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physic, or warmth by the contact and neighbourhood of fire;, but as music one way affects the soul, and witty discourses another, and joyful tidings a way differing from both the former,---so the operations of the sacrament are produced by an energy of a nature entirely differing from all things else. But however it is done, the thing that is done, is this; no grace is there improved, but what we bring along with us ; no increases but what we exercise. We must bring faith along with us, and God will increase our faith; we must come with charity, and we shall go away with more; we must come with truly penitential hearts; and to him that hath, shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly: he shall be a better penitent, when he hath eaten the sacrifice that was slain for our sins, and died in the body, that we might live in the spirit and die no more. For he is the bread from heaven; he is “ the grain of wheat, which falling into the earth, unless it dies it remains alone,---but if it dies, it brings forth fruit, and brings it forth abundantly.”
4. Although the words, the names, and sayings con-, cerning the blessed sacrament, are mysterious and inexpli- ; cable, yet they do, nay, therefore we are sure, they signify, some great things; they are in the very expression beyond our understandings, and, therefore, much more are the things themselves too high for us: but, therefore, we are taught three things. 1. To walk humbly with our God; that is, in all intercourses with him to acknowledge the , infinite distance between his immensity and our nothing, his wisdom and our ignorance, his secrets and our apprehensions; he does more for us than we can understand. It was an excellent saying of Aristotle, which Seneca " reports of him, “ Nunquam nos verecundiores esse debere, quam quum de Diis agitur;" " we ought never to be more bashful and recollect, than when we are to speak any thing of God.”. “ Timidè de potestate deorum, et pauca dicenda sunt,” said Cicero”; “We must speak of his power and glory timorously and sparingly," with joyfulness and singleness,' or simplicity • of heart: so the first Christians ate their bread, their eucharist; so we understand the words of St. Luke. -2. To walk
charitably with our disagreeing brother, that this may be indeed a sacrament of charity, and not to wonder if he be mistaken in his discourses of that, which neither he nor you: can understand. 3. Though it be hard to be understood, yet we must be careful, that with simplicity we admire the secret, and accept the mystery,but at no hand, by pride or ignorance, by interest or vanity, to wrest this mystery to ignoble senses, or to evil events, or to dangerous propo-. sitions, or to our own damnation. !
• 5. Whatever propositions any man shall entertain in his manner of discoursing of these mysteries, let him be sure to take into his notice and memory, those great appellatives, with which the purest ages of the church, the most ancient liturgies, and the most eminent saints of God, use to adorn and invest this great mysteriousness. In the Greek liturgy attributed to St. James, the sacramental symbols are called “ sanctified, honourable, precious, celestial, unspeakable, incorruptible, glorious, fearful, formidable, diviner.” In the use of which epithets, as we have the warranty and consent of all the Greek churches, since they ever had a liturgy,-so we are taught only to have reverend usages and religious ap-' prehensions of the divine mysteries; but if, by any appellative, we can learn a duty, it is one of the best ways of entering into the secret. To which purpose the ages primitive and apostolical did use the word eucharist;' the name and the use we learn from Origen 8; “ the bread, which is called the eucharist, is the symbol of our thanksgiving towards God.” But it is the great and most usual appellative for the holy supper ; ο άρτος ευχαριστίας, and άρτον ευχαprotnDévra, we find in Ignatius", St. Clemens, Justin Martyr, the Syrian paraphrast, Origen, and ever after amongst the Greeks, and afterwards amongst the Latins. By him we understand that then we receive great blessings, since the very mystery itself obliges us to great thankfulness. I have instanced in this, as an example to the use of the other
epithets and appellatives, which from antiquity I have enumerated.
6. He that desires to enter furthest into the secrets of this mystery, and to understand more than others, can better learn by love than by inquiry i. : “ He that keepeth the law of the Lord, getteth the understanding thereof,” saith the wise Bensirach*; if he will prepare himself diligently, and carefully observe the dispensations of the Spirit, and receive it humbly, and treat it with great reverence, and dwell in the communion of saints, and pass through the mystery with great devotion and purest simplicity, and converse with the purities of the sacrament frequently, and with holy intention, - this man shall understand more by his experience, than the greatest clerks can by all their subtilties, the commentaries of the doctors, and the glosses of inquisitive men; « Obey and ye shall understand," said the prophet: and our blessed Saviour assured us!, “ that if we continue in his word, then we shall know the truth; and if any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God or no.”-“ For we have not turned from our iniquities, that we might understand the truth,” said Daniel :-“ For the love of the Lord,” saith the wise man“, “ passeth all things for illumination."
