Thursday, December 10, 2009

Antidote to John Calvin's Institutes (IV,18:10-20) [Sacrifice of the Mass: Fathers on Priesthood and the Mass / Christ-Murderers? / Insults]

See the introduction and links to all installments at the top of my John Calvin, Calvinism, and General Protestantism web page; also the online version of the Institutes. Calvin's words will be in blue throughout. All biblical citations (in my portions) will be from RSV unless otherwise noted.

* * * * *

Book IV



10. Second part of the chapter. Some of the ancients call the Supper a sacrifice, but not propitiatory, as the Papists do the Mass. This proved by passages from Augustine.

Should any one here obtrude concise sentences of the ancients, and contend, or their authority, that the sacrifice which is performed in the Supper is to be understood differently from what we have explained it, let this be our brief reply,—that if the question relates to the approval of the fiction of sacrifice, as imagined by Papists in the mass, there is nothing in the Fathers to countenance the sacrilege.

Really? What I have documented in the last installment, including supporting statements of renowned Protestant Church historians like Schaff and Kelly, amply refutes that claim.

They indeed use the term sacrifice, but they, at the same time, explain that they mean nothing more than the commemoration of that one true sacrifice which Christ, our only sacrifice (as they themselves everywhere proclaim), performed on the cross.

Bingo!!! So now Calvin informs us that the fathers teach in fact exactly what the Catholics teach, but Calvin is unaware of that, and has to pretend that Catholics somehow teach otherwise. It's truly an amazing spectacle to behold. But Calvin also probably misses the fact that the fathers taught that the sacrifice of the cross is made present to us in the Mass. It's not merely a remembrance.

“The Hebrews,” says Augustine (Cont. Faust. Lib. 20 c. 18), “in the victims of beasts which they offered to God, celebrated the prediction of the future victim which Christ offered: Christians now celebrate the commemoration of a finished sacrifice by the sacred oblation and participation of the body of Christ.” Here he certainly teaches the same doctrine which is delivered at greater length in the Treatise on Faith, addressed to Peter the deacon, whoever may have been the author. The words are, “Hold most firmly, and have no doubt at all, that the Only-Begotten became incarnate for us, that he offered himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour; to whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in the time of the Old Testament, animals were sacrificed, and to whom now, with the Father and the Holy Spirit (with whom there is one Godhead), the holy Church, throughout the whole world, ceases not to offer the sacrifice of bread and wine. For, in those carnal victims, there was a typifying of the flesh of Christ, which he himself was to offer for our sins, and of the blood which he was to shed for the forgiveness of sins. But in that sacrifice there is thanksgiving and commemoration of the flesh of Christ which he offered for us, and of the blood which he shed for us.” Hence Augustine himself, in several passages (Ep. 120, ad Honorat. Cont. Advers. Legis.), explains, that it is nothing else than a sacrifice of praise.

He teaches much more than that, as I proved last time. Calvin is playing the blind sophist again. He sees what he wants to see. I guess he had the ability to look up on a clear day at high noon in the summer and not see the sun. What is required to convince the man of anything? He suffers from astounding blindness regarding plain historical facts of what prominent Christians in fact believed. Let's review just three of Augustine's many proclamations on this issue:

Was not Christ once for all offered up in His own person as a sacrifice? and yet, is He not likewise offered up in the sacrament as a sacrifice, not only in the special solemnities of Easter, but also daily among our congregations; so that the man who, being questioned, answers that He is offered as a sacrifice in that ordinance, declares what is strictly true?

(Epistles, 98, 9; NPNF 1, Vol. I)

The entire Church observes the tradition delivered to us by the Fathers, namely, that for those who have died in the fellowship of the Body and Blood of Christ, prayer should be offered when they are commemorated at the actual Sacrifice in its proper place, and that we should call to mind that for them, too, that Sacrifice is offered.

(Sermo, 172, 2; 173, 1; De Cura pro mortuis, 6; De Anima et ejus Origine, 2, 21; in Hugh Pope, St. Augustine of Hippo, Garden City, New York: Doubleday Image, 1961 [originally 1937], 69)

Out of hatred of Christ the crowd there shed Cyprian's blood, but today a reverential multitude gathers to drink the Blood of Christ . . . this altar . . . whereon a Sacrifice is offered to God . . .

