Monday, 10 April 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 49.


TRANSUBSTANTIATION. The doctrine of Transubstantiation is a natural consequence of the real presence—so natural, that many of the leading ministers of the Calvinistic body, assembled in Council, have expressed their surprise that the Lutherans do not adopt it. " For," say they, " as the rod of Moses was not changed into a serpent but by transubstantiation; as water did not become blood in Egypt, or wine in Cana, without a change—so, in the Eucharist, bread cannot become the body of Christ, if it be not changed into his flesh by losing the substance of bread."— (Synod of Czenger. See Bossuet's History of the Variations of the Protestant Religion, Book 2, chap. 33.) Thus do we see, that the Catholic doctrine on this important subject is, in a manner, admitted and taught by our greatest opponents— the Lutherans admitting the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Calvinists teaching that if the real presence be admitted, Transubstantiation cannot be rejected.

Three hundred years and upwards have elapsed since the Sacramentarians attacked the doctrine of Transubstantiation; they ransacked the Scripture and Fathers to prove their novel opinions; but a host of Catholic divines have triumphantly demonstrated, from the same authorities, from Councils, ancient liturgies, and the united evidences of the Greek and Latin Churches, that Transubstantiation has been the invariable doctrine of the Catholic Church from the days of Christ down to their own times. On this article, as on all other points, Protestants have made but a feeble defence; driven from position to position, they changed their mode of attack, and scarcely employ any argument now against the doctrine in question, but that of reason and the evidence of the senses, excluding all scriptural mysteries, according to the Socinian system. " If Protestants be not orthodox in this particular," says D'Alambert, " they are, at least, consistent with their own principles," namely, that the " Scripture is the rule of faith, as understood by every man of sound judgment;" if he read the Scripture with a pure intention, and judge by it that there is no mystery of the Trinity, Incarnation, &c., he may, no doubt, deny those mysteries, as not being grounded, according to his judgment, on the evidence of the senses. There are, however, some mysteries in nature, and our senses are as liable to deception, with regard to them, as they are in these of religion, as appears from the following examples.

Square towers appear circular when viewed from a distance, and seem smaller than they are in reality. What becomes of the evidence of our senses in this case, in opposition to reason ? The organ of vision is also deceived with regard to motion, as when we set sail with a fresh breeze from port, the shores seem in motion, and the villas and cities retreating. Should we be remote from a long chain of mountains, the convex as well as the concave parts of them appear to the view like a plain level surface. The Sun appears sometimes only two feet, at most, in diameter, though according to astronomers, it is about one million three hundred and ninety-three thousand times bigger than the earth. Who could imagine the square of the hypotenuse to be equal to the sum of the squares of the two sides, though the sum of the sides is larger than the hypotenuse ?