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tation. But other graver and more solid writers concede to us, that, so far as our Lord's expression goes, it is all in our favour. I will quote only one passage, and that is from Paley's Evidences. He is giving proof that the gospels are not merely made up books for certain purposes, but that all which they relate were things which did really happen. He says, “ I think also that the difficulty arising from the conciseness of Christ's expression, · This is my body,' would have been avoided in a made-up story." Why so? I may ask if that is the natural, most natural and obvious way of expressing the Protestant doctrine, what difficulty could there be that it should be avoided ? “I allow,” he continues, “that the explication of these words given by Protestants is satisfactory; but it is deduced from a diligent comparison of the words in question with forms of expression used in Scripture, and especially by Christ himself upon other occasions." No writer would have arbitrarily and unnecessarily cast in his reader's way a difficulty, which, to say the least, it required research and erudition to clear up. Here, therefore, it is granted, that to arrive at the Protestant interpretation of these words requires “research and erudition," and consequently that is not the simple and obvious meaning of the words. When you say, that to establish the construction of a passage it requires study and learning, I conclude that it is the duty of the person who has to establish that interpretation to make use of those means, and the burden rests on him to establish his meaning, and not on those who depart from an interpretation where much learning and research are required. Therefore it is manifest that the plain, obvious import of the word is with us, and that it is the task of those who wish to depart from it to prove, that when Christ said, “ This is my body,” he did not mean, “ this is my body,” he did not mean, “ This is my blood,” consequently the burden of proof lies on the other side.
Hence it is that their argument will necessarily take a twofold form, and we must examine the grounds which are brought to prove that we are, in the first place, authorized, and in the second place, that we are compelled to depart from the literal meaning. This is generally attempted to be shown in two different ways. In the first place, it is attempted generally to prove, that our Saviour's words may be taken figuratively ; that they may be so interpreted as to mean, “ This represents my body ; this is a figure of my blood,” and for this purpose it is customary to bring together a number of passages in which the verb “to be” to be used in the sense of to represent; and from this it is concluded that as the verb has that meaning in those passages, so, in like manner, it may have it here. In the second place, to justify the departure in this case it is argued, that unless we do depart from the literal meaning we are surrounded with as many difficulties, there are such contradictions to the laws of nature, and a thousand other principles of reason, that bow
ever unwilling, we must leave the literal sense, and take the figurative signification. I conceive this to be the completest form in which the argument on the other side can be proved ; and I find, generally speaking, that that is the way in which it is attempted to be done. For instance, the author whom I quoted before, after he has given us his first reason, why we are not obliged to take the words literally, namely, because there is no necessity for it, urges as a second reason, that the literal meaning leads to direct contradictions and to gross absurditiesthat is to say, that there are greater difficulties in taking the literal meaning than in abandoning it. These are the two principal heads of the argument which I shall have to discuss.
In the first place, therefore, it is alleged, that we may take our Saviour's words figuratively, because there are many other passages of Scripture in which the verb “to be” is used for “ to represent;" and a great many texts of a very different character are generally thrown together in a confused heap to establish this point. In order to meet them, it will be necessary to classify them, because although there is a general answer as we shall see just now which will apply to all, yet there are specific answers which will be more easily laid before you by separating the passages into classes. The person who I believe has given the fullest list of such texts, and who bas given sufficient to establish this point, if it can be done at all (and if it could be done the matter would be at an end, perhaps, so far as the first point goes), and the person who is, above all others, popularly quoted as having most satisfactorily treated on the subject, is Dr. Adam Clarke in his Treatise on the Eucharist. The
is quoted by the two authors to whom I have already alluded. I will con
yself with Dr. Clarke's selection of passages, and will merely divide them into different classes in order to simplify my answers.
