A TREATISE OF THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE ALTAR, CALLED THE MASS BY ANTONIO POSSEVINO 1570 - CHAPTER II
A TREATISE OF THE HOLY SACRIFICE OF THE ALTAR, CALLED THE MASS
The Sacrifice of the Mass was figured in the old Testament.
The Sacrifice of the Altar (saith St. Cyprian, and St Austine, with other writers near to the Primitive Church) was figured by the bread & wine which was offered of Melchisedech: and by the Shewe bread (as the most ancient writer Origen sheweth) and also by one of the two Goats which was let go loose in the desert, whereas the other which was killed in Sacrifice, was a figure of the bloody offering of our Saviour Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Whereof this unbloody Sacrifice, of the which we now entreat, taketh all his strength. And to be short, as touching the thing contained in the Sacrament of the Altar (which is Jesus Christ) all the Sacrifices of the Old Law (especially that of expiation which was very solemn) were figures of this our Sacrifice.
As touching the effect, Manna was a figure thereof, but as touching all these things together, a most proper and manifest Figure thereof was the Paschal Lamb, as St. Chrysostom and St. Ambrose, master unto St. Augustine, do declare. The Lamb was offered (saith St. Ambrose) & the calf was offered: but now is Christ offered: but now is Christ offered up, yea he as a Priest, offereth up himself, to the end he may pardon us our sins.
Besides this, as the Lamb which was in Sacrifice offered up, was really eaten: so we (to the extent it all may be most perfectly fulfilled in Christ) ought really to feed of his most precious flesh and body. And it was very convenient (saith St. Cyprian) that (if we would drink of Christ's blood) Christ himself should first be pressed and trod on the press of the Cross.
St. Augustine speaking of the Sacrifice of Christ's Church, confirmeth all this, and saith: Sundry and Divers signs of this true Sacrifice, were the old Sacrifice of the holy Fathers, figuring and setting forth to our eyes, this one by a great many, as one thing is said by many words, to the end it might in our great fastidiousness, be the better recommended and more acceptable to us, and finally he concludeth, that to this true Sacrifice all other false Sacrifices did yield and give place.
Fr. Antonio Possevino