Romanism: or an answer to the pamphlet of a Romish Priest, entitled "The Law and the Testimony."

J. N. Darby.

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109 Next we have extreme unction, for which you have not much to say. What has the account in the Acts, of the apostles healing the sick by anointing them, to do with extreme unction? Intimated by Mark, says Trent. Why intimated? Was healing the sick the sacrament of dying men, to go prepared into God's presence? This is too absurd. And James says, "Is any sick?" not when they are dying, but when chastened for sickness for sin — "Let him send for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." That is, he was to be healed by their prayers; and, if sin occasioned it, be forgiven and relieved, not "prepared" to die. So the quotation you give from Augustine states — "Will deserve to obtain the restoration of his health"; and it is most certain that for centuries, up to Bede's time, that is, the ninth century, it was looked at as a remedy to restore health. The Greek church so uses it still, and the Council of Trent says, it may be so interdum. Indeed there is nothing to be said for it, as the short article of the author shews.

110 And why, if extreme unction wipes away the very remains of sin, do people who have had it go to purgatory? What ineffectual means all the Romanist sacraments are! A man is absolved, but that will not do; he has his viaticum, the Eucharist, in which is remission, they say, but that will not do; extreme unction to wipe off the remains of sins — "reliquias peccati abstergit" (Conc. Trid., sess. 14, C. 2.) — yet the poor man goes to purgatory after all, to burn there for them himself; and then they say masses for him to get him out, though they could not keep him out. How different the peace of him who trusts the word of the living God, who believes His testimony! "The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth from all sin." "By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." "Being justified by faith we have peace with God … . and the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to us." "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." Such is the peace given, and the certainty of divine love, by the faith of the gospel. We know no hard God, who will keep us down to the last farthing: Christ has paid it for us, bearing our sins in His own body on the tree. The Lord grant many poor souls labouring under this cruel bondage may know His love who gave His Son for sinners, and the salvation which is in Christ!

As to the sacrament of holy orders, you quote passages which prove that, by the laying on of the apostles' hands, gift was bestowed on Timothy: another, to shew that he was designated by prophecy. I do not doubt either. When you can shew me gift so bestowed, or a man marked out by prophecy for it, I shall own it with delight; but still you will not have proved that he is a priest. The scripture owns no priesthood now but Christ's, and that of all saints, in the sense in which all Christians are kings and priests. He "hath made us kings and priests to God and his Father." "Ye are a royal priesthood," says Peter.

But the New Testament has not the smallest trace whatever of priests as an order. The priesthood of Christ is exercised on high; all Christians follow Him there in spirit. Romanists have returned in this, as in all their system, to Judaism, and to Judaism after it is set aside; so that they are the beggarly elements of this world, just like heathenism, as which the apostle treats them in Galatians 4:9-11. The New Testament speaks of a ministry as characteristic of Christianity — apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Every true Christian blesses the Lord for it, however it may have been abused. But priesthood there is none, save of Christ and all true Christians; it is distinctive of, and essential to, Christianity that there is not, save as we all are priests. That is, we all go within the veil rent, directly and with boldness into the presence of God, where Christ is entered for us, into the holiest of all. The assertion of a priesthood (Christ apart) between us and God is a denial of Christianity. You do not attempt to quote anything till five centuries after Christ.

111 As to the word sacramentum, none in the least degree acquainted with the early ecclesiastical writers can attach the least importance to it, for they called every mystery a sacrament. Thus, one says there are three sacraments in baptism. Augustine says the number seventeen is a great sacrament; that one hundred and fifty-three, being three times fifty (the Pentecostal number), with three (the number of times it is given), has great weight, and if you begin with one, and go on adding each number up to seventeen, you will have one hundred and fifty-three (I leave my reader to try), and that is the meaning of the one hundred and fifty-three great fishes taken at the Sea of Tiberias. As I was on the word sacrament, I gave this one little example of Patristic matter, so that it may be understood why I said a child's book now would not contain such nonsense as they have: I think my reader will excuse my giving him any great quantity of it.

As to the obligation of marriage, it cannot be held too highly; instituted in paradise, and confirmed by the Lord Himself, its sanctity, I doubt not, is the providential bond of all moral order in the world. If, as the apostle teaches us, one be wholly given up to the Lord's work without any snare to himself, it is all well. After what I have said of sacrament, I shall not be expected to insist on the word one way or another. In Ephesians it is simply, in the original, "This is a great mystery, but I speak of Christ and the church." That is, the union of the church to Christ, as His body, is a great mystery — she is His bride.

112 We are told that the pope's supremacy was defined in 1439! It is very possible. The world had passed through the dark ages; Christianity was overrun by Mahometanism in more than half its territory; and here was the true secret of it. The patriarch of Constantinople had then recourse to Rome. For a long time after the seat of the empire was transferred to Constantinople, the ecclesiastical chief of that city and Rome contended for supremacy. However, old Rome had precedency by decree of the Council of Nice, for ambition governed all these pillars of Christendom. You have still traces of this horrible ambition in Ireland, in the Archbishop of Dublin being primate of Ireland, and he of Armagh primate of all Ireland. I say they fought as to whether one should carry his cross — what a symbol to use for it! — upright or level when he went into the province of the other. My reader must forgive me if I forget how it was settled; but it was. The rivalry of Alexandria and Constantinople was the source of endless disputes — one ever favouring the holders of doctrine condemned by the other, to make a party; and the emperor convening councils to quiet them, and banishing them often to keep the peace, or making decrees themselves on doctrines which only led to new disputes, till they became contemptible. They were discussing some of these points when the Turks besieged Constantinople.

The Constantinopolitan patriarch assumed at length the title of universal bishop, and was denounced by Pelagius II and Gregory, as antichrist, for his pains. The latter wrote to Phocas, who had murdered the Emperor Maurice and succeeded him, to congratulate him, Maurice having favoured Constantinople. Phocas acknowledged Rome as the head of all churches. Decretals were passed which gave the universal supremacy to Rome, everywhere owned to be forged now; and the eastern empire declining under the inroads of Saracens and then Turks, at last a union was proposed between the East and West, long opposed and rivals in doctrine and practices, as a proof of holiness and unity as marks of the true church. What a picture, to be sure, it all is of servants and followers of Christ, as they pretended! This attempt at union was under Pope Eugenius IV. It was a desirable distinction for Rome. A council was sitting at Basle at this time; Eugenius dissolved it; it would not obey, and deposed him; but he declared it null, and called another at Ferrara, which afterwards, because of the plague, was removed to Florence. The Council of Basle chose a new pope, Felix V. Most of Christendom owned Eugenius, but many universities Felix: however, he resigned when Nicholas V succeeded Eugenius.

113 But to return to the council at Florence. The Greek emperor came, and Josephus the patriarch; and the Greek divines, particularly Bessarion — made cardinal afterwards-gave up the Greek doctrine on the procession of the Holy Ghost, for the Greeks deny the procession from the Son. They admitted purgatory, which they did not before — now do not. Think of half Christendom not believing it for fourteen centuries after Christ, and agreed the pope should be the head of the church! But alas! they had reckoned without their host; for when they went back, the Greeks would not submit to the terms, and they themselves declared that all had been carried at Florence by artifice and fraud, and the separation has continued to this day. And this is the bride of Christ! It seems the pressure of the pope was worse in their eyes than the pressure of the Turks; that is, of the Council of Florence, which clearly sets forth the pope's supremacy. Less than a century after, it becomes intolerable to the West too, and the Reformation arrived. So much for universality. Of course, some ground must be found for the supremacy, when it is there. The forged decretals established it. Scripture must be forced to contain it. I have already discussed the passage in Matthew; I need not repeat it.

But some of the points are to be cleared up. First, it is exceedingly doubtful if Peter ever was at Rome. Scripture never shews him to have been there, and it seems to me impossible to reconcile what it does state with his having been there. I admit respectable writers think he was, but scripture speaks only of Paul. Peter certainly did not found the church there. There were many Christians before any apostle was there, and Paul was the first that went. In the free exercise of their ministry, as the Holy Ghost has recorded it and thought proper to give it to us, no apostle founded the church at Rome. Paul, who preached the full and blessed gospel to the Gentiles (which was not Peter's office, as we know he was apostle of the circumcision, or of the Jews) — Paul went there as a prisoner. The gospel was never apostolically in Rome, save as in prison. It is possible that Peter closed his life there; but this is the utmost that can be historically admitted, because we have a divine account of what passed till then, and his presence is incompatible with that account. History is silent for a century afterwards, and then every country sought to have it believed to have been visited, and its chief see founded, by an apostle or apostolic man. John lived at Ephesus, yet he certainly did not found the church there, as we know from scripture. So history alleges that Peter founded the church at Antioch — a statement entirely unfounded, because we have, in the Acts of the Apostles, a long account of the church at Antioch; and all that Peter had to do with it was to divide it, when it existed already, by leading away all the Jews by his dissimulation, so that Paul had to resist him to his face. It is just as little true that he founded the church of Rome. We have Christians at Rome two years at least before Paul went there, and Paul there two years, who began working with the Jews; and none of them, Christians, Jews, or Paul, know anything at all of Peter at Rome. He may have visited Rome to see the Jewish Christians after this, and been martyred there, but that is the utmost possible.