(Sermo 310, 2; in Pope, ibid., 65)

In short, you will find in his writings, passim, that the only reason for which the Lord’s Supper is called a sacrifice is, because it is a commemoration, an image, a testimonial of that singular, true, and only sacrifice by which Christ expiated our guilt. For there is a memorable passage (De Trinitate, Lib. 4 c. 24), where, after discoursing of the only sacrifice, he thus concludes: “Since, in a sacrifice, four things are considered—viz. to whom it is offered, by whom, what and for whom, the same one true Mediator, reconciling us to God by the sacrifice of peace, remains one with him to whom he offered, made himself one with those for whom he offered, is himself the one who offered, and the one thing which he offered.” Chrysostom speaks to the same effect. They so strongly claim the honour of the priesthood for Christ alone, that Augustine declares it would be equivalent to Antichrist for any one to make a bishop to be an intercessor between God and man (August. Cont. Parmen. Lib. 2 c. 8).

More sophistry . . . Now Calvin wants to astonishingly claim that Augustine and Chrysostom denied the office of priest? I'll cite, therefore, their references to priests from the quotations offered last time (one must be minutely comprehensive in refuting Calvin's endless tomfooleries):

St. John Chrysostom

The priest stands there carrying out the action, but the power and grace is of God. “This is My Body,” he says. This statement transforms the gifts.

(Homilies on the Treachery of Judas, 1, 6; in William A. Jurgens, editor and translator, The Faith of the Early Fathers, three volumes, Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, Vol. II, 1970, 104-105)

When you see the Lord immolated and lying upon the altar, and the priest bent over that sacrifice praying, . . . are you not lifted up to heaven?

(The Priesthood 3:4:177)

But now he has transferred the priestly action to what is most awesome and magnificent. He has changed the sacrifice itself, and instead of the butchering of dumb beasts, he commands the offering up of himself.

(Homilies on First Corinthians, 24:2)

St. Augustine

For we do not ordain priests and offer sacrifices to our martyrs, as they do to their dead men, for that would be incongruous, undue, and unlawful, such being due only to God . . .

(City of God, Book VIII, chapter 27; NPNF 1, Vol. II)

Elsewhere, Augustine wrote:

[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house.

(Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 4:5)

Howbeit even if it were no where at all read in the Old Scriptures, not small is the authority, which in this usage is clear, of the whole Church, namely, that in the prayers of the priest which are offered to the Lord God at His altar, the Commendation of the dead hath also its place.

(On Care to be Had for the Dead, section 3, NPNF 1-03)

Would Calvin have us all absurdly believe that St. John Chrysostom wrote a book called Treatise Concerning the Christian Priesthood, while somehow not believing in priests?! Here are some excerpts from that work:

It behoves the priest therefore to leave none of these things unexamined, but, after a thorough inquiry into all of them, to apply such remedies as he has appositely to each case, lest his zeal prove to be in vain. And not in this matter only, but also in the work of knitting together the severed members of the Church, one can see that he has much to do. For the pastor of sheep has his flock following him, wherever he may lead them: and if any should stray out of the straight path, and, deserting the good pasture, feed in unproductive or rugged places, a loud shout suffices to collect them and bring back to the fold those who have been parted from it: . . .

(Book II, section 4)

For the priestly office is indeed discharged on earth, but it ranks amongst heavenly ordinances; and very naturally so: for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Paraclete Himself, instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels. Wherefore the consecrated priest ought to be as pure as if he were standing in the heavens themselves in the midst of those powers.

(Book III, section 4)

11. Some of the ancients seem to have declined too much to the shadows of the law.
And yet we deny not that in the Supper the sacrifice of Christ is so vividly exhibited as almost to set the spectacle of the cross before our eyes, just as the apostle says to the Galatians, that Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth before their eyes, when the preaching of the cross was delivered to them (Gal. 3:1). But because I see that those ancient writers have wrested this commemoration to a different purpose than was accordant to the divine institution (the Supper somehow seemed to them to present the appearance of a repeated, or at least renewed, immolation), nothing can be safer for the pious than to rest satisfied with the pure and simple ordinance of God, whose Supper it is said to be, just because his authority alone ought to appear in it.

