EXTREME UNCTION is one of the sacraments of Rome, and as such, is held to "confer grace on the receiver;" it is therefore placed on the same level with the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, Baptism, and Confirmation. Such is its position in the standards of Papal doctrine.
The Council of Trent has pronounced its ever-ready anathema on every soul of man who shall deny that it is "truly and properly a sacrament instituted by Christ our Lord," so that every Papist is shut up to the faith of the dogma on peril of damnation! But as a sacrament, it is of course the channel of Divine communication, and hence anathema is the punishment of any man "who shall say the sacrament of Extreme Unction does not confer grace, nor forgive sin, nor relieve the sick."
Let the Protestant reader ponder this! Popery is as profuse in its curses, as it is parsimonious in its blessings; it never blesses but for money, while its curses are dispersed gratuitously! In this case, as usual, it builds upon a single portion of the Word of God, that of James v. 14, 15, which has thus been made instrumental of working a world of misery, and of extorting incalculable treasure from the human family.
Great was the ingenuity of the Mother of Harlots in so applying a very simple Scripture. By these means she was enabled to extend her cruel dominion to the other world, and thus really to rob the living for an imaginary benefit to the dead! The act is one as impious as it is remorseless, and serves very impressively to illustrate the true spirit of the Church of Rome, whose chief study is, to fleece her flock from the birth of each generation to their burial.
She seeks not them, but theirs; all her forces are made to concentrate upon the single point of extorting money, and this from age to age, she prosecutes without shame or pity. She everywhere seizes their substance with the most ravenous avidity. The love of lucre is with her, a ruling passion, an all-devouring flame, which nothing can satisfy. The more she has, the more she desires to have!
But let us now look carefully to the matter of Extreme Unction; the use of oil for the purposes of personal unction, was, and still is, common in the East, and like the kiss of charity, washing the saints' feet, and some other things, it was mixed up with the proceedings of the Primitive Christians.
The Apostles sanctioned the custom in the exercise of their, miraculous powers; in Mark vi. 13, we are told, that they "anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them." The act was significant; it arrested the attention of the infidel observer, and prepared him for what was to follow; it also tended to fix the faith of the believer on the deed which was being performed before his eyes. It was, moreover, an index of the presence, and an emblem of the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, then, nothing could be more natural at that time than for James to enjoin the imitation of the Apostles on the churches of his day, who, among other gifts, possessed the gift of healing; but with these gifts, the application of the Unction passed away, and would have been numbered with the things which have been-things local and temporary, but for the skill, the craft, and the cupidity of Antichrist, whose genius for perversion, and imposture overlooks nothing that is adapted to mulct the foolish, and filch the property of all.
In the creation of this fictitious sacrament of robbery, a very serious difficulty stood in the way; but Popery is not exceedingly scrupulous; and by withholding the Word of God, and using with the necessary boldness her authority to suppress all troublesome inquiry, she has generally succeeded in maintaining her hold on a large portion of the human race up to the present hour.
This difficulty arose from the fact that the Apostolic Churches uniformly used the anointing for purposes of life, whereas "Mother Church" has uniformly used it for purposes of death! In every case, the Apostles contemplated restoration to health, and the prolongation of life; in every case the Pope and his Priests contemplate death, and the passage of the soul into the world of spirits, and affects to aid him in the prosecution of his journey thitherward!
There is reason to conclude that the Apostles never used it when all rational hope of recovery was gone, while the Popish priest never uses it, while a spark of rational hope of recovery remains! In all points, then, there is not merely difference, but direct opposition, and positive contradiction between the Apostle and the Pope!
Had a primitive Christian seen the administration of the Extreme Unction of Rome, it would have been to him a novelty and a mystery, leaving him at an utter loss what to make of it. The fact that this cruel fiction was ever received so extensively among mankind only serves to indicate the degree of darkness, which at length brooded over their spirits in relation to all things religious. Deeds of this description can only be done in the night; it is, therefore, no marvel that this so-called sacrament, was not generally admitted till the twelfth century, when the midnight of the Middle Age drew on.
