Friday, 24 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 41.


Now for other unequivocal British Protestant authorities. Observe! I speak not of transubstantiation for the present, but of the real presence only.

Dr. Andrews of Winchester is allowed to have been one of the brightest lights of the Church of England, his words alone would decide the point: " Christ," says he, addressing Cardinal Bellarmine, " said, this is my body; he said not in this, or that way, that it was so; we agree as to the object, the whole, the only difference respects the modus or manner of the presence.—Præsentiam, inquam, credimus, nec minus quam vos veram.—We believe the true presence no less than you do."1 "And the king too believes Christ to be not only really present, but truly adorable in the Eucharist; and as for my part, I do with St. Ambrose ' adore the flesh of Christ in the mysteries.'"2 Reader, is not this sufficient for my purpose ? However, I will add a few more authorities.

"As I like not those who say, he is bodily there, so I like not such as say, his body is not there. Because Christ says, it is there; St. Paul says, it is there; and our Church says, it is there; really, truly, and essentially, and not only by way of representation or commemoration; for," says he, "why would our Saviour bid us take what he would not have us receive. We must believe it is there. We must know what is there. Our faith may see it, our senses cannot." 3 Could Gregory the 16th himself say more ?

"The altar," says Archbishop Laud, " is the greatest place of God's residence on earth; yea, greater than the pulpit; for there it is, hoc est corpus meum. In the pulpit it is at most, hoc est verbum meum! And a greater reverence is due to the body than to the word of the Lord; and to the throne where his body is present, than to the seat where his word is preached." 4

1 Andrews's Answer to Bellarmine's Apology, chap. I, p. 11.

2 Ibid. chap. 8, p. 104.

3 Lawrence's Sermon, p.p. 17, 18.

Laud's Speech in the Star Chamber, p. 47

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 40.


You cannot, my Lord Bishop, but perceive the perfect agreement among the Fathers on this great verity; and you cannot help also perceiving in this exposition, that which should be always found among the children of God, an uniformity, a consent, and a godly agreement as regards this great truth, one of the most weighty articles of our Faith. You do not behold this harmony, this concord, among our brethren who have unfortunately for themselves separated from the Church of God, such as the Lutherans, the Calvinists, Methodists, &c., as well as members of the Church of England as by law established.

Hear the words of the very learned Julius Vindex on the subject, (Goliath Beheaded, &c.,) he says, "Though it be a very difficult matter tit present to fathom the real sentiments of the Church of England1 respecting the Eucharist, I do most positively insist on it, that the doctrine of the real presence, (if her most learned divines are to be believed,) is no less her real and true doctrine, than it is that of the Church of Home. I shall begin first with Doctors Nowell and Ford; the first in his famous Catechism, the other in his Commentary on the Thirty-nine Articles."

"What is the heavenly or spiritual part of the Lord's supper, which no sense can discover ? " says the former.

Answer.—" The body and blood of Christ, which are given to the faithful, and are taken, eaten, and drank by them, which though it be only in an heavenly manner, yet they are received by them truly, really, and in very deed.—Vere, tamen, et reipsa."

Ford seems merely to have copied his words: " The body and blood of Christ which are given to the faithful in the Lord's supper ,and are by them received, eaten, and drank only in a heavenly and spiritual manner, yet truly and in reality."

No objection can be drawn from the words heavenly and spiritual, used by these two authors. Catholics admit the use of them also. Hear the learned Veron: " Not only can the body of Christ, under the symbols be called spiritual, and Christ himself spirit, but also under the symbols can be said to be in a spiritual manner, or spiritually, and not in a corporeal manner, or a carnal one." 2 By these words Veron most certainly understood a real presence under the elements; we must suppose that Nowell and Ford, as honest and plain dealing men, did the same.

1 See the Articles and Liturgy as they stood in 1548, clearly expressing the real presence; in 1552, as clearly denying it; in 1562, leaving it doubtful; and in 1662, apparently rejecting it altogether. Surely divine faith must of its own nature be immutable and unchangeable, as the God from whom it emanates; it cannot be subject to the arbitrary and capricious devices of men.

2 Rule of Faith, chap. 2, sect. 2.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 39.



"Take, eat, this is my Body which shall be delivered for you." The real presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the Sacrament is the t true doctrine of the Church of England, if her most eminent Divines are to be believed.



