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Oncerning the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, one of the two great pofitive Inftitutions 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 fide: The other, about the administration of this Sacrament to the People in both kinds; in which we are fure that we have the Scripture and our Saviour's Inftitution on our fide; and that fo plainly, that our Adversaries themselves do not deny it.
Of the first of these I fhall now treat, and endeavour to fhew against the Church of Rome, That in this Sacrament there is no fubftantial change made of the Elements of Bread and Wine into the natural Body and
Bloud of Chrift; that Body which was born of the Virgin Mary, and fuffered upon the Crofs; for so they explain that hard word Tranfubftantiation.
Before I engage in this Argument, I cannot but observe what an unreasonable task we are put upon, by the bold confidence of our Adverfaries, to dispute a matter of Sense; which is one of those things about which Ariftotle hath long fince pronounc'd there ought to be no difpute.
It might well feem ftrange 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 cafe, to be put to maintain by a long Dif course, that what we fee and handle and tafte to be Bread is Bread, and not the Body of a man; and what we fee and tafte to be Wine is Wine, and not Bloud: And if this evidence may not pafs for fufficient without any farther proof, I do not fee why any man, that hath confidence enough to do fo, may not deny any thing to be what all the World fees it is, or affirm any thing to be what all the World fees it is not; and this without all poffibility of being farther confuted. So that the business of Tranfubftantiation is not a controverfie 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 moft Self-evident Falfehood; and there is no Doctrine or Propofition in the World that is of it felf more evidently true, than Tranfubftantiation is evidently falfe: And yet if it were poffible to be true, it would be the most ill-natur'd and pernicious truth in the World, because it would fuffer 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 Chriftians to be any part of it: So Tranfubftantiation, if it be true at all, it is all truth for it cannot be true unless our Senfes and the Senfes of all mankind be deceived about their proper objects; and if this be true and certain, then nothing else can be fo; for if we be not certain of what we fee, we can be certain of nothing.
And yet notwithstanding all this, there is a Company of men in the World fo abandon'd and given up by God to the efficacy of delufion as in good earnest to believe this grofs and palpable Errour, and to impofe the belief of it upon the Chriftian World under no less penalties than of temporal death and Eternal damnation. And therefore to undeceive, if poffible, these deluded Souls, it will be neceffary to examine the pretended grounds of fo falfe a Doctrine, and to lay open the monstrous abfurdity of it.
And in the handling of this Argument, I shall proceed in this plain method.
I. I fhall confider the pretended grounds and reafons of the Church of Rome for this Doctrine.
II. I fhall produce our Objections against it. And if I can fhew that there is no tolerable ground for it, and that there are invincible Objections against it, then every man is not onely in reafon excufed from believing this Doctrine, but hath great cause to believe the contrary.
FIRST, I will confider 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 21y. The perpetual belief of this Doctrine in the Chriftian Church, as an evidence that they always understood and interpreted our Saviour's words, This is my body, in this fenfe. Or 3ly. The authority of the prefent Church to make and
declare new Articles of Faith. Or 4ly. The abfolute neceffity of fuch a change as this in the Sacrament to the comfort and benefit of those who receive this Sacrament. Or 5ly. To magnify the power of the Priest in being able to work fo 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 fhew the infufficiency of this pretence, I fhall endeavour to make good thefe two things.
1. That there is no neceffity of understanding those words of our Saviour in the sense of Transubstan
2. That there is a great deal of reason to underftand them otherwise.
First, That there is no neceffity to understand those words of our Saviour in the fenfe of Tranfubftantiation. If there be any, it must be from one of these two reafons. Either because there are no figurative expreffions in Scripture, which I think no man ever yet faid: or elfe, becaufe a Sacrament admits of no figures; which would be very abfurd for any man to fay, fince it is of the very nature of a Sacrament to represent and exhibite fome invifible grace and benefit by an outward fign and figure: And efpecially fince it cannot be denied, but that in the inftitution of this very Sacrament our Saviour useth figurative expreffions and feveral words which cannot be taken ftrictly and literally. When he gave the Cup he faid, This Cup is the new Teftament in my bloud, which is fhed for you and for many for the remiffion of Sins. Where firft, the Cup is put for Wine contained in the Cup; or else if the words be literally taken, fo as to fignifie a fubftantial change, it is not of the Wine but of the Cup; and that, not into the bloud of Chrift but into the new Teftament or new Covenant in his bloud. Befides, that his bloud is faid