A Harmony of Anglican Doctrine
with the doctrine of the catholic and apostolic church of the East:
being the longer Russian catechism:
with an appendix consisting of notes and extracts from Scottish and Anglican authorities.
Appendix: Consisting of Notes to the Foregoing Catechism, with Extracts from Public Documents of the Scottish and Anglican Churches, and from the Writings of Some of their Most Celebrated Divines;
Designed to shew that there is in the Anglican Communion Generally, and more Particularly and Pre-eminently in the Scottish Church, an Element of Orthodoxy, Capable, by a Synodical Act, of Declaring Unity and Identity with the Eastern Catholic Church.
by William Palmer [M]
Aberdeen: A Brown, 1846.
A. At the moment of this act (viz. the utterance of the words of Institution and the Invocation of the Holy Ghost after the Oblation) the bread and wine are changed, or transubstantiated, into the very Body of Christ, and into the very Blood of Christ.Orthodox Catechism, p. 64.
The common language of Anglican and Scottish Divines is to allow a change, but to deny that there is any change of substance or transubstantiation. Nevertheless, some of that Communion have maintained and still maintain that their Church means only to reject a carnal or physical Transubstantiation; while in a higher and transcendental sense it is no less true to say that the Bread is transubstantiated, than to say that it is transmuted, transelemented, or transformed.' Indeed the very relation which there is between the creature which is fed and the food which feeds, and between the two creations, of nature and of grace; seems to require this. For if man himself is born again and supernaturally changed by Baptism into a new creature, it is only in due analogy if the bread also be supernaturally changed in the Eucharist into a new food. In whatever sense it is true that the former change is not accidental only but substantial, the latter must be a change of substance no less: while on the other hand, if the man is not physically changed in Baptism, nor the natural creature destroyed by the superaddition and change of grace, so neither will there be any carnal or physical change, nor any destruction of the natural creatures, by the change or transubstantiation of the bread and wine in the Eucharist.
I. The Book of Ratramn the Priest, the substance of which, as embodied in Aelfric's Homily for Easter, was solemnly acknowledged and subscribed to by the Bishops of the Church of England in the time of Queen Elizabeth, contains many such passages as the following:
"A little before He suffered He was able to change the substance of bread and the creature of wine into His own Body which was about to suffer, and into His own Blood which was shortly to be shed." (Û xxviii.) "Ye are to understand that bread and wine truly changed by a mystery into the substance of My Body and Blood are to be received by believers." (Û xxx.) "That Bread which by the ministry of the Priest is made the Body of Christ." (Û ix.) "After the mystical consecration it is called neither bread nor wine, but the Body and Blood of Christ."ÛÛ x, xiv, xv, xvi.
II. Bishop Poynet, in his Diallacticon, writes thus:
"The Body of Christ is at once truth and a figure: truth, in as much as the Body and Blood of Christ is virtually made from the substance of the bread and wine, but that which outwardly meets the senses is a figure." . . "About the word Transubstantiation, though it be barbarous and quite unnecessary, we would not contend, if only it were explained to mean such a change of the substances, as the ancients acknowledged; viz., one sacramental and mystical, in opposition to an organical and palpable change.". . "It is only sarkofagia, i.e. the eating of natural flesh (which they themselves allow not, but condemn as absurd and impious,) which we reject, as being inconsistent with the Scriptures, inconsistent with the interpretation of the Fathers, and diametrically opposed to the true faith."
III. Bishop Montague says; "No man denieth a change, an alteration, a transmutation, a transelementation." And Bishop Cosin, admitting "a conversion," does not deny the change of the substance of the bread and wine altogether, but that it is "changed in such sort, that the bare accidents do alone remain."Hist, of Trans. p. 61.
IV. And Herbert Thorndike, in his book entitled The Epilogue:
"All Ecclesiastical writers do with one mouth bear witness to the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Nor will any one of them be found to ascribe it to any thing but the consecration, or that to any faith, but that upon which the Church professeth to proceed in the celebrating of it.... They all acknowledge the elements to be changed, translated, and turned into the substance of Christs Body and Blood, though as in a Sacrament, that is, mystically." . . Again: "The Elements are really changed from ordinary bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ mystically present; and that in virtue of the consecration, not by the faith of him that receives."Epilogue, B. iii. cc. iv. v.
