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§ 18. The Lutheran Doctrine concerning the Lord’s Supper.

Protestants at the time of the Reformation agreed on all the great doctrines of the Gospel. Luther was as thorough an Augustinian as Calvin. There would have been no schism had it not been for the difference of views which gradually arose on the true nature of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. And even on this point, such was the desire to avoid division, and such the spirit of concession manifested by the Reformed, that a schism would have been avoided, had it not been that Luther insisted on the adoption of the very words in which he stated his doctrine on the subject. That there was a real difference between the parties must be admitted, but that difference was not such as to justify a division in the ranks of Protestants; and the Reformed were willing to adopt a mode of stating the doctrine which both parties could receive without a violation of conscience. One attempt after another 662designed to effect a compromise failed, and the Lutherans and Reformed separated into two ecclesiastical denominations, and so remain at the present time. In the Evangelical Church of Prussia under the pressure of the government, the two parties have been brought into one Church which comprehends the greater part of the people. But beyond the limits of Prussia the two Churches remain distinct, though no longer in a state of mutual alienation.

Luther took his stand on the words of Christ, “This is my body,” which he insisted must be understood literally. He would admit of no figure in the subject, copula, or predicate. Christ affirmed that “This,” that which I hold in my hand, and which I give you to eat, is my body.681681   Lutherans lay great stress on the fact that in Matthew xxvi. 26, τοῦτο (this) is neuter, and ἄρτος (bread) is masculine, and therefore that the meaning cannot be ‘This bread is my body,’ but ‘This that I give you to eat is my body.’ It must be admitted that the neuter pronoun cannot be referred to the masculine noun grammatically, but it evidently does refer to it ad sensum. ‘This thing which I hold in my hand and which I give you to eat is my body.’ But the thing which Christ gave his disciples was the bread which he had taken and broken; and therefore it was the bread which He affirmed was, either literally or figuratively, his body. Lutherans themselves cannot avoid saying and admitting that the bread in the Lord’s Supper is the body of Christ. Thus Luther (Larger Catechism, v. 12, 13; Hase, Libri Symbolici, p. 554) tells his catechumen to say, “Though infinite myriads of devils and all fanatics should impudently demand, How bread and wine can be the body and blood of Christ? I know that all spirits and all learned men put together have not as much intelligence as Almighty God has in his little finger.” The bread therefore he teaches is the body of Christ. And Dr. Krauth (p. 609) says, “Just as it would be blasphemy to say, ‘Man is God,’ and is yet literally true of Christ, ‘This man is God,’ so would it be blasphemy to say, ‘Bread is Christ’s body,’ and yet it is literally true, ‘This bread is Christ’s body.’” It is conceded, therefore, that after all, the pronoun “This” (τοῦτο), in the words of institution, does refer to the noun “bread,” and that if the language of Christ is to be understood literally, He affirms that the bread in the Lord’s Supper is his body. On this concession it may be remarked, (1.) That it seems to yield everything to the Romanists. If the bread is literally the body of Christ, it is no longer bread; for no one asserts that the same thing can be bread and flesh at the same time. If, therefore, the words of Christ are to be taken literally, they teach the doctrine of transubstantiation. (2.) It will not do to say that the bread remains bread and that the body of Christ is in, with, and under it, for that makes the language figurative, and the literal interpretation, the main, if not the only, prop of the Lutheran doctrine, is given up. When Christ says, “This cup is the New Testament,” it is admitted that the cup is used metonymically for the wine in the cup. And if the language of our Lord, ‘This bread is my body,’ means, This bread is the vehicle of my body, then He spoke figuratively and not literally; and whether the figure used be metonymy or metaphor is a question to be determined by the nature of the proposition, the context, and the analogy of Scripture. But the advocates of the metonymical sense are not entitled to charge those who adopt the metaphorical meaning, with giving up the literal sense. That is done by the one party as well as by the other.
   A great deal of discussion has been expended on the meaning of the substantive verb “is,” in the proposition, “This is my body.” The Reformed are wont to say that it means, “signifies,” “represents,” or “symbolizes” my body. The Lutherans maintain that it is the mere copula between the subject and predicate, and never has, or can have the meaning assigned to it by the Reformed; and in this they are right. Yet it seems to be a dispute about words. There is no real difference between the parties. When the Reformed say that “is” means or may mean “signifies,” all they intend is that the one word, in the case in question, may be properly substituted for the other. The idea intended to be expressed by the words, “The seven ears are seven years,” may be expressed by saying, ‘The seven ears signify seven years.’ This does not imply that “are” means “signify.” Dr. Krauth tells us that Luther in his version of the Bible employs forty-six different substitutes for the substantive verb as used in the Hebrew and Greek. It would hardly be fair to say that Luther gives forty-six different lexicographical meanings to the Hebrew word הָיָה, or the Greek εἴμι. Whether the proposition “This is my body” is to be understood literally or figuratively is an open question; but there can be no question as to the lexicographical meaning of the word “is.” No one doubts that such propositions as “I am the living bread,” That rock was Christ,” “The seven candlesticks . . . are the seven churches,” and hundreds of others of like kind occurring in the Bible and in ordinary language, are to be understood figuratively. The fact that they have been understood literally by so large a part of Christendom, is to be accounted for by other reasons than any ambiguity in the words themselves.
This position having been assumed 663it necessarily led to a statement of what is meant by the body and blood of Christ; in what sense the bread is his body and the wine his blood; how they are given and received; and what are the effects of such reception. On all these points the surest sources of information on the real doctrine of the Lutheran Church is to be found in its authorized symbols.