So now Calvin backpeddles and concedes that "some" fathers got it wrong, according to him (we have seen how many did so). He can't totally deny the obvious, even in the service of sophistry, revolutionary propaganda, and revisionist history, and so is forced to make some concessions (albeit vague) to historical reality.

Seeing that they retained a pious and orthodox view of the whole ordinance—and I cannot discover that they wished to derogate in the least from the one sacrifice of the Lord—I cannot charge them with any impiety, and yet I think they cannot be excused from having erred somewhat in the mode of action. They imitated the Jewish mode of sacrificing more closely than either Christ had ordained, or the nature of the gospel allowed. The only thing, therefore, for which they may be justly censured is, that preposterous analogy, that not contented with the simple and genuine institution of Christ, they declined too much to the shadows of the law.

This is another common tactic of Calvin's: he will charge the fathers (a few or many) with error, but then soften the blow so that their integrity is maintained (so that he can still cite them as models in the early Church in other areas). But let the Catholics of his era exhibit the very same beliefs, and he will quickly demonize them and so distort their beliefs that they are barely recognizable.

The present instance is an altogether classic and typical case. He can charge the fathers with the "error" of believing in some semblance of the Mass, but "cannot charge them with any impiety" -- whereas the Catholics of his time (who believe the same exact thing) are in league with Satan and guilty of the grossest sacrileges and abominations. He knows that these fathers hadn't "wished to derogate in the least from the one sacrifice of the Lord" yet at the same time he pretends that contemporary Catholics did do so. He can't accept their own testimony concerning their own beliefs. He simply mocks that and moves forward with his calumnies and slanders. The only common thread in all this inconsistency is that Calvin sees what he wants to see and ignores or twists the rest.

12. Great distinction to be made between the Mosaic sacrifices and the Lord’s Supper, which is called a eucharistic sacrifice. Same rule in this discussion.

Any who will diligently consider, will perceive that the word of the Lord makes this distinction between the Mosaic sacrifices and our eucharist—that while the former represented to the Jewish people the same efficacy of the death of Christ which is now exhibited to us in the Supper, yet the form of representation was different. There the Levitical priests were ordered to typify the sacrifice which Christ was to accomplish; a victim was placed to act as a substitute for Christ himself; an altar was erected on which it was to be sacrificed; the whole, in short, was so conducted as to bring under the eye an image of the sacrifice which was to be offered to God in expiation.

That much is true.

But now that the sacrifice has been performed, the Lord has prescribed a different method to us—viz. to transmit the benefit of the sacrifice offered to him by his Son to his believing people. The Lord, therefore, has given us a table at which we may feast, not an altar on which a victim may be offered; he has not consecrated priests to sacrifice, but ministers to distribute a sacred feast.

This doesn't account for the continued New Testament reference to altars, nor the casual overwhelming acceptance of the priesthood and the Sacrifice of the Mass by the Fathers. How did it come about? We contend that this was the teaching passed down from the beginning. Not everything is explicitly outlined in the Bible, but it doesn't follow that tradition cannot fill out the aspects not thoroughly treated in Scripture. Nothing in Catholic teaching is contrary to what is explicitly taught in Scripture.

The more sublime and holy this mystery is, the more religiously and reverently ought it to be treated. Nothing, therefore, is safer than to banish all the boldness of human sense, and adhere solely to what Scripture delivers.

Calvin ignores much of that Scripture. We take all of it into account and consistently develop it, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, Holy Mother Church, apostolic succession, and Sacred Tradition.

And certainly, if we reflect that it is the Supper of the Lord and not of men, why do we allow ourselves to be turned aside one nail’s-breadth from Scripture, by any authority of man or length of prescription?

That is exactly what I would ask Calvin: how he can defend all his departures from Scripture and the fathers?

Accordingly, the apostle, in desiring completely to remove the vices which had crept into the Church of Corinth, as the most expeditious method, recalls them to the institution itself, showing that thence a perpetual rule ought to be derived.

Paul's admonitions constantly presuppose a tradition passed-down: fully known to his readers.

