King James Bible Adam Clarke Bible Commentary Martin Luther's Writings Wesley's Sermons and Commentary Neurosemantics Audio / Video Bible Evolution Cruncher Creation Science Vincent New Testament Word Studies KJV Audio Bible Family videogames Christian author Godrules.NET Main Page Add to Favorites Godrules.NET Main Page




Bad Advertisement?

Are you a Christian?

Online Store:
  • Visit Our Store

  • A SERMON OF THE LORD’S SUPPER
    PREVIOUS CHAPTER - NEXT CHAPTER - HELP - FACEBOOK - GR FORUMS - GODRULES ON YOUTUBE    

    F142. JESUS EMMANUEL.

    THERE are two sacraments in Christ’s church: one of initiation that is, wherewith we be enrolled, as it were, into the household and family of God, which sacrament we call baptism the other wherewith we be conserved, fed, kept, and nourished to continue in the same family, which is called the Lord’s supper, or the body and blood of our Savior Jesus Christ, broken for our sins and shed for our transgressions.

    Of the former sacrament, that is, of baptism, to speak now I am not purposed, because occasion and time serve not so thereto. Of the second therefore will I speak something by God’s grace, if that you remember this, that baptism in Christ’s church now sithen Christ’s death is come in place of circumcision in the same church afore Christ’s coming: whereby we may see that christian parents seem to be no less bound to offer their infants and babes to be baptized, that they may be taken and accounted of us as members of Christ’s mystical body, wherein they are received and sealed, than were the Hebrews their children to be circumcised and so to be F144 taken as pertaining to the covenant and league with God, wherein they were engraffed, alonely the circumstance of the eighth day, not necessary to be observed, being now abrogate.

    But to come again. Of the Lord’s supper I am purposed presently to speak through the help of God, because we are assembled in Christ, I hope, to celebrate the same. F145 Now that the things which I shall speak may be better observed and carried away of you, I will tell you how and in what sort I will speak of it. Three things would I have marked, as the principles and scope whereto I will refer all that I shall at this time speak thereof. They are these: Who, what, and wherefore. That is, to make it more plain, Who did institute this thing which we are about to celebrate: this is the First. The Second is, What the thing is which is instituted. And the Last is, Wherefore, and to what end it was instituted, whereby we shall be taught how to use it. [1.] For the First, Who did institute this sacrament and supper.

    You all do know that F146 things are more esteemed sometime for the dignity and authority of the person, sometime for the wisdom of the person, sometime for the power and magnificence of the person, sometime for the holiness of the person, F147 and sometime for the tender love and kindness of the person. If need were, I could by examples set forth every one of these; but I hope it is not necessary.

    Now then, how can the thing which we be aboutward to celebrate but be esteemed of every one highly, in that the Author of it (loth want no dignity, no authority, no wisdom, no power, no magnificence, no holiness, no tender love and kindness, but hath all dignity, authority, wisdom, power, magnificence, holiness, tender love, mercy, glory, and all that can be wished, absolutely? He is God eternal, co-equal and consubstantial with the Father and with the Holy Ghost, “the image of the substance of God,” the Wisdom of the Father, “the brightness of his glory,” by whom all things were made, are ruled, and governed. He is the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords. He is the Messias of the world, our most dear and loving Brother, Savior, Mediator, Advocate, Intercessor, Husband, Priest: so that the thing which cometh from him cannot but be esteemed, loved, and embraced. If dignity like us; if authority like us; if wisdom like us; if power like us; if glory like us; if goodness and F148 mercy like us; yea, if any thing that can be wished like us, then cannot this which our Lord did institute but like us; and that so much the more, by how much it is one of the last things which he did institute and command.

    God open our eyes to see these things; accordingly! so shall we come with more reverence to this table of the Lord: which thing he grant for his mercy’s sake. Amen.

    And thus much for the first, who did institute this sacrament. [2.] NOW to the Second, What the sacrament is.

    If we shall ask our eyes, our nose, our mouth, our taste, our hands, and the reason of man, they will all make a consonant answer, that it is bread and wine: and verily therein they speak the truth and lie not, as by many things may be proved, although the papists prate their pleasure to the contrary.

    And here, my dearly beloved, I think I shall not be either tedious or unprofitable unto you, if that I tarry a little in shewing this verity, that the substance of bread and wine remaineth in the sacrament after the words of consecration (as they call them) be spoken. Whereby we may learn how shameless beasts they be which would enforce men to believe transubstantiation, which is an error whereupon in a manner dependeth all popery; for it is the stay of their priesthood, which is neither after the order of Aaron, nor after the order of Melchisedec, but after the order of Baal: which tiling is something seen by their number; for false prophets and priests of Baal were always many moe in number when the wicked were in authority, than true priests and prophets of the Lord, as the holy histories of the bible do teach. Read 1 Kings 18.

    That in the supper of the Lord, or in the sacrament of Christ’s body, which the papists call ‘the sacrament of the altar’ as though that were Christ’s sacrament, which thing they can never prove; (for it, being perverted and abused to a contrary end, as of sacrificing propitiatorily for the sins of the quick and of the dead, of idolatry by adoring or worshipping it with godly honor, etc., is no more Christ’s sacrament but an horrible profanation of it: and therefore, as Christ called “God’s temple,” which was “called a house of prayer,” for the abusing and profaning of it by the priests, “a den of thieves;” so this which the papists call ‘the sacrament of the altar’ full truly may we call an abominable idol: and therefore I would all men should know that ‘the sacrament of the altar’ as the papists now do abuse it, omitting certain substantial points of the Lord’s institution, and putting in stead thereof their own dregs and dreams, is not the sacrament of Christ’s body, nor the Lord’s supper; whereof when we speak reverently, as our duty is, we would not that men should think we speak it of the sacrament [of] the popish mass:) That, I say, in the supper of the Lord, or in the sacrament of Christ’s body, there remaineth the substance of bread and wine, as our senses and reason doth teach, these many things also do teach the same.

