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custom fall into disuse while a particle of purity remained in the Church. Gregory, who may be justly called the last bishop of Rome, shews that it was observed in his time. He says: “ You have now learned what the blood of the Lamb is, not by hearing, but by drinking. His blood is drunk by the faithful.” And it even continued for four hundred years after his death, notwithstanding the universal degeneracy which had taken place. Nor was it considered merely as a custom but as an inviolable law. For the divine institution was then reverenced, and no doubt was entertained of the criminality of separating things which the Lord had united. For Gelasius, bishop of Rome, speaks in the following manner; "We have under: stood that some, only receiving the Lord's body, abstain from the cup: who, as they appear to be enslaved by an unaccountable superstition, should, without doubt, either receive the sacrament entire, or entirely abstain from it. For no division of this mystery can be made without great sacrilege.” Attention was paid to those reasons of Cyprian, which surely ought to be sufficient to influence a Christian mind. He
says: do we teach or stimulate them to shed their blood in the confession of Christ, if we refuse his blood to them who are about to engage in the conflict? Or how do we prepare them for the cup of martyrdom, if we do not first admit them, by the right of communion, to drink the cup of the Lord in the Church?” The canonists restrict the decree of Gelasius to the priests, but this is too puerile a cavil to need any refutation.
L. Thirdly; why did Christ, when he presented the bread, simply say, “Take, eat;” but when he presented the cup, “ Drink ye all of it;" as if he expressly intended to guard against the subtilty of Satan? Fourthly; If, as our adversaries pretend, our Lord admitted to his supper none but sacrificing priests, what man can be found so presumptuous as to invite to a participation of it strangers whom the Lord has excluded? and to a participation of that gift over which they could have no power, without any command from him who alone could give it? And with what confidence do they now take upon them to distribute to the people the symbol of the body of Christ, if they have neither the command nor example of the Lord? Fifthly; Did Paul affirm what was false,
when he said to the Corinthians, “I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you?” (») For he afterwards déclares what he had delivered, which was, that all, without any distinction, should communicate in both symbols. If Paul had “received of the Lord,” that all were to be admitted without any distinction; let them consider from whom they have received, who exclude almost all the people of God: for they cannot now pretend their doctrine to have originated from God, with whom is “not yea and nay.” (s) And yet they dare to shelter such abominations under the name of the Church, and to defend them under that pretext; as if the Church could consist of those antichrists, who so easily trample under foot, mutilate and abolish the doctrine and institutions of Christ; or as if the apostolic Church, in which true religion displayed all its influence, were not the true Church.
The Papal Mass not only a sacrilegious Profanation of the
Lord's Supper, but a total Annihilation of it. WITH these, and similar inventions, Satan has endeavoured to obscure, corrupt, and adulterate the sacred supper of Christ, that, at least, its purity might not be preserved in the Church. But the perfection of the dreadful abomination was his establishment of a sign, by which it might be not only obscured and perverted, but altogether obliterated and abolished, so as to disappear from the view, and to depart from the remembrance of men. I refer to that most pestilent error, with which he has blinded almost the whole world, persuading it to believe that the mass is a sacrifice and oblation to procure the remission of sins. How this dogma was at first understood by the sounder schoolmen, who did not fall into all the absurdities of their successors, I shall not stay to inquire, but shall take leave of them and their thorny subtilties; which, however
(r) 1 Cor. xi. 23. VOL. III.
(s) 2 Cor. i. 18.
they may be defended by subterfuges and cavils, ought to be rejected by all good men, because they merely serve to obscure the lustre of the sacred supper. Leaving them, therefore, I wish the readers to understand that I am now combating that opinion, with which the Roman antichrist and his agents have infected the whole world; namely, that the mass is an act by which the priest who offers Christ, and others who participate in the oblation, merit the favour of God; or that it is an expiatory victim, by which they reconcile God to them. Nor has this been merely an opinion generally received by the multitude; but the act itself is so ordered, as to be a kind of expiation, to make satisfaction to God for the sins of the living and the dead. This is fully expressed also in the words which they use; nor can any thing else be concluded from its daily observance. I know how deeply this pest has stricken its roots, what a plausible appearance of goodness it assumes, how it shelters itself under the name of Christ, and how multitudes believe the whole substance of faith to be comprehended under the single word mass. But when it shall have been most clearly demonstrated by the word of God, that this mass, however it may be varnished and adorned, offers the greatest insult to Christ, suppresses and conceals his cross, consigns his death to oblivion, deprives us of the benefit resulting from it, and invalidates and destroys the sacrament which was left as a memorial of that death; will there be any roots too deep for this most powerful axe, I mean, the word of God, to cut in pieces and eradicate; will there be any varnish too specious for this light to detect the evil which lurks behind it?
