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himself were not present, and willingl to form or to cherish a most salutary union with the guests.
XV. The presence of Jesus at the Holy Supper, has the happiest influence on worthy communicants. John 6: 53, 56 –58. 48–51, 35, 63. Comp. Ill. 13.
TO THE DOCTRINE OF THE EUCHARIST.
[The doctrine of the two preceding sections, it need not be remarked, is one of the utmost moment. It was on the subject of this doctrine, that the first important diversity of opinion existed, between the earlier reformers-a diversity which was subsequently enlarged by the disputes about the peculiar views of Calvin relative to the divine decrees. It is intimately connected with the doctrine of the twofold nature of Christ, a subject on which alone about two thousand works were published in Germany. As the views of the Lutheran church on this point, have been so often misunderstood and misrepresented by her friends as well as foes—as she has been charged with yielding her faith to propositions alike unfounded in Scripture and repugnant to the dictates of reason; the translator deems it not irrelevant, to subjoin several extracts from the works of Lutheran divines, in which the relation of this doctrine to reason is considered ; and the several specifications necessary to its lucid illustration, detailed. The first is from the “Dogmatik” of Dr. Reinhard, p. 596. “On this subject our church holds the middle course between Papish transubstantiation, and the figurative explanation of the reformed, inasmuch as she understands the words of the institution exhibitive. Our view of this doctrine therefore embraces the following specifications : 1. Bread and wine are not mere signa rei absentis, but signa exhibitiva corporis et sanguinis Christi.—Hence 2. in, with, and under the bread and wine, we receive the true body and the true blood of Christ, by which we mean, that while we receive the bread and wine, the exalted God-man Jesus exerts an influence through his body and blood, on all those who receive the outward emblems. This is the union between the bread and body, and between the wine and blood of Christ which we mean; nor has our church ever taught that the emblems become one substance with the body and blood of Jesus, an opinion commonly denominated “consubstantiation." But as this union is peculiar in its nature and unlike any other union known to us, we designate it from the ordinance itself, a “sacramental union.” Nor is it a mere analogia signi et signati : for we actually receive nourishment from the body and blood of Christ. 4. As the influence which Christ exerts on us through his body and blood, is confined to the reception of the outward signs, our peculiar mode of expression is not inadmissible when we speak of “ eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ (certainly not, if properly understood, for Jesus himself used it John 6].-5. But we do not by this phraseology mean that there is a bodily eating and drinking of the body and blood of Jesus; or suppose that there is a local existence of the entire body and blood of Christ in the outward emblems. This error, which is termed “impanation," and sometimes the “Capernaitish” eating, has uniformly been rejected by our church (this latter term is derived from the circumstance that the inhabitants of Capernaum
1 Lib. Symbol. p. 558. Antonii Colleg. Antithet. p. 823 &c.
2 Allgem. deutsche Bibliothek, Vol. 95. p. 65. Allgem. Litt. Zeitung, 1790. No. 340. p. 427. In both these works, it is proved, that the connex. ion between
bread and the body, and wine and the blood of Christ, mentioned in 1 Cor. 11: 27, may be any other than a symbolical one.
3 See Mosheim's Elementa Theologiae Dogmaticae, Vol. II. p. 93.
understood the language of the Saviour in the bodily, material sense John 6].-6. Nor do we by this doctrine multiply or expand the body and blood of Christ; for we do not believe a local, material presence, but merely a presentiam substantialem, an active influence at all celebrations of the eucharist.-7. Finally, we are very willing to admit that we cannot comprehend the manner in which Christ exerts this active influence or presence; as the modes of action of which the exalted Redeemer can avail himself, are not all known to us, and as we are altogether unable to comprehend the mode of the divine agency in general. It is enough for us that this doctrine, when properly explained, contains nothing inconsistent with reason; the incomprehensibility of it is no satisfactory objection, if it be taught in Scripture. According to the views of the Lutheran church, therefore, the Supper of our Lord may be thus defined : ritus sacer, per quem pane et vino fruentibus exhibetur corpus et sanguis Domini ad alendam ipsorum pietatem felicitatemque promovendam.
