How far the Real Presence of the body of Christ in the Sacrament is allowed or disallowed by us, I have at large (Sermon at Westminster before the House of Commons, ann. 1620). The sum is this: That in the receiving of the blessed Sacrament we are to distinguish between the outward and the inward action of the communicant. In the outward, with our bodily mouth we receive really the visible elements of bread and wine; in the inward, we do by faith really receive the body and blood of our Lord; that is to say, we are truly and indeed made partakers of Christ crucified, to the spiritual strengthening of our inward man. They of the adverse part have made such a confusion of these things, that for the first they do utterly deny, that after the words of consecration there remaineth any bread or wine at all to be received; and for the second, do affirm that the body and blood of Christ is in such a manner present under the outward shews of bread and wine, that whosoever receiveth the one (be he good or bad, believer or unbeliever) doth therewith really receive the other. We are, therefore, here put to prove that bread is bread, and wine is wine; a matter, one would think, that easily might be determined by common sense. “That which you see,” saith St Augustine, (Augustine, Sermon 272: On The Day Of Pentecost To The Infants, On The Sacrament) “is the bread and the cup, which your very eyes do declare unto you.” But because we have to deal with men that will needs herein be senseless, we will for this time refer them to Tertullian’s Discourse of the Five Senses (Tertullian, A Treatise On The Soul, Chapter 17), (wishing they may be restored to the use of their five wits again,) and ponder the testimonies of our Saviour Christ, in the sixth of John, and in the words of the institution, which they oppose against all sense, but in the end shall find to be as opposite to this fantastical conceit of theirs as anything can be.
Touching our Saviour’s speech of the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood in the sixth of John, these five things specially may be observed: First, that the question betwixt our adversaries and us being, not whether Chrisfs body be turned into bread, but whether bread be turned into Christ’s body, the words in St John, if they be pressed literally, serve more strongly to prove the former than the latter. Secondly, that this sermon was uttered by our Saviour above a year before the celebration of his Last Supper, wherein the Sacrament of his body and blood was instituted; at which time none of his hearers could possibly have understood him to have spoken of the external eating of him in the Sacrament. Thirdly, that by the eating of the flesh of Christ and the drinking of his blood, there is not here meant an external eating or drinking with the mouth and throat of the body, (as the Jews then, John 6:32, and the Romanists far more grossly than they have since, imagined,) but an internal and a spiritual, effected by a lively faith and the quickening Spirit of Christ in the soul of the believer. For “where is a spiritual mouth of the inner man,” as St Basil noteth, “wherewith he is nourished that is made partaker of the word of life, which is the bread that cometh down from heaven.” (Basil, On the 33rd Psalm) Fourthly, that this spiritual feeding upon the body and blood of Christ is not to be found in the Sacrament only, but also out of the Sacrament. Fifthly, that the eating of the flesh and the drinking of the blood here mentioned is of such excellent virtue, that the receiver is thereby made to remain in Christ and Christ in him, and by that means certainly freed from death, and assured of everlasting life. Which seeing it cannot be verified of the eating of the Sacrament, (whereof both the godly and the wicked are partakers,) it proveth, not only that our Saviour did not here speak of the sacramental eating, but further also, that the thing which is delivered in the external part of the Sacrament cannot be conceived to be really, but sacramentally only, the flesh and blood of Christ.
The first of these may be plainly seen in the text, where our Saviour doth not only say, I am the bread of life, (ver. 48), and, I am the living bread that came down from heaven, (ver. 51); but addeth also, in the 55th verse. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. Which words, being the most forcible of all the rest, and those wherewith the simpler sort are commonly most deluded, might carry some shew of proof that Christ’s flesh and blood should be turned into bread and wine, but have no manner of colour to prove that bread and wine are turned into the flesh and blood of Christ.
The truth of the second appeareth by the fourth verse, in which we find that this fell out not long before the Passover, and consequently a year at least before that last Passover wherein our Saviour instituted the Sacrament of his Supper. We willingly indeed do acknowledge, that that which is inwardly presented in the Lord’s Supper, and spiritually received by the soul of the faithful, is that very thing which is treated of in the sixth of John; but we deny, that it was our Saviour’s intention in this place to speak of that which is externally delivered in the Sacrament, and orally received by the communicant. And for our warrant herein, we need look no further than to that earnest asseveration of our Saviour in the 53rd verse: Verily, verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Wherein there is not only an obligation laid upon them for doing of this, (which in no likelihood could be intended of the external eating of the Sacrament, that was not as yet in being,) but also an absolute necessity imposed, non-praecepti solum ratione, sed etiam medii. Now, to hold that all they are excluded from life which have not had the means to receive the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, is as untrue as it is uncharitable. And therefore many of the Papists themselves, as Biel, Cusanus, Cajetan, Tapper, Hessels, Jansenius, and others confess, that our Saviour in the sixth of John did not properly treat of the Sacrament.
