Monday, 30 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 25.



But 1st. Since Berengaiius, according to Dr. Cosin, had so many great nations on his side, how did it happen that there never was any one single Council which decreed in his favour ? Permit me to ask, were there then no Bishops in Italy, France, or in England ? How came both himself and his doctrine to have been condemned by four or five Councils in Italy; by as many in France; by one or two in Normandy; and some years after his death his heresy was condemned by a numerous Council held at Plaisance, its decision was as follows: "That Bread and Wine, when they are consecrated upon the altar, are truly and essentially changed into the Body and Blood of our Lord, and not in figure only."

2nd. If Berengarius asserted the ancient doctrine, and had so many famous nations on his side, why did not the Greek schismatical Church espouse his doctrine ? It was, in the eleventh century, most active in opposing the Catholic Church, even for permitting her clergy to shave their beards; but never did it express one word against the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation. Why did none of the other Oriental sects, such as the Nestorians, Eutychians, &c., oppose her belief on this great point? Is not this a clear demonstration that the Catholic Church in communion with the See of Rome,¹ and the Greek schismatical Church, and all the ancient sects in Christendom agreed in this mystery.

3rd. Hugh, Bishop of Langres in France, writing to Berengarius, says, " That he had scandalized the whole Church." Durandus, Abbot of Troarn in Normandy, told him, " That he had impugned the doctrine of the whole Catholic Church."  Guitmundus, Archbishop of Anvers, accused him of being the founder of his sect, "That he contradicted all the world; that there was not any little town or village that had received his doctrine."— (Lib. 3.) ²

¹ St. Jerome, who was called Magister Mundi, declares that it is absolutely necessary, in order to be a Catholic, to profess the Roman faith. Hear and believe. " If you profess the Roman faith," says St. Jerome, " you are Catholics; if you do not profess it, you are not in the communion of the Catholic Church."— (St. Jerome in Apolog. 1 adv. Ruffin.)

² See Algerus on the same subject.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 24.



The same doctrine is fully and elegantly urged by St. Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople, (next after Terasius, who assisted at this Council,) in the second of his three books, called Antirrhetici (Apud Leonem Allatium. Lib. 3, de Consensione Perpetua, cap. 15, §. 21, p. 1223); by Theodorus Graptus, his contemporary (Lib. de inculpata Christianorum Fide) ; and by Elias Cretensis, (In Comment Orationis primæ St. Gregor. Naz.,) one of the prelates who was present in the Seventh General Council.

Yet Dr. Cosin, Bishop of Durham, one of your most eminent Protestant divines, with an effrontery unheard of, had the face to declare that Transubstantiation was " invented about the middle of the twelfth century, and confirmed by no ecclesiastical or Papal decree before the year 1215." This is as correct as what Protestants continually advance against us, " That the Scriptures, the primitive Church, and the Fathers are all against us; and that we have nothing on our side but an unintelligible jargon of metaphysics. How blessedly, my Lord Bishop, is your Reformation reformed. When that pious work of Protestants was first set on foot, the language was, what do we care for the Fathers? But since its completion, the Fathers, they say, are all found to be on their side, which has been demonstratively proved to be false by Cardinal De Perron, Bellarmin, Scheffmacher, &c.

Dr. Cosin did not consider the condemnation of Berengarius in the eleventh century as a convincing proof, that Transubstantiation was not invented in the twelfth century; and he positively asserts, " At last a new form of retractation was imposed on Berengarius, (in the Roman Council, under Gregory VII., anno 1078,) whereby he was henceforth to confess, under pain of the Pope's high displeasure, that the mystic bread is substantially turned into the true and proper flesh of Christ." He pretends that almost the entire population of France, Italy, and England at that period were of Berengarius's opinion, and that it was maintained by many famous nations. Heavenly God! I am astounded how a Protestant prelate with the least regard for truth, could stand up, in the face of antiquity, in the face of all history, and have uttered such an egregioius falsehood; how true are not the words of that eminent Protestant theologian, Dr. Whitaker, who says, " I blush for the honour of Protestantism, for forgery seems peculiar to it, as a particular disease; in vain I look for such a cursed outrage among the disciples of Popery."— (Vindication of Mary, Vol. 3, p. 64.)

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 23.



I think it right here to offer a few remarks on the belief of the Iconoclasts as regards the Eucharist; who, having assembled at Constantinople, under the Emperor Constantinus Copronymus, anno 754, to abolish the use of images, in their definition of faith, said, 1st. There is only one true image of Christ to be worshipped, viz., the Eucharist, 2nd. That the bread which is to be consecrated, has not the shape of a man, lest men should adore it before consecration, or other pictures. 3rd. That consecration is a sort of adoption. 4th. That Christ would have the Bread of the Eucharist, being sanctified by the coming of the Holy Ghost, be made his own divine Body after consecration.  This shews they did not err in regard to the Eucharist, though it seemed suspicious their calling it three times, in the short space of a few lines, the image of Christ's body ; which, though it might be said in a Catholic sense, was not then the usual language of the Church according to the decision of the Church. Hence the Fathers of the Seventh General Council (which was the Second of Nice, anno 787, and consisted of 250 prelates,) in their refutation of the Decree of the Iconoclasts, read by Epiphanius, a deacon, Answer: "That never did any of the Apostles, or of the holy Fathers, call the unbloody sacrifice (which is made in remembrance of Christ, and of all that he did or suffered) the image of his body. For they did not learn that from Christ, but heard him say in the Gospel, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his Blood, you shall not enter into the kingdom And—This is my Body, &c. He did not say, take and eat the image of my Body. And so St. Paul, deriving his doctrine from the same divine fountain, (1 Cor. xi. 23, 24.) Neither Christ, nor the Apostles, nor the holy Fathers call the unbloody sacrifice, offered by the priest, an image, but the very Body, and the very Blood. Some of the Fathers indeed call them types before the consecration, as St. Eustachius—and St. Basil. But the following words shew that he means they were types before they were consecrated, but * That after consecration they are properly called the Body and Blood of Christ; that they are properly so, and so are believed to be.' They add, that the Iconoclasts, by a wicked sophism, say this divine oblation is made by adoption; and as it is madness to say this, so it is to call the Body and Blood of our Lord an image. At length, setting aside their false doctrine, they touch slightly upon the truth, saying, it is made the divine Body; but if it be an image of this divine Body, it cannot be the divine Body itself."

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 22.



Alas, my Lord Bishop, what miracle then is it that plain bread should be taken from the common food of mankind in order to be consecrated to God ? Does not this happen to every thing which is offered to the supreme majesty of the Creator ? Is there any thing in this change which a mortal man cannot effect ? Jacob took a common stone and made an altar of it, which he consecrated to God. What miracle do we find in this change? The Jews offered their jewels to adorn the ark of the Testament. They performed a good act, I acknowledge, giving by this change a holy custom to common things; but what miracle, I ask, was there in it ? I say further, the Fathers have acknowledged that the paschal lamb was a sacred sign, but did they consider it a miracle ? They acknowledged the manna to have been miraculous, but did they ever place it on an equality with the Eucharist? Have they not declared, as your Lordship will see in the course of these Letters, that it was but a shadow of our mysteries; they have raised in an infinite higher degree, the sacraments of the law of grace over those of the ancient law. Can your Lordship produce even one single quotation from any one individual Father, to shew that he considered them above the Eucharist; on the contrary, do they not call it the sacrament of sacraments, the Sun of our mysteries, the abridgment of the wonders of God? Why? Because the author of these wonders being then present, everything regarding it becomes miraculous; the destruction of the substances, the preservation of the accidents, the absence of material bread, the presence of celestial bread in many places, and a hundred other wonders which follow this great and incomprehensible miracle of the substantial change, which is so solidly established by the all power of Jesus Christ, according to the doctrine of these great men. Is it not therefore the very essence of folly in Protestants to presume to measure the power of the Lord of heaven and of earth by human reason.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem fortifies our faith against our senses, and St. Gregory of Nyssen, shewing the great difficulties of the Eucharist, says, " Consider how it can happen, that this only Body, which is always divided among so many millions of the faithful throughout the world, should be whole and entire in each one of them by the part which they receive of it, and still remains whole and entire in itself."— (Cat. Gregor. Nysse. Or. Cath.)

Before the middle of the eighth century, St. John Damascene thus delivers the sense of the Church in his time, on the Eucharist: " If the word of God is quick and powerful; if God made all things which he would; if he said, let the light be made, and it was made; let the firmament be made, and it was made; if by his word the Heavens were made; and all the hosts of them by the breath of his mouth; if heaven and earth, water, fire, air, and all their perfections were the production of his sacred word; if man himself was made by it; if God the Son, when he pleased, was made man, and formed himself a body out of the immaculate blood of the holy and ever Virgin Mary; what can prevent him from being able to make his Body from Bread, and his Blood from Wine and Water.—(Quin ex pane corpus suum, ex vino et ex aqua sanguinem suum efficere queat?) Not, that his Body descends from heaven; but, that the Bread and Wine are changed into the Body and Blood of God. Neither are Bread and Wine the figure of the Body and Blood of Christ, (God forbid,) but the very body of Christ incarnate. And if some of the Fathers have called Bread and Wine the figure of the Body and Blood of our Lord, as St. Basil did, they did not say this of what is offered after consecration, but only before it. Yet we call them figures of things to come; not that they are not truly the Body and Blood of Christ, but because by them we are partakers of Christ's divinity now, of which we expect hereafter a clear light in the beatific vision." — (Lib. 4, de Fide Orthodoxa, cap. 14.)

Monday, 23 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 21.



After such clear, plain, and powerful quotations from the Fathers, which I have brought before the notice of an enlightened public, will Protestants, permit me to ask, presume to say that the Fathers did not believe, profess, and teach a true, real, and substantial change of Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, but only a figurative change? If they turn and twist the words of the holy Fathers in such a manner as to make them express what they never thought of, then I say, that they pretend not to see what they clearly perceive, and fear to act what they ought to do, viz., to yield to a manifest truth. For surely no one can be found, possessed even with a little common sense, and free from prejudice, but must acknowledge the wonders which they (the Fathers) relate, in order to make us believe this admirable change. That the whole body of the holy Fathers recognised in this mystery something more holy, more excellent, more miraculous, and more august than a mere figure.

Hear now the words of the parent of your pretended Reformation, Martin Luther, who says, "That not one among the Fathers, numerous as they are, should have spoken of the Eucharist as these men do (the opposers of the real presence) is truly astonishing; not one of them speaks thus, there is only Bread and Wine; or, the Body and Blood of Christ are not present. And when we reflect how often the subject is treated of by them, it ceases to be credible. It is not even possible that not so much as once such words as these should not have dropped from some of them. Surely it was of moment that men should not be drawn into error, still they all speak with a precision which evinces that they entertained no doubt of the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ. Had not this been their conviction, can it be imagined that among so many the negative opinion should not have been uttered upon one single occasion ? On other points, this was not the case But our Sacramentarians, on the other hand, can proclaim only the negative or contrary opinion; these men then, to say all in one word, have drawn their notions neither from Scriptures nor from the Fathers.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 20.



In this passage, which is clear and decisive, St. Ambrose, from whom I have taken it, lays down four great points, which plainly declare the doctrine of the primitive Christians as regards the miracle of the Eucharist. 1st. He compares the conversion of bread into the body of Jesus Christ to his Incarnation, which is also frequently done by St. Justin, and by St. Cyprian,  in order to establish, as he says, the truth of this mystery upon that of the Incarnation, and to teach us in the same manner, that the Word is truly made Flesh, concealing his Divinity under his holy humanity, he converts the Bread truly into his Body, concealing his Flesh under the species of Bread. Consequently, who will presume to say now that Jesus Christ only gave us his figurative flesh, according to Marcion, who had, as Tertullian says, a pumpkin instead of a heart. 2nd. He declares that the change of the bread surpasses the laws of nature as well as that of the Incarnation. It is not then an allegorical change, nor a mental change. It is a miraculous change; it is a miracle which changes nature; it is a substantial change 3rd. He proves the verity of this wonderful change by the words of the Son of God, This is my Body, shewing us the cause of this miracle, and the power of him who operates it. 

For, as St. Chrysostom admirably says, "They are not the productions of a human power; for what Jesus Christ did then at the supper, even now he so operates and accomplishes it. We hold the rank of ministers, but it is himself who sanctifies these things and changes them. Jesus Christ who has made this table, is now again present; it is he himself who prepares it. Because it is not a mortal man who makes these gifts, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, it is Jesus Christ himself who has been crucified for us. The priest who represents him, truly assists there, and pronounces the words; but the power and the grace comes entirely from Christ This is my Body, says he; it is that word which changes the things which are present; because as that word increase, multiply, and fill the earth, was only once pronounced, but it operates always, giving to our nature the power of engendering. In like manner, that (word, This is my Body) once said accomplishes this sacrament, and brings it upon every altar since that period to the present, and even till the coming of Jesus Christ."— (St. Chrysost. Homil. 83, in Matth. and Homil. 60, ad Popul. Antioch, Idem. Homil. de Prodit Juda.) 

In fine, he adds, as a last proof of the verity of this miraculous conversion, that it is the language and the opinion of the whole Church; that the priests and people speak after the following manner: Whence does it happen, that that which before consecration they call Bread, after the consecration they call the Body of Jesus Christ, and the people answer, Amen, that is to say, it is true. Whence he concludes, that as they can say it, so they ought to "believe it, it "being necessary that the heart and mouth should accord.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 19.



I shall now again call your Lordship's attention to the miracles which the Fathers (who are acknowledged by Protestants to be the witnesses of the truth) speak of when they compare the conversion of the Bread and of the Wine into the Body and into the Blood of Jesus Christ, to the Incarnation, which is the greatest of all miracles. "Let us make use of examples, say they, as drawn from the thing itself. Let us establish the truth of this mystery by that of the Incarnation. Was the order of nature followed when our Saviour was born of Mary ? It is clear that it was contrary to the order of nature that a virgin should conceive, (prœter naturæ ordinem,) and this body which we make is born of the Virgin, (et hoc quod conficimus corpus ex Virgine est.) Why do you seek the order of nature in the body of Christ, when the Lord himself was born of a Virgin contrary to the order of nature? 1 Most certainly it was the true flesh which was crucified and buried; it is truly the sacrament of this flesh. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself said, This is my Body. Before the benediction of the heavenly words it is named species, hut after the consecration it is called the Body of Jesus Christ. He himself says it is his Blood. Before the consecration it is otherwise named, after the consecration it is called Blood; and thou answerest, Amen, that is to say, it is true; that which the mouth pronounces, the soul confesses ; that which the words express, the heart believes."— (St. Ambros. de Initiand. c. 9.)

1 St. Augustine one day while contemplating on the sea shore the mysteries of the Godhead, an angel appeared to him and said, " As well might you attempt to fathom the ocean as to understand the mysteries connected therewith." 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 18.