V. Dr. William Forbes, First Bishop of Edinburgh, writes thus:
"Many Protestants argue most dangerously and presumptuously, that God could not change bread substantially into the Body of Christ. God can do many things above the conception both of men and Angels; nay many things that we firmly believe are no less impossible and contradictory on principles of reason, than Transubstantiation, e.g. the resurrection of the body. Let us ever have magnificent, vast, immeasurable conception of the ineffable omnipotence of God."Consid. Modest, pp. 388, 390.
VI. Brett, one of the Bishops who corresponded with the Easterns:
"We pray that the bread may be made the Body, and the cup the Blood of Christ, without any manner of restriction. ... We pray that the Holy Ghost may make them Christ's Body and Blood; which implies as if we expected some extraordinary change to be made in the Elements, requiring an omnipotent power to produce it. And I freely confess, for my own part, (and I believe I may say the same for my brethren in communion with me) that I do believe so."Collection of Liturgies, p. 256.
VII. Here shall be cited some passages from the work of a living English writer, the Rev. W. Palmer of Worcester College, Oxford:
This writer, in his Treatise on the Church, speaking of the book entitled "A Necessary Doctrine," put forth by the English Convocation A.D. 1543, and never yet revoked or condemned, observes as follows: "It may be concluded, that at that time" (during the reign of Edward VI.) "the mode of the presence was held undecided by the Church of England, as in fact she had avoided the term Transubstantiation in the Necessary Doctrine, and while a change of substance was there strongly asserted, this might be understood in several senses," . . (e.g. not a physical, but a spiritual or sacramental change.) ... And a few pages further on, he has the following: "In 1562 the Convocation authorized the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the only formulary of doctrine established by competent authority in England since the publication of the Necessary Doctrine in 1543. It may be well to remark the points of doctrine in which the two formularies agreed and differed." [And then while shewing that there is no very marked or irreconcileable difference upon other points, he thus compares the two on the point of Transubstantiation:] "If the Necessary Doctrine maintains a change of substance in the Eucharist, without affirming Transubstantiation" (i.e. a carnal or physical Transubstantiation), "the Article in denying Transubstautiation, does not condemn absolutely all change of substance in any sense, but the particular change called by the Romanists Transubstantiation, which supposes the bread to cease to exist." (i.e. again, a carnal or physical Transubstantiation.)Ib. p. 399, 400.
The same writer in another part of his work has the following: "Archbishop Platon says Ecclesia Catholica Orientalis, et Graeco-Russica, admittit quidem vocem Transubstantiatio, Graece metousiwsiV; non physicam illam transubstantiationem et carnalem, sed sacramentalem et mysticam; eodemque sensu hanc vocem Transubstantiatio accipit, quam quo antiquissimi Ecclesiee Gracae Patres has voces metallagh, metaQsiV, metastoiceiwsiV accipiebant. See the Answer of Platon, Archbishop of Moscow, to M. Dutens, on the Doctrine of the Oriental Church.Dutens, Aevres Melees, part ii. p. 171, ed. 1797. This Answer is referred to as of high authority by Methodius, Archbishop of Tver, in his Liber Historicus de Rebus Primitivae Ecclesiae."Treatise on the Church, p. 172. vol. i. ed. iii.
VIII. And lastly, Dr. Donne has the following:
"We refuse not the words of the Fathers, in which they have expressed themselves on this Mystery; not Irenaeus est corpus; not Tertullians Fecit corpus; not St. Cyprian's mutatus, that the bread is changed; not Damascenes supernaturaliter mutatus, supernaturally changed; no, nor Theophylacts transformatus est, (which seems to be the word that goes furthest of all). For this transforming cannot be intended of the outward form and fashion; for that is not changed: but be it of that internal form which is the very essence and nature of bread, so it is transformed; so the bread hath received a new nature."LXXX Serm. ed. 1640. Serm. iv. On the Nativity. See also above, under Notes XXVI, and XXVII.
A. Our Mother the Church calls on all, who would live religiously, to confess before their ghostly Father, and communicate in the Body and Blood of Christ four times in the year, or even every month; but requires all without exception to receive it at the least once in the year.Orthodox Catechism, p. 65.
I. At the end of the present Liturgy of the Church of England there is the following Rubric: "Every Parishioner shall communicate at the least three times in the year, of which Easter to be one." And Canons XXI, XXII, and CXII, (A.D. 1003.) enforce the same order; and direct, that the Curate "shall yearly, within forty days after Easter, exhibit to the Bishop, or his Chancellor, the names and surnames of all the Parishioners, as well men as women, which being of the age of sixteen years, received not the Communion at Easter before."
