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not their reason also? or is it nothing so certain to the understanding, as any thing is to the eye? If, therefore, it be unreasonable to say, that the accidents of bread are changed against our sense, so it will be unreasonable to say, that the substance is changed against our reason; not but that God can, and does often change one substance into another, and it is done in every natural production of a substantial form; but that we say it is unreasonable, that this should be changed into flesh, not to flesh simply, for so it is when we eat it;— nor into Christ's flesh simply, for so it might have been, if he had, as it is probable he did, eaten the sacrament himself,—but into that body of Christ, which is in heaven; he remaining there, and being whole and impassible, and unfrangible, this, we say, is unreasonable and impossible: and that is now to be proved.

6. Secondly; In this question, when our adversaries are to cozen any of the people, they tell them, the protestants deny God's omnipotency,- for so they are pleased to call our denying their dreams: and this device of theirs to escape is older than their doctrine of transubstantiation; for it was the trick of the Manichees, the Eutychians, the Apollinarists, the Arians, when they were confuted by the arguments of the catholics, to fly to God's omnipotency; άnò Tоútwv éžeigyóμενοι λογισμῶν καταφεύγουσι ἐπὶ τὸ δυνατὸν εἶναι Θεῷ, says Nazianzen, and it was very usually by the fathers called the sanctuary of heretics: "Potentia (inquiunt) ei hæc est, ut falsa sint vera: mendacis est, ut falsum dicat verum, quod Deo non competit," saith St. Austin: "They pretend it to belong to God's power to verify their doctrine, that is, to make falsehood truth; that is not power, but a lie, which cannot be in God:" and this was older than the Arians; it was the trick of the old tragedians; so Plato told them; Teidάv TI άπogãσIV, ἐπὶ τὰς μηχανὰς καταφεύγουσι, θεοὺς αἴροντες: which Cicero rendering, says," Cum explicare argumenti exitum non potestis, confugitis ad deum:" "When you cannot bring your argument about, you fly to the power of Gods."-But when we say, this is impossible to be done, either we mean it naturally

• Orat. 51. Theodor. dial. årgert, Tertull. contr. Praxeam, c.x. 79. Vet, et Nov. Testam.

In Cratylo, p. 274. D. Ed. Lugd.

De Nat. Deor. lib. i. 20. Creuzer, p. 88.

or ordinarily impossible; that is, such a thing which cannot, without a miracle, be done; as a child cannot, with his hands, break a giant's arm, or a man cannot eat a millstone, or, with his finger, touch the moon. Now, in matters of religion, although to show a thing to be thus impossible is not enough to prove it was not at all, if God said it was; for although to man it be impossible, yet to God all things are possible; yet when the question is of the sense of the words of Scripture, which are capable of various interpretations, he that brings an argument ab impossibili' against any one interpretation, showing that it infers such an ordinary impossibility, as cannot be done without a miracle, has sufficiently concluded, not against the words, for nothing ought to prejudice them, but against such an interpretation, as infers that impossibility. Thus when, in Scripture, we find it recorded that Christ was born of a Virgin,-to say this is impossible, is no argument against it; because although it be naturally impossible (which I think is demonstrable against the Arabian physicians), yet to him that said it, it is also possible to do it. But then if from hence any man shall obtrude as an article of faith, that the blessed Virgin Mother was so a virgin, that her holy Son came into the world without any aperture of his mother's womb, I doubt not but an argument ab impossibili' is a sufficient conviction of the falsehood of it; though this impossibility be only an ordinary and natural; because the words of Scripture, affirming Christ to be born of a virgin, say only that he was not begotten by natural generation; not that his egression from his mother's womb made a penetration of dimensions.-To instance once more: The words of Scripture are plain, that Christ is man,' that Christ is God;' here are two natures, and yet but one Christ; no impossibility ought to be pretended against these plain words, but they must be sophisms, because they dispute against truth itself. But now if a Monothelite shall say, that, by this unity of nature, God hath taught an unity of wills in Christ, and that he had but one will, because he is but one person: I do not doubt but an argument from an ordinary and natural impossibility will be sufficient to convince him of his heresy; and, in this case, the Monothelite hath no reason to say, that the orthodox Christian denies God's omnipotency, and says, that God cannot unite the will

of Christ's humanity to the will of his divinity: and this is true in every thing, which is not declared minutely, and in his particular sense. There is ordinarily no greater argument in the world, and none better is commonly used, nor any better required, than to reduce the opinion to an impossibility; for if this be not true without a miracle, you must prove your extraordinary, and demonstrate your miracle; which will be found to be a new impossibility. A sense, that cannot be true without a miracle to make it so, it is a miracle if it be true; and, therefore, let the literal sense in any place be presumed, and have the advantage of the first offer or presumption; yet if it be ordinarily impossible to be so, and without a miracle cannot be so, and the miracle no where affirmed, then to affirm the literal sense is the hugest folly that can be, in the interpretation of any Scriptures.