    First, the Holy Ghost doth plainly tell us, by calling it often “bread” after the words of consecration, as “Is not the bread which we break a partaking of the body of Christ Paul. Lo, plainly he saith, “the bread which we break,” not only calling it ‘bread,’ but addeth thereto ‘breaking;’ which cannot be attributed either to Christ’s body whereof no bone was broke, either to any accident, but must needs be of substance: which substance, if it be not Christ’s body, cannot be but bread; as in the eleventh chapter four times he plainly calleth it, ‘He that eateth of this bread, he that receiveth this bread,’ etc. And in the Acts of the apostles we read how that (in speaking of the communion) they “met together to break bread,” etc. So that it is plain, the substance of bread and wine doth remain in the supper after the words of consecration; as also may appear plainly by Christ’s own words, which calleth that which he gave them in the cup “wine” or “the fruit of the vine,” as both Matthew and Mark do write: whereby we see that there is no transubstantiation of the wine; and therefore may we also see that there is no transubstantiation of the bread.

    As for the papists’ cavilling, how that it hath the name of bread because it was bread, as Simon the leper was called still leprous though he was healed, or as Moses’ rod being turned into a serpent was called a rod still, it F149 proveth nothing; for there was in the one a plain sight, and the senses certified that Simon was no leper, and in the other plain mention that the rod was turned into a serpent. But concerning the sacrament, neither the senses see any other thing than bread, neither is there any mention made of turning: and therefore their cavil is plainly seen to be but a cavil and of no force.

    But to come again, to bring more reasons against transubstantiation: secondly, that the substance of bread remaineth still, the very text doth teach; for the evangelists and the apostle St Paul do witness that Christ gave that to his disciples, and called it his body, which he took, on which he gave thanks, and which he brake. But he “took bread,” “gave thanks” on bread, and “brake” bread: ergo he gave bread, and called bread “his body,” as he called the cup “the new Testament.” So that it followeth by this; that there is no transubstantiation. And this reason I myself have promised in writing to prove by the authority of the fathers; namely Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Epiphanius, Hieronymus, Austin, Theodoret, Cyril, Bede; F150 if so be I may have the use of my books. F151 Thirdly, that in the sacrament there is no transubstantiation of the bread, by this reason I do prove. Like as by our Savior Christ the Spirit of truth spake of the bread, “This is my body;” so saith the same Spirit of truth of the same bread, that “we many are one body and one bread,” etc. So that, as it appeareth the sacrament not to be the church by transubstantiation, even so it is not Christ’s natural body by transubstantiation.

    Fourthly, I prove that there is no transubstantiation by Luke and Paul’s words spoken over the cup. For no less are they effectual to transubstantiate the cup, than their words spoken of the bread are operatorious and mighty to transubstantiate the bread: for, as they say of the bread, “This is my body,” so say they of the cup, “This cup is the new Testament:” which thing is absurd to be spoken or thought F152 either of the cup or of the thing in the cup by transubstantiation. Yea, rather in saying these words, “This cup is the new Testament,” we are taught by their coupling this word “cup” to the demonstrative “this,” how we should, in these words, “This is my body,” know that this word “this” doth there demonstrate bread.

    Fifthly, that the substance of bread remaineth in the sacrament, as the reasons before brought forth do prove, so doth the definition of a sacrament; for the fathers do affirm it to “consist of an earthly thing and of an heavenly thing, F153 of “the word and of the element,” F154 of sensible things and of things which be perceived by the mind.” F155 But transubstantiation taketh clean away’ the earthly thing, the element, the sensible thing;’ and so maketh it no sacrament. And therefore the definition of a sacrament full well teacheth that bread, which is ‘the earthly thing, the sensible thing, and the element,’ remaineth still, as St Austin saith, “The word cometh to the element;” F154 (he saith not, ‘taketh away the element;’) and so it is made a sacrament.

    Sixthly, the nature and proportion of a sacrament teacheth this also which I have affirmed. For, as Cyprian writeth that “sacraments bear the name of the thing which they signify;” F156 so doth St Austin teach that, “if sacraments have not some signification with the thing whereof they be sacraments, then are they no sacraments.” F157 “Now in the Lord’s supper this similitude is, first, in nourishing, that, as bread nourisheth the body, so Christ’s body broken feedeth the soul: secondly, in bringing together many into one, that, as in the sacrament many grains of corn are made “one bread,” “one body” with Christ and his church: last of all, in one unlikely likeliness or similitude, that, as bread eaten turneth into our nature, so we rightly eating the sacrament by faith turn into the nature of Christ. So that it is plain to them that will see, that to take the substance of bread away is clean against the nature and proportion of a sacrament.

    I will speak nothing how that this their ,doctrine of transubstantiation, besides the manifold absurdities it hath with it (which to rehearse I omit), it utterly overthroweth the use of the sacrament, and is clean contrary to the end wherefore it was instituted; and so is no longer a sacrament but an idol, and is the cause of much idolatry; converting the people’s hearts from an heavenly consideration to an earthly, and turning the communion into a private action, and a matter of gazing and piping, of adoring and worshipping the work of men’s hands. For the living God which “dwelleth not in temples made with men’s hands,” much less lieth he in pyxes F158 and chests, whose true worship is “in spirit and verity:” which God grant us all to render unto him continually. Amen, The sacrament of baptism doth also F159 teach us, that, as the substance of the water remaineth there, so in the Lord’s supper remaineth the substance of bread after consecration: for, as by baptism we are engraffed into Christ, so by the supper we are fed with Christ. These two sacraments the Apostle gladly coupleth together, 1 Corinthians 10 and 12: “We are baptized into one body,” saith he, ‘and have drunk all of one Spirit,’ meaning it by the cup, as Chrysostom F160 and others, great learned men, do well interpret it.

    As therefore in baptism is given unto us the Holy Ghost and F161 pardon of our sins, which yet lie not lurking in the water; so in the Lord’s supper is given unto us the communion of Christ’s body and blood, that is, grace, forgiveness of sins, F162 innocency, life, immortality, without any transubstantiation or including of the same in the bread. By baptism “the old man is put off,” and “the new man put on,’ yea, ‘Christ put on,” but without transubstantiation of the water: and even so it is in the Lord’s supper. We by faith spiritually in our souls feed on Christ’s body broken, do eat his flesh, and drink his blood, do dwell in him and he in us, but without transubstantiation.

    As for the cavil they make, that “we are baptized into to one body,” meaning thereby the mystical body and not the natural body of Christ; whereby they would enforce that we are fed with the natural body of Christ, but we are not; engrafted into it but into the mystical body, and so put away the reason aforesaid: as for this cavil, I say, we may soon avoid it, if so be we will consider how that Christ, which is the head of the mystical body, is not separate from the body. And therefore to be engraft to the mystical body is to be engraft to the natural body of Christ, to be a “member of his flesh,’ and bone “of his bones;” as pope Leo full well doth witness, in saying, that corpus regenerati fit cato crucifixi: F163 “The body,” saith he, “of the regenerate is made the flesh of Christ crucified.”

    And hereto I could add some reasons for the excellency of baptism. I trow it be more to be begotten than to be nourished. As for the excellent miracle of the patefaction F164 of the Trinity, and the descent of the Holy Ghost in baptism in a visible form, the like whereto was not seen in the Lord’s supper, I will omit to speak hereof further than I would you should know how that it were no mastery to set forth the excellency of this sacrament, as well as of the supper.

    We may in no case condemn them that were before Christ’s incarnation, neither our infants which die before the receipt of the supper; as doubtless they must needs be condemned if that they be not insert and engrafted into the very true body and natural body of our Savior Christ: which thing they are not but by baptism, if the papistical doctrine be received concerning the necessity of this sacrament; for this sentence remaineth true still,, “Except you shall eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you cannot have life:” which thing our infants want, if by baptism it be not conferred unto them.

    But enough of this: now to the eighth reason. F165 It is a plain sign of antichrist, to deny the substance of bread and wine to be in the Lord’s supper after consecration. For in so doing and granting transubstantiation the property of the human nature of Christ is denied; for it is not of the human nature, but of the Divine nature, to be in many places at once: as Didymus de Spiritu Sancto doth prove thereby the divinity of the Holy Ghost. F166 Now grant transubstantiation, and then Christ’s natural body must needs be in many places: which is nothing else but to confound the two natures in Christ, or to deny Christ’s human nature, which is the self-same that St John saith, to deny “Christ to be come in the flesh:” and this whoso doeth, by the testimony of St John, is “an antichrist” in his so doing, whatsoever otherwise they do prate. Read St Austin in his epistle to Dardanus, F167 and his fiftieth F168 and thirtieth F169 treatise upon St John: and easily you shall see how that “Christ’s body must needs be in one place, (Oportet in uno loco esse;) but his truth is in all places.”

    If there be no substance of bread in the sacrament, but transubstantiation, then Christ’s body is received of the ungodly and eaten with their teeth: which is not only against St Austin calling this speech, “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man,’ etc. to be ‘a figurative speech;” F170 but also against the plain scriptures, which affirm them to dwell in Christ and Christ in them, and they to have everlasting life that eat him; which the wicked have not, although they eat the sacrament. “He that eateth of this bread,” saith Christ, “shall live for evermore.” Therefore they eat not Christ’s body, but, as Paul saith, “they eat judgment and damnation;” which I trow be another manner of thing than Christ’s body. And this doth St Austin affirm, saying, “None do eat Christ’s body, which is not in the body of Christ;” that is, as he expoundeth it, “in whom Christ dwelleth not, and he in Christ:’ F171 which thing the wicked do not, because they want faith and the Holy Spirit, which be the means whereby Christ is received.

    To the things which I have here brought forth to improve F172 transubstantiation, I could bring the fathers to confirm the same, which succeeded continually many hundred years after Christ. Also I could shew that transubstantiation is but a new doctrine, not established before Satan, which was tied for a thousand years, was letten loose. Also I could shew that ever hitherto, since it was established, in all times it hath been resisted and spoken against. Yea, tofore this doctrine the church was nothing so endowed with goods, lands, and possessions, as it hath been since: it hath brought no small gain, no small honor, no small case to the clergy; and therefore no marvel though they strive and fight for it. It is their Maozim: F173 it is their Helena. F174 God destroy it with the breath of his mouth, as shortly he will, for his name’s sake. Amen.

    If time would serve, I could and would here tell you of the absurdities which cometh by this doctrine; but for time’s sake I must omit it. Only for God’s sake see this, that this their doctrine of transubstantiation is an untruth, as already I have proved: and forget not that it is the whole stay of all papacy and the pillar of their priesthood, whereby Christ’s priesthood, sacrifice, ministry, and truth is letted, F175 yea, perverted and utterly overthrown. God our Father, in the blood of his Son F176 Christ, open the eyes and minds of our magistrates and all other that bear the name of Christ, F177 to see it in time to God’s glory and their own salvation. Amen.

    Now, to return to the second matter, what the sacrement is, you see that to the senses and reason of man it is bread and wine; which is most true, F178 as by the scriptures and otherwise I have already proved: and therefore away with transubstantiation.