II. As to the conditions requisite for a due and worthy receiving of the Holy Communion, it is ordered in the Ritual of the Church of England, that "So many as intend to be partakers of the Holy Communion shall signify their names to the Curate, at least some time the day before." And in the Order for the Visitation of the Sick the Priest is required, before giving the sick person the Holy Communion, to examine him, and "move him to make a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter." Upon which Rubric Wheatley and Bishop Sparrow comment to this effect, that "every deadly or excommunicable sin" should be felt to be "a weighty matter." And Bishop Cosin, in the Treatise entitled "Regni Angliae sub Elizabetha Religio Catholica &c.," (cap. xiii.) writes as if the Rubric for the giving in of the names to the Curate before Communicating was at that time acknowleged to imply not only the right but the duty on his part of examining the consciences of the parties, as is prescribed elsewhere in respect of the sick, so far at least as to ascertain that they are free from "weighty matters," i.e. from deadly or excommunicable sins: "The Eucharist is celebrated with us religiously and with the greatest reverence: and on the greater Festivals, and in some cases on every Lord's Day, the Holy Communion is administered to those who have been previously examined, (explorati) absolved, or found worthy." By "found worthy" he means such as are found, on examination, to be free from all mortal or excommunicable sins.P. 18, ed. 1729.
III. The Scottish Bishop Rattray writes as follows:
"The holy Eucharist being the highest Mystery of the Christian religion, and it being the greatest privilege of a Christian to be admitted to the participation of it, it is therefore necessary to be duly qualified and prepared for Communicating worthily in it. And this due preparation consists in the following particulars: I. A valid Baptism in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, administered by a person authorized by and representing God; for the Eucharist is the highest instance of drawing near to God; and in order to that approach it is required that we have our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water; and in it the members of Christs mystical Body have Communion with Him their Head, and with one another, which none can have a title to, who do not belong to this Body, into which we cannot be initiated but by Baptism, as no Jew could be admitted to eat of the Passover, which was a type of it, till he was first Circumcised: II. Confirmation by a Catholic Bishop, for conferring the Holy Spirit, whereby the baptismal Regeneration is completed, by our being born again both of water and of the Spirit: III. In all adult persons, a competent knowledge of the nature of this sacred Mystery, and of the baptismal Covenant: IV. The having kept our Baptism undefiled. And it is then undefiled, when we have from our Baptism forward, 1. held constantly and professed that Faith which was once delivered to the saints;. . 2. lived in , the Communion of the Church, which is that one Body of Christ into which we are baptized, and to which only all the benefits of the New, Covenant do belong ; and 3. in the love of God and our Blessed Saviour above all things, expressing this our love by an universal obedience to all His laws and ordinances, without any exception or reserve. ... If we be thus sincere in our love to God, and to our neighbour for His sake, and have respect to all the commandments of God, keeping ourselves free from Heresy and Schism, and from all heinous and mortal sin, or habits of sin, then is our Baptism undefiled, notwithstanding such sins of frailty and daily infirmity as are committed through ignorance, inadvertency, or surprise. For it is only to those heinous and mortal sins that God hath threatened eternal damnation in the Scriptures.
"The keeping our Baptism undefiled, is the true and proper preparedness for this holy Sacrament: But if any has been so unhappy as to pollute it, he is by no means fit, nay, it is a matter of the greatest danger for him to approach the Table of the Lord, till by undergoing a course of severe and penitential mortification, suited to the nature of his crime, he hath expressed his sincere and thorough repentance for it."P. 28, et seq. To the same effect is also the Scottish Catechism of Aberdeen, p. 41, 42, 43. See besides what is given below in Note XXX, on Penitence.
IV. According to the present Ritual of all the British Churches the Holy Communion, (which is consecrated in leavened bread), is administered to the faithful under both kinds. This is insisted upon in Article xxx, of the Thirty-nine. And in the Proposals of the British Bishops to the Eastern Patriarchs we find the following passage:
"The Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ ought to be administered to the faithful in both kinds: and the Latin Church has transgressed the institution of Christ by restraining the Laity from one kind."
For the dispositions of body and mind with which the holy Communion is to be approached and received, we may take the following:
V. Bishop Sparrow in his Rationale of the Book of Common Prayer says, "This Sacrament is to be received Fasting."Oxford ed. 1840. p. 216. Compare also the Rubric prefixed to the Order for Baptizing Adults.
VI. And Bishop Taylor (with many other writers) to the same effect:
"Let us receive the consecrated Elements with all devotion of body and spirit, and do this honour to It, that it be the first food we eat, and the first beverage we drink that day; and that your body and soul be prepared for Its reception with abstinence from secular pleasures, that you may better have attended fastings and preparatory prayers."
