The fourth (!) and penultimate set of errors about the Eucharist are fixed up this week.
1 After the consideration of these points, one should consider those belonging to the fourth difficulty. And concerning these there is, indeed, something which can be dealt with easily; something else, however, offers a greater difficulty.
2 The fact that in this sacrament the same actions appear which previously appeared in the substance of the bread and wine (they change the senses in the same way, let us say; they even in the same way alter the surrounding air, or anything else, by odor or color) now seems fitting enough from what has been set down. For we said that in this sacrament the accidents of the bread and wine persist. And among these are the sensible qualities which are the principles of actions of this sort.
3 Again, concerning some passions (those, for instance, which take place in alterations of accidents of this kind), the difficulty which occurs is not so great, if the premises be granted. For, since it was premised that the other accidents are based on the measurements as on a subject, the alteration of the other accidents can be considered in the same way with respect to this subject as they would be if the substance were there; for example, if the wine had been warmed and became cold, or if it should change its flavor, or something of this kind.
4 But a very great difficulty appears regarding the generation and corruption which seems to take place in this sacrament. For if one were to use this sacramental food in large quantity he could be sustained, and by the wine even made drunk, as the Apostle has it: “One indeed is hungry and another is drunk” (1 Cor. 11:21).
And these things could not take place unless, from this sacrament, flesh and blood were generated, for nourishment is converted into the substance of the one nourished. Some may, of course, say that a man is not nourished by this sacramental food, but only invigorated and refreshed, as when one is invigorated by the fragrance of wine. But this invigoration can happen for an hour; it does not, of course, suffice to sustain a man if he remains long without food. But a trial would readily show that a man can be sustained for a long time by the sacramental food.
5 It also seems a wonder why they should deny that a man can be nourished by this sacramental food, refusing to this sacrament the possible conversion into flesh and blood, when it appears to the senses that by putrefaction or combustion it is turned into another substance; namely, dust and ashes.
6 And this, indeed, seems nonetheless difficult, since it does not seem possible to make a substance out of accidents; nor is it right to believe that the substance of Christ’s body—which is not capable of suffering—be converted into another substance.
7 However, if one wishes to say that as the bread is miraculously converted into the body of Christ, so the accidents are converted miraculously into substance: first, indeed, this does not seem suitable for a miracle, the putrefaction of this sacrament, or its dissolution by combustion; and then that putrefaction and combustion are found taking place in this sacrament in the usual order of nature, which is not usually the case in things done miraculously.
8 To remove this hesitation a certain famous position was invented, which is held by many. They hold thus: When this sacrament happens to be converted into flesh or blood by nutrition, or into ashes by combustion or putrefaction, the accidents are not converted into substance; nor is the substance of the body of Christ converted; but by a divine miracle the substance of the bread which was there previously returns, and from it are generated the things into which we find the sacrament converted.
9 But this, to be sure, simply cannot stand. For we have shown above that the substance of the bread is converted into the substance of the body of Christ. But that which is converted into another cannot return unless, conversely, that other be reconverted into it. If, therefore, the substance of the bread returns, it follows that the substance of the body of Christ is reconverted into bread. And this is absurd.
What is more, if the substance of the bread returns, it must return either while the appearances of bread persist or when the appearances of bread are already destroyed. In fact, while the appearances of bread persist, the substance of the bread cannot return, because, as long as the appearances remain, thereunder remains the substance of the body of Christ; it would follow, therefore, that simultaneously present there would be both the substance of the bread and the substance of the body of Christ.
In like manner, also, if the appearances of the bread are corrupted, the substance of the bread cannot return—for this reason: The substance of the bread is not without its own appearances; and for this reason, as well: When the appearances of the bread are destroyed, another substance has already been generated, and it was for the generation of this second substance that (so they were holding) the substance of the bread should return.
10 Therefore, it seems better to say that in the consecration itself, just as the substance of the bread is miraculously converted into the body of Christ so this is miraculously conferred on the accidents: that they subsist which is proper to substance, and, as a consequence, are able to do and to suffer the things which the substance could do and suffer if the substance were present. And so, without a new miracle, they are able to inebriate and to nourish, to be burned and to rot, in the same way and order they would if the substance of the bread and wine were present.