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That the Church was intrufted with fuch an authority by Christ, and hath in every age exercised this authority, muft be acknowledged by all, who are not ftrangers to Scripture and Church-hiftory. St. Paul had juftly excommunicated the incestuous Corinthian; but, in confideration of the fervour of his repentance, he reftored him again to the facraments and the communion of the faithful, in confequence of the power of loofing, as well as binding, which Chrij? had left in the Church. And in the primitive ages we meet with nothing more frequent, than a relaxation of the canonical pennances at the intreaties and request of the Martyrs.
The following decree therefore of the Council of Trent, Se. 24 de Reform. cannot but be applauded by every fober and difpafionate man. "As the power of bestowing Indulgences was granted by Christ to the Church, and as the "Church, even in the moft carly ages, made ufe of this "power...the holy fynod teacheth and appointeth the ufe "of indulgences, fo very falutary to Chriftian people, and "approved of by the authority of the facred Councils, "to be retained in the Church...but defires that modera❝tion fhould be used in the grant of them, according to "the ancient and approved ufe of the Church; left, by "too much eafe, the difcipline of the Church be enerva
ted. But defiring likewife that the abufes that have "crept therein may be corrected, fhe orders in general "the abolishing all traffick for gaining the fame." And defires all the Bishops to apply "proper remedies to what"ever abufes may have arifen from fuperftition, ignorance, "and irreverence, in the ufe thereof."
The conditions upon which alone we can receive the effects of any Indulgence, are, 1. To be truly forry for our fins. 2. To have a fincere defire of fatisfying for them. 3. To fatisfy as far as is in our power. 4. To have obtained the remiffion of fin as to the guilt of it. 5. To fulfil the acts of religion prefcribed for the obtaining the Indulgence; fuch as fafting, praying, vifiting churches, giving alms, receiving the blefitd Eucharift, &c.
and everlafting God, it is with con
fufion of countenance and contrition of heart that I prefent myfelf in this pofture of humility on
my bended knees before thy divine Majefty, whom I have offended moft grievously by my manifold crimes and offences. Great hath been their enormity, and fuch as thy justice would have punished with eternal torments, had not thy mercy interpofed, and faved me from thy wrath by the blood of thy holy only Son, which hath been applied to my foul by thy minifter in the facrament of pennance. Thou haft again therefore, in thy infinite goodness, admitted me into favour: thou haft placed me again at thy table with thy children, and fed me with the food of life, and the bread of Angels. But I can never forget my paft ingratitude to thee, O my God, my Father, and my King. I deteft again all the crimes I have ever committed against thy divine Majefty. I acknowledge, that tho' thou haft taken away my fins, there remaineth yet a punishment due to them. The difcipline of thy Church, tho' ever unchangeable in the spirit that guides and directs it, requires no longer those external rigours of pennance formerly practifed, and which I know the enormity of fins demand; but thy juftice is ftill the fame, and fin muft ftill be fatisfied for. This, my God, I have in fome measure endeavoured to do, and will ftill increafe my efforts to perform in the best manner I am able.
But do thou, O God, confirm and ratify what thy Vicar on earth hath done. He hath opened the treafures of the Church, and I may now apply to my foul the fuperabundant merits of Jefus Chrift, thy only Son, and thofe of all his faints, which are his own gifts in them, to fupply all the defects of the fatisfaction I have or may perform for my fins.
Accept therefore the alms, fafts, and prayers which I offer to thy divine Majefty. I pray not for myself only, but for the whole Catholick Church all over the world. For the fupreme Paftor thereof, the fucceffor of St. Peter, the chief of thy Apofiles for the Prelate, to whom thou hast commit
ted the care of thy flock in this diftrict, and for all the Paftors, who labour under him in the falvation of fouls: for the Prince appointed by thee for the government of thefe realms. I pray alfo for all Chriftian Princes, that they may live in peace and perfect concord, and avoid all the profanations, horrors, and devaftations of war. Look down alfo, in thy mercy, on all thofe unhappy fouls that know not thee, the true and living God, or refuse to believe thofe truths thou haft revealed to thy holy Catholick Church, or obftinately remain feparate therefrom, and by fchifm deftroy that unity, which thy only-begotten Son appointed to be kept by all his difciples. Grant this my humble petition. I befeech thee, O almighty God, thro' the fame Je fus Chrift thy Son our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghoft liveth and reigneth one God world without end. Amen.