St. Anselm 1 says: " We read in the Gospel that Jesus took bread,f he blessed, and brake, and gave to his Disciples, and said: 2 Take ye, and eat, this is my body which shall be delivered for you.' When he took it into his hands it was bread. For so the Evangelist says, ' He took bread, ' and by that blessing, the bread is made the body of Christ, not only significantly, but also substantially. Neither do we exclude from the Sacrament altogether the figure; neither do we admit the figure only. It is the verity, because it is the body of Christ; it is a figure, because it is offered in sacrifice. Let us consider the words of our Lord; he says, 'Take and eat, this is my body;' and in order that they might be convinced that in very deed it was the true body of Christ, he declared certain signs by which they should perceive it. 'This is,' says he, ' my body, that shall be delivered for you. ' If this body should be made the body of Christ figuratively and not substantially, it should be only the figure of Christ; that which follows does not appertain to a figure, which is this, 'that shall be delivered for you.' Neither did he name it bread after he had sanctified the bread, but his body; neither did he, after he had blessed the wine, name it wine, but his blood. Therefore as the Catholic faith does believe that the bread which is offered to the priest to be consecrated, by the priestly consecration is made the body of Christ, not significantly, but substantially; &c."— (Anselm. lib. de Offic. Divi.) (Ecumenius, a member of the Greek Church, who lived about 800 years ago, writes thus upon these words of Christ: " Erant quoque in veteri testamento pocula in quibus libabant; ubi etiam, postquam victimas immolassent, sanguinem irrationabilium excipientes poculis libabant. Pro sanguine igitur irrationabilium, Dominus proprium sanguinem dat, et bene in poculo, ut ostendat vetus Testamentum antea hoc delineasse."— ((Ecum. in 2 Prim. Corr.) —"There were also in the Old Testament cups in which they sacrificed; wherein likewise after they had offered sacrifices, receiving the blood of brute beasts they sacrificed in cups Therefore instead of the blood of brute beasts, our Lord giveth his own blood, and properly in a cup, that he might shew the Old Testament to have described this before." Moreover, applying the thing figured to the figure, this author means, that as truly as the blood of brute beasts was received in cups, so also have we the blood of Christ in cups. Besides this, I assert, that his speech and manner of delivering himself are to be weighed. The figure of Christ's blood is not his own blood. Wherefore when he says, that Christ gives us his own blood, he at once removes the figure. For the one means the tiling itself; the other a figure or token of the same. Now let us proceed further, and consider the very words of this author, upon Christ giving us his own blood. He says, " In poculo. —In the cup." If then it be given to us in the cup, it is not the blood of Christ spiritually, for that is not received in cups, but in the soul of man. It being then Christ's own blood, and received in a cup, it must consequently be the true and real blood of Christ, to which it well appertains, inasmuch as Christ has so ordained it to be received in a real cup, for. it is in itself a real tiling. Besides this, the author says, that it corresponds extremely well with the figure that the blood of Christ should be in a cup, because it was so prefigured, inasmuch as the blood of beasts was offered in cups. Then Christ giving his own blood in the cup to his Disciples, and saying, " Drink ye all of this, this is my blood," did assuredly speak these words in their proper sense, and he undoubtedly did the same when he said, " This is my body."

1 Anselm, was Archbishop of Canterbury in the reigns of William Rufus and Henry the 1st, was a native of Italy, born in 1033, at Aost or Augusta, a town at the foot of the Alps, he died at Canterbury, A.D. 1109. His works have been often reprinted.

2 The Protestant Bibles put, he blessed it, he brake it, and gave it, a word not to be found in the Greek or Latin. See Dr. Saunders' great work on the Lord's Supper, chap. 1. Protestants do this, Dr. Saunders says, in order to make it appear that it still remains bread.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 38.


ST. PROCLUS, PATRIARCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE.—"By these prayers, (of the liturgy,) the descent of the Holy Spirit was expected, that by his sacred presence he would make the bread, that is presented for the offering, the body of Christ, and the wine mingled with water, his blood." -(In Bibl P. P. Max. T. 6, p. 618.)

THEODORET.—Who wrote four books against the Eutychian heresy, introduces a dialogue between an orthodox believer and an Eutychian, under the names of Orthodoxus and Eranistes. The subject being that of the Eucharist, the answers of Orthodoxus will clearly demonstrate what the belief of the Catholic Church was at that period, as to the reality of Christ's presence in the Eucharist. " Eran. —Tell me what you call the gift that is offered before the priest's invocation ? Orth. —We call it an aliment made of certain grains. Eran. —And how do you call the other symbol ? Orth. —We give it a name that denotes a certain beverage. Eran. —And after consecration, what are they called ? Orth. —The body of Christ, and the blood of Christ. They are understood to be what they have been made; this they are believed to be; and as such they are adored."— (Dial. 2, T. 4.)

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 37.


ST. NILUS.—" Before the prayer of the priest, and the coming of the holy spirit, the things laid on the table are common bread and wine; but, after the solemn invocation, and the descent of the adorable spirit, it is no longer bread, and no longer wine, but is the body, and pure and precious blood of Christ, the God of all."— (Ep. 44, L.p. 21.) " Let us not approach to the mystic bread, as to mere bread; for it is the flesh of God, the venerable, adorable, and life-giving flesh."— (Ep. 39, L. 3 L  p, 322.)

ST. ISAAC.—Speaking of what passed in his mind, in the presence of the blessed sacrament, he says: " Faith whispered to me: eat, and be silent; drink, child, and inquire not. She shewed me the body slain, of which, placing a portion on my lips, she said gently: Reflect what thou eatest. She held out to me a reed, directing me to write. I took the reed; I wrote; I pronounced, This is the body of my God. Taking then the cup, I drank. And what I had said of the body, that I now say of the cup: This is the blood of my Saviour."— (Serm. de Fide. Bill. Orient, T. 1, p. 220.)

ST. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS.—" Let Christians understand, who every day touch the body of Christ, what helps they may draw from that body, when the woman was perfectly cured by only touching the hem of his garment."— (Serm. 34, p. 872.) " I am the bread which came down from heaven: He is the bread, which, sown in the womb of the Virgin, and finally brought on our altar, affords daily celestial food to the faithful."—-(Serm. 67, p. 899.)

Thursday, 16 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 36.


CENTURY V. ST. AUGUSTINE.—"Our Lord was willing that our salvation should he in his body and blood. And this was an effect of his humility. For had he not been humble, he would not have been to us meat and drink."— (In Psalm xxxiii. T. 8, p. 92.)

"When committing to us his body, he said: This is my body; Christ was held in his own hands. He bore that body in his hands."— (Ibid. p. 94.) "The bread that you behold on the altar, sanctified by the word of God, is the body of Christ. That cup—that which the cup contains, is the blood of Christ."— (Serm. 227, al. 83, in die. Pasch. ad Infantes. T. 10, p. 555.)

"We receive with a faithful heart and mouth the mediator of God and man, the man Christ Jesus; who has given us his body to eat, and his blood to drink."— (Contra. Advers. Legis. L. 2, c. 9, T. 6, p. 264.) "But some say this is hard, who can hear it? (John vi.) It is hard to the hard, that is, it is incredible to the incredulous."— (De verbis Apostoli. Serm. 2, T. 10, p. 94.)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 35.


ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM —"Elias left his garment to his disciples; but The Son of God left us his own flesh. The prophet indeed threw off his covering, but Christ ascending took with him his body and left it also for us."— (Homil. 2, ad Pop. Ant lock, T. 1, p. 37.) " Let us then touch the hem of his garment, rather let us, if we be so disposed, possess him entire. For his body now lies before us, not to be touched only, but to be eaten, and to satiate us."— (Homil. 51, in cap. xiv. Mat. T. 7, p. 553.)

"Let us believe God in every thing, and not gainsay him, although what is said may seem contrary to our reason and our sight. Let his word overpower both. Holding fast his words; for his words cannot deceive; but our sense is very easily deceived. That never failed; this often. Since then his word says: This is my body; let us assent and believe, and view it with the eyes of our understanding."— (Homil. 83, in Mat. T. 7, p. 868.)

"This body lying in the manger, the wise men reverenced. Thou dost not see him in the manger, but on the altar—nor dost thou only see him, but moreover thou touchest him, nay, thou eatest him, and returnest home with him in thy breast.—Cleanse then thy soul from all defilement, and prepare thyself to receive these mysteries."— (Hom. 24, in I Cor. T. 10, p. 261.)

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 34.


ST. GREGORY OF NYSSA.—"Now we must consider how it can be that one body, which so constantly through the whole world is distributed to so many thousands of the faithful, can be whole in each receiver, and itself remain whole. The body of Christ, by the inhabitation of the word of God, was transmuted into a divine dignity: and I now believe, that the bread, sanctified by the word of God, is transmuted into the body of Christ, agreeably to what he said, This is my body."— (Orat. Catech, c. 37, T. 2, p. 534.)

"The bread also is at first common bread; but when it has been sanctified, it is called and is made the body of Christ." —(Orat. in Bapt. Christi. T. 2, p. 802.)

Monday, 13 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 33.


St. Basil

ST. OPTATUS OF MILEVIS.—Speaking of the sacrileges of the Donatists, he says : " For what is the altar but the seat of the body and blood of Christ ? What offence had Christ given, whose body and blood, at certain times, do there dwell ?—This glaring impiety is doubled, whilst you broke also tho chalices, the bearers of the blood of Christ."— (Contra. Parmen. L. 6, p, 91.)

ST. BASIL.—" About the things which God has spoken, there should be no hesitation, nor doubt, but a firm persuasion, that all is true and possible, though nature be against it. Herein lies the struggle of faith. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say to you; except you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. John vi. 53, 54."—(Regula 8, Moral, T. 2, p. 240.) "With what fear, with what conviction, with what affection of mind should we receive the body and blood of Christ. The apostle teaches us to fear, when he says: He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself (1 Cor. xi. 29); while the words of the Lord: This is my body which shall be delivered for you, (Ibid. 24,) create a firm conviction."— (Ibid, in Reg. brev. quæst. 172, p. 472.) "The Christian must be without spot or stain, and thus prepared to eat the body of Christ, and drink his blood."— (Ibid. in Moral, reg. 80, c. 22, p. 318.) "It is the duty of him who approaches to the body and blood of Christ, and to the memory of his passion, not only to be pure from defilement, but Likewise to shew forth and express the remembrance of the death of Christ, lest he eat and drink to his own judgment."—(L. I, de Bapt. c. 3, T. 2, p. 651.) "If they who were unclean, under the old law, might not touch what was holy, how much more criminal is he who, in the impurity of his soul, rashly approaches to the body of our Lord. Let us therefore cleanse ourselves from all defilement."— (Ibid. L. 2, c. 3, p. 654.)

Some are of opinion, the last quoted work on baptism ought to be ascribed to Eustathius of Sebaste. The evidence however is of equal weight, as to what the faith of the Church was at that period; as Eustathius was the contemporary of St. Basil.

Friday, 10 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 32.



ORIGEN.—" You that have been accustomed to be present at the divine mysteries, know when you receive the body of the Lord, with what care and veneration you preserve it, lest any particle of it fall to the ground, or be lost."— (Hom. 13, in Exod. T. 2, p. 176.)

ST. CYPRIAN.—Speaking of some who had the weakness to deny their faith, he says: " Returning from the altar of the devil, regardless of the menaces of God, they dare to offer violence to the body and blood of the Lord, thus sinning more against him, than when they denied him."— (De Lapsis, p. 132.) " Christ is the bread of life.—He said: I am the bread of life who came down from heaven. If any one eat of my bread, he shall live for ever. But the bread which I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world. Hence it is manifest, that they have this life, who approach his body, and receive the Eucharist."— (De Orat. Dom. p. 146.)


COUNCIL OF NICE.—Condemning an abuse which had crept in, that deacons in some places administered the Eucharist to priests, the Council says: " That neither canon nor custom has taught, that they (deacons) who have themselves no power to offer, should give the body of Christ to them that possess that power."— (Can. 18, conc. Gen. T. 2, p. 38.)

ST. ATHANASIUS.—" Take care then, O deacon, not to give to the unworthy the blood of the immaculate body, lest you incur the guilt of giving holy things to dogs."— (Serm. de incontam. Myst. T. 2, p. 35.)

ST. HILARY.—" If the word truly was made flesh, and we, truly, receive this word for our food: how can he be thought not to dwell naturally in us, who assumed the nature of our flesh inseparably united to him, and communicates, in the sacrament, that nature to us."— (De Trin. L. 8, p. 954.)

ST. EPHREM OF EDESSA.—" When the eye of faith is clearly open, it contemplates in a light, the Lamb of God, who was immolated for us, and who gave us his body for our food to the remission of sins. This same eye of faith manifestly beholds the Lord, eating his body and drinking his blood, and indulges no curious enquiry. You believe that Christ is the Son of God, for you were born in the flesh.