114 But we have in scripture a great deal of Peter and Paul, which is much more important than traditions about the former. And here let me state that I have not the smallest difficulty in saying that, in point of order, though all had the same apostolic authority, Peter was the first of the twelve. With Paul he had nothing to do; he had it during the life of Jesus, and God was mighty in him afterwards. He first introduced the Gentile Cornelius; but then this had a definite and specific direction. When the Jews had rejected the gospel, and put Stephen to death, the apostles did not leave Jerusalem, as we learn from the Acts; and Paul, miraculously raised up of God as an apostle in an extraordinary manner, does not go up to Jerusalem, but preaches at once in Damascus, and afterwards is sent out from Antioch directly by the Holy Ghost. Jerusalem, the true mother church, having been dispersed, and having ceased to be the source and centre of the gospel which the Jews would not receive, Antioch, not Rome, became the point of departure, and to it Paul returns. Long after, he sees the apostles at Jerusalem, and they agree that Paul and Barnabas should go to the Gentiles, and Peter to the circumcision, or Jews; that is, Peter was not apostle of the Gentiles at all. He taught the same gospel, of course, as to salvation; but his ministry had the Jews for its sphere.

115 God, says Paul, was mighty in him towards the circumcision, as in me towards the Gentiles; that is, the Jews were the sphere of Peter's ministry. His epistles are directed to the Christian Jews in Asia Minor. He was nowhere apostle of the Gentiles. Of the church, as founded among Gentiles, Paul was the divinely appointed master-builder — Paul only in the account God has given to us. The apostles may have gone anywhere afterwards, and doubtless did; but God has given His account of the order He recognized; and there Paul is apostle of the Gentiles, and Peter of the Jews. He was nowhere the founder or origin, by his ministry, of the church among the Gentiles according to God. He was so feeble on the point of their admission and liberty in Christ, that Paul had to withstand him to the face.

As to Rome, no apostle founded the church there; Paul, the first apostle who went there, went there as a prisoner. This has been always the place a full gospel has had there. When the church fell into Judaism, which nothing but Paul's energy saved it from as long as he lived, then they naturally began to look for the apostle of the Jews, as their original founder, and Paul had the second place in their minds — his gospel, as he calls it, none. But they should have gone to Jerusalem — it was impossible — it had fallen. Its principles, once instructive as figures, were really the same as heathenism now; and to that Christendom consequently gave itself up. It turned again, as the apostle speaks in Galatians, to the beggarly elements to which it had again desired to be in bondage. They kept days, and months, and years; Gal. 4. The Roman system is merely a return to heathenism founded on Jewish forms (which God has judged), and claiming the name of Peter, the apostle of the Jews. It is that against which Paul was struggling all his life, and foretold would come in when he was gone. Voluntary humility, worshipping of angels, keeping days, and months, and years, trusting in works, he has long ago pointed out and denounced as signs of abandoning Christ. Of these Rome is the source, and Rome has the heritage. It is a mystery of iniquity fully developed, which is fleshly religion; just as the great mystery of godliness is God manifest in the flesh, and the true people of God marked by boasting in Christ Jesus, worshipping God in spirit, and having no confidence in the flesh.

116 As to the keys of heaven, it is nonsense. He had the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and opened the door on Pentecost to Jews, and, in letting in Cornelius, to Gentiles. When Hilary says Peter believed first, the good man makes a mistake. It was Andrew (John tells us, in the first chapter of his gospel) who sought him, and brought him to Jesus. Jesus gave him the place of eminency he had among the apostles. Saint Ambrose owns that Paul was to learn nothing from him; but Peter, to know that the same power was given to him as to himself. The truth is, that Paul, and not Peter, had the doctrine of the church revealed to him — its unity and union with Christ. This is not the subject of Peter's teaching. Paul declares he had it by express revelation, as a mystery and dispensation committed to him, and that he was minister of the church as well as of the gospel to fulfil, that is, complete, the word of God by this wonderful truth of the one body united to Christ from among all, Jews and Gentiles. See Colossians 1:24-25, 26; Ephesians 3:1-10; Romans 16:25, 26, and, indeed, other passages.

As to your reasoning, it has not much force. You see I admit that, amongst the twelve, Peter was the first, but this was evidently a personal pre-eminence. "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonas." Pius IX is not Simon Barjonas. It was a personal gift and energy of faith which made the Lord call him a stone, as he called James and John sons of thunder. Every Christian owns that in the blessed apostle; but gifts, and God putting His seal on them, do not go down by succession; if they do, where is Paul's? where is John's? If popes have Peter's inheritance, who has John's and James's? If it is a principle of successors, with equal power and authority necessarily continuing, where are the other apostles' successors, with their authority? No; this is all nonsense. God was mighty in Peter, and God was mighty in Paul. But this was personal — exclusively and entirely personal; and they say so, as it is evident. You cannot have a successor in gift, or it is not a gift. An office may have a successor in it. But that is not the case here, for there are no apostles now sent by Christ Himself directly from Himself. But gift and God's being mighty in one is confined to the one He is mighty in. To talk of a successor to that is at once nonsense and blasphemy. I have said Peter and Paul say so. Thus Paul speaks: "I know that after my decease grievous wolves shall enter in, not sparing the flock: yea, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them; wherefore, watch," etc. Now here Paul most plainly declares that he looks for no successor, but that, when he is gone, evil will flow in; and then commends them to God and the word of His grace, which the Romanists certainly step in and deprive us of — hinder us from going directly to God, and defrauding us of the word of His grace. Peter so little looked for a successor, that he writes, in his epistle, that he was writing to them because he would take pains that after his decease they should have the same things always in remembrance. So that these two great apostles never thought of having successors.

117 This is of the utmost force. Paul ordained elders for the care of the churches. As to successors, he so little thought of it, that he declares evil would flow in, and that in the last days perilous times and apostasy would come. But of this in a moment. No; there are two great systems: one leans on succession and ordinances, which the apostle denounces; the other on God and the word of His grace, to which he commends us, as able to build us up, and give us an inheritance among the sanctified. Rome has chosen the former; the true Christian blesses God for the latter.

Their reasoning is too absurd to dwell on. There is the consciousness of its weakness. You say the Pope of Rome is the successor of Peter; … the pope, therefore, is by divine appointment Peter's successor. That is logic to be sure: can anything be more glaring? And to this you append (it is happy that you hang it on such a peg), "whoever, therefore, is not under the care and government of this one shepherd belongs not to Christ, is not of the one fold, and cannot be saved." We thank Rome for her tender mercies. We have read, "If thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." You will surely forgive us if we trust an inspired apostle more than yourself — an apostle revealing God's precious grace to us poor sinners, more than Rome's anathemas, especially when they hang on reasoning such as this. The pope is the successor of Peter; therefore the pope is by divine appointment the successor of Peter; therefore whoever is not under him cannot be saved. If that is not convincing, what should be?

118 But your facts, however eloquently stated, are not much more solid. You say, Is there any institution in the world which has remained unchanged by the lapse and vicissitudes of nineteen hundred years, except the primacy and government of the Roman pontiffs? Now, first, the primacy of any bishop was violently denounced as late as Popes Pelagius and Gregory; and for centuries Rome exercised no jurisdiction out of what was called Libra; that is, seventy suburban sees. Many sought her influence as eminent, many resisted her as in error, and would never yield, as all Africa and Asia under Cyprian and Firmilian, who denounced the Pope Stephanus heartily (Cypr. Epp. 73, 74). In those days the primacy of Rome was unknown. It has never been owned in the Greek church. Only at Nice was it settled to have precedency of Constantinople. At the General Council of Chalcedon the pope's legates presided, but the council set aside the precedency of Rome. They state that, as Rome had been the imperial city, the Fathers had accorded precedency to it; but as now Constantinople was, it should be on an equality — ton ison apolauousan presbeion. Leo's legates protested, and produced his orders that they should allow of no diminution of his importance, for it seems he expected it. They withdrew; but there the canon of an acknowledged general council is declaring them equal. The legates had produced the Nicene decree with an addition of their own, stating that Rome was the head of all churches; but the genuine canon was brought forward, so that that plea was overthrown. Pretty work for the successors of apostles! But think of all this horrible ambition being made the foundation of the church, so that a person cannot be saved who does not submit to it! Is this Christianity?

