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Title: John Calvin Tracts & Letters - the Adultero-German Interim
Author: John Calvin
Language: English

To Which Is Added the True Method of Giving Peace to Christendom, and of Reforming the Church.

The Interim, or Declaration of Religion, of His Imperial Majesty Charles V.

Being a Constitution Prescribing the Mode in Which the States of the Holy Roman Empire Should Mutually Conduct Themselves and Treat Each Other Until The Decision of a General Council.

Published By His Imperial Majesty in the Diet Held at Augsburg 15th May, and Accepted By the States of the Empire, A. D. 1548.

HIS SACRED IMPERIAL MAJESTY, our most clement Lord, to the Electors, Princes, and other States of The Holy Roman Empire, and the Deputies of those absent, orders the following Intimation to be made.

Although his Sacred Imperial Majesty, from the commencement of his reign, had nothing more at heart than to consider and promote whatever might in any way be conducive throughout the whole world, and especially The Holy Empire of the Germanic Nation as his beloved country, to the honor, advantage, and prosperity of said Nation, and to preserve under the wings and happy administration of His Majesty the peace, concord, and tranquillity of all ranks: yet His Majesty perceived long ago, by clear enough signs and experience in fact, that without the Christian settlement, or lawful determination of this most pernicious dissension on the subject of Religion, from which all the discord, rancor, wars, difficulties, and grievances of the States have hitherto proceeded, no hope of such firm peace, justice, and concord remained: Therefore His Majesty, after holding various Conferences and Negotiations on the subject, has left no stone unturned in order that this fatal dissension might be brought to a Christian concord, or a sounder understanding.

But when, in the prosecution of this work, the case itself declared, that that dissension had struck its roots so deep that it now affected not only the Germanic but also many other nations, and has begun to be common to them all, so that it appeared that to this so grievous disease no more convenient remedy could be applied than by the way of an Universal Catholic Council: His Majesty, on the prayer of The States, at length obtained, after many negotiations held on the subject, that a General Council was convened, and was begun to be held at Trent in the Germanic territory. Wherefore, also, at the commencement of these Diets, he so dealt with The States, and persuaded them that, following in the footsteps of our holy fathers and ancestors, who in matters of faith were ever wont to recur to Sacred Councils, and obey the same, they agreed in common to adhere and submit to this Council, and further left it free to His Majesty to devise Christian and convenient means by which, in the interval, until the end and determination of the Council, all The States might live and dwell together piously and peacefully, so that none should be aggrieved contrary to right and equity. And as His Majesty at that time received such consent and submission of The States with most clement mind, so he now also no less receives it.

On the subject of said Submission, as in itself most weighty, His Majesty has hitherto, in paternal affection, deliberated faithfully and with the utmost care, and has earnestly sought the sentiments of the States, (as they themselves know;) and after thoroughly weighing the matter, has with heartfelt sorrow perceived what immense inconveniences this illustrious Nation has suffered hitherto from foresaid dissension; what calamity and destruction are threatened by the same, so that inevitable necessity demands, for the establishment and preservation of firm peace, justice, and unity, and for removing the seeds of discord, that we do not leave this matter even till the progress and determination of the General Council, as it were suspended in its present state and confusion, but rather bring it back to Christian concord, moderation, and a sounder and closer understanding, and no more connive at the various contrary opinions coming in, or allow that by them the public peace be any more disturbed or impeded.

While, then, His Imperial Majesty was wholly occupied with this matter, it happened very opportunely that certain persons of high rank and name, no doubt from right zeal for Christian concord, peace, and tranquility, and true love toward their country, laid before His Majesty this Counsel, and opinion of theirs here added, delivered it to be more thoroughly discussed, and promised that they would diligently observe it.

This Counsel His Majesty submitted to the inspection of some excellent Doctors skilled in the Sacred Scriptures, and approved, from whose Report it has been observed, that if it is understood in a right Christian sense, it is not at variance with our true Catholic Religion and Ecclesiastical Doctrines, Statutes, and Ordinances, except in two Articles concerning Communion under both kinds, and the Marriage of Priests; but tends to promote and obtain a fuller concord on controverted points of the Christian religion, and preserve public peace and tranquillity in The Holy Empire, as it also so appears to His Majesty, the nature of these times considered: And he has nothing more at heart than that all orders under his Imperial Government as is incumbent from this office on His Majesty, should live and meet together in religious peace and concord.

Therefore, His Majesty of his clemency requires the Common States, who have hitherto observed the Ordinances and Statutes of the Universal Church, to continue to observe them in future, steadfastly remain and persevere in them, and not deviate from them, or change them in any respect, as they have constantly declared they would do. The other States, who have begun innovation, His Majesty, in like manner, clemently and earnestly requires that they either again connect themselves with the Common States, and agree with them in the observance of the Statutes and Ceremonies of the Universal Catholic Church, or at least conform themselves entirely, in their Doctrine and Ecclesiastical Ordinances, to the foresaid Counsel, and neither institute nor attempt anything beyond it; and that in case they have gone farther, they conform in all things to the foresaid Counsel and Confession, and firmly abide therein; and that all the States, for the furtherance of public peace, quiet, and union, tolerate the foresaid writing for the present, and not impugn it. or teach, write, or preach against it; but that all the States wait patiently and studiously for the Declaration and Determination of The Universal Council.

Nevertheless, His Majesty will use all diligence, and leave nothing untried, in order that an Universal Council, according to the Requisition of The States, may be held as soon as possible, and the Germanic nation be entirely delivered from the present Schism.

In like manner, also, His Majesty is now wholly occupied in considering how some Catholic Reformation may be framed, to be published by The States themselves during the present diets; of which (Reformation) it may be hoped that it will not a little contribute, until the determination of the said Council, to the removal of abuses and scandals, and the plantation and preservation of Catholic Discipline, regularity of life, and virtue.

And seeing that, in the often-named Counsel, under the rubric of Ceremonies, it is contained, inter alia, that if anything has grown up among them which might give rise to Superstition, it be taken away, etc., His Majesty reserves to himself, in regard to it and the other Articles, when and so far as shall be necessary, now or hereafter, at all times the power of conveniently statuting and arranging. For whatever His Majesty, to promote the glory of God, to settle Religious Controversy, to maintain firm peace, justice, and tranquillity in The Holy Germanic Empire, in short, for the advantage of and convenience of the States, will be able to undertake, institute, effect, and promote, he therein declares himself with all clemency, according to his imperial office, to be most ready.

This much, to declare the will of His Imperial Majesty, we deemed it right clemently and benignly to intimate to the common States of the Empire.



1. God at first created man after his own image and likeness, ( Genesis 1,) and adorned him with grace, and by means of original righteousness made him to be right in all the powers of his body as well as his soul, and not actuated by any turbulent and depraved notions, but in him the flesh obeyed the spirit, and the inferior powers of the soul the superior powers which so strongly invited him to God.

2. Seeing then that the soul of man was so well constituted, God left him so far in the hand of his own counsel, ( <211501> Ecclesiastics 15,) that he had no less power to choose good than evil.

3. Had he used this his freedom rightly, and obeyed the commands which God had given him, he would have preserved the blessings which he had received, and righteousness for himself and all his posterity, and nothing would have been wanting to him and his posterity for living well and happily: no hunger, nor thirst, nor cold, nor heat, nor pain, nor disease, nor death would have afflicted him: in short, he would have avoided all vice and sin, nor from them as the wages of sin would any danger have been brought to him and his posterity.


1. But after our first parent did contrary to what God had commanded, ( Romans 5) he incurred the penalty appointed by God, and lost the most fair gift of original righteousness. Hence there was a want of this righteousness, ( Ephesians 2,) together with a vicious habit of concupiscence, which is perpetually at war with the spirit and the higher powers of the soul. This sin, (i.e., the privation of that righteousness by which it rendered the reason subject to God,) together with concupiscence, he propagated to all his posterity, so that all men whatsoever that come into this world ( Job 25.) are born with it, and none is free from it, not even the child of one day, according to the Scriptures.

2. Hence that wound of our nature, that the animal man perceives not the things which are spirit, ( 1 Corinthians 2,) nor before grace desires and freely chooses the same, seeing that the concupiscence and affection of the flesh which rule in him are enmity against God, and abhorrent from the law of God, ( Romans 8,) and impede him the more in good, the more they impel him to evil.

3. And though such a man retains freedom of will, though weak and injured, and from it as from a fountain both the moral virtues of the heathen, and the actings of these (virtues) flow, yet before the grace of God and renovation he cannot aspire to a righteousness which is valid before God, but is rather the slave of sin, the bondman of Satan, the enemy of God, and liable to the evils of this world: for he is pressed by hunger, thirst, cold, heat, pain, disease, and is at last overcome by death itself. For by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. ( Romans 5.) But then punishments of that first transgression are common to the regenerate as well as sinners;. In the case of the former, however, they are employed by God for discipline, whereas they are inflicted as punishment on the unrighteous and ungodly.

4. And that in man thus depraved by original sin, so long as nature only continues and is not renewed by grace, along with depraved concupiscence Satan also reigns, who holds him bound with the chains of his slavery, and works in him so that he corresponds in his desires, doing the will and mind of the flesh, and crowns the original sin which he drew from his parents with actual sins, and is, as the Apostle says, ( Ephesians 2,) a child of wrath, so that if he dies in this his most wretched condition, being at length thrown into hell by the just judgment of God, he there suffers eternal punishments, so that, as it is written by Isaiah, neither is his fire extinguished nor does his worm die. ( Isaiah 66.)


1. God, therefore, who is rich in mercy, ( John 3,) being unwilling that those whom he had created should perish, sent his Son into the world, that when it was impossible for man to deliver himself he might have redemption in our Lord and Savior through his blood, as is written by the Apostle. ( Romans 3.) 2. For God laid our iniquities upon him that he might bear our sins in his own body, nailing them to the tree. ( Isaiah 53) He, as he suffered in innocence, and satisfied for our sins, hath indeed redeemed us, and so appeased God the Father. ( 1 Peter 2.) But the same Father, because of his blood, acquitted us, miserable and polluted by sins, and reconciled us to himself. For Paul says truly, “God was in Christ; reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” ( 2 Corinthians 5.) 3. And though God is propitious to us freely, ( Romans 3,) and for his name’s sake, and wipes away our iniquities for his own sake, yet that he might not remit sins without any price of sanctification, he, for the display of his righteousness, of his incomprehensible wisdom and boundless goodness, mingled righteousness with mercy, and was pleased that a price for redeeming us should be paid by the blood of his own Son, that the punishments which we sinners ought to have suffered, the same that most innocent Lamb should endure on the cross, and we might be able to borrow from his wounds the price of redemption, which we miserable could not pay, and use it for our deliverance and salvation, that while our most gracious Father pities us freely, he does not, however, pity without the intervention of the blood of his own Son, that what is here bestowed on us freely we ought to ascribe to the merit and righteousness of Christ, that whosoever glories; may glory in the Lord our Redeemer and Savior. ( Jeremiah 9: 1 Corinthians 1.)


1. Now he who is redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, and to whom the merits of Christ’s passion are applied, is forthwith justified, that is, finds forgiveness of his sins, is immediately acquitted from liability to eternal damnation, and raised up by the Holy Spirit, and so from being unrighteous is made righteous. For God when he justifies acts not with man only after the manner of man, merely pardoning him, forgiving his sin, and absolving his guilt, but he makes him better; a thing which men are not wont and not able to give. For he communicates ‘Lo him of his Holy Spirit who purifies his heart, and by love shed abroad in his heart, incites him to seek after what is good and just, and follow out and act what is thus sought.

2. This is that true method of inherent righteousness which David longed for when he uttered the wish — “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit in my bowels.” ( Psalm 4.) Of this the Apostle writes, — “Ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified;” ( 1 Corinthians 6;) and when he says, “That God of his own mercy has saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he hath Shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by his grace, we may be heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” ( Titus 5.) 3. And though this righteousness, which flows from the fountain of the law of the Spirit, is far more abundant than was the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ( Matthew 5; Galatians 5,) yet in those who are endued with it, concupiscence nevertheless wars with the Spirit, so long as we live here. Hence it is that the same with their mind, indeed, serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin, and live not without sin. ( 1 John 1.) 4. Seeing, then, that man, while he lives in this life, does not obtain the full perfection of inherent righteousness, Christ of a truth, who was made to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, most kindly succors us in this respect, inasmuch as he, both by the communication of his own righteousness, renders the righteousness of the man partaking of it inherent, and so augments it, that it is renewed from day to day, till it is fully perfected in the eternal home, and by the merit of his precious blood, and by the most perfect righteousness which he establishes, he obtains indulgence for man, so that what man because of his weakness could not do, is recovered and pardoned through the perfection of Christ. (Aug. Cont. Faust. lib. 19 c. 7.) Hence the comforting words of John, — “Little children, I write these things unto you that ye sin not; and if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins.” ( 1 John 2.) 5. The merit of Christ, and the inherent righteousness to which we are renewed by the gift of charity, indeed concur — the inherent righteousness, that by it we may live soberly, and righteously, and godly, in this world, waiting for the blessed hope and advent of the great God and our Savior. But the merit of Christ, that it may become the cause of our inherent righteousness, and as in many things we all offend, and because of our weakness and imperfection many things occur to disturb our minds, and urge us to despair, we breathe again in the same merit and precious blood of Jesus Christ, and find what may enable us to struggle most resolutely in hope of salvation. For in Christ Jesus the Lord, our Redeemer and Savior, whom the pious put on, and with whom all things are given unto them, the Apostle says that all things are most firm, and solid, and perfect to us, so that by the same we are rightly supported in a living hope. ( Galatians 3.)


1. The justified have indeed peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. For God is appeased, is merciful and propitious to them, so that they can hope that if when they were enemies, God reconciled them to himself by the death of his Son, much more, when reconciled, will they be saved, to use the words of the Apostle, which are most full of comfort. ( Romans 5.) 2. Likewise, those who are justified are adopted by God as sons, that, as Paul testifies, they are heirs of the eternal Father in heaven, and co-heirs of Christ, ( Romans 8,) and have now right of access to that inheritance which is eternal life.


1. Although God, not by works of righteousness Which man hath done, but according to his own mercy, justifies him, and that freely, ( Romans 3,) that is, without his merit, so that if he would glory he must glory only in Christ, ( 1 Corinthians 1,) by whose merit alone he is redeemed from guilt, and justified, yet our merciful God does not here act with men as with a block, but draws him willing, if he be an adult. For such an one receives not those benefits of Christ, unless, by the preventing grace of God, his mind and will are moved to a detestation of sin. For, seeing that sin separates between us and God, as Isaiah says, ( Isaiah 59,) none can approach the throne of grace and mercy, save he who has previously been turned away from sin by repentance.

Accordingly, John, when preparing the way of the Lord, said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” ( Matthew 1.)

2. Farther, the same divine grace moves the mind toward God by Christ, as this is the method of faith by which man, believing without hesitation, assents to the Holy Scriptures, and the promises which they bring. For Christ himself, after he had first required repentance, immediately requires such a faith, saying, “Since the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God approacheth, repent, and believe the gospel.” ( Mark 1.)

3. He who thus believes and, from fear of the divine justice by which he is beneficially alarmed, has turned to consider the mercy of God, and redemption by the blood of Christ, is aroused and admonished by the grace of God, conceives trust and hope to believe against the hope of his merit, ( Romans 4,) in the hope of the promised mercy, giving glory to God, and is thus brought to charity.

4. With such faith towards God, ( Galatians 3; Romans 3,) whosoever leans on the divine mercy and merit of Christ, and commits himself to the same, receives the promise of the Spirit, and is so justified by faith in God, according to Scripture, that not only is sin forgiven him, but he is also sanctified and renewed by the Holy Spirit: for that faith obtains the gift of the Holy Spirit, by whom love is shed abroad in our hearts. To whatever extent charity is added to faith and hope, to the same extent are we truly justified by inherent righteousness. For this righteousness consists of faith, hope, and charity, so that if you withdraw any one of these from this righteousness you obviously leave it maimed.


1. Charity, which is the end of the commandment and fulfilling of the law, as soon as it enters justification is fruitful, and now includes in itself the seeds of all good works. As it is prepared to bear the good fruits of righteousness, so it bears them in him who is justified at the earliest and as often as it ought, and the faculty of working is not taken from him by any impediment. Accordingly, the faith which works not by love seems not to be living but rather barren and dead, as James testifies. ( James 2.)

Nay, man, whatever be the degree in which he is endued with faith, if he wants charity, remains in death, as John declares, ( 1 John 3) seeing that charity especially ought now to be a part of the eternal life which is begun in us, and is to be perfected at last in glory. For though faith and hope will cease when we shall have gone to those eternal mansions, charity will remain and enter therein, ( 1 Corinthians 13,) that in respect of it we may be able to live most happily and enjoy God, who will thus be all in all, throughout the ages of eternity. Nevertheless that faith by which nominal Christians are discriminated from infidels is true, inasmuch as they assent to the Scriptures, and the things revealed by God, although it is disjoined from charity.

2. From this greatest gift of God, which the more it increases in us the more our old man is impaired, the good works which flow as from a. fountain are so necessary to the salvation of every justified person, that he who does not do them continually, loses the grace of God, and, like an useless branch is cut off from Christ, and cast into the fire, as Christ himself teaches in his Gospel. ( John 15, Matthew 7.) 3. And though these works are such that God may exact them from us as in his own right, and the saints, though they should have done all the things commanded, ought still to acknowledge and say, that they are unprofitable servants, yet as they proceed from them to God, and are effects of the grace of God, and as God has of his own will most liberally promised reward to those working, he designs to reward them both with temporal blessings and eternal life, according to the testimony of the Apostle, who says, “Abound in every good work, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. For God is not unjust to forget your work and love which ye have shown in his name.” ( 1 Corinthians 15; Hebrews 6.) 4. And the justified having now become as the servants of righteousness, exhibiting their members as the servants of righteousness unto sanctification, (grace cooperating,) they abound in good works; and the more they abound in them, the more increase of righteousness is added to them, that those who are righteous may become more righteous. “Fear not,” saith the Scripture, “of being justified unto death.” ( <210101> Ecclesiastics 1.) Again, “He who is just, let him be justified still,” ( Revelation 22,) and, let him who is fruitful ill Christ, be purged by the heavenly Father, to produce more abundant fruit, as Christ himself teaches. ( John 15) This is that justification by works of which James, the brother of the Lord, speaks. ( James 2) 5. As to what remains, although the works commanded by God as necessary to salvation, are especially to be urged according to the words of Christ, “If thou wouldest enter into life keep the commandments,” ( Matthew 19,) those things which, superadded to the precepts, are either piously or honestly received, are themselves also to be recommended, that we may not be at variance with the Holy Spirit, who recommends many of these in the Holy Scriptures. Were it otherwise, “to leave and sell all, and follow the Lord…to preserve virginity or continence,” would not be good and useful. Nay, David, when he danced before the ark, might justly have been laughed at by Michal, ( <120601> Kings 6,) and Paul would in vain have remitted his salary to those to whom he had preached the word. ( 1 Corinthians 9.) 6. In short, works of supererogation, which are done above what is commanded, (to use the expression of Chrysostom,) must be distinguished from those which are done against it. These Christ himself condemns as the leaven of the Pharisees; those the Holy Spirit recommends in the Scripture, saying, “O Lord, accept the free-will-offering of my mouth.” ( <19B801> Psalm 118)


1. Then care must be taken that we do not either make men too secure and confident in themselves, or drive them by anxious doubting to despair.

Wherefore, since Paul says, ( Galatians 2,) that he was indeed conscious of no sin, but yet by this was not justified, man cannot believe that his sins are forgiven without a doubt of his own weakness or indisposition. But although he ought not to boast in himself, he is not to be so terrified as to doubt the promises of God, and the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ, and despair of obtaining the forgiveness of sins and salvation. All hope, and the assurance of all confidence, ought to be in the precious blood of Christ, which was shed because of us and our salvation. In him alone we both can with certainty, and we ought, to breathe and confide, having the confirmation of the Holy Spirit, who bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.


1. It now seems proper to treat of the Church, which is the whole body of the faithful in Christ, unto which the Holy Spirit so gathers and joins regenerate men and Christians, that they are one house, one body by one baptism and one faith, which, as Paul testifies, is one in all Christians.

Wherefore it is necessary that the life of Christians, in order to attain to the perfect end at which the Church aims, should be good and pious. Let no man, however, persuade himself that any probity of life will avail him, unless he has joined and accommodated himself to the unity and communion of believers. Let the Church, then, be the house of the living God, and that body of which Christ is the head; “for we being many are one body in Christ,” says Paul. ( Ephesians 5.)