Then why do you search into what is inscrutable ? Doing this you prove your curiosity, not your faith. Believe then, and with a firm faith receive the body and blood of our Lord. Abraham placed earthly food before celestial spirits, (Gen. xviii.) of which they all ate. This is wonderful. But what Christ has done for us greatly exceeds this, and transcends all speech, and all conception. To us, that are in the flesh, he has given to eat his body and blood. Myself, incapable of comprehending the mysteries of God, I dare not proceed; and should I attempt it, I should shew only my own rashness."—(De Nat. Dei. T. 3, p. 182.)

ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM.—In his instructions addressed to those who had been newly baptised, he says: " The bread and wine which before the invocation of the adorable Trinity, were nothing but bread and wine, become after this invocation, the body and blood of Christ."— (Catech. Mystag. 1, n. 4, p. 281.) " The Eucharistic bread, after the invocation of the Holy Spirit, is no longer bread, but the body of Christ."— (Catech. 3, n. 3, p. 289.) "The doctrine of the blessed Paul alone is sufficient to give certain proofs of the truth of the divine mysteries; and you, being deemed worthy of them, are become one body and one blood with Christ. For this great Apostle says: That our Lord, in the same night that he was delivered, having taken bread and given thanks, broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying to them, Take and eat, this is my body. Afterwards he took the cup and said, Take and drink, this is my blood. As then Christ, speaking of the bread, declared, and said, this is my body, who shall dare to doubt it ? And as speaking of the wine, he positively assured us, and said, this is my blood, who shall doubt it, and say, that it is not his blood? "— (Catech. 4, n. I, p. 292.)

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 31.



For the Five first Centuries, during which period Protestants generally allow the Church to have been pure and undefined. " And the Bread which I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."—(John vi. 52.) Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.


ST. IGNATIUS, MARTYR—Speaking of some heretics in his time, he says: " These abstain from the Eucharist, and from prayer, because they do not acknowledge the Eucharist to be the" flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father by his goodness resuscitated. Rejecting therefore this gift of God, they die in their disputes."— (Ep. ad Smyrn. p. 36, T. 2, P.P. Apost.)


ST. JUSTIN, MARTYR.—" Then to him who presides over the brethren, is presented bread and wine, tempered with water: having received which, he gives glory to the Father of all things in the name of the Son and the Holy Ghost, and returns thanks in many prayers, that has been deemed worthy of these gifts. These offices being duly performed, the whole assembly in acclamation answers, Amen; when the ministers, whom we call deacons, distribute to each one a portion of the blessed bread, and the wine and water. Some is also taken to the absent. This food we call the Eucharist.—Nor do we take these gifts as common bread and common drink; but as Jesus Christ, our Saviour, made man by the word of God, took flesh and blood for our salvation, in the same manner we have been taught, that the food which has been blessed with the prayer of the words which he spoke, and by which our blood and flesh in the change are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus incarnate."— (Apol. I, p. 95.)

ST. IRENÆUS.—Against the heretics of his time, says : " This pure oblation, the Church alone makes. The Jews make it not, for their hands are stained with blood; and they received not the word that is offered to God. Nor do the assemblies of heretics make it.—For how can these prove, that the bread over which the words of thanksgiving have been pronounced, is the body of their Lord, and the cup his blood, while they do not admit that he is the Son, that is, the word of the Creator of the world."— (Adv. Hær. Lib. 4, c. 34, p. 326.)

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 30.



Faith in the Eucharist, which at every moment powerfully excites confidence, love, and the spirit of sacrifice, constantly upholds prayer in the degree of perfection to which it has been raised by Christianity; whilst wherever this faith has been altered or rejected, prayer necessarily retrogades towards its primitive imperfection, a thing no longer tolerable, for under the empire of religion fully developed, it is a grating discord, which disturbs the harmony of the whole. A striking comparison will tend to illustrate these observations. The Lutheran belief in the Eucharist, is that which differs least from the Catholic, which latter has been entirely rejected by the Calvinists. The English system, notwithstanding the strong quotations from her most talented divines, which I have extracted from the works of the learned Julius Vindex, and which will appear in the Second Letter of the series; yet I most positively maintain, that her foundation is Calvinistic, oscilating between Wittenberg and Geneva, in as much as, according to Bishop Buinet, it considers as indifferent the dogma of the real presence, so strenuously maintained, for the moment of communion, by the primitive Lutherans, but rejected with such horror as an impious tenet by the fanaticism of the ancient Calvinists. A celebrated Catholic theologian has well remarked, that Lutheranism, notwithstanding the ferocious temper of its founder, presented from its very origin a milder character in point of piety, when contrasted with the repulsive harshness of Calvinism, though established by a man less violent. The character of the English system is intermediate; the Calvinists think it too devout, the Lutherans not sufficiently so. Hence the three principal fractions of Protestantism are distinguished by a corresponding relation to piety as they recede from or approximate to the generative dogma of Catholic piety. I am far from supposing that the peculiar character of each of these sects has been determined by this cause alone; but in order to account for the phenomenon, it should not be forgotten that the moral as well as the physical world has its affinities and combinations. This law, which may be demonstrated by the history of many ancient sects, showed itself in Jansenism, the last of modern heresies. One of the first effects of its anti-social doctrine was to estrange from communion the stern controvertist, who contended to the last for the rarity of grace, was naturally impelled by his sombre logic to publish the manifesto of his sect against frequent communion. Impervious to the mysteries of love, Jansetical devotion is cold and heartless. It stands self-convicted of wanting the grace of prayer.

