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people, it is for their profit, that they may be partakers of his holiness. If they have the spirit of Christ, who dwells in all Christians, they would not wish exemption from this—much less would they purchase exemption in the form of an indulgence. They are taught to believe, that though no affliction for the present be joyous, but grievous, yet afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness in them that are exercised thereby.
But Papists profess to grant exemption from the temporal punishment due on account of sins which have been forgiven. If such punishment be due, then the atonement of Christ is set aside as unavailing If it be granted that the work of Christ is sufficient, and fully available, for the justification of the ungodly, but that the church grants indulgence, or exemption from the afflictions with which God is pleased to visit his people, for the purpose of their sanctification, then the church sets herself up to counteract and oppose the work of Christ in his people, by professing to exempt them from what he declares to be good for them, and which they must not be without. Take either part of the dilemma—and there is no avoiding both—and the church of Rome is proved to oppose herself, both to the authority of Christ, and the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Thus, then, it is not true that the principles of the Romish church emanate from the great Founder of Christianity, as Pax asserts. They emanate from human ignorance and error; and, even when Papists profess to hold, in words, some of the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, they make them void by their own traditions. To add any thing to the authority or to the atonement of Christ, is as bad as to renounce both. On this ground, the church of Rome stands convicted of being the antichrist spoken of by the apostle Paul, as the “man of sin and son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."
It is indeed of little use to argue with Papists from the Bible. This is an authority to which they pay little regard, unless it happen to be backed by the authority of their priests; and some of the priests themselves know little of what it contains. I could direct the reader to an individual of this holy order—one who “is to be believed and obeyed in all things belonging to faith and the government of our souls,”—not. one in some dark country like Spain, but one in our own enlightened country,—who, when he was referred to the prophecy of Jeremiah in support of an argument, and the Bible put into his hand, that he might read the passage, really did not know where to find the book of Jeremiah! If the blind lead the blind, we know what shall be the consequence; and there is no blindness so fatal as that of having the
eyes shut against the light of God's word. Papists shut their eyes against this light upon principle, and prefer the darkness which emanates from their priests and ghostly fathers. One of the orators in the council of Trent maintained that the scriptures had become useless, since the schoolmen had established the truth of all doctrines, and that they ought not to be made a study, because the Lutherans only gained those that read them.” This was not the opinion of a mere indivi. dual, but of the council, with the pope at its head, whose decrees were
professedly given under the authority of the Holy Ghost, as is evident by their canon upon the subject. I did not say that the principles of popery emanated from the pope; the pope himself emanated from the spirit of error and ambition, which began to work in the churches at a very early period, and which has continued to this day.
“If a pope," says Pax,“ were to preach tenets contrary to those contained in the Testament, he would be deposed, and a successor appointed.” I believe a pope is seldom guilty of preaching any thing; and it may be true, in one sense, that he does not teach any thing contrary to the Testament; that is, contrary to what the New Testament says he would teach. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared as with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them who believe and know the truth." " That wicked one, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.”
My opponents do not profess to know much about the Bible, or what Pax calls the Testament. They seem better acquainted with profane poetry, and the ridiculous bombast of Counsellor Phillips, but I shall suppose them sitting down to make a commentary on the above extract from the New Testament. They would likely find, in the first place, that the latter times meant the period of the reformation; and, secondly, that those who gave heed to seducing spirits were Luther and his colleagues. But how could they find Luther forbidding to marry, when one of the greatest crimes of which they accuse him is, that he did marry? How could they find the reformers commanding to abstain from meats, when they accuse them (at least Luther) of ceasing to give himself up to fasting, watching, and prayer ?
The truth is, and it is vain to deny it, the above extract from the New Testament, dictated by the Spirit of prophecy, points out with historical accuracy, the character and practice of the church of Rome. She departed from the faith when she let go the sole and exclusive authority of Christ in matters of faith, and took for her rule the traditions and authority of men. She gave heed to seducing spirits, when she received for infallible truth the absurd reveries of wild and senseless children, under the name of fathers and saints. She gave heed to doctrines of devils, that is, concerning demons or departed spirits, when she taught the worship of saints, as the heathens worshipped their departed heroes. She forbade her priests to marry, but gave them permission to live in all manner of lewdness. In this article alone the wickedness of the church of Rome appears great beyond expression. She makes that unlawful which God has declared to be lawful and honourable; and she gives permission to her priests, who ought to be examples to the people of sobriety and purity, to live in open violation of one of the precepts of the decalogue. The same remark applies to her commanding to abstain from meats. God has provided suitable food for all his creatures, and he gives men permission to eat of whatever is fit to be eaten ; but Papists, affecting to be more holy than is required of them, and pretending io imitate Christ's fast of forty days, abstain from eating flesh in Lent. They imitate Christ in nothing that is imitable; and they profess to initate him in that which is inimitable.