The third of the points proposed may be collected out of the first part of Christ’s speech, in the 35th and 36th verses: I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you. That ye also have seen me, and believe not. But especially out of the last, from the first verse forward: When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of man ascend up where he was before ? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, are spirit and life. But there are some of you that believe not. Which words Athanasius (or whosoever was the author of the tractate upon that place, Quicunque dixerit verbum in fllium hominis) noteth our Saviour to have used, that his hearers might learn, ”that those things which he spake were not carnal but spiritual. For how many could his body have sufficed for meat, that it should be made the food of the whole world? But therefore it was that he made mention of the Son of man’s ascension into heaven, that he might draw them from this corporal conceit, and that hereafter they might learn that the flesh which he spake of was celestial meat from above, and spiritual nourishment to be given by him. For the words which I have spoken unto you, saith he, are spirit and life.'” So likewise Tertullian: “Although he saith that the flesh profiteth nothing, the meaning of the speech must be directed according to the intent of the matter in hand. For, because they thought it to be a hard and an intolerable speech, as if he had determined that his flesh should be truly eaten by them; that he might dispose the state of salvation by the spirit, he premised. It is the spirit that quickeneth, and so subjoined. The flesh profiteth nothing, namely, to quicken, &c. And because the Word was made flesh, it therefore was to be desired for causing of life, and by hearing, and to be chewed by understanding, and to be digested by faith. For a little before he had also affirmed that his flesh was heavenly bread, urging still by the allegory of necessary food the remembrance of the Fathers, who preferred the bread and the flesh of the Egyptians before God’s calling.” (Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh, Chapter 37) Add hereunto the sentence of Origen: “There is in the New Testament also a letter which killeth him that doth not spiritually conceive the things that be spoken. For if according to the letter you do follow this same which is said, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, this letter killeth.” (Origen, on Leviticus, Chapter 10, Homily 7) And those sayings which every where occur in St Augustine’s Tractates upon John: “How shall I send up my hand unto heaven, to take hold on Christ sitting there? Send thy faith, and thou hast hold of him.” (Augustine, Tractate 50 on the Gospel of John) “Why preparest thou thy teeth and thy belly? Believe, and thou hast eaten.” (Augustine, Tractate 25 on the Gospel of John) “For this is to eat the living bread, to believe in him. He that believeth in him, eateth. He is invisibly fed, because he is invisibly regenerated. He is inwardly a babe, inwardly renewed: where he is renewed, there is he nourished.” (Augustine, Tractate 26 on the Gospel of John)
The fourth proposition doth necessarily follow upon the third. For if the eating and drinking here spoken of be not an external eating and drinking, but an inward participation of Christ by the communion of his quickening Spirit, it is evident that this blessing is to be found in the soul, not only in the use of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper but at other times also. “It is no ways to be doubted by any one,” saith Fulgentius, “that every one of the faithful is made partaker of the body and blood of our Lord, when he is made a member of Christ in baptism; and that he is not estranged from the communion of that bread and cup, although before he eat that bread and drink that cup he depart out of this world, being settled in the unity of the body of Christ. For he is not deprived of the participation and the benefit of that Sacrament, when he is found to be that which this Sacrament doth signify.” And hereupon we see that divers of the Fathers do apply the hearing of the word also, as Clemens Alexandrinus (Clement of Alexandria, Pedagogus, Book 1, Chapter 6) Origen (Origen, on Leviticus, Chapter 10, Homily 7), Eusebius Caesareensis, and others. “We are said to drink the blood of Christ,” saith ‘”Origen, (Origen, on Numbers, Chapter 24, Homily 16) “not only by way of the Sacraments but also when we receive his word, wherein consisteth life; even as he himself saith: The words which I have spoken are spirit and life.” Upon which words of Christ Eusebius paraphraseth after this manner: “Do not think that I speak of that flesh wherewith I am compassed as if you must eat of that; neither imagine that I command you to drink my sensible and bodily blood: but understand well, that the words which I have spoken unto you are spirit and life. So that those very words and speeches of his are his flesh and blood, whereof who is partaker, being always therewith nourished as it were with heavenly bread, shall likewise be made partaker of heavenly life. Therefore let not that offend you, saith he, which I have spoken of the eating of my flesh and of the drinking of my blood; neither let the superficial hearing of those things which were said by me of flesh and blood trouble you. For these things, sensibly heard, profit nothing; but the spirit is it which quickeneth them that are able to hear spiritually.” (Eusebius, Against Marcellus and on Ecclesiastical Theology, Book 3) Thus far Eusebius, whose words I have laid down the more largely, because they are not vulgar.
There remaineth the fifth and last point, which is oftentimes repeated by our Saviour in this sermon; as in the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die; and in the 51st: If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and in the 54th: Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and in the 56th: He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him; and in the 58th: This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. Whereupon Origen (Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Book 15) rightly observeth the difference that is betwixt the eating of the typical or symbolical, (for so he calleth the Sacrament,) and the true body of Christ. Of the former thus he writeth: “That which is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer, doth not of its own nature sanctify him that useth it. For if that were so, it would sanctify him also which doth eat unworthily of the Lord; neither should anyone for this eating be weak, or sick, or dead. For such a thing doth Paul shew, when he saith, For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleeps Of the latter, thus: “Many things may be spoken of the Word itself, which was made flesh, and true meat; which whosoever eateth shall certainly live forever: which no evil person can eat. For if it could be, that he who continueth evil might eat the Word made flesh, (seeing he is the Word and the bread of life,) it should not have been written: Whosoever eateth this bread shall live for ever.” The like difference doth St Augustine also, upon the same ground, make betwixt the eating of Christ’s body sacramentally and really. For having affirmed that wicked men “May not be said to eat the body of Christ, because they are not to be counted among the members of Christ;” (Augustine, City of God, Book 21, Chapter 25) he afterwards addeth: “Christ himself saying, He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, remaineth in me, and I in him, sheweth what it is, not sacramentally, but indeed, to eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood; for this is to remain in Christ, that Christ likewise may remain in him. For he said this, as if he should have said, He that remaineth not in me, and in whom I do not remain, let not him say or think that he eateth my flesh or drinketh my blood.” (Ibid) And in another place, expounding those words of Christ here alleged, he thereupon inferreth thus: “This is, therefore, to eat that meat and drink that drink; to remain in Christ, and to have Christ remaining in him. And by this, he that remaineth not in Christ, and in whom Christ abideth not, without doubt doth neither spiritually eat his flesh nor drink his blood; although he do carnally and visibly press with his teeth the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, and so rather eateth and drinketh the Sacrament of so great a thing for judgment to himself, because that, being unclean, he did presume to come unto the Sacraments of Christ.” (Augustine, on the Gospel of John, Tractate 26)
Hence it is that we find so often in him, and in other of the Fathers, that the body and blood of Christ is communicated only unto those that shall live, and not unto those that shall die for ever. “He is the bread of life. He therefore that eateth life cannot die. For how should he die whose meat is life? How should he fail who hath a vital substance?” (Ambrose, on Psalm 118) saith St Ambrose. And it is a good note of Macarius, that as men use to give one kind of meat to their servants and another to their children, so Christ, who “created all things, nourisheth indeed evil and ungrateful persons; but the sons which he begat of his own seed, and whom he made partakers of his grace, in whom the Lord is formed, he nourisheth with a peculiar refection and food, and meat and drink beyond other men; giving himself unto them that have their conversation with his Father: as the Lord himself saith: He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, remaineth in me, and I in him, and shall not see death.” (Macarius, 50 Spiritual Homilies of Macarius the Egyptian, Homily 13) Among the sentences collected by Prosper out of St Augustine, this also is one: “He receiveth the meat of life, and drinketh the cup of eternity, who remaineth in Christ, and whose inhabiter is Christ. For he that is at discord with Christ, doth neither eat his flesh nor drink his blood; although to the judgment of his presumption he indifferently doth receive every day the sacrament of so great a thing.” (Prosper, Sententia 339) Which distinction between the Sacrament and the thing whereof it is a sacrament, (and consequently between the sacramental and the real eating of the body of Christ,) is thus briefly and most excellently expressed by St Augustine himself in his exposition upon the sixth of John: “The sacrament of this thing is taken from the Lord’s table; by some unto life, by some unto destruction: but the thing itself whereof it is a sacrament, is received by every man unto life, and by none unto destruction, that is made partaker thereof.” (Augustine, Tractates on John’s Gospel, Tractate 26) Our conclusion therefore is this:
- The body and blood of Christ is received by all unto life, and by none unto condemnation.
