Project Canterbury

Missale Romanum; Or, the Depth and Mystery of Roman Mass:
Laid Open and Explained, for the Use of Both Reformed and Un-Reformed Christians.

By Daniel Brevint

Oxford: Printed for J. Vincent, 1847.
London: Hatchard and Son, 1847.


The bold practice of Papists at this day, who not only boast and own their profession, but by all false ways of lying and misrepresentation, labour to pervert others to it, renders it fit, that all the world should be made to know, both what Popery is, and what entertainment it deserves. As ignorant people, who know little or nothing of Rome, but from a pamphlet or gazette incidentally mentioning his Holiness, sacred College, and holy Conclave, may be induced to fancy it to be no less than a heavenly Jerusalem; so they also whose ears are continually filled with the ancient and venerable expressions of Catholic Faith, holy Fathers, General Councils, perpetual Succession, St. Peter's Chair, ingeminated at all times by the Romanists, may by the very sound of such words, be somewhat disposed towards an advantageous conceit of the Romish religion itself. Continual objects, we know, whether by hearing or seeing, will leave in the fancy or mind of men some kind of impression: and if the Ephesians cry up day and night the greatness of their Diana, it is hard if the neighbours be not tempted to think in good earnest, that this idol is a Goddess. Therefore I have here endeavoured to say as much concerning Mass, as may, with God's blessing, prevent this dangerous enchantment, and secure honest Christians, from being cheated with false wares upon the account of a fair gloss or outside. The most successful policy, that commonly Papists make use of for catching others, is to keep themselves within general terms and commendations of the Catholic Church: and after they have heaped up what they can say of the Infallibility and Faith of St. Peter, they confidently adorn their own Church and Prelacy with all these titles of honour. Thus a stupid ass may seem to be regardable under the skin of a lion, and the calves of Jeroboam might thus have charmed the ten tribes with the promises and privileges of Israel. Here, therefore, my purpose is to pull them out of these plausible generalities, wherewith they involve themselves to entangle others; and bring down Jeroboam straight to Bethel, there to shew him, that neither his Calves nor his Priests have any share with the true Israel of God. To avoid general wranglings, where imposture is more specious, and conviction more difficult, I will not dispute the truth of what they contend for, viz. that the Catholic Church cannot err, or that they are the Catholic Church. But let them come to any considerable particulars; as for example, let their daily worship be one; I wish for no better evidence, wherewith to demonstrate, that that Church which I do find in such a dangerous error, is neither an Infallible Church, nor any sound member of the Catholic. This way of proceeding may both keep common Christians upon a ground which they shall understand far better, than universal abstractions; and conclude wranglers to such a compass, as cannot afford them those shifts, that a general theme is subject to. For let them exalt as high as ever they can the virgins of Israel and Juda, I am sure the woman, whom I find committing lewdness under a green tree, is none of them: and let all good Christians amplify, and not restrain, (which latter will prove a thankless office,) the favours of Christ to his Church, and the influence of that spirit that is to lead her into all truth. What is all this to Rome, who hath run herself out into a greater number of pernicious errors, than she can find in the whole Creed fundamental articles of saving Faith? To make this good, I begin with Mass Sacrifice; which is none of those blemishes that sometimes are seen in good faces, nor of those private ulcers that can endanger but one member; but like the plague in that Church's heart, and in the most essential part of her worship, that doth pester the whole body, and destroy the main end of Christian religion. In the opening of this disease, I have used all sincerity, and as much moderation besides, as the matter in hand was capable of. Only I am forced sometimes to call lying with another man's wife, adultery; the adoring vile creatures, idol-worship; and invading the sacred offices, sacrilege; and, if Roman Catholics think these expressions to be uncivil, and after their ordinary wisdom, instead of answering just accusations, complain that I reproach them, I must answer somewhat like Elijah in the like case, that they are the only men who have reproached themselves: for I only say, that which they do, and I have taken especial care to throw nothing upon their face, but what I find in their bosom. I hope this honest dealing will appear to any one who will take notice, that I say nothing material to their prejudice; but I produce for it some one or other of their best authors, and among them sometimes some of their Saints. If now and then I forbear it, it is in such known matters, that no man that hath any skill in these things, can doubt of my sincerity. And, if sometimes also I pass by what I know they will answer, it is because I do expect they should make their answers themselves, and give me some opportunity of enlarging what I have to say further, without interrupting my discourse with unseasonable digressions. In the meanwhile, my best wishes and endeavours are, that truth maybe fully known on all sides; and I would think it no less sin to make Papists worse then they are, than to make widows more destitute, or poor naked people poorer. It is true, I publish in this book several things, which they do not preach, and which perhaps many of their most zealous disciples never heard of: but I say not one word but what they publicly teach in their Schools. If they do not preach it also in their Churches, or there deliver it in such a scholastical style, as cannot be well understood but by themselves; it is out of a great care they have, lest their people be offended with knowing too much of their Mysteries. I hope we may be allowed to take the same care, that our own be not seduced, because they know too little of them. But, however, to leave it to their best discretion, how far they will be concerned to make their people either knowing, or ignorant; what here I now publish, is nothing less than the fundamental (though hidden) part of what they preach. Roman Mass, worship, and service cannot subsist, unless it be propped up with these and more absurdities; nor can any considerable stones of their altars stand together, without being made fast with such dirt. Therefore I make it my business, (as I think in conscience it is my duty, especially at this time,) to vent what others smother and keep close; and to bring forth out of their altars, up to their gates, and into our streets such dismal pieces of their Catholic worship, as whosoever views them well, shall have, I hope, no great temptation to look over friendly towards Rome. In order to this end, I have taken special care to use no arguments, but such, as all sorts of men can understand, and to lay aside all weapons, (how good and strong soever,) that cannot be well handled without some Philosophy and Scholarship: my present intention being only to instruct all common Christians, and to lead them in a plain way, where afterwards they may see enough to lead themselves. When the patrons of mass worship shall run for more safety among the thorns, and into that intricate labyrinth of scholastical distinctions, and terms of art, where any foolish heresy, as well as mass, may find shelter; it will be soon enough to follow them thither, and to rescue thence sense, scripture, and common principles of reason, which their new divinity seeks to smother and abuse: and God, in his good time, will send both his light and his truth, to confound these works of darkness. Amen.

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