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ligible, and in itself less liable to equivocation, than that employed by Jesus, when he said, “ This is * my body, and this is my blood,” at the moment when he was giving bread and wine to his disciples. They partook of both, and found them to be natural substances. They understood the figure of speech, as it was agreeable to the analogy of Scripture language, and usual with the Jews; but if they had taken the words in a literal sense, whilst he was before their eyes alive and healthy, they would have been insane. Neither they nor the early Christians received the words otherwise than in a figurative sense. Saint Austin-a high authority among Romanists declared it impious to understand and take in a literal sense the similar phrase,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life;" and Cardinal Cajetan was obliged to admit that “there does not appear in the Gospel anything to compel us to understand these words literally, namely, “This is my body,'” and that “the presence which the Church holds cannot be proved by the words of Christ, unaided by the declaration of the Church." What authority is the Church in any doctrine or discipliue unsupported by Scripture ? A body of priests styling themselves the Church, when so unsupported, are of no more authority than a body of pedlars.
In this figurative sense the Supper of the Saviour continued to be taken, till the Council of Lateran, in 1215, decreed that the eucharist contained the real presence.
But if I were to admit, in honour of his power, that Christ performed the miracle of changing the bread into his body, whilst that body was living before their eyes, and of changing the wine into his own blood, surely such a miracle, although superfluous as a testimony of his power, would have astonished the beholders more than any which he had performed, and would have been specially recorded. Does such record exist ? Certainly not. And if I should go the length of admitting that he delegated such preternatural power to his apostles, am I obliged to believe that such mysterious power is possessed by every priest that officiates at a Romish altar ? Holy Scripture clothes them with no such power; and human reason rejects the notion of their possessing it. We have no authority in Holy Writ to bid us believe that in. spiration and power to work miracles were given to any but the apostles.
* The word is, when connecting words of two different significations, means, in Scripture, to represent. The fifth chapter of Ezekiel opens with the following command :-“Thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thy head and upon thy beard : then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair;” and in the fifth verse we read, “ Thus saith the Lord God, This is Jerusalem.” Which? The knife, the razor, or the hair? Neither. Did all three make up Jerusalem ? No. But the hair represented the approaching fall of the city. In the parable of the sower, Jesus employs the word is, in the sense of representing :-“When any one heareth the word of the kingdom and understandetb it not, then cometh the wicked one and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside.” He continues, " He that received the seed in stony places, the same is he that heareth the word.” Throughout the parable the word is has the signification represent. St. Paul, when alluding to the rock from which water gushed in the desert, says, “ This rock was Christ; and, speaking allegorically of Abraham's bond-maid, he says, “ Hagar is Mount Sinai.” Sufficient has been said, I trust, to prove that such phrases must be taken figuratively, because they cannot be taken literally.
At their death we must, therefore, believe them to have been withdrawn. The pretension to them since their disappearance, by any body of men, is an audacious presumption; and the belief of them pitiable superstition. I cannot consequently believe that, when any Romish priest performs the ceremony of the mass, the wafer that has been prepared by the baker is, at any particular moment, transubstantiated, by the prayers of the priest, into the body of Christ ; because, although I believe that God made man, I cannot believe that man can make God. Before I can attain such a belief, I require, at least, a similar miracle* to that vouchsafed to Pope Urban IV., when, it is said, a consecrated wafer dropped BLOOD, to prove to a sceptic priest the real presence in the sacrament. I require such miracle ; because I know (what no Catholic priest will have the hardihood to deny) that when a consecrated wafer has been left for six months in the tabernacle, it has always been found gnawed by the worms. It is not “hedg’d in" by any “ Divinity,”, to protect it from the fate of the biscuit of the blaspheming sailor.
According to the doctrine of the Church of Rome, Transubstantiation takes place thus :-Upon the priest pronouncing the words of consecration over the bread, the body of Christ is truly present upon the altar; and upon his pronouncing the words of consecration over the wine, his blood is truly present. Can it be believed that a priest has the power to call downf Christ from heaven at any time he chooses, and make him obey the call, and take the place of the bread; which then is no longer bread—but the Deity? Is there any passage in Scripture to authorize so daring a dogma ? It would naturally be imagined, at any rate, that such obedience on the part of the Deity could not be interrupted by human agency. Such, however, is not the fact. The Roman Missal is obliged to own that consecration may be unavailing if the priest should omit, by accident or on purpose, any word or part of a word (such as cor instead of corpus); or if he should have no intention to consecrate the elements (through want of zeal, or conviction, from being possibly on the eve of becoming a Protestant): but this is not all that can render the Eucharist ineffectual, Transubstantiation does not take place if the wine be sour, or if the bread be not made of wheat, or be otherwise, corrupted. Can it be believed that a miracle can be defeated in its operation by the trick of a Protestant baker, who should purposely make the wafer of improper materials, or by the malice of an infidel wine-grower who should take care that the wine was made of sour or unsound grapes ? .
