Puslapio vaizdai

able. The second precept, which is as distinctly marked as any other, ought not to be attached as a mere appendage or explanation of the first. In Romish catechisms, the first two precepts of the Decalogue are amalgamated, and in order to make out the full complernent of ten the last commandment is broken into two. There is something gained by representing the positive and explicit prohibition, “ Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, or the likeness, &c.” as a mere amplification of the first precept, because it affords a meagre excuse for omitting the second commandment, in nearly all the Popish catechisms which are published throughout the world. And yet, were it not for the “strong delusions” of this abominable system, it would be a difficult matter for any honest man to reconcile himself to the due veneration of holy images," required of him by the Romish authorities with the import of such language as that in Exodus xx. 4, 5, 6.

The distinction between latria and dulia is a Popish in. vention, for which there is no warrant in the Bible. Men are forbidden in the word of God to“ bow down to or before graven images, or likenesses of any thing in heaven above, or on the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth," and yet the Romish Church, which claims to be Holy and Catholic, commands all in its communion to bow down to images of saints, and of Christ and the Virgin Mary!

The allusions to the cherubim over the mercy seat, and the brazen serpent, furnish no authority whatever for the worship which Papists offer to their idols. The cherubim were placed in the Holy of Holies, which was accessible to the High Priest alone, and to him only once a year. The common people never saw them, and consequently these images could not have been made for the purpose of receiving Popish dulia. As for the brazen serpent, if we turn to 2 Kings xviii. 4, we shall find that after the Israelites had been inveigled into the idolatrous practices of the heathen, they actually did bow down to it and burnt incense to it, and for this reason it was that good king Hezekiah “brake in pieces the brazen serpent which Moses had made.”

The subject of the veneration of images and relics is dis. cussed at length in my Lectures on Romanism, to which I beg leave to reler my reader.

The exposition of the third commandment (the second in Romish catechisms) contains nothing that is unscriptural.

“ What is forbidden in this command ?

Ans. “No one,” says the Roman catechism, “may des. pise the divine name, no one may take it in vain, nor swear by it, either falsely, or needlessly, or rashly."

"By the name of God is here meant, not the mere word, signifying God, but the thing signified by it, that is, God himself, or the Divine majesty, or his attributes.

“Whence, observe that this name, although it be placed in the singular, yet ought to be understood as referring to all those things which are usually attributed to God; thus the Roman catechism (teaches.)

“Therefore by this precept perjury is forbidden: also every oath imprudently or rashly uttered, sacrilege, blasphemy, and every vain assumption of the Divine name.

“ What does this second precept teach?

“ The Roman catechism replies : ‘that the name of God is to be honoured, and that by it we may swear in a holy manner.' The name of God is honoured and praised by acts of faith, hope and charity, and by good works of every kind, especially by the public confession and preaching of the Divine name, by the singing of Divine praises, and by saying as well in adversity as in prosperity : • Blessed be the name of the Lord ;' by the invocation of the Divine name, and by swearing in a holy manner.”

To all this we respond, Amen.



No. 79.-No. 87.]

Concerning the Third Commandment of the Decalogue

(i. e. the Fourth.) AFTER alluding to the reasons of the change from the seventh to the first day of the week, the following questions are proposed.

“What is taught by this third precept, in the new law ? (i.e. under the Gospel.)

“ Ans. Principally these three things; 1. That certain specified days are to be kept holy : 2. That they are to be kept holy by external divine worship, by HEARING MASS,” ? &c. : “3. That the same are to be kept holy by abstaining from servile labours."

“Which days are those that are appointed to be kept holy?

Ans. In the first place are the Lord's days, chosen in memory of the glorious resurrection of Christ, and for the religious remembrance of the mercy of creation and redemption by Christ.

2. Festival days also are appointed, which have been consecrated to religion on account of some particular mystery of our redemption, or which have been devoted to the Holy Virgin, or Apostles, Martyrs or other Saints.

“What is the object of festival days?

