1. The mediaeval doctrine of Transubstantiation is truly the very heart of the sacramental system in general and of Romanism in particular. This theory holds that at the words of consecration by a priest, bread and wine (while preserving their 'accidents' or appearances as such) become changed into the body and blood and indeed the entire divinity and humanity of the Saviour — so that all who then consume such (whether believers or not) have thereby physically consumed Christ Himself.
2. Some of the stranger attempts of Rome to defend this view (first doctrinally determined at the Fourth Lateran Council of A.D. 1215f), include appeals to Exodus 7:9-12 and various Johannine pronouncements that Christ has come "in the flesh." In the first passage, however — where God predicts the staff of Moses would turn into a serpent — Rome forgets that, after it occurred, this staff had lost its 'accidents' and really looked like a serpent – and that it gobbled up the de-staffed serpents of the sorcerers. But after consecration, the Romish Mass still looks like bread and wine!
3. Too, pronouncements in First John 4:2-4 and Second John 7-9 do not teach that the antichrists are all who deny the doctrine of Transubstantiation. They teach that all who deny the permanent incarnatedness of Christ, are antichrists. Indeed, from the Protestant perspective it is certainly arguable that precisely Romanism does this – inasmuch as its daily Masses involve constant reincarnations of Christ under the 'accidents' of bread and wine, thus denying His once-and-for-all incarnatedness from the flesh of the virgin Mary.
4. On this latter point, hear the denunciations of the great Pre-Reformer John Wycliffe! Especially the pseudo-miracle of Transubstantiation, held Wycliffe, represents a false view of the Eucharist. For the dogma of the transmutation of the elements is idolatry, and a lying fable. Indeed, Transubstantiation is the greatest of all heresies — and subversive of logic, grammar, and all natural science. It is in fact a shocking error; more shocking ("horribilis") than any other.
5. Furthermore, adds Wycliffe, even the Romish "heretics" cannot state "at what instant Transubstantiation…really [or rather supposedly] takes place. Thus, then, is this…doctrine annihilated — a doctrine contemptible and dangerous…. We are thus shut up…to go along with the senses and the judgment of mankind and admit that it is [not flesh but only] bread. Mice, and other creatures, are aware of this fact…. They have the power of 'discerning' what is good for them to eat" — the leftover-bread after communion services. Such mice are not cannibals, but bread-eaters!
6. "This heresy [of Transubstantiation] would overturn the evidence…. The 'Sacrament' which does that — must be a 'Sacrament' of Antichrist…. What idolatry could be more odious? … It is heresy for to believe that this Sacrament is God's body — and not bread."
7. Wycliffe concludes: "The substance of material bread and wine doth remain in the Sacrament of the altar after consecration." Also insects often denied Transubstantiation. For even "maggots have bred in the host" alias the left-over bread-wafers after the Romish Mass. Thus, such maggots are less gullible than pseudomiraculously-deceived Papists!
8. Rome, however, appeals for her doctrine chiefly to John chapter 6 and Matthew chapter 26 and First Corinthians chapter11. It is to a consideration of such passages that we must therefore turn.
9. There is no reference whatsoever to the Lord's Supper in John chapter six, which relates to events long before the institution of the Eucharist. For that passage reads: "The Passover, a Feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up His eyes and saw a great Company come to Him, he says to Philip, 'Where shall we buy bread, so that these may eat?'…. One of His Disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, says to Him, 'There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fishes; but what are they among so many?' But Jesus said, 'Make the men sit down!'…in number about five thousand. Then Jesus took the loaves. And when He had given thanks, he distributed to the Disciples, and the Disciples to them that had sat down; and likewise of the fishes, as much as they wanted. When they were filled, He said to His Disciples,' Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing be lost!' Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above what they had eaten." John 6:4-15-17. Very clearly, there is no Transubstantiation here!
10. "The day following…, boats came from Tiberias near to the place where they had eaten bread after the Lord had given thanks…. Jesus…said: 'Truly…, you are seeking Me…because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for that which perishes, but [work rather] for that food which endures to everlasting life…. I am the Bread of Life…. I am the Living Bread which came down from Heaven. If any man eats of this Bread, he shall live for ever. And the Bread that I will give, is My flesh which I will give for the life of the world…. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life.'" John 6:22,23,26-27,51,53.
11. Here, there is no question: of the Lord's Supper; of 'Child Communion'; of 'Infant Communion'; of Transubstantiation; or even of Passover manducation. Nor is there any question of Jesus manducatorily feeding anyone at all on that day – but simply referring back to His feeding people physically and non-sacramentally on the previous day. Then, He had fed many thousands of people — but only because they were physically hungry.
12. They had then constituted about five thousand adult men — in addition to womenfolk and children — at the time when probably all approximately 20000 of them were on their way to Jerusalem (cf. Luke 2:42). The 'Number' (or Minyan) of the men alone was counted — because these people were all journeying to the Temple where the adult men alone would soon partake of the Feast of the Passover consisting of bloodless meat and real wine. John 6:4,10, cf. Matthew 14:21.
13. In feeding the hungry crowds, Jesus did not then give them wine (and still less turn such wine into His blood). Nor did Jesus then turn bread into His flesh. Here, He simply multiplied the amount of bread and fishes available — and gave that same food to the hungry people. The next day, Jesus did not equate Himself with the bread He had the previous day broken for the people. To the contrary, that next day He contrasted Himself to that bread. John 6:26-27.
14. Nor did Jesus say He would either then or later change bread into human flesh, for people to cannibalize on by eating it physically. Instead, He immediately announced that He was right then — and always had been and always would be — the unchanging Bread of Life. Christ, that heavenly Bread, is needed by every human being without exception — including even unborn tiny human beings still incapable of physical manducation through their mouths (whether simply to receive physical nourishment or to attempt to partake of the Eucharist).
15. The passage John 6:27f thus refers only to the salvational need all people have of the unchanging (and therefore untransubstantiatable) Christ Himself. The passage has no reference whatsoever to the then-still-future Lord's Supper. Neither does it refer to the previous day's multiplication of ordinary bread for the hungry (6:11f). Nor does it describe the following Passover Feast for adult males only, which was then just about to be held in Jerusalem (6:4,10).
16. Now together with Holy Scripture, one should assert the real presence of Christ, personally, at His Sacraments and in His Word and through His Spirit. Exactly that assertion of the omnipresence of the Son of God there, should impels one to deny His physical presence in and under the sacramental elements, or even in the Bible as His Holy Word. Christ Himself insists against any view of a merely 'local presence' (either in Jerusalem or in Samaria): "God is Spirit; and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth." John 4:20-26. Note: "must"!!!
17. Long before the incarnation of God the Son, He was indeed really present at the Old Testament preachings of His Word and at the administration of His Sacraments of Circumcision and of the Passover. Moreover, such presence must have been Spirit-ual and could not have been fleshly or physical. For the Son had then not yet become flesh.
18. John chapter six has nothing to do with the Lord's Supper, which was instituted only later at the very end of Christ's earthly ministry. The Romish Church and other groups which appeal to that passage to try to establish that Christ is physically present in the bread and the wine at His Supper — or rather that the bread and wine cease to be such and instead become transubstantiated into the very flesh and blood of Jesus Christ and His full humanity and Divinity (albeit still preserving the 'accidents' of bread and wine) — err very greatly in this matter.
19. For John 6:9-13 is not sacramental. Nor is it an account of Jesus transubstantiating bread and fishes into Himself, but rather a description of His miraculous multiplication of five loaves and two small fishes into many more untransubstantiated loaves and fishes sufficient to give physical food to about five thousand mature men and perhaps also their womenfolk and their children. John 6:10 cf. Matthew 14:14-21 & Mark 6:36-44 & Luke 9:14-17.
20. From John 6:26 onward, Jesus said to the folk: "Truly I tell you, you seek Me…because you ate of the loaves and were filled." Then, in 6:32, Jesus implied that He Himself is the bread from Heaven. He did not anabaptistically bring His flesh with Him from Heaven — but only His Own Person, and indeed in a Spirit-ual way. He took upon Himself flesh for the first time not in or from Heaven, but only from and within the womb of Mary as His earthly mother. And that latter is the very same flesh: to which the Lord's Supper points; which was torn on the cross; and which now remains in Heaven until the very end of world history. Acts 3:21; Second Corinthians 5:16; First John 4:3.
21. In John 6:33, Jesus says the Bread of Heaven is not His earthly flesh but He Himself Who [very personally and now also incarnately] came down from Heaven to give life to the world. When in 6:34, the believers said to Him 'Lord, give us this Bread evermore!' — Jesus did not pick up a piece of earthly bread and turn it into Himself. Instead, in 6:35, He said to them not 'My flesh' but "I am the Bread of Life" [and not 'I become' or 'I am about to become' or 'I have just become' but "I am the Bread of Life" [and not 'I will become the Bread of Life']. He also added that "he who comes to Me [and not 'he who comes to a piece of earthly bread that I have just turned into Myself or will soon turn into Myself'] shall never be hungry." Yet the latter physical hunger is indeed experienced, between Masses, by those that from time to time come to and receive the Roman Catholic Mass.
22. After the words "he that believes in Me has Everlasting Life" in John 6:47, in John 6:48f Jesus added: "I am that Bread of Life." He did not say: 'Earthly bread will become Me.' To the contrary. It is about Himself that He then said: "This is the Bread that comes down from Heaven" [not 'that earthly bread will become Me just whenever an earthly priest so alleges'].
23. Jesus then continued: "If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever" [not 'even if any man eats the Mass while here on Earth, he might nevertheless still end up in Hell']. "And the Bread that I will give [not 'the bread which an earthly priest may give'], is My flesh which I will give for the life of the world."
24. In John 6:52-58, "the [unbelieving] Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?'" What a carnal, cannibalistic, materialistic, proto-romanistic and 'localized presence' misunderstanding those unbelievers had about what Jesus was then saying!
25. In 6:53, "Jesus said to them,'Very truly I tell you, unless you keep on eating the flesh of the Son of man and keep on drinking His blood [not 'unless you from time to time keep coming to Mass'] — you have no life in yourselves. Whoever keeps on eating My flesh and keeps on drinking My blood, has Everlasting Life.'"
26. That cannot truthfully be asserted of all who are merely regular communicants. "For My [then and there untransubstantiated] flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who keeps on eating My flesh and keeps on drinking My blood [rather than keeps on having the dark-red wine withheld from him by a creaturely earthly priest], keeps on dwelling in Me [not physically but spiritually], and I in him [not physically but spiritually]."
27. Jesus then insisted: "'He who keeps on feeding on Me [and not 'he who from time to time consumes transubstantiated bread and wine'], even he shall keep on living by Me [not 'by the Mass']. This ['Me'] is that Bread which came down from Heaven [and not 'you must physically eat My flesh which came forth from Mary!']…. He who keeps on eating of this Bread [namely the Christ from Heaven], shall continue living for ever [and not 'might end up in Heaven after a reasonable term in Purgatory, yet could possibly still be able to end up in Hell for ever']!"
28. In John 6:61f, when even His Disciples kept on murmuring about this, Jesus said to them [altogether Proto-Calvinistically and totally untransubstantiatingly]: "It is the Spirit Who keeps on enlivening! The flesh profits not at all! The words which I have spoken (or keep speaking) to you, they are Spirit and they are life! But there are some of you who do not believe" [such as Judas Iscariot whom Rome would have us believe nevertheless physically ate the very flesh of Christ]! Compare John 6:64-71.
29. It was only later, in Matthew 26:26-29, that the Lord instituted His Supper — before Calvary, and hence before He actually shed His blood through His then-to-be-torn flesh. This too proves the falsity of Transubstantiation. For while "they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed it and broke it [the bread and not His flesh] and gave it to the Disciples, and said, 'Take, eat; this is [not this has become or is about to become] My body!'
30. "And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'All of you drink from it! For this is [not this becomes] My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink henceforth from this fruit of the vine [not from this blood of Mine] until that day when I drink it [wine not blood] new with you in My Father's Kingdom."
31. In His uncrucified hand, Jesus was then holding not His torn flesh but simple bread. And His precious blood was then still unshed in His Own body. It had not then, still before Calvary, magically oozed out into the cup full of wine on the communion table.
32. Literalistic Transubstantiation would imply Judas was a cannibalistic infidel who here physically ate the flesh and physically drank the blood of Jesus Who had as then not yet even died. But in that case, Christ would right then (against His Own Word in Leviticus 26:29f &Deuteronomy 28:53f) have had to have given a piece of His flesh and have had to have siphoned off some of His blood — for Judas's faithless consumption thereof
33. Needless to say, Luke 24 nowhere describes the Lord's Supper. Sacramentalists wrongly imagine, when Christ broke bread at Emmaus toward evening and gave it to Cleopas and his friend on Easter Sunday (in Luke 24:30f) — that this was a recelebration of the Lord's Supper just instituted a few days previously. Yet, as in the Lord's Prayer ('Give us today our daily bread!'), there is here no mention of either blood or wine. This Easter Sunday action was merely at a normal evening meal — accompanied by the Lord's Own personal blessing. If it had been the Sacrament of the Eucharist, and specifically if Transubstantiation were to have been involved, it would have meant that Christ would then have re-broken His Own resurrection body — and, contrary to First Corinthians 15:50, then have had flesh and blood to give both to Himself and to others to drink. But such was not the case.
34. Thus the great Protestant Reformer and Bible Expositor John Calvin has observed in his Harmony of the Gospels at Luke 24 that some Roman Catholics and Romanizers have there quite wrongly "thought that Christ gave the bread not as an ordinary meal but as the sacred symbol of His body — and…that the Lord was at length recognized in the spiritual mirror of the Lord's Supper…. But this conjecture rests on no probable grounds…. I choose rather to view the words of Luke as meaning that Christ, in taking the bread, gave thanks — according to His custom…. He employed His peculiar and ordinary form of prayer, to which He knew that the Disciples had been habitually accustomed…. Let us learn by the example of our Master, whenever we eat bread, to offer thanksgiving to the Author of life." Even at Luke 24:35, inasmuch as blood and wine are again unmentioned, there is no reference at all to the Eucharist (thus Rev. Professor Dr. Thomas Cartwright and Rev. Dr. Daniel Whitby).
35. Moreover, just a few hours after that meal at Emmaus, yet still on that same Easter Sunday — "the same day at evening" but several miles away in Jerusalem, Jesus acted similarly. There, He asked His disciples: "Do you have any food here?" Then "they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb…. He took it, and ate in front of them." John 20:1 & 20:19 cf. Luke 24:41-43. Even the most inveterate Romanist cannot get any eucharistic mileage from those statements!
36. The next [post-Calvary] mention of the Eucharist, is in Acts 2:42f. There it says that, while Jesus was now in Heaven till the very end of world history, His earthly Disciples continued "in breaking of bread" [but not in breaking Christ's body which was then in heaven].