If he be not determined, through passion or prejudice, to close his eyes to the light, his reason will convince him, that nothing is more rational than to submit his limited understanding to infinite power and infallible truth,—that it is sufficient to know that God hath spoken, that we may believe and obey; our Saviour having commanded us, under the most dreadful penalties, to hear the Church, the pillar and ground of truth.1

1 A most learned Catholic Prelate, one of the greatest theologians of the last century, asks, " By what means, setting aside the authority and testimony of the Church, can Protestants be certain of several parts of Scripture, which before the decision of the Church were doubted by some of the greatest lights of antiquity ? " For example, the Book of Esther, (in which, as it is read in the Protestant Bible, God is not once named,) which is omitted by St. Melito, one of the chief doctors of the second century, in his Catalogue of the Canonical Books of the Old Testament, (apud Euseb. Lib. 4, c. 26,) and by St. Gregory Nazianzen, in his Poem concerning the genuine Scriptures; was doubted of by St. Amphilochius, in his lambicks to Seleucus; and rejected by St. Athanasius, in his 39th Paschal Letter; and by the Author of the Synopsis, or Short View of the Scriptures, published with the works of the same Athanasius, p. 128. In like manner, the Epistle of St. James, the 2nd of St. Peter, the 2nd and 3rd of St. John, and that of St. Jude, were all doubted of by several of the ancients, as appears from Eusebius, (Lib. 2, Histor. e. 23, Lib. 3, c. 3); St. Amphilochius, in his Poem to Seleucus; and Origen, quoted by Eusebius, {Lib. 6, Histor. e. 25.) Of the Epistle to the Hebrews, St. Jerome, writing upon the 8th chapter of Isaiah, tells us, that the custom of the Latins did not receive it amongst the canonical books of Scripture. And the Apocalypse, or Revelations, by the testimony of the same St. Jerome, (Epist. 129, Edit. Basil. Anno 1565,) and St. Amphilochius writing to Seleucus, was rejected by the greatest part of the Eastern Church. Hence we infer, that if Protestants will set aside the authority of the Church, in judging which books are to be received for Scripture, and which not, they must consequently doubt of all the forementioned books. But if they allow of these books as undoubted canonical Scripture, upon the decision of the Church made some centuries after the Apostles' time, they ought, by parity of reason, to receive her decisions in all other controversies relating to faith. 2nd. We infer that the Sixth of the Thirty-nine Articles of the English Protestant Church, implies a visible contradiction; whilst on the one hand it professes to receive no other Books for canonical Scripture but those of whose authority there never was any doubt in the Church; yet, on the other hand, receives the above-mentioned books, and accounts them canonical, notwithstanding they were, as we have seen, doubted of for several ages, as they are at present by the Lutherans. But it is not only of these books that Protestants will have reason to doubt, setting aside the authority of the ever-flourishing Church of Christ, but of all the rest too. 1st. St. Matthew's Gospel, according to the ancients, was written in the vulgar Hebrew, or Syro-Chaldaick, which original is entirely lost, so that there is not any one copy of it extant in the whole world. Now by what means will your Lordship, or any of your brethren, without having recourse to the authority of the Church, prove that the Gospel of St. Matthew, which we have at present, is agreeable to the Hebrew original ? And if not, how will Protestants be assured that it is the word of God ? 2nd. As to all other parts of Holy Writ, how can you tell, setting aside the judgment of the Church, that they have them pure and uncorrupt ? The authentic copies written by the Apostles and Evangelists are no where extant, nor have there been any for many ages; and the transcribers, to whom we are indebted for the best manuscript copies that we have at present, have made so many slips, and have fallen into so many faults, either through negligence or malice, that there are not perhaps this day in the whole universe two manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures that agree throughout one with the other; and not so much AS ONE that agrees with the Protestant Bible or Testament. And so numerous are the various readings and corruptions which are found in the different copies of Holy Writ, that the learned Mr, Mills, in his Edition of the New Testament in Greek, anno 1707  has made them amount to above thirty thousand in that part of Scripture alone, that is, to almost as many as there are words in the New Testament. And although some of these various readings may seem to be of no great moment, yet it is acknowledged that many of them are very considerable, and such as quite alter the sense of the text. Now by which of the miracles of the Apostles, or by what other means, without having recourse to the authority of the Church, will these gentlemen convince their parishioners, that the Bible which they put into their hands is the pure word of God, when there is scarce a word in it, for all that they know, which may not be corrupted? So far this most learned prelate.

It was well observed by Bishop Walmsley, (the celebrated author of Pastorini,) in a conversation with Edmund Burke, that a remarkable corroboration of the truth of the Catholic doctrine is furnished by the fact, that although there is not a single doctrine held by the Catholic Church which is not denied by one or other of the separatists from her communion, yet that taking them collectively, every doctrine she holds might be proved from the great majority of their various creeds, articles, or confessions,—a fact which proves irresistibly the infallibility of the Church, and stamps her adversaries with the brand of reprobation foretold by St. Paul: viz., they were condemned by their own judgment.

Friday, 13 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 17.



If nothing is to be admitted but what reason comprehends, boasted science herself must fall a blind victim. Who will attempt to explain the mysteries which present themselves in optics, magnetism, electricity, &c. How will the chemist demonstrate the transubstantiation or change of substance which takes place in every chemical union ? He knows, as a matter of fact, that two highly corrosive substances by their union become mild and harmless—two harmless substances when united deadly poison—two colourless substances may present us with a brilliant complexion—and the union of two fluids a solid mass. By the atomic theory he has learned, that bodies unite in certain proportions, that there is a maximum and a minimum, above or below which there is no chemical union. But where is the philosopher capable of explaining a plan which could be conceived only by infinite wisdom and executed by unbounded power? Hence if the opposers of the infinite mercy and love of the Divine Redeemer be consistent, they must refuse to make use of the results of chemical operations—they cannot use glass, salt, porcelain, metals, spirits, wine, sugar, &c. If they be travelling by sea and experience a storm, they must throw the compass overboard, because they do not understand the polarity of the needle. If, finally, they be sick and at the point of death, they ought not to take medicine, because they cannot comprehend its nature, formation, or mode of operation. The contrary, however, is their practice, when there be question of the health and comforts of their bodies. Should they be less solicitous for the safety and happiness of their immortal souls? Can they be justified in rejecting the bread of Angels offered on our altars because their limited reason does not understand the operation of infinite power and infinite goodness? Should they not rather acknowledge with a modern writer on chemistry, and rationally confess, " That this study enlarges the mind, and gives it a more exalted idea of the infinite wisdom, power, and goodness of God? "— Hence this material world becomes a more intelligent book, in every part of which the Divinity presents itself to our view. The mysterious operations performed by the chemist, and the wonderful changes produced in the essence of bodies, teach him to believe mysteries in the order of grace. 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 16.



The opposers of the mysteries of religion know that animals left without food languish and die—that if, on the contrary, they are well nourished, they grow and fatten; hence it might be inferred, that the food consumed becomes, though it is unknown how, real animal substance, flesh, blood, and bone. Are these impugners of Transubstantiation still inclined to deny, because their reason does not comprehend it, that the bread which they had eaten in their childhood, was, by the divine power, wonderfully changed in the organs of digestion into their flesh and blood, and that they have thus grown to the full stature of men ? Or will they obstinately insist that they are still children in size as well as in faith ? No, for the sake of reason, for the sake of their own souls, it is hoped they will no longer be obstinate, but believe. Is it possible that they will persevere to assert, that the same Almighty power which increases the grain of corn one hundred fold in the hand of the husbandman for the nourishment of their corruptible bodies, is incapable of changing the Bread in the hand of the Priest into his Body for the food of their immortal souls; and that Divine Being, who changes the richness of the soil into the juice of the grape, is not able to change Wine into his Blood ?

