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appointed the first jubilee, and that with a singular respect to the visiting [of] the sepulchres of the saints. * Commend which you will,whether his worshipping, or his burning, of the bones of any (whom] they call “saints; we think, he might well have acknowledged, with Eugenius, that “what key he had of opening and shutting, through his folly he did not prudently make use of it.” | Our common people can read in their Bibles that they are “fools” who “ make a mock at sin," (Prov. xiv. 9,) playing with it both in the commission and expiation. But we dare not do so ; we dare not play the mountebanks in religion,to make some whiffling about the conscience, and then stupify it with a cheat. We ingenuously confess, we have not better esteem of indulgences than had the citizens of Prague; who put the indulgent merchant into the same cart with some common whores, about whose breasts they hung the Papal indulgences; and so drew him and the whores, with the indulgences hanging about their necks, exposing them to scorn, through every street of the city; and then took the Bulls of indulgences, and publicly and solemnly burnt them. I Such honour may they meet with wherever they come !
USE 11. I will no longer forbear acquainting you with that, by way of use, which you might well expeet in the opening of the doctrine ; namely, to state how far God may be said to punish sin after he hath pardoned it.
- We deny not but those whose sins are pardoned meet with many bitter calamities in this world ; but the question between the Papists and us is, whether they are punishments of sin properly so called. § We grant [that] they are materially punishments, but not formally : that is, the same things, when suffered by wicked men, are punishments ; but to them they are only fatherly chastisements, not judicial punishments ; wholesome medicines, not penal executions. For example: a malefactor hath his hand cut off for striking in a court of judicature ; that is properly a punishment: an innocent person hath his hand cut off, because it is gangrened; that is not a punishment, but a kindness. Plainly: a punishment is properly to satisfy revenging justice ; a judge (as such) hath no respect to the offender's repentance : but God always chastiseth “ for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” (Heb. xii. 10.) We deny not but God chastiseth for sin : but the question between the Papists and us is not about the impulsive cause, but the final ; that is, whether God, in punishing his children, do it to satisfy his justice with another satisfaction beside that [which] he hath received by the death of his Son.|| The shortest and the plainest answer to this question will be, to clear up those scriptures which they press into their service.
They urge David's case : “Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” (2 Sam. xii. 14.) We grant that, because of David's sin, his child died; but we deny [that] it was properly a punishment. Nathan makes a plain difference between the
Platina De Vita Bonifacii VIII. p.
247. | B. Bp. tom. XV. p. 614, Eugenius Pontifex Hildegardi. 1 CHEMNITU Eram, p. 741, § DALLÆUS De Pon, et Satisfac. lib. i. cap. 2, pp. 4, 5, et seqq. sparsim. ll Riveti Cathol. Orthou. tom. ii. tract. iii. quæst.13, p. 63.
punishment due to David for the sin which is pardoned, -" The Lord hath put away thy sin ; thou shalt not die,” (verse 13,)—and the discipline whereby he would take off the scandal of wicked men. God, as it were, put off the person of a Judge, and assumed the person of a Father. Whereas they say, “David prayed against it, and therefore it was a punishment;" the answer is easy. The sick man begs of his physician, that he may have no more nauseous physic, no more corroding plasters, &c. : : are his medicines therefore punishments ? God would cure David, and prevent others from taking encouragement to sin by his example: to this end God makes use of dreadful physic ; yet it is but physic. The like may be said to Miriam's case, who was struck with leprosy: God would have her to be asbamed and repent of her molesting his servants in the discharge of their duty. (Num. xii. 13.)
But there are other instances of pardoned persons struck with death for their offences ; of whom they jeeringly ask us, “Did God strike them dead, that they might mend their lives ?” For example: 1. Moses and Aaron ; to whom God said, “Ye shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye have rebelled against my word,” &c. (Num. xx. 24.) I answer, Their death was not properly a punishment, but matter of instruction to other believers. There is a singular mystery in Moses's death,—to teach that the law brings not into the heavenly Canaan ; that must be done by Christ. 2. That of the old prophet; to whom the very person that deceived him said from God, “Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the Lord, thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him.” (1 ogs xiii. 21, 22, 24.) God by the threatening brought him to repentance; and by his death warns us to take heed how we swerve, though never so little, from bis command. There was his own amendment to salvation, and the profit of the church by so memorable a monument of God's severity.
But what need I spend time in particular instances ? while the scripture speaks of believers in general, that death is to them a privilege, not a punishment; and death itself is inventoried among their treasures ; (1 Cor. ii. 22 ;) that whenever or however it seizeth upon them, it will be their gain and matter of triumph. (Phil. i. 21 ; 1 Cor. xv. 55.) In a word, therefore, this, dear Christians, would I charge upon you : Above all things secure your reconciliation with God, and then practically learn to answer God's ends in all your chastisements and trials; set yourselves to hate sin, to be exemplary in holiness, to live in the continual exercise and growth of grace, till God translate you to glory.
