Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 43.


"I can find but few amongst English Protestant divines going so far," continues the learned Julius Vindex, "as to deny the absolute possibility of transubstantiation. Their main objections are, first, that it cannot be evinced from the words of holy writ; secondly, that it stands in direct contradiction to the testimony of the senses. See La Placette, Taylor, Tillotson, &c."

"Let it appear," says Dr. Taylor, 1 one of its most violent opponents, " that God hath affirmed transubstantiation, and I for my part will burn all my arguments, viz., of apparent contradictions and impossibilities against it, and make public amends." Then to the objection, that Protestants as believing themselves the doctrines of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Resurrection of the same body at the latter day, &c., should not object to transubstantiation from any seeming absurdity, or impossibility whatsoever, he answers, "That if there were as plain revelation of transubstantiation as of the others, then this argument were good; and if it were possible for a thousand times more arguments to be brought against transubstantiation, yet (saith he) we are to believe the revelation in despite of them all." Now no man can believe that to be true, in any way, which he knew before to be absolutely false and impossible, therefore, neither he nor other Protestant divines who are of the same sentiments, can believe any absolute impossibility in the doctrine of transubstantiation. Again, " Those who believe the Trinity in all those niceties of explications which are in the school, and which now pass for the doctrine of the Church, believe them with as much violence to the principles of natural philosophy, as can be in the point of transubstantiation." 2

The possibility then of transubstantiation being thus conceded, let us see whether the words of the institution taken in the plain and obvious sense, do not (even according to its greatest opponents) prove that stupendous doctrine.

"The sense of the words of the institution, this is my body," says Calvin, "taken literally, cannot stand without a change of the bread into the body of Christ; so that the visible bread may become the invisible body." 3

"Either our figure or their transubstantiation must follow," says Beza, writing against the Lutherans, " for you cannot insist on the literal sense of the words, 'this is my body,' without plainly establishing transubstantiation."

" If you take," says Zuinglius himself, " the word est, without a figure, the substance of the bread must be changed into that of the body of Christ, so that what had been bread, is no longer so.—Fieri nequit, quin panis substantia in ipsam carnis substantiam convertatur panis ergo amplius non est, qui antea panis erat." 4 And in his reply to Luther, he presses him thus: " If the pronoun ' this,' points to the bread, and that you reject a figure in the words, it will inevitably follow, that the bread doth become the body of Christ; jam panis transit in corpus Christi, et est corpus subito, quod jam panis erat. So that," he says, " if you reject the figure, the Pope has every reason to insist on transubstantiation." 5 Transubstantiation once admitted, adoration of our Saviour, as present in the Eucharist, inevitably follows.

Taylor on the Real Presence, pp. 240, 237.

Liberty of Prophecy, sec. 20.

Calvin's Second Defence against Whesphalius, p. 664.

Zuinglius in Exegesi contra Lutherum, p. 336.

Zuinglius de Cœna Domini, folio 275.