But when you say, "Has any institution," etc., you upset your own system. When you went upon apostolic succession, you gave us the succession of all the sees in the world as securing sound doctrine; now it is only at Rome, and nowhere else. Which is true? If it be only at Rome, the security you gave us for doctrine is entirely gone, and the universality and apostolicity of the church so called with it; you destroy your own groundwork. But further, "the name of every pope, from Peter to Pius IX, you tell us may be seen in every bookseller's shop." Nay, not only so, "but should any claim this dignity without being legitimately appointed, he would be hurled from the chair of Peter as a usurper by the united voices of the Christian world." Indeed! How came it, then, that for seventy years there were two (and half Europe obeying one, and the other half the other), and part of the time three? Which of these was legitimate? and are both of them in the lists in the booksellers' shops and Catholic libraries? Your foundations are rotten here, and your eloquence rash. The popedom is a great worldly prize. Already in the fourth century you will remember Damasus and Ursicinus contended for it, and there was what amounted to a civil war, and abundant bloodshed; and Damasus beat his opponent and was pope — a strange successor to Peter, though he be such in the booksellers' shops!

119 Peter's apostolic position, then, I own, as apostle of the circumcision, and first among the twelve; but that the command was given to every successor of Peter to the end of the world is a mere chimera. Scripture excludes the idea. It is Barjonas who was blessed, because of the revelation of the Father to him.

You justify next the invocation of saints and angels. In vain has Paul denounced the worshipping of angels (it is not latria, but threskia, all religious deference or service whatever) as a voluntary humility, saying, that it is leaving Christ the head. In vain has he declared that there is but one mediator, the Man Christ Jesus. Rome will return to heathenish ways and Jewish superstitions, for such they really are; and, in order to do so, she has consecrated books of Jewish superstitions, as if they were the word of God; and has dared to do it in the sixteenth century — a deed never ventured on before.

We will examine this point. First, Genesis is quoted: "The angel that redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." Here, then, Rome is bold enough to teach us that angels redeem us from evil, that angels can bless us. But we can never get whole passages from Rome. All is garbled. Here is the whole, "God, before whom my fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." The angel was the God of his fathers. Are you ignorant that angel is applied to all those manifestations of God in favour of His ancient people? Do you not know that Stephen says that Moses was with the angel in the bush, who said, I am that I am? Do you not know that Hosea says that Jacob wrestled with the angel and prevailed; yet Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, because he had seen God face to face? that God had called his name Israel, a prince with God, because he had wrestled with God and with man and had prevailed? See numberless other passages; and are you not ashamed to quote this passage? You quote Zechariah. Here, too, we find the same angel of the covenant, the angel Jehovah, Malak Jehovah, interfering for Jerusalem — that angel who could say, as we have seen, "I am," and before whom, consequently, Zechariah shews us Joshua standing to be judged, and Satan at his right hand to resist. Will you say that angels are to judge too? Anyone the least acquainted with the Old Testament knows who this angel of the covenant is.

120 The cases quoted of Jacob, and so of Manoah, shew that this angel was Jehovah Himself, He who appeared to Abraham and to Isaac, the Word of God, the second person in the blessed Trinity. That Michael the archangel will stand to accomplish God's will in favour of Israel in due time, I doubt not — all angels do this; but it has nothing to do with the matter. The angel in Revelation 8 and 10 is also undoubtedly the Lord Himself, acting as priest in chapter 8; and in the glory of the Lord taking possession of the earth in chapter 10.

You quote one figurative passage of the twenty-four ancients presenting as figurative priests the incense, according to a Jewish image, on high. The church in glory will be composed of kings and priests; and here it is prophetically set forth in this character in figure; but it is when it is complete in glory. Hence twenty-four, because there were twenty-four classes of priests established by David. And the whole is a symbolical vision — no statement of what goes on now at all, but shewing (what scripture tells us plainly) we are made kings and priests; and hence they were on thrones and crowned. Now this takes place only in resurrection, and all have yet to wait for that. Have you nothing but a prophetical symbol of resurrection glory to base your worship on, when the resurrection is not come?

You quote Tobias also: that is, the Apocrypha. This is one of the terrible sins of Rome. She has pretended to authenticate as scripture what was never owned as such till the middle of the sixteenth century, and what the very person who made the translation which she declares to be authentic states not to be scripture at all. Over and over again he (Jerome) declares there are twenty-two books, excluding thus the Apocrypha from the canon; and in particular, in his preface to Tobias, says it was not in the Hebrew scriptures. In his preface to the Books of Solomon he says, "As, therefore, the church reads, indeed, Judith and Tobias, and the books of the Maccabees, but does not receive them among canonical scriptures, so also let her read these two volumes, for the edification of the people, not to establish the authority of ecclesiastical dogmas." He refers to Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom. Athanasius reckons them up also, twenty-two, both in the Synopsis (if it be his, for some have doubted it), and in the fragment of the Festal epistle, giving them, he says, because some would dare to mix apocryphal books with divine scriptures, and speaking of Tobias and others as read, but not canonical.

121 Origen tells us the same, Eusebius also. But, to be brief, Christ never cites these books, nor are they found in the Hebrew at all. They were never owned by the Jews as part of their scriptures. Josephus is distinct as to what was received, and says there were none after Artaxerxes; that there were others, but not canonical, and that the prophets gave their sanction to books as forming part of the canon. He owned they have no kind of authority whatever; and all authority, Jewish and Christian, declared they were not of the canon till the Council of Trent. Now, the oracles of God are committed to the church, as of old they were to the Jews. The church gives them no authority — it cannot to what God has spoken; but when God had given them, He entrusted them to the church to keep — only watching over it in all His providence — and Rome has proved herself not the church by deliberate unfaithfulness to this, by setting up as scripture what all Jews and the church, and all witnesses, declare with one voice is not. She is self-condemned here. See what is said in Maccabees: "If I have written well, and as befits the story, that is what I wish; if ill, it is to be pardoned me." Why, it is blasphemy to ascribe such words to the Holy Ghost; and of that blasphemy Rome is guilty.

Lastly, no passage has been even attempted to be quoted of addressing saints or angels. But I will here also give the history of this matter. The first commemoration of the saints was praying for them, that they might speedily see the face of God. Gradually, between rhetoric and Jewish and heathen practices, the saints took the place of the heathen demi-gods. But Romish practice goes farther, because they found prayers on the merits of the saints, as may be seen in the Roman Missal (as on Patrick's day, for example, March 17). As to praying one for another on earth, it is clear and simple, and the New Testament teaches it, and shews it practised — never to saints absent. As to the Virgin Mary, the Holy Ghost, who knew what would come in, has recorded for us that she never asked anything of the Lord, without being rejected in her request, the Lord saying, What have I to do with thee?

122 The great and dreadful evil of this doctrine is this: the grace of the gospel shews us two great things: first, that Christ has wrought so great and glorious a work, that I can go directly to the Father, in His name, certain that He hears me, and have boldness to enter into the holiest by His blood; secondly, that Christ in His rich grace came down here, was tempted in all points as we are, without sin — that He is touched with the feeling of my infirmities, and knows, having learned here below, how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. He has shrunk from no suffering, no humiliation, that I may have confidence in His love, and readiness to help. The invocation of saints and angels comes to deny all this. He is too high, too exalted; His heart not tender enough! Saints who never shared our place are to be more trusted; the tender mercies of the Virgin Mary, who never shed her blood for me, is to be more trusted. It is all shameful dishonour put upon Christ's grace and tenderness. I know no one so kind, so condescending, who is come down to the poor sinner, as He. I trust His love more than I do Mary's, or any saint's; not merely His power as God, but the tenderness of His heart as man — none ever shewed such, or had such, or proved it so well. None entered into my sorrows, none took a part in them, as He; none understands my heart so well; none has inspired me with such confidence in His. Let others go to saints and angels, if they like; I trust Jesus' kindness more. If it is said, He is too high, I answer, He became a man that we might know His tenderness; and He is not changed. And why go to them? Why, in Jesus' name, not go straight to the Father? The need of all this troop of mediators only shews that men do not believe the gospel. They cannot go to God Himself. Now Christ has brought us to God; suffering, the just for the unjust, He has brought us to a God of love, our Father, having put away our sins. Rome would turn us out again, to leave us trembling at the doors of the saints. I would rather go to God Himself. He, I know, loves me; He has given His Son for me. Which of the saints has done that? As to angels, they are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation. Looking to them is treated as apostasy in scripture.

