صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني



VI. The Greek term o originally signifies, as already admitted in a former extract, 'to do, or to make.' It subsequently was appropriated as a ritual form of expression, and both in the Septuagint and the New Testament is frequently employed with a sacrificial signification. St Jerome, in common with many of the Fathers (little suspecting what advantage would be subsequently taken of their use of the ritual expression), employs the term figuratively, not the sacrificial sense, of offering a material victim, but as associated with the notion of a spiritual sacrifice, which is the only 'pure offering' of the Christian Church. For the Fathers well knew (as they 'savoured not the things that be of men, but those that be of God') what the Romanists seem to have long since forgotten, that we have such an High-priest, who is set on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man.' They were, further, well imbued with the wisdom from above,' by which they were taught that 'the gifts and sacrifice' of the Lord were designed only to serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things,' and that the offering up of these substantial spiritual gifts and sacrifices' was a 'more excellent ministry,' as associated with that better covenant, whereby God designed to put his laws into our minds, and write them in our hearts, and was to become to us a God,' and we were to become to him his people.' * Nor had the Fathers forgotten the intimation of the apostle, when proving the superiority of the Christian over the Jewish law, with all its typical and emblematic sacrifices and rites, that we have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle,' in which we may offer through him (i.e., Christ) the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.'+ And well had it been for the Romish Church had she as carefully in all ages abstained from being carried about with divers and strange doctrines (very different from those of the early Church); 'for,' says the apostle, 'it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace, not with meats (ie., generally carnal opinions), which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.' I1

1 VI. 'In the holocaust of this spotless Lamb which is always offered up each morning, the Prince himself will make a sacrifice.'s + Heb. xiii. 10, 15.

Heb. xiii. 9.

*Heb. viii. 1, 2, 3, 6, 10.
§ St Jerome (4th Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 457.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Take the


VII. The view expressed in the remarks immediately preceding, of the spiritual sense in which the Greek and Latin Fathers understood the Eucharistic doctrines, as also their highly figurative mode of expression, derived from the Jewish ritual, must always be borne in mind, when we meet with such statements as the passage here extracted from St Chrysostom, otherwise they will contradict not only the recognised doctrines of the Church, as intimated in her accredited organs, her general councils, but will be found also to contradict the usual scope and tenor of their own writings. following instances from a few passages in the Fathers :* All this whole mystery,' saith St Chrysostom in another of his works, 'hath in it neither carnal sense nor carnal consequence.' To believe in Christ,' says St Augustine, is to eat the bread; and, therefore, why do you prepare your teeth and stomach?' 'Faith,' says St Basil, 'is that intellectual mouth which is within the man, by which he takes in nourishment.' 'Of this sacrifice,' says St Jerome, which is wonderfully done in the commemoration of Christ, we may eat; but of that sacrifice which Christ offered on the altar, the cross, by itself, or in its own nature, no man may eat.' Therefore,' says St Augustine in another passage, 'ye are not to eat that body which you see, nor to drink that blood which my crucifiers shall pour out; it is the same, and not the same; the same invisibly, but not the same visibly. For until the world be finished the Lord is above, but the truth of the Lord is with us. The body in which He rose again must be in one place, but the truth of it is everywhere diffused.' And therefore it was,' says St Athanasius, that our blessed Saviour, to them who apprehended Him to promise His natural body and blood for our meat and drink, spake of his ascension into heaven, that we might learn to look from heaven to receive the food of our souls, heavenly and spiritual nourishment.' For this,' says Origen, 'is the letter which, in the New Testament, kills him who understands not spiritually what is spoken to him, under the signification of meat and flesh, and blood and drink.' And finally, we have the express declaration of St Ambrose, that this bread does not go into the body (for to how many might his body suffice for meat?), but the bread of eternal life supports the substance of our spirit; and therefore it is not touched by the body, nor seen with the eyes, but by faith it is seen and touched.'- -And to sum up this whole matter in the words of One greater than the Fathers, but with whose mind and spirit they

See Scottish Magazine, p. 242.

were all of them so deeply imbued,—'I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. . . . . It is the Spirit that quickeneth,' said our Lord, in reply to the murmurs of his disciples and the Jews, who understood his language, like the Romanists, in a carnal manner, 'It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.'*


