SECT. II. Testimonies of the Practise of the Christian Chur∣ches in the second Age.
From 100. to 200. Anno Dom. 150.
IVstinqMartyr in his second apologie, thus writeth: They which are called Deacons among vs, giue to euery one that is present of the consecra∣ted Bread and Wine. And when he hath related the whole manner of the celebration of the Eucharist, as it were to preuent a cauill that might be made, and is now made by Papists; the Martyr heere sheweth the practise of the Church, but maketh no mention of the pre∣cept of our Sauiour; as that they did so in deed, but were not bound so to doe: he fur∣ther addeth for the close: as they report that Ie∣sus commanded them, or, as they haue deliuered*vnto vs, Iesus his command giuen vnto them.
Bellarmine, his answere.
Bellarmine repineth at this so expresse a te∣stimony of so ancient a Father, and so renow∣ned a Martyr; and therefore laboureth to dis∣parage it some way or other.—Si non aliqu â nocuisset, mortuus esset. Yet all that he saith r to it is but this; that those last words of the Mar∣tyr, which mentioneth Christs precept, belong not to the Communion, but to the Consecration.
This solution will no way beare water. First, it is euident to any that reads the whole place, that Iustin Martyrs words, wherein he mentioneth Christs precept, belongeth both to the Consecration, and to the Communion. For after he had spoken of the Communion, he subioyneth these words; And therefore they cannot bee seuered from the Communion: The series or method of the passage in Iustin is thus: hauing rehearsed the words of the In∣stitution, This is my body, doe this in remembrance of me, and this Cup is the new Testament; drinke you all of this: he addeth; and he commanded, that they onely should participate, as had been be∣fore washed in the lauer of Regeneration, and lead such a life as Christ prescribed them. These words? that they onely should participate, clearely con∣uince the Cardinall, and demonstrate, that Iustin Martyr extendeth Christs command both to the Consecration, and to the Commu∣munion it selfe: which in Christs precept cannot be deuided, both being enioyned in this one precept; doe this in remembrance of me▪ that is, Consecrate, and Communicate.
Secondly, howsoeuer the Cardinall by any tricke of sophistrie shall dismember the whole sentence, and pull these words, As Christ com∣manded, from the rest, and refer them to which part of the sentence he pleaseth; yet he can Page 45 neuer smoother the light of truth shining in these words; The Deacons deliuer or minister to e∣uery one, of the consecrated bread and wine. The pra∣ctice then of those times maketh for vs against the Church of Rome. The Deacons then, as the Ministers now, deliuered the Sacrament to the people in both kindes.
Laurence Deacon, to Pope Sixtus cryed out to him as hee was led to his Martyrdome: Whether goest thou, father, without thy sonne? whe∣ther hastest, thou Priest, without thy Leuite? try whe∣ther thou hast chosen a fitsminister, to whom thou hast committed the dispensation of our Lords blood. Wilt thou denie me to bee a copartner with thee in the effusion of thy blood, who hast made me a copart∣ner with thee in the celebration of our Lords blood? This giueth such light to Iustin Martyrs words, and so fully accordeth with them, that Tileta∣nus, the defender of the councell of Trent con∣fesseth, that it is t manifest, that in this age the vse of both kinds was common to all.
Saint Irenaeus Bishop of Lions and Martyr, in the fourth booke against heresies, and 34. cha. proueth the resurrection of the flesh, and eter∣nall life by an argument drawne from the faithfulls eating Christs flesh in the Eucharist, Page 46 and he presseth his argument in this manner; How doe they, viz. the heretiques, say, that the flesh*should be vtterly corrupted and neuer rise againe, which is nourished with the body and blood of Christ? and a little after, Our bodies by participating the Eucharist or Sacrament of our Lords supper, are not now corruptible, or shall not vtterly be corrupted, and come to nothing, because they haue the hope of there∣surrection. Irenaeus speaketh of all Christians, people as well as Priests, for all faithfull Chri∣stians haue hope of a blessed resurrection; and he saith, that they are nourished with the bo∣die and blood of Christ, by participating of the Sacrament of his supper.
The Romanists seeke to auoyde these and the like passages by their doctrine of concomi∣tancie, auerring that the blood of Christ is not seuered from his body; and consequently, that the Laietie take the blood in the body, and are nourished therewith to eternall life, and this, say they, is all that can bee gathered from Irenaeus his words: They are nourished with the blood of Christ, which they receiue together with his body, not with the blood of Christ, which they take by it selfe in the Cup.
This answer of theirs is weake, and insuffi∣cient.
Page 47 First, because it is built on a weake and rui∣nous foundation. viz. the reall and carnall pre∣sence of Christs body in the Sacrament vnder the accidents of bread and wine: which I haue else where by Scriptures and Fathers refelled. See the fisher caught in his owne net. part. 2.
That the doctrine of concomitancie is builded vpon the reall and carnall presence, is not denied by the Romanists, for they make the one the ground of the other.
Secondly, albeit wee should grant, that the Laiety in some sence receiue the blood of Christ in the bread; yet they receiue it not so as Christ commandeth: for they receiue it not by drinking; No man drinketh in eating, or eateth in Drinking.
Thirdly, the blood of Christ, which wee re∣ceiue in the Sacrament, we receiue not as sub∣sisting in his veines, or as being a part of, or ioyned vnto his body; but as shed for vs: In which quality and manner it is impossible to receiue the blood of Christ together with, and in the body by naturall concomitancy.
Fourthly, whatsoeuer becommeth of the deuice of concomitancy, our aduersaries ther∣with cannot shift off Irenaeus. For in his fifth booke, and second Chapter, hee speaketh di∣stinctly of the Cup, and declareth his meaning to be, that the faithfull are made partakers of eternall life by drinking Christs blood, (my∣stically) in the Chalice: He confirmed the Chalice or Cup, which is a t creature, to be Page 48 his blood, shed for vs, wherewith our blood is nou∣vished: and a little after; when the mingled Cup and bread broken receiueth the Word of God (that is the benediction, or consecration) it is made the Eucharist or Sacrament of Christs body and blood: how then doe they (the heretiques) denie, that our flesh is capable of the gift of God, which is eter∣nall life, sith it is nourished with Christs body and blood, and is a member?
From these passages of Irenaeus thus I collect his argument.
All they that in the Sacrament of the Lord Supper eate of the bread, and drinke of the Cup consecrated, are nourished by Christs body and blood to eternal life:
All faithfull Christians, or worthy commu∣nicants eate of the bread, and drinke of the consecrated Cup:
Therefore all faithfull Christians, or wor∣thy communicants are nourished by Christs body and blood to eternall life.
If the aduersarie will haue the assumption restrained to Priests onely, he must needs in like manner restraine the conclusion to Priests only; which is little lesse then heresie. Irenaeus his intent and drift in that place is, to confirme all the faithfull in the doctrine of the resurre∣ction, and therfore his medium must be vniuer∣sall, and such as holds as well for the Christian people, as for the Priest.
Clemens Alexandrinus stromatum lib. 1. when they distribute the Eucharist, as the manner is, they giue to euery one of theupeople a part or portion ther∣of. Now that the Eucharist includeth the Cup, as well as the bread, hee declareth himselfe in expresse words. paedagog. li. 2. cap. 2. The mingling of the drinke and of the water and the word is called the Eucharist: and a little before: to drinke the blood of Iesus is to be partaker of the Lords incorruption. & stromatum lib. 4 Melchizedeke sanctified bread and wine for*a type of the Eucharist; not bread onely, but bread and wine is the Eucharist, and of this euery one of the people participated in his time, therefore all dranke of the Cup.
Bellarmine cauilleth x at the last passage saue one, viz. where Clemens saith, to drinke Christs blood is to bee partaker of his incorruption. First he saith it doth not follow, that because he that drinketh Christs blood hath immorta∣lity or incorruption: therefore hee that drin∣keth it not, hath not incorruption: for he may haue it otherwise, namely, by the bodie.
Secondly, he saith, that Christs blood giueth in∣corruption or immortall life, not because it is drunke Page 50 but because it is taken. Now it is truly taken of them, who communicate in one kind onely, because the blood is not seuered from the body, which they partake of.
This answer of Cardinall Bellarmine is many wayes defectiue.
First, when we gaue him three wounds, he applieth a plaister but to one of them, and it is too narrow for that too: hee cunningly silen∣ceth our strong allegations out of Clemens, and singleth out one of the weakest.
Secondly, that passage of Clemens, to which alone hee would seeme to say something, hee saith indeed nothing. For if the drinking of Christs blood bee a meanes to attaine our Lords incorruption, or immortality, as Bellar, out of Clemens confesseth, although he denyeth it to be the onely means; why should the peo∣ple be depriued of this means? Our argument out of Clemens standeth thus.
None ought to be depriued of the meanes of attaining our Lords incorruption, and im∣mortality.
But the drinking of Christs blood is the meanes to attaine immortallitie:
Therefore none ought to bee depriued of the vse of the Cup: I meane none that are fit guests for the Lords table.
Thirdly, Clemens saith not, to take Christs blood, but to drinke it, is to partake of incorruption. And Page 51 therefore, albeit Christs blood might bee o∣therwise participated, then by drinking of the Cup, this satisfieth not Clemens his intention and scope, who speaketh expressely of taking of it in this manner, viz. by drinking.
Fourthly, Bellarmine in his answer beggeth the question. For he supposeth, that Christs blood, is taken in the bread, as his body in the Cup, which I haue before refuted out of Inno∣centius.