Monday of Week 26
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Apology XXI.40–XXII.8, » Of the Invocation of the Saints » Of Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper »
Article XXI, Of the Invocation of the Saints (continued)
40] Thus the Confutation has been deceitfully written, not only on this topic, but almost everywhere. [They pretend that they are as pure as gold, that they have never muddled the water.] There is no passage in which they make a distinction between the manifest abuses and their dogmas. And nevertheless, if there are any of sounder mind among them, they confess that many false opinions inhere in the doctrine of the scholastics and canonists, and, besides, that in such ignorance and negligence of the pastors many abuses crept into the Church. 41] For Luther was not [the only one nor] the first to complain of [innumerable] public abuses. Many learned and excellent men long before these times deplored the abuses of the Mass, confidence in monastic observances, services to the saints intended to yield a revenue, the confusion of the doctrine concerning repentance [concerning Christ], which ought to be as clear and plain in the Church as possible [without which there cannot be nor remain a Christian Church]. We ourselves have heard that excellent theologians desire moderation in the scholastic doctrine, which contains much more for philosophical quarrels than for piety. And nevertheless, among these the older ones are generally nearer Scripture than are the more recent. Thus their theology degenerated more and more. Neither had many good men, who from the very first began to be friendly to Luther, any other reason than that they saw that he was freeing the minds of men from these labyrinths of most confused and infinite discussions which exist among the scholastic theologians and canonists, and was teaching things profitable for godliness.
42] The adversaries, therefore, have not acted candidly in passing over the abuses when they wished us to assent to the Confutation. And if they wished to care for the interests of the Church [and of afflicted consciences, and not rather to maintain their pomp and avarice], especially on that topic, at this occasion, they ought to exhort our most excellent Emperor to take measures for the correction of abuses [which furnish grounds for derision among the Turks, the Jews, and all unbelievers], as we observe plainly enough that he is most desirous of healing and well-establishing the Church. But the adversaries do not act so as to aid the most honorable and most holy will of the Emperor, but so as in every way to crush [the truth and] us. 43] Many signs show that they have little anxiety concerning the state of the Church. [They lose little sleep from concern that Christian doctrine and the pure Gospel be preached.] They take no pains that there should be among the people a summary of the dogmas of the Church. [The office of the ministry they permit to be quite desolate.] They defend manifest abuses [they continue every day to shed innocent blood] by new and unusual cruelty. They allow no suitable teachers in the churches. Good men can easily judge whither these things tend. But in this way they have no regard to the interest either of their own authority or of the Church. For after the good teachers have been killed and sound doctrine suppressed, fanatical spirits will rise up, whom the adversaries will not be able to restrain, who both will disturb the Church with godless dogmas, and will overthrow the entire ecclesiastical government, which we are very greatly desirous of maintaining.
44] Therefore, most excellent Emperor Charles, for the sake of the glory of Christ, which we have no doubt that you desire to praise and magnify, we beseech you not to assent to the violent counsels of our adversaries, but to seek other honorable ways of so establishing harmony that godly consciences are not burdened, that no cruelty is exercised against innocent men, as we have hitherto seen, and that sound doctrine is not suppressed in the Church. To God most of all you owe the duty [as far as this is possible to man] to maintain sound doctrine and hand it down to posterity, and to defend those who teach what is right. For God demands this when He honors kings with His own name and calls them gods, saying, Ps. 82:6: I have said, Ye are gods, namely, that they should attend to the preservation and propagation of divine things, i.e., the Gospel of Christ, on the earth, and, as the vicars of God, should defend the life and safety of the innocent [true Christian teachers and preachers].
Article XXII (X): Of Both Kinds In the Lord’s Supper.
1] It cannot be doubted that it is godly and in accordance with the institution of Christ and the words of Paul to use both parts in the Lord’s Supper. For Christ instituted both parts, and instituted them not for a part of the Church, but for the entire Church. For not only the presbyters, but the entire Church uses the Sacrament by the authority of Christ, and not by human authority; and this, 2] we suppose, the adversaries acknowledge. Now, if Christ has instituted it for the entire Church, why is one kind denied to a part of the Church? Why is the use of the other kind prohibited? Why is the ordinance of Christ changed, especially when He Himself calls it His testament? But if it is not allowable to annul man’s testament, much less will it be allowable to annul the testament of Christ. 3] And Paul says, 1 Cor. 11:23ff, that he had received of the Lord that which he delivered. But he had delivered the use of both kinds, as the text, 1 Cor. 11, clearly shows. This do [in remembrance of Me], he says first concerning His body; afterwards he repeats the same words concerning the cup [the blood of Christ]. And then: Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. [Here he names both.] These are the words of Him who has instituted the Sacrament. And, indeed, he says before that those who will use the Lord’s Supper should use both. 4] It is evident, therefore, that the Sacrament was instituted for the entire Church. And the custom still remains in the Greek churches, and also once obtained in the Latin churches, as Cyprian and Jerome testify. For thus Jerome says on Zephaniah: The priests who administer the Eucharist, and distribute the Lord’s blood to the people, etc. The Council of Toledo gives the same testimony. Nor would it be difficult to accumulate a great multitude of testimonies. 5] Here we exaggerate nothing; we but leave the prudent reader to determine what should be held concerning the divine ordinance [whether it is proper to prohibit and change an ordinance and institution of Christ].
6] The adversaries in the Confutation do not endeavor to [comfort the consciences or] excuse the Church, to which one part of the Sacrament has been denied. This would have been becoming to good and religious men. For a strong reason for excusing the Church, and instructing consciences to whom only a part of the Sacrament could be granted, should have been sought. Now these very men maintain that it is right to prohibit the other part, and forbid that the use of both parts be allowed. 7] First, they imagine that, in the beginning of the Church, it was the custom at some places that only one part was administered. Nevertheless they are not able to produce any ancient example of this matter. But they cite the passages in which mention is made of bread, as in Luke 24:35, where it is written that the disciples recognized Christ in the breaking of bread. They quote also other passages, Acts 2:42,46; 20:7, concerning the breaking of bread. But although we do not greatly oppose if some receive these passages as referring to the Sacrament, yet it does not follow that one part only was given, because, according to the ordinary usage of language, by the naming of one part the other is also signified. 8] They refer also to Lay Communion, which was not the use of only one kind, but of both; and whenever priests are commanded to use Lay Communion [for a punishment are not to consecrate themselves, but to receive Communion, however, of both kinds, from another], it is meant that they have been removed from the ministry of consecration. Neither are the adversaries ignorant of this, but they abuse the ignorance of the unlearned, who, when they hear of Lay Communion, immediately dream of the custom of our time, by which only a part of the Sacrament is given to the laymen.
(…to be continued)
Today’s reader: Trent de Marest
Trent is a husband, a father, and a schoolteacher. He serves as vicar at Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Baltimore, MD, under the Rev’d Fr Charles McClean. He and his wife Maritza are expecting the birth of their first child in early March.