The truth is, that the doctrine of Transubstantiation was unknown to the Christian Church before the beginning of the thirteenth century. It was invented when the Church was exerting herself under the sway of Innocent III., the founder of the Inquisition, to gain a supremacy over the civil power : and it must be owned that a more clever artifice
• This miracle gave rise, it is said, to the ceremony of the Corpus Christi.
f Let me not be accused of blasphemy: I am using the language of no less an authority than Bourdaloue. Contemplate his assertion,—“Quoique le Prêtre ne soit dans ce sacrifice que le substitut de Jésus Christ, il est certain néanmoins que Jésus Christ, se soumet à lui, qu'il s'y assujetit, et lui rend tous les jours sur nos autels la plus prompte, et la plus exacte obéissance!"
was never devised, to show to the vulgar the paramount dignity, nay, omnipotence of the priesthood : for the power of making God himself, at any moment they chose, and of carrying him about the streets, whenever his presence was thought necessary by them, for public show, was a power which the greatest potentate upon earth could not boast of possessing. Thus fraud invented, and credulity swallowed, what is nothing less than folly to believe !
I may here incidentally observe, that if this Transubstantiation really takes place, no evil could arise although the wafer should be poisoned: and I therefore once ventured to ask a Romish priest, if he would take it with a knowledge of such circumstance. He hesitated in giving me a reply : when I told himn that I was sufficiently answered. If he had believed the elements really changed from corruptible bread to incorruptible Deity, his reply would have been instantly affirmative; but probably he had read that, in the year 1313, the Emperor Henry VII. was poisoned by the consecrated Host, and fact seemed to have more influence on his mind than faith.
(To be continued.)
A REVIEW OF MARTIN LUTHER'S VIEWS COMPARED WITH
THE ROMANISTS', ON CLOISTER VOWS, CELIBACY, POVERTY, AND OBEDIENCE TO THE RULE OF THEIR ORDER, AND
DISPENSATIONS. ARRANGED BY REV. C. SMYTH, B.A., OXON., FROM HIS “GERMAN TREATISES,”
Continued from page 285.) The Reformer proceeds to give the following history of the celibate, dating its origin to St. Antony, who, by all Church history, and the Christian fathers, was called the father of monks, and the inventor of the ascetic regimen ; and he says, that in the days of St. Antony, the term monk, in Greek monachos, signified that which in Luther's days was understood by the terms recluse and hermit; a man who lived remote from the multitude in the forest or desert; and he declared that at the time in which he was living, he knew no such monks as St. Antony; as follows:-“I know, at this present time, no such monks; there have been none of St. Antony's stamp for above a thousand years, unless you call prisoners in dungeons by this name, who, alas ! are real recluses. The Papal monks are more conversant with the world, and live less retired, than any class of men you can name.” St. Antony, in Luther's opinion, spoke with wisdom, and taught most scripturally, when he recommended the world by all means to avoid monastic life; since no commandment requiring celibacy and solitude could be found in Scripture. In his treatise bearing the title of “ Councils and Churches,” ihe great Reformer and opponent to all the rules of monks and nuns, exposes in the third part the “ new works”. which are not commanded in the sacred Scriptures, and which he Vol. IX.- October, 1847. x
New Series, No. 22.
