Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/267

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We believe a presence and union of Christ with our soul and body, which we know not how to call better than sacramental, that is, effected by eating; that while we eat and drink the consecrated Bread and Wine, we eat and drink therewithal the Body and Blood of Christ, not in a corporal manner, but some other way, incomprehensible, known only to God, which we call spiritual; for if with St. Bernard and the Fathers a man goes no further, we do not find fault with a general explication of the manner, but with the presumption and self-conceitedness of those who boldly and curiously inquire what is a spiritual presence, as presuming that they can understand the manner of acting of God's Holy Spirit. We contrariwise confess with the Fathers, that this manner of presence is unaccountable, and past finding out, not to be searched and pried into by reason, but believed by faith. And if it seems impossible that the flesh of Christ should descend, and come to be our food, through so great a distance; we must remember how much the power of the Holy Spirit exceeds our sense and our apprehensions, and how absurd it would be to undertake to measure His immensity by our weakness and narrow capacity; and so make our faith to conceive and believe what our reason cannot comprehend.

Yet our faith doth not cause or make that presence, but apprehends it as most truly and really effected by the word of Christ: and the faith whereby we are said to eat the flesh of Christ, is not that only whereby we belleve that He died for our sins, (for this faith is required and supposed to precede the Sacramental Manducation,) but more properly, that whereby we believe those words of Christ, This is My Body; which was St. Austin's meaning when he said, "why dost thou prepare thy stomach and thy teeth? believe and thou hast eaten." For in this mystical eating by the wonderful power of the Holy Ghost, we do invisibly receive the substance of Christ's Body and Blood, as much as if we should eat and drink both visibly.

The result of all this is, that the Body and Blood of Christ are sacramentally united to the Bread and Wine, so that Christ is truly given to the faithful; and yet is not to be here considered with sense or worldly reason, but by faith, resting on the words of the Gospel. Now it is said, that the Body and Blood of Christ are joined to the Bread and Wine, because, that in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Flesh is given together with the Bread, and the Blood together with the Wine. All that remains is, that