37. So too in Acts 20:7, we are told that "the Disciples came together to break bread." We are not told that that those earthly Disciples came together to eat Christ's flesh which was then in heaven.
38. In First Corinthians 10:1-4 we are told that the Old Testament spiritual fathers of the New Testament Church, as fathers, "all ate the same spiritual meat and did all drink the same spiritual drink" which "was Christ" — and not that they all ate His flesh and drank His blood which, in their day, did not then yet even exist! And "these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they too lusted." First Corinthians 10:6.
39. "The cup of blessing which we bless — is it not the communion with the blood of Christ?" Yes, it is communion with His blood, and not Christ's blood itself! Further: "The bread [not the human flesh] which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" First Corinthians 10:16. Yes. But is is not Christ's flesh itself! "For we, being many, are one bread [not ‘one flesh’]…. For we are all partakers of that one bread" — but not 'of that one flesh.' First Corinthians 10:17.
40. Paul declares: "I have received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread [and not ‘human flesh’]. And when He had given thanks, He brake it [the bread], and said, 'Take, eat! This is [not ‘this has become’] My body'…. Therefore, whosoever shall eatthis bread [not ‘this human flesh’]…unworthily, shall be guilty of the body…of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eatof that bread" — not 'eat of that human flesh'] etc. First Corinthians 11: 23-28.
41. While insisting on Christ's Spirit's presence during preaching (First Corinthians 2:1-4 cf. Galatians 3:1) and at water baptism (Acts 1:5 cf. First Corinthians 12:13), one should deny (even with the Romish Church) that Jesus is physically present in or under the baptismal water. Similarly, while insisting on His Holy Spirit's presence at His Supper, one should deny that Jesus is physically present in or under the sacramental bread and wine. Indeed, one should particularly deny that either the water or the wine become transubstantiated into His physical blood. Thus, the Calvinistic view stressing the untransubstantiated materiality of the element of water in Baptism is consistent with its view stressing the untransubstantiated materiality of the elements of bread and wine in the Lord's Supper — while what Rome believes about the untransubstantiated materiality of the water-element in Baptism, is inconsistent with her stressing the alleged transubstantiated materiality of the bread-and-wine-elements in the Supper as regards her other major Sacrament.
42. It is obvious when Christ instituted the Supper and metaphorically or non-physically yet really called the bread His flesh — that His Own flesh had not yet been broken. He was, even after His consecration of the elements, in fact Himself still physically holding in His hand that which the Holy Bible still called bread.and wine. Matthew 26:26-29 & Mark 14:22-25 & cf. First Corinthians 10:17f &11:23-28.
43. In Hebrews 9:24 to10:18, we are told that after His crucifixion, the resurrected and ascended "Christ entered…into Heaven itself…. Not so that He should offer Himself often, like the high priest [of the Mosaic economy] entering into the holy place year by year…. Otherwise, He [Christ] would often have suffered — since the foundation of the world. But now, once [and for all] — at the end of the ages [of the Older Testament] — He has been manifested, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself…. For the [priests of the Mosaic] Law, having a shadow of the good things [then yet] to come…, can never with the same sacrifices which they year by year offer continually, make perfect those who draw nigh. Otherwise, they would not have ceased to be offered [after Calvary] — because the worshippers would have been cleansed once [and for all]…. Every [Mosaic] priest indeed stands day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices which can never take away sins. But He [Jesus Christ], when He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever [past tense, pointing to a completed sacrifice], sat down at the right hand of God…till He has finished making His enemies the footstool of His feet. And by one offering, He has perfected [past tense] for ever, them whom are sanctified…. He says, 'And I will remember their iniquities no more!' Now where there is remission of these things, there is no more an offering for sin." A clearer repudiation of the Romish notion that her Mass is a continuing sacrifice, would be hard to imagine!
44. One should heartily agree that the Ante-Nicene Fathers with their high view of Holy Scripture taught the real presence of our Saviour at His Table. For they believed what Holy Scripture here teaches. The Ante-Nicenes, holding with Holy Scripture to Christ's Spirit-ual presence, therefore denied His physical presence in the bread and the wine. Indeed, even no Post-Nicene Church Father advocated Transubstantiation — until Radbertus in 831, and more particularly Lanfranc in 1049 A.D. Nor was this false theory ever Eastern-Orthodox theory — nor even official Romish theory until it became so in 1215 A.D.
45. After the completion of the New Testament Scriptures, Clement of Rome (who was later regarded by the Romish Church as her fourth pope), wrote around A.D. 99 to his "dear brethren" alias to his fellow Christians, in his Letter to the Corinthians (chs. 1 & 40), that "it behooves us to do all things in order, which the Lord has commanded us at stated times. He has enjoined gifts and services to be performed…at the appointed times and hours." Cf. First Corinthians 16:1f. There is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor even of the Lord's Supper; and still less of Transubstantiation.
46. Perhaps around A.D. 100, one reads in The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (ch. 14): "On the Lord's [Day], gather yourself together and break bread [but not 'Physically eat the flesh of Christ'], and give thanks!… For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: 'In every place and time, present to Me a pure offering!' [Malachi 1:11]. Again, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; and still less of Transubstantiation.
47. Around A.D. 107, Ignatius wrote in his Letter to the Philadelphians (ch. 4): "Take heed then to have but one Eucharist! For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to [show forth] the unity of His blood.' The later and longer (Pseudo-)Ignatian version adds: "One loaf also is broken to all." Once again, there is here no mention of John 6:32-63; and still less of Transubstantiation.
48. In his Epistle to the Trallians (ch. 8), Ignatius declares: "Be renewed in faith; that is the flesh of the Lord — and in love; that is the blood of Jesus Christ." Here is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor of Transubstantiation; and still less of any withholding of the cup from the laity.
49. Ignatius pointed out in his Epistle To Smyrna (6:2 to 7:1) that heretics "have no regard for love; no care for the widow or the orphan or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty [cf. Acts 6:1f & First Corinthians 11:21f]. They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not profess the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ Who suffered for our sins." Here, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor of Transubstantiation. Interestingly, in the Longer Version, there is no mention whatsoever even of the Lord's Supper.
50. Not in the Ignatian but in the later Pseudo-Ignatian 'longer version' of an Epistle to the Ephesians (ch. 5), one reads: "If anyone be not within the altar, he is deprived of the bread of God." But even then, there is no mention of John 6:32-63 and still less of Transubstantiation. Indeed, none of the extant writings of the Apostolic Fathers — those authorities who knew the Apostles personally — even once quote from John chapter six to prove anything at all.
51. In the A.D. 165 Justin Martyr's First Apology (ch. 65), Justin says that "bread and a cup of water and wine are brought to the presiding brother. He receives them and presents praise and glory to the Father of all things through the Name of His Son and of the Holy Ghost,… And when he [the one presiding] has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people express their assent. And when the one presiding has given thanks and all the people have assented, they whom we call deacons give to each of those who are present a portion [not of any transubstantiated flesh or blood but a portion] of the bread and wine mixed with water."
52. Justin adds in ch. 66: "This food is called among us Eucharistia, of which no one is allowed to partake but the man who believes that the things which we teach are true…and who is so living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink" and still less as bread and wine transubstantiated into blood — yet indeed as uncommon bread and drink. "We have been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His Word and from which our [own] blood and flesh by assimilation [but not by transubstantiation] are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus Who was made flesh…. Jesus commanded them to do as follows: 'He took bread [and not at all either His flesh or His blood] and gave thanks and said, "This do in remembrance of Me: this is My body"'" [not 'this becomes My body'].
53. Notice here that Justin claims that the elements (although not common bread and common drink) are indeed truly "bread" and "drink" and not physical flesh and blood. As even Gelasius Bishop of Rome observed in A.D. 490: "By the Sacraments we are made partakers of the divine nature, and yet the substance and nature of bread and wine do not cease to be in them." Hence, to Gelasius, there is no Tran-substant-iation — indeed, nothing even about the so-called 'accidents.'
54. Justin concludes in ch. 67: "On the day called Sunday, all…gather together to one place, and the Memoirs of the Apostles or the Writings of the Prophets are read…. Then we all rise together and pray…. When our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought" etc. Here again, there is no mention whatsoever of John 6:32-63; nor of Transubstantiation.
55. In Justin's Dialogue with Trypho the Jew (ch. 41), he says that the Old Testament "offering of fine flour…was prescribed to be presented…as a type of the bread of the Eucharist, the celebration of.which our Lord Jesus Christ prescribed in remembrance of the sufferings He endured" precisely "so that we may give thanks to God for having created the world for us" and "for having destroyed completely the principalities and powers by Him Who suffered according to His will…. Of the offerings given to Him in every place by us (the nations) — the offerings, that is of the bread of the Eucharist and likewise of the cup of the Eucharist — of these He foretells (in Malachi 1:11). Here again, there is no mention of John 6:32-63; nor of Transubstantiation.
56. In ch. 70, Justin defends Christians against the false charge of their enemies that God's people were cannibals and drinkers of human blood. He does so, by saying that Isaiah 33:13-19 alludes "to the bread which our Christ gave us to eat in remembrance of His being made flesh for the sake of His believers." Indeed, in ch. 117 Justin tells the Jew Trypho that "God, anticipating all the gifts which we bring through this Name and which Jesus the Christ enjoined us to present, i.e. the bread and the cup in the Eucharist, and which are presented by Christians in all places throughout the world, bears witness that they are well-pleasing to Him." Here again — there is absolutely no mention of John 6:32-63; nor of Transubstantiation.
57. Also the A.D. 180 Theophilus in his Letters to Autolycus (III:4) rebukes the "godless lips [which] falsely accuse us who are worshippers of God and are called Christians…that we eat human flesh." However, if it had then been their teaching that in the Eucharist the bread and wine cease to exist as such but rather get transubstantiated into human flesh and blood — Theophilus could not here have represented the false accusation of the Pagans that Christians are cannibals, as being "most barbarous and impious" (as he here indeed does).
58. At that same time, in his Against Heresies IV:17:5f, Irenaeus wrote that Jesus "took that created thing bread and gave thanks and said 'This is My body [not "this becomes My body"]!'…. It behooves us [Christians] to bring a present to God, and in all things to be found grateful to God our Maker in a pure mind and in faith without hypocrisy — in well-grounded hope, in fervent love — presenting the first-fruits of His Own created things. And the Church alone presents this pure gift to the Creator — presenting it to Him with thanksgiving. But the Judaists do not offer thus. For their hands are full of blood. For they have not received the Word through Whom it is presented to God….. We [Christians] give His Own to Him, announcing consistently the fellowship and union of the flesh and Spirit." Hence we Christians present to the Triune God His Own creatures of bread and wine. And we proclaim the fellowship of the flesh with the spirit, in that the flesh of every believing human being is receptive to the Spirit. Here again in Irenaeus, neither John 6:32-63 nor Transubstantiation are mentioned at all.
59. Around A.D. 190, in his Instructor (I:6), Clement of Alexandria repeatedly mentions John six (but not in connection with mature faith nor as regards the Lord's Supper). Yet in his Instructor, Clement does say that "blood is figuratively termed wine" and that "the Lord's blood is figuratively represented as milk" and that Christ "washes…His garment in wine [and] His robe in the blood of thegrape' (Genesis 49:11). Indeed, in II:2, Clement distinctly says that "to drink the blood of Jesus is to become partaker of the Lord's immortality" (which no apostate from the Eucharist ever did) — "the Spirit being the energetic principle of the Word, as blood is of flesh…. The mixture of both — of the water and of the Word — is called Eucharist, renowned and glorious grace; and they who by faith [and not ex opere operato] partake of it, are sanctified."
60. So too in Clement's A.D. 194 Stromata (I:1 & I:10 and IV:26): "The Saviour, taking the bread, first spoke and blessed. Then, breaking the bread, He presented it so that we might eat it according to reason, and that knowing the Scriptures we might walk obediently…. Moses says Melchizedek King of Salem, Priest of the Most-High God, who gave bread and wine — furnished consecrated food for a type of the Eucharist." Here, there is no Transubstantiation but only the Proto-Protestant doctrine of the real Spirit-ual presence of God at the Lord's Supper to the eye of faith.
61. In his A.D. 207 Against Marcion III:19-22, Tertullian wrote that "God…called His body bread" and that "He has given to His body the figure of bread, Whose body the Prophet of old [Jeremiah 11:19] figuratively turned into bread…. With this agrees also the prophecy of Malachi [1:11]: ‘I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord [to the Judeans]; neither will I accept your presents. For from the rising of the sun [in the East] even unto the going down of the same [in the West] — My Name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place a gift shall be presented to My Name, a pure presentation' — such as the ascription of glory and blessings and praises and hymns." No mention here of the Lord's Supper, and still less of the Mass!
62. Also again in his Against Marcion IV:40, Tertullian insists: "The Law prefigures His passion…. Moses had declared that there was a sacred mystery: 'It is the Lord's Passover' [Leviticus 23:5]…. When He [viz. Jesus Christ] so earnestly expressed His desire to eat the Passover, He considered it His Own Feast…. Having taken the bread and given it to His Disciples, He made it His own body by saying, 'This is My body' [and not 'this now becomes My body'] that is, the figure of My body. Yet there could not have been a figure, unless there were first a veritable body."
63. Tertullian continues: "In order however that you may discover how anciently wine is used as a figure for blood, turn to Isaiah [63:1] who asks, 'Who is this that comes from Edom, from Bosra, with garments dyed in red, so glorious in His apparel, in the greatness of His might? Why are Your garments red, and Your raiment like his who comes from the treading of the full wine-press? '…. He represents the bleeding condition of His flesh under the metaphor of garments dyed in red — as if reddened in the treading and crushing process of the winepress from which the labourers descend reddened with the wine-juice like men stained in blood..''
64. "Much more clearly still, does the book of Genesis [49:11] foretell this (in the blessing of Judah out of whose tribe Jesus Christ was to come according to the flesh). It even then delineated Christ in the person of that Patriarch, saying: 'He washed His garments in wine, and His clothes in the blood of grapes.' In His garments and clothes, the prophecy pointed out His flesh and His blood in the wine. Thus did He now consecrate His blood in wine — Who then (by the Patriarch) used the figure of wine to describe His blood."
65. We would also cite Tertullian's On the Resurrection of the Flesh (ch. 37), where he declares "'The flesh profits nothing' [John 6:63]…. We ought therefore to desire Him in order that we may have life, and to devour Him with the ear and to ruminate [or ‘chew the cud’] on Him with the understanding and to digest Him by faith. Now just before the passage in hand, He had declared His flesh to be 'the bread which comes down from Heaven' [John 6:51]…. Because He perceived that they were going to be scattered from Him, He says: 'The flesh profits nothing.'" A stronger argument against the later error of Transubstantiation, is hard to imagine.
66. Only in the A.D. 251f Cyprian do we find the very first beginnings of unbiblical sacramentalism in relation to the Lord's Supper. This is clear from his statement in his Treatises IV:18. There he writes: "We ask that this bread should be given to us daily — so that we who are in Christ and daily receive the Eucharist for the food of salvation, may not by the interposition of some heinous sin be prevented…from partaking of the heavenly bread….
67. Christ, explains Cyprian, Himself predicts and warns, 'I am the bread of life which came down from Heaven. If any man eat of My bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread which I will give is My flesh, for the life of the world' [John 6:58]. When therefore He says that whoever shall eat of His bread shall live for ever, as those who partake of His body and receive the Eucharist by the right of communion are living, so on the other hand we must fear and pray lest any one…being withheld from communion and separated from Christ's body — should remain at a distance from salvation."
68. Nevertheless, in other cases, Cyprian cites from John chapter six with no reference to the Lord's Supper whatsoever. See for instance his Epistles 72(73):11 and his Treatises II:7 & IV:14 & XII:1:T:22 & XI:3:T:19.
69. Yet even in Cyprian, there is still no trace of the Mass or of any Transubstantiation. Consider, for instance, his Epistle 63:2f (62:2f) to Caecilius, where Cyprian insists: "Nothing must be done by us but what the Lord first did on our behalf, as that the cup which is offered in remembrance of Him should be offered mingled with wine…. We find in Genesis [9:20f] also, in respect of the Sacrament in Noah, this same thing was to them a precursor and figure of the Lord's passion; that he drank wine…. Noah, setting forth a type of the future truth, did not drink water but wine, and thus expressed the figure of the passion of the Lord."
70. He continues: "Also in the priest Melchizedek we see prefigured the Sacrament of the offering of the Lord — according to what Divine Scripture testifies and says: 'And Melchizedek King of Salem brought forth bread and wine' [Genesis 14:18]…. Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he explains, “offered a sacrifice to God the Father — and offered the very same thing which [the High Priest] Melchizedek had offered, that is, bread and wine — to wit, His body and blood."
71. Cyprian goes on: "In the blessing of Judah, also this same thing is signified, where there also is expressed a figure of Christ…. When the blood of the grape is mentioned [Genesis 49:11], what else is set forth than the wine of the cup of the blood of the Lord?… When the water is mingled in the cup with wine, the people is made one with Christ, and the assembly of believers is associated and conjoined with Him on Whom it believes…. In this very Sacrament our people are show to be made one so that in like manner as many grains collected and ground and mixed together into one Mass make one bread, we may know there is one body with which our number is joined and united."
72. Also in his Epistle 75(69) to Magnus, Cyprian says: "When the Lord calls bread which is combined by the union of many grains, His body — He indicates our people whom He bore as being united. And when He calls the wine which is pressed from many grapes and clusters and collected together, His blood — He also signifies our flock linked together by the mingling of a united multitude." Clearly, Cyprian is devoid of Transubstantiationism.
73. Also in the A.D. 252f Novatian's Treatise Concerning the Trinity (ch. 14), the whole thrust is against Transubstantiation. Asks Novatian: "If Christ is only man — how is it that 'even as the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself' [John 5:26] — when man cannot have life in him[self] after the example of God the Father, because he is not glorious in eternity but made with the materials of mortality? If Christ is only man — how does He say: 'I am the bread of eternal life which came down from Heaven' [John 6:51], when man can neither be the bread of life (he himself being mortal)? Nor could He [then] have come down from Heaven — since no perishable material is established in Heaven!"
74. The A.D. 254 Origen, in his Commentary on Matthew XI:14, states: "The food which is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer, as respects its material part, goes into the stomach; but as regards prayer which is added to it, according to the proportion of faith, profits. It enlightens themind which beholds that which is profitable. Nor is it the matter of the bread but the words spoken over it which profit men who do not eat unworthily. And these things I speak of the typical and symbolical body….. No worthless person is able to eat it. For if it were possible for one who continues worthless to eat of Him Who became flesh, Who was the Word and the living bread — it would not have been written that 'every one who eats of this bread shall live for ever' [John 6:51]." This is the very opposite of Transubstantiation!
75. Also in Origen's Commentary on John, and specifically on chapter six thereof, there is no hint of ex opere operato Sacramentalism. Nay more, in I:23 & VI:26 & X:13 ("the Word of God is not flesh and flesh only"), there is not even a hint of it referring to the Lord's Supper. So too the remaining references to John chapter six in Origen's Commentary on Matthew (XII:5 & XII:33 & IV:14).
76. The A.D. 265 Gregory Thaumaturgus in his Twelve Topics 10:E cites John 6:55f only to establish Christ's Deity and without reference to His Supper. The A.D. 315 Lactantius in his Divine Institutes IV:15 refers John chapter six — simply to the miraculous but not at all to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. And the A.D. 320 Eusebius in his Evangelical Demonstrations VIII:1, states that Christ "gave again to His Disciples the symbols of the divine economy — and appointed them to eat bread as a symbol of His Own body."
77. This brings us to Nicea (A.D. 325). As regards the Post-Nicene Patristic Fathers, suffice it to say that even nearly a century later, also the great Augustine follows his fellow-African theologians the older Tertullian and Cyprian in their non-transubstantiationistic theory of Christ's real presence at the Lord's Supper. Thus he says that Judas ate only the bread of the Lord, while the other Apostles ate the Lord Who was the bread. Tractates 59-62 on the Gospel John (13:16-31).
78. In his 25th-27th Tractates (on John 6:35-63), Augustine rhetorically asks believers: "Why do you prepare the teeth and the belly?" And then he himself answers: "Believe — and you have eaten!" Further: "We at this day receive visible food. But the Sacrament is one thing; the virtue of the Sacrament, another…. It was not the mouthful given by the Lord that was the poison to Judas, but yet he took it…. See to it, then, brethren, that you eat the heavenly bread in a spiritual sense!…. He who does not keep on dwelling in Christ, doubtless neither eats His flesh nor drinks His blood — [although he may press the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ carnally and visibly with his teeth]…. What is it, then, that He adds? ‘It is the Spirit that makes alive; the flesh profits nothing!’ [John 6:63] Let the Spirit be added to the flesh!…. We eat not…merely in the Sacrament, as many evil men do…. We eat and drink to the participation of the Spirit, so that we abide as members in the Lord's body, to be enlivened by His Spirit."
79. In his 81st or 131st Sermon on John 6:53, Augustine explains: "What is taken in the Sacrament visibly — is in the truth itself eaten spiritually, drunk spiritually. For we have heard the Lord Himself saying, 'It is the Spirit Who enlivens, but the flesh profits nothing. The words that I have spoken to you, are Spirit and Life. But there are some of you,' says He, 'that do not believe' (John 6:63-64)." And certainly Judas, whom Augustine believes manducated at the Lord's Table unto his own damnation, did not there partake spiritually either of the Holy Spirit nor of the Word of God Jesus Christ.
80. Compare too Augustine's Christian Doctrine III:3f, on principles of interpreting the Bible. In III:16, he rightly remarks: "If the sentence is one of command, either forbidding a crime or vice, or enjoining an act of prudence or benevolence — it is not figurative. If, however, it seems to enjoin a crime or vice, or to forbid an act of prudence or benevolence — it is figurative. 'Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man,' says Christ, 'and drink His blood — you have no life in you' (John 6:53). This seems to enjoin a crime or a vice [cf. Genesis 9:5-6 with Leviticus 26:28f & Deuteronomy 28:53f etc.]. It is therefore a figure — enjoining that we should have a share in the sufferings of our Lord, and that we should retain a sweet and profitable memory of the fact that His flesh was wounded and crucified for us."
81. On Matthew 26:26f, the A.D. 400 Chrysostom commented in his homily on the Bible's words 'He took bread And brake it': "He ordained this Sacrament then" — viz., before He shed His blood. Indeed, "He calls it blood of a New Testament…. Hence also He shows that He is soon to die" — although He had as then not yet even started to die. Indeed, "He Himself drank of it…. Here also He bound up the memorial of the benefit with the mystery…. Then, when He had delivered it, He says: 'I will not drink of the fruit of this wine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom'…. Therefore, also the Apostles…say this: 'We who did eat and drink with Him'" — but not of Him! "He did not drink water after He was risen again, but wine" — and not blood. He used wine — 'of the fruit,' He says, 'of the vine.' But a vine produces wine, not water" — nor human blood. Clearly, there is no Transubstantiation here in Chrysostom!
82. In his homilies on First Corinthians 10, Chrystostom insisted: "As you eat the Lord's body, so they [the Israelites] the manna…. Having said that ‘they drank the same spiritual drink,’ he [Paul] added, 'for they drank of a spiritual Rock that followed them.' And he subjoined, 'and the Rock was Christ.' For it was not the nature of the [other] rock which sent forth the water…: but another sort of Rock, a spiritual One…, even Christ Who was everywhere with them" invisibly — and not visibly, as in the Mass. Continued Chrysostom: "'The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ?'…. We are united to Him by this bread" — not 'by this flesh.' Why does he [Paul] also add 'which we break?' … In the Eucharist one may see this done. Yet on the cross, not so…. For 'we all partake of one bread'" — and not 'of one carnal human corpse!
83. In his homilies on First Corinthians 11, Chrystostom added: "'As often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup — you proclaim the Lord's death, till He come'…. Christ in regard to the bread and the cup said, 'Do this in remembrance of Me…. 'Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread and drink the cup of the Lord unworthily — shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord'…. Do you see how fearful he [Paul] makes his discourse, and inveighs against them very exceedingly, signifying that if they are thus to drink, they partake unworthily of the elements (tn prokeimenn)?…. 'But let a man prove himself, and so let him eat of the bread!'" etc.
84. It was only in A.D. 831 that (by Radbertus in his book The Body and Blood of the Lord) one first finds propounded the most novel notion that "the substance of bread and wine is effectually changed (efficaciter interius commutatur) into the flesh and blood of Christ" — so that once the priest has consecrated it there is "nothing else in the Eucharist but the flesh and blood of Christ." Transubstantiation was never at any time accepted by any part of the Church Universal — whether Early-Patristic, Post-Nicene, Greek, Roman, or Proto-Protestant (alias Culdee or Waldensian etc.) — until specifically the Romish Church proclaimed it dogmatically as an article of her own changing faith, at the 4th Lateran Council in 1215.
85. Even since A.D. 831, many Roman Catholics still opposed such transubstantiation. So: Ratramnus, Berengarius, John Scotus Eriguena, Rabanus Maurus, Walafrid Strabo, Christian Druthmar, Florus Magister, Eusebius Bruno (Bishop of Angers), Frollant (Bishop of Senlis), and Elfric. Also, according to the famous RC Cardinal Bellarmine in his De Sacramento Eucharistea (III:5 and 4 dII q.6 art. 1,2 and q. 3 art. 1,2 and I:5) — even the celebrated Cardinal Cameracensus said: "Transubstantiation cannot be proved from Holy Writ…. To this Cardinal Roffensis, Cardinal Cajetan and also Scotus all concur." Indeed, the RC scholars Gabriel, Nicolus, Cusanus, Tapper, Hessel and others all present the "Protestant" interpretation of John 6:54. See Rev. Dr. P.G. Logan's Ph.D. dissertation The History and Doctrine of Transubstantiation (Sydney, 1994, pp. 84f).
86. Around A.D. 1100, the Waldensians produced their Treatise on Antichrist. It links Antichrist with the doctrine of Transubstantiation — then increasingly being practised within the Romish Church, and destined to become her official doctrine in 1215. Declares that Treatise (pp. 326 & 395): "The ministers of Antichrist or Papal Rome or Babylon or the Fourth Beast…[are] wandering stars, Balaamites, Egyptians [cf. Exodus 7:11f]…. Antichrist's works are the Sacraments; especially that of the Eucharist, which he worshipsequally with God and Christ."
87. From around A.D. 1360 onward [cf. Daniel 12:7-11], the famous Pre-Reformer John Wycliffe firmly opposed Transubstantiation as a tool of the Antichrist. To him, even mice has more discernment than Romanists — as regards the Eucharist. For, after Romanists had celebrated their allegedly transubstantiated Masses — church mice 'discerned' that what Rome claimed had become Christ's flesh was in fact still very edible bread. [See too Theses 4-7 here above.]
88. Around A.D. 1405f [cf. Daniel 12:12], the Bohemian Wycliffite Huss (the "Goose") predicted the advent of Luther ("the Swan") a century later. In a letter to George of Anhalt, Luther condemned "the contemptible articles of Transubstantiation" (XIX:1306). He further denounced it as a"monk's dream, affirmed by Thomas Aquinas and ratified by Popes…. Because they so insist on it from their own effrontery without Scripture, we will do nothing but oppose them…. It is sufficiently sure against all dreams of sophists — that what it calls bread, is bread" (XIX:1320).
89. In his 1519 Treatise on the New Testament (21 & 23-25 & 29 & 35), Luther wrote: "The whole world has made a 'sacrifice' of the 'Mass' wherein they bring an offering to God, which without doubt is the…very worst abuse…. The 'Mass' is not rightly…understood as a sacrifice…. If you ask what is left in the 'Mass' to give it the name of a sacrifice…, I answer: 'Nothing'…. We should therefore give careful heed to this word 'sacrifice' ; so that we do not presume to give God something in the Sacrament — when it is He Who therein gives us all things…. It has become a widespread custom to establish 'Masses' for the dead…. Of what benefit are the 'Masses' celebrated for the souls which are kept in 'purgatory' [sic]?… Priests and laymen…have departed so far from the true meaning of the 'Mass' and of faith, that they have even made of it a sort of magic."
90. In his 1520 work The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Luther wrote of the Eucharist: "The first captivity of this Sacrament therefore concerns its substance or completeness, of which we have been deprived by the despotism of Rome…. I shall be called a Wyclifitte and a heretic a thousand times over! But what of that?… 'Believe,' says Augustine, 'and you have eaten!' (Sermon 112:5)…. Therefore I can 'hold Mass' every day — yes, every hour. For I can set the words of Christ before me and with them refresh and strengthen my faith as often as I choose. That is a truly spiritual eating and drinking!'… No one shouldbe deceived by the glamour of the ceremonies and get entangled in the multitude of pompous forms and thus lose the simplicity of the 'Mass' itself, and indeed practice a sort of Transubstantiation — losing sight of the simple substance…and clinging to the manifold 'accidents' of outward pomp."
91. In 1537, Luther wrote in his Smalcald Articles: "As regards Transubstantiation, we care nothing about the sophistical subtlety by which they teach that bread and wine leave or lose their own natural substance; and that there remains only the appearance and colour of bread, and not true bread. For it is in perfect agreement with Holy Scripture that there is, and remains, bread — as Paul himself calls it, First Corinthians 10:16: "The bread which we break.' And First Corinthians 11:28: 'So let him eatof that bread!'"
