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Title: Primitive Christian Worship - Or, The Evidence of Holy Scripture and the Church, Against the Invocation of Saints and Angels, and the Blessed Virgin Mary
Author: Tyler, James Endell, 1789-1851
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Speaking the truth in love.--EPH. iv. 15

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.--1 THESS. v. 21.



Printed for the


       *       *       *       *       *









Nov. 25, 1840.

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Members of the Church of Rome, and members of the Church of England,
have too long entertained towards each other feelings of hostility.
Instead of being drawn together as brethren by the cords of that one
faith which all Catholics hold dear, their sentiments of sympathy and
affection have been absorbed by the abhorrence with which each body has
regarded the characteristic tenets of its adversary; whilst the terms
"heretic" on the one side, and "idolater" on the opposite, have rendered
any attempt to bring about a free and friendly discussion of each
other's views almost hopeless.

Every Christian must wish that such animosities, always ill-becoming the
servants and children of the God of love, should cease for ever. Truth
indeed must never be sacrificed to secure peace; nor must we be tempted
by the seductiveness of a liberality, falsely so called, to soften down
and make light of those differences which keep the Churches of England
and Rome asunder. But surely the points at issue may be examined without
exasperation and rancour; and the results of inquiries carried on with a
singleness of mind, in search only for the truth, may be offered on the
one side without insult or offence, and should be received and examined
without contempt and scorn on the other.

The writer of this address is not one in whom early associations would
foster sentiments of evil will against members of the Church of Rome; or
encourage any feeling, incompatible with regard and kindness, towards
the conscientious defenders of her creed. From his boyhood he has lived
on terms of friendly intercourse and intimacy with individuals among her
laity and of her priesthood. In his theological pursuits, he has often
studied her ritual, consulted her commentators, and perused the homilies
of her divines; and, withal, he has mourned over her errors and
misdoings, as he would have sighed over the faults of a friend, who,
with many good qualities still to endear him, had unhappily swerved from
the straight path of rectitude and integrity.

In preparing these pages, the author is not conscious of having been
influenced by any motive in the least degree inconsistent with
sentiments of charity and respect; at all events, he would hope that no
single expression may have escaped from his pen tending to hurt
unnecessarily the feelings of any sincere Christian. He has been
prompted by a hope that he may perhaps induce some individuals to
investigate with candour, and freedom, and with a genuine desire of
arriving at the truth, the subjects here discussed; and that whilst
some, even of those who may have hitherto acquiesced in erroneous
doctrines and practices, may be convinced of their departure from
Christian verity; others, if tempted to desert the straight path of
primitive worship, may be somewhat strengthened and armed by the views
presented to them here, against the captivating allurements of religious

Whether the present work may, by the Divine favour, be made in some
degree instrumental in forwarding these results, or in effecting any
good, the author presumes not to anticipate; but he will hope for the
best. He believes that the honest pursuit of the truth, undertaken with
an humble zeal for God's glory, and in dependence on his guidance and
light, is often made successful beyond our own sanguine expectations.

With these views the following pages are offered, as the result of an
inquiry into the doctrine and practice of the Invocation of Saints and
Angels, and of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To prevent misconception as to the nature of this work, the author would
observe, that since the single subject here proposed to be investigated
is, "The Invocation of Saints and Angels and the Blessed Virgin Mary,"
he has scrupulously avoided the discussion of many important and
interesting questions usually considered to be connected with it. He has
not, for example, discussed the practice of praying for the dead; he has
investigated no theory relating to the soul's intermediate state between
our dissolution and the final judgment; he has canvassed no opinion as
to any power in the saints and the faithful departed to succour either
by their prayers or by any other offices, those who are still on earth,
and on their way to God. From these and such like topics he has
abstained, not because he thinks lightly of their importance, nor
because his own mind is perplexed by doubts concerning them; but because
the introduction of such points would tend to distract the thoughts from
the exclusive contemplation of the one distinct question to be

He is also induced to apprise the reader, that in his work, as he
originally prepared it, a far wider field, even on the single subject of
the present inquiry, was contemplated than this volume now embraces. His
intention was to present an historical survey of the doctrine and
practice of the invocation of Saints and Angels, and the Virgin, tracing
it from the first intimation of any thing of the kind through its
various progressive stages, till it had reached its widest prevalence in
Christendom. When, however, he had arranged and filled up the results of
the inquiries which he made into the sentiments and habits of those
later writers of the Church, whose works he considered it necessary to
examine with this specific object in view, he found that the bulk of the
work would be swollen far beyond the limits which he had prescribed to
himself; he felt also that the protracted investigation would materially
interfere with the solution of that one independent question which he
trusts now is kept unmixed with any other. He has, consequently, in the
present address limited the range of his researches on the nature of
Primitive Christian Worship, to the writers of the Church Catholic who
lived before the Nicene Council, or were members of it.

In one department, however, he has been under the necessity of making,
to a certain extent, an exception to this rule. Having found no allusion
to the doctrine of the Assumption of the Virgin, on which much of the
religious worship now paid to her seems to be founded, in any work
written before the middle of the fifth century, he has been induced, in
his examination of the grounds on which that doctrine professes to be
built, to cite authors who flourished subsequently to the Nicene

The author would also mention, that although in substance he has
prepared this work for the examination of all Christians equally, and
trusts that it will be found not less interesting or profitable to the
members of his own Church than to any other, yet he has throughout
adopted the form of an address to his Roman Catholic countrymen. Such a
mode of conveying his sentiments he considered to be less controversial,
while the facts and the arguments would remain the same. His object is
not to condemn, but to convince: not to hold up to obloquy those who are
in error, but, as far as he may be allowed, to diminish an evil where it
already exists, and to check its further prevalence.

       *       *       *       *       *



Introduction--The duty of examining the grounds of our Faith--Principles
of conducting that examination--Errors to be avoided--Proposed plan of
the present work.


§ 1. Evidence of Holy Scripture, how to be ascertained
  2. Direct Evidence of the Old Testament
  3. Evidence of the Old Testament, continued
  4. ------ New Testament


§ 1. Evidence of Primitive Writers
  2. ------ Apostolic Fathers


§ 1. Evidence of Justin Martyr
       See also Appendix
  2. Evidence of Irenæus
  3. ------ Clement of Alexandria
  4. ------ Tertullian
     ------ Methodius
  5. ------ Origen
       See also Appendix
  6. Supplementary Section on Origen
       See also Appendix
  7. Evidence of St. Cyprian
       See also Appendix
  8. Evidence of Lactantius
  9. ------ Eusebius
       See also Appendix
 10. Apostolical Canons and Constitutions
 11. Evidence of St. Athanasius
       See also Appendix


State of Worship at the time of the Reformation
§ 1. "Hours of the Virgin"
  2. Service of Thomas Becket


Council of Trent
    See also Appendix


Present Service in the Church of Rome




§ 1. Introductory Remarks
  2. Evidence of Holy Scripture


Evidence of Primitive Writers


Assumption of the Virgin Mary


Councils of Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon


§ 1. Present authorized Worship of the Virgin
  2. Worship of the Virgin, continued
  3. Bonaventura
  4. Biel, Damianus, Bernardinus de Bustis, Bernardinus Senensis,&c.
      See also Appendix
5. Modern Works of Devotion
    See also Appendix


       *       *       *       *       * {1}




Fellow Christians,

Whilst I invite you to accompany me in a free and full investigation of
one of those tenets and practices which keep asunder the Roman and the
Anglican Church, I am conscious in how thankless an undertaking I have
engaged, and how unwelcome to some is the task in which I call upon you
to join. Many among the celebrated doctors of the Roman Church have
taught their disciples to acquiesce in a view of their religious
obligation widely different from the laborious and delicate office of
ascertaining for themselves the soundness of the principles in which
they have been brought up. It has been with many accredited teachers a
favourite maxim, that individuals will most acceptably fulfil their duty
by abstaining {2} from active and personal inquiries into the
foundations of their faith; and by giving an implicit credence to
whatever the Roman Church pronounces to be the truth[1]. Should this
book fall into the hands of any who have adopted that maxim for the rule
of their own conduct as believers, its pages will of course afford them
no help; nor can they take any interest in our pursuit, or its results.
Whilst, however, I am aware, that until the previous question (involving
the grounds on which the Church of Rome builds her claim to be the sole,
exclusive, and infallible teacher of Christians in all the doctrines of
religion,) shall have been solved, many members of her body would throw
aside, as preposterous, any treatise which professed to review the
soundness of her instructions; I have been at the same time assured,
that with many of her communion the case is far otherwise; and that
instead of their being averse to all investigation, a calm, candid, and
friendly, but still a free and unreserved inquiry into the disputed
articles of their creed, is an object of their sincere desire. On this
ground I trust some preliminary reflections upon the duty of proving all
things, with a view of holding the more fast {3} and sure what is good,
may be considered as neither superfluous nor out of place.

