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Benevolus so much exults, vanishes. It is clear that the fallacy couched under it arises from supposing that the different qualities of which he speaks, change the nature of our Saviour's body; and that they would be in it not only at the same time, but also in the same place,-both of which suppositions are false.
As to the other pretended impossibility, that the whole body of a man should be contained under the small space of a host, and in all its visible particles, it disappears at once upon the same principles. Our Saviour Himself assures us, that at the resurrection even our bodies shall become like the angels of God, putting on the properties and qualities of spirits. Now one quality of spirits is to be unconfined to any magnitude in themselves, and much less in the appearance which they assume to our eyes. The angels that appeared of old to the servants of God were the same, whether they assumed the form of a man of large or small stature; and shall it be called in question that Jesus Christ, God and man, can appear to us under any form or magnitude He pleases ? Our ignorance of the qualities of His glorious body puts an effectual bar to the possibility of proving any absurdity in His doing so.
Phil. What you say admits, in my opinion, of no reply; and to me it seems evident that no contradiction can be proved in transubstantiation, for the same reason that it is impossible to prove any such in the mystery of the Trinity, or indeed in any of the sacred mysteries of the Christian religion. Our imperfect knowledge, or rather our total ignorance, of the objects of these mysteries, precludes us from judging of what is possible or impossible in them, because they are all above our reason. What we know of them we could never have imagined, had not God revealed it to us; and His revelation gives us the utmost certainty of what He announces concerning them. On that ground, therefore, we rationally believe, though we neither see nor understand them.
Orth. Your observation is just; and the natural con sequence is, that as there cannot be a more convincing proof that God reveals any doctrine, than a miracle proper to God wrought in attestation of it, so the doctrine of transubstantiation is as capable of being proved a revealed truth by such a miracle wrought for that end, as is any other mystery whatever of the Christian religion. The incredulity of Benevolus, therefore, is without excuse, and his celebrated proposition is not only blasphemous in itself, but all he says in defence of it is totally destitute of reason, and can proceed only from an unpardonable ignorance of the real doctrine which he undertakes to condemn.
Phil. Sir, I am much obliged to you for all the trouble you have taken, and shall endeavour to improve by your instructions.
Orth. You are exceedingly welcome. Adieu.