Obrazy na stronie

been am exact agreement, both im words and ceremonies, cannot be expected ; but the varieties were not of such consequence, or in so great a number as to affect the unity of the Faith. “ Multa pro locorum et hominum diversitate variantur,” says Firmilian in his Epistle to S. Cypriam, “ nec tamen propter hoc ab ecclesiæ catholicæ pace atque unitate discessum est.” They who will not acknowledge any agreement, because in some matters of less consequence they find much variety, might as well expect a sameness throughout the world of civil rights, and customs, and observances. Not so argued one of our own Archbishops, S. Anselm. * Queritur vestra reverentia de sacramentis Ecclesiæ : quoniam non uno modo fiunt ubique, sed diversis modis in diversis locis tractantur. Utique si per universam Ecclesiam uno modo et concorditer celebrarentur ; bonum esset et laudabile. Quoniam tamen multæ sunt diversitates, quæ non in substantia sacramenti, neque in virtute ejus, aut fide discordant ; neque omnes in unam consuetudinem colligi possunt : æstimo eas potius in pace concorditer tolerandas, quam discorditer cum scandalo damnandas. Habemus enim a sanctis Patribus, quia si unitas servatur charitatis in fide Catholica, nihil officit consuetudo diversa. Si autem quæritur unde istæ natæ sunt consuetudinum varietates: nihil aliud intelligo, quam humanoThis power, which from the nature of the office of the episcopate was vested in the Bishops of the Church, to accommodate the rites of public worship to the requirements of their people, was very moderately exercised, though fully allowed and in reality unlimited, so long as the essentials of the eucharistical service were preserved, and nothing introduced which was obnoxious to the One Holy Catholic Faith. During the first three centuries there were more reasons than in after-years, why individual Bishops should not hesitate, upon their sole authority, to make, if they thought it desirable, even considerable alterations in the liturgies of the Church. For, upon every occasion of doubt or difficulty which arose, they could not, in the persecutions to which they were exposed, ask advice of other of their brethren, much less meet together in a General Council. But when they did so meet, it is clear from some canons of two of the earliest councils whose records have come down to us, that liturgical and ritual matters were not overlooked. Thus the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, the 8th, 9th, and 41st of the Apostolical canons, and several also of the Eliberitan council have reference to such points.

rum sensuum diversitates.”*

na, Gothica a Leandro, Gallicana vetus a Gallicanis episcopis factæ sunt. Verum cum nota esset omnibus vetus et Apostolica forma,

liturgiarum." Renaudot. vol. i. 14.

* Ad Waleranni querelas, Responsio. Opera. p. 189. Com

quæ paucis verbis constabat, eam omnes secuti sunt, nec ab ea recesserunt: orationes quæ inter sacra dicebantur, cum multæ essent, selegerunt, novas etiam addiderunt, tandemque ne perturbatio inter fideles nasceretur, quasdam perscripserunt, et hæc origo fuit diversitatis

pare also S. Augustin, Epist. 54. S. Jerome. Epist. 28. and Ivo Carnotensis, Epist. 2. Cited by Bona. tom. i. p. 90. Also, Catalani, Pro. legomena in Pontif. Rom. cap. ii. 6. Azevedo. De Divino Qfficio. Exereit. x. Pinius. De Mozar. Lit.

cap. i. § 1.

Here we approach another question: in what age were liturgies first committed to writing 2 Some have contended that the Apostles were themselves the authors of those several liturgies which claim their names: but so great is the majority against them, that we may say it is agreed upon, that they were not. There is no account of any such composition in the works of the first fathers: and surely, if no others had, Origen or Jerome would have made some mention of it. Councils, at least the very early ones, are silent, and these would have appealed to a written Apostolic liturgy, if they could, against the errors and teaching of heretics. Both Tertullian, when speaking of the eucharistical rites,” and

* De Corona, c. 4,

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

Aoos &urov, ex rows earl 'ypopn; ; Ovi, ex rm; 23 moorisvrov ravrn; xz 27 oppnrov 3,320xxxix., iv ev &roxvirpo, yoovnto x2, &m epispYarro royo of rareps; how spux2.Éxv, xxxws extivo deoxyuevo, row overnpowy to repovov awry Ölza worso. ;” Renaudot however and Le Brun who agrees with him, and even goes so far as to assert that for four hundred years no liturgy was written, interpret the words of S. Basil in a sense which he certainly did not himself intend. His argument in that part of his treatise is directed solely to the question of the canonical and sacred Scriptures: nor is it unusual for that father to speak of customs and rites as unwritten, which are not found expressly so laid down and explained. Another argument by which we may conclude that until the end of the second century liturgies were not committed to writing, is, as Renaudot observes, that although we find frequent mention made of the Scriptures being given up to the heathens through fear of punishment or death, we have no instance of any book of ceremonies or public worship : neither would the persecutors have inquired so cruelly by torture, what mode of offering and sacrifice the Christians observed, if they could have procured a written liturgy. Upon the other hand, as I have already said, it has been argued that liturgies were in all ages written: and the chief difficulty of unwritten Forms seems to be, that the length of them would have rendered it impossible that, generally, priests should have been able to celebrate without a book. But it is not necessary for us to suppose that more than the solemn portions were preserved and handed down unwritten: certainly the psalms, and lections from the Scriptures, the Epistles, and the Gospels, and very probably long prayers and thanksgivings also were not forbidden to be written: and therefore we may conclude that in its strict sense, no liturgy was written for some ages, because certain indispensable and essential rites which constitute a Liturgy, were handed down by tradition only. And we have a very remarkable proof how late this disinclination to commit those parts to writing was cherished in the western Church, from a letter from Innocent I. to a Bishop, Decentius: who had applied to him for the Roman Use; “Saepe Dilectionem tuam ad urbem venisse, ac nobiscum in ecclesia convenisse non dubium est, et quem morem vel in consecrandis mysteriis, vel in caeteris agendis arcanisteneat, cognovisse; quod sufficere arbitrarer ad informationem ecclesiae tuæ, vel reformationem, si praedecessores tui minus, aut aliter tenuerint.” It was from a holy reverence that the Church required her priests thus to celebrate from memory. Among her doctrines none were so scrupulously concealed, little less from the catechumen than from the unbeliever, as were those connected with the Blessed Eucharist. It was not from her admitted children that she sought to hide them, but from men who were her avowed enemies, or unproved candidates for her privileges. She knew and remembered her Lord's command, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Hence therefore it was that, except in the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, S. Paul in all his writings has not made any plain mention of this Sacrament; and then there was abundant reason, from the necessity of the case, not only why he should speak of it, but openly and freely. For the very abuse which he was endeavouring to correct, viz: permitting unworthy persons, and perhaps not even members of the Church to be present at the Holy Communion, had admitted these already to the knowledge of much connected with the solemnities of the celebration of it. As a very learned writer has

* Cited by Le Brun. Opera, tom. ii. p. 18.

« PoprzedniaDalej »