7. Let no man advance the preaching of the word of God, to the disparagement, or to occasion the neglect, of the sacraments. For though it be true, that ' faith comes by hearing,' yet it is not intended, that, by hearing alone, faith is engendered; for the faith of the apostles came by seeing'; and St. Paul's faith did not come by hearing, but by intuition and revelation; and hearing,' in those words of St. Paul, does not signify the manner of ministration, but the whole economy of the word of God, the whole office of preaching ; which is done most usually to babes and strangers by sermon or homily, but more gloriously and illustriously to men by sacraments. But however, be it so or otherwise, yet one ordinance ought not to exclude the other, much less to dis, parage the other, and least of all to undervalue that which is the most eminent: but rather let every Christian man and woman think, that if the word ministered by the Spirit is so mighty, it must be more, when the word and the Spirit join with the sacrament, which is their proper significatory. He that is zealous for the word of God, does well; but let him remember, that the word of God is a goodly ring, and leads us into the circles of a blessed eternity; but because the sacrament is not without the word, they are a jewel enchased in gold when they are together. The ministries of the Gospel are all of a piece; they, though in several manners, work the same salvation by the conduct of the same Spirit.
Nam animalis homo, hoc est, qui sequitur cogitationes humanas et apimales sive naturales, non est capax eorum, quæ sunt supra naturam et spiritualinm, atque ita et spiritualem esum carnis Dominicæ non intelligit; cujus qui non sunt participes, non erunt participes æternæ vitæ,--Theophy lact. in cap. 6. Job. * Ecclus. xxi. 11.
1 John, viii. 31, 32. * Ecclus. xxv. 11. .
1 Jolin, i, 1. VOL. XV.
8. Let no man, in the reception of the sacrament, and in his expectation of blessings and events from it, limit his hopes and belief to any one particular; for that will occasion a littleness of faith, and may make it curious, scrupulous, and fantastical:- rather let us adore the secret of God, and with simple expectations receive it; disposing ourselves to all the effects that may come, rather with fear and indefinite apprehensions, than with dogmatical and confident limitations; for this may beget scruples and diminution of value; but that hinders nothing, but advances the reverential treatments and opinion.
9. He that guesses at the excellency and power of the sacrament, by the events that himself feels, must be sure to look for no other than what are eminently or virtually contained in it; that is, he must not expect that the sacrament will make him rich, or discover to him stolen goods, or cure the toothach, or countercharm witches, or appease a tempest, if it be thrown into the sea. These are such events that God hath not made the effects of religion, but are the hopes and expectations of vain and superstitious people. And I remember that pope Alexander III., in the council of Laterano, wrote to the bishop of St. Agatha for advice how to treat a woman who took the holy sacrament into her mouth, and ran with it to kiss her husband, hoping, by that means, to procure her husband's more intense affection. But the
• Concik Lat. part. 50. cap. so.
story tells, that she was chastised by a miracle, and was not cured but by a long and severe repentance.
10. He that watches for the effects and blessings of the sacrament, must look for them in no other manner than what is agreeable to the usual dispensation. We must not look for them by measures of nature and usual expectation : not that as soon as we have received the symbols, we shall have our doubts answered; or be comforted in our spirit, as soon as we have given thanks for the holy blood; or be satisfied in the inquiries of faith, as soon as the prayers of consecration and the whole ministry is ended; or prevail in our most passionate desires, as soon as we rise from our knees; for we enter into the blessings of the sacrament by prayer, and the exercise of proper graces; both which, being spiritual instruments of virtues, work after the manner of spiritual things; that is, not by any measure we have, but as God pleases; only that in the last event of things, and when they are necessary, we shall find them there : God's time is best, but we must not judge his manner by our measures, nor measure eternity by time, or the issues of the Spirit by a measuring line. The effects of the sacrament are to be expected as the effect of prayers: not one prayer, or one solemn meeting, but persevering and passionate, fervent and lasting prayers ; and continual desire, and a daily address, is the way of prevailing. “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand, for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they shall be both alike good P."
11. He that looks for the effects and blessings told of to be appendant to the sacrament, must expect them upon no other terms, but such as are the conditions of a worthy communion. If thou dost find thy faith as dead after the reception as it was before, it may be, it is because thy faith was not only little, but reprovable; or thou didst not pray vehemently, or thou art indisposed by some secret disadvantage, or thou hast not done thy duty; and he shall imprudently accuse that physic for useless and unfit, that is not suffered to work by the incapacity, the ill diet, the weak stomach, or some evil accident of the patient.
p Eccles. xi.