    [Footnote 1: It is sometimes curious to observe the language in
    which the teachers and doctors themselves profess their entire,
    unlimited, and implicit submission of all their doctrines, even
    in the most minute particulars, to the judgment and will of the
    authorities of Rome. Instances are of very frequent occurrence.
    Thus Joannes de Carthagena, a very voluminous writer of
    homilies, closes different parts of his work in these words,
    "These and all mine I willingly subject to the judgment of the
    Catholic Roman Church, ready, if there be written any thing in
    any way in the very least point contrary to her doctrine, to
    correct, amend, erase, and utterly abolish it." Hom. Cath. De
    Sacris Arcanis Deiparæ et Josephi. Paris, 1615. page 921.]

But just as it would belong to another and a separate province to
examine, at such length as its importance demands, the claims of the
Church of Rome to be acknowledged as that universal interpreter of the
word and will of God, from whose decisions there is no appeal; so would
it evidently be incompatible with the nature of the present address, to
dwell in any way corresponding with the magnitude and delicacy of the
subject, on the duty, the responsibility, and the privilege of private
judgment; on the dangers to which an unchastened exercise of it may
expose both an individual, and the cause of Christian truth; or on the
rules which sound wisdom and the analogy of faith may prescribe to us in
the government of ourselves with respect to it. My remarks, therefore,
on this subject will be as few and brief as I believe to be consistent
with an acknowledgment of the principles upon which this work has been

The foundation, then, on which, to be safe and beneficial, the duty of
private judgment, as we maintain, must be built, is very far indeed
removed from that common and mischievous notion of it which would
encourage us to draw immediate and crude deductions from Holy Scripture,
subject only to the control and the colouring of our own minds,
responsible for nothing further than our own consciousness of an honest
intention. Whilst we claim a release from that degrading yoke which
neither are we nor were our fathers able to bear, we deprecate for
ourselves and for our fellow-believers that licentiousness which in
doctrine and practice tempts a man to follow merely what is right in his
own eyes, uninfluenced by the example, the precepts, {4} and the
authority of others, and owning no submissive allegiance to those laws
which the wise and good have established for the benefit of the whole
body. The freedom which we ask for ourselves, and desire to see imparted
to all, is a rational liberty, tending to the good, not operating to the
bane of its possessors; ministering to the general welfare, not to
disorder and confusion. In the enjoyment of this liberty, or rather in
the discharge of the duties and trusts which this liberty brings with
it, we feel ourselves under an obligation to examine the foundations of
our faith, to the very best of our abilities, according to our
opportunities, and with the most faithful use of all the means afforded
to us by its divine Author and finisher. Among those means, whilst we
regard the Holy Scriptures as paramount and supreme, we appeal to the
witness and mind of the Church as secondary and subsidiary; a witness
not at all competing with Scripture, never to be balanced against it;
but competing with our own less able and less pure apprehension of
Scripture. In ascertaining the testimony of this witness, we examine the
sentiments and practice of the ancient teachers of the Church; not as
infallible guides, not as uniformly holding all of them the same
opinions, but as most valuable helps in our examination of the evidence
of the Church, who is, after all, our appointed instructor in the truths
of the Gospel,--fallible in her individual members and branches, yet the
sure witness and keeper of Holy Writ, and our safest guide on earth to
the mind and will of God. When we have once satisfied ourselves that a
doctrine is founded on Scripture, we receive it with implicit faith, and
maintain it as a sacred deposit, entrusted to our keeping, to be
delivered down whole and entire without our adding {5} thereto what to
us may seem needful, or taking away what we may think superfluous.

The state of the Christian thus employed, in acting for himself in a
work peculiarly his own, is very far removed from the condition of one
who labours in bondage, without any sense of liberty and responsibility,
unconscious of the dignity of a free and accountable agent, and
surrendering himself wholly to the control of a task-master. Equally is
it distant from the conduct of one who indignantly casting off all
regard for authority, and all deference to the opinions of others,
boldly and proudly sets up his own will and pleasure as the only
standard to which he will submit. For the model which we would adopt, as
members of the Church, in our pursuit of Christian truth, we find a
parallel and analogous case in a well-principled and well-disciplined
son, with his way of life before him, exercising a large and liberal
discretion in the choice of his pursuits; not fettered by peremptory
paternal mandates, but ever voluntarily referring to those principles of
moral obligation and of practical wisdom with which his mind has been
imbued; shaping his course with modest diffidence in himself, and
habitual deference to others older and wiser than himself, yet acting
with the firmness and intrepidity of conscious rectitude of principle,
and integrity of purpose; and under a constant sense of his
responsibility, as well for his principles as for his conduct.

Against the cogency of these maxims various objections have been urged
from time to time. We have been told, that the exercise of private
judgment in matters of religion, tends to foster errors of every
diversity of character, and leads to heresy, scepticism, and infidelity:
it is represented as rending the Church of Christ, and totally {6}
subverting Christian unity, and snapping asunder at once the bond of
peace. So also it has been often maintained, that the same cause robs
individual Christians of that freedom from all disquietude and
perplexity and anxious responsibility, that peace of mind, satisfaction,
and content, which those personally enjoy, who surrender themselves
implicitly to a guide, whom they believe to be unerring and infallible.

For a moment let us pause to ascertain the soundness of such objections.
And here anticipating, for argument's sake, the worst result, let us
suppose that the exercise of individual inquiry and judgment (such as
the best teachers in the Anglican Church are wont to inculcate) may lead
in some cases even to professed infidelity; is it right and wise and
justifiable to be driven by an abuse of God's gifts to denounce the
legitimate and faithful employment of them? What human faculty--which
among the most precious of the Almighty's blessings is not liable to
perversion? What unquestionable moral duty can be found, which has not
been transformed by man's waywardness into an instrument of evil? Nay,
what doctrine of our holy faith has not the wickedness or the folly of
unworthy men employed as a cloke for unrighteousness, and a vehicle for
blasphemy? But by a consciousness of this liability in all things human,
must we be tempted to suppress the truth? to disparage those moral
duties? or to discountenance the cultivation of those gifts and
faculties? Rather would not sound philosophy and Christian wisdom
jointly enforce the necessity of improving the gifts zealously, of
discharging the moral obligation to the full, and of maintaining the
doctrine in all its integrity; but guarding withal, to the utmost of our
power and watchfulness, against the abuses to which {7} any of these
things may be exposed? And we may trust in humble but assured
confidence, that as it is the duty of a rational being, alive to his own
responsibility, to inquire and judge for himself in things concerning
the soul, with the most faithful exercise of his abilities and means; so
the wise and merciful Ruler of our destinies will provide us with a sure
way of escaping from all evils incident to the discharge of that duty,
if, in reliance on his blessing, we honestly seek the truth, and
perseveringly adhere to that way in which He will be our guide.

It is a question very generally and very reasonably entertained among
us, whether the implicit submission and unreserved surrender of
ourselves to any human authority in matters of faith, (though whilst it
lasts, it of course affords an effectual check to open scepticism,) does
not ultimately and in very deed prove a far more prolific source of
disguised infidelity. Doubts repressed as they arise, but not solved,
silenced but not satisfied, gradually accumulate in spite of all
external precaution; and at length (like streams pent back by some
temporary barrier) break forth at once to an utter discarding of all
authority, and an irrecoverable rejection of the Christian faith. From
unlimited acquiescence in a guide whom our associations have invested
with infallibility, the step is very short, and frequently taken, to
entire apostasy and the renunciation of all belief.

