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§ 19. Doctrine of the Church of Rome on the Lord’s Supper.

Romanists regard the eucharist under two distinct aspects as a sacrament and as a sacrifice. The latter in their system is by far the more important. Möhler in his “Symbolik” almost entirely overlooks its sacramental character. And in the worship of the Romish Church the sacrifice of the mass is the central point. In the symbolical books, however, the two views are kept distinct. It is a sacrament inasmuch as it signifies, contains, and conveys grace. It includes an external sign and things signified. The external signs are bread and wine, which retain their form after consecration and after the change in their substance thereby affected. The things signified are, (1.) The passion of Christ. (2) The grace of God given in the sacrament. (3.) Eternal life.715715Theologie Dogmatique. Par. S. E. Le Cardinal Gousset, Archeveque de Reims. De l’Eucharistie , I. i. 695, 10th edit. Paris, 1866, vol. ii. p. 452. It has virtue to produce grace. “On voit,” says Cardinal Gousset in the place referred to, “que le signe eucharistique est un signe qui a la vertu de produire la grace; mais il n’a cette vertu que par l’institution de Jesus Christ.”

The grace bestowed is not spiritual life, for that is communicated 678in baptism, and is presupposed in those who receive the eucharist as a sacrament. On this point the language of the Roman Catechism and other Roman authorities is explicit, and in tone evangelical and Protestant. Thus the Catechism says, “Constat quemadmodum mortuis corporibus naturale alimentum nihil prodest, ita etiam animæ, quæ spiritu non vivit, sacra mysteria non prodesse, ac propterea panis, et vini speciem habent, ut significetur, non quidem revocandæ ad vitam animæ, sed in vita conservandæ causa instituta esse.716716Catechismus Romanus, II. iv. quæst. 40 [60, li.]; Streitwolf, Göttingen, 1846, vol. i. p. 344. The benefits received are analogous to those which the body receives from its natural food. Bread and wine strengthen and refresh the body; so the eucharist strengthens and refreshes the soul. And more than this, the food of the body is transmuted into the body; whereas the divine food received in this sacrament transmutes the soul into its own nature. “Neque enim hoc sacramentum in substantiam nostram, ut panis, et vinum, mutatur; sed nos quodam modo in ejus naturam convertimur: ut recte illud D. Augustini ad hunc locum transferri possit:717717Confessionum, VII. x. 16; Works, edit. Benedictines, Paris, 1836, vol. i. p. 241, c.Cibus sum grandium; cresce, et manducabis me. Nec tu me in te mutabis, sicut cibum carnis tuæ; sed tu mutaberis in me.’”718718Catechismus Romanus, ut supra, quæst. 39; p. 343.

Lutherans make the forgiveness of sins, a blessing which the believer constantly needs, the great benefit of this ordinance. This is not its design in the view of Romanists, for they teach that for a man to approach the altar in a state of mortal sin, is a dreadful profanation. They enjoin, therefore, confession and absolution in the sacrament of penance, as a necessary preparation for this ordinance. Only venial sins are remitted by receiving the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Nevertheless, as according to Romanists, Christ is really in both natures present in the eucharist, they say “necessario fons omnium gratiarum dicenda est, cum fontem ipsum cœlestium charismatum, et donorum, omniumque sacramentorum auctorem Christum dominum admirabili modo in se contineat.719719Ibid. p. 342. The virtue of the eucharist, both as a sacrament and as a sacrifice, rests, according to Romanists, in the doctrine of

Transubstantiation.

Christ is present in this ordinance, not spiritually as taught by the Reformed, nor by the real presence of his body and blood in, with, and under the bread and wine, but by the bread and wine 679being by the almighty power of God changed into his body and blood. As at the feast in Cana of Galilee, the water was changed into wine, so in the eucharist, the bread and wine are changed into, and remain the body and blood of Christ. This doctrine is thus set forth in the Canons of the Council of Trent: —

“1. Si quis negaverit, in sanctissimæ eucharistiæ sacramento contineri vere, realiter, et substantialiter corpus et sanguinem una cum anima, et divinitate Domini nostri, Jesu Christi, ac proinde totum Christum, sed dixerit tantummodo esse in eo, ut in signo, vel figura aut virtute; anathema sit.

“2. Si quis dixerit in sacrosancto eucharistiæ sacramento remanere substantiam panis, et vini, una cum corpore et sanguine Domini nostri, Jesu Christi, negaveritque mirabilem illam et singularem conversionem totius substantiæ panis in corpus, et totius substantiæ vini in sanguinem, manentibus duntaxat speciebus panis, et vini, quam quidem conversionem catholica ecclesia aptissime transubstantionem appellat; anathema sit.

“3. Si quis negaverit, in venerabili sacramento eucharistiæ sub unaquaque specie, et sub singulis cujusque speciei partibus, separatione facta, totum Christum contineri; anathema sit.

“4. Si quis dixerit, peracta consecratione, in admirabili eucharistiæ sacramento non esse corpus, et sanguinem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, sed tantum in usu dum sumitur, non autem ante, vel post; et in hostiis, seu particulis consecratis, quæ post communionem reservantur, vel supersunt, non remanere verum corpus Domini; anathema sit.

“5. Si quis dixerit, vel præcipuum fructum sanctissimæ eucharistiæ esse remissionem peccatorum, vel ex ea non alios effectus provenire; anathema sit.

“6. Si quis dixerit, in sancto eucharistiæ sacramento Christum, unigenitum Dei filium, non esse cultu latriæ, etiam externo, adorandum; atque ideo nec festiva peculiari celebritate venerandum; neque in processionibus, secundum laudabilem, et universalem ecclesiæ ritum, et consuetudinem, solemniter circumgestandum, vel non publice, ut adoretur, populo proponendum, et ejus adoratores esse idololatras; anathema sit.

“7. Si quis dixerit, non licere sacram eucharistiam in sacrario reservari, sed statim post consecrationem adstantibus necessario distribuendam, aut non licere, ut illa ad infirmos honorifice deferatur; anathema sit.

“8. Si quis dixerit, Christum, in eucharistia exhibitum, spiritualiter tantum manducari, et non etiam sacramentaliter, et realiter; anathema sit.

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“9. Si quis negaverit, omnes, et singulos Christi fideles utriusque sexus, cum ad annos discretionis pervenerint, teneri singulis annis, saltem in paschate, ad communicandum, juxta præceptum sanctæ matris ecclesiæ; anathema sit.

“10. Si quis dixerit, non licere sacerdoti celebranti seipsum communicare; anathema sit.

“11. Si quis dixerit, solam fidem esse sufficientem præparationem ad sumendum sanctissimæ eucharistiæ sacramentum, anathema sit. Et ne tantum sacramentum indigne atque ideo in mortem, condemnationem sumatur, statuit, atque declaret ipsa sancta synodus, illis, quos conscientia peccati mortalis gravat, quantumcunque etiam se contritos existiment, habita copia confessoris, necessario præmittendam esse confessionem sacramentalem. Si quis autem contrarium docere, prædicare, vel pertinaciter asserere, seu etiam publice disputando defendere præsumpserit eo ipso excommunicatus existat.720720Council of Trent, Sess. xiii. canones; Streitwolf, vol. i. pp. 50-52.

From this statement it appears, first, as concerns the elements of bread and wine, that in and by the act of consecration, their whole substance is changed. Nothing of the substance or essence of either remains. The accidents, or sensible properties, however, continue as they were. The form, colour, taste, odour, the specific gravity, their chemical affinities, and their nutritive qualities remain the same. So far as the senses, chemical analysis, and physics are concerned or are to be trusted, no change has taken place. As the sensible properties of the bread and wine do not and cannot inhere in the substance of Christ’s body and blood, and as their own substance no longer exists, those properties do not inhere in any substance. “Cum antea demonstratum sit, corpus Domini, et sanguinem vere in sacramento esse, ita nulla amplius subsit panis, et vini substantia; quoniam ea accidentia Christi corpori, et sanguini inhærere non possunt: relinquitur, ut supra omnem naturæ ordinem ipsa se, nulla alia re nisa, sustentent, hæc perpetua, et constans fuit catholicæ Ecclesiæ doctrina.721721Catechismus Romanus, II. iv. quæst. 37 [45, xliv.]; Ibid. p. 341.

