Chapter XIII.

The Eucharist--Transubstantiation--The Mass.

We now come to speak of the Eucharist. This rite, as practised by the Church of Rome, forms the centralization of Popish absurdity, blasphemy, and idolatry. The mass, in short, is Superstition's masterpiece. It takes precedence of all other idolatries that ever existed in this fallen world. It is without a rival among the polytheisms of ancient times. The groves of Greece, the temples of Egypt, witnessed the celebration of no rite at once so revolting and so impious is that which is daily enacted in the temples of the Roman Catholic Church. What the priests of pagan Rome would have blushed to perform, the priests of papal Rome glory in, as that which imparts a peculiar lustre to their office, and a peculiar sanctity to their persons. As the polytheisms of the past have produced nothing that can equal the mass, so we may safely affirm that, while the world stands, this rite will remain unsurpassed by anything which the combined folly and impiety of man is able to invent.

The same place which the Pope occupies in the scheme of papal government does the host occupy in the scheme of papal worship. Each forms in its own department the culminating point of Rome's idolatry. Both are transformed into divinities. A mortal and fallible man, when seated in the chair of Peter, and crowned with the tiara, is straightway endowed with the attribute of infallibility, and is addressed and obeyed as God. Bread and wine, when placed upon the altars of the Romish Church, with a few prayers mumbled over them by the priest, and a few muttered words of consecration, are straightway changed into the real flesh and blood of Christ, and are commanded to be adored with the worship that is due to God. What a difference between the Eucharist of the primitive Church and the mass of the popish Church! And yet the latter is but the former disguised and metamorphosed by the evil genius of Popery. In nothing perhaps do we find a more striking illustration of the sad change that Romanism works on all that is pure, simple, and holy! How completely has it succeeded in changing the character and defeating the end of the ordinance of the Supper! A memorial at once affecting and sublime, designed to commemorate the most wonderful event the world ever saw, it has transformed into a rite which revolts by its absurdity and shocks by its impiety, and which robs of all its value and efficacy that death which it was designed to commemorate, and which, on the ground of its efficacy alone, was worthy of being commemorated.

The sum of what the Church of Rome holds under this head is, that the bread and wine in the Eucharist are changed into the real flesh and blood of Christ the moment the priest pronounces the words, "This is my body;" that the host is to be adored with the adoration usually given to God, and, in fine, is to be offered up to God by the priest, as a true propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the quick and the dead. The subject then resolves itself as follows: first, the dogma of transubstantiation; second, the adoration of the host; and third, the sacrifice of the mass.

The origin of the term mass is involved in obscurity. The more common opinion is, that it signifies "a sending away." It was the custom anciently, at the conclusion of the sermon, and before proceeding to celebrate the Supper, for the officiating deacon to pronounce aloud, "Ite, missa est," in order that catechumens and strangers might retire. From this circumstance the service that followed was called "mass."[1] It required several centuries to give to the rite its present form. Transubstantiation was broached as early as the ninth century, but it was not formally established till the Council of Lateran, 1215, under the pontificate of Innocent III.;[2] nor was it till three centuries later that the Council of Trent decreed it to be a true propitiatory sacrifice. It is on the dogma of transubstantiation that the whole of the mass is founded. The Council of Trent thus defines transubstantiation:[3] --"If any one shall deny that in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist there are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and the blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore whole Christ, and shall say that he is in it only by sign, or figure, or influence, let him be accursed." Still more explicit are the terms of the next canon:--"If any one shall say, that in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist there remains the substance of bread and wine along with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and shall deny the wonderful and singular conversion of the whole of the substance of the bread into the body, and the whole of the substance of the wine into the blood, there remaining only the appearances of bread and wine, which conversion the Catholic Church most appropriately calls transubstantiation, let him be accursed." Rome is careful to mark the complete and thorough character of the change effected by the consecrating words of the priest. There is no mixing of the bread and the wine with the body and the blood of Christ. The substance of the bread and the wine is annihilated; and the very body and blood of Christ,--"that very body," Rome is careful to state, which was born of the Virgin, and which now sits at the right hand of God,"[4] --that body which did all the miracles, uttered all the words, and endured all the agonies, which the evangelists record,--that very body it is which the priest reproduces, places upon the altar, and puts into the hands and into the mouths of the worshippers. Do the annals of the world contain another such wonder? Nay, with a particularity that sinks into the most offensive grossness, the authorized books of Rome are careful to explain that "the bones and sinews" of the body of Christ are contained in the host.[5] There is nothing to indicate to the senses the stupendous change which the creating fiat of the priest has accomplished. To the eye it still appears as bread and wine; it smells as bread, it tastes as bread, and it can be eaten as bread; yet it is not bread: it is flesh; it is blood; it is the very body that eighteen centuries ago sojourned on earth, and that now sits enthroned in heaven. Christ has again returned to earth, not in glory, as he promised, and attended by his mighty angels; but summoned thither by the terrible power, or spell, or whatever it be, which the priest possesses, and for the purpose of undergoing a deeper humiliation than at first. Then he appeared as a man, but now he is compelled to assume the form of an inanimate thing, and under that form he is again broken, and again offered in sacrifice and so his humiliation is not yet over,--his days of suffering and sacrifice are still prolonged: so eager has Rome been to identify herself with that Church predoomed in the Apocalypse, and marked with this brand, "where also our Lord was crucified."[6]

