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PUBLIC PRAYERS IN AN UNKNOWN TONGUE OTHER RITES AND CEREMONIES OF THE CHURCH OF ROME-CONCLUDING REMARKS.
Church of Rome. “ I do, without doubt, receive and profess all things, which have been delivered, defined, and declared, by the sacred canons and æcumenical councils, especially by the holy Council
of Trent; and all things con- trary thereunto, and all heresies
of whatsoever kind, which have been condemned, rejected, and anathematized by the church, I in like manner condemn, reject, and anathematize."--Trent. Profess. Art. xii.
Church of England. “ It is a thing plainly repugnant to the word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the sacraments, in a tongue not un. derstanded of the people.”
“ The church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living, and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.”-Art. xix. xxiii.
Divine worship is rather an act of the mind than of the body. “God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.” The various acts of divine worship--and this especially applies to public prayers—were intended to raise our thoughts to things spiritual, and to aid us
in holy communion with the Father of our spirits. It must, therefore, be evident that every mode of religious worship which calls for “ bodily exercise" alone, and which fails to secure the great ends for which the worship of God was ordained, is absurd and anti-scriptural. These remarks, though applicable to the whole of the worship of the church of Rome, will apply with peculiar force to the peculiar practice of that church in offering up public prayers, and ministering the sacraments in a language not generally understood by the people.
While the church was confined to the Roman empire, in which the Latin language was generally understood, there was no reason why the service of the church should not be performed in that language, as but few could be found who did not understand it. As the Roman empire declined, its language also declined, and soon ceased, especially in all the western provinces, to be generally understood by the people. It therefore seemed reasonable in this case, and especially in the case of other nations to whom the gospel was introduced, that each people should be permitted to serve God in their own vernacular tongue. To a change so just and reasonable, the Roman pontiffs were opposed in the eleventh century. Among the reasons for this opposition may be stated the following :-It was imagined that by continuing the service of the church every where in the same language, the unity and uniformity of the church would be most
effectually preserved. It was also no less effectual as a means of keeping the people in a state of dependence on the clergy, by keeping them in igno
It was also a matter of considerable convenience to the clergy, who, as missionaries, converted barbarous nations to Christianity :-the custom of celebrating divine worship in the Latin language spared them the trouble of acquiring a knowledge of the languages of the people to whom their mission was directed. To these reasons may be added another--the Roman pontiffs not unfrequently bestowed the best benefices in Europe upon foreigners ; expediency therefore suggested the continuance of the service of God in the Latin language ; had it been required or allowed to every people to have their religious services performed in their own tongue, these dependents on the Roman pontiffs would have been ineligible to their benefices before they had acquired the language of the flocks assigned to their ghostly care. The Council of Trent, which decreed the continuance of this unreasonable and unscriptural practice, urged as reasons against a departure from it,“ the inconvenience which would follow : all would think themselves divines : the authority of prelates would be disesteemed, and all would become heretics.”
This practice is clearly contrary to that of the primitive church, which for several centuries celebrated the worship of God in the language of the
nations converted to Christianity. “ In the primitive church,” says Bishop Jewell, in his reply to Harding, the Jesuit, “ the service was every where ministered in the vulgar tongue. I have proved not only that the nations that understood Greek or Latin had their service in the Greek or Latin tongue, but by Theodoretus, Sozomenus, St. Ambrose, and St. Jerome, that the Syrians had their service in the Syrian tongue; but by St. Basil, that the Egyptians had their service in the Egyptian tongue : the Lybians, the Thebans, the Palestines, the Arabians, and the Phænicians, each of them in their own tongue : by Origen, that all barbarous people had their services in their several barbarous tongues : by Sulpicius, that the people of France, then called Gallia, had their service in the French tongue. St. Jerome saith, Vox quidem dissona, sed una religio. Tot pene psallentium chori, quot gentium diversitates. To be short, I have proved by St. Chrysostom, and Lyra, and others, that there can no manner of profit redound unto the people, of prayers made in a strange tongue.”
The discourse of St. Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, fourteenth chapter, so fully exposes and condemns the practice of the church of Rome now under consideration, that a few remarks
* The learned Brerewood, in his work of Diversity of Languages and Religions, &c. in chap. xxvi. proves the same more fully.
on the apostle's reasoning will be necessary. In the church of Corinth, the miraculous gift of tongues, which God had granted for the propagation of the gospel among all nations, was abused to purposes of ostentation.
of ostentation. The apostle first condemns the practice of preaching in an unknown tongue, and then uses the very same arguments against praying in an unknown tongue. " If I pray,” he says,
« in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but
my understanding is unfruitful,” i. e. I promote not the edification of others who know not the language in which I pray. “ What is it then ? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned, say, Amen, at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all : yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” The apostle closes this admirable discourse with the exhortation, “Let all things be done decently." Had it been the apostle's express object to expose the practice of the church of Rome in offering up public prayers, and ministering the sacraments in an unknown tongue,