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Title: The Doctrine of the Lord's Supper - as taught by the Church of England
Author: Hoare, Edward N.
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1877 Hatchards edition by David Price, email

                               THE DOCTRINE
                            THE LORD’S SUPPER.

                               AS TAUGHT BY

                          The Church of England.

                                * * * * *

                                  BY THE
                              REV. E. HOARE,


                                * * * * *

                          HATCHARDS, PICCADILLY.

                                * * * * *


IT is a very easy thing to make a confident assertion, and such
assertions produce a greater effect on many minds than the most careful
and best-established proof.  Thus it is not at all an uncommon thing to
hear it asserted with the utmost confidence that what is termed ‘The
Doctrine of the Real Presence,’ is taught by the Church of England; and
the result is that a considerable number of persons believe in the
assertion, and place reliance on those who make it, as if they, and they
only, were the true expositors of the Church’s doctrine.  In many cases a
blind consent is blindly given.  The Scriptures are not investigated
because the point is supposed to have been settled by the Church, and the
documents of the Church are not studied because the doctrine is regarded
as beyond the reach of doubt; whereas, if the real groundwork of that
opinion were examined, it would be found to consist in nothing more than
confident assertion.  But those who are loyal to the Church of England
ought not to be satisfied with any such representation of its teaching.
The issues at stake are far too serious, and, now that after three
hundred years of faithful service the Church of England is entering on
such a sifting time as she has never yet experienced, it is only fair to
her that her own language should be patiently heard, and her own teaching
honestly examined.  This, then, is the object of this address.  I am not
about to discuss the teaching of Scripture, but of the Church of England;
and my desire is to ascertain by the careful and candid examination of
her own documents whether there is, or is not, any authority for the
assertion that she teaches what is commonly called ‘The Doctrine of the
Real Presence.’  In doing this, our first business is to ascertain what
is the real point at issue, and this is not so easy a task as it may
appear, as amongst those who maintain that doctrine there are no
authoritative documents on the subject to which we can refer.  But, I
believe, I am perfectly safe in arranging the three principal points at
issue under the three heads of the Real Presence, Adoration, and
Sacrifice; and these three I propose to investigate in that order.


THIS lies at the foundation of the whole controversy, and to this our
first and chief attention must be directed.  Now, there can be no doubt
on the minds of those who take the Word of God as their true and only
guide that it is the sacred privilege of the Children of God to feed by
faith on the most precious body and blood of our blessed Saviour.  I am
not now discussing in what way we feed on Him, or whether His words in
the 6th chapter of St. John refer, or do not refer, to the Sacrament of
the Lord’s Supper.  It is my own belief that they do not; but that is not
the present question.  My present concern is with the fact that, however
we explain His words, we are taught by our Lord Himself that such a
feeding is essential to our life: ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of
Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.’  Nor can there be any
doubt that in 1 Cor. x. 16, 17, the partaking (_κοινωνία_) of the body
and blood of Christ is connected with the Lord’s Supper.  I am not now
making any assertion as to the way in which it is connected, for that is
the great point to be determined.  All that I now say is that there
clearly is a connexion, for the words are: ‘The cup of blessing which we
bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?  The bread which
we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?  For we being
many, are one bread and one body; for we are all partakers of that one

Two things, therefore, seem plain from Scripture: that there is a feeding
on the body and blood of our most blessed Saviour, without which none can
live, and that the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is in some way or other
connected with that sacred privilege.  Thus far, I presume, we are all
agreed.  But as to the nature of the connexion, there is the widest
possible divergence.  Rome teaches that by the act of consecration the
bread and wine become Christ Himself; that the bread and wine cease to be
bread and wine, and that both the bread and wine become each of them a
whole Christ, body, soul, and divinity.  The advocates for the doctrine
of the Real Presence in the Church of England differ, as far as I can
understand them, from Rome in one respect, and one only; namely, that
they maintain that the bread and wine do not cease to have the accidents
of bread and wine, so that they may still be spoken of as bread and wine,
although they have become the body and blood of Christ, or rather Christ
Himself.  This slight difference is of no practical importance in the
discussion, and appears to have been introduced only to avoid the
conclusion drawn from those texts which speak of the bread as bread, and
the wine as wine, after consecration.  The practical conclusion is the
same, viz. that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself is in the bread and in the
wine.  This is what is meant by the expression, ‘The real objective
presence.’  It means that He is present in the elements as a real
independent object, without any reference to the character of the
recipient, as a book is an independent object in the hand of the man who
holds it, without any reference to his state of mind or character.  In
opposition to this, it is maintained by us who cling to the great
principles of the Reformation, that there is no change whatever in the
bread and wine, that they are solemnly set apart for sacramental use by
means of consecration, but that they remain exactly the same as before
consecration, in substance, and accidents, and everything else.  That the
most precious body and blood of Christ is altogether spiritual food, and
that the soul feeds on it by faith, and faith alone.  That there are two
perfectly distinct kinds of food, the one material, and the other
spiritual; the one for the body, the other for the soul; and two
perfectly distinct actions; the one of the body eating the bread, the
other of the soul feeding on Christ Himself by faith.  That the material
food is an emblem of the spiritual; and that the act of eating by the
body is an emblem of the act of feeding by the soul; and the manner of
the two are so far connected by sacramental appointment, that when we
receive the emblem we are warranted to expect the enjoyment of the
reality.  When the body feeds materially on the one, the believer’s heart
feeds spiritually on the other; but the two acts are distinct, and the
one must not be confounded with the other.  From this statement it will
appear that the point at issue is, whether the precious body and blood of
our blessed Lord and Saviour are in the bread and in the wine, so as to
be eaten and drunk whenever, and by whomsoever, the elements are
received, or whether the spiritual food described in this expression is
received by the soul alone without being localised in the consecrated
elements.  And my object is to endeavour to ascertain which of these two
systems is taught by the Church of England.  That dear old Church is at
this present time in a position to call forth the deepest anxiety and the
most earnest prayers of all those who love the truth.  Some are
endeavouring to destroy it, some to corrupt it, and some to uphold it in
its integrity.  In such a state of things it is not fair that the Church
should be held responsible for the assertions even of its friends.  Its
own voice ought to be heard, and its own clear statement carefully
studied.  I have no intention, therefore, of endeavouring to confuse the
subject by a mass of quotations from collateral writers, but will turn at
once to those authoritative documents for which the Church has made
herself responsible.  These are the Articles, Catechism, Liturgy, and
Homilies; and these, if it please God, we will examine in order.

