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with what was intended for the conclusion of my last. I said " Papists are proved to be idolaters from their own writings, and The CATHOLIC VINDICATOR tacitly admits it.”
He cannot reasonably object to this mode of drawing an inference from silence. He has repeatedly accused me of forgery; and, because I have not replied to the accusation, he holds me convicted. This would have been fair enough, had I been writing in my own defence, or answering his numerous accusations. He has affected to find me guilty of innumerable contradictions; and he might as well maintain that I admit all these, because I have made no reply. But the fact is, I do not admit one of them. He has not detected one real contradiction in all that I have written; though, by misconstruction and misrepresentation, he has made out many apparent ones. This I intend to point out in due time. But I have more important work in hand, than replying to his accusations. He labours to make my character appear as black as possible; expecting, no doubt, that, by this means, he will make his church appear pure and white as snow. I read his bitterest reproaches and accusations without emotion, being perfectly conscious that not one of them applies to me: and as for ihe charge of forgery, which he has repeated so often, and about which he makes such a hue and cry, I am in no haste to reply to it; though I am ready to prove by credible witnesses, that the story (that is, of the man who left his wife, because she would not become Papist) is true as I gave it, in every material point. Mr. Andrews' correspondents here know it to be true in substance; and, I doubt not, they know also what means have been used to persuade the widow to destroy the letter which she found upon the person, or in the clothes of her deceased husband. This letter is extant, and is verbatim as I gave it in my twenty-fifth number. Mr. Scott is reported (though I cannot vouch' for the fact) to have declared it from the pulpit to be a forgery. If so, it must have been the work of one of his own people, who had smuggled it into the pocket of the dying man; for it was among Papists that he was taken ill, and Papists were about him during his illness. In short, if any of my readers, Protestant or popish, doubt the truth of the story, or join with Mr. Andrews in calling it a forgery, I shall be ready, whenever required, to furnish them with sufficient evidence of the truth of my statement. In fact I did not relate the tenth part of the cruelty of the man to his wife, solely because she would not become Papist ; nor the means which were used, both foul and fair, to persuade her to renounce her heresy.
Mr. Andrews writes as if the whole merits of the question between Protestants and Papists depended upon the truth or falsehood of this story. The thing in itself is of no consequence at all to the general argument; but by reiterating his charge of forgery, he hopes to divert me from exposing the vital errors of his system, and to engage me in a personal controversy. But I will not be so diverted. He may accuse me of all the crimes that were ever heard of in Newgate; but I can assure him this will not establish the credit of his church, or make her holy and infallible, or set aside the proofs of her idolatry which I have given, and which I intend to give farther in my future numbers.
I have not yet professed to enter upon my own defence, or to make a formal reply to any part of The VINDICATOR. It is quite unfair, therefore, to infer from my silence that I admit the truth of any thing that he has written. But he has avowedly engaged to defend his church against my accusations. He promised to follow me through them all; and to refute them all. It is quite fair, therefore, to infer that he admits what he has passed over in silence. His church is convicted of all those things which I laid to her charge, to which he has made no reply. This embraces almost every thing contained between the third and eighteenth numbers of the Protestant. For instance, I denied that Peter was ever bishop of Rome. I defied the whole church to prove that Peter was ever in that city. To this he makes no reply. Upon the principle, therefore, of inferring conviction from silence, the church of Rome is convicted of imposition, in giving herself out as the see of Peter; the popes are convicted of imposition in giving themselves out as his successors; and the whole fabric of the Romish hierarchy, not having a stone to stand upon, must fall to the ground.
In my thirty-sixth number, I accused Papists of being more stupid than the beasts of the field, for believing in transubstantiation. Mr. Andrews alludes to this with much feeling of indignation ; but he makes no reply to the charge. Upon his principle of inferring conviction from silence, Papists are convicted of such stupidity. Mr. Andrews need not feel so indignant at the comparison I made, and which was suggested by himself, in his reference to Luther. The comparison is by no means new. “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.” Isa. i. 3. It was a very great degree of stupidity, which led the inspired prophet to make such a comparison ; but not greater than the stupidity of Papists, in believing a piece of bread to be the real body and blood, soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ. Until Mr. Andrews answers this, and all the other matters contained in my work which he has passed over, I shall, agreeably to his own principles, hold him convicted of maintaining the errors which I have laid to the charge of his infallible church.
I now come to the proper subject of the present number.