The dogmas of the Catholic Church are fixed—there is no being on earth capable of making a new article of faith. It was the peculiar right of the loving Redeemer, who from mercy died for men, to establish the conditions of salvation. It is the duty of all who wish to be saved, to endeavour to know these conditions, and with the divine grace to comply with them. Surely there can be no mode of knowledge more certain than to consult antiquity—nor of ascertaining the purity of water than by examining up to the fountain. Now if the modern system of believing only what we understand be adopted, it will follow, that the number of articles of faith will be as various as the degrees of judgment each individual possesses; and, consequently, the less a man knows, the greater right he has to become an infidel.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 15.



Protestants always object to Transubstantiation, and declare that it ought not to be received, because reason is incapable of comprehending it. If this principle be admitted, my Lord Bishop, the unity and trinity of God, the incarnation and death of our blessed Saviour, &c., cannot be believed—the truths of natural philosophy must be denied; in a word, according to this system of reason, the whole economy of God to man. Christianity must be rejected, and universal scepticism be the necessary consequence. Accordingly we find this deceitful doctrine of modern reason eagerly embraced by the unnatural enemies of Christianity. Hence in these our unhappy days, in spite of the blaze of worldly science, the negative creed of Rousseau, " That a man of reason ought not believe what he does not comprehend," is the faith of many. Reason, I grant, is a gift of God; if not infected by passion or prejudice, it is a safe guide as far as it conducts; but being finite, it has its limits, beyond which it would not be reasonable to proceed. It may enquire, for example, whether God hath spoken; and the fact being ascertained, it is its duty to prostrate itself at the portals of revelation, and believe and adore. It is most fortunate for the humble believer who thinks it reasonable to submit to proper authority, that he lives in the midst of a glorious theatre, where the divine attributes of his God are continually displayed, and where the physical mysteries which daily meet his eye, gradually lead him on, and persuade him to believe those of a superior nature in the order of grace. On all sides he is surrounded with mysteries, which transcend the most penetrating faculties of the mind. He most firmly, however, believes them, and lives on them. They constitute his food, his raiment. The most illiterate must behold with admiration and gratitude the stupendous operation of the growth of plants; their stems full of veins, like so many engines thrown into motion by the heat of the Sun—their buds, their flowers, and their fruit. Where is that deep penetration to be found capable of explaining the production and reproduction of vegetables?

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 14.



Again, " For under the appearance of Bread, he gives us his Body; and under the appearance of Wine, he gives us his Blood." And a little after, " Though your senses seem in this to oppose you, yet faith must confirm you; do not judge the thing by the taste, but let faith assure you, beyond all doubt, that you partake of the Body and Blood of Christ."— (Gate. Mystag. 3.)

Here is a great Bishop, an eminent witness of antiquity, one who flourished upwards of 1430 years since, and who no doubt was very well acquainted with the faith of the Catholic Church of his time touching this point; here is a careful pastor expounding Christ's words, and catechising his flock in the very language of the present Roman Catholics. He tells them, that since Christ said that the Bread and Wine were his Body and Blood, they must believe that the Bread and Wine were changed into his Body and Blood. He illustrates this change by a familiar comparison of the water which Christ changed into wine, and enforces the belief of the possibility of the other, by the actual existence of this change which they had both read and believed. He tells them, that under the appearance of Bread they receive the Body, and under the appearance of Wine they receive the Blood of Christ; and that though their senses may tell them that it is still bread, yet that faith must correct that mistake; that they must not judge what it is by the taste, but must believe that it is the Body and Blood of Christ, whatever their senses may suggest to the contrary. Did ever any Roman Catholic speak plainer concerning transubstantiation ?

I ask you here, could any Roman Pontiff, or Pastor, from the time of St. Peter till now, have enforced the belief of this great mystery with more cogent arguments, than to tell his hearers, 'that since Christ said, this is my Body, we must believe it is so. Since he changed water into wine, we have no reason to doubt but his omnipotence is sufficient to change wine into his Blood, though it appears to our eyes, to our taste, to our smell, that the thing is otherwise, yet we must not, in this important business, rely upon the relation of these senses, hut upon the sense of hearing, because " Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God," which word we are here only required to believe ? all which are the reasonings of St. Cyril. Now, my Lord Bishop, what Protestants may think of this great Prelate, I shall not determine; but this I am certain of, that had he written this since the Reformation, they would all have looked on him to be as great a Papist as ever put pen to paper.

St. Gregory of Nyssen, speaks thus to the same purpose: " I do believe, that the Bread sanctified by the word of God, is changed into the Body of God the Word."— (Orat. Gate. cap. 37.)

St. Ambrose takes the greatest pains to impress this truth on the ignorant people, he says: " That Bread, before the sacramental words, is Bread; but when the consecration comes to it, of the Bread is made the Flesh of Christ. Let us prove this. How can that which is Bread be the Body of Christ? By consecration. By what and by whose words is the consecration performed ? By the words of the Lord Jesus. For all other things which are said, do give praise to God, there is a prayer premised for the people, for kings, and for others; but when the priest comes to make the venerable sacrament, he does no more use his own but Christ's words. Therefore the word of Christ maketh the sacrament. What word of Christ ? Even that word, by which all things were made. The Lord commanded, and the Earth was made; the Lord commanded, and every creature was engendered. You see then how efficacious the word of Christ is. Seeing then there is so much power in the word of the Lord Jesus, as to cause things that were not, to have a being. How much more efficacious is it, to make the things that are extant to to changed into another thing? Heaven was not, the Sea was not, the Earth was not; but hear him who says, He said, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created. That I may answer you then, it was not the Body of Christ before the consecration, but after the consecration; I say unto you, that it is then the Body of Christ; He said, and it was made; He commanded, and it was created."— 1 I shall not trouble your Lordship with any reflections of mine upon this passage, it being, in my opinion, so plain, and so much to the purpose, that it cannot possibly require any thing to strengthen it.

St. Chrysostom says: "That the sacrifice of the altar which we offer in many places, is every where the same sacrifice, because we always offer one Christ, and consequently it is the same sacrifice. And what (says he) are there many Christs, because he is offered in many places? No, surely; but it is everywhere the same Jesus Christ; here whole and entire, there whole and entire, one only body everywhere. As then it being offered in many places, it is always the one same body; it is always the same one sacrifice." — (Hom. 17, in Ep. ad Heb., see Hom. 41, in 1 Cor. Hom. 21, in Act. Apostol.) Is not this manner of reasoning just? then the same body may be in two places, without its form, its matter, or its substance being multiplied.

Some Critics have doubted whether the books whence this quotation is taken belong to St. Ambrose, because the style is different from the rest of the works of this Father; but the best and ablest Critics agree that they are either St. Ambrose's, or of some other Bishop near his time, who dilates upon what St. Ambrose wrote concerning the Eucharist.

Monday, 9 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 13.



"The same immolation was made in the consecration of the chalice, when our Saviour said, This is my Blood of the New Testament shed for many for the Remission of Sins. For by this consecration the Blood of our Saviour is represented apart, which also does evidently declare, that his Body was made a sacrifice, according to the likeness of those of the Jews, who coming to immolate the beast, did kill it, separating the blood from the body with a sword, as our Saviour with his omnipotent word, instead of a piercing sword, made his Blood present in the cup, as separated from his Body, and so represents the immolation thereof. And albeit, the Body and Blood was not actually separated, and that the Body was in the cup, and the Blood was in the Body, under the accidents of Bread; yet notwithstanding by reason of the form of Bread, separated and set apart, they appear separated to represent this immolation; and the Blood was truly shed, not after the manner of Aaron's bloody sacrifice, in which blood was drawn from the veins in its proper form, but after the manner of Wine. Our Saviour used also the present tense, saying, This is my Blood shed; this is the chalice of my Blood shed for the remission of Sins; to signify that this which was in the chalice, to wit, his Blood (for the wine could not be shed for the remission of sins) was already poured into the chalice, by an unbloody effusion, as it was the next day by bloody effusion on the Cross. And when the holy Fathers did sometimes turn the words of consecration into the future tense, saying, shall be shed, instead of which is shed; they contraried not the sense we now give, for they all did affirm the real presence of our Saviour's Blood in the chalice, but they referred the words of our Saviour not only to the present pouring forth which was then made, but also to that which was to be made, as well upon the Cross by bloody sacrifice once, as in the Eucharist by unbloody sacrifice, even unto the end of the world."

