17 In the following year, when the chief theologians of the Augsburg Confession assembled from all Germany at Smalcald, and deliberated as to what to present in the Council concerning this doctrine of the Church, by common consent the Smalcald Articles were composed by Dr. Luther and signed by all the theologians, jointly and severally, in which the proper and true meaning is clearly expressed in short, plain words, which agree most accurately with the words of Christ, and every subterfuge and loophole is barred to 18 the Sacramentarians (who had interpreted a the Formula of Concord, that is, the above-mentioned articles of union, framed the preceding year, to their advantage, as saying that the body of Christ is offered with the bread in no other way than as it is offered, together with all His benefits, by the Word of the Gospel, and that by the sacramental union nothing else than the spiritual presence of the Lord Christ by faith is meant); 19 for they b declare: The bread and wine in the Holy Supper are the true body and blood of Jesus Christ, which are offered and received, not only by the godly, but also by godless Christians c.
20 Dr. Luther has also more amply expounded and confirmed this opinion from God's Word in the Large Catechism, where it is written: What, then, is the Sacrament of the Altar? Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in and under the bread and wine, which we Christians are commanded by the Word of Christ to eat and to drink. 21 And shortly after: It is the 'Word,' I say, which makes and distinguishes this Sacrament, so that it is not mere bread and wine, but is, and is called. the body and blood of Christ. 22 Again: With this Word you can strengthen your conscience and say: If a hundred thousand devils, together with all fanatics, should rush forward, crying, How can bread and wine be the body and blood of Christ? I know that all spirits and scholars together are not as wise as is the Divine Majesty in His little finger. Now, here stands the Word of Christ: "Take, eat; this is My body. Drink ye all of this; this is the new testament in My blood," etc. Here we abide, and would like to see those who will constitute themselves His masters, and make it different from what He has spoken. 23 It is true, indeed, that if you take away the Word, or regard it without the Word, you have nothing but mere bread and wine. But if the words remain with them, as they shall and must, then, in virtue of the same, it is truly the body and blood of Christ. For as the lips of Christ say and speak, so it is, as He can never lie or deceive.
24 Hence it is easy to reply to all manner of questions about which at the present time men are disturbed, as, for instance, whether a wicked priest can administer and distribute the Sacrament, and such like other points. For here conclude and reply: Even though a knave take or distribute the Sacrament, he receives the true Sacrament, that is, the true body and blood of Christ, just as truly as he who receives or administers it in the most worthy manner. For it is not founded upon the holiness of men, but upon the Word of God. And as no saint upon earth, yea, no angel in heaven, can change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, so also can no one change or alter it, even though it be abused.
25 For the Word, by which it became a sacrament and was instituted, does not become false because of the person or his unbelief. For He does not say: If you believe or are worthy, you will receive My body and blood, but: "Take, eat and drink; this is My body and blood"; 26 likewise: "Do this" (namely, what I now do, institute, give, and bid you take). That is as much as to say, No matter whether you be worthy or unworthy, you have here His body and blood, by virtue of these words which are added to the bread and wine. This mark and observe well; for upon these words rest all our foundation, protection, and defense against all error and temptation that have ever come or may yet come.
27 Thus far the Large Catechism, in which the true presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Supper is established from God's Word; and this d is understood not only of the believing and worthy, but also of the unbelieving and unworthy.
28 But inasmuch as this highly illumined man e foresaw in the Spirit that after his death some would endeavor to make him suspected of having receded from the above-mentioned doctrine and other Christian articles, he has appended the following protestation to his large Confession:
29 Since I see that as time wears on, sects and errors increase, and that there is no end to the rage and fury of Satan, in order that henceforth during my life or after my death some of them may not, in future, support themselves by me, and falsely quote my writings to strengthen their error as the Sacramentarians and Anabaptists begin to do, I mean by this writing to confess my faith, point by point f, before God and all the world, in which I intend to abide until my death, and therein (so help me God!) to depart from this world and to appear before the judgment-seat of Jesus Christ. 30 And if after my death any one should say: If Dr. Luther were living now, he would teach and hold this or that article differently, for he did not sufficiently consider it, against this I say now as then, and then as now, that, by God's grace, I have most diligently, compared all these articles with the Scriptures time and again g, and often have gone over them, and would defend them as confidently as I have now defended the Sacrament of the Altar. 31 I am not drunk nor thoughtless; I know what I say; I also am sensible of what it means for me at the coming of the Lord Christ at the final judgment. Therefore I want no one to regard this as a jest or mere idle talk; it is a serious matter to me; for by God's grace I know Satan a good deal; if he can pervert or confuse God's Word, what will he not do with my words or those of another? Tom. 2, Wittenb., German, fol. 243.
