The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 1
No subject is so all-important to man as salvation, for in it is contained all that be needs for time and eternity; and all that the God of all grace has to bestow; "for he that spared not even his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how hath he not also with him given us all things." "What shall I do to be saved?" "How shall man be justified with God?" are questions that agitate the human soul, but which the light of reason, or the unaided mind of sinful man, can never satisfactorily answer; the revelation of God alone removes all darkness and doubt, and makes known to our fallen race the way to happiness and heaven. "The Holy Scriptures," says St. Paul, "can instruct thee to salvation, by faith which is in Christ Jesus;" they proclaim the glad tidings that "God is love," and that "he will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." What is truth? enquire many. But, alas! like Pilate of old, they wait not for a reply. Some answer for themselves, and seek to obtain the favour of God by establishing their own righteousness, and strive, by works of charity, to merit heaven. Others fly for refuge to the Sacraments of Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, and in the ordinances of God's house imagine they find all that they require; whilst the vast majority live in a total carelessness of all means to secure their eternal welfare. Few there are, however, who, living by faith and prayer, are witnesses for Jesus, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; never were their influence and prayers more needed than at the present time, for the Popish priesthood are lifting up their voices, and concentrating their most strenuous efforts to render paramount their power, and to persuade the millions of the people, that they alone are the Church of God, that the truth is to be found only with them, and that all not in their communion are the slaves of error, denounced by the church, and exposed to the dread anathema of heaven. To repudiate the proud pretensions of Rome, and to overthrow her errors, is the duty of every man who has any regard to God's Word, any love to truth, or any sincere desire to promote the present happiness, and the eternal salvation of his race. Actuated by these principles, the Lecturer feels it to be a duty he owes to God, to society generally, and to his neighbours in particular, in the midst of whom Popery is now rampant, to take his sling and his stone, and, however feeble his powers, yet, trusting in the name of the Lord, he is resolved to do what he can to bring down this boasting Goliath, who defies daily the armies of the living God, and by his pride and sinful doctrines, blasphemes page 4 the Lord of Hosts. Ardently praying for Divine assistance, that this Lecture may be made, by the Holy Spirit, instrumental in the eternal blessedness of many a deluded and priest-ridden Papist, (towards whom, in the spirit of the Gospel, the Lecturer feels the sincerest love,) in the preservation of the wavering Protestant, from the soul-destroying dogmas of the Papacy, and in the awakening of the careless sinner, so that he may be induced to seek and find that truth by which alone he can he saved. O that, divesting ourselves of prejudice, bigotry, and pride, we may learn at the feet of Him who was meek and lowly of heart; then, casting away for ever all merely human doctrines, we shall find rest to our souls. Truth is so all-important, that St. Paul declares, as recorded in the Douay, or Roman Catholic Bible, (from which book most of the quotations in this Lecture will be made.) "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you, beside that which we have preached unto you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again, if any one preach to you a gospel beside that which you have received, let him be anathema." Gal. i. 8, 9. With these words before us, we purpose proving that Popery, as a system, is not in accordance with the Gospel preached by St. Paul; but that many of its doctrines, particularly Transubstantiation, as taught by its priests, and defined by its Councils, are directly opposed to the teaching of all the Apostles, and the whole revelation of God; in short, that it is another gospel, alike fatal to its preachers, and to the masses of their deluded victims; for if an angel from heaven were to preach the errors of Popery, he would, in our opinion, he in danger of the anathema here pronounced. We would, however, observe, that Popery, as defined by its Councils, and taught by its ministers, is not altogether error, but that there is in the system much of divine truth—truth held by all Protestants, and dear to the hearts of all God's people; but which truth, alas! has been neutralized if not all but destroyed, by the traditions and fables of men, which, by the voice of the Romish Church, are declared to possess equal authority with the words of the living God. We rejoice, however, when we think it possible that there are, and always have been, some of its people, who are and were much better than their creed, much wiser than their teachers, and who, taught by the Spirit of God, and trusting by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, are, by the mercy of our heavenly Father, saved in time and for ever. But we with all charity too, the number of such is exceedingly small. The Church of Rome claims to be infallible; she declares that she cannot, at any time, cease to be pure in doctrine, nor can she fall into any destructive error, and pronounces her anathema on any denying her infallibility. All Romanists must therefore consent to the following proposition, that if they, by any argument, are convinced that their church holds and propagates any one error, they must cease to regard page 5 her as the true church, and must believe her to be a lying and false church, and that with these views they are bound to abandon her communion, and to seek in a more Scriptural way the salvation which is of God.
The error to which my hearers are now principally directed, is one of the most prominent, and one of the most destructive of all the delusions in the Papacy, namely, transubstantiation; of which, as related by Drelincourt, Cardinal Perron, being asked in his last sickness what he thought, replied, "It is a monster." Let us look at what the Council of Trent says of it. They observe—
Canon 1st. "Whoever shall deny that in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, there are truly, really, and substantially contained; the body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, together with his soul and divinity, and, consequently, Christ entire; and shall affirm that he is present there in a sign and figure, or by his power, let him be anathema.
