ePub 版

written word of God. We are afterwards shown the contradictory decisions of various councils, from which it is justly argued that their interpretations of Scripture cannot be looked upon as infallible; and this division of the discourse is concluded by refuting the claims of the Apocrypha to be considered as of equal authority with the canonical books. In so doing, the following instances of error and inconsistency, which are to be found among its contents are brought forward :

In the fifth chapter of Tobit, ver. 12, the angel tells Tobias that he is Azarias, the son of Ananias the Great, which he was not.

Judith, in her prayer, commends the act of Simeon, on account of Dinah, Gen. xxxiv. which the Holy Ghost condemns, Gen, xlix. 5 ; and she prays

that God would prosper her lies and fictions. Judith ix. 2, 10, 13.

Baruch says, chap. i. 1, that he wrote his book in Babylon; whereas, it appears from Jeremiah xliii. 6, 7, that he never went to Babylon, but remained with Jeremiah at Jerusalem, until carried into Egypt.

The story of Bel and the Dragon speaks of Habakkuk the prophet in the days of Cyrus : whereas Habakkuk prophesied before the captivity of Babylon, which was seventy years before Cyrus.

The first Book of Maccabees states, that Antiochus died in his bed at Babylon, 1 Mac. vi. 8–16: the second, chap. i. 13, that he was cut in pieces in the temple at Nanea; and in chap. ix. 28, that he died of an internal disease in the mountains of a strange country:

In 2 Mac. xiv. 41-46, Razis is commended for killing himself; and Judas for offering sacrifice for the dead who were polluted with idolatry (ch. xii. ver. 45); whereas the offering was to appease the wrath of God on account of the living, lest they should be involved in the curse of the wicked, as in the case of Achan, Josh. vii.—Pp. 24, 25.

The Romanist doctrine of the merit of good works is thus perspicuously stated :

The Council of Trent asserts, and the members of the Romish church are bound to believe, on pain of damnation, " that the good works of justified persons do truly deserve eternal life." It further states, that "if any man shall say that the good works of a justified man are so the gifts of God, that they are not the justified person's merits : or that the justified person does not truly deserve increase of grace, eternal life, and increase of glory, by those good works which he does by the grace of God and the merits of Christ, let him be accursed.”

Romish commentators on Rom. xi. 6, follow up the same ideas, where they say that “Christian men's works joined with God's grace are as causes of our salvation, and do merit heaven." Bellarmine also says, “We will prove, (and this is the common opinion of all Catholics,) that the good works of the just are truly and properly merits, deserving eternal life itself."-P. 26.

In refutation of these monstrous assertions, Mr. Hall quotes the following texts, Luke xvii. 10; Isa. Ixiv. 6 ; Ps. cxxx. 3; cxliii. 2; Prov. xx. 9; Titus iii. 5; Eph. ii. 8; and then proceeds to remark on the imperfection of our best works in the sight of God, and the impossibility of their finding acceptance with him otherwise than through Christ, as effectually overthrowing all notion of any thing like merit being connected with them. He is, at the same time, careful to guard this doctrine against the abuses of Antinomianism, by setting forth the scriptural encouragement we have to the practice of good works, viz, that when they spring from a true and lively faith, they will be

graciously rewarded, though not as constituting a meritorious claim to reward, yet as involving a fulfilled condition of promised mercy.

In connexion with the presumptuous notion of human merit, our author briefly notices the opinions of the Romanists concerning Works of Supererogation and Indulgences, both of which, if his previous observations are borne in mind, will be completely overturned by the following sentence :

He who owes twenty shillings, and has only five to pay, can have nothing to spare for the man who is indebted perhaps ten times as much. He has not enough for himself.-P. 28.

The doctrine maintained by the Church of Rome, concerning the number of the Sacraments, is next considered.

Every Sacrament (it is remarked) under the Christian dispensation must have an outward, visible, and material sign, ordained by Christ, and an inward spiritual grace specially annexed to it.-P. 29.

It is obvious that this definition fully applies only to Baptism and the Supper of the Lord; and therefore, when taken in strictness, effectually excludes Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction, which are called Sacraments by the Romanists.

Our author next attacks the doctrine of Transubstantiation; and in the second edition, which has already been called for, upholds the true Catholic doctrine of the communion of our Lord's body and blood, by the following quotations from Bishop Cosins and Archbishop Wake.