13. The terms sacrifice and priest. Different kinds of sacrifices. 1. Propitiatory. 2. Eucharistic. None propitiatory but the death of Christ.

Lest any quarrelsome person should raise a dispute with us as to the terms sacrifice and priest, I will briefly explain what in the whole of this discussion we mean by sacrifice, and what by priest.

In other words, how he will arbitrarily (with no legitimate authority or rationale) redefine terms that have been understood in a particular way for 1500 years . . .

Some, on what rational ground I see not, extend the term sacrifice to all sacred ceremonies and religious acts. We know that by the uniform use of Scripture, the name of sacrifice is given to what the Greeks call at one time θυσια, at another προσφοπὰ, at another τελετνὴ. This, in its general acceptation, includes everything whatever that is offered to God. Wherefore, we ought to distinguish, but so that the distinction may derive its analogy from the sacrifices of the Mosaic Law, under whose shadows the Lord was pleased to represent to his people the whole reality of sacrifices. Though these were various in form, they may all be referred to two classes. For either an oblation for sin was made by a certain species of satisfaction, by which the penalty was redeemed before God, or it was a symbol and attestation of religion and divine worship, at one time in the way of supplication to demand the favour of God; at another, by way of thanksgiving, to testify gratitude to God for benefits received; at another, as a simple exercise of piety, to renew the sanction of the covenant, to which latter branch, burnt-offerings, and libations, oblations, first-fruits, and peace offerings, referred. Hence let us also distribute them into two classes. The other class, with the view of explaining, let us call λατπευτικὸν, and σεβαστιχὸν, as consisting of the veneration and worship which believers both owe and render to God; or, if you prefer it, let us call it ευχαριστικὸν, since it is exhibited to God by none but those who, enriched with his boundless benefits, offer themselves and all their actions to him in return. The other class let us call propitiatory or expiatory. A sacrifice of expiation is one whose object is to appease the wrath of God, to satisfy his justice, and thereby wipe and wash away the sins, by which the sinner being cleansed and restored to purity, may return to favour with God. Hence the name which was given in the Law to the victims which were offered in expiation of sin (Exod. 29:36);

We have no significant beef with Calvin when he describes the Old Testament religious system; that is not where the differences lie.

not that they were adequate to regain the favour of God, and wipe away guilt, but because they typified the true sacrifice of this nature, which was at length performed in reality by Christ alone; by him alone, because no other could, and once, because the efficacy and power of the one sacrifice performed by Christ is eternal,

. . . which is precisely one reason for regarding the Mass as timeless, and making this one sacrifice present to us in time and physical reality.

as he declared by his voice, when he said, “It is finished;” that is, that everything necessary to regain the favour of the Father, to procure forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and salvation, that all this was performed and consummated by his one oblation, and that hence nothing was wanting. No place was left for another sacrifice.


14. The Lord’s Supper not properly called a propitiatory sacrifice, still less can the Popish Mass be so called. Those who mutter over the mass cannot be called priests.

Wherefore, I conclude, that it is an abominable insult and intolerable blasphemy, as well against Christ as the sacrifice, which, by his death, he performed for us on the cross, for any one to think of repeating the oblation, of purchasing the forgiveness of sins, of propitiating God, and obtaining justification. But what else is done in the mass than to make us partakers of the sufferings of Christ by means of a new oblation?

It's not "new" at all, as I have reiterated endlessly.

And that there might be no limit to their extravagance, they have deemed it little to say, that it properly becomes a common sacrifice for the whole Church, without adding, that it is at their pleasure to apply it specially to this one or that, as they choose; or rather, to any one who is willing to purchase their merchandise from them for a price paid.

If something is the application of grace, then it can be applied to one in particular or to all, just as we may pray for one person or for many, or help one person in charity or a group, as it were. That is no difficulty at all. As for "price paid": this is common to all religion. Protestants take up an offering. They receive spiritual benefit and are expected to provide for their pastors and the upkeep of the building. In Catholicism it is the same way: except that we believe that the benefit of the Mass can be applied to particular souls. In the Old Covenant, the people were expected to contribute with tithes and portions of their property (animals or grain offerings, etc.). It was not an absolutely free enterprise.