Secondly, as to what is said to be present under the species of bread and wine, it is the body and blood of Christ; the body which hung upon the cross; the blood which flowed from his side; with the nerves, bones, and whatever pertains to the completeness of man. (“Ossa, nervi, et quæcumque ad hominis perfectionem pertinent.” )722722Ibid. quæst. 27 [33, xxxi.], p. 333. As, however, the body of Christ is inseparably connected with his soul, so that where the one is, the other must be 681and as his soul is in like manner connected with his divinity, it follows that the whole Christ, body, soul, and divinity, is presents and is received orally, i.e., by the mouth, by the communicant. “Docere autem oportet, Christum nomen esse Dei, et hominis, unius scilicet personæ, in qua divina, et humana natura conjuncta sit, quare utramque substantiam, et quæ utriusque substantiæ consequentia sunt, divinitatem, et totam humanam naturam, quæ exanima, et omnibus corporis partibus, et sanguine etiam constat, complectitur: quæ omnia in sacramento esse credendum est, nam cum in cœlo tota humanitas divinitati, in una persona, et hypostasi conjuncta sit, nefas est suspicari, corpus, quod in sacramento inest, ab eadem divinitate sejunctum esse.723723Catechismus Romanus, ut supra, quæst. 27 [33, xxxi.], p. 334.

Thirdly, the whole Christ is in the bread and the whole Christ as in the wine:724724Romanists teach that even after consecration, it is proper to call the elements bread and wine, because, although the substance is changed, the accidents of bread and wine remain. Catechismus Romanus, ut supra, quæst. 30 [xxxv. 36], p. 335. and not only so, but in each and every particle of both species. Thus the Catechism, says “non solum in utraque specie, sed in quavis utriusque speciei particula totum Christum contineri.

Fourthly, Lutherans teach that the presence of the body and blood of Christ in, with, and under the bread and wine, is confined to the time of the administration of the sacrament. Romanists, on the other hand, teach that as there is an entire change of the substance of the elements into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, that change is permanent. From this it is inferred, (1.) That the consecrated wafer as containing the whole Christ, may be preserved. (2.) That it may be carried to the sick. (3.) That it may be borne about in processions. (4.) That it should be adored.

It is well known that Romanists distinguish between the “cultus civilis,” or worship (i.e., respect) due to our superiors among men; δουλεία, due to saints and angels; ὑπερδουλεία, due to the Virgin Mary, and λατρεία, due to God alone. The ground of this worship is the real or supposed possession of divine perfections in its object. When our Lord was upon the earth He was the proper object of this divine worship, because He was God manifested in the flesh. The worship terminated on the person; and that person is and was divine. If Christians err in believing that the person known in history as Jesus of Nazareth, was, and is the Eternal Son of God clothed in our nature, then their worship of Him is idolatry. They ascribe divine perfections and render divine 682honours to a creature, and therein consists the essence of idolatry. In like manner Romanists teach that λατρεία, the worship due to God alone, is to be rendered to the host, or consecrated wafer. This worship, of course, is not rendered to the wafer as such, any more than the worship of Christians was rendered to the body and blood of Christ, when He was here on earth. But Romanists worship the host on the assumption that it is the body of Christ, with which his soul and divinity are inseparably connected. If their doctrine of transubstantiation be false; if the host be no more the body of Christ than any other piece of bread; if his soul and divinity be no more present in it than in other bread, then they must admit that the worship of the host is as pure and simple idolatry as the world has ever seen. As all Protestants believe the doctrine of transubstantiation to be utterly unscriptural and false, they are unanimous in pronouncing the worship of the consecrated elements to be idolatry.

Proof of the Doctrine.

The arguments urged by Romanists in support of the fearful dogma of transubstantiation, are derived partly from Scripture and partly from tradition. Without the latter, the former, to all appearance, even in the estimation of Romanists themselves, would be of little account. The Scriptural passage principally relied upon, is John vi. 48-65. As to this discourse of our Lord, Cardinal Gousset lays down two propositions: first, that it is to be understood of the Lord’s Supper; and second, that the eating of which it speaks is oral, by the mouth, and not merely spiritual, by faith. If these points be granted, then it follows that our Lord does speak of a literal eating of his flesh, and therefore that his flesh must be in the literal sense of the words eaten at the Lord’s Supper. Such eating it must be conceded necessitates the admission of the doctrine of transubstantiation. It is enough, in this place, to say of this argument, that it proves too much. Our Lord expressly declares that the eating of which He speaks is essential to salvation. If, therefore, his words are to be understood of the Lord’s Supper, then a participation in that sacrament is essential to salvation. But this the Church of Rome explicitly denies, and must in consistency with its whole system, insist on denying. Romanists teach that spiritual life is as necessary to an experience of the benefits of this sacrament, as natural life is to the body’s being nourished by food.725725Catechismus Romanus, II. iv. 40 [li. 50], Streitwolf, vol. i. p. 344.