It is scarce possible to state the many revolting consequences involved in the popish doctrine of transubstantiation, without an appearance of profanity. But the dread of this charge must not unduly deter us. Rome it is that must bear the responsibility. The awful profanation is theirs, not ours. The priests of the Church of Rome have the power not only of creating[7] the body of our blessed Lord, together with his divinity, as often as they will, but of multiplying it indefinitely. Every time mass is performed two Christs at least are created. There is a whole Christ in the host, or bread; and there is a whole Christ in the chalice, or cup--"It is most certain," says the Council of Trent, "that all is contained under either species, and under both; for Christ, whole and entire, exists under the species of bread, and in every particle thereof, and under the species of wine, and in all its parts."[8] "The body," says Perrone, "cannot be separated from the blood, and soul, and divinity; nor can the blood be separated from the body, and soul, and divinity; therefore, under each species a whole Christ must of necessity be present."[9] It follows that there are as many whole Christs as there are consecrated wafers. It follows also, that should we divide the wafer, there is a whole Christ in each part; should we divide it again, the same thing will take place; and how many soever the times we divide it, or the parts into which we divide it, a whole Christ is contained in every one of the parts. The same thing is true of the cup. Should we pour it out drop by drop, in every one of the drops there is a whole Christ. But we are also to take into account that the mass is being celebrated at many thousand altars at the same time. At each of these altars the body of our blessed Lord is reproduced. The priest whispers the potent word; the bread and wine are annihilated; the flesh and blood of Christ, the bones and nerves,--to use Rome's phrase,--together with his divinity, take their place, are immolated in sacrifice, and then eaten by the worshippers. That body is locked up in sacraria, is carried about in mass-boxes, is put into the pockets of priests, is produced at the beds of the sick, is liable to be lost, to be trodden upon, to be devoured by vermin, to--but we forbear; the enormity and blasphemy of the abomination sickens and revolts us.

But on what ground does Rome rest this doctrine? She rests it simply on these words, spoken by Christ at the first supper,--"This is my body." She holds that by these words Christ changed the bread and wine into his flesh and blood, and has transmitted the same power to every priest, in the celebration of the Eucharist, grounding this delegation of power upon the words, "This do in remembrance of me." To assail such a position by grave argument were a waste of time. We have nowhere met with so clear and beautiful an exposition of the true meaning of these words, "This is my body," and of the absurdity of the sense which Rome puts upon them, as in the life of Zwingle. The mass was about to be abolished in the canton of Zurich, and the reformer had been engaged all day in debating the question before the great council. Am-Grutt, the under Secretary of State, did battle in behalf of the impugned rite, and was opposed by Zwingle, the substance of whose reasoning, as stated by D'Aubigné, was, "that esti (is) is the proper word in the Greek language to express signifies, and he quoted several instances in which this word is employed in a figurative sense."

"Zwingle," continues the historian, "was seriously engrossed by these thoughts, and, when he closed his eyes at night, was still seeking for arguments with which to oppose his adversaries. The subjects that had so strongly occupied his mind during the day presented themselves before him in a dream. He fancied that he was disputing with Am-Grutt, and that he could not reply to his principal objection. Suddenly a figure stood before him, and said, 'Why do you not quote the eleventh verse of the twelfth chapter of Exodus,--Ye shall eat it (the lamb) in haste: it is the Lord's passover?' Zwingle awoke, sprung out of bed, took up the septuagint translation, and there found the same word, esti (is), which all are agreed is synonymous with signifies in this passage.