    But here, lest we should make it no sacrament (for a sacrament consisteth of two things), and lest a man should by this gather that we make it none other thing but bare bread and F179 a naked sign, and so rail at their pleasure on us, saying,’ How can a man be guilty of the body and blood of Christ by unworthy receiving it, if it be but bare bread?’ and so forth; for this purpose I will now speak a little more hereabout by God’s grace, to stop their mouths, and stir up your good hearts more to the worthy estimation and perception of this holy mystery.

    When a loving friend giveth to thee a thing, or sendeth to thee a token (as, for an example, a napkin F180 or such like), I thing thou considerest not the mind of thy friend that sendeth or giveth thee the thing, and according thereto to esteem and receive it. And so of this bread think I that, if thou do F181 not rather consider the mind of thy lover Christ than the thing which thou seest, yea, if thou do not altogether consider Christ’s mind, thou dealest unhonestly and strumpetly with him: for it is the property of strumpets to consider the things given and sent them, rather than the love and mind of the giver and sender; whereas the true F182 lovers do not consider in any point the things given or sent, but the mind of the party. So we, if we be true lovers of Christ, must not consider barely F183 the outward thing which we see and our senses perceive; but rather altogether we must and should see and consider the mind of Christ, and thereafter and F184 according to it to esteem the sacrament.

    But how shall we best know the mind of Christ? Forsooth, as a man’s mind is best known by his word, so by Christ’s words shall we know his mind.

    Now his words be manifest and most plain. “This” saith he, “is my body:” therefore accordingly should we esteem and take and receive it. If he had spoken nothing, or if he had spoken doubtfully, then might we have been in some doubt. But in that he speaketh so plainly, saying, “This is my body,” who can, may, or dare be so bold as to doubt of it? He is “the truth” and cannot lie: he is omnipotent and can do all things: therefore it is his body.

    This I believe, this I confess, and pray you all heartily to beware of these and such like words, that it is but a sign or a figure of his body; except you will discern betwixt signs which signify only, and signs which also do represent, confirm, and seal up, or (as a man may say)give with their signification. As for example, an ivy-bush is a sign of wine to be sold: F185 the budding of Aaron’s rod did signify Aaron’s priesthood allowed of the Lord: the reservation of Moses’ rod did signify the rebellion of the children of Israel: the stones taken out of Jordan, Gideon’s fleece of wool, and such as these, be signs significative, and shew no gift. But in the other signs, which some call exhibitive, is there not only a signification of a thing, but also a declaration of a gift, yea, in a certain manner a giving also: as baptism signifieth not only the cleansing of the conscience from sin by the merits of Christ’s blood, but is also a very cleansing from sin; and therefore it was said to Paul, that he should “arise and wash away his sins,” and not that he should arise and take only a sign of washing away his sins. In the Lord’s supper the bread is called “a partaking of the Lord’s body,” and not only a bare sign of the body of the Lord.

    This I speak, not as though the elements of these sacraments were transubstantiate (which I have already impugned); either as though Christ’s body were in the element, either were tied to the element otherwise than sacramentally and spiritually; either that the bread, water, F186 and wine may not and must not be called sacramental and external signs; but that they might be discerned from significative and bare signs only, and be taken for signs exhibitive and representative.

    By this means a christian conscience will esteem and call the bread of the Lord as ‘the body of Christ;’ for it F187 will never esteem the sacraments of Christ after their exterior appearance, but after the words of Christ: whereof it cometh that the fathers, as Chrysostom and others, do speak with so full a month when they speak of the sacrament; for their respect was to Christ’s words. If the schoolmen which followed them had had the same spirit as they had, then would they never have consented to transubstantiation. For with great admiration some of the fathers do say that the bread is changed or turned into the body of Christ, and the wine into his blood, meaning it of a mutation or changing, not corporal, but spiritual, figurative, sacramental, or mystical; for now it is no common bread nor common wine, being ordained to serve for the food of the soul.

    The schoolmen have understand it as the papists now preach, of a substantial changing; as though it were no great miracle that common bread should now be assumed into that dignity that it should be called ‘Christ’s body,’ and serve for celestial food, and be made a sacrament of his body and blood.

    As before I have spoken, I would wish that this sacrament should be esteemed and called of christian men, after Christ’s words, namely ‘Christ’s body,’ and the wine ‘Christ’s blood,’ rather than otherwise. Not that I mean any other presence of Christ’s body than a presence by grace, a presence by faith, a presence spiritually, and not corporally, really, naturally, and carnally, as the papists do mean; for in such sort Christ’s body is only in heaven, ‘on the right hand of God the Father Almighty,’ whither our faith in the use of the sacrament ascendeth, and receiveth whole Christ accordingly.

    Yea, but one will say, that to call the sacrament on this sort is to give an occasion of idolatry to the people, which will take the sacrament they see simply for Christ’s body, as by experience we are too well taught: and therefore it were better to call it ‘bread,’ and so less harm should be, especially in this age.

    To this objection I answer, that indeed great idolatry is committed to and about this sacrament, and therefore men ought, as much as they can, to avoid from occasioning or confirming it: but, inasmuch as the Holy Ghost is wiser than man, and had foresight of the evils that might be, and yet notwithstanding doth call it ‘Christ’s body,’ I think we should do evil if we should take upon us to reform his speech. If ministers did their duties in catechising and preaching, then doubtless to call the sacrament ‘Christ’s body,’ and to esteem it accordingly, could not give occasion to idolatry, and confirm it. Therefore woe unto them that preach not!

