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of the mystical, but of the physical body of Christ, is by far more forcible than any that can be employed in favour of the conversion of the whole substance of the bread and wine into the body and blood of the Son of God.*

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# And, therefore, on Romish principles, every communicant must swallow the whole Church of Christ! !

SILENCE OF ANTIQUITY.

273

LETTER XV.

My Dear Friend, CARDINAL BELLARMINE argues that because no opposition was made to Transubstantiation during the first six centuries of the Christian era, it must have been received by the church from the beginning. But any man acquainted with the history of the church, would draw from this important fact a conclusion diametrically opposite. What! Transubstantiation remain six hundred years in the church without being opposed! The thing is impossible. Is there a single doctrine of the Gospel that was not assaulted fiercely by heretics and heathens ? And think you that this dogma is so rational, so agreeable to common sense, that no body—no malicious heretic or persecuting heathen-would have ventured to expose the God-creating and God-eating practices of the sect every where spoken against ? Is it credible that Arius and his followers, who flourished in the fourth century, would have made no mention of a tenet so obnoxious to the shafts of ridicule ?

We are, however, able to tell when the doctrine obtained a footing in the church. We learn

from Justin Martyr, Origen, and Tertullian, that during the first three hundred years the Lord's Supper was administered, with some slight variations, in different churches, in the following manner :-First, the Word of God was read. Then the congregation sang the praises of God. After which followed a general prayer, consisting of petitions for divine mercy, and thanks. giving offered over the bread and wine, and other things offered by the faithful as first fruits unto God, of which they partook in commemoration of the dying love of Jesus. At the conclusion of the prayer, all the people said, Amen. None but communicants were present on these occasions, and they assembled generally at supper-time. The bread was broken and the wine poured out by the minister, and handed round by the deacons to the people, who received it sometimes standing and sometimes sitting. Thus it was for the first three hundred years--the time of the church's purity and glory.*

We are tauntingly asked, where was our religion before Luther ? Our reply is, that its

sion of the promunicants were presenerally

at

* See Lord King's Inquiry into the Constitution, &c., of the Primitive Churches, where the authorities are quoted at length. And Mosheim, De rebus Christian. ante Constantinum.

THE EARLIEST ADVOCATE.

doctrines were always in the Word of God, to which we confidently appeal, and that they were professed by the church of Christ, wherever it prevailed, during the best ages of its history. Well may we retort the question, and ask, where was the present system of the Church of Rome during 1200 years of the Christian era ? We challange all your learned men to produce the word Transubstantiation in any book written before the year 1215, when Innocent IIl. invented the name and established the doctrine in the 4th Lateran council! Thus you perceive it is a novelty, “ both name and thing."

PASCASIUS, who flourished more than eight hundred years after Christ, was the first author that .wrote a formal defence of this doctrine. The idea, indeed, had been started before, incidentally, in the controversy about the worship of images. The Synod of Constantinople had argued that there was no image of Christ allowed by Scripture but the elements in the Eucharist, to which the second Council of Nice, assembled in 787, replied, that the sacrament was not the image of Christ's body, but the body itself. The monk Pascasius Radbertus, published his defence, already mentioned, in the year 818. Even Bellarmine admits that she was the first, who, in an express and copious manner, wrote

on the truth of the Lord's body and blood.” What! one of the principal doctrines , of the Bible-a doctrine of which the faithful were reminded weekly by the elements of the Eucharist -was never taken up and formally expounded for eight hundred years, until, after the long lapse of ages, a monk in his cell bethought him of the praiseworthy undertaking! None of the “ Fathers,” prolific as were their pens, numerous and ponderous as were the tomes they left behind, ever wrote a single tract upon this most wonderful of all the mysteries of the Christian system! And, notwithstanding, this unaccount, able silence, the doctrine of Transubstantiation has been firmly believed by the Church of Christ in all ages! You may believe this if you please ; but if you do, you will “ believe it because it is impossible !"

The arguments of Pascasius were soon refuted by the learned and accomplished RABANUS Maurus, archbishop of Mentz, who was accounted the glory of Germany. “ Some, of late,” said he,“ not having a right opinion concerning the body of Christ, which was born, suffered, and rose from the dead, have asserted that it is received in the Eucharist; which error we have opposed with all our might!".

He stood not alone in his opposition to the

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