"Here, then, in the institution of the paschal feast under the old covenant, is the very meaning that Zwingle defends. How can he avoid concluding that the two passages are parallel?"[10]

The canon of interpretation by which Rome finds transubstantiation in the Bible, is, that the words "This is my body" must be taken literally. No one is so great an adept as herself at mystical and figurative interpretation; but here it suits her purpose to insist on the literal sense. But are we bound to follow Rome's canon? Certainly not. Should we do so, there is no book in the world which is so fraught with absurdity and unintelligibility as the Bible. There is no figure more common, whether in Scripture or in ordinary speech, than that by which we give to the sign the name of the thing signified. "The seven kine are seven years," "I am the door," and a hundred other instances, which the memory of every reader can supply,--What would we make of these sayings on the literal principle?" "This is Calvin," say we, meaning it is his portrait. The veriest simpleton would scarce take us to mean that the lines and paint on the canvas are the flesh and blood, the soul and spirit, of Calvin. But, say the Romish doctors, these phrases occur in dreams and parables, where a figurative mode of speech is allowable; while the words "This is my body" form part of a plain narrative of the institution of the Supper. Well, let us take the corresponding narrative in the Old Testament,--the institution of the Passover,--and see whether a mode of speech precisely identical does not there occur. "It (the lamb) is the Lord's Passover;" that is, it is the token thereof. No one was ever so far bereft of understanding and reason as to hold that the lamb was transubstantiated into the Passover; that is, into the Lord's passing over the houses of the Israelites. The lamb, when eaten in after ages, was, and could but be, the memorial, and nothing more, of an event long since past. In these two analogous passages, then, we find a mode of speech precisely similar; and yet Rome interprets them according to two different canons. She applies the figurative rule to the lamb, the literal to the bread. But we need not go so far as to the Old Testament to convict Rome of violating her own canon; we have only to turn to the second clause of the same text,--"He took the cup,…saying,…this is my blood." Was the cup his blood? Yes, on the literal principle. But, says Rome, the "cup" is here, by a trope or figure of speech, put for what it contains. Undoubtedly so; but it is a trope or figure of the same kind with that in the first clause,--"This is my body;" and Rome pays her canon but a poor compliment, when it is no sooner enacted than abandoned. We cannot be blamed, surely, if we follow her example, and abandon it likewise, along with the monstrous dogma she has built upon it.

But, leaving canons of interpretation, let us betake ourselves to the use of our reason and our senses. Alas! the mystery is as insoluble as ever. Like those stars so immensely remote from our earth, that the most powerful telescope cannot assign their parallax, this mystery moves in an orbit so immeasureably beyond the range of both our mental powers and our bodily senses, that these make not the smallest perceptible approach to its comprehension. Reason and transubstantiation are quantities which have no relation to one another. The bread and the wine, say the Romish theologians, are transubstantiated into the flesh and blood of Christ. Had, then, our Lord two bodies? Was he dead and alive at the same instant? Did he break himself? Did he eat himself? Was he sacrificed in the upper room; and was his death on the cross but a repetition of his decease the evening before? Yes; on Rome's principle, all this, and more, is true. He rose to die no more, and yet it is not so. He rose to die many times every day. He is in heaven; and yet he is not in heaven, for he is on earth. He is here on this altar; and yet he is not here; he is there on that altar: he is in neither place; and yet he is in both places. He is broken; and yet he is not broken, for in each part is a whole Christ. From the whole wafer he passes into the fractured part; and yet he does not pass into it, for a whole Christ remains in the part from which it was disjoined. Here is motion and rest, existence and non-existence, predicated of the same body at the same instant. Rome has good reason for exhorting her devotees to qualify themselves for the reception of this doctrine by the following abjuration:--"Herein I utterly renounce the judgment of my senses, and all human understanding;" which is just a statement, in Rome's peculiar way, of what we are contending for, that transubstantiation is a proposition which no man in his senses can believe.

