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so venerable for its antiquity, so fruitful in
learned and holy men, so in variably attached
PERPETUITY OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST: T is unfortunately true, and it has been a Christ in the eucharist during all the ages
thousand times proved by experience, previous to the ninth or tenth century, it that individuals may deviate from the path must have been because she could not reof sound doctrine, and by following the concile herself to the idea of Christ's real wanderings of their imagination, fall into body having been left us for the nourishthe abyss of error.
But that the same ment of our souls, though he himself had should ever happen to the Church of Christ said: “ The bread which I will give, is my is absolutely impossible. It is impossible, flesh for the life of the world. .... For for instance, that, if our Lord were not sub my flesh is meat indeed, and
blood stantially present in the eucharist, and never is drink indeed.” (John vi, 52, 56.) It taught the dogma of transubstantiation to must have been that these words appeared his apostles, nor his apostles to the primi too hard as well to her as to many of our tive Christians, that the Church should Lord's hearers, and that, instead of imihave ever been induced to admit these doc tating those who said: “Lord, to whom trines;
and vice versá, if these doctrines have shall we go? thou hast the words of eterbeen at any period believed by the whole nal life” (ib. 68), she preferred to say with Church, as they certainly were, e. g., at the others: “How can this man give us his beginning of the pretended reformation, and flesh to eat ?”' (ib. 53.) But let it be well also when Berengarius appeared towards remembered by whom the latter words were the middle of the eleventh century, it is im uttered: they fell from the lips of the obstipossible that they should not have been al
nate Jews, and of several inconstant and ways believed from the very origin of Chris unhappy disciples who then abandoned tianity. Otherwise how could the Church Christ and walked no more with him (ib
. be called “ the pillar and ground of the 67). Will it be said, then, that the Church, truth ?”' (1 Tim. iii, 15.) How could it be during nine centuries, the first of her esissaid that “the gates of hell shall never tence, involved herself in the fate of those prevail against her," nor shake her from
unhappy men, and, by imitating their unthe immovable rock upon which she was belief, had, like them, no part with our difounded ? (Matt. xvi, 18 and vii, 25.) How vine Saviour ? Let those believe it, if they could “the Spirit of truth have abided with will, who are disposed to believe everything, her forever” (John xiv, 16, 17), and Christ except that the Catholics are in the right; as been with her “all days even to the consum for us, we cannot entertain an opinion so mation of the world?” (Matt. xxviii, 20.) In injurious at once to the Church of Christ, the Protestant system all these divine pro and to his providential care for the work of mises are but empty sounds without effect; his hands. and if so, we can no longer place implicit Who, moreover, can better attest the anreliance on the words of Christ, and the tiquity and perpetuity of a doctrine, than whole of his religion must yield to the as the society by which it is universally resaults of the deist and infidel! Who can vered and professed; particularly a society admit a principle or supposition the consequences of which thus manifestly lead to the entire overthrow of Christianity itself? from principle to her doctrines and prac
Again, if the Christian Church, as our tices, as the Catholic Church most asopponents assert, did not admit transub
suredly is ? How forcible, likewise, stantiation and the substantial presence of
her testimony appear, when we see it con* A continuation of the review of the Book of
firmed by the testimony of those who are Ratramn.
her adversaries on other points, viz., the
eastern sects of the schismatic Greeks, Armenians, Jacobites, Nestorians, who have now been separated from her for the space of eight, ten, or fourteen hundred years ! In fact all these agree with her in referring their belief of transubstantiation, and of the real and substantial presence of Christ in the eucharist to the primitive times and to the very origin of Christianity. See their liturgies and other authentic documents, collected by the authors of La Perpétuité de la Foi, vol. i, b. v, xii; Faith of Catholics (Berrington), pp. 194—208. F. Lebrun, Explication de la Messc, vols. iii, iv, v, vi. Lettres d'un docteur Catholique (Scheffmacher), lettres vii and viii.*
What evidence shall we admit, if we may reject evidence like this? What fact shall we believe, if we do not believe a fact grounded upon such a constant and unanimous testimony of very many nations, differing from each other in language, laws, customs, &c., and what, in reality, could have united these various and separated churches in one common belief, except the identity of its origin, namely the faith of the primitive Church and the teaching of Christ (Matt. xxvi, Mark xiv, Luke xxii, John vi) and of his apostles. (v. g. I Cor. x, 16, and xi, 23—29.)
