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One of the first principles of contingent and the hand unites its testimony with truth is, that the things which we dis- that of its sisters. If we have not suffitinctly perceive by the senses, do really cient evidence that Transubstantiation is exist, and are what we perceive them to false, the apostles had no evidence of the be. This is a maxim that was not made resurrection of Jesus; and we have no to serve a religious theory, and depends evidence of the existence of the objects not on reasoning, but is the immediate around us. dictate of the human constitution. As soon It is said that we ought to believe the as the terms are understood, it will find sense of hearing, under the authority of acceptance with all unprejudiced men, the Church, in opposition to the testimony whether savage or civilized, whether of the other senses. But there is no dislearned or illiterate. Even by those who crepancy in the testimony of the witnesses in a particular instance refuse to admit its on this point. The ear does not give its application, it is acted upon in all other verdict in favour of Transubstantiation, things with the most implicit confidence. more than the eye. The only way in In the excepted instance itself, the de- which the ear can be supposed in any votee does violence to his own nature. measure a witness in this matter, is by
When we examine the grounds of our the sound of the elements when struck belief in the testimony of our senses, we against another body. If any man's ear find no other reason for our faith, but that is so good as to testify any thing in such it is the law of our constitution. To seek an experiment, the result will coincide further evidence, or attempt to support with that of the other senses. When the this testimony by argument, is equally priest pronounces the words of consecravain and absurd. Really, to doubt it, is tion, there is not the testimony of the to be mad. If, then, God be the author sense of hearing, that the alleged Tranof human nature, those convictions that substantiation takes place. The ear tesare the immediate dictates of our consti- tifies merely that such words were uttertution are the oracles of heaven. By our ed; but as to the fact it cannot judge. senses we have, in a way utterly un- When the apostles heard Jesus Christ known to us, the conception of external himself pronouncing the words, “ This is objects, and the immediate belief of their my body,” they had not the testimony existence: the testimony of our senses, of the sense of hearing as to his meaning: then, must be the testimony of the God their ears testified merely that he uttered of nature. If we are deceived, our Maker such words. Nay, if the elements themis the deceiver; for he has not only com- selves would speak, it would not afford missioned the messenger, but has im- the evidence of the sense of hearing. In pelled us, by our constitution, to give him that case the ear would testify that such implicit credence.
a voice was heard, and as far as it could Now the doctrine of 'Transubstantia- judge, proceeded from the elements in the tion overturns the evidence of the senses, eucharist; but of the truth of the asserviolates the human constitution, and gives tion the ear would not pretend to judge. the lie to the Maker of man. In the Mass, Such a voice might be from an infernal we are told, there is a conversion of the spirit; and even were it from God, it bread and wine into the body and blood would not be the sense of hearing testiof Christ; and after consecration there fying to the Transubstantiation. 'The remains neither bread nor wine. Four ear can give its testimony as to the nature of our senses solemnly declare that this of any substance, only by the sound of is false. The eye looks at the wafer the substance. and says, it is not flesh; at the cup, and In judging of the testimony of the declares it is still wine. We apply the senses, it ought always to be considered organ of smell, and the nose unites its in what way each of them can witness, testimony with that of the eye. We taste and how far the testimony of each can them, and the mouth cries, So help me legitimately extend. In some cases one God, there is neither flesh nor blood here. of the senses can witness, and others are We next appeal to the sense of touch, from their nature entirely excluded. In
judging of colour the ear does not pre- the testimony of the senses, they could tend to offer an opinion, and cannot be not be the word of God. The actual said to agree with the eye, or to differ proof of such a contradiction would not from it. But there are cases in which affect the authority of the testimony of several of the senses can judge in the the senses, but would entirely subvert same matter, though not all with equal the authority of the Bible. If the Scripcertainty.