The state of undisturbed tranquillity and repose in one, who has
divested himself of all responsibility in matters of religious belief
and practice, enjoying an entire immunity from the anxious and painful
labour of trying for himself the purity and soundness of his faith, is
often painted in strong contrast with the {8} lamentable condition of
those who are driven about by every wind of novelty. The condition of
such a man may doubtless be far more enviable than theirs, who have no
settled fixed principles, and who wander from creed to creed, and from
sect to sect, just as their fickle and roving minds suggest some
transitory preference. But the believer must not be driven by the evils
of one extreme to take refuge in the opposite. The whirlpool may be the
more perilous, but the Christian mariner must avoid the rock also, or he
will equally make shipwreck of his faith. He must with all his skill,
and all his might, keep to the middle course, shunning that presumptuous
confidence which scorns all authority, and boldly constitutes itself
sole judge and legislator; but equally rescuing his mind from the
thraldom which prostrates his reason, and paralyzes all the faculties of
his judgment in a matter of indefeasible and awful responsibility.

Here, too, it is questioned, and not without cause, whether the
satisfaction and comfort so often represented in warm and fascinating
colours, be really a spiritual blessing; or whether it be not a
deception and fallacy, frequently ending in lamentable perplexity and
confusion; like guarantees in secular concerns, which as long as they
maintain unsuspected credit afford a most pleasing and happy security to
any one who depends upon them; but which, when adverse fortune puts
their responsibility to the test, may prove utterly worthless, and be
traced only by losses and disappointments. Such a blind reliance on
authority may doubtless be more easy and more free from care, than it is
to gird up the loins of our mind, and engage in toilsome spiritual
labour. But with a view to our own ultimate safety, wisdom bids us look
to our foundations in time, and assure ourselves {9} of them;
admonishing us that if they are unsound, the spiritual edifice reared
upon them, however pleasing to the eye, or abounding in present
enjoyments, will at length fall, and bury our hopes in its ruin.

On these and similar principles, we maintain that it well becomes
Christians, when the soundness of their faith, and the rectitude of
their acts of worship, are called in question, "to prove all things, and
hold fast that which is good." Thus, when the unbeliever charges us with
credulity in receiving as a divine revelation what he scornfully
rejects, it behoves us all (every one to the extent of his means and
opportunities) to possess ourselves of the accumulated evidences of our
holy faith, so that we may be able to give to our own minds, and to
those who ask it of us, a reason for our hope. The result can assuredly
be only the comfort of a still more unshaken conviction. Thus, too, when
the misbeliever charges us with an undue and an unauthorized ascription
of the Divine attributes to our Redeemer and to our Sanctifier, which he
would confine to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, exclusively of the
Eternal Son and the Blessed Spirit, it well becomes every Catholic
Christian to assure himself of the evidence borne by the Scriptures to
the divinity of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, together with the
inseparable doctrines of redemption by the blood of Christ, and
sanctification by the Spirit of grace; appealing also in this
investigation to the tradition of the Church, and the testimony of her
individual members from the earliest times, as under God his surest and
best guides. In both these cases, I can say for myself that I have acted
upon my own principles, and to the very utmost of my faculties have
scrutinized the foundations {10} of my faith, and from each of those
inquiries and researches I have risen with a satisfaction increased far
beyond my first anticipations. What I had taken up in my youth on
authority, I have been long assured of by a moral demonstration, which
nothing can shake; and I cling to it with an affection, which, guarded
by God's good providence, nothing in this world can dissolve or weaken.

It is to engage in a similar investigation that I now most earnestly but
affectionately invite the members of the Church of Rome, in order to
ascertain for themselves the ground of their faith and practice in a
matter of vast moment, and which, with other points, involves the
principle of separation between the Roman and Anglican branches of the
universal Church. Were the subjects of minor importance, or what the
ancient writers were wont to call "things indifferent," reason and
charity would prescribe that we should bear with each other, allowing a
free and large discretion in any body of Christians, and not severing
ourselves from them because we deemed our views preferable to theirs. In
such a case we might well walk in the house of God as friends, without
any interruption of the harmony which should exist between those who
worship the true God with one heart and one mind, ever striving to keep
the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. But when the points at
issue are of so vast moment; when two persons agreeing in the general
principles of belief in the Gospel and its chief characteristic
doctrines, yet find it impossible to join conscientiously in the same
prayer, or the same acts of faith and worship, then the necessity is
imperative on all who would not be parties to the utter breaking up of
Christian unity, nor assist in propagating error, to make sure of their
{11} foundations; and satisfy themselves by an honest inquiry and
upright judgment, that the fault does not rest with them.

Such appear to me both the doctrine and the practice of the INVOCATION
OF SAINTS. I have endeavoured to conjecture in what light this doctrine
and this practice would have presented itself to my mind, after a full
and free inquiry into the nature and history and circumstances of the
case, had I been brought up in communion with the Church of Rome; the
question to be solved being, "Could I continue in her communion?" And
the result of my inquiry is, that I must have either discarded that
doctrine at once and for ever, or have joined with my lips and my knees
in a worship which my reason condemned, and from which my heart shrunk.
I must have either left the communion of Rome, or have continued to
offer prayers to angels, and the spirits of departed mortals. Unless I
had resolved at once to shut my eyes upon my own personal
responsibility, and to surrender myself, mind and reason, soul and body,
to the sovereign and undisputed control of others, never presuming to
inquire into the foundation of what the Church of Rome taught; I must
have sought some purer portion of the Catholic Church, in which her
members addressed the One Supreme Being exclusively, without
contemplating any other in the act of religious invocation. The
distinction invented in comparatively late years, of the three kinds of
worship; one for God, the second for the Virgin Mary, the third for
Angels and Saints;--the distinction, too, between praying to a saint to
give us good things, and praying to that saint to procure them for us at
God's hand, (or, as the distinction {12} is sometimes made, into prayer
direct, absolute, final, sovereign, confined to the Supreme Being on the
one hand; and prayer oblique, relative, transitory, subordinate, offered
to saints on the other,) would have appeared to me the ingenious and
finely-drawn inventions of an advocate, not such a sound process of
Christian simplicity as the mind could rest upon, with an undoubting
persuasion that all was right.

This, however, involves the very point at issue; and I now invite you,
my Christian Brethren, to join with me, step by step, in a review of
those several positions which have left on my mind the indelible
conviction that I could never have passed my life in communion with that
Church whose articles of fellowship maintained the duty of invoking
saints and angels; and whose public offices were inseparably interwoven
with addresses in prayer to other beings, than the Holy and undivided
Trinity, the one only God.

In pursuing this inquiry I have thought the most convenient and
satisfactory division of our work would be--

First, to ascertain what inference an unprejudiced study of the revealed
will of God would lead us to make; both in the times of the elder
covenant, when "holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy
Ghost," and in that "fulness of time" when God spoke to us by his Son.

Secondly, to examine into the belief and practice of the Primitive
Church, beginning with the inspired Apostles of our Lord.

Thirdly, to compare the results of those inquiries with the tenets and
practice of the Church of Rome, with reference to three periods; the
first immediately {13} preceding the Reformation; the second comprising
the Reformation, and the proceedings of the Council of Trent; the third
embracing the belief and practice of the present day.

In this investigation, I purpose to reserve the worship of the Virgin
Mary, called by Roman Catholic writers "Hyperdulia," and for various
reasons the most important and interesting portion of the whole inquiry,
for separate and distinct examination; except only so far as our review
of any of the primitive writers may occasion some incidental departure
from that rule.

