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bow down to an image of bread, as it is to one of brass and wood. Sincerity of belief, " that the bread and wine are really God," does not lessen the idolatry, for it is in the error of belief, as well as in the falsehood of doctrine, that idolatry consists. Were sincerity of belief an extenuation of crime, the Jews, who worshipped the golden calf, might have claimed exemption from the charge of idolatry: for it is evident from the feast appointed unto the Lord, they sincerely believed that the golden image was a true emblem of the Deity. But the adoration of the consecrated wafer is, in degree of idolatrous guilt, of a deeper dye than that of the Jews. For the Romanists consider the wafer not as an emblem, but as really God himself. This however, monstrous as it may appear to Protestants, is the belief of the most enlightened and best educated amongst them.Thus we see, that a man's reason and common sense may be degraded to the lowest ebb, whose mind is overcast by the mists of superstition. But this is not the only instance of idolatry, for which the Church of England separated from that of Rome. The Scriptures affirm, that there is only one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Yet in defiance of this divine declaration, the Romanists scruple not, to offer up
their petitions to heaven, and to supplicate for the grace of God through the interposition of angels,
the intercession of saints, and, above all, the mediation of the Virgin." Surely the edition of their Scriptures does not contain the charge of Paul to the Colossians. “Let no man beguile you of your reward, in a voluntary humility, and worshipping of angels, intending into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” This passage may have slipped out of their memories, as the second commandment, “thou shalt not make any graven image,” has slipped out of the catechism, which they generally circulate among their children. The worship of the Virgin is at this day in the Church of Rome, and has been for several ages, a main part of their public worship, yea, and of their private devotions. For one prayer they make to Almighty God, they make ten addresses to the Virgin.
Our Lord, foreseeing the degeneracy of the church in this thing, takes all occasions to restrain all extravagant apprehensions, and imagination concerning any honour due to his mother. He
The worship of Mahuzzim, or Saint Mediators, is proved to be one principal token of the predicted apostacy. -Bishop Newton.
The Irish Roman Catholic Catechism. * 1530 was the precise period when the original Hebrew of the decalogue was tampered with: at that time a full stop was placed after the second commandment, and not after the first, in order to warrant its omission in the Popish Catechisms.”
seems to have marked with studied indifference any mention of her name.
When the woman brake forth into raptures concerning the mother of our Lord, “ Blessed is the womb that bare thee and the paps that gave thee suck,” our Saviour adverts to another thing : “ Yea, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.” When he was told that his mother and brethren were without, “ Who,” he replied, “ are my mother and my brethren? He that doeth the will of my Father, the same is my mother, and sister, and brother." The last time our Lord took notice of his mother was, when, looking down from the cross, he recommended her to the protection of his beloved disciple, saying—without any mark of honourable distinction—“Woman, behold thy Son:” And from that time to the present the Church would never have known her by any other name than the blessed woman, or, “the Holy Mother," had not the Papists exalted her not only as a co-rival with her Son, but above him in supreme power and divine honours. This idolatrous worship of the Virgin seems to have been creeping into the church during the fourth century: it was stigmatized by one of the Fathers with the name of the heresy of the woman ; on what account this appellation was given to the heresy, may be more easy to conceive, than proper to express.
Now what is the worship of the Virgin, of Angels, and of Saints, but heathenism brought back into Christianity by a multiplication of deities addressed: in proportion as an appeal is made to God in any other name than that of his beloved Son, so far is the corner stone of the Gospel shaken, and the sacrifice upon the Cross rendered null and void.
Thus have we endeavoured to specify the general grounds on which attachment to our Protestant Church, as established in this kingdom, is founded. When we consider the constellation of talent, the lustre of virtue, that have enlightened, enriched and beautified our Church when we contemplate the excellence of -her ritual, the soundness of her creed and doctrines the inference to which these observations lead, must be obvious to us all. Our fidelity u to our Church should be as warm, as the blessings communicated are great and important. These are advantages which God has conferred for our spiritual benefit; and if they are carelesslyvésteemed, or.indifferently defended, they will be converted into sources of wrath and condemnation. Remember the exhortation of the apostle
Be not children tossed to and fro, carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby, they she in wait to deceive.” Let us try the spiritsy whe
ther they be of God. The Gospel is the touchstone of truth, and upon that basis the disciple of a reformed religion reposes his conviction. If enemies are multiplied against the battlements of our Sion, let her champions be not surprised in disgraceful slumber. The malice and cunning of her enemies demand unceasing vigilance on our part. Let us all labour in our respective stations, to diffuse around us the knowledge of the everlasting Gospel, and the honour of Jesus Christ, by striving to strengthen the weak, confirm the wavering, and instruct the ignorant. But while our hearts are thus animated with a fervent zeal, let it be a zeal animated with charity. The Gospel is a Gospel of peace, and acrimony and bitterness of controversy are foreign to its spirit. Yet let not a meek and humble spirit be confounded with that false and morbid liberality, which draws no distinction between the essentials of right and wrong: and, under pretence of seeking peace, would surrender the very citadels of salvation.
Above all, let us remember, that he is the best defender of the Protestant Faith, who is most adorned with its Christian qualities : for such weapons are derived from the armoury of God; and they who, armed with this glorious panoply, combat under the protection of the great Captain of their salvation.