Again: "Place thyself upon thy knees in the devoutest and the humblest posture of worshippers, and think it not much in the lowest manner to worship the King of men and Angels, the Lord of heaven and earth, the great lover of souls, and the Saviour of the body, Him, whom all the Angels of God worship. .... For if Christ be not there after a peculiar manner, Whose Body do we receive? But if He be present not in mystery only, but in blessing also, why do we not worship? But all the Christians always did so from time immemorial. No man eats this Flesh, unless He first adores, said St. Austin; For the wise men and barbarians did worship this Body in the manger with very much fear and reverence: let us therefore, who are citizens of heaven, at least not fall short of the barbarians. But thou seest Him now not in the manger, but on the Altar; thou beholdest Him not in the Virgins arms, but represented by the Priest, and brought to thee in Sacrifice by the Holy Spirit of God. So St. Chrysostom argues."Worthy Communicant, c. vii. 10.
VII. Bishop Beveridge writes thus; (Necessity of Freq. Comm. p. 107.):
"How can I by faith behold my Saviour coining to me, and offering to me His own Body and Blood, and not fall down and worship Him?"
VIII. From Proposals of the British Bishops to the Easterns:
"So that every one may freely according to Christ's own institution and meaning receive the same," (the holy Eucharist), "and also worship Christ in Spirit as verily and indeed present."Proposition iv.
IX. Forbes, Bishop of Edinburgh, says, quoting the Abp. of Spalatro;"Christ in the Eucharist is to be adored with divine worship, inasmuch as His living and glorified Body is present therein."
And again: "Those rigid Protestants, who deny that we should adore Christ in the Eucharist, or say that we should only adore Him internally and mentally, not with any external sign of adoration, such as bending the knee, or some other bodily movement, are guilty of a monstrous error. Such persons are commonly heterodox on the doctrine of Christ's presence in the Sacrament altogether. To condemn as unlawful that external adoration, which all Christians, from the very time of the Apostles, have paid in receiving the Eucharist, is the very extreme of rashness and presumption."Consid. Modest, p. 440, and p. 438.
X. Herbert Thorndike on the same subject writes as follows:
"It is not necessarily the same thing to worship Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, as to worship the Sacrament of the Eucharist; yet in the sense which reason of itself justifieth, it is. For the Sacrament of the Eucharist is neither the visible kind, nor the invisible grace of Christs Body and Blood, (separately), but the union of both. So that he who worships the one, worships the other: he who worships Christ in the Sacrament, (the invisible grace), worships the Sacrament (the visible kind.)"Epilogue,p. 352.
And again: "I suppose that the Body and Blood of Christ may be adored, wheresoever they are, and must be adored by a good Christian where the custom of the Church requires it; adored in consideration of the Godhead, to which it remains inseparably united. The Body and Blood of Christ is necessarily to be honoured, because necessarily united to that, which is honoured, viz. the Godhead. And the presence thereof in the Sacrament of the Eucharist is a just occasion to express by the bodily act of adoration that inward honour. I do believe that it was so practised and done in the ancient Church."Epilogue, iii. p. 350.
XI. Of the participation of sinners Bishop Taylor writes thus:
"No man must dare to approach to the Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, if he be in a state of any one sin: ... and he that receiveth Christ into an impure soul or body, first turns his most excellent nourishment into poison, and then feeds upon it."Holy Living, Û x. c. iv.
XII. Jackson (on the Creed) has the following passage:
"All that are partakers of this Sacrament eat Christs Body and drink His Blood sacramentally; that is, they eat that Bread, which sacramentally is His Body, and drink that Cup, which sacramentally is His Blood, whether they eat or drink faithfully, or unfaithfully. For all the Israelites (1 Cor. x.) drank of the same spiritual rock, which was Christ, sacramentally; all of them were partakers of His presence, when Moses smote the rock: Yet with many of them God was not well pleased, because they did not faithfully either drink, or partake of His presence. And more displeased He is with such as eat Christ's Body and drink His Blood unworthily, though they eat and drink them sacramentally: for eating and drinking so only, that is, without faith, or due respect, they eat and drink to their own: condemnation, because they do not discern or rightly esteem Christ's Body or presence in the Holy Sacrament. Must we say then that Christ is really present in the Sacrament as well to the unworthy, as to the faithful receivers? Yes, this we must grant: yet we must add withal, that He is really present with them in a quite contrary manner: really present He is, because virtually present to both; because the operation or efficacy of His Body and Blood is not metaphorical, but real in both."B. xi. c. 4.
