Imatges de pàgina
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real presence: various shades and modifications of the doctrine they might endure, such those which the Lutheran and Swiss churches had already established — but that all notions of that mysterious change which they had so long been taught to consider essential to the sacrament, should be entirely set aside, could not be made a matter of popular belief without much time, and infinite difficulty. But now, even upon this strong-hold of popish error, public disputations were held both at Oxford and Cambridge.

Peter Martyr held a public disputation before the commissioners sent by the king, the bishops of Lincoln, and others, in which these three propositions were canvassed :

“]. In the sacrament of thanksgiving there is no transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

2. The body or blood of Christ is not carnally or corporeally in the bread and wine, nor, as others used to say, under the bread and wine.

“3. The body and blood of Christ are united to the bread and wine sacramentally.” This was at Oxford. At Cambridge, Ridley was sent down with different commissioners to dispute on the following heads :

“1. Transubstantiation cannot be proved by the plain and manifest words of scripture, nor can it be necessarily collected from it, nor yet

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by the consent of the ancient fathers.

“2. In the Lord's Supper, there is none other oblation and sacrifice than of a remembrance of Christ's death, and thanksgiving."

Nor was it by word of mouth alone that these disputations were carried on. Cranmer wrote and published a collection of all the arguments against transubstantiation, while Gardiner took the contrary side. The substance of Cranmer's arguments lows: “ Christ in the institution took bread and gave it. So that his words, This is my body,' could only be meant of the bread; now the bread could not be his body literally. He himself also calls the cup the fruit of the vine. St. Paul calls it, the bread that we break, and the cup that we bless; and speaking of it after it was blessed, calls it that bread and that cup. For the reason of that expression, This is my body,' it was considered that the disciples to whom Christ spoke thus, were Jews, and that they, being accustomed to the Mosaical rites, must needs have understood his words in the same sense they did Moses' words concerning the paschal lamb, which is called “The Lord's passover.' It was not so literally, for the Lord's passover was the angel's passing by the Israelites when he smote the first born of the Egyptians. So the lamb was only the Lord's passover, as it was the memorial of it; and thus Christ, substituting the Eucharist for the paschal lamb, used such an expression, calling it his body, in the same manner of speaking as the lamb was called the Lord's passover. This was plain enough, for his disciples could not well understand him in any other sense than that to which they had been formerly accustomed. In the scripture many such figurative expressions occur frequently.

In baptism, the other sacrament instituted by Christ, he is said to baptize 'with the Holy Ghost and fire,' and such as are baptized are said to put on Christ,' which were figurative expressions; as also in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, the cup is called the new testament in Christ's blood, which is an expression full of figure. Further it was observed that that sacrament was instituted for a remembrance of Christ, and of his death, which implied that he was to be absent at the time when he was to be remembered.

Nor was it simply said, that the elements were his body and blood, but that they were his body broken, and his blood shed; that is, they were there as suffering on the cross, which as they could not be understood literally, (for Christ did institute this sacrament before he had suffered on the cross,) so now Christ must be present in the sacrament, not as glorified in heaven, but as suffering on the cross. From those places where it is said that Christ is in heaven, and that he is to continue there, they argued that he was not to be any more upon earth; and those words in the sixth of St. John, of eating Christ's flesh and drinking his blood, they said were to be understood, not of the sacrament, (since many received the sacrament unworthily, and of them it cannot be said that they have eternal life in them,) but Christ there said of them that received him in the sense that was meant in that chapter, that all that did so eat his flesh had eternal life in them ; therefore these words can only be understood figuratively of receiving him by faith, as himself there explains it: and so in the end of that discourse, finding that some were startled at that way of expressing himself, he gave a key to the whole, when he said his words were

spirit and life, and that the flesh profited nothing; it was the spirit that quickened.”* From this they went on to examine the ancient fathers, and deduced the gradual corruption of this doctrine in the dark ages down to the fourth council of Lateran by pope Innocent; shewing that it had originated in the ignorance of mankind, and in the desire of the Roman church to arrogate power, and to mystify the simple rites of Christianity by the pomps and pageantry which they introduced into

* See Burnet, part ii. book i.

its services.

In the year 1550, the new opinions, by the help of free discussion, and the learned arguments above displayed by Cranmer and the other principal reformers, began to make considerable impression on the people. Ridley, bishop of London, made a visitation of his diocese, and issued many injunctions in regard to several superstitions of the mass still remaining—“Such were washing their hands at the altar, holding up the bread, licking the chalice, blessing their eyes with the paten* or sudary, and many other relics of the mass.” But that which was most new was, that there having been great contests about the form of the Lord's board, whether it should be made as an altar, or as a table, †

* The paten was an open dish or plate, from the Latin patena, in which the host was reserved. The sudary was a small napkin, or handkerchief.

† Bishop Andrewes says, “If we agree about the matter of sacrifice, there will be no difference about the altar, the holy Eucharist being considered as a sacrifice, (in the representation of the breaking of the bread and the pouring of the cup,) the same is fitly called an altar, which again is as fitly called a table, the Eucharist being considered as a sacrament, which is nothing else than a distribution of the sacrifice to the service of the receivers.” And Mede says,

The seat or raised fabric appointed for the setting and celebration of this holy mystery, was, the holy table, or altar, for by both these names hath that sacred biere (as I may call

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