- But that substance which is outwardly delivered in the Sacrament, is not received by all unto life, but by many unto condemnation.
- Therefore that substance which is outwardly delivered in the Sacrament, is not really the body and blood of Christ.
The first proposition is plainly proved by the texts which have been alleged out of the sixth of John. The second is manifest, both by common experience, and by the testimony of the Apostle, (1 Cor. 11:17, 27, 29.) We may therefore well conclude that the sixth of John is so far from giving any furtherance to the doctrine of the Romanists in this point, that it utterly overthroweth their fond opinion, who imagine the body and blood of Christ to be in such a sort present under the visible forms of bread and wine, that whosoever receiveth the one, must of force also really be made partaker of the other.
The like are we now to shew in the words of the institution. For the better clearing whereof the reader may be pleased to consider, first, that the words are not, This shall be my body, nor, This is made, or, shall be changed into my body; but. This is my body. Secondly, that the word this can have relation to no other substance but that which was then present, when our Saviour spake that word; which, as we shall make it plainly appear, was bread. Thirdly, that it being proved that the word this doth demonstrate the bread, it must of necessity follow, that Christ affirming that to be his body, cannot be conceived to have meant it so to be properly, but relatively and sacramentally.
The first of these is by both sides yielded unto; so likewise is the third. For “this is impossible,” saith the gloss upon Gratian, “that bread should be the body of Christ.” (Gratian, De Consecrat. Dist. 2. Cap 55. Gloss) And “it cannot be,” saith Cardinal Bellarmine, (Bellarmine, The Eucharist, Book 3, Chapter 19) ” that that proposition should be true, the former part whereof designeth bread, the latter the body of Christ; forasmuch as bread and the Lord’s body be things most diverse.” And therefore he confidently affirmeth, that “if the words. This is my body, did make this sense, This bread is my body, this sentence must either be taken tropically, that bread may be the body of Christ significatively, or else it is plainly absurd and impossible; for it cannot be,” (Ibid Book 1, Chapter 1) saith he, “that bread should be the body of Christ.” For ” it is the nature of this verb substantive esi, or is,” (Alphons. Salmeron. Tom. IX. Tractat. 20) saith Salmeron, his fellow Jesuit, “that as often as it joineth and coupleth together things of diverse natures, which by the Latins are termed disparata, there we must of necessity run to a figure and trope;” and therefore “should we have been constrained to fly to a trope, if he had said, This bread is my body, this wine is my blood; because this had been a predication of disparates, as they call it.” (Ibid) Lastly, Doctor Kellison also in like manner doth freely acknowledge, that “If Christ had said, This bread is my body, we must have understood him figuratively and metaphorically.” (Matthew Kellison, Survey of the New Religion, Book 8. Chapter 7. Section 7.) So that the whole matter of difference resteth now upon the second point, whether our Saviour, when he said. This is my body, meant anything to be his body but that bread which was before him. A matter which easily might be determined, in any indifferent man’s judgment, by the words immediately going before: He took breads and gave thanks, and brake, and gave it unto them, saying. This is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me. Luke 22:19. For what did he demonstrate here, and said was his body, but that which he gave unto his disciples? What did he give unto them, but what he brake? What brake he, but what he took? and doth not the text expressly say, that he took bread? Was it not therefore of the bread he said. This is my body? And could bread possibly be otherwise understood to have been his body, but as a sacrament, and (as he himself with the same breath declared his own meaning) a memorial thereof?
If these words be not of themselves clear enough, but have need of further exposition, can we look for a better than that which St Paul giveth of them, 1 Cor. 10. 16: “The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” Did not St Paul therefore so understand Christ, as if he had said, This bread is my body? And if Christ had said so, doth not Kellison confess, and right reason evince, that he must have been understood figuratively.” considering that it is simply impossible that bread should really be the body of Christ. If it be said, that St Paul by bread doth not here understand that which is properly bread, but that which lately was bread, but now is become the body of Christ, we must remember, that St Paul doth not only say. The bread, but. The bread which we break; which breaking, being an accident properly belonging to the bread itself, and not to the body of Christ, (which, being in glory, cannot be subject to any more breaking,) doth evidently shew, that the Apostle by bread understandeth bread indeed. Neither can the Romanists well deny this, unless they will deny themselves, and confess that they did but dream all this while they have imagined that the change of the bread into the body of Christ is made by virtue of the sacramental words alone, which have not their effect until they have all been fully uttered. For the pronoun this, which is the first of these words, doth point to something which was then present. But no substance was then present but bread; seeing, by their own grounds, the body of Christ cometh not in until the last word of that sentence, yea, and the last syllable of that word, be completely pronounced. What other substance, therefore, can they make this to signify, but this bread only?
In the institution of the other part of the Sacrament the words are yet more plain, Matthew 26:27, 28: “He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying. Drink ye all of it. For this is my blood of the new Testament;” or, as St Paul and St Luke relate it. “This cup is the New Testament in my blood.” That which he bid them all drink of is that which he said was his blood. But our Saviour could mean nothing but the wine when he said, Drink ye all of it; because this sentence was uttered by him before the words of consecration, at which time our adversaries themselves do confess that there was nothing in the cup but wine, or wine and water at the most. It was wine, therefore, which he said was his blood, even the fruit of the vine, as he himself termeth it. For as in the delivery of the other cup before the institution of the Sacrament, St Luke, who alone maketh mention of that part of the history, telleth us that he said unto his disciples, “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come;” (Luke 22:18) so doth St Matthew and St Mark likewise testify, that at the delivery of the sacramental cup, when he had said, “This is my blood of the new Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins,” he also added, “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new with you in my Fathers kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29) Now, seeing it is contrary both to sense and faith, that wine, or the fruit of the vine, should really be the blood of Christ, (there being that formal difference in the nature of the things, that there is an utter impossibility that in true propriety of speech the one should be the other,) nothing in this world is more plain than, when our Saviour said it was his blood, he could not mean it to be so substantially, but sacramentally.
