Изображения страниц

sent lull of theological energy in Italy and Spain, we look with anxious hope to the Catholic thinkers of Germany, that nation once the sovereign power of Christendom, but into whose hands in these later days the torch of sacred as of secular science has been committed, and which, like Greece of old, in the decay of political greatness is conquering for itself a nobler and more enduring empire in the leadership of European thought. We turn to the land where Boniface preached and suffered, the cradle of the Anglo-Saxon race, and ask its people to repay their kinsmen in the fruits of sanctified intellect, from whom in earlier days they received the heritage of faith.




Ir has been already observed that Sacrifice, that is, the self devotion of the whole being, is the rightful homage due from the creature to the Creator, and therefore was from the beginning the proper idea of divine worship (Larpeia.) It is what constitutes, in technical language, the differentia of the supreme worship of God, as distinguished from all subordinate and derivative kinds of worship, some of which may also be offered to our fellow-creatures, whether living or departed. Thus, incense is not only presented at the altar, but to the officiating clergy and congregation also ; so, again, we may ask the Saints at rest or friends on earth to pray for us, which is a kind of worship; or, to take another instance, outwards acts of devotion, as bending the knee, are paid to earthly sovereigns. But to offer sacrifice, if only by an internal act of the mind, to any created being is the essence of idolatry, and a sin against the first and great commandment. The true worship of God, then, always consisted in sacrifice, both internal and external; though the outward expression night vary according to time and circumstances, and was in fact essentially changed by the Sacrifice of Christ, Meanwhile the idea itself had been modified by the introduction of sin into the world, which gave it a new character of reparation (cf. supr. p. 196), and made all human sacrifice imperfect. One alone could now offer a full and perfect satisfaction and oblation : in the life and death of Christ the idea received not merely its highest, but its sole adequate fulfilment. In the eternal purpose of God He was Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” and all acts of human worship were accepted, so far as they were accepted, in and through that One spotless Sacrifice, though the worshippers knew it not.


[ocr errors]

But when in the fulness of time the Lamb had been slain not in predestination but in fact, that One Sacrifice once offered became, from the nature of the case and in reality, not in symbol, the true and characteristic worship of the Catholic Church. Types were necessarily abolished ; commemorations there might be, but they are not properly sacrifice, and are therefore insufficient; to repeat the One Sacrifice is impossible ; to attempt a supplement or a substitute would be both useless and profane. Therefore the same Sacrifice must abide for ever in the Church,

Two things then are clear : (1) that the distinctive and supreme worship of the Church must still, as of old, be a worship of sacrifice, or it would not, strictly speaking, be worship at all; (2) that since the One great Oblation has been actually offered, to which nothing can be added, and which cannot be repeated, the Christian Sacrifice must be, not prefigurative like those of the law, or commemorative merely, but identical with that of the Cross. For no other sacrifice is benceforth possible or conceivable. Every Christian prayer, indeed, commemorates the Sacrifice of Christ, and is accepted through it; but the central act of worship must be that very Sacrifice itself, though offered in a different manner on the altar and on the cross. It is not repeated but continued in the Church on earth, through the ministry of His representatives, as in the courts of Heaven directly by Himself. And from this follows also the reality of His Presence. The same Body and Blood which were offered on Calvary must be offered in the Christian Sacrifice (though the manner of the Presence as of the oblation differs), or the Sacrifice could vot be the same. Bread and wine, however sacred from consecration to a sacred use (like the water of baptism or the oil of confirmation or of the last unction), could never become the material of more than a commemorative rite. If the oblation is the same, the thing offered must be the same too. And therefore the Real Presence of the Divine Victim is essential to the reality of the Sacrifice.1

This is not the place to enter on the doctrine of the Real Presence. The philosophical side of the question is discussed with great acuteness in Dalgairns' Holy Communion (Duffy, 1862); Cardinal Wiseman has exlıibited the scriptural argument, with special reference to Oriental languages, in his Lectures on the Blessed Eucharist (Dolman, 1836); and the patristic argument is drawn out in Wilberforce's Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist (Mozley, 1853). See also L'obb's kiss of Peace, 2nd ed. (Hayes, 1868).


