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in Chrysostom affirming that the demons of the Gentiles wrought miracles for the confirmation of Paganism and the Pagan idolatry : “ They oftentimes by their skill cured diseases, and restored to health those that were sick. What !” says he, “should we partake therefore with them in their impiety? God forbid.”* He cites Eusebius also to this purpose : “When,' says he, those wicked spirits' (meaning those that were worshipped under the names of demons ') saw mankind brought off to a deifying of the dead, they insinuated themselves, and helped forward their error, by causing motions in those statues which were consecrated to the honour of the deceased, as also by oracles and curing of diseases : by means of which, the superstitious and credulous people took them to be some heavenly powers, and gods indeed ; sometimes to be the souls of their deified worthies. And thus,' saith he, “the earthneighbouring demons, which are the princes of the air, those spiritualities of wickedness and ringleaders of all evil, were on all hands accounted for great gods. And farther he adds, that the memory of deceased worthies was celebrated with great service ; the feature of whose bodies the dedicated images in every city seemed to represent ; but their souls the wicked demons counterfeited, by working many wonders.” Let me shut up this answer with the saying of a laborious and learned person ; t his words are these : “ If it be objected, that many have prayed to the saints, and particularly to the Virgin Mary, and have obtained their requests ; and therefore such prayers are available : we answer, That is no good argument which is taken from the event: for so Livy writeth that Romulus prayed to Jupiter that he would stay the flight of the Romans, that he might keep off the Sabines ; and it was effected. Pliny also reporteth that one Helpis, seeing a rampant lion come against him, prayed to Bacchus, and was delivered. Like as the praying to Heathen gods is not justified by the subsequent effects, no more is the invocating of saints," &c.
Come we now to a conclusion. I desire, in the close of all, that these three particulars may be considered :
1. That this discourse doth not destroy that communion of saints which is the common belief of all Christians.—It is levelled against the invocation, not against the communion, of saints. « Jei salem” is sometimes put for the church militant on earth, and sometimes for the church triumphant in heaven, to show that both make but one city of
• Quærite si vera est Divinitas Christi : si est ea, qud cognitâ, ad bonum quis reformetur, sequitur ut falsa renuncietur, compertá imprimis illa omni ratione, quæ, delitescens sub nominibus et imaginibus mortuorum, quibusdam signis et miraculis et oraculis, fidem divinitatis operatur.-TERTULLIANI Apol. ad Gent. cap. 21, in fine. “Inform yourselves carefully therefore, whether the Divinity of Christ is not the true Divinity you ought to worship, and which, if once entertained, new-makes the old man, and forms him to every virtue ; and consequently all divinities but Christ ought to be renounced as false ; and those especially, in the first place, which lie lurking under the names and images of dead men, and, by lying signs and wonders and oracles, pass for gods, when, in truth, they are but devils.”REEVES's Translation.
+ Willer in his Synopsis Papismi, p. 437. miraculis, sine testimoniis verbi Dei, non posse ullum dogma proburi, nec hoc titulo debere recipi, ipsa scriptura diserte testatur, Deut. wiii.-CHEMNITII Examen.
“ That no doctrine can be proved from miracles alone, without the testimonies of the word of God, or ought to be received on that ground, scripture itself plainly testifies. (Deut. xiij. 1.–5.)"Edit. Cæcilius saith of the demons of the Heathens, Dant cautelam periculi, morbis medelam, opem miseris, solatium calamitatibus, laboribus levamentum.-Minutil's Felix, p. 7. “They give warning of danger, remedy for diseases, help to the wretched, comfort in calamities, alleviation of sufferings."--EDIT.
God. The church below, and the church above, are two parts of one and the same catholic church ; whence it is that those who are sanctified and called on earth, are said to be “come to the spirits of just men made perfect” in heaven. So the apostle tells the Hebrews, that they are brought by the gospel into a blessed society,—with “God the Judge of all, with Jesus Christ the Mediator of the new covenant, with an innumerable company of angels, and with the spirits of just men made perfect." (Heb. xii. 22—24.) Both those that are already made perfect, and those that still abide in a state of imperfection, are “ fellowcitizens,” (as be elsewhere phraseth it,) and have mutual fellowship or communion one with another. They have mutual relation to one Father; and children of the same Father have mutual fellowship amongst themselves : they have mutual union with one Head; and members of the same body have mutual communion one with another : they have their animation by one and the same Spirit, as all the members are animated by one and the same soul; that Spirit which dwells in the saints on earth, doth bear them company into heaven.
If it be demanded, wherein this communion consisteth which is between the saints above and the saints below; I answer, It consists mainly in mutual affections and communications one to another. The saints in heaven rejoice at God's preservation of his church on earth; that so many of their brethren and fellow-servants are daily fitted for heaven and translated thither, whereby their blessed society is increased. The saints above may also pray and intercede for those below : for, though the Papists confound these two, (as they do other things,) to wit, the intercession and the invocation of saints ; yet there is a wide difference betwixt them.* And there be who allow them to pray for us, who yet will not admit of our praying unto them: (see Rev. vi. 10 :) but then they say that this intercession of theirs is for the church in general, and not for this or that member in particular, whose case or person, it is most likely, is not known to them. On the other side, the saints on earth,—they pray for the resurrection of the bodies of the saints in heaven; that in body, as well as in spirit, they may be perfected and glorified. Yea, this is one sense of that petition in the Lord's Prayer : “Thy kingdom come.” They likewise praise God for the rest [which] they enjoy in heaven ; that they are delivered from this valley of tears and trouble. They also groan, and that earnestly, to be glorified with them, and to be translated into their condition and com-. pany. Above all, they set them before them as their examples, walking in their godly steps; being followers of them, as they have been followers of that which is good. Though they do not invocate them, yet they study to imitate them ; which is the highest honour they can put upon them. This is that which the apostle requires in the Epistle to the Hebrews, when he bids us to “ be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Heb. vi. 12.)
2. This discourse serves to excite Christians to be much in calling on Him in whom they believe, to be frequent in praying to God in the name of Jesus Christ.—“Take,” says James, “the prophets for an example of
• “They are very different questions, Whether the saints pray for us, and, Whether we must pray to them. It is one thing to know what the saints do in heaven, and another thing to know what we must do on earth."--PETER DU Moulin.
suffering affliction, and of patience.” (James v. 10.) Take, I say, the Papists for an example of prayer, (such as it is,) and unwearied devotion. It was the advice of a good man to his friend, that he would spend as much time every day in prayer and meditating, as he did in eating and drinking. It were well if we spent as many hours every day in the service and worship of God, as some of them do in serving and worshipping the saints. We may receive instruction from oxen and asses and other brute creatures ; and so we may from the blind Papists. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard ;” (Prov. vi. 6 ;) and go to the Papist, thou slothful Christian. He hath his canonical and stated hours for his devotion : he is diligent in turning over his beads, in pattering over his Pater-nosters and Ave-Marias ; and will admit of no avocation. How, then, art thou to be reproved, who neglectest prayer to God from day to day! How many prayerless families and persons are there in this nation !
Christ says, the Ninevites shall rise up in the judgment against the Jews,—and the Papists will rise up in the judgment against many Protestants, -and "condemn" them. (Matt. xii. 41.) The charge of Eliphaz against Job will lie more rightly against many an one in the midst of us : you will find it in Job xv. 4. He says there, “Thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.” Some read the words thus: “Thou multipliest prayer." * “ The word notes,” as one observes, “ the cutting or dividing a thing into small pieces or portions, which is indeed to multiply it ; and it is as if he should have said, . Thou dost mince thy prayers, and cut them out into many small shreds, as if thou didst hope to be heard for thy much speaking.' Such were the devotions of the Pharisees of old ; and such are the devotions of the Papists, their successors, to this day. Their collects and litanies are full of “vain repetitions,” the same things over and over again. But take the words as they are in our translation : “ Thou restrainest prayer before God ;” and then they note either a total forbearing or a partial diminishing of the duty. Some do not pray at all; others pray but seldom : both come under this reproof of restraining prayer. Remember who commands you to "pray always” and to "pray without ceasing." Resolve, reader, whoever thou art, upon more frequency and fervency in this duty. Let an hour, or more, every day be set apart for secret prayer; and be sure, as Elias did, to “pray in
Προσευχή προσευξατο. (James V. 17.) The Papists and others say prayers ; but do thou pray in prayer to God. It is recorded of Luther, that he prayed every day three hours ; easque ad studia aptissimas ; "and that when he was most fit for such a service." + “ Go thou, and do likewise."
Sex horas somno, totidem des legibus æquis ;
Orabis quatuor, des epulisque duas :
Quod superest sacris ultrò largire camenis.I • Arguitur Job, quod multiloquio vel battologid usus est.—Bold. Vide CARYL in locum. “ Job is accused of having made use of much speaking or excessive loquacity.”—Epit. + Vide Vitum THEODORUM in Vitd ejus. 1 Judge Cooke advised to four hours in a day for this exercise : “ Six hours to sleep, and six to equal laws,
Devote : spend four in prayer; in feasting, two:
prayer : "
King Alfred divided every day into three parts : he allowed eight hours to his devotion, eight to his employment, and eight to his sleep and refection.
3. This discourse may have this farther fruit,--to beget a dislike, yea, a detestation, of Popery.—One would wonder that a man in his right senses should ever become a Papist. Their opinions, many of them, are not only unscriptural, but irrational; a man must offer violence to his reason, if he complies with them. I might give many instances ; consider these two :—the one is praying for the dead ; the other is praying to the dead. We cannot help the dead by praying for them; nor can they hear us when we pray unto them. Yea, the Popish religion is not only ridiculous, but idolatrous. There is a five-fold idolatry which we charge upon the church of Rome :-(1.) The worshipping of the cross. (2.) The worshipping of images. (3.) The worshipping of relics. (4.) The worshipping of the elements in the eucharist. (5.) The worshipping of saints and angels. Well may she be called “the whore of Babylon ; ” yea, that “great whore,” and “the mother of fornications and abominations of the earth !” (Rev. xvii. 1, 5.) The church of the Jews did not forsake the true God altogether; only she would worship him in calves and images : and how often, for this reason, is she called “a whore,” and “an abominable harlot !” The church of Rome is a worse strumpet than ever she was : a deep ditch ” she is ; may none amongst us be so far “ abhorred of the Lord” as to fall into it! (Prov. xxii. 14.) Dearly beloved countrymen, "flee from idolatry :” (1 Cor. x. 14 :) this [is] the “abominable thing that God hateth.” (Jer. xliv. 4.) Popish idolatry is as bad or worse than Paganish.
I shall conclude this sermon as the apostle John doth his First Epistle : « Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John v. 21.)
SERMON XI. (XXIV.)
BY THE REV. EDWARD WEST, A. M.
OF CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD.
PURGATORY A GROUNDLESS AND DANGEROUS DOCTRINE.
But he himself shall be saved ; yet so as by fire.- 1 Corinthians iii. 15.
“ This text,” says Bellarmine, “is one of the most difficult, and yet most profitable, of the whole scripture, in that from hence the Catholics conclude two great points against heretics,—that of purgatory and venial sins."
But as hard as the apostle's text is, this sort of Catholics, in drawing such profound notions from it, seem hard enough for the apostle and his text too ; and I am much mistaken, if Paul would not have been alike
• De Purgatorio, lib. i. cap. 5.
puzzled to have understood them, as they are at a loss to spell out the meaning of him. It is not every one, nor, may be, any one, of that simple age [who] was aware of such a thing as purgatory or venial sin.
Austin, it seems, was of Bellarmine's mind, as in the same place he quotes him, that this was one of the hard sayings that Peter probably observed in Paul's writings, which we should take heed of wresting to our own destruction. Austin, belike, was wary ; but others have ventured to bring it to the rack, and made it speak according to their mind, as reserved and close as it was : they will teach Paul to speak plain, plain Popery, ere they have done. And it is strange to consider how many hard texts even in this obscure matter they pretend to have for them ; though, in our controversies with them, we must wholly confine to plain ones. But these magicians, in imitation, as it were, of Moses, that eminent man of God, are altogether for bringing water out of the rocks : if a place be hard in itself, they think it will be too hard for us ; and, like a mill-stone, they cast it upon us, urging us to give an evident sense, or admit theirs ; and while we are heaving to extricate ourselves, they hope for this advantage over us,-leisurely to retreat from us, and, before we overtake them again, to prepare fresh work of the like kind for us. But it is a dastardly enemy that declines the open field, and fights only from the hedges and holes of rocks; (so] that it is greater difficulty to follow than overcome them. To proceed :
A hard text this is confessed to be ; whereon we crave liberty to suspect [that] they may be mistaken, and to suspend our faith till we have made examination.
But, however, a very profitable text it is, if it affords such doctrines as fore-mentioned, worth many thousands by the year, I will warrant you ; for, however some dissemble the matter, on these suppositions it is, that Masses and indulgences go off at the rate they do.
If souls went forthwith to heaven, they would not care a pin for them ; if forthwith to hell, they would despair of benefit by them. But the opinion of purgatory makes them precious ; especially since, as is said, that “souls there are defective in merit, and cannot further merit in that state themselves : " * they must needs, on this supposition, reckon themselves more beholden to them that will impart of their oil to them ; and, in hope to partake of their spirituals, can do no less than leave them a good share of their temporals.
And, to make them the more willingly give down their milk, Aquinas tells them, that the priests' prayers, Masses, &c., profit them when dead, by virtue of what they did themselves while alive.t
You may guess his meaning,—the priest should profit him when dead, as his purse had profited the priest when alive. And elsewhere he adds, that prayers are more effectual for us if we are particularly remembered, than if we are more generally recommended. I Well
, it is but meet that the priest should be particularly remembered that particularly remembers us, and that something should be done to rub up his memory of us in particular when we are gone. If “gain be godliness,” (1 Tim. vi. 5,) as some have supposed, certainly this doctrine of purgatory is a prime article of
• BELLARMINUS De Purgatorio, lib. ii. cap. 2. Ixxi. art. 2.
1 Ibid. art. 12.
+ AQUINATIS Suppl. quæst.