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They further teach that baptism, which precedes the eucharist, conveys all the saving benefits of Christ’s redemption; they therefore cannot make the eucharist essential, and consequently they cannot, without contradicting Christ or themselves, interpret John vi. 48-65 as referring to the Lord’s Supper.726726“Le sacrement de l’eucharistie n’est point nécessaire au salut, d’une necessité de moyen; on peut être sauvé sans avoir reçu la communion. La raison, c’est que se sacrement n’a point été institué comme moyen de conférer la première grace sanctifiante ou de remettre le péché mortel, ce qui est réservé aux sacrements de baptême et de pénitence.” Gousset, Theologie, Paris, 1866, vol. ii. p. 516.

Appeal, of course, is also made to the words of institution, “This is my body.” In this argument enough has already been said. There is no more necessity for understanding those words literally than the declaration of Christ, “I am the true bread,” or, “I am the door.” The elements are declared to be bread and wine both by Christ and by the Apostles, after as well as before consecration.

Romanists, however, teach that there are many doctrines which Christ and his Apostles taught, which are either not revealed at all, or but very imperfectly in Scripture, and which are to be received on the authority of tradition. On that authority they rely for the support of all their peculiar doctrines. As to that argument, as urged in behalf of the doctrine of transubstantiation, Protestants say, first, that the Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith and practice, and, therefore, that no doctrine, which cannot be proved from the Bible, can be received as an article of faith. And as the doctrine of transubstantiation cannot be so proved, it is to be rejected as a mere human theory. And, secondly, that even admitting the authority of tradition, it can be demonstrated that the doctrine in question has no claim to support from the rule, “quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus.” The rise and gradual development of this doctrine can be historically traced. The conflicts attending its introduction as an article of faith are matters of record, and it can no more be proved, even by tradition, than the doctrine of purgatory and extreme unction. This is the conclusion reached after years of controversy, and it is not likely ever to be shaken. It was on this point that the leading divines of the Church of England laid out their strength in their controversy with the Church of Rome.727727In Herzog’s Real-Encyklopädie, vol. xvi., there is, under the head of “Transubstantation,” an elaborate article of fifty-five royal octavo pages on the history of this doctrine, in which its rise through the patristical and mediæval periods is minutely traced.

It is a valid objection to this doctrine that it involves an impossibility. 684The impossible cannot be true, and, therefore, cannot, rationally, be an object of faith. It is impossible that the accidents or sensible properties of the bread and wine should remain if the substance be changed. Such a proposition has no more meaning in it than the assertion that an act can be without an agent. Accidents or properties are the phenomena of substance; and it is self-evident that there can be no manifestations where there is not something to be manifested. In other words nothing, a “non-ens” cannot manifest itself. Romanists cannot turn to the theory that matter is not a substance; for that is not their doctrine. On the contrary, they assert that the substance of the bread is transmuted into the substance of Christ’s body. Nor can they help themselves by resorting to the pantheistic doctrine that all accidents are phenomena of God, for that would upset their whole system.

It is moreover impossible that the well-attested testimony of our senses should be deceptive. If it once be assumed that we cannot trust to the laws of belief impressed on our nature, of which faith in our sense perceptions is one of the most important, then the foundation of all knowledge, faith, and religion is overturned. What has Catholicism to say for itself, if the people cannot trust their ears when they hear the teachings of the Church, or their eyes when they read its decrees? It has nothing to stand upon. It is engulfed with all things else in the abyss of nihilism. To believe in transubstantiation we must disbelieve our senses, and this God requires of no man. It involves disbelief in Him who is the author of our nature and of the laws which are impressed upon it. There is no more complete and destructive infidelity than the want of faith in the veracity of consciousness, whether it be consciousness of our sense perceptions, or of the truths involved in our rational, moral, or religious nature.