Statement of the Doctrine in the Symbolical Books.

The tenth article of the first part of the Augsburg Confession is very short, and is couched in language which Calvin would not, and did not, hesitate to adopt. “De Cœna Domini docent, quod corpus et sanguis Christi vere adsint et distribuantur vescentibus in Cœna Domini, et improbant secus docentes.682682Hase, Libri Symbolici, p. 12.

The language of the Apology is more explicit: “Decimus articulus approbatus est, in quo confitemur, nos sentire, quod in Cœna Domini vere et substantialiter adsint corpus et sanguis Christi, et vere exhibeantur cum illis rebus, quæ videntur, pane et vino, his, qui sacramentum accipiunt.” “Non negamus recta nos fide caritateque sincera Christo spiritualiter conjungi; sed nullam nobis conjunctionis rationem secundum carnem cum illo esse, id profecto pernegamus, idque a divinis Scripturis omnino alienam dicimus.683683IV. 54-56; Hase, pp. 157, 158. Cyril on John xv.

In the Smalcald Articles684684VI. 1, 5; Hase, p. 330. it is said: “De sacramento altaris sentimus, panem et vinum in Cœna esse verum corpus et sanguinem Christi, et non tantum dari et sumi a piis, sed etiam impiis christianis.


De transubstantione subtilitatem sophisticam nihil curamus, qua fingunt, panem et vinum relinquere et amittere naturalem suam substantiam, et tantum speciem et colorem panis, et non verum panem remanere. Optime enim cum sacra Scriptura congruit, quod panis adsit et maneat, sicut Paulus ipse nominat Panis quem frangimus. Et: Ita edat de pane.

In the Smaller Catechism it is asked: “Quid est sacramentum altaris? Responsio. Sacramentum altaris est verum corpus et verus sanguis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, sub pane et vino, nobis Christianis ad manducandum ac bibendum ab ipso Christo institutum. Quid vero prodest, sic comedisse et bibisse? Responsio. Id indicant nobis hæc verba: Pro vobis datur; et: Effunditur in remissionem peccatorum. Nempe quod nobis per verba illa in sacramento remissio peccatorum, vita, justitia et salus donentur. Ubi enim remissio peccatorum est, ibi est et vita et salus. Qui potest corporalis illa manducatio tantas res efficere? Responsio. Manducare et bibere ista certe non efficiunt, sed illa verba, quæ hic ponuntur: Pro vobis datur, et: Effunditur in remissionem peccatorum; quæ verba sunt una cum corporali manducatione caput et summa hujus sacramenti. Et qui credit his verbis, ille habet, quod dicunt, et sicut sonant, nempe remissionem peccatorum.685685V. 1-8; Hase, pp. 380, 381.

Luther in his Larger Catechism enlarges on all these points; answers various objections to his doctrine; insists upon the necessity of faith in order to the profitable reception of the ordinance; and exhorts to frequent attendance on the ordinance.

The Form of Concord gives the affirmative statement of the doctrine; and then the negation of all the opposing views. It affirms: First, the true and substantial presence of the body and blood of Christ in this sacrament. Second, that the words of institution are to be understood literally, so that the bread does not signify the absent body, nor the wine the absent blood of Christ, but on account of the sacramental union “panis et vinum vere sint corpus et sanguis Christi.” Third, that the cause of this presence is not the consecration by man, but is due solely to the omnipotent power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Fourth, the prescribed words of institution are on no account to be omitted. Fifth, the fundamental principles on which the doctrine rests are, (1.) That Jesus Christ is inseparably true, essential, natural, perfect God and man in one person. (2.) That the right hand of God is everywhere, and, therefore, Christ, “ratione humanitatis 665suæ,” being truly and actually at the right hand of God is, as to his humanity, everywhere present. (3.) “Quod verbum Dei non est falsum, aut mendax.” (4.) That God knows, and has in his power various modes of presence, and is not bound to that particular mode which philosophers are accustomed to call local or circumscriptive. Sixth, that the body and blood of Christ are received not only spiritually by faith, but also by the mouth, yet not “capernaitice,” but in a supernatural and celestial way, as sacramentally united with the bread and wine. Seventh, that not only the worthy and believing, but also the unworthy and unbelieving communicants received the body and blood of Christ in this sacrament.686686Epitome, VII. 1-16; Hase, pp. 599, 600. Such are the most important affirmations concerning the Lord’s Supper.

