The bread and the cup of the sacrament of the Eucharist are the most precious treasure that the benevolence of God has entrusted to us, that we may know that the Lord is good, that His mercy endureth for ever. The guarding and keeping of the treasure is our most sacred duty to God, and this duty obliges us to fight and to repel with words of truth those who have evil designs upon the treasure. Evil designs upon the treasure are entertained by the Catholics and by that of the Protestants; the former regarding the Jewish wafers as the body of Christ, the latter denying altogether the reality and truth of the sacrament. Though Christ said, “This blessed bread is my body, and this blessed wine is my blood,” the Catholics regard the Jewish wafer as the Lord’s body contrary to truth, while the Protestants, say, “this bread is not Christ’s body, but bread; this wine is not Christ’s blood, but wine.” It is our duty to refute both tenets, by means of which the treasure is pillaged; and we begin as we promised, with the refutation of the tenet of the Protestants.
Two contradictory judgments with reference to the same object cannot both be true, nor can both be false. One of the two must inevitably be true, and the other false. In the case of the bread and wine of the Eucharist we have two judgments that are contradictory, one of which comes but out of the mouth of Christ, the other out of the mouth of men claiming to be Christians. The judgment of Christ says, “This bread is my body; this wine is my blood.” The judgment of the Protestants gainsays, “This bread is not Christ’s body; it is bread. This wine is not Christ’s blood; it is wine.” Since these two contradictory propositions cannot both be true, nor both be false; and since it is our duty to accept one as true and deny the other as false, we ask which judgment is true, and which is false. That coming out of the mouth of Christ, or that coming out of the mouth of men called Christians? Who is more truthful and trustworthy, Christ the Son of the Living God, or the Protestant Christians, the sons of disagreement and of falsehood? The question being thus stated, it is also thus solved, for not even the Protestants themselves dare to hold that their judgment is true while Christ’s is false. But what kind of sophistry do they employ, and how do they try to justify their delusion? They sophisticate with regard to the letter and the spirit of the words, or with regard to the literal meaning and the spiritual meaning. From the same sentence a different meaning is elicited when the words are taken in their proper sense than is elicited when they are taken in a metaphorical sense. Christ said, it is true, “This is my body, and this is my blood,” but He did not mean body and blood in the proper sense, as we understand them by reason of our inability to penetrate into the spiritual meaning of Christ. If, then, the words body and blood were not used in their proper sense, as we assume, the bread remains bread, and the wine remains wine, and there is no transubstantiation, as we believe.
Such sophistry being employed on the part of the Protestants in order to pillage the reality and truth of the treasure, it is our duty to state the question thus. When Christ said at the mystic supper, “This is my body, and this is my blood,” did He really mean His own body and blood, did He mean the very body that was nailed upon the cross, and the very blood that flowed from His wounded side? or did He mean something else, as the Protestant theologians contend? The question having been thus stated, it is our duty to prove theologically that Christ meant His body and His blood, just as we understand the words to mean and as we believe, and not as the Protestants believe who have no understanding as concerns the Scriptures. We are not set against the principle of conversion, for the principle of conversion is the principle of Christianity. But only the possessor of the truth has the right to proselytize, he that follows the light of the world and walks not in darkness. The ignorant and those who have been led astray from the truth have no right to lead astray others and become the cause of their destruction. Protestants, as we are about to show, are called, but are not, Christians. We therefore have a right to convert them, but they have no right to convert us. The protestants here, if they have a fuller knowledge of Christ and of things relating to Christ than we have, let them exhibit their scientific knowledge, and let them prove that they are walking the way of salvation, into which must enter every man that cares for himself. But if they are refuted and proved to know nothing and to understand nothing about the questions under consideration, and to be walking in darkness, is it not right that they should embrace the truth, and to forsake the error by which they are impelled to corruption and destruction? We address these words to the protestants in Athens, in whom we are interested at present. After we prove their error, we will then also advise them to the way in which salvation is open to them.