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whether any Christian can do more than he is commanded, or, than it is his strict duty, to do?
“To this, I think, it may be answered, that no Christian can possibly do more, in the great points of moral duty, rightly understood, which are the good works required in the Gospel, than he is strictly obliged to do; because these points are always indispensably necessary, and the obligation to duties never released or abated: But that, in other points, and these not displeasing to God, which may be said to belong to his religious service, as circumstances of it, a Christian may do more than what is strictly enjoined, as absolutely necessary to his salvation.
“This may be the better understood from what St. Paul says of himself; viz., that he chose to preach the Gospel to the Corinthians without any charge to them, in order to have a greater influence in the exercise of his office amongst them; and that this was more than he was strictly obliged to do. For it is plain that he (as well as others) was obliged to do whatever he apprehended to be most for the honour of God, and the interest of his Gospel. And yet it is also as plain, from his own words, that, had he taken a maintenance of them, he could have justified himself before God; and had ground for boasting, that he did not. He expressly distinguishes between his strict obligation to preach the Gospel, and the circumstance of preaching it without charge to them. Wo to me if I preach not the Gospel. This is my indispensable duty. But whether I shall take a maintenance for doing this or not, this is left free for me, and I have chosen not to do it: this is the ground of my boasting. (I Cor. ix. 16, 19).
“I might mention also what is written of the first believers, that those amongst them who had possessions, sold them, and laid the price at the feet of the Apostles, to be distributed, in common, to all who wanted. It is evident, of these persons, that they were strictly obliged to the duty of charity to their brethren in want: and yet, it is also plain that this particular behaviour of those who voluntarily and honestly performed the service, in so extraordinary a manner, was more than was commanded them by their great Master. Nay, it is declared by St. Peter, (Acts V. 4), that it was not their strict duty, but a matter left to their own choice. From whence it appears, that, in this, they did more than it was their strict duty to do."
It is true that after this passage he lashes most soundly what he is pleased to call the Romish Doctrine, but the doctrine which he lashes, is not, and never was that of our Church. I will then state that according to an eminent bishop of the English Protestant Church, it is not incompatible with her doctrine, to hold, and the Scripture teaches, that men justified through the mercy of God, the merits of Christ, and sincere repentance, can work with God by the grace of Christ, and thus do good works, which have, through God's mercy and covenant, a claim for reward, and are meritorious: and that they not only can do what they are commanded, and is their strict duty as absolutely necessary to their salvation, but can also in addition to this, do more than what they are so commanded, more than is their strict duty to insure salvation, and yet in all this do not derogate from the merits of Christ. Now if the persons whom we look upon to be saints have done this, as Bishop Hoadley says one of them (St. Paul) undoubtedly did, one of two consequences must ensue; Bishop Hoadley misrepresents the doctrines of the Church of England, or no person in her communion can object to our doctrine on those points.
In my next I shall apply what I have been hitherto collecting and explaining. I remain, gentlemen, Your obedient humble servant,
But, mortals! know, 'tis still our greatest pride
POPE, Temple of Fame.
CHARLESTON, S. C., June 29, 1829. To the Editors :
Gentlemen :- I have now exhibited to you, reasons which justify my asserting that Roman Catholics do not pray to angels to be saved by their merits ; that they do not pray to angels in the same manner that they pray to God the creator of angels; but in the manner, upon the same principle and for the same purpose that good Protestants beseech their fellow-worshippers on earth, to pray to God for them, and help them by their intercession; and therefore Roman Catholics do not give to those creatures the worship which is due to God alone, nor are they as regards angels guilty of either direct or indirect idolatry. And further, that when Roman Catholics look upon Christ as their mediator, they consider his mediation to be more than a mere intercession; they look upon it to be a full and perfect atonement in which he by his own unclaimable and infinite merits and bitter sufferings made abundant satisfaction for their sins, for which no created merits or power could satisfy: that they do not consider that angels could or did become atoning mediators for man; and hence that although angels might, and can, and do, intercede or pray for us, they are not mediators of satisfaction or atonement, either with Christ or in his stead. Hence that asking the intercession of angels is not dishonouring the mediation of Christ.
All that I have written of angels is equally applicable to saints, but that in regard to the latter, we pray to God that he would regard their merits as intercessors. Upon this, however, no difficulty can exist in any honest mind that calmly and dispassionately views without prejudice what we mean by the word merit as applied to the saints, who have been human beings, justified through Christ, and were subsequently removed to glory in heaven. It is evidently but an appeal to God, to act upon his own well-known and clearly revealed principles, that he would yield mercy upon the entreaty of those his righteous servants, through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ our only atoning and redeeming mediator. It is then clear that we are misrepresented by those who say, that we pray to saints to save us by their merits: for we ask to be saved only through the merits of Christ, through whom alone salvation comes, and we therefore acknowledge with St. Peter, 65 that there is no other name, save that of Jesus, given under heaven whereby we may be saved. We are misrepresented by those who say that we make the saints mediators with Christ, or in his stead; because we profess and testify, that though they are intercessors who pray for us, they are not mediators by whom we are redeemed; and we proclaim with St. Paul, 66 that as there is but one God, there is but one mediator between God and man; the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all. We are far from saying that any saint gave himself as a ransom for us; though in virtue of the ransom paid by Christ Jesus for this saint, and the fidelity of that ransomed saint to divine grace, his intercession might prevail much, and if so, he is acceptable through Christ, and therefore, instead of dishonouring Christ, we honour him by showing the powerful effects of his atonement and ransom in this creature who was once a frail mortal. Hence, to charge us with idolatry in this, is to charge that the honour, which we give to those saints, is the honour due to Christ. Surely, we do not deny to Christ the glory of being the ransom, and the only ransom for our sins, yet we deny this glory to the saints and angels. We do not say that the merits of Christ are valuable, only in as much as they are derived from the superior merits of saints; yet we say the merits of saints are only valuable as drawn from the underived, original, and superior merits of Christ Jesus. Gentlemen,-I ask in sober sadness,-is it possible that you can find any human being who with this fair view of our tenets before him, will say that the worship which we pay to our Saviour the incarnate God, is only that same which
65 Acts iv. 12.
I Tim. ii. 5, 6.
we pay to the blessed spirits? Yet such is the assertion of your extraordinary correspondent!! But how wretched is his attempt in paragraph 8.
“It is then a fact, that 'the Roman Catholics do pray to angels and saints, to save them by their merits,' making those angels and saints mediators with Christ, or in his stead. It is not unreasonable or unfair, to presume the saint to be even substituted as mediator for Christ, where, as is sometimes the case, the collect does not name Christ, or contain or end with any reference to him in the character of intercessor.
Let him produce the collect which omits to exhibit Christ as mediator. There might be several where he is not exhibited as an interces
Upon an assertion which he makes without evidence, and against evidence, he builds his conclusion “it is not unreasonable or unfair, to presume, the saint to be even substituted as mediator for Christ.' Indeed, indeed he has been too presumptuous, and too unreasonable, and altogether dishonest and unfair.
His ninth paragraph confounds two distinct things, mediation and intercession, and by this sophistry he endeavours to force a conclusion against the lawfulness of any other intercession, save that of Christ, upon the principle that St. Paul, (I Tim. ii. 5), asserted that there is but one mediator. But whoever will look to the text will find that the word used by St. Paul does not mean intercessor, but mediator of ransom. This is what logicians call “a syllogism with four terms, of the worst and most deceitful attempts to mislead.
Another attempt is made in the same paragraph to combine for one conclusion two texts which relate to things not of the same kind; that from the gospel of St. John exhibits the Saviour, telling his disciples to pray to the Father in his name, or by his merits, for hitherto they had not prayed in this manner, (John xv. 24), and they also were accustomed rather to request of him to ask on their behalf, (John xv. 26), and now he desired that they might pray themselves, to the father, yet in his name. Thus the passages here merely regard prayer. The text from Acts iv. 12, it will be seen, by no means teaches that we ought not to ask of others to intercede for us, or to pray with us, but merely and exclusively shows that this Jesus who was crucified, was the Messias, in whom all should believe, and through whom only salvation was to be obtained. Let us see the argument which the two texts will obviously make. “Jesus Christ tells the Apostles to pray in his name.' “St. Peter tells us that there is only the name of Jesus in which salvation can be had.” My inference from these two propositions will not go beyond this:"therefore, it is useful to pray in the name of Christ; and it is unprofitable, or perhaps, unlawful, to seek salvation through any
other name. In fact it is but repeating the propositions of the texts in other words,—and the substance will be no more than what has been repeated, “Christ is our only saviour.” But it says not "our only intercessor." Should we confine intercession to our Saviour, every person who asks any other to pray for him, dishonours Christ. This, gentlemen, would produce bad times for the clergy, whose intercession is so frequently besought.
We next come to his statements regarding the blessed Virgin,-and here the poor gentleman is really to be pitied, for he is in pain, (par. 11), and the contemplation of the proof which he has at hand to fix upon us the crime of downright idolatry, is so trying to his nerves that he only adduces a little, but that "little will suffice." Let us see his proofs. They are drawn from three sources. The first is the Laity's Directory, for 1822, New York, W. H. Creagh, Publisher. Suppose this book contained blasphemy, is the Roman Catholic Church chargeable therewith? A church is accountable for her liturgy, and therefore it was fair and lawful to charge us as a body, with the prayers and passages of the Missal; a church is justly chargeable with the declarations of doctrine which her prelates publish in her name, or as expositions of her tenets, provided those publications are generally known and received and not contradicted: and therefore the Catechisms and other such exposions put forth by our bishops are justly quoted for or against us. But it is quite a novelty in a religious disquisition to quote an obscure, unauthorized, ephemeral compilation, printed merely for his own gain, by a man who, if he had any religion, was a member of the Church of England; in order to prove that Roman Catholics hold tenets which cannot be deduced from their works of authority. The name of a very respectable priest in New York appears on its titlepage, as if the book was revised and corrected by him: but even high as is the station of that esteemed priest, still the church is not accountable for his publications. The work itself is, 1st, a calendar, 2d, a sermon, 3d, practical instructions for the Sundays, feasts, and so forth, of the year, and 4th, an account of the Catholic churches and other institutions of the United States. The following notice with which it opens will show that it was not sent forth either by authority or as perfect.
“Notice.—The Laity's Directory is published this year for the first time in the United States of America. It is intended to accompany the Missal, with a view to facilitate the use of the same. Considerable pains have accordingly been taken to render it correct, as well in the Calendar, as in the general information it contains. The errors, it is hoped, are not many: such however as may exist of the kind, the spirit that reigns throughout this little work will suffice to show and to satisfy the Catholic public they have not been intentional.”