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fcripture, and our Saviour's inftitution on our fide; and that fo plainly, that our adversaries themselves do not deny it.
Of the first of these I fhall now treat, and endeavour to fhew, against the church of Rome, that in this facrament there is no substantial change made of the elements of bread and wine into the natural body and blood of Chrift; that body which was born of the virgin Mary, and fuffered upon the cross; for fo they explain that hard word tranfubftantiation.
Before I engage in this argument, I cannot but obferve what an unreasonable task we are put upon, by the bold confidence of our adverfaries, to difpute a matter of fenfe; which is one of those things about which Aristotle hath long fince pronounced there ought to be no difpute.
It might well seem strange, if any man should write a book, to prove, that an egg is not an elephant, and that a mufket-bullet is not a pike: it is every whit as hard a cafe, to be put to maintain, by a long discourse, that what we fee, and handle, and taste to be bread, is bread, and not the body of a man; and what we fee and tafte to be wine, is wine, and not blood: and if this evidence may not pafs for fufficient, without any farther proof, I do not fee why any man, that hath confidence enough to do fo, may not deny any thing to be what all the world fees it is; or affirm any thing to be what all the world fees it is not: and this without all poffibility of being farther confuted. So that the business of tranfubftantiation is not a controverfy of fcripture against fcripture, or of reason against reafon, but of downright impudence against the plain meaning of fcripture, and all the fenfe and reason of mankind.
It is a most self-evident falfhood; and there is no do&trine or propofition in the world that is of itself more evidently true, than transubstantiation is evidently falfe: and yet if it were poffible to be true, it would be the most ill-natured and pernicious truth in the world, because it would fuffer nothing else to be true. It is like the Roman Catholick church, which will needs be the whole Christian church, and will allow no other fociety of Chriftians to be any part of it: so transubstantiation, if
it be true at all, it is all truth, and nothing elfe is true; for it cannot be true, unless our fenfes, and the fenfes of all mankind, be deceived about their proper objects; and if this be true and certain, then nothing elfe can be fo: for if we be not certain of what we fee, we can be certain of nothing.
And yet, notwithstanding all this, there are a company of men in the world fo abandoned, and given up by God to the efficacy of delufion, as in good earnest to believe this grofs and palpable error, and to impofe the belief of it upon the Christian world, under no lefs penalties than of temporal death and eternal damnation. And therefore, to undeceive, if poffible, these deluded fouls, it will be neceflary to examine the pretended grounds of fo falfe a doctrine, and to lay open the monftrous abfurdity of it.
And in the handling of this argument, I fhall proceed in this plain method.
I. I fhall confider the pretended grounds and reasons of the church of Rome for this doctrine.
2. I fhall produce our objections against it. And if I can fhew that there is no tolerable ground for it, and that there are invincible objections against it, then every man is not only in reafon excufed from believing this doctrine, but hath great cause to believe the contrary.
First, I will confider the pretended grounds and reafons of the church of Rome for this doctrine. Which must be one or more of these five. Either, 1. The authority of fcripture. Or, 2. The perpetual belief of this doctrine in the Chriftian church, as an evidence that they always understood and interpreted our Saviour's words, This is my body, in this fenfe. Or, 3. The authority of the present church to make and declare new articles of faith. Or, 4. The absolute neceffity of fuch a change as this in the facrament, to the comfort and benefit of those who receive this facrament. Or, 5. To magnify the power of the priest in being able to work fo great a miracle.
I. They pretend for this doctrine the authority of fcripture in those words of our Saviour, This is my body. Now, to fhew the infufficiency of this pretence, I fhall endeavour to make good thefe two things. I
1. That there is no neceffity of understanding those words of our Saviour in the fenfe of tranfubftantiation.
2. That there is a great deal of reafon, nay that it is very abfurd and unreasonable not to understand them otherwife.
1. That there is no neceffity to understand those words of our Saviour in the fenfe of transubstantiation. If there be any, it must be from one of these two reasons. Either, because there are no figurative expreffions in fcripture, which I think no man ever yet faid: or else, becaufe a facrament admits of no figures; which would be very abfurd for any man to fay, fince it is of the very nature of a facrament to represent and exhibit fome invifible grace and benefit by an outward fign and figure; and efpecially fince it cannot be denied, but that in the inftitution of this very facrament our Saviour useth figurative expreffions, and feveral words which cannot be taken ftrictly and literally. When he gave the cup, he faid, This cup is the new teftament in my blood, which is fhed for you and for many, for the remiffion of fins. Where, first, the cup is put for the wine contained in the cup: or elfe if the words be literally taken, so as to fignify a fubftantial change, it is not of the wine, but of the cup; and that, not into the blood of Christ, but into the new teftament or new covenant in his blood. Befides, that his blood is faid then to be shed, and his body to be broken; which was not till his paffion, which followed the inftitution and first celebration of this facrament.
