Obrázky na stránke
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

signed of the introduction of this sacred rite, than the period of the introduction of Christianity itself, into those countries in which the Sacrifice of the Mass was received. The primitive practice and the divine institution of Baptism by water, are not more strongly attested than the antiquity of the practice of offering the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the primitive belief that this holy sacrifice was instituted by Christ himself. The Sacrament of Baptism, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, are both proposed to our belief by the same authority, as institutions of Christ, and both equally attested by the universal practice of all ages of the Christian Church. Both, therefore, ought to be received with the same certainty of faith by every Christian."

At the end of this volume) will be found some of the authorities by which we deduce our doctrine upon these points, from the age of the Apostles, through the first five centuries of the Church, taken from that learned compilation, The Faith of Catholics, confirmed by Scripture, and attested by the Fathers of the first

five Centuries of the Church;" and which may be taken as a specimen of the testimony we can produce in favour of each individual article of our faith. The authorities from the fifth century to the present time, are so copious that it

[ocr errors]

(a) See APPENDIX, No. XI.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

would be only a redundancy of proof to cite any of them; indeed it must be considered perfectly unnecessary so to do, since all Protestant writers agree, that if the Catholic creed of the present day can be proved to be conformable to that of the first four ages of the Church, the question of its authenticity must be considered as settled.

I trust that sufficient proof has now been offered in favour of the doctrine of Transubstantiationof the real, undivided, and substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and in the Sacrifice of the Mass; and if Catholics are still to be accused of idolatry and superstition for their belief on these points, the accusation must, in the first place, be preferred against the Apostles themselves, and then be repeated against their descendants in the ministry, through every succeeding age, implicating the

great mass of the whole Christian world. But, admitting for a moment, for the sake of argument, that the immense majority of Christians have, for upwards of 1,800 years, been labouring under an egregious mistake, to what does this charge of idolatry amount ? That we believe Christ to be where, in the opinion of Protestants, he is not! This is the head and front of our offending. Not that we adore any false or supposititious divinity, but that we worship the one only true and living God, the Creator of heaven, of earth, and of all things, truly and substan

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]


[merged small][ocr errors]

tially present on our altars, though concealed under the sacramental veils of bread and wine; for it cannot be that we adore the elements of bread and wine, since the faith of Catholics is, that the elements no longer exist, but that they are totally and entirely changed into the body and blood, united with the soul and the divinity, of Christ. It is, therefore, only the true God whom we adore; and if we are mistaken, the adoration is equally directed to Him. The greatest possible extent of our error, therefore, can be, in believing God to be visibly present where he is not so.)

[ocr errors]

ro) That colossus of literature, Dr. Johnson, speaking of the supposed idolatry of the Mass, is reported to have said: “Sir, there is no idolatry in the Mass; they (Catholics] believe God to be there, and they worship Him."* But in thus enlisting Dr. Johnson amongst the Protestant authorities in favour of many of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, I am fully aware to how little weight his opinions are entitled upon such subjects. Like all those, who are not united in their creed by one common principle of obedience to revelation and authority, he was unsettled in his religious belief, and totally incompetent to pronounce upon such matters, from want of information, which, great as his acquirements were, in other respects, he had never taken the trouble to obtain in these. I chiefly cite him as an honourable example of liberality, and as above the vulgar short-sighted prejudices so com

* See the whole Dialogue, which does great credit to Johnson's liberality.



f brez that the


blood Christ

adore: equals tento d to be

With such principles of Christianity as we profess, and such a steadfast faith as we hold in the articles of our belief, it can no longer be a matter of astonishment that Catholics cannot conscientiously swear that these doctrines of their Church, which we have just diseussed, are either superstitious or idolatrous : and, I trust that enough has been said to show, that it ought to be the earnest desire of Christians of every denomination, to see so false and so odious a test wholly and entirely abolished. What, in the name of Heaven, has the Supremacy of the Bishop of Rome, the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, the Invocation of Saints, or the Sacrifice of the Mass, to do with the imposing or collecting of the public taxes (which, notwithstanding, Catholics pay the same as others), with the propriety of applying the sinking fund to the exigencies of the state--with the liberation of Greece with thegame

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

mon in the present day; and that too amongst persons who have enjoyed much better opportunities of divesting themselves of the errors of education, than he ever had. The same observations may, more or less, apply to all the other Protestant authorities, which, while they exhibit the vacillating nature of Protestant belief, serve also to prove how much more substantial it was in the days of her earliest and most learned divines, than are the shallow and unmeaning doctrines to which it has been frittered and explained away, by subsequent teachers in their Church.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

laws--or indeed with the regulation of any part of our economy, either foreign or domestic? Though no encomium was thought fitting in the speech from the throne, the nation has been loud in its just and heartfelt praises on the heroes of the glorious and brilliant victory of Navarin :- and I will challenge even a Peel to say, if it has ever once flashed upon

his mind, that the laurels so nobly won by admiral de Rigny, were less bright because that gallant officer believes in Transubstantiation, and in the spiritual supremacy of the Pope ? that admiral Heiden's were blighted by the Invocation of Saints? or that Sir Edward Codrington's were the more glorious, because, like a true Protestant, as we must suppose him to be, he looks upon these partners of his victory as idolaters? Away, then, with the folly and hypocrisy of those who would taint the merits of the valiant and the virtuous, because they believe in the purest and the oldest doctrines of Christianity; doctrines which we prove to have been revealed from heaven, but which a new and persecuting church has erroneously conceived it to be her policy to stigmatize as superstitious and idolatrous! If they will exclude Catholics from parliament, let them invent a Test for the purpose, which shall not be a libel on the memory of those ancestors, of whom Englishmen areso fond of boasting,--that shall not be a gross insult upon one hundred millions of the people of Europe, and

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »