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therefore to be sought for in the sacrament, but in the worthy receiver of the sacrament.”1
Now in considering this answer, the whole stress is to be laid on the words “sought for.” Hooker's argument runs something after this fashion-Since all parties are happily agreed that the worthy communicant profitably and savingly partakes of the Body and the Blood of Christ, “wherefore should the world continue still distracted and rent with so manifold contentions?” 2 The Real Presence is not to be “sought for” save in yourselves : refrain therefore from further questionings, concentrate your thoughts on the Divine purpose of the Eucharist—the Gift of the Body and the Blood of Christ. Regard the matter as it affects you eventually, and not in any earlier stage of its working. Refrain from carrying inquiry further back than this, into the region of heated, barren, endless controversy. The reality of the Gift cannot be called in question : the all-absorbing matter is the worthy reception of that Gift. Seek for the Real Presence in the fulfilment of Christ's promise to bestow his Body and his Blood ; consider the use and force of the Sacrament; and steadily refuse to be drawn aside into discussions as to any earlier stage of the Eucharistic mystery. “I wish,” 1 Bk. V. ch. lxvii. $ 6.
2 Ibid. § 2.
continues Hooker, “that men would more give themselves to meditate with silence what we have by the sacrament, and less to dispute of the manner how.” 1 “ What these elements are in themselves it skilleth not, it is enough that to me which take them they are the body and blood of Christ.” 2
In endeavouring to estimate aright Hooker's belief as touching the Real Presence, we cannot pass over his other words—“ This bread hath in it more than the substance which our eyes behold.” 3 It is hardly open to doubt that Richard Hooker personally believed in the Real Objective Presence, sacramentally identified with the elements, previous to reception ; but that, in the face of the state of the Eucharistic controversy in his day, he desired to divert attention from current contentions and disputings, and to urge men in the interests of peace to seek “the fulfilment of Christ's words where beyond debate or doubt it was to be found, in all reality and perfection, in the glorious coming of the Incarnate Son of God, through the Sacrament of his Body and Blood, to dwell within the soul of man.” Had the question been put to Hooker, point blank,
1 Bk. V. ch. lxvii. $ 3. 2 Ibid. § 12. 3 Ibid. $ 12. 4 Paget, Introduction to Hooker, Bk. V., p. 175.
Do you believe that our Lord is spiritually present in, or sacramentally identified with, the elements by means of consecration, and this previous to reception of the Sacrament? he would in all probability have replied,
-I believe such to be the case in virtue of our Lord's institution and promise; but since the matter is one seriously disturbing the peace of the Church, and one upon which agreement seems hopeless, I desire men not to fasten their attention upon it, but to go beyond by concentrating their minds on the central and dominant and high and awful truth, in which all are agreed, namely, Jesus Christ gives himself to the devout communicant in the Sacrament: this is the event which ultimately and really signifies, therefore let controversy as to how, when, and where, alone: fix all your attention, not on the process, but on the resultant-in the Eucharist you receive the Lord's Body and Blood—“the Real Presence of Christ's most blessed Body and Blood is to be sought for in the worthy receiver of the Sacrament :” trouble yourselves no further.
If, judged by the standard of antiquity, Hooker's teaching appears unsatisfactory and inadequate, as is doubtless the case, we cannot but reverence the great man as he gives utterance to thoughts and longings, the fruits of long and reverent meditation on the subject of the stupendous mystery, which others of his day had dragged out into the fierce light of distracting and fruitless disputation. Anyway his teaching is an eager, humble plea for peace on the high ground and in the calm air of undisputed truth.'
The following words of one who in his day was a courageous and serious exponent of the belief of the Primitive times regarding Eucharistic truth, and who for a long period studied Hooker's writings with extraordinary attention, may here be noted. John Keble wrote
“I will say at once that I do not agree with those expressions of Hooker which are commonly quoted in proof that he denied a Real Objective Presence. I question, however, whether he really meant to deny any but a gross, corporal, carnal Presence; and I think there is this essential difference between his judgment and this recent that Hooker is pleading for the Sacramentarian opinion as tolerable, the other enforces it exclusively, and thereby, among other results, entirely abolishes the real Commemorative Sacrifice of our Lord's Body and Blood offered by Him on our altars on earth, in union with
li.e. the idea of connecting the Presence simply with reception.
that which He is continually offering in heaven : the continual óvapennois of His precious death, until His coming again.'
“ I am forced to feel that Hooker, making the best of it for Calvin and his school, has been led on this subject, as on the Apostolical Succession, to use language inconsistent with what I believe to be a vital doctrine of the Gospel’; but he has not, as some now, made his construction matter of anathema . ... One word more about the great and good man. It goes to one's heart to criticize him ; but might it not be said that he has forgotten his own rules in this matter? • When a literal interpretation will stand, the furthest from the letter is commonly the worst.' I suppose that Antiquity took the literal interpretation of the words of institution, without pretending to explain how
1 Mr. Keble here refers to our Lord's words of administration which are recorded, as His words of consecration which are not recorded, in the Gospels. No "words of institution," strictly speaking, are set down, if by that expression the form used by our Lord in consecrating the elements is meant. We are told that “ He gave thanks ” and “ blessed”; but with what words, we know not. The words recorded—“This is my Body : This is my Blood,” are words of administration only, declaring the effect of the previous "giving thanks" and "blessing."
2 Keble, Letters of Spiritual Counsel and Guidance. Parker, 1885, 5th ed., cxxi. Mr. Keble has some further remarks upon Hooker's teaching on the Eucharist in his Eucharistical Adoration, 3rd ed. 1867, ch. iv. pp. 124, 125.