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and the faints; and flying to their help, and making use of their mediation and intercession with God for finners.
That Jesus Chrilt is our only mediator and intercessor with God in heaven, by whom we have access to God in any action of religious worship, and that all our prayers and services are to be offered up to God only by hiin, and in his name and mediation, and no other, I have plainly shewed from scripture ; and proved it by an invincible argument, taken likewise from scripture ; name: ly, because the efficacy and pr-valency of his mediation and intercession is founded in the virtue and merit of his facrifice; and that he is therefore the only mediator bee; tween God and men, because he only gave himself a ransom for all; he is therefore our only advocate with the Father, because he only is the propitiation for our sins, and for the sins of the whole world.
I have shewed likewise, that the scripture excludes angels from being our mediators with God, from the'main scope and design of the epistle to the Colossians; and much more are the saints departed excl led from this office, being inferior to the angels, not only in the dignity and excellency of their beings, but very probably in the degree of their knowledge.
In short, prayer is a proper act of religious worship, and therefore peculiar to God alone; and we are commanded to worship the Lord our God, and to serve him only: and no where in scripture are we directed to address our prayers, and supplications, and thanksgivings, to any but God alone, and only in the name and mediation of Jesus Christ. Our blessed Saviour himself hath taught us to put up all our prayers to God our heavenly Father, Luke xi. 2. When je pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven : which plainly shews to whom all our prayers are to be addressed; and uns we can call an angel, or the blessed virgin, or a faint, our Father, we can pray to none of them. And elsewhere he as plainly directs us, by whom we are to apply ourselves to God, and in whose name and mediation we are to put up all our requests to him, John xiv. 6. I am the way, and the truth, and the life: 10 man cometh unto the Father but by me : and then it follows, y 13. 14. And whatsoever ye shall afk in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glo, rified in the Son. If ye fall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. Nothing is clearer in the whole Bible, than one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus, and that he is our only advocate and intercessor with God in heaven for us.
2. I shall endeavour to shew, that the doctrine and practice of the church of Rome in this matter is contrary to that of the Christian church, for several of the first
ages of it.
As for the ages of the Apostles, it hath been already proved out of their writings. That it was not practised in the three first ages, we have the acknowledgment of Cardinal Perron, and others of their learned writers; and they give a very remarkable reason for it, namely, because the worship and invocation of saints and angels, and addressing our prayers to God by them, might have feemed to have given countenance to the Heathen idolatry. From whence I cannot forbear, by the way, to make these two obfervations.' I. That the invocation of saints and angels, and the blessed virgin, and addressing ourselves to God by their mediation, was not in those primitive ages esteemed a duty of the Christian religion ; because if it had, it could not have been omitted for fear of the scandal consequent upon it: and if it was not a duty then, by what authority or law can it be made so since ? 2. That this practice is very liable to the suspicion of idolatry; and surely every Christian cannot but think it fit, that the church of Christ should, like a chaste spouse, not only be free from the crime, but from all suspicion of idolatry.
And for the next ages after the Apostles, nothing is plainer, than that both their doctrine and practice were contrary to the doctrine and practice of the present church of Roine in this matter, The most ancient fathers of the Christian church do constantly define prayer to be an address to God, and therefore it cannot be made to any but God only: and after the rise of Arianism, they argued for the divinity of Christ against the Arians, from our praying to him; which argument were of no force, if prayers might be made to any but God: and this was in the beginning of the fourth age. And we no where find any mention of those distinctions, of gods by nature, and gods by participation, (as Bellarmine calls the angels and saints); or of a supreme and inferior religious worship; or of a mediator of redemption, and a mediator of intercession; which are so commonly made use of by the church of Rome in this controversy.
And, which is as considerable as any of the rest, the ancient fathers were generally of opinion, that the saints were not admitted to the beatifick vision, till after the day of judgment; and this is acknowledged by the most learned of the church of Rome. But this very opinion takes away the foundation of praying to faints ; because the church of Rome grounds it upon their reigning with Christ in heaven, and upon the light and knowledge which is communicated to them in the beatifick vision; and if so, then they who believed the faints not yet to be admitted to this vision, could have no reason or ground to pray to them.