And what other interpretation can the Romanists themselves give of those words of the institution in St Paul: “This cup is the new Testament in my blood? How is the cup, or the thing contained in the cup, the new Testament, otherwise than as a Sacrament of it.” Mark how in the like case the Lord himself, at the institution of the first Sacrament of the old Testament, useth the same manner of speech, Gen. 17:10: “This is my Covenant or Testament, for the Greek word in both places is the same; and in the words presently following thus expoundeth his own meaning: “It shall he a Sign of the Covenant betwixt me and you. And generally for all sacraments the rule is thus laid down by St Augustine, in his Epistle to Bonifacius: “If sacraments did not some manner of way resemble the things whereof they are sacraments, they should not be sacraments at all. And for this resemblance they do oftentimes also bear the names of the things themselves. As therefore the Sacrament of the body of Christ is after a certain manner the body of Christ, and the Sacrament of Christ’s blood is the blood of Christ, so likewise the Sacrament of faith is faith.” (Augustine, Letter 98) By the Sacrament of faith he understandeth baptism, of which he afterward allegeth that saying of the Apostle, Roman 6:4: “We are buried with Christ by baptism into death;” and then addeth: “He saith not, We signify his burial, but he plainly saith, We are buried. Therefore the Sacrament of so great a thing he would not otherwise call but by the name of the thing itself.” (Ibid) And in his Questions upon Leviticus: “The thing that signifieth,” saith he, “useth to be called by the name of that thing which it signifieth; as it is written, The seven ears of corn are seven years, (for he said not. They signify seven years,) and the seven kine are seven years; and many such like. Hence was that saying. The rock was Christ. For he said not, The rock did signify Christ; but as if it had been that very thing, which doubtless by substance it was not, but by signification. So also the blood, because for a certain vital corpulency which it hath it signifieth the soul, after the manner of sacraments it is called the soul.” (Augustine, Questions on Leviticus, Question 57) Our argument therefore out of the words of the institution, standeth thus:
If it be true that Christ called bread his body and wine his blood, then must it be true also, that the things which he honoured with those names cannot be really his body and blood, but figuratively and sacramentally.
But the former is true; therefore also the latter. The first proposition hath been proved by the undoubted principles of right reason, and the clear confession of the adverse part; the second by the circumstances of the text of the Evangelists, by the exposition of St Paul, and by the received grounds of the Romanists themselves. The conclusion therefore resteth firm; and so we have made it clear, that the words of the institution do not only not uphold, but directly also overthrow, the whole frame of that which the Church of Rome teacheth touching the corporal presence of Christ under the forms of bread and wine.
If I should now lay down here all the sentences of the Fathers which teach that that which Christ called his body is bread in substance, and the body of the Lord in signification and sacramental relation, I should never make an end. Justin Martyr, in his Apology to Antoninus the Emperor, telleth us that the bread and the wine, even that “sanctified food wherewith our blood and flesh by conversion are nourished,” is that which “we are taught to be the flesh and blood of Jesus incarnate.” (Justin Martyr, Second Apology) Irenaeus, in his 4th book against Heresies, saith that our Lord, “taking bread of that condition which is usual among us, confessed it to be his body;” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 4. Chapter 57.) and “the cup” likewise, containing “that creature which is usual among us, his blood.” (Ibid. Chapter 32) And in his 5th book he addeth: “That cup which is a creature, he confirmed to be his blood which was shed, whereby he increaseth our blood; and that bread which is of the creature, to be his body, whereby he increaseth our bodies. Therefore when the mixed cup and the broken bread doth receive the word of God, it is made the Eucharist of the blood and body of Christ, whereby the substance of our flesh is increased and doth consist.” (Ibid. Book 5. Chapter 2) Our Lord, saith Clemens Alexandrinus, “Did bless wine, when he said. Take, drink, this is my blood, the blood of the vine.” (Clement of Alexandria, The Paedogogus. Book 2. Chapter 2) Tertullian: Christ, “taking bread, and distributing it to his disciples, made it his body, saying, This is my body; that is, the figure of my body.” (Tertullian, Against Marcion. Book 4. Chapter 40) Origen: “That meat which is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer, as touching the material part thereof, goeth into the belly, and is voided into the draught; but as touching the prayer which is added, according to the proportion of faith it is made profitable, enlightening the mind, and making it to behold that which is profitable. Neither is it the matter of bread, but the word spoken over it, which profiteth him that doth not unworthily eat thereof. And these things I speak of the typical and symbolical body,” (Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Book 10. Chapter 14) saith Origen. In the Dialogues against the Marcionites, collected for the most part out of the writings of Maximus, who lived in the time of the Emperors Commodus and Severus, Origen, who is made the chief speaker therein, is brought in thus disputing against the heretics: “If Christ, as these men say, were without body and blood, of what kind of flesh, or of what body, or of what kind of blood, did he give the bread and the cup to be images of, when he commanded his disciples by them to make a commemoration of him?” (Origen, Dialogue with Heracleides 3) St Cyprian also noteth, (Cyprian, Epistle 62. Section 6) that it was wine, even the fruit of the vine, which the Lord said was his blood; and that “flour alone, or water alone, cannot be the body of our Lord, unless both be united and coupled together, and kneaded into the lump of one bread.” (Ibid. Section 13) And again, that “The Lord calleth bread his body, which is made up by the uniting of many corns;” (Cyprian, Epistle 75. Section 6.) and “wine his blood, which is pressed out of many clusters of grapes, and gathered into one” liquor. Which I find also word for word in a manner transcribed in the Commentaries upon the Gospels, attributed unto Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch; (Theoph. Antioch. in Evan.lib. 1. p. 152. Tom. 2. Bibliothec. Patr. edit. Colon.) whereby it appeareth, that in those elder times the words of the institution were no otherwise conceived than as if Christ had plainly said, This bread is my body, and. This wine is my blood; which is the main thing that Ave strive for with our adversaries, and for which the words themselves are plain enough; the substance whereof we find thus laid down in the Harmony of the Gospels, gathered, as some say, by Tatianus, as others, by Ammonius, within the second or the third age after Christ: “Having taken the bread, then afterward the cup of wine, and testified it to be his body and blood, he commanded them to eat and drink thereof, forasmuch as it was the memorial of his future passion and death.” (Tatian, Diatessaron.)
