« AnteriorContinuar »
different Clergymen who may officiate therein, of the nature and institutions of the various ceremonies of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and of those prayers which appeared to need explanation.
The doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church is, “ That in the Mass, there is offered to God, a true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead," and “that the victim offered to God, is the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine.” Assuming this doctrine to be true in all its parts, the Editor trusts the candid reader will find, upon examination, that the ceremonies are not only not ridiculous, but are deeply significant, highly instructive, wisely instituted, and greatly edifying. Every Roman Catholic gecessarily believes this doctrine in its fullest extent and plainest meaning, otherwise he would cease to be iz nember of the Church: as he is also suppose ? true know the grounds upon which this doctrine rescs, for if he be ignorant of them, his ignorance is the consequence of his neglect, it was deemed quite unnecessary to enter upon those grounds in the explanation to the Catholic reader; and to enter upon them with sufficient accuracy and expansion, to satisfy the mind of any other person, would require more space than could be conveniently given, or than would, indeed, be compatible with a principal object of the compiler—to keep the price of the book as low as possible.
To establish the doctrinal parts of the Liturgy,
would require the proofs of the “ Real presence of Transubstantiation," of “ Communion of Saints,” of “ The intercession of Angels and of Saints,” of “respecting the relics of Saints,” of “the existence of Purgatory,” of “praying for the dead,” and for the validity of the Sacrifice, of “the indelible character of Holy Orders,” as well as of “the distinction of Orders,” and “their divine institution." This range would be far too extensive to comprise in such a prefatory explanation, as the Missal required; and the subjects were too important to be only slightly touched upon, in place of being fully examined. Hence the Editor determined to avoid them altogether, and to refer those who may be desirous of information upon such topics, to the works written expressly for the elucidation and vindication of those doctrines. Therefore the explanation does not contain a single argument in support of doctrine.
The next part of the work is the translation of the Missal. The Editor has not advanced any positions of his own; his labour has been to compress, to connect, and to translate what had been diffusely written upon the subject by some of the best and earliest writers of the Church: indeed he could give nothing new; fur ihe glory of the Church in which he has the honour to hold so responsible a station, as it is also a proof of her integrity, is that she has never deviated from *the form of sound words which she has heard from the Apostles, but fthe things which she has heard of them by many witnesses, the same she has commended to faithful men who have been fil to teach others; and she has thus *stood fast, and held the traditions which she has learned of them, whether by word or by epistle. Her doctrine in all ages has been the same; such as it is now, it was one thousand years ago; such as it was then, it was in the days of the Apostles; such as they taught it, they received it from our Divine Redeemer, who sent them to teach all nations, with a promise of his special protection, tall days, even the consummation of the world. The ingenuity of man, his penetration and research, may enable him daily to discover new facts which were unobserved by his ancestors, and thus the arts and the sciences are in a state of perpetual progressive improvement. This vast territory of nature, in which so much treasure lies as yet con is the mighty expanse in which God gave the human mind liberty to roam abroad at its discretion.
* Tim. i. 13.
; 2 Tim. ii.
But as the Lord commanded boundaries to be set round Sinai while in the exhihition of his majesty, he vindicated his right to receive obedience, and commanded man to believe and to practise upon his authority; the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are to be learned only by revelation, and the perfection of religion consists in the exact and scrupulous preservation of the truth originally disclosed. Man is not free to call God before his tribunal, and to demand from him the reason for his acts, nor is he at liberty to reject the propositions which have been originally delivered, nor to depart from their spirit; and hence the Apostle St. Paul wrote, * Though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach a gospel to you, besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. For the religion of Christ is essentially unchangeable, its doctrines are irreformablefor truth cannot become falsehood, nor falsehood become truth. Hence the Editor of this work has only sought for, and brought forward, what had been originally testified by that cloud of witnesses that has gone before him in the Church, and entreats, as a recompense for his labours, a share of the prayers of those who may profit thereby.
* 2 Thess. ii. 14.
+ Matt. xxviii. 20.