Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 45.


In fine, says the noted Jurieu, addressing his Catholic brethren, " In order to express the manner in which you understand the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, you tell us that he is not there according to a natural manner of existence, viz., in a corporal one, but in a mysterious or sacramental way, though still truly, really, and substantially an object of faith, and the food of our souls. Now this is precisely what we believe ourselves. We all adopt the very same expressions, for which reason, many of our divines, on perusing our writings suspect that, though you accuse us of departing from the real doctrine of the Church, yours is in reality the same as ours."

Should your Lordship, or any of your friends, resort to the old cavil of Christ's presence on earth being incompatible with his presence in heaven, I reply in the words of a most learned Protestant minister: " The corporal presence in the Eucharist, is not against any article of faith. It destroys not the ascension of our Lord, nor is his rendering himself present on this earth whenever he pleases, any way incompatible with it. The contrary is merely a consequence of our own; the essence of his body remains the same."

As to the primitive fathers and their doctrine in respect of transubstantiation, so much misrepresented by Protestants, particularly by Tillotson, in his bombastic and blasphemous 26th discourse, they are fairly and totally given up to us by the learned Dr. Parker, Bishop of Oxford; the great Scaliger acknowledging also the impossibility of proving the Calvinian doctrine, now so prevalent in England, from their writings.

"It is evident," says the above mentioned prelate, " to all ordinarily conversant in ecclesiastical history, that the ancient Fathers did, from age to age, assert the true and real presence of Christ in very high and expressive terms: the Greeks called it metabole, &c., and the Latins agreeably with them, conversion, transmutation, transformation, transelementation, and at length transubstantiation; by all which expressions they meant neither more nor less than the real and substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist."! Thus this candid and learned man.

"I have often wondered," says the great Scaliger, " that all the ancient Fathers should have considered the supper of the Lord as a real oblation, and that they should have believed, as they unquestionably did, the change of the bread into the body of Christ, for which reason, in vain do Protestants endeavour to prove the article of the supper from their writings, as Mr. Marnix observed to me, speaking of M. Plessis Mornay and others, who had rashly undertaken to do so."

Ponder well, my Lord Bishop, as a prelate of the Church of England, on the following awful words of the learned Protestant Claude to Mr. Arnauld: 1 "Let Mr. Arnauld recollect, that our present dispute of the real presence is such, that either heaven or hell must be the lot of whichever of us makes a wrong choice. Let him remember it, for we cannot forget it." 2

I shall here notice among the numerous inconsistencies of Protestants, one in particular, which must astonish not a little any sober and reflecting man. They cry up Scripture as an easy rule of faith, they appeal to it while they refuse to listen to this positive testimony of Christ's own words. They cry up, I say, the Scripture as a very easy rule of faith, and yet at the same time, they pretend that it says one thing and means another. Surely if Christ ever expressed himself-clearly, it would be on this solemn occasion, when settling a treaty, an alliance, and making his last will and testament, which should ever be couched in the most simple and plain language. 3 Does a wise man on such occasions make use of unusual figures of speech? Does he say, as I remarked in my former letter, for instance, that he bequeaths a diamond when he intends only to bequeath the figure or a representation of a diamond. Such a manner of arguing is downright non-, sense; the fact being, your Church is built on pride, error, and inconsistency. Hear Dr. Lingard, whose very name carries with it such weight, and who most justly remarks: " The new doctors,, the pride of evangelical liberty, believed one day one thing, and another day another; and as men and circumstances changed, the creed of the English Church was improved or corrupted by successive alterations. The first book of Common Prayer was a book of godly travail. The Commons, Lords, and infant head of the Church, pronounced it to have been composed with the aid of the Holy Ghost. (2 and 3 Ed. VI. c. l.) 4

1 It is affirmed by Bishop Ridley, (says Heylin, one of the principal compilers of the Liturgies,) ' that in the sacrament of the altar, is the natural body and blood of Christ; and if there be the natural body, there must be a real presence in his opinion/ The question between us and the Papists is not concerning a real presence, which the Protestants do also profess, it is agreed on both sides that there is a true and real presence, the difference being only in the modus presentiae."— (Heylin's Introduction to Cyprianus Anglicus,p. 15.)

2 In the last few pages I have availed myself largely of the before named work of the learned Julius Vindex, omitting or changing a few words applicable to Archbishop Magee, to whom his argument was addressed.

3 It is a received maxim with lawyers, that all testaments are to be interpreted in the obvious and literal sense of the testator's words. How absurd is it not therefore in Protestants to wrest the clear words of Christ, in making his last will, to bear a figurative sense in opposition to the constant testimony of the Greek and Latin Church in all ages ?

4 On this subject I will refer my readers to Bishop Beveridge's Explanation of the Catechism, p. 14. It is amusing enough to observe with what ingenuity the Right Rev. Prelate gradually slides through three pages, from the body and blood of Christ, till he at last rests on a secure standing place, the graces of the body and blood of Christ.