« PreviousContinue »
Council of Trent, subjects those who do so to the charge of heresy, and to every kind of anathema! It was for the denial of this irrational and antiscriptural dogma that hundreds and thousands of martyrs died at the stake : “ For this,” Tillotson remarks, “ hath been in the church of Rome the great burning article !"
The notion of the conversion of the bread and wine into the real body and blood, soul and divinity, of Christ, contradicts the nature and designs of the Eucharist. It was instituted for a commemoration of an absent Saviour-it was to be done in remembrance of him—" to show forth his death until he come.” If Christ then be, as is pretended, corporeally present in the Eucharist, it is manifest that the very nature and design of that sacred institution are set aside.
The horrid impiety which is involved in this doctrine, of eating the réal body and blood, soul and divinity, of our best friend and Saviour, yea, of eating God, is that which is so abhorrent to the feelings of true piety, that it need only to be named, to be condemned.
The superstitious and idolatrous tendency of this doctrine will be exposed when we come to treat on the sacrifice of the mass and the adoration of the host, in the next chapter.
The learned Grotius has passed a just eulogium on the conduct of our Reformers, in a letter to Corvinus. “ In England,” he says, “ you see how
happily the reformation of noxious errors has proceeded, principally from this cause, that they who undertook that most holy work, admitted nothing of novelty, nothing of their own, but had their attention fixed on better ages.” * It was the object of the Reformers to bring forth from the mass of errors with which it had been encumbered, and in which it had been concealed, " the faith once delivered to the saints.” This is particularly seen in the scriptural statement of their faith in the nature and design of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, in the 28th Article, given at the head of this chapter; in which so decided a protest is borne against the errors of the church of Rome on this subject. The following sentences from her Article contain a comprehensive statement of the doctrine of the church of England concerning the nature and design of the Eucharist—" The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten, in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith.” Thus, also, in her excellent Communion Service, she thus addresses communicants--“ We spiritually eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood,”_" to the end
“ In Anglia, vides quam bene processerit dogmatum noxiorum repurgatio, hac maxime de causa, quod qui id sanctissimum negotium procurrandum suscepere, nihil admiserint novi, nihil sui, sed ad meliora sæcula intentam habuere oculorum aciem.”-De Veritate, &c. p. 310.
that we should always remember the exceeding great love of our Master, and only Saviour, Jesus Christ, thus dying for us, and the innumerable benefits which by his precious blood-shedding he hath obtained to us : he hath instituted and ordained holy mysteries, as pledges of his love, and for a continual remembrance of his death, to our great and endless comfort.” When, therefore, in the catechism, the church of England declares the body and blood of Christ " are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper," she means, as expressed in the Article already referred to, that they are taken and received “ only after a heavenly and spiritual manner,”—“ by faith.”
We will here give a few extracts from the writings of the Fathers of the church of England, not only as explaining her faith as to the nature and design of the Lord's Supper, but as exhibiting her protest against the errors and corruptions of the church of Rome in respect of this sacrament.
Bishop Jewel.-" We affirm that the bread and wine are the holy and heavenly mysteries of the body and blood of Christ, and that by them Christ himself, being the true bread and eternal life, is so presently given unto us, as that by faith we verily receive his body and blood. Yet say we not this as though we thought that the nature and substance of the bread and wine is clearly changed and goeth to nothing : as many have dreamed in these latter times, and yet could never agree among themselves upon their own dreams. For this was not Christ's meaning, that the wheaten bread should lay aside his own nature, and receive a certain new divinity; but that he might rather change us, and (to use Theophylact's words) might transform us into his body.” “ Christ himself said, not only after the blessing of the cup, but also after he had adminis. tered the communion, “I will drink no more of this fruit of the vine.' It is well known that the fruit of the yine is wine, and not blood.” *
Bradford, (martyr,) in a sermon on the Lord's Supper, thus reasons against the doctrine of transubstantiation:
“ The Holy Ghost doth plainly tell us, by calling it often bread, after the words of consecration, as 1 Cor. x., “ Is not the bread which we break a partaking of the body of Christ ?” Lo, plainly, he saith, the bread which we break --not only calling it bread, but adding thereto breaking, which cannot be attributed either to Christ's body, whereof no bone was broken, either to any accident, but must needs be of a substance, which substance, if it be not Christ's body, cannot be but bread. As in the eleventh chapter four times he plainly calleth it, he that eateth of this bread, he that receiveth this bread, &c. So that it is plain that the substance of bread and wine doth remain after the words of consecration, as also may appear plainly by Christ's own words,
• Jewel's Apology.
which calleth that which he gave them in the cup wine, or the fruit of the vine, as both Matthew and Mark do write : whereby we see that there is no transubstantiation of the wine, and therefore may we also see, that there is no transubstantiation of the bread.”
" That the substance of bread remaineth in the sacrament, as the reasons before brought doth prove, so doth the definition of a sacrament: for the Fathers do affirm it to consist of an earthly thing, and of an heavenly thing ; of the word, and of the element ; of sensible things, and of things which be perceived by the mind. But transubstantiation taketh clean away the earthly thing, and so maketh it no sacrament; and therefore the definition of a sacrament full well teacheth, that bread, which is the earthly thing, the sensible thing, and the element, remaineth still, as St. Augustine saith : the word cometh to the element, (he saith
away, the element,) and so it is made a sacrament."
“ It is a plain sign of Antichrist, to deny the substance of bread and wine to be in the Lord's Supper after consecration ; for in so doing, and granting transubstantiation, the property of the human nature of Christ is denied : for it is not of the human nature, but of the divine nature, to be in many places at once. Now grant transubstantiation, and then Christ's natural body must needs be in many places, which is nothing else, but to