The same Protestants who condemned indulgences (and there were abuses there that the Church corrected) thought nothing of stealing Catholic churches and monasteries by the many thousands (Luther even lived in a former monastery). That had nothing to do with greed or filthy lucre, of course (Protestants always and everywhere being morally superior to Catholics, as "everyone knows"); it was rationalized away as being something other than theft. But we never hear about that.

Moreover, as they could not come up to the estimate of Judas, still, that they might in some way refer to their author, they make the resemblance to consist in the number. He sold for thirty pieces of silver: they, according to the French method of computation, sell for thirty pieces of brass. He did it once: they as often as a purchaser is met with.

How quaint: a comparison with Judas.

We deny that they are priests in this sense—namely, that by such oblations they intercede with God for the people, that by propitiating God they make expiation for sins. Christ is the only Pontiff and Priest of the New Testament: to him all priestly offices were transferred, and in him they closed and terminated. Even had Scripture made no mention of the eternal priesthood of Christ, yet, as God, after abolishing those ancient sacrifices, appointed no new priest, the argument of the apostle remains invincible, “No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” (Heb. 5:4). How, then, can those sacrilegious men, who by their own account are murderers of Christ, dare to call themselves the priests of the living God?

"Murderers of Christ"? Oooooh! Calvin has now elevated his pathetic rhetoric to the sublime realm of classic anti-Semitic insults. I must say I never heard this before. It puts the cannibal charge of the ancient Romans to shame. I'm surprised that it isn't put to more use by our esteemed modern-day tiny anti-Catholic fringe of Protestantism.

15. Their vanity proved even by Plato.

There is a most elegant passage in the second book of Plato’s Republic. Speaking of ancient expiations, and deriding the foolish confidence of wicked and iniquitous men, who thought that by them, as a kind of veils, they concealed their crimes from the gods; and, as if they had made a paction with the gods, indulged themselves more securely, he seems accurately to describe the use of the expiation of the mass, as it exists in the world in the present day. All know that it is unlawful to defraud and circumvent another. To do injustice to widows, to pillage pupils, to molest the poor, to seize the goods of others by wicked arts, to get possession of any man’s succession by fraud and perjury, to oppress by violence and tyrannical terror, all admit to be impious. How then do so many, as if assured of impunity, dare to do all those things? Undoubtedly, if we duly consider, we will find that the only thing which gives them so much courage is, that by the sacrifice of the mass as a price paid, they trust that they will satisfy God, or at least will easily find a means of transacting with him. Plato next proceeds to deride the gross stupidity of those who think by such expiations to redeem the punishments which they must otherwise suffer after death. And what is meant by anniversaries and the greater part of masses in the present day, but just that those who through life have been the most cruel tyrants, or most rapacious plunderers, or adepts in all kinds of wickedness, may, as if redeemed at this price, escape the fire of purgatory?

Since all this section consists of is ridiculous anti-Catholic rantings, there is no need to reply. I respond to arguments. I have no desire to get down in the mud with Calvin. His folly here is self-evident and self-refuting.

16. To the eucharistic class of sacrifice belong all offices of piety and charity. This species of sacrifice has no connection with the appeasing of God.

Under the other kind of sacrifice, which we have called eucharistic, are included all the offices of charity, by which, while we embrace our brethren, we honour the Lord himself in his members; in fine, all our prayers, praises, thanksgivings, and every act of worship which we perform to God. All these depend on the greater sacrifice with which we dedicate ourselves, soul and body, to be a holy temple to the Lord. For it is not enough that our external acts be framed to obedience, but we must dedicate and consecrate first ourselves, and, secondly, all that we have, so that all which is in us may be subservient to his glory, and be stirred up to magnify it.


This kind of sacrifice has nothing to do with appeasing God, with obtaining remission of sins, with procuring justification, but is wholly employed in magnifying and extolling God, since it cannot be grateful and acceptable to God unless at the hand of those who, having received forgiveness of sins, have already been reconciled and freed from guilt.

Too many large discussions here to pursue.

This is so necessary to the Church, that it cannot be dispensed with. Therefore, it will endure for ever, so long as the people of God shall endure, as we have already seen above from the prophet. For in this sense we may understand the prophecy, “From the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, said the Lord of hosts” (Malachi 1:11); so far are we from doing away with this sacrifice.

