Friday, 24 March 2017

The Catholic Doctrine Of The Eucharist. Part 47.


I am now to prove my minor, and therefore I have to consider the principal points of doctrine which these religions teach.

1st. Luther and Calvin, the fathers of your pretended Reformation, declare that there is no free will; and Luther in his 26th Article affirms, " That it is the principal foundation of his religion." See also Calvin, L. 1, Recognit. But this was long ago the heresy of Simon Magus, and of Valentinus, as is testified by St. Augustine, (Hoer. 11,) and of the Manicheans, as is proved also from St. Augustine, (In Prolog. Contra Pelag.) and of Wickliffe, &c. (In Conc. Constant. Sess. 8.)

2nd. Luther and Calvin teach, "That God is the instigator or mover of all wickedness, and that every sort of evil springs from God's decree." And this again in former ages was the heresy of Simon Magus, (See Vincent Lirin.) and of Florinus, (Eusebius, L. 5, c. 20.)

3rd. Both teach, "That good works are not necessary to salvation, and that faith alone is sufficient for salvation." This was an heresy of the same Simon Magus, as is stated by St. Irenaeus, (L. 1, c. 20,) and of the Eunomians, about the year of Christ 360, as is proved by St. Augustine, (Haer. 54.)

4th. Both teach, that sins though they be ever so great and numerous, cannot injure him who has faith, for that the malice of them is not to be imputed to him who believes.

This was the heresy of the Eunomians, as related by St. Augustine, (Haerr, 54,) of Basilides, and of Carpocrates, as mentioned by St. Irenaeus, (L. 1, c. 23, 24.)

5th. Calvin denies the real presence of Christ's body in the Eucharist. But this was the heresy of Berengarius, about the year of our Lord 1051, where it is to be remarked, first, that though some persons privately had doubts on that great dogma of Catholic faith, the real presence, yet it was never publicly broached till Berengarius was hardy enough to have moved the question, as is related by Hugh of Langres, and Adelman of Bressia, in their Epistles to Berengarius, and by Paschasius in his book on the words of the institution of this sacrament; the fact being, that the real presence was ever the uniform doctrine of the Catholic Church, and was never opposed by any heretic until the time of Berengarius. Secondly, that this heresy of Berengarius was condemned by many Councils, as I have stated in my first letter; likewise Berengarius had three times abjured his error, and ended his life by dying very penitent in the bosom of the Catholic Church. After his death his heresy lay buried in oblivion for two hundred years, that is, till the time of the Lollards, who revived it, and which is proved by Trithemius's Chronicle about the year 1315. After them, Wickliffe broached the same heretical opinion, as appears from his third article. After his death this heresy again slumbered in silence for the space of one hundred years, till Zuinglius renewed it; and after him Calvin and others; whereby it appears certain that the rejecting the real presence was always considered by the Church as an egregious heresy. Therefore, my Lord Bishop, that the Church has either always erred in a principal article of divine faith, and consequently was never Christ's true Church on earth, or that opinion which abrogates and inveighs against the real presence of Christ's body in the sacrament, is a damnable heresy.

6th. Both Luther and Calvin reject tradition, and declare that every thing necessary for salvation is to be found in Scripture alone. This was the heresy of the Arians, as is recorded by St. Augustine, (L. 1, Contra. Maxim, c. 2, et ult.); also of Nestorius, Dioscorus, and Eutyches, as is declared in the Seventh Synod, Act 1.

7th. Both deny the sacraments of penance and confirmation. The Novations taught the same opinions centuries ago, as is proved by St. Cyprian and by St. Theodoret, (L. 4, Epist. 2, L. 3, Fabulanim.)

8th. Luther and Calvin declare, that the Church consists of good alone; that the Church in former times was visible, but perished notwithstanding for many ages, and that at the present moment the elect alone remain in their congregations. Now, my Lord Bishop, this was the very heresy of the Donatists, as is recorded by St. Augustine, (L. de Unit. Eccl. c. 12.)

9th. Luther and Calvin teach, that prayers are not to be offered for the dead; and that the fast of Lent, or even any fasts, as commanded by the Church, are not to be kept, but that every one is to fast whenever it appears good to him. The Arians taught the very same in former ages, if we may believe St. Epiphanius, (Haer. 75,) and St. Augustine, (L. de Hcer. c. 33.)

10th. Luther and Calvin condemn that any veneration should be paid to holy relics, to the images of Christ and of his Saints, and call it idolatry. Vigilantius did precisely the same thing in past ages, as is mentioned by St. Jerome. The same has been done by the image breakers, as is related by Zoneras, Cedrenus, and Nicephorus, regarding those who made war against images.

By all these powerful testimonies which I have produced, it is manifest, that the chief opinions of Lutheranism, of Calvinism, and of the established Church, are all borrowed and, in fact, grounded on heresies long since condemned by the ancient Church, and which were always regarded by her as heresies.— (See Bellarman, de Notts Eccl. c. 9; and Coccius, de Signis Eccl. L. 8, Art. 3.) In a word, I feel sure on reflection, that your Lordship must agree with me, that the great malady of Protestants is the pride of reason, which never consents to believe that it could be deceived.

I am,

My Lord Bishop,

Your obedient Servant, VERAX,