May God guide us to his truth! {14}

       *       *       *       *       *



Here, Christian Brethren, bear with me if I briefly, but freely, recall
to our thoughts on this first entrance upon a review of the inspired
volume, the principles, and tone of mind, the temper and feelings, in a
word, the frame both of the understanding and of the heart, with which
we should study the sacred pages, on whatever subject we would try all
things, and hold fast what should prove itself to be most in accordance
with the will of God. Whether we would regard the two great parts into
which the Holy Scriptures are divided, as the Old and the New Covenants;
or whether we would prefer to call them the Old and the New Testaments,
it matters not. Although different ideas and associations are suggested
by those different names, yet, under either view, the same honest and
good heart, the same patience of investigation, the same upright and
unprejudiced judgment, the same exercise of our mental faculties, and
the same enlightened conscience, must be brought to the investigation.
In the one case we must endeavour to ascertain for ourselves the true
intent and {15} meaning of the inspired word of God, on the very same
principles with those on which we would interpret a covenant between
ourselves, and a person who had made it in full and unreserved reliance
on our integrity, and on our high sense of equity, justice, and honour.
In the other case we must bring the selfsame principles and feelings to
bear on our inquiry, as we should apply in the interpretation of the
last will and testament of a kind father, who with implicit confidence
in our uprightness and straightforward dealing and affectionate anxiety
to fulfil his intentions to the very utmost, had assigned to us the
sacred duty of executor or trustee.

Under the former supposition, our sincere solicitude would be to
ascertain the true intent and meaning of the contracting parties, not to
seek out plausible excuses for departing from it; not to cull out and
exaggerate beyond their simple and natural bearing, such expressions in
the deed of agreement, as might seem to justify us in adopting the view
of the contract most agreeable to our present wishes and most favourable
to our own interests. Rather it would be our fixed and hearty
resolution, at whatever cost of time, or labour, or pecuniary sacrifice,
or personal discomfort, to apply to the instrument our unbiassed powers
of upright and honest interpretation.

Or adopting the latter analogy, we should sincerely strive to ascertain
the chief and leading objects of our parent's will; what were his
intentions generally; what ruling principles seemed to pervade his views
in framing the testament; and in all cases of obscurity and doubt, in
every thing approaching an appearance of inconsistency, we should refer
to that paramount principle as our test and guide. We should not for a
moment {16} suffer ourselves to be tempted to seek for ambiguous
expressions, which ingenuity might interpret so as to countenance our
departure from the general drift of our parent's will, in cases where it
was at variance with our own inclination, and where we could have wished
that he had made another disposition of his property, or given to us a
different direction, or trusted us with larger discretion. Moreover, in
any points of difficulty, we should apply for assistance, in solving our
doubts, to such persons as were most likely to have the power of judging
correctly, and whose judgment would be least biassed by partiality and
prejudice;--not to those whose credit was staked on the maintenance of
those principles which best accorded with our own inclination.
Especially if in either case some strong feeling should have been raised
and spread abroad on any point, we should seek the judgment and counsel
of those who had been familiar with the testator's intentions, or with
the views of the covenanting party, before such points had become matter
of discussion.

Now only let us act upon these principles in the interpretation of THAT
COVENANT in which the Almighty has vouchsafed to make Himself one of the
contracting parties, and man, the creature of his hand, is the other:
only let us act on these principles in the interpretation of THAT
TESTAMENT of which the Saviour of the world is the Testator; and with
God's blessing on our labours (a blessing never denied to sincere prayer
and faithful exertions) we need not fear the result. Any other principle
of interpretation will only confirm us in our prejudices, and involve us
more inextricably in error. {17}

       *       *       *       *       *


The first step in our proposed inquiry is to ascertain what evidence on
the doctrine and practice of the Invocation of Saints and Angels can be
fairly drawn from the revealed word of God in the Old Testament.

Now, let us suppose that a person of a cultivated and enlightened mind,
and of a sound and clear judgment, but hitherto a stranger to
revelation, were required to study the ancient Scriptures with the
single view of ascertaining what one object more than any other,
subordinate to the great end of preparing the world for the advent of
Messiah, seemed to be proposed by the wisdom of the Almighty in
imparting to mankind that revelation; could he fix upon any other point
as the one paramount and pervading principle with so much reason, as
upon this, the preservation in the world of a practical belief in the
perfect unity of God, and the fencing of his worship against the
admixture of any other, of whatever character or form; The announcement
that the Creator and Governor of the universe is the sole Giver of every
temporal and spiritual blessing; the one only Being to whom, his
rational creatures on earth should pay any religious service whatever;
the one only Being to whom mortals must seek by prayer and invocation
for the supply of any of their wants? Through the entire volume the
inquirer would find that the unity of God is announced in every variety
of expression; and that the exclusive worship {18} of HIM alone is
insisted upon and guarded with the utmost jealousy by assurances, by
threats, and by promises, as the God who heareth prayer, alone to be
called upon, alone to be invoked, alone to be adored. So to speak, he
would find that recourse was had to every expedient for the express
purpose of protecting God's people from the fatal error of embracing in
their worship any other being or name whatever; not reserving supreme
adoration for the Supreme Being, and admitting a sort of secondary
honour and inferior mode of invocation to his exalted saints and
servants; but banishing at once and for ever the most distant
approximation towards religious honour--the veriest shadow of spiritual
invocation to any other Being than Jehovah HIMSELF ALONE.

In process of time, the heathen began to deify those mortals who had
conferred signal benefits on the human race, or had distinguished
themselves by their power and skill above their fellow-countrymen. Male
and female divinities were multiplying on every side. Together with
Jupiter, the fabled father of gods and men, worshipped under different
names among the various tribes, were associated those "gods many and
lords many," which ignorance and superstition, or policy and craft, had
invented; and which shared some a greater, some a less portion of
popular veneration and religious worship. To the people of God, the
worshippers of Jehovah, it was again and again most solemnly and awfully
denounced, that no such thing should be. "Thou shalt worship the Lord
thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve," is a mandate repeated in every
variety of language, and under every diversity of circumstance. In some
passages, indeed, together with the most clear assurances, {19} that
mankind need apply to no other dispenser of good, and can want no other
as Saviour, advocate, or intercessor, that same truth is announced with
such superabundance of repetition, that in the productions of any human
writer the style would be chargeable with tautology. In the Bible, this
repetition only the more forces upon the mind, and fixes there, that
same principle as an eternal verity never to be questioned; never to be
dispensed with; never to be diluted or qualified; never to be invaded by
any service, worship, prayer, invocation, or adoration of any other
being whatever. Let us take, for example, the forty-fifth chapter of
Isaiah, in which the principle is most strongly and clearly illustrated.
"I am the LORD, and there is none else: there is no God beside me; I
girded thee, though thou hast not known me; that they may know from the
rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none beside me: I am
the Lord, and there is none else. They shall be ashamed, and also
confounded, all of them; they shall go to confusion together, that are
makers of idols. But Israel shall be saved in the Lord with an
everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world
without end: I am the Lord, and there is none else. I said not unto the
seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain. They have no knowledge that set up
the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.
There is no god beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none
beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for
I am God, and there is none else."

But it is needless to multiply these passages; and members of the Church
of Rome will say, that they themselves acknowledge, as fully as members
of the Anglican Church can do, that there is but one supreme {20} God
and Lord, to whom alone they intend to offer the worship due to God; and
that the appeals which they offer by way of invocation to saints and
angels for their services and intercession, do not militate against this
principle. But here let us ask ourselves these few questions:--

First, if it had been intended by the Almighty to forbid any religious
application, such as is now professedly the invocation of saints and
angels, to any other being than Himself alone, what words could have
been employed more stringently prohibitory?

Secondly, had such an address to saints and angels, as the Church of
Rome now confessedly makes, been contemplated by our heavenly Lawgiver
as an exception to the general rule, would not some saving clause, some
expressions indicative of such an intended exception, have been
discovered in some page or other of his revealed will?

Thirdly, if such an appeal to the angels of heaven, or to the spirits of
the just in heaven, had been sanctioned under the elder covenant, would
not some example, some solitary instance, have been recorded of a
faithful servant of Jehovah offering such a prayer with the Divine

Lastly, when such strong and repeated declarations and injunctions
interspersed through the entire volume of the Old Testament,
unequivocally show the will of God to be, that no other object of
religious worship should have place in the heart or on the tongue of his
own true sons and daughters, can it become a faithful child of our
Heavenly Father to be seeking for excuses and palliations, and to invent
distinctions between one kind of worship and another?

