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substance and accidents, of quid and quomodo, and such like inapplicable subtleties, as the invention of monastic idleness, set to work by the assumed principles of Aristotle, led men to adopt. The issue was such as the church of Rome, by its sovereign authority, thought fit at length to determine. By the decision of the general councils of Lateran and Trent' the point of faith was completely settled
; and the whole controversy, by the fiat of Rome, became compressed, not into a volume, not into a sentence, but into one single newly coined vocable• TRANSUBSTANTIATION.'
It would be to any other purpose than to the purpose of edification, were I to drag the reader through the many intermediate and thorny wilds of metaphysical debate, which served to produce the magical power of this single term ; while to mention the cruel methods resorted to, of enforcing belief in its specific virtues, would be to excite feelings unworthy of the subject in hand. Harsh and unintelligible as is the very sound of the word • transubstantiate, it might have been overlooked, with other similar attempts to illustrate ' obscurum
per obscurius,' had it not been that a definition of the term was given, and required to be received, in the following language : • The conversion of the • whole substance of the bread, into the natural body of Christ, and of the whole substance of the wine, • into his natural blood, the species or outward ac• cidents of the bread and wine only remaining-is • that which, for wise reasons, the catholic church
I The Council of Lateran was held in 1215; that of Trent more than 300 years after.
has called Transubstantiation.' Yet certain it is, that the Greek church never had, in their language, so much as a word which could be construed to sig. nify what is here ascribed to the word transubstantiation, much less a word of similar import.
On its first promulgation, the above definition of the terin transubstantiation startled many learned men of the Romish communion, who could not digest it as an article of faith. But no sooner had the reformation in Germany checked the rigours of papal severity, than the doctrine, which this definition conveyed, was attacked at all hands, and what is somewhat remarkable, was attacked by arguments successfully drawn from that very system of philosophy which
gave the doctrine birth. Yet am I no advocate for the adoption of science falsely
so called,' into religious controversy ; tar less for conferring on what is merely the result of human ingenuity, the power of deciding one way or another, in the deep doctrines of divine revelation. All such doctrines, and this individual doctrine more especially, I should ever wish to see either combated or defended by weapons drawn from the armoury of scripture, and of primitive antiquity-not by logical deduction, or metaphysical quibbling, which may, by cunning artifice, be diverted to any purpose. Without therefore pronouncing an opinion with respect to the real merits of the victory obtained in this philosophical contest about the doctrine of transubstantiation, I would recommend to the assertor of this doctrine one consideration from Scripture, which, in my opinion, decidedly opposes both the faith of the Romish church, and its practice. The apostle St Paul expressly calls the body, in the Eucharist, the body broken for us ',' which is also the current style of the ancient liturgies. Yet another apostle, St John, in applying the paschal lamb, as the type of our Lord's natural body, declares in a manner equally incontestable, • that 'these things were done that the Scripture should
be fulfilled a bone of him shall not be BROKEN ".' If therefore the eucharistical body becomes the natural body, it is a thing avowedly different from the • body broken for us.' But from the above infallible authorities, the eucharistical body, which was broken, can never become the natural body, which was not to be broken ; and therefore the doctrine, which pronounces them to be one, is heretical doctrine ; while the practice of administring, in the form of a wafer purposely prepared, that it may not be broken, is a heretical practice.
How much is it however to be lamented in this, as in every other matter of controversy, that in flying from one error, men should fall into other errors, , and content themselves with a system of belief e
Cor, xi. 24.
2 St John xix. 36.
qually distant from the standard of truth, though perhaps not of so dangerous a tendency as that from which they were desirous to escape? The great body of the 'Lutherans, on their separation from the church of Rome, did, it is true, keep up that part
of the Lateran doctrine, which asserted the corporal presence of Christ's body and blood in the sacrament of the Lord's supper ; but still did they retain so much of the ancient creed which Rome had arrogantly anathematized, as to believe that the substance, as well as accidents of the bread and wine still remained. This union of the two substances they denominated · consubstantiation ;' a term which both papist and protestant agree, in pronouncing to be equally obscure and unphilosophical as transubstantiation itself. Therefore it was rejected' by another numerous party, who, following the tenets of Zuinglius and Calvin, taught, and still do teach, that the history given us, in Scripture, of this sacramental institution, is only to be taken figuratively, without any kind of reality whatever; and who, building their system of belief upon some expressions of the Latin Fathers, in which the consecrated elements are called figures of the body and blood (although far from being so called in the jow unmeaning sense imposed upon sucli language by inodern refinement) did, and still do, exclaim against any real presence of Christ in the sacrament; which real presence they either cannot, or will not distinguish from the corporal presence affirmed by the other party. Nay, so far have some
of the Calvinistie tribes in this country proceeded in their scheme of degradation, as to annex no other idea to the sacrament of the eucharist, than that of a convivial meeting, where men sit down to eat and drink together, in token of inutual love and harmony-accompanied, by reason of the solemnity of the place, with somewhat of devotion, during the few hours spent in partaking; but unattended by the belief of any thing either sacred or mysterious in the institution itself; although it be undeniably certain, that the words of institution do carry mystery-grand and precious mystery in their most literal sense and construction.
With these effects of misguided belief exposed to his view, how must the sound and sincere christian lament that the most endearing pledge, and the most sacred bond of love and unity among christians should have been made such a souree of contention, and have raised such dreadful animosity in the christian world ? Nay, that the highest and most honourable mark of regard, which the church, in its present militant state, could have received from its glorious Head, should have ever been despoiled of its just estimation, by means of human passion subyerting human judgement? Even the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation, professedly meant to aggrandize and add lustre to this venerable mystery, and to the church as the dispenser of it, appears to me, laying other considerations aside, to be injurious to its real and inherent dignity, Rr 2