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the Eucharist, for that was the chief service in those times. 'Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is.' We can understand how vividly all these allusions would be felt by the readers, accustomed as they were to the Eucharistic ritual.
That this interpretation is not an arbitrary one will be shown from this consideration. The leading idea is the εἴσοδος τῶν ἁγίων. We know how deeply this idea, as applied to the Eucharist, entered into the mind of the Apostolic Church. The whole ritual of the primitive liturgies is, in fact, grounded on it, and to this day the liturgies of the East are based on it. What kind of an idea it was will be best shown by another quotation from the Liturgy of St. Jamesthe Prayer of the Veil, which belongs to the oldest part.
'We render thanks to Thee, Lord our God, for that Thou hast given us boldness to the entrance in of Thy holy places (eis Tèv doodov Tov ȧyíwv σov), the new and living way which Thou hast consecrated for us, through the Veil, the Flesh of Thy Christ. We therefore, to whom it hath been vouchsafed to enter into the place of the tabernacle of Thy glory, and to be within the Veil, and to behold the Holy of Holies, fall down before Thy goodness. Master, have mercy on us; since we are full of fear and dread, when about to stand before Thy holy altar, and to offer this fearful and unbloody sacrifice for our sins and the ignorances of Thy people.' 1
The second passage we alluded to is Heb. xiii. 10. 'We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.' Let us first see the train of thought by which it is surrounded. The writer starts with the sentiment, 'It is a good thing that the heart be established.' But how ought it to be established? With grace, not with meats.' Grace is the heavenly gift of the Christian dispensation, and it is here set opposite to meats, by which we understand participation in the Jewish sacrifices. Meats are to be rejected because they do not profit. It had been the great object of the Epistle to show the unprofitableness of the Jewish sacrifices, and to set over against them the good things of the Gospel. He therefore, carrying out this thought, goes on to say: 'We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.' This, again, brings up a further thought-the sore subject of separation from Judaism, which the writer had already treated at large. And now he has a parting word upon it. This separation, so painful to you, was really part of God's counsel, and was foreshadowed in the fact that the bodies of those beasts sacrificed for the Day 1 Translation of the Prim. Lit., Neale and Littledale, p. 46.
of Atonement were 'burned without the camp.' shadow was fulfilled when Jesus' suffered without the gate.' So he concludes with an exhortation to them frankly to accept it. Let us go forth, therefore, unto Him without the camp bearing His reproach.'
The question is, What is meant by Ovolaσrýpɩov in the above sentence? From the way in which it is set over against meats-i.e. the Jewish sacrifices-the obvious interpretation would be to take it as denoting the Eucharistic altar. But we see at once how pregnant this meaning would be in view of prevailing opinion. We see how much it implies in regard to Eucharistic doctrine. Hence it is not surprising that efforts have been made to escape from it. The term θυσιαστήριον has been interpreted metaphorically of the Cross, or, as some prefer, of Christ Himself. St. Thomas Aquinas so interpreted it, and his great authority has done much to determine the views of Roman commentators in the same direction. For obvious reasons the great body of Protestant commentators take the same view. Nevertheless, in our opinion, this view is quite untenable. Several years ago we showed in this Review that it is barred by the very construction of the sentence. The sentence is: We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.' Now, if we take the altar as meaning either the Cross or Christ Himself, how could it be said that those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat of it? What would be the meaning of eating off the altar of the Cross or off Christ viewed as an altar? Surely it would be believing in His atoning sacrifice, giving ourselves to Him, becoming His. But has not every human being the right to do this? If the writer in a previous part of the Epistle expressly said that Christ tasted death for every man,' how can we suppose that he would here contradict himself by excluding from the benefits of that death those who serve the tabernacle?
It is clear that we must understand Ovσiaσrýριov as something that was fenced about by conditions and restrictions; as something which was not open to everyone. And nothing answers to this description but the Eucharistic altar. It was an altar off which neither Jews nor heathen had a right to eat. Not even Christians had a right to approach it till they had gone through a course of preparatory discipline and been baptized. Is there any reason producible against the supposition that the author here calls the Eucharistic table an altar? We know of none except a priori prejudice. There is an idea that the Apostolic Church began in Protestant
simplicity, and that it took two hundred years before this Protestantism could change into Catholicism. Hence any indication to the contrary is regarded as improbable, and is explained away. But this presupposition does not answer to the facts. If we consider the whole purport of what has gone before in the Epistle, we see that it is not only natural that he should call the Eucharistic table an altar; it is almost of necessity. Surely if the Eucharist embodied, mystically, the Perfect Sacrifice, and if the real celebrant is the great 'High Priest over the House of God,' that whereon it is celebrated is not only an altar, but it is the only thing on earth which has a right to be called an altar. And all the surroundings of the writer make it extremely probable that he should call it so. We have seen how naturally, and as a matter of course, the Liturgy of St. James, re-echoing Apostolic times, calls it an altar. Then we have St. Ignatius, who was instructed and ordained by Apostles, repeatedly designating it so. We have St. Clement of Rome calling the Eucharist a sacrifice, which implies it; and we have St. Paul himself, in a metaphor, pointing to the Eucharist in the same
But the case of St. Paul merits more particular attention because, if not directly at least indirectly, he was the author of the Epistle and responsible for its contents. Is there anything in the writings of St. Paul that would make it probable, or at least natural to suppose he would call the Eucharistic table an altar. There is the passage, I Cor. x. 18, in which he speaks of the Eucharistic table as τραπέζα τοῦ Κυρίου. Let us examine it, and see what result it yields.