That passage was also dealt with in a past installment.

Thus Paul beseeches us by the mercies of God, to present our bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,” our “reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). Here he speaks very significantly when he adds, that this service is reasonable, for he refers to the spiritual mode of worshipping God, and tacitly opposes it to the carnal sacrifices of the Mosaic Law. Thus to do good and communicate are called sacrifices with which God is well pleased (Heb. 13:16). Thus the kindness of the Philippians in relieving Paul’s want is called “an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18); and thus all the good works of believers are called spiritual sacrifices.

Catholics accept all this; we don't illogically pit it against the Sacrifice of the Mass, as Calvin does.

17. Prayer, thanksgiving, and other exercises of piety, called sacrifices. In this sense the Lord’s Supper called the eucharist. In the same sense all believers are priests.

And why do I enumerate? This form of expression is constantly occurring in Scripture. Nay, even while the people of God were kept under the external tutelage of the law, the prophets clearly expressed that under these carnal sacrifices there was a reality which is common both to the Jewish people and the Christian Church. For this reason David prayed, “Let my prayer ascend forth before thee as incense” (Ps. 141:2). And Hosea gives the name of “calves of the lips” (Hos. 14:3) to thanksgivings, which David elsewhere calls “sacrifices of praise;” the apostle, imitating him, speaks of offering “the sacrifice of praise,” which he explains to mean, “the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name” (Heb. 13:15). This kind of sacrifice is indispensable in the Lord’s Supper, in which, while we show forth his death, and give him thanks, we offer nothing but the sacrifice of praise.

All true, except for the last clause, where Calvin denies the Sacrifice of the Mass.

From this office of sacrificing, all Christians are called “a royal priesthood,” because by Christ we offer that sacrifice of praise of which the apostle speaks, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name (l Pet. 2:9; Heb. 13:15).

The royal priesthood of all believers doesn't exclude a special class of ordained priests, just as in the Old Covenant (where this larger class originated) there was a special class of priests. If the Bible isn't "either/or" in this regard, why should we be?

We do not appear with our gifts in the presence of God without an intercessor. Christ is our Mediator, by whose intervention we offer ourselves and our all to the Father; he is our High Priest, who, having entered into the upper sanctuary, opens up an access for us; he is the altar on which we lay our gifts, that whatever we do attempt, we may attempt in him; he it is, I say, who “hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Rev. 1:6).

Jesus continues to act as high priest because the cross is timeless. That is all part of the Mass that Calvin decries.

18. Conclusion. Names given to the Mass.

What remains but for the blind to see, the deaf to hear, children even to perceive this abomination of the mass, which, held forth in a golden cup, has so intoxicated all the kings and nations of the earth, from the highest to the lowest; so struck them with stupor and giddiness, that, duller than the lower animals, they have placed the vessel of their salvation in this fatal vortex. Certainly Satan never employed a more powerful engine to assail and storm the kingdom of Christ.

Calvin: the master of the fundamentally stupid and clueless, slanderous insult . . .

This is the Helen for whom the enemies of the truth in the present day fight with so much rage, fury, and atrocity; and truly the Helen with whom they commit spiritual whoredom, the most execrable of all. I am not here laying my little finger on those gross abuses by which they might pretend that the purity of their sacred mass is profaned; on the base traffic which they ply; the sordid gain which they make; the rapacity with which they satiate their avarice. I only indicate, and that in few and simple terms, how very sacred the sanctity of the mass is, how well it has for several ages deserved to be admired and held in veneration! It were a greater work to illustrate these great mysteries as they deserve, and I am unwilling to meddle with their obscene impurities, which are daily before the eyes and faces of all, that it may be understood that the mass, taken in the most choice form in which it can be exhibited, without any appendages, teems from head to foot with all kinds of impiety, blasphemy, idolatry, and sacrilege.

Since no argument is present, again, no reply is necessary; indeed even possible.

19. Last part of the chapter, recapitulating the views which ought to be held concerning baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Why the Lord’s Supper is, and Baptism is not, repeated.