“ The body and blood of our Saviour are not only fitly represented by the elements, but also by virtue of his institution, really offered to all, by them, and 80 eaten by the faithful mystically and sacramentally; whence it is that 'He truly is and abides in us, and we in him.' As to the manner of the presence of the body and blood of our Lord in the blessed Sacrament, we that are Protestants and Reformed according to the ancient Catholie Church, do not search into the manner of it with perplexing inquiries; but, after the example of the primitive and purest Church of Christ, we leave it to the power and wisdom of our Lord, yielding a full and unfeigned assent to his words." Bp. Cosins.

"" Christ is really present in this Sacrament, inasmuch as they who worthily receive it, have thereby really conveyed to them our Saviour Christ, and all the benefits of that body and blood, whereof the bread and wine are the outward signs. The presence we allow is spiritual, and that, not only as to the manner of the existence, but as to the nature of the thing itself; and yet it is real too: the bread which we receive, being a most real and effectual communion of Christ's body, in that spiritual and heavenly manner which St. Paul speaks of, in which the faithful, by their faith, are made partakers of it. Thus does our Church admit of a real presence, and yet neither takes the words of institution in a literal sense; and avoids all those absurdities we so justly charge the against Romanists."Abp. Wake.

Mr. Hall endeavours, in the last place, to substantiate against the Papal Church the grievous charge of idolatry :

Whatever a man worships, that becomes his god; and to give divine worship to any other god than Jehovah is idolatry. We will now see how far this sin



attaches to the practice of the Romish Church, this assumed antitype of ancient Jericho.

The origin of image worship (for the pretence of merely praying to saints through the medium of images I shall shew to be contrary to fact,) may be dated from the end of the fourth century, when the primitive Christians, believing that the spirits of martyrs hovered around their tombs, assembled thither, praised God for the blessing of their examples, and engaged to imitate the piety and virtues of the departed. In fifth century they addressed God in forms of public prayer, that he would hear the intercessions of these martyrs. They also delivered eulogiums upon the saints themselves, a practice afterwards followed up by venerating, and subsequently by praying to them. The latter, however, we are told, was in the following qualified language : “If there is any sense, or knowledge of what we do below," &c. Such was the state of things until the Second Council of Nice (787), which decreed " That the images of the glorious angels and saints are to be adored; but if any man is not so minded, but doubts about the adoration of images, him the synod pronounces accursed.'

The Council of Trent commands “all bishops, and other teachers, to labour with diligent assiduity to instruct the faithful, that it is a good and useful thing suppliantly to invoke the saints, and to flee to their prayers, help, and assistance : and that those are men of impious sentiments who deny that the saints are to be invoked." The Council at the same time “especially” approves of the above decree in the “Second Council of Nice.” In the Creed of Pope Pius IV. it is stated, “ that the saints reigning together with Christ are to be invoked.” - Pp. 34, 35.

Our author notices the different degrees of worship, Latria, Dulia, and Hyperdulia, invented by the Romanists, in order to elude the charge of idolatry: the first implying, according to them, the sovereign and supreme honour due to God; the second, an inferior honour, propor. tioned to the excellency of the saint, and also the inferior or relative honour due to images; the third, an honour between the two, appro. priated to the Virgin Mary. He then gives various extracts from their books of devotion, and the writings of their divines, which fully prove that, on their own showing, this charge cannot be refuted, inasmuch as both the blessed Virgin, the saints and their images, are often addressed with that worship which is due only to God. Of these extracts we give, with Mr. Hall's introduction and comment, a single specimen, which we consider peculiarly valuable, as showing the character of the theology inculcated from the papal chair in the present day :

The present pope, Gregory XVI. in his Encyclical Letter, which he addressed to the prelates of the Romish church, in 1832, has these words, ".We select for the date of our letter this most joyful day, (Aug. 15,) on which we celebrate the solemn festival of the most blessed Virgin's triumphant assumption into heaven, that she, who has been through every great calamity our patroness and protectress, may watch over us, writing to you, and lead our mind by her heavenly influence to those counsels which may prove most salutary to Christ's flock.' The closing paragraph contains the following sentences :—*But that all may have a successful and happy issue, let us raise our eyes to the most blessed Virgin Mary, who alone destroys heresies, who is OUR GREATEST HOPE, YEA, THE

May she exert her patronage to draw down an efficacious blessing on our desires, our plans, and our proceedings, in the present straitened condition of the Lord's flock.'If this be not idolatry, and blasphemy too, it is very difficult to understand the meaning of words.--Pp. 41, 42.

