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It is no article of catholic belief, that the pope is in himself infallible, as separate from the church, even in expounding articles of faith: by consequence, papal definitions or decrees, in whatever form pronounced, considered independently of a general council, or the acceptance of the church, oblige noneunder pain of heresy—to an interior assent.
Nor do catholics, as catholics, believe, that the pope has any direct or indirect authority over the temporal concerns of states, or the jurisdiction of princes. Hence, should the pope pretend to absolve or to release his majesty's subjects from their allegiance on any pretext whatever, such dispensation they would view as frivolous and null.
Neither, in the belief of catholics, can any licence be given to men--to lie, to forswear or perjure themselves; to massacre their neighbours, or disturb their country, on pretence of promoting the catholic cause: furthermore, they believe, that all pardons or dispensations granted or pretended to be granted, in order to such ends or designs, would have no other validity or effect, than to add sacrilege and blasphemy to the above crimes.
Detesting the immoral doctrine of equivocation and mental reservation, the catholic church inculcates and ever did inculcate, that simplicity and godly sincerity are truly christian virtues, necessary to the conservation of justice, of truth, and the common security.
Catholics believe, that there are seven sacraments, or sacred rites, instituted by our Saviour Jesus Christ, whereby the merits of his passion are applied to the soul of the worthy receiver
1. That in the most holy sacrament of the eucharist, there is truly and really contained the body of Christ, which was delivered for us, and the blood which was shed for the remission of sins: the substance of the bread and wine being, by the power of God, converted into the substance of his blessed body and blood; the species or appearances of bread and wine, remaining as they were. his change has been properly called Transubstantiation.
2. That Christ is not present in this sacrament according to his natural manner of existence; that is, as bodies exist naturally: but in a manner proper to the character of his exalted and glorified body. His presence then, is real and substantial, but sacramental ;-not exposed to the external senses, nor obnoxious to corporal contingencies.
3. That the body of Christ in this holy sacrament, is not separated from his blood, nor his blood from his body; nor is either of them disjoined from his soul and his divinity: but all and the whole living Christ is entirely contained under each species : so that.whoever receives under one kind, becomes truly
partakers of the whole sacrament: he is not deprived either of the life-giving body or blood.
4. That our blessed Lord, in bequeathing to us his body and S, 11
blood under two distinct species or kinds, instituted not only a gens
sacrament, but also a sacrifice; -a commemorative sacrifice disne
tinctly shewing his passion and death until he come. For, as the sacrifice of the cross was performed by a distinct effusion of his
blood ; so is that sacrifice commemorated in this of the altar, ates
by a distinction of the symbols. Jesus, therefore, is here given not to us only, but for us; and the church is hereby enriched with a true, proper and propitiatory sacrifice, usually termed the Mass :-propitiatory, we say; because, representing in a lively manner, the passion and death of our Lord, it is peculiarly
pleasing to our eternal Father, and thus more effectually applies : of
to us the all-sufficient merits of the sacrifice of the cross.
The catholic church also teaches, that sincere repentance or de
sorrow of mind, joined to a firm resolution of amendment, was
at all times so necessary, that without it there could be no remisty
sion of sin: but that, when a sinner repents of his sins from his heart, and acknowledges his transgressions—to God and to his ministers the dispensers of the mysteries of Christ, resolving to turn from his evil ways and to bring forth worthy fruits of peni
tence,—there is then, and not otherwise, an authority left by the
Christ to absolve such a penitential sinner from his sins: which authority, catholics believe, Christ gave to his apostles and their successors—the bishops and priests of his church-in these
words: Receive ye the Holy Ghost, whose sins you shall remit, , | they are remitted unto them, &c. John xx: 22, 23.
The essential parts of penitence considered as a sacrament, are three-Contrition, (or a supernatural sorrow of mind) Confession, and Satisfaction--without which, in the case of grievous
sin,-unless from unavoidable obstacles the two last, confession ed
and satisfation, cannot be complied with,—the sinner according to the catholic doctrine cannot obtain forgiveness from God.
By Confession is understood—the declaration which the penitent sinner makes of his sins, to the minister of God: the obligation of which evidently follows from the words of Christ (John XX. 22, 23.) above quoted. For, to what purpose was this power given to the apostles and their successors in the ministry, if it imposed not on the sinner the obligation of making known his sins? Or--how could the power be exercised, if no sins were manifested to the priest ?-Although with protestants it is generally neglected, and even ridiculed by many, it is notwithstanding sanctioned and recommended by the church of England in the book of Common Prayer (Visitation of the Sick) precisely as now practised in the catholic church.
On the doctrine of satisfaction, catholics believe that although no creature can make what is termed condign satis
faction, either for the guilt of sin, or for the pain eternal due to itthis kind of satisfaction being proper to Christ our Sa. viour only,-yet penitent sinners, as members of Christ, may in some measure satisfy—by prayer, fasting, alms deeds, and other works of piety, for the temporal pain which, in the order of the divine justice, sometimes remains due after the guilt of sin and pain eternal have been remitted, as in the case of David (II. Kings, alias II. Samuel, c. xii.) Such penitential works, notwithstanding, are no otherwise satisfactory, than as joined and applied to that satisfaction which Jesus made upon the cross, in virtue of which alone all our good works find & grateful acceptance in the sight of God.
By that dispensation of mercy which in the catholic church is called an indulgence, such temporal punishment only, is remitted, as in the order of divine justice may remain due after the guilt has been forgiven.
