Project Canterbury





"Guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord……
Not discerning the Lord’s Body.
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you,
and many sleep"


transcribed by David and Norma Sharp
AD 2001


THE following Argument cannot pretend to bring forward more than a part of the witness of Holy Scripture to the doctrine of the Real Presence. Upon the truth of the Real Presence, the Eucharistic Sacrifice and Eucharistic Adoration depend. Space did not permit the discussion of the two latter in the present Paper.

God grant that this appeal to Holy Scripture may tend to convince some, who profess to care for no other authority, that the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence forms part of the Faith which was once delivered unto the Saints.



WHEN we quote the words, "This is My Body," "This is My Blood," as proving that our Lord, both God and Man, is "verily and indeed" present in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, many persons reply—"Oh, these words are merely figurative. They only mean that the bread of the Holy Communion represents Christ’s Body, and the wine represents His Blood. To believe anything more is an idolatrous superstition." There are other persons whose belief is rather higher than this, and who understand these words to mean, that Christ feeds with Himself the really believing communicant, and him only, upon his reception of the consecrated Sacrament, as some of them say; or, as others say, He makes Himself present to the truly believing receiver, not actually in person, but in the virtues, and powers, and gifts, and graces which flow from Him. This last theory we may call "the Reception theory." It makes the Presence of Christ to any communicant, and any benefit to be derived by him through the consecrated elements, depend upon whether he has true faith or not. The first theory we mentioned we may call " the Symbolism theory."

In opposition to both these theories, the Catholic Church has, from the beginning, held the doctrine of the objective [1] Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. By this is meant—(1) That Christ our Saviour makes Himself really present, both in His divine and human natures, in the Holy Eucharist; (2) That such Presence depends altogether upon the consecration, and in no wise whatever upon either the belief or the unbelief of the communicants.

In addition to these two points, there has been for several ages in the Roman Church the belief that, upon consecration, the substance of the bread and wine becomes transubstantiated and changed into the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ; so that the bread and wine remain only in their accidents,—that is, their appearance, taste, smell, and so forth. Into the merits of this philosophical theory, current for a long time in the Roman Church, I need not enter. I will merely say in reference to it, that upon its truth or falsehood in no wise whatever depends the truth or falsehood of the Real Presence.

The Church of England believes she follows the ancient Church in holding that by and after consecration the bread and wine do not cease to be bread and wine; [2] but that, by the miracle [3] of consecration, they inexplicably become the Body and Blood of Christ,—that is, Christ himself, whole living Christ, both God and Man, for He cannot be separated from His Body and Blood. Further than this, she makes no attempt to explain the matter [Appendix A]. Regarding the fact of the Real Presence, there is no difference of opinion whatever between the Churches of Rome and England. The difference of opinion that exists is with reference to that further explanation of the mode and manner of the Presence which has been put forth by the Church of Rome.

Many people deny the Real Presence from not understanding the rationale or reason of it. They have never had the use of the doctrine sufficiently explained to them. Christ our Saviour, as the English Communion Office explains to us in the first Exhortation, did not take our human nature for the sole purpose of dying for us in it. Fallen man needs the renewal of his fallen human nature quite as much as he needs an atonement for his sins, and the consequent forgiveness of them. He needs not only forgiveness for the past, but also the means of doing better for the future. Our blessed Lord took our nature in a perfect condition, that He might – (1) die for us in it; and having died for us in it, (2) use His perfect humanity as the instrument of cleansing our fallen humanity. He purchased salvation for us by His cross and passion; and, in our baptism, He imparts to us the remission of our sins thus purchased, and also His risen and glorified humanity united to His Godhead. This saving union with Himself He continually sustains by, time after time, feeding us with Himself after a heavenly and ineffable manner.

This truth, that we are to be renewed and restored to the image of God, not merely by the intercourse of our minds and spirits with God, or even merely by the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, but by the very infusion into our fallen humanity of the perfect humanity of Christ, to thereby cleanse ours, is one of the "great mysteries" of the Gospel, and one of the intended fruits of the Incarnation [Appendix B]. "Almighty God" the Church says in her first Exhortation to Communion, "hath given His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, not only to die for us, but also to be our Spiritual Food and Sustenance in that Holy Sacrament." Again (to pass over numerous other passages) she prays,—"Grant us…….. gracious Lord, so to eat the Flesh of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink His Blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His Body, and our souls washed through His most precious Blood, and that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us."

Let us now endeavour to seek for the true meaning of the celebrated words, "This is My Body," "This is My Blood," from a comparison of them with other passages of Holy Scripture bearing upon the same question. The passages we will consider are – (1) The sixth chapter of St John; (2) certain passages in the First Epistle to the Corinthians; and (3) certain passages in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Our inquiry will have reference to these three points : (1) Whether Christ’s words are to be taken literally or figuratively? (2) If they are not figurative, whether they refer to a Presence merely in the heart of the believing receiver of the Sacrament, or a Presence objective, and entirely independent of the belief or unbelief of the receiver? This second inquiry involves the question : (3) Whether the bringing about of such Presence depends upon the belief of the receiver, or upon something else; as, for instance, consecration?

I. Of course, if St John vi., verses 27-58, are taken by themselves, they declare, in the plainest manner, that it is absolutely necessary for salvation to partake in the truest reality of our Lord’s Flesh and Blood. But – (1) Some persons hold that the sixth of St John has no reference to the Holy Communion; or, if it has, that the reference is but a remote one. (2) Others who believe it does refer to the Holy Sacrament, point us to verses 61-63, as though they undid the force of the previous verses, and declared the eating and drinking of which our Lord speaks to be merely figurative. These persons interpret the word "spirit" to mean "figurative." They make our Lord say – "The words that I speak unto you are figurative. By what I have said, I merely mean that you must be ‘drawn’ to Me by the Election of the Father; and in consequence, ‘believe on Me,’ and ‘come to Me,’ and spiritually cling to Me, and get life from Me, as your Atoning High Priest, Sacrifice, and Saviour."

Now, it is most true that real faith is the beginning and end of everything in vital religion; and, therefore, of course, the very life of a right preparation for, and reception of, the Sacraments. But does our Lord, throughout this chapter, mean to teach nothing more than the paramount necessity of a spirit-taught faith in Him as our Atoning High Priest and Sacrifice, and the daily abiding in Him by faith, and, whether at the Sacrament or away from it, dwelling in loving thought upon all He has done, and is doing for us? Those who deny to this chapter its full sacramental meaning, reply—"Certainly; our Lord means no more than this. Does He not Himself say, ‘It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you, they are spirit, and they are life’ – that is, ‘I mean my discourse to be understood, not in its apparent meaning, but in a figurative sense.’ Can words be plainer ? Our Lord here plainly forbids any other than a figurative meaning being put upon His words."