2. For this Church our Lord Jesus Christ gave himself, that he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of the water of life in the word, that he might exhibit it a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it might be holy and immaculate. ( Ephesians 5.)

3. And seeing that the Church alone is that door and one body, it is certain that Christ sanctifies and cherishes it alone by his Spirit, so that out of it he gives the blessings of his grace to none. Whose, therefore, is not in the communion of this body, is no more quickened by the Holy Spirit unto eternal salvation, than any natural member cut off and torn away from its body is quickened unto natural life, because it is no longer invigorated by the vital Spirit flowing from its one head. Wherefore, we must believe that no one out of the Christian Church and its spiritual communion can obtain eternal life.

4. The nature of this communion is, that as the Spirit of Christ descends from him, as Head, into his own body, that is, permeates the Church and all her members, each member receives as much from him as suffices it for salvation; and what good falls to each, the same he lends to all, and so provides for the whole body. For, as the Apostle says, ( Ephesians 4,) the members grow up in love in all things in him who is the Head, even Christ, from whom the whole body compacted and connected by every joint of supply, according to the operation of each member, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. In such a connection and society of men, the connection is the strongest when the members are solicitous for each other; and whether one member suffers, all the members suffer with it, or one member rejoices, all the members rejoice with it. ( 2 Corinthians 12.)

5. And although the Church, as consisting of such members as live in love, is composed of saints only, and so far spiritual and invisible, yet it is also sensible, as Christ himself demonstrates, saying, “Tell the Church.” ( Matthew 18.) To this same Church belong the bishops, who rule the people whom Christ has purchased with his own blood. Other ministers also belong to it. For God gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some: evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. ( Ephesians 4.)

6. To this same Church belongs the word of God, which flows into the ear; belong the sacraments; belong the keys of binding and losing; belongs the power of coercing by excommunication; belongs calling to ecclesiastical offices; belongs, in fine, the right of making Canons.

7. Those things which pertain to the sensible and external part of the Church ought to be subservient to the perfecting of saints, to the work of the ministry, to the edification of the body of Christ. Now, ill the Church, not only saints, but also bad men as its members, though withered, are found: whence Christ likens it at one time to a net cast into the sea, and inclosing good and bad fishes; at another, to a sown field producing at once good corn and tares. For those who have been made members of the Church by baptism often relapse into sin, and make themselves the servants of sin, and liable to eternal damnation. And although they lose the grace of the communion of saints, and of the spiritual Church, they nevertheless remain in the external society of Christians, and in the Church; they hear the word of God, and take the sacraments, and have other sensible things likewise in common with the Church, unless they are cut off, either by just excommunication, or by schism, or by heresy, or by defection from the Christian faith.

8. Miserable indeed is the condition of those who languish under mortal sin, and who, removed from spiritual communion, live in peril of eternal damnation; but still, as they may hear the word and use the sacraments usefully as instruments of Divine grace, they may be more easily restored to the communion of the Church, especially as, even in the external Church, the Holy Spirit worketh salvation by the word of God and the Sacraments.

9. But schismatics, heretics, and those revolting from the Christian faith, as they are separated not only from the spiritual, but also from the external society of the Church, as long as they are in this calamitous state, have no means of being assisted and recovered; nay, like members cut off from the whole body, they putrefy to their own destruction, unworthy to remain in any part of the body of Christ, whose unity they so shamefully rend and lacerate. Hence the words of the Apostle: “A heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid, knowing that he who is of this description is subverted and fails, seeing he is condemned by his own judgment.” ( Titus 3.)


1. And since there are various bodies of men which associate together, it is of importance to know the marks and signs by which the Church is distinguished from other human societies, especially seeing that those schismatics and heretics who fall off from the true Church constitute bodies of their own, and hesitate not to annex to them the name and authority of the Church; and others of them say that Christ is elsewhere: of these Christ himself admonishes us to beware. ( Matthew 24)

2. The signs of the true Church, then, that is, of that great house, in which are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of clay, and some to honor and some to dishonor, are sound doctrine and the right use of the Sacraments, by which the Church is disjoined from meetings of Jews and Gentiles, both of whom want both sound doctrine and the Sacraments of the New Testament.

3. The third sign is unity, which is maintained by the bond of love and peace, and so joins the members of the Church together, that they not only are of the same sentiments which the uniform consent of the saints, from the days of the Apostles even to ours, has received and approved, but speak the same thing as the Apostle exhorts: ( 1 Corinthians 1.) “I beseech you, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfect in the same feeling and sentiments.”

4. The fourth sign of the true Church is, that it is catholic and universal; that is, diffused through all times and places, and, through means of the Apostles and their successors, continued even to us, being propagated by succession even to the ends of the earth, according to the promises of God: “Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utmost ends of the earth for thy possession.” ( Psalm 2; Hebrews 1) Again, “Many will come unto me from the east and from the west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” ( Matthew 8) Again, “And you will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” ( Acts 1.)

Again, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, to abide with you for ever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive.” ( John 14)

5. ‘These two signs distinguish the Church from flocks of schismatics and heretics who break the bond of peace, and to their own destruction deprive themselves of Catholic union, while they prefer their own party to the whole universal Church.


1. Although the Scripture, as Christ says, cannot be broken, and is therefore immovable, and greater than all human authority, still the authority of distinguishing between true and spurious Scriptures belonged to the Church. Hence is that Canon of Scripture which distinguished the genuine from the false writings which were obtruded under the name of the disciples and apostles of the Lord.

2. And as the Church always had power and authority in this matter, so had it also of interpreting, and so of exploring and extracting, doctrines from the same Scriptures, as she never is without the Holy Spirit to lead her into all truth, as Christ himself hath promised. Hence the words of Peter, “No prophecy of Scripture is of self-interpretation; but holy men of God spoke as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.” And this power of interpreting is most necessary in those matters which are difficult to be understood, as the thing itself teaches. ( John 14; 2 Peter 1)

3. The Church, besides, has traditions brought down from Christ and his Apostles by the hands of the Bishop, even to our own times. He who tears them up denies that she is the pillar and ground of the truth. Of this class are the baptism of infants, etc.

4. It is likewise clear that the power of restraining and excommunicating belongs to the Church, and that by the appointment of Christ:, as to the power of binding. Conformable to this is the expression of the Apostle, “Take away the evil thing from among you,” Matthew 16; <460501> Corinthians 5.

5. She has also the power of giving judgment. For when the right of restraining is possessed, the power of deciding cannot be wanting.

6. And if doubtful questions arise in the Church, she has the power of judging of the same, and decreeing, and that by a Council, and what this Council lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit decrees, the Holy Spirit himself seems to decree, according to the words; of the Council of Jerusalem: “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us.” ( Acts 15.)

Therefore, that the authority of Councils is most salutary no man ought to doubt.

7. And as is perceived from the same Council of Jerusalem, the Church has also power to frame Canons, and that for the advantage of the Church, whose power is all for edification and not for destruction.


1. The Church has a divinely delivered doctrine which is to be taught to the people. She has also external sacred rites which are to be handled and explained piously and salubriously for the advantage of Christians: hence, on this account, the ministers who perform the necessary offices for these purposes neither can nor ought to be wanting to the Church. And, indeed, these offices are not common to all Christians, but God himself from the beginning gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ.

2. Accordingly, in the time of the Apostles, power to perform the offices of the Church was given, not to all but to certain persons only, and those set apart for the purpose. For when Barnabas, Lucius, Manaen, and Saul were at Antioch:, while they were ministering to the Lord, (as Luke says in the Acts of the Apostles,) and fasting, the Holy Spirit said unto them, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” ( Acts 13.) We must be careful, therefore, not to confound the spiritual priesthood common to all Christians, whom the Holy Spirit hath anointed, with this outward and ministerial priesthood which belongs not to all, but to those only who have been called and duly ordained to it. This could not happen without grievous and pernicious perturbation and calamity to the Churches.


1. And that the Church which belongs to one head, that is, is the one body of Christ, ought to be more easily kept in unity, though she has many bishops to rule her people whom Christ has purchased with his own precious blood, and that by divine law, yet for the removal of schism she has one Supreme Pontiff to preside over all the others with plenitude of power, and that in respect of the prerogative granted to Peter. How useful this is to avert schisms from the Church is sufficiently evident to those who are not ignorant, that from the contempt of this Supreme Pontiff schisms generally arose, as Cyprian writes, and the thing itself testifies.

2. The Supreme Pontiff, therefore, who holds the chair of Peter, with the right with which Peter received it from Christ, when he said, “Feed my sheep,” ( John 21,) both governs the whole Church and ought to govern.

3. This his power, however, he ought to use, not for destruction, but for edification. Christ, in giving this plenitude of power to Peter and his successors, seems not to have withdrawn part of that care from the other bishops, but to have wished them to be, by divine right, true bishops of their churches and dioceses. Christian men ought to obey both the Supreme Pontiff and their individual bishops also, according to the words of the Apostle, “Obey them who are set over you, who watch for your souls.” ( Hebrews 13.)


1. The Sacraments were instituted by divine authority, chiefly for two reasons. The one is that they might be certain marks and signs of that great assembly — the Church. For men cannot be gathered under a name unless they are bound together by some community of signs or sacraments.

Wherefore our Lord Jesus Christ bound together the society of his new people by Sacraments very few in number, most easy of observance, most excellent in meaning, viz., Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Orders, and Matrimony.

2. The other reason is, that they may not only signify but also sanctify and confer the invisible grace of God, not by the proper virtue of external things, or the merit of the minister, but of the Lord appointing and working secretly. Wherefore, although it becomes a minister of the Sacraments to be a good man, yet a bad man also may dispense them usefully.


1. And first, indeed, as it is necessary to man for salvation, that he be Regenerated into a new creature, seeing that otherwise he is by nature a child of wrath, Christ himself instituted the Sacrament of Baptism, to be the laver of that Regeneration, which is not less necessary to the new and spiritual life than carnal nativity is to the natural life. Nor can any one obtain salvation, unless he be born again of water and of the Spirit, as Christ himself declares. ( John 3)

2. This Sacrament, therefore, washes, sanctifies, justifies us: this Sacrament makes us obtain the remission of our sins, original and actual. In short, this Sacrament is altogether of such a nature, and so salutary, that he who is initiated by it puts on Christ, as Paul writes. ( Galatians 3)

3. This Sacrament consists of the word of God, and water. For as soon as the word is added to the element, it becomes a Sacrament, by the laver of which we are regenerated and cleansed from all sin. Wherefore, when we see the water washing the body outwardly, let us reflect that the Spirit, whom we see not, is doing more inwardly.

