Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

cere contrition, and a promise of future amendment, with resti. tution, upon absolution received, on these conditions, from the priest, puts the penitent into a state of salvation.

Penance and absolution are so intimately connected in the catholic church, that it will be necessary to give some further explanation of this sacrament. This, the Council of Trent has decreed to consist of some outward sign or ceremony, by which grace is given to the soul of the worthy believer. It was, they add, instituted by Christ, when, breathing upon the disciples, he gave them the Holy Ghost, with power to remit or l'etain sins ; that is to reconcile the faithtul fallen into sin, after baptism. It differs from baptism not only in matter and form, but, also, because the minister of baptism is not a judge in

that ordinance; whereas, after baptism, the sinner presents į himself before the tribunal of the priest as guilty, to be set at 1 liberty by his sentence. It is, however, as necessary as bap

tism. The form consists in the words “I do absolve thee." Contrition, confession, and satisfaction, are parts of penance, and the effect of it is reconciliation with God. Contrition is grief of mind for sins committed, with purpose to sin no more, and was necessary at all times, but especially such as sin after baptism. It is a preparation to remission of sins. By penance the church has ever understood that Christ hath instituted the . entire confession of sins, as necessary by the law of God, to those who fall after baptism : for, having instituted the priests his vicars for judges of all mortal sins, it is certain that they cannot exercise this judgment without knowledge of the cause ; but, when this is done, the priest, who has authority, delegate, or ordinary, over the penitent, remits his sins by a judicial act; and the greater priests reserve to themselves the pardon of some faults more grievous ; as does the Pope ; and there is no doubt that every bishop may do this in his diocese ; and this reservation is of force before God. In the hour of death any priest may absolve any penitent from any sin. What the satisfactions are, as imposed by the priests, are too well known), concludes the Council of Trent, to require any description.

But, as this may not be quite so clear to my reader, I think it proper briefly to state, that satisfactions here mean, restitution to the parties sinned against, bodily mortifications, charity, or alms-giving, and sometimes donations to the church. I think it more proper to give this explanation, because, I know there exists a very common opinion amongst my brother Protestants, that Roman Catholic priests affect to pardon sins of the deepest dye for money : or, in other words, that the faithful, as they are called, may purchase an indemnity for the commission of all sorts of crimes ; this is a great slander, and ought not to be repeated, nor kept alive ; if any priests have been wicked enough to take such an advantage of the ignorant, on their own heads be it ;-the church, of which such priests are a disgrace. disavows any such sordid and impious practices. But of this more, when we come to treat of Indulgencies.

[ocr errors]

5. EXTREME UNCTION is a sacrament of a very singular nature, and is only administered to persons in imminent danger of immediate death ; it is the office of religion applied to the soul. A well known book, entitled “Grounds of the Catholic Faith,” says that we have a full description of this sacrament in James v. 14, 15, where it is said, “Is any sick among you, let bim call for the elders (the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing hiin with oil in the name of the Lord ; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up ; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven bim.”

It is evident, therefore, that extreme unction consists in prayer, and in anointing the body with oil. It is called extreine unction, because administered in the last extremity.

6. ORDERS. The Council of Trent is very severe upon those who say that orders, or holy ordination, to the office of priests, is not truly and properly a sacrament, instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ. A dreadful anathema is denounced upon all such, and against all those who say that the loly Ghost is not given by holy ordination. Orders are a sacrament instituier'lly Christ, by which bishops, priests, &c. are consecrated to their respective iunctions, and receive grace to discbarge them well; if this be true, it is certainly a sacrament of great value.

7. MATRIMONY, or Marriage, is also a s: crament conferring grace; and those who say to the contrary let them be an anithema, decrees the Council of Trent. But this is not all; if any man says, a churchman in holy orders may marry, or contract marriage, and that, when it is contracted, it is good and valid, notwithstanding any ecclesiastical law to the contrary, or that any who have vowed continence may contract marriage, lei bim be an anathema." This is a singular sentence; but the church has so decreëd. ".

As to the form of marriage in the catholic church, it differs nothing materially from that performed in the church of Eng. land; it is periormed either in private or in public, in the open church or in a private dwelling, as may suit the wishes or designs of those who are to receive the grace of this holy sacra. ment.

Such is a brief description of the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. We now proceed with Pope Pius's creed.

ARTICLE Xvi. I embrace and receive every thing that hath been defined and declared by the holy council of Trent, concerning original sin and justification.

Exposition.--Good works, says the council, do truly deserve eternal life ; and whosoever holds the contrary is accursed.

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, wliom 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 pro -osed 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 justified person are not the gifts of God; that they are not also the merits of the justified person ; and that he, heing 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 şthorities do not appear to be very clear on this great doctrie of justification ; for Bossuet, in another place, asserts, that the church professes ber hope of salvation to be founded on Christ alone. “We openly declare,says he, " 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 pardon 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 deai ; 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 Bellarmine 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 syl. logism, 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 continue for ever." of 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 Christ 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 yulgar tongue ; and that water ought not to be mixed with the wine, which 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 declares 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 another 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 practice 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 ehurch received by the faithful under both kinds, and afterwards 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 heretics and severely punished by the diocesans of the place, or their officials, 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

« EdellinenJatka »