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-immediately following my Text; The Bread which we break, says the Apostle
. in the Text, is it not the Communioat^ft the Body of Christ? And then he adds^ For we being many, are one Bread knA' one Body, for we are all Partakers ©f $hat one Bread j /, e. As the consecrated Loaf' tho' compos'd of many Grains, is one; ft all we who partake of it, the' we are many Individuals, are united together into $ii£ mystical Body, by partaking of the dae consecrated Loaf. Whence it plainly- appears, that the Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, ipoken of in the Text, is a Communion of a Number of Christians partaking of the fame confe* crated Bread. And it is likewise certain that this is most agreeable to the Design of the original Institution. For when this Sacrament was first instituted, all the Apostles were present at it; and otir Lord commanded them all to partake both of the Bread and of the Wine. And from all the Accounts which we have in Scripture of the Celebration of this mysterious Act of Worship in the Apostolical Timesy it clearly appears that many joyn'd in it. —
And it is well known, that for a confide- JL.8?*
rable Tirneiafter the Apostolical Age, all *
the Faithfuls i. e. all who had been baptized, except they were in a State of Pstfnance, were oblig'd constantly to re* ceive the Communion, as often as they were present at the publick Service of the Church. The antient Canons are very iirict and express to this Purpose. .Among those which go under the Name of Apostolical Canons, and which are allow'd to be very antient, there is one which runs thus: All those of the Faithful who enter into the Church of God, and hear the Scriptures, but do not stay during Prayer and the Holy Communion, must be suspended, as Authors of Confusion in the Church. This Canon is repeated with some Addition by the Council of Antioch, held towards the middle of the fourth Century. All such as enter into the Church of God, and hear the Scriptures read, but do not communicate with the People in Prayer, and refuse to partake of the Eucharist, which is a disorderly 364 A Communion, &c. of Chnjl derly Practice, ought to be cast out of the
XIIl' Church> Hl1 they confess their r^ault, and
'__ bring forth Fruits of Repentance, and'"by
earnestly entreating have obtained Pardon. In after Ages, when the
Discipline of the Church was much relax'd, and the Piety and Zeal of Christians abated, these Canons were neglected, and many turn'd their Backs upon the Altar, and went out of the Church without Communicating. Nay and sometimes the whole Congregation departed, and left the Priest alone. In which Cafe some ignorant and injudicious Priests proceeded in the Communion-Office, and partook of the consecrated Elements alone. And from this Abuse sprung those solitary or private Masses which have gain'd an Establishment in the Church of Rome; and which the Priests, because they are well paid for them, obstinately defend; tho' they contradict the Design of our Saviour's Institution, and have no Foundation either in Scripture or Antiquity; and tho' their own Formsor Offices are so compos'd as to suppose
a d Congregation of Communicants preient, —
and without that Supposition are in many'
Places or Parts of them downright Non-'
*ente, fri w,^A :- .1 .-- ;.-i;
,\1 Proceed now to the ,.-..; .,.
It is expressiy asserted in the Text, that the Cup of Blessing is the Communion of the Blood of Christ; and the Bread the Communion of the Body of Christ. $nd from the. History of the Institution ,-we learn, that our blessed Lord himself having blessed both the Bread and the Cup, declared them to be his Body and Blood, . From these Scriptural Expressions and Declarations the Romanists infer, that the EucharisticaJ Bread and Wine are by Consecration changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. But it is strange that any, who attentively read and consider the History of the Institution, and the Circumstances there recorded, should put this Interpretation
tation upon out -iSavioui's- Words. For
^tttt' can any thing be: more aMird and ridi
^.Lculous than to imagine, that he lieM
himself in his Hand, and gave to every one of his Apostles his whole Body-to cat, when he fat with them alive at the Table ail the while they were eating? Gould that which he gave them'Be °fn;:£ literal Sense his Body broken, whetvhls Body was not as yet broken? Could that which was in the Cup be literally his Blood Ihed, when his Blood was hot as yet shed? Or is it possible that we should now eat his natural Body broken, and drink his natural Blood shed, while he Uts with them intire at the right Hand of God? Can his Blood be filed, and not Jhed at once? Can his Body be in Heaven and upon Earth at the lame Time? Can his intire Body be in a Million of Places, and be given whole to a Million of Communicants in the fame Instant? Do not our own Senses assure us that it is Bread, and not Flesh which we eat? That it is Wine, and not Blood which we drink in the Holy Sacrament? Are