USE 1. Let us bless God for being delivered from the devilish delusions of that religion.—“Religion " did I call it? How do they forfeit the very name, while they industriously strive to make men atheists, that they may make them Papists! And what bait can be more alluring, than that they can afford them indulgence at so cheap a rate ?
cheap a rate? Their Seraphical Doctor tells us of some indulgences granted, to help to build some church, or the like: those that gave a penny toward it, should be pardoned the third part of their repentance; and for another penny, another third part ; and for another penny, the last third part :
so that for • BONAVENTURA in Sentent. tom. iv. p. 323, Venet. edit.
threepence (“for three halfpence,” saith Altissiodorensis.* And among other proofs for the value of indulgences, he brings this :—that the head of John the Baptist was given to the damsel ; by which damsel is meant the church of the Gentiles : so that the church of the Gentiles hath the head of John; that is, the head of grace : therefore she may grant indulgence to her subjects. A profound demonstration! So that) he may be discharged from the troublesome work of repentance. This the Seraphical Doctor thinks to be false and ridiculous ; and therefore he thus resolves the value of indulgences :-in respect of him that grants them, they are of as much value as he says they are ; but in respect of him that receives them, they are of more or less value according as he is disposed : so then, if they are fit for none, they are worth nothing. Angles reckons up six other opinions ; t but all such as will rather torment than satisfy an awakened conscience. O what a miserable plunge must that soul be in, that, trusting to indulgences, commits sin with greediness; and never considering till he comes to die, he finds too late that the largest indulgences are only valuable according to the disposition of the receiver, and so he that most needs them shall have least benefit by them!
Some of the very popes themselves have been ashamed of these cheats, and would have recalled them ; but his kindred opposed it with the same argument that Demetrius did Paul : I “By this craft we have our wealth.” (Acts xix. 25.) In short : though they tell us that pope Gregory delivered Trajan out of hell, yet we dare trust to none but Christ to deliver us from the wrath to come, and we bless God that we have no other to trust to. We had rather now cry to God for mercy, than too late cry out in our misery, “Good God, upon what a frail spider's web doth hang the vast weight of Papal omnipotency!” “Now we feel with a vengeance [that] the pope is not infallible!” But I will close all with what may be more profitable than such fruitless complaints.
Use iv. In the last place, therefore, I would seriously caution. you against that mock-religion, which is little else than an engine of carnal interest.—As you love your souls, take heed of all sinful tendencies, of either head, heart, or life, toward those pernicious doctrines, of which this is one of the chief. I freely confess, I see no cause of fear (the Lord keep us from all confidence in any strength of our own !) that ever that religion shall reign in the consciences of those that have been once delivered from it; but it is an easy matter to persuade those that are of no religion to be of that religion. How many are there that walk in darkness in this noon-day light! And it is an easy process from ignorance to error; and to be devout, too, in that religion where ignorance is the mother of it. How many are there that will rather part with heaven than with their lusts! An easy temptation must needs proselyte them to that religion that promiseth infallibly to secure both. In short: indulgences are the softest arguments for delicate sinners, and the Inquisition the most cogent argument for the refractory. To prevent,
ALTISSIODORENsis in Sent. Lib. quartum, tract. vi. cap. 9, fol. 40. † ANGLES in quartum Lib. Sent. pars ii. quæst. de Indulg. p. 1415. 1 Platina De Vita Bonifacii IX. p. 275.
$ MARCU'S ANTONIUS DE DOMINIS De Rep. Eccles. lib. v. cap. riii. n. 28, p. 245.
therefore, the charms of the one, and to establish against the knocking argument of the other, I shall only commend these two things to you :
1. Do not make light of sin, and you can never be a friend to indulgences.—Augustine speaks like himself when he saith, “ It is most difficult to find out, and most dangerous to define, what sins they are for which we may have indulgence by the merits of the saints our friends.” He professeth [that] he could not by his search come to the knowledge of them ; and the lesson he would learn and teach from it, was this:
“ To avoid all sin, and not at all to trust to the merits of others.” We may cry out concerning this doctrine, “ Without controversy, great is the mystery of ungodliness!” I grant, there is a great controversy between them and us about it : but yet, when I consider that I do not find two of them of a mind, but that they every one charge one another with something faulty in their particular sentiments about them ; and their darling council, before they made the decree about them, censured all the money-gatherers upon them to be incorrigible, and that they had no hopes of their amendment ; t I need not fear to say,
- Without controversy, great is the mystery of ungodliness !” For one who is himself guilty of mortal sin at his pleasure to grant, to as many as he please, I guilty of the most prodigious villanies, as large indulgences as they can desire ; § if this be not to encourage and propagate wickedness, what is? I would therefore commend this to you : look upon sin to be not only the greatest, but the only, evil ; and that not so much as the least can be pardoned without the blood of Christ ; (Heb. ix. 22 ;) and that, as ever you expect benefit by Christ, you must“ depart from iniquity ; (2 Tim. ii. 19 ;) and that whosoever saith, we may venture to “ do evil, that good may come,” his “ damnation is just.” (Rom. iii. 8.) Whosoever, therefore, makes the remedies so light, so easy, so obvious, doth not only lessen, but takes away, the terror of the disease, and brings it into contempt. I would, therefore, with all possible importunity, beg of you to set yourselves against every sin ; watch against the temptations, occasions, and first risings of sin ; be as shy of sins of omission and maladministration, as of open wickedness : and then indulgences will be no temptations to you to alter your religion. Then the jubilee, (next year,) which pseudo-catholics esteem as “the pleasant phantasies of Popery, the refuge of sinners, the grief of purgatory, the terror of devils, the mart of Rome, and the triumph of the pope,” || will be no more to them than a Bartholomew Fair. Do you study the doctrine and practice of faith and repentance, and you will abhor all fellowship with this “doctrine of devils.
2. Make use of your Bibles ; and while you do so, you will neither be wheedled nor frightened out of your religion.—Let but scripture-truth be your “shield and buckler,” and you need not fear this Romish “pestilence that walks in darkness," and you may also hope that God will preserve you from their barbarous “destruction that wasteth at noonday.” (Psalm xci. 4, 6.) “ The sword of the Spirit” is the only offensive arms in the Christian armoury ; (Eph. vi. 17 ;) and there is no weapon [that] wounds them like this: and therefore they wrap it in a cloth, and throw it behind the ephod. But, my brethren, take it out ; “there is none like it.” (1 Sam. xxi. 9.) « Hold fast the form of sound words,” which the scripture teacheth, "in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus,” (2 Tim. i. 13,) and you can never be seduced : for there can be no heresies but by the misunderstanding of scripture ; * which we are not to hear only with our ears, but with our minds.t I take it to be a good way to prevent the perverting of scripture, whenever a text is alleged for the proof of a doctrine in question :-first lay by that doctrine, and search what is the genuine meaning of the Holy Ghost in that place; and then consider what the mind of the Holy Ghost is in that question. But I will not be tedious. Bellarmine is the person [whom] I have most opposed : I will make a fair offer; namely, to be determined by his decision of the question, if they will stand to what he hath left upon record ; which is as applicable to this business, as to that about which he wrote it; namely, “Concerning those things which depend upon the Divine Will, we are not to assert any thing but what God himself hath revealed in the holy scripture." I Do but stand to this, and farewell indulgences.
AUGUSTINUS De Civitate Dei, lib. xxi. cap. 27, p. 664. + Conc. Trid. sess. xxi. cap. 9, p. 401.
I AQUINATIS Suppl. pars iii. quæst. xxvi. art. 4, p. 33. $ BELLARMINUS, ibid. sup.
ll Chamieri Panstrat, tom. iii. lib. xxiv. cap. i. n. 5, p. 517 ; et cap. v. n. 11, p. 524.
SERMON XIX. (XVII.)
BY THE REV. THOMAS VINCENT, A.M.
OF CHRIST CHURCH, OXFORD.
THAT DOCTRINE IN THE CHURCH OF ROME WHICH FORBIDS TO MARRY, IS A
THE POPISH DOCTRINE, WHICH FORBIDDETH TO MARRY, IS A
DEVILISH AND WICKED DOCTRINE.
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 with a hot iron ; FORBIDDING TO MARRY, &c.—1 Timothy iv. 1-3.
The church of Rome hath been in her day as famous and truly worthy of renown, as any church which we read of, either in scripture or ecclesiastical history: I mean, in the primitive days of Christianity, whilst she retained her primitive faith and purity. Her fame was great and growing, even whilst the apostle Paul was alive ; who, writing unto her, giveth thanks unto God for her, “ that her faith was spoken of throughout the whole world.” (Rom. i. 8.) This church had the advantage of being seated in the mistress-city of the earth, where the court then was of the chief empire ; unto which resort being made from all
• TERTULLIANUS De Resur. Carn. cap. xi. p. 417. + Idem, Adversus Gnosticos, cap. vii. p. 595. BELLARMINUS De Amiss. Grat. et Stat. Pec, lib. vi. cap. 3, p. 345.