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It is evidently inconsistent, moreover, with every idea, which it is natural and just for us to entertain of the wisdom and the goodness of God, to suppose, that he can have established a religion, and appointed a system of faith, which is not equally adapted to every class, and to every possible denomination of men. But would this be the case, if the Scriptures ALONE, and those Scriptures left to the judgment of each indivi. dual, were destined to be our only rule of Belief? How small is the number of men (and before the invaluable invention of printing, how much smaller still. was that number) who are possessed either of the time, or of the abilities, or of the means of studying the Scriptures, with that degree of attention, which is necessary to enable us to form a complete, and satisfactory judgment, on a subject, so important and so difficult. If men of talents, and men of critical judgment, have been led, by the reading of this sacred volume, into such a variety of opposite, and contradictory opinions, can it be supposed, that men, without any of the advantages of education and of leisure, which is the situation of the great bulk of mankind, can be able to discover all the truths of religion, with the certainty of divine faith, and nothing but those truths, which are necessary to conduct us to the proper knowledge of God? By the admission of an infallible church, and of the authority of tradition, every inconvenience, arising from these circumstances, is avoided: how it can, on the principles of a protestant, it remains for himself to explain.
Bath, Nov. 23, 1813.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Is the consecrated Wafer comerled into the glorified
Body of Christ, or into the Body of Christ before he was glorified?—Is the Body of Christ present
in every place, or only in many places? IN
N answer to the first of these questions, I have to observe, that in the holy Sacrament of the Altar, the Catholic is taught to believe, that he receives the Body and Blood of his Redeemer, in a true and real manner, indeed : But in a manner which is sacramental, and in that state in which it exists in the kingdom of his glory, and not in that state, which preceded the event of his resurrection from the grave.
In regard to the actual presence of Christ's Body and Blood, the Catholic is instructed to believe, that, in every place, in which his human nature exists, there in virtue of what is termed the hypostatical union, is also his divine nature: and it is on this principle, we believe that, under each of the sacramental species, the Divinity of Christ, and his Body and his Blood are in necessary existence together. But he is not taught to believe, that in every place, in which is his divine nature, there also his human nature is present. From these principles the conclusion, therefore, is natural and easy, that we believe the Body of Christ is present, not in every place, but in many.
Bath, Nov. 24, 1813.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Is the consecrated wafer, which, according to Papists,
is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, digested, like any other food, and does that happen to it, in every respect, which happens to other food? If so, how is that promise made good, THOU WILT NOT SUFFER THY HOLY ONE TO SEE CORRUPTION? If rats, mice, or other vermin should eat a consecrated wafer, would they eat the Body, the Blood, the Soul, and the Divinity of Jesus Christ?
AD these extraordinary questions been proposed by Mr. * * * * * * *
or by any other man, ou any subject of a nature less mysterious and less important, than the subject in question, their effect must have been to 'excite a smile, even on the countenance of gravity itself. If arguments of this description can be supposed competent to prevail against a doctrine, which even the Father of the Protestant Reformation himself acknow. ledges to be surrounded with the strongest of proofs, and which, if words have
any determinate meaning, appears to be the doctrine also of the Anglican Church, then may similar weapons be employed,