Obrazy na stronie
PDF

Chrysostom also, (cited by Cardinal Bona,) in his 27th Homily, enquires; “Cum sacras Coenas accipiebant Apostoli, quid tum faciebant 2 nonne in preces convertebantur et hymnos ?” On the other hand it has been argued that the founder of each Church required his converts to observe some certain rites, which were essential to the validity of the sacrament, and left them at liberty to add to these, other prayers and ceremonies as they might think proper. One thing is very certain; that the Holy Scriptures give us little information upon the subject: the institution of the Supper of the Lord is related by three of the Evangelists, and by St. Paul in the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians: we are told that our Blessed Lord took bread, and blessed it, and said, “This is my Body,” and in like manner that he took the cup, and blessed it, and said, “This is my Blood:” but the words which He used in blessing, and the exact form are not recorded. That there was some Form observed in the first communion which was celebrated by the Apostles after the resurrection of their Lord, I think, we cannot doubt : nor, that they who had been partakers and witnesses at the institution of the sacrament would be very careful, in their after celebrations, to imitate as far as possible the Saviour's example. Indeed, this was a Divine command: what He had done, they were to do; what He had said, they were to say ; what He had offered, they were to offer; and power also was given to them, and through them, to the whole Church for ever, of altering, or adding to, or taking away from time to time, either prayers, or ceremonies, or rites, provided that they were not of the essence of the sacrament, and were intended to meet the requirements of various ages, climates, and countries, or to encrease the solemnity of the celebration, or to promote the devotion of the people. And it was this power which St. Paul claimed so unhesitatingly, as having been bestowed by our Blessed Lord, when in the same epistle before spoken of to the Corinthians, and upon the very subject of the Eucharist, he adds: “And the rest will I set in order when I come.”” I must here consider a famous passage of Gregory the Great : in which it has been said that he asserts, and therefore he has often been called in to prove, that the Apostles used no other prayer or ceremony than the Lord's Prayer only. The words of S. Gregory are. “Orationem dominicam idcirco mox post precem dicinus, quia mos apostolorum fuit, ut adipsam solum modo orationem, oblationis hostiam consecrarent. Et valde mihi inconveniens visum est, ut precem, quam scholasticus composuerat, super oblationem diceremus, et ipsam traditiomem, quam Redemptor noster composuit, super ejus Corpus et Sanguinem non diceremus.” But all writers agree, (that is, supposing the passage not to be corrupt,) either that this assertion of S. Gregory is incorrect, or that he himself intended more than the Lord's Prayer to be understood. His argument, as it seems to me, is not that the Lord's Prayer only was used by the Apostles, but that neither they did, nor we ought to perform the whole service without reciting it. As Cardinal Bona observes,” with whom agrees Le Brun,” at least the words of Institution must have been added; “additis procul dubio verbis consecrationis.” That something must be added to qualify the statement of S. Gregory is clear from the account of a very

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

early writer, the author of the Gemma Animae: “ Missam in primis Dominus Jesus, sacerdos secundum ordinem Melchisedech, instituit, quando ex pane et vino corpus et sanguinem suum fecit, et memoriam sui, suis celebrare hæc præcepit: hanc Apostoli auxerunt, dum super panem et vinum verba quæ Dominus dixit, et dominicam orationem dixerunt. Deinde successores eorum epistolas et evangelia legi statuerunt, alii cantum, et alii alia adjecerunt qui decorem domus Domini dilexerunt."" And amother, Walafrid Strabo, who lived some centuries earlier and not long after S. Gregory, speaking of the practice of primitive ages, “ primis temporibus,” declares that although the Holy Communion was celebrated with more simplicity than afterwards, yet “præmissa oratione Dominica, et sicut ipse Dominus noster præcepit, commemoratione passionis ejus adhibita eos corpori Dominico communicasse et sanguini, quos ratio permittebat.'' 17 Or again, the whole place from S. Gregory is made agreeable to every other testimony of antiquity, by rendering the word ** ad” in the sense of “ post ;” of which examples might be found in the best writers: and he would therefore only intend to say, that before the consecration of the sacred elements, the Apostles were accustomed to repeat only the Lord's Prayer: and afterwards consecrate the Eucharist. Which leaves the whole question, except as to the ancient position of that prayer in the Service, exactly where it was before.“ It is not improbable that sometimes during the violence of persecutions, when the Faithful were forced to meet at

" Lib. i. cap. 86. ** Quum sine tabulis ac testibus id ab eo affirmatum fuerit, consensum minime extorquet a nobis. Et præcipue quod aliter senserint antiqui* Muratori, after citing the pas- ores Ecclesiæ Patres." Dissert. de sage from S. Gregory, adds : rebus Lit. col. 10.

" De rebus Eccles. cap. xxii. Bibl. Patrum. Auct. tom. i. p. 680.

night and in places the most obscure, the Blessed Eucharist was administered with the fewest possible rites, and even the necessary prayers abbreviated. These were extraordinary cases, which afford no argument against the general tradition up to the apostolic age : and upon the point that the earliest Form could not have been very short, Justin Martyr is a sufficient evidence: the text also from the 1st Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy, which all the best commentators agree, relates to the celebration of the Eucharist. “I exhort therefore that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made, for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority.” Neither must we forget that the first Christian converts, whether Jews or Gentiles, had been accustomed to the observance of ceremonies and long prayers; and there does not seem any reason to believe, even if we had no evidence upon the other hand, that the Apostles would so far oppose their prejudices in this respect, as to celebrate the highest and most solemn mysteries only by the bare use of the words, “This is My Body; This is My Blood:” and, of the Lord's Prayer. I have delayed to examine at some little length the above assertion of S. Gregory, on account of the importance which by many writers has been attached to it; especially by those who are always anxiously on the watch for every shadow of argument, by which they can hope to controvert the steady voice of all antiquity, which declares, that from the time of the Apostles downwards some Form, some Liturgy, was always used in every branch of the Catholic Church. Whether the same Form was at first enjoined exactly in all the Churches, the variations in the antient liturgies render doubtful: but their constant agreement in substance, and their uniform observance in the same order of some

19 Ch. ii. v. 1.

rites, make it certain that the Apostles did at any rate require that order, and declare that those rites are essential. And we do not trace the establishment of these to any canons of councils, nor do we name any age or place in which they were not observed: so that the rule of S. Augustine comes in, with a force not to be resisted : ** Quod universa tenet Ecclesia, nec a conciliis institutum, sed semper retentum est, non nisi auctoritate Apostolica traditum rectissime creditur.”° Hence, (manifestinterpolations having been removed,) there are no differences in the ancient liturgies which may not be attributed to the legitimate power vested in the Bishop of each diocese, and more espeeially in each Patriarch, to arrange the public Service of the people, over whom he was appointed.* That there should have

*' De Baptismo. lib. iv. cap. 24. * “ Etsi nulla supersit cum Occidentalium, tum Orientalium Ecclesiarum Liturgia, quæ eamdem omnino faciem retineat, quam primis sæculis Christianæ religionis sortita fuit: certum tamem est, vel ipsis iis sæculis incruentum Sacrificium celebratum semper fuisse, et preces et ritus, hoc est Liturgiam adhibitam in actione, quæ omnium præstantissimum Mysterium complectitur. Accesserunt sensim aliæ Preces, Orationes et Ritus pro diversa Episcoporum pietate et ingenio, &c." Muratori. Dissert. cap. ix. 119. “ At nihil simile circa Liturgias Orientales et Occidentales observari potest, cum omnes inter se ita conveniant, ut ab uno fonte, Apostolorum scilicet exemplo et præceptis ad omnes Ecclesias permanasse certissime agnoscantur. Neque aliunde tanta in sanctissimis myste

riis celebrandis conformitas, quam ex communi et omnibus nota traditione nasci potuit, cum Jacobus, qui antiquissimus eorum est, quorum nominibus Liturgiæ insignitæ sunt, nihil præceperit de vino aqua miscemdo, de pronunciandis verbis Christi Domini, deinvocando super dona proposita Spiritu Sancto, de mittenda absentibus, aut ægrotantibus Eucharistia, ut nec de multis aliis, quæ tamen ubique recepta fuisse et usu quotidiano Ecclesiarum frequentata megari non potest. Nihil princeps Apostolorum Petrus, aut Antiochiæ, aut Romæ scripsisse legitur, nihil Paulus, nihil alii: sed quod acceperant a Domino idem tradebant novis Christiamis. Multo minus Basilius et Chrysostomus novas offerendi sacrificii Eucharistici formas instituere poterant : ut neque a Gelasio primum aut a Gregorio magno Romana missa, neque ab Ambrosio Ambrosia

« PoprzedniaDalej »