But that there is no neceffity to understand our Saviour's. words in the fenfe of transubstantiation, I will take the plain conceffion of a great number of the most learned writers of the church of Rome in this controverfy. Bellarmine, (de euch. l. 3. c.23.), Suarez, (in 3.dif.49. qu.75. fect. 2.), and Vafquez, (in 3. part. difp. 180. qu. 75. art. 2. c. 15.), do acknowledge Scotus the great fchoolman to have faid that this doctrine cannot be evidently proved from scripture and Bellarmine grants this not to be improbable; and Suarez and Vafquez acknowledge Durandus to have faid as much, (in fent. l. 4. dift. 11. qu. 1. n. 15.). Ocham, another famous fchoolman, fays exprefsly, (in 4: fent. qu. 5. & Quodl. 4. qu. 3.), that
the doctrine which holds the fubftance of the bread
"and wine to remain after confecration, is neither re66 pugnant to reafon nor to fcripture." Petrus ab Alliaco, Cardinal of Cambray, fays plainly, (in 4 fent. qu.6. art. 2.), that "the doctrine of the fubftance of bread ❝ and wine remaining after confecration, is more easy, "and free from abfurdity, more rational, and no ways 66 repugnant to the authority of scripture;" nay more, that for the other doctrine, viz. of tranfubftantiation, "there is no evidence in fcripture." Gabriel Biel, another great schoolman and divine of their church, freely declares, (in canon. miff. lect. 40.), that as to any thing "expreffed in the canon of the fcriptures, a man may "believe that the fubftance of bread and wine doth re"main after confecration:" and therefore he refolves the belief of tranfubftantiation into fome other revelation befides fcripture, which he supposeth the church had about it. Cardinal Cajetan confeffeth, (in Aquin. 3. part. qu. 75. art. 1.), that "the gofpel doth no where exprefs "that the bread is changed into the body of Chrift; "that we have this from the authority of the church: nay, he goes farther, "that there is nothing in the go"fpel which inforceth any man to understand these words "of Chrift, This is my body, in a proper, and not in a "metaphorical fenfe; but the church having understood "them in a proper fenfe, they are to be fo explained." Which words in the Roman edition of Cajetan are expunged by order of Pope Pius V. (Egid. Coninc. de facram. qu. 75. art. 1. n. 13.). Cardinal Contarenus, (de facram. 1. 2. c. 3.), and Melchior Canus, (loc. theolog. 1.3. c. 3.), one of the beft and moft judicious writers that church ever had, reckoned this doctrine ainong those "which are not fo exprefsly found in fcripture.' I will add but one more of great authority in the church, and a reputed martyr, Fifher, Bishop of Rochester, who ingenuously confeffeth, (contra captiv. Babylon. c. 10. n. 2.), that, in the words of the inftitution, "there is « not one word from whence the true prefence of the "flesh and blood of Chrift in our mafs can be proved." So that we need not much contend that this doctrine hath no certain foundation in fcripture, when this is fo fully and frankly acknowledged by our adverfaries themfelves.
2. If there be no neceffity of understanding our Saviour's words in the fenfe of tranfubftantiation, I am fure there is a great deal of reason to understand them otherwife: Whether we confider the like expreffions in fcripture; as where our Saviour fays he is the door and the true vine, which the church of Rome would mightily have triumphed in, had it been faid, This is my true body. And fo likewife where the church is faid to be Chrift's body; and the rock which followed the Ifraelites to be Chrift, 1 Cor. x. 4. They drank of that rock which followed them, and that rock was Chrift. All which, and innumerable more like expreffions in fcripture, every man understands in a figurative, and not in a strictly literal and abfurd fenfe. And it is very well known, that in the Hebrew language things are commonly faid to be that which they do fignify and reprefent; and there is not in that language a more proper and usual way of expreffing a thing to fignify fo and fo, than to fay that it is fo and fo. Thus Jofeph, expounding Pharaoh's dream to him, Gen. xli. 26. fays, The feven good kine are feven years, and the feven good ears of corn are seven years; that is, they fignified or reprefented feven years of plenty; and fo Pharaoh understood him, and so would any man of fenfe understand the like expreffions. Nor do I believe that any fenfible man, who had never heard of tranfubftantiation being grounded upon these words of our Saviour, This is my body, would, upon reading the inftitution of the facrament in the gofpel, ever have imagined any fuch thing to be meant by our Saviour in those words; but would have understood his meaning to have been, This bread fignifies my body, This cup fignifies my blood; and this which you fee me now do, do ye hereafter for a memorial of me. But, furely, it would never have entered into any man's mind to have thought that our Saviour did literally hold himself in his hand, and give away himself from himself with his own hands. Or whether we compare these words of our Saviour with the ancient form of the passover used by the Jews from Ezra's time, as Justin Martyr tells us, (dialog. cum Tryp. p. 297. edit. Parif. 1639.), Tou To To Taoyα à σWTHE ἡμῶν, καὶ ἡ καταφυγή ήμων, This pallover is our Saviour, and our refuge. Not that they believed the pafchal lamb