It is another objection to this doctrine that it logically leads, and in fact has led, to the greatest practical evils. It has led to superstitious, in the place of rational and Scriptural reverence for the sacrament; to the idolatrous worship of the consecrated wake; to attributing to it magical, or supernatural virtue contrary to Scripture; to perverting a simple sacrament into a propitiatory sacrifice, and to investing the ministers of Christ with the character of sacrificing priests, empowered to offer, for money, a propitiatory oblation securing forgiveness even for the aims of the departed. It has been made a mine of wealth to the priesthood and the Church. It was principally the popular belief in this 685great error, that secured the transfer of the greater part of the land and wealth of Europe into the hands of the clergy and gave them almost unlimited power over the people.

Withholding the Cup from the Laity.

The Romish Church admits that this is contrary to the original institution of the ordinance, and to the usage of the primitive Church. It is defended, (1.) On the ground that the cup is unnecessary to the completeness of the sacrament. The blood is in the body; he therefore who receives the latter receives the former. And as the whole Christ, as to his body, soul, and divinity is not only in each species, but in every particle of both, he who receives the consecrated bread receives the whole Christ, and derives all the benefit from communing, the sacrament is capable of affording. (2.) That there is great danger in passing the cup from one communicant to another that a portion of its contents should be spilt; and as the cup after consecration contains the real blood of Christ, its falling to the ground and being trodden under foot, is a profanation, by every means to be avoided. (3.) The Church did not of its own motion introduce this innovation. It was introduced and had become general, before the Church saw fit, for sufficient reasons, to interfere and change a custom into a law.

The Lord’s Supper as a Sacrifice.

On this subject the Church of Rome teaches, according to the Council of Trent, —

“1. Si quis dixerit, in missa non offerri Deo verum, et proprium sacrificium; aut quod offerri non sit aliud, quam nobis Christum ad manducandum dari; anathema sit.

“2. Si quis dixerit, illis verbis, ‘Hoc facite in meam commemorationem;’ Christum non instituisse Apostolos sacerdotes; aut non ordinasse, ut ipsi, aliique sacerdotes offerent corpus, et sanguinem suum; anathema sit.

“3. Si quis dixerit, missæ sacrificium tantum esse laudis, et gratiarum actionis, aut nudum commemorationem sacrificii in cruce peracti, non autem propitiatorium; vel soli prodesse sumenti; neque pro vivis, et defunctis, pro peccatis, pœnis, satisfactionibus, et aliis necessitatibus offerri debere; anathema sit.

“4. Si quis dixerit, blasphemiam irrogari sanctissimo Christi sacrificio, in cruce peracto, per missæ sacrificium; aut illi per hoc derogari; anathema sit.

“5. Si quis dixerit, imposturam esse, missas celebrare in honorem 686sanctorum, et pro illorum intercessione, apud Deum obtinenda, sicut ecclesia intendit; anathema sit.

“6. Si quis dixerit, canones missæ errores continere, ideoque abrogandum; anathema sit.

“7. Si quis dixerit, cæremonias, vestes, et externa signa, quibus in missarum celebratione ecclesia catholica utitur, irritabula impietatis esse, magis quam officia pietatis; anathema sit.

“8. Si quis dixerit, missas, in quibus solus sacerdos sacramentaliter communicat, illicitas esse, ideoque abrogandas; anathema sit.

“9. Si quis dixerit, ecclesiæ Romanæ ritum, quo summissa voce pars canonis, et verba consecrationis proferuntur, damnandum esse; aut lingua tantum vulgari missam celebrari debere; aut aquam non miscendam esse vino in calice offerendo, eo quod sit contra Christi institutionem; anathema sit.728728Sess. xxii. canones; Streitwolf, vol. i. pp. 81, 82.

From this it appears, —

1. That, according to the Church of Rome, the eucharist is a real, propitiatory sacrifice, for the expiation of sin, for reconciliation with God, and for securing providential and gracious blessings from his hands.

