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ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.” (1 Cor. ii. 26.) But if there were whole Christ, body, soul, and divinity, in the consecrated host, the papists would exhibit Christ alive in the sacrament, and not dead.
The scriptural account of the matter is therefore quite clear and decisive, that the body in a state of death, without either soul or divinity, is represented in the sacrament. Conceding the point, therefore, of transubstantiation, the host can contain no more than a broken dead body; and the worship of this is not the worship of God, unless a dead body be God, which no one is stupid enough to affirm. The worship of the host must therefore be
gross idolatry. Third. If the consecrated host, contained the soul and divinity, as well as the body of Christ, it must be alive. But it can manifest no signs of life. neither speak nor move. You can neither perceive breathing nor pulsation. You have no more evidence of its vitality than of that of a stone.
But transubstantiation is not true. It is built on a literal interpretation of the words of the institution. But this cannot be justified, unless the same principle of interpretation be applied to the cup, as well as to the bread. The words of the institution are,
gave it to them, saying, drink
all of it; for this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matt. xxvi. 27, 28.) Now here the
cup is as expressly declared to be his blood, as in the preceding verse the bread is affirmed to be his body. Observe, it is not the wine, but the cup, which is called his blood. As to figures and ellipses, the catholics will not allow us to have recourse to these in explaining the bread ; and we shall therefore insist that they abstain from them in expressing the cup. They must, therefore, admit that the cup is literally changed into the blood of Christ, or retract what they say of the bread being changed into his body.
But this is not all. Christians are said to drink the cup: “For as often as ye eat this bread and drink
he took the cup,
this cup. Whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup.” (1 Cor. ii. 26, 27.) Now here I will make a fair and honest proposal to the priests of the Romish church. If any of them will undertake, in my presence, literally to drink the chalice, I will immediately become a convert to their religion. I call this a fair proposal, because,
First. I am literally explaining what is said of the cup, just as they do what is said of the bread; and surely both should be taken literally, or neither.
Second. It is no greater miracle to change the chalice into blood, than to change the bread into a human body; nor for blood to exist under the form and accidents of a chalice, than for a human body to exist under the form and accidents of bread ; nor to drink human blood, in any form, than to swallow a whole human body. But till the experiment be really made, I cannot forbear thinking that the chalice would stick in the throat !
A close adherence to the literal sense of the terms used in the institution is fatal to transubstantiation. For the communicants are never once expressly said to eat the body, or to drink the blood of Christ. Matthew says,
“ Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.” The papist infers, that they ate his body. The words in Mark are the same; and though they vary a little in Luke, yet is there no difference in the sense. Now, if this were the whole of the evidence, it might still be debated whether the word body should be taken figuratively or literally; and a papist might talk about the authority of the priesthood to interpret scripture and to impose their interpretations upon the laity. But this is not the whole evidence; for an inspired apostle, after giving the words of the institution, goes on to state, and he does this no less than three successive times, in three successive verses ; and twice in the preceding chapter - what is actually eaten ; and this he affirms to be bread. “For as often as ye eat this bread. Whoso
ever shall eat this bread. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread.” (1 Cor. xi. 26 – 28.) Here then the apostle and the pope are fairly at issue. The one reiterates that bread is eaten; the other as stiffly contends that it is not bread, but the real body of Christ. Which are we to believe ? As here is a plain contradiction, one of the parties must be mistaken; and since both papists and protestants admit the inspiration of the apostle, it follows necessarily, that the church of Rome in this point has erred. And this settles the question as to transubstantiation ; for if bread did not remain after consecration, bread could not be eaten. So our Lord calls the contents of the cup after consecration, “ The fruit of the vine.” (Matt. xxvi. 29.) Now this it could not be, if it were literally blood; for blood is not the fruit of the vine. Notice what they say of it being denominated from the accidents : (1 Cor. x.:) they eat the same spiritual meat and drank the same spiritual drink--and that was Christ, and this the notes say they did figuratively. One part of scripture