The Eucharist is in Catholicism the centre of those pious communities known under the name of congregations. They have existed at all times and places under ever-variable forms, for they are precisely destined to correspond to the moral wants of times and places. The outcry against these institutions, considered in themselves, argues at least a profound ignorance of human nature. As besides the tenets common to all, there are various modes of conceiving them—every individual, country, and period, having its peculiar intelligence; in the same manner, and for the same reason, besides that fund of piety which is common to all Christians, there are modes equally diversified of feeling religion. When a certain number of individuals agree in their ideas and feelings, these analogous dispositions necessarily tend to associate, and for that purpose seek an exterior and appropriate form. This tendency produces in the intellectual order schools of Christian philosophy; and in the sentimental; congregations of piety. Their suppression would reduce piety to a geometrical equality, to a state of inactivity opposed to the law of nature; which so far from impeding, stimulate the free and varied development of individual power and energy. But those particular societies, by the very fact of having each its mode of life, would soon form as many different modes of worship, were they not based on those of general worship. This is what the Church does, in giving them the altar of sacrifice for a centre, and frequent communion as their first law. The Eucharistic devotion, which is of general obligation, is to the particular forms of devotion which every individual may adopt, what the symbol is to their different systems; it is both the foundation and the rule. Catholicism maintains in point of piety as of government, something fixed and common, for such is, in every possible order of things, the necessary support of all individual activity and existence; variety in the midst of unity, such is Catholicism—such is nature. Frequent communion continually leads back the soul to itself. This sort of action, sensible at every period of the Church, is more perceptible in the middle ages. The interior of monasteries exhibited a vision of the angelic life amid the ferocity of a barbarous age. The religious orders which cultivated the soil of Europe, still accomplished more, they reclaimed the moral waste of the soul. The Cenobites were obliged by their rule often to approach the sacred table. The divine word which alone resounded in the depths of their solitude, and which was prolonged in the silence of their meditations, daily reminded them of the perfection which a familiarity with the Holy of Holies demanded from them. This thought continually excited them to acquire the knowledge of their own hearts; they cultivated those with exceeding care, that they might carry to the most august as well as to the sweetest of all mysteries, the purest and most delicate flower of human affection. The ascetic works of that period are marked by an exquisite refinement of feeling. From the cloister it gradually made its way into the world, and directing itself to other objects, inspired chivalry with that mysticism of love and honour which has exercised such powerful influence on the manners and literature of the Christian world. The asceticism of the middle ages has handed down an inimitable work, to which Catholics, Protestants, and Philosophers have agreed to pay the best tribute of admiration, viz., that of the Heart. How wonderful, my Lord Bishop, that a small book of mysticism, the production of such an age, should have imparted a deeper tone of reflection to the meditative genius of Leibnitz, and kindled almost to enthusiasm the cold temperament of Fontenelle! No person has ever read a page of the Imitation, particularly in the hour of affliction, who did not say in concluding, this reading has done me good. Next to the Bible, this work is the sovereign friend of the soul; but where did the poor solitary who wrote it find that inexhaustible love ? For never would he have written with so much power and sweetness had he not loved much. He solves the question for us himself; every line in his book on the Sacrament is a commentary of the preceding one; all the relations which I have now considered, present but imperfectly the influence of this principle of love; to understand it fully, we should feel it. Are the wonders of the heart to be despised as valueless; and if marks of the divinity exist any where, where shall they be sought for if not in the inspirations of virtue ? As for my part I bow with deeper reverence to the accents that sanctify the soul, than to the voice of genius. Let us then listen to them in respectful silence. The Eucharist, they tell us, is an integral part of the two worlds, a temple placed on the boundaries of Earth and Heaven. There is effected an union between the types of the one, and the realities of the other, and the communion is accomplished as if beneath the half-opened vestibule of the invisible sanctuary where the eternal union is consummated. Whilst the senses are detained in the visible order, the soul feels the pressure of the invisible; it enters into it—it partakes of its substance, like a man placed at the limits of this present material system, who, stretching forth his hand, grasps the boundaries of a higher world. There then passes within the soul what human language would fear to profane by expressing. To that confused murmur of the passions, which as yet agitates the faithful soul, like the last struggle of life, succeeds a profound peace. Shortly after, a commotion sweet as it is powerful, announces the presence of the Deity, and immediately holy desires, prayer, patience, and the spirit of sacrifice, often languid, are again revived. All that is divine within her kindles at the moment j the mental eye becomes purified, and receives some rays of that light which is reflected from a brighter world. Emotions which combine all that is touching in sentiment with all that is calm in reflection, attest the renewed harmony of the spirit and of the senses. We may frequently feel on other occasions the joys of virtue; here alone we are inebriated with all its delights. You would fondly wish to retain these exquisite sensations, but your efforts are vain; they have been shed on the soul, but to imbue her with the sense of that word of happiness, the name of which belongs to a lost language, whose idiom spoken by the children of Adam, contains but the wreck. But the more clearly the soul comprehends that word, the more deeply does she feel that it is not of this world. Until she shall have deposited at the portals of heaven the burthen of terrestrial virtues, until the moment shall have arrived when she shall be freed for ever from hope; the joys of the captive soul will be marked by suffering, the pleasures of this world becomes insipid, its happiness a burthen; and whoever is deeply versed in life must acknowledge, that the great miracle of communion is to render it tolerable. These raptures of love mingled with sorrow impart at that solemn moment a sublime expression to the countenance. That of joy is rarely so; because joy is so fugitive and false, that it appears to give to the human figure a senseless and undignified expression. Sorrow, on the contrary, almost always ennobles the countenance. But the instinct of our primeval destiny, alarmed by the contrast, seeks another dignity than that of sorrow. The true condition of man is the reparation of his misery, and his countenance never exhibits a nobler terrestrial aspect than when he embodies the expression of that mystery of sorrow and grace, on receiving the impress of a divine joy in the abyss of his sufferings. Mark that Christian who adores his Saviour within his soul; would you not say, that if that mouth, closed by recollection, were to open, a voice would come forth, attempting, though in a plaintive tone, the canticles of heaven ? It would blend the sighs of man with the rapture of an angelic spirit.

