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into the rationalist difficulties. round the sun, because he supYou are well aware that if this posed he saw the sun, day by day, kind of reasoning is allowed, the move round it. In all these cases Trinity, the Incarnation, and in scepticism is not the right exercise fact every mystery in the Bible, of reason, but the mere ebullition must be surrendered, for none of of self-conceit. these can be brought down to the But in the matter of the alleged level of mere human reason, or miracle of transubstantiation, the made evident to the perception of case is wholly different. “Many the senses.
subjects,” says an acute writer, Prot. You stopped me prema- “ such as the Trinity and the Incarturely, I was not about to require nation, are beyond the grasp of that either this or any other my- our bodily senses, and indeed of stery should be brought strictly human reason. These are to be within the compass of the human judged of by the testimony of understanding. I only wished to Revelation. But bread and wine discriminate between things that are material substances, and level differ, and to guard against the with the view of our organs of perinference that because in things ception. The sacramental elements which are above the province of can be seen, smelled, touched, and reason, the declarations of Scrip- tasted. Our external organs, say ture must be humbly received ; the advocates of transubstantiation, therefore, in a case in which the are in this institution, deceived, in sense of Scripture is disputed and all men, at all times, and on all disputable, we are at once to sub- occasions.” mit to a proposition which is not “ The patrons of this dogma," merely above, but clearly contrary continues the same writer, “ driven to our reason and to the evidence from all other positions, have reof our senses.
course to the omnipotence of God. This distinction is most impor- Almighty power is a very conve
We find it repeatedly and nient resource; but incomprehenmost explicitly declared in Scrip-7 sibility is to be distinguished from ture, that the Father is God, the impossibility, and mystery from Son God, and the Holy Ghost contradiction. God works many God; and yet there is but one things incomprehensible to man, God. Now we know that three but nothing which in itself is conmen cannot be one man ; but we tradictory. Omnipotence extends have no right to argue from that only to possibility, and not to which we do know of finite beings, inconsistency; to things above, not that which we cannot know of in
contrary to reason.” finite. The matter is above our “ Some miracles,” says another reason's province, but it is not
are evident to sense ; contrary to it. To refuse, there- some are not evident to sense; fore, to believe God's own testi- but this is absolutely contrary to mony as to his own mode of exist.
sense ; and it implies, that our ence, merely because it is too high
senses may be so far deceived as for our comprehension, would be to destroy all dependence on them.” mere arrogant presumption and ig- " It would follow, that we could norant conceit. It would be not
It would be not judge of nothing by our senses ; a whit more rational, whatever we and that he who swears to the might choose to call it, than the identity of any object, runs the determination of a rustic not to risk of perjury. Either, then, our believe that the earth was round, senses, aided by each other, are because he saw a flat surface before him ; nor to admit its motion * Edgar's Variations, p. 383.
sufficient for the examination of (1 Cor. xi. 26.)
Our enquiry, every object of sense, or they are therefore, is, which of these two pot. If they are sufficient, transub- senses is the true one. And into stantiation is false. If they are this enquiry I bring the observation, not sufficient, there is an end at that an actual change of the one once of evidence and of argument substance, bread, into the other
This alleged miracle, then, is substance, flesh, can hardly be prodigious in its nature, beyond meant in any passage of Scripture, all example: it is still more ex- inasmuch as this would be a most traordinary as being performable extraordinary miracle performed by all priests, of all description without any end or object whatand character, and in thousands of ever. I am not, therefore, supplaces at the same time ; and it is posing that God does anything in further incredible as being not vain; on the contrary, I am conmerely above the perception of our tending that no such miracle as senses and our reason, but abso- you allege, is in fact wrought, lutely contrary, and opposed to chiefly because if so wrought, it all such evidence. But I come would be altogether in vain, withnow to observe, that this most out end, and without utility. wonderful of all wonders, this most Rom. Nothing can be more opmiraculous of all miracles, is actu- posed to the truth. So far from ally performed, and that not once, being useless or unproductive, this but millions of times, in fact, per- great truth is the very sun and petually, for no imaginable end or centre of the Catholic system. object whatever. This is the most “ You have seen,' says Dr. Wisestartling feature of the whole affair. man, how this most adorable
Rom. Nay, now you are going sacrament contains the real body quite too far! It is the next step and blood of our Lord and Saviour to blasphemy to assert that God Jesus Christ, who is, consequently does anything in vain. And in therein present, so as to be the this case your allegation is quite
real food of the soul ; and necesin the teeth of our Lord's own sarily the source and means of conwords, “ The bread that I will veying to it that grace whereof he give is my flesh, which I will give is the author.” And thus is supfor the life of the world.” (John plied,“ the want felt by the human vi. 51.)