But several considerations show us that our Lord’s words are not figurative, and that, however necessary for salvation "believing on Him" may be, it is not all that He means by several pregnant utterances in this chapter.

1. It might have been sufficient to say, that the assertion, that this chapter does not refer to the Blessed Sacrament and the Real Presence, was never heard of amongst Christians, until it was made by Cardinal Cajetan (who flourished between 1469 and 1534), in sheer despair of in any other way parrying the scriptural argument, deduced from this chapter, by the Bohemian Protestants against confining communion in the chalice to the celebrant. A "view" of this chapter, then, having such a "Popish" origin as this, will surely not be upheld by any one calling himself "a sound Protestant." But, moreover, a "view" running entirely contrary to all previous Church opinion, and invented by a "Popish" Cardinal somewhere about the end of the fifteenth century, cannot surely be accepted as part of the Gospel.

Cardinal Cajetan was what may be called a hyper-Ultramontane. Truly "extremes meet," when modern Protestants are found to vie with a hyper-Ultramontane "Popish" Cardinal in denying to this chapter its Eucharistic interpretation.

But this passage itself refutes this "view". For, 2. If our Lord’s most remarkable language in this chapter is merely metaphor, and means nothing more than the necessity of faithfully and lovingly feeding in thought, so to speak, upon His Person, His unutterable love, His doctrine, His atoning death, and all He has said and done, and is still doing for us, He has assuredly chosen the most startingly strange language to express such a simple and easily understood truth. "The Jews, like all Orientals, were well able to judge of metaphor and allegory. On this occasion they were clearly possessed with the conviction that no mere metaphor, but some great momentous fact, was being spoken of. They evidently concluded from the expressions, and from our Lord’s manner of uttering them, that they could not be otherwise explained. For, if not, why were [many of His Disciples] offended," [4] and why did they leave Him even after the explanation contained in verses 61-64 had been given to them? By going away they showed that they did not understand verses 61—64, to declare His previous teaching to be in any wise metaphorical, or in any degree whatever to explain away or water down what He had previously said. As a learned Protestant writer has remarked:—"He [Jesus] lets them go without saying, ‘I mean a merely spiritual communication,’ which would have presented no difficulty to the mind of any one present. Hence a true exposition – one that gives the sentiments of the writing under consideration – must, even if the views of the expositor are entirely different, confess that the discourse undoubtedly here relates to a participation of the corporeality of Christ." [5]

3. Our Lord’s sermon in the Synagogue of Capernaum concludes at verse 58, and is completed at that verse. Is it likely that our omniscient Lord would have omitted in His sermon any qualifying considerations necessary to be known in order rightly to understand His words, and prevent His sermon leading into Eucharistic error the very people for whom His sermon was especially intended, namely, the simple-minded believers amongst His hearers, who, He of course foresaw, would go away without seeking that further information which, whatever it may mean, was only given subsequently to a certain number of His hearers, in consequence of the objections raised by them against His sermon? I think we shall agree that this is not likely. But let this consideration be taken for what it may be worth.

4.This modern interpretation proves too much. For if our Lord’s words, "The flesh profiteth nothing," be taken with no qualification, they simply declare His incarnation, sufferings, crucifixion, atonement, and death in the flesh to have "profited nothing," which cannot be. But if it be replied that this is pressing our Lord’s words too far, I answer that, unless they be so pressed, they can be made to prove nothing for our opponents. For it will be obvious that if the flesh profiteth anything at all, the interpretation which accepts literally our Lord’s teaching in this chapter, as setting forth, in some sense, the necessity of a real "eating," must, to say the least, be the safer of the two, in view of our Lord’s repeated assertions of the necessity for salvation of eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood; and His final warning that, "Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you."

5. If our Lord does not mean that, for salvation and spiritual life, we must actually "eat Him," albeit after a heavenly and supernatural mode of eating, the antitype in this chapter fails to answer to the type, the manna, in the most important particular. Believing in the manna and in the God who sent it, and going to it, and gathering it, would not have availed the Jews one jot for their bodily sustenance, unless they had also actually and really eaten it. Had they not eaten it, the most important purpose for which it was sent to them would have been neglected. They must eat it. They must incorporate it into themselves, or all else would be absolutely of no avail. It would have been, in truth, to "tempt the Lord their God" who had given it them. Now the manna was so important a type of our Lord, that He has been preaching about it. Are we to believe, then, that, whereas to get any good from the type, it must be actually eaten, it is not so with the antitype? Hear our Lord Himself in several verses, and very especially in ver. 57 – "He that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me." The eating of the type was carnal; of the antitype heavenly and spiritual : but in both it is real. Otherwise, as we have said, the antitype fails fully to answer to the type. Unless we be incorporated into Christ by a real, albeit a supernatural, "eating" of Him; believing in Him, and coming to Him, and taking hold of Him by faith, will not, He says, avail.

6. If this chapter does not refer to the Holy Eucharist, then St John, throughout his whole Gospel, says nothing about the greater of the two great Sacraments, although he gives us, in his third chapter, what the Church has ever considered to be a prophetic discourse about Holy Baptism. But it is plainly not so. This chapter is a prophetic discourse about the Holy Eucharist, even as the third chapter is about Holy Baptism. As three Evangelists had given us the record of the institution of the two great Sacraments, St John only gives us the doctrine of them set forth by our Lord in two prophetic discourses. And this interpretation of these two celebrated discourses, which has been held by the Church in all ages, is borne out by several remarkable particulars common to both discourses. Of these I will mention nine.

(1.) On each occasion our Lord’s hearers have come to Him on account of His miracles (iii. 2; vi.26).

(2.) On each occasion He speaks what His hearers consider a hard saying (iii.4; vi. 60,61).

(3.) On each occasion the hard saying is introduced by the solemn words, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except," &c. (iii. 3, 5; vi.53).

(4.) On each occasion we find the same incredulous, "How can this be?" (iii. 4; vi. 30,52).

(5.) On each occasion, upon objection raised, the hard saying is not withdrawn but repeated, albeit its supernatural purport is declared (iii. 5-8, 12; vi. 52, 53, 61-64).

(6.) On each occasion our Lord refers to His eternal existence with the Father in His Divine Nature, and to the future ascension of His sacred |Humanity into heaven (iii. 9-13; vi. 52-62).

(7.) On each occasion our Lord sets forth His sacred Humanity as the channel by which the Deity conveys salvation to men (iii. 13-17; vi.27, 29, 32-35, 38, 40, 47-51, 53-58).