To the Fathers of the first three hundred years we will now adjoin the testimonies of those that flourished in the ages following. The first whereof shall be Eusebius, who saith that our Saviour “Delivered to his disciples the symbols of his divine dispensation, commanding them to make the image of his own body;” (Eusebius, The Proof of the Gospel, Book 8) and “appointing them to use bread for the symbol of his body;” and that we still “celebrate upon the Lord’s table the memory of his sacrifice by the symbols of his body and blood, according to the ordinances of the New Testament.” (Ibid. Book 1.) Acacius, who succeeded him in his bishopric, saith that “the bread and wine sanctifieth them that feed upon that matter;” (Acacius, on Genesis 2) acknowledging thereby that the material part of those outward elements do still remain. “In the Church,” saith Macarius, “is offered bread and wine, the type of his flesh and blood; and they which are partakers of the visible bread do spiritually eat the flesh of the Lord.” (Macarius, 50 Spiritual Homilies. Homily 27. Question 17) Christ, saith St Jerome, “did not offer water, but wine, for the type of his blood.” (Jerome, Against Jovinianus. Book 2) St Augustine bringeth in our Saviour thus speaking of this matter: “You shall not eat this body which you see, nor drink that blood which they shall shed that will crucify me. I have commended a certain Sacrament unto you, that being spiritually understood will quicken you.” (Augustine, Exposition on the Psalms. Psalm 98) The same Father in another place writeth, that “Christ admitted Judas to that banquet wherein he commended and delivered unto his disciples the figure of his body and blood;” (Ibid. Psalm 3) but, as he elsewhere addeth, “they did eat that bread which was
the Lord himself; he the bread of the Lord against the Lord.” (Augustine, Tractates on the Gospel of John. Tractate 59) Lastly: “The Lord,” saith he, “Do not doubt to say, This is my body, when he gave the sign of his body.” (Augustine, Contra Adimantum. Chapter 12)
So the author of the homily upon the 22nd Psalm, among the works of Chrysostom: “This table he hath prepared for his servants and handmaids in their sight, that he might every day, for a similitude of the body and blood of Christ, shew unto us in a sacrament bread and wine after the order of Melchisedec.” (Chrysostom, Commentary on the Psalms. Book 1. Psalm 22.) And St Chrysostom himself, in his Epistle written to Caesarius against the heresy of Apollinarius: “As, before the bread be sanctified, we call it bread, but when God’s grace hath sanctified it by the means of the priest, it is delivered from the name of bread, and is reputed worthy the name of the Lord’s body, although the nature of the bread remain still in it; and it is not called two bodies, but one body of God’s Son: so likewise here, the divine nature residing in the body of Christ, these two make one Son and one person.” (Chrysostom, Against Caesarius Monachum) In the selfsame manner also do Theodoret, Gelasius, and Ephraemius proceed against the Eutychian heretics. Theodoret, for his part, layeth down these grounds: That our Saviour, “In the delivery of the mysteries, called bread his body, and that which was mixed” (Theodoret, Dialogue. Book 1) in the cup “his blood:” that “he “changed the names, and gave to the body the name of the symbol” or sign, “and to the symbol the name of the body that he “honoured the visible symbols with the name of his body and blood; not changing the nature, but adding grace to nature:” and that “this most holy food is a symbol and type of those things whose names it beareth,” to wit, “of the body and blood of Christ.” Gelasius writeth thus: “The Sacraments which we receive of the body and blood of Christ are a divine thing, by means whereof we are made partakers of the divine nature; and yet the substance or nature of bread and wine doth not cease to be. And indeed the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the action of the mysteries. It appeareth, therefore, evidently enough unto us, that we are to hold the same opinion of the Lord Christ himself which we profess, celebrate, and are, in his image; that as” those Sacraments, “by the operation of the holy Spirit, pass into this, that is, into the divine substance, and yet remain in the propriety of their own nature; so that principal mystery itself, whose force and virtue they truly represent,” (Gelasius, On The Two Natures of Christ, Against Eutychen and Nestorius) should be conceived to be, namely, to consist of two natures, divine and human; the one not abolishing the truth of the other. Lastly, Ephraemius, the Patriarch of Antioch, having spoken of the distinction of these two natures in Christ, and said, that “no man having understanding could say, that there was the same nature of that which could be handled, and of that which could not be handled, of that which was visible, and of that which was invisible;” addeth, “And even thus the body of Christ which is received by the faithful,” (the Sacrament he meaneth,) “doth neither depart from its sensible substance, and yet remaineth undivided from intelligible grace; and baptism, being wholly made spiritual, and remaining one, doth both retain the property of its sensible substance, (of water, I mean,) and yet loseth not that which it is made.”
Thus have we produced evidences of all sorts, for confirmation of the doctrine by us professed touching the blessed Sacrament, which cannot but give sufficient satisfaction to all that with any indifference will take the matter into their consideration. But the men with whom we have to deal are so far fallen out with the truth, that neither sense nor reason, neither authority of Scriptures or of Fathers, can persuade them to be friends again with it; unless we shew unto them in what Pope’s days the contrary falsehood was first devised. If nothing else will give them content, we must put them in mind, that about the time wherein Soter was Bishop of Rome, there lived a cozening companion, called Marcus, whose qualities are thus set out by an ancient Christian, (Vet. auctor citatus ab Irenaeo, lib. 1. cap. 12. ) who was famous in those days, though now his name be unknown unto us:
Είδωλοποιέ Μάρκε, καί τερατοσκόπε,
Άστρολογικής έμπειρε καί μαγικής τέχυης,
Δί ώυ κρατύυεις τής πλάυης τά διδάγματα,
Σημεία δευηυύς τοίς ύπό σού πλαυωμέυουις,
Άποστατικής δυυάμεως έγχειρήμευοις,
Ά σοί χοπηγεί σός πατήπ Σατάυ άεί
Δί άγγελυηής δυυάμεως Άξαξήγ ποίειυ,
Έχωυ σέ πρόδρομου άυτιθέου παυουπγιας.
