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blood at the beginning of the second century', speaks of the Eucharist in a manner offensive to Romish ears, terming it “ the bread of God." Justin Martyrk says, that the Eucharistic elements nourish the bodies of men ; an assertion most unlikely to be made by one who believed those elements to be no other than the glorified body of Christ'. Irenæus“ also speaks of the corporal nutriment derived by men from the Eucharistic elements, and says, that these consist of two things, one earthly, the other heavenly". Tertulliano explains our Lord's words at the Last Supper by saying, that they mean, This is a figure of my body. Origen o declares that the bread and cup are signs and images of our Saviour's body and blood', hence disposed of eventually in the same manner as other aliments which enter the human stomach. Sentiments resembling these,
* He was torn in pieces by wild beasts in the amphitheatre at Rome, in the year 107, according to Archbishop Usher. Du Pin, II. 102. Abp. Wake's Apostolical Fathers, Lond. 1817.
Epistle to the Ephesians. Abp. Wake's translation, 222. * A. D. 144.
Tillotson, 209. Job. (Cosin.) Episc. Dunelm. Hist. Transubst. Papal. Lond. 1675. p. 59. A, D. 160.
Cosin, 60. Tillotson, 210. • A. D. 200.
+ Cosin, 62. 1 A. D. 220.
" Cosin, 63. • “ This testimony is so very plain in the cause, that Sextus Senensis suspects this place of Origen was depraved by the heretics. Cardinal Perron is contented to allow it to be Origen's, but rejects his testimony, because he was accused of heresy VOL. III.
utterly subversive of transubstantiation, occur in writers of note, throughout the first seven centuries', and among them no one is more remarkable than that of Gelasius ", because he is generally considered to have been Bishop of Rome. If such be the fact, this ancient Pope differed most widely in the leading article of their creed, from a long succession of those who have occupied his chair, for he asserts expressly, that in the Eucharist the substance, or nature of bread and wine remains. These numerous testimonies have been found by Romanists wholly unmanageable, and their writers of good information and ingenuousness have been driven to the necessity of admitting, that transubstantiation cannot be proved from the genuine remains of the fathers *.
by some of the fathers, and says, he talks like a heretic in this place." Tillotson, 213.
"As Cyprian, A. D. 250. Athanasius, 530. Cyril of Jerusalem, 350. Basil, 360. Gregory of Nyssa, 370. Ambrose, 380. Chrysostom, 390. Augustine, 400. Prosper, 430. Theodoret, 440, Cyril of Alexandria, 440. Gelasius, 470. Ephrem of Antioch, 540. Facundus, an African bishop, 550. Isidore of Seville, 630. In Bishop Cosin's work may be seen the passages in which these authors discover their disbelief, or more properly, their ignorance of transubstantiation, together with his own acute remarks upon these passages. Several of these an. cient testimonies against Romanism may be seen also in Archbishop Tillotson's discourse against transubstantiation, and in Bishop Stillingfleet's Rational Account.
u “Sive is erat Episcopus Romanus, sive alius quispiam, Cardinalis Bellarminus fatetur, ejusdem cum illo et ævi et sententiæ fuisse." Cosin, 80.
* " The English Jesuits confessed, that the fathers did not meddle with the doctrine of transubstantiation. Suarez confesseth, that the names used by the fathers are more accommodated to an accidental change. Father Barns acknowledgeth, that transubstantiation is not the faith of the Church, and that Scripture and fathers may be sufficiently expounded of a supernatural presence of the body of Christ without any change in the substance of the elements. For which he produces a large catalogue of fathers and others.” Bp. Stillingfleet's Rational Account of the Grounds of Protestant Religion. Lond. 1665. p. 556.
The origin of this doctrine must probably be sought in the practice, which gained ground so early as the second century', of carrying portions of the consecrated elements away from the church for the use of the sick at their own houses. If such a practice be allowed to prevail, it is obviously no more than decent, that the hallowed substances should be preserved with a considerable degree of respect. Christians did thus preserve them, and their conduct, though becoming under the circumstances of the case, led to superstition. An opinion at length was entertained, not only, that the Eucharist ought to be consecrated at church, but also that it was desirable to conse. crate it on the festival of Easter? It is obvious, that men, under the influence of such weaknesses, might be easily led in time to confound the mystical, with the substantial body of Christ. The idea of some such confusion was broached in
Allix on the Albigenses, 40. ?" Sacerdotes quidam Eucharistiam, quæ die Paschali consecrata fuit, per annum ægrotis reservant.” Homil. Sax. ap. Wheloc, in Bed. 332.
the fifth century, by the heretic Eutyches, but his hypothesis does not appear to have met with avowed patrons among the superior clergy, much before the year 787, when the second council of Nice, laid on a basis, tolerably secure, the foundations of Popery”. The council of Constantinople having alleged, as a reason for rejecting the use of images, that Christ left none of himself except the sacramental elements, which represent his body and blood ', it was now determined by the daring innovators of Nice, that the Constantinopolitan divines had in this, as in other instances, spoken incorrectly; the consecrated bread and wine not being types, but truly the Saviour's body and blood. This oracular decision, like that respecting images, appears to have failed of obtaining the acquiescence of Western Europe. The illustrious Charlemagne had already, in an epistle to Alcuin, expressed his belief, that the sacramental elements are figures of Christ's body and blood', and there is no reason to doubt, that in this respect, as in that of images, he continued through life at variance with the Roman Bishop. During his reign, indeed, the Eucharistic controversy has left no traces in the West. It is known that nearly all Italy, Gaul, and England believed
· Hist. Ref. under King Henry VIII. I. 19. b Usser. de Success. 19.
Tillotson, II. 222. 4 Cosin, 86.
• Matt. Westmonast. ap. Usser. de Success. 101. The monkish historian attributes this state of public opinion to Be
in the spiritual presence only, at the distance of more than two centuries from the death of Charlemagne; and while he swayed the sceptre the question seems not even to have been agitated among polemics.
renger ; but without insisting upon the improbability of supposing that a single individual could attain such extensive influence in an age little fitted for intellectual communication, it is certain, from the Saxon homilies, that Englishmen were no believers in transubstantiation long before Berenger was born. Allix may be consulted satisfactorily for the faith of the Italians and Gauls respecting this article.
i Bellarmine observes, “ that none of the ancients who wrote of heresies, hath put this error (viz, of denying transubstantiation) in his catalogue ; nor did any of these ancients dispute against this error for the first 600 years." (Tillotson, 222.) These facts, one might think, would be sufficient to stagger ordinary men in their belief of this doctrine. The early ages of the Church were sufficiently fruitful in disputes and refinements. If, therefore, transubstantiation were taught during the course of them, it is strange, that it should have been wholly overlooked by all the various restless spirits which from time to time agitated the Christian world. Men who maintain, that, notwithstanding this extraordinary silence, the corporal presence really was universally believed in primitive times, may fairly be required to answer interrogatories similar to those which Lucretius addressed to such as held the eternity of the world.
“ Præterea, si nulla fuit genitalis origo
Terrarum et cæli, semperque æterna fuere ;
DE RER. NAT. v. 325.
If a tenet so utterly repugnant to human reason, as is transubstantiation, were professed by the early Christians, how comes it