soul, of some regenerating, invigoProt. You do me injustice. I rating principle, of some living and would not utter a word of the quickening food, fraught with grace description you ascribe to me. I from above, which could bring it would not harbour ever for an in- into communion with the God that stant, the thought that God ever
What a rash and works without necessity or without groundless assertion then, is it to result. But the question we are call this great doctrine an useless now considering, is, whether He and unproductive fancy ! really does, or has ever promised Prot. You have exclaimed and to do, this thing which you ascribe upbraided ; now let us calmly conto him. You allege, that the sider this matter. I am happy to material substance, bread, is observe, that in the passages you changed in every Eucharist, into have just quoted from Dr. Wiseanother substance, Alesh. We can man, the real end and object of the discern no such change with our Sacrament is expressly admitted. bodily eyes; but you ascribe such It is “ to be the food of the soul; a sense to one passage of Scripture, to convey to it grace ; to apply to (Matt. xxvi. 26.) and I find a directly opposite sense in another,
* Wiseman, Lecture XVI. p. 235, 236.
gave it." *
the soul a regenerating, invigora
Word commix itself with the weak ting principle," by means of " liv- nature of man, that, by partaking ing and quickening food, fraught of the divinity, our humanity may with grace from above.” Now be exalted."'* But when such reflect for a moment on the real passages as these have been apmeaning of these expressions, and plaudingly quoted, and eagerly see if they do not convey to your
received, the question yet remains, mind a conviction of the grossness
Does either he who quotes them or and unsoundness of
whole he who receives them, really attheory.
tach any definite or intelligible The object is, to feed, to invi- meaning to these high-sounding gorate, to enliven the soul.
phrases? compel me, by the gross and un- One grand error pervades all spiritual nature of your dogma, to
these statements - namely, a supgo into matters on which I should position that, by some gladly be excused touching. But other, which no one
can underyour theory is, that by the recep- stand or explain, a connexion tion of a certain kind of material exists between the stomach and food into the bodily system, the
the soul ! Our Lord himself had soul is in some way fed and invi- expressly warned
expressly warned his disciples gorated. I must ask, then, when against this error, telling them that it was discovered that any con- “ The Spirit it is that quickeneth, nexion existed between the soul the flesh profiteth nothing;” but and the stomach ; or how it ever this caution is wholly disregarded occurred to any one to deal with by the Romish writers on this our spiritual part through the me- subject. They persevere in condium of our digestive organs ? tending, equally against our Lord's
Pom. Nay, you are now abso- plain declarations, and against the lutely attacking the Sacrament dictates of common sense, that it itself! Can you so soon forget is possible that by some material that it was our Lord's own com- substance eaten, swallowed, and mand, to take bread as his body, digested, a man's heart may be and wine as his blood ; or will
cleansed, his soul renewed to holi. call an ordinance so instituted, a ness, and his spirit quickened in vain or useless ceremony?
the divine life. Would there be Prot. Be it far from me! I any thing more contrary to reason have not uttered one word against in believing it possible to teach a the ordinance ; and if my expres- youth arithmetic by a lotion poured sions have offended you, I will into his ears, or the art of painting merely repeat the words of St. by an eye-water ? Augustine; “Why do you pre- Rom. You will not go the pare your teeth and your stomach ? length of asserting that it is not in Believe only, and you will have God's power, if he so pleases, to
act upon the soul through the meIt is absolutely necessary, if we dium of the internal organs of the would understand this question, to body? examine it very closely. It is easy Prot. No, certainly I shall not enough, I grant, to catch up some propose to place any limits to the glowing passage from one of the
Divine power in
this matter ; early fathers, such as Dr. Wise- but your question brings me to the man has adduced, of which I will very point which I wish now to quote one, from Gregory of Nyssa : press upon your attention.
And therefore does the Divine suggest that it may be God's will
Lect. xvi. p. 227.
* In Johannis Evang. c. 6. Tract 25. NOVEMBER 1838,
to act upon the soul through this or natural connection with the mimedium. I believe, and imagine racle to be performed - it follows that I could easily shew, that there plainly that it must be wholly imis abundant evidence of his inten- material of what that vehicle contions being totally different; and sisted ; and that whether it were that the design of this sacrament mere bread, used as a symbol of was, by periodically and frequently Christ's broken body, or, by some placing before our bodily eyes, signs miraculous increase and multipliand emblems of Christ's broken body cation, the very body itself, the and shed blood, to help our souls to spiritual benefit, the grand thing go out towards him in frequent to be considered, must remain the acts of faith in his atonement, and sąme. Hence it clearly follows, thus to become more and more that your alleged miraculous tranuvited to him by the attachments substantiation, by which thousands of love and gratitude. But sup- of wafers are said to be changed, pose we admit for a moment your every Sunday, into thousands of supposition, that the very sub- Christ's entire body, is wholly unstance swallowed and digested, is necessary, without object, and withmeant to have, through the bodily out utility. organs, a beneficial operation on Inq. I think I perceive the the soul, it must at least be ad- drift of your argument, and can mitted that this beneficial opera- understand its force. As when tion is altogether supernatural and Christ, on one occasion, chose to miraculous ?