The making of so daring an experiment upon the credulity of men required the deepest shade; and truly Antichrist, with his instruments and emissaries, made the most of the dreadful hour in which the power of darkness was permitted to reign
The manner of administering this fictitious ordinance displays its character; no oil is admissible but that of the olive, which must, moreover, be consecrated by episcopal hands. The application of the oil, is so gone about as to require the gravity which stupidity alone can impart, to prevent its being laughed to scorn. The thing carries quackery and imposture so obviously upon the face of it, that we cannot withhold from the celebrated catechism of the Council of Trent, a statement of the case:
"The Sacred Unction is to be applied, not to the entire body, but to the organs of sense only-to the eyes, the organs of sight; to the ears, of hearing; to the nostrils, of smelling; to the mouth, of taste and speech; to the hands, of touch." "Not to the entire body, but to those members which are properly the organs of sense, and also to the loins, which are, as it were, the seat of concupiscence, and to the feet, by which we move from one place to another."
If this is not the climax of impudence, the very apex of imposture, we know not where to find it. Nothing but the solemnities of the death-bed, combined with the profoundest ignorance, could suppress an outbreak of ridicule and indignation from every bystander, on beholding such an exhibition of absurdity.
The Council of Trent, as was their custom, having defined their fiction, hurled anathemas at all gainsayers, and proceeded to support their conclusions by their so-called canons, closing each with the customary imprecation.
"If any man shall affirm that the rite and practice of Extreme Unction, as observed by the Holy Roman Church, is repugnant to the doctrine of the Apostle James, and that it may therefore be altered or despised without sin; let him be accursed."
Such is the spirit of the Vatican. Such is the mode in which it fulminates its curses against the Protestant world! Now, certainly, were cursing in point, and could it serve any really practical purpose by promoting the truth, man's welfare and the Divine glory, Popery in this tenet, as well as in every other, would furnish the proper mark for the aggregate anathema of every sane soul among the human species.
Transubstantiation is sufficiently revolting, the Mass is a horrid spectacle, and Absolution, as it respects the dangers attending it, is a step in advance in the path of iniquitous cruelty to man; but the whole culminates into a point of atrocity in this matter of Extreme Unction.
It is a sight to make an angel weep, to see a creature who has been duped, deceived, and plundered through life, on having reached the end of his journey, and lying on the brink of eternity, attended by the priest, for the purpose of administering the said Extreme Unction!
Let the reader only think what on these occasions is done; first then, there must be confession, which is followed by absolution; then the Eucharist, what Protestants term the Lord's Supper, is to be administered; and the drama is to be closed with the "Sacred Chrism," applied to his eyes, ears, nose, lips, loins, hands, feet; and then, like the pilgrim of old, prepared to commence his journey to heaven, he is left to learn the dreadful delusion which has been practised upon him, by descending into the gulph of perdition! We shudder as we write!
Repentance towards God, and the reason of it; faith in the blood of Christ, and the justification which flows from it; the support and consolation, the light and power of the Spirit of God-these have no place in the dying chamber of the poor infatuated Papist! No! he has been the subject of the realm of Antichrist, a realm in which Christ was not made known to him while living, and, in perfect consistency with what has gone before, Christ has no place on his death-bed; he and Christ will only come together face to face, when he shall proceed to the judgment-seat, to give an account of the deeds done in the body!
We observe with what particularity some Papists dwell upon the fact that Luther, to get rid of the "Sacrament of Extreme Unction," rejected the Epistle of James. False men! As every scholar knows, it was not the matter of Unction, in the Epistle of James, that troubled Luther, not at all; but the language of James as expounded by the Papists, on the subject of Justification-a doctrine so dear to Luther's heart, because of its incalculable importance to the hopes of men and the glory of Christ, and the abhorrence in which it was held by the Romish Church.
That doctrine, apparently to the superficial reader, as stated by James, was opposed to the grace of the Gospel, and, therefore, abused by the Romanists; a fact from which, with characteristic decision, zeal, and impetuosity, Luther was led to question the inspiration of the Apostle James.
Luther was great and mighty, but he was not perfect; and one of the few spots on that glorious sun was this rash conclusion; rash because, as every one who understands the Scriptures now sees, nothing is more clear than that the doctrine of James is perfectly reconcilable with the doctrine of a gratuitous justification. Paul and James are in perfect harmony.
Reader! the case of the Bible and the Protestants is closed, and we ask you to deliver your verdict. Survey the subject from what point you please, and through the medium either of reason or of Scripture, or of both, and say whether it can be of God, or whether it is not a most wicked imposition practised upon an infatuated world?
Let it be considered in relation to the dying, and say if the administrators of such a system be not chargeable with the blood of souls. Viewed in connection with the spirit of the Lord, say if it is not full of blasphemy. As it bears upon the subject of the honour and glory of Christ, is it not fraught with the most flagrant impiety? Ought not the existence of such a tenet to prompt every man that loves the truth, to pray for the hour when the Lord shall "destroy it by the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming"?