Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 40.


You cannot, my Lord Bishop, but perceive the perfect agreement among the Fathers on this great verity; and you cannot help also perceiving in this exposition, that which should be always found among the children of God, an uniformity, a consent, and a godly agreement as regards this great truth, one of the most weighty articles of our Faith. You do not behold this harmony, this concord, among our brethren who have unfortunately for themselves separated from the Church of God, such as the Lutherans, the Calvinists, Methodists, &c., as well as members of the Church of England as by law established.

Hear the words of the very learned Julius Vindex on the subject, (Goliath Beheaded, &c.,) he says, "Though it be a very difficult matter tit present to fathom the real sentiments of the Church of England1 respecting the Eucharist, I do most positively insist on it, that the doctrine of the real presence, (if her most learned divines are to be believed,) is no less her real and true doctrine, than it is that of the Church of Home. I shall begin first with Doctors Nowell and Ford; the first in his famous Catechism, the other in his Commentary on the Thirty-nine Articles."

"What is the heavenly or spiritual part of the Lord's supper, which no sense can discover ? " says the former.

Answer.—" The body and blood of Christ, which are given to the faithful, and are taken, eaten, and drank by them, which though it be only in an heavenly manner, yet they are received by them truly, really, and in very deed.—Vere, tamen, et reipsa."

Ford seems merely to have copied his words: " The body and blood of Christ which are given to the faithful in the Lord's supper ,and are by them received, eaten, and drank only in a heavenly and spiritual manner, yet truly and in reality."

No objection can be drawn from the words heavenly and spiritual, used by these two authors. Catholics admit the use of them also. Hear the learned Veron: " Not only can the body of Christ, under the symbols be called spiritual, and Christ himself spirit, but also under the symbols can be said to be in a spiritual manner, or spiritually, and not in a corporeal manner, or a carnal one." 2 By these words Veron most certainly understood a real presence under the elements; we must suppose that Nowell and Ford, as honest and plain dealing men, did the same.

1 See the Articles and Liturgy as they stood in 1548, clearly expressing the real presence; in 1552, as clearly denying it; in 1562, leaving it doubtful; and in 1662, apparently rejecting it altogether. Surely divine faith must of its own nature be immutable and unchangeable, as the God from whom it emanates; it cannot be subject to the arbitrary and capricious devices of men.

2 Rule of Faith, chap. 2, sect. 2.