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Church, at a time when it was the true Church, and taught the true worship of God. Now if the belief of a third place, or purgatory, was a point of true faith then, revealed from God and delivered to the Jews by tradition from the saints, it is also a point of true faith now.
POINT XV. PROTESTANTS hold, That in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, or the Lord's Supper, the elements of the bread and wine, after consecration, remain still in their very natural substances; and that the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are not truly, really, and substantially present in that Sacrament. (Rubric at the end of the Communion Service in the Book of Common Prayer.)
Contrary to all the four Gospels.
1. “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it: For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Matt. xxvi. 26.
2. “And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to them, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it
, to them, and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many. Mark xiv. 22, 23, 24.
3. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise, also, the cup after supper,
saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” Luke xxii. 19.
(Note. In the Greek it is still plainer ; which cup is shed for you.)
4. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you:
this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying: This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Cor. xi. 25.
Now the pretension of Protestants is, that these most plain words of Christ, This is my body, This is my
blood, are not to be taken in the literal sense, but to be expounded in a figurative sense: viz., that it is his body and blood in figure only: or a sacrament of his body and blood to be taken in remembrance of his death. In like manner as the eating of the Paschal-lamb is said in Scripture to be the Lord's passover (Exod. xii. 11): yet the Paschal-lamb was not the Lord's passover itself, but only a sacrament of the old law, instituted in remembrance of the passover.
To this Roman Catholics reply: that although some phrases in Scripture are to be expounded in a figurative sense, yet the general rule allowed even by Protestants is, that the literal sense of God's word is not to be forsaken and a figurative sense introduced, without evident reasons and an absolute necessity for so doing. These reasons are now to be examined. First, What reasons are produced by Protestants for wresting so many plain sentences of Scripture to a figure. Secondly, What reasons Roman Catholics give for expounding these words of our Saviour in the obvious literal sense.
When we challenge a Protestant to assign his evident reasons why he expounds the plain words of our Saviour above cited in a figurative sense, his answer and only answer is, that several other expressions of Holy Scriptures, as for instance, I am the door (John x. 7); I am the true vine (John xv. 1); the rock was Christ (1 Cor. x. 4), are figuratively to be understood, therefore, why not also these words, This is my body, this is my blood ?
But this is so far from giving evident reasons for their figurative interpretation, that in truth it is giving us no reason at all. For because some expressions of Holy Scripture are to be figuratively expounded, is it a consequence that any other part of holy writ may be expounded so too, to make it square with our opinions ? At this rate, an Arian heretic might pretend that when our Saviour in Holy Scripture is called God, and the Son of God, it is only figuratively, because he is in other places figuratively called a door or a vine. In like manner may some other heretic pretend that Christ's death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, are to be understood not literally but figuratively; because his sitting at the right hand of God is a figurative saying.
As to those expressions, I am the door ; I am the true vine; the rock is Christ, and the like, the evident absurdity of the literal sense determines us to understand them in a figurative one; for who will pretend that our Saviour was a door, or a vine-tree, or that a rock of stone was
Christ in a literal sense ? Then as to the Paschallamb being called the Lord's passover, we know this to be figurative, because the Scripture so expounds it in the same chapter, saying that it is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover. Exod. xii. 27.
But in no part of Scripture do we find these words of our Saviour; This is my body, This is my blood, expounded in a figurative sense : not one of the sacred writers has warned us not to understand them literally of the true and real body and blood of our Saviour. Neither do we find any figure of speech like this in Scripture, or in any other writing whatsoever : nor, in a word, is there any evident absurdity in the literal sense, which may oblige us to have recourse to a figurative meaning ; since there is nothing in transubstantiation but what is clearly within the sphere of infinite power; for it is easier to comprehend that God can change one substance into another substance, than that he should make all substances out of nothing. The Protestant then remains destitute of all proof for his figurative sense, and he must own his interpretation of the text in question is purely arbitrary; which if once allowed, the literal sense of. all other parts of Scripture too may, by the same rule, be allegorized and explained away in figures. by heretics and freethinkers.
If, on the other hand, Protestants challenge Roman Catholics to give reasons why they take these words of our Saviour in the obvious literal. sense, it is much the same thing as to ask a person who is travelling to London on the public high road, why he goes that way? No one will put the question to him why he goes that way, because it is plain he goes the right way; but as to those who
take bye ways, and have left the high road to follow private paths, to them it belongs to look to themselves, and consider well whither such ways lead them. However, to give satisfaction to every one
. who asks us the reason of our belief, let Protestants know, that we expound these words of our Saviour, This is my body, This is my blood, not without
in the obvious literal sense.
First reason, Because our Saviour speaks of that body which was given for our redemption ; This is my body which is given for you : He speaks also of that blood which was shed for remission of our sins; This is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for many for remission of sins. Either then, Protestants will be forced to maintain with Roman Catholics, that the true and real body and blood of our Saviour Christ are really present in this sacrament, or that it was not his true and real body that was given for our redemption, nor his true and real blood that was shed for our sins, but a figure only
Second reason, Because our Saviour himself, in the sixth chapter of St. John, has so fully explained the matter, as to leave no room to doubt, that his body and blood are truly and really present in this sacrament. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven : if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever : And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews, therefore, strove amongst themselves, saying, how can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no