My readers have here a compendious view of all that I have thought it of importance to know concerning these two sacraments, which have been delivered to the Christian Church, to be used from the beginning of the new dispensation to the end of the world, Baptism being a kind of entrance into the Church, an initiation into the faith, and the Lord’s Supper the constant aliment by which Christ spiritually feeds his family of believers. Wherefore, as there is but one God, one faith, one Christ, one Church, which is his body, so Baptism is one, and is not repeated. But the Supper is ever and anon dispensed, to intimate, that those who are once allured into the Church are constantly fed by Christ. Besides these two, no other has been instituted by God, and no other ought to be recognised by the assembly of the faithful.

Yet five more were for centuries, for some odd reason. St. Augustine, for example, accepted all seven Catholic sacraments.

That sacraments are not to be instituted and set up by the will of men, is easily understood by him who remembers what has been above with sufficient plainness expounded —viz. that the sacraments have been appointed by God to instruct us in his promise, and testify his goodwill towards us; and who, moreover, considers, that the Lord has no counsellor (Isa. 40:13; Rom. 11:34); who can give us any certainty as to his will, or assure us how he is disposed towards us, what he is disposed to give, and what to deny?

Circular argumentation . . .

From this it follows, that no one can set forth a sign which is to be a testimonial of his will, and of some promise. He alone can give the sign, and bear witness to himself. I will express it more briefly, perhaps in homelier, but also in clearer terms,—There never can be a sacrament without a promise of salvation. All men collected into one cannot, of themselves, give us any promise of salvation, and, therefore, they cannot, of themselves, give out and set up a sacrament.

Sacraments are physical means of conveying grace. But Calvin denies that this can take place in the case of five, and pretty much even for the two sacraments he retains in gutted form. He denies the underlying premise of what grace is and how it is given to human beings. Since he rejects the key premise, obviously he also denies what flows consistently from those premises.

20. Christians should be contented with these two sacraments. They are abolished by the sacraments decreed by men.

With these two, therefore, let the Christian Church be contented, and not only not admit or acknowledge any third at present, but not even desire or expect it even until the end of the world.

Calvin being infallible over against 1500 years of unbroken developed Tradition . . .

For though to the Jews were given, besides his ordinary sacraments, others differing somewhat according to the nature of the times (as the manna, the water gushing from the rock, the brazen serpent, and the like), by this variety they were reminded not to stop short at such figures, the state of which could not be durable, but to expect from God something better, to endure without decay and without end. Our case is very different. To us Christ has been revealed. In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3), in such richness and abundance, that to ask or hope for any new addition to these treasures is truly to offend God and provoke him against us.

Unless they were instituted by Christ Himself, as we believe (just as baptism and the Holy Eucharist were) . . .

It behoves us to hunger after Christ only, to seek him, look to him, learn of him, and learn again, until the arrival of the great day on which the Lord will fully manifest the glory of his kingdom, and exhibit himself as he is to our admiring eye (1 John 3:2).

Obviously, following His commands and practices handed down by Him is following Him.

And, for this reason, this age of ours is designated in Scripture by the last hour, the last days, the last times, that no one may deceive himself with the vain expectation of some new doctrine or revelation.

Including all the false Protestant novelties and corruptions of legitimate Christian tradition . . .

Our heavenly Father, who “at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us” by his beloved Son, who alone can manifest, and, in fact, has fully manifested, the Father, in so far as is of importance to us, while we now see him through a mirror. Now, since men have been denied the power of making new sacraments in the Church of God, it were to be wished, that in those which are of God, there should be the least possible admixture of human invention.

We agree! It's Calvin who has invented all sorts of nonsense with regard to the Eucharist, not us . . .

For just as when water is infused, the wine is diluted, and when leaven is put in, the whole mass is leavened, so the purity of the ordinances of God is impaired, whenever man makes any addition of his own.

Our point of view precisely . . .

And yet we see how far the sacraments as at present used have degenerated from their genuine purity.

In Calvin's own novel and logically tortured, insufficiently biblical teaching . . .

There is everywhere more than enough of pomp, ceremony, and gesticulation, while no account is taken, or mention made, of the word of God,

None whatsoever?

without which, even the sacraments themselves are not sacraments. Nay, in such a crowd, the very ceremonies ordained by God cannot raise their head, but lie as it were oppressed. In Baptism, as we have elsewhere justly complained, how little is seen of that which alone ought to shine and be conspicuous there, I mean Baptism itself? The Supper was altogether buried when it was turned into the Mass. The utmost is, that it is seen once a year, but in a garbled, mutilated, and lacerated form.

