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order of Melchizedech, and not after the order of Aaron. Heb. iv. 20; vii. 11. Now Melchizedech's sacrifice, according to the book of Genesis, as all the ancient fathers expound it, was an offering of bread and wine. “And Melchizedech, King of Salem, brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the Most High God.” Gen. xiv. 18. Therefore it must either be granted, that our Saviour sacrificed at his last supper under the forms of bread and wine, or he never sacrificed at all after the order and rite of Melchizedech ; and then how is he a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedech, since the different orders of priests are chiefly distinguished by their sacrifice (Heb. v. 1), which is the principal function of a priest ? But if our Saviour sacrificed at his last supper under the forms of bread and wine, he also gave his apostles a command and power to do the same thing which he did ; which power still remains in the Church, and will remain in it to the end of the world. Then the Eucharist is for ever to be offered in the Church as a propitiatory sacrifice, by the hands of those who are priests in it, by whose hands Christ himself principally offers it, and thus is a priest for ever according to the order of Melchizedech.
5. “I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of Hosts, neither wili I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a purė offering.” Malachi i. 10, 11.
Here the prophet clearly foretells, that the priesthood and sacrifices of the old law were to cease after the coming of Christ, and that another sacrifice or pure offering was to succeed, and to be offered by the Gentiles converted in all places to the true God of Israel. Now this pure offering mentioned by Malachi could not be the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, because that was only offered one time and in one place; whereas this was to be offered in every place. Neither can this pure offering be understood of a spiritual sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving, prayer, devotion : because this kind of sacrifice is common both to Jews and Gentiles, and has been ever offered to God by all his adorers from the beginning of the world; whereas the prophet speaks of a pure offering peculiar to the new law, which was to succeed in the room of the Levitical sacrifices that were to cease, and to be offered by the Gentiles converted; which can be no other than the eucharistical sacrifice daily offered to God all nations.
Against this sacrifice of the altar Protestants object the words of St. Paul to the Hebrews : 1. “And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death; but this man,
he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.” Heb. vii. 23, 24.
Here, say they, the Apostle teaches, that the priest of the new testament is only one, our Saviour Christ.
2. But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God.” Heb. x. 12.
Here again, say they, we learn that the Host or Sacrifice of the new testament is also but one ; to wit, that which was offered on the cross.
3. “Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place
every year with blood of others (for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world): but now once in the end of the world, hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Heb. ix. 25.
4. “By which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Heb. X. 10. “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” Ver. 18.
Here, say they again, it is plain that as there is but one sacrifice of the new law, so it was but one time offered, and is never more to be repeated. So that three points are proved from this doctrine of the Apostle: First, That there is but one Priest of the new testament, who is our Saviour Christ. Secondly, But one Sacrifice, which is that of Christ on the cross. Thirdly, That the offering of this Host or Sacrifice being one time made, is never more to be repeated. Because this one sacrifice being of so great a price as to take away all sin, and to open the gates of the kingdom of heaven; and consequently, God by this one sacrifice being fully satisfied, and the repenting sinner fully secured, there is no need this sacrifice should be often repeated, nor is there now any other offering to be made for sin. And whosoever maintains that another sacrifice is necessary, does as good as declare the first insufficient. Therefore the eucharistical sacrifice, they think, cannot be defended without injury to the sacrifice of the cross.
In answer to this, we affirm, that Protestants have entirely mistaken the sense of the Apostle ; for certain it is, he does not dispute in his Epistle to the Hebrews against the eucharistical sacrifice of the new law, but concerning the sacrifices of the old law, which his unbelieving countrymen the Jews pretended, as modern Jews do now, were of themselves sufficient to remit sins, and to sanctify the people without respect to any more perfect sacrifice, which was to be offered in time to come: and that such being the perfection of these sacrifices, they were unchangeable and everlasting, as well as the priesthood of Aaron; never to cease, or to be succeeded by a priesthood or sacrifices of any other order, against whom St. Paul proved the insufficiency both of their priesthood and sacrifices: (Heb. vii. 27; ix. 7.) First, On the part of the priests, who being sinners themselves, stood in need of another mediator, as much as the people for whom they offered sacrifice. Secondly, On the part of the sacrifices or hosts that were offered (Heb. ix. 9; x. 4), which, being only the flesh and blood of calves and goats, could not of themselves purify the souls of men from sin, or pacify God's anger against them. Thirdly, On the part of the offering or act of sacrificing (x. 1), which, being done by men that were sinners and imperfect, could not be effectual for taking away sin; and this is the reason why it was so often to be repeated. On the other side he argues that such was the perfection of our Saviour's priesthood in all those points of which the other was defective, both as to the Priest himself, whose person was innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners (vii. 26), and as to the Host, which was not the flesh and blood of beasts, but his own body and blood (ix. 12 ; x. 10). And as to the perfection of the act of sacrificing by which he offered himself, that this one Host, one time sacrificed by this one Priest (ix. 25, 28; x. 10, 12), was sufficient to remit sin,
to sanctify the people, and to obtain eternal redemption.
Now to this doctrine of the Apostle we readily subscribe, and freely own, that the sacrifice of the cross is a sufficient reconciliation and atonement for sin, perfect in every respect; yea, the only sacrifice by which we were redeemed, and by which remission of sins is purchased. And whosoever should attempt to maintain, that we have another sacrifice, which is a sufficient propitiation for sin of itself, and independently of the sacrifice of the cross; or indeed a sacrifice at all distinct from that of the cross, could not defend the one without injury to the other. But no such thing is defended by Catholics ; for we do not maintain the eucharistical sacrifice to be an offering that remits sin independently of the sacrifice of the cross, nor a sacrifice at all distinct from it: but we believe that it is in substance the same; for in both the same Victim is offered, and in both the same High priest, our Saviour Jesus Christ, is the principal Offerer: what was done on the cross in a bloody manner, is performed here in an unbloody manner; the death which our Saviour suffered there really, is represented here mystically: so that the sacrifice is the same in both, differing only in the manner.
So great was the perfection of the sacrifice of the cross, that it atoned not only for sins committed since the death of Christ, but, as St. Paul clearly teaches, for the sins that were committed under the old testament. (Heb. ix. 15.) Yet notwithstanding the infinite perfection of that sacrifice, other sacrifices there were under the old testament appointed by God himself; and these