tures be from God, they cannot contradict But what is wanting in the testimony the testimony of a witness incontestably of the ear, may be supplied, it seems, by commissioned by God. Two witnesses the authority of the Church. The voice inspired to testify to man what his Maker of the Church must be heard in opposi- designs to communicate, must be in pertion to four of the senses! Since your fect accordance. The one may be increation, 0 heavens and earth! have you structed to go much farther than the other ever witnessed such extravagance of ar- -nay, to make discoveries which the rogance in impious mortals? Shall the other cannot fathom; but as far as their work of the Almighty be slighted? Shall testimony touches on the same points, it be believed that religious phrenzy they must agree. If God makes different would influence any body of men to revelations of his will to the same people, pretend a power of setting aside the tes- every subsequent revelation must be subtimony of God in the constitution of man? jected to the preceding. The latter canCan any other proof be wanting, that this not be understood in any sense contrabody, under its head, is the man of sin dictory to the former. We see from fact pointed out by the A posile Paul? This that this was actually the case. Jesus is not only to usurp the throne of God, himself submits his pretensions to the but is an exaltation above all that is called judgment of the law and the prophets, and God, or that is worshipped; for God, often appeals to the natural light of huthe author of the testimony of sense, is inan understanding. The Scriptures are made a liar.
a revelation from God; so are the truths On what evidence does this authority collected from the testimony of the senses. of the Church rest, that it claims so high The latter is the prior revelation, and, if a station? A full examination of this ques- there be an appearance of contradiction tion would be a most important work, between them, must be allowed to inbut as in this essay I choose to confine terpret. I appeal to the common sense
I myself to one point, I will notice it only of all mankind for the propriety of these so far as to show that it can have no solid observations. I ask common sense how foundation. We are told that it is founded is it possible that the Scriptures could on the Scriptures and tradition. What overturn the testimony of the senses, evidence can we have of the truth of when they are themselves founded on the either the Scriptures or tradition, without testimony of the same witness ? implicit credence in the testimony of the Were it at all necessary, it might be senses? Are the senses to be proved liars, shown at great length, that the Scriptures by two witnesses, the proof of whose ve. recognize the authority of the testimony racity depends on the testimony of these of the senses. The Saviour constantly very senses? Stupid nonsense!
appeals to this testimony in favour of his But it is said we ought to believe what claims. But to add the support even of God tells os, however incredible it may Scripture to the authority of truths comappear. Jesus says, “This is my body, municated by the senses, is itself an aband we must believe the Scriptures in surdiiy. opposition to our senses. Before I close of what advantage, then, 10 Transubthis essay, I shall show that the words of stantiation would be the concession of Scripture do not necessarily nor naturally this opposition between the senses and import such a sense. In ihis place, as I the Scriptures? It would destroy both am reasoning independently of the Scrip- Bible and Transubstantiation. The autures, I shall merely reply, that if the thority of the senses cannot submit even Scriptures were really in opposition to to a trial by any subsequent revelation,
but all subsequent revelations must sub- yielded to the inclinations of the mind, mit to be tried at the tribunal of the senses, this would be the instance. The whole as far as their authority extends. world have been for many ages dotingly
It is argued, that the senses, since the attached to this opinion, yet with all the fall, are corrupted, and therefore are not raptures of a crazy lover, they have never worthy of implicit confidence. Well, if been able even to fancy that they perceive the senses are corrupted in such a sense the object of their idolatry. as to justify us in withholding our im- The abettors of this doctrine, in adplicit confidence, they are equally liable verting to the testimony of sense, affect to suspicion in every thing. All the con- to speak of the senses as limited, with a sequences noticed above must be ad- view to discredit their authority. But the mitted. But the charge of the corruption limitation of our senses is no proof of their of the senses, as respects their testimony, corruption either moral or natural. The is founded in ignorance of sound philo- senses were limited even in Adam, when sophy, as well as of sound theology. In he came from the hand of his Creator. every operation of sense, there are two Limitation is implied in the very nature distinct but conjoined acts of the mind of perception by sense. The senses were perception and sensation. By the former given, not to enable us to perceive every we have the conception of external ob- ihing that is perceived by beings of a jects, and an immediate and irresistible higher order, or yet may be perceived by conviction of their existence; by the late ourselves without senses, but to make us ter, we have certain feelings correspond- acquainted with the nature of God's ing to the nature of the object of sense. works, as far as he has commissioned Now it is sensation only ihat ministers them to reveal his will. The limitation to the corruption of the mind; perception of the senses does not imply that we are merely testifies, and cannot be morally not fully to rely on what the senses affected by the depravity of human na- actually testify. I look at the moon; am ture, in whatever extent that may be sup- I 10 doubt the existence of what I see, posed to exist. In sensation, the mind because I cannot discover at such a disand body may mutually minister to each tance, how the inhabitants are employed? other's corruption; but as in perception It is possible that the fall of man may
