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it were in secret, to the ear of God, and the reverence and awe with which both priest and people ought to assist at these tremendous mysteries. The canon begins by invoking the Father of Mercies, through Jesus Christ his Son, to accept this sacrifice for the holy Catholic church, for the Pope, the Bishop, the King, and all the professors of the catholic and apostolic faith throughout the whole world.
Then follows the Memento, or commemoration of the living, for whom in particular the priest intends to offer up that mass, or who have been particularly recommended to his prayers, &c. To which is subjoined a remembrance of all there present, followed by a solemn commemoration of the blessed Virgin, the apostles and martyrs, and all the saints, to honour their memory by naming them in the sacred mysteries, to communicate with them, and to beg of God the help of their intercession, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Then the priest spreads his hands over the bread and wine, which are to be consecrated into the body and blood of Christ, and he begs that God would accept of this oblation, which he makes in the name of the whole Church, and that he would grant us peace in this life, and eternal salvation in the next. Then he blesses the bread and wine with the sign of the cross, and prays that God would render this oblation blessed and acceptable, that it may be made to us the body and blood of his most beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ. Then he proceeds to the consecration, first of the bread into the body of our Lord, and then of the wine into his blood; which consecration is made by the words of Christ pronounced by the priest in his name, and as bearing his person. This is the chief action of the mass, in which the very essence of this sacrifice consists ; because, by the separate consecration of the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ are really exhibited and presented to God, and Christ is mystically im- · molated.
Immediately after the consecration follows the elevation, first of the host, then of the chalice, in remembrance of Christ's elevation upon the cross, and that the people may adore their Lord veiled under these sacred signs. At the elevation of the chalice, the priest recites these words of Christ ; As often as you shall do these things, you shall do them in remembrance of me.
Then the priest makes the Memento, or remembrance for the dead, praying for all those that are 6 gone before us with the sign of faith, and rest in the sleep of peace;" and in particular for those for whom he desires to offer this sacrifice, that God would grant them a “place of refreshment, light, and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Then kneeling down, and taking the sacred host in his hand, he makes the sign of the cross with it over the chalice, saying, “ Through him, and with him, and in him, is to thee, God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory;" which last words he pronounces, elevating a little the host and chalice from the altar.
13. After this follows the Pater Noster, or Lord's prayer, which is pronounced with a loud voice; and in token of the people's joining in this prayer, the clerk in their name says aloud the last petition, “ Sed libera nos a malo, But deliver us from evil;" to which the priest answers, “ Amen;" and goes on with a low voice, begging that we may be delivered from all evils, past, present, and to come; and by the intercession of the blessed Virgin and of all the saints be favoured with peace in our days, and secured from sin and all disturbances, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then he breaks the host, in imitation of Christ's breaking the bread before he gave it to his disciples, and in remembrance of his body being broken for us upon the cross; and puts a particle of it into the chalice.
This ceremony of mixing a particle of the host with the species of wine in the chalice represents the re-uniting of Christ's body, blood, and soul, at his resurrection.
14. Then follows the Agnus Dei, &c., which the priest pronounces three times, striking his breast in token of repentance: the words are, “ Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.” At the third time, instead of “ Have mercy on us,” he says, “ Grant us peace.” After the Agnus Dei follow three prayers, which the priest says to bimself by way of preparation for receiving the blessed sacrament. After which, kneeling down, and then rising and taking up the blessed sacrament, he three times strikes his breast, saying, “ Domine non sum dignus, &c., Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof; say thou only but the word, and my soul shall be healed.” Then receiving the sacred host, he says, “ The body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve my soul to life everlasting. Amen." Having paused a while he proceeds to the receiving of the chalice, using the like words, “ The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ,” &c. Then follows the communion of the people, if any are to receive.
15. After the communion, the priest takes first a little wine into the chalice, which is called the first ablution, in order to consume what remains of the consecrated species in the chalice; and then takes a little wine and water, which is called the second ablution, upon his fingers over the chalice, to the end that no particle of the blessed sacrament may remain sticking to his fingers, but that all may be washed into the chalice, and so received. Then wiping the chalice, and covering it, he goes to the book and reads a versicle of the holy scripture, called the Communion, because it was used to be sung in the high mass, at the time that the people communicated. After this, he turns about to the people with the usual salutation, “Dominus vobiscum;" and then returning to the book, reads the coilects or prayers called the Post Communion; after which he again greets the people with “ Dominus vobiscum ;” and gives them leave to depart, saying, “ Ite missa est,”—that is “Go, the mass is done."*
The whole of the service, it will be remembered, is in Latin, and therefore unintelligible to the bulk of the people. It is the performance of the priest, not the worship of the church.