92. In Zwingli's 1523 Sixty-Seven Articles (18), one reads "that Christ Who offered Himself once and for all, is the everlastingly-enduring and redemptive sacrifice for the sins of all believers. From this we gather that the Mass is not a sacrifice." The Eucharist is "a memorial and a warranty of the redemption which Christ has purchased for us."
93. In his 1530 Confession of Faith (19f & 22f), Zwingli states that "nowhere in the Holy Scripture do we read that something external, such as the Sacraments are, bears a certain Spirit with them. But when something external was given connected with the Spirit — the Spirit and not the externals was the carrier…. Everyone born again by the Spirit…is [‘blown’ and moved (John 3:8) and] illuminated and drawn forward not in an external but in an invisible way….
94. We are, without the Sacrament, prepared for the reception of the sacramental grace. Thus the Spirit with His grace works before the Sacrament, so that the grace is at hand and operative already before the Sacrament is offered…. Hence, the Sacrament is the sign of something holy, namely of the [already] received grace…. We not only deny but we also affirm in the most outspoken way that it is an error in conflict with the Word of God — that the body of Christ is actually and essentially…present and eaten with the mouth and with the teeth, as asserted by the Papists and several others who long back to the fleshpots of Egypt (Exodus 16:3)."
95. Zwingli then argues against the bodily presence of Christ within the bread and the wine at the Eucharist (op. cit. 23f): "'You will not always have Me with you' (Matthew 26:11-29). Here, then, the presence of the body is denied….. Christ says: 'I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father' (John 16:28)…. 'In a little while, you shall not see Me' (John 16:16), etc…. 'Mary, don't keep holding onto Me!' (John 20:17), etc…. 'I am no longer in the world' (John 17:11)…. But they [the Apostles] are in the world…. 'He blessed them, departed from them, and was carried up into heaven' (Luke 24:51). He did not say 'I am disappearing!' or 'I am making Myself invisible!'
96. Zwingli next insists (op. cit. 28f) he understands this the same way Christ's Apostles did. For they were told: "'This Jesus…has been taken up from you into heaven' (Acts 1:11)…. He was thus no longer with them, either visibly or invisibly…. According to His human nature, He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, until He comes again to judge the living and the dead…. Those who affirm the bodily presence of Christ, are clearly closing their eyes and fighting against the truth…. They are robbing us of the truth of Christ's humanity and of the Holy Scripture…. That we are not eating the natural body of Christ with our mouths, He Himself shows where He told the Jews: 'The flesh profits nothing!' (John 6:63)…. 'That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit!' (John 3:6)…. Paul says: 'Although we did know Christ according to the flesh, we no longer know Him according to the flesh' (Second Corinthians 5:16)…. The Eucharist replaces the Passover, of which the lamb slaughtered every year was the reminder but not the 'Pass-over' itself…. If the natural body of Christ were to be eaten — I ask whether it would feed our body or our soul?!"
97. Zwingli then shows (op. cit. 39f) that Ambrose, in his Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians (11:26), sees this thus. So too Augustine, in his Thirtieth Treatise on John (122:341) and in his Against Adimantus (ch. 12). And so too John Oecolampadius, in his 1530 work How the Old Greek and Latin Patristic Fathers regarded the Lord's Supper. Zwingli rightly declared in his own 1525 Concerning the True and the False Religion: "Are we to have an appetite to eat Christ in a natural manner, like cannibals do? As though somebody could so love his children, that he would wish to devour them [or wish them to devour him]! Or as though among all men, those who devour human flesh were not regarded as the most savage!" See too Zwingli's 1526 work Instruction in Christ's Supper; his 1527 Answer to Dr. Jacob Strauss; and his 1528 Answer to Luther's Book "Confession."
98. Zwingli's 1531 Declaration of the Christian Faith (19 & 47 & 51) affirms that "the Sacraments are to be honoured…because they represent holy things — both what has happened, as well as what we do and bring to light…. The Lord's Supper…is not eaten of in a natural or corporeal way, but only spiritually. That which the Papists have taught is not only wicked and foolish, but also godless and blasphemous — that the body of Christ is eaten for us according to the Mass, according to the properties and nature with which He was born, suffered and died…. The great theologian Augustine says the body of Christ must be in a certain place in heaven…. Consequently, the body of Christ is just as little in several places as are our own bodies. That is not my assertion but that of the Apostles, of Augustine, of religion itself…. In all ways, Christ became a man like us (Philippians 2:7).
99. Zwingli continues (op. cit. 53 & 54): "If we do not wish to reason in a foolish or a godless way, from those proofs grounded on Holy Scripture it follows that the body of Christ must be just as naturally and actually and truly in one place as is our own. Thus the opponents must grant that the body of Christ according to its essence is naturally and really seated at the right hand of the Father and therefore is not in the Lord's Supper…. Those who teach the opposite, are pushing Christ out of heaven and from His Father's throne…. The humanity of Christ is not from eternity, and therefore not infinite. Because not infinite, it must be demarcated. Therefore it cannot be omnipresent."
100. "He has gone to heaven," insists Zwingli (op. cit. 57 & 68-70). "That likewise refers principally to His humanity…. That, as explained, always remains limited. For otherwise it would cease to be a true humanity…. Those eat sacramentally who indeed receive the signs of thanksgiving in the Lord's Supper, but who do not have faith. Their damnation is greater than that of the rest of the unbelievers…. That He suffered for us, refers only to the pious believers…. 'A man must examine himself, and thus eat of that bread and drink of that cup' [First Corinthians 11:28]…. It is not possible that faith be conveyed in the Lord's Supper. For it needs to be there before one manducates."
101. "This is My body," Zwingli reminds us Jesus said (op. cit. 71-72). "When He spoke these words, He still had the mortal body. Thus the Apostles would have eaten that mortal body?! For He did not have two bodies…. If the Apostles had eaten only a mortal body — what kind of a body would we then be eating? Without doubt, also a mortal one…. But now He Who was then mortal, is now immortal…. We would therefore have to say the Apostles would indeed have eaten the mortal body, while we would be eating an immortal one. All can see just how absurd that would be! Finally, we have told the opponents who allege that the natural and actual body of Christ is being eaten nowadays — that religion forbids it…. Would we, like cannibals, desire to eat Him naturally?!"
102. Yet "the Sacraments," insists Zwingli (op. cit. 73-82), "do have a great power. First: they are holy and honourable things, for they were instituted and accepted by the High-Priest Christ…. Second, they testify about an event…. Third, they present the states of affairs which they indicate…also in the names they received…. Fourth, they signify high matters…. Fifth, there is a similarity between the signs and the matters signified…. Sixth, the Sacraments offer to believers help and support….. Thus the Sacraments undergird faith…. The Sacraments also undergird contemplation about faith…. Seventh, they present the format of an oath."
103. In chapter 19 of the 1530 Confessio Tetrapolitana (of Bucer and Capito and Hedio), one reads that "just as man dies but once, so too was Christ sacrificed but once. He could just as little be sacrificed again, as He could die again. And because He is the only perfect sacrifice for sins, He also sits thenceforth at the right hand of God and waits for the remainder of His enemies to be laid as a footstool at His feet. For by one sacrifice He has perfected all who are sanctified (Hebrews 10:12f)…. The Mass should rightly and according to divine command be abolished, as can already be seen from Isaiah (ch. 1). For our God is Spirit and Truth, and therefore He wishes to be honoured only in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24)…. The Mass, however it is celebrated, is contrary to Scripture in so many ways and in all respects departs from what the holy Church Fathers observed…. It is rejected by God's Word as so damnable, that many have given it up freely…. Through the use of the Mass, God is so highly angered…and His honour so darkened that it must be abolished."
104. Chapter 6 of the 1531 First Basle Confession of Oecolampadius and Myconius states: "We acknowledge that the Lord Jesus instituted His Holy Supper…to proclaim His death…with true faith (Luke 22:19 and First Corinthians 10:16f & 11:23f)…. We firmly believe that Christ Himself is the food of the believing soul unto everlasting life…. The natural, true, actual body of Christ — Who was born of the pure virgin Mary, suffered for us and has ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9f &7:55f; Colossians 3:1f; Hebrews 1:3 & 10:19f). It is not in the Lord's bread and wine. Hence we do not pray to Christ in these signs of bread and wine which we commonly calls Sacraments of the body and blood of Christ — but in heaven, at the right hand of God the Father, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead (Acts 3:21 & Second Timothy 4:1)."
105. In the Preamble to the1535 First Bohemian Confession, it is stated that the Lord's Supper was not just to be in two kinds (both bread and wine), but also that one should altogether definitely not believe in the presence of the true body and blood of Christ there. Article 11 states that "the opponents and enemies of faith…teach that the Sacraments in themselves…ex opere operato give justifying faith…to those who had not internally experienced any good rule by the Holy Spirit….
Yet without faith, neither salvation nor righteousness nor the ability to use the Sacraments is the [the prerogative] of anyone. Of this we have in the Holy Scripture very clear examples, especially in the case of Judas Iscariot (John 13:21f)….. And concerning the people of Israel, another place says that they, similarly, were baptized; that they ate the same spiritual food and drank of the same spiritual drink — but that God did not accept most of them but that they were rejected by Him (First Corinthians 10:1f )."
106. Article 13 of that Confession states further that the Bohemian Brethren "also teach that this Sacrament is to be received with pure hearts, with godly fear and faith, and especially with self-examination. That is necessary and useful for man, as well as pleasant for Christ. Thus in the Ancient Church, Paul taught…that a man is to examine himself and thus to eat of the bread (First Corinthians 11:27f)…. And also in the other place: examine yourselves; or do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Otherwise you are reprobates! (Second Corinthians 13:5). He, however, who till now has not looked into himself and asked himself with what faith and with what heart he has approached this Sacrament — has disgraced the Sacrament itself and despised this whole ordinance of Christ. Therefore, with us, those who oversee the Church admit nobody to this Sacrament unless he has previously, as much as he can, examined and explored himself, to approach this Sacrament full of godly fear."
107. In 1535 the First Swiss Confession of Bullinger, Myconius, Megander, Leo Judae, Bucer and Capito appeared. In Article 20, it is taught that the "Sacraments are meaningful holy signs of higher and more secret things. They are, however, not mere and empty signs, but consist of both signs and actual things…. In the Supper alias the Eucharist, the signs are bread and wine. However, the actual and the spiritual is the communion of the body and blood of Christ…, which actual but invisible things are received in faith."
108. Article 22 states "that the body and the blood of the Lord are not naturally united with bread and wine or spatially enclosed in it. Nor that a corporeal carnal presence is here inserted, but that bread and wine according to the institution of the Lord are highly-significant holy and true signs through which …the true communion of the body and blood of Christ are extended and offered to believers…. They extend the spiritual things which they signify, in the manner we have stated. They testify about past matters….. With this spiritual [and] enlivening internal food, we are entertained and refreshed and filled with great joy — so that we find our life in the death of Christ…. We regard the holy [and] highly-significant signs and warranties, as high and precious. Yet we attribute the lifegiving and sanctifying power in every way only to Him Who alone is the Life, Who is to be praised unto eternity (Acts 4:12)."
109. In his Sermons on Deuteronomy (7:5f) — 'You shall beat down the altars' of the Heathen etc. — Calvin declares: "We call to remembrance that we have heard Mass in times past, and had cast ourselves into that dungeon. We ought to be sorry, and to crave pardon for it, and be abashed at the blindness into which we had fallen. Thereby we became so beastly as to go seek our salvation by renouncing the redemption that was purchased for us long ago by…Christ, and to make ourselves partakers of such a devilish thing [the Mass]. We ought to be afraid in ourselves to think about it!"
110. In his Sermons on Deuteronomy (7:26) — 'You shall not bring any abomination into your house' — Calvin states: "We may well protest that our intention is to serve God. Howbeit, our service is not done to Him but to idols — whenever we invent what we ourselves think good. As, for example, wherever the Papists protest that their meaning is to serve God with their Mass and with all other baggage and ceremonies of theirs….. In the meanwhile, God disclaims and dislikes every whit of it. For it is the devil whom they indeed serve. And why? For there is not anything there which is not manifestly found to be against God's Word and His truth."
111. In his Sermons on Deuteronomy (12:1f) — 'These are the ordinances and laws which you shall keep' — Calvin argues: "Are not the Apostles the true fathers of the Christian Church? Yes, but the Papists will not hear them speak, nor any other that has established such order in the Church as God commanded. But they have their [own] bastard fathers like themselves which, being a misbegotten generation, they take monks…as their fathers…. I do not know what a wicked imagination of that hellish sacrifice which is done in the Popedom — namely of the Mass — in which men think that Christ is there offered to God His Father for the remission of our sins…. The Papists…have said, we have Jesus Christ for our Advocate. It is seen nevertheless that they let Him alone behind them…. Like a sort of traitors to God and His Church, they make men believe that it is not evil to be partakers of all the abominations that are committed in it…. Therefore let us learn …that Papists are miserable and wretched creatures, and…condemn them in all their follies and superstitions."
112. In his Sermons on Deuteronomy (12:6f) — 'There you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices' — Calvin observe of the Romanists: "They saw that the Heathen had their sacrifices. Needs must they also have their Masses set up in the place of them…. Whatsoever filth and infection was among the Infidels, the Papists took it to themselves to keep…. Were these sayings of Moses understood — all the devilish devices that have reigned and do at this day still reign in the Popedom, would get themselves away to the bottom of hell."
113. In his Sermons on Deuteronomy (12:8f) — 'You shall not do according to all the things…every man…thinks good' — Calvin insists: "The Papists have abolished the infinite grace of God…. There has been yet a far more outrageous disorder in the Lord's Supper…. His will is that we should receive the bread and wine …. But on the contrary part, they have set up that abominable Mass — and will needs sacrifice Jesus Christ…. They do not understand that they usurp that office which is allotted to Him in the Holy Scripture, according to which He has offered up Himself once and for all…. Behold, men will needs take upon themselves to counterfeit Him! For by their own saying, it is all one sacrifice. Yet for all that, they be but apes of Jesus Christ…. There is no opening of God's Word…. Their saying is that they go to receive their God, and they make a charm and sorcery of their consecrating of the bread and wine. Thus you see how proudly they be turned away from Christ's ordinance, so as they could not devise how to fight against Him with more violence."
114. In his Sermons on Deuteronomy (13:6f) — against idolatry — Calvin conceded: "The Papists have a fair colour in saying that if a man defaces the majesty of a Prince, he shall not escape unpunished, and therefore it is much more reasonable that men should be punished for setting themselves against God. Yes. But in the meanwhile, they do not know what God they worship. For they are carried away with their own wicked and devilish superstitions…. The Mass is an abomination of the devil's own devising…contrary to Christ's institution which says: 'Take and eat!' They would bear God in [their] hand…. The Mass must serve as a new sacrifice…. Although they say it is the same that Jesus Christ Himself offered, yet they oftentimes reiterate it."
