Images de page

making such silly changes; although, if he had made them, we should still believe his word, and not our senses. Thus you see, that the testimony of Christ is superior to that of our senses; and that, so far from invalidating his miracles, the Catholic doctrine confirms them. For, would the apostles have believed his word: "This is my body," if he had not already attested his infallible truth by undoubted miracles?

Moreover, reason and experience tell us, that, if we wish to know the true state of objects, we must employ all our senses in their investigation. Let us do so with the sacrament. Our sight, taste, &c. represent it as bread. But there is our sense of hearing too. What does that tell us? Why; we hear Jesus saying: "This is my body." Our hearing, therefore, which conveys to us his divine word, prevents the error into which our other senses would lead us. Besides, we do not know, whether the first elements of matter are compounds or simples. If the latter, as Leibnitz maintains, a body can be reduced even to no space, without annihilation; and if the former, it can be compressed into the smallest, as well as dilated into the largest. But, the fact is; in the adorable Eucharist, there is not even a false appearance. The senses are not at all deceived. There is the colour, the size, the taste, and all the other sensible qualities and effects of bread and wine. Now, if the Son of God, when he instituted this holy sacrament, intended not to exist in it without these qualities; if he gave us his body and blood to

[ocr errors]

be eaten and drunken; if, for this purpose, they must have the above qualities; if they cannot be present in this divine banquet without them; if, in the literal meaning of the words, he said: "This is my body-This is my blood;" who shall dare to give him the lie? Who shall dare to set up, not his corporal senses, (for they are not deceived,) but the false conclusion of his own proud and ignorant mind, against the word of Omnipotence? Who, in fine, shall dare to say, that it was impossible for Christ to make his body and blood exist with all these qualities?

Nothing is impossible to God, but what involves a self-destroying contradiction. He could not, for instance, make his body be, and not be, in the sacrament, at the same time. This absurdity attaches, not to the Catholic doc.. trine of transubstantiation, but to the doctrine, if it deserves that name, of the Church of England, in the days of Elizabeth and James the First, and which doctrine is still to be found in the Protestant catechisms; namely: that the sacrament is truly and really bread, and truly and really the body of Christ, at one and the same time. If it be bread, it cannot be the body; and if it be the body, it cannot be bread. This, as it involves a self-destroying contradiction, is impossible even to God. Indeed, the absurdity was so evident, that the Anglicans have subsequently run off into the mere figurative sense of Calvin. Similar was that other absurdity of theirs-that what was the body in the mouth of one receiver, was bread in the mouth of another. A body is matter;

and its existence cannot depend on the thoughts, or "faith," as they are pleased to call it, of either receiver. It must be there, or it must not; there is no medium; unless they choose to give to the whim of every individual mortal, that power of changing substances, which they refuse to an immortal God. But this reverie, too, they have given up, not for the Catholic reality, but for the visionary emblem of the Genevan school. These, indeed, are selfdestroying contradictions, and absurd impossibilities. But, where is the contradiction or impossibility for God, to clothe, in the sacrament, with sensible qualities, that body, which, during his life, was clothed with mortal-in his transfiguration, with glorious-and after his resurrection, with immortal qualities? The difference between the mortal and immortal state, is far greater, than between the mortal and sacramental. Yet, even our own bodies shall be raised to that immortal state; a state, so far superior to the present, that St. Paul does not hesitate to call it spiritual; although, in it, our bodies shall still continue real. In this sense, the eucharist, also, is sometimes stiled the spiritual body of Christ; because, though still real, it is not in its mortal state, but in that state, which he chose, in order to render it fit to be eaten. This state, which I call sacramental, is far inferior to the immortal state, already assumed by Jesus; and which latter state, even we shall enjoy after our resurrection. The resurrection, therefore, is a greater miracle, than transubstantiation; and shall we deny the latter, while we admit the former?

The question of possibility, therefore, I trust, I have completely set at rest. Not only the believers of scripture, but the believers of a God, must confess that he can transubstantiate, if he please.-The next, and though vast in its demonstration, the only remaining question is-Has he done so? But, this is so clear from that sole, that infallible means, which we have, of ascertaining past events, namely, history; under which term comes the scripture itself, as a part of history; that no one, who admits the possibility, can, with the least claim to common sense, deny the fact. For this reason, have I been diffuse on the former; for I am convinced, that the understandings of the Christian people would never have been insulted by all the idle quibbles of sectaries, about the meaning of the most precise and positive words, which ever fell from the lips of Jesus-about the most clearly, most universally, and most repeatedly expressed belief of the Christian Church in all ages-if these sectaries did not, at bottom, though ashamed to profess it, blasphemously reject the Omnipotence of their Saviour. On to-morrow then, (Friday) I shall prove the fact from Scripture; and refute the objections of its scriptural opponents.

May my words open their eyes, and bring them back, at length, to the belief, adoration, and reception of that most blessed sacrament, of which their and our Jesus said: "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life and I will raise him up on the last day." A blessing, &c.




Within the Octave of Corpus Christi.



"I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus, the night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye and eat; this is my body which shall be delivered for you: do this for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink it, for the commemoration of me. For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord until he come," 1 Cor. c. xi, v. 23, &c.

YESTERDAY, my brethren, I demonstrated, that there is no impossibility, no contradiction, no absurdity, in the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation. I proved, not only against the sectaries, who admit the scripture, but against the Deists, who reject it, that God has the


« PrécédentContinuer »