XIII. In conclusion, with regard to the Reservation of the Holy Communion for the sick, it may be noticed that this is directed by the First English Ritual: and that the usage was proposed to be restored by a Rubric appended to that Liturgy, which was sent in Greek by the British Bishops to the Eastern Patriarchs and to the Russian Synod in the early part of the eighteenth century, and the original MS. of which, together with the rest of the Correspondence, is still preserved in the Synodal Archives at St. Petersburgh.
. Penitence is a Mystery, in which he who confesses his sins, is, on the outward declaration of pardon by the Priest, inwardly loosed from his sins by Jesus Christ Himself. Orthodox Catechism, p. 66.
I. Both the first and the present English Ritual prescribe the following Form, as that by which the Priest is to absolve Penitents who confess their sins privately to him: "Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath left power to His Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in Him, of His great mercy forgive thee thine offences: And by His authority committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
II. From the "Institution of a Christian Man," A.D. 1537:
"Absolution given by the Priest was instituted of Christ to apply the promises of Gods grace and favour to the penitent. Wherefore as touching Confession, we think it convenient that all Bishops and preachers shall teach the people that they ought and must certainly believe that the words of Absolution pronounced by the priest be spoken by the authority given to him by Christ in the gospel. . .. Item. That the people may in no wise contemn this auricular Confession, which is made unto the ministers of the Church; but that they ought to repute the same as a very expedient and necessary mean, whereby they may require and ask this Absolution at the Priest's hands, at such time as they shall find their consciences grieved with mortal sin, and have occasion so to do, to the intent that they may thereby attain certain comfort, and consolation of their consciences.... As touching the third part of penance (amendment of life) ... all men truly penitent, contrite, and confessed, must needs also bring forth the fruits of penance, that is to say, prayer, fasting, and almsdeed, with much mourning and lamenting for the sins before committed."Formularies of Faith, &c., Oxford ed. p. 97, 100. Compare also "A Necessary Doctrine," p. 257, &c.
III. Bishop Overall, in Nicholls Add. Notes on the Common Prayer:
" Let him come to me, &c. Confession of sins must necessarily be made to them, to whom the dispensation of the Mysteries of God is committed. For so they which in former times repented among the Saints are read to have done." And again: "Venial sins, which separate not from the grace of God, need not so much to trouble a mans conscience. If he have committed any mortal sin, then we require Confession of it to a Priest, &c."
IV. On the same subject Hooker has the following passage:
"For private Confession and Absolution, it standeth thus with us: that the Priests power to Absolve is publicly taught and professed; and the Church not denied to have authority either of abridging or enlarging the use and exercise of that power."Eccl. Pol. vi. 4. 15.
V. And Bishop Montague in his "Appeal":
"The ancient and pious manner of Confession, for the help and furtherance of men's true repentance, and for the continuing of them in amendment of life, is, may be, and ought to be urged."Heading of ch. xxxii. p. 297.
Again: "Doth he (the Curate) especially exhort them to make Confession of their sins to himself, or some other learned, grave, and discreet Minister, especially in Lent, against that holy time of Easter; that they may receive comfort and Absolution, so as to become worthy receivers of such Sacred Mysteries?"Articles of Inquiry in his Diocese, Tit. vii. 4.
VI. Dr. Donne, in his Sermons, has the following; A.D. 15731662:
"This is the Sacrament of Confession. So we may call it with a safe meaning; that is the Mystery of Confession: for Confession is a Mysterious thing. ... If God had appointed His Angels or His Saints to absolve me, as He hath His Ministers, I would confess unto them. . . . Men come not willingly to this manifestation of themselves... The more I find Confession, or any religious practice, repugnant to mine own nature, the further I will go in it."Serm. lxiii. vol. i. p. 582, &c.
VII. Dr. Heylin, in his "Theologia Veterum," A.D. 16001662:
"For Confession to be made to the Priest, it is agreeable both to the doctrine and intent of the Church of England, though not so much in practice as it ought to be. And again: According to the Scriptures and the primitive Fathers, satisfaction also must be given to God."P. 455.
VIII. And Bishop Jeremy Taylor writes thus:
"The Church of God in all ages hath commanded, and in most ages hath enjoined, that we confess our sins, and discover the state and condition of our souls to such a person whom we or our superiors judge fit to help us in such need. .. . And the shame of opening such ulcers may restrain your forwardness to contract them."Holy Living, iv. Û ix.