I have reason to think that I am now heartily abhorred by all good Papists, for the disrespectful manner in which they must suppose I have spoken of their great idol, the Virgin Mary. I assure them, however, that I do not regard her with disrespect. It was only the idol and the image to which Papists have given the name that called forth the strictures contained in my last number. I believe Baal, the most ancient of idols, was an image of the sun. When the prophet Elijah mocked both the god and his priests, it is not to be supposed that he spoke disrespectfully of the bright luminary which enlightens the world. Neither must I be understood to detract from the honour of the mother of Jesus, when I expose the folly and impiety of giving to her that worship and honour which is due to God alone. I am persuaded that were she on earth, she would be the first to condemn the idolatrous addresses to her, of which I gave specimens in my two last numbers. She would disclaim, with abhorrence, the lowest degree of religious worship; how much more those blasphemous adorations in which she is exalted as equal, and even superior, to the Saviour of the world ?
It cannot be denied there was a very early indication of undue re- , spect for the mother of Jesus, which was instantly checked and reproved by Jesus himself. A certain woman, who had been listening to his heavenly discourse, cried out, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee and the breasts which thou hast sucked: But he said, Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” Luke xi. 27, 28. It does not appear that the person who addressed Jesus had any acquaintance with Mary, or any undue respect for her personally; but being astonished by his manner of teaching, and by the divine dignity of all that he said and did, she expressed her feelings by exclaiming, What a blessed mother to have such a Son! By his reply, he instructed all who heard him, and by the same he is instructing us, that to hear and obey the word of God, is greater blessedness than that which arises from the circumstance of being his mother. As a believer in Christ, Mary stood upon a footing of perfect equality with every other Christian; and every Christian, in virtue of his relation to Christ, is greater and more blessed than Mary was, considered merely as his mother. In the most emphatic manner Jesus refused to acknowledge any superiority on the part of his relations according to the flesh; nor would he suffer them to interfere in any part of his public ministry. On one occasion, when closely engaged in his work of teaching, “there. came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about upon them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." Mark iii. 31–35.
Though it appears evident from the whole evangelical history that Christ never intended that Mary should be honoured above others of his followers: or that the circumstance of her being his mother according to the flesh, should ever be mentioned as the foundation of regarding her with any thing like divine honour, the church of Rome has found means to exhalt her above all the heavenly hosts, and to make her the principal object of the adoration of her devout members.
It is related that Mary herself appeared once to Thomas à Becket, and spoke as follows: (for the original, see Bernardin. de Bust. Marial. part. 10, Serm. 2d, sect. ult. as quoted by Usher, p. 487)—“. Rejoice, and be glad, and be joyful with me,' said the Virgin Mary, 'because my glory doth excel the dignity of all the saints, and all the blessed spirits; and I alone have greater glory than all the angels and saints together. Rejoice, because that as the sun doth enlighten the day and the world, so my brightness doth enlighten the whole celestial world. Rejoice, because the whole host of heaven obeyeth me, reverenceth and honoureth me. Rejoice, because my Son is always obedient to me, and my will, and my prayers he always heareth. Or, as others do relate it, the will of the blessed Trinity, and mine is the same; and whatsoever doth please me, the whole Trinity with unspeakable favour doth give consent unto. Rejoice, because God doth always at my pleasure reward my servitors in this world, and in the world to come. Rejoice, because I sit next to the holy Trinity, and am clothed with
my body glorified. Rejoice, because I am certain and sure that these my joys shall always stand, and never he finished or fail. And whosoever, by rejoicing with these spiritual joys shall worship me in this world, at the time of the departure of his soul out of the body, he shall obtain my presence; and I will deliver his soul from the malignant enemies, and present it in the sight of my Son, that it may possess joys with me. They tell us that many (multa meretrices, for example, that would not sin on Saturday, for the reverence of the virgin, whatsoever they did on the Lord's day) seem to have the blessed virgin in greater veneration than Christ her Son; moved thereunto out of simplicity more than out of knowledge. Yet that the Son of God doth bear with the simplicity of those men and women; because he is not ignorant, that the honour of the mother doth redound to the child. Prov. xvii. 6. They argue farther, that if a cardinal have this privilege, that if he put his cap upon the head of one that is led unto justice, he is freed thereby: then, by an argument drawn from the stronger, the cloak of the blessed virgin is able to deliver us from all evil: her mercy being so large, that if she should see any man wlfo did devoutly make her crown (that is to say, repeat the rosary or chaplet of prayers made for her worship) to be drawn unto punishment in the midst of a thousand devils, she would presently rescue him; and not permit that any one should have an evil end, who did study reverently to make her crown. They add, moreover, that for every of these crowns, a man shall obtain two hundred and seventy-three thousand, seven hundred and fifty-eight days of indulgence: and that Pope Sixtus IV. granted an indulgence of twelve thousand years, for every time that a man in a state of grace should repeat this short orison or salutation of the virgin, which by many is inserted into her crown; Hail most holy Mary, the mother of God, the queen of heaven, the gate of paradise, i he lady of the world. Thou art a singular and pure virgin: thou didst bear Christ without sin ; thou didst bear the Creator and Saviour of the world, in whom I do not doubt. Deliver me from all evil, and pray for my sins. Amen.'