4. With regard to the form of words, without which the mystery cannot be completed, Christ delivered it to the Apostles, when he enjoined them to baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On this command, as often as Baptism is conferred, both the faith of the recipient, if he is adult, and in the case of infants, the faith both of those engaging and confessing for them, and of the whole Church, and the word of the officiating Minister, lean, inasmuch as he says, “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” ( Matthew 28:19.)

5. To us, indeed, it seems that it tends very greatly to excite the faith and promote the comfort of adults, that they understand that those who are baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are now consecrated and sanctified by the power, energy, and might of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and wholly consecrated to God, and made the peculiar property of God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to whose guardianship they now pass, giving themselves to God in an eternal covenant, by which they renounce the devil and his works, and promise to be soldiers of God.

6. In regard to the office of Baptism, though it belongs chiefly to Priests, yet a Layman may rightly and usefully baptize, in case of necessity: and if a heretic should baptize, provided he use the due matter, form, and intention, the Sacrament is not to he repeated, seeing the same depends not on the dignity of the Minister, but on the truth of the divine word, and the energy of the Holy Spirit.

7. But though Baptism takes away all our defilement’s, according to the Scripture, it does not, however, take away all the languor of vitiated nature, as we also observed above, for it leaves concupiscence, inclining to evil, though the guilt be removed. This concupiscence ceases not to war against the good spirit in man so long as we live on this earth.
8. Herein, however, the efficacy of Baptism fails us not, in that it not only has at once taken away the guilt of every sin, but in opposition to the concupiscence still adhering to us, and stirring up wars of desire, it confirms our strength, through the Holy Spirit, by whom we are so fortified against all the power of concupiscence, that we are able to resist it and prevail over it, the Apostle admonishing us, “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.” ( Galatians 5:16.)

Thus far of Baptism.


1. And as it is necessary for the corporeal life of man, not only to be born and be, but also to grow and be nourished, so it is necessary to him for salvation that he be not only Regenerated, but also confirmed and increased in good, by the energy of the Holy Spirit; for which purpose was instituted one of the most useful Sacraments, viz., Confirmation, which the Apostles celebrated when they laid hands on the Samaritans, with beneficial efficacy, as is written in the Acts of the Apostles. ( Acts 8.) What the Apostles then did they did in the name of Christ, and in introducing this mystery they seem to have acted for Christ, just as in the other parts of their office. This mystery rests on the promises of Christ concerning the grace of the Holy Spirit, and the sending of him, — “I will send the promise of the Father unto you.” ( Luke 24:49.)

Again, “But the Spirit, the Comforter, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things.” ( John 16:26.)

2. And although, at the beginning, the Sacrament of Confirmation was only celebrated by the laying on of hands, yet the Church, immediately’ subsequent to the days of the Apostles, in accordance with their traditions, with the view of indicating the internal unction of the Holy Spirit, by an external sign, added chrism to the rite, together with the sign of the holy cross, which custom, and it is a very ancient one, ‘the Catholic Church ceases not to approve. And she believes that those of his servants whom God has regenerated by water and the Spirit, the same are so sealed by this mystery, that they receive the Spirit with the seven eyes, the holy Comforter from heaven, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit, of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge, and godliness, and fear.

When the Catholic Church, who is the best interpreter of the mysteries of God, believes these things, and attests them in the administration of the Sacrament, he who thinks differently denies her to be the pillar and ground of the truth.

3. The virtue of this Sacrament, therefore, is, that those who are confirmed by it receive the Holy Spirit, by which they may be able to walk and persevere in the ways of salvation, and happily resist the temptations and snares of the devil, the world, and the flesh.

4. But as most of those who are baptized are infants, and do not by themselves give forth a profession of faith, it will be proper that when as adults now sufficiently instructed in the Christian religion, they come to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, they with their own mouths also profess faith in Christ and obedience to the Church, and fasting, and having confessed, be initiated in this sacred mystery, as was ordained by the Council of Aurelium. We do not, however, think that children are to be: kept back from this Sacrament, seeing Christ himself hesitated not to lay his hands on them, ( Matthew 19:13-15,) for we do not here lay down a law to the Churches.

5. Let the Minister of this Sacrament, however, be a Bishop. This is approved by the consent of the whole Catholic Church and the practice of the Apostles.


1. And since the Regenerate often fall into grievous crimes, Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance, which, after Baptism, is as it were our second plank in shipwreck. For this use he gave the key of loosing, saying: “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.” ( John 20:22,23.)

For so soon as a sinner truly repents of his sin, and draws near with confidence to the throne of mercy, and believes that what Christ promised is received by this Sacrament, it is done to him as he believes, nor is the thing promised wanting to this Sacrament. For like other Sacraments, this, too, has the power of sanctifying. This Sacrament consists in the absolution of the Priest, which is founded on the institution and words of Christ, who for this purpose delegates his power to Priests, saying, “As the Father hath sent me, so send I you. Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.” ( John 20:21,23.)

2. But as the Priest has authority not only to remit, but also to bind, both having been at the same time divinely delivered, he seems to receive the power of judging’ in so far as he receives this power of both keys: nor can he exercise it unless he understands whether he ought to remit or to retain.

But such judgment can only be derived from the confession of the mouth and the enumeration of sins. For seeing that most of men’s faults are committed without a witness, while secret crimes also beset and wound the soul, and are sometimes more grievous and perilous than those that are manifest, the priest is not able to judge of them truly unless he who has committed them review and confess them, and himself open, as it were, his own wounds.

3. Wherefore as the remedy of Penance has been pointed out as a cure for the faults of men, the Confession also of the penitent, with an enumeration of his sins, seems recommended; and as the Sacrament of Penance is to be proved to the Christian people to be salutary and necessary, so also ought the Confession and enumeration of sins, which, while it is not to be too much relaxed, is not, on the other hand, to be made too stringent. For who understands his faults? ( Psalm 19:12.) Wherefore the sins are to be enumerated which come into the mind of one reflecting and examining himself, not too anxiously indeed, but carefully. Those which do not come into the mind are rightly included in a general Confession, and are remitted no less than if they had been individually confessed. And as pardon is here sought from Absolution, the burden imposed by Confession is not so great as the comfort which Absolution gives to him who believes it.

4. Then although that Satisfaction which expiates the guilt and eternal punishment; is to be attributed to Christ alone, the satisfaction which consists in the fruits of Penitence, especially fasting, alms, and prayer, whether undertaken of ourselves, or enjoined by the clergy and dispensers of the sacraments, if performed in faith and charity, cuts off the causes of sin, and cures the remains of sin, and either takes away or mitigates the temporal punishment, and, in fine, operates as an example.

5. But to return to the Absolution of the Priests, in which the power of the Sacrament of Penance consists. The form and the words ought to be such that he who confesses may be able to hear and understand that his sins are forgiven by the benefit, merit, and power of Christ, according to the institution and the words, “Whose sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.” ( John 20:23.)

For to use the words of Ambrose, “The office is God’s, though the ministry is the Priest’s.”


1. They who have been brought alive again in the Lord by the Sacrament of Penance, must also be nourished and grow in spiritual good. Christ, therefore, instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist under the visible species of bread and wine, which affords us the true body and blood of Christ, and by this spiritual food unites us to himself, as to the head and members of his body, that thereby we may be nourished with all good, and with the saints, and in their communion grow up in charity. “For we being many are one bread and one body, for all of us are partakers of that one bread,” says Paul. ( 1 Corinthians 10:17.)

2. The form of this Sacrament are those solemn words which Christ himself uttered, “This is my body:” and again, “For this is the cup of my blood,” etc. ( Matthew 26:26,27.)

3. But if we give as much as we ought to Christ and his word, there is no doubt that as soon as these words are added to the bread and the wine, the bread and wine become the true body and true blood of Christ, so that the substance of bread and wine is transmuted into the true body and blood of Christ. He who denies this calls the omnipotence of Christ in questions, and charges Christ himself with foolishness.

4. Hence it is the more necessary to take heed that this Sacrament be not received unworthily. For it is written, “He that eateth or drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many among you are weak and imbecile, and many sleep.” ( 1 Corinthians 11:29,30.)

But that Sacrament is unworthily received by whosoever thinks of it otherwise than he ought, or does not truly repent. For, as Augustine says: “Let him who wishes to receive life change his life; for if lie change not his life, he will receive life for judgment, and he is more corrupted by it than cured, more killed than made live.” Wherefore the custom of the Church is to be approved, which does not bring a man to the Sacrament of the Eucharist before the Sacrament of Penance has cleansed him.

5. The Eucharist has the power of strengthening in spiritual good, for which assuredly there is no room, unless the purging away of sins has preceded. Herein we ought to imitate good physicians, who do not give things which can strengthen and confirm before they have expelled the bad humors from the body; unless they have done this they do no good to the patient, but rather hurt him. Now, the greater the caution to be used not to take unworthily. the more the consolation received by those who take worthily and piously, and consider that they are eating the bread which cometh down from heaven and giveth life to the world, and receiving from it true spiritual strength against all evils.


1. The Sacraments which we have already explained undoubtedly confer great and multiplied belief its on the human race. They either regenerate men when languishing under our old carnal nature, or confirm them when regenerated in the grace which they have received, or restore them, when they have lapsed, into the grace from which they have fallen, or unite them when restored more firmly to Christ; for which salutary purpose the grace of Christ is not wanting in the Sacraments, but is rather given to men through those Sacraments as instruments. Although the utility of the Sacraments is thus most extensive throughout life, yet, as a man may, when he is sick, long for peculiar succor, which in this his hour of greatest danger may either relieve his body or fortify his soul against the fiery darts of Satan, Sacred Unction was instituted, with the addition of the prayers of the Church. This Unction was first practiced by the Apostles, who, being sent by their Lord on a mission to preach the gospel, cast out devils, and anointed many sick with oil, and healed them. ( Mark 6:13.)

This Unction was sacramental and mystical, not medicinal or corporal, and during the early years of the gospel was followed by external soundness of body as a kind of sign of internal healing, just as in the other’ Sacraments for the commendation and confirmation of a still infant faith, internal virtue was demonstrated by external and sensible signs and miracles. But now an adult and confirmed faith requires not the signs which are given to the weak.

2. The mode in which this mystical and salutary Unction behooves to be administered was promulgated by the Apostle James: “Is any man sick among you? let him bring in the Presbyters of the Church that they may pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will give him relief,” etc. ( James 5:14,15.)

