Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

That same council also declares, that all human kind have lost their holiness and righteousness by the sin of Adam, with the exception of the Virgin Mary, whom the catholics, believing the absolute deity of Jesus Christ, call the Mother of God.

The celebrated Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, says, in his Exposition of the Catholic Catechism, that eternal life ought to be proposed to the children of God, both as a grace mercifully promised, and as a reward faithfully bestowed on them for their good works and merits.

The Council of Trent decrees, that the good works of a justifed person are not the gifts of God; that they are not also the merits of the justified person ; and that he, being justified by the good works performed by him, through the grace of God and merits of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does truly merit increase of grace and eternal life.

The catholic authorities do not appear to be very clear on this great doctrine of justification ; for Bossuet, in another place, asserts, that the church professes her hope of salvation to be founded on Christ alone. “We openly declare,” says be, “ that we cannot be acceptable to God, but in and through Jesus Christ; nor do we apprehend how any other sense can be imputed to our belief, of which our daily petition to God for par. don through his grace, in the name of Jesus Christ, may serve as a proof.” Picart gives this quotation at greater length. It is worth · remarking, that in these definitions of justification, nothing of consequence is said of faith, of which the reformed churches say so much ; but this was a very important feature of the Reformation.

ARTICLE XVII. I do also profess, that in the mass there is offered unto God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the quick and the dead, and that, in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, there is truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood, together with the soul and the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that there is a conversion made of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the blood ; which conversion the whole catholic church call TRANSUBSTANTIATION.

Exposition. The famous and learned Cardinal Bellarminë argues on this point thus : “ that the celebration of the Passover was an express figure of the Eucharist ; but the Passover was a sacrifice, therefore the Eucharist must be so too.” This syllogism, like all others of the same kind, is conclusive, provided there be nothing defective in the premises ; but no matter : the cardinal reasons somewhat more rationally, when he says, “ that if Christ be a priest for ever, the rite of sacrificing must sontinue for ever.” “ But,” he adds “there can be no sacrifice if we destroy that of the mass." Therefore, it is said, that the whole substance of the bread and wine, after consecration, is changed into the body and blood of Christ, without any alter

ation in the accidents, or outward forms. This sacrifice, say the catholics, was only ordained as a representation of that which was once accomplished on the cross; to perpetuate the memory of it for ever, and to apply unto us the salutary virtue of it for the absolution of those sins which we daily commit.

The Catholic Christian Instructed, an acknowledged book among these Christians, solves all the apparent difficulties with respect to this doctrine of transubstantiation ; (such as how the outward forms of bread and wine may remain without the substance-how the whole body and blood of Christ can be contained in so small a space as that of the host, nay even in the smallest portion of it-or how the body of Cbrist can be in Heaven, and at the same time be in so many places upon earth,) in the following manner: “ All this comes of the Almighty power of God, which is as incomprehensible as himself; the immense depth of which cannot be fathomed by the short line and plummet of human reason."

The Council of Trent decrees, " that if any one says, that a true and proper sacrifice is not offered up to God at the mass ; or that to be offered is any thing else than Jesus Christ given to be eaten, let him be anathema."

And again, in the third canon it decrees that “if any one says, that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, or a bare memorial of the sacrifice which was completed on the cross; and that it is not propitiatory nor profitable to any but him that receives it, and that it ought not to be offered for the living and for the dead ; for their sins, their punishments, and their satisfactions, and their other necessities, let him be anathema.”

And also, in the 9th canon, “ if any one says, that the usage of the church of Rome, to pronounce part of the canon with a loud voice, ought not to be condemned; or that the mass ought only to be celebrated in the vulgar tongue ; and that water ought not to be mixed with the wine, wbich is to be offered in the cup, because it is against the institution of Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.”

The Church of Rome declares that, upon the priest's pronouncing these words, hoc est corpus meum (this is my body,) the bread and wine in the Eucharist are instantly transubstantiated into the natural body and blood of Christ ; the species or accidents only of the bread and wine remaining Christ is offered as often as the sacrifice of the mass is celebrated.

Solitary masses, wherein the priest communicates alone, are approved and commended; and the council of Trent deci es that whosoever saith they are unlawful and ought to be abrogated or abolished, is accursed.

Of the forms of this sacrifice of the mass, more in ano.her place.

*

ARTICLE XVIII. And I believe, that under one kind only, whole and entire, Christ is taken and received.

Exposition.Bread and wine, after consecration, being turned into the substance of Christ's body and blood, without changing the species, the people are forbidden to receive the sacrament in both kinds.

The Council of Constance decreed, that Christ himself instituted the sacrament in both kinds, and that the faithful in the primitive church used so to receive it ; yet, that the prac. tice of receiving in one kind only, was highly commendable ; they, therefore, appointed the continuance of the censecration in both kinds, and of giving to the laity only in one kind.

For this they assigned the following curious reasons : lest the blood of Christ should be spilt the wine kept for the sick should fret-lest wine might not always be had or lest some might not be able to bear the smell or taste.

The Council of Constance has the following words : “ In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Amen. This present sacred, general Council declares, decrees, and determines, that although Christ instituted and administered to his disciples this venerable sacrament after supper, under both kinds of bread and wine ; yet, this notwithstanding, the laudable authority of sacred canons, and the approved custom of the church, hath 'maintained, and doth maintain, that such a sacrament as this ought not to be made after supper, nor to be received by the faithful, otherwise than fasting, excepting in case of infirmity, or other necessity granted or admitted by law, or by the church : and since, for avoiding some dangers and scandals, the custom has been rationally introduced. That though this sacrament was in the primitive church received by the faithful under both kinds, and atterwards by the makers of it, under both kinds, and by the laity only under the species of bread-such a custon as this ought to be accounted a law, which must not be rejected, or at pleasure changed, without the authority of the church. They who assert the contrary are to be driven away as beretics and severely punished by the diocesans of the place, or their offcials, or by The inquisitors of heretical pravity.”

