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frame. The holy sacrament, therefore, is called a mystery, because in it, one thing is seen, and another is understood. That which is seen has the properties of matter, that which is understood strengthens the spirit. Assuredly Christ's body, which suffered death and rose from the grave, dieth no more, but is eternal, and obnoxious to no change: the Eucharistic elements, however, are temporal not eternal, liable to corruption, and to all the accidents which attend ordinary substances. These elements, therefore, are the Lord's body and blood mystically and figuratively. A like figure is used by St. Paul in speaking of the Israelites, who were all, he says, ' under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptised unto Moses in the cloud, and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink : for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them; and that rock was Christ *.' Now the rock from which the water ran was not Christ bodily, but spiritually. It was a type of Christ, who says to all the faithful, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst : but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life?'
. This our Lord spake of the Spirit which those received who believed in him. So St. Paul, when he spake of. the spiritual meat and drink received by the ancient Israelites, intimated, that they derived spiritual nourishment from the body and blood of x 1 Cor. x. 1, et seq.
y St. John, iv. 14.
Christ, which is now offered spiritually in the Eucharist. Upon this principle, our Lord, before he suffered, hallowed bread and wine, saying, • This is my body, and this is my blood. Nor did these things fail to become such to the receivers, any more than did so, what was received by the Israelites in the wilderness before Jesus was born. Upon another occasion, the Saviour said, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life? ;' but he did not mean by these words the body wherewith he was enclosed, and the blood which he shed upon the cross.
He only referred to the holy Eucharist, his mystical body and blood, and the means of attaining eternal life to all who receive it with a believing heart. Under the old law, various sacrifices were offered, presignifying the great sacrifice for sin hereafter to be made by Christ. Under the new dispensation, the holy Sacrament is administered as a commemoration of that sacrifice now that it has been offered. Christ suffered for sin once, but his sufferings are mystically renewed at his holy Supper. At this also, we are reminded, that, as many grains go to make the bread of which we eat, and many grapes to make the wine of which we drink, so all true Christians are members of Christ, and form integral parts of his mystical body. Now, therefore, as that mystical body is placed upon the altar, receive it with due preparation of mind, and ye will receive that with which ye are spiritually united.”
? Ibid. vi. 54. - Foxe, 1045, Wheloc. in Bedam. 462. This homily was
There are also extant two epistles written by Elfric to two prelates of his day, which are equally decisive against transubstantiation. In these it is asserted in the plainest manner, that Christ's presence in the Eucharist is spiritual, and not corporal". To the language in which these interesting remains of antiquity are written, it is probable, that Englishmen owe the satisfaction of being enabled so completely to vindicate their remote progenitors from a suspicion of having entertained unscriptural opinions respecting the Lord's Supper. Archbishop Lanfranc, and the other foreigners, and the immediate posterity of foreigners, by whom transubstantiation was introduced into England, and who, during a long period enjoyed the best English benefices, knew little or nothing of the idiom spoken by the conquered nation. The miserable remains of Saxon literature were therefore disregarded, and the transubstantiators only thought of obliterating or destroying such Latin documents as made against them. Hence it is, in all probability, that although Elfric's homily against the carnal presence is translated from the Latin, the original may be sought in vain.
evidently composed by some person acquainted with Ratramn's treatise ; for the ideas, and even the words, are in many places the same in both pieces.
" There is yet remaining one certain piece or fragment of an Epistle of Elfricus in the library of Worcester. Wherein, so much as maketh against the matter of transubstantiation, we have
In the Church of England, as in that of Rome, effectual means for confirming the people in a belief of the carnal presence were not, however, taken immediately on the adoption of that tenet by the ruling ecclesiastics. It was not till after the lapse of considerably more than a century that the condemnation of Berenger was followed up by any change in the religious formularies of the Papacy". In 1215, however, Innocent III. so no
found in the middle of the said Latin epistle utterly rased out, so that no letter or piece of a letter doth there appear. The words cut out, were these : 'Non est tamen hoc sacrificium corpus ejus in quo passus est pro nobis, neque sanguis ejus quem pro nobis effudit: sed spiritualiter corpus ejus efficitur et sanguis, sicut manna quod de cælo pluit, et aqua quæ de petra fluxit. Sicut Paulus &c. Notwithstanding this sacrifice is not the same body of his, wherein he suffered for us, nor the same blood of his which he shed for us : but spiritually it is made his body and blood, as thal manna which rained from heaven, and the water which did flow out of the rock. As Paul, 8-c.' These words so rased out are to be restored again by another Saxon book found at Exeter. By the rasing of which one place, it may easily be conjectured what these practisers have likewise done in the rest.” Ibid.
d “ It was late before the church defined transubstantiation; for a long time together it did suffice to believe, that the true body of Christ was present, whether under the consecrated bread, or any other way. So said the great Erasmus." (Bp. Jer. Taylor's Real Presence, 181.) “Ante Innocentium tertium Ro manum episcopum, qui in Lateranensi concilio præsedit, tribus modis id (Chr. præs. in Euch. sc.) posse fieri curiosius scrutantibus visum est: aliis existimantibus una cum pane, vel in pane, Christi corpus adesse, veluti ignem in ferri massa, quem modum Lutherus secutus videtur : aliis panem in nihilum redigi, vel corrumpi: aliis substantiam panis transmutari in substantiam corporis Christi, quem modum secutus Innocentius, reliquos
torious for his ambition, pride, avarice, and reckless prosecution of his private ends“, having ventured to insert transubstantiation among articles of faith, his creature, Cardinal Langton, in this respect, followed as his patron led. Langton was born in England but educated abroad, and being at the papal court during a contest respecting the validity of an election to the see of Canterbury, he was intruded into that dignity, contrary to all precedent, by one of the boldest strokes of Innocent's unprincipled policy. When at length the Cardinal found himself firmly seated in the metropolitan chair, after the complete humiliation of his contemptible sovereign, King John, he shewed himself as an English politician worthy of his elevation; for he cordially concurred in measures, highly offensive to the court of Rome, which led to the signing of Magna Charta. As a divine, however, Cardinal Langton was never emancipated from Italian bondage. In 1220', he translated, as it is called, with extraordinary pomp, the corpse of Archbishop Becket, from the marble coffin in which it had hitherto mouldered, into a shrine of gold ornamented with precious stones. Fifty years had elapsed since the barbarous assassination
modos in eo concilio rejecit.” Tunstall. de Ver. Corp. et Sang. Do. in Euch. Lutet. 1554. f. 46.
• u Noverat enim (Johan. Rex) quod Papa (Innoc. III.) super omnes mortales ambitiosus erat et superbus, pecuniæque sititor insatiabilis, et ad omnia scelera pro præmiis datis vel promissis aptus et proclivis." Matt. Paris, ap. Parker. de Antiqu. Brit. Eccl. 240.
I Collier, I. 428.