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Sacia. ment of the body and


67. The grace which we have by the holy Eucharist doth of the not begin, but continue, life. No man therefore receiveth this Sacrament before Baptism, because no dead thing is capable of nourishment. That which groweth must of ne- blood of cessity first live. If our bodies did not daily waste, food to restore them were a thing superfluous. And it may be that the grace of Baptism would serve to eternal Life, were it not that the state of our spiritual being is daily so much hindered and impaired after Baptism. In that life therefore, where neither body nor soul can decay, our souls shall as little require this Sacrament, as our bodies corporal nourishment. But as long as the days of our warfare last, during the time that we are both subject to dimination and capable of augmentation in grace, the words of our Lord and Saviour Christ will remain forcible, “ Except John ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” Life being therefore proposed unto all men as their end, they which by Baptism have laid the foundation, and attained the first beginning of a new life, have here their nourishment and food prescribed for continuance of life in them. Such as will live the life of God, must eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man; because this is a part of that diet, which if we want we cannot live. Whereas therefore in our infancy we are incorporated into Christ, and by Baptism receive the grace of his Spirit without any sense or feeling of the


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gift which God bestoweth; in the Eucharist we so receive the gift of God, that we know by grace what the grace is which God giveth us; the degrees of our own increase in holiness and virtue we see, and can judge of them; we understand that the strength of our life begun in Christ, is Christ; that his flesh is meat, and his blood drink, not by surmised imagination, but truly, even so truly, that through faith we perceive in the Body and Blood sacramentally presented the very taste of eternal Life; the grace of the Sacrament is here as the food which we eat and drink. This was it that some did exceedingly fear lest Zuinglius and Ecolampadius would bring to pass, that men should account of this Sacrament but only as of a shadow, destitute, empty, and void of Christ. But seeing, that, by opening the several opinions which have been held, they are grown, for aught I can see, on all sides at the length to a general agreement concerning that which alone is material, namely, the real participation of Christ, and of life in his Body and Blood, by means of this Sacrament; wherefore should the world continue still distracted, and rent with so manifold contentions, when there remaineth now no controversy, saving only about the subject where Christ is ? Yea, even in this point, no side denieth, but that the soul of man is the receptacle of Christ's presence. Whereby the question is yet driven to a narrow issue, nor doth any thing rest doubtful but this, whether, when the Sacrament is administered, Christ be whole within man only, or else his Body and Blood be also externally seated in the very consecrated elements themselves. Which opinion they that defend, are driven either to consubstantiate and incorporate Christ with elements sacramental, or to transubstantiate and change their substance into his; and so the one to hold him really, but invisibly, moulded up with the substance of those elements, the other to hide him under the only visible show of Bread and Wine, the substance whereof, as they imagine, is abolished, and his succeeded in the same room. All things considered, and compared with that success which truth hath hitherto had by so bitter conflicts with errors in this point, sball I wish that men would more give themselves to meditate with silence what we have by the Sacrament, and less to dispute of the manner how? If any man suppose

that this were too great stupidity and dulness, let us see whether the Apostles of our Lord themselves have not done the like. It appeareth by many examples, that they of their own disposition were very scrupulous and inquisitive, yea, in other cases of less importance, and less difficulty, always apt to move questions. How cometh it to pass, that so few words of so high a mystery being uttered, they receive with gladness the gift of Christ, and make no show of doubt or scruple? The reason hereof is not dark to them which have any thing at all observed how the powers of the mind are wont to stir, when that which we infinitely long for presenteth itself above and besides ex. pectation. Curious and intricate speculations do hinder, they abate, they quench such inflamed motions of delight and joy as divine graces use to raise when extraordinarily they are present. The mind therefore, feeling present joy, is always marvellous unwilling to admit any other cogitation, and in that case casteth off those disputes whereunto the intellectual part at other times easily draweth. A manifest effect whereof may be noted, if we compare with our Lord's Disciples in the twentieth of John, the people that are said in the sixth of John to have gone after him to Capernaum. These leaving him on the one side of the Sea of Tiberias, and finding him again as soon as themselves by ship were arrived on the contrary side, whither they knew that by ship he came not, and by land the journey was longer than according to the time he could have to travel, as they wondered, so they asked also, “ Rabbi, John when camest thou bither ?” The Disciples, when Christ appeared to them in far more strange and miraculous manner, moved no question, but rejoiced greatly in what they saw. For why? The one sort beheld only that in Christ which they knew was more than natural, but yet their affection was not rapt therewith through any great extraordinary gladness; the other, when they looked on Christ, were not ignorant that they saw the wellspring of their own everlasting felicity; the one, because they enjoyed not, dispated; the other disputed not, because they enjoyed. If then the presence of Christ with them did so much move, judge what their thoughts and affections were at the time of this new presentation of Christ, not before their eyes, but within their souls. They had learned before, that his

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Flesh and Blood are the true cause, of eternal life; that this they are not by the bare force of their own substance, but through the dignity and worth of his Person, which offered them up by way of sacrifice for the life of the whole world, and doth make them still effectual thereunto; finally, that to us they are life in particular, by being particularly received. Thus much they knew, although as yet they understood not perfectly to what effect or issue the same would come, till at the length being assembled for no other 'cause which they could imagine but to have eaten the Passover only that Moses appointed, when they saw their Lord and Master, with hands and eyes lifted up to Heaven, first bless and consecrate, for the endless good of all generations till the world's end, the chosen elements of Bread and Wine; which elements, made for ever the instruments of life by virtue of his divine benediction, they being the first that were commanded to receive from him, the first which were warranted by his promise, that not only unto them at the present time, but to whomsoever they and their successors after them did truly administer the same, those mysteries should serve as conducts of life, and conveyances of his Body and Blood unto them; was it possible they should hear that voice, “Take, eat, this is my Body; drink ye all of this, this is my Blood ?” possible, that doing what was required, and believing what was promised, the same should have present effect in them, and not fill them with a kind of fearful admiration at the heaven which they saw in themselves ?. They had at that time a sea of comfort and joy to wade in, and we by that which they did are taught that this heavenly food is given for the satisfying of our empty souls, and not for the exercising of our curious and subtile wits. If we doubt what those admirable words may import, let him be our teacher for the meaning of Christ, to whom Christ was himself a schoolmaster; let our Lord's Apostle be his interpreter, content we ourselves with his explication; my Body, the communion of my Body: my Blood, the communion of my Blood. Is there any thing more expedite, clear, and easy, than that as Christ is termed our life because through him we obtain life; so the parts of this Sacrament are his Body and Blood, for that they are so to us, who receiving them, receive that by them which they are termed? The

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