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doxy to refer to for the explanation of their doctrine. The thirty-nine articles, and the Church Catechism, independent of the little estimation in which they are held, are both incompetent to the purpose, since, in this case, it appears to remain quite undetermined whether we are to believe the body and blood of Christ truly and really present in the sacrament, or not. At least, I think no one will be bold enough to attempt to define, in any thing like intelligible terms, what is the doctrine of English Protestants on this head. Is it not then most unreasonable to require us to swear to a belief in doctrines, the exposition of which we really know not where to find? While the thirtynine articles and the Church Catechism leave us quite in the dark as to what we really are to believe, the Prelates of the Establishment do not at all elucidate the matter by their discordant and contradictory opinions, leaving us still to guess at what is the common belief of English Protestants upon the doctrines to which we are required to swear. If we look to the earlier periods of the history of English Protestantism, we shall find some of its most distinguished Divines holding the following opinions :")
" See The Faith and Doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church proved by the Testimony of the most learned Protestants. Dublin, 1813.
“ We agree as to the object;" says Dr. Andrews of Winchester, “the whole difference respects the modus or manner of the presence.... We believe a real and a true presence no less than you do. The King too (James I.) believes Christ not only really present, but truly adorable in the Eucharist, and I myself do adore the very ftesh of Christ in the
Dr. Lawrence thus expresses himself: “ As I like not those who say he is bodily there, so I like not those who say his body is not there; because Christ says it is there ; St. Paul says it is there ; and our Church says it is there, really, truly, and essentially, and not only by way of representation or commemoration. For why would our Saviour bid us take what he would not have us receive? We must believe it is there. We must know what is there. Our faith may see it: our senses cannot.”(*)
Archbishop Laud says, “ The altar is the greatest place of God's residence on earth: yea, greater than the pulpit ; for there it is, Hoc est corpus meum: in the pulpit it is, at most, Hoc est verbum meum. And a greater reverence is due to the body than to the word of the Lord; and to the throne where he is usually present, than to the seat where his word is preached.”(*)
(1) Answer to Card. Bellarmin's Apology, chap. 1, p. 11, and chap. 8, p. 194.
(u) Lawrence's Sermon, p. 17–18.
And yet the Bishop of Peterborough tells us, that at this very time [in the reign of Charles I.), the Church of England professed the SAME true religion which it professes at present.”(y)
“ Concerning the point of the real presence,” says Dr. Montague, “there need be no difference, if men were disposed as they ought to peace; for the disagreement is only de modo Presentie; the thing being yielded to on either side: viz. that there is in the Eucharist a real presence.”(!)
Bishop Bramhall writes thus : “No genuine son of the Church (of England) did ever deny a true, real presence. Christ said : This is my body, and what he said we steadfastly believe,” &c.(a),
Bishop Cosin is not less explicit in favour of the Catholic Doctrine. He says: “It is a monstrous error to deny that Christ is to be adored in the Eucharist,” &c.(0)
Hooker thus expresses himself: “Sith we all agree that Christ, by the sacrament, doth really and truly perform in us his promise, why do we vainly trouble ourselves with so fierce contentions, whether by consubstantiation or else by transubstantiation.”(C)
Will it be believed that these, and many others
(4) Charge, p. 16.-1827. (5) Appeal to Cæsar, p. 289. (a) Answer to M. de la Militère, p. 74.
b) Hist. of Transubstantiation, p. 139. (1) Eccles. Polity, B. v. 67.
who held the same opinions, were all eminent divines, and members of the English Protestant Church, some of them posterior to the last revisal of the 39 Articles, (a) and only a very few years prior to the times when members of Parliament were called upon to swear precisely to what they are at the present moment; namely, that they believed this doctrine in the sense in which it was commonly understood by English Protestants.
But while the oath remains the same, the doctrine appears to have differed; preserving only one characteristic of its former qualities—that of being as vague and indeterminate as ever. While the creed of the Established Church always appears, at first sight, to inculcate a true and real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Sacrament, it invariably alters its course, either by admitting every possible variety of opinion, through the vagueness of its definitions ; or, by Catechistical explanations, doing away with the reality of the
(a) In 1634, the Convocation of the Irish Bishops denounced an excommunication against those who affirmed that any of the articles of the Church of England were in any part superstitious or erroneous. Twenty-eight years afterwards they were discovered to be both.
re) Dr. Andrews died 1626; Laud (executed) 1644; Montague, 1641; Archbishop Bramhall, 1663; Cosin, 1671; Hooker, 1660; Parker, 1575; Nowell, 1602; Taylor, 1667; Wake, 1736; Usher, 1656.
presence altogether; or by stating things in such contradictory terms, that it still contrives to leave the doctrine itself involved in mystery, doubt, and darkness., :“ Its original framers knew that the Christian world was divided into two parties: the one consisting of the Catholics and the Lutherans, who contended for the real presence of Christ's body,
though they differed as to the manner of that presence; the other of the Zuinglians and Calvinists, who rejected the real presence and admitted nothing more than a bare figure and memorial of the death of Christ. By appearing to admit both opinions into different parts of the articles, catechism, and rubrics, they opened a door for proselytes from either party, who might thus become orthodox churchmen, and still retain their favourite opinions. Thus, the original articles published by the authority of Edward VI.contained a long paragraph against the real and bodily presence,' as they term it ;(5) which paragraph, though it was subscribed by both houses of Convocation, in the reign of Elizabeth, was omitted by the command of that female head of the Church.” “ The design
) The first communion service, drawn up by Cranmer, Ridley, and other Protestant bishops and divines, and published in 1548, clearly expresses the real presence, declaring that “the whole body of Christ is received under each particle of the Sacrament.” Burnet, T. ii. p. 1.