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It may for a Esting concioson to this arncie, if we append a caricos esetp::bcation of the presest oonditaon of trate in mpasses whicb has just been brocghs to light in the French Dice erorts. We extract the account of it from the Times of the l&th September: to appreciate it ir its force and rainass, Te have on!s to keep in mind, w e reading it, stat, in the opinion of a criuscections Bumish Priest,ibe Mass realir is, and wla: ne undertakes to perform in the celebration of li. la one insance, at any rate, Rome makes i cicar ils she adopts the celebrated magim,
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as her own, and acts upon it. We commend the extract to the thoughtful perusal of our readers.
" It seems that the demand for masses in Paris is so large that the clergy in that city are not able to meet it. In order, therefore, to supply the requirements of the public in this matter, there are houses in Paris which undertake for a commission to send the fees and the orders to priests in the provinces. Availing themselves of this practice, two rogues, one of them a priest who had been laid under an interdict for frauds in connection with this custom, issued circulars which they sent to rural priests, offering to act as agents for them, and to negociate what may be termed their bills for masses. So specious were these circulars that some priests fell into the trap, and sent undertakings to repeat masses, leaving the number in blank. As the signatures were genuine, the two persons referred to were able to discount these with the funeral furnishers or publishers who were entrusted with the fees and orders. But, instead of sending the vestments, or books, or whatever the priests desired to have in return for their promissory notes, they appropriated them to their own uses. They were also open to receive orders direct from the public, and there was no guarantee that they did not pocket the fees without making any return, as the only prisoner who remained to take his trial declared that his was a ready-money business, and that he kept no books. It was no easy matter to get evidence against him, as the priests who had signed the bills of exchange were naturally reluctant to give evidence in a matter which, though it was affirmed to be in accordance with canonical rules, they felt was not creditable to them. One of these witnesses, for instance, had signed bills for 7618 francs worth of masses, and altogether he was under the obligation of repeating 1200 masses, according to his own admission. How long it takes to say a mass is not stated, but the impression gathered from what was said is that a priest must rise early in the morning and make long days for a considerable time to work off such an accumulation as this. But great as his liabilities were, they were trifling in comparison with that of the witness who followed him; he had bills in the ecclesiastical market to the amount in the aggregate of 11,265 masses. There were others whose liabilities were not much inferior; in the list of these may be mentioned one for 5312, another for 7151, another for 2736, another for 1764, another for 2250, another for 11,708, another for 2395, another for 9381, another for 9457, and another, who in proportion was a pike among minnows, whose liabilities amounted to 28,000 masses. So reckless, indeed, was one of these priests, that he had signed bills to the amount of 100,000f., which, at the current rate of 1f. a mass, rendered him liable to the same number of masses; so that it may be imagined that if his creditors had come upon him in a body they would have been obliged to accept a composition, There is something to be said in excuse for these peculiar ecclesiastical bills in the case of some of the priests who took part in them. Take, for instance, the case of a curé in an out-of-the-way village, whose stipend would be despised by the worst paid of English curates. Say, for instance, that his clerical vestments were completely worn out, and that neither he nor his parishioners possessed the means of replacing them; a man in such a position could hardly be condemned for resorting to a method of raising means if he honestly intended to meet the liabilities he incurred; he could only be charged with acting dishonestly when, to indulge extravagance in this respect or in any other, he undertook to do more than he could perform. But it is just at this point that many of the priests are said to have sinned. In order to indulge their extravagance they became guilty of practices not altogether dissimilar to what in this country constitutes a breach of the Bankruptcy Act. While already liable for more masses than they could perform, they incurred liabilities for the performance of others in return for books or other goods, which they immediately sold for what they would realize. That the sensation excited by the discovery of these novel frauds and their magnitude has been great and painful may be easily imagined. Few of the persons who have ordered and paid for masses can feel assured that what they have paid for has been done, and though some may smile at their credulity in supposing that any good can reach deceased persons by the performance of masses, all right-minded persons will respect the motives which induced them to sacrifice their money for that from which they themselves could derive no benefit."
ELLIOTT'S CONFIRMATION LECTURES. Nine Confirmation Lectures, including two Post-Confirmation
Sacramental Lectures ; with an Appendix. By the Rev. E. B. Elliott, M.A., Incumbent of St. Mark's, Brighton, and late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Third Edition, Revised and Improved. Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday. 1869.
The third edition of these Lectures, dedicated, by permission, to the present Archbishop of Canterbury, is not only, in compliance with the request of many clerical friends, published in a form adapted to its wider circulation, but has also been carefully revised and corrected by the learned writer. The original Preface sets forth very clearly the general design of the book, and the class of persons for whose benefit the Lectures were primarily designed. The peculiar sphere of Mr. Elliott's ministry, and more especially the unusual number of young persons of the middle and upper classes of society whom he is in the habit of presenting to the Bishop for Confirmation, naturally impressed him with the importance of taking advantage of so great an opportunity of imparting to them instruction of a fuller and more elaborate character than is commonly practicable in the case of catechumens of a lower class of society, whose mental powers are less cultivated, and whose opportunities of receiving moral and religious instruction are more limited.
