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THE TEXTS EXAMINED
PAPISTS CITE OUT OF THE BIBLE,
FOR THE PROOF OF THEIR DOCTRINE
THE SACRIFICE OF THE MASS.
IN TWO PARTS.
IT is my intention, in the following discourse, to consider those passages of the holy scripture which are by the writers of the church of Rome produced in defence of the doctrine of that church, concerning the sacrifice of the mass. And before I proceed to that, it will be fit that I should state the question between that church and ours, and briefly shew what the church of Rome holds, what we allow, and for what reason we reject the doctrine of the church of Rome in that matter.
By the mass in this question, Bellarmine a owns, is meant the whole celebration of the Divine service in which the eucharist was consecrated.
By sacrifice is meant a proper one, and such as is propitiatory; "not a sacrifice in general," says a late author of the church of Rome b, "or improperly so termed, (such as are all the actions of the mind, or any work of virtue whatsoever,) but a special sacrifice truly and properly so called." The same author adds presently afterwards, our tenet is, “that the oblation of our Lord's last supper, or the mass, is a true and proper unbloody sacrifice, and propitiatory for sins."
The council of Trent
a Bellarm. de Missa, l. 1. c. 1.
defines it to be " a true and proper
b Manual of Controversies, by H. T. Printed at Doway, 1654.
c Sess. 22.
sacrifice and propitiatory; and that it is not only profitable to
The Trent Catechism d tells us, that the sacrifice of the mass is not only a sacrifice of praise, or bare commemoration of the sacrifice of the cross, but "truly a propitiatory sacrifice by which God is appeased, and rendered propitious to us.' And a little before, speaking of the causes for which the eucharist was instituted by Christ, this is assigned as one, viz. "that the church might have a perpetual sacrifice, by which our sins might be expiated, and our heavenly Father being often greatly offended with our sins, might be brought from anger to mercy, and from the severity of a just punishment to clemency." The same author tells us a little before, that if the sacrifices of the old law were pleasing to God, "what may be hoped from that sacrifice (viz. of the mass) in which he himself is sacrificed and offered up, of whom was twice heard the voice from heaven, This is my beloved Son," &c.
That author, in another place f, in answer to the question, "Whether the sacrifice of the mass be the same sacrifice with that of the cross?" replies thus, "We confess it," says he, "to be one and the same sacrifice, and so to be accounted," &c.
Upon the whole, the church of Rome in this matter affirms these three things:
First, "That the sacrifice of the last supper, or (as they commonly express it) the sacrifice of the mass, is a true and proper sacrifice."
Secondly, "That the victim which is sacrificed in this sacrifice of the last supper, or mass, is the very body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ." For they affirm this to be the same sacrifice with that of the cross.
Thirdly, "That this sacrifice of the mass is propitiatory and expiatory; that it procures pardon for the sins of the living and dead, as well as obtains grace to help in the time of need."
d Catechism. Roman. p. 206. edit. Antwerp. 1583. f Page 105.
e Page 203.
This is a sincere and true representation of the doctrine of the church of Rome in this matter.
And here I cannot but take notice of the insincere practice of a late writers, who pretends to give us a true representation of the doctrines of the church of Rome. He, in his discourse of the mass, craftily baulks what the church of Rome teacheth in this matter, viz. that it is a proper and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and dead; which is the main point contested between us. And instead of that, tells us, "that it is a commemorative sacrifice, lively representing in an unbloody manner the bloody sacrifice which was offered for us upon the cross;" and that Christ gave in command to his apostles to do the same thing he had done at his last supper, "in commemoration of him." He says not one word of its being a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead. He calls it a commemorative one; which, taking in the whole action, we do not deny and when he affirms that Christ bid his apostles to do what he did in commemoration of him, we say so too. But this author could not but know, that in the third canon of the council of Trent concerning this matter, an anathema is denounced against those who affirm the sacrifice of the mass to be a bare commemoration of the sacrifice of the cross.
We of this church of England do readily grant and allow, That the eucharist may be called a sacrifice; as a sacrament hath the name of that which it does commemorate and represent.
