OF THE SACRAMENT OF THE ALTAR.
As we treated the subject of holy Baptism, so we must likewise speak of the other sacrament; namely, of these three parts: What it is, what it confers, and who should receive it. And all these are manifested by the words in which it was instituted by Christ, and which every one should know, who wishes to be a Christian, and desires to approach the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. For we are not disposed to permit those to approach the Sacrament, nor to administer it to them, who do not know what they seek there, or why they approach it. The words, however, are these:
"Our Lord Jesus Christ, the night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat, this is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
"Likewise after the supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying: Drink ye all of this; this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sins. Do this, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."
Here also, we shall not enter into discussion, nor contend with those who blaspheme and desecrate this sacrament; but we shall first consider, as we did with respect to Baptism, on what the power and virtue of this sacrament depend, and show that the principle thing is, the word and ordinance, or command of God; for it was neither devised nor invented by any man, but it was instituted by Christ without the counsel and deliberation of any man. Therefore, as the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Creed, retain their nature and dignity, even if you never keep, repeat, or believe them; so this venerable sacrament retains its validity, and nothing is impaired or taken from it, even if we do use and treat it unworthily. Do you suppose that God pays such deference to our deeds or faith, as to permit his ordinance and institution to change for such reasons? For we see that in all temporal affairs, every thing remains as God has created and ordered it, in whatever manner we use and treat it. This should always be inculcated; for by this means the murmur of all fanatics can be confounded and silenced; for they view the Sacrament as a work of our own, independent of the Word of God.