Images de page
PDF
ePub

ak and sickly among us, and many sleep." Two gs equally undermine the Christian character~y formalism and an unreasoning emotionalism. whose religion is reduced to the observance of s and ceremonies through which no spiritual flows in upon his soul is but feeding on s; while he whose spiritual life consists in enthusiasm unsustained by dogmatic faith find himself adrift on seas of speculation, when fect of the stimulus has passed off. The only ly for dangers of this kind lies in knowledge principles of theology, so far at least as ble each one to give an intelligible account faith that is in him, and to know on what 't rests. Careful study of works like this follows will leave their impress on mind and like, and shield the readers from the risk in following teachers who know neither ey say nor whereof they affirm.

[ocr errors]

n it a great and undeserved honor to have vited to write this prefatory note, though s no need of it, for the book explains itself, ontents amply justify its publication. The of peace must be on those who study the

mysteries of grace; he walks firmly and without fear who knows the path; and only he can know it who has given due attention to its course and end. Not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, can the soul find rest; for these are indeed to us as messages from another world, and these abide forever; and by these shall all spirits of the faithful be enlightened and refreshed long after the prophecies of the mighty have failed, and the tongue of speculative opinion is silent, and the knowledge of the worldschools has vanished away.

MORGAN DIX.

TRINITY RECTORY,

NEW YORK, Advent, 1893.

PREFACE.

THIS little book is an endeavour to draw out, for those who find but little time for quiet thought and study, some of the deeper meanings which underlie the simple and touching language of our Communion Office; and more especially to set forth in a popular form that prevailing characteristic of Sacrifice which marks it from the beginning to the close. There is probably no habit more ancient than that of sacrifice, no rite that has a better claim to be considered an integral part of the religion of nature, no institution that can boast the prescription of so many centuries in its favour. We ought to expect, then, to find it embodied in that act of worship which sums up and illustrates the Faith that meets and satisfies every religious aspiration of man. And our expectation is realized, for the Eucharist has claimed a connection universally recognized with the vanished world of sacrificial usages, and like a potent magnet has attracted to itself ideas and associations which might have been regarded

1 Maclear,

[ocr errors]

The Evidential Value of the Holy Eucharist,"

[ocr errors]

as extinct and obsolete. The names which it has received sufficiently attest this. Thus in A. D. 96. we find it called Oblation;' in A. D. 107 it is styled 'Thank-offering;' a still later writer, A. D. 150, calls it a 'Sacrifice;' another, about the same date, calls it a Commemoration,' or 'Memorial;' while a later appellation, about A.D. 249, is 'Paschal Feast.'"1 And yet in spite of this early, and, we may add, universal recognition of the doctrine of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, there are, it is to be feared, many amongst us to whom it is strange and unattractive. One who has excellent opportunities of observing English religious thought, not only recognizes the present need of popular teaching on this subject, but deplores the slow progress it is making. "It does not seem," writes Mr. Gore, "as if the apprehension of that great and vital doctrine was making way with the mass of devouter people in the same proportions as the doctrine of Communion, or even of the worship of Christ in the Eucharist."" And we doubt whether, in spite of the priceless heritage of our Liturgy secured to us by Bishop Seabury, the same might not be said with equal truth here. We wonder, indeed, whether in this respect we are as far advanced as our forefathers of a hun

1 Maclear, "The Evidential Value of the Holy Eucharist," pp. 19, 48, 49.

2

The Eucharistic Sacrifice," a sermon by Charles Gore, M.A.

dred and fifty years ago. It is surely significant of the appreciation which this truth then met with amongst the devout, that the "Hymns on the LORD'S Supper," by John and Charles Wesley, most of which are saturated with the spirit of Sacrifice, and no less than forty-two devoted to the expression of this aspect of the Eucharist, should have gone through nine editions in John Wesley's lifetime. Whatever may be the causes for its slow progress or even decline from that time to this, it would seem to be the duty of all those who have, in any degree, realized its stimulating power, to do what they can to commend it to others. Much, indeed, has already been done by theological and devotional treatises dealing directly with the subject and by manuals. Still there seemed to be room for yet another attempt to show how naturally our own service expresses the ancient and present—if we look at the whole field of the Catholic Churchwidely prevailing thought of Sacrificial Worship. The author will feel amply rewarded for his labour if he has been permitted to give the smallest help toward the restoration of a truth, which, to use the words of the late Presbyterian divine, Dr. Milligan, "ought to go some way at least towards conciliating widely divergent views with regard to the true purport of the Holy Sacrament of Communion," and where accepted would make the Eucharist "the

« PrécédentContinuer »