The Council of Florence, speaking in relation both to this and to the eucharist, decrees as follows: “ The priest, speaking in the name of Christ, maketh this sacrament ; for, by virtue of the very words themselves, the bread is changed into the body of Christ, and the wine into his blood ; yet so that the whole Christ is contained under the species of bread, and the whole species of wine ; also in every consecrated host and consecrated wine, when a separation is made there is whole Christ."

The host consists of a wafer composed of the finest flour and wine ; and is that which is here called bread. They use wine, however, separately; the priest only partaking of this. The coinmunicant, in receiving the sacrament, has a consecrated

wafer placed upon his tongue by the priest, the former devoutly kneeling.

ARTICLE XIX. I do firmly believe that there is a purgatory, and that the souls kept prisoners there do receive help by the suffrage of the faithful.

To this Bellarmine and the Rhenish Annotations have addedThat the souls of the Patriarchs and holy men, who departed this life before the crucifixion of Christ, were kept as in a prison, in a department of hell without pain-That Christ did really go into local hell, and deliver the captive souls out of this confinement. The fathers assert, that our Saviour descended into hell ; went thither specially, and delivered the souls of the fathers out of their mansions.

Exposition.—Bellarmine says there is a purgatory after this life, where the souls of those that are not purged, nor have satisfied for their sins here, are to be purged, and give satisfaction, unless their time be shortened by the prayers, alms, and masses of the living. This is also asserted by the Council of Trent.

That same Council decreed, that souls who die in a state of grace, but are not sufficiently purged from their sins, go first into purgatory, a place of torment, bordering near upon hell, from which their deliverance may be expedited by the suffrages, that is, prayers, alms, and masses, said and done by the faithful.

It is also decreed, that souls are detained in purgatory till they have made full satisfaction for their sins, and are thoroughly purged from them ; and that whoever says that there is no debt of temporal punishment to be paid, either in this world or in purgatory, before they can be received into heaven, is accursed.

ARTICLE XX. I do believe, that the saints reigning together with Christ are to be worshipped and prayed unto ; and that they do offer prayers unto God for us ; and that their relics are to be had in veneration.

Erposition. It must not hence be inferred, that the Roman Catholics worship the saints departed, or their relics, as their savjours or redeemers ; but simply as inferior mediators, being near the throne of God, and having constant access to His divine presence. They believe that the prayers of these saints are always acceptable to Almighty God: and that as they are ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation on earth, they consequently know what is taking place in the church, and are specially mindful of the wants and desires of their suffering brethren below. So the faithful here think they may and ought to supplicate the goost offices of the glorified saints before the footstool of the Omnipotent. The worship which is paid to

these saints is far from supreme ; it is merely the bowing with reverence, and the supplications of less favoured beings.

Relics of saints, &c. are held in veneration ; but are not worshipped in anywise ; but only as we hold in veneration the pictures or the goods of our dearest friends.

It would be amusing here to give a full account of the sacred relics wbich are deposited in the churches of the stations at Rome, exhibited during Lent, and upon other solemn occasions, to the veneration of the faithful ; but the limits to which this work is confined forbid it.

There are fifty-four stations held in Rome, the ceremonies of which commence upon the first day of Lent, and end on the Sunday Dominica in Albis or Low Sunday.

St. Isidor, who wrote about the twelfth century, does not allow any other signification to the word station than an offering made on a fixed and appointed day; and in support of that opinion cites the practice of Elkanah in the first book of Samuel, chap. i.“ And the man went up yearly out of his city to worship, and to sacrifice unto the Lord of hosts in Sbiloh and in the following chapter, when Hannah brought to Samuel “ a little coat from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly (statutis diebus) sacrifice.” From which it appears, Isidor considered the term station to be derived from the verb statuere, to which opinion Polidore Virgil seems to incline, when treating of this matter in his eighth book. But many object to thris explanation, prefering the verb stare as more designative of the ceremony ; quoting in support of their argument numerous authorities, some of very remote antiquity, to prove that the word station is not intended to signify any determinate place nor any particular ceremony performed on some certain day ; but from the act of the people standing on such occasions, which custom upon these solemn days is inva• riably observed. In allusion also to the words of the gospel, " where two or three are gathered together in my name, I will be in the midst of them ;and also after the resurrection, in a congregation of the disciples of Jesus, where it is written, “ stetit Jesus in medio eoruin ;" the Sovreign Pontiff, in quality of his title as Christ's vicar, by this act reminds the people of the promise.

Others pretend that it merely denotes the church, where the Pope stands (or some one in his place) and preaches to the people, in imitation of Jesus, in the sixth chapter of St. John, and in other places, where it is said he stood and preached to the multitude ; and which example was followed by Peter, as in the second chapter of Acts, and from him handed down to the present time. The practice of preaching to the people standing continued, and is still observed on the days of holding the stations, in the time of Lent daily, as particularly noted in the homilies of St. Gregory when speaking of the custom ; from which it is manifest, that it is not the church where the ceremony is observed, but the act, from which the word station is

« ZurückWeiter »