These considerations should surely suffice to demonstrate the perpetuity of the
* Of these numcrous and valuable documents we shall adduce only three, as quite sufficient for our present purpose. In a synod celebrated by the Syriac Church in 1665, the following decrees were unanimously adopted. “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 1. We firmly believe that the body and ihe blood of Christ are contained truly and really in the eucharist, and not in figure and virtue only, as some new heretics have fancied. 2. Likewise, that the bread and the wine are, in virtue of the divine consecration, really and substantially changed and converted, or what is the same, transubstantiated into the true body and blood of Christ. 3. That Christ truly residing in the eucharist is to be adored by the supreme worship called of latria, and is thus adored by all the faithful of our Church. 4. That in the sacred liturgy a true and real propitiatory sacrifice is offered to God for the living and the dead. This is and has always been the belief of our Churches; having received it from our aucestors, we preserve it and shall preserve it; nor is there amongst us mention made and remembrance kept of any one having ever taught otherwise. This we do testify, on the twenty-ninth of February, 1669." llere follow the subscriptions of twelve bishops or priests.
The attestation given, to the same effect, by the Nestorians of Diarbekir in Mesopotamia, is not less explicit, nor less remarkable. . Having been informed that there were in France some persons (the Huguenots) who denied the real presence and transubstantiation, and that a French author (Minister Claude) attributed the same unbelief to the eastera Christians, they indignantly repelled the charge, calling it a blasphemy and an odious impostare, and sent to France ihe following protest, the original of which was deposited in the abbey of St. Germaindes-Pres at Paris :
“We, the metropolitan and priests of the Nes. torian Church in the city of Diarbekir, have learned with very great surprise, that a certain son of Satar. in France has dared offer an atrocious insult to the oriental Church, by falsely asserting that we do not believe and receive the very great mystery of the sacred oblation. In order, then, to dispel the doubt which that evil spirit has attempted io throw into the minds of men, we say, we do testify and declare to all that shall read this protest, that the faith and doctrine of the whole eastern Church, which she holds and professes in regard to this holy mystery, the eucharist, is the faith and doctrine of
Vol. I.-No. 8.
the Gospel, the very same which has been received without any interruption from the earliest antiquity to the present day, in all the Churches of the easi. Christ has said that he gave us his body, the same which was to be delivered for us; and he who says that Christ gives us only bread and wine as a sign and a ligure of his body and blood, is not a Christian. We firmly believe that after the words of our Lord, which the priest pronounces by divine authority, the substance of the bread is changed into the substance of the body of our Lord Jesus CHRIST, and that the substance of the wine is changed into the substance of his precious blood; so that there remains nothing of the bread and wine except the accidents of both. We offer that sacred body crucified for us, and that blood shed for many and for us, that is to say, for the living and the dead, for the remission of their sins, and of the punishments which they have deserved. We anathematize those who say the contrary and who do not receive this doctrine. Given in the year of our Lord, 1669, on the 2411h of Nisan."
A question having been proposed to an Armenian patriarch on the same subject, and about the same time, he gave the following answer: “We bare heard that it has been asserted by some persons that the eastern Christians (those excepted who are united with the Roman sec) do not believe the most holy sacrament of the eucharist to be the true body of Christ, and we wonder at the folly and boldness of those persons, who thus presume to speak of what they do not know. For all the eas. tero Christians of this time believe with unshaken and uuhesitating faith, that in the sacrifice of the Mass, the bread is truly changed into the body, and the wine into the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; even they never had any doubt about it, and never yielded to that in fidelity which is now professed by some nominal Christians. We, therefore, do assure you that we Armenians have received from our ancient patriarchs and have kept from the time of the council of Nice (the epoch of their conversion to Christianity) till the present time, this article of faith ; having, moreover, the following invocation in our liturgy, besides the words of consecration : “ Almighty Father, send down thy Holy Spirit, and by his co-operation change this bread into the body, and this wine into the blood of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.” This declaration is signed by the patriarch and by an Armenian doctor, who seems to have been the companion of his travels.
Catholic faith on the holy eucharist; yet, or persons newly baptized : “ The bread as particular evidences commonly produce and wine, which before the invocation of the a greater impression on the mind than gene adorable trinity, were nothing but bread and ral arguments, we shall now proceed, ad wine, become, after this in vocation, the superabundantiam juris, to show the truth of body and blood of Christ. The eucharistic our assertion-1. by adducing the words of bread, after the invocation of the Holy Spirit, the ancient fathers and councils, especially is no longer common bread, but the body of those passages which not only imply the Christ. Jesus Christ, in Cana of Galilee, real and substantial presence of Christ in once changed water into wine by his will the eucharist, but also directly establish the only; and shall we think him less worthy of dogma of transubstantiation; 2. by showing credit, when he changes wine into blood. ... the absolute impossibility of any innovation Judge not of the thing by your taste, but by having ever taken place in the faith of the faith assure yourself, without the least Church relative to this sacred mystery. doubt, that you are honored with the body
We have first the words of St. Ignatius, and blood of Christ; this knowing, and of this disciple of St. John the Apostle and bishop being assured, that what appears to be bread, of Antioch, who, speaking of certain here is not bread, though it be taken for the bread tics of his time, says: “ They abstain fmor by the taste, but is the body of Christ, and the eucharist because they do not acknow that what appears to be wine, is not wine, ledge it to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus though the taste will have it so, but the blood Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which of Christ." (Catech. Mystag. iv.) In this pasthe Father by his goodness resuscitated.” sage of St. Cyrilof Jerusalem, we have almost (Ep. ad Smyrn.)