                                * * * * *

_The Articles_.—There are seven Articles—xxv. to xxxi.—bearing more or
less upon the subject; and from these we may gather the real teaching of
our Church.  The first of them, the twenty-fifth, refers to sacraments in
general.  ‘Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of
Christian men’s professions, but rather they be certain sure witnesses
and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us, by the
which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also
strengthen and confirm our faith in Him.’  In other words, before men
they are badges of our profession, and before God they are signs or
witnesses by which God works invisibly in the soul.  In this definition
there is no idea of any change in the substance of the sign.  The sign is
not described as being changed into the thing signified, but as being
accompanied by it, so that when the believer with the hand and lip
visibly receives the sign, it pleases God in His own great grace
invisibly to feed the soul and confirm the faith.  The visible sign and
the invisible gift are therefore kept quite distinct.  The one is
mercifully granted in connexion with the other, but never said to be
incorporated with it, for the sign would cease to be a sign if it were
changed into the thing signified.  With this definition of a Sacrament,
the 27th Article—which describes that of baptism—exactly agrees.  It
describes it not merely as a badge of a Christian man’s profession, but
also declares that it is a sign and means of grace.  ‘A sign of
regeneration or new birth;’ a ‘means whereby as by an instrument, they
that receive baptism rightly (1) are grafted into the Church; (2) the
promises of forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God
by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; (3) faith is confirmed,
and grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God.’  But no change is here
described as taking place in the water.  It is nowhere said to be changed
into regeneration.  The gifts described are God’s direct gifts to the
soul, and are never said to be infused into the element of water.  The
water is sanctified, or set apart for sacramental use, but the
consecration produces no change in its quality or substance.  The new
birth is not in the water, but is the act of the Holy Spirit moving in
the soul.  The minister on earth visibly administers the visible sign to
the body, and we trust that God in heaven invisibly bestows the invisible
gift on the soul.  It is not my business now to discuss the connexion
between the visible sign and the invisible gift.  It is enough for my
present purpose to point out that the one is not changed into the other,
but that the water remains water, or, in other words, that the sign does
not cease to be a sign, as it would do if it were changed into the thing

Now it would be strange indeed if after having first given so perfectly
clear a general definition of the general nature of a sacrament, and
having so clearly defined baptism, in perfect harmony with that general
definition, our Church were afterwards to teach a doctrine respecting the
Lord’s Supper, altogether at variance with the general definition, and
with her own explanation of the other sacrament.  The Church of England
includes both sacraments in one definition, and in that definition she
never alludes to any change in the sign or elements.  In the sacrament of
baptism, no one, I believe, would for a moment assert the existence of
such a change, even if there were no special Article on the subject.  Our
conclusion therefore must be, that, according to the Church’s teaching,
there is no change in the elements in the Lord’s Supper.  As the water in
baptism remains water still, so the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper
remain what they were before, plain, simple bread and wine; dedicated, it
is true, to the Lord’s service, but altogether unchanged by such

But we are not left to depend altogether on such conclusions, for there
is a special Article on the subject, viz., the twenty-eighth.  In the
first clause we find the Lord’s Supper described as both sacraments were
described in the twenty-fifth, and baptism in the twenty-seventh, as a
sign and means of grace.  ‘The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of
the love which Christians ought to have among themselves one to another;
but rather is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death, inasmuch
that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the
bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise
the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ.’  Having gone
thus far in harmony with their general definition, and having quoted the
words from 1 Cor. x., our Reformers were clearly brought to the
consideration of the very point under discussion, viz., in what way does
the soul of the believer partake in the Lord’s Supper of the body and
blood of his blessed Lord and Saviour?  This question they boldly and
clearly answer, declaring in the first place, what is not, and in the
second place, what is, the truth respecting it.  They first declare that
it is not by transubstantiation.  ‘Transubstantiation (or the change of
the substance of bread and wine), in the Supper of the Lord cannot be
proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture,
overthroweth the nature of a sacrament’ (because if the sign is changed
into the thing signified, it ceases to be a sign), ‘and hath given
occasion to many superstitions.’  It would be fruitless to endeavour to
trace the sophistry with which those who desire reconciliation of the
Church of England with Rome, have endeavoured to avoid the clear
statements of this pungent Article.  But their conclusion is one which is
such an outrage on common sense that it would be utterly ludicrous if it
were not inexpressibly melancholy, to see men who, we hope, are devout
men, embracing it.  We are now deliberately told that the Article was not
directed against the doctrine of transubstantiation at all, but against a
change for which the name of ‘transaccidentation’ has been recently
adopted.  Now I know we live in an age of discovery, but it is difficult
for any person of plain common sense, to believe in such a discovery as
this.  No one who knows anything of the history of the Reformation can be
ignorant of the intense eagerness with which the doctrine of
transubstantiation was discussed.  In books, in sermons, in public
disputations, it was argued again and again, by all the most learned
theologians of the day.  The speculations of the schoolmen as well as the
writings of the early fathers were largely quoted.  The very distinction
now revived between substance and accident was carefully discussed.  And
men felt so deeply the wide difference between the teaching of Rome and
the teaching of Scripture that they could not yield even to save their
lives.  The stake was before them as the certain issue of their
confession, and liberty and honour was the promised reward if only they
would yield.  But they had that deep conviction of the deadly error of
the doctrine of transubstantiation that they counted it a privilege
rather to die than to deny the truth of God.  And I put it to any man of
common sense and common honesty: is it possible to believe that, after
all, there was no real difference between Rome and the Reformers?  That
Bonner and Gardiner, and Latimer, Cranmer, and Ridley did, in fact,
agree; that there might have been a little confusion in some of their
minds as to the difference between substance and accident, so that they
used the word transubstantiation without knowing its real meaning, but
that in all essential points they were agreed, so that the fires of
Smithfield were lighted all by mistake, and men who were burned agreed
with them that burned them.  Clever men and learned men may put forth
such a theory, but common sense revolts against it; and all thinking men
must agree that, if this be the only theory on which it can be
maintained, the doctrine of the Real Objective Presence is not the
doctrine of the Church.  Plain honest men will be ready to cry ‘shame’ on
those who by theological sophistry are endeavouring to evade the plain
and incontestable evidence of the great facts of the Reformation.  The
Reformers knew well enough what Rome meant by ‘transubstantiation,’ and
the twenty-eighth Article is decisive on the point that there is no such
change in the Supper of the Lord.

But the error having been denied, the next clause of the Article is
employed to assert the truth: ‘The body of Christ is given, taken, and
eaten in the Supper only after an heavenly and spiritual manner; and the
means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is
Faith.’  It is most important to observe that word ‘only,’ for it is
exclusive of all material feeding.  If it were not there it might have
been possible to have argued that the Article admits the idea of a
material in addition to a spiritual feeding—a feeding with the mouth as
well as a feeding with the heart.  But the word ‘only’ renders any such
theory impossible.  There is ‘only’ one manner in which He is received,
and that one manner is heavenly and spiritual.  With equal clearness it
is declared that as there is only one mode in which the body of our
blessed Saviour is received, and that heavenly and spiritual; so there is
only one mean whereby it is received and eaten, and that one mean is
faith.  The Article does not speak of _a_ means, as if it was one of many
but of ‘_the_ means’ in order to show that it stands quite alone, that it
is only spiritual food, and received only by faith.  The lips receive the
bread, and the believing heart receives the spiritual food of Christ
Himself.  The body feeds on the material food, the soul on the spiritual.
The means whereby the body feeds is the same as in common eating, and the
means on which the soul feeds is faith.