; there is nothing but the mere conception have increased the limitation of the senses of external objects, accompanied with a without at all affecting their authority in belief of their existence, there cannot be what they testify. Yet that there has moral depravity. It is God's testimony, been any such additional limitation is not as pure and unsullied as the light of in evidence, so far as I have been able to heaven. The human mind has no power discover, either from the light of nature in modifying any of its dictates. 'Now or revelation. I am inclined to think in this matter we have nothing to do with that some of Adam's degenerate sons are the senses, in any point of view in which as nice judges of the distinguishing qualithey are tainted with moral corruption. ties of wine, as their great progenitor, We have to attend only to the meaning of even in the innocence of Eden. But let our own perceptions; and that they are the limitation of sense be what it may, it perfectly impartial is proved by this, that cannot affect the evidence of the decided the testimony of the senses of our oppo- dictates of perception. Many may be nents entirely coincides with that of our unable to distinguish one kind of wine own, notwithstanding their minds are so froin another, or good wine from that of deeply interested on the other side. No an inferior quality, but there is no man stronger evidence can be required that the who has the sense of taste, that will not perceptions of sense are unbiassed, than distinguish between wine and blood. that since the introduction of this ab- There is a sense in which I will admit surdity, no sober friend of Transubstan- the corruption of the senses, even as it tiation has ever ventured to allege that affects their testimony. This, I think, is his senses testify in favour of his beloved the result of the fall of man. They are doctrine. If ever the perceptions of sense now liable to disorders, as well as all the other human faculties, which incapacitate the prejudice of ages, it found a difficulty them for discharging the office assigned even to the masculine mind of Luther. them by the all-wise Creator. A man in Give up prejudice, Mr. G. and the trejaundice perceives white objects as yel- mendous weight of authority becomes low. This, and all similar facts, are light as air. With respect to the authority philosophically accounted for by those of the Church, and the opinion of the inacquainted wiih the physical constitution dividuals mentioned by the writer, this of man. Instead of invalidating the tes- surely is not undoubted. In the estima. timony of sense, such instances, viewed tion of every consistent Protestant, it in connection with their cause, only serve weighs nothing at all. to estabļish more firmly the truth of things Let us hear, however, the estimate that testified by sense. They show that the this writer makes of the opposite evitestimony of sense is regulated by fixed dence. “You will appeal," says he, “ to laws, over which the mind has no control. my senses-my eyes, my taste, &c. I Instead of urging us to general incredu- confess, indeed, sir, that the senses of lity, they merely admonish us, that in my body discover nothing in the sacraweighing the testimony of sense, we must ment but bread and wine, and that I do be careful to have the senses in a sound not see, nor taste the flesh and blood of and natural state. If all mankind, except Christ. But, sir, Christ tells me, Blessed a few jaundiced enthusiasts, perceived the are they that have not seen, and have bebody of Jesus in the eucharist, the ex- lieved.' John xx. 29." Here Christ's ception would have no force. But all authority is alleged to contradict the mankind, without the exception of one senses. But let any man, not intoxicated sane individual, see nothing in the eu- by religious frenzy, use his understandcharist but bread and wine.
ing in considering the meaning of the "I will suppose, for a while, sir," says words, and he will see that they cannot Mr. D. Galliizin 10 his correspondent, bear any such import. To believe upon " that I am wavering, perplexed, uncertain testimony, without seeing, is one thing; what to believe, on the subject of the eu- to believe, in contradiction to the senses, charist; and that I apply to you as a is another. The first is the part of a raminister of Christ, in order to have my tional man; the second is a degradation doubts resolved, my difficulties removed, below the brutes; for they give implicit and certainty fixed in my mind, wbat credence to their senses. The demand would you tell me; what security could of Thomas, referred to in the passage you offer, in order to induce me to re- quoted, was utterly unreasonable. Few ject the tremendous weight of authority, of Christ's disciples were favoured with which undoubtedly favours the Catholic the evidence of sense, with respect to his doctrine of the Eucharist, and to persuade resurrection, and the testimony of others, me that I ought to believe there is no- well established, is a sufficient ground of thing in the sacrament but bread and conviction. Thomas then is reproved, wine?”
