Page images
PDF
EPUB

substànce, i Christ himself; who offered up his body and blood for atonement for us, and, by the sacraments of bread and wine, and the prayers of oblation and intercession, comniands us to officiate in his priesthood, in the external ministering like Melchisedec, in the internal, after the manner of Christ himself. -:.4 (3). This is a great and a mysterious truth, which as it is plainly manifested in the Epistle to the Hebrews, so it is understood by the ancient and holy doctors of the church. So St. Ambrose : " Now Christ is offered, but he is offered as a man, as if he received his passion, but he offers himself as a priest, that he may pardon our sins; here, in image or representation, there, in truth, as an advocate interceding with his father for us." So St. Chrysostom: “I bris once the sacrifice was offered, which is powerful to our eternal salvation; but what then do we do not we offer every day? what we daily offer is at the memorial of his death, and the sacrifice is one, not many; because Christ was once offered, but this sacrifice is the example or representation of that.”And anothero: “Christ is not impiously slain by us, but piously sacrificed, and by this means we • declare the Lord's death till he come;' for here through him we humbly do in earth, which he, as a Son, who is heard according to his reverence, does powerfully for us in heaven: where, as an advocate, he intercedes with his Father, whose office or work it is; for us to exhibit and interpose his flesh which he took of us, and for us, and, as it were, to press it upon

his Father.” To the same sense is the meditation of St. Austin P: “ By this he is the priest and the oblation, the sacrament of which he would have the daily sacrifice of the church to be : which because it is the body of that head, she learns from him to offer herself to God by him, who offered himself to God for her.” And, therefore, this whole office is called by St. Basil, eux) a poorouidñs, the prayer of oblation,' the great Christian sacrifice and oblation in which we present our prayers and the needs of ourselves and of our brethren unto God, in virtue of the great sacrifice, Christ upon the cross, whose memorial we then celebrate in a divine manner, by divine appointment.

o In 10. ad Heb. habetur de consecr. dist. %.
P. De civit. Dei, lib, X. C. 20.

cord; and, by faithful manifestation and joyful eucharist, to lay it before the eyes of our heavenly Father, so ministering įn bis priesthood, and doing according to his commandment and his example; the church, being the image of heaven; the priest, the minister of Christ ; the holy table being a copy of the celestial altar; and the eternal sacrifice of the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, being always the same; it bleeds no more after the finishing of it on the cross; but it is wonderfully represented in heaven, and graciously represented here; by Christ's action there, by his commandment here. And the event of it is plainly this, that as Christ, in virtue of his sacrifice on the cross, intercedes for us with his Father,--so does the minister of Christ's priesthood here ; that the virtue of the eternal sacrifice may be salutary and effectual to all the needs of the church, both for things temporal and eternal. And, therefore, it was not without great mystery and clear signification, that our blessed Lord was pleased to command the representation of his death and sacrifice on the cross should be made by breaking bread, and effusion of wine; to signify to us the nature and sacredness of the liturgy we are about, and that we minister in the priesthood of Christ, who is a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec; that is, we are ministers in that unchange able priesthood, imitating, in the external ministry, the prototype Melchisedec: of whom it was said, “ He brought forth bread and wine, and was the priest of the most high God";" and, in the internal, imitating the antitype, or the

consecraretur, ut coleretur jugiter per mysterium, quod semel offerebatur in pretium; ut, quia quotidiana et indefessa currebat pro omuium salate redemptio, perpetua esset redemptionis oblatio, et perennis victima illa viveret in memoria, et semper præsens esset in gratia, vera, unica, et perfecta hostia, fide æstimanda, non specie, neque exteriori censenda visu, sed interiori affectu. Unde cælestis confirmat autoritas, quia caro mea verè est cibus,' et sanguis meus verè est potus. Recedat ergo omne infidelitatis ambiguum; quonjam, qui autor est muneris, idem testis est veritatis. - Euseb. Emiss.

Non sine mysterio, sine re, vel panis ad aram

Vel vioum fertur, cui superaddis a quam.
Utraque sub typico ritu, formaque futuri,

Melcbisedec Domino sacrificasse ferunt.-Hildebert. Cenoman.
Melchisedec Domino panem vinumque litavit ;
Christus idem faciens, pactum vetas evacuavit.-Hugo Card.

Rex ille Salem, qui, munere tali,
Mystica præmisit summi libanina Christi.

Claud, Marian, victor. lib. iii. in Genes.

substance, Christ himself; who offered up his body and
blood for atonement for us, and, by the sacraments of
bread and wine, and the prayers of oblation and intercession,
commands us to officiate in his priesthood, in the external
ministering like Melchisedec, in the internal, after the
manner of Christ himself.
-4.4 (3). This is a great and a mysterious truth, which as it
is plainly manifested in the Epistle to the Hebrews, so it is
understood by the ancient and holy doctors of the church.
So St. Ambrose : “ Now Christ is offered, but he is offered
as a man, as if he received his passion, but he offers himself
as a priest, that he may pardon our sins; here, in image or
representation,--there, in truth, as an advocate interceding
with his Father for us.”-- So St. Chrysostom: “ In Christ
once the sacrifice was offered, which is powerful to our
eternal salvation; but what then do we? do not we offer
every day? what we daily offer is at the memorial of his
death, and the sacrifice is one, not many; because Christ
was orice offered, but this sacrifice is the example or repre-
sentation of that."-And anothero: “Christ is not impiously
slain by us, but piously sacrificed, and by this means we
• declare the Lord's death till he come;' for here through him
we humbly do in earth, which he, as a Son, who is heard
according to his reverence, does powerfully for us in heaven:
where, as an advocate, he intercedes with his Father, whose
office or work it is; for us to exhibit and interpose his flesh
which he took of us, and for us, and, as it were, to press it
upon his Father.” To the same sense is the meditation of
St. Austin P: “By this he is the priest and the oblation, the
sacrament of which he would have the daily sacrifice of the
church to be : which because it is the body of that head, she
learns from him to offer herself to God by him, who offered
himself to God for her.”. And, therefore, this whole office is
called by St. Basil, això a goorouidñs, 'the prayer of oblation,'
the great Christian sacrifice and oblation in which we
present our prayers and the needs of ourselves and of our
brethren unto God, in virtue of the great sacrifice, Christ
upon the cross, whose memorial we then celebrate in a divine
manner, by divine appointment.

