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CH A P. IV.
Concerning the rites and ceremonies used in the
Church during this century.
CE N T.1. TT would be endless to enumerate the addi
XIII. PART II. tions that were made in this century to the
external part of divine worship, in order to inRites mula tiplied.
* crease its pomp and renderit more striking. These additions were owing partly to the public edicts of the Roman pontifs, and partly to the private injunctions of the Sacerdotal and Monastic orders, who shared the veneration which was excited in the multitude by the splendor and magnificence of this religious spectacle. Instead of mentioning these additions, we shall only observe in general, that religion was now become a sort of a rareshow in the hands of the rulers of the church, who, to render its impressions more deep and lasting, thought proper to exhibit it in a striking manner to the external senses. For this purpose, at certain stated times, and especially upon the more illustrious festivals, the miraculous dispensations of the divine wisdom in favour of the church, and the more remarkable events in the Christian history, were represented under certain allegorical figures and images, or rather in a kind of mimic shew . But these scenic representations, in which there was a motley mixture of mirth and gravity, these tragi-comical spectacles, though they amused and affected in a certain manner the gazing populace, were highly detrimental, instead of being useful, to the cause of religion ; they degraded its dignity, and furnished abundant matter of laughter to its enemies.
[q] It is probable enough, that this licentious custom of exhibiting mimic representations of religious objects derived its origin from the Mendicant friars.
· II. It will not appear surprising that the bread, C E N T. consecrated in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, pantur. became the object of religious worship; for this
The rites was the natural consequence of the monstrous inst doctrine of Transubstantiation. But the effects of relation to that impious and ridiculous doctrine did not end tine here; it produced all that train of ceremonies and institutions that are still used in the church of Rome in honour of that deified bread, as they blasphemously call it. Hence those rich and splendid receptacles, that were formed for the residence of God under this new shape [r], and the lamps and other precious ornaments that were designed to beautify this habitation of the Deity. And hence the custom that still prevails of carrying about this divine bread in solemn pomp thro' the public streets, when it is to be administered to sick or dying persons, with many other ceremonies of a like nature, which are dishonourable to religion, and opprobrious to humanity. But that which gave the finishing touch to this heap of absurdities, and displayed superstition in its highest extravagance, was the institution of the celebrated annual Festival of the Holy Sacrament, or, as it is sometimes called, of the body of Christ, whose origin was as follows: A certain devout woman, whose name was JULIANA, and who lived at Liege, declared that she had received a revelation from
heaven, 1 [r] This blasphemous language which Dr Mosheim is obliged to use in representing the absurdities of the doctrine of Transubstantiation, is nothing in comparison with the impious figures that were made use of by the abettors of that monstrous tenet to accommodate it, in some measure, to the capacities of the multitude. We need not wonder, that the Pagans metamorphosed their JUPITER into a bull, a swan, and other such figures, when we see the rulers of the Christian church transforming the Son of God into a piece of bread; a transformation so vile, and, even were it not vile, so useless, that it is inconceivable how it could enter into the head of any mortal, and equally
so, how the bishops of Rome could confide so far in the credu·lity of the people, as to risk their authority by propagating such
CEN T. heaven, intimating to her that it was the will
XIII.,, of God, that a peculiar festival should be annualPART II.
ly observed in honour of the holy sacrament, or rather of the real presence of CHRIST's body in that sacred institution. Few gave attention or credit to this pretended vision, whose circumstances were extremely equivocal and absurd [s], and which would have come to nothing, had it not been supported by ROBERT, bishop of Liege, who, in the year 1246, published an order for the celebration of this festival throughout the whole province, notwithstanding the opposition which he knew would be made to a proposal founded only on an idle dream. After the death of JuLIANA, one of her friends and companions, whose name was Eve, took up her cause with uncommon zeal, and had credit enough with URBAN IV. to engage him to publish, in the year 1264, à solemn edict, by which the festival in question was imposed upon all the Christian churches without exception. This edict, however, did not produce its full and proper effect, on account of the death of the pontif, which happened soon after its publication; so that the festival under consideration was not celebrated universally throughout the Latin churches before the pontificate of CLEMENT V. [t], who, in the council, held at Vienne in France, in the year 1311, con
firmed B [s] This fanatical woman declared, that as often as she addressed herself to God, or to the saints in prayer, she saw the full moon with a small defect or breach in it; and that, having long studied to find out the signification of this strange appearance, she was inwardly informed by the Spirit, that the moon signified the church, and that the defect or breach was the want of an annual festival in honour of the holy sacrament. + [t] See BARTHOL. FISEN. Origo prima Festi Corporis CHRIST1 ex Viso Sanctæ Virginis Julianæ oblato, published in 8vo at Leige, in the year 1619.--DÁLLÆUS. De cultus religiosi objecto, p. 287.-Acta Sanctor. April. tom. i. p. 437.903.-And above all BENEDICT. Pont. Max. de Festis CHRISTI et MARIÆ lib. i. c. xiii. p. 360. tom. x. opp.