“Festival days like the Lord's days have been instituted chiefly to call to mind the mercies of God: moreover, that the goodness and power of God may be praised in the victory and glory of the Saints; and that the Saints themselves may be duly honoured and invoked by us, that we may be helped by their prayers; and that we may imitate the examples of those whose merits we call to mind.

“ Besides that the institution and observance of festivals of this kind, and particularly of those which are called the birth-days of the martyrs, are very ancient, is evidently seen from ecclesiastical histories, and from S. Aug. Ambrose, Chrysostom, and others, who have written sermons to the people concerning them.” (No. 79.)

Great stress is laid in this connexion upon the duty of hearing Mass on holy days. It is not quite a mortal sin to neglect it, but it is a very grievous offence. Non-attendance at Vespers is a venial sin. “When it can conveniently be done,” it is the duty of the faithful to go to hear preaching and the catechism, but this obligation is not binding if there is merely a trifling reason for absence.

“But it is to be observed that whilst some will have it that the church enjoins nothing on the Lord's days and festivals except hearing Mass, and that therefore the faithful do not sin against a precept of the church, if they are present nei. ther at preaching, nor at vespers; yet they admit that those sin venially against the divine command concerning the sanctification of the Sabbath, who perform no act of religion on those days, except the hearing of the Mass.”

Moreover, where it can conveniently be done, it is the duty of the faithful to hear Mass and preaching in their own parish. The priest, who without cause continuously neglects to preach for several months, or for one month, sins mortally according to Bonacina and the Council of Trent rather confirms this opinion.

Acts of faith, hope, charity, contrition, &c., are recommended as highly meritorious. (No. 80.)

The faithful are forbidden to engage on the Lord's days and on festivals in judicial processes, accompanied with noise and confusion, merchandizing and servile labours. Judicial proceedings on the Sabbath or festival days, such as, the summoning of a party, examination of witnesses, formation of a procession, judicial oath, sentence, execution, &c., are null and void. But acts of voluntary jurisdiction, which are done without judicial bustle, are not void—as v. g. dispensation, absolution from censure, election, &c.

By merchandizing, "fairs are meant, such as take place, once or twice a year, or even every week- also contracts of buying and selling, bartering or hiring, &c., whether made publicly or privately.”

But yet certain things are usually permitted with the consent of the superiors; such as the purchase of certain small articles of daily food, as salt, pepper, sugar, &c., in a store that is closed. This, however, as the most illustrious Hovius says, for necessity's sake, &c.

For this reason, Layman and Billuart excuse those, who on the aforesaid days sell clothes, shoes and other things to farmers and servants, who cannot provide themselves with such necessaries on other days. So Marchantius for a similar reason excuses those who settle with their workmen on the Lord's day. The more scrupulous, however, by his own admission, are accustomed to do this on the preceding day.

Servile works are those corporeal labours in which one man serves another; such are ploughing, digging, the exercise of mechanical arts, &c. They differ from the exercise of liberal arts inasmuch as the corporeal efforts of the latter are principally directed to the exercise, instruction, or delight of the mind; thus, to teach, read, study, preach, prepare a sermon, &c., are not servile works, neither are they forbidden on a festival day.

To spin and sew being servile labours are forbidden on holy days.

Whether painting is a servile labour is a vexed question. Medina and Layman think it is not, and that it is therefore a lawful employment for the Lord's day. Common opinion, however, is against their decision. But when mere sketches are made, or when persons exercise themselves in painting for the sake of recreation or improvement, it is thought the practice may be more easily connived at.

“ It is certain, however, that to dye cloths, colour joists, whiten walls, &c., are servile works."

Notaries and scriveners who consume a great part of a festival in writing on secular business, such as transcribing deeds, accounts, processes, &c., commit sin.

As to hunting and fishing, unless accompanied with great noise or fatigue, they are lawful recreations on the Lord's day. “Many (theologians) suppose that it is not unlawful to fish with a reed, hook, or small nets, for the purpose of recreation ; and they think the same of hunting on a small scale.”

Gathering fruit from gardens or trees is also included among servile labours : but Marchantius excuses from mortal sin those who gather wild fruits, such as nuts, herbs from

« AnkstesnisTęsti »