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shall have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. The circumstances of the ministers of religion being called in, of the solemn unction, accompanied with prayer, and of the grace conferred by the remission of sin, place the existence of this sacrament beyond the reach of rational contradiction.

The sacrament of Orders is established by the express declaration of St. Paul', where that great apostle ascribes grace to the imposition of hands, by which his disciple was ordained.

The sacrament of Matrimony is referred to by the same apostle ”, when he calls the union between man and woman a great mystery or sacrament.

When the catechist states, that the precise number of seven sacraments was never heard of in the church, till twelve hundred years after Christ, and that such doctrine is an innovation, he widely departs from the plain matter of fact. For the simplest acquaintance with Christian antiquity would have informed him, that this number was

never so notoriously called in question, as to demand the decision of a general council: he might have known from an authority within his reach, that the Greek church at this day admits the number of seven sacraments”;


1 Tim. iv. 14; 2 Tim. i. 6.

? Ephes. v 32. * See Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church, p. 10, by Dr. Glen King. Lond. 1772.

and a little farther research would have taught him, that the doctrine of seven sacraments had been uniformly maintained in that church'. Now let him use his reasoning powers, and ask himself, how is it possible that this perfect agreement on this particular subject, should have subsisted between churches so long separated from each other, if they had not possessed the same belief, before the celebrated schism in the ninth century? The truth is, these two churches of the East and West were never engaged in any contest relating to the number of the sacraments at any period; and their unvaried and uninterrupted agreement completely overthrows the groundless system of the catechist.

With as little reason does he gratuitously assert, that the council of Trent was the first that declared this number an article of faith, and that this was an usurpation. · As I have already stated, the general agreement on the subject had rendered it unnecessary for any general council to propose a dogmatical decision against an opposite heresy; but that it had always been taught in the church, that this number of the sacraments was to be considered an article of faith, appears from the celebrated decree of union,

" See a learned work by Arcudius, De Concordiâ Ecclesiæ Occidentalis et Orientalis in Septem Sacramentorum Administratione. Paris. 1672.

addressed to the Armenians, in the council of Florence, in the year 1439. Has the catechist, in the plenitude of his knowledge, never heard of this far-famed document? The story may be briefly told: The nation of the Armenians applied to the general council assembled at Florence for instruction on the various points of faith ; and they receive, among other heads of religious information, this doctrine of seven sacraments, as a doctrine which the Western church had always held, and which the Eastern church had never disowned 1.

After this it becomes almost unnecessary to notice the trifling reason alleged by the catechist, for admitting but two sacraments, because Baptism and the Lord's Supper correspond with circumcision and the passover. On this principle, why should not the sacrament of penance be admitted, in order to establish a correspondence with the penance and confession prescribed in the law of Moses ? ? Why is not order deemed a sacrament, that there be produced a race of ministers corresponding with the priests and Levites, who make so conspicuous a figure in the ancient Testament?

But that the catechist may complain of no want of evidence, to prove the antiquity of seven

See Concil. tom. xiii. p. 1198, et

seq. edit. Labbe; Baron. Annal. Eccles. tom.vii. p. 866, et seq. also Carranza, 352, et seq.

Numb. v. 6, et seq.

sacraments, we here subjoin decisive testimonies from some of the most ancient fathers on the subject. As the catechist admits Baptism and the Lord's Supper to be sacraments, any specific proofs on those points singly might be deemed unnecessary, except they should be mentioned in passages produced to prove the existence of other sacraments. Tertullian, one of the most early of the Latin fathers, has the following words, in which he shortly explains the effects of the three sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the holy eucharist : “ The flesh is washed, that the soul may be cleansed from its stains. The flesh is anointed, that the soul may be consecrated. The flesh is sealed, that the soul may be protected. The flesh receives the imposition of hands, that the soul may be illuminated by the Spirit. The flesh feeds on the body and blood of Christ, that the soul may fątten on God'.” A more apposite description, in neat and precise terms, of these three great sacraments, is not to be found in the whole compass of Christian antiquity.

The great St. Cyprian, who suffered for the faith in the year 258, thus neatly and elegantly distinguishes the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. Speaking of these two sacraments,

i Tertull. lib. de Resurrec. Carn. c. viii. p. 330, edit. Rigalt. Paris. 1675.


he says in express terms: “Then may Christians be sanctified, and become children of God, when they are born to him by both sacraments 1."

As to the sacrament of penance, by which the sins committed after baptism are forgiven, St. Ambrose, who flourished in the fourth century, speaking of the power of the keys left by Christ in his church, has these remarkable words: “Where is the difference, if priests claim this power thus given (of forgiving sin), whether by penance or by the laver of regeneration ? It is the same ministry.” This passage at once supplies authority and reason ; for it conveys the belief of that age, that Christ had left in his church this power of forgiving sin, and it fully reconciles to the doctrine, all those who hear the name of Christian, by stating that precisely the same thing is performed in administering baptism.

The great St. Augustine, specifying some of the sacraments, clearly indicates baptism, confirmation, eucharist, and penance'. As to extreme unction, the testimony of the Greek church, from which it is evident that the same faith on the subject in question was common to both churches before the schism, would be alone decisive. But we have a more immediate wit

St. Cypr. Epist. 72, edit. Fell. p. 305. ? St. Ambrose, lib. 1, de Poenitent. c. vii. : St. Aug. de Baptis. contra Donatist. lib. v. c.

c. 20.

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