Canon 3rd. Whosoever shall deny that Christ entire is contained in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist, under each species, and under every part of each species, when they are separated, let him be anathema.
Canon 6th. Whosoever shall affirm that Christ, the only-begotten, is not to be adored in the holy Eucharist, with the external signs of that worship which is due to God, and that those who worship the same are idolaters, let him be anathema." *
* To show you that the curse of the Romish Church under any circumstances is most awful, we quote one now in use, extracted from the Pontificale Romanum:—"May he he cursed in his home and out of his home; may he be cursed in the state (or city), and in the field; cursed in watching, and cursed in sleeping; cursed in eating and drinking; cursed in walking and sitting; may his flesh and his bones be cursed, and from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head may he enjoy no health. May there light upon him the curse which the Lord sent in the law by Moses on the sons of iniquity. May his name be erased from the book of the living, and not be recorded with the righteous, may his partition and his heritage be with Cain, the fratricide, with Dathan and Abiram, with Ananias and Sapphira, with Simon Magus, and with Judas, the traitor, and with those who said to God, 'Depart from us, we will not follow thy ways;' may eternal fire devour him with the devil and his angels, unless he make restitution and come to amendment."
Now the boast of Popery is, that it is infallible, and unchangeable; if so, whatever are its professions to the contrary, we are bound to believe, that if the Popes, Cardinals, and priests of Rome could ever regain the secular power they once possessed in this, and other realms, the fires of persecution would again blaze, and auto-de-fés would again be common. It pains our heart thus to speak, but taught by the past, we are bound to believe that such scenes would be again fearfully realized.
Let us briefly consider the circumstances which transpired at the first establishment of the Lord's supper. Our Lord having made, by his providence, provision for celebrating the feast of the Passover with his disciples, and the hour having come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him; and he said to them, "With desire I have desired to eat this Pasch with you before I suffer, for I say to you, I will not eat of it from this time till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God: and taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body, which is given for you: do this for commemoration of me; in like manner, the chalice also, after he had supped, saying, This is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you." Luke xxii. 15, 20. The apostles, St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Paul, give a similar account to that of St. Luke. There page 8 seems in these statements but little or no foundation to build such a superstructure as the Church of Home has raised thereon. We think all must acknowledge that our Lord must have had more power to change the bread and wine into his own body, blood, soul, and divinity, according to the views of the Council of Trent, than any Pope, Cardinal, or priest ever possessed. According to their [unclear: dietrine] we must believe that Jesus took a piece of bread into his hand, which remained bread till he said "This is my body," that it then immediately ceased to be bread, and became the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the very Christ that was born in Bethlehem, the very God that created the universe, ---and breaking it into at least twelve pieces, he gave a whole God and a whole Christ to each of his Apostles, who all eat of this wondrous creation. Supposing our Lord partook of the Eucharist with his disciples, as some have imagined we must then believe, if the Canons of Trent be true, not only did the Apostles eat of their Lord and Master, but Christ eat himself, body, soul, and divinity. This conclusion is but a legitimate deduction, if Popish transubstantiation be true; but is not the very supposition itself contemptible, monstrous, and blasphemous?
This doctrine cannot be true, the body of our Lord being material—"for he was made in all things like unto his brethren"—therefore he cannot be in ten thousand different places at one and the same time. God's own Word settles this matter. Peter declared that the heavens had received Christ, till the times of the restitution of all things; and the angels, at his ascension, declared that "this Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven, shall so come as you have seen him going into Heaven." Paul says, "this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down for ever on the right hand of God," and therefore he cannot be on Popish altars every time the mass is performed. Prophecy also, by David, bad declared that God would not suffer his Holy One to see corruption. Our blessed Lord, by his obedience unto death, magnified the Law and made it honourable; rendering it possible for God to sustain before his own universe of mind, the twofold character, a just God and a Saviour; he would not after this allow his Holy One to be further degraded, and triumphed over by death. And he did, by the glorious resurrection of Christ, vindicate his personal innocency, and declare him to be his immaculate and triumphant Son, in whom he was ever honoured and well pleased. But transubstantiation, in defiance of this prophecy, robs Christ of his glory, and gives the lie to the Word of God, for it declares that the real body of our Lord Jesus is eaten, by priests and their followers, daily and hourly; that it is undergoing decomposition, and is turning to corruption in their vile bodies. The profanity and wickedness of such an awful doctrine is painful to contemplate, is degrading to dwell upon; but page 9 as Popery in this matter will reject all figurative interpretations, and will insist upon the literal alone, it is for its votaries to take the legitimate consequences to which it leads, and to digest, with what appetite they can, the absurdity, the wickedness, and the impiety, which of necessity are bound up in this horrid doctrine.
The transubstantiation scheme destroys our Lord's design in the establishment of his last supper. It was ordained for the purpose of a solemn commemoration; "for, as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till he come." But if in the sacrament Christ be present, and we eat and drink his body and blood really and substantially, this would not be an act of remembrance, for we remember an absent person, and not one present with us; we are to do this till he come; this is a clear proof that he is now in heaven, and not really present in body when the bread and wine are eaten and drunk at the feast of the Eucharist.
If this doctrine be true, it undermines Christianity, it destroys one of the strongest proofs of its divine authenticity,—namely, its miracles. We only know of the existence of miracles through the medium of our senses; but if transubstantiation be true, miracles can be performed, though all the senses are directly opposed to the conviction of their existence; by what rule or authority, are Christ's miracles to be subjected to, and tested by the senses, and the Pope's to be believed, though in direct opposition to them. Admit the conclusion that the senses are not to be trusted, who then can be sure that miracles have ever existed, even in support of Christianity itself?
One favourite argument of the advocates of the supposed miracle of transubstantiation is, that God, being omnipotent, can do all things; nothing, they say, is impossible with God. This is not true, we speak it reverently, when we say it is impossible for God again to make that which he has already made, for that would be a perfect contradiction; again, we say it is impossible for God to give his son Jesus Christ for the world, as he has already given him; it is impossible for Christ again to be born of the Virgin Mary, as when she, according to the prophecies, gave birth to our Lord in the stable of Bethlehem; even so it is impossible, that Romish priests have the power, by the performance of the ceremonies of the mass, to cause a perfect God and Christ to enter their wafer, and to be eaten by them, and their deluded followers, on all sacramental occasions; and equally impossible, is the horrid supposition that they have power in the breaking of the wafer into ten, it may be twenty or a hundred pieces, to cause the existence of as many Christs, body, soul, blood, and divinity, as there are pieces, and yet the Romish priests have solemnly sworn to believe, and preach this awful delusion. *
* This marvellous multiplication of the divine and human nature of Christ is by the priests enforced upon their hearers, not by any rational arguments, but by the usual and oft repeated anathema. They also attempt to establish it by the following illustration They say:—In a large looking-glass you have a perfect representation of your person, cut or break that glass into ten or twenty pieces, every single piece gives you also a correct likeness of yourself, and thus with their deluded thousands they settle the matter The lecturer, when in a Papist chapel, had to listen to this puerile and absurd simile.
* The priests themselves are taught to pay more respect to human writings than to God's Word; this is illustrated by the following anecdote. More than a quarter of a century ago, conversing in the court-yard of the College of Maynooth, where many of the Irish priests are prepared for the ministry, with a young student, the Lecturer asked him among other questions, "That if I were deeply sensible of my lost state as a sinner, and were to come to you with this question—'What shall I do to be saved? what answer would you, as a Catholic priest give me?" His reply was, "O, sir, that is an important question, and would require a Doctor of Divinity properly to answer, and I have been in Maynooth only eighteen months." "But, sir," said the Lecturer, "do you not know that in the New Testament, in the very next verse to the question is the answer?" "No," he replied. "What, do you not read the Scriptures then?" "No," said he, "Not till we have gone through a course of study of the Fathers, and the various commentaries approved of by our Church."
Let us hear what the advocates of this strange doctrine have to say in its behalf. Their principal argument is founded on a literal application of the words of Christ, "This is my body, which is given for you." "Does not our Saviour," they exclaim, "positively say, 'this is my body,' and of the wine, 'this is my blood,' and it certainly must be so, whatever our senses or our reason may suggest to the contrary." But the question is, whether these words, in their most obvious sense, declare anything in favour of transubstantiation. Papists say they do, we say they do not, and independently of our preceding reasons against the truth of their views, we join issue with them. If we take the words used by our Lord literally, they do not support transubstantiation. Christ, it is said, took bread, and calling it his body, he gave it to his Apostles, who all eat of it, but they did not touch their Lord and Master, who remained whole and entire; he said also that his body was given for them, when as yet it was not offered on the cross. The chalice which he commanded them all to drink of, he styles the New Testament in his blood, which shall be shed for you for the remission of sins: mark, it was not yet shed, not yet given, but it would be poured out, his body would soon be broken; the wine he also called the fruit of the vine, even after he had given it to the Apostles. St. Paul says, in his account of the establishment of the Eucharist, "as often as ye eat this bread and drink this chalice, you shall show the Lord's death, until he come." Let our Roman brethren mark well, Paul does not say, as often as ye eat this body and drink this blood, but, "as often as ye eat this bread," (and he calls it bread four times in his short account,) "and drink this chalice," (which Romanists call blood; although he calls it "chalice" five times,) "you do show forth the Lord's death till he come." Our brethren who advocate nothing but a literal meaning to the words, must here take bread, and not the body, for one element; the chalice or cup, and not blood, for the other.
Few will have the hardihood to say, that if there be no transubstantiation of the elements into the body and divinity of Christ, Papists who worship the wafer are not idolaters.
"Dr. Milner, however, in his "End of Religious Controversy," tries to roll away this crime of idolatry from the Popish Church. He states that they believe, after consecration, "there is no bread nor wine, but Christ alone, true God as well as man present in it," and as such they worship it. In reply to this doughty champion of Romanism, we observe that the belief of a man does not constitute that to be truth, which he believes to be so. The followers of Johanna Southcot believed she was to be the mother of Shiloh; the page 12 Mormonited that Joseph Smith, the sailor, was a true prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is of God, as firmly as the Pope or the Romish priesthood, believe that the bread of the Eucharist is very Christ and very God; but their faith makes no difference in the one case or the other; faith in each and in every case, which has not the truth of God for its foundation, only shows the humiliating possibility of mankind (especially on religious subjects) being often induced to believe a lie.