would not, as he says, call bad; but he said they were splendidly sinful; holy idolatry ; the inventions of especial saints. For, he asks, what further good work could be conceived beyond those which the Holy Spirit had taught in Scripture? What good work could be imagined, which was not included in the commandment of love? If it be not involved in love, how could it be a good work at all? “ But," Luther continues, " when a weak Christian hears or sees an holy hermit leading a most rigorous life, and pushing self-denial far beyond general Christians, he thinks at once, that the whole old Christian course of living is not good for anything, or very perilous in comparison with monastic sanctity. Yet this feeble Christian may possess a really pure faith in Christ, and exercise himself in real old good works, commanded by the Almighty. This man is a real ancient saint and Christian; but he will disappear behind the lofty pretensions of the new saintly worthies, whose recommendations will stand in garments, meats, fastings, watchings, and similar good works. Even the elect themselves may be drawn into these errors. It was so with St. Antony. But he was afterwards able to see, and to confess, that he and his monkery were outdone by a shoemaker at Alexandria, who far exceeded him in Christian principle. This conduct in St. Antony amounted to the same thing as removing his- cowl, and submitting himself to holy Scripture, and extolling the general Christian state. With him many others, as St. Bernard, and Bonaventure, in their closing days, crept trembling to the cross of Christ, and sought and found salvation in the original faith of Christ, and Him crucified.” Luther affirms that the above-named father of hermits was no patron of the opinions adopted by the so-called monks of after-ages, who bound themselves by the obligation of a rule, and who often with thorough reluctance led a life in a cell, but not in the desert, as Antony did with all his heart. The friars are represented by the Reformer as wasting their lives in a constrained and abhorred celibacy, and as utterly opposed to the freedom and fashion of the Gospel. And the ecclesiastical canons are cited, and are described as setting persons free from their vows, who have been persuaded with artful and fair words, and were not of ripe and mature age and knowledge, or who were forced to profess the celibate by their friends when they were reluctant, and, therefore, the Reformer argues that cloister vows may be broken, and with a safe conscience too, when monks find it a grievance and deception to adhere any longer to their rule. But here Luther was met by an objection from his opponents. They appealed against his decision to the case and example of the Nazarite in the law of Moses. Luther replied that the Nazarites did not vow their vows with any such intention, as though they would obtain forgiveness of sins in their performance. Now the object of the monks was to merit pardon of sin by vowing chastity, poverty, and obedience to their superior, and to the rule of their order. The rule of the Nazarites consisted in a corporeal exercise with reference to fasting, and to peculiar food; they looked for the forgiveness of their sins to other aid ;to the promise concerning the future advent of the blessed seed of the woman: consequently, the Reformer will by no means allow the state of the Nazarite, which was enjoined by Jehovah, and instituted not
for the purpose of procuring him remission of his sins, to be adduced as parallel with the state of monachism, which was never sanctioned by Divine appointment, and which the Almighty never named for his service, or as reconciling him to the guilty brethren of the different monkish orders. All such appeals to the remaining vows, recorded in the Mosaic religion, as sanctioning monachism, are with equal ease disposed of according to the Lutheran leader ; who mentions, secondly, the case of the Rechabites, upon which the Romanists relied as favourable to the cloister system ; because “ they drank no wine;" and “ had nothing” of their own, or to themselves. (Jer. xxxv.) The Reformer receives this illustration with a perfect smile; “ Ah! well and truly," he exclaims, " does the example of the Rechabites tally with our monks! when the latter have their cloisters constructed more superbly than the palaces of kings, and spend their lives in self-indulgence of every sort ! and, moreover, the Rechabites with all their poverty, were yet married men;" and the Reformer adds that the illustration fails also most completely and to the moral stain upon the friars ;-—and that the father of the Rechabites wished by his rules to perpetuate the faith and fear of the Almighty amongst his posterity when mingled amongst the heathen; that their progenitor gave them these signs and tokens to distinguish them from the Gentiles; to preserve them from idolatry; to keep alive in them the religion of the Lord of Heaven, and a belief in the resurrection of the dead. In speaking of the works and vows ordained by Pontiffs, the Reformer uses the following plain language : “ When such preaching is uttered as this, viz.; I will remain no longer one of the world, and I will turn Carthusian. And why ? For this reason; because I will enter into the service of the Almighty ; I will turn anchorite ; just as mankind have sought after righteousness and the service of God, in vows, in cowls, and tonsures." And again; " Will you become a priest ? Oh! this is not believing in Jesus Christ; and to believe in Christ, and to do that or this work, are separated from each other as far as are the heavens from the earth :and so also as wide a distance intervenes between the rules of St. Francis, Benedict, and St. Augustine, and the faith of Christ ;"— “ St. Francis, however, a man of very powerful mind, deliberately affirmed, that his rule was to be considered of equal authority with the Gospel.” Certainly, up to our day, our holy fathers, bishops, monks, and recluses, have acted prudently for their own ease in setting the office of preaching aside, and going after other matters, and absenting themselves from society and its cares; whilst they crept into the corners of their churches, and served their own interests and tastes. The Reformer asks the Carthusian and Franciscan brethren, whether they hoped that salvation was to be secured by tramping on pilgrimages ; purchasing pardon-licenses; fasting ; saying mass ; and praying with the Rosary ? Their reply to him was this: “ What ? have I been so long time a Carthusian, and have I so rigidly observed the rule of my order, and have I not obtained the forgiveness of my sins ? ” The Reformer replies: “No! indeed ;” and he tells the Franciscans that they had gained nothing by their multitude of austerities and going barefoot; and he addresses the whole saintly calendar in the