Whilst, then, the ordinary parochial clergyman will find much in these Lectures of which, by previous consideration, he may make profitable use in the instruction of many of his Confirmation Candidates, he will find it necessary, if he should desire to avail himself of the aid of this valuable manual, not only to combine with his formal lectures those more private catechetical instructions which it is Mr. Elliott's habit to give in smaller classes, and in more familiar language, but he will also, (until a similar service has been rendered to the Church in regard to these Lectures, which a popular divine has effected with regard to Mr. Elliott's great work on the Apocalypse), find himself under the necessity of omitting much which would be incomprehensible to his audience, and of expanding and simplifying the portion which may remain.
Not the least valuable or least important service which Mr. Elliott has rendered to the Church of England at large, and more especially to the younger portion of her clergy, is his able and well-timed exposition of the view of Confirmation which is taken by the Reformed English Church, as contrasted with that which was held previously to the Reformation, and which has unhappily been revived, in some of its most distinctive features, in our own times. Mr. Elliott very justly calls attention to a fact, which is too commonly overlooked, that Confirmation is a word at least as applicable to the recipients, as to the minister of the rite. We are inclined, indeed, to advance a step further, and to assert our conviction, that, according to the view of the Reformed English Church, whilst the words “ confirm” and “confirmation," in accordance with long established usage, are still retained as applicable to the Bishop's part in the service, the essence of the rite consists in the public confirmation or ratification of the baptismal vow, which is then made by the catechumens themselves, and in the solemn prayer of the assembled congregation, accompanied (in accordance with apostolic example, but by no means as essential to the validity of the rite) by the imposition of the Bishop's hands, that they may be so strengthened (i. e. confirmed) by the Holy Ghost, that they may be enabled to carry their holy resolutions into effect.
In the course of Mr. Elliott's learned and elaborate inquiry into the early history of the Rite of Confirmation, he takes occasion to show the pernicious results of the early introduction of a designation still not uncommonly given by some members of the English Church to the chief pastors of Christ's flock, “ Successors of the Apostles.” It is perfectly true, indeed, that there is a very important sense in which not only the Bishops, but all the ministers and stewards of Christ's mysteries, if faithful to their high and responsible trust, may be aptly designated “Successors of the Apostles.” It is further true, that there is a special sense in which the designation rightly belongs to those who are not only put in trust with the good deposit themselves, but who are appointed in the Church to commit the same “to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” But, in the sense in which the words are understood by some members of the English Church, and, in a yet more exaggerated, though perhaps not less scriptural sense, by the members of the so-called “ Catholic and Apostolic Church," we maintain that the claim set up to the possession and exercise of the powers originally delegated to the twelve Apostles, is alike delusive and pernicious.
Whilst, then, on the one hand, we are so deeply impressed with the importance of the Rite of Confirmation, as admi. nistered in our own Church, not only as a reasonable service, but as identical, in its essence, though not in its form, with that confession of the mouth which is coupled by the Apostle with the belief of the heart, as essential to salvation,whilst, we say, we are so deeply impressed with the practical
have followed Mr more especial forcibly,
benefits of the Rite of Confirmation, that we would gladly see the opportunities for its reception greatly multiplied, and in order thereto, a multiplication, corresponding with our vast increase of population, of those who are appointed to administer it, we think it one of the most valuable services which have been rendered to our Church by one of its most able and learned theologians, to provide not only our clergy, but also our educated and intelligent laity, with a book which, in the compass of a few pages, scatters to the winds a vast mass of wood, hay, and stubble, and vindicates, in so satisfactory a manner, that essentially Scriptural and Protestant view of the Rite of Confirmation which is maintained in the Book of Common Prayer.
We should gladly have followed Mr. Elliott through the chief subjects of the following Lectures, more especially those of the fourth and fifth, in which he treats briefly, but forcibly, of the Prophetic, the Historic, the Moral, and the Experi. mental Evidences of Christianity. Those who are familiar with the great work to which we have already alluded, will at once anticipate that, in traversing much of this ground, Mr. Elliott's only difficulty lies in the selection of the facts and considerations best adapted to his purpose from that vast accumulation of material which extensive reading and acute observation have placed at his disposal.
One extract must suffice us. We select it from that portion of Lecture V. which treats of the evidence derived from the fulfilment of New Testament prophecy respecting Jerusalem and the Jews :
“Who knows not of the siege and capture of Jerusalem by the Roman general Titus; the destruction of the temple, when he would fain have spared it ; the ploughing up of its very foundations, the scattering of the Jewish remnant through all nations, like branches, as said St. Paul, broken off from their own olive-tree :and, as to Jerusalem itself, how, instead of being left a perpetual desolation, like Babylon, it has been occupied and trodden successively by Gentile Romans, Greeks, Christian Crusaders, Saracens, Turks, as its masters ;-never by Jews. Meanwhile the ful. ness of the Gentiles seems now at length, through the universal preaching of the Gospel-word, rapidly accomplishing, together with other signs of the near closing of the present dispensation. And when this shall bave been accomplished, the Christian, confirmed in his hopes by the fulfilment thus far of every particular in these predictions, looks for better times for Israel, as told of alike in the Old Testament and New Testament prophecy—times when the Jews, having recognized Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, shall be united again to their own divinely chosen olive-tree; and when “ Jerusalem thereupon shall become a rejoicing, and her people a joy.” (pp. 59, 60.)