as many proofs against the Protestant sysSt. Justin, a Christian philosopher, and tem, as there are not only sentences, but martyr in the persecution of Marcus Aure even words. What Catholic of the present
“ As Jesus Christ, our Saviour, made day could express the dogma of transubstanman by the word of God, took flesh and blood tiation better than this learned and holy doctor for our salvation ; in the same manner, we
of the fourth century did, in explaining to have been taught, that the food which has the neophytes the Christian doctrine on the been blessed by the prayer of the words that subject of the eucharist ? he spoke, and by which our blood and St. Basil the Great, archbishop of Cæsaflesh in the change are nourished, is the flesh rea: “ About the things that God has spoand blood of that Jesus incarnate.” (Apol. 2, ken, there should be no hesitation nor doubt, ad Imper. Anton.)
but a firm persuasion that all is true and St. Irenæus, bishop of Lyons, who suffered possible. With what fear, with what afmartyrdom under Severus, in 202: “When fection, with what conviction of mind, the mingled chalice and the broken bread should we partake of the body and blood of receive the word of God, they become the Christ? The apostle teaches us to fear eucharist, which is the body and blood of when he says : He that eateth and drinketh Christ." (Advers. hæres. I. v.)
unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers: “Of the himself. (1 Cor. xi, 29.) While the words natural verity of Christ in us, whatever we of the Lord : This is my body, which shall speak, we speak foolishly and wickedly, be delivered for you, (Ibid. 26,) create a unless we learn of him ; for it is he that conviction.” (Regul. viii, and lxxx.) said, my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is St. Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, called the drink indeed. There is no place to doubt of Father of Fathers by the second genethe truth of Christ's flesh and blood : for ral council, A. D. 381 : “ By the word of now, by the profession of the Lord himself, God and prayer, the bread is instantly changed and according to our belief, it is truly flesh, into the body of Christ, agreeably to what he and truly blood. (De Trin. I. viii.)
said, this is my body.” (Orat. Catech. e. 37.) St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in his catecheti St. Ambrose, archbishop of Milan : "Light cal instructions addressed to the neophytes, is preferable to the shadow, truth to figure,
the body of Christ to the manna of hea
But you may say, I see somewhat else; how do you assert that I shall receive the body of Christ? This remains to be proved. How many examples may we not make use of to show, that we have not here what nature formed, but what the divine blessing has consecrated, and that the virtue of this blessing is more powerful than that of nature ; because by it nature itself is changed ! Moses held the rod; he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent.” He proceeds to instance many other miraculous changes, as recorded in Scripture, and then adds: “ If now the blessing of men was poroerful enough to change nature, what must we not say of the divine consecration, when the very words of our Lord are the agent!” And again : “ You have read concerning the creation of the world : He spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it was formed. (Psalm cxlviii, 5.) Will not the word of Christ, therefore, which could draw out of nothing what was not, be able to change the things that are, into that which they were not? Our Lord himself proclaims: This is my body.” (De Mysteriis, c. ix.)
The words of St. John Chrysostom are not less remarkable : “ Let us,” says he,“ believe God in every thing, and not gainsay him, although what is said may seem contrary to our reason and our sight. Let his word overpower both. How many persons are heard 10 say: I would like to behold his form, his shape, his attire! But thou dost see him, thou touchest him, thou receivest him into thy breast. These are not the effects of human power. He who in that supper did these things himself, now also does them for you. We hold the order of ministers, but the sanctifier and changer of them is himself.” (Homil. 83 in Matt.) Again : “ It is Christ who makes the things lying on the altar become his body and blood. The priest stands performing his office, and pronouncing the words, but the power and grace are the power and grace of God. He says, this is my body, and these words effect the change of the things offered.” (Homil. i, de Prodit Juua.)
After reading such explicit testimonies, it might be a curious thing to know how Pro
testants reconcile their doctrine with that of these illustrious Fathers.
St. Augustine, the great bishop of Hippo, writes thus : “ Christ took upon him earth from the earth, because flesh is from the earth, and his flesh is from the flesh of Mary, and because he here walked in this flesh, even this same flesh he gave us to eat for our sulvation. But no one eateth this flesh without having first adored it, and not only do we not sin by adoring, we rather sin by not adoring it." (In Psalm, xcvii.)
St. Nilus, a priest and monk of Sina, is equally explicit : “ Before the prayer of the priest,” says he, “and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the things laid on the table are common bread and wine ; but, after the solemn invocations, and the descent of the adorable spirit, it is no longer bread, and no longer wine, but it is the body and the pure and precious blood of Christ, the God of all.” (L. I. Ep. xliv.)