"In the crown composed by Bonaventure, this is one of the orisons that is prescribed to be said. O empress and our most kind lady, by the authority of a mother, command thy beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would vouchsafe to lift up our minds from the love of earthly things unto heavenly desires:' which is suitable unto that versicle which we read in the 35th Psalm of his lady's psalter :-Incline the countenance of God upon us; and compel him to have mercy upon sinners :' the harshness whereof our Romanists have a little qualified in some of their editions, reading thus:-* Incline the countenance of thy Son upon us; compel him by thy prayers to have mercy upon sinners.' The psalms of ihis psalter do all of them begin as David's do; but with this main difference, that where the prophet in the one aimeth at the advancement of the honour of our Lord, the friar in the other applieth all to the magnifying of the power and goodness of our lady." Usher's Answer, see pp. 486—492, in which there are numerous quotations from this saint's psalm-book, by which all glory and power in heaven and earth are ascribed to the Virgin Mary.
When Papists are pushed hard upon this subject, they use many shifts and evasions. They are very much offended when we call them
idolaters; and they will maintain broadly in the face of the sun, that when they pray to the Virgin Mary, they mean only to ask the benefit of her prayers, as one Christian friend asks the prayers of another; and that when they worship her, they intend only such a degree of civil respect as an inferior gives to a superior whom he addresses as right worsbipful. They maintain that there is no more danger of robbing God of his honour, by worshipping his angels and saints, than of robbing a king of his honour by reverencing his peers and nobles, according to their several dignities and capacities.” Manual of Controversies clearly demonstrating the truth of the Catholic religion, p. 285. They have accordingly different words, for expressing their different degrees of worship. Latria, they say, signifies divine worship which they give to God alone: Dulia signifies that inferior sort of worship which is due to angels and saints: and they have their Hyperdulia, which signifies that superior kind of inferior worship which is due to a creature so exalted as the Virgin Mary. But these distinctions are of no use to the great bulk of the people, who do not understand Greek; and who being incessantly urged to worship the saints, especially the Virgin Mary, fail not to give her the highest degree of devotion and worship of which they are capable. Besides, those who are acquainted with Greek know that the words Latria and Dulia are used indifferently to express divine worship; and that when the latter is used for civil respect, it is so connected with other words as to fix its meaning without danger of leading to idolatry,
If it were true that popish prayers to saints were no more than asking them to pray for us, as one Christian friend requests the prayers of another, it would require to be explained, how persons in this world can communicate their requests to persons in the other world. Christians on earth can express their desires to one another by word or writing; and they do enjoy the benefit of one another's prayers. But how can a Papist make a saint in heaven acquainted with his necessities, or request his prayers? A glorified saint is but a finite creature. He cannot be in more than one place at one time, any more than a sinner on earth can be. How then can he attend to the prayers that are addressed to him from all parts of the world ? Persons who excel in devotion to the Virgin Mary are represented as saying five Ave Marias for one Paternoster. Papists boast that there are six millions of their communion in Britain and Ireland; and supposing each to say his prayers only once a day, the Virgin Mary would require to give daily attention to thirty millions of prayers coming from the British Islands alone, not to speak of the countless millions that must be sent up every day from Spain, Portugal, Italy, and all the other countries of the world, in which popery has obtained a footing. Religion out of the question, common sense assures us that it is impossible for any creature to do what Mary is here supposed to do; and if Papists are desirous of having credit for common sense, they will never offer another prayer to a creature, or so much as say, “Holy Mary, pray for us."
But it is not true that their addresses to the Virgin Mary merely request the benefit of her prayers. Let any man read the language of their authorized books of devotion, of which I have given copious extracts in this and my two preceding numbers, and let him say if it