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You will expect to find something in this letter upon the important question of transubstantiation.
You inform us, that, “ of all the corruptions of “christianity, there was none which the popes so “ long hesitated to sanction as transubstantiation.” You mention “the flagrant absurdity of this doc“ trine;" and you say, that “ pope Gregory VII. “inclined to the opinion of Berenger, who opposed “ it." But there is not one of these assertions for which
cite any authority: I deny them all; and for the authorities, upon which I ground my denial, I refer you to " Doctor Milner's Letter on “ Transubstantiation,” among those addressed by him to the late doctor Sturges; to his letters on the same subject in his “ End of Controversy," and to his “ Powerful vindication of it." _“I do, in
my heart,"—the late dean Milner of Carlisle used to say,-"love a strong argument:" if you have the same liking, I recommend you to peruse the three works I have just mentioned : many a strong argument on the subject in question you will find in every one of them. If you will
the account of Berenger, in the Histoire Litéraire de la France, you will find your total misapprehension of the transactions between that celebrated man and pope Gregory VII. You will find that, as soon as Berenger's doctrine became known, it received that blow, which tradition always gives to religious novelty,
-the murmured reprobation of it by the pastors of the church of Christ. You will also find, that before it was condemned by Gregory VII, it had been successively condemned by pope Leo IX, Victor II, Nicholas II, and Alexander II, and proscribed by councils held at Rome, at Paris, at Vercelli, in 1050; at Florence, in 1054 ; at Rome, in 1058, 1076, 1078, and 1079; and finally, that after
many subterfuges, it was retracted by its author: that he lived ten years after his retractation, and never swerved from it. It is possible that, after perusing these lines, and consulting the authorities to which they refer, you should remain an unbeliever in the catholic doctrine of transubstantiation ; but I think it absolutely impossible, that, after perusing them, you should continue to think, that, when Gregory VII. ascended the pontifical throne, it was a novelty ; or that it is decent to treat it, or the believers of it, with contumely,
I shall resume the subject in my last letter : I shall there consider the statute of the 30th of Charles II. which renders it necessary for peers, before they take their seats in parliament, to take an oath against transubstantiation ; and thus, while it admits Jews, Mahometans, Deists and Atheists into parliament, excludes roman-catholic peers from their hereditary seats in that august assembly.
I shall attempt to show in it, that NO PROTESTANT who believes the doctrine of the real Christ in the eucharist, either in the mode of transubstantiation, consubstantiation, or impanation, or in any other imaginable mode, CAN CONSCIENTIOUSLY
presence of take "the oath against transubstantiation and the “ saints,” prescribed by the statute.
For the present, I shall only place before your eyes, the sentiments of a prelate upon whom the highest dignity in the church of England was conferred, whose memory is revered by all its sincere disciples, and in whose praise you have throughout many pages exerted all the powers of your great eloquence. Professing so solemnly and explicitly aś archbishop Laud has done, in these
his belief of the real presence of Christ in the eucharist, and admiring, and venerating, and praising the archbishop as you have done, can you, or any who think as you think, honourably swear the romancatholic doctrine of transubstantiation to be idolatrous ?
“ The altar," says archbishop Laud, “is the greatest place of God's residence on earth ; yea, greater than the pulpit. For there it is, Hoc est
corpus meum! In the pulpit it is at most, Hoc " est verbum meum. And a greater reverence is “ due to the body than to the word of the Lord, “ and to the throne where he is usually present, “ than to the seat where his word is preached."
“ All sides,” he says again t, “ agree in the faith “ of the church of England, that, in the most blessed “sacrament, the worthy receiver is by faith made
spiritually partaker of the true and real body of
Christ, truly and really. Romanists add a manner “ of his presence, which many deny ; lutherans
* Speech in the Star-chamber, p. 47.
“ another, which more deny; as for the church of
England, nothing is more plain than that she “ believes and teaches the true and real presence " of Christ in the sacrament, and the church of
England is protestant too.” – In another place, citing the words of Bellarmine,“ Conversionem
panis esse substantialem, sed arcanum et ineffa“ bilem.”—“ Had the learned cardinal,” says Laud, “ omitted the word conversionem, and confirmed
only Christ's real presence there after a myste
rious, and indeed ineffable manner, no man had “ spoken better."
1.—The Authority of the Pope. TOWARDS the end of your present chapter, you cite from some roman-catholic writers, and romancatholic documents, several expressions respecting the rank and power of the pope, and represent them equally astonishing and disgusting by their general folly or impiety. But you do not, in a single instance, mention the work or the document from which your citations are made. Supposing them all to be truly represented, still they do not affect the catholic cause ; as they are not the language of the catholic church, but expressions of individuals, for whom, whatever may be their rank or character, the roman-catholic church is not answerable.
A chain of roman-catholic writers on papal power might be supposed : On the first link, we might
place the roman-catholic writers, who have immoderately exalted the prerogative of the pope ; on the last, we might place those, who have unduly depressed it; the centre link might be considered to represent the canon of the 10th session of the council of Florence, which defined, that “ full
power was delegated to the bishop of Rome, in “ the person of St. Peter, to feed, regulate, and
govern the universal church, as expressed in the
general councils and holy canons.” THE DOCTRINE OF THE ROMAN-CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE AUTHORITY OF THE POPE, and beyond it no roman-catholic is required to believe. Some opinions, represented by the intermediate links on each side of the central link, are allowed. Those, on one side, may be supposed to represent Orsi, and the author of the learned treatise, intitled " Quis “est Petrus ?” who explain the doctrine, expressed in the council of Florence, in a manner very
favourable to the papal prerogative ; while the intermediate links, on the other side, represent Bossuet, de Marca, and other writers, who construe the canon in a more limited sense. The former have received the appellation of Transalpine divines ; the latter, are called Cisalpine. I will endeavour to present you with a short view of their different systems; first premising what the roman-catholic church considers to be of faith upon this important article of her creed.