Images de page
PDF
ePub

vestments are, in fact, nearly the dress of the ancient world, accommodated to the convenience of the priest and ministers at the altar. You would not have her, I hope to follow the shifting fashions of the day. But to reconcile you to the variety of colours, and supply you with a little of that information, of which you, Protestants, are so lack, I will tell you something more on the subject. Black is used, when the Church mourns for the dead; red, wheu she commemorates the martyrs; white, on the glorious festivals of our Saviour, and on the days of the saints, who died in purity of soul, but did not shed their blood; violet, a sorrowful color, is worn in lent, and other penitential times; and green, on Sundays and week-days through the year, to show that our souls ought always to be clothed in the verdure of sanctity. Even every part of the sacerdotal dress is some moral emblem. Thus the amict, or square linen, which the priest puts on his head, and then lets fall on the shoulders, represents the "helmet of salvation," of which St. Paul speaks, namely, the grace of God, which defends us from the enemy of our souls. The alb, or large white toga, or gown, is a figure of an immaculate life; the cingulum, or girdle, is an emblem of chastity; the maniple, or sheaf, on the left arm, is the fruit of good works; the stole is emblematic of immortality; and the chasuble, or outside garment, represents the sweet yoke of Christ."

"Now, my dear Protestant friend," eontinues the Catholic, "are these ceremonies and ornaments so unmeaning, or superstitious, as you thought? They are not, to be sure, of the essence of religion, but they contribute to its decency and solemnity. Neither are they taken from the Pagans, as your boasted Middleton so fantastically insisted; for thay are all to be found in the law of Moses. There were images of Seraphim in the Holy of Holies; there was the golden candlestick, and incense in the tabernacle; splendid vestments adorned the sons of Aaron; and in the large basin, or molten sea, as it was called, they purified their bodies. These things, then, cannot be superstitious, else why would God command them in the law?"

"Oh but," says the Protestant, (interrupting,) "Christ abolished all these obser

vances.

Catholic. No. He abolished, indeed, the sacrifices, because he himself is now our only victim. He likewise abolished the local obligations of the law; but he did not forbid those observances, which apply generally; many of which arise out of the law of nature, and were embodied in the law of Moses. Such as keeping holy one day of the week; building temples; singing the divine praises; all which you, Protestants, dc. Why, then, find fault with similar observances in the Catholic Church, when these observances, instead of being opposed, are, as I have shown, peculiarly conformable, to

reason and religion? Above all, when you reflect, that men are beings composed of soul and body, and receive through their senses, the impressions which instruct and sanctify their hearts.

P. The heathens had similar ceremonies. C. Yes; but they applied them wrong; and we apply them right. Are we to have no temples, priests, or sacrifice, in honor of the living God, because they had them, as St. Paul says, in honor of devils? Besides, we did not take our ceremonies from the Pagans. We had them, as far as the apostles chose to preserve them, from the Jews. Or rather, Jews, Christians, and Pagans, took them from common sense. and original tradition; for paganism was but a corruption, and a very late corruption, too, of the religion of nature. But, in one word, are we to do nothing at all, that the heathens did? Why, then, do we eat or drink, build houses, or till the ground? for the heathens did the same.-So much for your Doctor Middleton's fantastic parallel!

Here, my brethren, I close the dialogue. One question only remains for discussion; namely, the use of the Latin tongue; which question I am under the necessity of postponing till my next, when I shall conclude this first series of my sermons, with a summary of the whole subject of the ever-adorable Eucharist.

In the mean time, as the priest at the

altar, after having read the prayer, called the Post-communion, in thanksgiving for the sacrifice, and given his solemn benediction to the people, closes the great performance, with that first chapter of St. John, which so sublimely announces the two generations, the eternal, and the temporal, of our divine and incarnate Jesus ;-so, I now give my blessing to my hearers and readers, praying that all unbelievers may at length believe; and, together with all believers, enjoy the everlasting banquet of that Lamb of God, who is our priest, our victim, and our food on earth; and, unless through our own great and ruinons fault, shall be in heaven our bliss, our crown, our neverending glory.

A blessing, &c.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

SUMMARY OF THE FOREGOING SERMONS; USE OF THE LATIN TONGUE.

Amen, amen, I say unto you: unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, ond drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed: He, that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I ́ live by the Father: so he that eateth me, the same also shall · live by me. This is the bread, that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and died. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever. St, John, c. vi, v. 54, &c.

BEING now about to close, my brethren, the course of sermons, which, during this sacred octave of the Most Blessed Sacrament, I undertook to deliver for your edification; let me,

« PrécédentContinuer »