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We have also Athanasius:* "For this reason he made mention of the ascent of the Son of man into heaven, that he might draw them away from an understanding which had reference to the the body, and that they might learn that the flesh which he spake of, was food from heaven, and spiritual nourishment."
Again, St. Chrysostom: "Before the bread is sanctified we call it bread, but the divine grace sanctifying it, through the mediation of the priest, it is freed from the appellation of bread, and is thought worthy of the name of the Lord's body, although the nature of bread has continued in it."†
We have Epiphanius, who compares the water of baptism with the bread of the Eucharist. For he says, "The virtue of the bread, and the efficacy of the water, receive their power from Christ, so that it is not the bread which becomes of virtue to us, but it is the virtue of the bread; for the bread
* ATHANASIUS, A. D. 326. This father is known principally for his defence against Arius; he was cruelly persecuted by the Arians during the forty-six years of his episcopacy; he was deposed no less than five times, but he at last died peaceably in the year 373.-Athanasius, ii. 979.
† Chrysost. ad Cæsar, contr. Appollinarem.
EPIPHANIUS at first embraced the monastic life, and passed several years in the desert of Egypt; A.D. 367, he was chosen bishop of Constantia ; he lived to the year 403.
itself is food, but the virtue which is in it tends to the generation of life."* We have Gregory of Nyssa, † who explains and illustrates his notion of the divine food by comparing it with an altar, and with a priest; for he says, "This holy altar at which we stand is a common stone by nature, but when it is consecrated to the worship of God it is immaculate. The bread also is at the beginning common bread, but when the mystery has made it holy, it is the body of Christ, and is called so." And then he instances the man who as a layman is common, but when dedicated to God becomes holy, though not changed either in body or form. We have Ambrose, who in discussing the nature of sacraments, makes the following question : "What is the word of Christ? That by which all things were made. The Lord commanded and the heaven was made; The Lord commanded and the earth was made; the Lord commanded and every creature was made. If, therefore, there is
Epiph. Anaceph. Heres. tom. ii. lib. iii.
† GREGORY OF NYSSA, the younger brother of Basil the Great, A.D. 370; he was at the council of Constantinople, A.D. 394, and probably died soon after.
Gregory of Nyssa. In bapt. xi. orat. p. 802.
| AMBROSE, born A.D. 340, of a consular family, was appointed bishop before he was baptized, was baptized Nov. 30, 374, and consecrated bishop of Milan a week after.
such a force in the word of the Lord Jesus, that those things began to be which were not, how much more is he the operating cause, that those things should be what they were and yet be changed into something else. Perhaps you say I do not see the form of wine. But it has the similitude." And though he certainly is very strong in some of his expressions, for instance,-"Therefore you have learnt that from the bread is made the body of Christ, and that the wine and water is poured into the cup, but it is made blood by the consecration of the heavenly word,” -yet I think that he has no further meaning than is conveyed by our own doctrine of the church of England,* and that the change that
* In the articles of 1552 it is indeed asserted, "A faithful man ought not either to believe, or openly confess, the real and bodily presence, as they term it, of Christ's flesh and blood in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper;" but this was afterwards withdrawn, and it is now said, in order that we may not exclude the spiritual presence, "The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner,” art. xxviii. And in our church catechism, to the question, "What is the inward part or thing signified?" the answer is, "The body and blood of Christ which are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper." And so Jeremy Taylor, in his treatise on the real presence of Christ, lays down as his rule for the interpretation of the fathers, that we must consider such expressions as "the body and blood of Christ," or, "before consecration it is mere bread, but after consecration it is the body of Christ;" and so forth, to be used in no different sense from our Lord himself, "This is my body;" and
is wrought in the elements is only a spiritual change, not a material one. Such must be his meaning, because in other places he is perfectly decided upon this point; for instance, "In eating and drinking the flesh and the blood, we signify the things which have been offered for us. You receive the sacrament in a similitude; it is the figure of the body and blood of the Lord, and you drink the likeness of his precious blood."* Last of all, we have Augustine:† in quoting the words of St. John, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you, he comments thus, "It is a figure of speech, teaching us that we must communicate with the passion of our Lord, and that we must treasure him up kindly and usefully in the memory, because his flesh was crucified and wounded for us.'
not doubt to say,
And again, the Lord did "this is my body," when
so he says, "The church of England expresses this mystery frequently in the same form of words, and we are so certain that to eat Christ's body spiritually, is to eat him really; that there is no other way for him to be eaten really, than by spritual manducation.-See Jeremy Taylor, Real Presence of Christ, sect. xii.
* Ambrose de sacr. lib. iv. c. 4.
† AUGUSTINE, bishop of Hippo, A.D. 395. At first a Manichæan, and a disbeliever in the scripture, but studying under Ambrose at Milan, was baptized in A.D. 387. He was the most eminent Latin father of the church.
August. de doctr. xi. John v. 1.
he gave the sign of his body."* And again, "If the sacraments had not any likeness to those things of which they are the sacraments, they would not at all be sacraments. From the likeness, they receive the name of the things themselves; as therefore, in a certain way, the sacrament of the body of Christ is the body of Christ, and the sacrament of the blood of Christ is the blood of Christ, so the sacrament of faith is faith." And again: "Understand what I have said spiritually; you are not about to eat this body which you see; I have commended a sacrament to you, which, being spiritually understood, will give you life."†
But we have no further need of testimony, here is witness upon witness, confessor upon confessor, that, throughout this century, the doctrines of the sacrament remained as our Lord intended. From so much being said, and by so many authors, it unquestionably may be inferred, that in some places heretical notions had sprung up, and and some of the absurdities, as detailed by Cyril of Jerusalem in the passage quoted from him, may have prevailed-but here, by this cloud of witnesses, we may thank God that sufficient care was taken in his Almighty councils to preserve the record of the primitive faith,