Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 139.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada

Cornelis van Dalen II, Four Fathers: Ambrose, Gregory, Jerome, and Augustine (17th c.)
This being premised, let us see what the Centuriators (lutheran 'scholars') have blamed in the aforementioned fathers of the second and third age. St Ignatius is censured by them for using these words, Offerre et immolare sacrificium : Epist. ad Smern: " to immolate, or offer sacrifice." St. Irenaeus for saying, "that Christ had taught a new oblation in the New Testament, which the Church receiving from the Apostles does offer throughout the whole world;" Iren. L. 4, c. 32. St. Cyprian is accused of superstition for saying, " that the priest is Christ's representative, and offers sacrifice to God the Father ;" Cyp. L. 2, c. 3. They reprehend Tertullian for using the words Sacrificium offerre, "to offer sacrifice." L. de cooena domini. And St. Martial for saying, "that sacrifice is offered to God, the Creator, upon the altar."

Here is a plain confession of four Protestant writers, that mass was said in the second and third century, and five eminent fathers of those ages are quoted for it. St. Ignatius had received his doctrine from St. John himself, and been eye-witness of his actions ; and the rest lived so near the time of the Apostles, that I dare presume to say, they were somewhat better acquainted with what they had taught and practiced, than the pretended reformers, who appeared in the world some twelve, or thirteen hundred years after. Yet then it was, that this august and venerable sacrifice, which the prophet Malachy had foretold, " should be offered up to God from east to west;" Mai. i. 11, which for near fifteen hundred years together, had been the relief of departed souls, the consolation of the just, and sanctuary of sinners, was, by the impiety of a few miscreants, rendered the object of hatred and contempt, and banished out of the Church, as far as in them lay.

However this be, I am sensible I have proved more than I needed: because my only business is to put Protestants to their proof concerning the beginning of the mass. I am but the defendant, they are the plaintiffs. They are, therefore, bound to make good their charge, and show that the mass is a Popish invention, and has no foundation in the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles; that the primitive Christians knew nothing of it, and that, by consequence, it had its beginning in some distant age from the time of the Apostles.

I have already given my reason to show the moral impossibility of introducing it without the greatest opposition, noise, and trouble, in case the primitive Church was wholly a stranger to it. I have also made it evident, that changes, contests, and troubles can never happen in Church, or state, without being recorded in some history of the times, in which they happened. If, therefore, the mass be without foundation in the doctrine of Christ and his Apostles, if the use of it was unknown in the primitive Church, I desire any Protestant for the credit and reputation of his cause, and the satisfaction of tender consciences, to let us know the names of the writers who lived about the time, when the mass was first brought into the Church, and have written the history of it. For I presume, it is from them we should certainly learn, who were the first inventors, or promoters of it. How, where and when such an extraordinary novelty was first brought into credit. And surely, they will not conceal from us one very remarkable particular, viz.: Who was the first massing- pope, bishop, or priest. I expect we shall also be informed, what resistance it met with; who were the zealous Protestant bishops that opposed it. What disturbances it raised, in what councils it was condemned, and what reluctance the people were at first brought to be present at it.