Hence, again, it follows, that the argument of the Epistle to the Hebrews, often quoted against the truth of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in fact confirms it. For what is the drift of that argument? That the One Sacrifice of Christ has superseded and abolished all types and shadows of the Law, and is itself incapable of supplement or iteration. He has, we are told, an unchangeable Priesthood, and is “ a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” What is this but to say that His Sacrifice abides for ever in the Church, and remains for all time the supreme act of creaturely adoration and centre of all Christian worship?i Or, in other words, that glorified Body, which He presents continually before God in heaven, He presents no less truly, though in a mystery,' on our altars, in whose sight the visible and invisible Church are not two but one Kingdom of God. What Christ really offered by anticipation in the upper room at Jerusalem, He offers really now by perpetuation in heaven and on earth.

In illustration of what has been said, I subjoin a passage from a great living theologian, forming the close of a dissertation on the Eucharist, as a Sacrament and a Sacrifice, the whole of which is well worth perusal ;

Thus the Christian Sacrifice is at once permanent, and single. Its unity does not contradict its duration, nor its duration prevent its being ever one and indivisible,2 The offering of that Sacrifice is indeed divided into numberless acts, according to the conditions of time and space in this earthly life; bnt they are brought into unity and held together through the Person of Christ, in whom and with whom His ministers do all their acts. cisely in this multiplicity of the oblation, by which the One everliving Victim is offered, and the Sacrifice of the Cross constantly applied anew in its effects to the whole body and to its individual

It is pre

I See note at the end of Preface to Second Edtion.

? A writer in the Westminster Review (Oct. 1865), remarks on this, " If the unity of the sacrifice be pressed,...... it not only carries with it the doctrine of the transubstantiation of the sacramental elements, but, as far as we can see, the transubstantiation of the priest ;” and he then quotes, in support of this strange criticism, the latter portion of the extract given above from the Triden. tine Catechism, which really contains the answer to it. Christ is Himself present in the Eucharist, bot est and Victim, by virtue of that “transubstantiation of the elements" of which His earthly minister is the appointed instrument.


members, that the perfection and indissoluble power of that Sacrifice reveals itself. To the retrospective glance of the Christian the number of sacrificial acts on the altars of the Church at once take their place, as dependent on that one heavenly offering, which again depends on that of the Cross, as one single celebration of sacrifice. “ For Jesus is entered into heaven itself, to appear now for us before the presence of God.” It is no new immolation that takes place ; only that once offered on Golgotha is shown to the Christian people in a symbolic act, sensibly representing the separation of body and blood in death. The Cross has developed into a living Tree, ever green and ever fruitful, overshadowing the Church of all times and all places."?

Lastly, I will give, as it stands, the statement on this subject in the Tridentine Catechism ; “ Unum igitur et idem sacrificium esse fatemur, et haberi debet, quod in missa peragitur, et quod in Cruce oblatum est ; quemadmodum una est et eadem Hostia, Christus videlicet Dominus noster, qui Se Ipsum in aru Crucis semel tantummodo cruentum immolavit. Neque enim cruenta et incruenta Hostia duæ sunt Hostiæ, sed una tantum ; cujus sacrificium postquam Dominus ita præcepit, `Hoc facite in Meam commemorationem, in Encharistia quotidie instauratur. Sed unus etiam atque idem Sacerdos est, Christus Dominus : nam ministri, qui sacrificium faciunt, non suam, sed Christi Personam suscipiunt,cum Ejus Corpus et Sanguinem conficiunt. Id quod et ipsius consecrationis verbis ostenditur. Neque enim sacerdos inquit, • Hoc est Corpus Christi,' sed • Hoc est Corpus Meum;' Personam scilicet Christi Domini gerens, panis et vini substantiam in veram Ejus Corporis et Sanguiuis substantiam convertit."

It is superfluous to add passages from the Fathers in evidence of their well-known and unanimous teaching on the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Still more important is the testimony of the early liturgies, the essential portions of which are certainly older than many parts of the New Testament.

"Döllinger's Christenthum und Kirche (ut supr.), p. 256. (First Age of the Church, pp. 245, 6.)

? Cut. ad Par. Pars 11., cap. iv., Q. 74, 75.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »