The Eucharist, Or Mass
There is among Protestant communities a strong leaven of Popery touching the Lord's Supper.
Dr. Ian R.K. Paisley
THE Eucharist, or the Mass, is a Romish Sacrament, and a perversion of what is known among Protestant as the Lord's Supper. The first step in the process is the work of Transubstantiation, which, having considered it at length in the previous chapter, we shall here pass by. Transubstantiation being completed, the priest lifting up his eyes to heaven, says, "Take, O holy Trinity, this oblation, which I, unworthy sinner, offer in honour of the blessed Virgin Mary, and of all the saints, for the salvation of the living, and for the rest and quiet of all the faithful that are dead." Then, setting down the chalice, he says, "Let this sacrifice be acceptable to Almighty God!" This awful language, which may well make the ears of the hearer to tingle, is at this moment used throughout the Romish Church in Great Britain, Ireland, and all over the world.
The Romish standard book of doctrine is prodigal of curses against all who deny that the elements are Transubstantiated into the flesh and blood, soul and divinity, of the Son of God, or that, so presented, it is "a true and perfect sacrifice offered to God." The Council of Trent is very ample in its decrees on this point, and most profuse in its anathemas on all gainsayers. The holy Synod teaches, that "the sacrifice is purely propitiatory, and that lay it the sins we commit, however enormous they be, are remitted." Let the intelligent reader mark this language! It is but a subdued specimen of the teachings of Popery on the point. From these he will see at a glance, that the one perfect sacrifice of Christ is completely set aside, and a deceitful mockery practised upon mankind.
The eye of the sinner is turned from Christ, the perfect sacrifice, which was once for all made for the sins of men, and taught to look to the delusive mummeries of the priest. This is one of the most hideous features of the system. The doctrine of Transubstantiation, as a means of nourishment to the soul, with the literal flesh and blood of Christ, is sufficiently revolting, apart from all sacrificial considerations, and that delusion is innocence itself compared with the thoughts which represent it as a "sacrifice for the living and for the dead."
To perfect the monstrous notion, and give it a sort of consistency, it is provided, and enforced by the most awful sanctions, that the bread and wine, after it has thus been changed into the body and blood of Christ, being his "soul and divinity," shall be worshipped! The following is a part of the dreadful decree of the Council of Trent on the subject:
"If any one shall say that Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is not to be adored, in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, with the highest visible worship, and that He is not to be worshipped with a holy and peculiar service, and to be carried about in holy processions, according to the laudable and universal custom of the Holy Church; or, that He is not to be publicly exhibited for the purpose of being adored; or, if any one should say, that those who do so adore Christ are idolators; let them be accursed.
"If any one shall deny that, in the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, there are contained, truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole Christ; or say that He is in it only as a sign, or figure, or by his influence; let him be accursed.
"If any one shall say that, in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wing remains together with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and shall deny the wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into his body, and the whole substance of wine into his blood, the appearances only of bread and wine remaining. which conversion the Catholic Church most properly terms, Transubstantiation; let him be accursed.
"If any one shall deny that in the adorable Sacrament of the Eucharist, a separation being made, the whole Christ is contained in each element or species, in the separate parts of each element or species; let him be accursed."
"Q. What is the faith of the Catholic Church concerning the Eucharist?
"A. That the bread and wine are changed by the consecration into the body and blood of Christ.
"Q. Is it then the belief of the Church that Jesus Christ Himself, true God, and true man, is truly, really, and substantially, present in the blessed Sacrament?
"A. It is, for where the body and blood of Christ are, there his soul also and his divinity must be-and, consequently, there must be whole Christ, God, and man; there's no taking him pieces.
"Q. Is that which they receive in this Sacrament, the same body as that which was born of the blessed Virgin, and which suffered for us upon the Cross?
"A. It is the same body, for Christ never had but one body: the only difference is, that then his body was mortal and passible; it is now immortal and impassible."
Such is the Popish Eucharist; and really it is impossible to conceive of any two subjects more unlike each other than that and the institution set forth in the Scriptures as the Lord's Supper. Than the one, nothing can be more simple and natural-more expressive, and adapted to the object it is intended to effect; than the other, nothing can be morn irrational, unscriptural, revolting, and absurd. When men are educated to the light use of their reason, their confidence in the Romish system will be shaken. As soon as they claim the right to possess the Scriptures, and take them for their `wide in matters of faith and doctrine, the whole Papal fabric will go to pieces. The combined power of reason, and of revelation will infallibly work its entire destruction. May the Lord hasten it in his time!
There is among Protestant communities a strong leaven of Popery touching the Lord's Supper. The ideas of multitudes are vague, dark, and unsatisfactory. There is much need for minute scriptural instruction in the matter; for, as it now stands, the Communion Service is to many people a source of fear and distress, rather than of hope and consolation. It were well to hold meetings, from time to time, of the members of Christian Churches for special instruction on this as well as on Baptism, and other points connected with Christian fellowship, which cannot be dealt with satisfactorily in addresses to promiscuous congregations. Tracts, essays, and catechisms are, in their way, good and useful, but there is nothing like the living, loving voice of the Christian pastor.