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a sneer whether Christianity has failed. Our gratitude for that question should be unbounded, since it implies that Christianity ought to have within it force enough to have prevented the greatest catastrophe of history. Let us thank God that the world has asked the question. But let us not try to answer the world with its own wisdom.

Chauncey Brewster Tinker.

Eucharistic Doctrine and Reservation


OME months ago I was asked by one of our most beloved and respected bishops to write him a letter defining my ideas with regard to the lawfulness of Reservation. The connection between Eucharistic doctrine and the history of Reservation has always been very close, and the tenor of my letter to him was in large measure determined by this fact. A few friends to whom I ventured to show the letter advised me to convert it into an article for publication. The result of following this advice is here given. There has been rearrangement and expansion, but no attempt to remove all traces of the epistolary style.


It should be clear that the doctrine of the Real Presence of our Lord's Body and Blood in the consecrated Sacrament needs to be reckoned with in any intelligent consideration of the question of Reservation. It is the standpoint of belief in that doctrine which explains both the origin of the custom of reserving for the sick and the later devotional developments connected with Reservation.

The phrase" Real Presence " has become ambiguous because, thanks to philosophical developments and to much controversy, both of the words, "real" and "presence", have ceased to retain fixed meanings. I therefore begin by defining their traditional use. According to that use, to call the presence "real"

means that it is of objective nature and independent of our faith or apprehension of it. The word " presence means an identification, that is sacramental identification, of what is present with the local thing or consecrated bread and wine in which it is said to be present. Speaking negatively, it does not mean a realistic or physical presence. That is, it is not after the bodily manner, involving spatial movements from heaven to earth, or any physical change which would destroy the reality of the bread and wine after their consecration. In brief, the doctrine is not materialistic, but describes a spiritual mystery transcending definition; although it makes the consecrated elements the locus and medium of our laying hold of the unseen gift. The nerve of the doctrine lies in the thought that this spiritual mystery is achieved by the consecration itself, prior to communion, and with as long a continuance as the existence of the elements themselves - that is, the presence continues until the elements are destroyed either by human consumption of them or by corruption.

Such a doctrine we deduce from the fact that the Sacrament constitutes an objective entity entitled to our Lord's descriptive words, "This is My Body, "This is My Blood." It is, of course, to be admitted that our Lord's language was symbolical, but it was not metaphorical. The difference is this. A metaphor has only the value of an analogy. For example, when our Lord described Himself as "the door," He was obviously using only a figure of speech. But a symbol means more than a metaphor. It means a description that is objectively true, but is inadequate to the mystery. Thus we call the Creed a "Symbol of Faith," not meaning that it is merely metaphorical, but that the mysteries set forth in it are vaster than the words which we use can fully


No human language was available which could adequately set forth the meaning of our Lord when He said, "This is My Body." He chose those words because they were the most nearly adequate that could be had. And so they have become the form of sound words" for the Church ever since. He chose them in spite of the obvious risk of their being inter

preted materialistically. Because He did choose them, and used no other terms to express what He meant, we seem bound to emphasize them and to treat them not as figures of speech so much as introductions to a mystery which we cannot fully fathom. Anyhow we seem precluded from accepting any interpretation which would have the effect of reducing, instead of emphasizing, their wonderful significance. We know that we are not here concerned with anything unworthy of God. It is no magic, nor any species of wonder that would subvert natural laws. Rather it is the bringing of what we see into a relation to, and connection with, the unseen Body and Blood of the Lord of Glory.

This brings us to the objectivity of the mystery. In a sense which is too full rather than too defective for the language employed, we hold that the consecrated species are the Body and Blood of Christ, and are to be honored as such. It is true that the consecrated bread and wine are still there as bread and wine, for the Sacrament has two parts. But our apprehension of, and therefore our reverence for, the invisible Body and Blood of Christ, is through the visible bread and wine with which the Lord has mysteriously identified them for our faith. To adore the Sacrament, therefore, is not to adore creaturely elements as such, but is to adore Him as presenting Himself to us in His Body and Blood through the visible things which we see. These visible things give direction to our worship of the invisible, and do not themselves constitute the terminus ad quem of our worship.