115. In his Sermons on Deuteronomy (16:5f & 21:1f) — 'You may not sacrifice the Passover within any of the city-gates…but in the place which the Lord your God will choose' — Calvin remarked: "It serves to condemn the abomination of the Mass which is brought into the Popedom. They are not contented with their offering up of Jesus Christ to God His Father and with the one satisfaction which He has made to endure for ever. But they bear men in hand, that He is yet sacrificed daily. Whereas Saint Paul tells us that we must hold ourselves to the redemption that was purchased once and for all…. Herein we see the foolishness that is in the Popedom. For the priests will needs counterfeit His sacrifice…. When we receive the Supper, we do not make a new sacrifice, as the Papists were wont to do in that devilish abomination of their Mass."
116. In his Sermons on Deuteronomy (32:17f) — 'They have sacrificed to devils' — Calvin reflects: "The Papists affirm that the things which we [Protestants] do, are new, and that they were invented by [just] a while ago….. But if we ask them a proof of their antiquity — what do they say? That such things have been done now these five hundred years! Truly, they lie most commonly, with full mouth. For the thing which they hold as chief and most resolute, is not of so long continuance…. About four hundred years ago, there was no law at all about it. If you look for their Transubstantiation, it is in like case. They make men believe that the bread is no more a material thing, but that it is God Whom we ought to worship…. In the end, Moses says 'that they offered sacrifice to devils and not to God.' This saying may seem rough and hard at the first sight…. The Heathen could with as much skill as the Papists say, 'We do not intend to have anything to do with the devils!'…. But what is answered them here by the mouth of Moses, who was appointed Judge with full authority, and is the instrument of the Holy Ghost.? 'You serve the devil!'"
117. In his Sermons on Deuteronomy (33:10f) — 'They shall teach Your judgments to Jacob' — Calvin declared: "Let us not think it strange nowadays, that these horned beasts of the Popedom do still usurp the title of Prelates and Bishops, and will needs be worshipped under colour of vaunting themselves to have the government of the Church, which is indeed a stark lie…. Let us understand that as the [Old Testament] priests were ordained to represent in the Temple the Mediator Who was to come — so we at this day do represent Him after another manner. Not by doing as the Papists do, who have played the apes. For in their Mass (they say) they make a sacrifice. But it is an abomination which serves to abolish the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ!"
118. Finally, in his Sermons on Deuteronomy (33:29f), Calvin insisted: "I say that idolatry may be committed even in the person of God. Let a man follow all the abominations that are committed in the world — and how are they coloured? There is a thing in the Popedom, which they term God's service. And what is that? The Mass. But we know it is the most loathsome and devilish idolatry that can be — specially because the Name of God is intermeddled with it…. There shall be shameful and excessive idolatry — as when men turn away from God's Word and follow their own inventions and fancies."
119. As Dr. Calvin says at John 6:53 ('Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood you have no life in you') in his Commentary on John: "This sermon [of Christ] does not refer to the Lord's Supper, but to the continual communication which we have, apart from the reception of the Lord's Supper…. The ancients [yet only from circa 400 A.D. onward] made a bad mistake [here,] in supposing that little children were deprived of eternal life — if they were not given the Eucharist. As far as young children are concerned, Christ's ordinance forbids them to participate in the Lord's Supper — because they cannot yet try [= test] themselves or celebrate the remembrance of the death of Christ…. It is wrong to expound this whole passage as applying to the Lord's Supper." And it was doubly wrong for Romanists so to misemploy it, at the time when they withheld the wine as the symbol of Christ's blood from their laity!
120. Calvin comments in his Harmony of the Evangelists on Matthew 26:26-28 that "Christ instituted a supper…. Although then the Papists boast that in their Masses they have the substance of the Lord's Supper, yet it is evident from the nature of that case that whenever they celebrate private Masses — they are so many trophies erected by the devil for burying the Lord's Supper. The same words teach us what sort of sacrifice it is that Christ recommends to us in the Supper. He bids His disciples take. And therefore it is [He] Himself alone Who offers. What the Papists contrive as to Christ's offering Himself in the Supper, proceeded from an opposite author [viz. Satan]…. It is a strange inversion when…[the papist priest], who is commanded to take the body of Christ – claims the office of offering it." He, "ppointed by himself, sacrifices to God His Own Son!"
121. Further, Calvin there continues: "That bread is not consecrated by whispering and breathing, but by the clear doctrine of faith. And certainly it is a piece of magic and sorcery when the consecration is addressed to the dead element…. It is evident that the low whispering and breathing of the Papists are a wicked profanation of the mystery…. Christ consecrates the bread, when He declares to us that it is His body. We must not suppose that there is any change of the substance, but must only believe that it is applied to a new purpose. And if the world had not been long ago so bewitched by the subtlety of the Devil that, when the monster of Transubstantiation had once been introduced – it will not now admit any light of true interpretation on these words."
122. Calvin here further insists that "Christ declares that the bread is His body…. They [the Romanists] are delighted with the plain and literal sense. Why then shall not the same rule apply to all the Sacraments? Certainly, if they do not admit that the Rock was actually Christ [in First Corinthians 10:1-4] – the calumny with which they load us, is mere affectation…. We explain that the bread is called His body, because it is the symbol of His body…. This principle of language has not recently been forged by us [Protestants], but has been handed down by Augustine on the authority of the ancients…. All the passages of Scripture, in which the Sacraments are mentioned, ought to be explained in this manner….
123. "The Papists, deceived by their Transubstantiation" — continues Calvin – "maintain that what we see is not bread – because [they say] it is only the appearance that remains without the reality. But their absurd fancy is refuted by Paul who asserts that the bread which we break is the communion of the body of Christ (First Corinthians 10:16)…. Besides, what will they say about the other symbol? For Christ does not say, 'This [wine] is My blood' – but 'This cupis the New Testament in My blood.' According to their view, therefore, not only the wine but also the materials of which the cup is composed, must be transubstantiated into blood! Again, the words related by Matthew – 'I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine' – plainly show that what He delivered to the disciples to drink, was wine. So that in every way, the ignorance of the Papists is fully exposed."
124. Calvin then concludes: "There are three mistakes against which it is here necessary to be on our guard. First, not to confound the spiritual blessing with the sign; secondly, not to seek Christ on earth, or under earthly elements; thirdly, not to imagine any other kind of eating than that which draws into us the life of Christ by the secret power of the Spirit and which we obtain by faith alone…. Whoever will not distinguish the body of Christ from the bread, and the blood from the wine – will never understand what is meant by the Lord's Supper…. Our minds must not be fixed on the earth, but must ascend upwards to the heavenly glory in which He dwells… The body of Christ did not, by clothing itself with an incorruptible life, lay aside its own nature…. Hence it follows that it is finite…. Nothing could be more unreasonable than to draw down Christ to the earth – when, on the contrary, He calls us upwards to Himself…. We must not dream that His substance passes, in a natural manner, into our souls. But we eat His flesh when, by means of it, we receive life…. We ought to know that it is impossible to feed on Christ in any other way, than by faith. Because the eating itself, is a consequence of faith."
125. In his First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (10:3-18), Calvin comments: "If the manna was spiritual food, it follows that bare forms are not exhibited to us in the Sacraments…. God is not so deceitful as to nourish us on empty appearances. A sign is indeed a sign, and retains its own substance…. The Papists…are ridiculously dreaming of some sort of transformations…. The Papists confound the reality and the sign…. In the case of the Papists, consecration is a kind of magic that has its roots in Heathendom. For it has no resemblance to the unadulterated rite which Christians follow…. The Papists could not say that the cup of blessing is a communion in the blood of Christ…. For they observe a mangled and mutilated form of the Supper…. The cup, which is half of the Sacrament, is denied to all the people."
126. Calvin then goes on to discuss 'the bread which we break.' Here he comments: "In the Early Church it was the custom for each person to break a piece for himself from the one loaf, so that their union in the one body of Christ might be made quite plain to all the believers. It is also clear, from the evidence of men who were eminent in the Church in the three centuries after the Apostles, that this practice was kept up for a long time. After that, superstition carried the day – with the result that nobody dared touch the bread with his own hands, but the priest put it into his mouth…. The Law of Moses allowed nobody to the sacrificial feast, unless he prepared himself properly…. I am speaking not just about priests, but about the people who ate what was left over from the sacrifice."
127. In commenting on First Corinthians 11:23f, Calvin remarks that "the Papists make loud protest…. Nothing is more obvious than that their Mass is poles apart from the Holy Supper of our Lord…. It is swarming with wicked abominations…. Why do they call people together for the Mass? The answer is…a pointless show. It has therefore nothing in common with the Supper…. The promise of Christ does not apply to the Mass…. The Papists…ignore the question of sharing, and consecrate the bread for a totally different purpose…. They cause an ungodly divorce, in separating the things which Christ has joined together…. The Papists actually say…the Mass…is a commemorative sacrifice…. By their daily offering, the blessing of redemption is brought to the living and the dead…. It is a high-handed thing to do, seeing that there is no command of Christ to justify it…. They commit a still more serious sin in doing this…. They have corrupted it."
128. Calvin continues: "The Papists press their doctrine of Transubstantiation upon us. They hold that, when the consecration has taken place, the substance of the bread no longer remains but only the accidents. Over against this fabrication we set not only the plain words of Scripture but also the very nature of the Sacraments…. The body of Christ is…truly (vere) given to us in the Supper…. I mean that our souls are fed by the substance of His body…. A life-giving power from the flesh of Christ [in heaven] is poured into us through the medium of the Spirit – even although it is at a great distance from us and is not mixed with us…. The Schoolmen discuss the question…. Their teaching simply amounts to this, that Christ is to be found in the bread as if He were shut up in it. The outcome is that men look with amazement upon the bread, and give adoration to it as if it were Christ…. When they are going to give Christ their adoration, they turn in the direction of the bread…. What else is this, but pure idolatry!… Get rid of stupid notions which keep your eyes glued on the bread! Let Christ keep His flesh, which is real flesh; and do not hold the mistaken view that His body stretches all over heaven and earth!"
129. In commenting on First Corinthians 11:26f, Calvin remarks that "the Supper is…a kind of memorial…. We, on our part, may acknowledge it before men. That is why it is called the Eucharist. Therefore, in order that you may celebrate the Supper properly – you must bear in mind that you willhave to make profession of your faith…. How impudently they make a mockery of God, who boast that in the Mass they have something answering to the nature of the Supper! For what is the Mass? … It is packed full of detestable superstitions."
130. Finally, on First Corinthians 11:30f, Calvin comments: "Throughout the range of Popery, we see not only horrible desecrations of the Supper but also a profane and detestable thing set up in its place. (1) In the first place, it is prostituted to sordid gain and money-making. (2) It is a mutilated thing, because the cup had been taken away. (3) Its form has been quite changed…. (4) No explanation of the mystery is given in it, but…a murmuring which is more like the incantations of magicians or the horrible sacrifices of the Heathen than our Lord's institution. (5) There are countless ceremonies abounding…in superstition and…corruptions. (6) There is the devilish invention of sacrifice, which amounts to a wicked blasphemy against the death of Christ. (7) It is well designed for causing wretched men to become drunk with a carnal confidence…. (8) In it an idol [bread] is worshipped in the place of Christ…. In short, it is swarming with all sorts of abominations…. What resemblance has the Mass to the institution of Christ? But let us hear no more of such nonsense!"
131. In his Commentary on Hebrews (9:26), Calvin discusses the holy writer's remark that if Christ's death were not once and for all — 'He must often have suffered since the foundation of the world.' Here the genius of Geneva comments: "How frivolous is the distinction the sharpness of which pleases the Papists — when they say that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross was a bloody one but the sacrifice of the Mass which they pretend to offer every day to God, is bloodless! If such a subtle evasion were valid, the Spirit of God must be charged with inadvertence for not having thought of this – since the Apostle takes it for granted that there is no sacrifice without death…. It is an idea of the Devil that Christ is offered more often."
132. In his Commentary on Hebrews (10:1f), Calvin points out that repeated sacrifices are ipso facto either inadequate or superfluous or both – as indeed they were during the Old Testament. He comments: "This one thing is sufficient to refute the cleverness of the Papists, by which they seem to find an ingenious way round their absurdity in defending the sacrifice of the Mass. When they are faced with the objection that a repeated sacrifice is [either inadequate or] superfluous, since the force of that which Christ offered once and for all is eternal — they immediately make the excuse that it is not a different sacrifice that is made in the Mass but the same one…. What does the Apostle say to the contrary? He says that the sacrifice which is offered a second time, even though it be the same, is not effective or suitable for atonement. Though the Papists should shout a thousand times that the sacrifice which Christ made once and for all on the cross and which they themselves [say they] make today is not different, but one and the same – I shall still maintain from the Apostle's own mouth that if the sacrifice of Christ availed to please God, it not only put an end to other sacrifices but that it is impossible to repeat it [or to continue it]. From this it is clear that the offering of Christ in the Mass, is a sacrilege."
133. Calvin then continues: "The sacrifice of the Mass for the Papists, is that they imagine that in it the grace of the death of Christ is applied to us to take away our sins. But if the Apostle is right in concluding that the sacrifices of the Law were weak because they were repeated yearly to obtain pardon – by the same token we may conclude that the sacrifice of the death of Christ was weak, if it is to be offered daily for us to experience its power. Whatever be the pretences with which they colour their Mass – they can never escape the charge of dreadful blasphemy against Christ…. The sacrifices of the Law are repealed here not more completely than the invention of the Papists about the sacrifice of the Mass is refuted. They maintain that their Mass is a sacrifice for the atonement of the sins of the living and the dead. The Apostle says that there is now no place for sacrifice…. The Papists make the rejoinder that this is not something new or different from the sacrifice of Christ, but the same thing. The Apostle…maintains that the same sacrifice should not be repeated and…was not only unique but offered once and for all."
134. The genius of Geneva explains further: "The Papists have another evasion in calling their sacrifice bloodless. But the Apostle [in Hebrews 9:22] maintains without exception that death is necessary to make a sacrifice ['without the shedding of blood, there is no remission']. The Papists make excuses by saying that the Mass is the application of the one sacrifice which Christ made. But the Apostle on the other hand teaches that the sacrifices of the Law were abolished by the death of Christ because there was remembrance of sins in them. It is clear from this – that this kind of application which they invent, has disappeared…. Let the Papists turn to any formula they like. They cannot escape the fact that this present argument of the Apostle's makes it clear that their Mass abounds in all kinds of sacrilege."