Of the CATHOLICK FAITH published by Pope PIUS IV. ufually made by Graduates, &c. in Catholick Countries.
N. N. with a firm faith believe and profefs all and every one of those things, which are contained in the Creed, which the holy Catholick Church maketh ufe of, viz. I believe in one God, the Father almighty, &c. in the Nicene Creed, at Moss.
I moft ftedfaftly admit and embrace Apoftolical and Ecclefiaftical traditions, and all other obfervances and conftitutions of the church.
I alfo admit the holy Scripture according to that fenfe which our holy Mother, the Church, hath held, and doth hold, to which it belongs to judge of the true fenfe and interpretation of the Scriptures neither will I ever take and interpret them
otherwife than according to the unanimous confent of the Fathers.
I alfo profefs, that there are truly and properly feven Sacraments of the new law, inftituted by fefus Christ our Lord, and neceffary for the falvation of mankind; tho' not all for every one, viz. Baptifm, Confirmation, Eucharift, Pennance, ExtremeUnction, Order, and Matrimony; and that they confer grace: and that of thefe, Baptifm, Confirmation, and Order cannot be reiterated without facrilege. I alfo receive and admit the received and approved Ceremonies of the Catholick Church in the folemn administration of all the aforefaid facraments.
I embrace and receive all and every one of the things which have been defined and declared in the holy Council of Trent, concerning Original Sin and Juftification.
I profefs likewife, that in the Mafs there is of fered to God, a true, proper, and propitiatory facrifice for the living and the dead. And that in the most holy facrament of the Eucharift, there is truly, really, and fubftantially the body and blood, together with the foul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Chrift: and that there is made a converfion or change of the whole fubftance of the bread into the body, and of the whole fubftance of the wine into the blood; which converfion or change the Catholick Church calls tranfubftantiation. I alfo confefs that under either kind alone Chrift is received whole and entire, and a true facrament.
I conftantly hold that there is a Purgatory, and that the fouls therein detained are helped by the fuffrages of the faithful.
Likewife that the Saints reigning together with Chrift are to be honoured, and invocated, and that they offer prayers to God for us; and that their relicks are to be refpected.
I moft firmly affert, that the Images of Christ, of the ever-Virgin-mother of God, and alfo of other
Saints ought to be had and retained; and that due honour and veneration is to be given to them.
I alfo affirm that the power of Indulgences was left by Chrift in the Church, and that the ufe of them is most wholefome to Chriftian people.
I acknowledge the holy, Catholick, Apoftolick, Roman Church for the Mother and Miftrefs of all other Churches; and I promife true obedience to the Bishop of Rome, fucceffor to St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jefus Chrift.
I likewife undoubtedly receive and profefs allother things delivered, defined, and declared by the facred Canons and general Councils, and particularly by the holy Council of Trent. And I condemn, reject, and anathematize all things contrary thereto, and all herefies whatfoever condemned, rejected, and anathematized by the Church.
This true Catholick Faith, without which no one can be faved, I N. N. do at this prefent freely profefs and fincerely hold; and I promise most conftantly to retain and confefs the fame entire, and unviolated, with God's affiftance, to the end of my life.
SUBMIT WHATEVER IS CONTAINED IN THIS WORK TO THE JUDGMENT OF THE APOSTOLICK SEE, (WHEREIN RESIDES THE VISIBLE HEAD OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST ON EARTH) TO THAT OF THE APOSTOLICK VICARS IN ENGLAND, AND OF THE WHOLE CATHO LICK CHURCH, IN WHOSE COMMUNION HOPE, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, TO LIVE AND C. C. C. A-D. A.
April 17, 1763.