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rays of the morning sun. When St. James declares, that the Lord will raise up the sick man, he employs a Greek word, which, in various parts of the sacred writings, is used to designate the operations of the mind onlyl: and the meaning immediately deducible from the term is, that the Lord will raise him from his state of anxious uneasiness, or torpid insensibility ; will dissipate his alarms, and prepare him for his last passage. When the apostle adds, if he be in sins they shall be forgiven him, he by no means makes the effect of the sacrament depend upon a doubtful contingency: he rather supposes that to be certain, which usually follows in the natural order of things; and his expression is perfectly similar to what he says on the subject of praying for true wisdom: If any man want wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all abundantly. Both these propositions, though expressed in a conditional form, unquestionably convey a certain and absolute truth. It is assuredly true, that we all want wisdom, and are all under the necessity of carrying our petitions to the throne of mercy; and it is equally certain, that something, either sinful, or disposing to sin, some relics of past sin, or some evil propensity, is to be found in the great mass of human beings at the awful and
Eyepei. Vid. Rom. xii. 11. Ephes. v. 14. 2 Pet. iii. 1.
2 Ch. i. 5.
decisive hour of death. To remedy this disorder, and to confer a peculiar grace adapted to the wants of the sick man at that dread moment, is the grand and beneficent purpose of this consoling sacrament.
If the catechist wishes to have an authority, in a remote period of Christian antiquity, to prove the existence and use of this sacrament, he will find it recognized and sanctioned in the celebrated epistle of Innocent the First to Decentius, bishop of Gubbio. Innocent governed the church from 402 till 417; and in this document he sanctions the use of extreme unction, as then practised in the church. He was asked, if a bishop as well as a priest might administer the holy oil to the sick ; and he determines, that he who blesses the matter of a sacrament, may,
if it be convenient to himself, administer it. He then proceeds to say, that this holy oil is not to be administered to the impenitent, because it is a sacrament. For, adds he, how can those who are debarred from the use of the other sacraments, be admitted to the participation of one in particular 1
St. Gregory the Great, to whose pious and apostolic zeal this country owes its conversion
Nam quibus reliqua sacramenta negantur, quomodo unum genus putetur posse concedi. Epist. Innocent I. ad Decent. apud Carranza, fol. 103.
from Paganism to Christianity, treats this sacrament as one of the seven, specifies the usual mode of blessing the matter of it, and of administering it to the sick with an accompanying form 1
If to these authorities, we add the constant and perpetual practice of the Greek schismatical churches, and indeed of the Eastern churches of every description, we have such a weight of evidence in favour of the use of this sacrament, as bigotry can never reject”.
But what says my learned opponent to this weight of reasoning and authority on the subject of this consoling sacrament. He produces many assertions and statements, which have been completely obviated in the course of these remarks.
I. He denies the institution of Christ ; a condition undoubtedly necessary to the existence of a sacrament. In answer to this I beg to restate what I have before said, that if the word of an apostle deserves any credit, we must believe Christ to have authorized him to promulgate the use of a rite, to which an inward grace is annexed. That he has published such a rite, is clear beyond all controversy; that the nature of
Vid. Sacramentar. St. Greg. Mag. ad Artic. Extrem. Unct.
? See the proofs of the belief of the Eastern churches in the learned work so often referred to in these pages. Perpet. de la Foi, tom. iii. liv. viii. pp. 411, et seq.
the rite so published, demanded an authority altogether divine, is equally incontestable: from the sanctity of the apostle, therefore, and from the public character with which he was invested, we are inevitably led to conclude, that what was done, was performed by the absolute direction of our Redeemer.
II. In this corresponding number, the catechist confounds the unction used for miraculous purposes, with that which was administered to the sick; and contends, that because the first has been discontinued, the other should not be preserved. The differences of both practices I have already explained in terms so clear, that it becomes superfluous to repeat the statement.
III. It is asserted that the unction mentioned by St. James, is different from what is used in the church of Rome; Ist, because it has no miraculous effects, as that used by the apostles had ; 2d, because they anointed persons to recoverin the Roman church, persons past recovery are anointed ; 3d, no such ceremonies are ascribed to the apostles, as are used in the church of Rome; 4th, because grace is ascribed not to the unction, but to the prayer of faith ; 5th, because such a sacrament is unnecessary after the Lord's supper.
To all these flimsy and idle objections, I beg briefly to reply, First, That this statement supposes the unction mentioned by St. Mark, and
used by the apostles before their priesthood, to be the same as that recorded by St. James ; whereas we have shewn, by incontrovertible arguments, that they are essentially different. Secondly, I answer, that the observations in the corresponding number are founded on the same false assumption. Thirdly, If we read in the sacred Scriptures, of no such ceremonies performed by the apostles, as are used in the Catholic church, it is notorious that the sacred Scriptures do not record all that the apostles performed. If the reader will turn to the Sacramentary of St. Gregory before referred to, he will find these ceremonies extremely ancient. Fourthly, If the saving of the sick man is ascribed to the prayer of faith, the use of the oil is no more excluded by such an affirmation, than the waters of baptism would be by a similar proposition, which should attribute the effects of this latter sacrament to the solemn invocation of the three divine persons. Fifthly, If our Lord has thought proper to grant to the dying an additional help, besides the holy eucharist, it belongs not to the catechist, nor to any human being, to question the propriety of the concession.