135. How so? Calvin explains: "In the first place, by the testimony of the Apostle, Christ alone was suitable to offer Himself; in the Mass, He is offered by other hands. Second, the Apostle maintains that the sacrifice of Christ is not only unique but offered once and for all, so that it may not be repeated; in the Mass, however they may chatter about the sacrifice being the same, yet it appears to be made every day, and they themselves admit it. The Apostle acknowledges that there is no sacrifice without blood and death; they talk nonsense when they say that the sacrifice which they offer, is bloodless. When the Apostle is dealing with obtaining pardon for sins — he bids us take refuge in that one sacrifice which Christ offered on the cross; and he distingushes us from the [Old Testament] fathers by this mark, that the rite of continual sacrifice was done away with by the coming of Christ. They [the Romanists], on the other hand, require daily applications through sacrifice for the death of Christ to be efficacious for us."
136. In his 1537 Letter to his Friend Nicholas Chemin on Shunning the Unlawful Rites of the Ungodly and Preserving the Purity of the Christian Religion, Calvin observes: "Notwithstanding the abominations with which the Mass teems, you meet with very few who venture to absent themselves…. Let us consider then, for a little — what is implied when, in order not to seem to hold the majesty of the venerable Mass in contempt and derision, you present yourself during its performance and are seen standing like a worshipper among other worshippers…. I must refer my readers to my Institutes for an exposition of the different kinds of Sacrilege in the Mass…. Every believer should be aware that the mere name of Sacrifice (as the priests of the Mass understand it), both utterly abolishes the cross of Christ and overturns His sacred Supper…. Those who take any kind of share in the Mass, do nothing else than hold up their hand in approval of such conspiracy….
137. "There is a third point," Calvin goes on, "which…ought to impress pious minds. Viz. the abominable idolatry when bread is pretended to assume divinity…. It is believed to be God – a thing which even the Heathen never believed of any of their statues!… The will of the priestling has the weight of a 'heavenly decree' – so that whenever he determines to bring Christ down out of heaven, he makes Him instantly present by his nod…. Imagine a kind of magical power in the words of Christ which, only when articulately muttered, unfold their efficacy! By such absurdities, they [the Romanists] try to persuade us that they bring Christ out of the bread!…. The god whom the gesticulating priest keeps exhibiting whenever he turns round his altar – is not brought down from heaven, but is of the kind extracted from a cookshop!….
138. "Come now and consider with me," urges Calvin, "in regard to a pretended observance of the Mass – with what kind of conscience you can be present at the performance of its 'mysteries'! Immediately on your entrance, the 'altar' offers itself to your view…proclaiming, by its very name, that it is to be used for sacrificing! This itself assuredly is not free from blasphemy. You see the priest coming forward who boasts that…he has been appointed mediator between God and man who…arrogates it to himself and his fellow-slayers who dishonour His heavenly Supper by giving it the name of 'Mass' in which it is completely inverted and deformed…. When the impostor has gone up to the altar, he begins…with those magical mutterings by which he thinks himself or at least would have others to think – he is to call Christ down from heaven…. Your features…ought visibly to have expressed the utmost abhorrence!
139. "Will it still be denied to me that he who listens to the Mass with a semblance of religion, every time these acts are perpetrated – professes before men to be a partner in sacrilege, whatever his mind may inwardly declare to God? At last, behold the idol [viz. the Romish bread or 'host'] – puny indeed in bodily appearance, and white in colour, but by far the foulest and most pestiferous of all idols – lifted up to affect the minds of the beholders with superstition! While all prostrate themselves in stupid amazement, you – turning toward the idol with an expression of veneration – prostrate yourself also. What effrontery must ours be, if we deny that any one of the things delivered in Scripture against idolatry is applicable to the idolatry here detected and proved!….
140. "Taking the single expression which gives the essence of all the invectives which the Apostle had uttered against idolatry – that we could not at once be partakers at the Table of Christ and the table of demons [First Corinthians 10:21] – who can deny its applicability to the Mass? Its altar is erected by overthrowing the Table of Christ…. In the Mass, Christ is traduced; His death is mocked; an execrable idol is substituted for God. Shall we hesitate, then, to call it the table of demons?… I exceedingly wonder how men not utterly blind, can hesitate for a moment to apply the name ‘Table of demons’ to the Mass – seeing they plainly behold in the erection and the arrangement of it the tricks, engines and troops of devils [or demons] all combined…. At the Mass…, I have long been maintaining on the strongest grounds that Christian men ought not even to be present at it….
141. "Tell me, then, by what authority you presume to give the name of 'Supper' to a deformed thing stript of all the symbols of the Supper, and more resembling a play than a divine ordinance? I deny that there is any Lord's Supper — if all believers who are present have not a common invitation to its sacred feast; if the sacred symbols of the bread and the cup are not set before the Church and the promises as a seal of which it has been given are not explained; and the gift of life purchased for us by Jesus Christ is not preached…. Will you represent the Supper under the image of a diabolical Mass?…
142. "Aaron made a calf…and said in derision, 'These are your gods, O Israel, that brought you out of Egypt!' (Exodus 32:4)…. They did not deny that God was their Redeemer…. But they wished to see Him in the calf…, a calf as a kind of visible representative…. Jeroboam also made his calves (First Kings 12)…. So far from despising the true religion, he did not even disapprove of the sacred ceremonies which he was endeavouring to vitiate…. On bringing forward his calves, he did not advise the people to choose them and revolt from the true God…. Though the idea of worshipping a calf should have been utterly abhorrent from their thoughts, no man could be held guiltless who went up to sacrifice at Bethel [supposedly the ‘House of God’] – which the Word of God called Bethaven [the ‘House of Sin’]!….
143. "We forget how extremely sacrilegious it is to profane the holy name of God…. Away, then, with those who – on the view of a missal-god of wafer – bend their knees in hypocritical adoration…. They assemble at Mass — which they see provided with a long and varied apparatus of sacrilege. And they assemble with a multitude known to entertain a pernicious veneration for the Mass…. Are they not aware that the professed and sworn enemies of Christ and His Gospel exact this from them as a pledge of their having abjured true piety?… Consider it a thing altogether interdicted, to allow any man to see you communicating in the sacrilege of the Mass – or uncovering your head before an image or observing any form of superstition belonging to the class of those by which…the glory of God is obscured, His religion profaned, and His truth corrupted!"
144. In his 1539 Reply to Cardinal Sadoleto, Calvin stated: "In the case of the Eucharist, you blame us for attempting to confine the Lord of the universe and His divine and spiritual power…within the corners of a corporeal nature with its circumscribed boundaries…. We are unwilling with you to chain down His body to earthly elements. But had you any regard for sincerity, assuredly you are not ignorant how great a difference there is between…removing the local presence of Christ's body from bread and circumscribing His spiritual power within bodily limits…. Our doctrine…was always held by the Church…. Read Augustine's Epistle to Dardanus, where you will find how one and the same Christ more than fills heaven and earth with the vastness of His divinity, and yet is not everywhere diffused in respect of His humanity….
145. "That presence of Christ by which we are ingrafted in Him," continues Calvin, "we by no means exclude from the Supper nor shroud in darkness — though we hold that there must be no local limitation, so that the glorious body of Christ must not be degraded to earthly elements; so that there must be no fiction of transubstantiating the bread into Christ, and afterwards worshipping it as Christ…. In condemning your gross dogma ofTtransubstantiation, and declaring that stupid adoration…to be perverse and impious — we have not acted without the concurrence of the Ancient Church under whose shadow you endeavour in vain to hide the very vile superstitions to which you are here addicted….. We exclaim against the execrable traffic in Masses, and we complain that the Supper of the Lord, as to one of its halves, has been stolen from the Christian people!"
146. In Chapters 35 to 48 of his 1540 Short Treatise on the Lord's Supper, Calvin states: "The opinion that the Supper is a sacrifice, derogates from that of Christ and must therefore be condemned as devilish…. For to the Mass has been wholly transferred what was proper to the death of Christ – viz., to satisfy God for our sins, and so reconcile us to Him…. The second error which the devil has sown to corrupt this holy ordinance, is in forging and inventing that — after the words are pronounced with an intention to consecrate — the bread in transubstantiated into the body of Christ and the wine into His blood…. This falsehood has no foundation in Scripture, and no countenance from the Primitive Church and…cannot be reconciled…with the Word of God. When Jesus Christ, pointing to the bread, calls it his 'body' – is it not a very forced construction to say that the substance of the bread is annihilated and the body of Christ substituted in its stead?
147. "This Transubstantiation," explains Calvin, "is an invention forged by the Devil to corrupt the true nature of the Supper…. To fancy Jesus Christ enclosed under the bread and wine, or so to conjoin Him with it as to amuse our understanding there without looking up to heaven – is a diabolical reverie…. To prostrate ourselves before the bread of the Supper and worship Jesus Christ as if He were contained in it, is to make an idol rather than a Sacrament of it…. The Mass, which in the Popish Church is held to be the Supper, is…nothing but pure apishness and buffoonery. I call it apishness, because they there counterfeit the Lord's Supper without reason — just as an ape at random and without discernment imitates what he sees done…. Their consecration is only a species of sorcery, seeing that by muttering and gesticulating like sorcerers they think to constrain Jesus to come down into their hands. We thus see how the Mass, being thus arranged, is an evident profanation of the Supper of Christ."
148. In his 1542 Antidote against the [Romish] Faculty of Sacred Theology in Paris, Calvin jibes: "Understand, however, that should the Sacrament chance to be gnawed by worms or moths, or corrupted in any other way – in that case, the substance of bread must have returned miraculously…. But if what appears there, is only an empty appearance of bread and not the substance – the power and efficacy of the Sacrament are gone. In this way too the holy fathers spoke. Irenaeus (III:18), as that which is bread…. The Council of Nicea is as follows: 'Let us not be grovellingly intent on the bread and the cup set before us, but with a mind elevated by faith let us at that holy table contemplate the Lamb of God!' Cyprian (Epistle 75), when the Lord gives the name of His body to bread…. So also Fulgentius [to Mony.] calls it the Sacrament of the bread."
149. In his 1542 Manner of Celebrating the Lord's Supper, Calvin writes that "the Ministers distribute the bread and the cup to the people…. Because the Mass has been long in such esteem that the poor people seemed disposed to think that it was the principal part of Christianity, it has been thought very strange in us to have abolished it…. But when they have well considered our practice, they will find that we have restored it to its integrity. Let them consider what conformity there is between the Mass and the institution of Jesus Christ! It is clear that there is just as much, as there is between day and night.
150. So too, in Calvin's 1542 Brief Form of a Confession of Faith. There, he insists: "I detest as intolerable sacrilege the execrable abomination of the Mass, useful for no one purpose but to overturn whatever Christ has left us – in that it is said to be a sacrifice for the living and the dead, and also in all the other things which are diametrically opposed to the purity of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper."
151. In his 1544 address The Necessity of Reforming the Church, Calvin asks: "What resemblance is there between the Mass and the true Supper of our Lord? While the command of Christ enjoins believers to communicate with each other in the sacred symbols of His body and blood, the thing seen at Mass ought more properly to be termed 'excommunion'…. This is indeed a grievous evil…. The consecration, both of Baptism and of the Mass [by Romanists], differs in no respect whatever from magical incantations. For by breathings and whisperings and unintelligible sounds, they think they work mysteries…. The Holy Supper of our Lord was not only corrupted, but nearly abolished. Wherefore, it was the more necessary for us to labour in restoring its purity. First, it was necessary to eradicate from the minds of men that impious fiction of sacrifice…. We have therefore abrogated that fictitious immolation, and restored communion….
152. "In condemning the fiction of Transubstantiation," continues Calvin, "we were impelled by a stronger necessity. First, it is repugnant to the plain words of Christ; and secondly, it is abhorrent to the very nature of a Sacrament. For there is no Sacrament where there is no visible symbol to correspond to the spiritual truth which it represents…. Where is the analogy or similitude of a visible sign in the Supper to correspond to the body and blood of our Lord, if it is neither bread that we eat nor wine that we drink but only some empty phantom that mocks the eye? Add that to this fiction, a worse superstition perpetually adheres – viz. that men cling to that bread as if to God, and worship it as God…. They taught that the Mass was a sacrifice by which the sins not only of the living but also of the dead were expiated…. How deeply too is the Sacrament polluted when, instead of the open preaching of the Word which constitutes its legitimate consecration, a charm is wrought with the bread by means of whiffs and whispers…. What delirium to fancy that by their exercises, the substance of bread is transmuted into Christ! How shameful to see a trade in Masses plied as unblushingly as a trade in shoes! For if it is true, as they say, that the thing they vend is the merit of Christ's death – the insult which they offer to Christ is not less gross than if they spat in His face."
153. In Calvin's 1547f Antidote to the Acts of the Council of Trent, he insists: "We loudly maintain that the sacrifice of the Mass is nothing else than an impious profanation of the Lord's Supper. This we make plain by the clear words of our Lord. For in instituting the sacred Supper, He does not enjoin us to sacrifice but invites us to partake of the sacrifice which He Himself once offered…. What resemblance is there between the observance which corresponds to our Lord's command — and the Papal Mass, in which they pretend that Christ offers Himself to the Father to expiate the sins of the world by the sacrifice of Himself, and…also to obtain redemption for the dead?"
154. In Calvin's 1547f True Method of Giving Peace and of Reforming the Church, he affirms: "The ritual of the Mass and all the impious worship of this description, they make perfectly 'pure'…merely by giving them the name of 'Traditions'…. They bring back the fiction of Transubstantiation, against which all are forced to protest who are unwilling that the true use of the Supper should be lost to them…. It is therefore necessary that the bread and wine be held forth to us, so that from them we may learn what Christ sets before us in figure. But if [as Romanists allege] the bread which we see is an empty show — what will it attest to us, but an empty shadow of the flesh of Christ? They pretend that there is only an appearance of bread, which deceives the eye. How far will this phantom carry us?…
155. "In addition to the clear testimony of Scripture," continues Calvin, "we have the consent of the Primitive Church. Nothing is more certain than that this dream [of Transubstantiation], which did not come into the mind of any man for more than six hundred years, suddenly emerged like a kind of abortion from brawling sophists…. Several years afterwards passed away – during which barbarism increased, and…a purer religion became obsolete…. Christ orders us to take and eat bread…. We cannot lawfully depart from the exact words of Christ…. Let them then produce one syllable in evidence of this alleged transmutation [viz. Transubstantiation]. Not one can be found. Nothing then can be more futile than the calumny by which they bring us into contest with the power of Christ…. Without enumerating the endless absurdities or rather monstrous errors which this Transubstantiation has produced — who that is at all pious and instructed in the school of Christ, does not detest it?"
