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blessings: and is not this the same thing the Church of Rome says, touching the office of angels and blessed spirits in the behalf of men, such as do solicit God for them, and by their more prevailing merits and interest in God, obtain of him what they themselves pray for?

3. In that which they make the foundation of their worship and invocation to them, viz. a middle sort of excellency betwixt God and men; so said the heathens, that there were a sort of beings between God and men, that participated of both natures, and that by means of those intermediate beings, an intercourse was maintained betwixt heaven and earth; and as God was to be worshipped for himself, so the others to be loved and honoured “for his sake, as being gods by way of participation, as likest to him, as his vicars, and as reconcilers betwixt them :" and is not this the declared reason why the Church of Rome gives religious worship to angels and departed saints, “because of a middle sort of worth and excellency that is in them, that is neither infinite as the Divine, nor so low as the human,” but spiritual and supernatural ? whereby approaching near to the Divinity they have great interest in the court of heaven, and ought, as Celsus said of their dæmons, to be prayed unto to be favourable and propitious to us. exact you see is the parallel betwixt them. Now against this dæmon-worship the Fathers replied, that whatever great and supernatural excellencies were to be found in the spirits above, ought indeed to have an acknowledgment and honour paid to them both in mind and action, proportioned and commensurate to such excellencies ; but yet they were not to be esteemed inwardly as gods, nor to he worshipped with any outward act of religious worship, be it erecting altars, making vows, or putting up prayers to them, as if they were such : for all and every part of that was solely due to God, and not to be given to any the highest created excellency; as you may see their minds more fully in the next particular.

4. The Fathers positively assert, that none but God ought to be invocated.

And the first I shall mention is, that advice which Ignatius* gave the virgins of his time, not to direct their

prayers and supplications to any, but only to the blessed Trinity: “O ye virgins, have Christ alone before your eyes, and his Father in your prayers, being enlightened by the Spirit.”

So

Ign. Ep. ad Philadelph. [p. 227. Lips. 1699.]

" the

Irenæus, in his first book, taking notice of some persons who had entertained strange fancies concerning the power of angels, and accordingly gave divine worship to them, tells us plainly,* that the doctrine and practice of the Church in his days was far otherwise, and “that throughout the world it did nothing by invocation of angels, nor by incantations, but purely and manifestly directs her prayers to God, who made all, and calls upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Feuardentius, in his notes upon the place, would have the words of the Father to be understood only of prayers made by evil men to evil spirits and angels; but then why did not the Father express it so? Why does he exclude all angels without distinction from divine worship; when he says, whole Church every where called only upon God and his Son Christ Jesus.”

Eusebius, in his history, hath set down a long prayer of the holy martyr Polycarp, which he uttered at the time of his suffering ; wherein there is not any one petition put up to saints, but every one directed to God through the mediation of Christ, closing his prayer with this doxology :f “Therefore in all things I praise thee, I bless thee, I glorify thee, through the eternal Priest Jesus Christ thy beloved Son; to whom, with thee, O Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all glory now and for ever.”

To which we may add, what also is recorded by the same author, that when the Church of Smyrna desired the body of their martyred bishop to give it an honourable interment, and was denied it by the governor, upon the unworthy suggestion of the Jews, that they would worship it, they thus replied, “We can never be induced to worship any other but Christ, him being the Son of God we adore, others, as martyrs and his sincere disciples, we worthily love and respect ;" and that which here deserves a particular observation is, what the learned primate of Armagh hath pointed out to us, viz. that what in the original Greek is oéßeiv, “religiously to worship,” is in the Latin edition, I that was wont to be read in all the Churches of the West, rendered precem orationis impendere, to impart the supplication of prayer.”

* Iren. 1. 2. c. 57. [c. 33. ut supra, p. 166.] + Euseb. 1. 4. c. 15. [p. 133. Par. 1659.)

# Ex passion. MS. 7 Kalend. Febr. in Bib. Eccl. Sarisb. et Dom. Rob. Cotton. VOL. VII.

I

tells us,

The next testimony I shall produce, is that of Origen, who is very full to this purpose : in his writings against Celsus, he

“We must endeavour to please God alone, and labour to have him propitious to us, procuring his good-will with godliness and all kind of virtue; and if Celsus will have us to procure the good-will of any others after him that is God over all, let him consider, that as when the body is moved, the motion of the shadow thereof doth follow it; so in like manner, having God favourable to us, who is over all, it followeth, that we shall have all his friends, both angels and spirits, loving to us ;” and whereas Celsus had said of the angels, that they belong to God, and in that respect were to be prayed unto, that they may be favourable to us, he thus sharply replies,

Away with Celsus's counsel, saying that we must pray to angels, for we must pray to him who is God over all, and we must pray to the Word of God, his only begotten Son, and the first-born of all creatures ; and we must entreat him, that he, as High Priest, would present our prayer unto his God and our God.” And when Celsus objected, that the Christians did not keep to their own rule of praying to, and worshipping none but God, since they gave the same honour to Christ, whom they knew to be a man, he replies,

" that Christ was God as well as man, one with the Father,” and proves it from miracles, and prophecies, and precepts, that this honour was given to him, to be worshipped as they worship the Father.