God Himself includes all in one universal prohibitory {21} mandate,
"Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." So
far from according with those general rules for the interpretation of
the revealed will of God, which we have already stated, and from which,
in the abstract, probably few would dissent, an anxiety to force the
word of God into at least an acquiescence in the invocation of saints
and angels, indicates a disposition to comply with his injunctions,
wherever they seem to clash with our own view, only so far as we cannot
avoid compliance; and to seek how we may with any show of propriety
evade the spirit of those commands. Instead of that full, free, and
unstinted submission of our own inclinations and propensities to the
Almighty's will wherever we can discover it, which those entertain whom
the Lord seeketh to worship Him; to look for exceptions and to act upon
them, bears upon it the stamp of a reserved and grudging service. After
so many positive warnings, enactments, and denunciations, against
seeking by prayer the aid of any other being whatever, surely a positive
command would have been absolutely necessary to justify a mortal man in
preferring any prayer to any being, saint, angel, or archangel, save
only the Supreme Deity alone. Instead of any such command or even
permission appearing, not one single word occurs, from the first
syllable in the Book of Genesis to the last of the prophet Malachi,
which could even by implication be brought to countenance the practice
of approaching any created being in prayer.

But let us now look to the examples on this subject afforded in the Old
Testament. Many, very many a prayer is recorded of holy men, of inspired
men, of men, to whose holiness and integrity and acceptance {22} the
Holy Spirit bears witness; yet among these prayers there is not found
one invocation addressed to saint or angel. I will not here anticipate
the observations which it will be necessary to make in consequence of
the extraordinary argument which has been devised, to account for the
absence of invocations to saints before the resurrection of Christ,
namely, that before that event the saints were not admitted into heaven.
Although pressed forward with such unhesitating confidence in its
validity, that argument is so singular in its nature, and so important
in its consequences, and withal so utterly groundless, as to call for a
separate examination, on which we will shortly enter: meanwhile, we are
now inquiring into the matter of fact.

The whole Book of Psalms is a manual of devotion, consisting
alternately, or rather intermixedly, of prayers and praises, composed
some by Moses, some by other inspired Israelites of less note, but the
greater part by David himself; and what is the force and tendency of
their example? Words are spoken in collaudation of "Moses and Aaron
among the saints of the Lord," and of "Samuel among such as called upon
his name;" and mention is made with becoming reverence of the holy
angels; but not one word ever falls from the pen of the Psalmist,
addressed, by way of invocation, to saint or angel. In the Roman Ritual
supplication is made to Abel and Abraham as well as to Michael and all
angels. If it is now lawful, if it is now the duty of the worshippers of
the true God to seek his aid through the mediation of those holy men,
can we avoid asking, Why the inspired patriarchs did not appeal to Abel
for his mediation? Why did not the inspired David invoke the father of
the faithful to intercede for him with God? If the departed spirits {23}
of faithful men may be safely addressed in prayer; if those who in their
lifetime have, to their fellow-mortals, (who can judge only from outward
actions, and cannot penetrate the heart,) appeared accepted servants and
honoured saints of our Creator, may now be invoked by an act of
religious supplication either to grant us aid, or to intercede with God
for aid in our behalf, why did not men whom God declared to be partakers
of his Spirit of truth, offer the same supplication to those departed
spirits, who, before and after their decease, had this testimony from
Omniscience itself, that they pleased God? Why is no intimation given in
the later books of the Old Testament that such supplications were
offered to Moses, or Aaron, or Abraham, or Noah? When wrath was gone out
from the presence of the Lord, and the plague was begun among the
people, Aaron took a censer in his hand, and stood between the living
and the dead, and the plague was stayed. If the soul of Aaron was
therefore to be regarded as a spirit influential with God, one whose
intercession could avail, one who ought to be approached in prayer, were
it only for his intercession, could a stronger motive be conceived for
suggesting that invocation, than David must have felt, when the
pestilence was destroying its thousands around him, and all his glory
and strength, and his very life too, were threatened by its resistless
ravages? But no! neither Abel, nor Abraham, nor Moses, nor Aaron, must
be petitioned to intercede with God, and to pray that God would stay his
hand. To God and God alone, for his own mercy's sake, must his afflicted
servant turn in supplication. We find among his prayers no "Holy
Abraham, pray for us,"--"Holy Abel, pray for us." His own Psalm of
thanksgiving describes full well the object and the nature of his {24}
prayer: "When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men
made me afraid, the sorrows of hell compassed me about, the snares of
death prevented me; in my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to
my God; and He did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter
into his ears." [2 Sam. (2 Kings Vulg.) xxii. 5. or Ps. xviii.] Abraham,
when on earth, prayed God to spare the offending-people; but he invoked
neither Noah, nor Abel, nor any of the faithful departed, to join their
intercessions with his own. Isaac prayed to God for his son Jacob, but
he did not ask the mediation of his father Abraham in his behalf; and
when Jacob in his turn supplicated an especial blessing upon his
grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh, though he called with gratitude to his
mind, and expressed with his tongue, the devotedness both of Abraham and
of Isaac to the Almighty, yet we do not find him appealing to them, or
invoking their intercession with Jehovah.

When the conscience-struck Israelites felt that they had exposed
themselves to the wrath of Almighty God, whose sovereign power, put
forth at the prayer of Samuel, they then witnessed, distrusting the
efficacy of their own supplication, and confiding in the intercession of
that man of God, they implored him to intercede for them; and Samuel
emphatically responded to their appeal, with an assurance of his
earnestly undertaking to plead their cause with heaven: "And all the
people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God,
that we die not. And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not.... The Lord
will not forsake his people, for his great name's {25} sake....
Moreover, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to
pray for you." [1 Sam. (1 Kings Vulg.) xii. 19.] Samuel is one whom the
Holy Spirit numbers among those "who called upon God's name;" and when
Samuel died, all Israel gathered together to lament and to bury
him,--but we read of no petition being offered to him to carry on the
same intercessory office, when he was once removed from them. As long as
he was entabernacled in the flesh and sojourned on earth with his
brethren, they besought him to pray for them, to intercede with their
God and his God for blessings at his hand, (just as among ourselves one
Christian asks another to pray for him,) but when Samuel's body had been
buried in peace, and his soul had returned to God who gave it, the Bible
never records any further application to him; we no where read, "Holy
Samuel, pray for us."

Again, what announcement could God Himself make more expressive of his
acceptance of the persons of any, than He actually and repeatedly made
to Moses with regard to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? How could He more
clearly intimate that if the spirits of the faithful departed could
exercise intercessory or mediatorial influence with Him, those three
holy patriarchs would possess such power above all others who had ever
lived on the earth? "I am the God of your fathers; the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob: and Moses hid his face, for he was
afraid to look upon God." "Thus shalt thou say unto the children of
Israel, The God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you. This is my name for ever, and
this is my memorial throughout all generations." [Exod. iii. 6. 15.] Did
Moses in his alarm and dread, when he was afraid {26} to look upon God,
call upon those holy and accepted servants to aid him in his perplexity,
and intercede for him and his people with the awful Eternal Being on
whose majesty he dared not to look? Did he teach his people to invoke
Abraham? That was far from him. When Moses, that saint of the Lord, was
himself called hence and was buried, (though no mortal man was allowed
to know the place of his sepulture,) did the surviving faithful pray to
him for his help and intercession with God? He had wrought so many and
great miracles as never had been before witnessed on earth; whilst in
the tabernacle of the flesh he had talked with God as a man talketh with
his friend; and yet the sacred page records no invocation ever breathed
to his departed spirit. The same is the result of our inquiry

I will specify only one more example--Hezekiah, who "trusted in the Lord
God of Israel, and clave to the Lord, and departed not from following
him, but kept his commandments," when he and his people were in great
peril, addressed his prayer only to God. He offered no invocation to
holy David to intercede with the Almighty for his own Jerusalem; he made
his supplication directly and exclusively to Jehovah; and, yet, the very
answer made to that prayer would surely have seemed to justify Hezekiah
in seeking holy David's mediation, if prayer for the intercession of any
departed mortal could ever have been sanctioned by Heaven: "Thus saith
the Lord, the God of David thy father; I have heard thy prayer, I have
seen thy tears; _I_ will heal thee. I will save this city for mine own
sake, and for my servant David's sake." [2 Kings (Vulg. 4 Kings) xix.
15. and xx. 6.] Of what saint in the calendar was ever such a thing as
this spoken? {27}