156. Calvin goes on: "Though we may deem [Transubstantiation and thus the] preposterous adoration of Christ a light fault, it will not cease to be regarded by God and angels as execrable sacrilege…. I certainly admit that Christ is to be worshipped wherever we are; and in the Supper, where He offers Himself to be enjoyed by us, He cannot duly be received unless He be adored. But the question is whether our adoration is to look upwards, or downwards? … Whoever heard that the pot of manna which was reserved, was worshipped by the pious? Nay, though the Jews were carried with a kind of frantic impetus to all kinds of idolatry – none of them ever thought of such a thing. What if, during the eating, any part of the 'body of Christ' should have fallen or been trampled upon? What when more than the proper quantity had been collected and it became putrid? Did the 'body of Christ' become tainted? Should anyone have employed that 'water' in washing away impurities — would the 'blood of Christ' have been soiled?" Of course not!
157. Yet Romish priests, continues Calvin, "insist that after consecration the body of Christ always remains independently of its use in the Supper…. It is certainly probably that, when our Lord celebrated the first Supper with the Apostles, some fragment of the bread remained over…. When one loaf was broken in the Primitive Church, will they [the Romanists] say that the remains were set aside in a cupboard? No. They [in the Primitive Church] had not yet learned the 'new wisdom [sic] which feigns that the bread is changed by magical incantation!"
158. In heads 21 to 26 of his 1549 Consensus Tigurinus alias Mutual Consent of the Churches of Zurich and Geneva as to the Sacraments, Calvin argues: "We must guard particularly against the idea of any local presence…. It is a perverse and impious superstition to enclose Him under the elements of this world…. In this way are refuted not only the fiction of the Papists concerning transubstantiation, but all the gross figments and futile quibbles which either derogate from His celestial glory or are in some degree repugnant to the reality of His human nature…. Christ is to be sought in heaven…. If it is not lawful to affix Christ in our imagination to the bread and the wine, much less is it lawful to worship Him in the bread…. Those who turn their minds towards it, with the view of worshipping Christ, make an idol of it."
159. The above was published in 1551, agreed upon between Calvin and Bullinger, and expanded with a 1554 Exposition of the Heads of Agreement. There they affirmed: "We laid down the definition that what we say of the partaking of Christ's flesh, must not be understood as if any commingling or transfusion of substance took place, but that we draw life from the flesh once offered in sacrifice…. They think intolerable in us to deny that Christ is placed under the bread, or coupled with the bread. What then? Will they pull Him down from His throne, so that He may lie enclosed in a little bit of bread?!"
160. In the last (1559) edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion (IV:17:14-20 & 40), Calvin states that "the first architects of [transubstantiationistic] local presence could not explain how the body of Christ could be mixed with the substance of bread without forthwith meeting with many absurdities…. It is strange that they [the Transubstantiationists] have fallen into such a degree of ignorance…as to produce this monstrous fiction not only against Scripture but also against the consent of the Ancient Church. I admit indeed that some of the ancients occasionally used the term 'conversion' — not that they meant to do away with the substance in the external signs, but to teach that the bread devoted to the Sacrament was widely different from ordinary bread…. [But] there is no Early Christian Writer who does not admit in distinct terms that the sacred symbols of the Supper are bread and wine….
161. "In the age of Bernard" (A.D. circa 1150), explains Calvin, "Transubstantiation was not yet recognized. And in all previous ages, the similitude in the mouths of all was that a spiritual reality was conjoined with bread and wine in this Sacrament. They [the Transubstantiationists] think they answer acutely…. The rod of Moses (they say), when turned into a serpent — though it acquires the name of a serpent, still retains its former name and is called a rod…. Thus, according to them, it is equally probable that though the bread passes into a new substance [flesh], it is still called…not inaptly what it still appears to the eye to be [viz. bread]. But what resemblance…do they find between an illustrious miracle [of Moses] — and their fictitious illusion of which no eye on the earth is witness?… That conversion [of Moses], was visible to the eye…. It has no reference to the case in hand [of alleged Transubstantiation of bread into flesh]…. What resemblance is there between that…and the following: 'The bread which we break' and 'As often as you eat this bread' and 'they communicated in the breaking of bread' and so forth?" First Corinthians 10:16 & 11:26 and Acts 2:42.
162. "The presence of Christ in the Supper," argues Calvin, "we must hold to be such as neither affixes Him to the element of bread, nor encloses Him in bread, nor circumscribes Him in any way. This would obviously detract from His celestial glory…. Let no property be assigned to His body, inconsistent with His human nature! This is done when it is either said to be infinite, or made to occupy a variety of places at the same time…. Three Evangelists and Paul relate that our Saviour took bread, and after giving thanks broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying 'Take, eat; this is My body!'…. The advocates of Transubstantiation insist that by the pronoun 'this' is denoted the [mere] appearance of bread…and there is no substance" of bread any longer. "What Christ takes into His hands…He declares to be His body; but He had taken bread, and therefore who sees not that what is given [to the Disciples by Him] is still bread?… It is intolerable blasphemy to affirm, without figure, about a fading and corruptible element [like bread] — that it is Christ…. As Paul says, 'Whosoever shall eatof this bread…unworthily, shall be guilty' [etc.]. First Corinthians 11:27-29."
163. In Institutes IV:18:1-10, Calvin states: "I am here combatting that opinion with which the Roman Antichrist and his prophets have imbued the whole world — viz. that the Mass is a work by which the priest who offers Christ and the others who in the oblation receive Him, gain merit with God — or that it is an expiatory victim by which they regain the favour of God…. This Mass, however glossed and splendid, offers the greatest insult to Christ…. Melchizedek gave bread and wine [and not flesh and blood] to Abraham and his companions [Genesis 14:18]….
164. The cross of Christ is overthrown, the moment an altar is erected…. There is no more offering for sin [Hebrews 9:11-23 & 10:14-16]…. The Apostle, during his whole discourse, contends not only that there are no other sacrifices but that this one was offered once [and for all], and is no more to be repeated…. Christ did not offer Himself once, with the view that His sacrifice should be ratified by new oblations daily — but so that by the preaching of the Gospel and the dispensing of the sacred Supper the benefit of it should be communicated to us. Thus Paul says that 'Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us,' and bids us 'keep the Feast' (First Corinthians 5:7-8).
165. "If Christ were [to be] sacrificed at each Mass," explains Calvin, "He must cruelly be slain every moment in a thousand places. This is not my argument, but the Apostle's: 'Nor yet that He should offer Himself often'; 'for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world' (Hebrews 9:25f)… Though they [the Roman theologians] insist a hundred times that this sacrifice is bloodless (anaimakton), I will reply that it depends not on the will of man to change the nature of sacrifice. For in that way, the sacred and inviolable institution of God would fall. Hence it follows, that the principle of the Apostle stands firm: 'without shedding of blood is no remission' (Hebrews 9:22).
166. "The origin of the name of Mass…it seems probable…was derived from the offerings which were collected…. Private masses are diametically opposed to the institution of Christ…. This perverse course was unknown to the purer Church. For however the more impudent among our opponents may attempt to gloss the matter, it is absolutely certain that all antiquity is opposed to them…. Augustine himself in several passages [Epistle 120]…explains that it is nothing else than a sacrifice of praise…. Chrysostom speaks to the same effect. They so strongly claim the honour of the priesthood for Christ alone — that Augustine [Against Parmenian II:8] declares it would be equivalent to Antichrist for anyone to make a bishop to be an intercessor between God and man."
167. In chapters 27 & 29 & 35 of Calvin's 1562 Confession of Faith in Name of the Reformed Churches of France, he writes: "In the Supper, we are constrained to show how it differs from the Mass. For we cannot conceal that there is nothing common or conformable between them, or even approaching to resemblance. We are not ignorant that this acknowledgment is odious to many persons — in respect that the Mass is in high reverence and esteem; and, in fact we were no less devoted to it than others, until we were shown its abuses…. Scripture teaches that our Lord Jesus Christ by one only sacrifice purchased perpetual redemption for us…. For others to offer, is blasphemously to derogate from His dignity."
168. Dr. John Calvin continues: "We reject…the common reverie in regard to what is called Transubstantiation…. To say that the bread is changed and becomes no more than a form without substance, is repugnant to the nature of the Sacrament — in which it is shown that as we are supported on bread and wine, so our souls are nourished with the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ…. The bread and the wine remain as the sign and the pledge to testify to us that the flesh of Jesus Christ is our heavenly bread, and His blood our true drink. In the second place, to imagine that we swallow the body of Jesus Christ and that it passes into us as material bread, is a thing which cannot be received by Christians — and is altogether at variance with the reverence with which we ought to regard the sacred union which we have with the Son of God."
169. The1557 Hungarian Confession declares: "From the Word of God we deny papist Transubstantiation. We also totally reject the corporeal and bloody eating of flesh…., or that the body of Christ against the rule of faith and nature is enclosed in the bread…. For the Confession of Faith and Scripture teach that the body of Christ has gone to heaven…. It is impossible and against nature [to teach] that the enclosed is bigger than that which encloses it; that what is in a place, is bigger than that place; that plants and trees and animals are even bigger than the earth and its circuit which enclose them; and that the communion bread contains the entire body of Christ…. Thus Christ too…gave the Apostles bread — and not His body, which He sacrificed for us on the next day….
170. "We condemn the delusion of the Papists…. We also reject their nonsensical assertion that flesh is eaten…. These cannibals and carrion-eaters are crazy, when they dream that one indeed sees bread, and that this bread does not change into flesh, but that the body of Christ is truly and essentially received in one's corporeal mouth when one eats that bread…. For the water at the wedding could not, without ceasing to look like water, have become wine and been called wine. John 2…. We believe that Christ is omnipresent for His elect — as the Son of God, Jehovah, the Only-begotten of the Father…. This Son of God, as God, is also mystically and spiritually in the Word…. However, He as man in all respects became like His brothers…. He is not [now], in the flesh, locally present — as He was in the womb of His mother; in Judea; or in the grave. For He has bodily gone to heaven…. He is not here, and must remain in heaven until judgment day. Acts 3."
171. In Calvin's and Chandieu's 1559 French Confession of Faith (36): "We confess that the Lord's Supper…is a witness of the union which we have with Christ, inasmuch as He not only died and rose again for us once, but also feeds and nourishes us truly with His flesh and blood, so that we may be one in Him, and so that our life may be in common. Although He be in heaven until He come to judge all the earth, still we believe that by the secret and incomprehensive power of His Spirit He feeds and strengthens us with the substance of His body and of His blood. We hold that this is done spiritually…because the greatness of this mystery exceeds the measure of our sense and the laws of nature. In short, because it is heavenly, it can only be apprehended by faith."
172. In John Knox's 1560 (First Scots) Confession of the Faith and Doctrine believed and professed by the Protestants of Scotland (21 & 22), it is asserted "that in the Supper rightly used, Christ Jesus is so joined with us that He becomes very nourishment and food of our souls (First Corinthians 10:16; Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:27). Not that we imagine any Transubstantiation of bread into Christ's body and of wine into His natural blood, as the Papists have perniciously taught and damnably believed. But this union and conjunction which we have with the body and blood of Christ Jesus in the right use of the Sacraments, [is] wrought by operation of the Holy Ghost — Who by true faith carries us above all things that are visible…and makes us to feed upon the body and blood of Christ Jesus which was once broken and shed for us, which now is in heaven and appears in the presence of His Father for us (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:51; Acts 1:11 & 3:21)….
172. "We flee the doctrine of the Papistical Kirk, in participation of their sacraments…. For Christ Jesus said: 'Take, eat, &c., do this in remembrance of Me' (Matthew 26:26; Mark 16:22; Luke 22:19; First Corinthians 11:24). By which words and charge He sanctified bread and wine to the Sacrament of His holy body and blood, to the end that the one should be eaten and that all should drink of the other — and not that they should be kept to be worshipped and honoured as God, as the Papists have done heretofore…. To what end, and in what opinion the priests say their Mass — let the words of the same, their own doctors and writings, witness. To wit, that they, as mediators betwixt Christ and His Kirk, do offer unto God the Father a sacrifice propitiatory for the sins of the living and the dead. Which doctrine, as blasphemous to Christ Jesus, and making derogation to the sufficiency of His only sacrifice once offered for purgation of all they that shall be sanctified (Hebrews 9:27f & 10:14) — we utterly abhor, detest and renounce."
173. In chapters II 2nd 4 & III 3rd 1-3 of the1560 First Scottish Book of Discipline of the "six Johns" — John Winram, John Spottiswoode, John Willock, John Douglasse, John Row, and John Knox — one reads: "The table of the Lord is then most rightly ministered, when it approaches most near to Christ's Own action… As touching the damnable error of the Papists who dare defraud the common people of the one part of the Holy Sacrament — to wit, of the cup of the Lord's blood — we suppose their error to be so manifest that it needs no confutation….
174. "We require Christ Jesus to be truly preached, and His holy Sacraments rightly ministered. So [we] cannot cease to require idolatry, with all monuments and places of the same…, to be utterly suppressed — in all bounds and places of this realm…. Where idolatry is maintained or permitted where it may be suppressed…, there shall God's wrath reign not only upon the blind and obstinate idolaters but also the negligent sufferers…. Especially if God have armed their hands with power to suppress such abomination. By idolatry, we understand the Mass."
175. Article 35 of the 1562 Belgic Confession declares: "For the support of the spiritual and heavenly life which believers have, He has sent a Living Bread which descended from heaven, namely Jesus Christ Who nourishes and strengthens the spiritual life of believers when…they apply and receive Him by faith in the Spirit. Christ, so that He might represent to us this spiritual and heavenly Bread, has instituted an earthly and visible bread as a Sacrament of His body and wine as a Sacrament of His blood — to testify by them to us that, as certainly as we receive and hold this Sacrament in our hands and eat and drink the same with our mouths, by which our life is afterwards nourished, we also do as certainly receive by faith (which is the hand and mouth of our soul) the true body and blood of Christ our only Saviour in our souls, for the support of our spiritual life….
176. "We err not when we say that what is eaten and drunk by us, is the proper and natural body and the proper blood of Christ. But the manner of our partaking of the same is not by the mouth but by the Spirit through faith. Thus, then, though Christ always sits at the right hand of His Father in the heavens — yet does He not therefore cease to make us partakers of Himself by faith…. We reject all mixtures and damnable inventions which men have added unto and blended with the Sacraments, as profanations of them."
177. In Article 28 of the 1563f Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England, one reads: "The Supper of the Lord is…a Sacrament of our redemption by Christ's death. Insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ…. 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, overthrows the nature of a Sacrament, and has given occasion to many superstitions. The body of Christ is given, taken and eaten in the Supper only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper, is faith."
178. The 1562 Heidelberg Catechism (Question & Answer 75) states that Christ's "body was offered and broken on the cross for me and His blood shed for me as certainly as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup communicated to me…. With His crucified body and shed blood, He Himself feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life as certainly as I receive from the hand of the Minister and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord which are given me as certain tokens of the body and blood of Christ. Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; First Corinthians 10:16 and 11:23-25."
