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"sacrifice of the death of Christ, and of the "benefits which we receive thereby." Now the nature and benefits of this sacrifice have been already explained, in their proper places. I shall therefore proceed to show, that the Lord's Supper is rightly said here to be "ordained for a remem"brance" of it; not a repetition, as the Church of Rome teaches.
Indeed every act, both of worship and obedience, is in some sense a sacrifice to God, humbly offered up to him for his acceptance. And this sacrament in particular, being a memorial and representation of the sacrifice of Christ, solemnly and religiously made, may well enough be called, in a figurative way of speaking, by the same name with what it commemorates and represents. that he should be really and literally offered up in it, is the directest contradiction that can be, not only to common sense, but also to Scripture, which expressly says, that he was not to be "offered "often, for then must he often have suffered; but "hath appeared once to put away sin by the sa"crifice of himself," and after that, "for ever "sat down on the right hand of God; for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are “sanctified.” 2
This ordinance then was appointed, not to repeat, but to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ, which though we are required to do, and do accordingly, more or less explicitly, in all our acts of devotion, yet we are not required to do it by any visible representation, but that of the Lord's Supper; of which therefore our Catechism teaches, in the second answer, that "the outward part, or "sign, is bread and wine, which the Lord hath "commanded to be received." And indeed he hath so clearly commanded both to be received,
(1) Heb. ix. 25, 26.
(2) Heb. x. 12, 14.
that no reasonable defence in the least can be made, either for the sect usually called Quakers, who omit the sacrament entirely; or for the Church of Rome, who deprive the laity of one half of it, the cup; and forbid all but the priest to do, what Christ hath appointed all without exception to do. They plead, indeed, that all, whom Christ appointed to receive the cup, that is, the Apostles, were priests. But their church forbids the priests themselves to receive it, excepting those who perform the service; which the Apostles did not perform, but their Master. And besides, if the appointment of receiving the cup belongs only to priests, that of receiving the bread too must relate only to priests; for our Saviour hath more expressly directed all to drink of the one, than to eat of the other. But they own, that his appointment obliges the laity to receive the bread; and therefore it obliges them to receive the cup also; which that they did accordingly, 1 Cor. xi. makes as plain as words can make any thing; nor was it refused them for twelve hundred years after. They plead further, that administering the holy sacrament is called in Scripture" breaking of bread," without mentioning the cup at all. And we allow it. But when common feasts are expressed in Scripture by the single phrase of "eating bread," surely this doth not prove that the guests drank nothing; and if, in this religious feast, the like phrase could prove, that the laity did not partake of the cup, it will prove equally, that the priests did not partake of it either. They plead in the last place, that by receiving the bread, which is the body of Christ, we receive in effect the cup, which is the blood, at the same time; for the blood is contained in the body. But here, besides that our Saviour, who was surely the best judge, appointed both; they quite forget that this sacrament is a memorial of his blood being shed out of his body; of which,
without the cup there can be no commemoration; or, if there could, the cup would be as needless for the clergy as for the laity.
The outward signs, therefore, which Christ hath commanded to be received, equally received, by all Christians, are bread and wine. Of these the Jews hath been accustomed to partake, in a serious and devout manner, at all their feasts, after a solemn blessing, or thanksgiving to God, made over them, for his goodness to men. But especially at the feast of the Passover, which our Saviour was celebrating with his disciples, when he instituted the holy sacrament; at that feast, in the abovementioned thanksgiving, they commemorated more at large the mercies of their God, dwelling chiefly, however, on their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt. Now this having many particulars resembling that infinitely more important redemption of all mankind from sin and ruin, which our Saviour was then about to accomplish; he very naturally directed his disciples, that their ancient custom should for the future be applied to this greatest of divine blessings, and become the memorial of Christ, "their Passover, sacrificed for "them ;" 3 as indeed the bread broken aptly enough represented his body; and the wine poured forth most expressly figured out his blood shed for our salvation. Thes, etherefore, as the third answer of our Catechism very justly teaches, are "the inward part of this sacrament, 66 or the "thing signified."
But the Church of Rome, instead of being content with saying, that the bread and wine are signs of the body and blood of Christ, insist on it, that they are turned into the very substance of his body and blood: which imagined change they therefore call transubstantiation. Now, were this true, there would be no outward sign left; for
(3) 1 Cor. v. 7.
they say it is converted into the thing signified; and by consequence there would be no sacrament left: for a sacrament is "an outward sign of an "inward grace."
Besides, if our senses can in any case inform us what any thing is, they inform us that the bread and wine continue bread and wine. And if we cannot trust our senses, when we have full opportunity of using them all, how did the Apostles know that our Saviour taught them, and performed miracles; or how do we know any thing around us? But this doctrine is equally contrary to all reason too. To believe that our Saviour took his own body, literally speaking, in his own hands, and gave the whole of that one body to every one of his Apostles, and that each of them swallowed him down their throats, though all the while he continued sitting at the table before their eyes; to believe that the very same one individual body, which is now in heaven, is also in many thousands of different places on earth; in some, standing still upon the altar; in others, carrying along the streets; and so in motion, and not in motion, at the same time; to believe, that the same body can come from a great distance, and meet itself, as the sacramental bread often doth in their processions, and then pass by itself, and go away from itself to the same distance again; is to believe the most absolute impossibilities and contradictions. If such things can be true, nothing can be false; and if such things cannot be true, the Church that teaches them cannot be infallible, whatever arts of puzzling sophistry they may use to prove either that or any of their doctrines. For no reasonings are ever to be minded against plain common
They must not say, this doctrine is a mystery! For there is no mystery, no obscurity in it; but it is as plainly seen to be an error, as any thing
else is seen to be a truth. And the more so, because it relates, not to a nature infinite, as God; but entirely to what is finite, a bit of bread and a human body. They must not plead, that God can do all things. For that means only that he can do all things that can be done; not that he can do what cannot be done; make a thing be this and not be this, be here and elsewhere, at the same time; which is doing and undoing at once, and so in reality doing nothing. They must not allege Scripture for absurdities, that would sooner prove Scripture false, than Scripture can prove them true. But it no where teaches them. We own that our Saviour says, "This is my "body, which is broken;" and, "This is my blood, which is shed.” 5 But he could not mean literally. For as yet his body was not broken, nor his blood shed; nor is either of them in that condition now. And therefore the bread and wine neither could then, nor can now, be turned into them, as such. Besides, our Saviour said at the same time, "This cup is the New Testament in 66 my blood." Was the substance of the cup then changed into the New Testament? And if not, why are we to think the substance of the bread and wine changed into his body and blood? The Apostle says, "the rock" that supplied the Israelites with water in the wilderness, "" was "Christ."7 that is, represented him. Every body says, such a picture is such a person, meaning the representation of him. Why then does not our Saviour's words mean so too?
The Romanists object, that though what represents a thing naturally, or by virtue of a preceding institution, may be called by its name, yet such a figure as this, in the words of a new in
(4) Cor. xi. 24. (6) Luke xxii. 20.