Where, first, he chargeth him to have been an idolmaker; then he objecteth unto him his skill in astrology and magic, by means whereof, and by the assistance of Satan, he laboured with a shew of miracles to win credit unto his false doctrines amongst his seduced disciples; and lastly, he concludeth that his father the devil had employed him as a forerunner of his antithean craft, or his antichristian deceivableness of unrighteousness if you will have it in the Apostle’s language. For he was indeed the devil’s forerunner, both for the idolatries and sorceries (Revelation 9:20,21) which afterward were brought into the East, and for those Romish fornications and enchantments (Revelation 18: 3, 23) wherewith the whole West was corrupted by that man of sin, whose coming was foretold to be after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9). And that we may keep ourselves within the compass of that particular which now we have in hand, we find in Irenaeus that this arch-heretic made special use of his juggling feats to breed a persuasion in the minds of those whom he had, perverted, that in the cup of his pretended Eucharist he really delivered them blood to drink. For “feigning himself to consecrate the cups filled with wine, and extending the words of invocation to a great length, he made them to appear of a purple and red colour, to the end it might be thought that the grace which is above all things did distil the blood thereof into that cup by his invocation.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 1. Chapter 13. Section 2.) And even according to this precedent we find it fell out afterwards, that the principal and most powerful means whereby the like gross conceit of the guttural eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ was at the first fastened upon the multitude, and in process of time more deeply rooted in them, were such delusions and feigned apparitions as these; which yet that great schoolman himself, Alexander of Hales, confesseth to happen sometimes, either by “the procurement of man,” or by “the operation of the devil.” (Alexander of Hales, Summa Universae Theologiae, Part. 4. Quast. 11. Memb. 2. Art. 4. Sect. 3.) Paschasius Radbertus, who was one of the first setters forward of this doctrine in the West, spendeth a large chapter upon this point, wherein he telleth us, That Christ in the Sacrament did shew himself “oftentimes in a visible shape, either in the form of a lamb, or in the colour of flesh and blood, so that while the host was a breaking or an offering, a lamb in the priest’s hands, and blood in the chalice should be seen as it were flowing from the sacrifice, that what lay hid in a mystery might to them that yet doubted be made manifest in a miracle.” (Paschasius Radbertus, On The Body and Blood of Our Lord, Chapter 14.) And specially in that place he insisteth upon a narration which he found in Gestis Anglorum, (but deserved well to have been put into Gesta Romanorum for the goodness of it,) of one Plecgils or Plegilus, a priest, how an angel shewed Christ unto him in the form of a child upon the altar, whom first he took into his arms and kissed, but ate him up afterwards, when he was returned to his former shape again. Whereof arose that jest which Berengarius was wont to use: “This was a proper piece of the knave indeed, that whom he had kissed with his mouth he would devour with his teeth.” (William of Malmesbury, Gesta Pontificum Anglorum ‘Deeds of the English Bishops’. Book 3)
But there are three other tales of singular note, which, though they may justly strive for winning of the whetstone with any other, yet for their antiquity have gained credit above the rest, being devised, as it seemeth, much about the same time with that other of Plegilus, but having relation unto higher times. The first was had out of the English legends too, as Johannes Diaconus reporteth it in the life of Gregory the First, of a Roman matron, who found a piece of the sacramental bread turned into the fashion of a finger, all bloody; which afterwards, upon the prayers of St Gregory, was converted to its former shape again (John the Deacon, The Life Of Gregory, Book 2. Chapter 41.). The other two were first coined by the Grecian liars, and from them conveyed unto the Latins, and registered in the book which they called Vitas Patrum, which being commonly believed to have been collected by St Jerome, and accustomed to be read ordinarily in every monastery, gave occasion of further spread, and made much way for the progress of this mystery of iniquity. The former of these is not only related there, but also in the legend of Simeon Metaphrastes, (which is such another author among the Grecians as Jacobus de Voragine was among the Latins,) in the life of Arsenius (Tom. IV. Surii, p. 257, edit. Colon, ann. 1573.), how that a little child was seen upon the altar, and an angel cutting him into small pieces with a knife, and receiving his blood into the chalice, as long as the priest was breaking the bread into little parts. The latter is of a certain Jew, receiving the Sacrament at St Basil’s hands, converted visibly into true flesh and blood, which is expressed by Cyrus Theodorus Prodromus in this tetrastich:
χπιστιαυώυ ποτέ παίξε θυηπολίηυ Έβεπ υίός,
Άπ του τ’ είσοπόωυ, καί αϊθοπα καυώ έπ’ οϊυου ‘
Τόυ ξ ώς ούυ έυόησε Βασιλείου κέαπ άγυόυ,
Ηόρσυυέυ οί φαγέειυ, τά ό έπί κρέας αύμα τ’ άμείφθη.
But the chief author of the fable was a cheating fellow, who, What he might lie with authority, took upon him the name of Amphilochius, St Basil’s companion, and set out a book of his life, fraught with leasings, as Cardinal Baronius himself acknowledgeth. St Augustine’s conclusion, therefore, may here well take place: “Let those things be taken away which are either fictions of lying men, or wonders wrought by evil spirits. For either there is no truth in these reports, or if there be any strange things done by heretics, we ought the more to beware of them, because, when the Lord had said that certain deceivers should come, who by doing of some wonders should seduce, if it were possible, the very elect, he very earnestly commended this unto our consideration, and said. Behold, I have told you before,” (Augustine, On The Unity of the Church, Chapter 16) yea, and added a further charge also, that if these impostors should say unto us of him, “Behold, he is in secret closets,” (Matthew 24:26) we should not believe it: which whether it be applicable to them who tell us that Christ is to be found in a pix, and think that they have him in safe custody under lock and key, I leave to the consideration of others.
The thing which now I would have further observed is only this, that, as that wretched heretic who first went about to persuade men by his lying wonders, that he really delivered blood unto them in the cup of the Eucharist, was censured for being είδωλοποιός, an idol-maker; so in after ages, from the idol-makers and image-worshippers of the East it was that this gross opinion of the oral eating and drinking of Christ in the Sacrament drew its first breath; God having, for their idolatry, justly given them up unto a reprobate mind, that they might receive that recompejice of their error which was meet. The Pope’s name, in whose days this fell out, was Gregory the Third; the man’s name, who was the principal setter of it abroach, was John Damascen, (John of Damascus, An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book 4, Chapter 14) one that laid the foundation of school-divinity among the Greeks, as Peter Lombard afterwards did among the Latins. On the contrary side, they who opposed the idolatry of those times, and more especially the 338 Bishops assembled together at the Council of Constantinople in the year 754, maintained, that Christ “chose no other shape or type under heaven to represent his incarnation by,” but the Sacrament, which “he delivered to his ministers for a type and a most effectual commemoration” thereof; “commanding the substance of bread to be offered, which did not any way resemble the form of a man, that so no occasion might be given of bringing in idolatry;” which bread they affirmed to be the body of Christ, not φύσει, but θέσει, that is, as they themselves expound it, “a holy” and “a true image of his natural flesh.”
These assertions of theirs are to be found in the third tome of the sixth Action of the second Council of Nice, assembled not long after for the reestablishing of images in the Church, where a pratchant deacon, called Epiphanius, to cross that which those former bishops had delivered, confidently avoucheth, that none of the Apostles nor of the Fathers did ever call the Sacrament an image of the body of Christ. He confesseth indeed that some of the Fathers (as Eustathius expounding the Proverbs of Solomon, and St Basil in his Liturgy) do call the bread and wine άυτίτυπα, correspondent types or figures, before they were consecrated; “but after the consecration,” saith he, “they are called, and are, and believed to be the body and blood of Christ properly;” where the Pope’s own followers, who of late published the Acts of the general Councils at Rome, were so far ashamed of the ignorance of this blind bayard, that they correct his boldness with this marginal note: “The holy gifts are oftentimes found to be called antitypes,” or figures correspondent, “after they be consecrated; as by Gregory Nazianzen in the Funeral Oration upon his sister, and in his Apology; by Cyril of Jerusalem, in his fifth Cateches. Mystagogic.; and by others.” And we have already heard how the author of the Dialogues against the Marcionites, and after him Eusebius and Gelasius, expressly call the Sacrament an image of Christ’s body; howsoever this peremptory clerk denieth that ever any did so. By all which it may easily appear that not the oppugners, but the defenders of images, were the men who first went about herein to alter the language used by their forefathers.
Now, as in the days of Gregory the Third this matter was set afoot by Damascene in the East, so about a hundred years after, in the papacy of Gregory the Fourth, the same began to be propounded in the West by means of one Amalarius, wlio was bishop, not, as he is commonly taken to be, of Triers, but of Mets first, and afterwards of Lyons. This man, writing doubtfully of this point, otherwhiles followeth the doctrine of St Augustine, that Sacraments were often times called by the names of the things themselves, and so the Sacrament of Christ’s body was secundum quen dam modum, “after a certain manner the body of Christ” (Amalarius of Metz, de Ecclesiastic. Offic. Book. 1. Chapter. 24.) otherwhiles maketh it a part of his belief, that “the simple nature of the bread and wine mixed is turned into a reasonable nature, to wit, of the body and blood of Christ.” (Ibid. Book 3. Chapter 24.) But what should become of this body after the eating thereof, was a matter that went beyond his little wit; and therefore, said he, “when the body of Christ is taken with a good intention, it is not for me to dispute whether it be invisibly taken up into heaven, or kept in our body until the dav of our burial, or exhaled into the air, or whether it go out of the body with the blood,” at the opening of a vein, “or be sent out by the mouth; our Lord saying that every thing which entereth into the mouth goeth into the belly, and is sent forth into the draught.” (Idem in Epistola ad Guitardum MS. in Biblioth. Colleg. S. Benedict. Cantabrig. Cod. 4.) For this and another like foolery de triformi et tripartita corpore Christi, “of the three parts or kinds of Christ’s body,” (which seem to be those ineptiae de tripartito Christi corpore, that Paschasius in the end of his Epistle intreateth Frudegardus not to follow,) he was censured in a Synod held at Carisiacum, or Cressy; wherein it was declared by the bishops of France, that the bread and wine are spiritually made the body of Christ; which being a meat of the mind, and not of the belly, is not corrupted, but remaineth unto everlasting life.”
These dotages of Amalarius did not only give occasion to that question propounded by Heribaldus to Rabanus, whereof we have spoken heretofore, but also to that other of far greater consequence, Whether that which was externally delivered and received in the Sacrament were the very same body which was born of the Virgin Mary, and suffered upon the cross, and rose again from the grave? Paschasius Radbertus, a deacon of those times, but somewhat of a better and more modest temper than the Greek deacon shewed himself to be of, held that it was the very same, and to that purpose wrote his book to Placidus of the body and blood of our Lord; wherein, saith a Jesuit, “he was the first that did so explicate the true sense of the Catholic Church,” (Jacques Sirmond, The Life of Radbertus) (his own Roman he meaneth,) “that he opened the way to those many others who wrote after wards of the same argument.” Rabanus, on the other side, in his answer to Heribaldus, and in a former writing directed to Abbot Egilo, maintained the contrary doctrine, as hath before been noted. Then one Frudegardus, reading the third book of St Augustine de Doctrina Christiana, and finding there that the eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood of Christ was a figurative manner of speech, began somewhat to doubt of the truth of that which formerly he had read in that foresaid treatise of Paschasius; which moved Paschasius to write again of the same argument, as of a question wherein he confesseth “many were then doubtful.” (Paschasius Radbertus, Letter to Frudegardus) But neither by his first nor by his second writing was he able to take these doubts out of men’s minds; and therefore Carolus Calvus, the Emperor, being desirous to compose these differences, and to have unity settled among his subjects, required Ratramnus, a learned man of that time, who lived in the monastery of Corbey, whereof Paschasius had been abbot, to deliver his judgment touching these points:
“Whether the body and blood of Christ, which in the Church is received by the mouth of the faithful, be celebrated in a mystery, or in the truth; and whether it be the same body which was born of Mary, which did suffer, was dead and buried, and which rising again, and ascending into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father?” (Ratramnus of Corbie, On The Body And Blood Of Our Lord, Paragraph 5.) Whereunto he returneth this answer: that “the bread and the wine are the body and blood of Christ figuratively;” (Ibid. 60) that “for the substance of the creatures, that which they were before consecration, the same are they also afterward;” (Ibid. 54) that “they are called the Lord’s body and the Lord’s blood, because they take the name of that thing of which they are a sacrament;” (Ibid. 200) and that “there is a great difference betwixt the mystery of the blood and body of Christ, which is taken now by the faithful in the Church, and that which was born of the Virgin Mary, which suffered, which was buried, which rose again, which sitteth at the right hand of the Father.” (Ibid. 112) All which he proveth at large, both (Ibid. 223) by testimonies of the holy Scriptures, and by the sayings of the ancient Fathers. Whereupon Turrian the Jesuit is driven for pure need to shift off the matter with this silly interrogation: “To cite Bertram,” (so Ratrannus is more usually named,) “what is it else but to say, that the heresy of Calvin is not new.” (Fr. Turrian. Against Volanum On The Eucharist, Book 1. Chapter 22) As if these things were alleged by us for any other end than to shew, that this way which they call heresy is not new, but hath been trodden in long since by such as in their times were accounted good and catholic teachers in the Church: that since they have been esteemed otherwise, is an argument of the alteration of the times, and of the conversion of the state of things; which is the matter that now we are enquiring of, and which our adversaries, in an evil hour to them, do so earnestly press us to discover.