This important distinction of the outward and inward action is taught
with equal clearness in Article xxix.:—‘Of the wicked which eat not the
body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.’  It may seem strange at first sight
that any persons should be eager to maintain that the wicked receive so
sacred a gift as the body and blood of our blessed Saviour; but a very
slight reflection will show the reason, for on this question hinges the
whole controversy.  If the bread and wine have become the body and blood
of the Lord Jesus Christ, or if after consecration He is in them, then it
must follow as a matter of certain consequence that whoever eats them
eats Him.  But if, on the other hand, He is not in the bread and wine at
all, but is received by the heart as the bread and wine are by the body,
then it follows that if the heart be not right with God, a person may eat
the bread, but never feed on the body and blood of our most blessed Lord
and Saviour.  The whole question whether there is any independent,
localized presence of our blessed Redeemer in the elements is involved in
the decision whether the wicked in receiving those elements do or do not
receive Him.  On this point the language of the twenty-ninth Article is
perfectly clear:—‘The wicked and such as be void of a lively faith,
although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as St.
Augustine saith) the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no
wise are they partakers of Christ; but rather to their condemnation do
eat and drink the sign or sacrament of so great a thing.’  In quoting
this Article I am not ignorant of the attempt that has been made to
represent it as teaching that, although the wicked do eat the body of
Christ they do not receive His life-giving blessings.  But the Article
does not say one word of blessings.  It is headed with the words, ‘Of the
wicked which eat not the body of Christ.’  It describes the bread as
being a sign of the body, and it affirms as clearly as language can
affirm that a wicked person may press the sign with his teeth, but still
be in no wise either materially, spiritually, with the body or with the
soul, a partaker of Christ.  According to this Article a person may eat
the bread without eating the body of Christ, and receive the wine, but
never drink the blood of Christ.  If the bread and wine had by
consecration become the body and blood, this clearly would be impossible,
for the one being changed into the other, the two would be inseparable,
or rather, they would cease to be two, they would be one.  It is clear,
therefore, that no such change is taught here; and this conclusion is
remarkably confirmed by the Rubric at the close of the Service for the
Communion of the Sick, for there the same great principle is maintained
with equal clearness, only from a different point of view, when it says,
‘If a man . . . by just impediment do not receive the Sacrament of
Christ’s body and blood, the curate shall instruct him that if he do
truly repent himself of his sins, and steadfastly believe that Jesus
Christ hath suffered death upon the Cross for him, and shed His blood for
his redemption, earnestly remembering the benefits he hath thereby, and
giving Him hearty thanks therefore, he doth eat and drink the body and
blood of our Saviour Christ, profitably to his soul’s health, although he
doth not receive the Sacrament with his mouth.’  I venture to say that
nothing can be clearer than the combined testimony of these two most
important documents.  The Article says, ‘That a bad man may receive with
his mouth the Sacrament of the body of Christ, but not be partaker of
Christ.’  The Rubric says that a believer may under certain circumstances
eat and drink the body and blood of our Saviour Christ, although he do
not receive the Sacrament with his mouth.  And if this is not a
sufficient proof that according to the teaching of the Church of England,
the sign or Sacrament is not changed into the thing signified, I can
imagine no proof that can be given.  If they are made one by the act of
consecration, neither one nor the other can be received alone.

Summing up, then, the teaching of the Articles, we shall arrive at five
important conclusions: (1.) A Sacrament is a sign, and a sign would cease
to be a sign if it were changed into the thing signified.  (2.) In the
Sacrament of baptism there is no change in the water.  (3.) The doctrine
of transubstantiation is condemned as clearly as words can condemn it.
(4.) The body of Christ is said to be received only after a heavenly and
spiritual manner.  (5.) The wicked are declared to be in no wise
partakers of the sacred body and blood of our blessed Lord, though with
the mouth they eat the sign.  And yet, notwithstanding all this, there
are those who boldly affirm that the doctrine of the real presence of our
blessed Lord and Saviour in the elements is the undoubted teaching of the
Church of England.

                                * * * * *

_Catechism_.—But is not the doctrine taught in the Catechism?  And if we
look carefully, shall we not find it there?  One writer is so confident
that we shall, that he boldly affirms that the Catechism is the final and
authoritative decision of the Church on the subject, and must supersede
all previous documents; as if five short questions and answers, drawn up
for the use of children, were to override the full, dogmatic, and
controversial decisions of the Articles.  I am not surprised at his wish
to draw attention from the Articles, but I am persuaded he will gain
nothing by directing it to the Catechism.  I have no doubt that the
portion of the Catechism relating to the Sacraments is simply an
abbreviation, or adaptation, of the Articles.  The same arrangement is
adopted, and the same definitions occur, in both documents.  The first
three questions refer to Article xxv., the next to Article xxvii., the
next to Article xxviii.  The two Sacraments are first included in one
common definition.  The Sacrament of baptism is then discussed
separately, and I presume that no one would venture to affirm that either
in the general definition of a Sacrament, or in the particular definition
of baptism, the outward sign is ever said to be changed into, or
confounded with, the thing signified.  In these two definitions they are
kept distinct, and if the Catechism teaches any such change in the Lord’s
Supper, it must make a marked and most important distinction between the
two Sacraments, and so neutralize its own general definition, which is
carefully drawn to include them both.  It would, indeed, be strange if
there were such an inconsistency in so short a passage.  But, thanks be
to God, there is nothing of the kind, and the whole is in perfect harmony
both with itself and with the Articles.  It is difficult to imagine a
clearer and more marked distinction than that expressed in the second and
third questions, ‘What is the outward part, or sign, of the Lord’s
Supper?’ and ‘What is the inward part or thing signified?’  The
distinctness between the two parts is here more clearly marked than even
in the Articles, for in these two questions there is not merely the
distinction which we have in them between the sign and the thing
signified, but the one is described as outward and the other inward.  The
one is a material thing, which the recipient may take in his hand, and
which is altogether external to himself; the other is inward and
invisible, something within the soul, and only seen by the inner man.  It
is, therefore, utterly contrary to the teaching of these two questions to
suppose that both parts of the Sacrament are outward, and that the inward
and spiritual grace has a localized, outward presence external to the
soul of the recipient.

