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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Eucharist and Eschatology -- An Instrumental Promise

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In a sermon on Revelation 2.7, Andrewes speaks of the eschatalogical hope given in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Note the 'time' in which this is given. Andrewes' grasp of bibilical theology is evident throughout this sermon and his use of typology and his Sacramental worldview becomes obvious to the reader. Concerning the hope given in the Eucharist Andrewes writes,
So both the promise and condition are touched: But the question is, How we shall overcome? that we learn, Apocalyps the twelfth chapter; where the Saints are said to overcome the great dragon, the old Serpent, with the bloode of the Lambe: Which blood hath two uses: First, that which the Apostle calls the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, the first epistle of Peter the first chapter and the second verse. Secondly, That by receiving the cup of blessing we are partakers of the blood of Christ, the first epistle to the Corinthians the tenth chapter and the sixteenth verse. So that in these words is a reciprocation, vincenti ut comedat, & comedenti ut vincat, dabno edere; the body and blood of Christ is the fruit of that tree of life which the Apostle speaks of, the first epistle of Peter the second chapter and the twenty fourth verse, That he bare our sinnes in his body upon the tree; Of which fruit whosoever are partakers in the Sacrament when it is ministred to them, doe receive power to overcome, that so they may eate of the tree of eternal life: For in this Sacrament we have both a means of victory and a pledge of our reward, that is, the life of grace begun in us here, to assure us of a glorious life in the world to come. Every tree must have a root, and the root of that tree which Christ speaks of is here in this Sacrament; for in it is sown in the hearts of the receivers, as it were, a kernel, which in time shoots forth and becomes a tree; for as there was a death of the soul by sinne, before God inflicted [576/577] a death of the body; so answerable to that first death of sinne, there must be in us a life of grace, which is the root of that tree from whence we shall, in due time, receive the life of glory.
He says, 'when it is ministred to them, partakers doe receive power to overcome. The root of our eternal life is found 'in this Sacrament' because 'in this Sacrament' is the root who is Christ! Therefore, Jesus' objective presence within it is given and it is only by an assurance of that presence in the Sacrament that we can have assurance of the hope of a glorious future and our salvation from the Second Death. The condition of the covenant is repentance and the promise of the covenant is manna from heaven.

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    O God, most glorious, most bountiful, accept, we humbly beseech thee, our praises and thanksgivings for thy holy Catholic Church, the mother of us all who bear the name of Christ; for the faith which it hath conveyed in safety to our time, and the mercies by which it hath enlarged and comforted the souls of men; for the virtues which it hath established upon earth, and the holy lives by which it glorifieth both the world and thee; to whom, O blessed Trinity (+), be ascribed all honour, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever. Amen.
    --Bishop Lancelot Andrewes

Societas Sanctae Crucis

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