I have the more willingly cited this place at large, because it explains at once the reason of consecrating the Blood apart, though it is with the Body, and no less clearly shews how unjustly Protestants charge us with taking the words of the institution only in the future sense, whereas both this, and other authors, as also the notes of the Rheims Testament, and our writers commonly use the very same arguments, and almost the same words, to prove the present signification as Protestants do. It was really an unheard of ignorance or most unfair dealing on the part of this eminent Protestant Divine, to misrepresent the Catholic doctrine concerning the present point as regards the words of the institution, so it is a very great weakness in him to use the same argument, to prove that which Christ gave was bread. I shall touch on this subject again in a future letter. For it is no more than what young logicians, of a few days' schooling, are taught to laugh at. It runs thus: he says, " What he took, that he blessed; and what he blessed, that he brake; and what he brake, that he gave; what he gave, that they received; therefore what they received was bread, for that was what he took." " Now this is exactly," as a very learned Catholic Divine says, " the trifling argument of school boys, to prove that you eat a living lamb. As follows: what you bought, that you took; what you took, that you had for supper; what you had for supper, that you eat; therefore you eat a living lamb, for that was what you bought." But as in this induction there is omitted the preparing the lamb for supper, so in the former induction there is omitted the consecration imparted in the words, saying, This is my Body; it should run thus, what he took, what he brake, what he gave, saying, this is my Body, could not be bread. For then the words would not have been true, because Bread cannot be truly his Body, and yet remain truly Bread. This eminent Protestant Divine says again, " That it savours of impiety to suppose that our blessed Lord, in speaking on so extraordinary a subject, did not make use of the most apt, and adequate words, whereby to let his Disciples into his meaning." And can it be imagined that the words, this is my Body, are the most apt and adequate words to express that it was Bread he gave them, and not his Body. Yet turn the point as you please, my Lord Bishop, it will be certain in the end, that either it is not truly Bread, or not truly his Flesh; but if it be properly and literally the one, it is improperly and metaphorically the other. Accordingly the great body of Christians throughout the world, judging it most unreasonable to take the words he spoke on so extraordinary a subject, in a most improper and uncommon metaphorical meaning, did for many ages, and do still, agree to understand them in the proper and literal sense of his true Body.

And I prove it thus.

1st. The orthodox Christians from the beginning, understood Christ's words in a literal sense, or, which is the same thing, believed the real presence of Christ's body in the sacrament. I produce St. Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem, to bear witness. This great Patriarch in his Epistle to Nestorius, speaks thus of the Eucharist: " God forbid that we should receive it as common flesh, nor yet as the flesh of a man sanctified, and united to the word, by a conjunction of dignity; but we receive it as it truly is, the quickening and proper flesh of the Word himself." This letter was read and approved of in the Third General Council, which, no doubt, it never would have been, had it contained anything contrary to the orthodox faith, so that having received authority and approbation from these Fathers, I shall no longer consider it as the doctrine of an individual, but as the faith of the whole General Council. Now can it be supposed, that this General Council should approve and place on record a letter which declares the real presence, in as clear and in as plain a manner as it is possible for words to express, unless it had been, at that time, the faith of the whole Catholic Church? And can it be supposed for one moment, that the Catholic Church in those fair days of her youth, as the Calvinists term it, should believe that Christ's proper flesh, as the said letter expresses it, was in the sacrament, unless they had understood Christ's words in a literal sense, and received the same doctrine from their immediate ancestors ? Or can it be imagined that these ancestors should be of this belief, unless they had likewise received it from their ancestors, and so up to the very period of the Apostles ? This is, surely, to any man of sense, but more especially to the Church of England, (which professes to receive the Acts and Decrees of this Council,) a demonstration that from the beginning of Christianity to the period of this Council, all the orthodox Christians did both believe the real presence, and understand Christ's words in a literal sense.

2nd. The orthodox Christians from the beginning understood these words of Christ, this is my Body, in a sense of transubstantiation ? For this truth we have the unanimous consent of the ancient Fathers of the Church; many of whom, in their familiar discourses to the common people, illustrate this conversion by the change of the water into wine, of Aaron's rod into a serpent, of the river Nile into blood, &c. &c. And it is very observable in all their discourses on this subject; and whenever they speak of this change, they have recourse to the omnipotent power of God, to which alone they ascribe it, which surely would be useless had there been no real change in the case. St. Cyril of Jerusalem speaks thus concerning this change: " Therefore since Christ has said of the Bread, this is my Body, who dares any longer to doubt it ? And since he himself so positively affirmed, saying, this is my Blood, who ever doubted, so as to say, that it was not his Blood? In times past, at the wedding in Cana of Galalea, he changed water into wine, which had a certain likeness to blood; and shall we not think him worthy to be believed, that he could change wine into his blood ? "

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 12.

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I shall take this opportunity of refuting a calumny of an eminent Protestant Divine, who says, " Let the Papists go on with their dabitur, and eifundetur—shall be given, shall be shed; and it fits their notion well enough who believe that the same Body and Blood was substantially offered in the Eucharist, and on the Cross; but let Protestants stick close— to the present, giving, shedding, &c." This, my Lord Bishop, I beg leave to say, is a very ignorant or wilful misrepresentation. For Catholics are so fixed in their persuasion, that those words are to be taken in the present tense, and are therefore a proof of Christ's actually offering, giving, or sacrificing his Body, that he might have been satisfied of their opinion from Commentators, Controvertists, School Divines, and Writers of Spiritual Books.
I will be content to cite one only of each. Maldonatus, upon the words, " This is my Blood," (St. Matt, xxvi.) expressly refutes Protestants for explicating the words so as to exclude the present signification. Bellarmin, on the Mass, (Lib. 1, cap. 12,) not only proves that sense, and refutes Kemnitius's objections to the contrary, but also adds, that all these senses, is shed now, shall be shed on the Cross, and shall be shed in the Sacrifice, hereafter to be repeated in the Church, are all true, and none of them to be denied, but especially not the first, as being the most literal. Among School-men, (Coninck de Sacramentts, Tom. I,p. 83, Dub. 2, Num. 38,) having asserted Christ's sacrificing from the words, is given, is shed, adds, Heretics answer that the present tense is put for the future, and that in the Vulgata and in the Canon of the Mass, it is, shall be shed. To this he replies, that the words of Christ in their first and immediate signification (primo et per se) import the present actual immolating of his Body and Blood; though the actual immolating being intended by Christ as a representation of the future immolating on the Cross, the Church has thought fit to retain the reading of the Vulgata in the future tense, effundetur, as it is also read by St. Cyprian and others.

Kicheome, in a spiritual book, (for it is rather of that than of the controversial nature,) under the title of " Holy Pictures of the mystical Figures of the Eucharist," is so full and clear upon this point, that I will cite at large the sixth section of the Fourteenth Picture, p. 271, of the English Translation, printed Anno 1619.