Monday, 6 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 29.



It is most false in the enemies of the Catholic Church to assert as they constantly do, that by means of explication, any substantial addition was ever made to the doctrine of the Church in communion with the See of Rome on the Eucharist. The Roman Church always believed that Jesus Christ was present in the Eucharist, and " that the Eucharist was the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ;" and these words suggest the very same ideas upon the Eucharist that are suggested by the language which the Roman Church now uses. To be present, to be really present, to be substantially present, these phrases all express absolutely the same thing; because a metaphorical presence is not presence, but rather real absence. And hence the idea of presence is not included in the simple idea which the terms metaphorical presence suggest. On the contrary, in order to represent to oneself a presence merely metaphorical, we must exclude the simple idea of presence, and substitute the idea of presence in sign, in operation, or in some other manner that involves the idea of absence, rather than of presence. The difference between the language of the primitive Church, " the Eucharist is the Body of Jesus Christ," and the language of the Church in communion with the See of Rome, "the Eucharist is really and substantially the Body of Jesus Christ," does not arise precisely from these last recited words being more explicit than those used by the ancient Church; but simply from this, that they are more assertive than are the words which the ancient Church employed. For when we say, that the Body of Jesus Christ is really and substantially present in the Eucharist, we annex to the ideas of simple presence a reflection, which affirms more positively the truth of what we assert; and our words mean,—It is true that Jesus Christ is in the Eucharist. For as the words, " it is true," do not change the idea of the proposition to which they are added, and as they denote merely that the mind considers more expressly the truth of that proposition; in like manner, the terms, " Real presence, substantial presence," only more positively assert that which both now and at all times the simple and natural idea of presence includes. Thus the additions and the pretended explications of the primitive faith which Protestants suppose to have been made, are vain, groundless imaginations, unsupported by proof or by reason. In a word, the Catholic Church has ever been most watchful when the capital truths which the faithful distinctly believe were impugned. But it is impossible to assail popular truths without causing alarms among the people, and without occasioning scandals and tumults. Now the doctrine of the Eucharist was always familiar to the people, and was, so to speak, the most popular of all the mysteries, for with this mystery none of the faithful could have been unacquainted. It was therefore even more impossible to make any change in the common faith upon it, than the received faith of any other mystery.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 28.



4th. Luther with his Consubstantiation, setting aside tradition, would certainly have been in the right, if our blessed Saviour when he took Bread and Wine into his hands, which was to be the communion of his Body and Blood, (1 Cor. x. 16,) had only said, here is my Body, here is my Blood. But nothing, my Lord Bishop, but a substantial change can make it be said of Bread and Wine, truly and literally, this is my Body, this is my Blood. As nothing but a substantial change could have made the words of Moses true, if, when he threw down his rod, he had said, this is a serpent; or of Christ, if he had said at Cana of Galalea, when the servants brought in water, this is wine.

5th. It is not then philosophy, as some Protestants affirm, but the plain texts of Scripture and universal tradition which force us to acknowledge Transubstantiation. I mean an entire change of one substance into another, as of Water into Wine, (St. John ii. 9,) of Water into Blood, (Exod. vii. 20,) of Moses's rod into a serpent, (Exod iv. 3.) And if when he cast his rod upon the ground, he had said, this is a serpent, his words would have been true in the same literal sense, in which the words of Christ are verified, This is my Body, this is my Blood, (St. Matt. xxvi. 26, 28.)

Luther in his Great Confession, (de Caena Domini,) against Zuinglius and (Ecolampadius, says, " Bread and the Body of Christ are so strictly joined together, that they become one and the same thing." But this is evidently impossible. For, though iron be red hot, and penetrated as it were with fire, yet nothing could be more false than to say, this iron is fire. So that Luther in the same book is forced to confess that Transubstantiation may be allowed. His words are: " Hactenus docui, et adhuc doceo, parum referre, nec magni momenti quaestionem esse, sive quis panem in Eucharistia manere, sive non manere, et transubstantiari credat."

CEcumenius commenting on 1 Cor. 10, says: "They have eaten manna as we the Body of Christ; they have drank a spiritual drink, that is, water running out of a spiritual rock or stone, as we the blood of Christ."— (CEcumen. 1 Cor. 10.)

St. Chrysostome when expounding this same text of St. Paul, uses no other words in his exposition but the following: " Ille illis Manna et aquam, et tibi Corpus et sanguinem dedit."—" He (meaning God) gave to them manna and water, and to thee his Body and Blood." And St. Jerome, in expounding the Scriptures, says: "Et Potum accipimus de latere Christi manantem."—" And we receive drink flowing from the side of Christ."

These great Saints therefore give us clearly to understand that Catholics do not receive a figure only in the sacrament, but the very Body and the very Blood of Christ Jesus, the only begotten Son of the Eternal Father.