But though the questions are thus distinct, can we say the same of the
answers?  The third answer is often boldly appealed to as deciding the
question in favour of what is termed the real presence, and as finally
settling the whole controversy.  But nothing is easier than to make bold
assertions of the kind, to persuade men to receive them without the
trouble of investigation.  But such a system will not satisfy those who
desire to know the truth.  Let us then examine the answer carefully.
‘What is the inward part or thing signified?’  ‘The body and blood of
Christ; which are verily and indeed taken, and received by the faithful
in the Lord’s Supper.’  Great stress is sometimes laid on the words,
‘Verily and indeed,’ as if they meant something more than a spiritual
feeding on Christ.  But there is nothing in them to convey any such idea.
All they teach is that there is a real, true gift, really enjoyed and
received by the devout communicant; and this we all thankfully believe.
The question between us is not whether there is such a gift; but what is
its character, and how is it received.  The reality of the gift does not
prove that it is material, external, or connected in any way with the
natural elements.  To maintain this would be to deny the reality of
anything spiritual and internal.  Nothing, therefore, can be proved
either way from the words, ‘Verily and indeed.’  They cannot be quoted in
opposition to the question to which they are intended as an answer, or in
deciding that the inward part is outward.  They do assert that the gift
of the Lord is no mere fiction or idea, but they do not teach in any way
whatever that the sacred gift is in the elements, and external to the

But we have not yet done with this important answer, for there are two
more most important points to be noticed in it.  In the first place it is
clearly stated that it is ‘Verily and indeed taken, and received by the
faithful.’  One ingenious writer endeavours to make out that the word
‘faithful’ is here intended to include the wicked.  I suppose that we are
bound to give him credit for believing what he writes; but it is very
difficult for those to do so who read common English in the light of
common sense.  And still more difficult is it when the Catechism is read
in the light of the twenty-eighth Article, from which it was in all
probability constructed, and which says, ‘To such as rightly, worthily,
and with faith, receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking
of the body of Christ.’  Can any reasonable man compare these passages,
and doubt for a moment that by the words ‘the faithful,’ are intended
those persons who ‘approach in faith whereby alone they can feed on

But there is another point in that same answer which claims our careful
consideration.  The words are, ‘which are received by the faithful in the
Lord’s Supper.’  It does not say, ‘in the Sacrament,’ for if it did it
might have been misunderstood.  In the use of the word ‘Sacrament’ there
is a risk of confusion, for it is employed in three different senses.  It
is sometimes employed to denote the whole act, or sacramental service, as
in Article xxv., where Sacraments are described as badges, witnesses, and
signs.  It is sometimes used to express the outward sign and the inward
gift, regarded as forming together one perfect whole, as in the third
question and answer of the Catechism, by which we are taught that there
are two parts in a Sacrament—the outward visible sign, and the inward
spiritual grace.  But sometimes it is used for the outward sign alone,
unaccompanied by the spiritual grace, as in Article xxix., where we read
that the wicked are in no wise partakers of Christ, ‘but rather to their
condemnation do eat and drink the sign, or Sacrament, of so great a
thing.’  It is my conviction that this looseness in the use of the word
‘Sacrament’ had led to great confusion; for when those who hold the great
doctrines of the Reformation have declared their belief in the presence
of their blessed Redeemer in the Sacrament, they have used the word in
the sense of the sacred feast, and expressed their assurance that He, a
living Lord, is present in the midst of His waiting people.  But others,
taking the word ‘Sacrament’ to mean simply the consecrated elements, may
quote such words from the staunchest reformers, as proving that even they
taught the presence of the Lord in the bread and wine.  Happily, in the
Catechism this danger is avoided, for in this important answer the word
‘Sacrament’ is not used at all.  The sacred feast is there called the
‘Lord’s Supper,’ respecting which there is no confusion, and the result
is that there is not even the misuse of a word to encourage the idea of
anything like a presence in the elements.

But if there were any room for doubt as to the meaning of the Church of
England in this passage, it would surely be removed by the next question
and answer, ‘What are the benefits whereof we are partakers thereby?’
‘The strengthening and refreshing of our souls by the body and blood of
Christ, as our bodies are by the bread and wine.’  It is difficult to
imagine language which could preserve the distinction of the outward and
the inward parts more clearly than this does.  The outward is for the
body, and strengthens it; the inward for the soul, and does the same for
it.  The one food is material for a material body; the other is
spiritual, for the spiritual sustenance of the soul.  The one is
external, to be received into the body by bodily organization; the other
is internal and invisible, received into the soul by faith.  To identify
the two, or to shut up the one within the other, is to violate the whole
principle of the passage; it is to confuse material and spiritual things,
and utterly to depart from the teaching of the Church of England by
giving a material character to the most spiritual act of which the soul
is capable.

                                * * * * *

_The Communion Service_.—But there is yet another most important
document, and one inexpressibly precious to the heart of every devout
communicant amongst us: I mean the Communion Service, or ‘Order of
Administration of the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion.’  How often have
those sacred prayers expressed the deep feeling of our inmost soul, as we
have knelt in holy faith before the Table of the Lord?  Now there cannot
be a moment’s doubt that we are taught in that most precious Service to
feed on the body and blood of our most blessed Saviour, and to expect
that the most sacred food will be given to the soul.  If this were not
expressed, the bread which we break would not be presented to us as a
partaking of the body of Christ.  But while we are taught in living faith
to partake of His most precious body and blood, the whole service has
been so carefully worded that the spiritual grace is never identified
with the outward sign.  As in the Articles and Catechism, the two things
are kept perfectly distinct.  In simply reading the Service as we now
have it, this care is not always apparent, for the language of devotion
is never the language of controversial theology, and the spirit of
fervent prayer does not admit of the expression of theological
distinctions.  Full hearts do not stop to define when they are pleading
before God.  But the utmost care was taken, and we profit from the
results.  This is easily seen by a comparison of the two Prayer Books of
Edward VI.  The Reformation was a gradual process, so that the Prayer
Book of 1549 is less distinct than that of 1552.  In the latter book
there were important changes made, and these changes indicate very
plainly the real teaching of our present Prayer Book.  In the Prayer Book
of 1549, there were some passages which might have been understood as
teaching that the most precious body and blood of our Lord was to be
received in the consecrated elements of bread and wine; but in the book
of 1552, these passages were all changed so as to render such a sense

For example: in the exhortation to communicants, it was written in the
book of 1549, ‘He hath left _in_ these holy mysteries, as a pledge of His
love, and a continual remembrance of the same, _his own blessed body and
precious blood_ for us to feed upon spiritually to our endless comfort
and consolation.’  If the word ‘mysteries’ was understood of the
consecrated elements, this passage might have been understood as teaching
that the spiritual food was actually in the consecrated bread and wine.
So in 1552, the passage was changed to the well-known words, ‘He hath
instituted and ordained holy mysteries as pledges of His love, and
continual remembrance of His death, to our great and endless comfort,’
and all possibility of misapprehension was removed.

Again, in the prayer of consecration in 1549 we find the words, ‘Hear us,
O Merciful Father, we beseech thee; and with Thy Holy Spirit and Word
vouchsafe to bless and sanctify these Thy gifts and creatures of bread
and wine, that they may be unto us the body and blood of Thy most dearly
beloved Son Jesus Christ.’  These words might fairly be taken as praying
for a change in the elements, and therefore in the next version the
passage was completely changed, and the unmistakable language of our
present Prayer Book introduced in its stead: ‘Grant that we receiving
these Thy creatures of bread and wine, according to Thy Son our Saviour
Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of His death and passion,
may be partakers of His most blessed body and blood.’

So in the prayer before consecration.  In the first book the words were,
‘Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of Thy dear Son
Jesus Christ, and to drink His blood _in these Holy Mysteries_.’  But
this was liable to the same danger as the passage in the exhortation
already referred to, and therefore the words, ‘In these holy mysteries,’
were struck out, and the prayer left as it now stands in our Prayer Book.

