Obrázky na stránke

is it to be believed, that, if a similar occurrence, under similar circumstances, had taken place during the first ages of the Church, the 'effect would not have been the same? Would it have been so completely overlooked both by history and tradition? That such an assertion, under such circumstances, should have met with success, is a monstrous supposition, because, independent of its contradiction to our senses, it is a doctrine which has nothing but the authority of revelation to recommend it; for, unlike every false tenet, it neither flatters our passions nor our pride: that under such circumstances it should have been eagerly embraced, and universally adopted, would have required no less than the interposition of a miracle. But it did not originate in such circumstances; it rested not upon the authority of man; it was a doctrine not confined to a particular period, or a particular country: it was coeval and coextensive with Christianity itself.(-) Of this doctrine abun

(es) Transubstantiation is equally the doctrine of the Greek church, and of all the Eastern churches that have separated themselves from the communion of the see of Rome; and as this separation took place, in some instances,' as early as the fifth century, even they can bear testimony of its existence for 1400 years. The Lutherans, also, believe in the real presence. . "I clearly saw,” says Luther, “how much I should thereby [by disproving the


dant evidence has descended to us; whoever, there

doctrine of the real presence] injure Popery; but I found myself caught without any way of escaping, for the text of the gospel was too plain for this purpose.” (Epist. ad Argenten. tom. iv. fol. 502. Ed. Witten.) In another place he says, “ That no one among the fathers, numerous as they are, should have spoken of the Eucharist as these men do (the opposers of the real presence), is truly astonishing. Not one of them speaks thus: There is only bread and wine; or, the body and blood of Christ are not present. And when we reflect how often the subject is treated by them, it ceases to be credible—it is not even possible—that not so much as once such words as these should not have dropped from some of them. Surely, it was of moment that men should not be drawn into error. Still, they all speak with a precision which evinces that they entertained no doubt of the presence of the body and blood. Had not this been their conviction, can it be imagined that, among so many, the negative opinion should not have been uttered on a single occasion. On other points this was not the case. But our Sacramentarians, on the other hand, can proclaim only the negative or contrary opinion. These men then, to say all in one word, have drawn their notions neither from the Scriptures nor the Fathers.(Defensio Verborum Cænæ, T. vii. p. 391. Edit. Witt. 1557.) Again he says: “ This I cannot, nor am I willing, to deny, that had any one, five years ago, been able to persuade me that in the Sacrament were only bread and wine, he would have laid me under great obligations to him ;....for I was clearly sensible that nothing would give so much pain to the Roman Bishop.” Ibid.

p. 502

fore, will take the trouble of investigating the subject, will find ample proof of these positions.com)

We are all well acquainted with the heresies of Montanus and Tatian in the 2nd, of Tertullian and Origen in the 3rd, and of Arius in the 4th century, and so on; and shall it be said that the tenets of Catholicity alone are without evidence and proof; and that while the errors of every petty sect, and even sometimes of individual writers, were carefully detailed in history and transmitted to posterity, the faith and practice of the Universal Church alone were left unnoticed and unattested? Let any one peruse the passages in St. Ignatius, St. Justin, St. Irenæus, &c. &c. in proof of the doctrine of Transubstantiation, during

(x) Let not the reader be deterred from this examination, under the idea that he has neither the capacity nor the leisure to explore the voluminous writings of the early Fathers of the church. He will find every passage of moment which bears upon this, or any other Catholic tenet, selected, translated, and arranged to his hands, in an admirable and most useful compilation of scriptural and historical testimony, in a single volume, entitled : “ The Faith of Catholics confirmed by Scripture, and attested by the Fathers of the five first Centuries of the Church ;" by the Rev. Jos. Berington and the Rev. J. Kirk. Should any

doubt arise as to the authenticity of any extract, or the fidelity of its translation, the reference at the end of every passage will afford a ready clue to the original.

the 1st, 2nd, and subsequent centuries of the Christian æra, and then determine whether it be the doctrine of primitive Christianity, or the comparatively modern innovation of the dark ages.

Under such a view of the subject, and with such evidence before us, is it possible we can swear that we believe the doctrine of the Eucharist in the sense in which it is commonly understood by English Protestants ?

III. In the third place, I cannot conform to Protestantism, because she calls upon me solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, to profess, testify, and declare-not simply that I disbelieve in the Invocation of Saints, but that I do believe that the Invocation of the Virgin Mary, or any other Saint, as now used in the Church of Rome, is superstitious and idolatrous. Whereas, I do solemnly and sincerely declare, and am ready to call God to witness the same, that I believe, in accordance to the decrees of the Council of Trent, that the doctrine received from the earliest ages of the Christian religion, has been that the Saints, reigning with Christ, offer up their prayers to God for men; that it is good and profitable suppliantly to invoke them, and to have recourse to their supplications aad assistance, in order to obtain favours from God, through his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, who is our only Redeemer and Saviour.

The texts of Scripture which tend to prove this doctrine are as follow. The angel Raphael says to Tobias : When thou didst pray, with tears, and didst bury the dead, I offered up thy prayer to the Lord." Judas Machabeus relates a vision, in which he saw the late high-priest Oniah, whom he describes as he appeared to him-stretching out his arms, and praying for the Jewish people. He then mentions another personage whom he saw, of whom Oniah says: This is the lover of the brethren and of the people of Israel. This is Jeremiah the prophet of God, who prays for the people, and

for the holy city.-)I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in Heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninetynine just who need not penance.--So I say to you, there shall be joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.(a)And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four-and-twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials, full of odours, which are the prayers of Saints. From all this we argue the intimate communication between the saints in Heaven, and mankind upon earth; the efficacy of their

(9) Tobias, xii. 12.•
(a) St. Luke xv. 7. 10.

(5) Machab. xv. 12. 13.
(6) Apocal. v. 8.

« PredošláPokračovať »