Protestantism, on the contrary, which has rejected this magnificent gift, is the absence of Christ, as Deism is in a more general order of ideas, the absence of the Divinity. With the Bible in his hand, the Protestant fancies that he communicates with the living truth; but is it on the material form of the words, or on their real sense, that this communication depends ? And whereas it is the reason of each Protestant that determines for him the sense of the Bible, how can this ever varying reason be a transmission of the reason eternally unchangeable? How can so many interpretations that destroy one another be an emanation of the substantial word, which, like God himself, bears the character of unity ? There is between them that vast space which separates illusion from immutable reality. You imagine that you enjoy the immediate presence of the Sun of Intelligences, and nothing is present to you save the shadows of your own mind. Deifying your thoughts, you believe that you converse freely with the word, whilst you are separated from it by the profound abyss which pride has interposed. The Protestants resemble an unhappy wanderer on the deep, who mistakes for the paternal shore those hills of mist, which are capriciously raised and destroyed by the winds. But the illusion soon vanishes. The fantastical horizon which surrounds them changes every instant; their inconstant opinions come into collision, separate, scatter, and suddenly reveal to them the waves of boundless scepticism. Hence the anguish of those who desirous of faith, but weak in will, are bound to Protestantism by temporal ties;¹ they behold with terror the agitations of an unlimited scepticism which assail it on every side. This spectacle, so afflicting to every Christian heart, hurries them into the opposite extreme. The propensity to illuminism, which has been found at every period among this class of Protestants, augments and strengthens in proportion as rationalism destroys the little faith which the Reformation has preserved.² In this exaltation they seek an asylum against doubt.

In effect, every Protestant is placed in this dilemma: if he do not believe himself infallible, he has no certainty for his faith; if he believes himself infallible, each of his judgments must appear to him a ray of increased intelligence. He ought, according to the remark of Bossuet, to "deem all his thoughts to be emanations of the Deity; an intellectual pantheism which directly leads to the other.

I shall now conclude, my Lord Bishop, this lengthened letter with a quotation from the writings of a most holy, learned, and highly gifted prelate of the Catholic Church, the late Bishop of Siga,³ who is now, I sincerely hope and trust, reaping the benefits of a well spent life.

"All Protestants admit, (for it is impossible to deny it,) that the scriptures, as literally explained, are clearly in our favour, and clearly against themselves. Our Saviour says in the scripture, ' This is my body.' The Catholic Church assents, and says ' It is his body' Most of the Protestant sects dissent, and say ' It is not his body; it is only a figure of it' Our Saviour says in St. John, ' My Flesh is meat indeed, and my Blood is drink indeed' We say the same; but the Protestant says, ' His Flesh is not meat indeed, except inasmuch as he is the object of our faith.' St. Paul says, that ' Whoever eateth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.' We say the same; but Protestants say, 'It is impossible to discern what is not there.' St. Paul says, 'We have an altar,' (Heb. xiii.) (and consequently a sacrifice; for one implies the other,) and that ' the chalice of benediction which we bless is the communion of the blood of Christ, and the bread which we break the partaking of the body of the Lord." —(1 Cor. xi.) We say the same;—but most Protestants deny both the sacrifice and the victim.

It is for modern innovators to show that the literal sense of scripture is to be abandoned, and a figurative one preferred. In their favour they have their own private judgment, at the end of eighteen centuries; but against them they have the apostolical liturgies and the universal belief and practice of the Christian world from the very days of the Apostles. If their explanation is right, all Christendom was wrong from the beginning. But if their explanation is erroneous, the true worship of God is abolished amongst them, the channel, by which the merits of Christ were to be conveyed to their souls, is cut off,—they can ' have no life in them,' because they cannot ' eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood;' or if, eating and drinking, they believe erroneously concerning this mystery, they ( eat and drink judgment to themselves, not discerning the body of the Lord' Oh, that God would, in his tender mercy, open the eyes of his erring children, and, seating them once more as guests at his heavenly table, prepare them for future thrones of glory in His Eternal Kingdom. AMEN.

I am,
   My Lord Bishop,
      Your expedient Servant, 
            A CATHOLIC LAYMAN,

¹ Cunctaeque profundum pontum adspectabant flentes." 

² In a work published on the state of the Protestant Religion in Germany, Mr. Hugh James Rose, a Minister of the English Church, has forcibly pointed out this result of rationalism: " The Doctrines of the innovators must have shocked and afflicted all who as yet were sincerely attached to Christianity."— (See the Catholic Memorial of January 1829.) 

³ Dr, Baines, Vicar Apostolic of the Western District.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 27.



I appeal now, my Lord Bishop, to an enlightened and generous public, whether Dr. Cosin did not shew a total disrespect for truth, when he presumed to assert in the teeth of all antiquity, that " Transubstantiation was not held till the twelfth century, and that all the doctors of the primitive Church do clearly, constantly, and unanimously conspire in this, that the presence of the Body of Christ in the sacrament is only mystical." May I not on the contrary confidently assert, that Transubstantiation¹ was from the beginning the unanimous belief of the universal Church; that that which appears to be but Bread and Wine is after consecration the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and which is firmly grounded on Scripture, on the doctrine of the ancient Fathers, and on the decisions of the sacred Councils.—" My Flesh is meat indeed, and my Blood is drink indeed."—(John vi. 56.)

"Let his word be to us of more authority than our reason, or our sight. Since, therefore, the Word hath said, This is my Body, let us be persuaded of it; let us believe it truly; let us behold it with intellectual eyes," &c.— (St. Chrysostome, Hom. 82, in Matt. T. 2. Ed. Savil.)

The first Nicene Council decrees, "By faith let us understand the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, to be placed on the sacred table, to be sacrificed by the Priests unbloodily," &c.— (Lib. 3, Decret. de Divina Mensa. An. Dom. 325.)

If a Protestant should ask me, why cannot the words of the institution, " This is my Body which is given for you," (St. Luke xxii. 19,) " This is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins," (St. Matt. xxvi. 28,) be understood in a sacramental, as Protestants call-it, that is, a figurative sense? I would answer,

1st, Because they were never so understood by the Catholic Church, " the pillar and ground of truth."

2nd. Because they are words of the institution. After a sacrament or sign is instituted and known, it may sometimes borrow the name of the thing which it signifies. But no sacrament was ever instituted, by attributing abruptly to it the name of that which it is to signify. To institute a disparate and unexpected sign in this manner, is to speak contrary to the fundamental laws of speech, much less can the bare imposition of a foreign name be either the institution of an unknown sign, or import the real conveyance of a man's body by a morsel of bread.