I have already intimated my intention of referring, with somewhat more
than a cursory remark, to the position assumed, and the argument built
upon it by writers in communion with Rome, for the purpose of nullifying
or escaping from the evidence borne by the examples of the Old Testament
against the invocation of saints. The writers to whom I refer, with
Bellarmin at their head, openly confess that the pages of the Old
Testament afford no instance of invocation being offered to the spirits
of departed mortals; and the reason which they allege is this, No one
can be invoked who is not admitted to the presence of God in heaven; but
before Christ went down to hell[2] and released the spirits from prison,
no mortal was admitted into heaven; consequently, before the
resurrection of Christ the spirit of no mortal was invoked. The
following are the words of Bellarmin at the close of the preface to his
"Church Triumphant:"--"The spirits of the patriarchs and prophets before
the coming of Christ were for this reason not worshipped and invoked, as
we now worship and invoke the Apostles and martyrs, because they were
yet shut up and detained in prisons below[3]." Again, he says, "Because
before {28} the coming of Christ the saints who died did not enter
heaven and saw not God, nor could ordinarily know the prayers of
suppliants, therefore, it was not customary in the Old Testament to say,
'Holy Abraham, pray for me,' &c.; but the men of that time prayed to God
only, and alleged the merits of the saints who had already departed,
that their own prayers might be aided by them."

    [Footnote 2: The word Hell, signifying, in Saxon, a
    hidden-place, altogether corresponding in its etymology with
    "hades," is now used for the place of torment called by the
    Hebrews "Gehennah;" and we must perhaps regret that the same
    Saxon word is employed to signify also the unseen region of
    departed spirits. This circumstance has been the source of much
    difficulty and confusion.]

    [Footnote 3: "Nam idcirco ante Christi adventum non ita
    colebantur neque invocabantur spiritus patriarcharum atque
    prophetarum, quemadmodum nunc Apostolos et martyres colimus et
    invocamus, quod illi adhuc infernis carceribus clausi
    detinebantur."--Ingolstadii, 1601. vol. ii. p. 833. "The last
    edition, enlarged and corrected by the Author."]

Now let us inquire into this statement thus broadly made, and ascertain
for ourselves whether the point assumed and the argument built upon it
can stand the test of examination. Is this argument such as ought to
satisfy the mind of one, who would humbly but honestly follow the
apostolic rule, "Prove all things: hold fast that which is good?" Is
this such an exposition as that the reason of a cultivated mind, and the
faith of an enlightened Christian, can acquiesce in it? Let it be
examined neither with prejudice in its favour, nor with any undue
suspicion of its soundness, but with candour and impartiality

It is not necessary to dwell at any length on the inconsistencies and
perplexities involved in this assumed abstract theory with regard to the
souls of the faithful who died before the resurrection of Christ, and
which require to be cleared away before its advocates can reasonably
expect to obtain for it any general acceptance among thinking men. I do
not wish to contravene the theory, far less to substitute another in its
stead. On the contrary, I am fully content, in company with some of the
most valuable among Roman Catholic writers, following the example of
Augustin [Aug. De Pecc. Orig. c. 23. tom. vii. p. 338.--Quoted by De
Sacy. 2 Kings (Vulg. 4 Kings) ii.], to leave the subject where Scripture
has left it. To the arguments {29} alleged, I would wish to reply
independently of any opinion, as a matter of Christian belief, with
regard to the place, the condition, and the circumstances of the souls
of the patriarchs and prophets before our blessed Lord's resurrection.
It may, nevertheless, materially facilitate an inquiry into the
soundness of the reasons alleged for the total absence of invocation to
those souls, if we briefly contemplate some of the difficulties which
surround this novel theory. At all events, such a process will incline
us to abstain from bold assumptions on a point upon which the Almighty
has been pleased to throw so little light in his Holy Word, or at least
avoid all severity of condemnation towards those who may differ from our

It is very easy to assert, that all the souls of the faithful departed
were kept in the prison-house of Hades, and to allege in its behalf an
obscure passage of St. Peter, to which many of the most learned and
unprejudiced Christian teachers assign a meaning totally unconnected
with the subject of departed spirits. But surely the case of Enoch's
translation from this life to heaven, making, as it has been beautifully
expressed, but one step from earth to glory, which St. Paul, in his
Epistle to the Hebrews, cites with a most important comment of his own,
requires to be well and patiently weighed. He was taken from the earth
by an immediate act of Providence, that he should not see death; and
before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Surely the case of Elijah too, when we would ascertain the soundness of
this theory, must not be dismissed summarily from our thoughts, of whom
the book of eternal truth declares, that Jehovah took him {30} in a
whirlwind into heaven; his ascent being made visible to mortal eyes, as
was afterwards the ascension of the blessed Saviour Himself. Indeed the
accounts of Elijah's translation, and of our Lord's ascension, whether
in the Septuagint and Greek Testament, the Vulgate, or our own
authorized version, present a similarity of expression very striking and

On this subject we are strongly reminded, first, with what care and
candour and patience the language of Holy Scripture should be weighed,
which so positively declares, that Moses and Elijah, both in glory,
appeared visibly to the Apostles at the transfiguration of our blessed
Saviour, and conversed with Him on the holy mount: "And behold there
talked with Him two men, who were Moses and Elias, who appeared in glory
(in majesty, as the Vulgate renders the word), and spake of his decease
which He should accomplish at Jerusalem;" [Luke ix. 30.]--and, secondly,
how unwise it is to dogmatize on such subjects beyond the plain
declaration of the sacred narrative. Moreover, how very unsatisfactory
is the theory which we are examining as to the state of the souls of the
faithful who died before Christ, even the words of Jerome himself prove,
who, commenting on the transfiguration of the blessed Jesus, is
unhappily led to represent the Almighty as having summoned Elijah to
descend from heaven, and Moses to ascend from Hades, to meet our Lord in
the Mount[4].

    [Footnote 4: "Elia inde descendente quo conscenderat, et Moyse
    ab inferis resurgente."--Hieron. in Matt. xvii. 1. Paris, 1706.
    vol. iv. p. 77.]

Strange and startling as is this sentiment of Jerome, it is, you will
observe, utterly irreconcileable with the theory, that the reason why
the ancient Church did not {31} pray to the saints departed, was because
they were not yet in heaven.

On this point, among Roman Catholic writers themselves, there prevails a
very great diversity of opinion, arising probably from the difficulty
which they have experienced in their endeavours to make all facts and
doctrines square with the present tenets and practices of their
Church[5]. Thus, whilst some maintain that Elijah was translated to the
terrestrial paradise in which Adam had been placed, not enjoying the
immediate divine presence; others cite the passage as justifying the
belief that the saints departed pray for us[6]. But not only are
different authors at variance with each other on very many points here;
the same writer in his zeal is betrayed into great and palpable
inconsistency. Bellarmin, anxious to enlist the account given by our
Lord of the rich man and Lazarus, to countenance the invocation of
saints by the example of the rich man appealing to Abraham, maintains
that section of Holy Writ to be not a parable, but a true history of a
matter of fact which took place between two real individuals; and of his
assertion he adduces this proof, that "the Church worships that Lazarus
as verily a holy man[7];" and yet he denies that any of the holy men
were in heaven before the {32} death of Christ. Either Abraham was in
heaven in the presence of God, or not; if he was in heaven, why did not
his descendants invoke his aid? if he was not in heaven, the whole
argument drawn from the rich man's supplication falls to the ground.

    [Footnote 5: See De Sacy on 4 Kings i. 1. See also Estius, 1629.
    p. 168. Pope Gregory's Exposition; Rome, 1553. p. 99. Stephen's
    Bible in loc. 1557, &c. The Vulgate ed. Antwerp, 1624, cites a
    note, "Thy prayers are stronger than chariots and horsemen."]

    [Footnote 6: Gaspar Sanctius, Antwerp, 1624. p. 1360, considers
    the fable not improbable, that Elijah, living in the terrestrial
    paradise, wrote there the letters to Joram (mentioned 2 Chron.
    xxi. 12), and sent them by angels.]

