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HE Eternal Son of God took our nature upon Him-a nature composed of a body of flesh and blood, in which, in some
mysterious but real way, there resides an intelligent spirit. Our LORD took this nature in order that He might redeem it by the Sacrifice of Himself upon the Altar of the Cross. He “made there, by His one Oblation of Himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient Sacrifice, Oblation, and Satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.”
But our Lord took our flesh, not only that He might give it in Sacrifice, but also that He might, in some heavenly and spiritual way, feed us with it; for He said “I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven,” and “the Bread that I will give is My Flesh which I will give for the life of the world” (John vi. 51). To this “eating of His Flesh” our Saviour joined the “drinking of His Blood : " for He said, “ Except ye eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you” (John vi. 53), and He then proceeded to connect the greatest possible benefits both of body and soul with this “eating of His Flesh,” and this “drinking of His Blood,” for He said, with reference to our bodies, Whoso eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John vi. 54); and with reference to our souls He said “He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood dwelleth in Me, and I in him ” (John vi. 56). That He could not have meant by all this an ordinary eating and drinking to sustain the body is clear from His words, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing : the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John vi. 63). Now in soine sense His Flesh must profit, or He would not have said 'My Flesh is meat indeed.” And yet that His Flesh can only profit those who in some spiritual way receive it, and believe His words, is clear from His saying, “ It is the spirit that quickeneth. The words that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life.
Never on any other occasion does He use such mysterious language except on the night on which He eat His last Passover with His disciples, and then “ The Lord Jesus, the same night on which He was betrayed, took bread : and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is My Body which is given for you : This do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup when He had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in My Blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me."
Our Lord by this act, and by these words, reminded His disciples of His former words respect. ing eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood, and furnished them with the means of doing so.
If our Lord had continually mentioned this cating of His Flesh in connection with other
things, as, for instance, with following Him, or with relying on His merits, then there might have been a doubt as to whether He intended to give us in the Last Supper the means by which we are to receive the benefits which He joined with “eating His Flesh ” and “ drinking His Blood ;” but when we find that the one only direction which He ever gave us respecting the eating of His Flesh He gave at the time when He ordained this Holy Sacrament; and when we find also that the only explanation He gave to men respecting the eaning of the Holy Sacrament was when He spake in the synagogue at Capernaum respecting eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood, then we cannot but regard the Holy Communion as the means ordained by Himself whereby we are to receive the wondrous blessings which He has Himself made to depend upon the “eating of His Flesh ” and the "drinking of His Blood.”
Our Church has very closely connected the words respecting eating Christ's Flesh contained in John vi. with the due and faithful reception of the Sacrament of our Lord's Body and Blood. She has told us that “the benefit is great, if with a true penitent heart and lively faith we receive that Holy Sacrament, for then we spiritually eat the Flesh of Christ, and drink His Blood, then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us, we are one with Christ and Christ with us.” She also directs us to pray that we may
so eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood” " that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us,” and inasmuch as our Lord joins the Resurrection of our bodies with the eating of His Flesh, the Church directs her ministers to give the consecrated Bread to each person with the words :