123 If you will have Fathers, here is a quotation for you — Ambrose, on Romans 1: "Men are accustomed, when feeling shame for having neglected God, to use a miserable excuse, saying that by them (the saints, etc.) they can go to God, as by counts (officers of the court) people go to the king. Away then! Is any one so mad, or so unmindful of his salvation, as that he should give the honour of the king to a count, when, if any should be found to treat of such a matter, they would rightly be condemned of high treason? And so they think they are not guilty who defer the honour of the name of God to a creature, as if anything more could be kept for God. For therefore men go to the king by tribunes or counts, because the king, after all, is but a man, and is ignorant to whom he ought to trust the common weal; but to find favour with God, before whom nothing is hid, for He knows the merits of all — there is not need of one to plead for us (suffragator), but of a devout mind." I might quote many more from Origen, using not latria, but honour and do homage to. So Eusebius from Dionysius I reverence the true God alone, and none else. So continually in the early conflicts with the heathen; and the well-known passage of the epistle on Polycarp's martyrdom, when the Gentiles refused his body, lest they should do homage to him; "Not knowing," they say, "that we could neither abandon Christ, who suffered for the salvation of the whole world of the saved, nor reverence any other. For to Him, being indeed Son of God, we do homage; but martyrs, as disciples and imitators of the Lord, we love deservedly, because of the great love they have shewn to their own king and leader, with whom we would be partakers and fellow-disciples."

Ambrose thought, then, though saints were used only to go to God by, it was high treason against Him; and the saints round Polycarp's martyr-pile, that it was abandoning Christ to reverence them (sebein). Alas! ere long the high treason was committed, and Christ indeed abandoned; while Fathers condemned, Fathers sanctioned, and scripture was forgotten. As to the latter, the statement that it is clearly set forth in it is totally without foundation. Invoking saints is not found even in the passages the author has quoted. In genuine scripture the case is found of a saint in his confession going to do homage to an angel; but the angel positively forbids it, ordering him to offer it to God, for he was his fellow-servant. But what says Rome? — Heed.

124 The invocation of angels was forbidden by the Council of Laodicea which calls it a secret idolatry. Athanasius uses the invocation of Christ as a proof that He is God; and says, "no one would say God and an angel bless me" (exactly what the author attributes to Jacob); and so other Fathers. And, as I have said, they were prayed for as not yet in the presence of God, that they might speedily arrive there. There was superstition enough, but not Romish doctrine. We learn that Theodoret recommended that, to win the Gentiles, they should present to them the saints and martyrs in lieu of their demigods. It is just what has happened — there are curious facts connected with this. As soon as the Council of Ephesus had decreed that Mary was the mother of God, temples, with all their worshippers, dedicated to the gods, passed over to Christianity as a profession, and Mary took her place as Cybele had before.

I will give the account of this transformation, as given us by M. de Beugnot, a very learned Romanist, whose work was crowned by the Institute of France. "After the Council of Ephesus the churches of the East and West offered to the adoration of the faithful, the Virgin Mary, victorious over a violent attack (she had been decided to be mother of God then). The peoples were dazzled by the image of this divine mother, uniting in her person the modesty of the virgin and the love of the mother — emblem of gentleness, of resignation, and of everything that virtue presents of sublime; who weeps with the unhappy, intercedes for the guilty, and never shews herself, but as the messenger of pardon or of kind succour. They received this new worship with an enthusiasm sometimes too great, since, for many Christians, this worship became the whole of Christianity. The heathen did not even endeavour to defend their altars against the progress of the worship of this mother of God. They opened to Mary the temples which they had kept shut against Jesus Christ, and confessed themselves conquered. It is true they often mixed with the adoration of Mary those heathen ideas, those vain practices, those ridiculous superstitions, from which they seemed unable to separate themselves. The church, however, was delighted to see them enter into her bosom, because she knew well that it would be easy for her, with the help of time, to purify from its alloy a worship whose essence was purity itself." M. de Beugnot, Histoire de la Destruction du Paganisme en Occident, vol. 2, 271. His illustration of the fact is in the following note: "Among a multitude of proofs I chose only one, to shew with what facility the worship of Mary swept before it the remains of heathenism, which still covered Europe. Notwithstanding the preaching of St. Hilarion, Sicily had remained faithful to the old worship (heathenism). After the Council of Ephesus (that which declared Mary the mother of God), we see its eight finest pagan temples become in a very short space of time churches under the invocation of the Virgin. These temples were, first, the temple of Minerva at Syracuse; second, the temple of Venus and of Saturn, at Messina; third, the temple of Venus Erycina, on Mount Eryx (it was said to have been built by Aeneas); fourth, the temple of Phalaris, at Agrigentum; fifth, the temple of Vulcan, near Mount Etna; sixth, the Pantheon, at Catania; seventh, the temple of Ceres, in the same town; eighth, the sepulchre of Stesichore. The ecclesiastical annals of each country furnish similar testimonies." And that is pretended to be Christianity!

125 The truth is, all this system is a mere mixture of Judaism and heathenism. The heathen temples were built over the relics and tombs of heroes and demigods. They sprinkled themselves with holy water on going in, for which they had a place at the entry. They had their images, which they justified in the same way — their priests, their chancels. They believed that every admirable man had gone to heaven, and there interested themselves in the affairs of those who prayed to them. Their temples were built in a similar manner. Rome has not been able to exclude Christ,* but it has overwhelmed Him with heathenism, as far as possibly can be, the clergy having accommodated it to popular customs to win the people. Thus the direction given to Augustine, when sent to the Saxons, was to adopt their feasts and customs as much as possible, and give a Christian turn to them. Christmas day is a curious example of this. No one knows the day Christ was born. The Greek church kept His birth and baptism together on the 6th of January, called Epiphany. Hear again M. de Beugnot, 2:265: "The Romans had acquired in their religion an excessive passion for public festivals; and Christianity, far from opposing a disposition which required only to be directed with more wisdom, adopted a part of the ceremonial system of the old worship. It changed the object of the ceremonies, it purified them of their old filth, but it retained the epoch at which many among them had been celebrated. It is thus that the multitude found in the new religion as much as in the old the means of satisfying its ruling passion."

{*In the Confiteor, recited for obtaining absolution, He is totally left out as Christ.}

126 Think of the blessed Lord sitting at the well of Samaria, and teaching that men should worship in spirit and in truth, for the Father sought such to worship Him, and the "church" taking care the ruling passion for shows should be gratified! The author adds in a note, "The Saturnalia (a festival of unbridled joy) and many of the festivals were celebrated in the calends of January. The Nativity (Christmas) was fixed at the same epoch. The Lupercalia, pretended festivals of purification, took place in the calends of February. The Christian purification was placed on the second of February. For the feast of Augustus, celebrated in the calends of August, was substituted that of St. Peter, de Vinculis, fixed on the first day of that month." So, he adds, to the Ambarvalia, St. Mamert substituted rogation days for country people; so numberless temples became dedicated to worship called Christian. At this day the Pantheon (that is, the temple of all the gods) is dedicated to all the saints. It is well known that the statue of Peter at Rome was a statue of Jupiter Olympius, and they took out the thunderbolt and put in the keys. It all hangs together.

Nor is it merely so modern an author as Beugnot, however learned, who speaks of the corruption of Christianity by the influx of heathenism. Augustine gives us very precise information as to it. He thus writes in a letter in which he is recounting to Alypius, Bishop of Thogostan, the manner in which he had put down the drunken feasts, which were held to celebrate the martyrs (for such was the case in Africa; and so determined were the people to have them, that the clergy had winked at it), and would now explain how he had excused to the people those who had let it go on, by shewing how it had risen in the church, for he must needs excuse the clergy. "Namely, after so many and so vehement persecutions, when, peace being made, crowds of Gentiles, desiring to embrace the Christian name, were hindered by this, that they were accustomed to consume festive days with their idols, in abundance of feasts and drunkenness, nor were they easily able to abstain from their pernicious and so very ancient pleasures, it had seemed good to our forefathers, that they should let this part of their infirmity pass, and that they should celebrate other festal says after those they left, in honour of the holy martyrs, or not with similar sacrilege, although with similar luxury."

