Obrázky na stránke
[merged small][ocr errors]

who incredulously asked ; How can this man give us his flesh to eat Instead of denying that this was his real and literal meaning, and undeceiving those who heard him ; instead of ceasing to tempt their faith by what he had no intention of forcing upon it; he only confirms his own assertion, and

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]


to of d

Christian can object ?-Is it the impossibility? Then
does the creature pretend to set limits to the power of his
Creator? Cannot the Omnipotent, who called all things
out of nothing, and whom all things obey, change one
substance into another? Did he not change water into
wine at the marriage feast of Cana? Does he not daily,
by the common operations of nature, change the bread
which we eat, into our body and blood ?-Is it because to
the senses it appears still to be bread?—Then cannot our
Divine Saviour assume what appearance he pleases? Is
it not as easy for the Son to assume the appearance
bread, as for the Holy Ghost to assume the appearance of
a dove, as at the baptism of Christ, or of divided tongues,
as on the day of Pentecost? Is it, because it is incom-
prehensible ?-Then must we reject the Trinity, the divi-
nity of our Redeemer, and every thing that a finite being
cannot reduce to the standard of his reason. But, there
must be mysteries, as long as there is man.
quires a sacrifice of our will, so must he also require a
sacrifice of our understanding. Could a finite being ac-
quire all knowledge and fathom the secrets of omniscience,
then would he become, in knowledge, infinite, and equal
to his God. Then would the serpent's promise to our
first parents be verified in their posterity: Eritis sicut

[ocr errors]

As God re

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

their interpretation of it: Except, he replied, you eat of the flesh of the son of man, and drink of his blood, you shall not have life in you. His disciples, like the members of the Established Church, were still obdurate, and, like them, they exclaimed: This saying is hard, and who can hear it? But the doctrine of Jesus was fixed and immutable; and though many went back and walked no more with him, because of this hard saying, that he would give them his flesh to eat, yet his words were irrevocable; his decision was final. He never attempted to soften down his expressions, to adapt his meaning to the capacity of the senses, nor to measure his instructions by the understanding of

At the same time that he conferred his


[ocr errors]

ro) “ The character of Christ was not more different from that of the philosophers, than his method of instruction, from that which they pursued. Those who gave no other proof of the truth of their speculations, than their conformity with reason, were necessarily obliged to the test of the most rigid examination.-But he, who wrought miracles in support of his doctrine, sufficiently impressed upon it the seal of a divine origin. Hence, in unfolding the most sublime and mysterious tenets of his religion, Christ was not in the habit of showing that they were susceptible of demonstration. Regardless of the difficulties which sometimes startled his disciples, he generally repeated the doctrine, without studying to make it easier of comprehension. Thus, when the Jews expressed their

[ocr errors]

favors, he wished to exercise our faith : he therefore left his doctrine as it was, and turning round to his




and with uld




to of


surprise at his intimation that he had seen Abraham, by asking him, "Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?' (John viii. 57.) He entered into no further explanation of the stupendous mystery,content with making this cool reply: 'Amen, amen, I say to you,

before Abraham was made, I am.' (Ibid. 58.) That the Jews were not content with this brief answer, appears from the concluding verse of the chapter, in which it is stated, that they took up stones to cast at him, and that he went out of the temple to shelter himself from their fury.

" Again, when he announced the mysterious doctrine of regeneration to Nicodemus, who enquired of him, with the utmost impatience, 'How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born again?” Jesus answered, 'Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' (John iii. 4, 5.) To the mind of Nicodemus, the regeneration of the spirit was still more incomprehensible than the secret of the Redeemer's age. In the sequel of his discourse, Christ, far from wishing to accommodate this mystery to man's comprehension, labours rather to correct the perverse and unreasonable curiosity of the human mind. He tells him : 'We testify what we have seen;' (Ibid. 11.) which testimony, when confirmed by the wonders he had wrought, should have satisfied all of the truth of his doctrine. But, as if to arrest the presumption of those who should attempt to explore the mysteries of the Divinity, he adds: “And no man hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended from heaven, the son of man, who is in heaven.' (Ibid. 13.)

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Apostles, he asked; If they also would leave him? Was it possible to give a more striking proof that they had rightly understood him, and that his words were to be received in the plain and literal sense in which they had been taken by those who had left him disbelieving, and by those who, like Peter, remained and believed? If they had not rightly understood bim, if they had left him with any material misconception of his meaning, would not he, who was the good shepherd, ready to lay down his life for his sheep, and whose sole desire was to gather all mankind into one fold, would not he have called them back, and, by a seasonable explanation, have relieved them from their errors? The only rational, the only possible method of explaining this conduct of our Saviour is, by subjecting our understanding to the obedience of faith, and exclaiming in the words of St. Peter: “Lord, thou

“ When Jesus, after the departure of the wealthy young man, who came to consult him on the means of securing his salvation, said to his disciples: 'It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, they wondered very much, saying: 'Who then can be saved ?" (Matt. xix. 24, 25.) Yet he gave them no other solution to a difficulty which seemed perplexing to their minds, than the simple language, “ With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.' (Ibid. 26.)”—Dr. Machale's Evidences and Doctrines of the Catholic Church, Vol. I. pp. 342-345.

ls of eternal life: we believe and have hou art Christ, the Son of the living

probable, however, that, at this time, neither party precisely understood the manner in which Christ was to give his body and blood for the spiritual food of mankind. But the conduct of our Saviour, and the declaration of St. Peter, both point out the implicit obedience which we owe to the words of Christ, whether we understand them or not. Had our Saviour been explaining the mystery of the Trinity, or any other of the mysterious doctrines of Christianity, which no human capacity can possibly fathom and comprehend, we may well imagine that the conduct of Christ, the exclamation of St. Peter, and perhaps the incredulity of the Jews, would have been precisely the


(P) Then Jesus said to them; Amen, amen, I say unto you: Except you eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: 80 he that eateth me, the same shall also live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever. These things he said, teaching in

« PredošláPokračovať »