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but only his Grace accompanying this Sacrament: which may as well accompany it without any Change of the Bread and Wine, as it accompanies that of Baptism, without any Change of the Water.
We see then that Scripture by no Means favours Transubstantiation. It is indeed express against it. For St. Paul more than once tells us, that what we eat in the Sacramentis Bread, and as for what we drink, when our Saviour says, this is my Blood which is shed for you, if he had meant literally, he had spoke falsely : for his Blood was not shed till afterwards, and could not be drank then. Neither is it in a Condition of being shed at present, and therefore cannot be drank now. But too much hath been said of this monstrous Doctrine, to which the Indiscretion of well-meaning Writers gave the first Occasion pretty early, whilst they affected to heighten the figurative Expressions of Scripture, by still more figurative ones of their own; little thinking at the same Time, that such an absurd Meaning, as the Papists now plead for, could ever be ascribed to them ; and plainly showing, by innumerable Proofs, that it is unjustly ascribed to them. But as Ignorance and Superstition increased, about 800 Years after 74
Christ this amazing Notion began to be diftinctly, and explicitly entertained and asserted, which some had the good Sense to oppose ; some the Weakness to receive, as a Mystery that promoted the Reverence of the Sacrament ; others the Wickedness to support with Zeal, as an Artifice that increased the Authority of the Priest : for what could he not do, who, as they blasphemously express it, could make God? By Degrees then this Doctrine prevailed; till, in the 13th Century, it was established as an Article of Faith. And when once the speculative Error, of believing the consecrated Bread and Wine to be literally the Body and Blood of Christ, obtained, the practical one of worshipping them as such, quickly followed. For though a decent Respect was always paid to the Sacrament, yet a direct Adoration to the Elements was never paid, till the dark and superstitious Ages abovementioned introduced fo senseless an Idolatry, to the infinite Scandal of Religion. May God, who mercifully winked at the Times of Heathen Ignorance, overlook this less excufable Folly of Christians, and forgive them, for they know not what they do. But let us all remember, that our Case will be much worse than theirs, if, after the Light hath so clearly Ihone upon us, we return to Darkness again : if, as the Apostle expresses it, we change the Truth of God into a Lie, and worship the Creature instead of the Creator, who is blessed for evermore. Amen.
S E R M O N
I PET. V. 12.
-Exhorting and testifying that this is the true
Grace of God wherein ye stand.
AVING proposed from these Words, first, to show, what is the Rule of
Christian Faith and Practice; and, secondly, to examine by this Rule the chief Differences between the Church of Rome and ours : the former Head I have finished, and made some Progress in the latter. The Honour paid by them to Saints and Images, the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, and the Worship built upon it of the Sacramental Bread and Wine, have, been considered : and now I proceed to another Peculiarity of theirs, with Respect to the Sacrament, withholding the Cup from the Laity. That our Saviour administered the Holy Eucharist in both Kinds, they acknowledge : nay,