17 Is this the holy Catholic church, which, to get in crowds of Gentiles, suffers them to go on, without the least moral change, with their feasting and drunkenness, only substituting holy martyrs for idols? It is not I that make the charge, or account for it thus; it is the sober historical account of Augustine, Presbyter. He says they called it laetitia, joy, endeavouring in vain to hide the name of drunkenness. He told them that not even the carnal private people were found publicly drunk in the name of religion. In another letter he says to Aurelian, Bishop of Carthage: "But since these drunkennesses and luxurious feasts are not only wont to be believed to be honours rendered to the martyrs, but also a solace of the dead [they did not think of praying to them, at any rate], it would seem more easy that they may be persuaded then from that filth and baseness, if it should be prohibited out of the scriptures, and offerings for the spirits of them that sleep, which it is to be believed really help somewhat, over their memories (that is, when buried or celebrated), should not be sumptuous," etc. And Chrysostom advises his hearers to partake of the meal to be appointed in honour of the martyr, besides his martyrium, under a fig-tree or vine, instead of joining in the heathen feasts in Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, where was a famous temple to Venus with all sorts of wickedness.

Can one doubt for a moment of the heathen character of all these feasts in honour of martyrs and saints? But what a picture of the state of the church! The holy Catholic church setting them to get drunk in honour of a martyr, because it was sacrilege to get drunk in honour of an idol, and they would get drunk somewhere! No wonder a priest did not include practice in the elements of her holiness. But I anticipate the last point. It was invocation of saints led us to these festivals in martyrs' memories.

128 Purgatory remains besides. On this Rome is very weak. She has recourse to it, because full redemption by the work of Jesus and the reality of a new nature is not believed. It is not believed that "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin," as scripture says it does; it is not believed that "he that is dead is freed from sin," and has left it all behind if he be a Christian, "absent from the body, and present with the Lord," Christ being his life, and he a member of His body. None of this is believed. Hence they must have a purifying fire after death for the Christian, for such only go there (and not those who die, as they say, in mortal sin). Nor do they really believe even in the efficacy of their own rites, as we have seen. If they send men to purgatory, they do not believe that extreme unction abstergit reliquias peccati, wipes off the remains of sin; nor in the other means used for a dying man. They can give no certainty, with all their boasting of being the true church: a man may be of it, and lost after all. Nay, they cannot keep him out of purgatory, with all their rites, even if he be finally saved. They know no other God than one who will exact the last farthing; a God of love, who is a Saviour, they know not.

But let us see their proofs. The Council of Trent was uneasy about it; it is anxious that curious questions about it should be avoided. And the author takes care here to tell us that Romanists receive many doctrines on the authority of the Catholic church which are not contained in the written word. To be sure they do: I suppose, by such an introduction, that purgatory is one of them. It is a candid avowal: they have no warrant from scripture for many things they teach. Now, I repeat, the church has to receive and keep the truth, but cannot reveal it; God may use a man — a Paul or a Peter; but the church, as such, receives and keeps it. The church's teaching is all very well as a conventional expression; but the church cannot reveal anything, and that is the whole point here. As a body it is impossible. Its members may teach it, or they may be the instruments by which God reveals it; but the body, as such, cannot reveal it: God uses individuals' minds or mouths for that. The church is not, by its very nature as a body composed of many individuals, capable of it. It may, and ought, in its common faith to maintain the truth. We are told that they have been revealed by Christ, and always taught by the church. Revealed to whom? to the whole church as a body, or to an individual? If to the latter, then it is not to the church it is revealed, nor she who teaches it. The church receives the revelation made to the individual. If the revelation has been to the whole body, let the author say where and when it was made as to a single truth. This is an important point. I deny any truth was ever revealed to the church as a body — that is, that God so revealed it to the body, that it becomes to others a revelation by the church. It cannot be. Where has it been? I admit her duty to guard it when revealed, and hold it up before men.

129 But I turn to particulars. Moses does not teach the creation of angels, but he teaches the creation of all things — the heavens and the earth, and all the hosts of them. All the creation is spoken of as referred to man; other scriptures state it clearly. "He maketh his angels spirits."

I have already spoken of the sabbath and the Lord's day.

Moses does not speak of rewards and punishments of a future life; because he was shewing the ways of God with Israel in and on the earth by favours and judgment here, God being present with them and dwelling among them on the earth. Other scriptures of the Old Testament are clear enough.

If the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son rests on the church's authority, it is not worth much. The Greek church does not hold it. The early teachers extant are very loose indeed as to the doctrine of the Spirit, though not denying it; and, as we have seen, on the whole doctrine of the Trinity in general. But in John it is said, the Father sends, and the Son sends from the Father. As to the discussion between Greeks and Romanists, it is endless metaphysics. That the Holy Ghost is a divine person, one with the Father and the Son, scripture is clear. He wills, distributes, comes, is sent, is grieved, leads, intercedes: in a word, He does every kind of personal act; yet what is spoken of as done by Him, it is expressly said, God does, in the same chapter; 1 Cor. 12.

Further, the Spirit is called not only the Spirit of God, but the Spirit of the Father, and the Spirit of the Son, in Galatians 4; the Spirit of Christ, even when speaking in the prophets, 1 Peter 1:11, and Romans 8:9; and of Jesus Christ, Philippians 1:19. He is, indeed, oftener called the Spirit of the Son than the Spirit of the (your) Father. The word procession is never applied to the Son. The Greek Fathers, before the separation from Rome, never use it but in connection with the Father, as it appears; the Latin, from after the Arian controversy, do. Charlemagne raised the question, and Pope Leo said it ought not to be put in the creed. It rather appears, that the dogmatical assertion (the Council of Nice had only, "I believe in the Holy Ghost"; the second, that of Constantinople, added, "proceeding from the Father," without adding "and the Son") first took place in Spain, where Arianism prevailed; but from the fifth century, the Latin Fathers speak of both Father and Son. The Greek held to the terms of scripture. The Council of Ephesus commanded nothing to be added to the creed. Pope Leo not only said to his legates at the French Council, it ought not to be inserted, but, to hinder it, had the creed fixed on at Constantinople, engraved in Greek and Latin on silver plates, and fixed up, without the addition of "and the Son." It was only in the papacy of Nicholas I, in the latter end of the ninth century, that it was regularly inserted. The Greeks objected, and, in what they call the eighth General Council, ordered it to be removed.

130 So much for the church's teaching, and Vincentius' "what always, what everywhere, what by all," as the sure rule of faith. The Latins did not quote church authority for it, for they had none to quote. All the world knew (for heathens Lucian's Philopatris gives the substance of the creed very exactly, though in scorn) that church authority had never sanctioned it, and a General Council forbidden all addition, and Pope Leo this particular one. They appealed to deductions from scripture, such as "He shall take of mine, and shew it unto you"; "All things that the Father hath are mine"; and they said He was received from the Son, and hence proceeded from Him. I do not decide anything about the time; but, as to the Catholic church having always taught it, there cannot be a greater mistake, or more unfounded assertion. And see what a proof the author gives us — she teaches it: therefore it must be right. That is a convenient argument in a book which is to prove she is right. The quotation of Mr. Whiston is unhappy. He wanted to have acknowledged as scripture acknowledged impostures of an Alexandrian, Arian seemingly in his views (as it appears Mr. W. was too), of the fifth century, and which our priest himself quotes in ignorance as of the first, but not as scripture.

131 The first authority adduced for purgatory is the Jewish church; the quotation to prove it is mistaken. The Lord killeth and maketh alive; He bringeth down to hell, and bringeth up. But what has this to do with purgatory? Hell was Sheol, the invisible place of death, or even the grave. It is a simple statement of the power of God to do what He pleases, to bring down and lift up. Ecclesiasticus, we have seen, is not scripture. The author speaks of the Jewish church believing it, as many portions of the Bible record; but the Jews did not receive this as the Bible at all. That the unbelieving, Christ-rejecting Jews believe in a purgatory is, I believe, quite true; but that is a strange authority for a Christian. They do not know redemption, but boast of being God's people in a fleshly way, but have no real resting-place for their souls. They want a purgatory. The Romanist has the same boast and does not know redemption for his own soul, and he wants a purgatory too. I would not have put their faith on the same ground; the author has thought good to do it. He must know the Lord's judgment of that ground — "In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

As to funeral feasts amongst the Jews, it is very likely: they are not the only ones who have them. When people are hard pinched, they will quote anything. The author quotes Zechariah 9:11: "By the blood of thy covenant thou hast sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water." What sending people out of a pit where there was no water by the blood of the covenant has to do with purgatory, it would be hard to tell. The prophet is speaking of Ephraim, and God's dealings with the Jews, and nothing else; and declares that, in virtue of the blood of the covenant, He will deliver them from a pit where there was no resource to refresh them. The whole chapter refers to God's dealings with Ephraim and Judah.

