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Q. 11. To whom does it belong to give Extreme Unction?
A. The Scripture has determined it in express terms: “let him call for the priests of the Church ;" this being a branch of the priestly office.
Q. 12. To whom can this sacrament be given ?
A. Only to the members of the Church who are in danger of death by sickness, “Is any one sick among you ?” says the Scripture ; and among those only to such as are capable of sinning; because the design of this sacrament is chiefly to purify the soul from the remains of past sins, and strengthen her against falling into sin again. Hence it cannot be given, (1.) To such as are in danger of death, but not from sickness ; as to people going to battle, or to sea, in a dangerous voyage, or to be put to death by the order of justice, or the like. (2.) To such as are incapable of having ever sinned; such as infants, and those who have been deprived of their judgment from their infancy. (3.) To those who die impenitent, or in the actual commission of mortal sin ; as a drunken man wounded to death, and dying before he becomes sober again.
Q. 13. What instructions do we receive from this sacrament ?
A. The infinite love of Jesus Christ to our souls, and his earnest desire of our salvation. At our first entrance into the world, he has provided the boly sacrament of baptism, to unite us to himself as members of his body. During the course of our life he has given us the powerful helps of his other sacraments, to enable us to persevere in that happy state ; and at our death what an admirable means has he provided in the sacrament of Extreme Unction, to make us his for ever! (2.) The great happiness of being a member of the Church of Christ, where alone this great help is to be found
for our souls. Consider the importance of dying well; the dangers we will be then exposed to ; the help here afforded us for that end, and this will clearly shew the greatness of that happiness. (3.) How careful we should be while in health, to discharge well all our Christian duties, as that will most powerfully engage Almighty God to bestow this last help on us at our death; whereas a negligent and sinful life provokes him to deprive us of that benefit when death approaches, of which there is daily experience. (4.) That, when sickness comes, we be extremely careful to receive this sacrament in due time, and not to put it off to the very last, when, perhaps, we may be deprived of the abilities of disposing ourselves for receiving it with that devotion on which the greater abundance of its blessed effects so much depends.
OF THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS.
Q. 1. What is the meaning of holy orders 1
A. To understand this properly, we must observe, that, as Jesus Christ came into this world to save souls, and to communicate to them all those lights and helps which they stood in need of, for working out their salvation; so be received from his Father all necessary power and authority for this purpose. He, as man, was sent by his Father & to preach the gospel, to enlighten them that sat in darkness, to forgive sins upon earth,” and to do every other thing that was necessary for the good
of souls, insomuch, that he says himself to his apostles, “all power is given to me in heaven and in earth,” Matih. xxviii. 18. Now as the sacred helps which Christ knew to be necessary for the salvation of souls, were equally necessary for all mankind, and in all ages after him to the end of the world; therefore, it was no less necessary that some means should be appointed for communicating these divine helps to all mankind, in all succeeding ages, in order to procure their salvation. For this reason, as our blessed Saviour was not to remain in his own person, in a visible manner, upon earth, to apply these helps to the souls of men himself; he, therefore, chose twelve disciples, whom he called Apostles, and he communicated to them all those sacred powers necessary for bringing others to salvation, which he himself had received from his father, with powers moreover to them to communicate the same powers to others who might succeed them, and carry on the same, by a perpetual succession, to the end of time. Thus he gave them power to preach the gospel, to teach allnations, and to baptize, before his ascension, as related, Matth. x. 18. Mark xvi.; to consecrate the Holy Eucharist, and offer up the sacrifice of his body and blood, when at the last supper he commanded them to do what he had just done, Luke xxii. 19.; to forgive sins, when, after his resurrection, “be breathed on them, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, “ whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven, Jo. xx. 22. And so of all the other sacred powers of the priesthood, which he communicated to his apostles in the most ample manner, and thereby made them priests and pastors of his people, and authorized them as his own substitutes, to communicate the same powers to otbers after them, and carry on to the end of the world the great work he had begun for the salvation of souls; for, as St.
Paul observes, "every high priest taken from among men, is appointed for men in things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins," Heb. v. 1.
Q. What are we chiefly to observe from these truths ?
A. We must carefully remark the following particulars, (1.) That the sacred powers of the priesthood are not of human institution, but the work of the great God, and are communicated to those whom he calls to that high office. (2.) That none can bave, or exercise these powers, except he receive them from God, by the means which he has appointed for that end; for, “neither doth any man take the honour to himself; but he that is called by God, as Aaron was,” Heb.v.4.; and “how can they preach unless they be sent ?" Rom. x. 15.; “for he that entereth not by the door into the sheep-fold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber,” saith Jesus Christ himself, John, x. 1. (3.) That consequently all those who intrude themselves into the pastoral office of themselves, and pretend to teach and preach, and administer any sacrament, without having received the proper power from Jesus Christ to do so, are only' impostors and deluders of souls, “blind leaders of the blind," who, together with those that follow them, “fall into the pit," Matth. xv. 14. (4.) That these priestly powers, being of different kinds, are separable from one another, and some of them may be communicated to any one without the others, as our Saviour in fact did communicate them at different times, and on different occasions, to his apostles. (5.) That when he communicated these powers to them, he did it in a visible, sensible manner, expressing in the words he used, the nature of the particular power which he gave them. (6.) That by doing so, he set the example in what
manner the apostles and their successors should communicate the same powers to other aiter them, to wit, in an outward visible manner, by word. and actions, expressing the power given.
Q. 3. Did the apostles communicate these sacrel powers to others to succeed them in the pastoral office ?
A. They did, but in different degrees; for whereas, on the multitude of the Christian people increasing, it would bave been impossible for one man to administer the effects of all the priesily powers to a great multitude of souls; and on the other hand, it would have been a source of endless dissensions to have had a number of pastors over the same people, with equal power and authority, and without any subordination among themselves; therefore, as instructed by their divino master, they communicated to some the plenitude of the priestly and pastoral powers, such as they had received from Christ; and these are the chief pastors of the Church, the successors of the apostles, and are called Bishops, constituted by the Holy Ghost to rule and govern his Church, according to that of St. Paul “ take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost has placed you bishops, to rule the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood," Acts xx. 28. To others they communicated only part of these priestly powers, particularly that of consecrating the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and of offering up the holy sacrifice of the altar; and that of administering the sacrament of pedance by the power of binding and loosing, with all the other sacraments, except confirmation and orders; and these are the pastors of the second order, successors of the seventytwo disciples of our Lord, and are properly called Priests ; because the essential power of the priest