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* fice, by any other arguments but those by which we “ prove the Eucharist to have been instituted a sacrifice by " our blessed Saviourp.” Whatever might be the fate of this particular, much disputed notion of the eucharistic sacrifice, one thing is certain, and will be readily allowed by every considerate nian, that the general and unquestionable doctrine of the real sacrifice ought never to be put upon a level with it: neither ought it to have been so much as suggested, that there is any ground for so strange a comparison. It was obliging Socinians too far, to raise any doubt or question about the certainty of the sacrifice of the cross : but to throw out broad innuendos besides, that it stands upon no better, or no other foundation, than the material sacrifice, the material and expiatory sacrifice of the Eucharist; what is it but betraying the Christian cause into the hands of the adversaries ? For if they may reasonably urge, (or cannot reasonably be confuted, if they do urge,) that such material and expiatory sacrifice is a novelty of yesterday, scarce thought on before the dark ages of superstition, which made use of material incense for like purposes; scarce ever seriously maintained by any of the West before the sixteenth century, and then only by the Romanists; never admitted, in either part, by Protestants before the seventeenth century, nor then by many of them; never taught (as now taught) before the eighteenth century, and then by a single writer only, for some time: I say, if the Socinians may reasonably urge the premises, the conclusion which they aim at is given them into their hands: and so at length this indiscreet zeal for an imaginary -sacrifice of the Eucharist (not capable of support) can serve only to perplex, darken, or destroy, the real one of the cross 9.
P Johnson, Sax. Laws, pref. p. 54. Unbl. Sacrif. part ii. pref. p. 1, 2.
# The chief advocate for the new system says, “ It is no small satisfac“ tion to me, that the sacrifice of the Eucharist, and the personal sacrifice “ of Christ, do rest upon the same foundation, and stand or fall together.” Johnson's Unbl. Sacr. part ii. pref. p. 1, 2. To which it is sufficient to say,
I thought to go on to two chapters further, pointing out more excesses and inconsistencies of the new scheme. There is one which particularly deserved to be mentioned; the precarious consequence drawn from our Lord's supposed sacrifice in the first Eucharist, to our sacrifice in the rest, built only upon this, that we are to do what Christ dids: an argument, which, if it proves any thing, proves that we are to do all that Christ is supposed to have done by way of sacrifice; that is, to sacrifice his sacramental body and his natural also, (which is absurd,) or else to sacrifice ourselves under symbols, as our Lord sacrificed himself, which will not serve the purpose of the material scheme. One way the argument proves too much, and the other way too little; and so neither way will it answer the end designed. I am aware, that some will tell us what the argument shall prove, and what it shall not proves. But who will give a disputant leave to draw consequences arbitrarily, not regulated by the premises, but by an hypothesis, which itself wants to be regulated by reason and truth?
I have not here room to enter farther into this matter: these papers are already drawn out into a length beyond
God forbid! The personal sacrifice of Christ stands upon the rock of ages : the other in his sense of it) is built upon the sand.
Johnson's Unbl. Sacr. part i. p. 50, 91. alias 51, 94. Johnson, part ii. p. 10.
• Johnson, part i. p. 96, 122. alias 99, 126.
Dr. Brett on Liturgies, p. 135. N. B. The sum of what is pleaded on that side, when carefully examined, will be found to amount only to this: we are to do what Christ did, so far as serves the new system : but we are not to do what Christ did, so far as disserves it. Do this, shall be an argument, when and where it makes for it: do this, shall be no argument, when or where it makes against it. It is observable, that the words this do, in the institution, come after the words, take, eat, this is my body, and therefore manifestly relate, not merely to the sacerdotal ministration, but to the whole action or actions both of priest and people. The blessing, the breaking, the pouring out, the distributing, the receiving, the eating, and the drinking, are all comprehended in the words, this do. All those actions are showing forth the Lord's death, (1 Cor. xi. 26.) for a remembrance or memorial of him.
