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year of his age, and the fortieth of his sacred winistry, the charge of novelty, and of a deviation from the practice of the Primitive Church will probably be abandoned for ever.
Why do not you invocate and worship, or pray to the Virgin
Mary, and the saints departed ?
1. Because the word of God is directly against it; for it saith,
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt
thou serve, Matt. iv. 10. 2. It is absurd and irrational to worship men and women, who
are not present to receive our worship; or to speak to beings, when we neither are nor can be sure that they hear
3. Prayer is a spiritual sacrifice, and therefore must be offered
to God only. External sacrifice, offered to creatures, by the confession of the Papists themselves, would be idolatry, and therefore much more a spiritual sacrifice, as it is much
nobler, and of greater consequence than the other. 4. This invocation of saints is an innovation, for there is no example of it for the first three hundred
after Christ. 5. We are expressly commanded to come directly to God in
prayer through our only mediator Jesus Christ, Psalm i. 15, 1 Tim. ü. 5, and to invocate saints departed to intercede
for us, is to disobey his command. 6. It is a great dishonour to God, to beg that of saints which
God only can give ; for this is to ascribe to them divine power : such is their prayer in the office of the blessed Virgin Mary: “ Mother of mercy, protect us from the ene
my, and receive us in the hour of death." 7. The excuse they make that they pray only to saints to pray
for them; even this is injurious to the mediation of Jesus Christ ; for this is to make innumerable mediators, and tacitly to accuse his mediation of imperfection, who is our only mediator, not only of redemption, but of intercession too.
8. This invocation of saints departed, is injurious to the saints
themselves, who, were they, to appear here, would disdain
to receive that honour which is due to God only. 9. Their praying to saints departed, is not the same with our
desiring our neighbours here on earth to pray for us ; for we know our neighbours hear us; nor is it any more
than a friendly request. Here are no formal prayers offered to our neighbours in a
devotional way; besides, for this we have a command, but none for the other.
BEFORE We proceed to the discussion of the matter presented to us in the answer to the twelfth question, it becomes peculiarly necessary to define with precision, the nature and extent of the Catholic doctrine on the subject of the invocation of the saints. For the catechist, in common with his brethren, betrays a lust to misapply and to misconstrue, in orderto ensure condemnation; and to involve the question in mists and darkness, that the real merits of the case may not distinctly appear. Knowing that the veneration paid to the saints is sometimes called worship, cultus sanctorum, he chooses to understand the term in the primary sense, as implying supreme adoration, and instantly pronounces the practice of the Catholic church to be contrary to the word of God, or in plain language, to be manifest idolatry. If this gentle writer had consulted Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, he would have discovered, that the term worship, not only implies supreme adoration, but honour, reverence, and respect; and if he had deigned to inspect any authorized document on the subject, he would have seen with the utmost certainty, that in the latter sense only, the Catholic church pays respect and veneration to the departed saints. What says the Doway Catechism, the book by which Catholic children are taught the first elements of religion, in answer to the question, how the saints and angels are to be honoured"? WITH AN INFERIOR HONOUR, AS THE FRIENDS AND CREATURES OF GOD, NOT As Gods, NOR WITH God's HONOUR. What is the language of the Council of Trent on the subject? Listen, catechist, to the simple and modest exposition of Catholic belief, when it is affirmed”, THAT THE SAINTS REIGNING WITH CHRIST, OFFER UP PRAYERS FOR MEN, THAT IT IS GOOD AND USEFUL SUPPLIANTLY TO INVOKE THEM, AND TO RECUR TO THEIR PRAYERS AND ASSISTANCE, IN
OBTAIN BENEFITS FROM GOD, THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD, WHO ALONE IS OUR REDEEMER AND MEDIATOR. Here let me exclaim, with the feelings of a man who is indignant at the obloquy thrown upon the whole Church of Christ, how simple, how clear, how pious, is this exposition of Catholic doctrine ! But how dark, how disinge
First Commandment, viii.
nuous, how malignant, is the misrepresentation of our enemies !
From this succinct statement, it appears that Catholics believe that the saints in heaven pray for the faithful on earth; and that it is lawful and profitable to ask their intercession ; and unless I produce such evidence in favour of this practice, as will satisfy the pious Christian and the impartial man, I consent to forfeit
I first request the catechist to turn to his creed, which, it is presumed, he recites at least once a-day; there he professes to believe the communion of saints. What possible meaning can be affixed to this portion of that venerable and traditional document of Christian antiquity, but that there is a union of feeling, interest, and charity, a holy fellowship between the saints in heaven and the faithful on earth; that the former interest themselves in our welfare, and that we solicit their intercession, and their charitable succour, before the throne of God. This is the interpretation universally given by Catholics to this clause. But what will the catechist say, when he finds that Protestants themselves conceive it to be the natural and obvious meaning of the words. Hear Mr. Thorndike' : " All the members of the church tri
Just Weights and Measures, c. xvi. p. 107.