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The Doctrine of Transubstantiation is against Sense. 1. That which is one of the firmest pillars, upon which all human notices, and upon which all Christian religion does rely, cannot be shaken; or if it be, all science and all religion must be in danger". Now, besides that all our notices of things proceed from sense, and our understanding receives his proper objects, by the mediation of material and sensible fantasms, and the soul, in all her operations during this life, is served by the ministries of the body, and the body works upon the soul only by sense; besides this, St. John hath placed the whole religion of a Christian upon the certainty and evidence of sense, as upon one unmoveable foundation 6: “ That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have beheld, and our hands have handled of the word of life. And the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and bear witness and declare unto you eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us, which we have seen and heard, we declare unto you.” Tertullian, in his book “ De Anima," uses this very argument against the Marcionites: “ Recita Johannis testationem;
1 Τούτου ζητείν λόγον, αφέντας την αίσθησιν άρρωστία έστι διανοίας.-Arist. lib. viii. Phys. tom. 22.
Επί των τοϊς οφθαλμούς φαινομένων κρείττων εφάνη του λόγου της αιτίας ή πείρα.S. Basil. ep. 43.
1 St. John, i. 1, 2, 3. VOL, X.
• quod vidimus (inquit) quod audivimus, oculis nostris vidimus, et manus nostræ contrectaverunt, de sermone vitæ :' Falsa utique testatio, si oculorum, et aurium, et manuum sensus natura mentitur:” “ His testimony was false, if eyes, and ears, and hands be deceived.” In nature there is not a greater argument than to have heard, and seen, and handled.
Sed quia profundâ non licet luctarier
Simplex sine arte sensuum sententia c. And by what means can an assent be naturally produced, but by those instruments by which God conveys all notices to us, that is, by seeing and hearing? Faith comes by hearing, and evidence comes by seeing; and if a man, in his wits, and in his health, can be deceived in these things, how can we come to believe?
Corpus enim per se communis dedicat esse
For if a man or an angel declares God's will to may not trust our hearing, we cannot trust hin : for we know not whether, indeed, he says what we think he says; and if God confirms the proposition by a miracle, an ocular demonstration, we are never the nearer to the believing him, because our eyes are not to be trusted. But if feeling also may be abused, when a man is, in all other capacities, perfectly healthy, then he must be governed by chance, and walk in the dark, and live upon shadows, and converse with fantasms and illusions, as it happens; and then at last it will come to be doubted, whether there be any such man as himself, and whether he be awake when he is awake, or not rather, then only awake when he himself and all the world thinks him to have been asleep: “ Oculatæ sunt nostræ manus, credunt quod vident."
2. Now then, to apply this to the present question, in the words of St. Austin, “ Quod ergo vidistis, panis est et calix, quod vobis etiam oculi vestri renunciant:" "That which our
e Supplic. Romani Martyr. Prudent.
d Lucret. lib, i. 423. Wakefield.
eyes have seen, that which our hands have handled, is bread; we feel it, taste it, see it to be bread, and we hear it called bread, that very substance, which is called the body of our Lord. Shall we now say, ou
eyes are deceived, our ears hear a false sound, our taste is abused, our hands are mistaken? It is answered, Nay; our senses are not mistaken : “For our senses, in health and due circumstances, cannot be abused in their proper object; but they may be deceived about that, which is under the object of their senses; they are not deceived in colour, and shape, and taste, and magnitude, which are the proper objects of our senses; but they may be deceived in substances which are covered by these accidents; and so it is not the outward sense so much as the inward sense that is abused. For so Abraham, when he saw an angel in the shape of a human body, was not deceived in the shape of a man, for there was such a shape; but yet it was not a man, and, therefore, if he thought it was, he was abused f;" this is their answer: and if this will not serve the turn, nothing will: this, therefore, must be examined.