though his incredulity was satisfied with Here it is supposed as an undoubted the kind of evidence he wanted. Millions fact that there is a tremendous weight of since have believed on the evidence reauthority in favour of this doctrine, wbat- jected by Thomas. To this faith a blessever weight of evidence may be against ing is promised. But there is no blessit. Now, whatever weight Roman Catho- ing promised to that absurd, frantic faith, lics themselves may choose to attach to that makes men renounce common sense, this supposed authority, it is not admitted and blasphemie the testimony of the Creaby any well-instructed Protestant as of tor of man. Jesus does not say, “ Thoany weight at all. What is this tremen- mas, you would not believe that I was dous authority? As respects the gram. risen, except you could yourself see me, matical import of the words, " This is my and handle my very wounds, but blessed body," to any unprejudiced mind, in the shall be those millions of good credulous smallest degree above idiocy, there can- Roman Catholies, who shall give up not be even a difficulty. Viewed through both their senses and their reason to the
Church, and, contrary to every principle that the opposition is not between the in human nature, shall believe that a bit Church and the senses, but between Jesus of bread is my true body.” Had he said Christ and the senses; their attachment any thing like this, it would have been to this doctrine results from their respect to your purpose. But it is impossible for the authority of the divine word: they that Jesus would confer a premium on cannot believe otherwise without making absurdity, and pronounce a blessing on Jesus Christ a liar. But tell me, Mr. G., those who should reject the testimony of how you know that your divine Saviour witnesses, commissioned as the senses has contradicted your devilish senses? are, by himself.
Oh, Sir, quite easily: don't I read it in “I would then," continues this author, the Bible? “This is my body.” There “incline to say, with St. Thomas of is clear Scripture for you. Well, good Aquinas,
friend, I am glad that even that much
Scripture is clear. But I ask again, how In touch, taste, sight, although deceived we be, do you know that these words are in The word of God is quite enough for me; What God declares is true, I must believe,
Scripture? “I see them there: will I The word of Truth itself cannot deceive.
not believe my eyes ?" Hold, Mr. G.,
your eyes !—those perjured villains that With nearly all Christendom, for eighteen deceived you about Transubstantiation! centuries, I will sooner believe the testi- If they have deceived you in one instance, mony of my divine Saviour, than the tes- they are worthy of credit in nothing. I timony of my senses," &c.
maintain that a Roman Catholic, on his Here it is taken for granted that the own principle, has no evidence, that there testimony of Scripture and the testimony is such a thing as a Bible. of the senses contradict each other. This But, Mr. G., well-founded as is the I have shown to be inadmissible. Both belief of the authenticity of the Scriptures, these witnesses are commissioned and the belief of the thing testified by sense inspired by the same God. Their testi- is still more strongly founded. The evimony then cannot be contradictory. If dence of sense is to every man an imme. the God of the Scripture be the God that diate revelation. A revelation, whose made man, there is every security that he evidence is founded on human testimony, would not give one revelation to prove is not to all men an immediate revelation, himself a liar in another. Such an opinion and however satisfactory it ought to be, might very well suit with the eastern it is not so overwhelmingly convincing as philosophy, or those systems that suppose the immediate knowledge communicated two opposite and independent principles, by the senses. Every man having the the one of good, the other of evil. But it use of his senses, has an immediate reveis utterly inconsistent with the supposi- lation from God that Transubstantiation tion that the God of nature is also the God is a lie. of grace. If the devil, or any other ma- Facts are alleged to prove the fallalignant demon, had power to commu- ciousness of the testimony of sense. The nicate any thing like human faculties, he Holy Spirit descended on Jesus at his might be suspected of giving deceitful baptism, in the form of a dove; and the senses to his workmanship. But I have angels at different times appeared as men. no name for the blasphemy that would Here, however, there was no deception ascribe such a work to the benevolence of sense. In both these instances, the and truth of the Lord God of the Bible. eyes of the beholders gave a true testiShame, shame, my Roman Catholic mony. The testimony of the eye can brethren, your very God is a cheat. legitimately go no farther than the
appear. But the manner of expression employ- ance. Identity, however, is often inferred ed by those writers is very silky, and from similitude, with the utmost certainty, well calculated to deceive the unthinking. In courts of law, life and death depend It has an appearance of abasing human on no stronger evidence. A man swears nature, and of transcendently honouring that he is the owner of the horse found Jesus Christ. It is artfully insinuated with the thief. He swears that such a