179. Question 78 asks: "Do, then, the bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ?" And Answer 78 responds: "No! First Corinthians 10:1-4; First Peter 3:21; John 6:35,62,63. But as the water in Baptism is not changed into the blood of Christ nor becomes the washing away of sins itself, being only the divine token and assurance thereof — so also in the Lord's Supper the sacred bread does not become the body of Christ itself. First Corinthians 16 etc.and 11:20 etc. Though agreeably to the nature and usage of Sacraments it is called the body of Christ."
180. The Heidelberger then asks (Q. 80): "What difference is there between the Lord's Supper and the Popish Mass?" It then answers: "The Lord's Supper testifies to us that we have full forgiveness of all our sins by the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ which He Himself has once [and for all] accomplished on the cross, and that by the Holy Ghost we are ingrafted into Christ Who with His true body is now in heaven at the right hand of the Father and is there to be worshipped. But the Mass teaches that the living and the dead have not forgiveness of sins through the sufferings of Christ unless Christ is still daily offered for them by the priests and that Christ is bodily under the form of bread and wine and is therefore to be worshipped in them. And thus the Mass at bottom is nothing else than a denial of the one sacrifice and passion of Jesus Christ and an accursed idolatry. Hebrews 7:27 & 9:12,26; Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:19-20; Second Corinthians 5:21; First Corinthians 6:17 & 12:13; Hebrews 1:3 & 8:1 etc.; Colossians 3:1; Philippians 3:20; Luke 24:52-53; Acts 7:55; 2nd Council of Trent Session 13:15; Isaiah 1:11,14; Matthew 15:9; Colossians 2:22-23; Jeremiah 2:13."
181. In chapter 21 of Bullinger's 1566 Second Swiss Confession, we read: "As the flesh of Christ could not be eaten bodily without great wickedness and cruelty, so is it not food for the body…. We therefore disallow that canon in the Pope's decrees, Ego Berengarius (De Consecratione Dist. 2).
For neither did godly antiquity believe, neither yet do we believe, that the body of Christ can be eaten corporeally and essentially with a bodily mouth. There is also a spiritual eating of Christ's body…. To which purpose that sentence of St. Augustine does happily belong, 'Why do you prepare your teeth and belly? Believe, and you have eaten!'…. It is therefore very requisite that, purposing to come to the Supper of the Lord, we do examine ourselves, according to the commandment of the Apostle…with what faith we are indued….
182. "We say freely, that the Mass which is now used throughout the Roman Church is quite abolished out of our churches for many and just causes…. We could not approve of it, because they have changed a most wholesome action into a vain spectacle. Also because the Mass is made a meritorious matter, and is said for money. Likewise, because in it the priest is said to make the very body of the Lord, and to offer the same really, even for the remission of the sins of the living and the dead. Add this also — that they do it for the honour, worship and reverence of the saints in heaven (and for the relief of souls in purgatory) etc."
183. John Craig's 1580 Second Scots Confession states that "we detest and refuse the usurped authority of that Roman Antichrist upon the Scriptures of God…[for] his devilish Mass…. [We] do condemn…the idolatry of the Mass."
184. The Classic Lutherans (Andreae & Chemnitz& Osiander & Selnecker) state in their 1580 Formula of Concord (art. VII): "We reject and condemn…the papistical Transubstantiation when, to wit, in the Papal Church it is taught that the bread and wine in the holy Supper lose their substance and natural essence and are thus annihilated and those elements so transmuted into the body of Christ that except the outward species nothing remains of them….. We reject the papistical sacrifice of the Mass, which is offered for the sins of the living and the dead."
185. Articles 79-80 and 83-99 of Rev. Professor Dr. James Ussher's 1615 Irish Articles of Religion specify: "The power which the Bishop of Rome now challeges to be supreme head of the universal Church of Christ and to be above all emperors, kings and princes — is a usurped power, contrary to the Scriptures and Word of God and contrary to the example of the Primitive Church…. The Bishop of Rome is so far from being the supreme head of the universal Church of Christ, that his works and doctrine do plainly uncover him to be 'that man of sin' foretold in the Holy Scriptures 'whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His Mouth' [Second Thessalonians 2:3-8f]….
186. "The change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of the body and blood of Christ commonly called Transubstantiation cannot be proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to plain testimonies of the Scripture, overthrows the nature of a Sacrament, and has given occasion to most gross idolatry and manifold superstitions…. The wicked, and such as want a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly (as St. Augustine speaks) press with their teeth the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they made partakers of Christ; but rather to their condemnation do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament of so great a thing…. The sacrifice of the Mass, wherein the priest is said to offer up Christ for obtaining the remission of pain or guilt for the living and the dead, is neither agreeable to Christ's ordinance nor grounded upon doctrine apostolic; but contrariwise most ungodly and most injurious to that all-sufficient sacrifice of our Saviour Christ, offered once forever upon the cross, which is the only propitiation…for all our sins."
187. In its chapters 6 to 8, the 1645 Polish Confession of Faith alias the Thorn Declaration insists that the Sacraments "do not work or impart grace by their mere action [ex opere operato], without a good intention in those who use them — but through the power of the promise, which needs to be received with true faith…. Through the sign and the Word, only those who are truly believers indeed partake of the thus-offered goods…. Christ Himself nourishes us through the symbols of bread and wine sanctified by the outward power of His Word which He gives us to eat and to drink of corporally and visibly as spiritual food and drink unto everlasting life — in remembrance of His sacrifice and of His body donated and His blood shed for us, by way of the sacramental union…. In that same sense the ancients said, and we with them, that also earthly bread and wine are called body and blood — not, indeed, essentially or corporeally, but sacramentally and mysteriously… and by the faithful appropriation of the true and actual atoning sacrifice once and for all completed on the cross….
188. "We do not accept Transubstantiation, whereby the groundstuffs of bread and wine [are deemed to] forfeit their essence and [are deemed] actually to be changed into the body of Christ. Nor in- nor con-substantiation; nor a local and corporeal presence. Nor any union of the elements with the body of Christ whereby the latter is eaten by unbelievers and by the ungodly as well as by believers…. Nor any worship in or through the elements, of Christ Who gloriously reigns at the right hand of the Father… We positively do not deny the true presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Supper, but only the spatial and corporeal type of presence actually united to the elements. We sacredly believe in His presence with us…worked by the Spirit…. 'That which the teeth chew, is enjoyed only corporally; but the soul enjoys that which it grasps in faith.' "
189. The true presence of our Saviour in the Lord's Supper, then, is aptly professed in the 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith (29:2): "In this Sacrament, Christ is not offered up to His Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sins of the quick or dead (Hebrews 9:22f); but only a commemoration of that one offering up of Himself, by Himself, upon the cross, once for all, and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same (First Corinthians 11:24-27). So that the Popish sacrifice of the Mass — as they call it — is most abominably injurious to Christ's one only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect (Hebrews 7:23-27 & 10:11-18).'
190. Westminster also says (29:6): "That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of Christ's body and blood (commonly called Transubstantiation) by consecration of a priest or by any other way isrepugnant not to Scripturealone but even to common sense and reason; overthroweth the nature of the Sacrament; and hath been and is the cause of manifold superstitions, yea of gross idolatries. Acts 3:21; First Corinthians 1:24f ; Luke 24:6,39).
191. The words of the Westminster Confession (29:7) aptly summarize the eucharistical teachings of the Holy Scriptures as well of the Ante-Nicene Church: "Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible element in this Sacrament (First Corinthians 11:26f), do then also inwardly by faith really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally but Spirit-ually, receive and feed upon Christcrucified and all benefits of His death: the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet as really but Spirit-ually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses (First Corinthians 10:16).'
192. In the Westminster Larger Catechism (QQ. & AA. 108 & 109) : "The duties required in the second commandment are…the reading, preaching and hearing of the Word; the administration and receiving of the Sacraments (First Corinthians 11:23-30)…and calling [and] removing…all monuments of idolatry (Deuteronomy 7:5& Isaiah 30:22)…. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are all devising…and any wise approving any religion worship not instituted by God Himself (Deuteronomy 12:30-32); tolerating a false religion (Deuteronomy 13:6-12 & Zechariah 13:2-3 and Revelation 2:2,14,15,20 & 17:12.16.17); the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three Persons, either inwardly in our mind or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever (Deuteronomy 4:15-19 & Acts 17:29 & Romans 1:21-23); all worshipping of it (Daniel 3:18 & Galatians 4:8) or God in it or by it (Exodus 32:5)…[and] all superstitious devices (Acts 17:22 & Colossians 2:21-23)."
193. In the Westminster Larger Catechism (QQ. & AA. 110 & 112f) : "The reasons annexed to the second commandment the more to enforce it…are besides God's sovereignty over us and propriety in us, His fervent zeal for His Own worship (Exodus 34:13f); and His revengeful indignation against all false worship as being a spiritual whoredom (First Corinthians 10:20-22 & Jeremiah 7:18-20 & Ezekiel 16:26f & Deuteronomy 32:16-20)…. The third commandment requires that the Name of God, His…ordinances, the Word, [and] Sacraments (First Corinthians 11:24-29)…be holily and reverently used…. The sins forbidden in the third commandment are…superstitious…using His…ordinances [or] abusing it…[un]to charms (Deuteronomy 18:10-14 & Acts 19:13)."
194. "The Lord's Supper," continues the Westminster Larger Catechism (QQ. & AA. 168 to 173& 174), "is a Sacrament of the New Testament wherein by giving and receiving bread and wine according to the appointment of Jesus Christ, His death is showed forth… They that worthily communicate, feed upon His body and blood to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace (First Corinthians 11:23-26); have their union and communion with Him confirmed (First Corinthians 10:15); testify and renew their thankfulness (First Corinthians 11:24) and engagement to God (First Corinthians 10-14-21); and their mutual love and fellowship each with other as members of the same mystical body (First Corinthians 10:17).
195. "Christ has appointed the Ministers of His Word in the administration of this Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, to set apart the bread and wine from common use, by the word of institution, thanksgiving and prayer; to take and break the bread, and to give both the bread and the wine to the Communicants who are by the same appointment to take and eat the bread and to drink the wine in thankful remembrance that the body of Christ was broken and given and His blood shed for them. First Corinthians 11:23f ; Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19f. The body and blood of Christ are not corporally or carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper (Acts 3:21); and yet are spiritually present to the faith of the receiver no less truly and really than the elements themselves are to their outward senses (Matthew 26:26-28)…. They that worthily communicate in the Sacrament…do therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ…in a spiritual manner — yet truly and really, while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves Christ crucified and all the benefits of His death (First Corinthians 11:24-29).
196. "They that receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by examining themselves (First Corinthians11:28) of their being in Christ (Second Corinthians 13:5), of their sins and wants, of the truth and measure of their knowledge, faith [and] repentance…by serious meditation…. Such as are found to be ignorant or scandalous, notwithstanding their profession of the faith and desire to come to the Lord's Supper, may and ought to be kept from that Sacrament by the power which Christ has left in His Church until they receive instruction and manifesttheir reformation (Second Corinthians 2:7)."
197. The Westminster Shorter Catechism in its QQ. & AA. 96-97 states: "The Lord's Supper is a Sacrament wherein, by givingand receiving [both] bread and wine according to Christ's appointment, His death is shewed forth…. The worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner but by faith made partakers of His body and blood with all His benefits to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. First Corinthians 11:23-26 & 10:26…. It is required to them that would worthily partake of the Lord's Supper that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord's body (First Corinthians 11:28f), of their faith to feed upon Him (Second Corinthians 13:5), [and] of their repentance, love, and new obedience — lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgment to themselves. First Corinthians 5:7f &10:16f & 11:28-31."
198. Certainly the inspired passage John 6:32f itself is quite at variance with the uninspired comment on it volunteered by the 1660 A.D. paedocommunionistic scholar Metrophanes Critopulus Hieromonachus (of the Greek Orthodox Church). In chapter 9 of his Greek Confession, he discusses the Lord's Supper. There, he declares that "even infants (breph) themselves are partakers, beginning immediately upon their Baptism, and afterwards as often as the parent will…. John 6:53…. We [Greek Orthodox] use this saying…: ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you!’ John 6:54. If our [Protestant] adversary be no Anabaptist — we will use the same arguments against him which he uses for infants against the Anabaptists. Hence, it follows that "infants…ought to be baptized; so also to be made partakers of the Lord's Supper."
199. However, the 1677 antipaedocommunionistic and Reformed theologian Dr. Herman Witsius disagrees. He rightly responds that "all the words of our Lord's command (with respect to this Sacrament) are so expressed that they cannot belong to infants…. For 'babes are fed with milk, and not with meat.' First Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:12. Infants cannot examine themselves, nor discern the Lord's body [First Corinthians 11:27-29]…. Our Lord, [in] John 6:53, is not treating of a sacramental but of a spiritual and mystical eating by faith. For neither was the Eucharist then instituted or known; nor will anyone readily urge such an absolute necessity for the Eucharist, as that without it none can be saved" — especially as regards infants before their birth! Cf. John 6:6,10f,35.
"By the same faith, also the flesh [of Christ, but not the flesh of the Passover lamb itself,] is to be 'eaten"' — even before one's birth (Luke 1:36-44). "Why hast thou teeth…? Is it not to eat?" Meantime, even before one's teeth develop: "Believe — and thou hast 'eaten' !" For "this [toothless or spiritual] 'eating' is absolutely necessary to salvation. John 6:53. 'Verily, verily, I say unto you: Except you 'eat' the flesh of the Son of man — you have no life in you!'"
200. Yet, the actual flesh or meat of a passover lamb — can only be eaten long after one's birth. Teeth are needed with which to eat the meat of such a lamb. Indeed, one's permanent teeth — together with one's "wisdomteeth" — only completely develop at adolescence. 'Eating' the flesh of Christ, however — in a Spirit-ual way — can be done even before one's birth. Luke 1:15f,41-44; Psalm139:7-16; Jeremiah 1:5; First Corinthians 7:14. To 'eat' the body of Christ in John 6:53, therefore means: to believe in Him (and not to eat His flesh like a cannibal). In any case: this John 6:52f prelude to the next annual Passover (cf. John 6:4f), had nothing to do with the Lord's Supper as such. For the latter had not yet even been instituted. Indeed, it would only be inaugurated fully two years after the events of John chapter six.
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Let all then heed Jesus! He said: "The hour is coming, and is now, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit…. God is Spirit; and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit…. It is the Spirit Who enlivens. The flesh profits nothing. The words which I spoke to you, they are Spirit!" John 4:23f & 6:63 As Rev. Professor Dr. Herman Bavinck declared: "John 6:53 refers not to a sacramental eating, but to the spiritual and mystical eating of faith."