Had Celsus objected that the Christians worshipped angels and saints departed, it had been laid right, and would have borne hard upon them, and he had inferred strongly, that they might as well worship their inferior deities; but Celsus objects no such thing (but only their worshipping of Christ, which Origen was well provided to answer); and this is an evident proof that the Christians were not guilty of it. Had there been but the least ground to suspect them for it, it would have been so hugely serviceable to his cause, and with so much force have rebounded back upon the Christians, that it is not to be imagined so industrious and spiteful an adversary as Celsus, would have omitted, with the greatest insult and triumph, to have laid it at their door. To these we might add the suffrages of many more,

* who have written set treatises of prayer, teaching us to regulate all our prayers after that most perfect pattern of our Lord's, and ever to direct our petitions to our heavenly Father only.

* St. Cyprian.

Gregory Nyssen saith,* "we are taught to worship and adore that nature only that is uncreated.'

Athanasius, “ that God only is to be worshipped, that the creature is not to adore the creature.”

St. Austint says expressly, "that the saints are to be honoured for imitation, not to be adored for religion ; that at the communion table they were named, but not invocated. And again, you see the head of the most renowned empire stooping with his diadem, and praying at the sepulchre of Peter the fisherman, namely, it is to God himself that he prays, though at the tomb of Peter."

Épiphanius | reproving, as he calls it, the women's heresy, who were wont to offer up a cake to the blessed Virgin, hath these words : “Let Mary be in honour, but let the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost be worshipped :" and to what a

very

ill opinion he had of that at least superstitious practice, he six times repeats in that tract, Mapiav undɛis a pookuveitw, “Let no man adore Mary."

To name no more, Tertullian, $ in his Apology for the Christians, thus expresses himself; after he had set down the many great blessings the Christians thought themselves ever obliged to beg for their Emperors, “As long life, and valiant arms, and a faithful senate, and loyal subjects, and a peaceable reign ; these things,” saith he, "I may not pray for from any other but from him, of whom I know I shall obtain them, because both it is he who is alone able to give, and I am he to whom it appertains to obtain that which is requested, being his servant who observe him alone."

shew us

VII.

That the Doctrine and Practice of Saint-Invocation is impious

and idolatrous. Tars, I think, will be fully made out from these three

particulars.

* äktiotov qúoiv, Cont. Eunom. tom. 2. Orat. 4. [p. 572. Par. 1638.] Orat. 3. Contr. Arian. [vol. 1. p. 204. Heidelb. 1601.)

+ De Ver. Relig. c. 55. [ut supra, vol. 1. p. 786.] de Civit. Dei, 1. 22. c. 10. [Ibid. vol. 7. p. 673.] Ep. 42. [Ibid. vol. 2. p. 843.]

I Hæres. 79. adver. Collyridian. [p. 1064. Colon. 1682.]
Ś Apol. Sect. 30. [p. 27. Par. 1695.]

1. This ascribes to angels and saints the attributes and perfections that are solely proper and peculiar to God, viz. his omniscience and omnipresence; for not only when mental prayers, as the Church of Rome directs, but (since the blessed spirits above cannot be supposed to espouse the cause of an insincere votary) when vocal prayers also are offered up to them, it supposes them privy to the very thoughts, and acquainted with the hearts of men ; again, when innumerable prayers and supplications from millions of places at the greatest distance from one another, are at the same time immediately put up to them, it supposes in like manner, that they are present in all places, and at the same time can give audience to all their petitioners. Now what more or greater can be said of God? Is not this that infinite knowledge, that omnipresent power, and never absent nature that the Scriptures solely attribute to the Creator of all things, and have denied to any of the highest form of the creatures ? And although I will not undertake to describe to you the exact bounds and measures of the angelical nature and perfections, how perspective their knowledge is ! how piercing their understandings ! how swift their motion! Yet sure I am, that neither they, nor any

other the most elevated part of God's creation, can by their own natural power know the hearts of men, and be in all places at one instant of time. It is God alone, whose understanding is infinite, who looks down from heaven, and beholds all the ways of the sons of men : He, even he knoweth all the hearts of the children of men.”* “ It is he that seeth in secret.”+ And God challenges it as peculiar to himself: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins.”I By this argument the Fathers triumphed over the Arians and Macedonians, in proving the Divinity of the Son and the Holy Ghost, which yet would have been no argument at all, had not this knowledge been an incommunicable perfection in the Divine nature.

But it is said, that it is God indeed that only naturally, and of himself, knows the hearts of men, but this hinders not, but that others, his saints and angels, may know them by communication from him, viz. either by revelation from God, or by the beatific vision, “seeing all things in God, who sees all things.”

* 1 Kings viii. [39.]

+ Matth. vi. 4.

# Jerem. xvii. 9, 10.

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