The Emperor Charles, unto whom this answer of Ratramnus was directed, had then in his court a famous ed Johannes Scotus, who wrote a book of the same argument and to the same effect that the other had done. This man for his extraordinary learning was in England (where he lived in great account with King Alfred) surnamed John the Wise, and had very lately a room in the Martyrology of the Church of Rome, though now he be ejected thence. We find him indeed censured by the Church of Lyons and others in that time, for certain opinions which he delivered touching God’s foreknowledge and predestination before the beginning of the world, man’s freewill, and the concurrence thereof with grace in this present world, and the manner of the punishment of reprobate men and angels in the world to come; but we find not anywhere that this book of the Sacrament was condemned before the days of Lanfranc (Lanfanc, Against Berengar On The Sacrament of the Eucharist), who was the first that leavened the Church of England afterward with this corrupt doctrine of the carnal presence. Till then, this question of the real presence continued still in debate; and it was as free for any man to follow the doctrine of Ratramnus or Johannes Scotus therein, as that of Paschasius Radbertus, which, since the time of Satan’s loosing, obtained the upper hand. “Men have often searched, and do yet often search, how bread that is gathered of corn, and through fire’s heat baked, may be turned to Christ’s body; or how wine that is pressed out of many grapes, is turned, through one blessing, to the Lord’s blood;” (Aelfrick, A Sermon on Easter Day) saith Aelfrick, abbot of Malmsbury, in his Saxon Homily, written about 605 years ago. His resolution is not only the same with that of Ratrannus, but also in many places directly translated out of him, as may appear by these passages following, compared with his Latin laid down in the margin:
“The bread and the wine, which by the Priest’s ministry is hallowed, shew one thing without to men’s senses, and another thing they call within to believing minds. Without they be seen bread and wine both in figure and in taste; and they be truly after their hallowing Christ’s body and his blood by spiritual mystery.”Ratramnus of Corbie, On The Body And Blood Of Our Lord, p.182
“So the holy font-water, that is called the well-spring of life, is like in shape to other waters, and is subject to corruption; but the Holy Ghost’s might cometh to the corruptible water through the Priest’s blessing, and it may after wash the body and soul from all sin by spiritual virtue. Behold now, we see two things in this one creature; in true nature that water is corruptible moisture, and in spiritual mystery hath healing virtue. So also, if we behold that holy housel (eucharist) after bodily sense, then see we that it is a creature corruptible and mutable. If we acknowledge therein spiritual virtue, then understand we that life is therein, and that it giveth immortality to them that eat it with belief.”Ibid. p. 187, 188
“Much is betwixt the body Christ suffered in, and the body that is hallowed to housel.” Ibid. p. 212,222
“The body truly that Christ suffered in was born of the flesh of Mary, with blood and with bone, with skin and with sinews, in human limbs, with a reasonable soul living; and his spiritual body, which we call the housel, is gathered of many corns, without blood and bone, without limb, without soul; and therefore nothing is to be understood therein bodily, but spiritually. What soever is in that housel, which giveth substance of life, that is spiritual virtue and invisible doing.” Ibid p.214
“Certainly Christ’s body which suffered death, and rose from death, shall never die henceforth, but is eternal and unpassible. That housel is temporal, not eternal, corruptible and dealed into sundry parts, chewed between the teeth, and sent into the belly.”Ibid p.216, 217
“This mystery is a pledge and a figure: Christ’s body is truth itself. This pledge we do keep mystically until that we be come to the truth itself, and then is this pledge ended.” Ibid p.222
“Christ hallowed bread and wine to housel before his suffering, and said. This is my body and my blood. Yet he had not then suffered; but so notwithstanding he turned, through invisible virtue, the bread to his own body, and that wine to his blood, as he before did in the wilderness before that he was born to men, when he turned that heavenly meat to his flesh, and the flowing water from that stone to his own blood.” Ibid. 193
“Moses and Aaron, and many other of that people which pleased God, did eat that heavenly bread and they died not the everlasting death, though they died the common. They saw that the heavenly meat was visible and corruptible, and they spiritually understood by that visible thing, and spiritually received it.” Ibid. 217 Quoting From Augustine’s Tractates on the Gospel of John, Tractate 16. Section 11
This Homily was appointed publicly to be read to the people in England on Easter-day, before they did receive the communion. The like matter also was delivered to the clergy by the bishops at their synods, out of two other writings of the same Aelfrick; in the one whereof, directed to Wulfsine, Bishop of Sherburne (Wulfsige of Sherborne), we read thus: “That housel is Christ’s body, not bodily, but spiritually: not the body which he suffered in, but the body of which he spake, when he blessed bread and wine to housel the night before his suffering, and said by the blessed bread. This is my body; and again by the holy wine. This is my blood, which is shed for many in forgiveness of sins.” (Aelfrick, A Sermon on Easter Day) In the other, written to Wulfstane, Archbishop of York, thus: “The Lord which hallowed housel before his suffering, and saith that the bread was his own body, and that the wine was truly his blood, halloweth daily by the hands of the Priest bread to his body and wine to his blood in spiritual mystery, as we read in books. And yet notwithstanding that lively bread is not bodily so, nor the selfsame body that Christ suffered in; nor that holy wine is the Saviour’s blood which was shed for us, in bodily thing, but in spiritual understanding. Both be truly, that bread his body, and that wine also his blood, as was the heavenly bread which we call manna, that fed forty years God’s people, and the clear water which did then run from the stone in the wilderness was truly his blood, as Paul wrote in one of his Epistles.”
Thus was priest and people taught to believe in the Church of England toward the end of the tenth and the beginning of the eleventh age after the incarnation of our Saviour Christ. And therefore it is not to be wondered, that when Berengarius shortly after stood to maintain this doctrine, many both by word and writing disputed for him; and not only the English, but also all the French almost and the Italians, as Matthew of Westminster (Matthew of Westminster, Flores Historiarum/Flowers of History) reporteth, were so ready to entertain that which he delivered. Who though they were so borne down by the power of the Pope, who now was grown to his height, that they durst not make open profession of that which they believed; yet many continued, even there where Satan had his throne, who privately employed both their tongues and their pens in defence of the truth, as out of Zacharias Chrysopolitanus, Rupertus Tuitiensis and others, I have elsewhere shewed. Until at length, in the year 1215, Pope Innocent the Third, in the Council of Lateran, published it to the Church for an oracle, that “the body and blood of” Jesus Christ “are truly contained under the forms of bread and wine; the bread being transubstantiated into the body, and the wine into the blood, by the power of God.” And so are we now come to the end of this controversy, the original and progress whereof I have prosecuted the more at large, because it is of greatest importance; the very life of the Mass and all massing priests depending thereupon. There followeth the third point, which is: