Friday, December 15, 2017

John 6 Is Not About The Sacrament Of The Lord's Supper

By corporal manducation, we understand the eating of bread and wine, which Jesus Christ honoured with the title of bis body and blood, because they are the sacrament and commemoration of them. But our opponents pretend actually to eat the body of Jesus Christ with the mouth, and to transmit it into the stomach; and to support this very gross and Capernaitical manducation, they allege the sixth chapter, where Jesus says that he is the bread come down from heaven, and promises to give them his flesh to eat.
  1. To believe that, we must purposely shut our eyes and contradict the Son of God, — for the whole discourse is ad dressed to the Jews of Capernaum, to whom he promises to give his flesh to eat. If by these words he promised to give them the Eucharist, he deceived them, for he never administered nor presented to them the Holy Supper.
  2. That even appears by the time at which Jesus Christ pronounced this discourse. The Holy Supper was not then instituted, nor till about two years after. How could our Lord's disciples know that he spoke to them of the Eucharist which had yet no existence, and which had never yet been mentioned any where throughout this discourse?
  3. Does our Lord make the slightest mention of the table, or of the cup, or of the supper, or of the breaking of bread, or of the distribution of bread among many? In short, there are none of those actions wherein the ad ministration of sacrament consists.
  4. It is to be remarked, that Jesus Christ often speaks in the present tense. He does not say, "I shall be the bread of life, — I shall be the bread come down from heaven;" but "I am the bread come down from heaven, — I am the bread of life; and he who eats my flesh hath eternal life." He was, therefore, the bread of life before the Holy Supper was instituted; and this bread could be eaten, and was the nourishment of the soul, at the time when the Holy Supper was not yet in existence.
  5. Now, that by eating and drinking the Lord means believing and confiding in himself, and thereby being made alive and sustained, he himself shews, saying, (verse 35,) "I am the bread of life; he who comes unto me shall never hunger; and whosoever believes in me shall never thirst." Who does not see that in this passage believe is put for drink, since thirst is quenched by believing; and as by the word come he speaks of a spiritual coming, so by the word drink he means a spiritual mode of drinking?
  6. And when the Lord says, (verse 47,) "He that believeth on me hath eternal life, — I am the bread of life," who does not see that this bread is received by believing? For Jesus Christ shews how he is the bread of life, viz. that they who believe on him have eternal life.
  7. Even the words on which our adversaries found the most, are those which are most adverse to them. The Lord says, (verse 53,) "Except ye eat the flesh, and drink the blood of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you." — Here it is evident that he speaks of a manducation necessary to salvation, and without which no one can be saved. He does not, therefore, speak of a corporal and oral manducation of the Sacrament, seeing that without it so many are saved. To say that this manducation is not necessary in the fact, but in wish and desire, is to approach to our belief, and to reduce the necessity to a spiritual manducation. Besides, to say that no one is saved without desiring to partake of the Lord's Supper, is to exclude John the Baptist and the malefactor who was crucified with our Lord, from salvation, neither of whom partook of it either by act or wish. And we might bring the example of many Pagans and idolaters who, by hearing the words of martyrs, were suddenly converted, and were executed the same hour, without ever having heard of this Sacrament, and consequently without having formed any wish to partake of it. Many suffered martyrdom without even being baptised, and therefore were far from being prepared to partake of the Eucharist.
  8. The same thing likewise appears by what Jesus Christ adds in verse 54: "Whoso eateth my flesh hath eternal life." He does not speak of the manducation of the Sacrament, for many who eat of it have not eternal life. The usual evasion is, that Jesus Christ speaks of such as eat of this flesh worthily; from which it appears how clearly the truth is on our side. For, according to our be lief, the words of the Lord are true without any addition. — But our opponents, to extricate themselves, add their glosses, which proceed from their own invention, and not from the word of God. We may indeed eat of the bread unworthily, as Paul says, (I Cor. xi.) "whosoever shall eat this bread unworthily." But it is impossible to eat of the flesh of the Lord unworthily, since, as. we have shewn, to eat is to believe. We can no more believe in Jesus Christ unworthily than than we can love God unworthily, seeing that our worthiness consists in believing in Jesus Christ, and in loving God. This is what Cardinal Cajetan remarks on John vi. saying, "Jesus Christ does not say, whoso eats my flesh and drinks my blood worthily, but whoso eats and drinks; that we might know that he speaks of an eating and a drinking that has no need of modification," &c. It, therefore, clearly appears, that this discourse ought not to be understood literally; and that the Lord does not speak of eating and drinking the Sacrament, but of believing, and of being spiritually nourished by faith in his death.
  9. The Lord adds, in v. 56: "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." These words are decisive of the controversy. For they would be false if they were understood of the manducation of the Sacrament, it being a thing certain that hypocrites and the profane, who participate in the Sacrament, do not dwell in Christ, nor Christ in them. They receive the Sacrament into their stomach, and there it is soon destroyed by digestion. But to dwell in Christ is to be united to him by the constant, lasting, and reciprocal union, between him and believers. — For Cornelius Jansenius very justly remarks, that "he who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in Him; that is to say, he is intimately united to me, and I to him." And then he proves it by other passages: "He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." 1 John iv. 16. And again: "He that keepeth his commandments, dwelleth in him, and he in him; and hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit he hath given us." Chap. iii. 24. Thence he infers that the Lord speaks in John vi. concerning a manner of eating peculiar to those who have faith working by love, and not of a corporal manducation, in which the wicked are partakers.
  10. If, to have Christ dwelling in us, it be necessary to eat him with our mouths; for the same reason, it will be necessary that he should eat us, that we may dwell in him.
  11. To direct our minds from carnal thoughts, Jesus adds, v. 63; "It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." Since by Spirit he means his Spirit, by which we are regenerated, so also by flesh he means his human body. But it, he assures us, profits nothing — viz. by being taken in the way in which the Capernaites imagined. What would it profit a man to have Christ's head and feet in his stomach: or whether he swallowed it entire or by morsels? The absurdity is in each way equally great.
  12. Jesus adds: "The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life;" that is to say, life-giving and spiritual. They are quickening only to those who understand them spiritually, and who fancy no corporal or carnal manducation. This doctrine was maintained by Augustine, in his twenty-seventh Treatise Upon John. He asks: "What are we to understand by these words, they are spirit and life?" He replies: "It is necessary to understand them spiritually. Hast thou understood them spiritually? They are spirit and life to thee. Hast thou understood them carnally? In this manner, also, they are spirit and life, but not unto thee."
  13. At this the Capernaites and some of his disciples were offended, and said, It is a hard saying. Then he answered, "What if ye shall see the Son of Man ascend up where he was before?" Augustine favours us with an explanation of these words, also, in the Treatise just quoted: "What does he mean in these words? He there solves the question that perplexed them. They thought he would give them his body; but he said unto them he would certainly ascend entire into heaven. When ye see the Son of Man ascending into heaven, where he was before, then, at least, you will surely see that he does not give you bis body as ye thought, — then, at least, ye will understand that his grace is not consumed by morsels."

- Pierre Du Moulin, Anatomy of the Mass, Chapter 37

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