(8.) On each occasion it is declared that it is faith, under the teaching of God, not reason, which grasps these heavenly, supernatural mysteries ; not the flesh, but the Spirit (iii. 6,8,12; vi. 43-45, 61-65).

(9.) On each occasion our Lord warns His incredulous hearers of the danger of unbelief, and unwillingness to receive supernatural verities, on account of difficulties raised by unsanctified reason against them (iii. 7, 8, 11, 12, 18 ; vi. 43-45, 64, 65).

There must be some connection, then, between these two chapters. That connection is: the third speaks prophetically of Holy Baptism, the sixth of Holy Communion; and, therefore, as might be expected, our Lord sets forth the truth relating to each of these two great sacramental mysteries of His gospel after one and the same method. One and the say way of dealing with His subject is found in each discourse. Similar effects, also, as is very remarkable, are produced upon certain of His hearers. This is, of course, the interpretation of the Church of England. She takes the first part of the third chapter of St John as the Gospel in her service for the baptism of adults ; and she uses several expressions in her Communion Office which occur nowhere in Holy Scripture except in the sixth chapter of St John—that is, she interprets and quotes that chapter as speaking of Holy Communion. [6]

7. In ver. 57, our Lord declares, "As…..I live by the Father : so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me." That is, "As is the relation of My Father’s Divine Nature to My Divine Nature: so is the relation of My Human Nature to the renovated humanity of the members of My Mystical Body, the Church." By which our Lord declares that the mode by which He quickens and vivifies His Mystical Body is similar to that by which He Himself derives life from the Father in His Divine Nature. But the mode by which He derives life from the Father is by unity of nature. Therefore, if the parallel which He here draws is to have any real force and meaning, the mode and manner by which He vivifies His Mystical Body must likewise be by actual communication of nature, and not merely by the infusion into His people of the gracious sanctifying influences of His Holy Spirit. Consequently, "eating Him" must mean the actually receiving Him into ourselves by His communication to us of His Human Nature, and cannot mean the merely looking to Him by faith, and trusting in Him, in order to receive from Him the gracious influences of His Holy Spirit.

8. The expression of our Lord, "It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing," is a well-known Hebrew idiom, occurring frequently in the Bible. By this idiom the less important of two things (both equally appointed by God, and good in their respective degrees), is for the moment apparently slighted and thrust into the background, in order to throw the more important of the two into greater prominence, for the purpose of impressing its greater value on the hearer. Another instance of this same idiom occurs in this very chapter at verse 27 ; "Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you." Does our Lord here command idleness? Another instance is the oft-repeated, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice" – (Hosea vi. 6 ; Matt. ix 13 ; &c.) Does Divine Wisdom here altogether forbid sacrifice ? Another instance is, "Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel" (1 Cor. i. 17). Did Christ really not send not send His Apostles to baptize, and does His Apostle Paul here really mean to cast a slight upon his Divine Master’s Sacrament? Again, we have this idiom in 1 John iii. 18—"Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." Does St John here really forbid us to "love in word and in tongue?"

I need not give more instances of this common Hebrew idiom. I may say, in passing, that Mr Keble uses it in the passage of his poem for the 5th of November, about which so much has been said:—

"Oh come to our Communion Feast;
There present in the heart,
Not in the hands, th’ Eternal Priest
Will His true Self impart."

As Mr Keble over and over again explained, he wrote these lines, not to deny the real objective Presence, but by the use of this Bible idiom to impress the truth that, whereas our Blessed Lord is present in the hands of every single receiver of the Sacrament ; only those who receive Him with a hearty faith into their hearts, will partake of Him otherwise than to their condemnation.

And so our Lord in this oft-wrested text, [7] does not for a moment disparage His Incarnation, or the partaking actually of His Flesh and Blood, but teaches His hearers that "the Spirit," that is, His Divine Nature, must be united to His Human Nature, His Flesh, in order that it may be quickening, that is, life-giving. This is the way the Fathers interpret the term "Spirit," in several passages; when used in reference to our Lord. And so our own Bishop Bull, commenting upon St Paul’s similar teaching in 1 Cor. xv. 45, "The first man Adam was made a living soul ; the last [second] Adam was made a quickening Spirit," says, "The sense is, the first Adam was only a man ; the second Adam is more than a man, namely, a vivifying Spirit, that is, God. ??e?µa, spirit, in Christ, as I have often reminded you, here and there in the Sacred Scriptures, as also in the writers of the first age, denotes the Divine Nature in Christ, to which it properly pertains, as is said here, to vivify or give life to men." [8] So that the truth here revealed by our Lord is, that His Manhood was to be the principle of life, by reason of the Godhead with which it was hypostatically united. St Paul declares the same truth in the passage just quoted, 1 Cor. xv. 45, by saying (as we may express his meaning), "The last Adam [by His humanity, His Flesh] indwelt by His Spirit [His Divinity], is made quickening" [life-giving]. He teaches the same in Romans viii. 9-11.

Where this idiom, which we have been considering, occurs, we must understand the word "only," in order not to make Holy Scripture contradict itself, but to get the exact truth intended. "Labour not [only] for the meat that perisheth ;" "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice [only]" – that is, "When I cannot have both, I prefer mercy ;" "Christ sent me not to baptize [only], but to preach the Gospel." These words allude to the dissensions and party spirit which had arisen at Corinth, the various parties calling themselves after the apostle or minister who had baptized them. St Paul, to reprove them, here reminds them that if Christ had sent him, as He had, to baptize, He had much more sent him to preach the Gospel. If Baptism was, as it was, important, much more important, of course, was the Gospel itself, of which Baptism was, at most, but the entrance gate ; and that Gospel they were hindering and injuring by their miserable dissensions and party spirit. Again : "Let us not love in word, neither in tongue [only]."

And so in the passage before us –"The flesh [only, or alone] profiteth nothing. It is the Spirit that quickeneth." That is, "My Flesh by itself is not what I mean ; but My Flesh, My Humanity, made quickening by its hypostatic union with My Divinity. The words that I have spoken unto you about My Flesh and Blood, describe the quickening, life-giving effects to be produced by My Spirit, My Divinity, working in and by My Flesh and Blood." [9] Our Lord here expresses the same blessed truth which He had before announced (St John v. 21, 26, 27), "As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. …. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son [in His Human Nature] to have life in Himself …. Because He is the Son of Man" [that is, Divinity giveth to the Humanity of the Son the power to quicken]. He sets forth the same truth later on (St John xiv. 18-20), in these remarkable words :- "I will not leave you comfortless [margin, ‘orphans’], "I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more ; but ye see Me : because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you." This Real Presence the faithless "world" cannot "see," but the truly faithful "see" it by faith. Christ in the Sacrament is "the hidden manna (Rev. ii. 17) – "hidden" from the eye of a sceptical world, but "discerned" (1 Cor. xi. 29) by the eye of faith. [10]

Our Lord, also, of course, means to include in these words the truth that a fleshly, merely carnal, unspiritual understanding of His teaching, whether on this or any other subject and occasion, will avail persons nothing for salvation. His words and teaching must be spiritually discerned.

To put these two meanings together. He teaches that His Flesh gives us life, and saves us, by its union with His Divinity ; and that we can savingly listen to His teaching, so as to learn from it how to be sacramentally united to Him, and, in consequence, be able to walk in His steps – not by a carnal hearing, but only through the assistance of the one Divine Spirit.

And our Lord’s allusion to His ascension on this occasion was (1.) To teach the objectors that if His Body could ascend, it could surely also be pluri-present, and life-giving ; all three operations taking place through its union with His Divine Nature, by which also it had at the first been brought into existence at the conception. [11]

(2.) To impress the objectors with the fact that if it seemed so difficult to them to believe in the truth and reality of this "eating" while he was still in bodily appearance among them, how much more difficult would it be to their unbelief when He had withdrawn Himself in appearance, and ascended, in His Sacred Humanity, into Heaven. That is, He teaches them the absolute necessity of simple implicit faith, if they are to receive the full truth of His words just preached. How remarkable it is that the fact of the ascension, and our Lord’s withdrawal from His Church in visible appearance, which He here uses as an argument to impress the necessity of simple faith in the reality of this heavenly and supernatural "eating," is the very thing which opponents of this saving truth bring forward to prove, as they think, that our Lord’s words must be interpreted figuratively, and not literally. Our Lord argues – "Because I am about to ascend, you must not judge by sight, but must believe ere you can receive My words." They who will not receive His words, argue—"Because our Lord has ascended in His Flesh into Heaven, therefore He cannot really and actually be present on earth in His Flesh, and give us that Flesh to eat." It will, moreover, at once be obvious, that if there be nothing more in the Sacrament than a little symbolic bread and wine, this argument of our Lord can have absolutely no point at all. If His words are merely figurative and symbolic, the figurative "eating" thus supposed to be spoken of, would be no more difficult to understand after than before the ascension.

(3) Our Lord here refers to His ascension to impress upon the objectors the necessity of receiving His words in the illuminating light which would be thrown upon them by the ascension, and the consequent Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit – in a word, to receive them, not in an earthly, cannibal sense, but as setting forth heavenly, spiritual, supernatural truth and divine mysteries.

9. In the next verse, the 64th, our Lord adds, "But there are some of you that believe not;" and St John comments, "For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him." From which we plainly learn that the inability to receive the mysterious sacramental teaching of this chapter arises, not from a high evangelical spirituality, but from a spirit of scepticism, a spirit liable at any time to betray Christ, and His saving truth, to the enemy. Such is the fact, however little well-meaning persons, under the influence of this spirit, may be aware of it. Denial of the full truth of the Incarnation itself, and the further mysteries which flow from it, is really unbelief in Christ Himself, and following Judas in betraying Him. To deny the truth of the divine system of the Church, ministry, and sacraments, is really to deny our Incarnate Lord, from whom that whole system flows. And this has been more or less the history of those who deny the sacred Eucharistic teaching of this chapter. We find that such (witness, for instance, the Genevan followers of Calvin, and the Puritans who arose in our own country) having more or less come to deny the truth regarding the Divine system of the Church, ministry, and sacraments, have been found, in a very wide degree, to arrive eventually at disbelieving even the Divinity of Christ [Appendix C].

Of the danger of thus trifling with the mystery of the Incarnation, and the further mysteries which flow from it, St John warns us in his first epistle :- "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh [that is, confesseth not the Incarnation, and the whole system of the Church, ministry, and sacraments, the life of which flows from the Incarnate Saviour] is not of God. And this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come ; and even now already is it in the world." [12]

II. I turn now to the First Epistle to the Corinthians. In 1 Cor. x. 16, St Paul declares our Lord’s words at the institution of the Eucharist to set forth no mere figure, but that (1.) the Bread broken is the communion (or communication to the communicant) of the Body of Christ, and the Cup blessed is the communion of the Blood of Christ. He (2.) makes this communication to the communicant of Christ’s Body and Blood depend,—not upon the faith of the receiver, but upon the consecration :- "The bread which we [the clergy] break," and "the cup of blessing, which we bless," alluding to the words and acts of consecration. Again, in the 14th chapter of this same Epistle, and the 16th and 17th verses, he again sets forth the Eucharistic or Consecration Prayer, the "Blessing," as that which makes Christ to be present. He is arguing for having the Liturgy in the vernacular, lest "the unlearned," that is, the congregation, if the Communion Service be said in an unknown tongue, should not know when to say "Amen" at the end of the Eucharistic or Consecration Prayer, the prayer of "Blessing:"–"Else when thou shalt ‘Bless’ with the Spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say ‘Amen’ at thy giving of thanks [?p? t? s? e??a??st?a, that is, at thy Prayer of Consecration’] seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks [e??a??ste??] well, [thou sayest the Eucharistic or Consecration Prayer profitably enough to thyself, understanding what thou sayest] but the other is not edified ;" ["not understanding what thou sayest, he cannot join in the Prayer of ‘Blessing’ (Consecration), and know when to say ‘Amen’ at the end of it."]

I may add that, according to the records of the institution of the Holy Eucharist given to us by St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke, in their Gospels, and St Paul in the eleventh chapter of this Epistle, the Real Presence of Christ is plainly made to depend exclusively upon the consecrating words and actions, whether of Christ Himself at the institution, or of Him working through His ministers at all subsequent celebrations.

Let us turn now to the eleventh chapter of this Epistle. This chapter, let us observe, contains the last express revelation upon this subject, and therefore likely to be the clearest, and intended to remove all previous unbelief and misconceptions. In this chapter we shall find overwhelming evidence for what is termed the objective Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist : that is, His Real Presence upon the Altar "under the form of bread and wine," [13] solely by and upon consecration, entirely independent of the belief or unbelief of the celebrant and communicants, and therefore of course existing external to the communicants previous to their reception of the Sacrament.

In this chapter we find (1.) that St Paul speaks of a Presence of Christ’s Body and Blood, of insulting and profaning which the Corinthians could be "guilty," if they did not "discern it" by faith, and distinguish it from common food. (2.) We find that the Corinthians on one or more occasions here spoken of, had not faith to "discern" the Body and Blood of Christ, that is Christ Himself, for He cannot be separated from His Body and Blood : and (3.) we find that, in consequence, "many" of them were punished with grievous sickness, and "many" actually with death ; from having, by various degrees of misuse, through unbelief, profaned the Sacrament.

