Obrazy na stronie


by the Holy Ghost out of the Sacred Writings, " and the ancient Tradition of the Fathers, (antiqua "Patrum traditione) has taught in its sacred councils, "and lately in this cecumenical Council, that there "is a Purgatory and that the souls, detained there,


are assisted by the prayers of the faithful, and "C especially by the acceptable sacrifice of the Altar, "this holy Council commands the Bishops to do "their diligent endeavours, that the sound doctrine of Purgatory, as handed down by the Holy Fathers, "and the Sacred Councils be believed, retained,




taught, and every where preached by the faithful "in Christ"." Here it is worthy of remark, that, though the Decree begins with an appeal as well to Scripture as to Tradition, yet, as if the framers of it were conscious, that Scripture afforded them no support, the word Scripture is omitted at the end of the sentence, where the sound doctrine of Purgatory is said to have been "handed down by the Holy "Fathers and the sacred Councils." That the term "ancient tradition of the Fathers (antiqua Patrum traditio)" relates only to the mode of conveyance, and that the doctrine is still supposed to be apostolical Tradition, appears from a comparison of it with a Decree relating to the sacrifice of the Mass, where the subject of Purgatory is likewise introduced.

[ocr errors]

"Cum catholica ecclesia, Spiritu sancto edocta ex sacris literis et antiqua Patrum traditione, in sacris Conciliis et novissime in hac œcumenica Synodo docuerit, Purgatorium esse, animasque ibi detentas fidelium suffragiis, potissimum vero acceptabili altaris sacrificio juvari, præcipit sancta Synodus Episcopis, ut sanam de Purgatorio doctrinam, a sanctis Patribus et sacris Conciliis traditam a Christi fidelibus credi, teneri, doceri, et ubique prædicari diligenter studeant. Ib. p. cci.


[ocr errors]


CHAP. II. Churches of England and Rome.

For in this Decree it is said, of the Host, that it "is duly offered, according to the Tradition of the "Apostles (juxta Apostolorum traditionem,) not

only for the sins, punishments, satisfactions, and "other necessities of the living, but also for those "who are deceased in Christ, and are not yet fully purged of their sins (nondum ad plenum purgatis.)" This Decree about the sacrifice of the Mass, and its benefit to souls in Purgatory, is worthy of notice also in another respect. For no attempt even is made in it to couple the name of Scripture with the name of Tradition.

In the Decree about Indulgences, there is again no attempt, to call in the aid of Scripture. It rests solely on the power of the Church "divinely handed down to it," (divinitus sibi traditá ".) Indeed great caution is observed in the Decree about Indulgences: for it was the sale of these very Indulgences, which had first excited the indignation of Luther, and had occasioned the Reformation in Germany.

The Decree about Relics and Saints is entitled, • De invocatione, veneratione, et reliquiis Sanctorum, et sacris imaginibus.' Here likewise no attempt is made, to press the Scriptures into the service of




22 Quare non solum pró fidelium vivorum peccatis, pœnis, satisfactionibus, et aliis necessatibus, sed et pro defunctis in Christo, nondum ad plenum purgatis, rite, juxta APOSTOLORUM TRADITIONEM, offertur. Ib. p. cxLI. Likewise the Roman Catechism (p. 52. ed. 1572) explaining the doctrine of Purgatory says, De hujus quidem doctrinæ veritate, quam et scripturarum testimoniis, et apostolorum traditione confirmatam esse, sancta Concilia declarant, &c. And a marginal Note refers, not only to the Council of Florence, but to the twenty-fifth Session of the Council of Trent. 23 Ib. p. ccxxxIII.


[ocr errors]

this holy Synod; for the members of it were con scious, that the Scriptures were against them. Even Tradition appears to be abandoned, at least apostolical Tradition; for appeal is made to the practice of the apostolical Church (apostolicæ Ecclesiæ usum 24.) Yet in the Roman Missal (Missale Romanum) which was published by virtue of an order made in this very Session ", there are many Collects which have no other foundation than this Decree, de invocatione Sanctorum. These Collects, so far from resting the hope of Salvation on the sole, merits and mediation of Christ, appeal not unfrequently to the merits and intercession of the Saints. And lest a doubt should be entertained on this subject, I will quote an example, which shall be the Collect for St. Nicholas, whose memory is celebrated on the 6th of December. This Collect, according to the words of the Roman Missal in English, published in London a few years ago for the use of the Laity, is as follows, "O God, who by innumerable miracles hast honoured blessed "Nicholas the Bishop, grant, we beseech thee, that




by his merits and intercession we may be delivered "from eternal flames 26" And, lest it should be supposed, that the present members of the Church of Rome appeal less frequently, than their ancestors, to

