Transubstantiation Obscures Every Leading Doctrine of the Gospel

“Whatever men please to think or say, the Romish doctrine of the real presence, if pursued to its legitimate consequences, obscures every leading doctrine of the Gospel, and damages and interferes with the whole system of Christ’s truth. Grant for a moment that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrifice, and not a sacrament–grant that every time the words of consecration are used the natural body and blood of Christ are present on the Communion Table under the forms of bread and wine–grant that every one who eats that consecrated bread and drinks that consecrated wine does really eat and drink the natural  body and blood of Christ–grant for a moment these things, and then see what momentous consequences result from these premises. You spoil the blessed doctrine of Christ’s finished work when he died on the cross. A sacrifice that needs to be repeated is not a perfect and complete thing. You spoil the priestly office of Christ. If there are priests that can offer an acceptable of God besides Him, the great High Priest is robbed of His glory. You spoil the Scriptural doctrine of the Christian ministry. You exalt sinful man into the position of mediators between God and man. You give to the sacramental elements of bread and wine an honour and veneration they were never meant to receive, and produce an idolatry to be abhorred by faithful Christians. Last, but not least, you overthrow the true doctrine of Christ’s human nature. If the body born of the Virgin Mary can be in more places than one at the same time, it is not a body like our own, and Jesus was not ‘the second Adam’ in the truth of our nature. I cannot doubt for a moment that our martyred Reformers saw and felt these things even more clearly than we do, and, seeing and feeling them, chose to die rather than admit the doctrine of the real presence. Feeling them, they would not give way by subjection for a moment, and cheerfully laid down their lives. Let this fact be deeply graven in our minds. Wherever the English language is spoken on the face of the globe this fact ought to be clearly understood by every Englishman who reads history.”

– J.C. Ryle, Five English Reformers, p.26-27

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No Spiritual Gains Without Pains

“Sanctification depends greatly on a diligent use of scriptural means. The ‘means of grace’ are such as Bible reading, private prayer, and regularly worshiping God in Church, wherein one hears the Word taught and participates in the Lord’s Supper. I lay it down as a simple matter of fact that no one who is careless about such things must ever expect to make much progress in sanctification. I can find no record of any eminent saint who ever neglected them. They are appointed channels through which the Holy Spirit conveys fresh supplies of grace to the soul and strengthens the work which He has begun in the inward man. Let men call this legal doctrine if they please, but I will never shrink from declaring my belief that there are no “spiritual gains without pains.” Our God is a God who works by means, and He will never bless the soul of that man who pretends to be so high and spiritual that he can get on without them.”

– J.C. Ryle, Holiness, p.25

How to Start a Heresy

“It is a most unsound method of reasoning to take one or two expressions out of a book which has been written as one great whole, place a certain meaning upon those expressions, and then refuse to inquire whether that meaning can be reconciled with the general spirit of the rest of the book. The beginning of every heresy and erroneous tenet in religion may be traced up to this kind of reasoning, and to unfair and partial quotations.

This is precisely the Roman Catholic’s argument, when he wants to prove the doctrine f transubstantiation. ‘I read,’ he says, ‘these plain words, “This is my body, this is my blood.” I want no more. I have nothing to do with your explanations and quotations from other parts of the Bible. Here is quite enough for me. The Lord Jesus Christ says, “This is my body.” This settles the question.’

This again is precisely the Arian’s argument, when he wants to prove that the Lord Jesus Christ is inferior to the Father. ‘I read,’ he says, ‘ these plain words, “My Father is greater than I.”‘ It is in vain you tell him that there other text which show the Son to be equal with the Father, and give a different meaning to the one he has quoted. It matters not. He rests on the one single text that he has chosen to rest on, and he will hear nothing further.”

– J.C. Ryle, Regeneration, p.74-75