Next comes the well-known passage of Christ's going to preach to the spirits in prison. I have no doubt that it was the Spirit of Christ in Noah; as in the same epistle Peter says, the Spirit of Christ which was in the prophets; and that it is not said He preached in prison at all, but to those who are spirits in prison now, because they did not listen when He preached in Noah; and the force is then obvious. The Jews would not listen to the Spirit of Christ speaking by the apostles, and the few who did were despised and persecuted. There was no living Christ to help them on earth. Well, says Peter, it was only by His Spirit He went and preached in Noe, and there were only eight souls saved then, fewer than you; yet the others are in prison for not having listened. Let it be remembered that the passage speaks only of the disobedient in the time of Noe. Now God had said then, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years." Yet these are chosen as the only ones with whom His Spirit should strive afterwards; and, mark, it was the Spirit which then strove, Christ's Spirit, which went and preached. Moreover, Peter, in another passage, says that the sparing Noe, and bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly, was a proof that God knew how to reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished. How so if they were preached to afterwards to be delivered? The sense, then, to me is evident, and the whole Roman Catholic application of the passage fails. But at any rate, who ever heard of preaching in purgatory? That is not Romish doctrine. People go there to finish penance and be purged, not to hear sermons.

132 Christ said to the thief that he should be in paradise. It is monstrous, well-nigh blasphemy, to quote this. Do they mean that the blessed Lord went to purgatory? When Paul was caught up to paradise, and heard unutterable words, he did not go to purgatory, I suppose. Departed souls are in an intermediate state, no doubt, because they have not their bodies; but they are "present with the Lord," 2 Cor. 5. They "depart and are with Christ, which is far better" (Phil. I); they are the same day in paradise with Him (Luke 23); the Lord Jesus receives their spirit (Acts 7). Paul did not descend into paradise; he was caught up there. But it is monstrous and horrible to make purgatory out of the paradise the soul of Christ went to at His death. His work was so blessed, that the poor thief, justly hung for his crimes, could go straight to paradise with Christ Himself, and not go near any purgatory, because he was purged by the death of Christ. This was what the Lord told him, and teaches us — that the Lord's work was so perfect, that it takes a thief into paradise, as sure as Christ is there, for Christ had borne his sins, and His blood cleansed him from them. The thief thought he would have to wait till Christ came in the glory of His kingdom. No, says the Lord, you shall not wait till then; you shall go straight to paradise with Me to-day. His work was perfect for him — cleansed him; and those wretched teachers would make purgatory of it, and send the Lord there! The Lord forgive them.

133 As to agreeing with thine adversary, etc., Matthew 5 is meant. There is the general idea of reconciliation in grace, or judgment if not; but the specific application is to the Jews, with whom Christ was on the way. They would not be reconciled, they are under judgment, and as in prison, and there they will stay till they have as a nation received full chastisement. Then they will come out. So in Luke 12. It is definitely connected with an appeal to the Jews, why they did not discern that time (that is, when the Lord was in the way with them).

As regards forgiveness in the world to come, purgatory is not forgiveness, but purging when a man is forgiven; and no forgiveness in the world to come means never forgiven at all; as Mark expresses it — "hath never forgiveness." It is the same thing. The Jews had three periods, or ages, here translated worlds. But it has nothing whatever to do with another place, but with another time. The first was before the law; the second, under the law, in which they were; the third, the age (world) to come, or that under Messiah. In this they knew that there would be more abundant grace and forgiveness than under the law. If their sins were as scarlet, they would be as white as snow; but here was a sin that would not be forgiven even then. Till the kingdom was set up (it was at hand then), the world to come was not arrived.

As to baptism for the dead, baptism has nothing to do with penitential acts and prayer. Paul is speaking of those fallen asleep in Christ, and suffering himself every hour; and after expatiating on what the resurrection is, from 1 Corinthians 15:18-28, he resumes, What would they do who enter into the ranks in the very place of those fallen asleep (the dead), if the dead do not rise — Who would take place along with them, if they are to remain dead, and get only that for their faith? To join such ranks, and replace them in them, would be madness; and if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men, he declares, most miserable. The passage speaks of baptism, and not of things done for departed souls. If purgatorial fire can be called by a figure the last baptism, what has that to say to baptism for the dead?

It is not sins he is speaking of in 1 Corinthians 3, when speaking of wood, hay, stubble, but preaching and teaching; and if, though a real Christian on the foundation, all his labour is bad as labour, from teaching nonsense and futility, even if not heresy, when put to the test by trial, it all goes. He is not lost, but his work is; and he sorely shaken and disturbed. Paul is speaking of his own, Apollos', or others' work, not of their sins. Origen believed nobody would be lost, not even the devil, and that hell served for purgatory, and men came back, and might fail over again. He is a pretty authority to quote for purgatory.

134 What Christ's walking in Solomon's porch, on the feast of the dedication, has to do with admitting the authority of the book of Maccabees, no human wit can tell. The feast after the dedication was there, and he met the people on it. The Maccabees tell us how it came to be celebrated, as Josephus does many other things which the Saviour joined in as a Jew. But He could do that without sanctioning the book of Maccabees. As to these books, the first is a fair useful history of the times, never admitted by the Jews into the canon, nor owned as scripture till the Council of Trent. The second, the one quoted, is a very worthless, bad, self-contradicting book, giving three contradictory accounts of Antiochus' death. I have not the decrees of the Council of Florence; it is possible it may have been admitted there near 1500 years after Christ. The second of Maccabees ends — "I will make an end of my discourse also with these things, and if, indeed, well, and as suits the history, it is as I should wish; but if less worthily, it is to be pardoned me. For as always drinking wine, or always drinking water, is bad for us (contrarium), but to use them alternately is delectable, so for readers, if the discourse is always exact, it will not be pleasant. Here, therefore, it shall be completed." Think of the audacity, be it Florence or Trent, of saying that a book which gives this description of itself, is inspired!

But let us take the case alleged; it is quoted for this passage: "It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins." Now, that this was a Jewish superstition, like many others, this may lead us to believe; just as they thought the stars were living beings, and many other things, as previous existence of souls. But here the case does not answer at all for the point it is quoted for. Idols were found on the persons who were slain, and the cause of their death manifest. They had died in mortal sin; but this does not send a man to purgatory in the Romish system, but to hell. But I must go a little farther here, and charge the Vulgate, or at any rate the present reading of it, with being an entirely corrupt translation, or rather version. The Maccabees are in Greek, and the passage in Greek runs thus: "He made a collection of two thousand drachms, and sent it to Jerusalem, to present a sacrifice for sin," that is all; and then speaks of it as done well and comelily, thinking of the resurrection. And after saying it was a good thought, referring to what went before, he says, "Wherefore he made a propitiation about the dead, to do away the sin." The shape in which it is, therefore, in Latin is only a clothing put upon it, by I know not whom; it is not much matter. The author also highly commends Razis for killing himself — 14:2 (I do not know whether that is canonical); and gives such a history of his deeds as I must leave to the reader to believe, if he can, and admire if he will. He ends, after running himself through with a sword, and doing all manner of feats afterwards, by plucking out his own bowels, I do not know how, and throwing them at the people. I do not know whether this is a part that, as the author says, is not very exact, to make it pleasant; Rome says it is inspired.

135 We are told next that the Apostolic Constitutions were written by Clement, the companion of Paul. Why there is not a writer, ancient or modern, Roman or Protestant, unless his friend, the Rev. Mr. Whiston, that believes it. They are universally recognized as an imposture, written four hundred years after Clement. As to Constantine, it was poor work to cry so for him, for he would not be baptized till he was on his death-bed (though he had managed the church for years, and called a General Council and managed it), in order that he might be sure to be washed quite clean. They might as well, indeed, believe in purgatory as seek to secure themselves by such shifts as that. But prayers for the dead did not form purgatory at all; they were used long before purgatory was believed in. The real history of the matter was this. The full acknowledgment of grace is the hardest thing for the proud heart of man to submit to. Its tendency is always to look at God, as Rome does, as an austere man, who will exact the last farthing; and to maintain his good opinion of himself in pretending to satisfy God, while, after all, as works cannot quiet the conscience, he has recourse to ordinances to pacify, if they cannot purify it.

Hence, even while Paul lived, he had to struggle incessantly against this tendency. Peter slipped into it at Antioch, and most of Paul's Epistles were written against it — that is, against Romanism, or what is now called Puseyism, shewing it as the mystery of iniquity which was corrupting the church — a form of piety denying the power, and which would go on till it broke out into open apostasy. It is characterized expressly in his epistles by works, ordinances, voluntary humility, worshipping of angels — the very things Rome now boasts of, and by not holding the Head, that is, that real union of the church with Christ, which, while it puts her before God in the same place as Christ as to acceptance, is the power of a new life, in which saints live to God as dead to sin with Christ, and alive to God through Him — perfect acceptance, perfect peace with God, and a really new spiritual life manifested in all a man's ways. The devil and man's heart do not like this; he will have pleasure and ordinances, build tombs of the prophets, have memories of martyrs, celebrate ordinances over their tombs, and get drunk at the celebration.

136 Man is naturally idolatrous; and a corrupt church will, as we have seen, furnish him with martyrs, if he cannot have demigods. Still, the poor "Catholic church" did not get its present stature all at once. There was what in these times is called "development." The blessed energy of the apostle hardly held the saints, of whose conversion he had been the instrument, even during his own lifetime, in the power of the truth. They were already then returning to the beggarly elements of heathenism under a Jewish form. "After his decease," as he warned it would, that "mystery of iniquity," which worked as leaven while he was there, spread freely, and the full knowledge of redemption, as he had taught it, was gone. Heresies sprang up like weeds, the general remedy used against it was not truth and grace, but external unity, no matter how much evil; and with the influx of numbers corruption came in. Jude warns us of what was going on; and John, that there were already so many antichrists that the last time was apparent.

In the third century superstition had made ample progress, and we find, not indeed prayers to saints, nor purgatory, but prayers for them. If the knowledge of redemption was practically lost, if works and ordinances had taken their place, if the corrupt morals and proud asceticism of Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian, had taken the place of the gospel, men's minds wanted something to mend them when dead, who knew neither redemption nor holiness when living. At first, as given by Origen, it was calling them to mind, with thanksgiving for them, and prayer for resemblance to them. The first person who speaks of these prayers for the dead pretty definitely, is the upright but ardent Tertullian, who left the "Catholic church," as no longer bearing its looseness; and, with an African imagination, though a Father, fell into the wild pretensions of Montanus. His disciple, the martyr Cyprian, also speaks of them; he who tells us that all morality was gone, men given up to shameful vanity, women painting their faces, bishops running about all the provinces to make gain by fraud.

137 But then, at this time, they prayed for martyrs, apostles, prophets, patriarchs, saints, and all the departed together, that they might have part in the first resurrection; and the Virgin Mary, among the rest, was prayed for in the same way, and not only among the rest but especially for her. Cyril of Jerusalem says the same in connection with the Eucharist, saying, We believe it to be a considerable advantage to their souls! So St. Austin says, as to the drunken bouts, the people believed it to be a solace to the martyrs; and he says, since it was to be believed, it was something (aliquid). But then here a difficulty arose; a step was made in the superstition, and, the saints and martyrs being greatly exalted, they were considered as enjoying the beatific vision; full heathenism was flowing in, and they were to help the living, not the living to help them. This was an immense change indeed in the "Catholic" view of things. Epiphanius justifies prayers for saints, because it put a difference between Christ perfect and other men's imperfection, shewing he had wholly lost the notion of Christ Himself being our righteousness, and that, when we depart, we are with Him; but shewing too that all other men were held to be prayed for (not a word, remark, about purgatory all this time). So Hincmar, in the ninth century, tells us, "Grant to us, O Lord, that this oblation may be of advantage to the soul of thy servant Leo (a St. Leo), by which, in its immolation, thou hast granted that the sins of the whole world should be loosened." In the thirteenth century, as given by Pope Innocent, it had become, "Grant to us, we beseech thee, O Lord, that, by the intercession of the blessed Leo, this offering may profit us."

Such was the progress in this superstition. How different from the peace of "to depart and be with Christ is far better"! From this scripture truth they went back to Judaism, and believed they were in hades, waiting. Now we know that till the resurrection we are not in our perfect state of glory; we do not wait in a separated state in that sense; but scripture is very clear as to it — "To-day," says Christ, "thou shalt be with me in paradise," for redemption was accomplished. "Lord Jesus," says Stephen addressing Christ in heaven, "receive my spirit," and so fell asleep praying for his murderers. "We are always confident," says Paul, "knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, and desiring rather to be absent from the body and present with the Lord," 2 Cor. 5. And again, "Desiring rather to depart and be with Christ, which is far better." Nothing can be plainer; but the power of it was lost. That Christ had by one offering perfected for ever them that were sanctified was forgotten; that God would remember their sins and iniquities no more was lost for their consciences; and hence the intermediate state became a kind of prison for the departed, where prayers, they knew scarce how, would do them good; yet at first they were joined with thanksgiving, but there was no thought of their living in purgatory — it is never supposed a moment in their prayers. They also looked to their having part in the first resurrection, which all, they supposed, had not. But then "Fathers" had other notions as regards purgatory, to say nothing of Origen who was out of the way wild and heterodox.

138 They held that at the last day men would be purged with fire; to this they apply "baptized with fire." It was not now, but in the day of judgment; he owned that was the fire of the day of judgment. Thus Ambrose (I take this quotation from another) — "All must pass through the flames, though it be John the Evangelist, though it be Peter; the sons of Levi shall be purged with fire, Ezekiel, Daniel," etc. So St. Hilary, "Because to the baptizing in the Holy Ghost it still remains to be consummated by the fire of judgment." "As we are to render account of every idle word, can we desire the day of judgment, in which we are to undergo the unwearied fire in which the grave punishments of a soul to be expiated (purified) from sin are to be undergone?" "If," he adds, "the Virgin herself, who conceived God in her womb, must undergo the severity of judgment, who is so bold as to desire to be judged by God?"

139Jerome speaks a similar language in the closing sentence of his Commentary on Isaiah — "And as we believe the eternal torments of the devil, and all deniers and impious men who have said in their heart there is no God, so of sinners and impious men, yet Christians, whose works are to be tried by fire and purged, we think there will be a moderate sentence of the Judge, and mixed with clemency."

He is speaking of the final judgment depicted in Isaiah 66. I quote it to shew what the fire of purgatory then thought of was; but I cannot let it pass without remarking how entirely the truth of God was lost and abused. Redemption cleansing from sin — God's not imputing it — never enters into their mind. They know nothing of the blood of Christ cleansing from sin. Secondly, they have no thought that all are utterly condemned if they come into judgment — "Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be justified." Thirdly, impious Christians they make better off than other impious people: the Lord says they are worse off — "He that knew his Lord's will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes." The light that was in them was darkness, and how great was that darkness!

Austin says (Enchir. 78, ad Laurentium 110:29) (another witness of the thick darkness the best were fallen into, and which shews the idea of intermediate punishment, not purgatory, but rest or misery, according to deserts) — "With the sacrifice for the very good, it was thanksgiving; for the not very bad, propitiations; for the very bad, though they are no help for the dead, they are a certain consolation for the living" (that is, a lie was, for the dead were not helped). "But those whom they profit, they profit for this, that there should be full remission, or that damnation itself, at any rate, should be more tolerable"! The Benedictine editors cite masses said to mitigate hell; and Augustine goes on to shew they will not get out, that God may remember mercy in (not after wrath, he says) wrath, and alleviate them from time to time.

Is it not deplorable? I might cite more passages, but these may suffice. Prayers for the dead there were in the third century; in the next, at any rate. Purgatory was decidedly unknown for six centuries. The Greek church has never received it; the Fathers are all confusion about it. It was a Platonic and Jewish idea. The purgatory generally spoken of in the fourth and fifth was the final judgment, which would be in measure to Christians — which, mark, denies the other. St. Augustine, after saying that an unmarried man built gold, etc., a married one, wood, hay, and stubble, and, reasoning much on the subject, says — Some were willing to prove an intermediate fire by the fire trying every man's work; and thought they who had lived without indulging their affections wrongly would not go there, and the others would, adding — "I do not oppose, because perhaps it is the truth" — non redarguo quia forsitan verum est. That is, it began in the fourth or fifth century to be hinted at as possible. (August. de Civ. Dei, lib. 20:26.) Prayers for the dead, disproving purgatory, are found there from the third, shewing the knowledge of redemption to be lost; and purgatory began to be hinted at merely in the fourth or fifth, the purgatory of a final judgment proportioned to sin being then taught (redemption being wholly lost as a doctrine giving peace to the soul), and in the sixth and seventh it began to be established as a doctrine. This is the true history of it.