The Form of Concord, on the other hand, denies or rejects, (1.) The papal doctrine of transubstantiation. (2.) The doctrine of the sacrifice of the Mass. (3.) The withholding the cup from the laity. (4.) The figurative interpretation of the words of institution. (5.) The doctrine that the body of Christ is not received by the mouth. (6.) That the bread and wine are only symbols or signs of a Christian profession. (7.) That the bread and wine are only symbols, signs, or types of the absent body of Christ. (8.) That they are merely signs and seals by which our faith is confirmed, by being directed heavenward, and there made partaker of the body and blood of Christ. (9.) That our faith is strengthened by receiving the bread and wine and not by the true body and blood really present in the supper. (10.) That in the sacrament only the virtue, efficacy, and merit of the absent body and blood are dispensed. (11.) That the body of Christ is so shut up in heaven, that “nullo prorsus modo” can it be present at one and the same time in many or all places where the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. (12.) That Christ could not have promised or offered the presence of his body in the eucharist, because such presence is inconsistent with the nature of a body. (13.) That God cannot by his omnipotence make the body of Christ to be present in more than one place at the same time. (14.) That faith and not the omnipotent word of Christ, is the cause of the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the supper. (15.) That believers are to seek the Lord’s body in heaven and not in the sacrament. (16.) That the impenitent and unbelievers do not receive the body and blood of Christ, but only the bread and wine. (17.) That the dignity of the 666communicants in this ordinance is not alone from true faith in Christ, but from some human source. (18.) That true believers may eat the Lord’s Supper to condemnation if imperfect in their conversation. (19.) That the visible elements of bread and wine in this sacrament should be adored. (20.) Præter hæc justo Dei judicio relinquimus omnes curiosas, sannis virulentis tinctas, et blasphemas quæstiones, quæ honeste, pie et sine gravi offensione recitari nequeunt, aliosque sermones, quando de supernaturali et cœlesti mysterio hujus sacramenti crasse, carnaliter, capernaitice, et plane abominandis modis, blaspheme, et maximo cum ecclesiæ offendiculo, Sacramentarii loquuntur. (21.) Finally any corporal manducation of the body of Christ is denied, as though it was masticated by the teeth or digested as ordinary food. A supernatural manducation is again affirmed; a manducation which no one by his senses or reason can comprehend.687687Epitome, VII. 22-42; Hase, pp. 602-604.

Although the Lutheran doctrine on this subject may be regarded as stated with sufficient clearness in the Epitome of the Form of Concord, it becomes still plainer by the more expanded and controversial exposition in the second, and much more extended portion of that document, called the “Solida Declaratio.” the seventh chapter of that Declaration, in giving the “Status Controversiæ” between the Lutherans and the Reformed, says that although the Sacramentarians (as the Reformed were called) laboured to come as near as possible to the language of the Lutherans and used the same forms of expression, yet when pressed, it became apparent that their true meaning was very different. They admitted the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the supper, but it was a presence to faith. The real body of Christ is in heaven and not on earth; therefore they denied that his body and blood, “in terra adesse,” and taught that nothing in the sacrament is received by the mouth but the bread and wine. This is one point of difference between the Lutherans and the Reformed. The former teaching that the literal, natural body of Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, is actually present in, with, and under the bread, and his blood shed upon the cross and which was the life of his body while on earth, is present in, with, and under the consecrated wine. The latter teach that the natural body of Christ is in heaven, and is not on earth, and therefore is not present in the elements of bread and in the supper of the Lord. What is present, according to Calvin, is not the natural body and blood of Christ, but a supernatural, life-giving 667influence emanating from his glorified body in heaven, and conveyed to the believer by the power of the Holy Ghost. According to the Reformed generally, it is not this supernatural power of the glorified body of Christ that is present and received, but the sacrificial efficacy of his body broken and his blood shed for the remission of sins.

Secondly, as the thing received, according to the two doctrines, is different, so are the mode and organ and condition of reception. According to the Lutherans the body and blood are received “corporaliter;” the organ is the mouth; the only condition is the actual reception of the bread and wine. The body and blood of Christ are received equally by believers and unbelievers; although to their spiritual good only by the former. According to the Reformed, the mode of reception is not corporeal, but spiritual; the organ is not the mouth, but faith; and the condition of reception is the presence and exercise of faith on the part of the communicant. This point of difference is clearly recognized in the Form of Concord, when it says that the Reformed think that the body and blood of Christ, “tantum in cœlis, et præterea nullibi esse, ideoque Christum nobis cum pane et vino verum corpus et verum sanguinem manducandum et bibendum dare, spiritualiter, per fidem, sed non corporaliter ore sumendum.688688Solida Declaratio, VII. 6; Hase, Libri Symbolici, p. 727. See also Dr. Julius Müller, Vergleichung der Lehren Luthers und Calvins vom heiligen Abendmahl, in his Dogmatische Abhandlungen, Bremen, 1870, p. 425.