In the first class I place all those passages which are of this formGenesis xli. 26, 27, “And the seven good kine ARE seven years." Daniel vii. 24, “ The ten hours ARE ten kingdoms." Matthew xiii. 38, 39, “ The field is the world, the good seed ARE the children of the kingdom; but the tares ARE the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers ARE the angels.” 1 Corinthians x. 4, “ And that rock was Christ.” Galatians iv. 24, “ For these are the two covenants." The Apocalypse i. 20, “ The seven stars ARE the angels of the seven churches." Here you see a great many passages in which the verb “to be” certainly signifies “to represent :” and therefore wby not in the words of the Institution ?” That forms the first class of passages.
In the second I place John x. 7, “ I am the door,” John xv. 1, " I AM the true vine."
Thirdly. In Genesis xvii. 10, Gud says, “ This is my covenant
between me and thee”-speaking of the circumcision. This is com. monly supposed to mean, “ This is a representation or image of my covenant.”
Fourthly. In Exodus xii. 11, “ This is the Lord's passover. Here are four classes, therefore, of passages. I wish, first of all, to show you that independently of the general answers which I shall give you to all, and of the analysis I will give in speaking of the first class, and which will apply to many of the others, that the three last classes of passages have nothing at all to do with this question, and cannot be brought forward : for the meaning of the verb “to be,” does not mean “ to represent" in any of them, and therefore we must consider only those in which it does mean “ to represent.” “I am the door;" “I am the true vine.” I ask any person on reflection to answer, does the verb “to be," there mean “to represent." Substitute the one verb for the other; for if it be equivalent it must admit of such substitution. In another passage where it is said, “ The rock was Christ,” you can substitute it, and say, “ The rock represented Christ.” Try the same here, “I am the door,” I represent the door—no; that is not what our Saviour meant to say : he intended to say, I am like a door, I resemble a door. Therefore these passages must be at once excluded, because if you wish to make one expression equivalent to the other, it must stand equally well in the passage, which it evidently does not, because it makes a totally distinct sense from what our Saviour meant. That is enough to reject these two passages, besides wbich let me observe, that all the answers I shall make to the first class will apply also to these ; but for the present I consider that a specific answer sufficient to save further trouble about it.
Secondly. “ This is my covenant between thee and me.” Does this mean, that circumcision was the figure of the covenant. Supposing for a moment that it does ; God clearly explains himself, because he says immediately after that it is the sign, “ And it shall be a sign or token of the covenant.” Therefore, if he meant to say there, that it was a sign, he goes on to explain himself, and consequently there could be no mis. take. In the second place, I may say, that circumcision was not only the image or figure, but the instrument or record of the covenant. Now common usage does, and always has allowed us to call by the name of the covenant the articles or instrument whereby it is effected. If we held in our hands the instrument of a treaty, we should say, " This is the treaty,” But I only mention these two answers incidentally, because I think it is easy to prove that there is no allusion at all to any represen. tation in the case. This is evident if we take the whole passage; God says, “ This is my covenant between me and thee," and then he goes on, " All your children,” &c. " Whosoever shall be born shall be circumcised”-that is to say, the latter portion of the sentence includes the
covenant-the covenant is, what is there related. It is not the circumcision which is the covenant, but the order, the convention that circumcision should take place, that is the covenant, and it is evident from every passage wherever this word occurs. For instance, God says in Isaiah lix. 2), “ This is my covenant with them, saith the Lord, my Spirit that is in thee, and my words that I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth.” Does, “this is my covenant," signify, “ This is an image of my covenant ?" Does it not mean, “What I am going to say is my covenant?” It is an introductory formula. So if I say, “ This is my agreement, that I will pay you such a sum of money,” does this mean the image of my covenant or not? It is my actual covenant. Again, when it is said in the 1 Samuel xi. 2, “ In this will I make a covenant with you, in boring out your right eyes ;' the covenant succeeds the introductory expression. Then, again, in other passages where God says, “ This is my statute, this is my command;" and then follows the command or the statute, we do not take the words in the sense “to represent.” When, therefore, God says, “ This is my covenant:” for I do adopt this rite of circumcision, it means, as in other passages, “ This is my covenant,” and we have it explained in the continuation of the discourse. The examination of that passage, were there no other considerations, and the fact that in another place God does call it a sign, because it was a sign, a form of covenant, and the form of expression being parallel to others, justifies us in taking the words, “ This is my covenant,” in a literal sense, that it was a covenant between God and his people.