7. But there is an impossibility which is absolute, which God cannot do, therefore, because he is Almighty; for to do them were impotency, and want of power; as God cannot lie, he cannot be deceived, he cannot be mocked,--he cannot die, he cannot deny himself,-nor do unjustly :— And I remember, that Dionysius brings in (by way of scorn) Elymas, the sorcerer, finding fault with St. Paul for saying God could not deny himself; as if the saying so, were denying God's omnipotency; so Elymas objected; as is to be seen in the book de Divin. Nom. c. 8. And by the consent of all the world it is agreed upon this expression, 'That God cannot reconcile contradictions; that is, it is no part of the Divine omnipotency to make the same proposition true and false, at the same time, in the same respect; it is absolutely impossible, that the same thing should be and not be, at the same time, that the same thing, so constituted in his own formality, should lose the formality or essential affirmative; and yet remain the same thing. For it is absolutely the first truth, that can be affirmed in metaphysical notices, 'Nothing can be, and not be.' This is it, in which all men and all sciences, and all religions are agreed upon, as a prime truth in all senses, and without distinctions. For if any thing could be, and not be, at the same time, then there would be something whose being were not to be. Nay, Dominicus à Soto affirms expressly ", that not only things only cannot be

h Quæst. in Phys. lib. 3. q. 4.


done by God, which, intrinsically, formally, and expressly, infer two contradictories, but those also, which the understanding, at the first proposal, does, by his natural light, dissent from, and can by no means admit; because that which is so repugnant to the understanding, naturally does “suâ naturâ repugnare," "is impossible in the nature of things;" and therefore, when it is said in St. Luke, 'nothing is impossible with God,' it is meant; Nothing is impossible, but that which naturally repugns to the understanding.'


Now to apply this to the present question; our adversaries do not deny, but that in the doctrine of transubstantiation, there are a great many impossibilities, which are such naturally and ordinarily; but, by Divine power, they can be done; but that they are done, they have no warrant, but the plain literal sense of the words of "Hoc est corpus meum." Now this is so far from proving, that God does work perpetual miracles to verify the sense of it, that the working of miracles ought to prove that to be the sense of it. Now the probation of a proposition by miracles is an open thing, clear as thunder; and being a matter of sense, and, consequently, more known than the thing which they intend to prove, ought not to be proved by that, which is the thing in question. And therefore to say, that God will work a miracle rather than his words should be false, is certain, but impertinent for concerning the words themselves there is no question, and therefore now no more need of miracles to confirm them; concerning the meaning of them is the question; they say this is the meaning.-Quest. How do you prove it, since there are so many impossibilities in it naturally and ordinarily? Answ. Because God said it, therefore it is true. Resp. Yea, that God said the words we doubt not, but that his words are to be understood in your sense, that I doubt; because, if I believe your sense, I must admit many things ordinarily impossible. Answ. Yea, but nothing is impossible to God.-Resp. True; nothing that can be done, exceeds his power: but supposing this absolutely possible, yet how does it appear, that God will do a miracle to verify your sense, which, otherwise, cannot be true; when, without a miracle, the words may be true in many other senses? Jam dic, Posthume:' for it is hard, that men, by a continual effort and violence, should maintain a proposition



against reason and his unquestionable maxims, thinking it sufficient to oppose against it God's omnipotency; as if the cry out a miracle' were a sufficient guard against all absurdity in the world: as if the wisdom of God did arm his power against his truth, and that it were a fineness of spirit to be able to believe the two parts of a contradiction, and all upon confidence of a miracle, which they cannot prove. And indeed it were something strange, that thousands and thousands of times, every day for above fifteen hundred years together, the same thing should be done, and yet this should be called a miracle, that is, a daily extraordinary: for by this time it would pass into nature and a rule, and so become a supernatural natural event, an extra regular rule, an extraordinary ordinary, a perpetual wonder, that is, a wonder and no wonder and therefore I may infer the proper corollaries of this argument, in the words of Scotus', whose opinion it was pity it could be overborne by tyranny. 1. 'That the truth of the eucharist may be saved without transubstantiation:' and this I have already proved. 2. The substance of bread, under the accidents, is more a nourishment than the accidents themselves; and, therefore, more represents Christ's body in the formality of spiritual nourishment.' And indeed, that I may add some weight to these words of Scotus, which are very true and very reasonable; -1. It cannot be told, why bread should be chosen for the symbol of the body, but because of his nourishing faculty, and that the accidents should nourish without substance, is like feeding a man with music, and quenching his thirst with a diagram. 2. It is fantastical and mathematical bread, not natural, which, by the doctrine of transubstantiation, is represented on the table, and, therefore, unfit to nourish or to typify that which can. 3. Painted bread might as well be symbolical as the real, if the real bread become no bread: for then that which remains, is nothing but the accidents, as colour and dimensions, &c. But Scotus proceeds. 3. That understanding of the words of institution, that substance of bread is not there, seems harder to be maintained; and to it more inconveniences are consequent, than by putting the substance of bread to be there.' 4. Lastly, 'It is a wonder why, in


i Sent. 4. dist. 11. q. 3. tit. b.

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