Reason, we have seen, grapples hopelessly with this mystery. It is equally baffling and confounding to the senses. To the sight, the touch, and the taste, the bread and wine are bread and wine still. It is our senses that mislead and deceive us, says the infallible Church. The substance of the bread is gone,--the accidents, that is, the colour, the smell, the taste of bread, remain. The substance gone and the accidents remain! This is the one instance in the universe where accidents exist apart from their SUBJECT. In no other instance did we ever see whiteness but in a white body; but here we see where there is nothing to be seen, we touch where there is nothing to be touched, and taste where there is nothing to be tasted. For this ingenious discovery a French physician was so unreasonable as to say, that the holy fathers of Trent ought to be doomed to live all their days after on the accidents of bread. In that case, we fear, both subject and accidents would have speedily gone the way of all the earth. The newest theory on the subject, as given by Dens, is, that the accidents exist in the air and in our senses, as in their subject. But behind this wonder rises another. While in the one case, that of the bread, the accidents exist apart from the subject, in the other, that of the body of our Lord, the subject exists without the accidents. That body is there, but it possesses none of the properties of a body. It is not extended; it cannot be seen; it cannot be touched nor tasted. We touch and taste only the accidents of bread; for the host, we are taught, is received under the appearance of bread. But it were bootless farther to pursue a mystery which Romanists candidly tell us falls not within the scope of reason or sense. Rome is unquestionably in the right when she assures us that the judgment of the Church on this head cannot be believed till the judgment of the understanding has been renounced.

One word more as regards the testimony of the senses. Rome knows perfectly that her doctrine cannot stand this test, and therefore she has straitly forbidden its application. If men will be so wicked as to use their senses in connection with this mystery, they will be justly punished by being landed in dreadful impiety; that is, they will learn to deride transubstantiation as an impious and iniquitous juggle.

"First of all," says the Catechism of Trent, "inculcate on the faithful the necessity of using their utmost endeavour to withdraw their minds and understandings from the dominion of the senses; for should they allow themselves to be led by what the senses tell them respecting this mystery, they will be drawn into the extreme of impiety."[11] Rome, in this way, may save the dogma of transubstantiation; but, like those creatures which launch their stings and their life together in the effort of self-defence, she saves transubstantiation at the expense of Christianity. Her principle is one that would land us in universal disbelief. How know we that Christ existed? We know it on the testimony of men who had simply the evidence of their senses for the fact,--of men who saw, and heard, and handled him. In the same way do we believe in his miracles: we receive them on the testimony of men who tasted the wine into which the water was converted, or spake with Lazarus after he was raised. How know we that there is a God? The evidence of his works and of his Word, communicated through the senses, assures us that He exists. In fine, we have no evidence of anything which does not come through the senses; and if we distrust them, we can believe in nothing. We cannot believe that there is a universe, or indeed anything at all. We can stop short only at Hume's principle, that there is neither body nor spirit beyond our own minds, and that all is ideal.

Thus Rome, when she brings us before the shrine of her idol, insists on blindfolding us. We must submit to have our eyes put out in order that we may be able to worship! Why is this? Is it a God, or a monster, before whom she conducts us? Does she drop this dark veil to temper the glory, or to hide the deformity, of her divinity? The answer is not far to seek. The mass, like another great deity,

How differently does the Bible treat us! It addresses us through the powers God has endowed us with, and calls on us to exercise these powers. The faith of the Bible is the perfection of reason: the faith of Rome is based on the prostitution and extinction of all those faculties which are the glory of man.

Considering that the dogma of transubstantiation lacks footing in both Scripture and reason, one might think that Rome would have shown great moderation in pressing it. Quite the reverse. The belief of it was enforced with a rigour which would not have been justifiable although it had been the plainest, instead of the most confounding, of propositions. Rome endeavoured to make it plain by the help of racks and faggots. Transubstantiation defied belief notwithstanding; and the consequence was the effusion of blood in torrents. Rome has inaugurated her leading dogmas, as the heathen did their idols, by hecatombs of human beings. So many confessors have been called to die for the mass, that it has come to be known as Rome's "burning article."