32 After this protestation, Doctor Luther, of blessed memory, presents, among other articles, this also: In the same manner I also speak and confess (he says) concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, that there the body and blood of Christ are in truth orally eaten and drunk in the bread and wine, even though the priests h who administer it i, or those who receive it, should not believe or otherwise misuse it. For it does not depend upon the faith or unbelief of men, but upon God's Word and ordinance, unless they first change God's Word and ordinance and interpret it otherwise, as the enemies of the Sacrament do at the present day, who, of course, have nothing but bread and wine; for they also do not have the words and appointed ordinance of God, but have perverted and changed them according to their own j notion. Fol. 245.
33 Dr. Luther, who, above others, certainly understood the true and proper meaning of the Augsburg Confession, and who constantly remained steadfast thereto till his end, and defended it, shortly before his death repeated his faith concerning this article with great zeal in his last Confession, where he writes thus: I rate as one concoction, namely, as Sacramentarians and fanatics, which they also are, all who will not believe that the Lord's bread in the Supper is His true natural body, which the godless or Judas received with the mouth, as well as did St. Peter and all k saints; he who will not believe this (I say) should let me alone, and hope for no fellowship with me; this is not going to be altered l. Tom. 2, Wittenb., German, fol. 252.
34 From these explanations, and especially from that of Dr. Luther as the leading teacher of the Augsburg Confession, every intelligent man who loves truth and peace, can undoubtedly perceive what has always been the proper meaning and understanding of the Augsburg Confession in regard to this article.
35 For the reason why, in addition to the expressions of Christ and St. Paul (the bread in the Supper is the body of Christ or the communion of the body of Christ), also the forms: under the bread, with the bread, in the bread m, are employed, is that by means of them the papistical transubstantiation may be rejected and the sacramental union of the unchanged essence of the bread and of the body of Christ indicated; 36 just as the expression, Verbum caro factum est, The Word was made flesh n, is repeated and explained by the equivalent expressions: The Word dwelt among us; likewise o: In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; likewise p: God was with Him; likewise q: God was in Christ, and the like; namely, that the divine essence is not changed into the human nature, but the two natures, unchanged, are personally united. r 37 Even as many eminent ancient teachers, Justin, Cyprian, Augustine, Leo, Gelasius, Chrysostom and others, use this simile concerning the words of Christ's testament: This is My body, that just as in Christ two distinct, unchanged natures are inseparably united, so in the Holy Supper the two substances, the natural bread and the true natural body of Christ, are present together here upon earth in the appointed administration of the Sacrament. 38 Although this union of the body and blood of Christ with the bread and wine is not a personal union, as that of the two natures in Christ, but as Dr. Luther and our theologians, in the frequently mentioned Articles of Agreement s in the year 1536 and in other places call it sacramentatem unionem, that is, a sacramental union, by which they wish to indicate that, although they also employ the formas: in pane, sub pane, cum pane, that is, these distinctive modes of speech: in the bread, under the bread, with the bread, yet they have received the words of Christ properly and as they read, and have understood the proposition, that is, the words of Christ's testament: Hoc est corpus meum, This is My body, not as a figuratam propositionem, but inusitatam (that is, not as a figurative, allegorical expression or comment, but as an unusual expression). 39 For thus Justin says: This we receive not as common bread and common drink; but as Jesus Christ, our Savior, through the Word of God became flesh, and on account of our salvation also had flesh and blood, so we believe that the food blessed by Him through the Word and prayer is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. 40 Likewise Dr. Luther also in his Large and especially in his last Confession concerning the Lord's Supper with great earnestness and zeal defends the very form of expression which Christ used at the first Supper.
