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."