On this basis has developed, with time and devout meditation, the idea that the appointed purposes of the Sacrament- Com munion and Memorial-do not exhaust its challenge to devo tion. As St. Augustine said in substance, "We worship what we receive." Nor is this the whole of the development. St. Augustine was thinking of the attitude of communicants when receiving. But if, as has been generally believed, the presence is not limited in time to the moment of communion, then the rev

erence should not be thus limited in time. Naturally, therefore, wherever the Sacrament has been reserved - and Reservation has been general from the second century onward* - there has developed the habit, especially in the West, of honoring the reserved Sacrament. In comparatively modern times the practice of having special services of adoration of the Reserved Sacrament, like that of Benediction, has also developed.

(1) That the doctrine of the Real Presence is a necessary immediate inference from our Lord's words, " This is My Body, etc.," seems unquestionable. But the phrase " Real Presence " must be taken as symbolical, because, as has been explained above, the Lord's words from which their truth is deduced are symbolical. They are then inadequate and inceptive. They indicate a true line of apprehension rather than define the mystery. There is a Real Presence in the Sacrament such as is nowhere else afforded; but its objectivity is not a subversion of what we see the elements- so much as an identifying relation between them and what we do not see, except by faith. This relation makes them the objective channel of our access in the Sacrament to the unseen Lord.

(2) We must distinguish this Eucharistic Presence from the mystical Presence of Christ in His Church. In His glory, our Lord is so transcendent that we need more than one way of reaching Him; and the objective or Eucharistic way is as needful as is the mystical way. The two Presences are each of a distinct kind, and are complementary rather than mutually substitutionary.

(3 The wide-spread craving for an objective meeting-point with God-one that is outside ourselves and is focused in place - seems to be God-given; so that we may expect it to be satisfied somehow in divine arrangements. The craving referred to, like every vital, human thing, is subject to grave abuse. But it is too universal to be regarded otherwise than as an element of our created nature. Men have never succeeded in retaining an effective worship of God as a personal Being without some form

*For evidence of this, see W. H. Freestone's The Sacrament Reserved. Being No. xxi of Alcuin Club Collections. It covers the first twelve centuries.

of objectification. Even when he forbade the Israelites to devise images for public worship, God authorized the arrangements in the tabernacle which made the Mercy Seat the objective and local focus of their sacrificial worship. There was no image, because the Image of God had not yet been revealed. The Incarnation was the revelation of the true Image, Jesus Christ our Lord. And the Holy Eucharist has by the Lord's teaching been so identified with Him as His Body and Blood, that it has become the continuance of the objective worship of the unseen God through His Son, Jesus Christ. You will observe that this worship is the worship of Him as objectively outside ourselves. Our mystical relation with Him in His Body has another purpose. The consecrated species, then, take the place of the old Mercy Seat, but with this important difference. The Mercy Seat merely suggested the unseen God, whereas the Sacrament enables us under its local and physical conditions to lay hold of the Body and Blood of Him in Whom we find our God. My reading of history teaches me that wherever men lose hold on this objective aspect of worship they soon cease to worship at all. For example, Protestants today have lost the art of worship and go to their churches primarily for subjective edification.

(4) I think that the Bishop of Oxford errs in asking us to be content with Christ in us, as distinguished from Christ objectively present in the Sacrament. In the first place, the presence of Christ in our hearts after Communion is not an "objective " presence in the sense in which we have been speaking, but rather a deepening of that relation between us and Christ which our membership of the Mystical Body initiates. It is not in line with worship, as is the Real Presence, but with spiritual sustenance. In the second place, we need both worship and sustenance, for they are complements and not mutual substitutes.

(5) Once consecrated, the Sacrament can never be regarded as losing its value as a medium of worship so long as it remains, sacramentally speaking, the Body and Blood of Christ. It is perfectly true that the Sacrament was not ordained for the purpose of Reservation; but if you have Reservation as incidental to carrying out Christ's appointed purpose, then you have con

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