3. In how high estimation ought the testimony of this brother of the Lord to be in the Church? We say testimony, but it is rather a proclamation which, when the Apostle and ambassador of Christ made it, Christ undoubtedly ratified as if he had made it himself. He, therefore, who despises this Sacrament, seems to despise Christ himself, and to spurn the grace which he here, in a manner, stretches forth to us by means of Sacred Unction: And this is the more perilous, the greater the danger to which the sick man is exposed, in regard not only to his body but also to his soul, danger into which he is brought by the powers of darkness, inasmuch as at the last moments of life they, as it were, set all their engines at work to extinguish the salvation of the man, endeavoring to break his courage by incredible terrors, and drive him to despair.

4. The Apostle James insinuates that this Sacred Unction is to be administered only to the sick, and this the other Apostles observed; not, however, in all, but only in dangerous sicknesses, and when a fatal termination is feared is this mystical Unction to be practiced.

1. In regard to the ministers of the Church, the greater they are the more do they need the gift and grace of God; for although all Christians are Priests, inasmuch as they can offer spiritual sacrifices to God, and profitably call upon his name in every place, all, however, are not Ministers of the Church; but, from the very origin of the Church, some were set apart for the ministry of the Church to perform these offices; and God made a distinction between them, that the same individuals might not discharge all offices, nor confusion be produced by a promiscuous arrangement; for God is not the author of confusion. ( 1 Corinthians 14) The Sacrament of Orders was therefore instituted with the sign of the laying on of hands and other rites suitable to the Sacrament, by which those who might be consecrated might receive grace for the offices of the Church, and thereby be rendered fit, able, and apt to administer these offices. Hence the exhortation of the Apostle to Timothy, “Do not neglect the grace which is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.” ( 1 Timothy 4:14.)

2. This Sacrament of Orders is founded on the words of Christ, “As the Father hath sent me, so send I you.” ( John 20:21.) “Receive the Holy Spirit: whose sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.” ( John 20:23; Mark 16:15,16.) “Go into the world and preach the gospel to every’ creature: go and teach all nations, baptizing them.” ( Matthew 28:19.) “This do in remembrance of me.” ( Luke 22:20.)

To those, therefore, on whom, in the perpetual succession of the Church, Bishops lay their hands, that they may be inducted into Orders, they give the power of executing their office — a power which is twofold, viz., that of Orders and that of Jurisdiction. Under the one falls the ministry of the divine word, the administration of the Sacraments, and the ordering of the Churches for edification; under the other falls the power of Excommunicating and of Absolving Penitents. The Orders which the Catholic Church recognizes are these seven — Presbyters, Deacons, Subdeacons, Accolyres, Readers, Exorcists, Ostiarii, to whom distinct offices, and those either necessary or useful to the Churches, ought to be assigned; so that it is very obvious that he deserves ill of the Christian Church who either abolishes or spurns these Orders.


1. God instituted Marriage in Paradise, that thus a male and female might be united as perpetual and undivided companions for life, according to the words of the Lord, “Wherefore, a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall be twain in one flesh.” ( Matthew 19:5,6.)

2. But although Marriage was instituted for this strict companionship, yet, under the law of the Fathers, marriages had degenerated from their first institution in two ways, viz., one man married several wives, and he repudiated her whom he had married by giving her a writing of divorce.

The former was permitted by the dispensation of God, and was subservient to a mystery of after-times, viz., to intimate, by the several wives of one husband, that Christ would collect a Church to himself from the multitude of the Gentiles as well as from the Synagogue, that he would adopt her as his Spouse, and that, by the fecundity of several wives, they would serve Christ the Savior, who was to spring from the same seed.

3. The divorce Moses permitted to the people, because of the hardness of their hearts, thinking it a lesser evil that. a wife hated by her husband should be dismissed than slain, to open up a way for a new marriage by her murder. ( Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 19:8.)

4. But after the fullness of divine grace arrived, as Christ restored other things which were either in heaven or on the earth, so he also restored Marriage. Hence tie says, “He who made man at the, beginning made them male and female, and said, For this shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh. Wherefore, they are now no longer two, but one flesh. Wherefore, whom God hath joined, let no man put asunder.” And a little after, he says, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it was not so.

Wherefore, whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, and marry another, committeth adultery.” ( Matthew 19:8,9; Mark 10:5-9.)

This the Apostle interprets, when he says, “Those who are joined in marriage I command, yet not I, but the Lord, that the wife depart not from her husband; but if she have departed, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.” ( 1 Corinthians 7:10,11.)

5. The special conditions of Christian Marriage, therefore, are proved by clear passages of holy writ to be these: The one is, that Marriage be that of two persons only in the union of one man with a woman. “They shall be twain,” says he, “in one flesh.” Nor is it lawful for those thus joined to defraud one another, by giving up their persons to some third party, the Apostle prohibiting this, and saying, “The woman has not the power of her own body, but the man: in like manner, the man has not power over his own body, but the woman.” ( 1 Corinthians 7:4.)

The other condition is, that the bond of Marriage, once formed between two, is no more dissolved by any divorce, but only by the death of either.

For in regard to the intimation by Christ, that the wife may be, put away for fornication, this makes the spouses cease to live together at bed and board, but does not dissolve the bond of marriage; so that he commits adultery who marries one thus put away, just as he does who has intercourse with another man’s wife.

6. Since Christ then made Marriage both by his own grace, and bound it, as it were, with a faster chain, as Christ is the one spouse of one Church, and that by an indissoluble tie, so a man is the one husband of one wife, and that by perpetual union, in like manner as Christ is perpetually joined with his spouse the Church. Wherefore, Marriage is not only the union of male and female, but is also a Sacrament:, because of the grace of Christ, which is never wanting to it, in order that a man may be able to love his wife just as Christ loved the Church, to cultivate an undivided connection with her, and be contented with her for ever. Nor is he to divorce her against her will, except for the causes which are explained by Divine law, (jure divino.)

7. And since God cherishes Marriage by his grace, and also approves when spouses contract marriage together, a strong ground is given to hope that their intercourse, as it is good in itself, will also be agreeable to God. And though marriage ought chiefly to be contracted for the sake of procreating offspring, yet he who contracts it even for the sake of avoiding fornication sins not. “For let every man have his own wife because of fornication,” says Paul. ( 1 Corinthians 7:2.)

The virtue of this Sacrament then, is, that spouses may understand, that having been united not by human but by Divine authority, they have received grace by which their lawful intercourse is not imputed as a fault: by which also a Christian husband sanctifies a heathen wife who is willing to remain with him, and procreates children who are holy, i.e., dedicated to God — by which, in fine, he maintains perpetual fidelity to his wife, so that they are twain in one flesh, and by which the believing wife is saved in child-bearing, if she have remained in faith and love and sanctification, with soberness. ( 1 Timothy 2:15.) Marriage, therefore, is honorable, and in it the bed may be undefiled.

8. The Manichees, Tatians, and Encratites, being ignorant of this, hesitated not; to censure Marriage. This accursed temerity of theirs, produced by the doctrine of demons, the Apostle Paul condemns. ( 1 Timothy 4:3.)

9. And since the bond of Matrimony is altogether such, it has such power in uniting that there is no bond of human conjunction which is more stringent. This when Adam recognized in Paradise he spoke thus of the woman whom God had formed out of a rib of his body, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” “Wherefore a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall be twain in one flesh.” ( Genesis 2:23; Matthew 19:5.)

10. Wherefore, as the father’s power (patria potestas) justly yields to this union between the spouses, they are not to be listened to who insist at this time that Marriage or contracted espousals are dissolved and nullified, if the consent of the parents does not follow. We here derogate not from the obedience which children owe to their parents, but we are unwilling that parents abuse their power in impeding or dissolving marriages. Yet as we think it a comely thing for children not to contract without the advice and consent of parents, preachers ought carefully to admonish them of this their duty.

11. Whether parents ought to be permitted in this case to punish the disobedience of children by withholding, or at least diminishing the dowry, or by any other means, is a matter which we think should be left to ordinary authority.


1. As the law of nature introduced Religion, without which no nation exists, so it also introduced Ceremonies, without which religion cannot and is not wont to be maintained. But among ceremonies external Oblation has been observed as the chief by all nations of all ages. For though, as Cyprian testifies, (Serra. de Circumcis.,)” they shuddered at Circumcision as cruel and unnatural, they did not in like manner repudiate the other sacrifices, but in many things following the law of nature, retained instruments of expiation, and persisted in immolating victims, and burning the fat, and pouring out vows and prayers with libations before God, worship being implanted in men by nature herself, and divinely purified in the minds of all.” All nations have held it as a common principle, fixed in the minds of all, that by external Oblations an effect is produced on God.

On this they have been generally agreed.

2. For no man ever thought of making an external Oblation without either knowing, or thinking, or feigning that there is a God. The antiquity of this worship is proved by the sacrifices of the two brothers, Cain and Abel, the former of whom, as well as his gifts, God reprobated by turning away from them, while he looked appeased on the younger’s oblation. (August. de Civit. Dei, lib. 10. c. 6.)

3. This rite of Sacrifice God, as willing all men to be saved, divinely implanted ill their minds. For when, because of one man’s sin the whole human race had become obnoxious to the wrath and just condemnation of God, and condemnation so much the greater and more perilous hung over them, the more they were provoking the just anger of God, by accumulating sins upon sins: God unwilling that those whom he had formed should perish, destined to the human race a Mediator and Reconciler, who might reconcile us with our Creator, and appease his just anger by a singular Oblation of Sacrifice. God, therefore, sent his own well-beloved Son, clothed with our flesh into the world, who, taking our sins upon him, bore them in his own body on the Cross, and, giving himself as a victim for us, having once entered into the holies by his own blood, procured eternal redemption. ( Hebrews 9.)

4. The Father, softened by the odor of this most precious victim, laid aside his anger, and acquitted, justified, and reconciled to himself men formerly immersed in sin, impure, unrighteous, liable to damnation, but now washed by the blood of his Son. ( 1 Corinthians 6)

5. The virtue and efficacy of this one Oblation serving not only for that time at which Christ in the flesh offered himself as a victim, but embracing all the ages of the world, and all the individuals among men who have ever been, or are ever to be, seduced to efface their sins. For verily, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself;” ( 2 Corinthians 5:19) and, “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world!” ( John 1:29;) and, “He is a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world,” ( 1 John 2:2.)

