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inaccuracies may yet appear will add to a number which needs no augmentation.
To take a sentence apart from its context, and then compare it with another sentence, bearing some distant resemblance in construction, but quite different in subject-does not promise any great success, as a method of ascertaining its precise meaning. This, however, appears to be a favourite expedient with Dr Wiseman; who thus commences his discussion on "our Saviour's answer to the Jews," (John vi. 53—58) when they asked, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?'
"The words of Jesus Christ are these: 'Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye shall not have life in you; he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life.' (vv. 53, 54.) Now compare the words of St Mark (xvi. 16) 'He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, but he that believeth not, shall be condemned;' and we cannot but be struck by two reflections. 1. The beautiful similarity of form with which we find the two principal sacraments of the Christian Religion inculcated, if with the Catholic Church we suppose the words of St John to refer to the Eucharist. 2. The clearness of the expression in St Mark, and the absolute incomprehensibility in that of St John, the moment we take it in the Protestant sense; since our Lord would be giving a precept, with a promise of eternal life to its observers, or a threat of eternal death to its violators, which would be totally unintelligible to his hearers. For I have proved already, and have adduced the authority of the learned Tittman, that our Saviour, if not speaking of the real presence, spoke not according to the received usages of language among his hearers. And, in fact, such is the variety of interpretations among Protestant writers upon this discourse, that it is manifestly obscure and unintelligible, if we seek for figurative explana
tions. Now it is evidently the nature of a law or precept, with a threat of punishment annexed, that it should be clear, distinct, and well defined. Such is the one for Baptisms, and such is this, if we understand it of the real presence." (p. 118.)
With regard to the first of the two reflections contained in the foregoing paragraph, I would observe, that the very language in which it is conveyed evinces the difficulty in which the writer was placed by his own hypothesis. The passage in St Mark presents our Lord's formal institution of Baptism for the Gentiles-his final command and commission to the Apostles-"Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature" with the assurance-" He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Thus then, in Dr Wiseman's phrase, was one of "the two principal sacraments of the Christian religion inculcated." A strange term truly, to be applied to the last solemn appointment of the disciples to the Apostolic office to our Lord's parting injunction to them, before his ascension; and applied too, for the purpose of assimilating that command with our Lord's reply to the murmurs of a Galilean multitude, whose expectations he had not deigned to fulfil. Dr Wiseman could not use the word instituted, with reference to the passage in John vi; because no reader could possibly forget that the sacrament of the Eucharist was instituted on a subsequent occasion.
Does not the simple state
ment of these circumstances proclaim the fallacy of his notions on the subject? In fact, notwithstanding that "beautiful similarity" which the learned author is so anxious to point out, there is one great difference, between the two passages when thus brought together, which is of itself sufficient to convince me, that the literal interpretation of the passage in St John is wrong. We see, in the baptismal commission, what great stress is laid upon the internal principle of the recipientupon faith" he that believeth and is baptized
"he that believeth not"-in accordance with the tenor of the New Testament; whereas, the words in St John, taken in their literal sense, convey no intimation of any internal principle whatever-everlasting life being made to depend upon the gross and material eating and drinkingwhich may be performed by those who have not faith. This essential discrepancy in sentiment is assuredly of greater consequence than any fancied similarity of form; and the discrepancy is entirely removed by assigning, to the passage in St John, a spiritual signification. The intimation, that the literal meaning is that adopted by the Church of Rome-being, as Dr Wiseman well knows, not founded in fact-was thrown in merely to round the sentence and produce an impression.-With regard to the learned author's second reflectionin which he perseveres in considering the two passages, as equally applicable to the two sacraments_
I would observe that the obscurity, amounting "to the absolute absence of comprehensibility," with which he charges the Protestant sense, may be attributed, with much greater truth, to the sense of which Dr Wiseman is the advocate. If a spiritual sense be given to the eating and drinking of the body and blood of Christ-it is that for which the spiritual import of the preceding part of the discourse naturally prepares the mind:whereas, if a literal sense be given to the same expression, with reference to the Eucharist, it is a sense introduced without notice-a sense of which not a single individual present could have the slightest conception. I have so much opinion of the common sense actually existing in the world, that I will not suppose the possibility of any person's asserting his belief, that even one of our Lord's hearers at the time-whether his disciples, or the people at large-either had, or could have, the most distant idea of the sacrament of the Eucharist-which was, in fact, not instituted till a considerable time afterwards. Since, then, the multitude must have been totally in the dark, respecting this Eucharistical signification, what becomes of Dr Wiseman's dictum "it is evidently of the nature of a law or precept, with a threat of punishment annexed, that it should be clear, distinct, and well-defined"-as an argument, drawn from this passage, in favour of the Real Presence? The spiritual interpretation is free from all dif
ficulty of the kind; and indeed from another difficulty, which, although not noticed by Dr Wiseman, is well entitled to attention. "A law or precept" should not only "be clear, distinct, and well-defined"-to use the learned author's expression-but, in the nature of things, possible to be kept by those to whom it is promulgated. Now apply this to our Lord's words, in Dr Wiseman's sense, and "the law or precept" is made impossible to be complied with, by those who heard him :the Eucharist was not instituted—and so, could not be observed by the people then present. But apply the same to the words, in a spiritual sense, and they are binding as well upon the people then present, as upon believers in all succeeding ages. The mind is directed to those internal principles, which are the great requisites in every act of Christian duty; and a special reference may, at the same time, have been made to that solemn commemoration of our Saviour's passion, which it was his intention to institute. Let the reader now decide which view of the subject is the more scriptural— the more luminous-and the more satisfactory to a plain understanding....As for "the authority of the learned Tittman"-adduced in proof that "our Saviour, if not speaking of the real presence, spoke not according to the received usages of language among his hearers"-I really think that Dr Wiseman would have acted more prudently, if he had kept that authority for his own private edification,