Catholics also maintain the doctrine of purgatory, that is to say,
-a place or state where souls departing this life-with remission of their sins as to the guilt or eternal pain, but yet
liable to some temporal punishment still remaining due, or not perfectly freed from the blemish of some defects which are called be venial sins, are purged before their admittance into heaven, be where nothing that is defiled can enter. (Rev. xxi. 27.) E
They moreover believe, that souls so detained in purgatory, h being the living members of Christ Jesus, are relieved by the prayers and suffrages of their fellow members here on earth. But where this place may be—of what nature or quality the pains-how long souls may be there detained-in what manner
fa the suffrages offered in their behalf are applied—whether by way of satisfaction or intercession, &c. are questions superfluous and impertinent as to faith.
The extreme unction, so called from the oil used on the occasion, catholics believe to be a sacrament administered to dying persons--to strengthen them in their passage out of this life into a better: and they maintain it to be divinely instituted. (See James v. 14.)
Order too, they believe to be a sacrament, by which the ministers of the church are consecrated, and power is given to them to perform such public offices, as regard the service of God, and the salvation of souls.
Catholics likewise hold matrimony to be a sacrament of the new law, instituted by Christ, whereby a new dignity is added to the indissoluble contract of marriage, and grace is given to those who worthily receive it.
The catholic christian is taught also to believe, that Christ has given to the pastors of his church power to enact religious laws, which all the faithful are bound to obey. Such, for in
stance, as are those of Lent, Ember-days, the vigils of saints, IL
abstinence at certain times, and the like. IS
Nor are catholics ashamed to pay due honour to the relics of msaints; and they place holy images and pictures in their * churches, the more easily to recollect their wandering thoughts, one and to fix their memories on heavenly things ; although God
alone is the object of their worship and supreme adoration, :D!
They shew moreover, a respect for the representations of Christ
-the myterious facts of their religion, and the saints of God3 beyond what is due to any profane figure ; not that they imagine
any virtue to reside in them, for which they ought to be hoind?? nored; but because the honor exhibited to pictures is referred
to the prototypes, or the things represented by them.
They maintain also, that honor and respect are due to the tedbible, to the cross, to the name of Jesus, to churches, &c. as guir things peculiarly appertaining to God, without any danger
whatever-of idolatry; and to kings, magistrates and superiors : is to to whom honor is due, honor may be given without the smallest mit derogation from the majesty of God, or that divine worship able which is exclusively appropriate to Him.
Finally, catholics believe, that the angels and the saints in
heaven, replenished with charity, pray for us their fellow memrenbers here on earth, and rejoice in our conversion 3—that seeing
God, they see and know in Him all things suitable to their tory happy state ; and that God may be inclined to hear their rethe quests in
our behalf, and for their sakes may grant us many arth favors :--therefore, they believe it is good and profitable to inthe voke their intercession. Can this manner of invocation be in
fact more injurious to Christ our Mediator, than it is for one christian to beg the prayers of another here on earth ?-However, catholics are not taught so to rely on the prayers of
others, as to neglect their own duty to God-in imploring for Its themselves his divine mercy and goodness ; in mortifying the ing deeds of the flesh; in despising the world ; in loving and serving
God and their neighbour; in following the footsteps of Christ our Lord, who is the way, the truth, and the life. The ortho
doxy as well as the antiquity of the above and other articles and be approved ceremonies of the catholic religion, are exhibited in
their noon-day evidence by the Rev. Joseph Berrington, in his of late learned and useful publication, inscribed— The Faith of
catholics confirmed by Scripture, and attested by the Fathers of the five first centuries of the church; whence hath been bora rowed the sketch which I have just given of the catholic belief. They will also in their proper places
be found to be satisfactorily discussed in the course of the present compilation.
See the articles-LUTHER, VIGILANTIUS, WICKLIFF, ZUING. LIUS, &c. &c.
In the administration of the sacraments and in other parts of her religious offices, the catholic church uses many rites and ceremonies which have been derived from the most ancient times. This alone would be a sufficient plea for their retention; as from this circumstance arises an additional proof of the antiquity of her faith and discipline. But these ceremonies, as they had in their primitive introduction; so in their retention they still possess other advantages: they excite attention; they impress the mind with a certain awe: to the unlearned they convey instruction; and on all occasions, departing from the usages of common life, they give a peculiar dignity and character to whatever action is connected with the service of the Almighty. Nor does this ceremonial part of our religion, enforced by what God himself commanded in the old law, any more than the rich dresses of its ministers, the decorations of its churches, and the general pomp of service accompanied with incense, lights and music—where circumstances will allow it,-in any degree affect that christian simplicity inculcated by the gospel; the seat of which is in the heart;-or that adoration of the Father in spirit and in truth, (Jo. iv. 23.) which Christ demands from his followers.
For each particular practice in the catholic church, which falls under the head of ceremonies, the authority, were it necessary, might be adduced-of primitive times; as each is recorded in the writings of the fathers. Of antiquity—the badge and glory of their church, even in things seemingly of small importance, or not always agreeable to modern notions, catholics are solicitously retentive.
One of these usages--the retention in the Divine service of the Latin tongue-protestants particularly disapprove. On this subject it may suffice with the learned author of the faith of catholics confirmed by scripture and attested by the fathers, &c. to remark, that the Deposite of catholic faith being intimately interwoven with the primitive expressions of the liturgies in ancient use, when the
Greek language ceased to be spoken in the many nations which formerly constituted what was called the Greek church ; and even, as at present, was not understood ; the language of the liturgy remained unaltered, as was and is the case among the Syrians, Cophts, Armenians and Ethiopians. Every where the service is celebrated in a tongue no longer intelligible to the vulgar. On what grounds then is it required, that the Latin or Western church should have followed another rule, particularly as in this church, in all the countries within its pale, the Latin language in the early ages was every where sufficiently understood, if not spoken? And when the Northern