Page images
PDF
EPUB

the 20th chapter, in which the breaking of bread is mentioned as having taken place at Troas on the first day of the week. But the authority of St Paul is quite decisive that communion in either form is sufficient, for he says, “ whoever shall eat this bread or drink the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord 1". The alternative implied by the disjunctive conjunction or, was considered so strong for communion under one kind, that King James's translators actually corrupted the text, by substituting the copulative conjunction and in place of or, contrary to the original Greek, the Latin vulgate, the version of Beza, and others. We also know that the church at Jerusalem permitted the converted Jews to follow some of their old customs, particularly the Nazarites, who, during the time of their vow, abstained from wine •; and it is extremely improbable that during that time they did not partake of the communion.

We do not, therefore, believe that the cup is forbidden in Scripture to the Laity; but the prohibition thereof is considered by the Church an affair of discipline solely, which she may alter according to circumstances, and which, accordingly, has varied at different periods. In the early ages of the Church, a promiscuous practice prevailed, of communicating sometimes under both kinds, and at others under one only. Tertullian 4 in the second, St. Denys 5 of Alexandria, and St. Cypriano, in the third, and St. Ambrose, 7 St. Basil, 8 and St. Chrysostom o in the fourth century, all mention this practice, that the Christians kept the sacramental bread in their houses, to have recourse to in case of sickness or martyrdom, and that sea-fearing people carried it along with them on their voyage. It farther appears from St. Cyprian, that children received the communion under the species of wine only. In 431, the general Council of Ephesus enjoined the observance of communion in one kind, in opposition to the heretic Nestorius, who oppugned the practice; but a few years thereafter, on occasion of certain Manichean heretics, who came from Africa to Rome, objecting to the sacramental cup altogether from a wicked principle 10, Pope Leo excluded them from the communion; and Pope Gelasius, about the end of the fifth century, ordered all his flock to receive the communion under both kinds, the more effectually to detect those concealed enemies of the church. These facts demonstrate, if no other proof could be adduced, that the practice of communion under one kind existed early in the church. Indeed Eusebius "1, Paulinus 12, and Amphilochius testify that Serapion, St. Ambrose, and St. Basil, received the communion in one kind on their death-beds.

Were the differences betwixt the Catholic Church and Protestants reduced to this single question, she might probably alter her discipline, and allow the Laity the use of the chalice, at least to those who desired it, as the council of Basil granted to the Calixtins 14 at their own request, and as Pope Pius the 4th did, by desire of the Emperor Ferdinand, by authorizing some of the German Bishops to allow the same indulgence to such of their flocks as desired it 15. And really I cannot understand why Protestants should seem so anxious upon this point, when they profess to receive nothing but mere bread and wine, or blame our church for withholding the cup, when we believe that, under either species, we receive Christ whole and entire, his flesh and blood, soul and divinity, being inseparable. But some eminent

11 Cor. xi. 37. 2 Acts xxi. 24, 26. 3 Numbers vi. 3, 4, 5, 18.

4 Ad Uxor. I. 2. Euseb. I. 6., c. 39. 5 Euseb. I. 6., c. 44.
6 Serm. de Lapsis.
7 De Obitu Satyr.

8 Epist. ad Cæsar. 9 Apud Sozomen, l. 8., c. 5. 10“ It is known to every learned reader, that Manicheism was an attempt of Manes, a native of Persia, in the third century, to engraft upon the Gospel the Persian system of the two principles, one eternally and sovereignly good, the other eternally and sovereignly evil. The soul, and whatever is derived from it, they considered to proceed from the former ; the body, and whatever is derived from the body, to proceed from the latter. To the body, and, therefore, to the evil principle, they ascribed the great inequality of power and property among mankind.” Butler's Remi. niscences, C. 31., sect. 6.