And there you have it, folks . . . who would dare disagree with Our Oracle?


Adomnan said...

Calvin: How, then, can those sacrilegious men, who by their own account are murderers of Christ, dare to call themselves the priests of the living God.

Adomnan: As I mentioned in another recent posting on this subject, Calvin here shows his ignorance of what a sacrifice is. He thinks that in the sacrifice on Calvary, God the Father "murdered" Christ, punishing and damning Him for the sins of others. This, according to Calvin, is the meaning of a propitiatory sacrifice. and this is why, in his view, it "satifies God's justice." Thus, he can say that the Mass, as a propitiatory sacrifice, is a "murder." For him, the Calvary sacrifice, which the Mass makes present, was the original "murder of Christ" (by the Father).

Again, Calvin has no idea what propitiatory or expiatory sacrifice is, other than the Satanically inspired delusion that it is "penal substitution."

His fundamental assumptions are utterly wrong.

Dave Armstrong said...

Don't you think, though, that he is referring more so there to his notion that we are killing Jesus over and over, at each Mass? That would be a different rationale than what you are saying, though both things may very well be the case with him.

Adomnan said...

Dave: Don't you think, though, that he is referring more so there to his notion that we are killing Jesus over and over, at each Mass?

Adomnan: But where did he get that idea from? On the one hand, Calvin says that the Mass can't be a propitiatory sacrifice because it's unbloody, and all propitiations must be bloody. On the other hand, he says that priests, "by their own account are murderers of Christ." Since priests don't make any such claim, his "reasoning" must be something like this: God can't be propitiated unless Christ is "murdered" (damned and suffering the penalty of death by the Father) to "satisfy (the Father's) justice." Catholics affirm they propitiate God in the Mass. Therefore, they must be "murdering" Christ again, just at the Father did on Calvary.

Of course, it's self-contradictory and a farrago of sophistical nonsense, but that's Calvin for you. The confusion comes from his notion of propitiation as penal substitution (which requires a killing or "murder.")

Dave Armstrong said...

Well, I take it that he can't comprehend the timelessness of the Mass. He takes out the miraculous nature of it and can't fathom how it could be outside of time.

Therefore, he thinks we are sacrificing Jesus over and over again and he calls that "murder."

I think at least one of his huge problems that causes his error is a lack of faith in what God can and would do.

Part of it is anti-sacramentalism: a sort of semi-Docetic mentality, and there is the Nestorian influence too.

Adomnan said...

Calvin: Plato next proceeds to deride the gross stupidity of those who think by such expiations to redeem the punishments which they must otherwise suffer after death.

Adomnan: This is so funny. If Plato's censure were applied to Christianity, as Calvin attempts to do here in some fashion, it would of course make Christ's expiation for sins on Calvary "stupid," not just the sacrifice of the Mass.

Here is Calvin, the Humanist pedant, trying to impress with inept quotes from the literary canon.

Adomnan said...

Calvin: a victim was placed to act as a substitute for Christ himself; an altar was erected on which it was to be sacrificed; the whole, in short, was so conducted as to bring under the eye an image of the sacrifice which was to be offered to God in expiation.

Dave: That much is true.

Adomnan: I have a different perspective. I don't think it's realistic to suggest that the Temple was erected and thousands of sacrifices were offered simply to portray -- in a sort of metaphorical performance or ritual theater -- the future sacrifice of the Messiah. The Jews certainly didn't understand it that way. Only a few foresaw a suffering and sacrificed Messiah.

Rather than looking at the OT sacrifices as intentionally depicting Christ's in advance, as Calvin clearly does, we should see Christ's sacrifice as a fulfillment and culmination of the OT sacrificial system.

The ancient Hebrews would not have gone to all that trouble and expense to carry out a sacrificial cult that was not seen as effectual, but only as "symbolic" of something to happen in the future. And, in fact, the Epistle to the Hebrews says that OT sacrifices DID remit sins, just not definitively.