« הקודםהמשך »
without spot*. He hath loved us, and washed us from our sins with His own blood t.
As the mother of all living, Eve #,—the figure of the Church,—was formed from the type of Christ, Adam, upon whom, as we read, the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall, and he slept s; so the Church, the Spiritual mother of all living, owes her being to the Second man, Jesus Christ, the Lord from heaven ||, slumbering in the sleep of death upon the Cross **.
Again: naturally, as men, as St. Paul asserts, all of all nations of the earth are made of one blood ft, that of our first parent, Adam; so spiritually, as Christian men, we all derive our life from the one blood of the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
And how is this life communicated ? Eve was formed from the side of Adam when he slept, and thence mankind derives its being. So, concerning the second Adam, we read, One of the soldiers, with a spear, pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water; and This is He that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; and It is the Spirit that
* 1 Pet. i. 19. Heb. x. 29.
† Rev. i. 5. I Gen. iii. 20. 8 Gen. ii. 21.
ll i Cor. xv. 47. ** Christ's death may well be called a slumber, for He was soon to be awakened from it, He was to rise again.—Hooker, V. lvi. 7. “ The Church is in Christ, as Eve was in Adam; yea, by grace we are every one of us in Christ, and in His Church, as by nature we are in our first parents. God made Eve of the rib of Adam ; and His Church He frameth out of the very flesh, the very wounded and bleeding side, of the Son of Man."
tt Acts xvii. 25.
beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. The life of the Church is due to the death of Christ; and it is communicated by means of those quickening, refreshing, and strengthening Sacraments, which Christ has appointed for the conveyance of the virtue of His death, and which were significantly represented by the stream of blood and water which flowed from His precious side, when He offered Himself a Lamb without blemish or spot *, a pure, perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice upon the altar of the Cross.
And why, it may now be asked, do we affirm that it is so communicated ?
Because Christ Himself has been pleased to assure us of the fact; and it is not unworthy of observation, that He had assured us of it (as the Church herself has ever believed) by the same Evangelist and Apostle who saw His side pierced, and forthwith there came out blood and water.
It is in the Gospel of the beloved disciple, St. John, that Christ says, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit
, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God f. Again; it is in the Gospel of St. John, that Christ declares, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of God, and drink His blood, ye have no
you. Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day; for My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed f. 1 Pet. i. 19. † John iii. 3. 5. I John vi. 53. 55.
Certain, then, it is, that we derive our natural life from Adam, sleeping in Paradise; and no less certain is it, that our spiritual life is derived from Christ, slumbering on the Cross; and it is also certain that, as our natural life is conveyed from Adam through Eve, formed from his side, so our spiritual life is conveyed to us by means of the Sacraments which Christ Himself has been pleased to institute in His Church for that purpose, and which derive their efficacy from Christ's death, when He shed blood and water from His precious side on the Cross.
Behold, then, the glorious view thus opened to our eyes. Contemplate Jesus Christ dying on the Cross at Calvary. See Him there lifted up, like the brazen serpent lifted up by God's command on the pole in the wilderness * See Him there displayed publicly, crucified in the sight of thousands at the great Paschal feast at Jerusalem; stretching out His divine hands, as it were in love and mercy, to embrace the World. See His sacred side pierced, and streams of life thence flowing forth; streaming backward through all ages, even to the fall of man, hallowing all the sacrifices of Blood and Water in the Levitical and Patriarchal Churches, and flowing forward, in living rivers of Paradise, in the Baptismal Waters and Blood of the Eucharist; thus blessing and refreshing all of every age of the Church, and animating and uniting them all, as living branches, in one spiritual Vine t, and as fellow-members, communicating, and, as it were, knit and woven together by veins and arteries in one Body, the Body of Christ*.
* Numbers xxi. 8. John iii. 14.
† John xv. 1.
Thus, while we stand with the Evangelist St. John on Calvary, and look on Him Whom our sins have pierced, we see in Christ crucified the one fountain and well-spring of all the grace that now flows, ever has flowed, or ever will flow, to men, whether in Legal Sacrifices or in Evangelical Sacraments; we behold the one Source of all spiritual life to all who by faith and obedience have been, or ever will be, justified and sanctified upon earth, and hereafter glorified in heaven.
Thus, also, we learn to behold the present in the past, and to read our own history in that of the ancient People of God. When they marched from Egypt to Canaan, God smote the stony Rock in the desert, and the water gushed out, and the streams flowed in dry places t. In that smitten Rock we behold Christ pierced. They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ In those streams issuing from the hard cliff in the sandy desert, and refreshing the people in their weary pilgrimage, and making herbs and flowers to grow and blossom on their banks, we see the sacramental graces which flow from the wounded side of the Rock of Ages , our loving Saviour; and which, when
* 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13. Col. i. 24.
# 1 Cor. x. 4.
received with the affectionate yearnings of love and desire which animate the heart of the true Israelites, whose souls are athirst for the living God, as the hart desireth the water-brooks *, change our Carmels into Sharons, and make the desert of our life to blossom as the rose.
No one will here imagine that in thus asserting the use and necessity of Sacraments, where they may be had, for spiritual health and everlasting salvation, we are thereby asserting that Salvation is necessitated by Sacraments. No; Sacraments are not physical causes, but moral instruments, of salvation; and unless they are received with the dispositions which God requires as the conditions of their efficacy, they are unavailing, vain, and fruitless, yea, they will aggravate our guilt, and increase our condemnation. And, alas! we all know that the grace of God is too often received in vain. We know that, of those who dipped their vessels in the fresh streams which gushed from the rock and flowed on the sand in the desert, and drank—they, themselves, and their cattle
from the fresh river, many rebelled against God, and their carcases fell in the wilderness t. They were destroyed of the destroyer t. And they were figures of us g.
But, did they who drank not, live?
All who receive Sacraments are not saved by Sacraments. But will
* Psalm xlii. 1. # 1 Cor. x. 10.
† Heb. iii. 17.