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that the offering is nothing else than giving Christ to us, to eat: let him be accursed.
"2. Whoever shall affirm, that by these words, 'Do this for a commemoration of me,' Christ did not appoint his apostles priests, or did not ordain that they and other priests should offer his body and blood : let him be accursed.
“3. Whoever shall affirm, that the sacrifice of the mass is only a service of praise and thanksgiving, or a bare commemoration of the sacrifice made on the cross, and not a propitiatory offering; or that it only benefits him who receives it, and ought not to be offered for the living and the dead, for sins, punishments, satisfactions, and other necessities : let him be accursed.
"4. Whoever shall affirm, that the most holy sacrifice of Christ, made on the cross, is blasphemed by the sacrifice of the mass : or that the latter derogates from the glory of the former: let him be accursed.
"5. Whoever shall affirm, that to celebrate masses in honour of the saints, and in order to obtain their intercession with God, according to the intention of the church, is an imposture : let him be accursed.
“6. Whoever shall affirm, that the canon of the mass contains errors, and ought therefore to be abolished : let him be accursed.
“7. Whoever shall affirm, that the ceremonies, vestments, and external signs used by the Catholic church, in the celebration of the mass, are excitements to irreligion, rather than helps to piety: let him be accursed.
“8. Whoever shall affirm, that those masses in which the priest only communicates sacramentally are unlawful, and therefore ought to be abolished: let him be accursed.
"9: Whoever shall affirm, that the practice of the Roman church, in uttering with a low voice part of the canon and the words of consecration, is to be condemned; or that the mass should be celebrated in the vernacular language only; or that water is not to be mixed in the cup with wine, when the sacrifice is offered, because it is contrary to Christ's institution: let him be accursed.”
To the Romish clergy, the mass has ever been the source of gainful traffic. The fiction of purgatory has enabled thern to work powerfully on the affections, the
fears, and the hopes of their votaries, and levy immense contributions. To relieve a dear friend or relative from his sufferings in the unseen world, is represented as a duty, the neglect of which is a most crying sin. If benevolent aid is sought in prosecuting some work of presumed piety, a liberal donation has the promise of future reward, and secures a reversionary interest of no small value. 11 It was well that the council forbore to quote scripture in support of this dogma, founding it wholly on tradition and the authority of the church. Such an instance of modesty rarely occurs. 1 2
The apostle Paul nobly said, “In the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." 1 Cor. xiv. 19. The custom of celebrating mass in the Latin language only stands in direct contradiction to his reasoning in that important chapter, and is not less opposed to the testimony of history than it is to the authority of scripture. Like the ancient wizards, who “peeped and muttered," the Roman Catholic priest recites a considerable part of the service in a low, murmuring voice, entirely unintelligible to the people. If it be said that they are allowed the use of translations, it may be replied that those translations comprise only detached portions of the service, and that it is obviously impracticable to derive any benefit from them during the time of worship. The rapid succession of ceremonies, the frequent changes of posture, the constant appeal to the senses, cannot but divert the attention, and present an insuperable obstacle to all attempts of the kind; to say nothing of the diffi
I 11 For instance—those who contribute to the erection of a chapel, are encouraged by the assurance, that “every Sunday prayers are publicly offered up for them: and that a mass will be said every year, within the octave of All Saints, for the repose of their souls after death." But the subscribers to the “Benevolent Society for the relief of the aged and infirm poor," are still more fortunate; “four masses in euch month are regularly offered for the benefactors, living and dead." Laity's Directory, 1830, p. 22, 31.
12 Bellarınine (De Missa, 1. ii. c. 7.) adduces 2 Maccabees xü. 46. “ It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” This passage is the strong hold of the Roman Catholics: Protestants know what value to set upon the testimony of an apocryphal book.
culty of reading with advantage, while at the same time the service is being carried on in another tongue. Of this, Roman Catholic instructors are fully aware. Their books of devotion contain no directions for the use of the translated Missal, but rather aion to recommend what is termed spiritual communion, that is, meditation on what the priest is supposed to be saying.
It is the dishonour cast upon our blessed Saviour that justly exposes the mass to the indignant rejection of scriptural christians, and induces them to subscribe heartily to the language of the church of England, stigmatising it as a collection of “blasphemous fables' and “dangerous conceits.” 13 Place by the side of this decree the Epistle to the Hebrews, and then "look on this picture and on that!" How different the one from the other! Surely nothing but an inveterate habit of perverting Scripture to serve a purpose could reconcile the mind to such interpretations as are here propounded. According to the Apostle Paul, Christ is our High Priest, who has offered himself "once for all,” and “by his one offering hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Exalted at the right hand of God he "ever liveth to make intercession for us." Having entered into the holy place he presents himself to the Father as "the Lamb that was slain," and his presence there pleads for the penitent. "He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him.” The privilege of direct access to the Almighty is granted by his mediation to all who repent and believe. They need no earthly priest to introduce them. Jesus only is their priest; his perfect sacrifice, which never needs to be repeated, is the warrant for their approach to God. It were blasphemy to say that any thing more is required, or that a fellow-sinner can propitiate Deity and open the path to pardon for the repenting rebel. But by the obedient Roman Catholic his priest is regarded as all in all. To him he confesses his sins; from him he receives absolution; he is vested with the wondrous power of transmuting the bread and wine into the real body and blood of the Lord; and the impiety is consummated when the sacrament is made a sacrifice, and a sinful
13 Thirty-first article,
mortal presumes to say that he actually offers to the Supreme Being the spotless victim whose“ blood cleanseth from all sin.” This is in fact to give to the priest the office of Mediator; and the natural effect is that he, not the Lord Jesus Christ, is the object of the devotee's regard. A similar remark may be applied to masses in memory of the saints, in which the sacrifice of the great and only Intercessor is profanely asserted to be offered to the Most High, in order to procure the intercession of his creatures! Thus the glory of the incarnate Son of God is lawlessly trampled under feet; he is denied his just rights; and impostors usurp the honour which is only due to the “ Great High Priest, who hath passed into the heavens.”
The correction of certain abuses in the celebration of mass was the subject of the second decree. Avarice, irreverence, and superstition were mentioned as the springs of those abuses. Unreasonable pecuniary stipulations or demands for new masses, were condemned as savouring of simoniacal pravity and base gain. It was required that officiating priests should be men of good character and becoming deportment, and that all licentious music, and whatever was inconsistent with the gravity of a religious service should be abolished. With regard to superstitious observances, it was well known that they were too numerous to be described, and that their exposure would reflect little credit on the Komish church; a general authority was vested in the bishops as delegates of the Holy See, to prohibit, correct, amend, and inflict ecclesiastical censures and other penalties, at their discretion.
This was followed by the decree of reformation. Its provisions were few and unimportant. Besides the renewal of ancient canons respecting the characters and lives of the clergy, and their ordination, it contained nothing answerable to the wishes and expectations of Christendom, and was consequently subjected to severe criticism.
A separate decree was published, declaring that the question of conceding the eup to the laity was referred absolutely to the Roman Pontiff, who in his wisdon would decide that point, and do what should be most useful to the Christian commonwealth at large, and
salutary to those who petitioned for the privilege. About forty of the fathers recorded their dissent from this decree. 14
14 Pallav. I. xvii. c. 9. Sarpi, I. vi. s. 58. A document was read at this session, purporting to be the confession of one Abdissi, Patriarch of Musal in Assyria, who had visited Rome to receive from the Pope the confirmation of his appointment to office. He promised true allegiance to the pontiff, and obedient reception of all the decrees of the council, the future as well as the past. The Romanists attached a great deal of importance to this event: the submission of a high dignitary of the Eastern church seemed a very favourable opening for papal ambition : but it came to nothing. Le Plat, v. p. 407—501,