The world is not of one time, but comprehends the men of all ages. Hence in the Apocalypse, ( Revelation 13:8,) Christ is called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” inasmuch as his blood cleansed the faults of all ages, from the very commencement of the world.

6. Of this Oblation, which sufficed alone for the reconciliation of the whole human race, Paul says, “By one oblation he perfected for ever those; that are sanctified;” (Hebrews 10;) and, “It pleased the Father that in him all fullness should dwell, and that by him all things should be reconciled unto himself, pacifying them by the blood of his Cross, whether they be things on earth or things in heaven;” ( Colossians 1:19,20;) and, “It pleased him to renew all things in Christ, which are in heaven and in earth, even in him.” ( Ephesians 1:10.)

And in Isaiah it is said, “I have trodden the wine-press alone;” and, “By whose stripes we are healed.” ( Isaiah 63:3; 53:5.)

7. Of this so efficacious Oblation which merited the salvation of all men most fully, most sufficiently, and most perfectly, that all men might partake and appropriate to themselves the fruit, God, from the beginning of the world, under the law of nature, by a divine inspiration in the minds of men, suggested the rite of Sacrifice, and afterwards in giving the law, appointed divers Sacrifices.

8. The use of all of these was, not by themselves to reconcile men to God and merit salvation, but that by these external Sacrifices, the attention of men might be ever and anon awakened to the coming Sacrifice in which God had promised redemption to all, their faith might be confirmed, and the fruit of it applied to those believing and hoping in the virtue of the coming Sacrifice; and that as often as those Sacrifices were performed, men might remember, with grateful minds, both the other benefits which they were continually receiving from the benignity of God and the salvation to be received through a promised Reconciler.

9. Hence, neither under the law of nature, nor under the law of Moses, was any Sacrifice of itself pleasing to God, who often protested that he had no need of those which were offered: “Were I hungry I would not tell thee: the world is mine, and the fullness thereof: Shall I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?” ( Psalm 50:13.)

But inasmuch as those visible sacrifices were Sacraments of the invisible and future Sacrifice, when any one offered them in faith in the Reconciler promised by God, employing external sacrifice to show his faith in a coming Christ, and to transfer to himself the benefit of that saving Sacrifice which he had already conceived by faith, and waited for with firm hope, and to declare heartfelt gratitude to God for those great benefits, those Sacrifices, however agreeable to God and salutary to the offerer, had nothing of their own, but derived all from the virtue of the future Sacrifice which they applied to him who offered them in faith.

10. And that the nature of Sacrifices may be distinctly understood, there is only one meritorious Sacrifice, whose efficacious virtue, in effacing the sins of men, has reconciled men when alienated from God, and obnoxious to his wrath and damnation, and merited redemption and eternal salvation for the whole human race, viz., that saving Sacrifice of Christ, by which offering up himself on the Cross, as a victim for the sins of men, “he perfected for ever those who are sanctified.” ( Hebrews 10:14.)

11. The merit of this Sacrifice receives no increase, because it is perfect, and is not exhausted or diminished, because it is eternal. ( Hebrews 10:12.) Hence, too, all other sacrifices add nothing to this Sacrifice, and merit nothing of themselves, but apply the benefit of this one Oblation to believers, and serve both to awaken and retain in the minds of men the remembrance of this one Oblation, and to confirm their faith and declare their gratitude for all God’s mercies.

12. There are certain applicatory Sacrifices of this nature common to all laws: and permitted indiscriminately to all men, such as “the sacrifice of an humble and contrite heart,” ( Psalm 51:17,) and chastisements of the flesh undergone as a means of cultivating piety, the sacrifice of the lips, of prayer, thanksgiving and praise, and the like.
13. Certain Sacrifices again, were always peculiar to some one law, and annexed to certain duties, so that others were prohibited from offering them, under great threatenings and punishments. See 1 Kings 13, and 2 Chronicles 26. Nor, as now, has any law, nor has any religion of the Gentiles, been without Sacrifices. For the three things, Law, Priesthood, and Sacrifice, (Hebrews 7,) have been bound together, and necessarily follow each other.

14. Thus, under the law of nature, righteous men instructed in the promises of God, believing on him who they knew was to be a Savior, offered Sacrifices, and by offering them declared their faith and hope in the future salvation, and their gratitude for it, and sought assistance from the merits of that saving Sacrifice which they expected to be offered. Other nations imitating this custom from the secret inspiration implanted in their minds, sought to appease by sacrifice, not God indeed, but him whom they either thought or feigned to be God.

15. But the law given by Moses, adding to the law of nature, (not to abrogate but to improve it,) instituted external oblations to prefigure the future Sacrifice of Christ, and enable the Jews, as often as they celebrated them, both to remember the other mercies of God with grateful minds, and transfer to themselves the virtue of that future Sacrifice by believing, and hoping, and praying.

16. Christ, who had not come to destroy the law, ( Matthew 5:17,) in so far as it was either natural or moral, but rather to fulfill it, on bringing into the world his new law, of which he had already given a promise by Jeremiah, ( Jeremiah 31,) that he might not leave it alone maimed or imperfect in this respect, contrary to the common custom of preceding laws, provided it at once with a peculiar Sacrifice and Priesthood; since, according to the sentiment of the Apostle, it was necessary on the succession of a new law to provide it with a peculiar Sacrifice, ( Hebrews 7.,) and appoint Priests as the Ministers of the Sacrifice. ( Hebrews 5:1.)

17. Our Lord Jesus Christ, not to be wanting to his Church in this part of the law, which is holy, pious, and good, at The Last Supper, after he, had given thanks to God, instituted the Sacrament of his body and blood, at the same time recommending a twofold use of it, viz., to be taken by believers as a salutary aliment of the soul, “Take,” says he, “and eat,” and to be offered in remembrance of his passion, of which offering, when delivering the ministry to the Apostles, as the Priests of the new law, he says, “This do in remembrance of me.” ( Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24.)

18. As, therefore, before the advent of Christ, God delivered to the Fathers certain Sacrifices, by which they might keep alive in their minds the thought of that great Sacrifice which they expected, establish their faith, and by the offering of sacrifice gratefully call to mind the divine mercies; so Christ commended to his Church the pure and saving Oblation of his body and blood, under the species of bread and wine, by which we might, ever and anon, renew in our minds the memory of his body offered and his blood shed for us on the cross, and transfer to ourselves the benefit of that bloody Oblation by which he perfected for ever those who are sanctified: for this is to do it in remembrance of him, i.e., with grateful minds to commemorate the death of the Lord, and by the memory and merit of his passion entreat the Father to be reconciled to us.

19. This is the pure and salutary Offering commemorative of that one Sacrifice by which the salvation of all was procured, not only signifying, but, in fact, comprehending in itself the reality of those things which the offering of divers sacrifices formerly prefigured. In other words, the Sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ which was offered on the cross, is the same, not another; the lamb is the same, not another; and there is one Christ in both. But he was then offered in a bloody and suffering manner, by which offering he fully obtained forgiveness of sins and redemption for all believers, whereas now we offer him under a mystery, and in an unbloody and unsuffering manner, not that we may for the first time procure the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of our souls, but cultivating the memory of our Lord’s passion, may give thanks to God for the salvation obtained for us on the cross, and apply and appropriate to ourselves with faith and devotion the forgiveness of sins and redemption then procured.

20. This saving Victim Malachi foresaw in spirit when he says, “My will is not in you, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will not receive a gift at your hand: from the rising of the sun even to its going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place a pure Oblation is sacrificed and offered to my name.” ( Malachi 1:10,11.)

This prophecy cannot be understood of spiritual sacrifices alone, which are proper to no law, but common to all times and persons, and remained always conjoined with ancient sacrifices. But the very arrangement of the words sufficiently proves that the Prophet is speaking of a Sacrifice, which, on the ancient sacrifices being removed, was to come in their place.

Wherefore, these words are ‘.rightly understood of the most sacred Sacrifice of Christ, not that by which he offered himself on the cross for the sins of the human race, (for that was not consummated among the Gentiles, nor in every place, but in Judea,) but that which the Church, collected from the nations, offers throughout the world, to commemorate our Lord’s death, and transfuse its virtue into believers; and this meaning of that passage is confirmed by clear passages of the Fathers.

21. Irenaeus, (lib. 4, Contra Haer., cap. 32,) — “He received that which is of the creature of bread, and gave thanks, saying, ‘This is my body.’ And in like manner the cup, which is of that creature which is according to us, he confessed as his blood, and taught the new Oblation of the New Testament, which (oblation) the Church, receiving from the Apostles, offers throughout the world to God, of which (thing) Malachi, among the twelve Prophets, thus prophesied, — ‘From the rising of the sun, even unto its going down, my name is glorified among the Gentiles, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure sacrifice.’ ( Malachi 1:11.)

22. Augustine, (Contra Adversar. Legis, lib. 1, cap. 20,) — “Let those who read know what Melchisedec brought forth when he blessed Abraham.

And if they are partakers of them, they see that such a Sacrifice is now offered to God throughout the world.”

23. Ambrose declares of this Sacrifice of the new law, “Before the lamb was offered a calf was offered: now Christ is offered as enduring suffering, and offers himself as if he were a priest.”

24. Chrysostom — “Do we not offer every day? We indeed offer, but in commemoration of his death, and this victim is one, not many. How is it one, and not many? Both because that one was once offered, and offered upon the holy of holies. Whereas the Sacrifice is an example of that: we always offer the same. We do not, indeed, offer one lamb now and another tomorrow, but always the same,” etc.

25. Athanasius — “The Priesthood of Christ is for ever, because the Oblation, having Christ both as High Priest and Sacrifice, is daily offered by the ministers of God.”

26. But that this Oblation, which Christ committed to his Church to be made in remembrance of his death, he himself first employed in the Supper, and himself offered to the Father, under the species of bread and wine, is proved by great witnesses, among whom David calling Christ a Priest after the order of Melchisedec, ( <19A901> Psalm 109,) sufficiently shows that Christ, by the sacrifice of bread and wine, fulfilled the type which had previously been exhibited in the priest Melchisedec, of which thing the holy martyr Cyprian says, (Lib. 2. ep. 3,) “Which order comes from that Sacrifice, and thence descends — that Melchisedec was priest of the most high God, that he offered bread and wine, that he blessed Abraham. For who is more the priest of the most high God than our Lord Jesus Christ, who offered a sacrifice to God the Father, and offered the very thing which Melchisedec had offered, that is, bread and wine, viz., his own body and blood?” Immediately after he says, “As, therefore, in Genesis, the blessing of Abraham might be duly performed by Melchisedec, a priest, the image of a sacrifice, constituted in bread and wine, precedes, which thing our Lord perfecting and fulfilling, offered the bread and the cup mingled with wine, and he who is fullness fulfilled the reality of the prefigured image.”

27. Arnobius, speaking of Christ says, “He who by the mystery of bread and wine was made a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec, who alone among the priests offered bread and wine, when Abraham was returning victorious from battle.”

28. Damascenus — “Melchisedec, who was Priest of the most high God, received Abraham returning from the slaughter of foreigners with bread and wine. That table prefigured this mystical table, as that priest also bore the prefigured image of Christ, the true Priest. ‘Thou art,’ says he, ‘a Priest after the order of Melchisedec.’” Many similar testimonies are found in Jerome, (ad Evagr.,) Augustine, (De Doct. Christ., lib. 4, cap. 21,) Ambrose, (de Sacram.,) Chrysostom, and Theophylact.

29. According to these testimonies of Sacred Scripture and the Holy Fathers, the Catholic Church acknowledges two Sacrifices of Christ, the same in respect of substance, but in respect of the method and rite of offering, very different: the one bloody, on the cross; the other, by which the Priest after the order of Melchisedec himself offered to the Father, his own body and blood, instituting the perpetual Sacrifice of the new law, which he committed to his Apostles and their successors, to be done by them in remembrance of him, even to the end of the world.

30. As the mode of Offering then is different, so the use is distinct. Christ, by that bloody Sacrifice, obtained reconciliation and propitiation for the sins of the whole world, and full redemption for all. But the other Sacrifice was instituted and committed to the Church in remembrance of the bloody Sacrifice, and by it we set Christ before the Father in an unbloody and unsuffering manner; not that we may obtain forgiveness of sins and redemption anew, but that we by faith and devotion may apply to ourselves that which was merited on the cross, following the injunction of Christ, who ordered us to do this in remembrance of him — that is, that by the memory and merit of his passion, we should pray the Father for reconciliation, for the forgiveness of sins, and the salvation of our souls, for the safety of our persons and property.

31. Hitherto it has been shown on what grounds and testimonies the Sacrifice of the Altar rests: Now let a few things be subjoined concerning the ritual.

32. In the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Altar, at one time the praises of God, at another the faithful prayers of the people, at another thanksgivings, at another reading of the Scriptures, are intermingled — whence also it is rightly called the sacrifice of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. In this ritual the Catholic Church imitates the example of Christ, who in the Sacrifice of the Supper poured out many prayers to his Father, for the safety of the Church which he was about to leave on earth, and at last finished the mystical Supper with hymns and thanksgiving. ( Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26; John 17:1, etc.)

33. But that series of admonitions by Paul, ( 1 Timothy 2:1, 2,) in which he enjoins “that, first of all, supplications, prayers, entreaties, thanksgivings, be made for all men — for kings, and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life, in all piety and chastity,” the Church, according to the observation of Augustine, (Ep. ad Paulinum,) observes fully and articulately, in the celebration of the Sacrifice of the altar. It makes supplications before that which is on the table of the Lord begins to be blest — prayers when it is blest and sanctified, and requests or entreaties when the people are blessed and commended to the most merciful power.

34. These things being finished, and the Sacrament received, thanksgiving concludes the whole. See Augustine’s 59th Epist. to Paulinus, where you will clearly recognize the rite of celebrating the Sacrifice of the Altar, as the Church observes it in the present day.

35. But we may see this Rite received and confirmed by all the Catholics of all ages, who with great uniformity have remembered that prayers and thanksgivings were mingled in the celebration of this Sacrifice, and that the Host itself was wont to be consecrated by solemn prayer. On this subject see Chrysostom, (In Matth. Horn. 83, de Sacerdot. lib. 3;) Basil the Great, (de Spiritu Sancto, cap. 27;) Theophylact, (in cap. 14 Marc.;) Gregory, (Ep. 63 ad Joann. Episc. Syrac.;) Ambrose, (de Sacram., lib. 4, cap. 5,) who everywhere, in the books published by him, comments on the Canon which the Church now uses, almost taking the words in their order, one by one.


1. Seeing, then, that in this Sacrifice of the Altar we cultivate the remembrance of that boundless mercy by which Christ made himself a Victim for the safety and salvation of his whole mystical body, i.e. , all believers, and there, according to the example of our Lord, and the admonition of-the Apostle, prayers are to be poured forth to God for the safety of the whole Church, and thanks to be given for all his benefits, the Church collecting all her members within herself, makes mention of those also, who, divested of this mortal life, are living with the Lord. And, first of all, embracing the Saints beloved of God, with grateful veneration, she gives thanks to God for those who, when they were weak by nature, he so strengthened by the gift of his grace, that they overcame the vices of the flesh, and striving, not in their own strength, but that of God, by fighting manfully against death, the devil, and sin, obtained from the just Judge a crown of righteousness. Of the, antiquity, and throughout the Church universally diffused custom, of giving thanks for the Saints, see Dionysius the Areopagite, Cyprian, (lib. 8, epist. 6, lib. 4, epist. 5,) Augustine, (de Civitate Dei, lib. 8, cap. 27, lib. 22, cap. 10; cont., Faust. Manich. lib. 20, cap. 21.)

2. Nor do we only venerate the Saints, and give thanks for them, but we ask to be fortified with the help of the Divine protection by their prayers and merits in all things; rightly feeling that they, like citizens of the same community and members of the same body, still bound to us by one spirit and bond of charity, long for our salvation, and grieve for our ills, and therefore, in behalf of our necessity, intercede with God, our common Father, through Jesus Christ, the common Mediator of all. To do so, both that right of community in which they are joined with us, and also precept, induce them. “Pray,” says James, ( James 5.) “for one another, that ye may be healed.” Then that love which they bear towards us persuades and admonishes them, while that faculty by which they now live with God, secure as to themselves, and free from defects and infirmities, does not prevent them. That they do this in the other life we learn from plain passages of Scripture, as 2 Maccab. 15:14, where Onias is seen stretching forth his hands and praying for the people. “And another man, venerable from age and glory, of whom it is said, This is the lover of the brethren and of the people of Israel, that is, who prays much for the people and the whole holy city of Jerusalem,” says the prophet Jeremiah; and in the first of Zechariah, an angel intercedes for the cities of Judah, “O Lord of hosts! how long wilt thou not pity Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, with which thou art wroth?” ( Zechariah 1:12.)

3. In this belief, as we ask those who live with us in the flesh, so we ask the Saints, living with God, to pray for us; and that they may pray for us, we call upon them by name, and doubt not but it is easy for Him who can do all things to cause, whether by the ministry of angels, or by another way and method pleasing to himself, that the Saints have a knowledge of our petitions, just as he causes the angels of heaven to know of the conversion of a sinner, and to rejoice in it.

4. The merits of Saints we hold not to be such as we find in Christ, who, offering himself and shedding his own blood for us, procured for the world full reconciliation with God. But the Saints have derived their merits, by which both they themselves were saved, and now assist us, from the same source of all salvation and all merit, viz., the passion of Christ. For if we look to strict justice, the workings of no Saint, however fruitful, would have sufficed for his own salvation, according to the words, “In thy sight shall no man living be justified,” ( <19E302> Psalm 143:2;) and the saying of Christ, “When ye have done all that was commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants,” ( Luke 17:10;) and the declaration of Paul, “The sufferings of the present time are not worthy, in regard to the future glory which shall be revealed in us.” ( Genesis 8:18.)

But from the mercy and liberality of God and the grace of Christ, the merits of the saints not only conduce to their own salvation, but are also available to us for protection and the obtaining of divine grace, God mercifully fulfilling in them what he truly promised, when he says, “I am thy strong God, jealous, visiting the iniquities of children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” ( Exodus 20:5,6.)

Thus the merits of deceased Abraham profited his son Isaac; and Jacob, instructing his grandchildren in religion, taught that his own name and that of his father’s should be invoked over them. ( Genesis 27.) This Moses did with full confidence. “Let thine anger,” says he, ( Exodus 32:13,) “cease, and be merciful to the iniquity of thy people: remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants.” So, too, because of the favor which God had for David, the man according to his own heart, his whole posterity, often to their advantage, experienced the indulgence of God. (3 Kings 12; 4 Kings 19; Isaiah 30:7; Ezekiel 14)


1. Our Lord Jesus Christ, fixing himself upon the Cross, according to the will of the Father, as a salutary Victim for redeeming men, had gathered together within himself, as his members, all those who, by faith and prayer, had anticipated this victim destined from the foundation of the ‘world to save men, or who were to embrace it by faith in after times, it being his will that the benefit of his death should extend equally to all who should ever become members of his body. Hence the Church, cultivating the remembrance of this common Sacrifice, ought to invite all the members alike, and not exclude any one of those who, according to the liberal intention of the Lord, are capable of benefit from this sacrifice.

Accordingly, as she first introduces the remembrance of the Saints, so she afterwards introduces the Remembrance, around the altar of sacrifice, of other Christians also, whom she believes to have departed piously in the true faith of Christ, but of whom she cannot be very certain whether they departed hence sufficiently cleansed and purified. She, however, makes one commemoration of the Saints, and another of those who are-Resting in the Sleep of Peace — of the former, not that we should pray for them, but rather that they should pray for us, that we may keep in their footsteps — of the latter, that we may supplicate the common Lord on their behalf, that God may be pleased, through our Lord Jesus Christ, to favor all who rest in Christ with an abode of refreshment, light, and power.

2. That we should riot exclude from the benefit of our Prayers those who have gone before us in the profession of the faith, the very mention of that communion which we profess to hold with all Saints distinctly demands; because, though freed from the body, they are linked with us by spiritual ties, and are attached to us by one spirit as members of the same body, and, connected by the bond of charity, adhere to us; neither can mortal Death cut off or separate them from the tie of Christ’s mystical body.

3. Seeing, then, that the Form of Prayer which our Lord hath taught us is such that no man ought to ask for his own advantage only, but as the citizen of a great community ask for the advantage of all, and he commands us by his Apostle ( James 5) to pray one for another that we may be saved, it were great cruelty toward their fellows, and great presumption toward the Lord, for any to exclude The Dead in Christ from the subject of their prayers. This Scripture nowhere commands us to do, and the nature of the spiritual communion which we profess to have with all the Saints distinctly forbids.

