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mental doctrine itself, as it first stood, is no longer ours, it should serve still farther, certainly to make us pause and consider. We have no right here to be either indifferent or dishonest. We should be willing to see the fact of any variation in our faith from that of the Reformers, as well as able also to give a reason for it in an open and manly way. We are under no obligation to follow slavishly and blindly the authority of the Past. But we do owe it to ourselves certainly, as well as to the cause of truth, not to swerve from it either, in so great a case, with blindfolded eyes, nor yet to pretend that we follow it when we bave gone aside from it in fact. In every view, as a preliminary help at least for the right settlement of the sacramental interest, it must be allowed to be of the utmost consequence to know truly and fairly, as a matter of history, on what ground here the Reformed Church stood in the beginning as compared with the Lutheran. What doctrine in particular did it hold and teach with regard to the presence and power of Christ in the holy eucharist? This is the subject of our present inquiry.
In the way of order and method, we shall transcribe in the first place the general statement of this doctrine which is given in Chap. I. Sect. I. of the Mystical Presence, pp. 54-62. In the next place, we shall bring into view the counter statement of Dr. Hodge, as we find it in. his article on the subject in the Princeton Review for April, 1848; the only respectable or tolerable attempt yet made to set aside the historical representation contained in the Mystical Presence. The way will then be open for our reply to this, taken mainly though not exclusively from the series of articles which appeared against Dr. Hodge in the Weekly Messenger, during the summer of 1848. This will cover the whole ground.
[Myst. Pres. c. I. §. I.] To obtain a proper view of the original doctrine of the Reformed Church on the subject of the eucharist, we must have recourse in particular to Calvin. Not that he is to be considered the creator, properly speaking, of the doctrine. It grew evi, dently out of the general religious life of the church itself, in its antagonism to the Lutheran dogma on the one band, and the low Socinian extreme on the other. Calvin however was the theological organ, by which it first came to that clear expression, under which it continued to be uttered subsequently in the sym
bolical books. His profound, far-reaching, and deeply penetrating mind, drew forth the doctrine from the heart of the Church, exhibited it in its proper relations, proportions and distinctions, gave it form in this way for the understanding, and clothed it with authority as a settled article of faith in the general creed. He may be regarded then as the accredited interpreter and expounder of the article for all later times. A better interpreter in the case, we could not possibly possess. Happily, too, his instructions and explanations here are very full and explicit. He comes upon the subject from all sides, and handles it under all forms, didactically and controversially; so that we are left in no uncertainty whatever, with regard to his meaning, at a single point.
Any theory of the eucharist will be found to accord closely with the view that is taken, at the same time of the nature of the union generally between Christ and his people. Whatever the life of the believer may be as a whole in this relation, it must determine the form of his communion with the Saviour in the sacrament of the supper, as the central representation of its significance and power. Thus, the sacramental doctrine of the primitive Reformed Church stands inseparably connected with the idea of an inward living union between believers and Christ, in virtue of which they are incorporated into his very nature, and made to subsist with him by the power of a common life.' In full correspondence with this conception of the Christian salvation, as a process by which the believer is mystically inseried more and more into the person of Christ, till he becomes thus at last fully transformed into his image, it was held ihat nothing less than such a real participation of his living person is involved always in the right use of the Lord's supper. The following distinctions may serve to define and explain more fully, the nature of the communion which holds between Christ and his people, in the whole view now mentioned, as taught by Calvin and the Reformed Church generally, in the sixteenth century.
1. The union of believers with Christ is not simply that of a common humanity, as derived from Adam. In this view, all men partake of one and the same nature, and each may be said
? Conjunctio igitur illa capitis et membrorum, habitatio Christi in cordibus nostris, mystica denique unio a nobis in summo gradu statuitur; ut Chris. lus noster factus, donorum, quibus præditus est, nos faciat consortes. Non ergo extra nos procul speculamur, ut nobis imputetur ejus justitia : sed quia ipsum induimus, el insiti sumus in ejus corpus, unum denique nos secum ejjicere dig. natus est ; ideo justitiæ societatem nobis cum eo esse gloriamur - Calvin. Inst, ill. 11, 10.
to be in relation to his neighbor bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. So Christ took not on him the nature of angels, but of men.
He was born of a woman, and appeared among us in the likeness and fashion of our own life, only without sin. But plainly our relation to his nature, and through this to his mediatorial work, as christians, is something quite different from this general consanguinity of the human race.. Where we are said to be of the same life with him, “ members of his body, of his flesh and his bones," it is not on the ground merely of a joint participation with him in the nature of Adam, but on the ground of our participation in his own nature as a higher order of life. Our relation to him is not circuitous and collateral only; it holds in a direct connection with his person.'
2. In this view, the relation is more again than simply a moral union. Such a union we have, where two or more persons are bound together by inward agreement, sympathy, and correspond
Every common friendship is of this sort. It is the relation of the disciple to the master, whom he loves and reveres. It is the relation of the devout Jew to Moses, his venerated lawgiver and prophet. It holds also undoubtedly between the believer and Christ. The Saviour lives much in his thoughts and affections. He looks to him with an eye of faith, embraces him in his heart, commits himself to his guidance, walks in his steps, and endeavors to become clothed more and more with his very mind itself. In the end the correspondence will be found complete. We shall be like him in all respects, one with him morally, in the fullest sepse. But Christianity includes more than such a moral union, separately considered. This union itself is only the result here of a relation more inward and deep. It has its ground in the force of a common life, in virlue of which Christ and his people are one even before the become thus assimilated to his character. So in the sacrament of the Lord's supper; it is not simply a moral approach that the true worshipper is permitted to make to the glorious object of his worship.
'Carnis et sanguinis communicationem non tantum interpretor de communi natura, quod Christus homo fuclis jure fraternæ societatis nos Dei filios secum fecerit: sed distincte affirmo, quan a nobis sumpsit carnem, eam nobis esse vivificam, ut nobis sit materia spiritualis vitæ. Iamque Augustini sententiam libenter amplector, Sicut ex costa Adæ creata fuit Eva, sic er Christi latere fluxisse nobis vitæ originem et principium. Calvin, De l'era Parlic. Opp. Tom. ix. (Amst. Ed.) p. 726–Neque enim ossa sumus ex ossibus et caro ex carne, quia ipse nobiscum est homo; sed quia Spiritus soi virtute nos in corpus suum inserit, ut vitam ex eo hauriamus. ld. Comni. wir Eph. v. 30.
His communion with Christ does not consist merely in the good exercises of his own mind, the actings of faith, and contrition, and hope, and love, the solemn recollections, the devotional feelings, the pious resolutions, of which he may be himself the subject, during the sacramental service.' Nor is the sacrament a sign only, by which the memory and heart may be assisted in calling up what is past or absent, for the purpose of devotion ; as the picture of a friend is suited to recall his image and revive our interests in his person, when he is no longer in our sight. Nor is it a pledge simply of our own consecration to the service of Christ, or of the faithfulness of God as engaged to make good to us in a gen
of the new covenant; as the rainbow serves still to ratify and confirm the promise given to Noah after the flood. All this would bring with it in the end nothing more than a moral communication with Christ, so far as the sacrament itself might be concerned. It could carry with it no virtue or force, more than might be put into it in every case by the spirit of the worshipper himself. Such however is not the nature of the ordinance. It is not simply an occasion, by which the soul of the believer may be excited to pious feelings and desires; but it embodies the actual presence of the grace it represents in its own constitution ; and this grace is not simply the promise of God on
2 which we are encouraged to rely, but the very life of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. We communicate, in the Lord's supper not with the divine promise merely, not with the thought of
* Ubique resonant scripta mea, differre manducationem a fide, quia sit fidei effectus. Non a triduo ita loqui incæpi, nos credendo manducare Christum, quia vere participes ejus facti in ejus corpus coalescimus, ut nobis communis sit cum eo vita. . . . Quam turpe igitur Westphalo fuit, quum diserte verba mea sonent, manducare aliud esse quam credere ; quod ego fortiter nego, quasi a me profectum impudenter obirudere lectoribus! .. Ejusdem farinæ est quod mox attexit, edere corpus Christi lantundem valere, si verbis meis locus datur, quam promissionem fide recipere. Sed quomodo tam flagitiose se prostituere audet ? Calvin. Adv. Westph. Opp. Tom. ix., p. 669.
* Ita panis non inanis est rei absentis pictura, sed verum ac fidele nostræ cum Christo unionis pignus. Dicet quispiam non aliter panis symbolo adumbrari corpus Christi, quam mortua statua Herculem vel Mercurium repræsentat. Hoc certe commentum a doctrina nostra non minus remotum est, quam profarum a sacro. Calvin. Opp. T. ix., p. 667.-Christus neque pictor est, neque histrio, neque Archimides quispiam, qui inani tantum objecta imagine oculos pascat, sed vere et reipsa praestat quod externo symbolo promittit. Ib. p. 727.
* Panis ita corpus significat, ut vere, efficaciter, ac reipsa dos ad Christi communicationem invitet. Dicimus enim veritatem quam continet promissio, illic exhiberi, et effectum externo signo annexum esse. Tropus ergo sigaum minime evacuat, sed potius ostendit quomodo non sit vacuum.
Calv. Opp. T. ix., p. 667.
Christ only, not with the recollection simply of what he has done and suffered for us, not with the lively present sense alone of his all.sufficient, all-glorious salvation ; but with the living Saviour himself, in the fulness of his glorified person, made present to us for the purpose by the power of the Holy Ghost.
3. The relation of believers to Christ, then, is more again than that of a simply legal union. He is indeed the representative of his people, and what he has done and suffered on their behalf is counted to their benefit, as though it had been done by themselves. They have an interest in his merits, a title to all the advantages secured by his life and death. But this external imputation rests at last on an inward, real unity of life, without which it could have no reason or force. Our interest in Christ's merits and benefits can be based only upon a previous interest in his person ; so in the Lord's supper, we are made to participate, not merely in the advantages secured by his mediatorial work, the rewards of his obedience, the fruits of his bitter passion, the virtue of his atonement, and the power of his priestly intercession, but also in his true and proper life itself. We partake of his merits and benefits only so far as we partake of his substance.'
4. Of course, once more, the communion in question is not simply with Christ in his divine nature separately taken, or with the Holy Ghost as the representative of his presence in the world. It does not hold in the influences of the Spirit merely, enlightening the soul and moving it to holy affections and purposes. It is by the Spirit indeed we are united to Christ. Our new life is comprehended in the Spirit as its element and medi
But it is always bound in this element to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Our fellowship is with the Father and with his son Jesus Christ, through the Holy Ghost. As such it is a real communion with the Word made flesh; not
Neque enim tantum dico applicari merita, sed ex ipso Christi corpore alimentum percipere animas, non secus ac terreno pane corpus vescitur. Calv. Opp. T. ix., p. 669.-Sane non video, quomodo in cruce Christi redemptionem ac justitiam, in ejus morte vitam habere se quis confidat, nisi vera Christi ipsius communione imprimis fretus. Non enim ad nos bona illa pervenirent, nisi se prius nostrum Christus faceret. Inst. iv. 17, 11.Satis sit monuisse lectores, Christum ubique a me vocari Baptismi Cænæ. que substantiam. Opp. T. ix., p. 671.–Plus centies occurrit in scriptis meis, adeo me non rejicere substantiæ nomen, ut libenter et ingenue profitear spiritualem vitam incomprehensibili Spiritus virtute ex carnis Christi substantia in nos diffundi. Ubique etiam admitto, substantialiter nos pasci Christi carne et sanguine; modo facessat crassum de locali permixtione commentum. Ib. p. 725. Su stantialis cammunicatio ubique a me asseritur. Ib. p. 732.