Meditations on the holy sacrament of the Lords last Supper Written many yeares since by Edvvard Reynolds then fellow of Merton College in Oxford.
Reynolds, Edward, 1599-1676.


Of the Analogy and proportion betweene the holy Actions used by Christ in this Sacrament, and Christ himselfe who is the substance of it.

IT followes now, that we enquire farther into the nature of this holy Sacrament, which will be explained by considering the Analogie, fitnesse, and similitude betweene the signes, and the things signified by them, and conferred or exhibited toge∣ther with them, which is Christ the Lord. Now, this Analogie or fitnesse as it hath been in some generall manner expres'd in the na∣ture or quality of the elements substantially or physically taken; so more expressely and punctually is it propos'd unto us in those ho∣ly aactions which doe alter in the use, and make it a Sacrament. And first we finde that Christ tooke the Bread and Wine, and blessed it, and gave thanks, and so consecrated it, or set a part unto a holy or solemne use,* which is the reason why Saint Paul calls it a Cup Page  46 of blessing; so that unto the Church it ceaseth cto be that which nature had made it, and beginnes to be that unto which the blessing had consecrated it: In like manner did the eternall Sonne of God assume into the sub∣sistance of his owne infinite person, the whole nature of man, the body and the soule, by the vertue of which wonderfull union notwith∣standing the properties of the divine nature, remaine absolutely intransient and uncom∣municable unto the humane; yet are there shed from that inexhaustible fountaine many high and glorious endowments, by which the humanity under this manner of subsistence is dannoynted,*consecrated,e sealed, and set apart for that work of incomprehensible love and power, the redemption of the world: and secondly as the Bread is taken by us from Christ in the nature of a gift, he brake it and gave it to his Disciples; so is the humane na∣ture taken by Christ from the Father as a giftf, from the good pleasure of God. Thirdly, as the taking of the Bread by Christ did alter only the manner of its being, the operation, and efficacy, the dignity and use, but no way at all the element or nature of the Bread. Even so the taking of the humane bo∣dy by Christ did conferre indeed upon it many glorious effects, and advance it to an estate farre above its common and ordinary capacity (alwayes yet reserving those defects Page  47 and weaknesses which were required in the aeconomie, and dispensation of that great work for which he assumed it) but yet he ne∣ver alterd the essentiall and naturall qualities of the body, but kept it still within the mea∣sure and limits of the created perfection which the wisdome of God did at first share out unto it. Lastly, to (come neerer unto the Crosse of Christ) as hee did by prayer and thanksgiving consecrate their elements unto a holy use; so did he immediately before his passion (of which this is the Sacrament) make that consecratoryg prayer and thanks∣giving which is registred for the perpetuall comfort of his Church.

The second Action is the breaking of the Bread, and powering the Wine into the Cup, which doth neerly expresse his crucified Bo∣dy; whereh the joynts were loosed, the sinewes torne, the flesh bruized and peirced, the skin rent, the whole frame violated by that straining and razeing and cutting, and stretching, and wrentching, which was used in the crucifying of it, and by thei shedding of that pretious blood which stop'd the issue and flux of ours. It were infinite and intri∣care to spin a meditation into a controversie, about the extent and nature of Christs passi∣on: but certainly, whatsoever either Ignomi∣nie, or Agony his body suffered (which two conceive to comprize all the generalls of Page  48 Christ crucified) are if not particularly ex∣pressed, yet typically and sacramentally shad∣dowed and exhibited in the Bread broken, and the Wine powred out.

The third Action was the giving, or deli∣vering of the Bread and Wine: which first, evidently expresseth the nature and quality of Christ crucified, with these benefits which flow from him, that they are freely bestowed upon the Church, which of it selfe had no in∣terest or claime unto any thing save death. Secondly, we see the nature of Christs passi∣on, that it was a free, voluntary, and uncon∣strained passion, for though it be true that Iu∣dasadid betray him, and Pilate deliver him to bee crucified: yet none of this was the giving of Christ, but the selling of him. It was not for us, but for mony that Iudas de∣liver'd him, it was not for us, but for feare that Pilate deliver'd him:b but God deli∣ver'd the Sonne, and the Sonne deliver'd himselfe with a most mercifull and gracious will to bestow his death upon sinners, and not to get, but to be himselfe a price. The Passion then of Christ was most freely under∣taken c(without which free-will of his own, they couldd never have laid hold on him) and his death was a most free and voluntary explication, his life was not wrentched nor wrung from him, nor snatch'd or torne from him by the bare violence of any forraine Page  49 Impression; but was with a loud voice (ar∣guing nature not brought to utter decay) most freelye surrendred andf laid downe by that power which did after reassume it. But how then comes it to passe that there lay a ne∣cessicie gupon Christ of suffring, which ne∣cessicie may seeme to have enforc'd and con∣strain'd him to Golgatha, in as much as hee himselfe did not only shrinke, but even testi∣fie his dislike of what he was to suffer by a redoubled prayerh unto his Father that that Cup might passe from him? doth not fearei make Actions involuntary, or at least dero∣gate and detract from the fulnesse of their liberty? and Christ did fearek, how then is it that Christs Passion was most voluntary though attended with necessitie, feare, and reluctance? surely it was most voluntary still, and first therefore necessary because vo∣luntary, the maine and primitive reason of the necessitie, being nothing else but that im∣mutable will which had fore-decreed it. Christs death then was necessary by a neces∣sitie of the event, which musts needs come to passe after it had once beenl fore-determined by that most wise will of God, which never useth to repent him of his counsells; but not by a necessitie of the cause, which was most free and voluntary. Againe, necessary it was in regard of the Scriptures, whose truth could not miscarry, in regard of the promises made Page  50 of him, which were to be performed, in re∣gard of propheticall predictions which were to be fulfilled, in regard of typicall prefigura∣tions, which were to bee abrogated, and se∣conded with that substance which they did fore-shaddow, but no way necessary in oppo∣sition to Christs will, which was the first mo∣ver into which both this necessitie and all the causes of it are to be finally resolv'd.

And then for the fear and reluctance of Christ, noe marvell if he who was in all things like unto us, had his share in the same passions and affections like wise though without sin. But neither of these did any way derogate from the most free Sacrifice which hee himselfem offered once for all, in asmuch as there was an absolute submission of the inferiour to the higher will, and the inferiour it selfe, shrunk not at the obedience, but at the pain. To ex∣plaine this more cleerly, considern in Christ a double Will, or rather a double respect of the same Will. First the naturall Will of Christ, whereby hee could but wish well unto himselfe, and grone after the conservation of that being, whose anguish and dissolution did now approach; whereby he could not upon the immediate burdeno of the sinne of man, and the wrath of God buto feare,p and not∣withstanding the assistance of Angellsq drop downe a sweatr, as full of wonder as it was of torment, great drops of blood, and then no Page  51 marvell if we here, Father if it be possible let this Cup passe from me. But then again consider not the naturall, but the mercifull will of Christ by which he intended to appease the wrath of an offended, & by any other unsatisfi∣able God; the removall of an unsupportable curse, the redemption, of his own, and yet his fellow creaturs, the giving them accesse unto a father, who was before a consuming fire, in a word, the finishing of that great work which the Angles desire to looke into, and then wee finde that hee did freely lay downe his life and most willingly embraced what hee most natu∣rally did abhorre. As if Christ had said (if wee may venture to paraphrase his sacred words) Father thou hast united mee to such a nature whose Created and Essentiall property it is to shrink from any thing that may destroy it, and therefore if it be thy Will let this Cupp passe from mee: But yet I know that thou hast likewise annoynted mee to fullfill the eter∣nall Decree of thy love, and to the perfor∣mance of such an office the dispensation wher∣of requires the dissolution of my assumed na∣ture, and therefore not as I, but as thou wilt. So then both the desire of preser∣vation was a naturall desire, and the of∣fring up of his Body was a free-will offring. And indeed the light of nature hath required a kind of willingnesse, even in the Heathens bruit Sacrifices. And therefore the beastsPage  52 was led, and not haled to the Altar; and the struggling of it, or flying and breaking from the Altar, or bellowing and crying was ever coun∣ted ominous and unhappy. Now our Saviour Christs willingnesse to offer up himselfe is herein declared, in that hee openedb not his mouth; in that he suffred such a death where∣in hee first did bearec the Crosse before it bore him, in that hee dehortedd the women that followed after him to weepe or expresse any passion of willingnesse for his death. Thus did hee in his passion, and still doth in his Sa∣crament really, perfectly, and most willingly give himselfe unto his Church. In somuch as that the Oyle of that unction which consecra∣ted him unto that bitter worke, is called an Oylee of gladnesse. So then Christ freely offreth both in himselfe Originally, and in his Sacraments Instrumentally, all grace sufficient for nurishment unto life, to as many as reach forth to receive or entertaine it.