Speaking lies in hypocrisy, with signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, are prominent features of that system which practised all the arts of jugglery to deceive the people, and keep them in subjection to their ghostly fathers. I shall conclude this paper with a specimen of their lying wonders; and let the reader judge if it be possible that a system, supported by means of such absurdity and impiety, can be any thing but the very opposite of Christianity.
“The sovereign queen of heaven," says one of their books of devotion, “not only cherishes affectionately her servants; ennobles them with singular prerogatives; succours them in their necessities, and espouses their causes; but she also saves them by her prayers from deserved punishment, and introduces them into the kingdom of heaven. Of all these prerogatives, this last appears to be the most singular and worthy of admiration; for it is a thing very strange, that, according to the common opinion of doctors, none of those who live and die her servants can, by any means whatever, be damned. Yea, even many of them who are wicked and abandoned, as daily experience shows, have miraculously obtained mercy and eternal life."
I can easily believe, that many of the devoted servants of the Virgin Mary might be found, by daily experience, to be wicked and abandoned; but it does not appear so clearly, how daily experience could show, that many of these had, by her means, obtained mercy and eternal life. It is not likely that such cases as the following occurred every day.
"St. Anselm records, that a famous robber entered one morning into the cottage of a poor widow, with an intention of robbing her: but, judg. ing her unworthy of his rapine, he began to accost her in a familiar and merry strain :-And have you breakfasted yet, my good woman? I breakfast, sir! said she; God forbid that I should so violate the vow I have made to fast every Saturday of the year. Every Saturday! and why that? replied he. Because, answered the widow, I have heard from a preacher, very famous in doctrine, and still more so from the sanctity of his life, that whoever fasts on Saturday, in honour of our lady, cannot die without confession. The robber at these words, felt compunction, fell down on his knees, and promised and swore to the queen of angels to fast every Saturday too; which promise he kept inviolably ever after. But, as he still continued his robberies, he was one day surprised by some travellers, who, by a stroke of a sword, separated his head from his body. His executioners, thinking they had done his business sufficiently, withdrew from him a few steps, when lo! the head of him that was killed fell a crying, Confession, masters, I beg that at least I may have confession. After they had a little recovered from the astonishment and panic, which such a prodigy caused, they ran to the next village to advertise the curate, who immediately came, accompanied by a great number of his parishioners, desirous of beholding the miracle; and, having joined the head of the robber to his body, gave him confession as he desired. That being done, the penitent having thanked him for his good office, said to him, with a voice so distinct and high as to be easily heard by all present, Masters, I never did any good thing in all my lifetime, except my having fasted every Saturday, in honour of the mother of God. In the very instant
I received the deadly blow, a frightful troop of devils surrounded me, for to seize my soul: but the blessed virgin coming to my aid, she drove these forthwith far from me by her divine presence, and would not suffer my soul to leave my body till I should be sufficiently contrite, and make confession of my sins. He spoke thus, and having entreat. ed the attendants to pray for him, he passed from this life into one more happy and glorious.” See Free Thoughts, f*c., with the authorities cited. Such, it seems, is the religion of those who make an outcry against the doctrine of salvation by faith, without good works; that they can save the greatest criminals without either faith or works, if they will only fast on Saturday in honour of the blessed virgin.
AUTHORITY OF THE POPE OPPOSED TO SCRIPTURE. HIS SUBMISSION TO NAPOLEON.
WITH PAPISTS THE END SANCTIFIES THE MEANS. DOCTRINE OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION. EXTRACT FROM DOUAY CATECHISM. SETS ASIDE THE EVIDENCE OF SENSE. PICTURE IN WORMS.