The monstrous juggle of transubstantiating the elements is immediately followed by an act of gross idolatry. The host being consecrated, the officiating priest kneels and adores it; he next elevates it in the sight of the people, who likewise kneel and adore it. The Church distinctly teaches that it is to be worshipped with that worship which is rendered to God himself; because it is God. "It is therefore indubitable," say the fathers of Trent, "that all true Christians, according to the uniform practice of the Catholic Church, are bound to venerate this most holy sacrament, and to render to it the worship of latria, which is due to the true God. Nor is it the less to be worshipped that it was instituted by Christ the Lord, as has been stated; for we believe the same God to be present in it, of whom the eternal Father, when he introduces him into the world, thus speaks:--'And let all the angels of God worship him.'"[12] The same decree goes on to enact that the host shall be carried in public procession through the streets, that the faithful may adore it, and that heretics, seeing its "great splendour," may be smitten and die, or may be ashamed and repent.

The host, then, is to be worshipped; and how? Not as images are worshipped; not as saints are worshipped; but as the eternal Creator himself is worshipped. The Church of Rome does not teach that God is worshipped through the host: she teaches that the host is God,--is the flesh, the blood, the soul and divinity of Christ,--and therefore the worship is given to the host, and terminates on the host. If that Church can prove conclusively, by fair argument, that what appears to us to be bread and wine is not bread and wine at all, but the body and divinity of Christ, we will at once admit that she does right, and at once acquit her of idolatry, in rendering it divine honours; but till she irrefragably establish this, we must hold her guilty of the grossest idolatry. It is no answer to say, that the Papist believes that the wafer which he worships is God, and that if he did not believe it to be God he would not worship it. His so believing does not make it God; nor can his mistake alter the nature of the act, which is that of giving to a wafer that worship and homage which is due to God alone. The question is, Is it, or is it not, God? We deny that it is God, and challenge Rome to the proof; and till proof clear and conclusive is adduced, we shall hold, that in worshipping the bread and wine of the Eucharist, she is guilty of one of the foulest and most monstrous forms of idolatry ever practised on the earth.

Nor do the absurdity and impiety of the mass stop here. The priests of Rome not only create the body and divinity of Christ,--they actually offer it in sacrifice. The Church of Rome teaches that the mass is a true propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the quick and the dead.[13] So was it decreed to be by the Council of Trent. "The holy council teaches that this sacrifice is really propitiatory, and made by Christ himself. . . . . Assuredly God is appeased by this oblation, and grants grace and the gift of penitence, and discharges the greatest crimes and iniquities. For it is one and the same sacrifice which is now offered by the priests, and which was offered by Christ upon the cross, only the mode of offering is different. . . . . Wherefore it is rightly offered, according to the tradition of the apostles, not only for the sins, punishments, satisfactions, and other necessities of living believers, but also for the dead in Christ, who are not yet completely purified."[14] The fathers of Trent establish this doctrine by the very peculiar logic with which they establish all the more unintelligible of their dogmas, that is, they present it to the understanding, and drive it home with an anathema. "Whoever shall affirm," say the fathers, "that the sacrifice of the mass is nothing more than an act of praise and thanksgiving, or that it is simply commemorative of the sacrifice offered on the cross, and not also propitiatory, or that it benefits only the person who receives it, nor ought to be offered for the living and the dead, for sins, punishments, satisfactions, and whatever besides may be requisite, let him be accursed."[15] The practice of the Church is in full accordance with the decree of Trent. The following prayer accompanies the oblation of the host:--"Accept, O Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God, this unspotted host, which I thy unworthy servant offer unto thee, my living and true God, for my innumerable sins, offences, and negligences, and for all here present; as also for all faithful Christians, both living and dead; that it may avail both me and them to everlasting life.--Amen."[16] It is the doctrine of the Church of Rome, then, as taught by her great council, that in the sacrifice of the mass atonement is made for sin.[17] But we think that we can discover a disposition on the part of the Papists of the present day to explain away the doctrine of Trent on this head. In their modern catechisms they no doubt state that the mass is a true propitiatory sacrifice, for otherwise they would impugn their Church's infallibility; but when they come to describe its effects, they state in a cursory way, "the remission of sins," and dwell largely on its efficacy in applying to us the merits and benefits of the sacrifice of Christ.[18] But, not to speak of the absurdity of supposing that the merits of one sacrifice are applied to us by another sacrifice, the attempt to limit the nature and design of the mass to this is utterly inconsistent with all their other statements and reasonings respecting it. Why not also call baptism a "propitiatory sacrifice," seeing the benefits of Christ's death are applied to us by it? The very same flesh and blood, Papists hold, are offered in the mass which were offered on the cross: it is the same person who offers, even Christ, who is represented by the priest: it is one and the same sacrifice, the Church of Rome teaches, which was offered on the cross, and is now offered in the mass; the inference is therefore inevitable, that its design and effects are the same. It made a real atonement in the first instance; and, if still the same sacrifice, must still be, what the authorized expositors of the Romish creed declare it to be, a true propitiatory sacrifice.

