BY M. D. TALBOT.
LETTER I. TO THE LORD BISHOP OF EXETER. cont
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.