41 Now, since Dr. Luther is to be regarded as the most distinguished teacher of the churches which confess the Augsburg Confession, whose entire doctrine as to sum and substance is comprised in the articles of the frequently mentioned Augsburg Confession, and was presented to the Emperor Charles V, the proper meaning and sense of the oft-mentioned Augsburg Confession can and should be derived from no other source more properly and correctly than from the doctrinal and polemical writings of Dr. Luther.
42 And, indeed, this very opinion, just cited, is founded upon the only firm, immovable, and indubitable rock of truth, from the words of institution, in the holy, divine Word, and was thus understood, taught, and propagated by the holy evangelists and apostles, and their disciples and hearers.
43 For since our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, concerning whom, as our only Teacher, this solemn command has been given from heaven to all men: Hunc audite, Hear ye Him, who is not a mere man or angel, neither true, wise, and mighty only, but the eternal Truth and Wisdom itself and Almighty God, who knows very well what and how He is to speak, and who also can powerfully effect and execute everything that He speaks and promises, as He says Luke 21, 33: Heaven and earth shalt pass away, but My words shall not pass away; also Matt. 28, 18: All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth,–
44 Since, now, this true, almighty Lord, our Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, after the Last Supper, when He is just beginning His bitter suffering and death for our sins, in those sad last moments, with great consideration and solemnity, in the institution of this most venerable Sacrament, which was to be used until the end of the world with great reverence and obedience t, and was to be an abiding memorial of His bitter suffering and death and all His benefits, a sealing u of the New Testament, a consolation of all distressed hearts, and a firm bond of union of Christians with Christ, their Head, and with one another, in the ordaining and institution of the Holy Supper spake these words concerning the bread which He blessed and gave v: Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you, and concerning the cup, or wine: This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins;–
45 w We are certainly in duty bound not to interpret and explain these words of the eternal, true, and almighty Son of God, our Lord, Creator, and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, differently, as allegorical, figurative, tropical expressions, according as it seems agreeable to our reason, but with simple faith and due obedience to receive the words as they read, in their proper and plain sense, and allow ourselves to be diverted therefrom x by no objections or human contradictions spun from human reason, however charming they may appear to reason.
46 Even as Abraham, when he hears God's Word concerning offering his son, although, indeed, he had cause enough for disputing as to whether the words should be understood according to the letter or with a tolerable or mild interpretation, since they conflicted openly not only with all reason and with the divine and natural law, but also with the chief article of faith concerning the promised Seed, Christ, who was to be born of Isaac, nevertheless, just as previously, when the promise of the blessed Seed from Isaac was given him, he gave God the honor of truth, and most confidently concluded and believed that what God promised He could also do, although it appeared impossible to his reason; so also here he understands and believes God's Word and command plainly and simply, as they read according to the letter, and commits the matter to God's omnipotence and wisdom, which, he knows, has many more modes and ways to fulfil the promise of the Seed from Isaac than he can comprehend with his blind reason;–
47 Thus we, too, are simply to believe with all humility and obedience the plain, firm, clear, and solemn words and command of our Creator and Redeemer, without any doubt and disputation as to how it agrees with our reason or is possible. For these words were spoken by that Lord who is infinite Wisdom and Truth itself, and also can execute and accomplish everything which He promises.
48 Now, all the circumstances of the institution of the Holy Supper testify that these words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which in themselves are simple, plain, clear, firm, and indubitable, cannot and must not be understood otherwise than in their usual, proper, and common signification. For since Christ gives this command y at the table and at supper, there is indeed no doubt that He speaks of real, natural bread and of natural wine, also of oral eating and drinking, so that there can be no metaphor, that is, a change of meaning, in the word bread, as though the body of Christ were a spiritual bread or a spiritual food of souls. 49 Likewise, also Christ Himself takes care that there be no metonymy either, that is, that in the same manner there be no change of meaning in the word body, and that He does not speak concerning a sign of His body, or concerning an emblem z or figurative body, or concerning the virtue of His body and the benefits which He has earned by the sacrifice of His body aa, but of His true, essential body, which He delivered into death for us, and of His true, essential blood, which He shed for us on the tree ab of the cross for the remission of sins.