2. That what is offered is Christ, his body, soul, and divinity, all which are present under the form of bread and wine. The sacrifice of the mass is the same, therefore, as the sacrifice of the cross; the former being a constant repetition of the latter. “Unum itaque et idem sacrificium esse fatemur, et haberi debet, quod in missa peragitur, et quod in cruce oblatum est: quemadmodum una est et eadem hostia Christus, videlicet Dominus noster, qui se ipsum in ara crucis semel tantummodo cruentum immolavit. Neque enim cruenta, et incruenta hostia, duæ sunt hostiæ, sed una tantum, cujus sacrificium, postquam Dominus ita præcepit, ‘Hoc facite in meam commemorationem,’ in eucharistia quotidie instauratur.729729Catechismus Romanus, par. II. cap. iv. quæst. 60 [lxxxii. 76], Ibid. p. 359.

3. As the sacrifice is the same, so also is the priest. Christ offered Himself once on the cross, and He offers Himself daily in the mass. “Sed unus etiam atque idem sacerdos est Christus dominus, nam ministri, qui sacrificium faciunt, non suam, sed Christi personam suscipiunt, cum ejus corpus et sanguinem conficiunt, id quod et ipsius consecrationis verbis ostenditur, neque enim sacerdos inquit, Hoc est corpus Christi, sed, ‘Hoc est corpus meum:’ personam videlicet Christi domini gerens, panis, et vini 687substantiam, in veram ejus corporis, et sanguinis substantiam convertit.730730Catechismus Romanus, II. iv. quæst. 61 [lxxxiii. 77], Streitwolf, vol. i. pp. 359, 360. On this statement it may be remarked in passing, that if the ministers are not the real offerers, they are not real priests. A priest is one appointed to offer sacrifices. But according to the theory, the officiating minister in the service of the mass, does not offer the sacrifice. He is a supernumerary. He has no function. There is no reason why without his intervention, Christ should not when his people meet to commemorate his death, offer Himself anew to God. The Roman theory in this, as in many other points, is not self-consistent. Romanists represent ministers as true priests; mediators between God and the people, without whose intervention, no sinner can have access to God or obtain pardon or acceptance. They are not only invested with priestly authority and prerogatives, but imbued with supernatural power. The words of consecration pronounced by other than sacerdotal lips, are inoperative. The mass unless performed by a priest is no sacrifice. All this supposes that their office is a reality, that ministers are really priests; but according to the passage just quoted, they are not priests at all. According to the common mode of representation, however, the minister in the mass as truly offers the body and blood of Christ, as the priests under the Old Testament offered the blood of lambs or of goats. Cardinal Gousset, for example, says: “According to the faith of the Catholic Church, the mass is a sacrifice of the new law, in which the priest offers to God the body and blood of Jesus Christ under the form of bread and wine. The mass is a true sacrifice instituted by Jesus Christ.” “A sacrifice, from its nature, is an act of supreme worship, due to God alone. Hence when a mass is celebrated in the name of a saint, it is not to be believed that the sacrifice is offered to the saint; but simply in his memory, to implore his protection, and to secure his intercession. It is a sacrifice in which is offered the body and blood of Christ Jesus Christ, whose body and blood are present under the forms of bread and wine, is Himself the victim. Finally, the eucharistic sacrifice is made by the hands of the priest, but Jesus Christ is the principal minister; He is at once priest and victim, offering himself to God the Father by the ministry of his priests.”731731Gousset, Théologie, ut supra, vol. II. p. 522.

4. As under the Old Testament some of the sin offerings availed for those who brought the victims, and for whose benefit hey were offered; and others, as the morning and evening sacrifices, 688and those offered on the feast days, and especially that on the great day of atonement, were intended for the whole nation, so according to Romanists, the propitiatory sacrifice, in the ordinary public service, is offered for the sins of the faithful in general, while at other times it is offered for particular individual. And as it matters not whether such individuals be living or dead, it is obvious that such masses may be indefinitely multiplied. As according to the Church of Rome the great majority of those dying within the pale of the Church, pass into purgatory, where they remain in a state of suffering for a period to which there is no certainly known termination before the day of judgment; for their benefit, to alleviate or shorten their sufferings, masses may be, and should be offered by their surviving friends. It has ever been found that men at the approach of death, or the affectionate relatives of the departed, are willing to appropriate money at their command, to pay for masses for their benefit. This, as just remarked, has proved an inexhaustible mine of wealth to the Church. “Hujus sacrificii eam vim esse, parochi docebunt, ut non solum immolanti, et sumenti prosit, sed omnibus etiam fidelibus, sive illi nobiscum in terris vivant, sive jam in Domino mortui, nondum plane expiati sint. Neque enim minus ex Apostolorum certissima traditione, pro his utiliter offertur, quam pro vivorum peccatis, pœnis, satisfactionibus, ac quibusvis calamitatibus, et angustiis.732732Catechismus Romanus, par. II. cap. iv. quæst. 63 [86, xxxvi], Streitwolf, vol. i. pp. 360, 361.

