Patristical And Exegetical Investigation Of The Question Respecting The Real Bodily Presence Of Christ In The Elements Of The Lord’s Supper. (Continued.) -- By: M. Stuart

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 001:2 (May 1844)
Article: Patristical And Exegetical Investigation Of The Question Respecting The Real Bodily Presence Of Christ In The Elements Of The Lord’s Supper. (Continued.)
Author: M. Stuart


Patristical And Exegetical Investigation Of
The Question Respecting The Real Bodily Presence
Of Christ In The Elements Of The Lord’s Supper. (Continued.)

M. Stuart

Professor in the Theol. Seminary, Andover.

7. Scriptural Usage in Regard to Symbol and Trope.

I have endeavoured to show, in the preceding No. of the Review, first of all, that we are not bound by any appeal to the Christian fathers, in respect to the opinion which we ought to form with regard to the consecrating words at the institution of the Lord’s supper. The Scriptures are the sufficient and only rule of faith and practice, is a truth or maxim which lies at the basis of all which is properly called Protestantism. In the second place, I have made it an object to develop, historically, what the opinions of the fathers were; and by virtue of this exposition we come to the conclusion, that if the ancient Christian fathers are to be appealed to as a standard, neither the Romanists, nor the Lutherans, can find in them the opinions which they avow or defend. In fact, .1 cannot help feeling that it is only ignorance of the true state of this matter among the fathers, or party spirit which blinds the eyes of many men, or else a design to deceive, which can lead men at the present day, when the subject has been so fully developed, to appeal to Christian antiquity as fairly and properly supporting either transubstantiation or consubstantiation. Nor can those who regard the eucharistic elements merely as symbols of the blood and body of Christ, find much among the

fathers which is direct and certain in their favour. The Alexandrine fathers, and indeed the African fathers in general, had clearly a leaning toward this opinion; and we have seen, that Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, and Cyprian, appear to have substantially adopted the symbolic exegesis. Most fully and unequivocally is this the case respecting Origen, and afterwards in respect to Augustine. But these views were, in most cases, mingled with some others that savoured somewhat of the excessive, in regard to the mysterious and inexplicable virtue of the eucharist.

After all our pains-taking, then, we are cast back upon the source from which we set out; that is, we are obliged to resort only to the Bible, and to find out, if we can, by the proper rules of interpretation, what is the true meaning of the words: “This is my body; this is my blood.”

To this work, then, let us now address ourselves; and the more heartily, inasmuch as we have seen that all attempts to settle the question about the meani...

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