Christ, being a life-giver and the leader of life, gave us His own flesh and His own blood to eat and drink, that we might have eternal life by remaining in Him who lives for ever and ever. But the Devil, being a murderer and desiring the death of man, takes the field against us, employing every deceit and contriving every design against us, in order to carry off and take away the treasure of life, and thus frustrate, as far as he may be able, God’s good intention towards us. Accordingly, by means of the heresy of the Protestants he combats the reality and truth of the treasure, and slays all who follow in the wake of this heresy. By means of the heresy of the Roman Catholics, on the other hand, he introduces falsehood for truth, and misleads all who follow in the wake of the innovations of the Pope, the pseudo-Christ. It is our duty, since we are guardians of the treasure, to exterminate both soul-killing heresies by means of the weapons of theology, and to crush their Satanic traps to pieces, saving ourselves and others as well. Having already refuted the heresy of the Protestants, we are next going to refute that of the Roman Catholics.
The heresy of the Papacy offers unleavened wafers as the body of Christ. It is our duty to prove theologically, first, that the Roman wafer is not the body of Christ, and afterward that the Roman cup is not blood. When God commanded the Jews to make sacrifice for freedom, which was called the Passover, He made it a law for them to eat unleavened wafers along with the lamb.
“And they shall eat meat on this night roasted with fire, and shall eat unleavened wafers with bitter herbs.” (Exodus 12:8).
As is well known, that Jewish Passover was but a type and prefigure of the Christian Easter. The lamb pre-typified and prefigured Christ on the cross, and the wafers, again, the bread of the Eucharist. The wafers were eaten for seven days after the sacrifice of the Passover, and prefigured the continuation of the propitiatory sacrifice by means of the mystery of the Eucharist until the eighth day, or, in other words, until the coming of the future age, that is, of the next world. As long as use was made of the unleavened wafers, the law forbade, on pain of death, the use of leaven, that is, of bread.
“Seven days shall ye eat unleavened wafers; starting with the first day, ye shall put away all leaven out of our houses. Whosoever shall eat leavened bread, from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.” (Exodus 12:15)
Since, therefore, the unleavened wafer of the Jewish Passover prefigured the leavened bread of life of the Christian Easter, which we are obliged to eat until the eighth day, it is evident that the use of the unleavened wafer is abolished together with all other Jewish forms by the coming of the Christian Easter. Just as the use of leavened bread in the Jewish Passover was considered a violation of the law deserving the penalty of death, “Whosoever shall eat leavened bread, from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel,” so in the case of the Christian Easter the use of unleavened wafers instead of leavened bread is a violation of law of the same nature and deserves the same penalty, because it overthrows the order of things, substituting the shadow for the reality, a falsehood for the truth.
Christ took bread, blessed bread, broke bread, distributed bread, and commanded the mystery to be celebrated with bread, for He said: “This do in remembrance of me.” That is to say, “Do this which I have done: take ye also bread, bless the bread, and distribute the bread among you.” So the Roman Catholics, by violating Christ’s commandment and taking unleavened wafers instead of bread, essentially subvert the mystery, and make themselves liable to eternal punishment. The Catholics commit a greater error than that of the Protestants, in eating Jewish wafers, which, since the new and divine Passover, have become an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, and thinking that they are eating the body of the Lord. For the Protestants, who do not eat the body of the Lord, do not think that they do so, and in this respect they are not deceiving themselves, though they are deceiving themselves in that they do not know the reality and truth of the mystery of Christ. The Catholics, on the contrary, think that in eating the Jewish abomination they are eating the body of the Lord, which, however, only in the churches of the Orthodox Christian religion is sent down from heaven through the Blessing of the Holy Spirit, the transubstantiation being effected by the latter invisibly and mysteriously for the benefit of our souls. The Protestants commit one violation of the law, while the Roman Catholics commit two violations. The former do not eat the bread of life, and have no life in them. The latter not only do not eat the bread of life, but even subvert the order of the divine mysteries by substituting Judaism, which has now become abominable, for Christianity. Since it has been shown theologically, that there is no body of Christ in the Roman Catholic churches, it is equally evident in the same way that there is none of His blood. For the blood is inseparable from the body, and those who have not the body cannot have the blood. But there is also another argument demonstrative of the same truth, but reserved for the next article.
