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LETTERS AGAINST SECESSION TO ROME.
ly asserts, the apostle of the Gentiles, or the uncircumcision, the gospel of the uncircumcision' (i.e., of all the Gentile nations, of course including Rome) having been committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision (or the Jewish converts) was unto Peter.'*1
VIII. The habitable globe' (or what the New Testament writers term it, yun) was the usual ancient name for the Roman Empire, which nearly embraced the whole of the then known world,-certainly all that had any pretence to civilization. St Chrysostom accordingly only means, in reference to the commonly received tradition, that St Peter had been appointed to preside over the Jewish converts in Rome rather than in Jerusalem, which, for obvious reasons, had been assigned as the see of St James, the brother or near relative of our Lord.2
IX. For the meaning of the term first of apostles,' here employed by St Augustine, see former explanations.3
X. If St Peter was believed to have first presided over the Church of Rome, it would necessarily follow, that none but those who were appointed his successors in that see, which (whether true or not) he, and not St Paul, was supposed to have planted, could be allowed to be in possession of his chair."
XI. To be joined in communion' is the usual language employed, both in ancient and modern timés, to denote full connexion in faith and discipline, &c., between two or more churches. The title of 'your Holiness' was anciently given to all Christian bishops, who were all regarded as equal in right of the Episcopate. The term
1 VII. 'Thou canst not then deny but thou knowest that in the city of Rome, on Peter, the first was the Episcopal chair conferred.' +
'Peter, therefore, first filled that individual chair, which is the first of the marks of the Church; to him succeeded Linus, to Linus succeeded Clement, to Clement, Anaclitus,' &c.
2 VIII. ' And should any one say, Why then did James receive the throne of Jerusalem? this is my answer, That he appointed this man (Peter) not teacher of that throne, but of the habitable globe.'‡ 3IX. 'Who can be ignorant that the most blessed Peter is the first of the apostles?' ||
X. For they have not Peter's inheritance who have not Peter's chair.'§
* Gal. ii. 7.
† St Optatus (4th Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 19.
St J. Chrysostom (4th Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 35
St Aug. (5th Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 42.
§ St Ambrose (4th Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 29. VOL. I.
'rock' refers, as already observed, to St Peter's original profession of faith, without which faith, and 'out of this house,' as St Jerome truly says, 'whosoever eats the lamb is profane.' Whether the Church of Rome still retains this faith 'pure and undefiled,' I will not now enquire.1
Reserving the other topics referred to in the Extracts from the Fathers' till a future letter,-I am, very faithfully yours,
August 25, 1848.
MY DEAR --I proceed as I proposed to the examination of your next extracts from the Fathers which are supposed by the Romanists to countenance their dogma-for I will not call it doctrine—of ‘the Sacrifice of the Mass.' It is melancholy to think how many dangerous errors have been originated and fostered by this imaginary continual repetition of the one great Sacrifice once offered on the Cross for sin! It was not necessary, says the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, that Christ should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation. . . . . By the which will (i. e., the predetermined counsel of Christ) we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all (ipáraž). And every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God.*
1 XI. Following no chief but Christ, I am joined in communion with your Holiness; that is, with the chair of Peter. Upon that Rock I know the Church is built. Whosoever eats the lamb out of the house is profane.''+
* Heb. ix. 25-28, x. 10-12.
+ St Jerome (4th Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 79.
THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.
I. It has never been denied by the Reformed Church that the Holy Eucharist is a commemorative ordinance, and that by the elements of bread (and it may be added, too, according to our Lord's institution, of wine), the church makes, or if it be preferred, offers (a) a commemoration of the passion which He endured.' This quotation from St Justin accordingly proves nothing in favour of the Sacrifice of the Mass.1
II. This extract, like some others which have been formerly considered, is particularly unfortunate, inasmuch as the Romish Church, unlike the Church of the Father which she would be thought to resemble, withholds the Cup from the laity, reserving it as a peculiar distinction for the clergy, in defiance of our Lord's express injunction to his disciples when instituting this ordinance, drink ye all of it.' As regards the terms 'offer' and 'oblation,' they are only employed in the Scriptures and by the Fathers in the same reasonable sense in which they have always been understood, when speaking of the oblation of ourselves, and our services to God, or the sacrifice or surrender of our souls and bodies to the Divine Will, as an holy priesthood' appointed to offer up spiritual (not material) sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ,'* (not to offer up the Divine Saviour himself), which spiritual sacrifices had long before been indicated by the Divine Spirit even under the law, as sacrifices of righteousness,'-'for the sacrifices of God,' says the Psalmist, are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.' +2
III. St Hyppolytus makes no allusion in this passage to the mate
1I. 'The oblation of wheaten flour, prescribed to be offered for those who were purified from the leprosy, was a type of the bread of the eucharist, which our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to offer (to do or make) for a commemoration of the passion which He endured, &c.'‡
2 II. And in like manner, He conferred the cup-which is, according to us, a thing created (by God) to be his own blood, and taught the new oblation of the New Testament, which (oblation) the Church receiving from the apostles throughout the whole world, offers to God,' &c.§
* 1 Peter ii. 5.
