Images de page
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

the least intimation of one's meaning, to serve as a key for understanding such an extraordinary way of speaking. (5.) A sober man would be ashamed, on any serious occasion, to use a deceitful way of speaking, so as to call a thing by a name by which it was never known before, especially before people whom he knew would undoubtedly be deceived by him, from the opinion they had of his integrity and probity. It is, therefore, impious to suppose that the Son of God would have done so with his apostles, to whom he always explained what he spoke to the multitude obscurely, and that upon one of the most solemn occasions of his whole life, when he was making a covenant that was to last to the end of time, instituting a sacrament that was to be frequented by all his followers till his second coming; yea, making his last will and testament, and in it bequeathing to us an admirable legacy, the last pledge of his love! Is it not impeaching him of the most atrocious folly and insincerity, to suppose he would, on so solemn an occasion, use deceitful language, and what would necessarily lead men into error? (6.) Because the figurative sense destroys the belief of the passion and death of our blessed Saviour, which all Christians in the Creed profess to believe. For Jesus Christ said, in John vi., "the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world," and at the institution, he declares, "this is my body, which is given for you," Luke xxii. 19.; or, "which shall be delivered for you," 1 Cor. xi.; this is my blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many for the remission of sins," Matth. xxvi. 28. Now, it was his real flesh which was, given for the life of the world, his real blood which was shed for the remission of sins; consequently, it was his real flesh and blood which he gave in the blessed Eucharist; and if it be said, that the blessed Eucharist was only a figure of his flesh

and blood, then we must also say that it was only a figure of his flesh which was crucificed for us, and a figure of his blood which was shed for the remission of sins, since he expressly declares it was the same in both.

Besides these reasons, which evidently shew that it is impossible Christ could intend the figurative sense, when he spoke the words of the institution, there are others also of a different kind, which no less clearly shew the same thing; and, at the same time, prove directly the truth of the real presence; for, (1.) As it is an uncontested fact that the whole Christian Church, for many ages, believed the real presence, and rendered divine worship to Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist, if this doctrine be false, then the whole Church of Christ was, formany ages, guilty of superstition and idolatry; and, indeed, this is the very reason alleged by the first reformers for their breaking off from the whole Christian world then in being. Now, if we believe the Scriptures, it is absolutely impossible that the Church of Christ should fall into idolatry; for they repeatedly declare, that among the followers of Christ, "idols should be utterly destroyed," Is. ii. 18.; that God would "cleanse them from their idols," Ezek. xxxvi. 25.; “nor shall they be defiled any more with their idols, says God himself, nor with their abominations, nor with all their iniquities; and I will save them out of all the places in which they have sinned, and I will cleanse them, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God; and my servant David shall be king over them, and they shall have one Shepherd, they shall walk in my judgments, and shall keep my commandments, and shall do them," Ezek. xxxvii. 23. "And I will destroy," says he again, 'thy graven things, and thy statutes out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt NO MORE adore the work of thy hands," Mich. v. 12. "And I will

66

destroy the names of idols out of the earth, and they shall be remembered no more," Zach. xiii. 2. How can all this stand, if the whole Church of Christ had been, for many ages, guilty of idolatry, by the belief of the real presence? therefore, the doctrine of the real presence is not false and idolatrous doctrine, but the true heavenly doctrine of Jesus Christ. (2). Let us suppose, contrary to all these strong promises of God, that it is otherwise, and that the doctrine of the real presence is false; Jesus Christ must have foreseen that his whole Church would, for many ages, embrace this doctrine, and fall into idolatrous worship in consequence of it. He must have foreseen that his very words would give them a natural handle to do so, and be a reasonable ground for their doing it; can. we suppose, without the height of blasphemy, that, he would industriously have used such a language, as he knew would have such dreadful effects, and that, from the very respect men must have for his words, when a single word to explain himself would have effectually prevented it? (3.) If we suppose the figurative sense was intended by Jesus. Christ, and taught by his apostles, then it is simply impossible the belief of the real presence could ever have taken place in the world; for, had the Christian world, in the first ages, believed only the figu rative presence, then, when the real presence was first broached, it must have appeared a new doctrine, as having never been heard of before; on this account, it must have been considered as false and heretical, being diametrically opposite to what all the Christian world are supposed to have then believed as a revealed truth; it must even have appeared as a most dangerous heresy, because leading directly to idolatry, and teaching that they ought to adore as God, what they and all their predecessors, from the time of the apostles, believed. to be nothing but bread and wine; and it must have

been looked upon as altogether incredible, because, contrary to the testimony of the senses, irreconcileable to the lights of natural reason, and directly opposite to the faith then, as we suppose, believed by all Christians. The proposal of such a doctrine must have been shocking to all people of piety and understanding, on account of its novelty and dangerous tendency; it must have been no less so to the more worldly-minded people, from its opposition to sense and reason, without any prospect of the smallest advantage by it. For, it must be observed, that humane nature is the same in all ages, and the same reasons that make the doctrine of the real presence appear incredible to those who do not believe it at present, must have made it appear no less so in any former age, when in the above supposition it first appeared. From all which we must justly conclude, that a doctrine, lying under so many disadvantages, could never possibly have been embraced by any reasonable creature, except from the full conviction that it was revealed by God himself, whose divine authority alone takes away all difficulties in the belief of it; and this conviction could never possibly have taken place in the world, if it had not been from the beginning, and if the doctrine itself had not been revealed by Jesus Christ, and delivered by him, with the rest of revealed truths, to his apostles.

Q. 17. What are the other proofs of real presence from Scripture ?

A. The third proof from Scripture is taken from St. Paul, who warmly exhorting the Corinthians to fly all communication with idolatry, and by no means to partake of things offered to idols, uses this argument to persuade them, "The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? and the bread which we break, is it not partaking of the body of

the Lord ?" 1 Cor. x. 16. Here he expressly affirms, that, in the holy Eucharist, we communicate and partake of the body and blood of Christ; and he affirms it as a truth perfectly well known to them, and which none can deny; and, therefore, after shewing that," the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God, ver. 20.," he immediately concludes, "you cannot drink the chalice of the Lord and the chalice of devils; you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord and the table of devils," ver. 21., to shew how shocking a crime it must be for those who communicate in the body and blood of Christ to go and communicate also with the devil. All which would have been a ridiculous argument, if the real presence be not true,

The fourth proof from Scripture is taken from the same holy apostle, who, 1 Cor. xi., reproving some abuses that had crept in among the Corinthians at their roligious meetings, puts them in mind of the holy mysteries there celebrated; and, first, gives a history of the institution of the blessed Eucharist, which he declares to have received by immediate revelation from our Lord, and he gives it in the same terms in which it is described in the gospels, and then adds, "wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord," ver. 27. To receive the holy Eucharist unworthily, is to receive it when one is in the state of mortal sin, which the apostle here declares to be a crime of the deepest dye, equal to that of the Jews, who put our Saviour to death in a cruel and barbarous manner. Now, in the belief of the real presence, we see, all at once, the grievous injury done to Jesus Christ by receiving him into a soul sullied with the guilt of sin, which is an object of horror and abomination in his eyes; but how a person should contract,

« PrécédentContinuer »