3rd. This, to Luther appeared so excessively absurd, that he could never be sincerely reconciled to a figurative or symbolical presence. In his Lesser Confession, written but a little more than a year before his death, he calls the authors of it, "A damned sect, a pack of liars; cursed, proud, and arrogant spirits; bread eaters, wine drinkers, soul murderers."² He says: "He believes the Body of Christ is in the sacrament, as the Schoolmen express it, not by commensuration to place, but yet determinately, that is to say," says he, " certainly, corporally, and truly."—" Quod corpus Christi non sit localiter in sacramento, sed definitive; id est, certo est ibi, corporaliter et vere." And in his Theses, a little before his death, he says: "We seriously think the Zuinglians and all the Sacramentarians heretics, and separated from God's Church, who deny the Body and Blood of Christ are taken into the mouth of our body in the blessed Sacrament."— (Thesi, 28, Contra Lovanienses.)

¹ Transubstantiation. This word was adopted by the fourth Council of Lateran, (An. 1215,) about 300 years before Luther and Calvin commenced reformers; but was in use before that Council, as appears from Peter of Blois, and Hildebert, who died in 1132.

² In Parva Confess., Anno 1544, " Blasphemos in Deum et
Christum, damnatam sectam, mendaces homines, maledictos, et
arrogantes spiritus, sacramentorum hostes, &c., Panivoros, vinibibones, Ammarum Lationes."

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 26.



The same arguments, therefore, by which the celebrated Lanfrank, the thirty-third Bishop of Canterbury, who was in great esteem with William the Conqueror, and who was Regent of the Kingdom during his absence, and a man of great abilities, had used to oblige Berengarius to abjure his error regarding this great mystery, ought equally to convince sincere Protestants of the present day: " A doctrine," said the Archbishop, "which has always been received by the whole Church, must undoubtedly be derived from Jesus Christ and his Apostles: now it is certain that this dogma of the real presence has been, at all times, believed by the universal Church. Ask all the nations of the earth, who make profession of believing in Jesus Christ; inquire whether the Greeks and Latins do not speak the same language respecting this article. They certainly do; and therefore it is fair to conclude that the Church has never varied in this point. Had she varied, how could there be this general uniformity of doctrine ? If," continued the learned prelate, " it had been a recent opinion, and but lately introduced in opposition to the ancient doctrine, surely some period might be assigned which gave birth to such a novelty By what miracle could the commencement and progress of such an innovation, have escaped the notice and researches of all historians ? How is it possible, that in all the Churches of the world, we find not a single trace of such an extraordinary change having taken place? Most assuredly, a change of this nature must have been noticed—a change so difficult, so surprising, and therefore so well calculated to leave in the minds of the people the most durable impressions. ¹

¹Lanfrancus, Lib. de Corpore et Sanguine Christi Domini, cap. 22. Erasmus, in his letter to Balthazzar, highly commends these writers, who, in the eleventh century, had, both by argument and authority, solidly confuted the heresy of Berengarius. Against the Sacramentarians he opposes the same arguments, namely, the words of Christ—of St. Paul—the authority of the holy Fathers— the uniform decision of Councils—and the general consent of the Christian world. The same general principles here recognised by Erasmus in support of Transubstantiation, the intelligent reader will easily apply to other points of religious controversy. I give the following extract of this interesting letter of Erasmus, from the English translation of Du Pin's Ecclesiastical History of the Sixteenth Century, p. 306.

" It is said in the gospel, This is my body, which is given for you,' and St. Paul says,  I have received of the Lord that which I have taught you: and he that shall eat and drink the body and blood of Jesus Christ unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This is our foundation, which cannot be shaken. Some of the ancient doctors of the church seem to have spoken, sometimes obscurely, and sometimes differently, of this sacrament. Their obscurity ought to be attributed either to the depth of the mystery, or to the precautions which they took; for as they were often speaking before a mixt assembly of Jews, Gentiles, and Christians, they would not give that which was holy unto dogs. The seeming differences that are found among them, proceed from this—that the sacramental species are sometimes called symbol*, sometimes the communion; —besides, because the body of Jesus Christ is hidden under those signs, that which belongs to the signs is attributed to the body, as to be broken and bruised. The body, then, which is in the sacrament, is the same in substance with that which was nailed to the cross; but it is not the same as to its qualities, because it is glorified and spiritual. —In a word, by the body of Christ is sometimes meant his natural body, which was born of the blessed Virgin, and sometimes his mystical body, which is the church; and-which has made some readers, through inadvertency, believe that the fathers said some things which did not agree together. But having so positive a testimony from Jesus Christ and St. Paul, and being assured that the ancient fathers, to whom the church, with good reason, has ascribed so much authority, have unanimously acknowledged that the true substance of the body and blood of Jesus Christ is in the Eucharist; and the constant authority of councils, and the unanimous consent of Christians being joined to these, let us unanimously agree about this divine mystery, and let us here, under this veil, take the bread and cup of our Lord, till we eat and drink it in another manner in the kingdom of heaven. And would to God, that those who have followed the errors of Berengarius, would imitate his repentance, and that their obstinacy would happily yield to the truth which is taught in the gospel. There are an infinite number of questions concerning this sacrament, as how transubstantiation is wrought, &c. But it is sufficient for the ordinary sort of Christians to believe that the true body and blood of Christ are there; that they cannot be divided, nor subject to any accident, whatever may happen to the species. —In a word, we ought to satisfy all the difficulties that can arise in our minds, by having recourse to the infinite power of God, to whom nothing is impossible, and to whom every thing is easy. We ought likewise to consider the qualities of a glorified body, and especially those of the body of Jesus Christ, nor have we any thing to do, but worthily to celebrate this mystery according to our faith, and to make that faith appear by our actions."