« PoprzedniaDalej »
done in the name of the Lord, in hopes the sick person might the sooner recover his health, This was all that he meant, for he says:
** The prayer of faith shall save the sick and the Lord shall raise him up, * which must be understood of the recovery of health.t He only spoke of the oil occasionally as a custom practised among the Jews. But, in process of time, his words here, as upon a former occasion, were perverted, and the unction converted into a sacrament. It was with the use of oil as with the talismans, amulets, charms, written tickets hung about children's necks and the like, that were used for preservative or restorative purposes, there was no weaning the ignorant people from the one no more than from the other; nay they had an unconquerable desire for the unction for the reasons above-mentioned. When the clergy found it troublesome and expensive to answer all the capricious calls of the ignorant people, they thought it expedient to dignify the unction with the title of a sacramental rite, in order to make the people pay as often as they call for it, which pay they softened with the specious name of reli. gious offering. And, to give it still the greater air of a religious ordinance, it was ordered, that the oil should be consecrated, and that only by a bishop who, assisted by his clergy, must, with great parade and ceremony, blow the holy ghost thrice, in the form of a cross, into every jar of oil, and then prostrate and adore it by bending the knee thrice, and saying: Ave sanctum oleum Then, as the bishop is to be a sharer in the emoluments, the priests must make an offering of five or six and twenty shillings a piece or more for every half thimble-full of the holy oil, wbich they take and retail in their turns to the poor people. Thus, this unction became at last a beneficial traffic.
But there is a greater cheat than this in the doctine of extreme unction. Such, it is pretended, are the intention, efficacy and virtues of this rite that, if it be necessary to the salvation of the person who is annointed, that he should recover, he will, but if this be not necessary, he will not. I Hence it follows, Ist. That if the person recovers, he was in a state of damnation, after he was agnointed. 2nd. That if he does not recover, he died in a state of salvation. Therefore, nobody was ever damned that was annointed at the hour of his death. Therefore, also, nobody that recovers had be nefit by any sacrament he received before the unction; otherwise he would not have been in a state of damnation. Upon the whole then, it is plain, as this sacrament like the rest, is said to operate ex opere operato, whoever has a mind never to die, needs only be in a state of damnation when he is annoin. ted.
*Chap. 5. 15.
+ It is to be observed that he does not ascribe the recovery of health to the oil, but to the prayers of the church, to show that he lays greater stress upon the latter than upon the A former. And even then his words are not to be taken rigorously to the letter, otherwise this "whole ceremony would have been an elixir of immortality, and then it would follow that no one ever died in the apostle's days or after, while there was an elder of the church to be bad and to ar point or pray.
I remember that when I stood an examen for the degree of Licence, these argoments were urged against me by one of the doctors. I shifted about as well as I could, and made distinctions and subdistinctions without measure to save my credit. The doctor took me up at every answer and run me at last into a dilema, whereupon he laughed, but suddenly waved the subject, for fear to be sure, that he might be suspected by any of the company, though perhaps noue of them believed the doctrine of extreme unction any more than he.