50 Now, surely there is no interpreter of the words of Jesus Christ as faithful and sure as the Lord Christ Himself, who understands best His words and His heart and opinion, and who is the wisest and most knowing for expounding them; and here, as in the making of His last will and testament and of His everabiding covenant and union, as elsewhere in ac all articles of faith, and in the institution of all other signs of the covenant and of grace or sacraments, as ad circumcision, the various offerings in the Old Testament and Holy Baptism, He uses not allegorical, but entirely proper, simple, indubitable, and clear words; and in order that no misunderstanding can occur, He explains them more clearly with the words: Given for you, shed for you. 51 He also allows His disciples to rest in the simple, proper sense, and commands them that they should thus teach all nations to observe what He had commanded them, the apostles.
52 For this reason, too, all three evangelists, Matt. 26, 26; Mark 14, 22; Luke 22, 19, and St. Paul, who received the same ae after the ascension of Christ af, 1 Cor. 11, 24, unanimously and with the same words and syllables repeat concerning the consecrated and distributed bread these distinct, clear, firm, and true words of Christ: This is My body, altogether in one way, without any interpretation ag and change. Therefore there is no doubt that also concerning 53 the other part of the Sacrament these words of Luke and Paul: This cup is the new testament in My blood, can have no other meaning than that which St. Matthew and St. Mark give: This (namely, that which you orally drink out of the cup) is My blood of the new testament, whereby I establish, seal, and confirm with you men this My testament and new covenant, namely, the forgiveness of sins.
54 So also that repetition, confirmation, and explanation of the words of Christ which St. Paul makes 1 Cor. 10, 16, where he writes as follows: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? is to be considered with all diligence and seriousness ah, as an especially clear testimony of the true, essential presence and distribution of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper. From this we clearly learn that not only the cup which Christ blessed at the first Supper, and not only the bread which Christ broke and distributed, but also that which we break and bless, is the communion of the body and blood of Christ, so that all who eat this bread and drink of this cup truly receive, and are partakers of, the true body and blood of Christ. 55 For if the body of Christ were present and partaken of, not truly and essentially, but only according to its power and efficacy, the bread would have to be called, not a communion of the body, but of the Spirit, power, and benefits of Christ, as the Apology argues and concludes. 56 And if Paul were speaking only of the spiritual communion of the body of Christ through faith, as the Sacramentarians pervert this passage, he would not say that the bread, but that the spirit or faith, was the communion of the body of Christ. But as he says that the bread is the communion of the body of Christ, that all who partake of the consecrated bread also become partakers of the body of Christ, he must indeed be speaking, not of a spiritual, but of a sacramental or oral participation of the body of Christ, which is common to godly and godless Christians ai.
57 This is shown also by the causes and circumstances of this entire exposition of St. Paul, in which he deters and warns those who ate of offerings to idols and had fellowship with heathen devil-worship, and nevertheless went also to the table of the Lord and became partakers of the body and blood of Christ, lest they receive the body and blood of Christ for judgment and condemnation to themselves. For since all those who become partakers of the consecrated and broken bread in the Supper have communion also with the body of Christ, St. Paul indeed cannot be speaking of spiritual communion with Christ, which no man can abuse, and against which also no one is to be warned.
58 Therefore also our dear fathers and predecessors, as Luther and other pure teachers of the Augsburg Confession, explain this statement of Paul with such words that it accords most fully with the words of Christ when they write thus: The bread which we break is the distributed body of Christ, or the common aj body of Christ, distributed to those who receive the broken bread.