"When our Saviour," he says, " made his Body present in uttering these words, this is my Body, in the same instant he offered it to his eternal Father in an unbloody sacrifice, after the form of Melchisedech, and forthwith he gave it to his Apostles in the Sacrament under the same form. This is the reason that having said, This is my Body, he addeth, given for you, now given and broken, and which shall be hereafter given and broken in the same manner, even to the end of the world, in remembrance of the unbloody sacrifice which tomorrow I will offer for you, once for all upon the Cross. So as our Saviour made not his Body only present, but present under the form of Bread, giving it a being of food, a dead being, albeit that it was in itself ever living; even as making himself man, his Divinity took a body, and a mortal being, and endured death in that body, albeit the Divinity being always immortal, and endured nothing, as we have before declared. He made himself by reason of the dead species, present as dead, and represented himself as a victim. And it imports not, as has been said before, that our Saviour uttereth no words of oblation, expressly saying, my Father, I offer thee this Body. The manner after which he makes himself present as a victim, expressed sufficiently that he offered himself.

Friday, 6 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 11.



Theophilact writes: " Our Lord in saying, 'This is my Body' declares that this bread which is sanctified on the altar, is the same body of the Lord, and not the figure corresponding to it, in so much as he did not say, this is the figure, but, this is my body; for by an unspeakable operation it is transformed, although it seems to be bread, because we are weak, and have an abhorrence of eating raw flesh, especially human flesh, and nevertheless, though outwardly it seems to be bread, it is notwithstanding flesh indeed."— (Super 26, c. Sancti Mat.)

Did these Latin and Greek Fathers believe as our separated brethren do on this great question ? Surely not; for no one free from prejudice, and blessed with common sense, but must own that they had the same belief as we have. Moreover, the Fathers who have believed that we ought to adore the Lord in the Eucharist, as the Kings adored him in the crib, did believe that he was really, substantially, and truly there, as St. Chrysostom, (Horn. 24, Super. 1, ad Cor.,) St. Gregory Nazianzen in his sister's epitaph; these authorities, and many others which I omit here, as I mean to devote one of these letters in giving quotations from the Fathers of the five first centuries of the Church on this great dogma of Catholic faith, and which will evidently shew, that the belief of Catholics as regards the reality of Jesus Christ's body in the Eucharist, is not only conformable to the word of God, but also to the belief of the holy Fathers of the primitive Church.

But if your Lordship should ask me how is this done, I would make you a similar answer to that which the angel Gabriel made to the blessed Virgin Mary, regarding the mystery of the Incarnation. The Virgin asked, " How this was to be done ? " And the Angel replied, " The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee." Your Lordship may likewise ask me, how is Bread made the Body of Christ ? I would answer thus, the Holy Ghost operates these things in a way far above what we can comprehend or express; and the Bread and Wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. In fine, my Lord Bishop, though you may regret he did not say, that it is the true body of the Son of God, or any other words you please, yet remember he has said, " Take eat, this is my Body," and the Fathers have assured us of their belief on this point, " Discipulos docuit proprium se tradere Corpus." You may perhaps wish that he had said, it is the very substance of his body and of his blood which we take, and which enters our mouths, forgetting that he tells you so by his faithful interpreter St. Chrysostom, — (St. Chrys. Hom. 30, in 2, ad Cor.) —" Our mouth is honoured in an especial manner by receiving the Body of the Lord."

Hear now again St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, and St. Cyril of Alexandria On this point. St. Augustine says: " I did not know what God wished to express by his Prophet, when he commands us to adore his footstool, that is to say, the Earth; ' Adorate scabellum pedum ejus;' and I cannot comprehend how it can be done without impiety. But I have found the secret of it, and the mystery in the sacrament of Jesus Christ; it is what we daily perform when we eat his flesh, and before eating it we adore it, not only. without superstition, but with all the merit of faith; for this flesh being the food of salvation, we must adore it, although it springs from earth, and even the footstool of God, and far from committing sin by so doing, we sin in not adoring it." — (St. August. Ps. 98, T. viii. edFrolen.p. 1104.)

St. Ambrose, the holy Bishop of Milan, says: " We daily adore the flesh of our Redeemer, and we adore him in the mysteries which he himself has established, and which are celebrated daily on our altars. This flesh of Christ has been formed of earth as well as ours, and the Earth is called in Scripture the footstool of God. But this footstool, considered in the person of the Saviour, and in the Sacrament of his Flesh, is more venerable than all the thrones of Kings, and for this reason we adore it."— (St. Ambr. Lib. 3, de Spirit. Sanct. cap, 12, ed. Froben. p. 206.)

St. Cyril of Alexandria, who was present at the third General Council held at Ephesus, says: " Lest we should have an horror of the flesh and blood placed on our altars, God condescending to our weakness, infuses into the things offered up, (that is to say, into the Bread and Wine) the virtue of life, converting them into his own real flesh."— (St. Cyril, Lib. 13, Super Lev. in med.) Can anything be more clearly said ?

Thursday, 5 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 10.



Hear again Venerable Bede, who says, " —" He had said before, he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath life everlasting, with the express design of shewing how great the distinction is between corporeal meats and the spiritual mystery of his body and blood; he added, my Flesh is meat indeed, and my Blood is drink indeed."

That this author considered this text as referring to the Sacrament, is as clear as day, where he says, "When Christ to shew the difference between corporeal meat and the spiritual mystery of his Body and Blood, added, my Flesh is meat indeed," &c. Will any Protestant presume to bring forward this passage, in order to maintain his errors, viz., where he calls the Sacrament, " The mystery of Christ's Body and Blood ? " For a mystery is that which contains a something which is concealed from the senses, and not to be perceived by the common knowledge of mankind. So this mystery (the Eucharist) contains the very Body of Christ; a thing' concealed from the senses, as Eusebius says, "— (Hom. 5 Pasch.) — "Not to be judged by outward light, but by faith; " therefore it is very properly called a mystery, because it contains the very Body of Christ, which the senses do not perceive.

Calvin himself justifies the Catholic doctrine on this great point, he says, " I say then, that in the last Supper, that Jesus Christ is given to us indeed under the signs of Bread and Wine, yea his Body and Blood."— (Inst. L. 4, c. 17, Sect. 11.) Your Lordship sees here the confession of our faith out of the very mouth of one of our adversaries; but as these are in no manner precise in their expressions, frequently saying the very contrary to what they believe, I shall return to St. Augustine, in order to convince you that this great Saint believed as firmly the real presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist, under the species of Bread and Wine, as did and does the Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church of this day. He expresses himself as follows: " It is his proper flesh which we receive in the Sacrament veiled and concealed under the form and appearance of bread, and it is his proper blood that we drink under the species and taste of wine."— (L. Sentent. Prosper.} Can any thing be said more clear to express his firm belief of Christ's real presence in the holy Sacrament; but this is not yet all, the same Saint upon these words of the 98th Psalm, " Adorate scabellum pedum ejus," says, " That no one eateth the flesh of Christ in the Eucharist without first adoring it, and that we should sin if we did not adore it." He believed then that this flesh was really present in the Eucharist, otherwise it never could be lawful to adore it. He says again, " A man may be carried in the hands of another, but no one can be carried in his own hands; nor do we find it so in David, but we very well know that it was done in Jesus Christ, for our Lord was carried in his own hands, when giving his body he said, ' This is my Body,' for he carried his own body between his hands."— (In Explic. Psal. 33.) Now I ask your Lordship, in the name of heaven, how could St. Augustine say this, if he had not believed that what our Lord held between his hands was really his body ? for if it were only the figure of his body, any man, I say, might carry his picture in his hands as well as Jesus Christ; yet, notwithstanding, he said that no one was ever seen to do so but Jesus Christ, because there was no one but he that could do it.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 9.



