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DELIVERED IN PART TO
THE CLERGY OF MIDDLESEX,
At the Easter Visitation, 1739.
IN a former discourse a, upon the like occasion, I endeavoured to explain the sacrificial part of the Eucharist more minutely than I had before done, for the removing of scruples and the obviating mistakes. I would now do something of like kind with respect to the sacramental part of the same, so far as it appears to be affected by the sacrificial ; that so both parts may aptly suit with each other, and hang naturally together. As truth is uniform, so just notions of one part will of course tend to preserve just ideas of the other part also: and as error is apt to lead to error, so any erroneous tenets there, will naturally bring in erroneous positions here.
It is matter of fact, that for the sake of advancing a new kind of sacrifice, new doctrines have been offered, time after time, with regard even to the sacramental part of the Eucharist: which in truth is as much superior to the sacrificial, as God's part in that holy rite is superior to man's; and which therefore calls for our more especial caution and circumspection.
Great stress has, by some amongst us since 1702, been laid upon the invocation and illapse of the Holy Ghost upon the elements; not barely to make them sacred signs and pledges, or exhibitive symbols of Christ's body and blood to every faithful communicant, (which might reasonably be admitted,) but even to make them the very body, or verily the body of Christ : not the natural body, but another true body, called a spiritual body, consisting, as is presumed, of elements changed in their inward qualities, and replenished either with the Holy Spirit himself,
« The Christian Sacrifice explained, in the preceding Charge.
or with the graces, or virtues, or energies of the Spirit b; supposed to be intrinsic to them, inherent in them, permanent with them, and received both by worthy and unworthy communicants. It is said, that the “ Holy Spirit being in“ vited and called down by the prayer of the priest, (accord“ing to the ancients,) descended upon the bread and wine “ on the altar, and enriched them with all the virtues and “ graces with which the personal body and blood of Christ “ did abound, and so made them in this, and perhaps in a “ yet more mysterious and incomprehensible manner, to “ be verily the body and blood of Christ; as the Holy “ Ghost did formerly come upon the blessed Virgin, and “ formed in her womb the personal body and blood of “ Christc. That the consecrated symbols are sanctified, " and altered, if not in their substance, yet in their internal “ qualities,—and that the eucharistical symbols themselves “ are verily made, in a mysterious manner, the body and “ blood of our crucified Saviourd. That this sacramental “ flesh and blood of Christ is taken by a corporeal eating " and drinking of the unworthy, as well as worthy com6 municants : of these, namely, to their justification and “ eternal salvation both of flesh and spirit; but of those
Spiritu Sancto, qui ad invocationem sacerdotis descendens, panem sanctificat, et omni divina ac vivifica virtute corporis et sanguinis Christi eundem replet.— Ita ut Eucharistia duabus constet rebus, terrena, quæ est materia panis, et cælesti, quæ est gratia ac virtus Spiritus Sancti pani indita. Divina illius virtus et gratia pani communicata ac inhærens, uti jam paucis probabo. Grabe. Ad Iren. lib. iv. cap. 34. p. 327, 328.
In the same year, Dr. Allix, who saw deeper, condemned those notions, in very plain terms, while speaking of the modern Greeks, whose tenets those are.
Ad tales autem miraculosos effectus, quos jactant tam Græci quam Latini, credendos, aliquid nobis videtur deesse, scil. Christi promissio, aut mandatum. De his miraculis fama orta videtur ex absurda quadam credulitate, Spiritum Sanctum in elementorum naturam, supernaturalem quandam vim infundere. Allir. in notis ad Nectarium, p. 429. N. B. The question of inherent virtues had been thoroughly discussed by the best-learned Protestants, and the notion generally exploded, here and abroad, long before Dr. Grabe undertook (inadvertently perhaps, or however unadvisedly) to revive it.
• Grabe's Defence of the Greek Church, p. 88.
6 to their condemnation and destruction of soul and “ body e."
Whoever looks into Scripture, or genuine antiquity, will there find but very little ground or colour for these or the like speculations; which appear rather to have been borrowed from Damascen of the eighth century, or from the more modern Greeks,, or the Pseudo-primitive liturgies. There was indeed, as early as the second century, some mention made of the descent of the Holy Ghost in Baptism f: and there was also a prevailing notion of some concurrence of the Holy Spirit with water, to the conception and birth of a Christian; which concurrence, by way of illustration, or to render the idea of it more lively and affecting, was sometimes compared to a conjugal union 8. But it was never understood, that such similitudes were to be scanned with a scrupulous exactness; or that every affecting or popular expression should be strained with the utmost rigour: for that would be using the ancient writers in much such a way as the Anthropomorphites and others have interpreted Scripture, contrary to the true meaning and intent of it. The Fathers very well knew how to distinguish between a power adsistant to, or concurrent with the element h, and a power infused into it, or lodged in it: and they were well aware of the difference between the virtue of Baptism (meaning the whole solemnity, in which
• Grabe, ibid. p. 87.
N. B. The Leipsic Acts, in their censure upon that posthumous piece, first published in 1721, have left this note :
Ex his vero patet, quod licet in articulo de cæna, alienam a pontificiorum transubstantiatione sententiam habuerit Grabius, tamen in eodem ab Anglicana etiam Ecclesia haud parum discrepaverit. Act. Lips. p. 281. A. D. 1722.
* See my Review, vol. vii. p. 279, 291.
& Tertullian. de Baptismo. Chrysostom. in Ephes. Hom. xx. p. 147. Leo I. Serm. 23, 24. p. 155, 160. Quenell. Pseud-Ambros. de Myst. cap. lix. p. 243. See more testimonies in Vossius, Opp. tom. vi. p. 233, 274. Compare Albertinus, p. 465, 466. and my Appendix, p. 188, 189.
h Διττή και η κάθαρσις, δι' ύδατός τε, φημι, και πνεύματος του μεν θεωρητώς και σωματικώς λαμβανομένου, του δε άσωμάτως και αθεωρήτως συντρέχοντος. Νασίαnz. Orut. xl. p. 641, Compare Review, vol. vii. p. 286, 287, 288.