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Friday, May 26, 2006

John Cosin on Eucharistic Presence

I begin with a quick note of apology in my slackness of recent posts but we have Dr. Joel Garver and his wife with us here in Durham for a week. Yesterday (Ascension Day and Bede's feast) we went up to Holy Island, Lindisfarne to have a day around the island and visit the holy places there. It was a beautiful day to be there and the sun was shining all day! I'll try to get some pictures up shortly! They are in Newcastle this afternoon after a morning visit with Bishop Tom Wright so I was able to do a bit of reading.

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Now to Cosin! One of the issues surrounding Eucharistic presence was not only the manner of presence but the instrumental cause of that presence. In many places within the Continent, there were teachings that often spoke of faith as the instrument of what made the Body and Blood of Christ present. It has been put forth by Dom G. Dix that this was the position of Cranmer. (More to come on that later after I read the articles that Dr. Tighe sent me). What John Cosin said about faith and presence makes clear what was being said by the early Carolines and particularly the Laudian Church and those that followed after the 1660 Restoration. Here is Cosin's critique of the German protestants:
Yet we may observe here, that faith makes not those things present which are promised; for faith (as it is well known) is more properly said to take and apprehend, than to promise or perform: but the word and promise of God, on which faith is grounded (and not faith itself) make that present which is promised; as it was agreed at a conference at S. Germains (1561) betwixt some protestants and papists. And therefore it is unjustly laid to our charge by some in the Church of Rome, as if we should believe that the presence and participation of Christ in the sacrament is effected merely by the power of faith.
The word here that is promised to effect the presence are the words of Jesus in the institution narrative. So when we say that we take of the Body and Blood of Christ by faith, the by is not an instrumental means of the making presence but the apprehending and taking of who IS present in the consecrated Eucharistic elements.

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