11 Lib. 6, c. 36.

12 In vita Ambros. 13 In vita Basil.

14 Sess. II.

15 Mcm. Granv. Tom. xvii. Odorhainal.

13

Protestants have considered communion under one kind sufficient; for Luther himself says, that “they sin not against Christ who use but one, Christ having left it free to the choice of each 1;" and he reproaches Carlostadius for having “ placed Christianity in things of no account, such as communicating under both kinds ", in which opinion he is followed by Melancthon 5. Bishop Montague asks, “ Where doth the Scriptures command the baptism of the infant, or the people to receive the sacrament in both kinds 4 ? And the French Calvinists, in their synod held at Poictiers in 1560, expressly decree, that “the bread of our Lord's Supper ought to be administered to those who cannot drink wine, on their making a protestation that they do not refrain from contempt 5. Even in England an exception is made by Act of Parliament, from communion under both kinds, in case necessity did otherwise require 6.”

I now proceed to the second branch of the reviewer's charges, of having added doctrines to Scripture. These charges we deny, and I shall presently refute them in due order.

1st, The Catholic Church, it is said, has added the doctrine of a middle state, or purgatory, as it is called. Her doctrine upon this point is, that," as nothing defiled can enter into heaven, those pious persons departing this life, pardoned as to the eternal guilt or pain, yet obnoxious to some temporal penalty, or with the guilt of some venial faults, are purged and purified before their admittance into heaven 7.” That the souls of the saints of the old law were detained in a middle state, till our Saviour's resurrection, cannot reasonably be questioned ; and the extraordinary fact mentioned in the 87th chapter of St. Matthew, “ that many bodies of the Saints which slept arose, and came out of their graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many,” is quite decisive of the point. Indeed, we learn from St. Peter, that, during the time our Saviour's body lay in the sepulchre," he went and preached unto the spirits in prison, which some time were disobedient 8.” . Our Saviour himself plainly intimates the existence of a middle state, when he says, " that whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come ;” which evidently implies, that some sins are forgiven in the “ world to come,” the place for forgiving which must necessarily be some middle state, as maintained by St. Augustine ' and St. Gregory the Great 10. And the most learned of the ancient fathers, as Tertullian 11, St. Cyprian 12, St. Ambrose 13, St. Jerom 14, and Eusebius Emmissenus 15, all explain the prison mentioned by our Saviour, in the fifth chapter of St. Matthew, to mean a middle state of suffering in the next world.

There are many other texts of Scripture which support the doctrine in question, but passing over these, I cannot avoid noticing the direct allusion to a middle state in the Apostle's creed, in which we profess to believe that

1 Captiv. Bab. cap. de Euch. 2 Epist. ad Gasp. Gustol.

3 Tom. ii., Germ. folio 100 Witt. Edit., Tom. vii. p. 360. 4 Origines Sacræ, p. 396. 5 On the Lord's Supper, c. iii., p. 7. 6 Burnet's Hist. of Reform., P. ii., p. 41. Heylin, p. 58. For proclamation to that effect, see Bishop Sparrow's Collection, p. 17.

7 Conc. Trent. Sess. 25. Gother's Papist misrepresented and represented. 8 1 Peter, iii. 19. 20'. 9 De Civitat. Dei. I. 21, c. 13 and 14. C. 6, cont. Julian c. 15. 10 L. 4, Dial. c. 39. 11 Lib. de Anima. c. 17. 12 Lib. 4. Epist. 2.

13 In ca. 12 Lucæ. 14 In ca. 5 Math. 15 Hom. 3. de Epiphan. * I cannot resist the temptation of quoting the sentiments of two Hebrew doctors, in unison with those of St. Peter, both of whom lived prior to the incarnation of our Lord. Rabbi Haccados, in explaining the Prophecies, introduces the Messias speak. ing thus :-" I have decrced to descend into heli, to deliver the souls of the just, which my Father did thrust thither in the rod of his anger, for Adam's sin." L. inscrib. Revelator Arca norum. And Rabbi Simeon, more ancient than Haccados, after alluding to the passion of the Messias, says, “ Then will his soul descend into hell, where it shall remain for the space of three durys, to bring from thence all the souls of the just and ancient fathers." Rabbi Simcon apud Coccium, L. 2 de Christ. Salv. Art. 4

our Saviour, after being buried, “ descended into hell." I know that Protestants generally explain the word " hell" here used to men the grave; but this construction is absurd, as well as inconsistent, and at utter variance with the different significations thereof in holy writ. “Some (says Calvin) are of opinion, that no new thing is said (in these words ! he descended into hell',) but that a repetition only is made of that which was formerly laid down in the article of his burial, because the word "hell" is frequently used in the Scripture for the grave. But two reasons are contrary to this their opinion, by which I am easily led to dissent from them. For what an absurd thing would it be to declare a matter not obscure in itself, first with plain and clear words, and afterwards to signify it, rather than to clear it, by a more intricate enumeration of words : for as often as two sayings are joined together to express one thing, it is requisite that the latter be an exposition of the former. Now, what a strange exposition would it be if one should speak thus: When Christ is said to be buried, it signifieth he descended into hell ! Moreover, it is not likely that any such superfluity of words should in any sort creep into this brief compendium of our creed, wherein the chief heads of our faith are summarily stated in the fewest words that can be used 1;” The word " hell,” in common acceptation, denotes the abode of the damned, but it is also used, in many places of Scripture, to signify a middle state. Thus the Psalmist, speaking of the resurrection of Christ, says, my flesh also shall rest in hope, for thou wilt not leave my soul in hell ? .” It would be impious to suppose, as Calvin did 3 , that the place here mentioned, or the prison alluded to by St. Peter, in which our Saviour preached between the period of his death and resurrection, was the hell of the damned.

But had the doctrine of a middle state been less clearly revealed in Scripture than it is, still the traditionary belief of its existence among the prie mitive Christians, down from the apostolic age, is sufficient to secure the assent of all impartial Christians, who, with the eyes of faith, can throw a retrospective glance at antiquity, and associate themselves in sentiment with the brightest ornaments of Christianity. To enumerate instances of this belief, from the writings of the early fathers, would be an easy task, but I shall merely content myself by referring to the writings of Tertullian 4, Cyprian 5, St. Ambrose 6, St. Jerom ?, and St. Augustine 8. Even some of the Reformers, and especially Luther and Latimer, acknowledged this doctrine ; and the former expressly says, I strongly believe, yea, I dare boldly say, I know there is a purgatory 9" To those who disbelieve our doctrine, I would recommend to consider one question, which perhaps never occurred to them, viz. in what place the soul of Lazarus was, between the period of his death and that of his restoration to life? But I have dweli too long upon this point. I cannot, however, withhold the expression of my surprise, that Catholics now-a-days should be insulted and abused for holding such a doctrine, when the doctrine of an universal purgatory has become quite fashionable, has been patronised by the successors of Calvin at Geneva 10, and by many liberal Clergymen of the Church of England.

1 " Sunt qui opinentur non aliquid novum hic dici, sed aliis verbis repeti quod prius de sepultura dictum fuerat ; quandoquidem Inferni vocabulum sæpius in Scrip. turis pro sepulchro ponatur, &c. Sed eorum opinioni rationes duæ repugnant, quibus ego facile ducor ut ab illis dissentiam. Quantæ enim oscitantiæ fuisset rem minime difficilem verbis expeditis et claris demonstrare, obscuriore deinde verborum com. plexu indicare magis quam declarare ? Nam quoties locutiones duæ rem eandem exprimentes simul connectuntur, posteriorem esse prioris exegesim convenit. At vero qualis erit ista exegesis, si quis ita loquatur, Quod Christus sepultus esse dicitur, significat ad Infernos descendisse ? Deinde non est verisimile irrepere potuisse superfluam ejusmodi battologiam in compendium hoc, ubi summatim quam fieri potest, paucissimis verbis præcipua fidei capita notantur." Instit., L. 2, c. 16, sect. 8:

2 Psalms xvi. 9, 10. 3 Instit., L. 2, c. 16. 4 L. de Anima, c. 58. 5 Epist. 52 ad Antonin. 6 In c. 3. Epist. ad Corin. 7 In c. 5. Matt. 8 L. 20. De Civit. Dei c. 24, and L. 21. c. 13. Serm. 41. De Sanctis. 9 In Disput. Lipsica.' 10 Encyclop. Art. Geneva.

St.

2dly, Akin to and corroborative of the last-mentioned doctrine, is that of prayers for the dead. This was a very early practice, and always existed among the Jews, the chosen people of God. In particular, we learn from the second book of Machabees, that Judas Machabeus, thinking well and relia giously of the resurrection," ordered sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead," for if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead.” The same practice is mentioned by Josephus ?; and the Jews, even up to the present day, make a solemn prayer for the dead, called Haskaba 3. Now, this practice is no where reprobated in Scripture, but, on the contrary, is approved of by St. Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, who, in arguing for the resurrection, asks “ What shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they, then, baptized for the dead 4 ?"as if he had said, If the dead are not to rise, what benefit can they receive from the prayers, fasts, and alms-deeds of the living? The word " baptize" is here used metaphorically by St. Paul, to signify punishment or affliction, according to the meaning adopted by our Saviour, when he says, “I have a baptism to be baptized withal,”—and when, in reply to the sons of Zebedee, he asks, “ Can you drink of the cup (chalice) that I drink of, or be baptized with the baptism wherewith i am baptized ?" And the same definition is given by St. Cyprian 5, and St. Gregory Nazianzen 6. That the practice of praying for the dead existed among the primitive Christians, is supported by the testimony of the early fathers. St. Clement, in the second age, says expressly, that “ St. Peter taught them, among other works of mercy, to bury the dead, and diligently perform their funeral rites, and also to pray and give alms for them 7." "Tertullian, who lived in the same age, says, We make yearly oblations for the dead 8.” And Origen 9 in the third, St. Cyril 10 of Jerusalem, and St. Jerom in the fourth 11, and St. Augustine 12 in the fifth age, all mention this pious practice being in use.

Catholics, however, are not singular in their belief on this point, for many good staunch Protestants, some of them divines, are agreed with us.

Dr Johnson's sentiments are well known.“ Let not (says Bishop Forbes) the old practice of praying and making oblations for the dead, received throughout the whole Christian world, and the whole Church, almost from the times of the Apostles, be any longer rejected by Protestants, as unlawful or vain 13." Nay, (says the celebrated Doctor Jeremy Taylor,) we find by the history of the Machabees, the Jews did pray and make offerings for the dead. Now it is very considerable, that, since our Saviour did reprove all their evil doctrines, practices, and traditions, and did argue concerning the dead and the resurrection against the Sadducees, yet he spoke no word against this public practice, but left it as he found it; which he who came to declare to us all the will of his Father would not have done, if it had not been innocent, pious, and full of charity 14."

3dly, The next point is the invocation of Saints, which the Council of Trent prescribes to Bishops to explain thus, that the Saints who “ reign with Jesus Christ offer up their prayers to God for men ; that it is good and useful humbly to invoke them, and recur to their prayers and assistance, in order to obtain benefits from God, through Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord, who alone is our Redeemer and Saviour This, like all our other devotional acts, is done " through Jesus Christ,” yet it is said to interfere with his mediatorship; but this is a most erroneous idea, and, by a parity of reasoning, St. Paul, in desiring the prayers of the first Christians, might with equal justice be charged with the crime imputed to us. But who has ever

15

1 2 Macc. c. 12, v. 43, 44, 45. 2 De Bello Judaic, c. 19. 3 Faucus Fagius, in c. 14.

4 1 Cor. xv. 29. 5 De Cæna Dom. 6 Orat. de Epiphania.

Epist. I. de St. Pet. 8 De Corona Milit. 9 Epist. ad Roman. and Hom. 35 in St. Luke. 10 Catech. Mystag. 5. 11 Hom. 3 in Epist. ad Philip. 12 Enchirid. c. 110. and L. De Cur. pro mortuis c. l. 13 Discourse on Purgatory. 14 Liberty of Prophesying, No. 11, p. 345.