    There are two evils about the sacraments, which to avoid the Holy Ghost hath taught us. For, lest we should with the papists think Christ’s body present in or with the bread really, naturally, and corporally, to be received F188 with our bodily mouth (where there is no other presence of Christ’s body than spiritually and to the faith), in many places he keepeth still the name of “bread;” as in the [first] epistle to the Corinthians, the tenth and eleventh chapters. F189 And lest we should make too light of it, making it a bare sign and no better than common bread, the Holy Ghost calleth it “Christ’s body:” whose speech I wish we would follow, and that not only as well to avoid the evil which is now-a-days most to be feared concerning the sacrament (I mean it of contemning it), as also for that no faithful man cometh to the sacrament to receive bread simply, but rather, yea, altogether to communicate with Christ’s body and blood; for else “to eat and drink,” as Paul saith, they “have houses” of their own.

    The contempt of the sacrament in the days of king Edward hath caused these plagues upon us presently. The Lord be merciful unto us! Amen.

    And thus much for the objection of calling the sacrament by the name of Christ’s body. ‘Why,’ saith one, ‘to call the sacrament Christ’s body, and to make none other presence of Christ tan by grace or spiritually and to faith (which is “of things hoped for and of things which” to the bodily senses “do not appear”), is to make no presence at all, or to make him none otherwise present than he is in his word when it is preached: and therefore what need we to receive the sacrament, inasmuch as by this doctrine a man may receive him daily in the field, as well and as much as in the church in the celebration and use of the sacrament?’

    To this reason I first answer, that indeed neither the scripture nor christian faith will give us leave to make any carnal, real, natural, corporal, and such gross presence of Christ’s natural body in the sacrament, (for it is in heaven, and “the heavens must have it,” as saith Peter, till Christ’s coming to judgment;) except we would deny the humanity of Christ, and the verity of man’s nature in him. The presence therefore which we believe and confess is such a presence as reason knoweth not and the world cannot learn, nor any that looketh in this matter with other eyes, or heareth with other ears, than with the ears and eyes of the Spirit and of faith. Which faith, though it be of “things hoped for,” and so of things absent to the corporal senses, yet this absence is not an absence indeed but to reason and to the old man; the nature of faith being a “possession of things hoped for.”

    Therefore to grant a presence to faith is not to make no presence at all but to such as know not faith.

    And this the fathers taught, affirming Christ to be present by grace; and therefore not only a signification, but also an exhibition and giving of the grace of Christ’s body; that is, of “life and of the seed of immortality,” F190 as Cyprian writeth. We “eat life and drink life,” F191 saith St Austin. We feel a presence of the Lord “by grace” or “in grace,” F192 saith Chrysostom. We receive “the celestial food that cometh from above? F193 saith Athanasius.

    We receive “the property of the natural conjunction and knitting together,” F194 saith Hilarius. We perceive “the nature of flesh, the blessing that giveth life,” F195 in bread and wine, saith Cyrillus: and elsewhere he saith that with the bread and wine “we eat the virtue of Christ’s proper flesh,” F196 life, grace, and the property of the body of the only-begotten Son of God, which thing he himself expounded to be “life.” Basilius saith that we by the sacrament receive “the mystical advent of Christ;” F197 “grace, and the virtue of his very nature,” as Ambrose saith; that we receive “the sacrament of the true body.” F198 Epiphanius saith, we receive “the body” or “grace.” F199 And Jerome saith that we receive “spiritual flesh,” which he calleth “other flesh than that which was crucified.” F200 Chrysostom saith that we receive “influence of grace and the grace of the Holy Ghost.” F201 St Austin saith that we receive grace and verity, “the invisible grace” F202 and holiness of the members of Christ’s body. F203 All the which sayings of the fathers do confirm this our faith and doctrine of the sacrament; we granting in all things herein unto them, and they in like manner unto us. And therefore the lying lips which both belie the doctors, as though they granted a carnal and real presence of Christ’s body, naturally and corporally, after the papists’ declaration and meaning; and which belie us also, as though we denied all presence of Christ, and so made it but a bare sign; these lying lips the Lord will destroy, if they repent not, and with us teach not the truth, that the sacrament is a food of the soul, a matter of faith, and therefore spiritually and by faith to be talked of and understand. Which faith they want, and therefore they err so grossly, in that they would have such a presence of Christ as is contrary to all the scriptures, and to our christian religion: whereby cometh no more commodity to the receiver than by our spiritual presence which we teach, and according to God’s word do affirm; for what profit cometh by their doctrine, which ours hath not? F204 We teach these benefits to be had by the worthy receiving The of the sacrament, namely, that we abide in Christ, and Christ in us; again that we attain by it a celestial life, or a life with God; moreover that by faith and in spirit we receive not only Christ’s body and blood, but also whole Christ, God and man. Besides these we grant, that by the worthy receiving of this sacrament we receive remission of our sins and confirmation of the new Testament. Last of all by worthy receiving we get by faith F205 an increase of F206 incorporation with Christ and amongst ourselves which be his members: than which things what more can be desired? Alas! that men consider nothing at all, how that the coupling of Christ’s body and blood to the sacrament is a spiritual thing; and therefore there needs no such carnal presence as the papists imagine. Who will deny a man’s wife to be with her husband one body and flesh, although he be at London and she at York?

    But the papists are animal men, guided by carnal F207 reason only: or else would they know how that the Holy Ghost because of our infirmity useth metaphorically the words of abiding, dwelling, eating, and drinking of Christ, that the unspeakable conjunction of Christ with us might something be known.

    God open their eyes to see it! And thus much for this.

