Article xxviii.—"Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine, in the Supper of the Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions."
What is here opposed as "Transubstantiation," is the shocking doctrine that "the body of CHRIST," as the Article goes on to express it, is not "given, taken, and eaten, after an heavenly and spiritual manner, but is carnally pressed with the teeth;" that It is a body or substance of a certain extension and bulk in space, and a certain figure and due disposition of parts, whereas we hold that the only substance such, is the bread which we see.
This is plain from Article xxix., which quotes St. Augustine as speaking of the wicked as "carnally and visibly pressing with their teeth the sacrament of the body and blood of CHRIST," not the real substance, a statement which even the Breviary introduces into the service for Corpus Christi day.
This is plain also from the words of the Homily:—"Saith Cyprian, 'When we do these things, we need not whet our teeth, but with sincere faith we break and divide that holy bread. It is well known that the meat we seek in this supper is spiritual food, the nourishment of the soul, a heavenly refection, and not earthly; an invisible meat, and not a bodily: a ghostly substance, and not carnal.'"
An extract may be quoted to the same effect from Bishop Taylor. Speaking of what has been believed in the Church of Rome, he says,—
"They that deny the spiritual sense, and affirm the natural, are to remember that CHRIST reproved all senses of these words that were not spiritual. And by the way let me observe, that the expressions of some chief men among the Romanists are so rude and crass, that it will be impossible to excuse them from the understanding the words in the sense of the men of Capernaum; for, as they understood CHRIST to mean His 'true flesh natural and proper,' so do they: as they thought CHRIST intended they should tear Him with their teeth and suck His blood, for which they were offended; so do these men not only think so, but say so, and are not offended. So said Alanus, 'Assertissime loquimur, corpus Christi vere a nobis contrectari, manducari, circumgestari, dentibus teri [ground by the teeth], sensibiliter sacrificari [sensibly sacrificed], non minus quam ante consecrationem panis,' [not less than the bread before consecration] ... I thought that the Romanists had been glad to separate their own opinion from the carnal conceit of the men of Capernaum and the offended disciples ... but I find that Bellarmine owns it, even in them, in their rude circumstances, for he affirms that 'CHRIST corrected them not for supposing so, but reproved them for not believing it to be so.' And indeed himself says as much: 'The body of CHRIST is truly and properly manducated or chewed with the bread in the Eucharist;' and to take off the foulness of the expression, by avoiding a worse, he is pleased to speak nonsense: 'A thing may be manducated or chewed, though it be not attrite or broken.' … But Bellarmine adds, that if you will not allow him to say so, then he grants it in plain terms, that CHRIST'S body is chewed, is attrite, or broken with the teeth, and that not tropically, but properly … How? under the species of bread, and invisibly."—Taylor, Real Presence, iii. 5; also Dedic. x. 8, xi. 18.
Take again the statement of Ussher:—
"Paschasius Radbertus, who was one of the first setters forward of this doctrine in the West, spendeth a large chapter upon this point, wherein he telleth us, that CHRIST in the sacrament did show himself 'oftentimes in a visible shape, either in the form of a lamb, or in the colour of flesh and blood; so that while the host was a breaking or an offering, a lamb in the priest's hands, and blood in the chalice should be seen as it were flowing from the sacrifice, that what lay hid in a mystery might to them that yet doubted be made manifest in a miracle.'" —Ussher's Answer to a Jesuit, pp. 62-64. Johnson's Miracles, pp. 27, 28.
The same doctrine was imposed by Nicholas the Second on Berengarius, as the confession of the latter shows, which runs thus:—
"I, Berengarius ... anathematize every heresy, and more particularly that of which I have hitherto been accused ... I agree with the Roman Church ... that the bread and wine which are placed on the altar are, after consecration, not only a sacrament, but even the true body and blood of our LORD JESUS CHRIST; and that these are sensibly, and not merely sacramentally, but in truth, handled and broken by the hands of the priest, and ground by the teeth of the faithful." —Bowden's Life of Gregory VII., vol. ii. p. 243.
Another illustration of the sort of doctrine opposed in the Article, may be given from Bellarmine, whose controversial statements have already been introduced in the course of the above extracts. He thus opposes the doctrine of introsusception, which the spiritual view of the Real Presence naturally suggests:—
He observes that there are "two particular opinions, false and erroneous, excogitated in the schools: that of Durandus, who thought it probable that the substance of the body of CHRIST in the Eucharist was without magnitude; and that of certain ancients, which Occam seems afterwards to have followed, that though it has magnitude, (which they think not really separable from substance,) yet every part is so penetrated by every other, that the body of CHRIST is without figure, without distinction and order of parts." With this he contrasts the doctrine which, he maintains, is that of the Church of Rome as well as the general doctrine of the schools, that "in the Eucharist whole CHRIST exists with magnitudeand all accidents, except that relation to a heavenly location which He has as He is in heaven, and those things which are concomitants on His existence in that location; and that the parts and members of CHRIST'S body do not penetrate each other, but are so distinguished and arranged one with another, as to have a figure and order suitable to a human body."—De Euchar. iii. 5.
We see then, that, by transubstantiation, our Article does not confine itself to any abstract theory, nor aim at any definition of the word substance, nor in rejecting it, rejects a word, nor in denying a "mutatio panis et vini," is denying every kind of change, but opposes itself to a certain plain and unambiguous statement, not of this or that Council, but one generally received or taught both in the schools and in the multitude, that the material elements are changed into an earthly, fleshly, and organized body, extended in size, distinct in its parts, which is there where the outward appearances of bread and wine are, and only does not meet the senses, nor even withdrawn from the senses always.
Objections against "substance," "nature," "change," "accidents," and the like, seem more or less questions of words, and inadequate expressions of the great offence which we find in the received Roman view of this sacred doctrine.
In this connexion it may be suitable to quote and observe upon the Explanation appended to the Communion Service, of our practice of kneeling at the LORD'S Supper, which requires explanation itself, more perhaps than any part of our formularies. It runs as follows:—
"Whereas it is ordained in this office for the Administration of the LORD'S Supper, that the communicants should receive the same kneeling: (which order is well meant, for a signification of our humble and grateful acknowledgment of the benefits of CHRIST therein given to all worthy receivers, and for the avoiding of such profanation and disorder in the holy communion, as might otherwise ensue;) yet, lest the same kneeling should by any persons, either out of ignorance and infirmity, or out of malice and obstinacy, be misconstrued and depraved,—It is hereby declared, that thereby no adoration is intended, or ought to be done, either unto the sacramental bread or wine there bodily received, or unto any corporal presence of CHRIST'S natural flesh and blood. For the sacramental bread and wine remain still in their very natural substances, and therefore may not be adored, (for that were idolatry, to be abhorred of all faithful Christians); and the natural body and blood of our SAVIOUR CHRIST are in heaven, and not here, it being against the truth of CHRIST'S natural body to be at one time in more places than one."
Now it may be admitted without difficulty,—1. That "no adoration ought to be done unto the sacramental bread and wine there bodily received." 2. Nor "unto any corporal (i.e. carnal) presence of CHRIST'S natural flesh and blood." 3. That "the sacramental bread and wine remain still in their very natural substances." 4. That to adore them "were idolatry to be abhorred of all faithful Christians;" and 5. That "the natural body and blood of our SAVIOUR CHRIST are in heaven."
But "to heaven" is added, "and not here." Now, though it be allowed that there is no "corporal presence," i.e. carnal, of "CHRIST'S natural flesh and blood" here, it is a further point to allow that "CHRIST'S natural body and blood" are "not here." And the question is, how can there be any presence at all of His Body and Blood, yet a presence such, as not to be here? That is, in other words, how can there be any presence, yet not local?
Yet that this is the meaning of the paragraph in question is plain, from what it goes on to say in proof of its position: "It being against the truth of CHRIST'S natural body to be at one time in more places than one." It is here asserted then, 1. Generally, "no natural body can be in more places than one;" therefore, 2. CHRIST'S natural body cannot be in the bread and wine, or there where the bread and wine are seen. In other words, there is no local presence in the Sacrament. Yet, that there is a presence is asserted in the Homilies, as quoted above, and the question is, as just stated, "How can there be a presence, yet not a local one?"