"Send out Your light and Your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling." Psalm 43:3

Thursday, September 20, 2012

E.B. Pusey: Holy Communion

Among the many ways in which he influenced the course of Anglican spirituality, Dr. Pusey was one of the foremost advocates for a return to a doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (I recently published a blog post on the same).  An indication of both the effectiveness of his preaching and the opposition he faced on this issue in 19th century England is the fact that he was barred from the pulpit for two years after preaching what the leadership of Oxford University considered to be a dangerous and erroneous sermon, "The Holy Eucharist, a Comfort to the Penitent".  The following excerpt is from another of his sermons on the subject of the Holy Communion.

The Holy Supper is not a gazing up into heaven after Christ.  No thoughts of Christ, however holy; no longings after Him, however sanctified; no wish to be with Him, however purified; no thoughts on His cross and Passion and Precious Death, however devout; no devotion of self to Him; no acknowledgment of Him as our Priest, Prophet, King, and God; no setting Him up in our hearts as (with the Father and the Holy Ghost) the One Object of our love; no reliance upon Him as the only Anchor of our soul, however real, comes up to the truth.  We ought to meditate on Him, long for Him, desire to be with Him, rely on Him, devote ourselves to Him; pledge ourselves to obey Him, and do what we have pledged.  We should look for His coming, avow Him, be ready in all things, in suffering as in joy, to be partakers with Him, partakers of His Cross, and Death, and Burial.  All this we should be at all times, but all this does not make us yet partakers of Him, for man cannot make himself a partaker of Him; He must give Himself.  As He gave Himself to the Death upon the Cross for our sins, so in the Holy Eucharist must He, if we are to be partakers of Him, give Himself to us.  We have of Him only what He giveth.  All Christian graces, although His work, are but messengers to prepare the way before Him.  Hope but putteth us in that expectant, longing state which He rewardeth; Faith but openeth the door to receive Him; Love or Charity but cleanseth the chamber of our hearts, which He is to inhabit; Repentance but breaketh the heart, and maketh it that contrite or broken spirit, wherein it pleaseth Him to dwell, but all this is not yet He.  He, "the Bread of Life which came down from heaven" must come down also into our hearts, if we are to be partakers of Him.  The Communion is not a mere going up of our hearts to Christ, but a coming down of Him to us.
E. B. Pusey, Parochial Sermons, volume III 

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