They would have assured them, " That not one of the Faithful doubts, that at the hour of the Sacrifice, the Heavens open at the voice of the Priest, and that the Angels are found present at tin's mystery of Jesus Christ, that things the most elevated are united to things the most low, that terrestrial are joined to celestial, and visible to invisible."— (St. Gregory, L. 4, Dial. c. 43.)

They would have taught Protestants also that it is not the faith of the receiver which makes the Sacrament, but the word of Jesus Christ. Faith believes, but the words of Jesus Christ transubstantiate it.

"Christ," says Walafrid Strabo, about the year 860, "in the Supper which, before his betrayal, he had celebrated with his Disciples, after the solemnization of the ancient passover, delivered to the same Disciples the Sacraments of his Body and Blood in the substance of Bread and Wine; and taught them, that they ought to pass from things carnal to things spiritual, from things earthly to things heavenly, from images to truth."—( Walaf. Strabo, de Eel. Eccks. c. xvi.)

"The Lord in the Supper," says Venerable Bede, (Com. in Ps. iii.) about the year 720, " gave to his Disciples the figure of his holy Body and Blood." The learned Author of Faberism Exposed, truly says, " When Venerable Bede called the blessed Eucharist the figure of Christ's body and blood, he spoke only of those sensible appearances of bread and wine being a figure; but never did that learned and holy man teach that the Eucharist itself was a mere figure. If Mr. Faber had acted with common candour, he would have placed the following words of St. Bede by the side of his quotation, and then no doubt could have existed of the belief of that venerable Doctor, (p. 332,) ' Thus his Blood is not shed by the hands of unbelievers to their own destruction, but is received by the mouths of the faithful to their salvation.' " "Sicque sanguis illius non infidelium manibus ad perniciem ipsorum funditur, sed fidelium ore suam sumitur ad salutem." — (S. Bedce, Homil. hiem. de Sanct. in Epiph.) "If Venerable Bede," continues this learned author, "believed the holy Eucharist to be only a figure, he must have said that the figure of Christ's blood was received by the faithful; but he makes no distinction between the blood shed by the Jews, and the blood received by the faithful; both he believed to be real, true, and substantial."— (p. 332.)

As to St. Augustine, will any one presume to say, after reading the following quotation from this great Doctor of the Church, that this illustrious Saint was not a firm believer in, and did not teach the real presence of Christ in the Sacrament, when he said, addressing himself to his young pupils, wishing of course to ground them in the true belief on this great point, "Hoc accipite in pane quod pependit in cruce, Hoc accipite in calice, quod effusum est de latere Christi. erit enim illi mors, non vita, qui mendacem putaverit Christum." — (S. Aug. Serm. ad Neoph.) —"Receive this in the bread, which hung on the Cross. Receive this in the chalice, which was shed out of the side of Christ; it will be death and not life to him who thinks that Christ is a liar."

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 8.



But, my Lord Bishop, you cannot surely fail to perceive how little solidity there is in this Protestant objection to Transubstantiation; an objection as weak and as nonsensical as could be invented by the depraved wanderings of a diseased imagination. I will here bring forward a most powerful argument to refute it, and to shew its absurdity. If the Son of God had intended, as Protestants assert, to have merely left us in the Sacrament the figure of his Body, when saying, " This is my Body," then he did not use natural and proper terms, as in such case the figurative interpretation required explanation; and it was absolutely necessary to have apprised the Apostles in order that they might not be deceived, that they might not take the shadow for the body, nor the figure for the thing figured. Consequently our blessed Saviour not having done so, and the same Scripture so often making use of those plain, clear, and simple words, and which we might well suppose never could be misunderstood but by a fool or a knave, " This is my Body," without ever mentioning in any one part that it was but the figure of his Body; this is an evident proof, that when his blessed mouth uttered those words, he intended that they should be taken in their natural signification, which required no explanation, and, consequently, that his design was to give us his true Body.

In order to complete this proof, I shall compare the opinion of Protestants with the belief of the universal Church in regard to the Will of Jesus Christ, and we shall see which of the two is the more honorable to the testator, and the more advantageous to his lawful heirs. Is there any one, permit me to ask. blessed with common sense, but must perceive the difference which exists between the Body of Jesus Christ, and the morsel of bread which the Sectarian takes and receives merely as the figure of his body ? If I am persuaded that it be the true Body of Jesus Christ which I receive in the Eucharist, as the Evangelist teaches, the very idea of his real presence fills me with love, with admiration, with happiness, and with wonder; when I dwell on his greatness, I am astounded at his goodness, and with astonishment I exclaim in the words of the great St. Chrysostom, " What Pastor has ever fed his Sheep with his own Blood ? The generality of mothers give out their children to strange nurses to be suckled, after having given them birth with so much pain; but the love of Jesus Christ does not permit him so to treat his children, he nourishes them with his own blood, and unites them entirely to himself."— (St. Chrysostom, Horn. GO, Ad Pop. Antiock.)

I revere his power in this abyss of wonders, and I exclaim with another of the Fathers, "O Lord Christ, with what contrition of heart, with what a flood of tears, with what reverence and trembling, with what purity both of body and of soul ought we not to celebrate this divine and heavenly sacrifice, where truly (ubi caro tua in veritate sumitur, ubi sanguis tuus in veritate bibitur) they eat your Flesh, where truly they drink your Blood. Where things the most exalted are joined to things the most low, where the holy Angels are found present, and where you yourself are both the Priest and the Sacrifice, established after a wonderful and ineffable manner."— (S. Anibrosius in Precatione 1, Proeparationis ad Missam.)

I admire his prodigious liberality, and not knowing how sufficiently to express my unbounded gratitude for the excess of the Divine magnificence, I repeat with the angel of the school, St. Thomas, (Opus 57,) " Oh precious, admirable, wholesome, and saving banquet, filled with all sorts of delicious things! For who can picture to himself any tiling more precious than this feast, where we do not receive the flesh of animals, as in the ancient law, but Jesus Christ himself, who is true God, is given to us to eat ? What can be more admirable than this Sacrament, where Bread and Wine are substantially changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and consequently Jesus Christ, God and man, whole and entire, is comprised under the appearance of a little Bread and Wine."

I am astounded with the honor which he confers upon us, and I ask with St. Chrysostom, " What purity ought we not to possess to partake of such a sacrifice ? What ray of the Sun but must give way to the lustre of the hand which distributes this flesh, to the mouth which is filled with this spiritual fire, to the tongue which is purpled with this astonishing blood ! Reflect on the honor which is paid you, and the banquet to which you are invited; which the Angels behold with trembling, and dare not look steadfastly at, on account of the brilliant splendour which is spread around it; it is the very same which we receive, it is to that which we are united, it is by it we are made partakers of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ."— (St. Chrysost. Hom 60, ad Pop. Ant lock.)