The Council of Trent pronounces an anathema against the man who shall affirm that the sacrifice of the mass blasphemes or derogates from the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross.[19] But despite its anathema, we maintain that the mass is in the highest degree derogatory to the sacrifice of Christ,--is so derogatory to it as virtually to supersede it altogether. The glory of the cross lies in its efficacy, and the mass makes void that efficacy. Rome here is emphatically the enemy of the cross. As oft as this sacrifice is offered, Rome emphatically declares that the cross has failed to accomplish the end which God proposed by it; that, though Christ has suffered, sin remains unexpiated; and that what he has failed to do by the pains of his body and the agonies of his soul, her priests are able to do by their unbloody[20] sacrifice. It is theirs to offer for the sins of the world,--theirs to mediate between earth and heaven. And thus the dignity of the priesthood of Christ is completely eclipsed by the priesthood of Rome, and the glory of his cross by Rome's great sacrifice of the mass.

Moreover, the doctrine of the mass traverses all the leading principles and statements of the Bible on the subject of Christ's offering. The Bible teaches that the office and functions of priesthood are for ever at an end; the sacrifice of the mass implies that they are still in being. The Bible teaches that the sacrifice of Christ was offered "once for all," and is never to be repeated;[21] but in the mass, Christ continues to be offered in sacrifice every day at the thousand altars of Rome. The great law of the Bible on the subject of satisfaction is, that "without shedding of blood there is no remission." This law the mass contradicts, inasmuch as it teaches that there is "remission" by its unbloody sacrifice, and so virtually affirms that the blood of Christ was uselessly shed.

While on this subject, we may be permitted to remark, that the man who assumes to be a priest is chargeable with a blasphemy next to that of the man who assumes to be God. Priesthood is the next sacred thing to Deity. There is only one priest in the universe; there never was, and there never will be, any other; for the circumstances of our world render it impossible that priesthood, in the true sense of the term, should be borne by any mere creature. The priests of the former economy were but types and figures, And as there is but ONE priest, so there is but ONE sacrifice. The sacrifices of the Mosaic dispensation were typical, like the priests; and now both are for ever at an end. Accordingly, in the New Testament, the term priest does not once occur, save in relation to a priesthood now abolished. The claim of priesthood, then, is sacrilegious and blasphemous, and the man who makes it is inferior in guilt only to the man who lays claim to Deity.

There are several practices connected with the celebration of the mass, which our limits may permit us to indicate, but forbid us to dwell upon. The Council of Trent, which was the first to decree that the mass is a true propitiatory sacrifice, also enacted that the cup should be denied to the laity. The King of France is (or rather was) the only layman in Christendom who, by virtue of a pontifical permission, is allowed the privilege of communicating in both kinds. Priests only were present at the first communion, say the Papists, and therefore the laity have no right to the cup. But this proves too much, and therefore proves nothing; for if this warrants the exclusion of the laity from the cup, it equally warrants their exclusion from the bread,--from the sacrament altogether. Sensible that this ground would not sustain her practice of giving the cup to no one but the officiating priest, the Roman Catholic Church has had recourse to tradition, but with no better success. It does not admit of doubt, that in early times the people were allowed the cup equally with the bread. But the practice has now come to be extremely common in the Church of Rome for the priest alone to partake sacramentally; so that, in point of fact, the people, in all ordinary cases, are debarred from both kinds. The writer has seen mass celebrated in most of the great cathedrals out of Italy; but in no instance did he ever see the worshippers permitted to partake. Attendance, however, on such occasions, is earnestly enjoined; and the people are taught that their benefit is the same whether they partake or no.