Remarks.

No doctrine of the Church of Rome is more portentous or more fruitful of evil consequences than this doctrine of the mass; and no doctrine of that Church is more entirely destitute of even a semblance of Scriptural support. The words of Christ, “This do in remembrance of me,” are made to mean, “Offer the sacrifice which I myself have just offered” (Offrez le sacrifice que je vien d’offrir moi-meme).733733Gousset, Théologie, ut supra, vol. ii. p. 538. These words constituted the Apostles and all their successors priests. The Council of Trent even anathematizes all who do not put that preposterous interpretation on those simple words.734734See Sess. xii. canon 2; quoted above on page 685. Romanists also appeal to the fact that Christ is said to be a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, from which they infer that He continually repeats the sacrifice once offered on the cross. They even argue from such passages as 689Malachi i. 11, in which the universal spread of the true religion is predicted by saying that from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, “in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering.”735735In this passage the words מֻקְטָר מֻגָּשׁ, correctly rendered in the English version “incense shall be offered,” in the Vulgate are translated “sacrificatur.” In the Septuagint it is θυμίαμα προσάγεται. Luther’s version is “geräuchert.” Even if the Vulgate version were correct, and the prophet had said that “in every place sacrifice should be made,” that would prove nothing to the point. The Old Testament prophets predicted the spread of the true religion under the Gospel dispensation in the use of terms borrowed from the Old Testament ritual.

Protestants reject the doctrine that the eucharist is a true propitiatory sacrifice, —

1. Because it is not only destitute of all support from tue Scriptures, but is directly contrary to the whole nature of the ordinance, as exhibited in its original institution and in the practice of the apostolic church. There it is set forth as a sacred feast commemorative of the death of Christ.

2. Because it is founded on the monstrous doctrine of transubstantiation. If the whole substance of the bread be not changed into the substance of Christ’s body, and the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood, and if the whole Christ, body, soul, and divinity be not really and truly present under the form (or species) or appearance of the bread and wine, then the priest in the mass has nothing to offer. He in fact offers nothing, and the whole service is a deceit. Just so certainly, therefore, as the impossible and the unscriptural cannot be true, just so certain is it, that the mass is not a propitiatory sacrifice.

3. The Romish doctrine is that the Apostles were priests, and were invested with authority and power to continue and perpetuate in the Church the priestly office by ordination and the imposition of hands by which the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit are conveyed. All this is unscriptural and false. First, because a priest is a man appointed to be a mediator between God and other men, drawing near to Him in behalf of those who have not liberty of access for themselves, and whose function it is to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin. But there is no such office under the Christian dispensation, save in the person of Jesus Christ. He is our only, and all sufficient priest; everywhere present and everywhere accessible, who has opened for us a new and living way of access to God, available to all sinners of the human race without the intervention of any of their fellow sinners. Every believer is as much a priest under the Gospel, as any other believer, 690for through Christ they all have equal freedom of access unto God. It subverts the whole nature of the gospel, to make the intervention of any human priest necessary to our reconciliation with God. Secondly, Christian ministers are never called priests in the New Testament. Every title of dignity, every term expressive of the nature of their office, is bestowed on them, but the title priest, so familiar to Jewish and Gentile ears, is never given to them. Nor is any priestly function ascribed to them. They are not mediators. They are not appointed to offer sacrifices for sin. Every priest is a mediator, but it is expressly declared that Christians have but one mediator, the man Christ Jesus. There is but one sacrifice for sin, the all sufficient sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, who died once for all to bring us near to God. Thirdly, Christ Himself and the Apostles after Him in all their addresses to the people, instead of directing them to go to ministers as priests to obtain the benefits of redemption, uniformly assume that the way is open for the return of every sinner to God without human intervention. “Come unto me” is the invitation of Christ to every heavily laden sinner. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” is the gospel preached by the Apostles both to Jews and Gentiles. The emancipation of the Christian world effected by the Reformation, consisted in large measure in freeing man from the belief that Christian ministers are priests through whom alone sinners can draw near to God. It was preaching deliverance to captives, and the opening of the prison to those who were bound, to announce that believers through Christ are all made kings and priests unto God; subject to no authority but the authority of God (and of course to such as He has ordained), and all having access by one Spirit unto the Father. If then ministers are not priests, the eucharist is not a sacrifice.