† Psalm li. 19 and 17.
St Justin (2nd Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 400. § St Irenæus, (2d Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 403.
rial sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ, but speaks only of 'the spiritual sacrifice' offered first by Christ to 'His God and Father before His passion.' His spiritual (not material) sacrifice has from that time been offered by bishops and priests, but never by deacons whose inferior order in the Church does not entitle them to celebrate the Holy Eucharist, to deliver the Absolution-to preach without a special leave from the bishop in our Church any more than in that of Rome. St Stephen has always been regarded by our Reformed Church as merely admitted by the apostles to the office of deacon, and performed only the duties attached to that inferior order in the Church. It is difficult to understand how the extract can be made to bear on the subject in whose support it has been advanced.'
IV. There is nothing in this passage in favour of the Romish Sacrifice of the Mass. The Sacrifice of the Mass, according to Romish view, is a transubstantiation of the visible material elements of bread and wine into the material body and blood of Christ, which would thus be a material sacrifice and not a spiritual oblation inculcated by St Cyril as the doctrine of the Church. Besides, it is worthy of remark that this spiritual sacrifice, stated by St Hippolytus to have been offered to God the Father by Christ, 'previous to his passion,' could not have been material, i.e., the identical body and blood of the Saviour, for His body had not then become spiritualized, as it became after His ascension, but was precisely similar to a human corporeal body, which cannot be in more than one place at the same time, and could not have been eaten and drunk by our Lord himself, i.e., by itself, nor by his disciples, who partook with Him of this holy ordinance. Men have never been required by the Divine Creator to believe anything which contradicts the natural senses which He has given them, though some things, hence regarded as mysteries, have been required of their belief, the proper understanding of which demands superior powers than those which it has
up sacrifice. Christ
1 III. It is not lawful for a deacon to offer having become man for our sakes, and offering up to Him, the God and Father, the spiritual sacrifice before His passion, to us alone did He give permission to do this after His ascension; we offering up, according to His appointment, a pure and unbloody sacrifice, set apart bishops, and priests, and deacons. . . . . . Stephen, that blessed martyr, is never seen exercising what appertains not to the deaconship, either offering sacrifice, or imposing hands on any one.
* St Hippolytus (3d Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 415.
pleased God to communicate to his creatures.
or the corporeal presence and sacrifice of the mass, simply contradicts our natural senses.1
V. St Ephraim is not a Father very generally known. His language, like that sometimes of St Chrysostom, discovers the amplification and intenseness of expression of some of the later writers of the Early Church, from which (though designed to convey by them a meaning very much opposed, to judge from the whole tenor of their writings, to Romish errors) most of the subsequent corruptions in doctrine and practice sprung up in the Church. But in fact this Christian writer's very language conveys an intimation that his thoughts soared high above the low and degraded dogma of a corporeal sacrifice, and ascended to the incorporeal presence of the Eternal in the spiritual sanctuary above, from whence, by the mysterious descent of the divine 'Spirit the Paraclete,' the gifts which lie open to view on earth have been sanctified and offered as a sacrifice acceptable to God, i.e., a spiritual sacrifice- the sacrifice of righteousness,' or a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, which the term Eucharist literally implies, by means of the presiding priest, invested with the high office of offering up such awful mysteries, an oblation much more awful and mysterious than a corporeal sacrifice to God.2
1 IV. Then, having sanctified ourselves by means of these spiritual hymns, we call upon the God that loveth man, to send forth the Holy Spirit upon the things that lie open to view, in order that He may make the bread Christ's body, and the wine Christ's blood, for universally what the Holy Spirit has touched, that is sanctified and changed. Then, after the spiritual sacrifice is perfected, the unbloody worship, upon that sacrifice of propitiation we beseech God, &c.*
2 V. 'An eternal redemption having been obtained, thou dost daily renew thy sacrifice upon the altar. . . ... Oh! the incredible miracle, the ineffable power, the tremendous mystery of the priesthood! ... The priesthood confidently soars aloft from earth to heaven, even until it gazes on Him who is the invisible, . . . . . imploring pardon and pity and mercy from the Merciful Being, in order that the Spirit, the Paraclete, may, at the same time, descend and sanctify the gifts which lie open to view on earth, and when the fearful mysteries of complete immortality have been offered by means of the presiding priest,' &c.t
* St Cyril (4th Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 435.