3. Now this, instead of taking away the insuperable difficulty, does much increase it, and confesses the things, which it ought to have avoided. For, 1. The accidents, proper to a substance, are for the manifestation, a notice of the substance, not of themselves; for as the man feels, but the means by which he feels, is the sensitive faculty, so that which is felt, is the substance, and the means by which it is felt, is the accidents: as the shape, the colour, the bigness, the motion of a man, are manifestative and declarative of a human substance: and if they represent a wrong substance, then the sense is deceived by a false sign of a true substance, or a true sign of a false substance: as if an alchymist should show me brass coloured like gold, and made ponderous, and so adulterated, that it would endure the touchstone for a long while, the deception is, because there is a pretence of improper accidents; true accidents indeed, but not belonging to that substance. But, 2. It is true that is pretended, that it is not so much the outward sense that is abused as the inward ; that is, not so much the eye as the man; not the
e In Serm. apud Bed. in 1 Cor. x. Sed hæc verba citantur ab Algero, lib. i. de Sacram. c. 5. ex Serin. de verbis Domini.
Bellarm. lib. i. Euch. c. 14. Sect. Jam ad Petruin Martyrem.
sight, but the judgment: and this is it we complain of. For indeed, in proper speaking, the eye or the hand is not capable of being deceived; but the man, by the eye, or by the ear, or by his hand. The eye sees a colour, or a figure, and the inward sense apprehends it to be the figure of such a substance, and the understanding judges it to be the thing which is properly represented by the accident: it is so, or it is not so: if it be, there is no deception; if it be not so, then there is a cozenage, there is no lie till it comes to a proposition, either explicit or implicit; a lie is not in the senses ; but when a man, by the ministry of the senses, is led into the apprehension of a wrong object, or the belief of a false proposition, then he is made to believe a lie: and this is our case, when accidents, proper to one substance, are made the cover of another, to which they are not naturally communicable. And in the case of the holy sacrament, the matter, if it were as is pretended, were intolerable. For in the cases, wherein a man is commonly deceived, it is his own fault by passing judgment too soon; and if he should judge glass to be crystal, because it looks like it; this is not any deception in the senses, nor any injury to the man; because he ought to consider more things than the colour, to make his judgment whether it be glass, or crystal, or diamond, or ice; the hardness, the weight, and other things, are to be ingredients in the sentence. And if any two things had all the same accidents, then, although the senses were not deceived, yet the man would, certainly and inculpably, mistake. If therefore, in the eucharist, as is pretended, all the accidents of bread remain, then all men must necessarily be deceived; if only one or two did remain, one sense would help the other, and all together would rightly inform the understanding. But when all the accidents remain, they cannot but represent that substance, to which those accidents are proper; and then the holy sacrament would be a constant, irresistible deception of all the world, in that in which all men’s notices are most evident and most relied upon,- I mean their senses. And then the question will not be, whether our senses can be deceived or no? but whether or no it can stand with the justice and goodness of God, to be angry with us for believing our senses, since himself hath so ordered it, that we cannot avoid being deceived ? there being, in this case, as much
reason to believe a lie as to believe a truth,-if things were so as they pretend. The result of which is this : That as no one sense can be deceived about his proper object, but that a man may about the substance lying under those accidents, which are the object proper to that sense, because he gives sentence according to that representment otherwise than he ought, and he ought to have considered other accidents proper to other senses, in making the judgment; as the birds that took the picture of grapes for very grapes, and he that took the picture of a curtain for a very curtain, and desired the painter to draw it aside; they made judgment of the grapes and the curtain only by colour and figure, but ought to have considered the weight, the taste, the touch, and the smell : so on the other side, if all the senses concur, then not only is it true, that the senses cannot be deceived about that object, which is their own, but neither ought the man to be deceived about that substance, which lies under those accidents; because their ministry is all that natural instrument of conveying notice to a man's understanding, which God hath appointed. 4. Just upon this account it is, that St. John's argument had been just nothing in behalf of the whole religion: for that God was incarnate, that Jesus Christ did such miracles, that he was crucified, that he arose again, and ascended into heaven, that he preached these sermons, that he gave such commandments, he was made to believe by sounds, by shapes, by figures, by motions, by likenesses, and appearances, of all the proper accidents : and his senses could not be deceived about the accidents, which were the proper objects of the senses; but if they might be deceived about the substance under these accidents, of what truth or substance could he be ascertained by their ministry? for he indeed saw the shape of a human body; but it might so be, that not the body of a man, but an angelical substance, might lie under it; and so the article of the assumption of human nature is made uncertain. And upon the same account, so are: all the other articles of our faith, which relied upon the verity of his body and nature: all which, if they are not sufficiently signified by their proper accidents, could not be ever the more believed for being seen with the eyes, and heard with the ears, and handled with our hands; but if they were sufficiently declared by their proper accidents, then the