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Oncerning the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, one of the two great positive Institutions of the Christian Religion, there are two main Points of difference between Us
and the Church of Rome. One, about the Doctrine of Transubstantiation; in which they think, but are not certain, that they have the Scripture and the words of our Saviour on their side: The other, about the administration of this Sacrament to the People in both kinds ; in which we are sure that we have the Scripture and our Saviour's Institution on our side ; and that fo plainly, that our Adversaries themselves do not deny it.
Of the first of these I shall now treat, and endeavour to fhew against the Church of Rome, That in this Sacrament there is no substantial Change made of the Elements of Bread and Wine into the natural Body and
Bloud of Christ ; that Body which was born of the Virgin Mary, and suffered upon the Cross ; for so they explain that hard word Transubstantiation.
Before I engage in this Argument, I cannot but observe what an unreasonable task we are put upon, by the bold confidence of our Adversaries, to dispute a matter of Sense ; which is one of those things about which Aristotle hath long since pronounc'd there ought to be no dispute.
It might well seem strange if any man should write a Book, to prove that an Egg is not an Elephant, and that a Musket-Bullet is not a Pike : It is every whit as hard a case, to be put to maintain by a long Difcourse, that what we see and handle and taste to be Bread is Bread, and not the Bódy of a man ; and what we fee and taste to be Wine is Wine, and not Bloud : And if this evidence may not pass for fufficient without any farther proof, I do not see why any man, that hath confidence enough to do so, may not deny any thing to be what all the World sees it is, or affirm any thing to be what all the World sees it is not; and this without all possibility of being farther confuted. So that the business of Transubstantiation is not a controversie of Scripture against Scripture, or of Reason against Reason, but of downright Impudence against the plain meaning of Scripture, and all the Sense and Reason of Mankind.
It is a most Self-evident Falsehood; and there is no Doctrine or Proposition in the World that is of it self more evidently true, than Transubstantiation is evidently false : And yet if it were possible to be true, it would be the most ill-natur'd and pernicious truth in the World, because it would suffer 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 Society of Christians to be any part of it: So Transubstantiation, if it be true at all, it is all truth ; for it cannot be true unless our Senses and the Senses of all mankind be deceived about their proper objects ; and if this be true and certain, then nothing else can be so ; for if we be not certain of what we see, we can be certain of nothing.
And yet notwithstanding all this, there is a Company
of men in the World lo abandon'd and given up by God to the efficacy of delusion as in good earnest to believe this gross and palpable Errour, and to impose the belief of it upon the Christian World under no less penalties than of temporal death and Eternal damnation. And therefore to undeceive, if possible, these deluded Souls, it will be necessary to examine the pretended grounds of fo false a Doctrine, and to lay open the monstrous absurdity of it.
And in the handling of this Argument, I shall proceed in this plain method.
1. I shall consider the pretended grounds and reafons of the Church of Rome for this Doctrine.
II. I shall produce our Objections against it. And if I can shew that there is no tolerable ground for it, and that there are invincible Objections against it, then every man is not onely in reason excused from believing this Doctrine, but hath great cause to believe the contrary.
FIRST, I will consider the pretended grounds and reasons of the Church of Rome for this Doctrine. Which must be one or more of these five. Either ist. The Authority of Scripture. Or 2ly. The perpetual belief of this Doctrine in the Christian Church, as an evidence that they always understood and interpreted our Saviour's words, This is my body, in this sense. Or 3ly. The authority of the present Church to make and
declare new Articles of Faith. Or fly
. The absolute necessity of fuch a change as this in the Sacrament to the comfort and benefit of those who receive this Sacrament. Or sly. To magnify the power of the Priest in being able to work so great a Miracle. Ift
. They pretend for this Doctrine the Authority of Scripture in those words of our Saviour, This is my body. Now to shew the insufficiency of this pretence, I shall endeavour to make good these two things.
1. That there is no necessity of understanding those words of our Saviour in the sense of Transubstantiation.
2. That there is a great deal of reason to understand them otherwise.
First, That there is no necessity to understand those words of our Saviour in the sense of Transfubftantiation. If there be any, it must be from one of these two reafons. Either because there are no figurative expressions in Scripture, which I think no man ever yet Taid : or else, because a Sacrament admits of no figures; which would be very absurd for any man to lay, since it is . of the very nature of a Sacrament to represent and exhibite fome invisible grace and benefit by an outward fign and figure: And especially since it cannot be denied, but that in the institution of this very Sacrament our Saviour useth figurative expressions and several words which cannot be taken strictly and literally. When he gave the Cup he said, This Cup is the new Testament in my bloud, which is shed for you and
for many for the remision of Sins. Where first, the Cup is put for Wine contained in the Cup; or else if the words be literally taken, so as to signifie a substantial change, it is not of the Wine but of the Cup; and that, not into the blond of Christ but into the new Testament or new Covenant in his bloud. Besides, that his bloud is said