Thirdly. The fourth class contains the words, “ This is the Lord's passover.” This is an ting text, not only on account of its own intrinsic worth, but on account of some peculiar circumstances connected with its first application to this doctrine. It was upon this text and almost exclusively upon this text that the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation was rejected. Zuinglius, the first who ventured to deny it at the Reformation, had no other text upon which to ground the figurative interpretation of the words, “ This is my body,” than this very text in which I shall show you just now the verb “is” has a literal meaning. Upon this alone did he stand, and as the circumstances are. curious I beg to relate to you his own account, though I almost feel a repugnance at doing so: for it is degrading to human nature, and to a teacher of religion, that any thing so debasing, so discreditable should have been recorded by any writer of himself. I would pass the passage over were it not that in justice to the cause I am treating it is necessary to expose fully the grounds on which at first the Catholic doctrine regarding the Real Presence was denied. Zuinglius therefore tells us himself, that he was exceedingly anxious to get rid of the doctrine of the Real Presence, but he did not see how it was possible to remove the
natural and obvious signification of those words, “ This is my body; this is my blood.” He thought he could find nothing in Scripture that could warrant him in departing from the literal sense. He says, therefore, that it was on the thirteenth of April, early in the morning, that the event took place—the discovery of the text. “My conscience," he says, “obliges me to tell the truth, although I do it with some reluctance. Early in the morning I seemed to myself in my sleep to be seriously disputing with my antagonist on this text. I was by and by struck dumb, and was so much confused as to be unable to defend what I knew at the same time to be the truth ”—that is to say, the figurative meaning of these words. His antagonist was maintaining the Catholic doctrine. “ At last, most opportunely for me, there appeared to me a monitor, but whether he was white or black I do not remember.
He said to me, • You dunce, why do you not answer, it is written in Exodus xii. 11, “ It is the passover of the Lord.” Having been thus favoured in my vision, I awoke, rose out of bed, examined the passage repeatedly, and it dispelled every doubt from my own mind as well as from the minds of others.” Such, therefore, is the account given of the first discovery of a text whereby to reject the Catholic doctrine. This text is the one quoted from Exodus xii. 11, “ This is the Lord's passover."
I will not here again enter into several considerations which might be adduced as to the character of the paschal sacrifice, to show that from its nature it might lead the minds of those who offered it to the belief that there was something typical or symbolical in it; nor will I compare the phrase with others in Scripture where sacrifice is spoken of in the name of the victim. The priests are said to eat the sins of the people, and consequently the passover was a natural and obvious figure of the feast they were eating. I pass by these reflections because I shall be satisfied with giving you the authority of the best modern commentator upon the Old Testament, and be a Protestant. He says the verb “to be” there, 'must be taken in its literal meaning, because looking at the construction of the Hebrew form it is not as interpreted in the Bible, “ This is the passover of the Lord,” but this is “ The passover to the Lord.” Now he says, that whenever this form of expression occurs, the verb " to be," with the particle to after it, it means sacred, and therefore the meaning of these words is, This is a feast sacred to the Lord. The text, therefore, does not mean, This feast you are eating is an emblem or representation of the Lord's passover, a sign of it, but it is the passover sacred to the Lord--a feast sacred to the Lord. For the purpose of proving this he refers to two or three other passages where exactly the same form of expression is found. So, for instance, in Exodus xx. 10, it is said, “ This is the Sahbath of the Lord.” The form in the original is precisely the same, and from the peculiar con