what I at first suspected. I hope my readers will excuse my stopping short in this fourth chapter, and saving both myself and them the trouble (perhaps unnecessary trouble) of two more. It is of use in any controverted points, to observe what exit they are found to have, when pursued to the utmost. There were sufficient reasons before against a material sacrifice, considered in its best light, as purely gratulatory, or eucharistical : and there were more and stronger against the same considered as expiatory, or propitiatory ; reasons, I mean, from Scriptare and antiquity, and from the nature of things: but the managers for the material cause have now lately furnished us with a new argument against it, by showing us, that, after all that can be done for it, it has really no exil, or such as is worse than none; while it terminates in various inconsistencies and incongruities; and not only so, but is contradictory also to sound doctrine, particularly to the momentous doctrine of the sacrifice of the cross.
A brief Analysis of Mr. Johnson's System, showing what
it is, and by what Steps he might be led into it.
1. THE first thing in intention, last in execution, was to prove, that the Gospel ministers are proper priests.
2. Proper priests must have a proper sacrifice : therefore some medium was to be thought on, to prove a proper sacrifice, particularly in the Eucharist.
3. A prevailing notion, or vulgar prejudice, bad spread among many, for a century or more, that no sacrifice could be proper, but a material one: therefore pains were to be taken to prove the Eucharist a material sacrifice.
4. But as material sacrifice carried no appearance of dignity in it, looking too low and mean for an evangelical priesthood to stand upon; therefore ways and means were to be used to raise some esteem of it: spiritual sacrifice was to be depreciated, and material to be magnified. Hence, as it seems, arose the thought of enriching the elements with the Spirit ; borrowing from the sacramental part of the Eucharist, to augment and advance the sacrificial. And now the scheme appeared with a better face.
5. Nevertheless, if our Lord in the original Eucharist did not sacrifice the elements, it could not reasonably be supposed that we do it now, and so things would not tally: therefore it was found necessary to assert, that he also sacrificed the elements, as his sacramental body; and thereupon reasons and authorities were to be searched out for that purpose.
6. Still there was a weighty objection remaining, viz. that Scripture speaks often of Christ's offering himself, but never once of his offering in sacrifice the symbols : to remove which difficulty, it was thought best to say, that he offered himself in the Eucharist, but by and with the symbols. An after-thought, and not well comporting with former parts of the scheme.
7. But there was still another difficulty, a very great one; namely, that our Lord, according to the accounts of the New Testament, sacrificed himself but once a : therefore, either he did it not in the Eucharist, or not upon the cross. To remove this difficulty, it seems to have been resolved to give up the sacrifice of the cross, and to retain only the sacrifice of the Eucharist : and so the scheme was complete.
Having thus given a sketch of the system in the analytical way, it may now be easy to throw it into the synthetic, thus :
1. Christ our Lord made a personal sacrifice of himself once ; either in the Eucharist, or on the cross.
2. It cannot be proved to have been on the cross, but there are divers reasons against the supposition; therefore it must have been in the Eucharist.
3. He sacrificed himself in the Eucharist, under symbols, sacrificing the symbols together with himself: otherwise we could have no pretence now for sacrificing the same symbols.
4. The Christian Church, after his example, sacrifices the symbols, but not him.
5. Therefore the Church has a material sacrifice. 6. Therefore the Church offers a proper sacrifice.
7. Therefore the Gospel ministers are proper priests, sacrificing priests: which was to be proved.
Now my humble opinion upon the whole is, that if the learned author had taken spiritual sacrifice for his medium, instead of material, he might not only have avoided many perplexities, and no small number of mistakes, but might also have come at his main point justly and regularly, in conformity with Scripture and antiquity. He might have proved that Christian ministers are priests in as high and as proper a sense as any before them have been, (Christ only excepted,) authorized to stand and minister between God and his people, and to bless in God's name, and to
· Propit. Oblat. p. 97.