St. Gregory the Great, pope, who died in 604, speaking of our Lord in the character of the good shepherd, says:
That good shepherd laid down his life for his sheep, that he might change our sacrament into his body and blood, and feed with the aliment of his flesh the sheep which he had redeemed.” (Homil. xiv, in Evang.)
Venerable Bede has given a full and unequivocal testimony of the same doctrine, “ When we celebrate the Mass,” says he, “we again immolate to the Father cred body and the precious blood of the Lamb, with which we have been redeemed from our sins.” (Homil. in Vig. Pasch.)
We will close this series of quotations from the Holy Fathers who lived in the first eight ages of the Church, with these words of St. John Damascene, whose death occurred about the year 780: “You ask how does the bread become the body, and the wine mixed with some water the blood of Christ; I answer, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, who can do much more than we can understand. As the bread which we eat, and the wine and water which we drink are naturally changed into our body and blood ; so the bread and the wine laid on the altar are, by the invocation and coming of the Holy Ghost, miraculously changed into the body and
blood of Christ.” (De Fide Orthod. I. iv.c. 14.)
In these passages, to which many more might be added, the reader will find many invincible proofs of the Catholic dogma, of Christ's real and substantial presence in the eucharist, and of transubstantiation.
No mention is made here of a presence merely in sign, figure or virtue; on the contrary, all this is positively excluded by the Fathers. According to them, as well as to modern Catholics, we ought not to dispute against the word of God, nor trust to our reason and senses; after the consecration, there are no longer bread and wine in the eucharist, allhough they seem to remain; the bread has been changed into the body, and the wine into the blood of Christ; the same flesh is present on the altar, which was taken from the B. Virgin, which suffered for us, &c. and the reality of these wonders does not admit of the slightest doubt, when we consider the texts of the Gospel, and of St. Paul, and the prodigies wrought by the Omnipotence of God, the creation, the incarnation, the change of water into wine in Cana of Galilee, and other miraculous changes recorded in the Scripture. Could they possibly have expressed themselves on the real presence and transubstantiation in plainer and stronger terms ? Had they, fourteen or sixteen hundred years ago, foreseen the Protestant doctrine on this point, could they have refuted it more effectually than they did ? and would not the man who should attempt to pervert their meaning, be equally justifiable in producing the words of the council of Trent, and of our catechisms, and with a shameless disregard of truth, declare that they do not mean any such thing as real presence and transubstantiation ?
It must, moreover be observed, that the doctrine of the Holy Fathers was no other than that of the Church during the ages in which they lived. It is evident that they proposed it as such to their hearers and readers, since they either spoke of it as a nolorious fact (r. g. St. Justin, St. Augustine, venerable Bede), or made it the subject of their catechetical instructions (St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Ambrose), or expatialed upon it with delight
in their bomilies and solemn discourses, to increase the piety and devotion of the faithful towards this sacred mystery, (St. Gregory the Great, St. Basil, St. Jobo Chrysostom), or made use of it as an unquestionable principle to guard the Churches against the error of the Gnostics, who denied that Christ had taken a real body in the incarnation, (St. Ignatius, St. Irenæus), or, in fine, numbered it in their didactic letters and treatises among the principal tenets of the Christian faith (St. Nilus, St. John Damascene, St. Hilary). Hence these instructions of the Fathers, whether first delivered by word of mouth, or published in their writings, (instead of meeting with any opposition, as would have been the case, had they savored of novelty) were every where received with the greatest respect and veneration, as containing the pure belief of the Church from the time of the apostles. Hence too was their doctrine, whenever the occasion required, solemnly sanctioned by the acts and decrees of general councils. The council of Ephesus, for instance, in 431, approved the following dogmatical decision already passed against the Nestorian heresy, by the illustrious patriarch St. Cyril, and the provincial council of Alexandria : “ We offer in the Churches the holy, vivifying and unbloody sacrifice; receiving the body which is presented to us, and likewise the precious blood, not as of a mere ordinary man, but as haring been made the proper body and blood of the Divine Word.” (Concil. Ephes. Act. 1.) The second council of Nice, also, at which three hundred and fifty bishops were present, made this solemn declaration (A. D. 787): “Never has it been said by our Lord, or by the Apostles, thers, that the unbloody sacrifice offered by the priests, is only an image of Christ, but they have called it his true body and blood. The elements have indeed the name of antitypes, before they are sanctified; brut, after the consecration, they are called, they are be lieved to be, and they really are the body and the blood of Christ.” (Conc. Nic. ii, Act. 6.)
It is, therefore, as plain as the light of day, that the whole Church, from her very origin, constantly believed, professed and taught the dogma of transubstantiation, and
or by the Fa