Another argument he lays great stress upon is, he supposes a case. If, in presenting an address to the sovereign, he make a mistake, and present it to a courtier, or to an effigy dressed in royal robes and placed on the throne, would he be guilty of treason? he replies, Certainly not; the inference he then deduces from these premises is, that if, after all, there is no change of the elements, and the host is not a god, but simply bread, the Catholics are not idolaters any more than the party in the supposed case is a traitor. In reply, did Dr. Milner forget the second commandment, "Thou shalt not adore anything thou hast made." It may be possible for a man to mistake a courtier for a king, an effigy on a throne for his sovereign; but to mistake a wafer in the hands of a priest for our Lord Jesus Christ's body, soul, and divinity, and to bow down before, and adore it as a god, is a far different matter, and is something so unreasonable, so unscriptural, and blasphemous, that if it were not demonstrated to be the fact by the universal practice of the priests, and the people of the Roman Church, no sensible man could believe so wondrous a thing. And what is their authority for their conduct in this matter? They say the words of Christ, "This is my body." Supposing, for the sake of argument, it was as the priests affirm, that the bread became his body, where is the proof that, he delegated the changing power to the priests of Rome? and if Christ, as they say, changed the bread into his material body, where is their evidence that he changed it at the same time into a god? Where, we ask, is their authority that they, as instruments, have power to transubstantiate a piece of wheaten bread into the Almighty? It is all supposition, mere imagination, and despicable priestcraft. They tell us they do not worship the elements on the altar, for they cease to be material; they worship God who is present. Away with such subterfuge. The worshipper of Buddhu tells us the same, that he does not worship the household idol. He has bought it of the artist; he knows it to be wood, or stone, or silver; but he worships Buddhu, whom the idol represents, and who he believes is present. The cases are one and the same. If the Buddhist is an idolator, so is the Papist, that gives by the direction of the Council of Trent, and his priest, divine worship to the consecrated wafer. May God in his great mercy show the priests and people of the Romish faith their sin, their danger, and teach them to worship the Lord Jehovah page 13 alone, in spirit and truth, through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man, for such the Father seeks to worship him.
With the views of this ordinance, as expressed by the Trent Canons, this simple commemorative service of our holy religion, designed by the great Head of the Church to be a means of grace to all his followers to the end of time, is made a mass of absurdity, contradiction, and lamentable idolatry. Even, if it were as Papists say it is, real flesh and real blood, what is gained by the change? The Lord himself has told us "the flesh profiteth nothing; it is the Spirit alone can quicken, and without faith it is impossible to please God." But, taking the words in a figurative and Protestant sense, and regarding the Holy Sacrament as a feast in remembrance of Christ; a standing memorial of his love, which was stronger than death: the broken bread representing his broken body; the red wine poured out of the chalice representing his streaming blood, flowing from his hands, his feet and his side, a fountain of salvation, all is clear, reasonable and holy. O may we by faith contemplate the dying Lamb of God, who gave himself for us, and join with one of the sweet singers of our Israel, and pray,
The atonement of thy blood apply,
Till faith to sight improve,
Till hope in full fruition die,
And all my soul he love.
Passages in the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel are often quoted by Papists in favour of their views of transubstantiation. 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. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him." This passage, judging from the context, has no reference whatever to our Lord's Supper, having been spoken by Christ, it may have been years before that event; besides, it cannot be applicable to the Eucharist, as in that ease it would not be true; for if so, all not partaking of it never had life, and never shall have life in them; and, on the other hand, all who do communicate, ever abide in Christ, and he in them, and they can never be lost, or apostatize, for they have eternal life, and he will raise them up in the last day. The boldest advocates of the Romish views of this passage dare not say, that all, not having partaken of the Eucharist, have perished, and that all who have are eternally saved. It is astonishing how blinded by prejudice, must be the understanding of the Papist laity, who are often heard quoting this passage in support of transubstantiation, that they do not perceive in these words their own eternal condemnation; for to be saved, according to them, the parties must eat the flesh, and drink the blood; but the priests with the most page 14 daring presumption, have forbidden the wine to the laity. Teaching them that after consecration, the perfect Christ, body, soul, blood, and divinity, is in the bread alone. Obedience here to the priest, is sin against Christ himself, who has commanded his people, saying "Drink ye all of it." If the Laity prefer the domination of their priests to the authority of Christ, they must, abide the consequences of their flagrant disobedience. To their great master they must stand or fall. Is it not marvellous, that whilst the priests deny the wine to the laity, they invariably take it themselves.