IX. Bishop Sparrow, in his Rationale, on the Visitation of the Sick:
"Here shall the sick person be moved to make a special Confession, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter. It should be considered whether every deadly sin be not a weighty matter."P. 266.
X. Dr. George Hickes, A.D. 16421715 :
"For my part, I am thoroughly persuaded that this most wholesome discipline was not invented by the Bishops, but instituted by Jesus Christ Himself, for the comfort and salvation of our souls. And indeed I clearly perceive that the Christian religion can never shine with her own native brightness, till, by the pious severity of the Clergy, this sacred discipline be revived. ... It is most certain that the primitive Church never accounted a sinner to be justified, however humble and contrite, till he had obtained sacerdotal Absolution. All men allow the same thing in the sacrament of Baptism. No person is worthy to come to Baptism, unless he be of a pure and clean heart, one that from his soul abominates all kind of sin, and is most stedfastly resolved to conform his life to the law of the Gospel. And yet even all this does not justify him in the sight of God. Baptism is still wanting; without which remission of sins cannot be obtained in the ordinary way. . . . And why may we not judge the same concerning Repentance? Hence it is, that the ancient Fathers were wont to call Repentance a second Baptism" (or rather an imitation of Baptism, or as it were a second Baptism, a plank after shipwreck.) "But I shall give you the opinion of the most holy Fathers in the words of Morinus..., God therefore is the author of reconciliation; and the priest is the minister of it. What does the priest effect? That, which God, by the working of His Holy Spirit, had begun in the penitent before reconciliation, the Priest does by Absolution ministerially finish, according to that ministerial power committed to him in these words, Whatsoever ye shall bind, &c.; and such as are worthy of divine absolution he does actually and visibly absolve." Thus Morinus. And that this was the opinion of the primitive Church is most abundantly manifest from Tertullian, St. Cyprian, St. Pacianus, and St. Ambrose."Two Treatises. See also Art. XVI.
XI. Dr. Jeremiah Collier, in his Ecclesiastical History, P. II. b. iv.: "Can we imagine that words so plain (Whosesoever sins ye remit, &c.) in the expression, and so solemn in the occasion, are void of weight and signification? Not to mention the right they imply of admitting into the Church, and excluding from it, not to mention this, they must amount to this meaning at the lowest, that those who neglect this ordinance of God, and refuse to apply for Absolution to persons thus authorized, shall not have their sins forgiven, though otherwise not unqualified."Vol. 5. p. 262.
XII. Marshall, on the Penitential Discipline of the Primitive Church:
"The private Confession is manifestly of old standing, and approaches very near the fountain; and though, as far as I have yet been able to learn of it, it had, till the time of Pope Leo, an apparent reference to the outward or public Discipline of the Church, yet every case which was in secret revealed to the Priest, did not, it is evident, come upon the public stage, nor had public penance assigned to it, but only such sins were so treated, as the Priest, upon knowledge of them, should judge proper for publication.. . , Wherefore then should either the man or the doctrine be exploded, which pleads for the continuance of such a practice; or which would recommend to us the advantages derivable from it?"P. 218.
XIII. Bingham, On the necessity of the several sorts of Absolution:
"If we would be secure, we must use God's ordinances as He has appointed them; join the outward and inward act together; let the repentance and obedience of our souls prepare the way for the ministry of His Priests; and then what sins they remit upon earth shall be remitted in heaven."Works, vol. viii. Serm. ii. p. 442,
XIV. Thorndike, in his "Just Weights and Measures," writes as follows:
"If it be the power of the Keys that makes the Church, it will be hard to shew the face of a Church, where the blessing of the Church and the Communion of the Eucharist is granted, and yet no power of the Keys at all exercised. Nay, it will appear a lamentable case to consider, how simple innocent Christians are led on till death in an opinion, that they want nothing requisite for the pardon and absolution of their sins, when it is manifest that they want the Keys of the Church; as it is manifest that the Keys are not used for that purpose."P. 118.
"Further, God having provided these means (viz. Penance, Confession, and Absolution) of procuring and assuring the pardon of sin by the Church, hath also obliged all Christians to make use of the same, by bringing their secret sins to the knowledge of the Church, so far and inasmuch as they ought to stand convict that the ministry of the Church is requisite to procure in them that disposition, which by the Gospel entitles them to forgiveness."Epilogue, B. iii. On the Laws of the Church, c. ix. p. 74.
And again: "I must freely glorify God by freely professing, that in my judgment no Christian kingdom or state can maintain itself to be that which it pretendeth more effectually, than by giving force and effect to the law of private Confession once a year."Epilogue, B. iii. p. 104.