Now let us test by this passage the two theories to which we before alluded, and which we termed "the Symbolism theory," and "the Reception theory."

1. "The Symbolism theory" is that (1.) the bread and wine in the Eucharist, even after consecration, are merely symbols, signs, tokens, or figures signifying and representing on earth our Lord’s true Body and Blood, which are really present nowhere but in heaven : and that (2.) "eating Christ’s Body and drinking His Blood," means nothing more than reverently eating a small piece of mere bread, and drinking a sip of mere wine, in pious remembrance of our Lord’s sufferings for us on Calvary, and of His Presence now in His Human Nature, as our Saviour and Intercessor, at the right hand of the Father in Heaven: the participation of the bread and wine being, on the one hand, a sign of the fellowship of faith and love binding all true hearts together in Christ ; and, on the other, a sign of the nourishment and growth of the soul, as fed from heaven by Christ Himself. This is "a beautiful faith, most touching in its simplicity, and most winning in its fervency when sincerely held" as has been truly said : but assuredly it is not the doctrine of this chapter. It is sufficient to condemn this theory to ask,—In what consisted the peculiar enormity of the Corinthians’ sin – if this theory be true,—that what they ate and drank, however unbelievingly and unworthily, was, at most, mere bread and wine? How can we reconcile with this theory the fact that the result of their unbelieving and "undiscerning" "eating and drinking" was, that "many" of them were struck down with various sicknesses, and "many" even by death? There is obviously some guilt here very much more heinous than that of drunkenness, or even the profane misuse of an ordinarily sacred ordinance. Is it commonly God’s way to suddenly strike men with disease, and even death, because they have got drunk, or used His name profanely, or behaved irreverently during the reading of Holy Scripture or the offering up of prayer? Assuredly not. But if in the Holy Eucharist that which we eat and drink be nothing more than mere bread and wine, such eating and drinking, even without true faith in Christ, cannot possibly be a more heinous sin than attending without faith upon any other ordinance of the Church. If St Paul had really taught the Corinthians that the Sacrament was mere bread and wine, might they not have fairly replied,—"You know you have taught us that the words of institution are merely figurative, and that it is only the superstitious who could think of interpreting them literally. You have always impressed upon us that to so interpret them would be a denial of our Lord’s Body being truly in Heaven, and so in fact a kind of thrusting our Lord in belief out of Heaven, and therefore an outrage done to Him. You know you have taught us that ‘the Lord’s Body’ is not really present in the Sacrament at all. Why, then, is our sin so heinous ? We are aghast at your awful declaration regarding our sin. We know we have done wrong ; but we are in utter bewilderment that you should use in reference to a simple ordinance like this such language as – ‘Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this Bread, and drink this Cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord………For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s Body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep’ [‘have died.’] Of course if you had taught us that ‘the Body and Blood of the Lord’ are really and actually present in this Sacrament, we could have understood your awful language. In that case we should have understood that our guilt consisted in having gluttonously partaken of the very Body of Christ, and made ourselves drunk with His very Blood. But having been taught by you that the Sacrament is mere bread and wine, your awful language is simply unintelligible to us !" Yes, the sin of the Corinthians may have been, as probably it was, more or less a sin of ignorance (on account of which, nevertheless, seeing whose Body and Blood they had profaned, they were awfully punished :) but that they had never been taught the doctrine of the real absence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist is perfectly clear from the whole tenor of this awful passage.

2. Let us now test "the Reception theory" by this passage. The upholders of this theory, as we saw at the beginning of this Paper, are not quite agreed amongst themselves as to what is received by the truly believing communicant in this Holy Sacrament. Some of them hold that the truly believing communicant receives Christ Himself personally ; others of them hold that he receives, not Christ actually in person, but only the virtues, and powers, and gifts, and graces which flow from Him, and which He has specially promised to give through the medium of the consecrated bread and wine. But all of them alike affirm that the Real Presence of Christ, whether that term means more or less, is to the heart alone of the truly faithful receiver of the Sacrament.

Consecration, according to this theory, does not bring about the Real Presence of Christ, but only so changes the elements that, whereas, when standing on the holy table before consecration, they were plain bread and wine, and, if partaken of, would be capable of no other effects than any other bread and wine ; now, if partaken of by a properly-qualified receiver, they become the channels of conveying to him the Body and Blood of Christ, in and by virtue of the act of participation. This theory, then, obviously makes the true faith of the receiver of the Sacrament, and not consecration previous to and apart from and entirely independent of such reception, to be that which makes Christ to be really present to each truly believing receiver of the Sacrament.

This theory certainly exhibits some attempt to appreciate, more or less , the most remarkable language used in this chapter by St Paul. But, on examination, it will be found not to bear the test of this passage. For let us suppose a celebration, at which neither the celebrant nor any of the communicants have real faith. At such a celebration, according to this theory, there would be consecration (for whatever it might be worth), but there would plainly be no Real Presence whatever to any present. Now, this state of unbelief would appear to have been exactly the case of these Corinthians. The Apostle’s reproof is most general. He seems to address it to the whole body of communicants at Corinth, as though they had all been guilty in this matter. Therefore, according to this theory, which makes Christ’s Presence depend upon true faith, Christ could not possibly have been really present to any single communicant at Corinth, for none of them had true faith. Therefore, according to this theory, seeing the Corinthians had not true faith, there could not have been "the Body and Blood of the Lord" present, to be "discerned" or to be "guilty of." But the very thing the Corinthians were condemned, and so fearfully punished for, was their not believing that Christ was Really Present, when He was, in the Sacrament. Therefore His Presence cannot depend upon faith ; and therefore this "Reception theory" is plainly untenable upon the showing of this passage. That theory holds that Christ’s Presence is only in the heart of the communicant, and makes such Presence depend upon the real faith of the communicant ; whereas this passage distinctly implies that, at certain celebrations at Corinth, the communicants had not true faith, and yet takes for granted that Christ was Really Present in the Sacrament on those occasions. His Real Presence, then, must have been altogether distinct from, and independent of, the communicants and their state of mind. What was it, then, we ask, which brought that Presence about ? The inevitable conclusion which any unprejudiced reader of this passage, and of the others in this same epistle which we have considered, would draw from them, is, that St Paul teaches that our Lord has appointed consecration, that is, the words and acts of "blessing" the bread and wine, said and done by a minister of His own appointment, to be the way whereby He makes Himself Really Present ; and that the Corinthians were punished in various degrees, according to the various degrees of condemnation which they had incurred, for having been, some more, some less, but all to a very serious extent, unbelieving, and therefore "unworthy" receivers of Christ, present in His Holy Sacrament.

