Thus, then, we have the whole doctrine of the Sacrament, both what it is in itself, and the benefits it confers. Now we must also consider who the person is that experiences this efficacy and benefit. To show this in the briefest manner, we say, as we did in reference to Baptism, that whoever believes this, receives what the words declare and offer. For they are not declared and revealed to wood and stone, but to those who hear them, and to whom he says, Take and eat. And since he offers and promises forgiveness of sins, it cannot be received otherwise than through faith. Such faith he himself requires in these words, when he says, Given for you, and shed for you; as if he should say, I give you my body and blood, and bid you eat and drink, in order that you may embrace and enjoy them. Now whoever permits this to be declared to him, and believes it to be true, enjoys it; but whoever does not believe, receives no benefit, inasmuch as he allows it to be presented to him in vain, and desires not to enjoy this salutary blessing. This treasure is indeed set apart and placed before the door, yea, upon the table, for all; but you are required to embrace it, and firmly to believe what the words declare it to be.

Now this is the whole Christian preparation for receiving this sacrament worthily. For since this treasure is wholly presented to us in the words, it cannot be apprehended and applied otherwise than by the heart; for we cannot lay hold on this gift and eternal treasure with our hands. Fasting and prayer, may indeed be an external preparation and exercise for the young, to enable them to conduct and demean themselves modestly and reverently towards the body and blood of Christ; but that which is given in and through this sacrament, the body cannot apprehend and appropriate, but the faith of the heart does it, which perceives and desires this treasure. Let this suffice, being as much as is necessary for general instruction concerning this sacrament; for whatever is necessary further to be said in reference to it, belongs to another occasion.


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