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As the apostle speaks of the participation of the victims among the Jews, which were offered on their altars, and of a similar participation among the Gentiles; so, instituting a comparison, he plainly speaks of Christians par taking of the body and blood of our Lord from the Eucharistic altar.
Heb. xiii. 10, 11, 12. We have an altar, whereof they have no power to eat who serve the tabernacle.-For the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.-Wherefore, Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
The meaning of the passage is not plain, but it seems to intimate the superiority of the Christian worshippers. Not only the Jews, but even their priests, were not allowed to taste of the victims which were solemnly offered for sin; whereas we have an altar and a victim, typified by those of the Jews, of which we may at all times partake: a victim once offered for sin, and represented by the daily oblation of his body and blood.
Acts xiii. 2. And as they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost said to them.—The breaking of bread is often mentioned in the same Acts; and in the two quotations just given from St. Paul, the altar and tablelo) are mentioned, which must refer to sacrifice.-Rev. v. 6. And I saw : and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the ancients, a lamb standing as it were slain.8. And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients, fell down before the lamb.-9. And they sung a new canticle, saying ; Thou
art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God in thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue, and people and nation.-10. And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.
S. CLEMENT OF ROME, L. C.
“ Whatever God has commanded to be done at stated times, that we must perform in regular order; thus must our offerings be made, and other public functions exercised ;(c) not inconsiderately and without order, but as it was ordained, at stated times and hours. They, therefore, who in this manner present their offerings,(d)are acceptable to the Lord and blessed; for, following his commandments, they do not go astray.” Ep. 1. ad Cor. n. 40. T. 1. PP. Apost. p. 170.
S. JUSTIN, L. C.
“ Inflamed by the word of his calling, as it were, by
(c) τας τε προσφορας και λειτουργιας επιτελεισθαι.
τας προσφορας αυτων. .
fire, truly we are the sacerdotal offspring of God, as he himself attests, saying, that in every place among the nations, we offer to him well-pleasing and clean victims. These victims he accepts from his own priests alone. Wherefore, shewing preference to all those who through his name, offer the sacrifices which Christ ordained to be offered; that is, in the eucharist of bread and the chalice,(e) which in all places of the earth are celebrated by the Christian people, God declares that they are wellpleasing to him. But the sacrifices of you Jews, and of your priests, he rejects, saying: I will accept no offering from your hands; because from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name is great among the Gentiles, but ye have profaned it. Malach. 1.-But I myself say that those prayers and thanksgivings are alone perfect, and the victims pleasing to God, which are offered by good men. These Christians alone have learned to offer in the commemoration of their dry and liquid food's) (bread and wine) in which commemoration they are reminded of the passion which Christ suffered.” Dial. cum Tryphon. Judæo, p. 386.
S. IRENEUS, L. C.
“ Giving advice to his disciples to offer their first fruits to God, not as if he stood in need of them, but that they might not seem ungrateful, he took bread into his hands, and giving thanks, said, This is my body. Likewise he declared the cup to be his blood, and taught the new oblation of the new Testament, which oblation the church
receiving from the apostles, offers it to God over all the earth,(9) - to him who grants us food-the first fruits of his gifts in the new Testament, of which the prophet Malachias spoke: I will not accept offerings from your hands. For from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, a clean sacrifice. (1.) Manifestly hereby signifying, that the first people (the Jews) will cease to offer to God; and that in every place a sacrifice, and that clean, will be offered to him, (h) and that his name is glorified among the gentiles.”(i) Adver. Hær. L. iv. c. xxxii. p. 323, 324.—“Therefore the offering of the church, which the Lord directed to be made over all the world, was deemed a pure sacrifice before God, (k) and received by him; not that he stands in need of a sacrifice
(8) Calicem-suum sanguinem confessus est, et novi Testimenti novum docuit oblationem, quam Ecclesia ab apostolis accipiens, in universo mundo offert Deo.
(h) Omni autem loco sacrificium offeretur ei, et hoc purum.
(6) On this passage, the learned Editor of Irenæus, Dr. Grabe, observes : “It is certain that Irenæus and all the fathers-either contemporary with the apostles, or their immediate successors, whose writings are still extant-considered the blessed Eucharist to be the sacrifice of the new law, and offered bread and wine on the altar, as sacred oblations to God the Father; and that this was not the private opinion of any particular church or teacher, but the public doctrine and practice of the universal church, which she received from the apostles, and they from Christ, is expressly shewn in this place, by Irenæus, and before him by Justin M. and Clement of Rome.”—Nota in Irenæum, p. 323.
(d) Ecclesiæ oblatio, quam Dominus docuit offerri-purum sacrificium reputatum est apud Deum.
from us, but because he that makes the offering, if his gift be accepted, is thereby rendered worthy of praise. As then in simplicity the church offers, her offering is accepted by God as a pure sacrifice.--It is our duty to make an offering, &c. See above, p. xx.-Ibid. c. xxxiv. p. 326, 327.
TERTULLIAN, L. C.
“ It was ordained in the old law, That no sacrifices should be offered to God, but in the land of promise, which the Lord was to give to the children of Israel; and that when they entered, sacrifices and holocausts should there be celebrated. Why then does the spirit declare by his prophets, that in all the earth, and in every place, sacrifices shall be offered? In every place incense shall be offered to my name, and a clean offering. (Malach. 1.) As then it is plain, that a temporary Sabbath was appointed, and an eternal Sabbath predicted; a carnal and spiritual circumcision; a law that would pass away, and a law to endure for ever; carnal sacrifices likewise, and spiritual sacrifices promised: from this it follows, that all these things being commanded to the Jewish people, the time would come when they would cease, and the promise of a new law, with spiritual sacrifices, and a new Testament would take their place.” Adversus Judæos, c. v. vi. p. 139. -The same he repeats against Marcion, L. iii. p. 679.But it would seem, that he alludes principally to the pure sacrifices of the heart, and not to the establishment of a real sacrificial offering. In other parts of his works, however, I meet with expressions which evidently pertain to a sacrifice-such as altars, offerings for the dead, the duty of priests to offer, and annual oblation of husbands and wives for their departed consorts.