« PredošláPokračovať »
and blood, really present under the appearances of bread and wine, be made a matter of historical inquiry, the truth of it may be easily ascertained by the evidence of historical testimony. The establishment of Christiany in all countries was a great public fact.
The establishment of Christianity consisted in the establishment of the belief and profession of the doctrines, and of the reception and observance of the precepts and institutions of Christ. Every Christian will surely give credit to the Apostles for having introduced into all countries, where they established Christianity, the very same doctrines, precepts, and institutions, that they had received from Christ himself. The Apostles could all say, what St. Paul said of himself, when he shewed the Corinthians what authority he had for instructing them in the doctrine of the Eucharist: 'I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you.' (1 Cor. xi. 23.)
“ As there could be no contradiction or inconsistency in what they received from Christ, the Apostles must have uniformly delivered and established the same in all places. Hence, by ascertaining what religious doctrines and institutions were uniformly taught and established in all nations by the Apostles, or by Apostolic teachers instructed and sent by them, we come to the certain knowledge of the doctrines and institutions of Christ. What those were which were uniformly
delivered and established by the Apostles in all nations, where they established Christianity, may be shown by historical evidences, attesting what religious doctrines and sacred rites have constantly and uniformly been professed and observed through all ages from the beginning, by all Christian Churches founded by the Apostles, or by men deriving their mission from Apostolic authority. So that if, on inquiry, it be found that the same religious doctrines and ordinances have been uniformly professed and observed in all Christian countries, for eighteen, or at least were, for fifteen centuries, and that no later origin of the introduction of these doctrines and ordinances can be assigned, than the first establishment of Christianity in those countries, in some of which it was established by the Apostles themselves, surely this must be admitted as a most convincing proof that these doctrines and ordinances are the same as the Apostles delivered, and as they had received from Christ himself.
“ If at any period of the Jewish state proof had been called for, to show that the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb was instituted by the authority of God, on the eve of the passage of the Israelites out of Egypt, as a constant memorial of that miraculous event, and of the circumstances attending it, would not the historical evidence of the annual oblation of the Paschal sacrifice in the Jewish church, the un
interrupted observance of which rite might be traced back to the time of Moses, serve as an authentic and undeniable testimony of the origin and ends of its institution. If it were required to show that the sacrament of baptism was instituted by Christ, for the remission of sin, and for the other spiritual effects which it is believed to produce; most undoubtedly the uniform and universal practice observed in all Christian churches, in all countries, and in all ages, from the first establishment of Christianity in those countries, of administering baptism as a sacred rite ordained by Christ for those spiritual effects, would be admitted as a strong and legitimate proof, that this sacrament originated in the institution and command of Christ himself. And this ancient and universal practice of all Christian churches, would have the force of an authentic decision of the true meaning of the words of Christ, related in Scripture, concerning the necessity of baptism, by water, for the remission of sin. Could the origin or meaning of any civil law be better shewn, than by the uniform practice of the judges and magistrates in enforcing the observance of it, from the period at which it is supposed to have been made?
If, therefore, it can be historically shewn, that the sacrifice of the Mass, as the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ, really present under the appearances of bread and wine, had been con
stantly and universally offered in all Christian churches, in all countries, and in all ages, from the first establishment of Christianity in those countries, to the time of Luther in the sixteenth century; it will be established as an historical fact, that the Sacrifice of the Mass was introduced by the apostles into all countries where they established Christianity, and consequently that it was received by them from Christ, no less than the Sacrament of Baptism, or any other doctrine or institution of the Christian religion. This can be shewn by the evidence of historical testimony.
“ It is an historical fact, that when Luther first began to abolish the practice of offering the Sacrifice of the Mass, in the year 1534, this sacrifice was then universally offered as the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ really present under the appearances of bread and wine, by all Christian churches of every denomination in the world; not only by those which were in communion with the see of Rome, and which are spread more or less over all nations; but by those, which for many centuries had been separated from its communion; by the Greek schismatical church, and by all the various sects of the Nestorians, Eutychians, and other heretical churches spread over Asia and part of Africa. That the Sacrifice of the Mass was at that period offered in all churches throughout the world, which were in communion with the See of
Rome, will not be denied. That it was offered at that time, by the schismatical and heretical churches alluded to, will be shewn by proper testimonies. It has, indeed, been acknowledged by Protestant writers of the first respectability.
“ It is also an historical fact, that the constant and universal practice of offering the Sacrifice of the Mass, as the Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ really present under the appearances of bread and wine, may be so far traced back in all those Christian churches, in every country, from the sixteenth century to the earliest ages; that no later origin can be assigned of this religious practice, than the first establishment of Christianity in those countries.
“ It may be observed that none of those schismatical or heretical churches mentioned above, had derived any religious doctrine or rite from the Church of Rome, since the period of their separation from the faith and communion of the Apostolic See: and, consequently, that the Christian doctrines or rites, which they held in the sixteenth century, in common with the Church of Rome, were held by both before the period of the separation. Hence the testimony of the Greek schismatical church, and of the other schismatical and heretical churches in Asia and Africa, concerning the antiquity and divine institution of the Sacrifice of the Mass, cannot be suspected as given in