    [Footnote 7: Colit Lazarum ilium ut vere sanctum
    hominem.--Bellarm. De Ecd. Triumph, p. 864.]

Another very extraordinary inconsistency, arising from the same
solicitude, forces itself upon our notice, when the same author urges a
passage in Leviticus [Levit. xix. 13.] to prove, that the saints are now
admitted at once into the enjoyment of the presence of God in heaven,
without waiting for the day of final judgment. [Bell vol. ii. p. 865.]
"God (such are his words) commanded it to be written, 'The work of the
hireling shall not remain with thee till the morning;' therefore, unless
God would appear inconsistent with Himself, He will not keep back the
reward of his saints to the end of the world." How strange, that in the
same treatise [Ibid. p. 833.] this author should expressly maintain,
that the reward of Abel and Abraham, and the holy prophet and lawgiver
Moses, the very man who was commanded to write that law in Leviticus,
was kept back,--the last for a longer period than a thousand years; the
first well nigh four thousand years.

I mention these particulars merely to point out how very unsatisfactory
and unsound is the attempted solution of the difficulties which surround
on every side the theory of those who maintain, that the reason why we
have no instance of the righteous departed being invoked in the times of
the elder covenant is, that they were not as yet admitted into heaven,
but were kept in prison till the resurrection of Christ. I would also
observe, even at the risk {33} of repetition, that I am here not
maintaining any opinion as to the appointed abiding-place, the
condition, and circumstances, the powers of consciousness, volition or
enjoyment of the departed, before Christ's resurrection; on the
contrary, I am rather urging the consideration of the great and serious
caution requisite before we espouse, as an article of faith, any opinion
which rests on so questionable a foundation, and which involves such
interminable difficulties.

But while we need not dwell longer on this immediate point, yet there
are two considerations which appear to be altogether decisive as to the
evidence borne against the Invocation of Saints by the writers of the
Old Testament. If the spirits of the saints departed were not invoked
before the resurrection of Christ, purely because they were not then
admitted into heaven; the first consideration I would suggest is this:
Why did the faithful and inspired servants of Jehovah not invoke the
angels and archangels who were in heaven? The second is this: Why did
not the inspired Apostles and faithful disciples of our Lord invoke the
spirits of those saints after his resurrection; that is (according to
the theory before us), after those saints had been taken by Christ with
him into his Father's presence? I wish not to anticipate here our
inquiry into the testimony borne by the writers of the New Testament as
to the doctrine and practice of the Roman Church in this particular; and
I will only add, that whatever be the cause of the absence from the Old
Testament of all worship and invocation of Abel and Abraham, whom the
Roman Church now invokes, the alleged reason that it was because they
were not in heaven till after Christ's resurrection, is utterly set
aside by the conduct of the Apostles and disciples of our Lord recorded
in the New {34} Testament, for more than half a century after his return
to his Father's glory.

This, however, seems to be the proper place for entertaining the first
consideration, Why did not the holy men of old, under the elder
covenant, invoke angels and archangels, as the Roman Church now does?
Writers, indeed, who have declared themselves the defenders of that
doctrine and practice, refer us to passages, which they cite, as
affording examples of the worship of angels; and we will not knowingly
allow any one of those sections of Holy Writ to remain unexamined. We
must first endeavour to ascertain the testimony borne by the books of
the Old Testament: and that presents to us such a body of evidence as
greatly increases our surprise at the perseverance with which the
invocation of angels has been maintained by any community of men
acknowledging the inspiration of the sacred volume.

The inspired writers of the Old Testament, and those to whom through
their mouth and pen the Divine word was addressed, were as fully as
ourselves acquainted with the existence of angelic beings. They were
aware of the station of those angels in the court of heaven, of their
power as God's ambassadors, and agents for good. Either their own eyes
had seen the mighty operations of God by the hands of those celestial
messengers; or their ears had heard their fathers tell what HE had done
by their instrumentality in times of old. Why then did not God's chosen
people offer to the angels the same worship and invocation which the
Church of Rome now addresses to them in common with the patriarchs and
prophets of the elder covenant, and with saints and martyrs under the
new? In the condition of the holy angels no one ever suggests that {35}
any change, affecting the argument, has taken place since the time when
man was created and made. And as the angels of heaven were in themselves
the same, equally in the presence of God, and equally able to succour
men through that long space of four thousand years, which intervened
between Adam's creation and the birth of HIM who was Son of Adam and Son
of God, so was man in the same dependent state, needing the guidance and
protection of a power above his own. Nay, surely, if there was in man
any difference affecting the argument, it would all add weight to the
reason against the invocation of angels by Christians. The Israelites of
old had no clear knowledge, as we have, of one great Mediator, who is
ever making intercession for us; and yet they sought not the mediation
and intercession and good offices of those superhuman beings, of whose
existence and power, and employment in works of blessing to man, they
had no doubt[8]. This is a point of great importance to our argument,
and I will refer to a few passages in support of it.

    [Footnote 8: A small section indeed of their countrymen in our
    Saviour's time denied the reality of a future state, and the
    existence of angels and spirits; but the sect was of then recent
    origin, and the overwhelming majority believed as their fathers
    had believed.]

When David, who had, as we know [1 Chron. xxi. 16.], visible
demonstration afforded him of the existence and ministration of the
angels, called upon them to unite with his own soul, and with all the
works of creation through all places of God's dominion, in praising
their merciful, glorious, and powerful Creator, he thus conveys to us
the exalted ideas with which he had been filled of their nature, their
excellence, and their ministration. "The Lord hath prepared his throne
in the heavens, and his {36} kingdom ruleth over all: Bless the Lord, ye
his angels that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening
unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts, ye
ministers of his that do his pleasure." [Ps. ciii. 19-21.] David knew
moreover that one of the offices, in the execution of which the angels
do God's pleasure, is that of succouring and defending us on earth. For
example, in one of the psalms used by the Church of Rome at complin, and
with the rest repeated in the Church of England, and prophetic of the
Redeemer, David, to whom this psalm is probably to be ascribed, declares
of the man who had made the Most High his refuge and strength, "There
shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy
dwelling; for he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in
all thy ways; they shall bear thee up in their hands lest thou dash thy
foot against a stone." [Ps. xci. 10-12.] And again, with exquisitely
beautiful imagery, he represents those same blessed servants of heaven
as an army, as a host of God's spiritual soldiers keeping watch and ward
over the poorest of the children of men, who would take refuge in his
mercy: "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him,
and delivereth them[9]." And yet David, the prophet of the Lord, never
addresses to these beings, high and glorious though they are, one single
invocation: he neither asks them to assist him, nor to pray for him, nor
to pray with him in his behalf.

    [Footnote 9: Ps. xxxiv. 7. (Vulg. xxxiii. 8.) "Immittet angelus
    Domini in circuitu timentium eum, et eripiet eos." In the
    Vulgate the beauty of the figure is lost; which, however, Roman
    Catholic writers restore in their comments. Basil makes a
    beautiful use of the metaphor. See De Sacy in loc.] {37}

Isaiah was admitted by the Holy Spirit to witness in the fulness of its
glory the court and the throne of heaven; and he heard the voices of the
seraphim proclaiming their Maker's praise; he experienced also
personally the effect of their ministration, when one of them said, "Lo,
this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy
sin purged." [Isaiah vi. 7.] Still, though Isaiah must have regarded
this angel as his benefactor under God, yet neither to this seraph, nor
to any of the host of heaven, does he offer one prayer for their good
offices, even by their intercession. He ever ascribes all to God alone;
and never joins any other name with His either in supplication or in
praise. Let us also take the case of Daniel. He acknowledges not only
that the Lord's omnipotent hand had rescued him from the jaws of the
lions, but that the deliverance was brought about by the ministration of
an angel. "My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths,
that they have not hurt me." [Dan. vi. 22.] Yet when we look through
Daniel's prayers, we find no allusion to any of the highest angels. He
had seen Gabriel before his prayer; he had heard the voice and felt the
hand of that heavenly messenger who was commissioned to reveal to him
what should be done in the latter end; and immediately after the
offering of his prayer, the same Gabriel announces himself as one who
was come forth to give the prophet skill and understanding. And yet
neither towards Gabriel, nor any other of the angels of God, does one
word of invocation fall from the lips of Daniel. In the supplications of
that holy, intrepid, and blessed servant and child of God, we search in
vain for any thing approaching in spirit to the invocation, "Sancte
Gabriel, ora pro nobis." {38}

       *       *       *       *       *


We must now briefly refer to those passages, by which Roman Catholic
writers have endeavoured to maintain that religious adoration was paid
to angels by the faithful sons of God. The two principal instances cited
are, first, the case of Abraham bowing down before three men, whom he
recognizes as messengers from heaven; and, secondly, the words of Jacob
when he gave his benediction to his grandsons.