remove blindness by the applicaRom. Certainly; there can be tion of clay, formed by spitting no doubt of that.
upon the earth : He might, if he Prot. Then we
come to the bad chosen, have transubstantiated next question, which is this,- that clay into the finest oil. But Bread, eaten and digested, has no neither the oil nor the clay could sort of effect upon the soul, in the cure the want of eyesight, without ordinary course of nature. Flesh, the exertion of his almighty power. whether of man
or of beast, is Each must remain a mere vehicle, equally without power in this res- an instrument, arbitrarily selected pect. It will not be supposed that, by Him who could work with had Christ's human body been equal ease by any means he chose, actually resigned to be eaten by or without the intervention of means the disciples, instead of being at all. In this case he determined, rapt into heaven, it cannot be sup- for wise ends, known only to himposed, I say, that that human body, self, to use the visible medium of irrespective of all supernatural in- clay, a vehicle as simple as the fluence, would have exerted any bread in the last supper. And beneficial influence upon their souls just as the clay and the oil were through that eating. In fact, no alike without virtue in themselves, kind of substance, be it wbat it in the one case, so are the bread may, can operate through the sto- and the flesh in the other. The mach upon the soul, except by a whole efficacy, in each case, dedirect miracle. This you must pends entirely in the virtue super, admit.
naturally conveyed. And just as, Rom. I do not deny your posi- in the one case, Christ did not tion.
change the clay into a medicinal Prot. Then I proceed to con- drug, so, in the other, he does not tend, that the alleged spiritual in- change the bread into flesh. In fluence being wholly miraculous,- the one case the clay was just as and the substance eaten being a good a vehicle of miraculous power mere vehicle, having no necessary as oil would have been ; in the
other, bread is as good a vehicle embracing your doctrine, is just as flesh; and therefore a miracle the same, and can only be removed which, on the one hand, we can- by a prompt submission to that not perceive, and which, on the test from which the priest is said to other, would answer no assignable have shrunk. You now stand end, must be rejected by us until here, avowing that whosoever desome clear scriptural proof can be nies “ the conversion of the whole adduced in its support.
But I substance of the bread into the perceive that our time is nearly body, and of the whole substance gone, What remains of the present of the wine into the blood, so that subject?
only the appearance of bread and Prot. I would endeavour, before wine remain, is to be held ACwe part, to press with all possible CURSED.” I ask you, then, will brevity, upon the mind of our friend
you consecrate a wafer, of the here, the doubt which must ever usual form, size, and colour, which remain, whether he, or any of his I will produce to you to-morrow,and brethren of the Romish church, will you afterwards eat of the same; are really able to convince their I beforehand informing you, that I own minds of the truth of that fact
purpose to make trial thereby of which they so strongly urge upon us. two things: first, your own belief
Rom. I do not quite understand in this miraculous change, and seyou. Why do you thus uncour- condly, the reality of that change teously challenge our sincerity ? itself?
Prot. I will explain myself. Rom. Assuredly I shall be no The anecdote is a well-known one, party to any profane and impious of a lady who, having some suspi- experiments on so great a mystery. cions of the soundness of the Rom- Prot." I admit that you may ish creed, addressed a priest one fairly be permitted to make that day in the following tenor_“ You reply. But I will state the same have now consecrated the bread difficulty in another form. Supand the wine ; and you are sure pose that you were to receive inthat the substance of the bread is formation, that one of the journeyconverted into our Lord's body, and men employed in the manufacture the substance of the wine into his your wafers, harassed with blood ?” Certainly,” was the doubts as to this disputed doctrine, reply. “ Nothing, then, remains, had determined, for his own satisexcept the appearances of bread faction, to try the question in this and wine ; the former substances practical way, and had mingled having been entirely converted into some noxious or poisonous ingrea totally different thing ?” dient in the wafers you were just that there can be no doubt." "I
about to use.
Suppose, too, that am glad of that,” was her reply, this circumstance only came to “ for before I gave you the wine, your knowledge after you had I mingled with it an infusion of a duly consecrated the wafer, eletasteless but most deadly poison.” vated it to God as the actual body The story goes on to say, that the of his Son, and were on the point of priest dared not prove his own taking it yourself, and of distributbelief in the doctrine he had enun- ing it to the congregation : I put ciated, by drinking that which he it to you, would your own belief in had just declared to be nothing the doctrine of your church stand else than the blood of Christ. this trial ? Could you quietly
Now it matters little whether proceed in the service, firmly rethis story be a fiction or a narra- posing in the assurance that “the tive of a real occurrence. The whole substance of the bread had difficulty which it presents, in the been converted” into a different