Thirdly? another point of difference, which the Form of Concord points out between the two Churches, concerns the manducation or eating which takes place in the Lord’s Supper. Our Lord in the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel, although not there treating of the Eucharist, says, that He is the true bread which came down from heaven, and that whosoever eateth of that bread shall live forever. And in the same chapter, with a change of language but not of meaning, He says, “The bread that I will give is my flesh.” “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Such being the language of Christ, every Christian must admit that there is a sense in which the believer may properly be said to eat the flesh and to drink the blood of the Son of man. The only question is, What does such 668language mean? According to the Reformed the meaning is that it is the indispensable condition of eternal life, that we should receive Christ as He is offered to us in the gospel; and as He is there offered to us as a sacrifice for our sins, his body broken and his blood shed for us, we must receive and appropriate Him in that character. To receive Him as the true bread, and to eat of that bread, is to receive and appropriate Him as being to us the source of eternal life; and to eat his flesh and drink his blood is to receive and appropriate Him as the broken and bleeding sacrifice for our sins. In other words, to eat is to believe. The Form of Concord correctly recognizes this as the doctrine of the Reformed Church. It says,689689VII. 7; Hase, Libri Symbolici, p. 727. that the Reformed in rejecting the literal sense of the words “eat, this is my body,” teach “ut edere corpus Christi nihil aliud ipsis significet, quam credere in Christum, et vocabulum corporis illis nil nisi symbolum, hoc est, signum seu figuram corporis Christi denotet, quod tamen non in terris in sacra cœna præsens, sed tantum in cœlis sit.” That the Reformed are right in this matter may, in passing, be argued, (1.) From the fact that our Lord in John vi. interchanges as equivalent the words “eating” and “believing.” He says, “if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever;” and, “he that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life.” The same specific effect is ascribed to eating and believing, and therefore the two words express the same act. (2.) The eating spoken of is declared to be the indispensable condition of eternal life. “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” But it is the clear doctrine of the Bible, and the common doctrine of the Lutheran and Reformed Churches, that the only eating which is necessary to eternal life is that which consists in believing. Lutherans are as far as the Reformed from making the sacramental eating of the body and blood of Christ in the supper essential to salvation. (3.) Nothing is essential to salvation under the new dispensation that was not essential under the old. This also is a part of the common faith of both Churches. But under the Old Testament there could be no other eating of the flesh of Christ, than believing on Him as the passover, or, lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. (4.) Any corporal eating of the flesh of Christ’s body and drinking of his blood, as He sat at table with his disciples, would seem to be inconceivable. (5.) Our Lord Himself, in opposition to the sense put upon his words by the people of Capernaum, said: “It 669is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” It was not his literal flesh that He was to give us to eat, for that would profit nothing. His words, on that subject, were to be understood in a spiritual sense.690690There are two modes of interpreting the passage John vi. 50-58. According to the one, it is to be understood as referring to a participation of the benefit of Christ’s sacrificial death, according to the other of the reception of his body and blood in the Supper. A large portion of the Lutheran theologians adopt the former.

But although the Lutherans reject the doctrine of the Reformed who teach that the eating of the body of Christ in the sacrament is spiritual and by faith, and assert that it is corporal (corporaliter) and by the mouth, yet they strenuously resist the idea that it is after the manner of ordinary food. They maintain that the manner is supernatural and incomprehensible. The Lutherans distinguish between a spiritual manducation, of which says the Form of Concord, Christ treats especially in the sixth chapter of St. John, and which is by faith, and a sacramental manducation which is by the mouth, when in the Lord’s Supper, “verum et substantiale corpus et sanguis Christi ore accipiuntur atque participantur ab omnibus, qui panem illum benedictum et vinum in cœna Dominica edunt et bibunt.” The words of Christ, it is said, “non potest nisi orali, non autem de crassa, carnali, capernaitica, sed de supernaturali et incomprehensibili manducatione corporis Christi intelligi.691691Form of Concord, VII. 63, 64; Hase, Libri Symbolici, pp. 744, 745. Being incomprehensible, it is of course inexplicable.

However, although the Lutherans reject the idea that the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper is eaten after the manner of ordinary food, yet the language of Luther on this subject, adopted or defended by his followers, can hardly be understood in any other sense. In his instruction to Melancthon,692692Works, edit. Walch, 1745, vol. xvi. p. 2489. he says, “Of our doctrine this is the sum, that the body of Christ is truly eaten in and with the bread, so that what the bread does and suffers, the body of Christ does and suffers; it is distributed, eaten, and masticated (zerbissen) by the teeth.” On this passage Philippi693693Kirchliche Glaubenslehre, vol. v. p. 350. remarks that as Luther says that this is propter unionem sacramentalem, it is not inconsistent with the language of the Form of Concord which denies that the body of Christ is lacerated by the teeth and digested as ordinary food. He says it is analogous to the proposition, God died, not as to his divine nature 670but as to his assumed human nature. The language of Luther on this subject is seldom now heard from the lips of Lutherans.