Here it is time to state that the Pope, who is thought to hold the keys to Paradise, holds nothing but destructive error, and leads to destruction all who follow after him, because, says Christ, when the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch. The duty of admitting the bitter truth obliges us to declare that both Roman Catholics and Protestants are excluded from the kingdom of God, because they are not walking the way that leads thereto, but are going that broad way that leads to destruction, a way which the majority of men easily find. There prevails a prejudice in the heads of many that no matter to what religion a man belongs, if only he keeps its precepts, refraining from evil deeds and doing good ones so far forth as he can, he will certainly be saved. God, they say, is a friend of man, and how can He punish so many nations for the reason that they have held different opinions concerning Him and have worshiped Him differently? A prejudice is any opinion or belief opposed to the truth and nature of things themselves. In order to remove ruinous prejudices from men’s minds, we must contrast them with the truth as seen in the nature of things themselves.
Accordingly, let us apply this principle to the case of the prejudice in question. To every point on earth there leads a certain straight line, and it is physically impossible for one to reach any point by traveling a way that nowise leads to the point. This truth is clear and indisputable, and if anyone should deny it, maintaining that a man may reach a point by traveling an opposite way, he would be pronounced insane by all others. Now conceive the kingdom of God to be a point which we have to reach, and ask whether it is possible to do so by traveling a way that follows a contrary direction and nowise leads to it. Sound sense replies that it is impossible. Only an insane person could maintain the contrary. When Christ says, “Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and few there are who find it. And wide is the gate and broad the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who find it,” is it possible for one to conceive that a man walking the broad way will be saved just as well as men walking the strait and narrow way? Whoever holds and professes such a view does not cherish sentiments of Christ but of the Devil; such a person is not of sound mind, he is insane. God cannot save those walking in the broad way, though there are many of them; they cannot be saved except those who enter by the strait gate and travel by the narrow way. So, if the Protestants and Catholics enter by the strait gate and travel by the narrow way, they go to life and are saved. But if they enter by the wide gate and travel by the broad way, it is evident that they go to destruction, and God’s friendship for man will avail them naught. However, what is the gate and the way of life? Christ solves this question by saying: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved . . . I am the way . . . no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” By ‘door‘ Christ means the necessity of having faith in Him; by ‘way‘, the necessity of imitating His life. He that believes in Christ and imitates His virtues, has entered by the strait gate and in traveling the narrow way, both because it is with great difficulty that one believes in the divinity of a crucified person, and with much sorrow and agony one performs the commandments of Christ, and acquires the Christian virtues. Being a gate and a way, Christ is also a shepherd, as He says: “I am the good shepherd. My sheep hear my voice.” The voice of Christ usher us through the strait gate and this same voice leads us to the narrow way. Those who do not hear the voice of Christ are not His sheep; they can neither enter through the strait gate nor travel the narrow way. But it has been proved above that neither Protestants nor Catholics hear the voice of Christ, and that they disregard the commandment of everlasting life, the former by denying the reality and truth of the mystery of the Eucharist, the latter by subverting and profaning it by using Jewish wafers. Therefore it is plain that both Protestants and Catholics are wandering away from the way of everlasting life, and are traveling the broad way which the majority of men easily find and which leads to destruction. This is the Gospel truth by which is refuted the ruinous prejudice that a man can be saved by any religion and by any system of morality. If such were the case, what would be the purpose of the incarnation of Christ, and what would be the object of teaching the truth and of waging war against falsehood and error? There is but one way, one door, one good shepherd; and only those who hear the voice of the good shepherd and enter through the strait gate and walk the narrow way are saved, the others are destroyed.