« PreviousContinue »
that it is bread and wine; but while it is being consecrated it is converted into the flesh and blood of Christ."* Rupert,† who speaks not only of transubstantiation, but also of the sacrifice made at the altar: “ In the bread and wine, is sacrificed the Son of God, in the truth of his flesh and blood.” I Anselm, who writes as follows: “Our senses tell us one thing, our faith another; for our sight persuades that it is only bread, but our faith that it is living and vivifying flesh; our taste, that it is bread by the flavour; our hearing, that it is bread by the sound when it is broken; but our faith tells us that it is the perfect Lamb, received by the faithful.”l. Again, TheophylactI tells us : “ The very body of the Lord is the bread which is sacrificed upon the altar, for Christ did not say, this is the figure of my body, but * This is my body ;' but since we are infirm, and shudder to eat raw flesh, especially the flesh of men, so it appears bread, but is flesh,** Lastly, Alger, tt who is equally, perhaps more decided than any of the former:
* On the Sacr. of Euch.
Ø ANSELM, pupil of Lanfranc, and his successor in the see of Canterbury, A.D. 1109. | In Heb. c. x.
THEOPHYLACT, archbishop of Acridia, A.D. 1077. * * In Cap. xxvi. Matt. It ALGER, monk of Cluny, A.D. 1135,
“ We must know, that although the water and wine is mixed at first mystically, yet, after consecration it is drunk as nothing else than blood.” And again : “ We adore the sacrament as a divine thing, and we address and speak to it as a rational thing, ‘Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us, because, it is not what it seems, but because we believe that Christ is there, as he really is.”* Can absurdity or blasphemy go beyond this ?
THE THIRTEENTH AND FOURTEENTH CENTURIES.
Little now remains before we arrive at the full climax of the papal perversion of our simple sacrament. We must remember that, in the great question of the real presence, though the church had very decidedly expressed her opinion, as we saw in the case of Berenger, and the confessions of faith to which he was compelled to subscribe ; still there was a great latitude allowed for private interpretation, as long as no public doctrine was maintained. church had not determined, by any positive decree, the sentiments that were to be embraced in relation to this important matter. It was reserved for Innocent the Third, in the Lateran Council, in the year 1215, to put an end to the liberty which every Christian had hitherto enjoyed, and to decide in favour of the most monstrous and absurd doctrine that the phrenzy of superstition was capable of inventing.”* This audacious pontiff pronounced the opinion, which is embraced this day in the church of Rome, to be the only true and orthodox account of the matter, and he had the honour of introducing the term transubstantiation, which was a term hitherto absolutely unknown. The words of the Council of Lateran, by which transubstantiation is decreed, run thus :-" There is one universal church of the faithful, out of which no one can be saved, in which the same Jesus Christ is both priest and sacrifice, whose body and blood in the sacrament of the altar is truly contained under the figures of bread and wine ; the bread being transubstantiated into the body, and the wine into the blood, by the divine power.”† The change of the bread and wine, under the hands of the priest, into the actual body and blood of Christ, thus became the fixed tenet of the Roman church; and this being the case,--the bread, or consecrated wafer, being God, it required but a few more steps
* On the Euch. lib. 1. c. 19,
to proceed to the worship of that God, and so accordingly the host* was elevated before the gaze of the people. It became an object of worship, and solemn processions were made through the streets, carrying the deified bread to the sick or dying. After this decree of the Council of Lateran, there seem to be very few attempts to call in question during the thirteenth century the doctrine of transubstantiation. There was indeed some little attempt on the part of John of Paris, towards the close of the thirteenth century, though it did not amount to any actual denial of Pope Innocent's decision. In his writings upon the Eucharist, he taught that the body of Christ was associated with the bread, but that the bread was not transubstantiated ; on account of which he was forbidden to preach, and condemned as an heretic. With this exception, there is hardly any person of repute who expressed an opinion on
* The meaning of the word host is victim, from hostia, a Latin word; and the use of the wafer, or host, instead of the common bread, arose, like the other errors of the church of Rome, from the superstition of the bodily presence of Christ. Hospinian says, " When they first began to make these little round pieces of bread, like the Roman denarius, little hosts, or mouthfuls, cannot certainly be known. Epiphanius, who lived about the time of the Nicene council, says, that the round pieces of bread were then in use ; others place it at the time of the Emperor Phocas, about the year 607 ; but it is certain that Gregory the Great is the first person who recorded it, about the year 590."-Hospinian, Hist. Sacr. lib. iv. c. 6.
the doctrines of the Eucharist. A tacit submission seems to pervade all ranks of men to believe any absurdity which the pope might dictate: and so things continued during the thirteenth, and during the fourteenth centuries. In the midst of the general darkness which pervaded the world, there broke out indeed from time to time certain faint lights, as harbingers of better things. The Waldenses, or Vaudois, a people dwelling in the valleys of Piedmont, were remarkable as a humble sect of Christians, independent of the authority of the pope, and worshipping God in purity and holiness. Among these and a few other scattered and despised flocks, the original simplicity of the gospel was still maintained, and the spark of true light kept alive, to kindle afterwards the bright and glorious flame of the reformation. In England, also, Wickliffe, the great originator of the reformation, began to set himself against the power of the Roman church, and to canvass her doctrines, and to preach to the people the pure word of God.
But these were solitary exceptions, single rays of light, in the midst of general darkness. Nothing as yet was able to withstand the universal dominion, both spiritual and temporal, which the church of Rome arrogated to herself. Kings and people, clergy and laity, all were equally slaves of the vicar of Christ-all were equally bound in one vast and connected chain of ignorance, superstition,