Mode of Presence.

A thing is present where it is perceived and where it acts. The nature of that presence varies with the nature of the object of which it is affirmed. A body is present where it is perceived by the senses or acts upon them. The soul is present where it perceives and acts. It is somewhere, and not everywhere. God is present everywhere, as He fills immensity. There is no portion of space from which He is absent as to his essence, knowledge, or power.694694Luther and Lutherans speak of three modes of Christ’s presence: First, that in which He was present when here on earth; “raumerfüllende und vom Raum umschollene,” space-filling and by space circumscribed; Second, that which is in space, but does not fill any portion of it, and is not circumscribed by it. In this state of Christ’s body rose from the grave and passed through closed doors. This kind of presence belongs to angels. Third, the divine and celestial mode of presence, according to which Christ, in virtue of the union of the two natures in his person, is present in his humanity, in his soul and body, wherever God is present. It is specially in the second and third modes (the definitive and the repletive) that Luther asserted the presence of Christ’s body in the eucharist; although he asserted that the first was possible, “Denn er wolle in keiner Weise, läugnen, dass Gottes Gewalt nicht scllte so viel vermögen, dass ein Leib zugleich an vielen Orten sein möge, auch leiblicher, begreiflicher Weise.” Philippi, ut supra, vol. v. p. 346. As the Lutherans affirm the presence of the substance of Christ’s natural body and blood in the Lord’s Supper, of that body which was born of the Virgin and suffered on the cross; and as that body was and is material, it would seem to follow that the presence affirmed is local. It is a presence in a definite place. The Reformed, therefore, always understood the Lutherans to assert the local presence of the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. The Lutherans, however, deny that they teach any such presence. This after all may be a dispute about words.695695On this word Gerhard remarks: “Terminum localis præsentiæ esse ambiguum. Corpus Christi præsens esse dicimus in illo loco, in quo celebratur cœna, sed modo locali et circumscriptivo præsens esse negamus. Si præsentiam localem sensu posteriori intelligunt habent nos sibi consentientes; si priori, repugnamus.” Loci Theologici, XXII. xi. § 106, edit. Tübingen, 1770, vol. x. p. 186. The parties may take 671the word “local” in different senses. The Lutherans say that the body and blood of Christ are with, in, and under the bread and wine. They are held in the hand and taken into the mouth. This is all the Reformed mean when they speak of a local presence; a presence in a definite portion of space. Magnetism is locally present in the magnet; electricity in the Leyden jar. The soul is locally present in the body. The man is locally present in mind and body where he perceives and acts and where he is perceived and acted upon. Lutherans appear to take the word “local” in a sense in which it characterizes the presence of a body which is present exclusively, i.e., both in the sense of excluding all other bodies from the same portion of space, being bounded by it, and of being nowhere else. The Reformed say that it is contrary to the nature of such a body as that which belongs to man, that it should be in many places at the same time, much less that it should fill all space. The idea that the flesh and blood of Christ are omnipresent, seems to involve a contradiction. It is in vain to appeal to the omnipotence of God. Contradictions are not the objects of power. It is no more a limitation of the power of God to say that He cannot do the impossible, that He cannot make right wrong, or the finite infinite, than it is a limitation of his wisdom that He cannot teach the untrue or the unwise. All such assumptions destroy the idea of God as a rational Being. If the body and blood of Christ be everywhere present, then they are received in every ordinary meal as well as in the Lord’s Supper. The answer which Lutherans give to this objection, namely, that it is one thing for the body of Christ to be omnipresent, and another for it to be accessible, or everywhere given, is unsatisfactory; because the virtue resides in the body and blood, and if they are everywhere present and received they are everywhere operative, at least to believers. If this omnipresence of the body of Christ was actual only after his ascension, then, as Müller696696Dogmatische Abhandlungen, Bremen, 1870, p. 455, note. argues, the Apostles must, at the institution of the Lord’s Supper, have partaken of his body and blood in a manner peculiar to that one occasion, and Christ, so far as other Christians are concerned, only foretold that his body would be ubiquitous and therefore present in the eucharist. Luther, therefore, says, “If Christ at the Last Supper had not uttered the words ‘this is my body,’ yet the words, Christ sits at the right hand of God, prove that his body and blood may be in the Lord’s Supper as well as everywhere else.”697697Das diese Worte, etc., § 118; Works, edit. Walch’s, vol. xx. p. 1011. As Christ in his human nature and therefore in his human body sits at the right hand of God; and as the right hand of God is everywhere, his body must be everywhere, and therefore in the bread as used in the sacrament. The current representations, however, of the Lutheran theologians on this point are, that the presence of the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper is peculiar, something which occurs there and nowhere else. This presence is due, not to the words of consecration as uttered by the minister, but to the almighty power which 672attended the original utterance of the words, This is my body, and continues to operate whenever and wherever this sacrament is administered.

