) to look for some Historical attestations of it; and the three following seem enough for the purpose :

"First: we have the witness of the Act of Uniformity, which authorized the Book. In that Statute, the 5 and 6 Edw. VI. c. i. A.D. 1552, which (considering the co-operation of the Ecclesiastical and Civil Legislatures in those days) must be held to embody the opinion of both the Bishops and the Parliament, the First Prayer Book is spoken of as—


.... a very godly order.... agreeable to the Word of God and the Primitive Church, very comfortable to all good people desiring to live in Christian conversation, and most profitable to the estate of this realm....."

And then the Act proceeds to state in the 5th Section that

"Because there hath arisen in the use and exercise of the aforesaid Common Service in the Church heretofore set forth, divers doubts,"

not, be it observed, as to its Doctrinal teaching but

(1) "for the fashion and manner of the ministration of the same,"

while even this was not really owing to anything in the Book itself, but grew

"rather by the curiosity of the Minister and Mistakers, than of any other worthy cause; therefore, as well for the more plain and manifest explanation hereof, as for the more perfection of the said Order of Common Service, in some places where it is necessary to make the same prayers and fashion of service more earnest and fit to stir Christian people to the true honouring of Almighty God:" (a practice in which, as the Preamble states, "a great number" of people proved themselves very deficient, by their choosing to

(2) "Abstain and refuse to come to their Parish Churches and other places where Common Prayer, administration of the Sacraments, and preaching of the word of God, is used upon Sundays and other days ordained to be holy days")

on these two accounts (1 and 2) it was that

"The aforesaid Order of Common service" had been "faithfully and godly perused, explained, and made fully perfect."

Next: we have the testimony of LATIMER, a most competent witness, who (in the "Disputation at Oxford" of 1554, to be noticed hereafter, when in the course of the argument, Weston was led to ask him "Which Communion [Book]?— the first, or the last"-i. e. the Liturgy of 1549 or 1552-he referred to?) said :

"I find no great diversity in them; they are one supper of the Lord but I like the last very well."

"Weston. Then the first was naught, belike."

"Latimer. I do not well remember wherein they differ." "Weston. Then cake-bread and loaf-bread are all one with you."-p. 504.

Thirdly there are the two considerations; (1) First that the


« PoprzedniaDalej »