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viz." that by the consecration of the bread and wine a change is wrought of the bread's whole substance into the substance of Christ our Lord's body, and of the wine's whole substance into the substance of his blood," so we shall prove that the words which he impugns in the Liturgy of the Church of England, instead of containing the contradiction which he asserts, are warranted by the natural interpretation of the Word of God.
His first, and indeed his principal proof, is taken from the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel; the 48th verse being peculiarly selected as the commencement of the controverted section. This chapter Roman Catholic divines have in general referred to the Eucharist; but among Protestants there has been a division of opinion; some admitting it to have that relation, but to be incapable of proving our Saviour's corporeal presence, and others asserting it to be totally unconnected with the subject of debate. Great names countenance each opinion, both in our own Church and abroad. The question, however, in which way soever it be decided, will still leave the words, which the Roman Catholics account the bulwark of their doctrine, open to a very different explanation. Therefore, without discussing more particularly the application of this chapter, we proceed to notice Dr. Wiseman's remarks upon it.
The first comparison is between the bread and the manna; between its ancient epithet, " bread from heaven," and Christ's declaration of himself, as the true bread from heaven, and the bread of God, which gives life to the world. From this the subsequent parts are made gradually to arise. But, as these differ in quality and substance, it is manifest that where manna is called proc (bread), it is so called in a figurative sense, and that when our Saviour applies both bread and manna to himself, the figure is also retained; for the contrast, which is strikingly marked, lies between their perishable and HIS imperishable nature, the mortality of those who ate the manna in the wilderness, and the immortal life to be conferred by him. If then the beginning of the discourse be clothed in figurative diction, the same might be expected of the conclusion. This, however, is an inference which Dr. Wiseman denies, urging, that from the transition at the 48th verse, the signification is literal.
His reasons for supposing this transition are, 1st--because, at ver. 47, the emphatic Amen, prefixed to a manifest summary and epilogue of all the preceding doctrine, forms an appropriate close to the division of a discourse. But this is not a necessary consequence. In Matt. v. 18, for example, we find the same form with reference to the preceding verse, but we remark the continuation of the subject in the 19th and following verses; and the same may be observed in vi. 2, sqq. 16, sqq. viii. 10; John iii. 3, 5, 11, and in many other places. Moreover, ver. 47 is not a manifest
summary of all the preceding doctrine; for having already at ver. 35 called himself the bread of life, at ver. 47 Christ declares, that whoever believes on him shall have everlasting life, the reason of which immediately follows in ver. 48 by a repetition of the words in ver. 35. Hence we may demand from the present passage stronger subsidiary reasons, ere we can assent to such a merely hypothetical proposition.
2dly. Because these words are exactly the same as those which open the first part of our Saviour's lecture at ver. 35, which Dr. W. avers to be an ordinary form of transition with him, when he applies the same images to different purposes. On the contrary, the very examples which he has cited from John x. 11, 14; xv. 1, 5; and others which might be adduced, prove, that no argument can be founded on these repetitions; that a very slight ellipsis supplied would bring each into close connexion with the context; that, consequently, they do not authorize us to detach one portion from the other: much less will they prove the grand proposition, that if one part be figurative, the other may be literal.
3dly. Because it partakes of the nature of a poetical parallelism, c. 9.
ἐγὼ εἶμι ὁ ἄρτος τῆς ζωῆς.
ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ἄρτος ὁ ζῶν,
This parallelism aids not the required proof; for the subject continues the same, and it is evinced by the antecedent parts and the matter of the subsequent, that no disjunction has occurred; yet, even had such a disjunction occurred, it would not have availed to shew the corporeal presence in the Eucharist.
That which follows, relative to eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ, belongs not to the parallelism, and cannot be affected by it; and similar parallelisms are found in other narratives without breaking the sense.
If this parallelism must therefore be argued to be a separation in the discourse, it can only be a parenthetical one: for, kaì ỏ ❝pros at the latter part of ver. 51, may without violence be joined to the end of ver. 47.
As little to the purpose is the comparison between Matt. xxiv. xxv. with John v.; for his distinction between "the moral and invisible advent of the Son of Man and the real and substantial one in the body cannot without a great exertion of fancy be elicited from vv. 30, 37, 44, of chap. xxiv., and ver. 31 of chap. xxv.
In other instances Dr. Wiseman admits the figurative appli
cation of bread, and cites passages in 'support of the fact; nay, he even quotes Philo, τὸ γὰρ φαγεῖν σύμβολόν ἐστι τροφῆς ψυχικῆς. Nevertheless, he will not allow to these authorities any weight against his own opinion.
He also adds from the Midrash Coheleth, that, whenever eating and drinking are mentioned in the book of Ecclesiastes, the one relates to the law, the other to good works: but he will not allow the figure to be "pushed farther."
In like manner we remark, that in Yalcut Rubeni, manna is styled spiritual food, and that in Midrash Coheleth it is mentioned, as destined again to descend from heaven in the days of the Messiah. It is indeed generally stated by the Talmudists, as one of the things prepared above for the just.
Burckhardt also relates, that in the valley of Ghor, that which drops from the, is made into cakes and eaten with butter; consequently, if the Jews had a similar practice, we perceive how it was assimilated to bread. But bread, wine, and the cup were ever used metonymically by the ancient Hebrews: thus we read of the bread of knowledge or understanding, of the wine of God's wrath, of the cup of salvation, and the like:at their funereal feasts we find the DN on bread of mourning, and the pan cup of consolation; and in a Samaritan Ode, published with its interlineary Arabic version by Gesenius, from the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum, we discover the following passage, which strongly supports our assertions:
"The tables of the Covenant are the aliment of our life,-an aliment which will not fail for ever."
Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom. iv.) calls the bread and wine given by Melchisedek to Abraham, ἡγιασμένην τρόφην εἰς τύπον Eixapiorías, a sacred food typical of the Eucharist; and Hottinger has produced a Jewish tradition, which states, that in the days of the Messiah all legal sacrifices would cease, and the bread and wine of Melchisedek take their place in the sanctuary.
Among the Arabs, breaking bread, eating salt, and partaking of the cup, had a sacred import: among the Pagans, the ouλoxúra, the φθοῖς, the πέλανοι, the πόπανα, and the σελῆναι used in the service of Diana, which are the D of the prophet Jeremiah, together with the κριθόλογοι and ἄρτων βαστάζοντες--and the μεθ'
* Cf. Is. li. 17, et alibi.
ἅλας καὶ τραπέζας συνθήκη prove collectively the figurative application of bread to religion.
Tertullian has also expressly said, that it was offered in the Eleusinian Mysteries, and the Scholiast on Aristophanes (Oeoμ.) maintains, that wheaten cakes were presented in the sacrifices, with which we may perhaps compare the Hebrew which the LXX. sometimes render θυσίαι, θυσιάματα.
The parallels in the Levitical law need not here be cited: but when we read that the priests of Vitzliputzli worked dough into the form of bones, and when consecrated called it Vitzliputzli's flesh and bones, which were eaten by the people; and that among the Chinese, in honour of Kong-fu-tze, bread is eaten, as the flesh of the sacrifice, and that the wine of blessing and true happiness is drunk, we may readily suppose that the figure was not so uncommon as to reduce us, with Dr. Wiseman, to the necessity of interpreting it literally in the present case.
So, with respect to the cup, there was scarcely an ancient nation without its libations, which soon produced the degeneracy of kvλikoμávтeiai; and in this day the Persian allegories respecting the or are but relics of the older superstition. Among the Arabs, as among the Jews, it entered into a variety of metaphors. Tarafa in his Moallakah writes, pênal wall "I gave to them to drink of the cup of the reservoir of death." In Hariri we likewise read of paul wls the cup of destruction, and the cup of the Simùm ;
يشرب الدم or يشرب الراح and in Arabic poetry, the phrase
he drank wine, or he drank blood, is often applied to a person slain, which is not an inapt illustration of drinking Christ's blood, as commemorative of his death.
But Dr. Wiseman says, "Our Saviour, the word and wisdom "of the Father, identifying himself with his doctrines, calls him"self the bread of life; but never once, through this part of the "discourse, does he suffer the idea of eating him to escape his lips. "On the contrary, so careful is he to avoid it, that when the "current of his discourse seemed almost to force him to use it, he "breaks through the proprieties of figurative language, and "mingles literal with metaphorical expressions, rather than employ so unusual and so harsh a phrase."
Now, it would be difficult to discover a just cause, why he should so carefully have abstained from this expression in one part of his discourse, if he intended to be literally understood when he employed it in another; or why he should have combined literal and metaphorical expressions, if he were withdrawing the minds of his audience from metaphor, and enforcing a plain command to be positively and really performed. The expression
would be as "unusual" and as "harsh" whenever it was made. Nor can we see why two distinct interpretations should be given to bread in these imaginary sections; why in the one it should be referred simply to the doctrines, which Christ brought down from heaven, but in the other should be literally identified with his flesh. But if we suppose the terms to be as tropical in the one instance as in the other, no difficulty will remain; and it is impossible by any sophistry to evade the objections which the literal sense suggests: for every unprejudiced person must immediately perceive, that the Evangelist records the same thing, when he speaks of the bread of God which gives life to the world, and of the flesh of Christ, to the participation of which eternal life is annexed (vv. 33, 54); and that if Christ when he called himself the living Bread, made use of a figure, by parity of reasoning and the connexion of the passages, he must also have made use of one when he called one Eucharistical element his body or flesh, and the other his blood.
To assert that these elements become converted to his flesh and to his blood, is to assert that which is no where recorded in the Scriptures; is to assert that which involves the question in a difficulty, which it does not intrinsically possess; but if we consider our Saviour contemplating his own great sacrifice,-if we consider the symbolical use of bread and wine in the Levitical rites, and call to mind the typical analogy between the Passover and his death, we must be blinded by preconceptions, and the veil must be before our eyes, if it does not appear to us that in a discourse to Jews, whose idiom was fraught with typical allusions to the Messiah, he would naturally have used those very terms which have now become the sources of controversy, to make his approaching sacrifice of himself correspond to that, which had prefigured it; and that even if his disciples comprehended him not at the time, they must, as in the instance respecting the temple of his body (Matt. xxvi. 6), have afterwards been convinced and believed. Hence, as we shall more fully see in the sequel, St. Paul understood the words as implying a communion* with Christ; and argued, that as we are all partakers of one bread, so we, being many, are one bread, one body (1 Cor. x. 16, 17); which words are equivalent to ἕν ποτήριον εἰς τῆν ἕνωσιν τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ in Ignatius (Phil. c. 4.), and evidently give to the phrase the figurative signification which is adopted by the Protestants: from all which it results, that
* A writer in Eichhorn's Bibliothek identifies Kovwvia Tov aïμaros τοῦ Χριστοῦ, with κοινωνοὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐσταυρωμένου; adding, “ d. i. Theilnehmer an dem Christenthum, oder Bekenner der religion, die Jesus durch seinen Tod gestifted hat, so wie κοινωνία τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου (ver. 18.) Theilnehmer an der religion Mosis, und Koivwvoi tuv daiμoríwv (ver. 20.) Bekenner der Heidnischen religion sind."