To the Romish clergy, the mass has ever been the source of gainful traffic. The fiction of purgatory has enabled them to work powerfully on the affections, the fears, and the hopes, of their votaries, and levy immense contributions. To relieve a dear friend or relative from his sufferings in the unseen world is represented as a duty, the neglect of which is a most crying sin. If benevolent aid is sought in prosecuting some work of presumed piety, a liberal donation has the promise of future reward, and secures a reversionary interest of no small value.f
* Abridged from Challoner's “Catholic Christian Instructed,” pp. 173 -188.
† For instance—those who contribute to the erection of a chapel are encouraged by the assurance, that “every Sunday, prayers are publicly offered
It was well that the council forbore to quote scripture in support of this dogma, founding it wholly on tradition and the authority of the church. Such an instance of modesty rarely occurs. *
The Apostle Paul nobly said, “In the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” (1 Cor. xiv. 19.) The custom of celebrating mass in the Latin language only stands in direct contradiction to his reasoning in that important chapter, and is not less opposed to the testimony of history than it is to the authority of scripture. Like the ancient wizards, who “ peeped and muttered,” the Roman-catholic priest recites a considerable part of the service in a low, murmuring voice, entirely unintelligible to the people. If it be said that they are allowed the use of translations, it may be replied that those translations comprise only detached portions of the service, and that it is obviously impracticable to derive any benefit from them during the time of worship. The rapid succession of ceremonies, the frequent changes of posture, the constant appeal to the senses, cannot but divert the attention, and present an insuperable obstacle to all attempts of the kind; to say nothing of the difficulty of reading with advantage, while at the same time the service is being carried on in another tongue. Of this, Roman-catholic instructors are fully aware. Their books of devotion contain no directions for the use of the translated missal, but rather aim to recommend what is termed spiritual communion,—that is, meditation on what the priest is supposed to be saying.
It is the dishonour cast upon our blessed Saviour that justly exposes the mass to the indignant rejection of scriptural Chris
up for them; and that a mass will be said every year, within the octave of All Saints, for the repose of their souls after death.” But the subscribers to the “Benevolent Society for the Relief of the Aged and Infirm Poor” are still more fortunate ; “ four masses in each month are regularly offered for the benefactors, living and dead.”—Laity's Directory, 1830, pp. 22, 31.
* Bellarmine (De Missa, 1. ii. c. 7,) adduces 2 Maccabees xii. 46 : “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” This passage is the stronghold of the Roman Catholics; Protestants know what value to set upon the testimony of an apocryphal book.
tians, and induces them to subscribe heartily to the language of the church of England, stigmatizing it as a collection of 6 blasphemous fables” and “ dangerous conceits.”* Place by the side of this decree the Epistle to the Hebrews, and then “look on this picture and on that !” How different the one from the other! Surely nothing but an inveterate habit of perverting scripture to serve a purpose could reconcile the mind to such interpretations as are here propounded. According to the Apostle Paul, Christ is our High Priest, who has offered himself “ once for all,” and “ by his one offering hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Exalted at the right hand of God, he “ ever liveth to make intercession for us.” Having entered into the holy place, he presents himself to the Father as the “ Lamb that was slain," and his presence there pleads for the penitent. “He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him.” The privilege of direct access to the Almighty is granted by his mediation to all who repent and believe. They need no earthly priest to introduce them. Jesus only is their priest; his perfect sacrifice, which never needs to be repeated, is the warrant for their approach to God. It were blasphemy to say that anything more is required, or that a fellow-sinner can propitiate Deity, and open the path to pardon for the repenting rebel. But by the obedient Roman Catholic his priest is regarded as all in all. To him he confesses his sins; from him he receives absolution ; he is vested with the wondrous power of transmuting the bread and wine into the real body and blood of the Lord; and the impiety is consummated when the sacrament is made a sacrifice, and a sinful mortal presumes to say that he actually offers to the Supreme Being the spotless victim whose “ blood cleanseth from all sin.” This is, in fact, to give to the priest the office of mediator; and the natural effect is, that he, not the Lord Jesus Christ, is the object of the devotee's regard. A similar remark may be applied to masses in memory of the saints, in which the sacrifice of the great and only Intercessor is profanely asserted to be offered to the Most High, in order to procure the intercession of his creatures ! Thus the glory of the incarnate Son of God is lawlessly trampled under feet; he
* Thirty-first article.