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of the things and affections of the world, shall be inebriated with the pleasures of religion, and rejoice in sacraments, in faith and holy expectation. But the love of money, and the love of pleasures, are the intrigues and fetters to the understanding. But he only is a faithful man who restrains° his passions, and despises the world, and rectifies his love, that he may believe aright, and put that value upon religion as that it become the satisfaction of our spirit, and the great object of all our passionate desires ; pride and prejudice are the parents of misbelief, but humility and contempt of the world first bear faith upon their knees, and then upon their hands.
Of the proper and specific Work of Faith in the Reception of
the Holy Communion. HERE I am to inquire into two practical questions. 1. What stress is to be put upon faith in this mystery: that is, How much is every one bound to believe in the article of this sacrament, before he can be accounted competently prepared in his understanding, and by his faith?
2. What is the use of faith in the reception of the blessed sacrament? and in what sense, and to what purposes, and with what truth it is said, that, in the holy sacrament, we receive Christ by faith?
How much every Man is bound to believe of this Mystery.
If I should follow the usual opinions, I should say, that, to this preparatory faith, it is necessary to believe all the niceties and mysteriousness of the blessed sacrament. Men have introduced new opinions, and turned the key in this lock so often, till it cannot be either opened or shut; and
• Frænentur ergo corporum cupidines,
Detersa ut intus emicet prudentia :
Prudent, in Cathemerin.
Let the brightness of thy divine grace for ever shine upon thy servants, that we, being purified from all error and infidelity, from weak fancies, and curious inquiries, may perceive and adore the wisdom and the love of God, in the truth and mysteriousness of this divine sacrament. And be pleased to lighten in our spirits such a burning love, and such a shining devotion, that we may truly receive thee, and be united unto thee; that we may feed on thee the celestial may,
of faith, see thee under the cloud, and in the veil; and, at last, may see thee in the brightest effusions of thy glory. Amen.
with an eye
A Confession of Faith in Order to the Mysteries of the Holy
Sacrament, taken out of the Liturgy of St. Clement ; to be used in the Days of Preparation and Communion.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of thy glory. Blessed art thou, O God; and blessed is thy name for ever and ever. Amen.
For thou art holy; and in all things, thou art sanctified and most exalted; and sittest on high above all, for ever and
Holy is thine only begotten Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ; who, in all things, did minister to thee his God and Father, both in the creation of the world, and in the excellent providence and conservation of it. He suffered not mankind to perish ; but gave to him the law of nature, and a law written in tables of stone, and reproved them by his prophets, and sent his angel to be their guards. And when men had violated the natural law, and broken that which was written, -when they had forgotten the divine judgment manifested in the deluge upon the old world, in fire from heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah, in many plagues upon the Egyptians, in the slaughters of the Philistines,--and when the wrath of God did hang over all the world for their iniquity,--according to thy will, he who made man, resolved to become a man ; he who is the Lawgiver, would be subject to laws; he
that is the High Priest, would be made a sacrifice; and the great Shepherd of our souls, would be a lamb, and be slain
Thee, his God and Father, he appeased, and reconciled unto the world, and freed all men from the instant anger. He was born of a virgin, born in flesh; he is God, and the Word, and the beloved Son, the first-born of every creature, according to the prophecies which went before him, of the seed of Abraham and David, and of the tribe of Judah.
He who is the Maker of all that are born, was conceived in the womb of a virgin ; and he that is void of all flesh, was incarnate and made flesh: he was born in time, who was begotten from eternity: he conversed piously with men, and instructed them with his holy laws and doctrine : he cured every disease and every infirmity: he did signs and wonders among the people: he slept, and ate, and drank, who feeds all the living with food, and fills them with his blessing : he declared thy name to them, who knew it not: he enlightened our ignorances : he enkindled godliness, and fulfilled thy will, and finished all that which thou gavest him to do.
All this when he had done, he was taken by the hands of wicked men, by the treachery of false priests and an ungodly people, he suffered many things of them, and, by thy permission, suffered many things of reproach. delivered to Pilate the president, who judged him that is the Judge of the quick and dead, and condemned him who is the Saviour of all others. He who is impassible, was crucified; and he died, who is of an immortal nature; and they buried him, by whom others are made alive; that, by his death and passion, he might free them for whom he came, and might dissolve the bands of the devil, and deliver men from all his crafty malices.
But then he rose again from the dead; he conversed with his disciples forty days together; and then was received up into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of God his Father.
We, therefore, being mindful of these things, which he did and suffered for us, give thanks to thee, Almighty God, --not as much as we should, but as much as we can; and here fulfil his ordinance-and believe all that he said; and know and confess that he hath given us his body to be the
2. Whatsoever is against right reason, that no faith can oblige us to believe. For although reason is not the positive and affirmative measure of our faith, and God can do no more than we can understand, and our faith ought to be larger than our reason, and take something into her heart that reason can never take into her eye,-yet, in all our creed, there can be nothing against reason d. If true reason justly contradicts an article, it is not of the household of faith. In this there is no difficulty; but that, in practice, we take care that we do not call that reason which is not so. For although a man's reason is a right judge, yet it ought not to pass sentence in an inquiry of faith, until all the information be brought in; all that is within, and all that is without it,--all that is above, and all that is below; all that concerns it in experience, and all that concerns it in act ; whatsoever is of pertinent observation, and whatsoever is revealed: for else reason may argue very well, and yet conclude falsely: it may conclude well in logic, and yet infer a false proposition in theology: but when our judge is fully and truly informed in all that, where she is to make her judgment, --we may safely follow it whithersoever she in
If, therefore, any society of men calls upon us to believe, in our religion, what is false in our experience,—to affirm that to be done, which we know is impossible it ever can be done ;- to wink hard that we may see the better ;-- to be unreasonable men, that we may offer to God a reasonable sacrifice ;-they make religion so to be seated in the will, that our understanding will be useless, and can never minister to it. But as he that shuts the eye hard, and with violence curls the eye-lid, forces a fantastic fire from the crystalline humour, and espies a light that never shines, and sees thousands of little fires that never burn,--so is he that blinds the eye of his reason, and pretends to see by an eye of faith : he makes little images of notion, and some atoms dance before him; but he is not guided by the light, nor instructed by the proposition; but sees like a man in his sleep, and grows as much the wiser as the man that dreamt of a lycan
See this largely discoursed of in the Rule of Conscience, lib. i. chap. 2. Rule 3.
thropy, and was, for ever after, wisely wary not to come near a river. He that speaks against his own reason, speaks against his own conscience; and therefore, it is certain, no man serves God with a good conscience, that serves him against his reason. For though, in many cases, reason must submit to faith, that is, natural reason must submit to supernatural,--and the imperfect informations of art, to the perfect revelations of God;-yet, in no case, can true reason and a right faith oppose each other : and, therefore, in the article of the sacrament, the impossible affirmatives concerning transubstantiation, because they are against all the reason of the world, can never be any part of the faith of God. 1: 3. Whatsoever is matter of curiosity, that our faith is not obliged to believe or confess e. For the faith of a Christian is pure as light, plain as a commandment, easy as children's lessons : it is not given to puzzle the understanding, but to instruct it; it brings clarity to it, not darkness and obscurity. Our faith in this sacrament is not obliged to inquire or to tell, how the holy bread can feed the soul, or the chalice purify our spirits; how Christ is united to us, and yet we remain imperfect even then, when we are all one with him that is perfect: there is no want of faith, though we do not understand the secret manner how Christ is really present, · and yet this reality be no other but a reality of event and positive effect : though we know not that sacramental is more than figurative, and yet not so much as natural, but greater in another kind. It is not a duty of our faith to discern how Christ's body is broken into ten thousand pieces, and yet remains whole at the same time; or how a body is present by faith only, when it is naturally absent: and yet faith ought to believe things to be as they are, and not to make them what, of themselves, they are not. We need not to be amazed concerning our faith, when our overbusy reason amazed in the article; and our faith is not defective, though we confess we do not understand how Christ's body is there incorporeally, that is, the body after the manner of a spirit,—or though we cannot apprehend how the symbols should make the grace presential, and yet
e Ubi ad profunditatem sacramentorum perventum est, omnis Platonicorum caligavit subtilitas.-S. Cyprian. de Spir. S.