We shall now proceed to show that the explanation of the words of the sacramental institution, which we have given is preferable to that of the Reformed.--1. If we examine the words of the institution themselves, it must be admitted that our view of this doctrine seems best to harmonize with them. For, although the words will admit of several interpretations, our explanation appears to be preferable, because—a) the context affords us not the least ground for supposing them to be figurative, which would have to be the case before we should be authorized to depart from the natural meaning of the words.—b) In addition to this, we should make decided tautology of Luke 22: 19, by explaining figuratively the words “this is my body;". for their meaning would then be the same as that expressed by the succeeding words, " do this in remembrance of me.” But that these last words are not an explanation of those preceding,
is evident from the circumstance that they are given as a command. The same remarks apply also to 1 Cor. 11: 24, 25.c) Christ himself plainly teaches us that real blood was meant by his evident allusion to Exod. 24: 8; for in that passage the real blood of sacrifices is spoken of.-2. But these arguments, which are derived from the words themselves and amount to a probability, derive such a confirmation from the explanation of the apostle Paul, that on the just and acknowledged principles of exegesis, the explanation of the Lutheran church must be admitted to be indisputably preferable to any other. And as the question here ought certainly to be purely exegetical, we ought merely to inquire, what does the Word of inspiration, according to the acknowledged principles of interpretation, teach. For -a) in 1 Cor. 10:16, the cup is called Kouvovia tov aiuatos XQuotov communion (or communication or impartation or fellowship) of the blood of Christ, and the bread is termed xowvwνια του σωματος του Χριστου communion of the body of Christ. . It is admitted, even by opponents, that, according to the usage of language, this expression signifies, that by the use of bread and wine we come into connexion with the body and blood of Christ. See Acts 2: 42. Gal. 2:9. Matth. 23:30. Now this communion or connexion cannot be merely figurative, cannot signify merely a profession of the religion of Jesus. For then no reason could be assigned why the apostle should specify the body and blood of Christ, as being specifically that with which we become connected. Had that been his intention, he would merely have mentioned, in general, that we enter into communion with Christ, as in v. 20, 21. Nor can this communion be a mere recollection of the death of Jesus by faith. . For then this communion would take place only in believers, and not in all communicants, as is the case in the Holy Supper (v. 17). There remains, therefore, no other consistent exposition excepting that adopted by the Lutheran church, that this communion consists in such a participation as is above specifically described.—b) Equally remarkable is the passage 1 Cor. 11: 29, which declares that all who eat and drink unworthily bring judgment on themselves, “because they do not discern the Lord's body.” That these words do not mean, that those who receive this ordinance in an irreverent manner, are punishable because they do not treat the institution of Christ with becoming veneration, and have not the proper views and feelings when they receive the signs of Christ's body and blood, is evident from the
forced and unnatural character of the explanation itself; and because, though such a reception, on that hypothesis, would indeed be criminal, it could by no means be called a sin against “ the body and blood of Christ,” as nothing but mere bread and wine were present; and because the phrase “discern the Lord's body" is an allusion to the difference between clean and unclean food (Rom. 15: 23. 1 Cor. 10:25, 27); and therefore the passage accuses the unworthy communicant of treating the body of Jesus as common and unclean food. But what rational idea can this charge convey, if the body of Christ is not present ? And finally, it is evident from the peculiar solemnity with which the apostle warns his readers against an unworthy reception. No reason can be assigned why he should evince such peculiar earnestness relative to the particular sin of receiving unworthily these emblems; as this sin, according to the other view, would not be more heinous than the negligent attendance on divine worship, or the reception of our daily food without that gratitude of heart which we owe to the giver of every good gift (1 Tim. 4:5). From all these considerations, it is evident that the Lutheran view of this subject, harmonizes best with all the representations of Scripture, and therefore according to the laws of exegesis is preferable to all others.
We shall now, in conclusion, reply to the principal objections, which have been urged against this view of the doctrine.