59 By this simple, well-founded exposition of this glorious testimony, 1 Cor. 10, we unanimously abide, and we are justly astonished that some are so bold as to venture now to cite this passage, which they themselves previously opposed to the Sacramentarians, as a foundation for their error, that in the Supper the body of Christ is partaken of spiritually only. ak: Panis est communicatio corporis Christi, hoc est, id, quo fit societas cum corpore Christi (quod est ecclesia), seu est medium, per quod fideles unimur Christo, sicut verbum evangelii fide apprehensum est medium, per quod Christo spiritualiter unimur et corpori Christi, quod est ecclesia, inserimur. Translated, this reads as follows: "The bread is the communion of the body of Christ, that is, it is that by which we have fellowship with the body of Christ, which is the Church, or it is the means by which we believers are united with Christ, just as the Word of the Gospel, apprehended by faith, is a means through which we are spiritually united to Christ and incorporated into the body of Christ, which is the Church."
60 For that not only the godly, pious, and believing Christians, but also unworthy, godless hypocrites, as Judas and his ilk, who have no spiritual communion with Christ, and go to the Table of the Lord without true repentance and conversion to God, also receive orally in the Sacrament the true body and al blood of Christ, and by their unworthy eating and drinking grievously sin against the body and blood of Christ, St. Paul teaches expressly. For he says, 1 Cor. 11, 27: Whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, sins not merely against the bread and wine, not merely against the signs or symbols and emblems of the body and blood, but shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which, as there am present, he dishonors, abuses, and disgraces, as the Jews, who in very deed violated the body of Christ and killed Him; just as the ancient Christian Fathers and church-teachers unanimously have understood and explained this passage.
61 There is, therefore, a two-fold eating of the flesh of Christ, one spiritual, of which Christ treats especially John 6, 54, which occurs in no other way than with the Spirit and faith, in the preaching and meditation of the Gospel, as well as in the Lord's Supper, and by itself is useful and salutary, and necessary at all times for salvation to all Christians; without which spiritual participation also the sacramental or oral eating in the Supper is not only not salutary, but even injurious and damning an.
62 But this spiritual eating is nothing else than faith, namely, to hear God's Word (wherein Christ, true God and man, is presented to us, together with all benefits which He has purchased for us by His flesh given into death for us, and by His blood shed for us, namely, God's grace, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and eternal life), to receive it with faith and appropriate it to ourselves, and in all troubles and temptations firmly to rely, with sure confidence and trust, and to abide in the consolation that we have a gracious God, and eternal salvation on account of the Lord Jesus Christ. ao
63 The other eating of the body of Christ is oral or sacramental, when the true, essential body and blood of Christ are also orally received and partaken of in the Holy Supper, by all who eat and drink the consecrated bread and wine in the Supper–by the believing as a certain pledge and assurance that their sins are surely forgiven them, and Christ dwells and is efficacious in them, but by the unbelieving for their judgment and condemnation, 64 as the words of the institution by Christ expressly declare, when at the table and during the Supper He offers His disciples natural bread and natural wine, which He calls His true body and true blood, at the same time saying: Eat and drink. For in view of the circumstances this command evidently cannot be understood otherwise than of oral eating and drinking, however, not in a gross, carnal, Capernaitic, but in a supernatural, incomprehensible way; 65 to which afterwards the other command adds still another and spiritual eating, when the Lord Christ says further: This do in remembrance of Me, where He requires faith ap.
66 Therefore all the ancient Christian teachers expressly, and in full accord with the entire holy Christian Church, teach, according to these words of the institution of Christ and the explanation of St. Paul, that the body of Christ is not only received spiritually by faith, which occurs also outside of aq the Sacrament, but also orally, not only by believing and godly, but also by unworthy, unbelieving, false, and wicked Christians. As this is too long to be narrated here, we would, for the sake of brevity, have the Christian reader referred to the exhaustive writings of our theologians.
67 Hence it is manifest how unjustly and maliciously the Sacramentarian fanatics (Theodore Beza) deride the Lord Christ, St. Paul, and the entire Church in calling this oral partaking, and that of the unworthy, duos pilos caudae equinae et commentum, cuius vel ipsum Satanam pudeat, as also the doctrine concerning the majesty of Christ, excrementum Satanae, quo diabolus sibi ipsi et hominibus illudat, that is, they speak so horribly of it that a godly Christian man should be ashamed to translate it.