Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Alexander Penrose Forbes on the boundaries of the Eucharist

Picture: St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge, U.K.

Alexander Penrose Forbes (1817-1875) was Bishop of Brechin in the Scottish Episcopalian (i.e. Anglican) Church. He was influenced by the Oxford Movement - and in particular Dr Pusey - while a student at Oxford, and graduated in 1846, becoming Bishop of Brechin in 1847. Forbes spent the rest of his life teaching, preaching, praying, pastoring, and significantly growing the Church in his diocese. Not only was he a leader in the Catholic Revival; he was a much loved champion of the poor and working class. The following passages are from his book,
An Explanation of the Thirty-Nine Articles (1898 edition).

"The sacrifice in the Eucharist is substantially the same as the sacrifice of the cross, because the Priest is the same in both, and the Victim is the same in both, just as the sacrifice which Christ the eternal Priest is now presenting to His Father in heaven is the same which He offered upon the cross, because He Himself is the same Victim and Priest both in one. But there is a difference. There is a difference in the manner of offering. In heaven Christ is not offering Himself in the same manner as He did upon the cross." (page 609)

"That one sacrifice and its all-sufficient merits live on, as in our Lord's perpetual presentation of Himself in heaven, so in our Eucharistical oblation of His body and blood sacramentally present on our altars. We have nothing apart from that one sacrifice; our Eucharistic oblation is not something in and for itself, something independent of that one sacrifice, even while it pleaded it. Such is its union with that sacrifice that it is a perpetual application of its virtue, yet not as something distinct, but as united with it through the oneness of that which is offered, that same body of Christ offered on the cross to make atonement for the sins of the whole world and for each one of us, offered and presented to the Father in heaven and in the Church below, on the 'altar above' and on the Holy Table, in pleading and for application of the atonement once wrought upon the holy cross. On the cross that offering was made once for all with shedding of blood; on earth the offering is made in an unbloody manner, as the ancient Church attests. On the cross that offering merited the salvation of the world; on the altar Christ being risen from the dead dieth no more, but the fruit of that death is made over to the faithful. On the cross the satisfaction was paid; on the altar the memorial of that satisfaction is made to the Father in correspondence with the memorial made upon the celestial altar." (pages 615-616)


Joshua said...

This seems to be almost a direct quotation of the Council of Trent on this subject.

David Chislett said...

"Almost . . ." - especially the first paragraph. In fact, however, Forbes emphasises rather more than Trent the correlation between our Lord's HEAVENLY activity and what happens on our earthly altars. That was a particular theological interest of the Caroline Divines.

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