VIII. St Augustine is well known to have entertained several private opinions not sanctioned by the authoritative voice of the Church. Sowing these opinions was an unguarded and unfounded endeavour, which appears occasionally in his writings, to overstep the limits between the Church militant and triumphant, and from at first hoping, coming afterwards to believe, that the prayers of saints on earth would benefit those that slept in the Lord. If so, of course also the Holy Eucharist would prove salutary to them as well as to the living, as being accompanied by holy prayers, praises, and thanksgivings, and being farther a thankful commemoration of Christ's death. Many of these opinions were personal to St Augustine, and were, at all events, not sanctioned by the then existing Church, nor by the writings of other of the Fathers at the same, or an earlier period. Of one thing we are certain, that for this opinion he adduces no support from Scripture, by which we are, on the contrary, expressly assured, that as 'in death there is no remembrance of God, in the grave who shall give Him thanks;' therefore the Psalmist prays, Return, O Lord, deliver my soul; O save me for thy mercy's sake.'t Wilt thou,' says he, 'shew wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise Thee? Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? And thy righteousness in the land

[ocr errors]

1 VII. According to this reasoning, as He is offered up in many places, are there many Christs? But not so-but one Christ everywhere, both here entire and there entire-one body. Wherefore, as He that is offered up in many places is one body, not many bodies, so also in the sacrifice, one. Our High Priest is He that offered up that sacrifice which cleanses us; that same sacrifice do we offer up also now,' &c. ‡

St John vi. 51, 63.

† Psalm vi. 5, 4. St J. Chrysostom (4th Century).

of forgetfulness?'* And accordingly the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes affectionately admonishes the young to 'remember now their Creator in the days of their youth,' ' or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern ;-then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.' +1


IX. This passage from St Augustine has no reference to anything like a corporeal presence as the sacrifice of the mass, and it is to be understood in connexion with the passage already cited from the same Father's works, under a former reading; and to the same effect elsewhere he remarks, It is His flesh which is under the form of bread, and His blood which is in the form and taste of wine; for the flesh is the sacrament of flesh, and blood is the sacrament of blood; for by flesh and blood that is invisible, spiritual, intelligible, the visible and tangible body of our Lord Jesus Christ is consigned, full of the grace of all virtues, and of divine majesty.'2

For the present, having gone through your extracts on the Sacrifice of the Mass, -I remain, very faithfully yours,


DISCUSSION elicits truth; and the establishment of truth alone can bestow peace and happiness. Our conclusions, therefore, upon Church government must and will be of importance, so long as the usurpations of the papacy and the divisions of parties continue to agitate mankind. As far as the happiness of society is concerned, it is impossible that the sincerity of error can be equally acceptable to GoD with the sin

[ocr errors]

1 VIII. Whereas it is not to be doubted that the dead are aided by the prayers of Holy Church, and by the salutary sacrifice,' &c. ‡ 2 IX. 'Wherefore, as when praying and praising, we direct the significative words to Him, to whom we offer the things themselves which we mean in our hearts; so when sacrificing, we know that the visible sacrifice is to be offered to no other than Him whose invisible sacrifice we ourselves ought to be in our hearts.' §

* Psalm lxxxviii. 10-12.

Eccl. xii. 1, 6, 7.

St Augustine (5th Century); Faith of Catholics, vol. ii. p. 487.

§ Ibid.

cerity of truth. Happiness is connected with truth rather than with sincerity, and that which most promotes the happiness of man, must be more pleasing to GOD than the sincerity which causes persecution. The form of worship which I believe to be proposed in the New Testament would have effectually preserved the world from the sincerity of persecution, for it would have prevented the intolerable assumption of that ecclesiastical dominion, which was founded on usurpation, and is supported by intolerance and ignorance. But, it is said, our opinions are not in our own power. The position is too general to be accurate. Opinions are not involuntary when we possess the means of examining their evidence and foundation.

The most objectionable of the motives to which I refer is the assertion, that the Deity has not preferred one mode of worship to another, else it would have been revealed.

But a plan of Church government was so distinctly revealed that it was uniformly acted upon for fifteen centuries. That plan is founded upon the one simple and general proposition, that the Church of GOD was to be composed of several societies, each of which should be united by this one rule, that no person should assume any spiritual office without the permission of those superiors to whom the power of ordaining, confirming, and regulating the churches, had lawfully descended. Every Church might consist of many congregations and was independent of its neighbours; Episcopacy alone being the bond of union among Christians. The collision of opinions which took place since the Reformation, has prevented the adherents of this form of Church government from so uniformly maintaining this truth as they ought to have done. They shrank from the appearance of defending a position with which their own interest was identified. The consequence has been, that the Episcopalians have been long considered merely as the principal sect among Christians,—and Christianity itself as a collection of disputable opinions, supported by a variety of sects. The members of the Reformed Episcopal Churches ought to have remembered, that they were required, in defence of truth, to submit to reproach and insult in every form.

Four forms of Church government are in this our age prevalent among Christians-Episcopacy, Papacy, Presbyterianism, and Independency. From the time of the apostles till the present day, Episcopacy has been the most general Church government, and till the 15th century its apostolic origin was never disputed. Till the beginning of the seventh century the supremacy of the Pope over all Chris

« السابقةمتابعة »