Page:Tracts for the Times Vol 1.djvu/278

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


the Wine appointed by our Blessed Saviour, and whereof Cyprian chiefly speaks,) the Blood of Christ is not so much as sacramentally present. So far was the Primitive Church from any thing of believing a corporal presence of the Blood, the Wine being reduced to nothing, (that is, to a mere accident without the substance,) for then they must have said, that the Water was changed into the people, as well as the Wine into the Blood. But there is no need that I should bring many testimonies of that Father, when all his writings do plainly declare that the true substance of the Bread and Wine is given in the Eucharist; that that spiritual and quickening food which the faithful get from the Body and Blood of Christ, and the mutual union of the whole people joined into one body may answer their type, the Sacrament which represents them.

Those words of the Council of Nice, (A.D. 325.) are well known, whereby the faithful are called from the consideration of the outward visible Elements of Bread and Wine, to attend the inward and spiritual act of the mind, whereby Christ is seen and apprehended. "Let not our thoughts dwell low, on that Bread and that Cup which are set before us, but lifting up our minds by faith, let us consider, that on this sacred Table is laid the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. And receiving truly His precious Body and Blood, let us believe these things to be the pledges and emblems of our resurrection; for we do not take much, but only a little, (of the Elements,) that we may be mindful, we do it not for satiety, but for sanctification." Now, who is there, even among the maintainers of Transubstantiation, that will understand this, not much, but a little, of the Body of Christ; or who can believe that the Nicene Fathers would call His Body and Blood symbols in a proper sense? when nothing can be an image or a sign of itself. And therefore, though we are not to rest in the Elements, minding nothing else, (for we should consider what is chieftest in the Sacrament, that we have our hearts lifted unto the Lord, who is given together with the signs,) yet Elements they are, and the earthly part of the Sacrament, both the Bread and the Wine, which destroys Transubstantiation.

St. Athanasius, famous in the time, and present in the Assembly of the Nicene Council, a stout Champion of the Catholic faith, acknowledgeth none other but a spiritual manducation of the Body of Christ in the Sacrament. "Our Lord," saith he, "made a