4. That this custom, diffused throughout the whole Church of Christ, by which Remembrance of the Dead is made around the Sacrifice of the altar, flowed from Apostolic Tradition, is abundantly shown by strong and credible testimony. Dionysius the Areopagite, in his book of Celestial Hierarchy, (cap. 7) says, “With regard to Praying for the Dead, the tradition came to us from divine guides, I mean the Apostles,” where he clearly explains the whole order and method of these prayers. “That prayer,” says he, “implores the divine mercy to remit all the sins committed by the deceased through human infirmity, and to place him in light and the land of the living.”

5. Chrysostom says to the people of Antioch, (Hom. 69,) “Not without cause did the Apostles give their sanction that a Commemoration of the Dead should be made in the most awful mysteries, for they know that much gain thence accrues to them: for when the people stand with outstretched hands, and the awful Sacrifice is held forth, how should we not, in praying for them, obtain our prayer from God?”

6. Damascenus says, “The Apostles, the disciples of the Savior, who made the circuit of the whole world, preaching the word of life, which they had seen with their eyes, declared that Remembrance of those who have slept in the faith was to be made in the awful and life-giving Sacraments.

This the Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ and God still observes steadily, and also without contradiction from one end of the earth to the other, from that time even to the present, and will even to the end.” (Damascenus in Serm. de iis qui in fide hinc migraverint.)

7. Augustine — “Nor is it to be denied that the Souls of the Dead are relieved by the piety of their living relatives, when the Sacrifice of the Mediator is offered for them, or alms even given in the Church: but these things are beneficial to those who merited during their lives that they should be beneficial.” (Aug. Enchirid. cap. Joan. Quaest. 2, ad Dulich.)

8. See to the same elect in Epiphanius, (lib. 3, Cont. Haeres.;) Tertullian, (ad Uxor. de Corona Militis;) Ambrose, (Orat. pro Imp. Theod. et lib. 2, Epist. ad Fausti;) Cyprian, (lib. 1. epist. 9;) Bernard, (Cant. 1, serm. 66.)

9. After the Commemoration of the Dead, and the Church has again commended the common safety of the living to a merciful Lord, the other Prayers are employed in a worthy preparation for taking the holy Eucharist: which part of the Mass is peculiar to those present, and taking the holy Eucharist sacramentally, or, at least, spiritually. It does not much serve for the common good, for as no man can be baptized, so neither can he take the Sacrament profitably for another. The Sacrament being at length partaken, and the other things duly performed, “thanksgiving,” as Augustine says, “concludes the whole.”

And it may be here expedient, while that most true and singular Sacrifice is offered to call to mind the ancient practice of the Church, (Aug. de Spirit. et Lit. c. 2,) by which not only the Priest sacrificing, but also the Deacons and other Ministers of the Church, who, on more solemn days, are admitted as witnesses of this great Sacrifice, and assistants in the necessary services were enjoined by a series of Canons, (De Consecra. dist. 2, can. Peract. can. Relatum,) to be partakers of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. All the faithful, also, in order to celebrate the remembrance of the death of the Lord and our redemption, when flocking to this Sacrifice of our redeemer, are to be admonished and excited by sedulous exhortation, after they have first examined themselves, Confessed, and obtained Absolution, to take the grace of the Holy Communion, and be frequent in carefully and devoutly partaking of the most divine Eucharist along with the Priest.


1. Let the Ancient Ceremonies used in the Sacrament of Baptism be all retained, viz., Exorcism, Renunciation, Profession of Faith, Chrism, etc., for they tend to figure and show forth the efficacy of this Sacrament.

2. It likewise seems that no change should be made in the Ancient Ceremonies which are used by the Catholic Church in the Mass, for they are all particularly appropriate to what is done in the Mass.

3. With regard to the use of this Ordinance, two Masses ought at least to be celebrated every day, in each city, and in each church, (though there be several churches in one city or place,) which has proper Priests and an attendance of people — one morning Mass, at which those may be present who gain a living by the labor of their hands, when assembling they may either communicate in the Eucharist, or piously commend themselves to God; and another, with greater splendor, which may be chanted about eight o’clock, A.M., at which may be present in like manner such as wish either to communicate, in the Eucharist or to commend themselves to God. In country districts let one Mass at least be celebrated every Lord’s day and Feast day.

4. And that the people may be conveniently recalled to the use of Masses, Preachers, in accordance with the view of this rite above explained, ought to exhort the people to give a willing attendance on the same; and certain meditations adapted to each part of the Mass should be prescribed; and before commencing, the Presbyter or Deacon, if there be an opportunity, should show the true use of the Mass, and recommend it to the people by formulary which may be agreed upon, according to the nature of this Ordinance, as above explained.

5. Let the Canon likewise, in which nothing is to be changed, have its succinct and lucid interpretation, that thereby Presbyters may be the better able both to understand the performance of their office, and explain what they understand to the people.

6. Let the other Ceremonies of Sacrament be used according to the form of the Ancient Agendae: should anything, however, have crept into them which may occasion superstition, let it be taken away.

7. Let Altars, sacerdotal vestments, church vessels, banners, likewise crosses, tapers, images, be retained in the Church. But let it be so that they may be memorials, and that no worship of latria be transferred to things of this nature, nor let there be a superstitious flocking to statues and images.

8. Likewise let Canonical Hours and that pious Psalmody which the Apostle himself has recommended to us, ( 1 Corinthians 14:15, 26,) be by no means abolished in churches; where they have been discontinued let them be restored, and especially as to time on the Lord?s Day, and other ancient and more solemn feast days.

9. Those things which have been added concerning the Saints to what is contained in the ancient ordinary concerning Saints, are to be recalled, and if in any respect they have gone to excess they are to be corrected.

10. Let Vigils likewise, and Obsequies of the Dead, be celebrated after the custom of the Ancient Church, for it were monstrous to retain no remembrance of them in the Church, as if their souls had perished along with their bodies.

11. Let the Feast Days also received by the Church be retained; if not all at least the principal — the Lord’s Day — the Nativity of our Lord — the Circumcision of our Lord — the Epiphany — Palm Sunday — Easter, with the two days following — the Ascension of our Lord — Pentecost, with the two days following — Corpus Christi — the Feast Days of the blessed Virgin Mary, and the Holy Apostles — the Feasts of John Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Stephen, Laurence, Martin, and Michael, of all the Saints; and, in individual Churches, of those Saints who are held to be their special patrons, that on these Feasts of the Saints we may honor God in the Saints, and be stirred up to imitate them, and reflect that we are aided by their prayers, and associated in their merits.

12. Likewise, let Rogation Sunday previous to the Ascension of our Lord, and the Litany on the day of St. Mark, and the other customary processions during the year, be observed according to ancient practice.

13. In like manner let the due solemnities be used on Holy Sundays, and in regard to the other Feasts of the Church, and for the Eve of Easter and Pentecost, let Baptismal water be prepared with solemn benediction in all Parish Churches.

14. . And seeing that Abstinence from Flesh, when practiced not because of abomination but of temperance, is in itself good, and fit to chasten the flesh, while, moreover, flocks can scarcely supply the daily consumption of animal food, let the practice and ordinance of the Ancient Church as to days of Fasting be retained by abstaining from flesh on Friday and Saturday.

15. For the Church instituted this Abstinence from no superstition which abstains from meats at certain set times, nor on account of any impurity in meats, (knowing that to the pure all things are pure, and that nothing which entereth the mouth defileth the man,) but in order to tame the flesh, so that the soul may ‘be the better restrained from vicious desires and evil motions; and she has appointed that Abstinence especially on Fridays and Saturdays, that men prepared by a two days’ abstinence might approach in a fitter and worthier state to pay due worship to God, to hear his word, and partake of the holy Eucharist, (which was anciently more frequently practiced on the Lord’s Day.) And they might by this voluntary castigation, as if with Christ, (the remembrance of whose Passion is especially cherished by the faithful on that day,) crucify their flesh.

16. Let also the customary Fasts of the Church be observed, but without astricting those who have a necessary excuse, such as persons exhausted by severe labor, and travelers, likewise pregnant women, children at the breast, the aged and the sick.

17. Nor let the Benediction of those things which are prepared for the use of men by Exorcisms and Prayers be disapproved, provided the operations thence arising be ascribed not to the things themselves, but to divine energy, and let care be taken that the same be not transferred to any kind of incantation or superstition.

18. And although we ought to feel with the Apostle that he who is a Bachelor cares for the things which are the Lord’s, etc., and it were the more to be wished that many Clergy may be found who, while they are Bachelors, are also truly continent; yet seeing that many who hold the functions of the Ecclesiastical Office have already in many places taken wives whom they are unwilling to put away, in that matter let the sentiments of a General Council be waited for, seeing that otherwise, as the times are, a change cannot be now made without causing grievous disturbances.

19. It is not however to be denied, that though Marriage is honorable in itself, according to Scripture, yet, according to Scripture, he who marries not and is continent, does better.

20. The same is the case with regard to the use of the Eucharist Under both species, to which many have also become, accustomed, and from which they cannot at this time be torn away without grievous commotions; and as the (Ecumenical Council, to which all the States of the Empire have given in their submission, will doubtless employ pious and anxious care to make the best provision in this case for the consciences of many, and the public tranquillity, let them who have previously received the use of Both Species, and are unwilling to relinquish it, wait with reference to this matter also for the deliberation and sentence of the (Ecumenical Council.

21. Those, however, who cling to the use of Both Species, ought not to censure the inveterate practice of Communicating under one species: nor should the parties trouble each other until the (Ecumenical Council have decreed on the matter.

22. And although the Sacrament of the Eucharist was instituted under Both Species, it is not to be thought that Christ incarnate is divided, contrary to what the divinely inspired Scripture delivers, but that he is contained entire under each species.

23. Since there is in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the true body of Christ, and the true blood of Christ, in this Sacrament Christ ought justly to be adored.

24. And likewise, the Sacrament of the Eucharist once consecrated by the word of Christ, though it be kept for a longer time, remains the Sacrament and the body and blood of Christ until it be taken.

25. Those things which pertain to the Discipline of Clergy and People, seem to be among the most necessary for removing from Churches those Scandals which give great cause to the perturbation of these ‘times, as the fact itself speaks. Wherefore, if the Imperial Majesty shall procure any useful Reformation to Churches, so far will any one who studies our Holy Religion and the public tranquillity be from wishing to repudiate it, that all ought to labor strenuously to the utmost to further and procure its speedy accomplishment.