4. The Romish doctrine is derogatory to the sacrifice of the cross. It supposes that the work of Christ in making satisfaction for the sins of men, needs to be constantly repeated. This is directly contrary to Scripture, which teaches that by the one offering of Himself, He has forever perfected them that believe. His one sacrifice has done all that need be done, and all that a sacrifice can do. Romanists say that the same sacrifice which was made or the cross, is made in the mass. The only difference between the two is modal. It concerns only the manner of oblation. Then why is the latter needed? Why does not the one offering of Christ suffice? Certain it is the Bible refers us to nothing else: and the believer craves nothing else.

691

5. The doctrine of the sacrificial character of the eucharist, is an integral part of the great system of error, which must stand or fall as a whole. Romanism is another gospel. It proposes a different method of salvation from that presented in the word of God. It teaches that no one can be saved who is out of the pale of that visible society of which the pope of Rome is the head; and that all are saved who die within that pale. It teaches that no one can be regenerated who is not baptized; and that there is no forgiveness for post-baptismal sins, except by the sacrament of penance and absolution at the hands of a priest. It teaches that no one can have the benefit of the Lord’s Supper, who does not receive it at the hands of a properly ordained officer of the Church of Rome. It teaches that there is no valid ministry, and that there are no valid ordinances except in the line of the apostolic succession as recognized by the pope. It follows men beyond the grave. It teaches that the souls in purgatory are still under the power of the keys; that their stay in that place or state of torment, can be prolonged or shortened at the will of the Church. The pope assumes, and has often pretended to exercise, the power of granting indulgences for even a thousand years. This whole theory hangs together. If one assumption be false, the whole is false. And if the theory in its primary principle of a perpetual apostleship, infallible in teaching and of plenary power in government and discipline, be false, then every particular doctrine involving that principle must be false.

Moehler, whose philosophical and mitigated Romanism, has called down upon him no little censure from his stricter brethren, represents the doctrine of the eucharist as the point in which all the differences between Romanists and Protestants converge. On the view taken of this doctrine depends the question whether the Christian Church has a true living “cultus” or not. With him the Church, of course, is the body, which, professing the true religion, is united in the reception of the same sacraments, in subjection to bishops canonically consecrated, and especially to the pope of Rome. For him, and all Romanists, this Church is Christ. He dwells in it; animates it; operates through it exclusively in the salvation of men. The teaching of the Church is his teaching; its commands are his commands; He regenerates only through its sacrament of baptism; He remits sin only through the sacrament of penance; He strengthens in confirmation; He nourishes his people with his body and blood in the eucharist; and in the ordination of priests. He appoints the organs through 692which all this is done by his ceaseless activity. “The Church,” says Moehler, “is vicariously (auf eine abbildlich-lebendige Weise) Christ manifested and working through all time. The Redeemer did not merely live eighteen hundred years ago, and then disappear, to be remembered only as a historical person as any other of the departed; on the contrary He is ever living in the Church.”736736Symbolik, von Dr. J. A. Moehler, 6th edit. Mainz, 1843, p. 300. Romanists, therefore, practically take away Christ, and give us the Church in his stead. It is to be remembered that by the Church they do not mean the body consisting of true believers, but the external, organized body of which the pope is the head. It is this body represented in history by the Hildebrands, the Borgias, and the Leos, which Romanism puts in the place of Christ, clothing it with his prerogatives, and claiming for it the obedience, the reverence, and the confidence due to God alone. It is against this theory, which practically puts man in the place of God, that the most fearful denunciations of the Scriptures are pronounced.


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