Excerpt from The Open Court, Vol. 24: A Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Science of Religion, the Religion of Science, and the Extension of the Religious Parliament Idea; September, 1910
To be sure a modern scientist will not easily be reconciled to the dogmatic conception of these doctrines, but if we make allow ances for poetry and bear in mind the significance (the spirit, not the letter) of the several dogmas, we shall have to grant that most of them are profound and full of meaning. And this is especially the case with the Eucharist. In its Roman Catholic interpretation more than in Protestantism Christianity is a summary of the religious spirit of the past. It echoes the most distant beliefs, and yet over comes the prehistoric errors and superstitions by the spirit of a new dispensation. Here we have the eating of the God without the cannibalism of the Aztecs or other uncivilized peoples, and the cere mony is performed with a serious ness which boldly insists on the reality of the presence of the God who offers himself as a sacrifice.
In ecclesiastical history we always find the two contrasts, the mystic and the rationalist. The mystic insists on the reality of the performance, the rationalist is anxious to deprive it of the irrational ity of mysticism. He therefore proposes to make the ceremony merely symbolical, which, however, appears offensive to the pious worshiper, and degrades the ceremony into a trivial and prosaic performance.
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