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It is not possible they have a dinner at Mr. A.'s on fast-days! Dinner! replied the person, I never desire to eat a better. This made me curious to enquire what constituted the fast-day dinner at Mr. A.'s table. Well, said she, to begin, a rock fish dressed with eggs and butter, (no mean affair this where there is an appetite,) eggs prepared in two ways, and oysters. They dispense with vegetables I presume, said I. O no, she rejoined ; and to this I readily assented, for I had forgotten myself in supposing that they dispensed with vegetables. Timothy does not prophecy of the antichrist that he shall command to abstain from vegetables, but only from "meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving.” Well, surely, said I, they have no desert on their fast-days? How you talk, said she; they have the very best, and every variety. And do they call that a fast-day dinner? and do they suppose that they fast when they eat it? Certainly, said she. Well, I suppose it is because they eat very sparingly of what is set before them. You are mistaken, replied my informant, quantity has nothing to do in the matter. It is not the quantity eaten that constitutes a fast, but the kind. There the conversation ended, but my thoughts proceeded on. And this, thought I, is fasting. So the church teaches, and millions on their way to the judgment believe it. What dupes ! how deceived to suppose that this is fasting. If not deceived themselves, what insulters of God, to endeavor to palm it off on him as fasting! A change of food is fasting! To eat differently on one day from what we do on other days, is to keep a fast ! Admirable doctrine!
34. The Mass.
There is a great deal of the phraseology of the Romish church which is not a little peculiar, not to say outlandish. The Christian reader who is not very familiar with other authors than those who by inspiration wrote the Bible, does not know what to make of these terms when he comes across them in books professing to treat of Christianity. “The mass, the mass,” he repeats to himself, “what is that ?" He has read his Bible through and through, but he has found nothing about the mass there. He thinks it ought to be there, if it is any part of Christianity. Why should apostolical Christians have been silent on a subject on which those who claim to be their direct descendants are so loquacious ? He does not even meet in his Bible with any doctrine or rite to which the word mass seems at all appropriate. He would not object to the word, if he could find the thing there. It never occurs to him that by the mass Catholics can mean the transaction recorded by Matthew in his 26th chapter, and by three other sacred writers, and which we commonly speak of as the institution of the Lord's Supper. But that is what they mean by it. Then, they tell us, the first mass' was said. In the Douay Catechism we find these questions and answers : Q. Who said the first mass ? A. Jesus Christ. Q. When did he say it ? A. At his last supper. Here it is, question and answer for it, if not chapter and
The Biblical reader will please to bear in mind, whenever hereafter he reads the narrative of the transaction, that the writer is giving an account of the first mass that was ever said !
But they may call it mass, if they please, and they may speak of Christ's instituting the ordinance as his saying mass. Words are nothing, though it is certainly best that they should be well chosen and fitly applied. If they mean by their mass what we mean by the Lord's Supper, that is the main point. But the truth is, they mean by it as different a thing as you can well imagine. Just hear what “the Christian's Guide” says on the subject: “I profess likewise, that in the mass there is offered to God a true, proper and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead." Christ offered it first when he said mass, and every priest now offers it when he says mass. Well, reader, you and I must not judge rashly. We will look again at the account given of the matter in the Bible, and we will see if we can find in it any thing of the nature of a sacrifice. He “took bread and blessed, and brake and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat.” And then he took the cup and gave it. Where is any sacrifice here, and especially where is any propitiatory sacrifice ? Does the account we have of sacrifices in the Old Testament, and in the epistle to the Hebrews, accord with what was done on this occasion ? The Catholics say that when Christ performed these actions with the bread and wine, he offered himself to God as a propitiatory sacrifice. How does what he did, bear even the least resemblance to the offering of a propitiatory sacrifice ? There was no bloodshed-no life taken, as was the case in all propitiatory sacrifices under the law, and in the sacrifice which Christ made of himself on the cross, and which has always, by Pagans, as well as the disciples of the true religion, been considered as essential to a propitiatory sacrifice. I confess there was something offered. Bread and wine were offered. These might constitute a eucharistic sacrifice, but never a propitiatory one. If things of this kind can constitute a propitiatory sacrifice, then I do not see why Cain, who offered “ of the fruit of the ground," was not accepted equally with Abel who brought to the Lord “ of the firstlings of his flock.” But whatever was offered, it was not offered to God. A sacrifice, to be a sacrifice, must be offered to God, as even the quotation from the Christian's guide recognizes. But what was offered in this case was offered to the disciples. “Take, eat,” he said to them. It is true the bread and wine were offered them as the memorial of a sacrifice in which the body of Christ was to be broken and his blood shed; but the memorial of a sacrifice is not a sacrifice. The emblematical representation of a thing is not the thing itself. Plainly there was no sacrifice in this transaction.
But again: if Christ in the eucharist offered himself a sacrifice to God, as they affirm; and afterwards, as all admit, offered himself on the cross, then he twice offered himself; and if so, the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews was under a great mistake, for he says, “ Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many,”
we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Heb. 9 : 28, and 10 : 10. Here is a contradiction. Which shall we believe? The apostle of the Gentiles or the Catholic church? If Christ really offered himself in the eucharist-on the table, as Catholics contend-there was no need
of his offering himself on the cross. His twice offering himself was quite unnecessary. If “in the mass there is offered to God a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice,” what need of another on Calvary? One “true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice” is all that is wanted.
But if the Catholic doctrine be true, Christ has been offered not twice only, but innumerable times. In every mass that ever has been said, he has been offered. He is offered to-day as really as he was on the day of his crucifixion. He is offered on earth while he is interceding in heaven. Both parts of the priest's office, the propitiation and the intercession, are going on at the same time-a thing unheard of in the history of the priesthood ! Did the Jewish high priest, the type of Jesus, our great high priest, execute both parts of his office at the same moment? Moreover, according to this doctrine, there was no propriety in Christ's saying on the cross, “It is finished,” for it is not finished yet, nor will it be, till the last mass is said. It depends on the will of the priest when it shall be finished. This to me is shocking doctrine. What! Can a priest cause Christ to be offered just when he pleases ? My mind recoils from the conviction. There is what by a figure is called the “crucifying of the Son of God afresh,” but this appears like doing it literally.
I know the Catholics make a distinction here. They say, and let them be heard, that Christ in the eucharist is offered in an unbloody manner, while the sacrifice of the cross was bloody. And this distinction they lay great stress on. But I wonder they see not the consequence of this explanation—that if the sacri