Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

dages of Pagan orgies. While our ritual does not aim at that abstract worship which, perhaps, is beyond the faculties of man, it is, at the same time, spiritual in a very impressive degree; and, need we add, that our ritual is as comprehensive as it is spiritual : it derives its chief stores from the fountain-head of holy writ; nor has it disdained to borrow some portions from the admired compositions of men, whose learning, devoted to the honour of God, seems to have been richly seasoned with the fervency of holy aspirations. The eastern and western Churches have contributed to the comprehensiveness of our prayers ; in the collective body of which, as in some immense reservoir, all the streams of Christian devotion have combined their sacred waters. And can there be found men who, having once held intercourse with God, in a Liturgy so pure, so spiritual, and so comprehensive, close this holy volume of devotion, and seek, in a corrupt communion, a strange form of worship? To such would we say—If your souls have any relish for what is sublime and pure ;-if you

have

any understanding of what is simple and impressive ;if you have any delight in seeing, during the hours of prayer, all the attributes of God developed, and all the mysteries of Redeeming Love displayed, cast not too hastily from you these pearls of prayer; and beware of impover

If we pray

در

ishing your souls by withdrawing from a Church so purely apostolic!

Thus far we have inculcated attachment and allegiance to the Protestant Church, on the purity and excellence of her ritual ; but we cannot conclude without warning the wavering and unstable, that this desertion of their God, under whatever specious name this unworthy conduct may be viewed, is sinful apostacy. to be delivered “from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism,” we incur even a greater guilt than heretics, when we join their bands as wilful deserters from the camp of God. It is to trifle with the most deliberate oaths by which the soul of man can be bound,—the baptismal oath,– which places us in communion with God. What constitutes an aggravation of this heinous sin is, that it usually proceeds from some unworthy motive. Ye whose defection is now troubling Zion, look into your hearts, tear aside the veil of concealment, and candidly expose

the machinery of your deeds. Would to heaven that this apostacy proceeded from an abstract love of truth ; for then you might claim from us some charitable allowance; but how often does it arise from vanity, from singularity, from a diseased mind, and from affectation of superior discernment !

To us, my Brethren, who depart not from the courts of our Zion, who prefer them to our

G.

chiefest joy, there remains much solid ground of conviction in the spiritual doctrine of our Church. If we chiefly advert to the tenets of that Church which claims the possession of truth and infallibility we shall discover in those high pretensions, many and most grievous violations of God's word. Nor do we hastily, or acrimoniously hazard this assertion; but, if salvation be found within the pale of any Christian Church, we shall be warranted in not seeking it within that communion which is distinguished by many and dangerous errors.

Suffer me to imprint on your minds some few of these erroneous tenets, which render salvation, in that communion, very doubtful and hazardous. The Church of Rome asserts, that in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, a change is made of the bread and wine, into the natural body and blood of Christ, and this is termed Transubstantiation.' This is a doctrine which

[ocr errors]

+ The doctrine of Transubstantiation was first suggested in the fifth century, and immediately opposed. In the next age, the same doctrine of a physical change was written against, but still continued to gain ground. In 754 it was virtually opposed by the Conncil of Constantinople--the seventh (Ecumenical Council: but in the year 787 it was declared to be a true doctrine by the second Nicene Council. In the ninth century it was formed into a regular scholastic shape by Paschasius Radbert. In the fourth Council of Lateran, in 1215, it was definitively imposed, as a necessary

undermines Christianity, inasmuch as it undermines the testimony of the senses. It blasphemously asserts that the sacred frame of the Redeemer can be subjected to the taste of man; and in scriptural language, there can be no other foundation for this assertion, which would not also assert that Jesus Christ is really a vine, or a door, or any other thing, by which he has been pleased to represent himself, figuratively and emblematically.

Some theological truths are above reason, yet never against it ; for all verity complies with itself, as springing from one and the same fountain. But the doctrine of the real Presence implies a manifest contradiction, referring the same thing to itself in opposite directions ; as it may be, at one and the same time, present and absent, above and below. It gives a false body to the Son of God, making that, every day, of bread, by the power of words, which was made, once, of the substance of the Virgin by the Holy Ghost. Of all reasons, the strongest against this doctrine is, that it utterly overturns the very nature of a sacrament. It takes away the sign, and the

article of faith. It is not probable that the teachers of the Saxons had anticipated this wonderful doctrine, and taught their converts the future articles of the Council of Trentwhich Council thunders out an anathema against all who believe not this most monstrous and idolatrous doctrine.

analogy between the sign and the thing signified. It puts into the hand of every priest the power to do, every day, a greater miracle than God did in the creation of the world; for in that, the Creator made the world; in this, the creature daily makes the creator! Error of doctrine produces error in practice:--whether the bread and wine be worshipped as God, or God be worshipped under the form of bread and wine,' it is as much a violation of God's commandment to

"The great St. Basil, in his liturgy, at the consecration of the bread and wine, when the words of our Saviour's institution are to be pronounced, says,

“ The Lord hath left us monuments of his saving passion, the same that we have placed or shewn forth (on the altar) according to his commandments.” And what before he calls monuments or remembrances, he does (after our Lord's words are pronounced) call “ types or antitypes of the body and blood of Christ.”

St. Chrysostom says, “ That which we offer is the type or figure of that sacrifice which was made on the cross; we do not offer any other sacrifice; but we offer the same continually; or rather, we commemorate that sacrifice.”

Theodoret, who was a bishop in the beginning of the fifth century, in his first dialogue introduces an orthodox person speaking the sense of the Catholic Church, thus :—“ Our Lord, in delivering to us those mysteries, gave the name of his body to the bread, and called that which is mixed or put into the cup, his blood. Our Saviour certainly altered or changed the names, giving that to the (symbol which belonged to the body; so when he called himself a vine, he gave a name to his blood, that be longed to the symbol.. Dialogue i. tom, 2.Thus,as the Saxon Archbishop Ælfric observes, we read in the Fathers.

« ZurückWeiter »