24 Ib.

25 Ib. p. ccxxxiv. It is entitled, De Indice Librorum, Catechismo, Breviario, et Missali.

26 See p. 527. of" The Roman Missal for the use of the Laity, containing the Masses appointed to be said throughout the year." Printed and published by P. Keating, 1806, 12mo. In the Missale Romanum (ed. Antverpiæ, 1680, fol.) the Collect for St. Nicholas may be seen at p. 411.

the merits of the Saints, be it observed, that the Collects of this Roman Missal in English sometimes introduce as well merits as intercession, where we do not find. them in the original Missale Romanum. A memorable example of this may be seen in the Collect for St. Patrick, the tutelar Saint of Ireland 27. Such

27 In the Roman Missal in English, p. 562. the Collect appeals both to "the merits and intercession" of St. Patrick. In the Latin Missale Romanum, p. 455, ed. 1680, there are three Collects for St. Patrick's day, which, as in the English Mass Book, is fixed for the 17th of March. The first, which is called Oratio, speaks of St. Patrick, but without either merits or intercession. In the second, which is called Secreta, the name of St. Patrick is not mentioned. It is again mentioned in the third Collect called Postcommunio, but merely with the words intercedente beato Patritio. In the Collect for St. George, the Patron of England, the Missale Romanum, (p. 467.) had already appealed as well to merits as to intercession: and of course we find them both in the English Mass Book, p. 570. Other examples of appeal, as well to the merits, as to the intercession of the Saints, may be seen in the same Mass Book, by consulting the Collects for St. Scholastica, St. Richard of Chichester, St. William archbishop of York, St. Fidelis, St. John a Facundo, St. Juliana, St. Thomas Becket, St. Jerome Emilian, St. Lawrence, and St. Andrew Avelline. The examples of appeal either to merit or intercession are without end. It is to be observed, that I am here speaking of the English Mass Book, or the Missal published in London in 1806; for the Collects in the Missale Romanum often vary from the corresponding Collects of the English Mass Book. Indeed the latter has not only Collects, but even Saints, which are not in the former. For instance, St. Scholastica, whose memory, according to the English Mass Book, is celebrated on the 10th of February, is left unnoticed in the Missale Romanum. At least the edition, which I have now before me, has no Collect for any Saint on the 10th of February. Now the Collect for Saint Scholastica runs thus, at p. 556. of the English Mass Book, "O God, who to recom"mend to us innocence of life, wast pleased to let the soul of


is the superstruction, which the Church of Rome has raised on a Decree of the Council of Trent, which itself is founded only on Tradition, and moreover on such Tradition, as the Council itself did not venture to pronounce apostolical.


No further proof then can be wanted, that to the Church of Rome the Scriptures are not the sole fountain of Christian Faith. And the only observations, which it may be still necessary to make, are such, as relate to the authority of this Council. The Decrees, which relate to Discipline, have not in all countries been implicitly obeyed. In France, for instance, the rights of the Gallican Church have been opposed to the Decrees on Discipline. But the Decrees, relating to Doctrine, with which alone we are now concerned, and which alone therefore have been quoted in this Chapter, are universally received by those, who profess the Romish Faith. For the Decrees on doctrine declare, with as much authority, the tenets of the Church of Rome, as our thirty-nine Articles declare the tenets of the Church of England. Indeed they declare them with still greater authority. Whatever doubts (says Bellarmine) some persons may entertain of the personal infallibility of the Pope; whatever doubts may be entertained about the authority of Councils, before their Decrees have been confirmed by the Pope; yet all Catholics (says Bellarmine) are agreed upon this point, that the

"thy blessed Virgin Scholastica ascend to Heaven in the shape "of a Dove; grant, by her merits and prayers, that we may lead "innocent lives here, and ascend to eternal joys hereafter."

« PoprzedniaDalej »