XV. Abridged from the Scottish Catechism of Aberdeen:
"It is absolutely necessary that they who receive the holy Eucharist be duly qualified and prepared for it. Q. What is the first Qualification necessary for this purpose? A. A valid Baptism; . . . Q. What is the next thing necessary? . . . A. Confirmation ; ... Q. What is the next thing necessary?... A. That every adult person have a competent knowledge of the nature of this sacred Mystery. Q. And what is the last thing necessary, to fit us for the holy Communion? A. That we have kept our Baptism undefiled, or else have cleansed ourselves by sincere Repentance. Q. What is it that breaks or defiles our Baptismal Covenant? A. Any gross, wilful, or habitual sin. Q. Do we not all sin daily? A. Yes; through unavoidable weakness, and human infirmity. Q. Do these sins of infirmity defile our Baptism, or turn us out of Gods favour? A. No; they do not, provided we are sorry for them, and strive earnestly and constantly against them. Q. What, if our sins are of a more heinous nature? A. Then we must not presume to approach the holy Eucharist, till we have more particularly repented of them. Q. Why so? A. Because it would be a great profanation of that holy Mystery, to the infinite danger of our own souls. Q. What does Repentance consist of? A. Of Examination, Contrition, Confession, and Penance. If a Christian has been guilty of any gross and scandalous sin, he must submit to the public Discipline of the Church, which consists in the power of depriving him of all the benefits and privileges of Baptism by the Lesser and Greater Excommunication. By the Lesser Christians are excluded from the participation of the Eucharist; by the Greater they are totally expelled the Church, and separated from all communion in holy offices with her; so that all Christians ought to shun and avoid them even in common conversation. This Greater Excommunication is inflicted upon none but the obstinate and refractory. Q. But if Christians are submissive and penitent, what must they do? A. They must make their public Confession to God in the face of the Church. Q. And what follows? A. The Bishop, or a Priest commissioned by him, prescribes them a suitable Penance: and when the penitent has performed his penance, he receives the great benefit of Absolution, i.e. a solemn Prayer for pardon with Imposition of Hands; and so he is re-admitted to the holy Eucharist."P. 46.
XVI. And to the same effect is the Catechism of Bishop Jolly:
"A. The power of forgiving sins belongs originally and inherently to God alone. Q. Did God then and Christ make over any delegated power to the Church for this purpose? A. Yes; He made the Apostles and their successors instruments for conveying His pardon and forgiveness to such as duly apply and are properly qualified for it. (John xx. 23.) Q. By what means then is this benefit to be obtained? A. By the Absolution of the Church ;...Û. But even in the most regular use of these means, is there not something further required in order to forgiveness? A. Yes; on the sinner's part, hearty and sincere repentance."P. 36.
XVII. In the Order for the Ordination of Priests in all the British Ordinals these words, amongst others, are used at the Imposition of Hands:
"Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful dispenser of the word of God, and of His holy Sacraments; &c."
XVIII. Lastly, shall be added an Instruction at some length on the same subject by the Scottish Bishop Rattray of Dunkeld:
"The keeping our Baptism undefiled, is the true and proper preparedness for the holy Eucharist. But if any has been so unhappy as to pollute it, he is by no means fit, nay, it is a matter of the greatest danger for him to approach the Table of the Lord, till by undergoing a course of severe and penitential mortification, suited to the nature of his crime, he hath expressed his thorough repentance for it. Now the sins that defile Baptism are,
First; A wilful apostacy from Christianity. This is not only to pollute, but to renounce Baptism, and is the sin described by the Apostle, Heb. vi. And such as thus fall away, though they pretended to repent, were not to be received again to Communion. The case of the Lapsers in the primitive persecutions was different from this, as being the effect not of choice, but of fear and frailty; yet it was a pollution of their Baptism, and a sin of a very heinous nature, as being against our baptismal obligation to lay down our life for the Faith, and a communion with those demons, or evil spirits, who were worshipped by the heathens as gods, but solemnly renounced by the Christians in Baptism:
Secondly; Heresy, or any error in doctrine contrary to, or inconsistent with, that Faith which was once delivered to the Saints, when obstinately persisted in against the admonitions of superiors:
Thirdly; Schism, or separation from the Communion of the Church, and withdrawing obedience from the rightful governors thereof, the Bishops, who have derived their authority in a continued succession from the Apostles, (when nothing is enjoined as a condition of Communion contrary to the primitive faith, or to the commands of Christ), and that either by forsaking all public religious assemblies, or by setting up, or joining in assemblies, or in any act of communion opposed to the Communion of their rightful ecclesiastical superiors, within whose jurisdiction they live:
Fourthly; Any one or more acts of such heinous and mortal sins to which eternal damnation is threatened in the Scriptures; such as those reckoned up 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And Rev. xxi. 8. But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. And Hom. i. 29, 32. Being filled with all unrighteousness; fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity; whisperers, evil speakers, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful; who knowing the judgment of God, that they who commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also have pleasure in them that do them. Where these sins are reckoned as the effects of a reprobate mind even in the Gentiles; and they who commit them are said to be worthy of death. And Gal. v. 19, 20, 21. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, enmities, contentions, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I tell you beforehand, as also I have told you in time past, that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And the Apostle, by adding the words and such like, plainly signifies, that all such sins as are of the like heinous nature, are to be reckoned in with these here mentioned by him:
Fifthly; Even lesser sins, whether of omission or commission, when through sloth and a stupid negligence they become habitual, and are indulged without remorse, or any serious and hearty endeavours to avoid them: For sloth is a mortal sin; and our Saviour Himself has told us the doom of that servant who neglected to improve the talent committed to him: Nay,
Sixthly; Even a single act of sin, however otherwise it may seem venial in its own nature, yet if committed deliberately and premeditately, with the full consent of the will, becomes mortal: For pride and contempt of the Divine authority, or an obstinate impenitence, even in the smallest sins, so aggravates their guilt, as to turn them into the heinous crime of rebellion: And, in a word, every sin becomes mortal to him who doth not seriously endeavour to shun every sin.
Such as have in any of these instances defiled their Baptism, are by no means fit to Communicate in this high and holy Mystery, till they have undergone a Repentance suited to the nature of their crime.
Now, that Repentance which is necessary in the case of mortal sins, is very different from that which is required for such as are only venial: For our venial sins are pardoned upon our daily humble confession of such of them in particular as may be any way observed by us, and of the rest in general; nor is it necessarily required that we should never more commit them, but only that we should seriously endeavour against them: For it is hardly possible to keep ourselves wholly free from them, while we are in this state of frailty; and there are very few, if any, even of the best of men, who do not more or less continue in them, even to the time of their death, without losing thereby the Divine favour, or hazarding their eternal salvation. But in the case of mortal sins, their Repentance must be laborious, and accurately and thoroughly practical; that is, they must not only confess them to God with broken and contrite hearts, humble themselves in His sight, acknowledging that they have made themselves justly obnoxious to His Divine wrath, and with earnest supplications implore His mercy and pardon; but they must also undergo a long and severe course of Penitential mortification, exercising themselves in frequent fastings, and other austerities, abstaining even from lawful and innocent pleasures; to which must be added alms-giving, and other the like acts of mercy and bounty (now-a-days, alas! too much neglected and despised): they must redeem their sins with alms, and their iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor, as far as their circumstances will in any way possibly allow: and if they have in any way injured their neighbour, they must give him all reasonable satisfaction, and make restitution to him to the utmost of their power: and they must continue under these penitential mortifications till they have wrought up their minds to a fixed hatred of sin, and a true love of God, and of that virtue which is according to godliness, and perfectly shaken off the habit of the sin or sins which they have been so unhappy as to fall into, and of all mortal sin whatsoever; so as not only never more to commit them, but to be free from all affection for or desire after them, and put on firm and stedfast purposes of obedience, and greater zeal in the exercise of all the duties of Christianity, especially those that are opposite to the sins they have been guilty of. And moreover, they ought to apply to a pious and judicious Priest, and Confess their sin, and lay open the state of their soul to him; that they may be assisted by his counsel and advice, and sacerdotal intercession for them; and when they have gone through such a course of Penance as he shall direct, may be received again to peace by the Imposition of his Hands, and prayer to God for Absolution; and thus being regularly admitted to the participation of this holy Sacrament, wherein they solemnly renew their covenant with God, may have the pardon of their sins sealed to them by the Body and Blood of Christ, and so be restored again to their former station, and to the favour of God, which they had forfeited. And this they ought to do, even though the sins they have committed be known only to God and their own conscience: For if they be public, the Priest ought to repel them till he hath represented their case to the Bishop, that he may prescribe such public Penance as he shall judge proper, if he hath not already provided for it by Ecclesiastical Canons."Some Particular Instructions, concerning the Christian Covenant, p. 28, &c.