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ANF01. The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus
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Chapter LXVI.—Of the Eucharist.

And this food is called among us Εὐχαριστία19101910    Literally, thanksgiving. See Matt. xxvi. 27. [the Eucharist], of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins, and unto regeneration, and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.19111911    This passage is claimed alike by Calvinists, Lutherans, and Romanists; and, indeed, the language is so inexact, that each party may plausibly maintain that their own opinion is advocated by it. [But the same might be said of the words of our Lord himself; and, if such widely separated Christians can all adopt this passage, who can be sorry?] The expression, “the prayer of His word,” or of the word we have from Him, seems to signify the prayer pronounced over the elements, in imitation of our Lord’s thanksgiving before breaking the bread. [I must dissent from the opinion that the language is “inexact:” he expresses himself naturally as one who believes it is bread, but yet not “common bread.” So Gelasius, Bishop of Rome (a.d. 490), “By the sacraments we are made partakers of the divine nature, and yet the substance and nature of bread and wine do not cease to be in them,” etc. (See original in Bingham’s Antiquities, book xv. cap. 5. See Chryost., Epist. ad. Cæsarium, tom. iii. p. 753. Ed. Migne.) Those desirous to pursue this inquiry will find the Patristic authorities in Historia Transubstantionis Papalis, etc., Edidit F. Meyrick, Oxford, 1858. The famous tractate of Ratranin (a.d. 840) was published at Oxford, 1838, with the homily of Ælfric (a.d. 960) in a cheap edition.] For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me,19121912    Luke xxii. 19. this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone. Which the wicked devils have imitated in the mysteries of Mithras, commanding the same thing to be done. For, that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain incantations in the mystic rites of one who is being initiated, you either know or can learn.


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