Perhaps it will be replied that it cannot be proved that all the communicants at Corinth were unbelieving upon the occasions spoken of, and that, therefore, our Lord was Really Present to the faithful among them, but not to the unfaithful. If so, I answer :- In that case, as the Presence, according to this "Reception theory," depends upon a faithful reception, to those who did not faithfully receive, Christ did not make Himself Really Present ; and therefore there was no "Body and Blood of the Lord" present to such unbelieving communicants for them "undiscerningly" to "eat and drink," and so to be "guilty of." But this is obviously contrary to the plain declarations of this passage. [14] It is simply impossible to evade the force of this argument deduced from this chapter – the last and clearest revelation, as I have said, upon this awful and mysterious subject. If any wish to see how forcibly the Church of England brings out the teaching of this passage, let them turn to her Exhortations, especially the third, in her Communion Office.

III. I must now ask attention to Hebrews x. 19-32.

The declarations in this passage regarding the Holy Eucharist are, so far as they go, strictly parallel to those in 1 Cor. xi. ; one point out of many tending to prove that the Epistle to the Hebrews owes its origin to the same author as the Epistles to the Corinthians.

In Hebrews x. 19-32, St Paul (presuming him to be the writer) gives us a short summary of the Christian Faith and Christian practice. He begins by affirming that the "way" back to God is through "the Blood" and "Flesh" "of Jesus." He mentions, in the course of his summary, the first great Sacrament of Baptism in these words :- "Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience ; and our bodies washed with pure water" (the "pure water," the "outward and visible sign of" our "hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience," the "inward and spiritual grace"). We should expect that, having mentioned the first great Sacrament, he would not omit mention also of the second. And such we find to be the case. He subsequently speaks of the necessity of our "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together." Now the one single distinctly Christian service for which Christians "assembled together" at that early period, was the one service appointed by Christ Himself, the Holy Eucharist, the second great Sacrament. [15] St Paul, therefore, here plainly alludes to neglecting or misusing this sacred ordinance, and Christ who was Really Present in it, in verses 25-31. He says, that "if we …..wilfully" "forsake" or misuse this sacred commemoration, which Christ Himself has appointed, of His "sacrifice for sins" on Calvary, "after that we have received the knowledge of truth" in general, and the truth about this Holy Sacrament in particular, "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins" no further means of having continually applied to us the merits and benefits of the sacrifice of the death of Christ. He tells us also that by such unbelieving desertion, or contemptuous misuse, we "tread under foot the Son of God, and count [esteem, that is] the Blood of the [Christian] Covenant ….a common [16] [as it is in the Greek, that is, a profane, not sacred, not especially holy] thing, and" thereby "do despite unto the Spirit of Grace," that is, the Godhead of Christ, united to His Humanity. We forsake, or despise and profane, the "Flesh" and "Blood of Jesus," our "High Priest." He adds, that we shall, if we thus act, "fearfully …..fall into the hands of the living God." And no wonder. For, he argues, if "he that despised" the merely shadowy, typical, and transitory ordinances of the "Mosaic law, died without mercy," upon the testimony of "two or three witnesses, of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who" " forsakes" or contemptuously profanes the life-giving sacraments and ordinances of the Gospel ; and, above all, the greatest of these ordinances, the Blessed Eucharist ; "treading under foot," as such an one does, "the Son of God" Himself, "and ……counting the Blood of the [New] Covenant …a common thing, and doing despite unto the Spirit of Grace ?" This is the interpretation which St Ambrose and Theophylact, amongst other writers, put upon this passage.

There are at least eight points in which this passage is parallel to that in the eleventh chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. We shall easily see this if we place the parallelisms side by side.


  1. "The assembling of ourselves together."
  2. "His flesh…. The Son of God."
  3. "The blood of Jesus…. The blood of the covenant." [17[
  4. "Trodden under foot the Son of God, and … counted the blood of the covenant … an unholy thing."
  5. "An unholy [in the Greek ‘a common’] thing."
  6. "A certain fearful looking for of judgment…. The Lord shall judge," and similar expressions.
  7. "But call to remembrance the former days, in which … ye were illuminated" [that is, "baptized."] [The apostle means, "Review your life and conduct since your baptism – examine, judge yourselves."]
  8. "So much the more as ye see the day [of judgment] approaching."


  1. "When ye come together in the Church."
  2. "The body … of the Lord."
  3. "The blood of the Lord…. This cup is the New Testament [covenant] [17] in My blood."
  4. "Guilty of the body and blood of the Lord."
  5. "Not discerning [distinguishing from common food] the Lord’s body."
  6. "Eateth and drinketh damnation [margin, ‘judgment’] to himself….But when we are judged of the Lord….Come not together unto judgment."
  7. "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup…. For if we would judge [meaning here ‘examine’] ourselves, we should not be judged."
  8. "Till He come" [to judge the world.]

I think the terribly parallel character of these two passages will now be clear. They both warn us of the awful sin and danger, the danger of damnation, which we incur if we do "not discern the Lord’s Body," as most Really Present by consecration in the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist :- if we, consequently, treat "the inward part of thing signified" in the Holy Sacrament as "a common [a profane, not sacred, not especially holy] thing;" thereby "treading under foot," so far as we can, "the Son of God," and being "guilty of" profaning "the" very "Body and Blood of the Lord."

There is another passage upon this same subject, and similarly awful in its warning, in this Epistle to the Hebrews, the sixth chapter, and the fourth to the eighth verses. I need not dwell long upon it. "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened [that is, baptized][18] and have tasted of the heavenly gift [19] ["The heavenly gift" of Christ Himself in the Holy Communion] if they shall fall away, to renew them again into repentance ; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame [by profaning the Blessed Sacrament :] … whose end is to be burned." [20]

We conclude, therefore, that when our Lord "took bread and wine" into His hands, "and gave thanks, and brake the bread," "and blessed" them, "and said, ‘This is My Body,’ ‘This is My Blood,’ " "Do this in remembrance of Me," He meant what He said and did.

From the sixth chapter of St John’s Gospel, the tenth and eleventh chapters of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, and the tenth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, we have seen that there is an objective Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrament, and a real and actual participation of Him ; and not merely the receiving His virtues, powers, gifts, and graces.

From the records of the institution of the Holy Sacrament, and from the tenth, eleventh, and fourteenth chapters of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, we have learnt that the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Sacrament depends not upon our faith, but upon our Lord’s own sovereign will lovingly exercised in consecration.

In the sixth chapter of St John, we have seen the danger of betraying our Lord and His saving truth, through scepticism in reference to His Eucharistic teaching.

In the eleventh chapter of First Corinthians, and the sixth and tenth chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews, we have seen the same danger and its consequences ; only brought out into a most terrible and startling clearness.

I commend these most awful passages to the careful attention of all unbelievers in the true Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence.

If this sacred doctrine be full, as it is, of joy and consolation to all who faithfully and penitently receive it, it is equally full of "judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" [21] of it. Except they repent, all profane gazers upon the Sacred Mysteries, who irreverently approach the Sacrament as they would show all mockers and scoffers; all who lightly and impenitently, and without true faith, dare to take the most Holy Sacrament; all who thus "tread under foot the Son of God;" [21] shall of a surety, one day, find the threatening burst with malediction upon them – "Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense, saith the Lord."[21]


This term has been used for some time, in reference to the Real Presence, to more clearly express, in the face of modern controversy, the old truth that the Presence is external to the receiver of the Sacrament previous to reception ; and exists by consecration alone ; and is not merely a "subjective" Presence, which would mean a Presence only within the subject or receiver, and not existing independent of, and previous to, reception.


So, even after consecration, St Paul speaks of the Blessed Sacrament as "this Bread and … this Cup." Mark the "this:" "This uncommon, Divine, supernatural Bread and Cup."


It is of course Christ himself who works this miracle, even as it is He who works in and by His ministers on earth in all their ministrations. They personate Him (St Matt. xxviii. 18-20 ; St John xx. 21-23 ; St Luke x. 16 ; 1 Cor. iv. 1 ; v. 3-5 ; 2 Cor. ii. 10; Ephes. iv. 11-16 ; 1 Cor. xi.23-26). In the Holy Eucharist, Christ our Lord is High Priest, Consecrator, Sacrifice, and Living Bread.


Carter. "Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist," p.3.


Olshausen on St John vi. 54-59.

It is a remarkable fact that those who deny the Eucharistic character of this chapter, never dare to employ in their teaching our Lord’s solemn words about the paramount necessity for salvation of "eating His Flesh, and drinking His Blood." We may fairly ask such persons this question,—"If our Lord, as you admit, intended some real and most important duty to be insisted upon by these words, whatever it may be ; how is it that you never use them in your exhortations, to impress the necessity of that to which you believe them to refer? If you believe these and similar words to have been used by our Lord merely to impress the necessity of faith in Him, and of daily feeding in loving thought upon Him and His saving work, how is it that you never employ them now for the same end?" Such persons are self-convicted. In their inmost hearts, a certain instinct tells them that they have emptied our Lord’s words of more than half their meaning ; and so, perhaps unconsciously, they have come to expunge these words from their public teaching as completely as though they had never been written in the Bible. Truly whatever men may say, no one, save a true Catholic, can ex animo accept the Bible in its completeness.


Such expressions are, "Heavenly feast," and "That most heavenly food" (St John vi. 61, 62) in the first and second Exhortations ; "Spiritually eat the flesh of Christ" (St John vi. 53, 63)in the third Exhortation ; "Eat the flesh of Thy dear Son Jesus Christ" (St John vi. 53, &c.) in the Prayer, "We do not presume," &c. The expression, "Eat the Body," is used in several passages of the New Testament, in reference to the Holy Sacrament ; but the expression, "Eat the Flesh," is found only in the sixth of St John. The Church of England, therefore, by using that expression of the Holy Communion, obviously interprets the sixth of St John as referring to that Holy Sacrament.

[7] 2 Pet. iii. 16, 17.

[8] Bull, "Judicium Ecclesiae Catholicae," v. 5.

[9] This is the common Patristic interpretation of this passage. St Cyril of Alexandria comments upon it more fully than any other Father. This is especially important, as he was President of the Third General Council, at Ephesus, A.D. 431, where his explanation of this chapter was read, and sanctioned by the Council. We must, therefore, receive his interpretation of this chapter as bearing the highest authority of the Catholic Church.

[10] In great mercy He veils His Presence "under the form of bread and wine" [Postscript to the First Book of Homilies]. In our present condition we could not bear the sight of His unveiled glorified humanity. Were He now to reveal Himself to us without a veil, we should be blinded and struck to the earth, as was Saul of Tarsus, on the road to Damascus (Acts ix. 3-5, 8, 9 ; xxii. 6-8, 11 ; xxvi. 13-15).

[11] It is the union of our Lord’s sacred Humanity with His Divinity, its being the Humanity of the Divine "Word," that makes it possible for it to be both in Heaven and pluri-present on ten thousand altars at the same moment. Our Lord’s sacred, supernatural Humanity is not restricted by the laws of nature.

[12] 1 John iv. 2, 3.

[13] Postscript to the First Book of Homilies.

[14] How could the Corinthians have been expected to "discern" that which, upon these theories, was not there to be "discerned" ?

[15] Acts ii. 42 ; xx. 7 ; 1 Cor. xi. 20.

[16] Compare "Not discerning" in 1 Cor. xi. 29, where the Greek Expression of St Paul means literally, "Not distinguishing the Lord’s Body from common food" – that is, not seeing It by faith to be what It is, and, in consequence, treating It as "common," instead of as divine, supernatural food.

[17] "Christ’s words wholly forbid us to look upon the Cup as a mere figure or type. It is ‘the New Covenant in His Blood.’ Covenants in old times were not ratified with the figure of blood, but with blood itself. So far from being a mere figure of blood, then, it must be blood in its most intense spiritual reality, as ratifying the new covenant betwixt God and the communicant." – Sadler, Church Doctrine Bible Truth, 4th edition, p.141 See Exod. xxiv. 8 ; Heb. ix. 18-20.

[18] Compare "illuminated" in Heb. x. 32, the same word in the Greek ; also Eph. v. 8. Whence it is that in the Greek Fathers, baptism is usually called f?t?sµ?? – that is, an enlightening ; and persons newly baptized were called ?e?f?t?st??.

[19] This term is frequently used of the Holy Eucharist by the Greek Fathers.

[20] See, amongst other commentators upon this passage, Estius, and the present Bishop Wordsworth of Lincoln.

[21] Heb. X.