II. Let us proceed, therefore, to establish what we have asserted; in the first place, that the mass offers an intolerable blasphemy and insult to Christ. For he was constituted by his Father a priest and a high-priest, not for a limited time, like those who are recorded to have been consecrated priests under the old testament, who, having a mortal life, could not have an immortal priesthood; wherefore, there was need of successors, from time to time, to fill the places of those who died: but Christ, who is immortal, requires no vicar to be substituted in his place. Therefore he was designated by the Father as “ a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec;"
that he might for ever execute a permanent priesthood. This mystery had long before been prefigured in Melchisedec, whom the Scripture has introduced once as “the priest of the Most High God," but never mentions him afterwards, as if there had been no end to his life. From this resemblance Christ is called a priest after his order. (1) Now, those who sacrifice every day must necessarily appoint priests to conduct the oblations, and those priests must be substituted in the room of Christ, as his successors and vicars. By this substitution they not only despoil Christ of his due honour, and rob him of the prerogative of an eternal priesthood, but endeavour to degrade him from the right hand of the Father, where he cannot sit in the enjoyment of immortality, unless he also remain an eternal priest. Nor let them plead that their sacrificing priests are not substituted in the place of Christ, as though he were dead, but are merely assistants in his eternal priesthood, which does not, on this account, cease to remain: for the language of the apostle is too precise for them to avail themselves of such an evasion; when he says that "they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death.” (u) Christ, therefore, whose continuance is not prevented by death, is only one, and needs no companions. Yet they have the effrontery to arm themselves with the example of Melchisedec in defence of their impiety. For, because he is said to have " brought forth bread and wine," they conclude this to have been a prefiguration of their mass, as though the resemblance between him and Christ consisted in the oblation of bread and wine: which is too unsubstantial and frivolous to need any refutation. Melchisedec gave bread and wine to Abraham and his companions, to refresh them when they were fatigued on their return from battle. What has this to do with a sacrifice? Moses praises the humanity and liberality of the pious king: these men presumptuously fabricate a mystery, of which the Scripture makes no mention. Yet they varnish their error with another pretext, because the historian immediately afterwards says," and he was the priest of the Most High God.” I answer, that they mis
(t) Gen. xiv. 18. Psalm cx. 4. Heb. v. 5, 6, 10. vii. 17, 21.23, 24. ix. 11. 2. 21. (u) Heb. vii. 23.
apply to the bread and wine what the apostle refers to the benediction. “For this Melchisedec, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham, and blessed him:” from which the same apostle, than whom it is unnecessary to seek for a better expositor, argues his superior dignity; “ for without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” (x) But, if the offering of Melchisedec had been a figure of the sacrifice of the mass, is it credible that the apostle, who discusses all the minutest circumstances, would have forgotten a thing of such high importance. It will be in vain for them, with all their sophistry, to attempt to overturn the argument which the apostle himself adduces, that the right and dignity of priesthood ceases among mortal men, because Christ, who is immortal, is the alone and perpetual priest.
III. A second property of the mass we have stated to be, that it suppresses and conceals the cross and passion of Christ. It is beyond all contradiction, that the cross of Christ is subverted as soon as ever an altar is erected: for if Christ offered up himself a sacrifice on the cross, to sanctify us for ever, and to obtain eternal redemption for us, the virtue and efficacy of that sacrifice must certainly continue without any end. (y) Otherwise, we should have no more honourable ideas of Christ, than of the animal victims which were sacrificed under the law, the oblations of which are proved to have been weak and inefficacious, by the circumstance of their frequent repetition. Wherefore, it must be acknowledged, either that the sacrifice which Christ accomplished on the cross wanted the virtue of eternal purification, or that Christ has offered up one perfect sacrifice, once for all ages. This is what the apostle says, that this great high priest, even Christ, now once, in the end of the world, hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Again: “ By the will of God we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.” Again: “That by one offering Christ hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." To which he subjoins this remarkable observation: “ That where remission of iniquities is, there is no more offering for sin.” (2) This
(y)Heb. yü. 27. x. 10,14 ix. 12.
1(a) Heb. vii. 1, 7.