o In 10. ad Heb. habetur de consecr. dist. 2.
.P. De civit. Dei, lib, X. C. 20.

[ocr errors]

1 4(4). The effect of this I represent in the words of Lyra " That which does purge and cleanse our sins, must be celestial and spiritual ; and that which is such, hath a perpetual efficacy, and needs not to be done again : but that which is daily offered in the church, is a daily commemoration of that one sacrifice, which was offered on the cross, according to the command of Christ, “ Do this in commemoration of me.”

4 (5). Now this holy ministry and sacrament of this death, being according to Christ's commandment, and, in our manner, a representation of that eternal sacrifice,man imitation of Christ's intercession in heaven in virtue of that sacrifice, must be after the pattern in the Mount; it must be as that is, 'purâ prece,' as Tertullian's phrase is, 'by pure prayer;' it is an intercession for the whole church, present and absent, in the virtue of that sacrifice. I need add no more, but leave it to the meditation, to the joy and admiration of all Christian people to think and to enumerate the blessings of this sacrament, which is so excellent a representation of Christ's death, by Christ's commandment; and so glorious an imitation of that intercession, which Christ makes in heaven for us all; it is all but the representation of his death, in the way of prayer and interpellation; Christ as, head, and we as members; he as High Priest, and we as servants, his ministers. And, therefore, I shall stop here, and leave the rest for wonder and eucharist: we may pray here with all the solemnity and advantages imaginable; we may, with hope and comfort, use the words of David', “I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.” We are here very likely to prevail for all blessings', for this is, by way of eminency, glory, and singularity, 'calix benedictionis,' the cup of blessing, which we bless, and by which God will bless us; and for which he is to be blessed for evermore.

5. By the means of this sacrament our bodies are made capable of the resurrection to life and eternal glory. For

9 In Epist. 10. ad Hebr.

r Psalm cxvi. • Hinc ergo pensemus quale sit boc sacramentum, quod pro absolutione nostra passionem unigeniti filii imitetur. Quis enim fidelium habere dubion posset, in ipsà immolationis horà ad sacerdotis voceni cælos aperiri, in illo Jesu Christi mysterio angelorum choros adesse. - S. Gregor, in homil

, Paschali.

per sacra

when we are externally and symbolically in the sacrament, and by faith and the Spirit of God internally united to Christ, and made partakers of his body and blood, we are joined and made one with him, who did rise again; and when the head is risen, the members shall not see corruption for ever, but rise again after the pattern of our Lord. If, by the sacrament, we are really united and made one with Christ, then it shall be to us in our proportion, as it was to him: we shall rise again, and we shall enter into glory. But it is certain we are united to Christ by it; we eat his body and drink his blood sacramentally by our mouths, and, therefore, really and spiritually by our spirits and by spiritual actions co-operating. For what good will it do us to partake of his body, if we do not also partake of his spirit ? but certain it is, if we do one, we do both'; cum naturalis mentum proprietas perfectæ sacramentum sit unitatis, as St. Hilary's expression is; “ the natural propriety,” viz. the outward elements, " by the sacrament,” that is, by the institution'and blessing of God, “becomes the sacrament of a perfect unity:"— which, beside all the premises, is distinctly affirmed in the words of the apostle ; “ we which are sanctified, and he which sanctifies, are all of one;" and again : “ the bread which we break, is it not the communication of the body of Christ? and the cup which we drink, is it not the communication of the blood of Christ ?” plainly saying, that, by this -holy ministry, we are joined and partake of Christ's body and blood, and then we become spiritually one body, and, therefore, shall receive in our bodies all the effects of that spiritual union; the chief of which, in relation to our bodies, is resurrection from the grave. And this is expressly taught by the ancient church. So St. Irenæus" teaches us : "As

i Hamana enim caro, quæ erat peccato mortna, carni mundæ unita, incorporata, unum cum illâ affecta, vivit de spiritu ejns, sicut unam corpus de suo spirito. - St. Aug. Epist. ad Iren.

Condescendens Deus nostris fragilitatibus influit, oblatis vim vitæ convertens ea in veritatem propriæ carnis, ut corpus vitæ quasi quoddam semen vivificativum inveniatur in nobis. -S. Cyril. ad Cælosyrium.

Christus suo corpore per communionem mysticam benedicens credentibns et secuni et inter nos upum corpus efficit. - St. Cyril. in Johan. lib. xi. c. 26. De Trinit. lib. viii.

"Lib. iv. c. 34. S. Clem. Alex. lib. ii. pædag. c. 2. Bibere Jesu san. guinem est participem esse incorruptionis Domini. lib. v.

« PreviousContinue »