And so once more, in the words of administration in the first book there
was only the first portion of the present sentences.  The words were:
‘The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve
thy body and soul unto everlasting life.’  But though not necessary, it
was possible to understand this as if the bread presented to the
communicants were declared to be the body of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To
prevent this, the following words, ‘Take and eat this, and feed on _Him
in thy heart by faith_, with thanksgiving,’ were substituted in 1552, and
combined with the original form in 1559.  Nothing can be clearer, or more
important, than the teaching of this passage.  In it the distinction is
perfectly clear between the bread which we eat, and the blessed Saviour
on whom we feed.  Of the bread it says, ‘Eat this,’ this bread which I
put into your hand.  But of the inward and spiritual grace it says, ‘Feed
on Him,’ on the Lord Jesus Christ Himself; and this feeding is described
as the act of the heart through faith, for the words are, ‘Feed on
_Him_—in thine heart—through faith—with thanksgiving.’

                                * * * * *

_Homilies_.—But there is another rich mine of truth from which those who
are anxious to learn the mind of the Church of England may obtain most
abundant information.  I observe that as a general rule those who teach
the doctrine of the real presence in the elements refer very little to
the Homilies.  They treat them as if they were not aware of their
existence, and I am not surprised at their silence, for they certainly
can find nothing in them to support their system.  You may search the
Homilies from one end to the other, and you will find nothing there to
support the doctrine of a real presence of our Lord and Saviour in the
consecrated elements.  They are in perfect harmony with the Articles.
The definition of a Sacrament is the same, and preserves with equal
clearness the distinction between the outward sign and inward grace—as
_e.g._, in the ninth Homily of the second book, where we read the
following reference to the words of Augustine ‘He calleth Sacraments holy
signs, and . . . saith “if Sacraments have not a certain similitude of
these things whereof they be Sacraments, they should be no Sacraments at
all.  And of this similitude, they do for the most part receive the names
of the same things they signify.”  By these words of St. Augustine, it
appeareth that he allowed the common description of a Sacrament, which is
that it is a visible sign of an invisible grace, that is to say, that
setteth out to the eyes, and other outward senses, the inward working of
God’s free mercy, and doth as it were seal in our hearts the promises of

But I must be careful with reference to the Homilies, for there are two
passages which are sometimes quoted in order to show that the doctrine of
the real presence in the elements is the doctrine taught in them.  One of
these passages is quoted by Dr. Pusey in his book on the Real Presence,
viz., the Advertisement at the end of the First Book of Homilies:
‘Hereafter shall follow sermons of fasting, praying, almsdeeds, &c, of
the nativity, passion, resurrection, and ascension of our Saviour Christ;
of the due receiving of His blessed body and blood under the form of
bread and wine,’ &c.  Now I am quite prepared to admit that when this
Advertisement was written, the writer of it did believe that the body and
blood of our blessed Lord was present under the form of bread and wine;
but even the Advertisement was no part of any Homily, and can never be
regarded as having been at any time a portion of the authoritative
teaching of the Church of England.  I am willing, however, to admit that,
although not authoritative, it may be regarded as indicating what was the
opinion of the writers at the date of the First Book of Homilies.  All,
therefore, turns upon the date, and when I remember that the First Book
of Homilies was published in 1547, two years before the first revision of
the Communion Service, viz., that in 1549, and five years before the
second, _viz._, that in 1552, when the alterations to which I have
referred were made in the Communion Service; when, moreover, I find that
when the promised Homily was published, it was headed by a different
title, viz., ‘The worthy receiving, and reverend esteeming; of the
Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ;’ when, moreover, I find on its
first page the passage just quoted respecting the sign and thing
signified, I am altogether at a loss to understand how a person of the
learning of Dr. Pusey should have quoted the Advertisement, as if it were
the teaching of the Church of England in her Homilies.  He must have
known the date, and must have been perfectly acquainted with the changes
which took place five years after it.

But there is another passage sometimes quoted from the Homily, and quoted
with great assurance by those who desire to represent the Church of
England as teaching the doctrine of the real presence.  I once heard an
advanced Ritualist preaching on the subject, and with the utmost boldness
he challenged us to listen to the Homilies, and then he quoted the words,
‘Thus much we must be sure to hold, that in the supper of the Lord there
is no vain ceremony, no bare sign, no untrue figure of a thing absent,
but, as the Scripture saith, a marvellous incorporation.’  Oh! how did my
heart burn, as I sat in that church, to cry aloud from my seat ‘Read the
whole passage,’ but I was obliged to sit in silence, and endure.  Oh! how
I pity laymen, who have no power of contradiction, when they hear gross
error preached to themselves and their families!  But I may read it now:
‘The table of the Lord, the bread and cup of the Lord, the memory of
Christ, the annunciation of His death, yea, the communion of the body and
blood of the Lord’ (why was all that left out?), ‘In a marvellous
incorporation.’  Now what is the meaning of this marvellous
incorporation?  Does it mean the incorporation of our blessed Lord and
Saviour in the bread?  Or does it refer to the work of the Holy Ghost in
the soul?  Let the question be decided by the words which conclude the
sentence: ‘In a marvellous incorporation, which, by the operation of the
Holy Ghost—the very bond of our conjunction with Christ—is through faith
wrought in the souls of the faithful.’

But that is not all.  The Homilies were written by men deeply impressed
by the truth of God: by men who loved the Gospel, and who earnestly
desired to see others partakers of their joy.  So they did not merely
speak in the language of accurate theology, but they appealed to souls
with the fervour of loving hearts.  Let us listen, in conclusion, to the
glowing words with which they wind up the first part of their address,
‘It is well known that the meat we seek for in this supper is spiritual
food; the nourishment of our soul; a heavenly refection and not an
earthly; an invisible meal and not bodily; a ghostly substance and not
carnal; so that to think that without faith we may enjoy the eating and
drinking thereof, or that that is the fruition of it, is but to dream a
gross carnal feeding, basely objecting and binding ourselves to the
elements and creatures.’ . . . ‘That when thou goest up to the reverend
Communion to be satisfied with spiritual meats, thou look up with faith
upon the holy body of thy God, thou marvel with reverence, thou touch it
with the mind, thou receive it with the hand of thy heart, and thou take
it fully with thy inward man.  Thus we see, beloved, that resorting to
this table, we must pluck up all the roots of infidelity, all distrust in
God’s promises, that we make ourselves living members of Christ’s body.
For the unbelievers and faithless cannot feed upon that precious body.
Whereas the faithful have their life, their abiding in Him, their union,
and, as it were, their incorporation with Him.  Wherefore let us prove,
and try ourselves unfeignedly without flattering ourselves, whether we be
plants of that fruitful olive, living branches of the true vine, members
indeed of Christ’s mystical body, whether God hath purified our hearts by
faith, to the sincere acknowledging of His Gospel, and embracing of His
mercies in Christ Jesus, so that at this, His table, we receive, not only
the outward Sacrament, but the spiritual thing also; not the figure, but
the truth; not the shadow only, but the body; not to death, but to life;
not to destruction, but to salvation; which God grant us to do through
the merits of our Lord and Saviour: to whom be all honour and glory for
ever.  Amen.’


THUS far I have examined into the teaching of the Church of England with
reference to nothing but the bare doctrine of transubstantiation, or, as
it is now more frequently called, of the real objective presence of the
body and blood of our blessed Saviour in the consecrated elements of
bread and wine.  I have not discussed the question whether the elements
of bread and wine remain either in their substance or their accidents,
for these questions are not discussed by the Church of England.  The
point maintained by the Church is that the most precious body and blood
of Christ are not in the bread and wine at all, but are given by the
direct action of the Holy Ghost to the soul of the believer, and received
by him through faith.  But we cannot leave the subject there, for, as we
are taught in the twenty-eighth Article, that doctrine ‘has given
occasion to many superstitions,’ and to two of these, adoration and
sacrifice, we must, if we would gather the real teaching of the Church of
England, direct our careful study.

_Adoration_.—When we speak of adoration, let it not be for one moment
supposed that we refer to the adoration of the Lord Jesus, as now seated
at the right hand of God, for with the whole heart, and the most profound
reverence, we would fall at His feet, and say, in the language of our
Communion Service, ‘Thou only art Holy, Thou only art the Lord; Thou
only, O Christ, art most high in the glory of God the Father.’  The
adoration against which we protest is the adoration of the Lord Jesus
Christ as supposed to be localised in the consecrated elements of bread
and wine.  Such adoration must, of course, involve the belief that He, as
a living Lord, is actually present in each piece of consecrated bread,
and also in the consecrated wine, and for such a belief there is not one
word in Scripture.  The doctrines of transubstantiation and
consubstantiation are made to rest on what is called the literal
interpretation of the words, ‘This is My body,’ ‘This is My blood;’ but
the utter inconsistency of the whole system is shown by the fact that
while its advocates maintain that these words must be taken literally,
and that their doctrine of the real presence is the necessary
consequence, they themselves completely depart from their own principle
of literal interpretation, and make a bold assertion which the words,
taken literally, distinctly contradict.  The words taken literally could
certainly teach nothing more than that the bread becomes the body, and
the wine the blood of our blessed Redeemer; but Rome teaches, and as far
as I can learn the modern Ritualists teach the same, that not only do the
bread and wine each separately become the body and blood, but that each
of them becomes by the act of consecration a complete living Saviour,
with Body, Soul, and Divinity; so that there is a living Saviour in each
piece of consecrated bread, and a living Saviour in the cup, and that
these living Saviours are to be adored or worshipped with the same
worship as is given to our blessed Redeemer at the right hand of the
throne in Heaven.  I could give scores of passages in proof of my
statement; but the well-known words of Mr. Bennett are sufficient: ‘I am
one of those who have lighted candles at the altar in the day-time, who
use incense at the holy sacrifice—who use the Eucharistic vestments—who
elevate the blessed Sacrament—who myself adore, and teach the people to
adore, the consecrated elements, believing Christ to be in them—believing
that under their veil is the sacred body and blood of my Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ.’  Such is the fabric raised on what is called the literal
interpretation of the words of our blessed Saviour, a fabric for which
those words taken literally give no foundation of any kind whatever.  But
how is it with the Church of England?  Are men true Churchmen when they
elevate the elements for worship?  Are they teaching the doctrines of the
Church of England when they teach that we are to worship the living Lord
in the bread and in the cup which the priest raises above his head for
adoration?  It certainly does not seem as if they were, for as far as I
have been able to discover, not one word from all our Church’s documents
is ever quoted in support of the practice.  The only position taken up is
that it is not expressly forbidden, and this position I believe to be,
like the rest of the system, without foundation.  It is quite true that
comparatively little is said, for the doctrine of transubstantiation
being denied and disproved, all the rest follows as a matter of course.
If there is no real objective presence there can be no adoration.  If a
living Saviour be not in the elements He cannot therein be adored.  The
whole controversy turns on the doctrine of the Real Presence as the
key-stone of the system.  But though the subject has not been so fully
discussed in our Church documents, there is quite enough to show very
clearly the mind of the Church of England.  The concluding words of
Article xxviii. are quite enough to settle the question: ‘The Sacrament
of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried
about, lifted up, or worshipped.’  How, with that Article before them,
clergymen of the Church of England can presume to elevate the sacramental
elements for worship I am at a loss to explain.  But this is not all that
has been said, for the practice of kneeling at the Lord’s Supper
occasioned at one time a certain amount of anxiety in the minds of some
persons, as they feared that it might be mistaken for adoration of the
host.  To prevent the possibility of any such mistake a most important
note was added in the year 1552, which, after having been omitted in
1559, was restored with a slight alteration in 1662.  It is as follows:
‘It is hereby declared, that thereby no adoration is intended, or ought
to be done, either unto the sacramental bread or wine there bodily
received, or unto any corporal presence of Christ’s natural flesh and
blood.  The sacramental bread and wine remain still in their very natural
substances, and, therefore, may not be adored (for that were idolatry to
be abhorred of all faithful Christians); and the natural body and blood
of our Saviour Christ are in Heaven, and not here; it being against the
truth of Christ’s natural body to be at one time in more places than
one.’  Such words as those need no comment, and I should be only wasting
time if I were to stop to discuss them.  Of course people endeavour to
evade them; but the attempts at evasion only tend to show the utter
helplessness of the undertaking.  The memorialists already referred to,
say, ‘We repudiate all adoration of a corporal presence of Christ’s
natural flesh and blood, that is to say, of the presence of His body and
blood as they are in Heaven.’  They admit it, therefore, in some other
way.  But the Church of England denies it altogether.  It draws no nice
distinction as to the mode, but simply denies the fact, and settles the
question once and for ever for all honest men whose honest desire it is
to teach its doctrines and adopt its worship.

But as we really desire to ascertain the truth, it is well to refer to
the statements of those who differ from us.  I turn, therefore, to those
of Dr. Pusey, as I believe he is the person who above all others would be
regarded as the best exponent of the theory of the Real Presence and its
consequences.  In his book, _The Real Presence_, p. 311, he says: ‘The
Church of England has maintained the same reserve as to the practice of
adoring our Lord present in the Eucharist.’  And again: ‘With regard to
the adoration we are rather told that the Sacraments were not ordained of
Christ to be adored, but to be received.’  I could not wish for a plainer
statement of truth than those last words, but I confess myself at a loss
to understand how the writer can teach adoration, and yet continue in his
position as a clergyman of the Church of England.  But with the former
words I cannot agree, for the Church of England has not exercised
reserve.  To exercise reserve is to keep in the background a truth which
we believe, but which from motives of expediency we think it better not
to make known.  But there is no such reserve in the Church of England.
She is plain, honest, and outspoken for the truth; and when she struck
all trace of adoration from her worship she did so, not from any crafty
policy of reserve, but because she believed that the whole thing was a
gross superstition, and with a firm, bold, and unsparing hand she cut
away the whole fabric, and left no trace of it in the whole system of her
worship.  There was no reserve in the Reformers, whatever there may be in
those who are striving to undo the Reformation.


BUT adoration is not all, for there is yet a further result of the
doctrine of the real objective presence, if possible, more dangerous even
than adoration; I mean the assertion of a continued sacrifice.  It is
extremely difficult to ascertain exactly what is held by the Ritualistic
party, for there is no document to which they all subscribe or for which
they can be held responsible; but there is quite enough to show that a
great number amongst them are teaching without reserve that there is in
the Lord’s Supper a continuation, or repetition, of the propitiatory
sacrifice of our blessed Lord.  The extent to which this is carried may
be gathered from a book called the _Eucharist Manual_, to which
Archbishop Longley drew the attention of the Church in the year 1867, in
which it is said that ‘a real, true, and substantial sacrifice is offered
to God the Father, and not merely a spiritual or metaphorical sacrifice;’
that the Holy Eucharist is ‘a true, real, and substantial sacrifice
offered to God the Father, offered for the quick and the dead;’ the
meaning of which statement is proved beyond the possibility of a doubt by
the following prayers: ‘Eternal Father, I offer thee the precious blood
of Jesus Christ, in expiation of my sins, and for the wants of the whole
Church;’ and ‘I now join Thy minister in offering Thee this oblation of
the body and blood of Thy Son, in propitiation for my numberless sins,
and for the salvation of all bound to me by kindred or affection.’
Nothing would be easier than to bring together almost any number of
similar passages, and I feel persuaded that I am not misrepresenting the
principles of the writers when I say that they teach the continuation or
repetition of the sacrifice of our blessed Lord Himself as a propitiation
for sin.  Now is this the teaching of the Church of England, or is it
not?  Dr. Pusey’s own language may, I think, decide the question.  In his
book, on the _Real Presence_, p. 311, he says of the Church’s documents:
‘Although the great act of Eucharistic Sacrifice remains in the
consecration itself, and it has been all along an object of belief in the
Church of England, it is mentioned only when we pray to God to accept
this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.’  This then is the only
passage in all the documents of the Church of England which we may
presume can be produced as being in favour of this teaching, and I
venture to say that Dr. Pusey is far too good a theologian not to know
that the passage is dead against the doctrine of propitiatory sacrifice.
Is it possible to suppose that such a learned man as he is does not know
the distinction between a sacrifice of expiation and a sacrifice of
praise and thanksgiving, between an atonement for sin and the free-will
offering of a thankful and loving heart?  And is it possible that there
should be one moment’s doubt as to the teaching of the Church of England,
when the words, which he himself acknowledges, are the only words which
he can discover in support of the one are words which beyond all
controversy refer exclusively to the other?

But is the Church of England as silent as he appears to consider it on
this important subject?  Are we left to gather its great principles from
that one passage in the Communion Service?  Does it teach nothing on the
subject of propitiatory sacrifice but in that one short sentence which
has in fact no connexion with it?  The whole of the Church of God depends
on a completed propitiation, and we might well tremble for the Church of
England if that one great central fact were altogether out of sight in
its teaching.  But, thanks be to God! it is not thus ignored, for this is
just one of those points for which our Reformers were called to suffer,
and respecting which they were most explicit.

To begin with the Articles.  The thirty-first consists of three parts.
(1.) The perfect sufficiency of the great propitiation for sin.  ‘The
offering of Christ _once_ made’ (observe the _once_) ‘is that perfect
redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole
world, both original and actual.’  (2.) The declaration that in
consequence of that sufficiency there can be no further propitiation.
‘There is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone.’  (3.) The
condemnation of the pretended sacrifice of the mass.  ‘Wherefore the
sacrifice of masses, in the which it was commonly said that the priest
did offer Christ for the quick and dead, to have remission of past guilt,
were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits.’  I am not ignorant that
an attempt has been made to represent this Article as referring to the
abuses which had gathered around the sacrifice of the mass, and not
against the principle of sacrifice itself.  As I should be extremely
sorry to misrepresent the opinions of those who differ from me, I quote
Dr. Pusey’s words as I find them in his _Eirenicon_, p. 25: ‘The very
strength of the expressions used, of “the sacrifices of masses,” that
they were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits, the use of the
plural, and the clause “in which it was commonly said,” show that what
the Article speaks of is not the sacrifice of the mass, but the habit
(which, as one hears from time to time, still remains) of trusting to the
purchase of masses when dying, to the neglect of a holy life, or
repentance, and the grace of God and His mercy in Christ Jesus while in
health.’  To what desperate shifts are persons driven who would endeavour
to represent the Church of England as teaching the sacrifice of the mass!
The Article declares the sufficiency and finality of the one sacrifice of
our blessed Lord and Saviour, and because that one sacrifice is
sufficient and final, it condemns in the strongest possible language the
opinion current at the time, that in some form or other there was a
repetition of sacrifice in the mass.  But because the language is strong,
because there is an allusion to the current opinion, and because the
plural number is employed so as to comprehend the numberless sacrifices
supposed to be offered on the numberless altars of the Church of Rome,
therefore it is argued that the Article does not refer to the doctrine of
sacrifice at all, but simply to the purchase of the mass in the dying
hour, instead of repentance and faith during the life.  If the Article
were meant to condemn the purchase of masses, it is very strange that it
makes no allusion to the subject; and if it aimed at the neglect of
repentance and faith, it is most extraordinary that neither repentance
nor faith is once mentioned in its words.  Our Reformers were very
plain-spoken men, and it appears from the strength of their language that
they meant to be plain-spoken in the Article.  It is very strange if,
after all, while they appeared to condemn one thing, they were really
condemning another, and did it in such unintelligible language that their
meaning was not discovered till three hundred years after the Article was

In the Catechism there is not much said on the subject, but that little
is decisive.  There is only one allusion to sacrifice, and that is, to
the one sacrifice of our blessed Saviour, while the Lord’s Supper is
distinctly declared to be an act of remembrance of that great event.
‘_Q._  Why was the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper ordained?’  ‘_A._  For
the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of
the benefits which we receive thereby.’  It is needless to stop to point
out that remembrance cannot mean either continuation, repetition, or
application; and with such a distinct passage before us, it is manifest
that no one can claim the Catechism as teaching the doctrine of
propitiatory sacrifice in the Lord’s Supper.  There is an opinion in some
minds that the language of the Catechism is less distinctly Protestant
than that of the other documents.  That opinion I believe to be
thoroughly mistaken, and it certainly is very difficult to understand by
what perversion of language the doctrine of propitiatory sacrifice can be
wrung from such language as ‘The continual remembrance of the sacrifice
of the death of Christ,’ and a ‘thankful remembrance of His death,’ as we
find in the answer with which the Catechism concludes.

From the Catechism let us turn to the Communion Service.  And here we are
met at the outset by Dr. Pusey’s remarkable admission, that the only
passage teaching the doctrine is the language of thankful dedication in
the prayer that follows the reception: ‘We, Thy humble servants, entirely
desire Thy Fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of
praise and thanksgiving.’  No person who understands the difference
between propitiation and thanksgiving can fail to see at a glance that
there is no reference in this passage to propitiatory sacrifice.  The
next sentence is: ‘Here we offer and present unto Thee, O Lord,
ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively
sacrifice unto Thee.’  ‘Ourselves, our souls and bodies,’ what are they
to make a propitiation for sin?  Nothing can be plainer than that the
prayer is intended to be the language of the thankful heart surrendering
itself as a thank-offering to God.  If the language admitted of the
smallest doubt, that doubt would be removed by the position assigned to
it in the Communion Service of 1552.  In that of 1549 it stood with
certain additions before the administration of the sacramental elements,
but the human mind is so prone to misunderstand the simplest documents,
that our Reformers, to avoid all possibility of mistake, first removed
from the prayer any expressions which they thought could be
misunderstood, and then placed it after, instead of before, the reception
of the elements.  Thus they secured that there should be no room for
doubt that the sacrifice referred to is the surrender of self, and the
motive for that surrender, not the desire for forgiveness, but the deep
gratitude of a thankful heart, when sin has been blotted out through a
finished atonement, and the appropriation of that atonement has been
sealed to the soul by the sacred emblems of His body and blood.

But these were not the only changes made in the Communion Service of
1552.  There was another of a most important character in connexion with
the subject of sacrifice.  You never hear of sacrifice without an altar.
The altar is, in fact, an essential adjunct of sacrifice, and accordingly
in former times there was an altar, generally made of stone, against the
eastern wall of the chancel.  Accordingly in the Communion Service of
1549, there is frequent mention of the altar; but in 1552 all altars were
abolished.  There is no allusion to an altar now in any document of the
Church of England.  When persons speak of leading brides to the altar,
they are not using the language of the Church, nor are they presenting
the holy rite of marriage in a very happy aspect, for the expression
really implies that the poor bride is led to sacrifice.  There is now
nothing but a table known in the Church of England.  The altar has been
removed, and the table introduced, in order that all might see even in
the Church’s furniture, that the doctrine of sacrifice has been
abandoned, and that the doctrine of communion is the true creed of the
Church of England.  It may be sufficient to refer to the fourth rubric as
a specimen of the changes made.  In 1549 it was, ‘The priest standing
humbly afore the midst of the altar shall say,’ &c.  In 1552, ‘The table
having at the Communion time a fair white linen cloth upon it, shall
stand in the body of the church or in the chancel, where Morning Prayer
and Evening Prayer be appointed to be said.  And the priest standing at
the north side of the table shall say,’ &c.

And now for the Homilies, the last authority to which we have to refer in
this inquiry.  I am not surprised that those who maintain the doctrine of
a continuation of propitiatory sacrifice preserve a prudent silence with
reference to the Homilies.  I do not know of any one passage ever quoted
by them in support of their opinions, while every allusion to the subject
in the Homilies is of a distinctly opposite character.  Let us turn to
one or two passages from the 15th Homily of the Second Book.  In the
first page of that Homily we have a general description of the Sacred
Feast.  ‘Amongst the which means is the public celebration of the memory
of His precious death at the Lord’s Table: which, although it seems of
small virtue to some, yet being rightly done by the faithful, it doth not
only keep their weakness, but strengtheneth and comforteth their inward
man with peace and gladness, and maketh them thankful to their Redeemer
with diligent care and godly conversation.’  Here we have the description
of the same two purposes as are mentioned in the Articles and Catechism,
but not one syllable respecting sacrifice, for no one who values
correctness in language can maintain that memory is continuation, or that
the memory of His precious death can be a renewed act of propitiation.
But this may be thought to be only an omission.  Let us pass on then to
the following page, when we read, ‘For as that worthy man, St. Ambrose,
saith: “He is unworthy of the Lord that otherwise doth celebrate that
mystery than it was delivered by Him.  Neither can he be devout that
otherwise doth presume that it was otherwise given by the Author.”  We
must, therefore, take heed lest of the memory it be made a sacrifice;
lest of a Communion it may be made a private eating; lest of two parts we
have but one; lest in applying it for the dead we lose the fruit that be
alive.’  In the Homily for Whit Sunday, the self-same truth is taught,
with almost equal clearness.  When it is said of the Church of Rome that
they ‘have so intermingled their own traditions and inventions, by
chopping and changing, by adding and plucking away, that now they (the
Sacraments) may seem to be converted into a new guise.  Christ commended
to His Church a Sacrament of His body and blood; they have changed it
into a sacrifice for the quick and the dead.’  And yet notwithstanding
all these statements and many others, there are those who hold office as
clergymen of the Church of England, who are not ashamed of circulating
such a book as the ‘Eucharist Manual,’ in which it is said: ‘The Holy
Eucharist is a true and substantial sacrifice offered to God the Father,
offered for the quick and dead.’

Here, then, I may conclude.  My object, let it be well remembered, has
not been to discuss the subject from the Scriptures, but to ascertain the
real teaching of the Church of England respecting it.  Let it not be
supposed for one moment that I have taken this position from any idea
that there is any infallible rule of faith but God’s own Word as revealed
in Scripture; but I have done so because the Church of England is at this
present time sorely tried by internal difficulties, and it seems only due
to her to ascertain with the utmost care what is the real character of
her teaching.  While some are loudly claiming her as teaching those very
doctrines in opposition to which our Reformers went to the stake, and
while others of a tender conscience are forsaking her because they
partially believe those bold statements to be true, it is of the utmost
possible importance that those who are faithful to the Church of England
should take the trouble to make themselves acquainted with her true
principles.  If it is a fact that she is identical with Rome, and that
the Reformers were martyrs for a merely imaginary metaphysical
distinction of no importance whatever; then, indeed, we may stand aghast
at the ignorance and folly of all the theologians of all schools and all
countries who have been weak enough to suppose that in the Reformation
there was a doctrinal separation from the Apostasy of Rome.  But if, on
the other hand, the Reformers knew what they were doing, and why they did
it; if they drew up these documents with the utmost care, and these
documents so provoked the doctrinal antipathies of Rome, that while their
authors were sacrificed at the stake their principles were branded by the
anathemas of the Council of Trent; if none of our most thoughtful
students for the last three centuries ever for one moment doubted that
there was direct antagonism between the Church of England and that of
Rome; then it is too sad to be borne that devout men, dearly beloved in
the Lord, staunch to the great principles of the Gospel of the Grace of
God, should have their consciences wounded, and their allegiance shaken,
by the unproved assertions of men who, without any appeal to the Church’s
documents, claim to be the only expositors of its principles.  It is
moreover most deeply to be deplored that those who have a real, true, and
faithful love for the Church of England should be led into error by the
unproved assertion that the Church of England teaches that which she most
emphatically denies.  It is for the sake of both classes that I have been
led to this investigation.  If any are unsettled in their mind and
disposed to distrust the Church of England, I shall rejoice if they are
led to see how sound, how clear, and how perfectly Scriptural she is upon
the subject.  And if any have been led by mistaken ideas of the Church’s
teaching to hold opinions at variance with the great principles of the
Reformation, I shall thank God more than I can express if they may be led
to see what the Church which they love really teaches, that so the love
of their Church may confirm them in the love of truth, and help to
establish them as steady and consistent Churchmen in the faith once
delivered to the saints.

                                * * * * *

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