The passage is as follows:
'Behold Israel after the flesh; are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God; and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils; ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's Table and of the table of devils.'
It is observable that here we have the same contrast as in the passage in Hebrews. Here as there the Lord's Table is set over against the Jewish sacrifices. And this affords a strong reason against explaining away @voiaσrnpiov in the Epistle to the Hebrews. If it can be explained away in the Hebrews it ought to be explained away also here. But it is plainly impossible to do so. In the passage to the Hebrews
it is just possible to take Ovotaστýpiov as a metaphor for the Cross, and to take 'eating' as synonymous with faith. Here the τραπέζα τοῦ Κυρίου cannot be so dealt with. It must be taken as a material erection, and the cup which is drunk from it must, in its earthly aspect, be a cup which can be handled and applied to the lips. There was in the Apostolic Church a Eucharistic table from which communicants partook, and if the writer to the Hebrews calls it an altar that is no reason why we should suppose he is not speaking of it. But the most interesting question connected with the passage we have quoted above, is whether in the view of St. Paul the τρaжέča was not a true altar. We think there can be no doubt upon this point. It is put in contrast with the altar of the Jews, and the TpapέÇa of the devils. No one doubts that both these were truly and properly altars. The Jewish altar is expressly so called by St. Paul; and, if he calls that of the devils a Tpapέça, he implies that it was an altar by indicating that sacrifice was eaten off it. Hence by implication that which is eaten and drunk off the Lord's Table is also sacrifice and the Lord's table is an altar. This is quite clear if we look at the idea which forms the basis of the contrast or comparison. According to this idea all the three celebrations-the Jewish, the Heathen, and the Christian-had this in common, that, by means of sacrifice offered and partaken of, they sought communion with an invisible power. The sacrifice which the Jew offered was in the idea of St. Paul an imperfect one, because it was after the flesh;' the sacrifice of the heathen was positively wicked and abominable, because it was offered to devils and brought about communion with devils. Only the sacrifice of the Christians was perfect, and brought about communion with God. Hence we see that in this passage St. Paul not only views the Eucharistic τραπέζα as a θυσιαστήριον, but he views that which is celebrated on it as a sacrifice; and this is of great importance in interpreting the passage in Hebrews. If St. Paul penned the passage, as is most probable (for the whole thirteenth chapter looks like part of the original Epistle), we see there is no reason why he should not call the Eucharistic table a θυσιαστήριον.
There is much more that might be said on this point; but we cannot pursue the subject farther. The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the most momentous documents in the Canon. It is a simple historical fact (whatever view we may personally take of the Epistle) that it elevated the Eucharistic mystery, and fixed it for all time in the mind of the Church. What the Eucharist might have become without this grand
Epistle as a guide, it is impossible to say. Our only regret is that no Catholic scholar has in recent times made a study of the Epistle. Something has indeed been done by Mr. Sadler, of whose performance we shall give our estimate further on. But what is wanted is a Catholic treatise of the highest scholarship. As it is, the Epistle has been left almost entirely in the hands of Protestant theologians, or of those who are imperfectly imbued with Catholic principles. Far be it from us to depreciate the labours of these scholars. On the contrary we think them of the greatest importance, and essential to a complete understanding of the Epistle. It cannot, however, be denied that this leaves the exposition entirely one-sided. There is a whole side or aspect of the Epistle which has never been appreciated. Expositors proceeding upon an a priori view of what the writer must have believed and taught have been unable to see the facts which lay before them. The case of Ovσiaσrnpiov is only one of many others. There are in the Epistle a multitude of indications which, if carefully examined and pieced together, would yield a view of the Apostolic Church very different from what is generally supposed. All we can do is to commend this undertaking to our younger theologians.
ART. II. RECENT WORKS ON THE GOSPELS.
1. The First Three Gospels: their Original Relations. By J. ESTLIN CARPENTER, M.A. (London, 1890.) 2. The Composition of the Gospels: a Critical Inquiry. By the Rev. ARTHUR WRIGHT, M.A. (London, 1890.) 3. The Living Christ and the Four Gospels. By R. W. DALE, LL.D. (London, 1890.)
THE work of Mr. Estlin Carpenter is published under the auspices of a Sunday School Association. We do not know that we can recommend it to the clergy in search of books for circulation either among the teachers or pupils of their Sunday Schools-and that not merely on account of the conclusions at which it arrives, but on account of the purely rationalistic character of its method. Sunday Schools exist for moral and spiritual ends. It does not seem to us that there is any more moral or spiritual help to be gained from Mr. Carpenter's criticism, unmixed and unillumined as it is