15 Conc. Trid. Sese. 25.

been guilty of this absurdity, or of calling in question a practice sanctioned by all Christians ? If, then, fellow-sinners ask the prayers of one another on earth, and obtaiv aid in consequence, multo magis may they expect assistance from those happy spirits who, having “ shuffled off this mortal coil,” are now enjoying the rewards of their labours. To suppose that death destroys the religious ties which knit kindred souls together on this side the grave, or annihilates that “communion of saints" which we profess to believe in, is but cold philosophy, is at variance with our best feelings, and inconsistent with that true charity which never faileth. But why argue speculatively, when we have an assurance from our Saviour himself, that the Angels in Heaven rejoice at the conversion of a sinnerl; and when we find the doctrine believed and attested by such writers as St. Dionysius”, St. Clements, and St. Justin Martyro, in the second age, Origin 5 in the third, St. Chrysostom 6 and St. Ambrose 7 in the fourth, and si Augustine8 in the fifth? I cannot omit Luther's testimony, who says, “ I agree with the whole Christian Church, and am of opinion that the Saints in Heaven are to be invoked'.” Nor that of Bishop Montague, “ I do not deny that the Saints are mediators, as they are called, of prayer and intercession. They interpose with God by their supplications, and mediate by their prayers 10.

4thly, We are accused of worshipping images. On this point the Council of Trent declares, that “though the images of Christ, the virgin-mother of God, and the other Saints, are to be kept and retained, particularly in churches, and due honour and veneration paid to them, yet that we are not to believe there is any divinity or power in them, for which we respect them, or that any thing is to be asked of them, or that trust is to be pluced in them, as the heathens of old trusted in their idols 11." And in our catechisms we are taught, that we must " by no means pray to pictures or images, because they can neither see, nor hear, nor help 12." In fact, in respecting the images or pictures of Christ and the Saints, we do no more than what Catholics and Protestants do, in respecting the materials of the Bible, because they contain the written word of God, nor as both do, in valuing the picture, bust, or relic, of a dear friend or relative, on account of their originals. “ It is upon this (says the great Bossuet) that the honour given to images is founded. It cannot be denied, for instance, that the image of Jesus Christ, crucified, must excite in our minds the most lively recollections of bim who hath loved us so much as to deliver himself up to death for our sakes 13." It is agreed, however, among our learned Doctors and Divines, that these memorials of religion form no essential part of it, and that the Church, without ever altering her doctrine, can extend or confine the practice according to times and circumstances; not wishing (says Bossuet) that her children should be tied down servilely to visible objects, but desirous to excite them by such means, or remind them, as it were, of raising their hearts to God, to offer him, in spirit and truth, that rational service he expects from his creatures 14."

That images and pictures were in use among the early Christians, and that during the alleged purest times of the church, is evident from Tertullian 15 and other ancient writers 16. But laying aside these authorities, I shall adduce Protestant authorities in defence of the practice, the testimony of an adversary being less exceptionable. Luther, for instance, defended the practice against Carlostadius and his followers. Images, (says Bishop Montague, in answer to the author of the Gagg for the New Gospel,) I know, have three uses assigned by your schools. Stay

there. Go no farther, and we charge you not with idolatry 17,Again, “ The pictures of Christ,

1 St. Luke xy. 10. 2 Eccles. Hierar., c. 7, p. 3, sect. 3, prope finem. 5 Constitut. Apostol., L. 5, c. 8, Edit. Turrian. 4 Apolog. 2. ad Antonin. 5 In Lamental. Hom. 3. in Cantica. 6 Hom. de Sanctis Javen. et Maxim.

7 Serm. 6, L. de Vid. 8 Serm. de Sanctis Pet. et Paul. 9 In Purgatione Quorund. Art. 10 Antidote, p. 20.

11 Conc. Trid. Sess. 25. 12 Abstract of the Douay Catech. c. iv. 13 Eposition, c. iv. 14 Ibid. 15 Lib. de Pudia. 16 Adrianus i. in Lib. pro Imag. qui habetur post 7. Synod. 17 Gagger gagged, p. 300. VOL. XV.

Kk

« PreviousContinue »