This presence of the body and blood of Christ in, with, and under the bread and wine has been generally expressed by non-Lutherans by the word consubstantiation, as distinguished from the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation. The propriety of this word to express the doctrine of Luther is admitted by Philippi, if it be understood to mean, what in fact is meant by it when used by the Reformed, “das reale Zusammensein beider Substanzen,” i.e., the real coexistence of the two substances, the earthly and the heavenly. But Lutherans generally object to the word because it is often used to express the idea of the mixing two substances so as to form a third; or the local inclusion of the one substance by the other.698698Philippi, ut supra, vol. v. p. 356, and Krauth, ut supra, pp. 130, 339.

The Lutheran doctrine of the mode of the presence of the body and blood of Christ in the eucharist, is thus carefully stated by Gerhard:699699John Gerhard, Loci Theologici, XXII. x. § 69; edit. Tübingen, 1769, vol. x. pp. 116, 117.Quam vere in sacra cœna præsens est res terrena, panis et vinum: tam vere etiam præsens res cœlestis, corpus et sanguis Christi: proinde credimus, docemus et confitemur in eucharistiæ sacramento veram, realem et substantialem corporis et sanguinis Christi præsentiam, exhibitionem, manducationem et bibitionem, quæ præsentia non est essentialis conversio panis in corpus et vini in sanguinem Christi, quam transubstantionem vocant, neque est corporis ad panem, ac sanguinis ad vinum extra usum cœnæ localis aut durabilis, neque est panis et corporis Christi personalis unio, qualis est divinæ et humanæ naturæ in Christo unio, neque est localis inclusio corporis in panem, neque est impanatio, neque est incorporatio in panem, neque est consubstantio, qua panis cum corpore Christi, et vinum cum ipsius sanguine in unam massam physicam coalescat: neque est naturalis inexistentia, neque delitescentia corpusculi sub pane, neque quidquam hujusmodi carnale aut physicum; sed est præsentia et unio sacramentalis, quæ ita comparata est, ut juxta ipsius salvaroris nostri, veracis, sapientis, et omnipotentis institutionem, pani benedicto tanquam medio divinitus ordinato corpus: et vino benedicto tanquam medio itidem divinitus ordinato, sanguis Christi modo nobis incomprehensibili uniatur, ut cum illo pane corpus Christi una manducatione sacramentali et cum illo vino sanguinem Christi una bibitione sacramentali in sublimi mysterio sumamus, 673manducemus ac bibamus. Breviter non ἀπουσίαν absentiam, non ἐνουσίαν inexistentiam, non συνουσίαν consubstantionem, non μετουσίαν transubstantionem, sed παρουσίαν corporis et sanguinis Christi in sacra cœna statuimus.

The whole doctrine of the Lutheran Church on the Lord’s Supper is briefly and authoritatively stated in the “Articuli Visitatorii” issued in 1592 for the Electorate and northern provinces of of Saxony, which all church officers and teachers were required to adopt. The first Article is as follows: “Pura et vera doctrina nostrarum Ecclesiarum de Sacra Cœna. (1.) Quod verba Christi: Accipite et comedite, hoc est corpus meum: Bibite, hic est sanguis meus simpliciter, et secundum literam, sicut sonant, intelligenda sint. (2.) Quod in sacramento duæ res sint, quæ exhibentur et simul accipiuntur: una terrena, quæ est panis et vinum; et una cœlestis, quæ est corpus et sanguis Christi. (3.) Quod hæc unio, exhibitio et sumptio fiat hic inferius in terris, non superius in cœlis. (4.) Quod exhibeatur et accipiatur verum et naturale corpus Christi, quod in cruce pependit, et verus ac naturalis sanguis, qui ex Christi latere fluxit. (5.) Quod corpus et sanguis Christi non fide tantum spiritualiter, quod etiam extra cœnam fieri potest, sed cum pane et vino oraliter, modo tamen imperscrutabill, et supernaturali, illic in cœna accipiantur, idque in pignus et certificationem resurrectionis nostrorum corporum ex mortuis. (6.) Quod oralis perceptio corporis et sanguinis Christi non solum fiat a dignis, verum etiam ab indignis, qui sine pœnitentia et vera fide accedunt; eventu tamen diverso. A dignis enim percipitur ad salutem, ab indignis autem ad judicium.700700Hase, Libri Symbolici, 3d edit. Leipzig, 1846, pp. 857, 858.