It is also a frequent practice of the priests of Rome to celebrate mass in their own closets, where not a single spectator is present. This custom is directly at variance with one leading end of the institution of the Supper, which, as a public memorial, was designed to commemorate a great public event. The priest, in this case, can apply the benefit of the mass to whomsoever he will; that is, he can apply it to any one who chooses to hire him with his money. The ghostly necromancer, shut up in his own closet, can operate by his spells upon the soul of the person he intends to benefit, with equal effect, whether he is in the next room or a thousand miles off. Nay, though he should be beyond "this visible diurnal sphere," in the gloomy regions of purgatory, the mysterious and potent rites of the priest can benefit him even there. No magician in his cave ever wrought with spells and incantations half so powerful as those wielded by the priests of Rome. The mysteries of ancient sorcery and the wonders of modern science are here left far behind. The electric telegraph can transmit intelligence with the speed of lightning across a continent, but the Romish priest can convey instantaneously the virtue of his spiritual divinations across the gulf that divides worlds. But we might write volumes on the mass, and not exhaust its marvels.

How all this goes to enrich, and almost to deify, the Romish priesthood, will be seen when we come to speak of the genius of Popery.

[1] Cotter on the Mass and Rubrics, pp. 12, 13; Dublin, 1845. [Back]

[2] Mosheim, cent. xiii. part ii. chap. iii. sec. ii. [Back]

[3] Concil. Trid. sess. xiii. can. i. [Back]

[4] Catechismus Rom. pars ii. cap. iv. q. xxii. [Back]

[5] Ibid. pars ii. cap. iv. q. xxvii.--"Quicquid ad veram corporis rationem pertinet, veluti ossa et nervos." [Back]

[6] Rev. xi. 8. [Back]

[7] It is right to state, that Dens (tom. v. p. 287) objects to calling the act of transubstantiation a creation. His argument being, that to create is to make something out of nothing, whereas the flesh and blood of Christ are made from the bread and wine. Dens also objects to saying that the substance of bread and wine are annihilated; but the Council of Trent (sess. xiii. can. ii.) pronounces an anathema on all who shall affirm that the substance of bread and wine remains after the consecration. So, between the reasonings of Dens and the anathema of Trent one has some difficulty in steering a safe course. [Back]

[8] Concil. Trid. sess. xiii. cap. iii. [Back]

[9] Perrone's Praelectiones Theologicae, tom. ii. p. 217. [Back]

[10] D'Aubigné's "History of the Reformation," book xi. chap. vi. Dr. Wiseman, following in the steps of Professor Perrone, of the Collegio Romano, has laboured to prove that by the "flesh" alluded to in John, vi. our Lord meant his literal body, not withstanding his correction of the mistake at the time:--"It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing." These interpreters view the words in the fifty-first verse,--"The bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world,"--as a prophecy which was fulfilled on the night when Christ "took bread" and instituted the Supper. The words of John, "I baptize you with water but he that cometh after me . . shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost" might as well be viewed as a prophecy, and the doctrine founded on them that the water of baptism is now transubstantiated into the Holy Ghost. The reasonings of Dr. Wiseman have been ably exposed by Mr. Sheridan Knowles, in his work, "The Idol demolished by its own priest;" Edin. 1850. [Back]

[11] Catechismus, Rom. pars, ii. cap. iv. q. xxi. [Back]

[12] Concil. Trid. sess. xiii. cap. v.: Perrone's Praelectiones Theologicae, tom. ii. p. 222. [Back]

[13] The term "host," from hostia, a victim or sacrifice, indicates as much. [Back]

[14] Concil. Trid. sess. xxii. cap. ii. : Perrone's Praelectiones Theologicae, tom. ii. p. 260. [Back]

[15] Concil. Trid. sess. xxii. can. iii. [Back]

[16] Ordinary of the Mass. [Back]

[17] Theol. Mor. et Dog. Petri Dens, tom. v. p. 370. [Back]

[18] See Keenan's Cat. on the Sacrifice of the Mass, chap. iii.; and Butler's Cat. lesson xxvi. [Back]

[19] Concil. Trid. sess. xxii. can. iv. [Back]

[20] We are unable to see the consistency of the Roman Catholic doctrine on this head. All the standard works of the Church of Rome teach that the mass is an unbloody sacrifice; but with the same distinctness they teach that the wine is transubstantiated into literal blood. On Rome's own allowing, the one-half of what constitutes the sacrifice is blood; how then the mass can be an unbloody sacrifice, we are unable to comprehend. If it be unbloody, of what value is it? "Without shedding of blood there is no remission." [Back]

[21] Hebrews, ix. x. [Back]