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“ Cursed is he that believes the saints in heaven “ to be his redeemers; that prays to them as such ;
or that gives God's honour to them, or to any “ creature whatsoever. Amen.”-“Cursed is every
goddess-worshipper, that believes the blessed “ Virgin Mary to be any more than a creature; “ that worships her, or puts his trust in her, more “ than in God; that believes she is above her Son, “ or that she can, in any thing, command Him. « Amen."
Does not the Greek church, do not all the oriental churches, which separated from the church of Rome, before the Reformation, invoke the Virgin Mary, the other saints, and the angels ? Does not Martin Luther* exclaim, “Who can deny that God “ works great miracles at the tombs of the saints ? “ I therefore, with the whole catholic church, hold, “ that the saints are to be honoured and invoked
by us. Let no one omit to call upon the blessed
Virgin, the angels, and saints, that they may in- . « tercede for them at the hour of death." Do not several distinguished divines of your church maintain the same doctrine ? Is it not approved by Leibnizt? Finally, does not doctor Thorndiket warn his brethren“ not to lead people by the nose “ to believe, that they can prove papists to be ** idolaters, when they cannot."
* In his letters to Spalatinus, and his treatise de Purgatione quorundem, and in his Preparatio ad Mortem.
+ Exposition de la Systême de Leibniz sur la Religion. Paris, 8vo. 1819, p. 161.
I Just Weights and Measures, p. 10.
Then permit me to ask, whether the authorities which I have cited, do not give a true and clear exposition of the doctrine of the catholic church, upon this important subject :- Whether the doctrine be idolatrous or superstitious ?-Whether the practice of it do not fill the mind with soothing reflections ? — With thoughts that increase charity and animate piety? You cannot find a virtuous catholic, who will not own to you, that he considers the hours, thus spent by him, to be among the most pleasing of his life.
2. Pursuing the same method, in respect to the cross and relics of the saints, I shall transcribe the decree of the council of Trent upon them : “ Although the images of Christ, the Virgin “ Mother of God, and the other saints, are to be
kept and retained, particularly in churches, and “ due honour and veneration paid to them, yet we
are not to believe, that there is any divinity or power
in them, for which we respect them, or " that any thing is to be asked from them, or that “ trust is to be placed in them, as the heathens 66 of old trusted in their idols.” Consult all the authors mentioned in the former part of this letter, you will find the same language. Open our catechisms, you will find it asked, May we pray to “ relics or images ?”You will find it answered, “No! by no means, for they have no life or sense “ to hear or help us." Then, open Gother's
Papist Misrepresented,” you will read, “Cursed “ is he that commits idolatry, that prays to images or relics, or worships them for God.”
In an old English “ Treatise on the Ten Com“mandments,” printed in Westminster Abbey before the Reformation, in 1496, by Winker de Worde, it is said, “Worship not the image, nor the stock, “ stone, or tree; but worship him that died on the
tree for thy sin and thy sake, so that thou kneel, “ if thou wilt, before the image, but not to the
image; for it seeth thee not, it heareth thee not, “ it understandeth thee not; for, if thou do it, for the image, or to the image, thou doeth idolatry.”
Such is the doctrine of the catholic church, on those subjects.
3. We venerate the cross, as a memorial of the passion and death of the Author of our salvation. We venerate the images, paintings and relics, of the saints, as memorials, that bring their virtues and rewards to our minds and hearts. We also venerate their relics, as portions of their holy bodies, which will be glorified through all eternity.
In all this, can you find out any thing reprehensible?
Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead. As I am not writing a work of controversy, I shall say little on the articles in your present chapter which remain to be discussed.
1. As to the existence of purgatory, for the belief of which the roman-catholics have been so often and so harshly reviled,-Do not all, who call themselves “ rational protestants,” think with us, that, (to use the language of doctor Johnson), “the “ generality of mankind are neither so obstinately “ wicked, as to deserve everlasting punishment; “nor so good, as to merit being admitted into the
society of the blessed spirits ; and that God is, “ therefore, generously pleased to allow a middle “ state, where they may be purified by a certain “ degree of suffering.” With those who profess this doctrine, does not your own opinion accord ? And what is this but the very doctrine of the roman-catholic church respecting purgatory?
As to prayers for the dead. The council of Trent * has decreed, “ that there is a purgatory, “ and that the souls detained in it are helped by " the suffrages of the faithful.”
The nature and extent of these suffrages are thus explained by St. Augustine + : “ When the “ sacrifice of the altar, or alms, are offered for the “ dead, then, in regard to those whose lives were
very good, such sacrifices may be deemed acts of “ thanksgiving. In regard to the imperfect, they may
be deemed acts of propitiation ; and though they bring no aid to the very bad, they may give some comfort to the living.”
Tradition, in favour of the catholic doctrine of purgatory, is so strong, that Calvin confesses explicitly, that “ during 1,300 years before his time, “(1,600 before ours), it had been the practice to
pray for the dead, in the hope of procuring them " relief.” You yourself will scarcely venture to assert, that there is any thing substantially wrong in this devotion, when you recollect, that archbishop Cranmer said a solemn mass for the soul of Henry II. of France; that bishop Ridley preached, and that eight other prelates assisted at it in their copes.
* Sess. xxv. Decretum de Purgatione, p. 286. + Enchird, c. xc. tem. 2, p. 83.
How does it soothe the affliction of the surviving husband, wife, parent, or child, to pray for the souls of those, whose loss they deplore ! and to think that they benefit them by their prayers ! Does not this communion between the living and the dead call forth the kindest feelings of the heart ? those charities which endear man to man, and multiply the circles of benevolence? Is not, therefore, even humanely speaking, the doctrine of the romancatholic church, respecting prayers for the dead, good and profitable?
Auricular Confession—Indulgences. In respect to the auricular confession, I hope you will be convinced, that it does not deserve a bitter word, when you have perused the following testimonies in its favour.
“ The lutheran,” says doctor Milner, in his End of Controversy, who are the elder branch to of the reforniation, in their confession of faith, “ and apology for that confession, expressly teach, « that absolution is no less a sacrament than bap“ tism and the Lord's Supper; that particular absoo lution is to be retained in confession ; that, to