140 Here our author closes his subject. Why have we nothing of indulgences?

I had reserved the point of holiness as a proof of the true church. I have no longer need to say much. It is a painful point to touch on, because it seems like attack. But when holiness is advanced as a proof — and in its place it is a very real one — what can one do (since it is a proof, though not taken alone) but shew that holiness did not characterize what is called the Catholic church? I say not alone, for scripture always gives counter-checks. A man comes to me with the truth in form, but unholy — that is not the Spirit of God. The Spirit of truth is the Holy Spirit. Another comes to me with a great appearance of holiness, but he has not the truth. It is not the Spirit of God, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. God guards His children thus on every side. But holiness is a proof in its place; I must therefore touch on it.

We have seen in the third century Cyprian declaring that corruption was universal, and that the bishops were running about everywhere for money, and making gain by fraud. We have seen that the martyrs' memories were, in the fourth and fifth, celebrated with drunken feasts, and Augustine fearing a sedition if an attempt was made to stop it. We have learned from him that this was deliberately allowed, to please heathens coming in and let them go on in their own ways unchanged, only substituting martyrs for idols. This is holiness neither in practice, purpose, nor doctrine. St. Augustine — De Opere Manichaeorum — complains of their running about to sell relics, to make money; and so great was the superstition, that the fifth Council of Carthage orders the innumerable altars to martyrs to be overturned, unless it made a tumult; and, if it could not be done, warns the people not to go.

141 Hear Jerome now as to priests (so-called). A law was made by Valentinian against priests and monks getting inheritances. Jerome says he does not complain of the law, but of its being necessary. The caution of the law is provident and severe; yet even so avarice is not restrained. We mock at laws by means of trusts; and, as if emperors' decrees were greater than Christ's, we fear the laws and despise the Gospels. And then, "It is the ignominy of all priests to study their own wealth. Born in a poor house, and in a rustic cottage, I, who could scarce content the loud cry of my belly with millet and coarse bread, now am nice about fine flour and honey. I know the kinds and names of fishes; I am knowing on what shore a shell-fish is gathered; I discern provinces by the savour of birds, etc. I hear, moreover, of the base service of some to old men and old women without children — themselves put the chamber pot, besiege the bed, receive with their own hands the purulence of the stomach and the expectoration of the lungs. They tremble at the entrance of the physician, and with faltering lips inquire whether they are better; and if the old person is somewhat more vigorous, they are in danger, and with feigned joy their avaricious mind is tortured within; for they fear lest they should lose their pains, and compare the vigorous old person to the years of Methuselah," Epist. 52:34.

What do you think of such a state of the clergy, and general enough at least to require a law, not from heathen, as Jerome remarks, but from Christian emperors? Is that holiness? Were bloodshed and tumults, through ambition in the election of bishops, whether from individual ambition, as at Rome, or disputes between the clergy and people who should elect, as happened in France, a holy state of things? Hear Sulpitius Severus in Gaul, de Vita B. Martini 23: "But that I may insert less things than these (although, as is the course of our times, in which all things are depraved and corrupted, it is almost the chief thing, he did not yield priestly firmness to royal adulation); when many bishops from divers parts had come together to the Emperor Maximus, a man of a ferocious spirit, and elated with victory in the civil wars, and a base adulation of all around the prince was to be remarked, and the priestly dignity, by a degenerate inconstancy, had bowed before the royal attendant, in Martin alone apostolic authority remained." He relates he gave the cup of honour to a presbyter to drink before the emperor," And it was celebrated in all the palace that Martin had done at the king's dinner what no one of the bishops would have done in the festivals of the lowest judges." It was a mixture of the lowest servility and the haughtiest pride: so it ever is in such case. Pride at last got the upper hand.

142 But your doctrine, you say, is holy. Is it holy to have an absolution to facilitate men getting ease to their consciences, when they have not thoroughly repented? That is the express doctrine of your sacrament of penance, and the daily snare of millions in practice. The doctrine of attrition and a sacrament, or contrition without it, is the most iniquitous principle ever invented to content men with sin; and so it works. Can you shew me a more dreadful set of persons than a multitude of the popes, though with honourable exceptions in early days, yet never without excessive ambition? What do you say to indulgences? As a doctrine compounding for penances, as a practice compounding for sins, and paying for my faults with another's dreamed-of superfluous merits, and all disposed of for money? Is that holy doctrine? Are the taxes for sin in the Romish chancellary — that is, how much is to be paid for each — holy in doctrine or in practice? Good books forbidden at any price; all sins set off at some price! Is it a holy thing to teach, as to corruption produced by celibacy, si non casti, cauti? Let me ask, what was a great part of the bishops' revenues, at the time of the Reformation, derived from? Do you know that in Rome, at this day, according to statistical accounts, of over three thousand children born, considerably more than two thousand are given up to be brought up by avellin institutions, illegitimate or abandoned by their parents? Are not Romish countries known to be walking in corruption and evil, even more than Protestant ones? Do you think a person travelling through Spain, or Italy, or France, would find holiness characterise the country? Their state is awful. Do I say, then, that Protestant countries are holy? Far from it. No one is, but he who is born of God, and who is led by the Spirit of God. But I say that the professing church, and, above all, the Romish body, is not; not a person who goes to the East but would sooner trust a Turk than those called Christians; but this is of long date.

143 I will close this by a passage from Eusebius: "Wickedness of unutterable hypocrisy and dissimulation was risen to the highest pitch; the pastors of note among them, despising all bond of piety, turn in contention one against another, only increasing in strife, threats, envy, hostility, and hatred one against another," Lib. 8:1. Austin declares that, in his day, if any one would live godly he was mocked, not by heathens simply, but by the professing Christians.

But to close. The truth is, all this has been predicted. Even in the apostles' days Paul declares, with a sorrowing heart, "All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." He declares that the mystery of iniquity did already work, and would issue in apostasy, in God's own time; that evil men and seducers would wax worse and worse; that in the last days perilous times should come; that there would be a form of piety without the power. We have seen this fulfilled. It fills the heart with sorrow, but not surprise; it tests but it confirms faith; it shews the pretension to universality and external perpetuity, as a visible body, to be the sign of a false church, not of a true one; for the scriptures speak of apostasy, perilous times, and judgment, cutting off, if professing Gentiles do not continue in His goodness, while it is prophetically declared they will not. God will surely keep them that are His, and His own true church will be preserved and maintained, till the time for the Lord to come and take it into glory with Himself.

As to the outward professing body, the Lord has declared that the mystery of iniquity, which existed in the apostles' days, would go on till the full apostasy which would bring the judgment. The tares were sown by Satan in the field; the Lord will reap it in judgment. It is a solemn subject, as solemn for Protestants as for Romanists, for God will judge righteous judgment as to all, and there is grace in Christ for the one as for the other. Yes, holiness is a mark; but it is not forms of piety. "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord"; but God will have reality; it is the real putting on of the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. It is being renewed in the spirit of our minds — this is the holiness which God will have. It is wanting, alas! in many Protestants; but it is that which every man who knows the actual state of Ireland, and still more perhaps other countries professing Romanism, knows does not characterise the vast bulk; he knows that corruption and evil are (with the exception perhaps of Belgium) in the proportion of its influence; France bad, Italy and Spain morally insupportable.

144 Yet holiness is a mark of the true church; but, my reader, Protestant or Roman Catholic, note it well, truth, the truth of God's holy word, is another; not the uncertain vacillations of Fathers with the growing superstitions of the mystery of iniquity, but God's own pure, certain, blessed word, written by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, by apostles and evangelists, and addressed to Christians and whoever has ears to hear. Lastly, grace is a mark of the true church. The knowledge of a God of love, a God who has given His Son because He loved poor sinners; of that Son's having perfectly accomplished redemption by His own offering of Himself once for all; the knowledge that His blood cleanses from all sin, that He has made peace through the blood of His cross, and that by Him all that believe are justified from all things, and have eternal life; that God will remember their sins and iniquities no more. Yes, holiness, the truth, and the knowledge of a perfect and accomplished redemption of a God of love, mark the member at least of the true church, of the body of Christ, mark the children of a heavenly Father.

May you, reader, as a repentant sinner, know them for yourself!