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1. They adore it. The Bible
6 Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” But the Catholics worship the host. Yes, but is not Christ to be worshiped, and do they not hold that the host is Christ ? Suppose they do hold
Does it follow that every thing is as they hold it to be? And if in this case the fact be different from what they hold it to be, is not their worship idolatry, whatever they may verily think ? Paul verily thought that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. But did his verily thinking it was his duty, make it so, or exculpate him ? No, he ought to have been better informed. And Catholics ought to be better informed than to suppose that the host is Christ—a wafer, God—a bit of bread, not only the body, but the very soul and divinity of Christ ! I say they ought to know etter. And if they do not, they must take the consequences of such ignorance.
2. The other thing which they do with the host is to eat it. This is all very well on our theory. It is bread; and what is bread for but to be eaten. Christ tells us to put it to this use. He says “Take, eat." But on their supposition that it is bread no longer, it is no longer proper to be eaten. Its nature being so changed, there ought to be a corresponding change in its use.
If it is to be adored, it is not to be devoured. Common sense teaches this. These two uses of it, adoring it and eating it, are incongruous to each other. One of them at least ought to be dispensed with. If they continue to eat it, they ought to give up adoring it. But if they must have it as an object of worship, they should cease to use it as an article of food. Any body can tell you that you ought not to eat what you
worship. Cicero thought such a thing could not be. In his work on Theology, he asks “Was any man ever so mad as to take that which he feeds upon for a god ?” But Cicero did not live late enough, else he could not have asked that question. Papal Rome has far outdone Pagan Rome.
If I believed in transubstantiation, I would never receive the Eucharist. I know that I must spiritually eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ, that I may have life in me, that is, I must by meditation and faith, contemplate and appropriate his sacrifice; but I could never literally eat what I believed to be my divine Saviour. What, take him actually between my teeth! chew and swallow what I had just before worshiped, and adored ! Let not the language be objected to. It is unavoidable. Rather let horror be felt at the thing. I would not speak lightly of sacred things, nor untenderly of the opinions of others; but the idea of adoring and eating the same object is shocking to me. Some readers will perhaps say that I must misrepresent the Catholics—that it is impossible they should believe so. Let such convict me of misrepresentation, if they can, and I will take the first opportunity of retracting.
Where are we ? Under what dispensation are we living? One would suppose, from hearing so much said among a certain class of people about priests, and their offering sacrifice, that the Old Testament dispensation-the dispensation of types and shadows -was still in force: and that the Messiah, the substance and antitype, was yet to come.
Priests were a sacred order of men under the Jewish dispensation, and sacrifice constituted an important part of divine service. But, under the Christian dispensation, there is no order of priests, neither any literal sacrifices offered. We have, indeed, under this dispensation, a great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God, who, having once offered himself to bear the sins of
has passed into the heavens for us, where he ever lives to make intercession; and he makes all his disciples, in a sense, both “kings and priests unto God”—John 1:6; even as also Peter, who is prime authority with us all, testifies. When addressing the Christians to whom he wrote, he says: “Ye are a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices.” 1 Pet. 2: 5. This priesthood, which Peter recognizes, is very
different from the Roman Catholic priesthood. All Christians share equally in the New Testament priesthood, and these priests are set apart to offer up spiritual sacrifices, or as it is said, v. 9, that they “should show forth the praises” of God. This is not the object of the Roman priesthood, neither are its functions performed by all the faithful.
The truth is, the Roman Catholic priesthood, that large and influential body of ecclesiastics, has no more warrant and authority for its existence from Christ, than it has from Mohammed. There is no more in the Bible in favor of such an order, than there is in the Koran, and perhaps not as much. Christ instituted no such office-authorized no such characters in his church. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers ;" but he gave none priests. And these he gave or appointed “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ," not for saying mass, offering sacrifice, burning incense, hearing confessions, and the like of those things. Christ appointed no officer to perform such functions as these. I have quoted from Eph. 4: 11, 12. In 1 Cor. 12: 28, we have another enumeration of the officers which God has set in the church, but there is not a word about priests. They are a class of persons not at all needed under the Christian dispensation. The great High Priest of our profession answers every purpose. He has offered the sacrifice which is efficacious to put away sin-has shed a blood which cleanseth from all sin; and he ever liveth to be our Advocate with the Father. Neither for propitiation, nor for intercession, need we any other priest. Other priests are quite out of place since he has come.
If Christ instituted an order of priests, why do we not read any thing about them in that choice piece of ecclesiastical history, the Acts of the Apostles ? It is very strange. We read about Jewish priests in the Acts, and mention is made of the priests of Jupiter, but not a word do we hear of any Christian priests. Who were they? What were their names? Stephen was a deacon; Philip was an evangelist; Paul was an apostle; Peter was an elder, and there were many who were addressed as bishops. But who was a priest? If Paul was, why does he not sometimes call himself so in the introduction of his Epistles ? Was he ashamed of the office? Peter says he was an elder or presbyter, but gives no hint of his having been a priest. He seems to have had no idea of his being a priest in any other sense than as being one of that "holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices," which all true believers compose.
If the priesthood be a Christian order of men, why does Paul, in writing to Timothy and Titus, take no notice of it? He gives the qualifications of bishops and deacons, but says nothing about those of priests. Were they to have no qualifications ? Must a bishop be “ blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, apt to teach,” &c. and might a priest be any thing he pleased in these respects? Might any body be a priest ? If not, the silence of the apostle is decisive. Any one may see now why the Catholic priests do not like the Bible. Who likes to be treated by book or man with silent contempt? The priests will never forgive the evangelists and apostles for having passed them by in the way they have done. Never. And they will never let their people have the genuine Bible. If they do, they will lose the people.
I suppose it is scarcely necessary to say, that if Catholics meant no more by a priest, than some of our Protestant brethren mean by the word, viz. a presbyter, of which priest, as used by them, is but an abbreviation, there could have been no occasion for this article. But they mean by a priest, a real sacerdotal character, as much as the priest of the Old Testament was--one who literally offers sacrifice. They pretend that their priests offer sacrifice now-that whenever they perform mass, a true,