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S. CYPRIAN, L. C.
Writing to the clergy and people of a certain district in Africa, he laments that, contrary to an established rule, a brother clergyman had been appointed, by will, an executor or guardian, when it was the sole duty of the ministers of the gospel “ to attend to the altar and sacrifices, (") and to prayers and supplications.” Such, likewise, he observes, was the view of the Almighty in the establishment by Moses of the Levitical order, and then adds: “ The same disposition holds good now, that they who are promoted by clerical ordination, be not called away from the service of God, nor perplexed by worldly business; but, receiving aliment from their brethren, they withdraw not from the altar and from sacrifices, (*) day and night intent on heavenly things.”—He next remarks that, in a case like this, it had been decreed, that for no brother, who by will had made such a disposition,
any offering should be made, or sacrifice celebrated for his repose :(") because he merits not to be named at the altar in the prayer of the priests, whose wish it was to withdraw them from the altar.” He, therefore, forbids prayers and oblations to be made for him. Ep. 1. p.
1, 2,3.-“ Although I am sensible, that most bishops, set over the churches of God, hold to the maxims of evangelical truth and divine tradition, and depart not, by any
(1) Altari et sacrificiis deservire-debeant.
human and innovating discovery, from that which Christ our master taught and did; yet as some, through ignorance or simplicity, in the sanctification of the cup of the Lord, and in delivering it to the people, do not that which Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, the teacher and founder of this sacrifice,(o) himself did and taught; therefore, I judge it necesssary to write to you, in order that, if there be any one still in that error, he may, when he sees the light of truth, return to the root and fountain of Christian tradition.”—Then proceeding to the point, he says: “ Be then advised, that, in offering the cup, the rule ordained by Christ, be followed; that is, that the cup, which is offered in commemoration of him, be wine mixed with water. For as he said: I am the true vine; not water, but wine, is the blood of Christ. And what is in the chalice cannot be thought the blood, by which we obtained redemption and life, if wine be wanting, whereby that blood is shewn, which, as all the scriptures attest, was shed.” Ep. lxiii. p. 148.-“ In the priest Melchisedec we see prefigured the sacrament of the Christian sacrifice, (P) the holy scriptures declaring: Melchisedec king of Salem brought forth bread and wine ; and he was the priest of the most high God, and he blessed Abraham. (Gen. xiv.) And that he bore the resemblance of Christ, the Psalmist announces : Thou 'art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedec. (Ps. cix.) This order thus comes and descends from that sacrifice; that Melchisedec was the priest of the Most High; that he offered bread and wine; and that he blessed Abraham. And who was so
(") Sacrificii hujus auctor et doctor.
much a priest of the most High God, as our Lord Jesus Christ? He offered sacrifice to God the Father; he offered the same as did Melchisedec, that is, bread and wine, his own body and blood : and the blessing given to Abraham, now applies to our people.”-“But, in the book of Genesis, that the blessing given to Abraham might be properly celebrated, the representation of the sacrifice of Christ, appointed in bread and wine, precedes it; which our Lord, perfecting and fulfilling, himself offered in bread and wine; and thus he who is the plenitude, fulfilled the truth of the prefigured image.” Ibid.
Ibid. p. 149.He afterwards adds: “ If Jesus Christ, our Lord and God, be himself the high priest of his father; and if he first offered himself a sacrifice to him, and commanded the same to be done in remembrance of him, then that priest truly stands in the place of Christ, who imitates that which Christ did, and then offers in the church a true and complete sacrifice to God the Father, (9) doing what he ordained. For the whole discipline of religion and of truth is subverted, if that which was commanded be not faithfully complied with.” Ibid. p. 155.
I could quote many other passages from the Letters of S. Cyprian, and from his other Tracts, in which he speaks of the Christian sacrifice of the New law, in terms the most plain and obvious, such as: “We are mindful of you day and night, and when we offer up prayer in the sacrifices.” Ep. xxxvii. p. 72.—“ As often as we celebrate the anniversary days of the martyrs, we offer sacrifices for them (the relatives of Celerinus).” Ep. xxxix.
(9) Ille sacerdos vice Christi vere fungitur, qui id quod Christus fecit, imitatur, et sacrificium verum et plenum tunc offert in ecclesiâ Deo Patri.
p. 77.—“ To God and his Christ, whom I serve, and to whom, with a pure and undefiled countenance, in persecu. tion and in peace, I unceasingly offer sacrifices.”(~) Ep. lxvi. p. 169.-“Whilst we were offering sacrifice, the girl was brought in by her mother.” De Lapsis, p. 132.
EUSEBIUS OF CÆSAREA, G. C.
“ And as he (speaking of Melchisedec), who was the priest of the Gentiles, seems never to have offered animal sacrifices, but wine alone and bread, while he blessed Abraham; so our Saviour and Lord first, and then the priests who are descended from him, performing, in all nations, according to ecclesiastical ordinances, the sacerdotal function, represent, in bread and wine, the mysteries of his body and salutary blood,(e) which mysteries Melchisedec had so long before by the divine spirit foreknown, and used in figure. The scripture of Moses says: And Melchisedec, king of Salem, brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God: and he blessed Abraham.” (Gen. xiv.) Demonst. Evang. L. v.c. iii. p. 223. Coloniæ, 1688.—“ Since then, as the new Testament,” &c. See the passage, p. xxx of this Appendix.
S. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM, G. C.
He mentions the various prayers and ceremonies which
(s) Sacrificia indesinenter offero. (8) Sacrificantibus nobis.
(1) δινω και αρτο, τοτε σωματος αυτό και τα σωτηρια αιματος άινιττονται τα μυστηρια. .
accompany our sacrifice of the altar, and adds: “When this spiritual sacrifice, this unbloody worship over the victim of propitiation, is ended, c) we supplicate God for the common peace of the churches, for the tranquillity of the world, for kings, for their armies and their allies, for the sick and the afflicted; and in a word, for all who want assistance. Again, when we offer this sacrifice, we commemorate those who have departed this world before us. -We offer up that Christ who was slain for our sins, that he who is most kind, may be propitious to us and them." -He proceeds to the Lord's prayer which is recited in the Mass, and dwells on its several clauses; and then prescribes the reverential manner in which the body and blood of Christ are to be taken. Catech. Mystag. v. n. 6, 7. p. 297, 298.
S. GREGORY OF NAZIANZUM, G. C.
“And where, and by whom, could God be worshipped in those mystic and elevating sacred rites, than which nothing among us is greater por more excellent, if there were no priesthood nor sacrifice? ()-Knowing this, and knowing besides that no one was worthy of this great God, this sacrifice, and this priesthood, who had not first offered himself a victim to the Lord-how should I dare to offer to him that external sacrifice, (v) that antitype of great mysteries, or to take up the name and habit of a
πνευματικης θυσιαν, την αναιμακτον λατρειαν, επι της θυσιας εκεινης το έλασμα. .
(1) ουδε ιερατειας, ουδε θυσιας. (9) θυσιαν-την έξωθεν, την των μεγαλων μυστηριων αντιτυπον.