The Benefit received at the Lord’s Supper.

In the Augsburg Confession, in the Apology, in the Shorter and Larger Catechism, and in the Form of Concord, the benefits conferred upon believers in this sacrament are declared to be forgiveness of sin and confirmation of faith. These are said to be its special and intended effects. Thus in the Shorter Catechism the question is asked, “Quid vero prodest, sic comedisse et bibisse?” The answer is “Id indicant hæc verba: Pro vobis datur; et: effunditur in remissionem peccatorum. Nempe nobis per verba illa in sacramento remissio peccatorum, vita, justitia et salus donentur. Ubi enim remissio peccatorum est, ibi est et vita et salus.” The next question is, “Qui potest corporalis illa manducatio tantas res efficere?” To which the following answer is given: 674Manducare et bibere ista certe non efficiunt, sed illa verba, quæ hic ponuntur: Pro vobis datur, et: Effunditur in remissionem peccatorum; quæ verba sunt una cum corporali manducatione caput et summa hujus sacramenti. Et qui credit his verbis, ille habet, quod dicunt, et sicut sonant, nempe remissionem peccatorum.701701v. 5-8; Hase, Libri Symbolici, pp. 381, 382. To the same effect in the Larger Catechism, after referring to the words of institution it is said that in coming to the Lord’s Supper we receive the remission of sins. “Quare hoc? Ideo, quod verba illic extant et hæc dant nobis. Siquidem propterea a Christo jubeor edere et bibere, ut meum sit, mihique utilitatem afferat, veluti certum pignus et arrhabo, imo potius res ipsa, quam pro peccatis meis, morte et omnibus malis ille opposuit et oppignoravit. Inde jure optimo cibus animæ dicitur, novum hominem alens atque fortificans.702702v. 22, 23; Ibid. pp. 555, 556.