As these words of St. John's Gospel are much used in this controversy, we must still further consider them. The Romish Church is anything but unanimous about their applicability to the Eucharist. "Even the Council of Trent itself," says the Jesuit Salmeron, who was present, "did not, after much disputation, decide what was the proper and most natural sense of the words of Christ in the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel, on account of the various interpretations of the holy fathers, and of the doctors, which were brought forward on both sides." Pope Innocent III. expresses himself in these words, "The Lord spake, in the sixth chapter of St. John, of spiritual manducation, saying, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you; in this way the righteous alone eat the body of Christ." Pope Pius II., arguing against the Bohemians, says, "The Lord makes known, in John vi. by these words, the secret mysteries of spiritual eating and drinking, and not carnal, saying, It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." Thomas Acquinas says upon the words, "Except ye eat my flesh ye have no life in you. If this refers to spiritual manducation, the sentence is free from all ambiguity, for he who is a partaker of the unity of the church, as it is effected by charity, does spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and Drink his blood." Ignatius, who, we are told, was a disciple of St. John, in his Epistle to the Trilesians, distinctly disclaims all recognition of transubstantiation. "Do you, therefore, resuming long-suffering, re-establish yourselves in faith, which is the flesh of the Lord, and in love, which is the blood of Jesus Christ." Many other passages of a similar import might be quoted, but time will not allow. Our Lord declared he would give his flesh for the life of the world. Me did so; for he was put to death in the flesh; his life-blood was shed for us; for without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins. We have life by his expiring groan. Faith in his atonement is absolutely necessary. Believing in our hearts that he hath loved us, and given himself for us, is the only eating and drinking of his flesh and blood that can save or profit a poor, lost, and dying sinner. O that every hearer of this lecture may, by faith, eat his flesh and drink his blood, and thus live by him, and in him: of such he says, "They shall live for ever." In regard to the words used by our page 15 Lord, "This is my body," we have already shown the folly and impropriety of taking them literally. We still further, to illustrate the absurdity, if not the absolute wickedness, of Papal interpretation and deductions as seen in their accredited writings, proceed to show you the awful degradation to which the Church of Rome conceives the body of Christ to be liable. We quote from the preliminary remarks to the Missile Romanum, entitled "Defectibus Missæ," a work which no Roman Catholic can dispute. It is to this effect—
"If the bread be not wheat, or if of wheat, it should be mixed with grain of another kind in so great a quantity that it does not remain wheaten bread, or if otherwise corrupted, the sacrament is not formed.
"If the host, when consecrated, should disappear—as by wind, or by a miracle, or be taken by some animal, and cannot be found, then let another be consecrated.
"If the wine have become altogether vinegar, or altogether putrid, or be made from sour or unripe grapes, or if so much water has been mixed with it that the wine is corrupted, the sacrament is not formed.
"If something poisonous have fallen into the chalice, or calculated to excite sickness of the stomach, the consecrated wine is to be placed in another cup, and other wine with the water is to be placed again for consecration.
"If, through carelessness, some of the blood of Christ have fallen; if indeed on the earth, or the boards, let it be licked up with the tongue, and let the place itself be scraped as much as is sufficient, and let what has been scraped off be burnt."
Who, on hearing these quotations, can be otherwise than astounded at the horrible idea, that the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Son of God, may be run away with by an animal,—say a mouse, or a dog; or blown away by the wind. Do not such dreadful sentiments aproach nearly to a crucifying afresh the Son of God, and putting him to an open shame. But another, and if possible, a worse and more awful passage, occurs in the Defectibus, it is as follows: "If the priest vomit forth the Eucharist, if the species appear entire, let them be reverently again taken, unless nausea arise, for in that case, let the consecrated species be carefully separated, and let them be replaced in some sacred place until they are corrupted, and afterwards let them be thrown into the Sacrarium. Rut, if the species do not appear, let the vomit be burned, and the ashes thrown into the Sacrarium."
These quotations are not given to cast ridicule or contempt upon our Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, but to show the folly, absurdity, and criminality into which we may fall, when we substitute for the Word of God the traditions of weak and fallible men.page 16
Having, we think, shown the folly and impropriety of taking our Lord's words in regard to this subject in a literal sense, we shall briefly vindicate their figurative application. All will agree there is nothing more common in every language than to give to the sign the name of the thing signified. We say of a picture, "that is Cardinal Wiseman; but nobody would be so foolish as to suppose that we mean the canvass, with its coloured oils upon it, is the real body, blood, and soul, of that individual. The Scriptures are full of this mode of speech; for instance, our Lord said the "cup is the New Testament in my blood;" how can a cup be a testament Again, Christ calls himself a door, a good shepherd, a Way, the truth, a vine, and his Father, a husbandman, his people branches; in Revelation, the morning star, the seven stars, are called angels, the seven churches, seven candlesticks, &c. Now these signs only represent certain existing qualities or attributes. St. Paul says, the rock smitten in the wilderness was Christ, that is, it represented Christ. He also says, in Eph. vi. 29, speaking of the union of the Church with Christ, "we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones;" surely, these words are not by our Roman Catholic brethren to be taken literally also. Isaiah says, "all flesh is grass can any one be so absurd as to imagine all mankind are nothing but the grass of the field? Upwards of seventy passages similar to the above may be found in the sacred volume, which Romanists are compelled to take in a figurative, and not in a literal sense. How will they be able to justify the adoption of a figurative meaning to all these passages, and yet reject all figure in the interpretation of our Lord's word "This is my body, this is my blood;" and insist here on a literal application alone Following this universal mode of speaking our Lord said, as every man would have said, in Eastern countries especially, intending to convey the same idea, This is my body, that is, it represents my body, and as you cannot, have me always, inasmuch as I go to the Father, and therefore, must leave you, I hereby institute this commemorative feast, that as oft as yon eat this bread, and drink this chalice in my absence, ye do show forth my death till I come again.
