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9. Of the Elements

Antiquities of the Christian Church
XVI. Of the Lord's Supper

9. Of the Elements. 

a) Of the Bread

  1. Quality of the bread. The question whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the sacrament, has been the subject of a spirited dispute between the Greek and Latin churches. The former contended for the use of leavened, the latter of unleavened bread. Without attempting to follow our author through his protracted discussion of this question; suffice it to say, as the result of his investigation, that no rule was given by our Lord on this subject. It is even uncertain whether he used the unleavened bread of the passover or common bread at the institution of the supper.

    The early christian writers make no mention of the use of unleavened bread in celebrating the Lord's supper.

    The bread for the sacrament was supplied from the oblations which the communicants presented at the commencement of the solemnity, and was, probably, the same as that which was in common use.

    From the seventh century, the church at Rome used unleavened bread; and the church at Constantinople continued the use of common fermented bread, but the controversy between the two churches on the subject originated with Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople in the year 1053.

    Protestants regard the quality of the bread as of no importance. For the most part they discontinued, at the reformation, the use of unleavened bread. But the Lutherans still continue it. 

  2. Form of the bread. The eucharistic bread in the church of Rome is styled the host, hostia. It consists of cakes of meal and water, made small, circular, and thin like wafers, by which name it is frequently called. These wafers have been known by various names, as "panes eucharistici, sacrament ales, orbiculares, tesselaii, reticulati, placentae or biadares, nebula, and spuma panis, crustula farracea, coronae, panes numularii, denaria sacramentorum, etc. By the enemies of religion it has also been stigmatized with various opprobrious epithets.

    The host seems to have been used in the form above mentioned since the rise of the controversy with the Greek church in 1053.

    The use of these thin cakes is discarded by most of the reformed churches; but retained by the Lutherans.

b) Of the Wine. 

  1. Color of the wine. The common wine of Palestine is of a red or dark color. Such was the wine which our Saviour used at the sacrament, as it would seem both from the nature of the case and from the declaration this is my blood, as well as from the scriptural expression, the blood of the grape, etc. The color of the wine was not considered as essential, but the red wines were generally preferred to the white. 
  2. Of the mixture of wine with water. The ancient churches universally mixed water with the sacramental wine. This mixture was called *, misceo. By the Latin authors it was styled mixtum, temperatiim. Some speak of this mixing of wine with water as an express precept of Christ. Others rely upon precedent, and early usage for authority. But whatever may have been the origin of this custom it was abundantly authorized by the canons of the church. 

    The Armenians used wine alone; others used only water; but both were condemned as heretics.

    Protestants, at the reformation, abandoned this ancient rite of the church, not as being unlawful or injurious, but because it was maintained by the Catholics merely on the ground of ecclesiastical authority.

    The proportion of water mixed with the wine varied at different times. Sometimes it was one fourth; at others, one third. The Western church mixed cold water only. The Greek church first mixed cold water, and afterwards added warm water, just before the distribution. This was said to be emblematical, at once of the fire of the Holy Spirit, and of the water which flowed from our Savior's side. 

    Various other idle questions relating to the sacred elements at times agitated the church; and various superstitious ceremonies were observed by different branches of the church, which it were superfluous to mention in detail. With some it was a question of what material the bread should be made – whether of the flour of wheat, or barley, or of that of some other grain. Others mingled salt and oil with the bread. Some substituted water for wine. Others used mingled wine. Indeed, this sacred ordinance of the Lord's supper, in itself so simple and so impressive, has been dishonored, at times, by casuistical discussions too ridiculous to be gravely related; and desecrated by rites too horrible to be mentioned.

J. Fr. Budeus, De Symbolis Eucharisiicis. – Parerga Hist. Theol.: J. G. Hermann, Historia concertationum de pane azymo et fermentato in Coena Domini: Koriholt, C. Dissertat. de Hostiis s. placentulis orbicularibus, num verus sit Panis – J. A. Schmidt, De Oblatis Eucharisticis quae Hostiae vocari solent: J. A. Schmidt, Dissert. defatis calicis Eucharistici in Ecclesia Romana a Concilio Constantiensi ad nostra usque Tempora: L. T. Spittier, Geschichie des Kelche in Abendmahle.

Bochart, Hieroz. P. 1. lib. ii. c. 12: Buxtorf. Dissert, de Coena Domini, Thes.20.

Cyprian. Ep, 63. ad Caecileum de sacramento Domini Calicis, Augustin. De Doctr. Christi, lib. iv. c. 21.

Iren. adv. Haeres. lib. iv. c. 57: Cone. Carthag. 3. c. 24.

Bellarmin. De Sacram. Euchar. lib. iv. c. 10: Cone. Bracar. 3. (al. 4.) i. c. 1: Cone. Tribur. c. 19: Cone. Trull. 2. c. 32.

Jac. Goari. Eucholog. Gr. ad missam. Chrysost. n. 167: Arcudii, Concord, lib. iii. c. 39: Thom. Aquin. Summa, part iii. Quaest. 83, art. 6: Bona, Rer. Liturg. lib. ii. c. 9. §. 4.

JPauls sit fennentatus, an azyraus; vinum rubrum, an alburn, nihil refert. Ferinentatum et vulgarern panem luifsse ante teinpus Alexandri Romani Episcopi, narrant historiae: qui primus azymo pane delectatus est; qua id ratione, non video, nisi ut plebis oculos novo spectaculo in admirationeni traheret magis, quam ut animos proba religione institueret. Omnes objure, qui vel levi aliquo pietatis studio tanguntur, annon evidenter perspiciant,et quanto praeclarius Dei gloria hie resplendeat, et quanto affluentior spiritualis consolationis suavitas ad fideles transeat, quam in istisfrigidis et histrionicis nugis, quae nullum alium usuin afFerunt, nisi ut stupentis populi sensum fallunt. Calvin. Inst. Chr. Rel. lib. iv. c. 17, § 43. – Panis azymus ne sit an fermentatus, non magnopere putamus laborandum. Beza. Ep. 12, ad Anglic. EccL Patres. – Odiosa excitata est contentio super materia coenae dominicae, contendentibus his, pane azymo, aliis vero fermentato esse utendum. Atqui apud veteres quandam de his nullae raovebantur rixae. Nam ecclesiae pro libertate sua utebantur utroque. Videtur quidem Dominus in prima ilia coena usus esse pane azymo, in raensa ex veteri more celebrandi Paschatis relicto, unde nou paucae ecclesiae infermentato pane usae sunt, quae tamen fermentato pane utentes, non damnabant haereseos. Bullinger. ap. Gerhard. Loc. Theol. X. – Fermentati aeque ac azyrai panis in Eucharistia liber usus est, dum modo ne alteruter ceu necessarius et nullo casu mutabilis praescribatur. Uterque analogiam quandam fundit: ille nutritionis plenioris; hie sinceritatis et sanctitatis, ad quam Eucharistia obligat, majoris, Nostrae ecclesiae usum azymi a Zuinglio, externorum ejusmodi plane incuriosoet interiorum atque spiritualium tenacissimo, retentum, ceu fractioni et distributioni opportuniorem, ut mutarent, hactenus induci non potuerunt, novandi periculum metuentes. Heidegger. Corp. Theol. Christ. Loc. xxv. § 78.

(* denotes Greek text in Rev. Lyman Coleman's translation.)


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