    Now to that part of the objection which saith, that we teach Christ to be none otherwise present in the sacrament than in his word. I would that the objectors would well consider, what a presence of Christ is in his word. I remember that St Austin writeth how that Christ’s body is received sometime “visibly,” and sometime “invisibly:” F208 the “visible” receipt he calleth that which is by the sacraments; the “invisible” receipt he calleth that which by the exercise of our faith with ourselves we receive. And St Jerome, in the third book upon Ecclesiastes, affirmeth that “we are fed with the body of Christ, and we drink his blood, not only in mystery, but also in knowledge of holy scripture:” F209 where he plainly sheweth that the same meat is offered in the words of the scriptures, which is offered in the sacraments; so that no less is Christ’s body and blood offered by the scriptures, than by the sacraments. Upon the hundred and forty-seventh Psalm he writeth also, that “though these words, ‘he that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood,’ may be understand in mystery, yet,” saith he, “it is more F210 true to take Christ’s body and his blood for the word of the scriptures and the doctrine of God.” F211 Yea, upon the same Psalm he saith plainly, that “ Christ’s flesh and blood is poured into our ears by hearing the word, and therefore great is the peril if we yield to other cogitations while we hear its.” And therefore, I trow, St Austin saith that “it is no less peril to hear God’s word negligently than so to use the sacrament.” F213 But hereout may no man gather that therefore it needeth not to receive the sacrament; or to affirm that a man may as much by himself meditating the word in the field receive Christ’s body, as in the F214 church in the right use of the sacraments: for Christ ordaineth nothing in vain or superfluously; he ordaineth nothing where of we have not need; although his authority is such that without any questioning his ordinances are to be obeyed.

    Again, though in the field a man may receive Christ’s body by faith, in the meditation of his word; yet deny I that a man doth ordinarily receive Christ’s body, by the only meditation of Christ’s death or hearing of his word, with so much light and by such sensible assurance (whereof, God knoweth, our infirmity hath no small need), as by the receipt of the sacrament. Not that Christ is not so much present in his word preached, as he is in or with his sacrament; but because there are in the perception of the sacrament more windows open for Christ to enter into us, than by his word preached or heard. For there (I mean in the word) he hath an entrance into our hearts, but only by the cars through the voice and sound of the words; but here in the sacrament he hath an entrance by all our senses, by our eyes, by our nose, by our taste, and by our handling also: and therefore the sacrament full well may be called seeable, sensible, tasteable, and touchable words. As therefore when many windows are opened in a house, the more light may come in than when there is but one opened; even so by the perception of the sacraments a christian man’s conscience hath more help to receive Christ, than simply by the word preached, heard, or meditated.

    And therefore, methinks, the apostle full well calleth the sacraments obsignations or “sealings” of God’s promise. Read Romans the F214 fourth, of circumcision.

    And thus much for the answer to the objection aforesaid.

    Now to return from whence F215 we came, namely to the, consideration of the second thing, what the sacrament is; I have told you that it is not simply bread and wine, but rather Christ’s body, so called of Christ and so to be called and esteemed of us. But here let us mark what body and what blood Christ called it. The papists still babble, “This,” “this is my body, this is my blood:” but what body it is, what blood it is, they shew not. Look therefore, my dearly beloved, on Christ’s own words; and you shall see that Christ calleth it “his body broken” and “his blood shed.” Mark, I say, that Christ calleth it “his body which is broken,” “his blood which is shed” presently; and not ‘which was broken,’ or ‘shall be broken,’ ‘which was shed’ or ‘shall be shed,’ but “which is shed,” “which is broken” presently, F216 as the Greek texts F217 do plainly shew: thereby teaching us, that as God would have the passover called, not ‘which was the passover,’ or ‘which shall be the passover,’ but plainly “the passover,” to the end that in the use of it ‘the passing over’ of the striking angel should be set before their eyes as present; so in the celebration of the Lord’s supper the very passion of Christ should be as present, beholden F218 with the eyes of faith: for which end Christ our Savior did especially institute this supper, saying, “Do you this in remembrance of me;” or, as Paul saith, “Shew you the Lord’s death till he come.”

    The supper of the Lord then is not simply Christ’s ‘body and blood,’ but Christ’s “body broken and his blood shed.” Wherefore broken? wherefore shed? Forsooth that teacheth Christ himself, saying, “broken for you,” and “shed for your sins and for the sins of many.” Here now then we have occasion, in the use of this sacrament, to call to mind the gravity and grievousness of sin, which could not be taken away by any other means than by the shedding of the most precious blood, and breaking of the most pure body of the only-be-gotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, by whom all things were made, all things are ruled and governed. O who considering this gear shall not be touched F219 to repent? Who, in receipt of this sacrament, thinking that Christ saith to him, ‘Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for thee, This is my blood which is shed for thy sins,’ can but tremble at the grievousness of his sins, for the which such a price was paid? If there were no plague at all else to admonish man of sin, how grievous a thing it is in God’s sight, surely that one were enough. But, alas, how bewitched are our hearts through Satan’s subtleties and the custom of sin, that we make sin a thing of nothing!

    God open our eyes in time and give us repentance; which we see this sacrament doth, as it were, enforce us unto in the reverent and true use of the same.