It cannot be denied that the advocates of transubstantiation do bring some passages from the early Fathers, which have the appearance of being favourable to a physical eating of the body of Christ in the Eucharist; but these quotations are either separated from the context, and are thus made to speak a sense never intended by the writers; or they, when rightly understood, or when illustrated by other passages from the same Fathers, convey only a spiritual meaning. Acting in this way with the Communion Service of the Church of England, the advocates of transubstantiation might find powerful arguments to prove that that Church holds the Popish views of the real bodily presence of our Lord. We quote the following from her page 17 Liturgy,—"Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son, Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us." And when the minister gives the elements, he says, "The body of our Lord Jesus Christ which was given for thee," and when presenting the cup he says "the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life;" but no one understanding the doctrines of this Church can believe for a moment that she holds as a fundamental doctrine the literal, and not the figurative meaning of the words in her Eucharistic service, though some of her semi-papistical sons try to prove that she does hold the former.
The novelty of this doctrine is also a powerful objection to it, as it was unknown in the Church as a dogma for the first eight centuries.
A brief sketch of the early history of transubstantiation is as follows—"Pascasius Radbert, a monk, afterwards abbot of Corbey, in Picardy, in the year 831, published a Treatise concerning the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, in which he did not hesitate to maintain, that after the consecration of the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper, nothing remained of those symbols but the outward form or figure, under which, the body and blood of Christ were really and locally present, and that it was the identical body which had been born of the Virgin Mary, bad suffered on the cross, and had been raised from the dead. This excited universal indignation and astonishment, and accordingly many writers exerted their talents against it. Amongst these was the celebrated John Scotus, who laid the axe to the root of the tree, and shaking off the literal interpretation, distinctly and powerfully stated, that the bread and wine used in the Eucharist were the signs or symbols of the absent body and blood of Christ. This subject continued to agitate men's minds for a considerable time; but the Western Churches during the ninth and tenth centuries fell in with the views of Radbert. In the eleventh century, it was strenuously opposed by several distinguished Christian writers, amongst whom Berrenger holds the most conspicuous place. He, however, had a number of opponents, who possessing the highest stations in the Church, saw that the views of transubstantiation exalted the priesthood and increased their wealth. Several Councils at last assembled, who condemned the views of Berrenger, and a Synod, held at Rome in 1058, under Pope Nicholas II., threatened to put him to death if he did not recant; he, not having sufficient courage to stand firm against their cruelty, recanted, and confessed he had been in error, and thus abandoned his principles. But the celebrated Council of Lateran, held in 1215, consisting of 412 bishops, and 800 abbots and priors, at the insti- page 18 gation of Innocent III. (one of the most arrogant and presumptuous of the pontiffs), did explicitly adopt the doctrine of transubstantiation in the monstrous form in which it is now held in the Popish Church, as an article of faith, and pronounced an anathema against all who would not assent to it. The Lateran decision was approved of at the Council of Constance, and finally confirmed at Trent. In the Greek Church it was long rejected, and not generally embraced until the 17th century." (See Rev. R. Watson's Theological Dictionary.)
In reflecting on this account of the origin of transubstantiation, we are reminded of the question often put by Romanists with an air of triumph to Protestants, "where was your religion before Luther?" The answer, at least on one occasion, was very just and apposite, "In the Bible, where your's never was." But we will, with these historical facts before us, ask the members of the Romish Church, where was their's before Pascasias Radbert, or rather before the Council of Lateran, in a.d. 1250, when transubstantiation was first adopted and enforced by anathema? We answer for them, and say, Not in existence: for without transubstantiation and purgatory, Popery would be all but a nonentity, its priests would be shorn of their power, they would become as other men, and would no longer dare to profess, to offer the body, and blood, and divinity of Jesus Christ as a sacrifice for the living and the dead; and thus the streams of wealth which for ages have been pouring into the coffers of the Church, for masses performed for souls said to be in purgatory, would be dried up for ever; and the priests would be compelled, as the preachers of another system, to declare, if not the true Gospel, at least one infinitely more like it, than that which they now proclaim.
This doctrine of transubstantiation, as defined and carried out by the Romish priesthood, has done much to exalt them in the presence of the people. It forms a fitting part of that supremacy claimed by these pretended successors of the Apostle over the souls and bodies of their fellow men—that which has been for ages the curse and ruin of millions that have been bowed beneath it. Let but a man believe that his priest possesses the power, if only as an instrument, to transubstantiate the wafer to a god, and he must, so believing, look upon him with a reverence bordering almost upon adoration itself; and this by the priests is evidently designed to be the case; for in the Catechism of the Council of Trent, on the Sacrament of Orders, they boldly declare, "Wherefore they (the priests) are not only justly called angels, but gods, because they possess among us, the strength and the power of the immortal God." Still further to exalt the power and increase the wealth of the priesthood, the Church of Rome teaches that the mass is a true propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the quick and the dead, and the Council of Trent declares "assuredly God is appeased by this oblation, and grants grace and the gifts of penitence, and discharges page 19 the greater mimes and iniquities. For it is one and the same sacrifice which was offered by Christ upon the Cross, only the mode of offering is different." This awful and fatal error is enforced upon priests and people by anathema. Thus boldly do the priests of Home exalt themselves, deny God's word, and dishonour the Lord that bought, them. Jesus, the sacrifice and the priest, when on the cross of Calvary bowed his head, and cried with a loud voice, "It is finished," and gave up the ghost; thus, by the one offering of himself he became the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. St. Paul tells us, That this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever sitteth on the right hand of God, and that Jesus needed not daily as the priest of Aaron to offer first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people, for this he did once in offering himself: nor yet that he should offer himself often, but now once in the end of ages, he hath appeared for the destruction of sin by the the sacrifice of himself. So Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many, (See Douay Bible—Hebrews.) God declares that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sins, but the priests of the Roman Church assert that their, unbloody sacrifice offered daily by them from thousands of altars, atones for the sins of the living and the dead; Oh, which is the world to believe? Let God be true, and every man that opposeth his truth a liar, and his word declares that any man adding to the prophecies of his book He will add unto him the plagues written in his book.
And to increase this respect and authority, they have, with a cunning and treachery almost superhuman, invented and propagated the doctrine of priestly intention as being necessary to the true performance of all the sacraments of the church. Thus the Council of Trent declares (in imitation of the Council of Florence, Sess. 7. Can. 2), "whosoever shall affirm that when ministers perform and confer a sacrament, it is not necessary that they should have at least the intention to do what the church does, let him be accursed." "Should any priest not intend to consecrate but to act deceitfully, he does not consecrate because intention is necessary" (Roman Missal). So that without the intention of the priest there is no real sacrament; this is to magnify the power of the priesthood over the laity—to make them tremble before, and fear to offend them, lest they occasion the withholding of the priestly intention, so that no blessing would follow the administration of any of the sacraments.
If this doctrine of intention be true, it is of awful import to the laity, for none of them can be sure that the priest intended to transubstantiate the wafer used in the Euehararistic service; he may have been a wicked man, a mere Judas in the ministry, having had no intention to cause a God and Christ to enter the wheaten bread; he may have been an infidel in heart and principle, and page 20 therefore could have had no purpose to do that which he abhors and laughs at. The intention of the priest may have been absent myriads of times in the services of the Romish sanctuary, when all the worshippers of the elevated host, if the Council of Trent be correct, must have been accursed idolators.
We now propose concluding this Lecture, with a few practical observations.
As every man is interested in this subject, Jesus Christ having tasted death for every man, and instituted the Eucharist, as a commemoration of His love to a fallen world; so it is the duty of all to obey Him, in partaking of this established feast of our holy religion, the eommand of Christ being imperative,—"Do this in remembrance of me," is equally binding on all, and any refusal on the ground of moral unfitness to obey him in this duty, is a tacit acknowledgment of an unfitness to die, and of the absence of that holiness without which no man can see the Lord. May these considerations lead many to seek by repentance towards God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, that gracious work of the Holy Spirit, which shall enable them to keep all our Lord's commandments; that they, in the great Day of Judgment, may hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
We would most solemnly entreat our Roman Catholic hearer, if there should be one before us, to ponder well in his heart the facts and arguments he has heard in this Lecture; and if he should feel any misgivings relative to the Popish doctrine of transnbstantiation; and as a man (in defiance of his priest), he exercise the rational powers God has given him, he doubt the evidence adduced for the support of this dogma, and begin to see that after all the wafer consecrated by the priest is not a god, is not Jesus the Son of the blessed Mary, let him go at once to God, fall down before him, and ask of Him, in the name of Christ, wisdom to direct him into all truth; God has said it shall be given him, and liberally too. Our Heavenly Father will not ubraid him for past ignorance and error. Let him reflect on the danger of offering divine worship again to the host, and turn from the act with abhorrence lest he be eternally condemned, as an idolator; lest adopting, and upholding another Gospel, than that preached by St. Paul, the dread anathema pronounced shall be his portion in time and for ever.
The subject of this Lecture demands the most serious attention of the wavering Protestant. To unite with Rome, he must abandon his Bible; he must cease to think and aet as a rational being: must give up his independence as a responsible being; and cast himself at the feet of a dominant priesthood, whose words and authority, however opposed to the revealed will of Jehovah, must be heard and obeyed. He must come to the Eucharist, not to obey the command of Christ, to eat bread and drink wine, in remembrance of His most page 21 holy passion; but if the church of his adoption is to be believed, to eat and drink literally of the flesh, blood, soul, and divinity of his crucified Lord; yea, and under the penalty of an anathema too; he must fall down and worship the wafer god of the great apostacy, he must embrace all the errors of the Romish Church (and they are Legion). May God save the semi-popish and wavering ministers, and people of the Establishment of this realm, from the folly and the wickedness of apostatizing from the truth, and amalgamating with accursed error.