SATURDAY, August 8th, 1818. “If," says Pax, “a pope were to preach tenets contrary to those contained in the Testament, he would be deposed, and a successor appointed, and the followers of the ex-pope would then, and only then, be called Papists." In my last number I have shown that the church of Rome taught many things contrary to what is contained in the New Testament; and supposing the pope to preach any thing at all, we may suppose he will preach the doctrines of his church. For instance, the New Testament affirms, that marriage is honourable in all ; but no, says the pope, it is not honourable in all,—it is not even lawful in the clergy. We are taught in the New Testament that none can forgive sins but God, agreeably to his own declaration in the Old Testament: “ I, even I, am he that pardoneth thine iniquities for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins any more:" but the pope teaches that this is not true; he says he can forgive sins himself, and that all his priests can do the same. Why then is he not deposed? If what Pax says were true, there never would have been a pope; for there never was one who did not teach doctrines contrary to the New Testament, Nay, his very existence as a ruler over the church is in direct opposition to the New Testament. While he pretends to be the successor of Peter, and to sit in the chair of Peter, his whole administration is opposed to the injunctions of that apostle, who, in the name of his divine Master, charges all the ministers of Christ not to assume authority over their brethren. “Feed the flock of God,” says he, “that is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” 1 Peter v. 2, 3. The Spirit of God foresaw what should happen, and he put in this caveat against it. If there be any thing in the history of human depravity, contrary to the will of God, as revealed in the scriptures, it is the authority assumed, and the power exercised, by the pope of Rome. Blinded, indeed, must that man be who does not see this: and he must be
ignorant indeed who can maintain, that if such were the case the pope would be deposed.
Will Pax tell me who could depose him? All the authority in the church of Rome has centered in him for hundreds of years. There is, indeed, no authority in the church but his. The pope told king Richard, that “ he held the place of God upon earth; and, without distinction of persons he would punish the men and the nations that presumed to oppose his commands." Martin V., in the instructions given to a nuncio sent to Constantinople, assumes to himself the following blasphemous title: “ The most holy and most blessed, who is invested with heavenly power, who is lord on earth, the successor of Peter, the Christ or anointed of the Lord, the lord of the universe, the father of kings, the light of the world, the sovereign pontiff, pope Martin.” The pope does not indeed talk in such language now; but his claims are still sufficiently high, and the submission yielded to him is such, that to speak of his being deposed, is as absurd as to speak of the head cutting itself off. He was at one time, indeed, and very lately, not far from being cut of or deposed; not however by his own authority, or by the authority of the church, but by the power of the French emperor. Then, he who affects to have all power in heaven and earth, (as the popes blasphemously do,) was content to hold his station and authority at the will of an upstart and a usurper. He was even mean enough to become the tool of that usurper, and to yield the sanction of his then little authority to his nefarious deeds.
The following is the doctrine which was taught throughout all France, by his authority :—“Q. What are the duties of Christians towards the princes who govern them; and what are our duties towards our emperor, Napoleon the first? A. Christians owe to the princes who govern them, and we owe in particular to our emperor, Napoleon the first, love, respect, obedience, fidelity, military service, the contributions required for the preservation and defence of the empire and of his throne; we, moreover, owe to him our fervent prayers for his welfare, and for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the state." In answer to another question it is said of this emperor :-“ It is he whom God raised up in difficult circumstances to re-establish the public worship of the religion of our forefathers, and to be its protector. He has restored and preserved public order by his profound and active wisdom; he defends the state by his mighty arm; he has become the anointed of the Lord, by the consecration which he received from the sovereign pontiff, the head of the universal church.”—“Q. What are we to think of those who violate their duty towards our emperor? A. According to the apostle Paul, they would resist the order esta. blished by God himself, and render themselves worthy of eternal dam. nation." Catechism for the use of the French church.
Papists, and AMICUS VERITATIS in particular, rail against the reformers for disloyalty; but, allowing all they say on that subject to be true, which is by no means the case, it is not to be compared with the conduct of the present pope towards Bonaparte. Believing, as Papists in general do, the divine indefeasible right of kings, and particularly of the Bourbons, the pope was guilty of rebellion against that divine authority, when he crowned the usurper, and blessed him as his beloved son. It is needless to tell me that he whipped himself heartily for this