But on the contrary, my Lord Bishop, if we are to take it in the false and heretical sense which Sectarians are pleased to give to these divine words, " This is my Body, This is my Blood; " and instead of receiving the true and real Body t)f Jesus Christ, we are to receive nothing but bread, I lose much of that profound respect which I had conceived for this great mystery. According to the belief of the Christian Church in all ages, I am receiving the Holy of the Holies; but according to the Protestant doctrine, I behold nothing but a shadow. 'According to the first, I receive his true and precious Body and Blood; but according to the second, I receive nothing but Bread and Wine. According to the first, I receive the Sovereign Good in reality and in substance; but according to the second, I possess nothing but the figure. I was rich, being possessed of an immense treasure, which Hugues De St. Victor calls, " The riches of God," and which St. Chrysostom styles, " The whole treasure of the goodness of God;" whereas according to this Protestant doctrine, I find myself possessing but a mere figure. Say what you please, my Lord Bishop, there is as great a difference between our Sacrament and yours, as there is between the Day and the Night. In fine, what a splendid idea of the power, of the goodness, and of the magnificence of God, do not these sacred words fill us with, "Take, eat, this is my Body;" but if I interpret them after your manner, " Take," that is to say, take nothing, and take great core of it, " Eat," that is to say, believe, " This is my Body," that is to say, it is not my Body; was nonsense ever equal to this? Permit me now to tell you, it was not thus that the Fathers interpreted and explained the will of the Son of God; and if, as I shall clearly show, my Lord Bishop, Protestants would listen to them with a more humble heart, with a perfect humility, they would inspire them with more noble ideas of his love, and of the immense value of the gift which he bestowed on mankind before his death. They would teach them that their Heavenly Mediator has not left them by his Will, the figure only of his Body and Blood; no, but his Deified Body; since he himself declares, " This is (not the figure of my Body, but) my Body; This is (not the figure of my Blood, but) my Blood." " Non est figura panis et vinum Corporis, et sanguinis Christi, absit enim hoc, sed est ipsum Corpus Domini Deificatum, ipso Domino dicente; Hoc est meum, non figura Corporis, sed corpus, et non figura sanguinis, sed sanguis."— (St. Jn. Damasc. L. 4, de Orthod.fid. c. 14.)

Monday, 2 January 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 7.

Eucharistic miracle of Santarem, Portugal ~ 1225. Miraculously, after 750 years, the precious blood remains in liquid form, defying the natural laws of science. The Host is somewhat irregularly shaped, resembling real flesh with delicate veins running from top to bottom.


Now, permit me here to ask your Lordship, is not this absolutely turning into ridicule all laws both divine and human. The law commands the words of a Will to be strictly taken in the literal sense; and even when they (the words) be figurative, she commands that her judges should explain and keep as close as possible to the reality. " Quibuscunque verbis aliquid sit relictum, liceat legatario id prosequi." In whatever way a thing may be left in a Will, the legatee is permitted to follow it up. Nevertheless, Protestants this day have the hardihood to contest with us, the Will of the Son of God, which is couched in terms clear and formal, in words simple and natural, yet they wish to make it speak a figurative language, or rather, to disfigure it, and to deprive us of our legal rights. What! while they maintain that it is infamous to conceal, to change, or to alter any thing in the Will of a dead man, yet Protestants do not in the least scruple thus to violate and to corrupt the Will of the living God; this manner of acting is quite insupportable. Secondly, it is certain that the words in a Will ought to be taken in the sense most conformable to the wishes of the testator. On this point Protestants agree with us; but they maintain, with the most blind obstinacy, that the intention of the Son of God was only to leave us in the Eucharist the figure of his body; we on the contrary assert, that his intention manifestly was to bequeath to us the very substance of his Body and of his Blood.

On whatever side truth may be, it is important to know it. The right use of the Eucharist depends upon it, and eternal salvation rests upon this proper usage; that is, whether we receive it in figure only, or in reality: and as we cannot make a bad use of it without becoming " guilty of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ," therefore, that we may form a sound judgment on this point, and not be mistaken on so vital a subject, let us consult the very author of the Will; and I shall accordingly now seek to find out his intentions in his words; I shall examine what he says, in order to discover what he wishes to be believed. Let us hear the Son of God! He declares that the Eucharist is his Body and Blood. He says so in words most clear and expressive, " Hoc est corpus meum; Hic est sanguis meus.—This is my Body; This is my Blood." We find these words mentioned no less than four times by three of the Evangelists and by an Apostle. He does not even once say, this is the figure of my Body. That is an expression not to he found in any one part of the Gospel. We do not find it in the Gospel of St. Matthew, nor in that of St. Mark, nor in that of St. John, nor is it to be found, I repeat, in any part of the sacred volume.

Judge now, my Lord Bishop, of his intentions, and tell me as a theologian and as an honest man, which of these two modes does, he wish to be believed, viz., his figurative, or his real presence in the Eucharist. Can it be supposed for a moment, that he wished us to believe what he never said ? or that in saying one thing, he expected us to believe another. Without doubt, his object was that we should ground our faith upon his words, and such was the purport and the essential motive he had in view when speaking them, and it must consequently follow that we are bound to believe that .the Eucharist contains his Body and Blood, since the Sacred Volume in so many places assures us of it, and it is not possible that he intended us to believe the contrary, as he does not, I repeat again, so explain it in any one part of Holy Scripture.

It is out of the power of man, I assert, to invent terms more strong, more forcible than our blessed Saviour used. What then prevents Protestants from believing that it is his true Body and Blood which he gives us in the Eucharist under the species of Bread and Wine? Do you wish that he had used other words in order to convince you of his real intentions, and to strengthen your mind in the belief of the real presence. You may perhaps say, " I wish he had pointed out clearly the change of the substances of bread and wine, the subsistence of their accidents without the subject, the presence of the Body of Jesus Christ in many places, the distinction between his natural and sacramental being, and his existence after a spiritual manner." Perhaps you may wish that he had said, " I have given you here my humanity, not humanity only, but Divinity too, which is present under the species of Bread and Wine, why therefore do you make yourselves unhappy at my departure ? I shall not abandon you, for you have me whenever you wish to possess me, in your hands and in your stomachs. Why therefore are you sorrowul ? " Are expressions like these such as you would wish to have seen written in the Sacred Volume ? Do not dissimulate, but speak out. For if such be your wishes, I tell you, that you will not find them there. If you sincerely desire to hear the voice of the Son of God, I inform you, that he says in four words what Protestants would have wished him to have explained away in many more; but He does not speak as a weak man, but as a God-man; and as on another occasion he created the Heavens and the Earth by His word, in like manner in these few words, " This is my Body," he comprehends, he operates, he produces all those wonders which Protestants would fain to reject. For, when he speaks so clearly, saying, " Take eat, This is my Body, This is my Blood," it was necessary, in order to fulfil his word, that he should transubstantiate what was before nothing but Bread into his Body, and what was before nothing but Wine, in like manner, into his Blood. Behold then the change of these substances of Bread and Wine, and the existence of the accidents without their subject. Besides placing himself in lieu of the Bread and Wine, it must consequently follow, that he should be present in many places; in Heaven by a visible presence, on Earth by an invisible and sacramental presence. Here you see the distinction between his natural and sacramental being, and also his existence after a spiritual manner.

But Protestants continually assert, that if he meant to bequeath to us his Body and Blood, he would have added, that it was his real Body, and that it continued to be no more Bread and Wine, which we take in our hands and which enters into our mouths. But I ask you and them, what reason obliged him so to express himself? Is it according to usage to add comments or explanations when we express ourselves in plain and clear terms ? When a messenger from Heaven revealed to the ever Blessed Virgin Mary the secret of the Incarnation, did he explain to her all the particulars of that mystery ? Did he inform her that the Son of God would assume her own proper being; that he would have a true and real body, and not in appearance only; that she would carry him in her arms, and that she would nourish him with the milk of her own breast? But did he not, on the contrary, content himself by telling her, that the Holy Ghost would descend upon her, and that the virtue of the Most High would overshadow her, and that nothing was impossible with God? And when the Evangelist declared this great mystery to the rest of mankind, did he make use of long discourses? What he said, was it not comprised in four words, " Verbum caro factum est.—The word was made Flesh?" Now is not that enough to oblige us to believe it?