BISHOP GESTE, the author of the 28th Article, says of the Real Presence,—not merely that "Christ’s Body is in the Sacrament," or that It is present "under the form of bread and wine ;" but he says that – "Christ’s Body" "is undoubtedly in the bread," and that "It is presented in the bread (as questionless It is)," and that "It is presented in the accidents of the bread." He says the "Presence of Christ’s Body in the Bread" may be explained by "the personal presence of Christ’s Godhead in His Manhood," and "the presence of the soul in the body." [1] Bishop Geste wrote a celebrated letter to a brother Bishop [Bishop Cheney of Gloucester], in consequence of the Bishop of Gloucester having been offended by the word "only" in the 28th Article ["the Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner"] as seeming to "take away the presence of Christ’s Body in the Sacrament." Bishop Geste wrote in explanation to Bishop Cheney, "that this word only in the foresaid Article did not exclude the Presence of Christ’s body from the Sacrament, but only the grossness and sensibleness in the receiving thereof : For I said unto him, though he took Christ’s Body in his hand, received it with his mouth, and that corporally, naturally, really, substantially, and carnally, as the doctors do write, yet did he not for all that see It, feel It, smell It, nor taste It." A second letter of Bishop Geste’s is extant, in which, finding that his wording of the Article continued to give offence, he recommends that the word "only" be left out, and the word "profitably" be inserted after "received and eaten." Such was the mutual jealousy in guarding the doctrine of the Real Presence displayed by the Bishops of the Church of England of that day.

The history of the 28th Article, which is not certainly worded as we should now word it in presence of prevalent Protestant errors, only shows us that the wording of such other Articles as the 25th (about the sacraments), or the 29th (about the reception of the wicked), or the 31st (about the sacrifices of masses), written as they were against what were believed to be popular mediaeval errors, were never intended by their compilers to be used, as they often since have been, as though they had been written in support of the opposite Protestant errors. Had their compilers only foreseen the Protestant misuse which would be made of their language, they would no doubt have worded them more cautiously. Bishop Geste, we have seen, recommended that the wording of the 28th Article should be altered, on finding that its real meaning was being misunderstood. Their compilers had in their view, at the time, only what they thought certain popular mediaeval errors. But, as often happens, not sufficiently guarded controversial writing in one direction, has only resulted in supporting more grievous errors in an opposite direction. The same remark applies to some other not sufficiently guarded expressions to be found in the authoritative documents of the Church of England.


Eph. v. 25-32; St John vi. 32-63; St Matt. xxvi. 26-28; 1 Cor. xv. 44, 45, 49; Gal.ii. 20; Phil. iii. 21; Col. iii. 3, 4, 9, 10, 15.

Let it not be thought, however, that the Real Presence is any interference with the office of the Holy Ghost. The loving operations of the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity in the work of man’s redemption are not successive, but coincident. It is revealed to us, as part of the mystery of the Ever-blessed Trinity, that by reason of the coinherence of the Divine Three no function can be discharged by one Person in the glorious Godhead, in which each does not take part according to His appointed order and law. And hence results no confusion nor interference in their merciful offices ; neither can succession have place in essences which perpetually co-operate ; nor can the conditions of time restrict the operations of the Eternal. Therefore the Personal presence of the Son does not necessitate the Personal absence of the Holy Ghost, and vice versa. As it was the Spirit by whom the Incarnation was effected, and yet it was the Eternal Son who, of His own will, became Incarnate, so is it God the Word who makes His Humanity to be present in the Eucharist, through the power of the Holy Ghost. It was also through the Spirit that the Son offered His sacred Humanity to the Father, in His life, in His sufferings, and in His death.

In fact, all the operations of the sacred Humanity of the Son in the work of man’s salvation, are brought about by the Son, through the Holy Ghost. Compare Phil. ii. 5-8, with Luke i. 35, and Heb. ix. 14 ; also St John xiv. 16, 17, 26, with verses 18-20. I cannot here pursue this point further, but see "Wilberforce on the Eucharist," for its further elucidation.


The tendency of anti-sacramental belief towards Socinianism is such an established fact that the assertion of it hardly requires proof. Let the following testimonies suffice :- "Speaking generally of Calvinism, in modern times, it must be said to have usually developed into Arianism, Socinianism, or kindred heresies , as we may see from the present state of Geneva, its birth-place ; also from the prevalence of Socinianism in the old Puritan Churches established in the seventeenth century in America. In the disputes on Lady Hewley’s charity, which occurred a few years ago, it was shown that Presbyterian ministers in England had generally perverted the orthodox doctrines on the Holy Trinity, and taught Arianism or Socinianism." – Blunt, "Dictionary of Theology," p.107.

"Thus has Socinianism, with her pestilential train, trodden, with giant steps, the causeways of Irish Presbyterianism ; planted her banners in the Presbyterian encampments along the Thames and the Seine ; written her insulting creed on the tombs of the Vaudois and the Huguenots ; reared her towering head above the Alps and the Apennines ; dashed on, like the winter avalanche, into the fair valleys of Switzerland ; and kept her insulting jubilee in the cathedral of Geneva, and over the dust of Calvin …….I saw, in the heart of Geneva, a proud sepulchral monument to Rousseau, but to forgotten Calvin, ‘They raised not a stone, they carved not a line.’ ….Of the whole venerable Synod of Geneva, but one solitary pastor, as I was informed when on the ground, was even suspected of believing in the Divinity of Jesus ……..In 1840 …….nearly all New England was Socinian ……. ‘If the Episcopal Church had been known in New England,’ said one of her wisest and most celebrated statesman to a Churchman, ‘we should never have been Unitarians ; we are Unitarians only in the ignorance and the absence of something better.’ Which, then, is the Antichrist of the present day ? ‘He is Antichrist that denieth [the true relationship subsisting between] the Father and the Son ;’ ‘Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an Antichrist’ (1 John ii. 22, 23; 2 John 7). – "A Presbyterian Clergyman looking for the Church," pp. 62-93. Masters.

Antichrist, therefore, according to St John, denies the sacred doctrines of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation, and thereby subverts Christianity so far as he can.

"Of the nearly three hundred chapels which belonged to the old Nonconformists – where Owen lectured, Henry expounded, Baxter preached, and Doddridge prayed – there are not now as many as fifty in which the Catholic faith is maintained. In all the rest, the Lord who bought us is denied ; errors are taught, rather than have taught which the pious founders would have shed their blood ! What an impressive warning !" – The late Canon Stowell of Manchester, "Lectures on Tractarianism" vol. i. p.245.

"Calvin died in 1564. The discipline of his Church can scarcely be said to have survived him. In the seventeenth century Geneva was distinguished only by its open profession of infidelity, till at length the Trinity, the Atonement, and the Incarnation of the Son of God, were prohibited by authority as subjects of public instruction" – Barter, "Tracts," p. 252, 1851.

[1] "Private Mass," p.86. Ed. 1840

Project Canterbury