« FöregåendeFortsätt »
clude the use of such well known tongues as Greek and Latin were ; that is, such as were the languages* well known to all the better bred sort of most nations ; so that here is nothing against the mass said in Latin through the Latin Churches, or in all those western parts, where all knowing and understanding men very commonly know this language. To which I answer :
First, That this pretended disparity perfectly contradicts the two former, viz. that the stated prayers of the Church are not designed either to instruct the people, or for the people to join in them ; for both which purposes, those inspired prayers, of which St. Paul discourses, were directly intended ; and therefore, though it was very needful that the people should unstand the latter, yet it is altogether indifferent whether they understand the former or no; and if it be so, it is all one what the unknown language is, whether it be barbarous or civil, Arabic or Greek, or Latin, provided that the priest understands it; and if he doth not, he may as well officiate mass in Arabic written in Latin characters, as those priests do in Latin, who understand neither Latin nor Arabic. To what purpose therefore do they tell us, that “the Apostle condemns only a barbarous tongue, which nobody understands, but not that which is understood by learned and civil people ?” It is needful or no for the people to understand their prayers ? If not, why should the Apostle condemn a barbarous tongue, which nobody understands, and which nobody needs to understand ? If it be, their two former disparities vanish into air, there being no other imaginable reasons why it should be needful for them to understand their prayers, but only that they be instructed by them, and enabled to join in them. The Apostle, you say, means to exclude barbarous tongues, such as Persic and Arabic: and pray why doth he so ? Because nobody understands them: but what need any body understand them? (and if none need, the Apostle meant to exclude them without reason) unless it be that they may be directed what to pray for, and instructed to join in the prayer ; and if 80, then it seems it is needful both that the people should be instructed by, and join in the stated prayers of the Church as well as in those extemporary inspired prayers. And thus to establish a third disparity, you have fairly tript up the heels of the two foregoing : "the Apostle doth not mean,"
* Page 170.
you say, "to exclude the use of such well known tongues as Greek and Latin were, which were understood by all the better bred sort of most nations ;” and why not these as well as Persic and Arabic? Why, because these are better understood. Ware Hawk, I beseech you! this is a very dangerous reason, and if I may advise you, do not meddle with it; for then it will unluckily follow, not only that public prayers ought to be celebrated in such languages as are best understood (and I am apt to think English in England is better understood than Latin), but also that the people ought (at least those of them that are better bred) to understand their prayers, so that they may be instructed by them, and join in them, and then good night to your two preceding disparities : but this is the common fate of men that are listed to serve a bad cause, that their reasons generally fall foul upon themselves, and instead of encountering their adversaries, run a tilt at one another.
Secondly, That if this objection signify anything, it allows it to be very needful for men of learning and education to understand their prayers, but not for the unlearned, which is notoriously false ; for it grants that the Apostle condemns the use of such barbarous tongues in prayer as nobody understands, but not of such as are understood by men of learning and good education : from whence it must follow, either that the Apostle doth needlessly condemn such barbarous languages in public prayer, as the learned do not understand, or that it is needful that the learned should understand the public prayers, but not the unlearned, which is directly contrary to the sense of the Apostle, “Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned, say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest ?” Where he plainly condemns the use of an unknown tongue in prayer, not so much for the sake of the learned as the unlearned; for it seems the unknown languages, in which they prayed, were, some of them at least, such as the learned among them did as well understand, and consequently could as well say Amen to, as the learned among us do the Latin prayers in the Roman liturgy. But this would not suffice our Apostle, though it very well suffices our objectors; it is sufficient, they say, that the public prayers be expressed in a language that the learned, in all countries and congregations, understand, and can say Amen to; this is not sufficient, saith the Apostle, the language of your public prayers ought to be such, as the unlearned as well as the learned understand, and can say Amen to. Here are two contradictory sentences ; which of them is in the right, I leave St. Paul and them to dispute; but our dapper Touchstone, who, in his Road of Controversies, rarely ventures a step farther than Bellarmine leads him, here thinks he may make as bold to contradict his guide, as he doth to contradict St. Paul ; and truly so far I conceive he is in the right: but then presently after he is as much in the wrong again, * “ For,” saith he, “St. Paul's saying, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen? shew such giving of thanks was not accustomed to be made in the vulgar tongue, and requires, or rather supposes, that in the services of the Church there should be some other to supply the room of the unlearned; that is, one that should have further understanding of the tongue in which the service of the Church is said; but had the service been in the vulgar tongue, there needed no man to have supplied the place of the ideot that understandeth not :” so that then it seems they had a learned clerk in every congregation, who perfectly understood that unknown tongue, in which the service of the Church was said, and said Amen to it for the ideots and unlearned ; in which choice period, the good man, to shew his impartiality, contradicts himself as well as Bellarmine; for a little before, in answer to this text of St. Paul, he very gravely tells us, thatt “there were two kinds of prayer, or giving thanks, in the Church ; the one private, which every man saith by himself alone; the other public, which the priest saith in the name and person
of the whole Church. As concerning private prayer, no Catholic denies that it is very expedient that every man pray in his own tongue, to the end he may understand what he says.” So then it seems the prayer in an unknown tongue, which St. Paul condemns, is only private prayer, which every one saith alone by himself, otherwise to what purpose is all this? And if so, our clerk's place will be void again; for how great plenty of clerks soever there might be in the primitive ages, I can hardly imagine that every one in the congregation had a clerk at his elbow ready to say Amen to his private prayer, as soon as it was finished; but if the prayer in the first sentence be public (as our author affirms it is, when he calls it the service of the Church), and the same prayer in the second
* Page 38.
| Page 13.
sentence be a private prayer (as it must be, or the whole must be impertinent), I see no way he hath to vindicate himself from a plain self-contradiction, but to dismiss his distinction and his clerk together. But instead of doing this, in the next paragraph he falls bloodily foul upon the poor ministers of Geneva, for attempting to turn his imaginary clerk out of his desk, by rendering St. Paul's words most deceitfully and maliciously thus :* « He that is an ideot, how shall he say Amen?” instead of “He who supplies the place of an ideot.” A wise man, one would think, when he thus lays about him, should make some distinction between his friends and his enemies; but our wise author here deals his blows at random, and makes no distinction between those hated ministers and his own dear master Bellarmine, but mauls them both together; for they both agree in the same interpretation, and are equally guilty of interpreting our dear clerk out of his place and function; for so Bellarmine tells us, t “that those words of the Apostle, ó ávaninpôv Tòv TÓTOV TOū 'Iduktov, according to the Greek phraseology, doth not signify one that acts for, or instead of the ideot, but one that sits in the place of the ideot, or is an ideot, or of the class of the ideots, as St. Chrysostom and Theophylact upon the place ;” of which he gives several instances; and then in the next paragraph but one, he tells us, that “in the times of the Apostles all the people did respond in the divine offices, and that there was no man constituted to respond for them;" for which he quotes the afore-cited passage of Justin Martyr, at the end of his second Apology ; and then he goes on to shew, that the same custom was continued for a long while after, both in the Eastern and Western Churches, which he proves unanswerably from St. Chrysostom's Liturgy, and from St. Cyprian's sermon on the Lord's Prayer, and St. Jerome's preface to his second book on the Epistle to the Galatians; to which, if he had thought fit, he might have added several other authorities : all which our author would have done well to consider, before he fell into those raving fits against the ministers of Geneva; in which, instead of correcting them, he only forces them to take up the primitive Fathers and his own dear master together, and lashes them most unmercifully upon their backs.
Well then, after all, it seems this objection of our adversaries is as direct à contradiction of St. Paul as of us; he tells you
+ Ibid. ut supra.
that he means to exclude praying in all such languages as the unlearned do not understand, and therefore cannot say Amen to. No, say our adversaries, by your good leave St. Paul, your meaning is only to exclude praying in such languages as the more learned do not understand ; so that it seems they understand St. Paul's meaning better than St. Paul himself. But why should he mean to exclude such languages only as the more learned do not understand ? Is it because scholars only are obliged to pray ? This I think is such a reason as no Christian will admit. But what other reason can you assign why scholars should understand the language of their prayers, but only this, that thereby they may be the better enabled to pray? For if they can pray as well without understanding their prayers as with it, there can be no imaginable need why either the learned or unlearned should understand them, and consequently this provision of St. Paul for the learned will be wholly needless and impertinent ; but certainly, if to understand the language of our prayers be an advantage to us in prayer, the unlearned must have an equal right to it with the learned, seeing both are equally obliged to pray; as for the learned, they understand their prayers as well in the vulgar as in any learned language ; but the unlearned understand them only in their own vulgar. Why then should the unlearned be excluded from this great advantage of understanding their prayers ; whenas, would the Church but give leave, they might enjoy it in common with the learned ? But if there were a necessity of excluding one or the other, I should think it much more charitable to exclude the learned, the other being incomparably the greatest number; for if the advantage of the hearers be at all to be regarded in the service of the Church, then certainly the advantage of the most hearers is most to be regarded.
Thirdly, That St. Paul condemns the use of an unknown tongue in prayer, not because it is barbarous, but because it is unknown, and this his reasoning against the use of it doth all along shew, because he that uses it, speaks not to men, because he doth not edify the Church, because his understanding is unfruitful to others, because he doth not teach or instruct others; and because others, not understanding him, cannot say Amen to him. All which, in other words, amounts to no more than this, because the tongue being unknown can convey no notices of the speaker's mind to the hearers. To what purpose then do these men talk of barbarous and learned languages? whenas if a man speaks in Latin to those who