In answer to the pretence of the Romanists, that they do not worship


We are

pictures or images, but only the objects represented by them, it is asked, if this be true, why different images are held in different degrees of estimation ? Why some of them are almost worn away by the kisses of devotees; and others carried about in times of public calamity, as if they had the power to produce a blessing or avert a curse ? sure it must be very difficult to give to such questions any satisfactory reply.

The last thing noticed, in connexion with this topic, is the treat. ment which the second commandment meets with at their hands, and the subterfuges which they adopt to escape from its condemnation. Sometiines they allege that it only condemns the worship of the image of a false god, a pretence sufficiently refuted by the following texts :Aets xvii. 23; Bxod. xxxii. 5; 2 Chron. xxxiii. 17; Acts vii. 40, 41; Deut. iv. 12, 15, 16. At other times they endeavour to make a distinction between idols and images, an attempt which only shows to what difficulty they find themselves reduced. But that they feel this commandment really inconvenient is more fully proved by the fact that, although in their catechisms printed for this country, they insert it at length, yet in those intended for circulation in Popish countries it is either inserted in a garbled form, or left out altogether; whilst, in the latter case, its place is supplied by a division of the last commandment into two.

Mr. Hall announces his intention, in a short time, to treat distinctly of the doctrine of Purgatory, and of Prayers for the Dead; but for the present he closes his remarks with words of advice and warning, which well deserve to be listened to and acted upon by all who desire that the blessing of pure Christianity should be preserved to our land. After exhorting his hearers to be thankful to Almighty God that the Catholic principles of our Established Church have so long flourished within ou borders, he adds the following excellent counsel :


Let then your gratitude be further shewn, by doing all in your power to promote the erection of churches throughout our country and its dependencies : let it be shewn by your readiness to strengthen the hands, and to encourage the hearts of God's ministers, that they may, in Christ's strength, boldly make known the truths of the Bible, and fearlessly expose such errors, in whatever church or sect they may be found, as would endanger the souls of immortal beings: let it be shewn by your zeal for the establishment of schools, whose teaching shall be based upon the word of God as faithfully given in our Protestant Bibles.- Pp. 49, 50.

We would that these words were duly considered by those who are now in authority! We would also that others, who have been accustomed to talk most loudly of the right of conscience, and the iniquity of persecution, would ponder, as it deserves, the following eloquent warning! We pray Him, who holdeth the hearts of all men in His hand, that such warning may not be given in vain :

Be assured of this, that wherever Popèry is dominant, it is persecuting. Be assured of this, that the destruction of the Church of England, and the subjugation of this realm to the yoke of the Vatican, is the great aim of its leading members. England is the great bulwark of Protestantism, and they know it. To convert us, in former days, they employed treason and murder; now they seek to do it by affected moderation, by pretended liberality, by treacherous oaths, and perjured declarations.

If they should once again possess sovereign power in this kingdom; if so great a curse should ever befal'it for its apathy in not earnestly contending for the faith; for its wickedness in not striving to keep the Bible without a clasp, and the Cross without a screen; the sincere Protestant may again be called forth to swell that noble army of martyrs, who, from so many hallowed spots in our land, ascended in their fiery chariots to join the throng of those, whose "garments have been washed, and made white in the blood of the Lamb.”—Pp. 50-52. Top We trust the analysis we have given of this admirable sermon will both enable our readers to form a just opinion of its character, and induce them to take an early opportunity of becoming acquainted with the whole of its contents. We can assure them, with all sincerity, that its matter, style, and argument, are such as amply to repay the time and trouble of an attentive perusal; and we consider that Mr. Hall has done good service to the cause of Catholicism, in complying with the request made to him, to give it to the world.

Amidst the storms which threaten the existence of our Church, and the perils which assail her,-much as our hearts sometimes misgive us, and grievous as are the foreboding prognostications with which we sometimes look upon the state of our Zion; we are still comforted in the assurance that Truth will at length be triumphant, and Catholicism again be found adequate to maintain her cause against the assaults and the artifices of the Papal See. And we are strengthened in these consolatory views by the learning, the vigilance, and the well-timed exertions of our Protestant Clergy, who, like the excellent author before us, take every fitting opportunity of refuting the multifold errors of the idolatrous Church of Rome. Let them but imitate his example, and blow their trumpets witñ the same energy, and the walls of Jericho, though strong as the ramparts of Babylon, shall fall; and the Lord, who “ hath raised up the spirit” of his ministers, and "commanded his sanctified ones," "shall break in pieces her gates of brass, and cut in sunder her bars of iron."

« 上一頁繼續 »