And, lastly, the ancient church prayed for faints departed, and for the blessed virgin herfelf; and therefore could not pray to them as intercessors for them in heavcn, for whom they themfelves interceeded upon earth. And therefore the church of Rome, in compliance with the change which they have made in their doctrine, have changed the miffal in that point; and instead of praying for St. Leo, one of their Popes, as they were wont to do in their ancient miffal, in this form, “Grant, O Lord, « that this oblation may be profitable to the foul of thy « servant Leo;” the collect is now changed in the present Roman missal into this form : Grant, O Lord, “ that by the intercession of bleffed Leo, this offering inay
be profitable to us. And, as the glofs upon the Canon law observes, this change was made in their milfal upon very good reason ; because anciently they “ prayed for Leo, but now they pray to him;” which is an ingenuous acknowledgment, that both the doctrine and practice of their church are plainly changed from what they anciently were in this matter.
What the doctrines and practices of their church, of Rome, are in this matter, all the world fees; and they themselves are so ashamed of them, that of late all their endeavours have been, to represent them otherwise than
in truth they are, and to obtrude upon us a new Popery, which they think themselves better able to defend than the old ; which yet they have not shewn that they are so well able to do i and therefore now, instead of defending the true doctrines and practices of their own church, they would fain mince and disguise them, and change · them into something that comes nearer to the Protestant doctrine in those points : as if they had no way to defend their own doctrines, but by seeming to desert them, and by bringing them as near to ours as possibly they
But take them as they have mollified them and pared them, to render'them more plausible and tenible; that which still remains of them, I mean the solemn invocation of saints and angels, as mediators and intercessors with God in heaven for us, is plainly contrary both to the doctrine and practice of the primitive ages of Christianity.
As for the age of the Apostles, I have already shewn' it: and the matter is as clear for several of the next fol. lowing ages; as I shall briefly thew from a few very plain testimonies.
In the age next to the Apostles, we have an epistle of one of the seven churches, (I mean the church of Smyrna); in which, in vindication of themselves from that calumny which was raised against them by the Jews, among the Heathen, “ that if they permitted the Chri“ stians to have the body of the martyred Polycarp,
they would leave Christ to worship Polycarp;" I say, in vindication of themselves from this calumny, they declare themselves thus : “ Not knowing (say they) " that we can neither leave Christ, who suffered for
the salvation of the world of those that are saved,
nor worship any other ; (or, as it is in the old La“ tin translation, nor offer up the fupplication of prayer
to any other person): for as for Jesus Christ, we adore him, as being the Son of God; but as for the martyrs, we love them, as the disciples and imita
tors of the Lord.” So that they plainly exclude the saints from any sort of religious worship, of which prayer or invocation was always esteemed a very confie
Irenæus likewise tells us, l. 2. that “ the church doth “ nothing (fpeaking of the miracles which were wrought) “ by the invocation of angels, nor by inchantment,
nor by any other wicked arts; but by prayers to the “ Lord, who made all things, and by calling on the “ name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Here all invocation of angels, and, by the same or greater reason, of the saints, is excluded. And Clemens Alexandrinus delivers it as the doctrine of the church, that “ since “ there is but one good God, therefore both we and the
angels pray to him, both for the giving and the con“ tinuance of good things."
In the next age, Origen is so ful and express in this matter, that it is not possible for any Protestant to speak more positively and clearly, 1. 8. cont. Celfum, where he does on set purpose declare and vindicate the Christian doctrine and practice in this matter :
" We worship “ (says he) the one only God, and his one only Son, " and Word, and Image, with our utmost fupplications " and honours, bringing our prayers to the God of all “ things, through his only begotten Son.” And afterwards, Away (fays he) with Celsus's counsel, that
says, we must pray to dæmons (or angels] ; for we “ must pray only' to God, who is above all : we must
pray to the only begotten and first born of every créature, and we must befeech kim to offer up our
prayers which we make to him, to his God and our “ God." And again, (speaking of angels), “ As for « the favour of others, (if that be to be regarded), we « know, that thousands of thousands stand before him, « and ten thousand times ten thousand minister unto “ him; these are our brethren and friends, who, when " they see us imitating their piety towards God, work
together to the falvation of those who call upon “ God, and pray as they ought to do, that is, to God only.” And l. s. where Ceffus urges him with this, that " the scriptures call angels gods,
he tells him, that “ the scriptures do not call the angels gods, “ with any design to require us to worship and adore ( them instead of God, who are ministring spirits, and
bring messages and blessings down to us from God : “ for says he) all fupplications, and prayer, and inter