cannot contradict another; and a sacred writer surely cannot contradict himself in the same breath. There can, therefore, be no difficulty in fixing the meaning of the words, “ This is my body.” We have seen that they cannot be taken literally; they must, therefore, be interpreted figuratively. This represents my body. Dr. Clarke remarks, “In the Hebrew,” etc. If the phraseology under consideration be a proof of transubstantiation, the miracle must be wrought in a thousand other instances. In John vi. 32, etc., Jesus Christ calls himself true bread. This is quite as good authority for changing his flesh and blood into a loaf, as the other is for changing a loaf into flesh and blood. In 1 Cor. x. 17, we read, “ For we, being many, are one bread." Must not this too be taken literally? And then by some kind of legerdemain, all christians will be turned into a loaf of bread. Since the current language of scripture runs in this train, how happens it, that the doctrine of transmutation, instead of being applied to
thousands of subjects, should be limited to one? The reason is, because this is the only one which the priests could set up any exclusive claim for performing, and which, therefore, they could turn to their own aggrandisement. I appeal to common sense, whether the words, “ We are bread,” will not support a literal interpretation quite as well, as the words, “ This my body?” and whether a transubstantiation may not as easily be effected in one case as in the other? But then in the former case there is no sacerdotal consecration of the people — nothing for the priest to do — the miracle would be performed without him. Besides, suppose the metamorphosis to be effected, what could the priest do with the loaf? Viewed as mere bread, he could not sell it for more than it cost him. Considered as containing all christians, he could not propose that it should be worshipped, or sold, or eaten. For if worshipped, it would be idolatry; and they are more disposed to worship themselves under other forms: if sold, his right to take all christians to market would be disputed, and few would be disposed to become purchasers : if eaten, I suppose most would be sick enough at the thought of gormandizing one another, and even themselves. But what power and profit have the priests acquired by a literal rendering of “ This is my body!" "What a stupendous miracle for a priest to change a bit of bread into a divinity! and what immense profits have been made of this pastry
But the popish transubstantiation is impossible. The council of Trent declares “ that by the consecration of the bread and wine, there is effected a conversion of the whole substance of the bread, into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance oi the wine," etc.* I do not dispute but God can change bread into stone, flesh, gold, or any other substance; nor that he can condense the whole matter of a human body into the size and dimentions of a wafer. But I deny that of two identical sub
* See Onseley's Old Christianity, p. 198.
stances, the one can be converted into the other, as the papisis affirm is the case in their transubstantiation. For instance, my pen is one substance, and my paper another; now though I admit it to be possible to change my pen into paper, or my paper into a pen, yet I deny that it is possible to change my pen into this paper. Changing one substance into another, is a process that is going on in nature perpetually; but to convert one substance into another which existed prior to the change, is quite another thing, and is plainly a contradiction. This earth may be changed into a sun; but when done, it is not the sun which was the centre of this system prior to the miracle being wrought; and no power can make it such.
The old sun may be annihilated, or changed into a planet, and the new sun put in its place, but since the new sun is supposed to be made of the matter of the earth, and the matter of the old sun is distinct from the matter of the earth ; therefore the matter of the new sun is quite distinct from the matter of the old. Of two things previously existing, the one cannot be changed into the other. One may resemble the other; and the two may be blended into one; but the matter of one cannot, by any process, become the matter of the other. The popish doctrine is not that of incorporation; it does not consist in changing the bread into flesh and blood, conjuring up the body of Christ under the accidents of the bread, and uniting the two together; but in converting the whole substance of the bread into the body of Christ, which body, manufactured out of the breaci, is denominated“ Christ, whole and entire.” Now this, I say, is an utter impossibility. Take any two substances as the subjects of operation : say your pencil and my pen. The substance of your pencil may, by power, be converted into a thousand different things a pen amongst the rest; but it is not my pen ; and although exactly like it, if you please, yet it is not, and cannot be the same: and to call it my pen, literally would be false. And since we are assured that “ God cannot lie,” he cannot be understood literally when