All that is here said is in perfect accord with the Reformed doctrine both as to the benefits to be derived from this sacrament and as to the source from which those benefits are to be received. The believing communicant receives at the Lord’s table the benefits of his redeeming death, and his faith is confirmed by the divinely appointed seals and pledge of the promises of God. And the sacrament has these effects, because through the grace of the Holy Spirit the worthy communicant embraces by faith the offer of pardon and acceptance made in the ordinance. This implies the ignoring or repudiation of the idea that the benefits conferred are to be attributed to any magical or supernatural influence from the actual, natural body and blood of Christ, which, according to the Lutheran doctrine, are orally received in this ordinance; or to a divine influence emanating from the glorified body of Christ in heaven; or to the theanthropic life of Christ conveyed into the believer as a new organic law. Nevertheless there is another mode of representation occurring in the writings of Luther and of Lutherans. According to this representation there is a divine, supernatural power inherent in the body and blood of Christ, which being received in the Lord’s Supper conveys to the believer, as to his soul and body, a new spiritual and immortal life. Thus, in his Larger Catechism, in answer to the question how bread and wine can have the power attributed to the Lord’s Supper, he says it is not bread as such which produces the effect, “but such bread and wine which are the body and blood of Christ, and which have the words [of 675institution] connected with them.” To this he adds: “Quin etiam illud pro certo constat, Christi corpus et sanguinem nequaquam rem otiosam et infrugiferam esse posse, quæ nihil fructus aut utilitatis afferat.703703v. 28-30; Hase, Libri Symbolici, p. 557. Luther’s Catechisms have symbolical authority, having been adopted by the whole Lutheran Church. The same authority does not belong to his private writings, in which the idea advanced of the life-giving power of the body and blood of Christ as received in the sacrament is (at least as often understood) more fully expanded. In his work entitled “Das diese Worte Christi, ‘das ist mein Leib u. s. w.,’ noch fest stehen wider die Schwarmgeister,” published in 1521,704704Das diese Worte, etc., edit. Walch, vol. xx. he says Christ gives us his own body and blood as food “in order that with such a pledge he may assure and comfort us, that our body shall live forever, because it here on earth enjoys eternal living food.”705705Ibid., § 186, p. 1045. “The mouth, which corporeally eats Christ’s flesh, knows not, it is true, what it eats, but the heart knows: by itself it would gain nothing, for it cannot comprehend the word [of promise]. But the heart knows well what the mouth eats. For it comprehends the word and eats spiritually, what the mouth eats corporeally.” But since the mouth is a member of the heart, it must live forever, on account of the heart, which through the word lives forever, because the body corporeally eats the same everlasting food, which the soul with it spiritually eats. Again:706706Ibid. p. 1046. “The heart cannot eat corporeally, and the mouth cannot eat spiritually. God, however, has arranged it, that the mouth eats for the heart corporeally, and the heart eats for the body spiritually, so both are satisfied with the same food and are saved. For the body having no understanding, knows not that it eats such food whereby it shall live forever. Because it feels it not, but dies and moulders away, as though it had eaten other food, as an irrational brute. But the soul sees and understands, that the body must live forever, because it is a partaker of an everlasting food; which will not allow it to decay and waste away in the grave.”707707Philippi, Kirchliche Glaubenslehre, vol. v. p. 267. Philippi admits that these passages appear to teach that the seeds of immortality are implanted in the bodies of believers by the corporeal participation of the body of Christ, though he endeavours to explain them as teaching that the Lord’s Supper is pledge of the believer’s resurrection. On p. 268, however, he admits that there are other passages which cannot be thus explained. Still more strongly is this idea expressed in such passages as the following. When a man eats this food708708Das diese Worte, §§ 207, 208, pp. 1055, 1056. “it changes 676(verdäut) and transmutes his flesh, so that it becomes spiritual, that is, endued with immortal life and blessed, as Paul, 1 Corinthians xv. 44, says: It is raised a spiritual body.” Luther gives what he calls a gross illustration. He supposes a wolf to devour a sheep and the flesh of the sheep to have power enough to transmute the wolf into a sheep. “So we, when we eat Christ’s flesh corporeally and spiritually, the food is so strong that it changes us into itself, so that out of carnal, sinful, mortal men, we are made spiritual, holy, and living men; such we already are, but hidden in faith and hope, and not yet revealed; at the last day we shall see it.” Again:709709Das diese Worte, p. 125. (?) “God is in this flesh. It is divine and spiritual (a weak translation of ein Gottesfleisch, ein Geistfleisch), it is in God, and God is in it, therefore it is living and gives life both as to soul and body to all who eat it.” Again:710710Ibid. p. 132. (?) “If we eat Him corporeally, so He is in us corporeally, and we in Him. He is not digested and assimilated, but He continually transmutes us, the soul into righteousness, the body into immortality.” After quoting these and similar passages, Philippi admits that they teach that “the body of Christ is not only the pledge of our resurrection, but also that it is the life-giving, operative power through which our bodies are prepared for our final resurrection.”711711See Philippi, ut supra, p. 269. So also Loci Theologici, XXII. xi. § 103, edit. Tübingen, 1770, vol. x. p. 175, says that the fathers teach that our bodies “suscipiant ex contactu carnis Christi vim quandam ad gloriosam resurrectionem et vitam æternam;” an opinion to which Gerhard accedes. Calvin (Institutio, IV. xvii. 32, edit. Berlin, 1834, part ii. p. 426) uses language of similar import: “De carnis etiam nostræ immortalitate securos nos reddat, siquidem ab immortali ejus carne jam vivificatur et quodammodo ejus immortalitate communicat.” There is, however, an essential difference, as to this point between Luther and Calvin. Luther held that what is received in the Supper is the true, natural body of Christ; that it is received corporeally, by the mouth, that it is received by unbelievers as well as by the believers; and that it is to the natural body thus received that the believer owes the glorious resurrection that awaits him. All these points Calvin denies. It is not the natural body of Christ, which hung upon the cross, that is received. It is not received corporeally by the mouth, but only by the soul through faith. It is received out of the Lord’s Supper as well as in that ordinance. The resurrection of believers therefore, according to Calvin, is due to our union with Christ, effected by faith and not to eating his true, natural body.

There were two views of the benefit of the Lord’s Supper in the mind of Luther. He commonly represents its special benefit to be the forgiveness of sins, which is received whenever faith in the gospel is exercised. This effect is due, not to what is in the sacrament received by the mouth, but to the Word as received by faith. According to this view, as Dorner712712Geschichte der protestantischen Theologie, Munich, 1867, p. 152. says, the Lord’s supper is a sign and pledge of the forgiveness of sin. To this view, he adds, the Lutheran Church has adhered. Therefore, the 677Apology says: “Idem effectus est verbi et ritus, sicut præclare dictum est ab Augustino, sacramentum esse verbum visibile, quia ritus oculis accipitur, et est quasi pictura verbi, idem significans, quod verbum. Quare idem est utriusque effectus.713713VII. 5; Hase, Libri Symbolici, p. 201.

At other times, however, Luther, as appears from the passages above quoted, attributes to the Lord’s Supper a peculiar effect due to the real, natural body of Christ therein received, which, in virtue of its union with his divine nature, is imbued with a supernatural, life-giving power. To this power he refers the glorious future resurrection of the believer. In this he made some approximation to the modern doctrine that the redemptive work of Christ consists in the infusion into our nature of a new force, or organic law which, by a process of natural, historical development, works out the salvation of soul and body. Julius Müller rejoices that this view did not take root in the Lutheran Church, as it is, as he says, plainly contrary to Scripture. If the resurrection of believers be due to the body of Christ as received in the Lord’s Supper, what is to become of children, of confessors and martyrs, and of all the Old Testament saints, who never partook of the Lord’s Supper.714714Dogmatische Abhandlungen, pp. 417, 418.

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