firmed the edict of URBAN, and thus, in spite of C E N T. all opposition, established a festival, which con
PART II. tributed more to render the doctrine of transubstantiation agreeable to the people, than the decree of the council of the Lateran under INNOCENT III. or than all the exhortations of his lordly successors. III. About the conclusion of this century, The year of
i jubilee addBONIFACE VIII. added to the public rites and ceremonies of the church, the famous jubilee, rites of the which is still celebrated at Rome, at a stated church. period, with the utmost profusion of pomp and magnificence. In the year 1299, a rumour was spread abroad among the inhabitants of that city, that all such as visited, within the limits of the following year, the church of St Peter, should obtain the remission of all their sins, and that this privilege was to be annexed to the perform ance of the same service once every hundred years. BONIFACE no sooner heard of this, than he ordered strict enquiry to be made concerning the author and the foundation of this report, and the result of this inquiry was answerable to his yiews; for he was assured, by many testimonies worthy of credit [u], (say the Roman-catholic
S4 . historians) [n] These Testimonies worthy of credit have never been produced by the Romish writers, unless we rank in that class, that of an old man, who had completed his 107th year, and who, being brought before BONIFACE VIII. declared (if we may believe the Abbé FLEURY) that his father, who was a common labourer, had assisted at the celebration of a jubilee, an hundred years before that time. See FLEURY Hist. Eccles. towards the end of the twelfth century. It is, however, a very unaccountable thing, if the institution of the jubilee year was not the invention of BONIFACE, that there should be neither in the acts of councils, nor in the records of history, nor in the writings of the learned, any trace, or the least mention of its celebration before the year 1300 ; this, with other reasons of an irresistible evidence, have persuaded some Roman-catholic writers to consider the institution of the jabilee year, as the invention of this pontif, who, to render it more respectable, pretended it was of a much earlier date. See GHILEN. & VICTORELL. apud BONANNI Numism. Pontif. Rom. tom. i. p. 22, 23.
CE N T. historians) that, from the remotest antiquity, this
XIII. PART II.
in important privilege of remission and indulgence - was to be obtained by the services above-men
tioned. No sooner had the pontif received this information than he issued out an epistolary mandate addressed to all Christians, in which he enacted it as a solemn law of the church, that those who, every hundredth or jubilee year, confessed their sins, and visited, with sentiments of contrition and repentance, the churches of St Peter and St Paul at Rome, should obtain thereby the entire remission of their various offences [w]. The successors of BONIFACE were not satisfied with adding a multitude of new rites and inventions, by way of ornaments, to this superstitious institution; but finding by experience that it added to the lustre and augmented the revenues of the Roman church, they rendered its return more frequent, and fixed its celebration to every five and twentieth year [x].
С НАР. T20 So the matter is related by JAMES CAJETAN, cardinal of St George, and nephew to Boniface, in his Relatio de Gentesimo seu Jubileo anno, which is published in his Magna Bibliotheca Vet. Pairum, tom. vi. p. 426. 440. and in the Biblio. theca Maxima Patrum, tom. xxv. p. 267. Nor is there any reason to believe that this account is erroneous and false, nor that BONIFACE acted the part of an impostor from a principle of avarice upon this occasion.
N. B. It is not without astonishment, that we hear Dr MOSHEIM deciding in this manner with respect to the good faith of BONIFACE and the relation of his nephew. The character of that wicked and ambitious pontif is well known, and the relation of the cardinal of St George has been proved to be
the most ridiculous, fabulous, motley piece of stuff that ever u· surped the title of an historical record. See the excellent Let
tres de M. Chais sur les Jubilés (that are mentioned more at large in the following note), tom. i. p. 53 ..
[x] The various writers who have treated of the institution of the Roman jubilee, are enumerated by Jo. ALBERT FABRIcius in his Bibliogr. Antiquar. p. 316. Among the Authors that may be added to this list, there is one whom we think it necessary to mention particularly, viz. the Reverend CHARLES