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continued to be performed in the ancient Hebrew, not then understood by the common people; and our Lord and his devout friends, instead of blaming the practice, sanctioned it by their presence'. The Greek church retains its ancient language in its public liturgy, though that of the people is widely different. This is reluctantly acknowledged by Mosheim, who owns that the language of the divine service is absolutely unintelligible to the multitude. What will the catechist say, when the argument is brought home to himself, by the conduct pursued by the founders of the Anglican church ? It is recorded by Dr. Heylin, that, when the new liturgy was sent over to Ireland, and afterwards to Wales, no precaution was taken to translate it into the language understood by the people ; 66 and thus," adds this writer, “ we have furnished the Papists with an excellent argument against ourselves, for having the divine service celebrated in such a language as the people do not understand ?." Will the good and benignant catechist, in the plenitude of his condescension, favour the Catholic church with his leave to pursue that conduct, of which the pious founders of his immaculate
1 Walton Præf. Polyglott. Mosheim: edit. Maclaine, Cent. 11. Part 2, c. iv. Vol. ii.
Heylin Hist. ann. Reg. Eliz, ii. 1560, p. 128, edit. London, 1661.
establishment have left so distinguished an example? But let us impartially consider the specific reasons adduced by him on the subject.
I. The objections here made by the catechist from St. Paul, though often repeated very ostentatiously by his friends, merit the highest reprehension, for attempting to disfigure and obscure a plain passage of that apostle. Let the reader turn to the 14th chapter of the first Epistle to the Corinthians, and he will readily perceive, that the apostle is not speaking a single word of a public authorized liturgy, translated for the use of the people, and carefully expounded by the pastors ; for such is the liturgy used in the Catholic church : the severe epithets here employed by St. Paul, regard only a private and ostentatious display of the gift of tongues, exhibited by individuals, who were rather pleased pompously to manifest a supernatural favour to excite admiration, than to expound the mwysteries of faith for edification. The censure of St. Paul is, therefore, to be directed, not against the Catholic church, which enjoins her liturgy to be expounded to the people, but against the founders of what is called reform, who, without the same prudent precaution, ordered prayers to be read to the Irish and Welsh in an unknown tongue.
II. If the primitive Christians had the service in the vulgar tongue, the reason is obvious : the Greek and Latin languages prevailed throughout the greatest part of the known world. If other languages have been formed out of them, with a heterogeneous mixture of barbarous dialects, that surely is not a reason to induce the church to alter its liturgy with the ever-shifting forms of human speech. As to the practice of the Jews, let the catechist again be admonished, that from the Babylonish captivity to the coming of Christ, they, by his connivance and the sanction of his presence, had their service, not in the vulgar tongue, but in the ancient Hebrew".
III. When the catechist asserts, that the practice of the Catholic church is so unwarrantable, as to call for the blame of the wisést of her members, I positively charge him with stating what is not true.
IV. When he affirms, that the people ought to know what they do in the worship of God, I reply that this end is fully accomplished by the directions given to the pastors of the church on the subject
V. The same remark is a complete answer to the difficulties contained in the fifth number.
VI. The reasons given for the practice are found in the preceding observations; and instead of betraying either guilt or error, as the
" See the preceding observations.
catechist injuriously afficms, they will be found to be replete with sense and discretion, and agreeable to the discipline of the Jews, in the days of our Redemer, who by his presence gave weight to the established custom.
Why do not you think Auricular Confession to a Priest neces
sary to salvation ?
We are not against confessing to a minister, in the church of
England; nay, our church presses it, both public and private, to God chiefly, and to a pious and able divine, if the conscience be burdened, and particularly upon a sick or death-bed, and before receiving the Sacrament; but we dare not say, as they do in the church of Rome, that a man cannot be pardoned or saved, except he confesses to a priest all
his mortal sins, with their circumstances, for these reasons, 1. Because there is nothing in the word of God that makes
the neglect of such a confession damnable. 2. The word of God tells us, that God forgives sins upon true
contrition, but says nothing of confession to a priest, that it
is always to attend contrition. 3. Though confession was used in the primitive church, yet that
confession was made by scandalous sinners in the public congregation, and therefore is not the same with that prac
tised this day in the Roman church. 4. They make this confession a Sacrament, or a principal part
of the Sacrament of Penance, in the church of Rome; but a Sacrament it cannot be, because it wants Christ's insti
tution. 5. About six hundred years ago, this confession was not thought
necessary to salvation, even in the church of Rome, and
there is no inspiration since to make it so. 6. The place, John xx. 23, upon which the stress of the neces
sity of this confession is laid, imports no such thing. Con
fession is not so much as mentioned there. 7. This confession, as it is managed in the church of Rome, is
a mere formality, but gives no check to sin.