    Again, in hearing that this which we take and eat is Christ’s ‘body broken for our sins’ and his ‘blood shed for our iniquities,’ we are occasioned to call to mind the infinite greatness of God’s mercy and truth, and of Christ’s love towards us. For what a mercy is this, that God would for man, being F220 lost through his own wilful sins, be content, yea, desirous to give his own only Son, “the image of his substance, the brightness of his glory,” “being in his own bosom,” to be made man for us, that we men by him might be, as it were, made F221 gods! What a mercy is this, that God the Father so should tender F222 us, that he would make this his Son, being F223 co-equal with him in Divinity, F224 a mortal man F225 for us, that we might be made immortal by him! F226 What a kindness is this, that the Almighty Lord should send to us his enemies his dear darling to be made poor, that we by him F226 might be made rich! What bowels of compassion is this, that the omnipotent Creator of heaven and earth would deliver his own only beloved Son for us creatures, to be not only flesh of our flesh and bone of our bones, that we might by him through the Holy Ghost be made one with him and so with the Father, by taking of him F227 the merits of his flesh, that is, righteousness, holiness, innocency, and immortality; but also to be a slain sacrifice for our sins, to satisfy his justice, to convert or F228 turn death into life, our sin into righteousness, hell into heaven, misery into felicity for us! F229 What a mercy is this, that God would raise up this his Son Christ, not only to justify and regenerate us, but also in his person to demonstrate unto us our state which we shall have! for in his coming “we shall be like unto him.” O wonderful mercy of God, which would assume this his Christ, even in human F230 body, “into the heavens,” to take and keep there possession for us, to “lead our captivity captive,” to appear before him always praying for us, to make the throne of justice a throne of mercy, the seat of glory a seat of grace! so that with boldness we may come and appear before God, to ask and “find grace in time convenient.” Again what a verity and constant truth in God is this, that he F231 would, according to his promise made first unto Adam and so to Abraham and others, in his time accomplish it by sending his Son so graciously! Who would doubt hereafter of any thing that he hath promised?

    And as for Christ’s love, O whose heart can be able to think of it any thing as it deserveth? He being God would become man: he being rich would become poor: he being Lord of all F232 the world would become F233 a slave to us all: he being immortal would become mortal, miserable, and taste of all God’s curses, yea, even of hell itself for us! His blood was nothing too dear, his life he nothing considered, to bring us from death to life. But this his love needeth more hearty weighing than many words speaking: and therefore I omit and leave it to your consideration.

    So that in the receipt of this supper, as I would you would tremble at God’s wrath for sin; so would I have you to couple to that terror and fear true faith, by which ye might be assuredly F234 persuaded of God’s mercy towards you and Christ’s love, though all things else preached the contrary.

    Surely do every of you think, when you hear these words, ‘Take, eat, this is my body broken for your sins:

    Drink, this is my blood shed for your sins;’ that God the eternal Father embraceth you, Christ calleth and clepeth F235 you most lovingly, making himself one with you, and you one with him, and one with another amongst yourselves. You ought no less to be certain now that God loveth you, pardoneth your sins, and that Christ is all yours, than if you did hear an angel from heaven speaking so unto you. And therefore rejoice and be glad, and make this supper eucharistiam, ‘a thanksgivings,’ F236 as the fathers named it. Be no less certain that now F237 Christ and you are F238 all one, than you are F238 certain the bread and wine is one with your nature and substance after you have eaten and drunken it. Howbeit in this it differeth, that you by faith are, as it were, changed F239 into Christ, and not Christ into you, as the bread is; F240 for by faith he dwelleth in us, and we in him.

    God give us faith in the use of this sacrament to receive Christ, as he giveth us hands to receive the clement, symbol, and visible sacrament! God grant us, not to “prepare our teeth and belly” (as St Austin saith F13 ), but rather of his mercy he prepare, and give us true and lively faith to use this and all other his ordinances to his glory and our own comforts. He sweep the houses of our hearts, and make them clean, that they may be a worthy harborough F241 and lodging for the Lord. Amen. [3.] Now let us come and look on the Third and last thing, namely, Wherefore the Lord did institute this sacrament.

    Our nature is very oblivious of God and of all his benefits: and again it is very full of dubitation and doubtings of God’s love and of his kindness.

    Therefore to the end these two things might be something reformed and holpen in us, the Lord hath instituted this sacrament; I mean that we might have in memory the principal benefit of all benefits, that is, Christ’s death; and that we might be on all parts assured of communion with Christ, of all kindness the greatest that ever God did give unto man.

    The former to be the end wherefore Christ did institute this sacrament, he himself doth teach us, saying, “Do you this in remembrance of me.” The latter the apostle doth no less set forth in saying, “The bread which we break, is it not the partaking (or communion) of the body of Christ?” Is not the cup of blessing which we bless the partaking (or communion) of the blood of Christ ?” So that it appeareth, the end wherefore this sacrament was instituted was and is for the reformation and help of our oblivion of that which we should never forget, and of F243 our dubitations of that whereof we ought to be most certain.

    Concerning the former, namely of the memory of Christ’s death, what commodity it bringeth with it, I will purposely for time’s sake omit. Only a little will I speak of the commodities coming unto us by the partaking and communion we have with Christ. First, it teacheth us that no man can communicate with Christ but the same must needs communicate with God’s grace and favor, wherethrough sins are forgiven. Therefore this commodity cometh herethrough, namely, that we should be certain of the remission and pardon of our sins: the which thing we may also perceive by the cup, in that it is called “the cup of the new Testament,” to which new Testament is properly attributed on God’s behalf oblivion or “remission of our sins.” First, I say therefore, the supper is instituted to this end, that he which worthily receiveth should be certain of the remission and pardon of his sins and iniquities, how many and great soever they be. How great a benefit this is, only they know which have felt the burden of sin, which of all heavy things is the most heavy.

    Again, no man can communicate with Christ’s body and blood but the same must communicate with his Spirit; for Christ’s body is no dead carcase. Now he that communicateth with Christ’s Spirit communicateth, as with holiness, righteousness, innocency, and immortality, and with all the merits of Christ’s body; so doth he with God and all his glory, and with the church, and all the good that ever it or any member of it had, hath, F244 or shall have; for which causes’ sake, the supper used to be called of the fathers eucharistiam, ‘a thanksgiving.’ F245 This is ‘the communion of saints’ which we believe in our creed, which hath waiting on it ‘remission of sins, resurrection of the flesh, and life everlasting.’

    To the end that we should be most assured and certain of all these, Christ our Savior did institute this his supper; and therefore would have us to use it. So that there is no man, I trow, which seeth not great cause of giving thanks to God for this holy sacrament of the Lord: whereby, if we worthily receive it, we ought to be certain that all our sins, whatsoever they be, are pardoned clearly; that we are counted for God’s children; F246 that we are regenerate and ‘born again into a lively hope, into an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and which can never wither away;’ that we are in the fellowship of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; that we are God’s temples, one with God, and God one with us; that we are members of Christ’s church, and fellows with the saints in all felicity; that we are certain of immortality in soul and body, and so of eternal life: than which things what can be more demanded? Christ is ours, and we are Christ’s: he dwelleth in us, and we in him. O happy eyes that see these things; and most happy hearts that feel them!

    My dearly beloved, let us pray unto the Lord to open our eyes to see these wonderful things, to give us faith to feel them. Surely we ought no less to be assured of them now in the worthy receipt of this sacrament, than we are assured of the exterior symbols and sacraments. If an angel should come from heaven F247 and tell you these things, then would you rejoice and be glad. And, my dear hearts in the Lord, I even now, though most unworthy, am sent of the Lord to tell you no less but that you, worthily receiving this sacrament, shall receive remission of all your sins, or rather certainty that they are remitted; and that you are even F248 now God’s darlings, temples, and fellow-inheritors of all the good that ever he hath.

    Wherefore see that you give thanks unto the Lord for this his great goodness, and praise his name for ever.

    Oh, saith one, I could be very glad indeed and give thanks from my very heart, if that I did worthily receive this sacrament. But, alas! I am a very grievous sinner, and I feel in myself very little repentance and faith: therefore I am afraid that I am unworthy.

    To the answering of this objection, I think it necessary to speak something of the worthy receiving of this sacrament, in as great brevity and plainness as I can.

    The apostle willeth all men to prove and “examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink of the cup; for they that eat and drink unworthily eat and drink damnation:” therefore this probation and examination is necessary. If men will try their gold and silver, whether they be copper or no, is it not more necessary that men should try their consciences? Now how this should be, the papists teach amiss, in sending us to their auricular confession, and to the numbering of their sins, F249 which is impossible.

    The true probation and trial of a christian conscience consisteth altogether in faith and repentance. Faith hath respect to the doctrine and articles of our belief: repentance hath respect to manners and conversation.

    Concerning the former (I mean of faith) we may see the apostle teacheth us, 1 Corinthians 11. Concerning the latter, for our conversation, those sins which are called commonly mortal or deadly are to be removed. These sins are discerned from other sins by the apostle (Romans 6.), in saying, “Let not sin reign and bear a swing in your mortal bodies:” for truly then we sin deadly, when we give over to sin and let him have the bridle at his liberty, when we strive not against it, but allow it and consent unto it. Howbeit, if we strive against it, if it displease us, then truly, though sin be in us (for we ought to obey God without all resistance or unwillingness), yet our sin is not of those sins which do separate us from God, but for Christ’s sake shall not be imputed unto us believing.

    Therefore, my dearly beloved, if that your sins do now displease you; if you purpose unfeignedly to be enemies to sin in yourselves and in others, (as you may during your whole life if you hope in Christ for pardon;) if you believe according to the holy scriptures and F250 articles of the christian faith set forth in your creed; if, I say, you now trust in God’s mercy through Christ’s merits; if you repent and earnestly purpose before God to amend your life, and to give over yourselves to serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life, (although before this present you have most grievously sinned; I publish unto you that F251 you are worthy guests for this table, you shall be welcome to Christ, your sins shall be pardoned, you shall be endued F252 with his Spirit, and so with communion with him and the Father, and with F253 the whole church of God: Christ will dwell in you, and you shall dwell in him for evermore.

    Wherefore behave yourselves accordingly with joyfulness and thanksgiving. Do you now appear before the Lord, make clean your houses, and open the doors of your hearts by repentance and faith, that “the Lord of hosts, the King of glory,” may “enter in”: and for ever hereafter beware of all such things as might displease the eyes of his majesty. Fly from sin as from a toad: come away from popery and all antichristian religion. Be diligent in your vocations, be diligent and earnest in prayer, hearken to the voice of God in his word with reverence, live worthy your profession. “Let your light in your life so shine, that men may see your good works, and glorify your F254 Father which is in heaven.” As you have been darkness, and followed “the works of darkness;” so now henceforth be “light in the Lord,” and have society with the works of light.

    Now hath God renewed his covenant with you: in God’s sight now are you as clean and healed from all your sores of sins. Go your ways, “sin no more lest a worse thing happen unto you.” See that your house “being new swept be furnished” with godliness and virtue; and beware of idleness, lest the devil come “with seven spirits worse than himself,” and so take his lodging; and then your latter end will be worse than the first.

    God our Father, for the tender mercy and merits of his Son, be merciful unto us, forgive us all our sins, and give us his holy Spirit, to purge, cleanse, and sanctify us, that we may be holy in his sight through Christ; and that we now may be made ready and worthy to receive this holy sacrament with the fruits of the same, to the full rejoicing and strengthening of our hearts in the Lord.

    To whom be all honor and glory, world without end. Amen.

    To God be all praise for ever’. F255 JOHN BRADFORD [The following is the colophon of the edition of Two Sermons by Bradford, 1574, which has been collated: vide p. 27, 28, above.] BRADFORD PREACHING BEFORE THE COURT OF

    GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - JOHN BRADFORD INDEX & SEARCH

    God Rules.NET
    Search 80+ volumes of books at one time. Nave's Topical Bible Search Engine. Easton's Bible Dictionary Search Engine. Systematic Theology Search Engine.