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ang the is
of faith, by which we profess our faith in Christ, and commemorate his death, by eating the representative and vicarious elements of bread and wine." rm) Hence, to eat the body and drink the
(m) While the Bishop of Durham styles the consecrated bread and wine representative and vicarious elements, and
mere bodily elements of earthly manufacture,” a Prebendary of the same Church says, “Who among us denies that Christ is to be adored in the Eucharist? or the necessity of a supernatural or heavenly change? or that signs can become Sacraments only by the infinite power of God? What member of the Church of England would be acknowledged by his Church in making a bare figure of the Sacra. ment?" (Letters to C. Butler, Esq. by Dr. Phillpotts, p. 239.) Who shall decide between the Bishop and his Prebendary? Who is to unravel the mysterious secret of the doctrines and belief of Protestants on the Eucharist, out of such a complicated tissue of contradictions? or why is a Catholic to be stigmatized as an idolater for believing in Transubstantiation, and in offering the sacrifice of the Mass, when a Prebendary of Durham is allowed to adore Christ in the Eucharist without contumely or opprobrium? and by what mode of reasoning is it that this same Prebendary and those who think like him, if any such there be, can reconcile it to their consciences to swear that the worship of the Church of Rome is idolatrous, when they themselves are adorers of the same God, in the same Sacrament?!!! Will it suffice for them to say, that there is no absurdity whieh the licence of the reformed belief cannot shelter that they, forsooth, have liberty to think, act, and believe as they list? That a Protestant, because he belongs to the
blood of Christ, is to eat, not his body, but bread, as a representation and substitute for his body; and to drink, not his blood, but wine, as a representation and substitute for his blood. Yet, a few pages afterwards the bishop says: “To think and believe, are as really acts of the mind, as to eat is an act of the body. What is done by the mind, is as truly done, as what is done by the body. The body of Christ is therefore as truly, as verily, and indeed, received by faith, as the bread is by the mouth.”— What are we to understand from all this? What is the sense in which English Protestants understand it? I confess that to me it is wholly and entirely unintelligible and contradictory; but not one tittle the more so than every other explanation of this doctrine to be found in Catechisms, Charges, Sermons, or even in the Articles of Faith of the Established Church.(n)
But it is useless to multiply proofs of the discordant opinions of prelates and members of the Establishment of the present day, and to shew that too many of them reject the real presence
religion established by law, may adore Christ in the Eucharist without being an idolater, while a Catholic, because he is an outcast, and a member of a proscribed race, is unhesitatingly sworn to be guilty of the greatest of all crimes against his God, for doing the self-same thing?
In) See this argument pursued more at length in Dr. Lingard's Tracts.
altogether, and attempt to explain the whole by a figurative meaning. I will only notice another and a very remarkable instance of the contrariety of opinions between prelates of the Established Church, at the time when the oath was framed, and of the period in which we live. When the Duke of York asked Archbishop Sheldon, in the time of Charles II., if it were the doctrine of the Church of England, that Roman Catholics were idolators? he answered, “ that it was not; but that young men of parts would be popular, and such a charge was the way to it.”ro) While in the reign of George IV., Dr. Burgess, Bishop of St. David's, tells us that " they who do not hold the worship of the Church of Rome to be idolatrous, are not Protestants, whatever they may profess to be." I would ask, whether contradictions and absurdities like these were ever found in Catholicity?
Hence it appears clear, that the oath no longer bears the same signification now that it did when it was first established, and may at any
go round again to the sense in which English Protestants held it in former times; but not, perhaps, till, cameleon-like, it has caught a dozen different hues, from the colour of the politics or fancies of the day; for it seldom happens that the opinions of men pass from one position to its reverse, except .) Burnet, Hist. of his own Times. 1673. (P) Protestant's Catechism, p. 46.
through numerous gradations. Is it not, then, preposterous to call upon us to swear to so variable, contradictory, and incomprehensible a doctrine as this appears to be in the hands of English Protestants ?(9)
(9) See the Articles and Liturgy, as they stood in 1548, clearly expressing the real presence; in 1552, as clearly denying it; in 1562, leaving it doubtful; and, in 1662, apparently rejecting it altogether !!!
The contrariety of opinion that has ever been so remarkable amongst the prelates of the Establishment in England, appears likewise to have prevailed about this same period in the Irish branch of the Protestant Church. While many of the archbishops and bishops of Ireland, with Archbishop Usher at their head, declared that“ the reli. gion of the Papists was superstitious and idolatrous,” &c.; and that to consent that they might freely exercise their religion was a grievous sin (see Plowden's Hist. of Ireland, vol. i. c. 4.): Dr. Jeremy Taylor, bishop of Down, much to his credit for candour and discernment, says; “ The object of their [the Catholics') adoration in the Sacrament is the only true and eternal God, hypostatically united with his holy humanity, which humanity they believe actually present under the veil of the sacrament; and if they thought him not present, they are so far from worshipping the bread, that they profess it idolatry to do so. This is demonstration that the soul has nothing in it that is idolatrical; the will has nothing in it but what is a great enemy to idolatry.” (Liberty of Prophesying, sec. 20.) About the same time, in England, Thorndyke, prebendary of Westminster, argues thus: “ Will any Papist acknow
But even if I knew what I was called upon to believe, yet, under the view which I take of the
ledge that he honours the elements of the Eucharist for God? Will common sense charge him with honouring that in the sacrament, which he does not believe to be there?” (Just Weights and Measures, c. 19.) But Dr. Porteus, bishop of London, a few years ago, charged Catholics with “senseless idolatry,” and with “worshipping the creature instead of the Creator.” (Confut. p. ii. c. i.) It is really extraordinary, but not less true, that prelates and divines of the Church of England should, in this enlightened age, require to be sent back to periods of comparative barbarism (when there was at least as much inflammable matter in the polemical world, as there is at present,) to learn candour, fair dealing, liberality, charity, and common sense. Let them take a lesson from Dr. Parker; and, while they blush at the contrast, would to God they would apply his reasoning in the cause to which his candid mind directed it, namely, the abrogation of the Test. “So black a crime as idolatry,” says he, “ is not lightly to be charged upon any party of Christians, on account of the foulness of the calumny, and the barbarous consequences that may follow upon it. Before so bloody an indictment is preferred against the greatest part of the Christian world, the thing should be well understood. The charge is too big for a scolding word. It is a piece of inhumanity that outdoes the ferocity of the cannibal, and damns at once both soul and body; and yet after all, we have no other ground than the rash assertions of some popular divines, who have no other measures of truth than hatred to Popery, and therefore never spare