Of the true Christian, whose iniquity is pardoned, whose heart is changed, we have no fear. It is impossible for him, believing in Christ as he does, ever to be otherwise affected by the errors of Rome, than with sorrow and abhorrence; whilst at the same time he feels love and pity in his heart for the devotee of priestcraft and delusion whom he would rescue from his thraldom, and would bring into the light and liberty of the glorious Gospel of the grace of God.
* We have a justifying reason for believing this of the Papacy, when we consider the awful oath taken by their dignitaries on their induction into office, and which oath, most likely was taken by Doctor Wiseman lately at Home, and is found in the Pontificate Romanian, "All heretics, schismatics, and rebels, against our Lord the Pope, and his successors, I will persecute and attack, to the utmost of my power."
The celebrated Cardinal Bellarmine teaches," If the heretics are stronger than we, and if there is danger in that, if we attack them in war, more of us may fall than of them, we are to keep quiet."
In Den's Theology, which is a text book at Maynooth College, he observes "Heretics (that is Protest ants) are infamous, necessarily and rightly they are aeprived of Christian burial. It belongs to ecclesiastical courts to take cognizance of heresy; having done so, heretics are then to be punished with other bodily punishment, such as exile, imprisonment, and death, all of which they deserve," Upon which follows the question, "Are heretics rightly punishable with death?" and the answer is, "Certainly; because coiners of false money, and other disturbers of the commonwealth, are justly punishable with death; and such men are heretics, who are coiners of a false faith, and as experience shows, are great disturbers of the commonwealth." These awful sentiments have never been repudiated by the Church of Koine, and are not only not renounced, but where she has the power, carried out in the punishment of heretics. But if we are to believe English Papists, their Church is in this country all that is amiable and lovely; they do not hold, they say, with the doctrine that heretics should be prosecuted. We would ask, Has the Pope and his Cardinals one system of Popery for Italy, and another for England? O, no doubt I but it is only while they think, that' if they were to go to war with us Protestants, more of them would be killed than of the heretic's. This sentiment was clearly illustrated some time since at this place [Clapham.] One of our respectable tradesmen was attacked by one connected with the monastery, about the errors of Protestant, in regard to the Eucharist, but getting the worst of the argument, he left the shop in great excitement, observing to the tradesman's wife, When we gain the ascendancy, won't we make your husband's bones crack!"
In conclusion, I cannot but rejoice in the noble display of Protestant feeling which of late years has been manifested. It seems that encouraged by the admiration and support given to the Church of Rome by the Tractarian ministers, and their followers in the Church of England, the Pope, Cardinals, and Priests are making most strenuous efforts to enforce upon our beloved country again the accursed doctrines, idolatrous practices, and enslaving principles of the great apostacy; I trust their efforts will be in vain and will ultimately lead to such a scriptural resistance that will result, in the emancipation of this realm from all the delusions of priestcraft, spiritual despotism, and destructive heresy. But in such a consummation so devoutly to be wished, we would not desire the infliction of legal pains and penalties; we would not for an instant wish to see the strong arm of the law grasping its zealous but mistaken Popish victims. No! we abhor persecution in Rome; do not let us, then, as Protestants practice it in England. Though we cannot look on penal enactments against religious opinions alone, in any other light than that of persecution, there can be no legitimate objection to a Protestant government adopting such measures as they may deem necessary, to prevent the political and temporal power of Popery ever again exercising its ruinous, and deadly influences in these lands.
If the soul-destroying doctrines of Popery are to be put down, it must be by the triumphs of mind, by the dissemination and power of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; that alone is mighty, through God, and that alone will ultimately prevail. Let every Christian gird himself for the war: let him seek more personal holiness, that he may have more power with God in prayer; for the weapons of our warfare must not be carnal but spiritual, if we intend to pull down the strongholds of Satan, to bring down imaginations, the high things that exalt themselves against God, and against his Christ.
Some will say, Can the State do nothing in this matter? Yes, it may do much. The most effectual blow the government of this country could deal out on Popery, in our opinion, would be to adopt immediate measures for a thorough purging of the ministry; and everything savouring of Popery remaining in the Established Church page 24 of this empire; that she may become a pure, a spiritual, a really Protestant church; that her mighty energies of wealth, of piety, and of talent, might be blessedly devoted to the instruction, and salvation of the millions brought within her influence.
Then let the ministers, and people of God, of every name among us, rouse themselves to the conflict, caring only for the salvation of souls, and the glory of God. Let them go forth against Popery, and against sin. Let but the piety and power of Protestantism, the Christianity of these lands, thus bear upon the soul destroying system of Popery, it will then vanish, and as the mists of the morning disappear before the bright beams of the noon-day sun; so will the night of Popery pass for ever away; and Babylon the Great shall be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all; whilst all the people, as it were with the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, shall be heard shouting the praises of God, saying, Alleluia! Alleluia! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Printed by R, Tilling, 20, Rochester Row (opposite the Church) Westminster.