That as in this sacrament we commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, so we do in it represent to God the Father what Christ suffered for us, that he may graciously incline to bestow on us the blessings which Christ hath purchased with his blood.
That we do, when we communicate, make an oblation of ourselves. Thus in the prayer after the communion we read, "Here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto thee."
That the eucharist may be called a sacrifice of praise. We do therein offer our praises and thanksgivings to God, and as a testimony of the sense we have of the Divine mercies, we A Papist misrepresented and represented, by J. L. p. 52. &c.
offer our alms, which is not only a sacrifice, but such an one as with which God is well pleased.
What our church holds, is best learned from her declaration in her Articles, in the following words h: "The offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone." And in the next words, she declares against the "sacrifices of masses, in which it was commonly said, that the priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt." Whence it is evident, that she rejects the doctrine of the Trent council, that the sacrifice of the mass is a true and proper sacrifice propitiatory for the quick and dead.
This we deny; and think we have just reason so to do. And that no such doctrine is revealed in the holy scripture, as will appear afterwards, is reason enough for the rejecting it. Such a doctrine as this had need be clearly proved by some express testimony, or just consequence. This is needful according to one of their own writers i.
But though this be reason enough, yet this is not all. The doctrine itself is perplexed and inconsistent, and by no means allowable. And for this I appeal to the conscience of any indifferent man, that will but suffer himself to weigh and consider things. I would fain know, how that can be said to be an unbloody sacrifice by them, who hold that the natural blood of Christ is there? How can that be called a commemoration of the sacrifice of the cross, which is affirmed to be one and the very same sacrifice with it? How can the sacrifice of the mass be the same with that of the cross, when Christ's natural death is of the essence of the sacrifice of the cross; but that of the mass does not comprehend his death; and we are told, Rom. vi. 9, that Christ dieth no more? How can that be said to be a true and proper sacrifice, where the essentials of such a sacrifice, even according to our adversaries, are wanting? Here is nothing visible or sensible, which yet is that which Bellarmine k requires in his definition of a true and
h Article XXXI.
i Quæ enim ad fidem et dogmata constituenda pertinent, ea clarissime
oportet ex Scripturis S. colligi. Richerii Apolog. pro Gersonio.
Bellarm. de Missa, l. 1. c. 2.
proper sacrifice. It is easy to affirm indeed, that the body of Christ is in the sacrifice of the mass, under the species of bread; but as this can never be proved, so it is impertinent to allege it in this place. For where is that which is visible or sensible, which Bellarmine requires the victim should be in a proper sacrifice? The species of bread is so far from rendering the body of Christ visible or sensible, that it hides it from our eyes. And though a substance may be known by its own accidents, yet it cannot be known by the accidents of another substance. Who can tell the difference, that looks on them only, between a consecrated and unconsecrated wafer? Again, in this sacrifice of the mass, here is no destruction, no sensible transmutation of what is sacrificed, which Bellarmine makes necessary in a true and proper sacrifice: here is no destruction of any thing that can be perceived: no shedding of blood, (for it is an unbloody sacrifice,) without which there is no remission. The natural body of Christ receives no change, his natural being is not destroyed or damaged. If they say, "that it is his sacramental being that receives the change," they must mean either an accidental being, (as present in the sacrament,) or substantial. The latter they cannot mean, unless they allow of the destruction or transmutation of his natural being, which they will not allow. If the former, then the sacrifice of the mass is a sacrifice of accidents only, and not of Christ; and then this sacrifice of the mass is not the same with that of the cross. And it is very strange that should be a true and proper sacrifice, in which death only intervenes by representation; and that it should be the very same with that of the cross, when we are told, that it is "instituted only to represent it;" as if there were no difference between a memorial and representation, and the thing to which this does refer. In other proper sacrifices, the altar sanctified the victim, and was reputed of greater value, and the offerer was of greater price than what was offered: this will not be allowed in the present case, and yet we must be obliged to believe it to be a proper sacrifice. We cannot understand how the sacrifice of the mass should be the very same with that of the cross, when one is but the memorial of the other, and is acknowledged to receive all its virtue from it. It cannot be that they should be 1 Bishop of Condom's Exposition, S. 14.