With regard to the first instance, how very far the prostration of
Abraham was in itself from implying an act of religious worship, being
as it was the ordinary mode of paying respect to a fellow mortal, is
evident from the very words of Scripture. The Hebrew word, which we
translate by "bowed himself," and which the Vulgate unhappily renders
"adoravit" ("adored"), is, letter for letter, the same in the case of
Abraham saluting his three heavenly visitors, and in the case of Jacob
saluting his brother Esau. The parallelism of the two passages is very

GEN. xviii. 2.                        GEN. xxxiii. 1 and 3.

And he [Abraham] lift up his          And Jacob lifted up his eyes,
eyes, and lo! three men stood         and looked, and behold! Esau
by him; and when he saw them,         came ... And he passed over, and
he ran to meet them from the          _bowed himself to the ground_ seven
tent door; and _bowed himself_        times until he came near to his
_toward the ground_.                  brother. {39}

By rendering the Hebrew word[10], which means to "bow or bend oneself,"
by the word "adoravit," which is literally "to pray to," the Latin
Vulgate has laid the foundation for much unsound and misleading
criticism. But suppose the word had meant, what it does not mean, an act
of solemn religious worship; and let it be granted (as I am not only
ready to grant, but prepared to maintain) that Abraham paid religious
adoration at that time, what inference can fairly and honestly be drawn
from that circumstance in favour of the invocation of angels? The
ancient writers of the Christian Church, and those whom the Church of
Rome habitually holds in great respect, are full and clear in
maintaining that the person whom Abraham then addressed, was no created
being, neither angel nor seraph; but the Angel of the Covenant; the
Word, the eternal Son of God, Himself God[11]. Before the visible and
miraculous presence of the God of heaven, who for his own glory and in
carrying on the work of man's salvation, sometimes deigned so to reveal
Himself, the patriarchs of old bowed themselves to the earth. Can this,
with any shadow of {40} reason, be employed to sanction the invocation
of Michael and all the myriads of angels who fill the court of heaven?

    [Footnote 10: Not only is the Hebrew word precisely the same,
    letter for letter, and point for point, [Hebrew: shahah], but
    the Septuagint in each case employs the same, [Greek:
    prosekunaesen]; and the Vulgate in each case renders it by the
    same word, "adoravit." The Roman Catholic commentator De Sacy
    renders it in each case, "se prosternavit," which corresponds
    exactly with our English version. The Douay Bible in each case
    renders it "adored."]

    [Footnote 11: Many early Christian writers may be cited to the
    same purpose: it is enough, however, to refer to Justin Martyr
    and to Athanasius; who are very full and elaborate in
    maintaining, that the angel here mentioned was no created being,
    but was the Angel of the Covenant, God, in the fulness of time
    manifested in the flesh. The passage from Athanasius will be
    quoted at some length, when we come to examine that father's
    testimony. For Justin Martyr, see Dial. cum Tryph. ch. 56, &c.
    p. 150, &c. (Paris, 1742.)]

The only other instance to which it will be necessary to call your
attention, occurs in the forty-eighth chapter of Genesis. The passage,
however, is so palpably and on the very face of it inapplicable, that
its examination needs not detain us long. "And he [Jacob] blessed
Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did
walk, the God who fed me all my life long unto this day, the ANGEL which
redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads." [Gen. xlviii. 15.] Here the
patriarch speaks of God as the Angel, and the Angel as God: being the
Angel or Messenger of the Covenant--God manifested to man. He speaks not
of Michael or Gabriel, or archangel or seraph, or any created being; but
of the Lord Himself, who appeared to him, agreeably to the revelation of
God Himself recorded in a previous chapter, and thus communicated by the
patriarch to Rachel and Leah: "And the ANGEL of God spake unto me in a
dream, saying, Jacob; and I said, Here am I. And he said ... _I_ am the
GOD of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and vowedst a vow unto
me." [Gen. xxxi. 11.] The Angel whose blessing he desired for the lads
was the God[12], to whom he had vowed a vow in Bethel, the Lord Himself.

    [Footnote 12: It may not be superfluous to add, that this is the
    interpretation of the passage adopted by primitive writers,
    Among others see Eusebius Demonstr. Evan. lib. v. ch. 10: who
    declares that the Angel spoken of by Jacob was God the Son.]

Independently, however, of this conclusive consideration, if the latter
member of this sentence had merely expressed a wish, that an angel might
be employed as {41} an instrument of good in behalf of Ephraim and
Manasseh, I could readily offer such a prayer for a blessing on my own
children. My prayer would be addressed to the angel neither immediately
nor transitively, but exclusively to God alone, supplicating Him
graciously to employ the service of those ministering spirits for our
good. Such a prayer every Catholic in communion with the Church of
England is taught and directed to offer. Such a prayer is primitive and
scriptural; and such is offered in the Church on the anniversary of
Saint Michael and all angels:

"O Everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of
angels and men in a wonderful order, mercifully grant that as Thy holy
angels alway do Thee service in heaven, so by Thy appointment they may
succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

Such is the prayer of the Church Catholic, whether of the Roman or the
Anglican branch; it is in spirit and in truth a Christian prayer, fit
for faithful mortals to offer on earth to the Lord of men and of angels
in heaven. Would that the Church of Rome, preserving, as she has
preserved, this prayer in all its original purity, had never been
successfully tempted to mingle in the same service, supplications, which
rob the one only God of his exclusive honour and glory, as the God "who
heareth prayer;" and to rob Christ of his exclusive honour and glory, as
our only Mediator and Advocate!

Here, though unwilling, by departing from the order of our argument, to
anticipate our examination in its place of the Roman ritual, I cannot
refrain from contrasting this prayer, the genuine offspring of Christian
faith, with some forms of invocation contained in {42} the Roman service
on St. Michael's day, in which I could not join, and the adoption of
which I deeply lament. The first is appointed to be said at the part of
the Mass called "The Secret:" "We offer to Thee, O Lord, the sacrifice
of praise, humbly beseeching Thee, That by the intervention of the
prayers of the angels for us, Thou, being appeased, mayest both accept
the same, and make them profitable for our salvation. Through ..." The
second is offered at the Post Communion: "Supported [propped up,
suffulti] by the intercession of Thy blessed archangel Michael, we
humbly beseech Thee, O Lord, that what with honour we follow[13], we may
obtain also in mind. Through ..."

    [Footnote 13: I do not understand the exact meaning of these
    words, which however contain no portion of that sentiment, the
    presence of which in this prayer I deplore. The original is
    this: "Beati archangeli tui Michaelis intercessione suffulti,
    supplices te Domine deprecamur, ut quod honore prosequimur,
    contingamus et in mente. Per ..." Probably the general sense is,
    that what we reverently seek we may actually realize.]

Still, though here the Christian seems to be taught to rest on a broken
reed, to support and prop himself up by a staff which must bend and
break; yet I acknowledge that so much violence is not done to my
Christian principles, nor do my feelings, as a believer in God and his
ever-blessed Son, meet with so severe a shock by either of these
prayers, as by the invocation addressed to the archangel himself in the
"Gradual" on that same day:

"O holy Michael, O archangel, defend us in battle, that we perish not in
the dreadful judgment."

Christians of the Church of Rome! for one moment meditate, I beseech
you, on this prayer. It is not addressed to God; in it there is no
mention made of {43} Christ: having called upon the angels, and on your
own soul in the words of the psalmist, to praise the Lord, you address
your supplication to Michael himself; not even invoking him for his
intercession, but imploring of him his protection. If it be said, that
his intercession is all that is meant, with most unfeigned sincerity I
request you to judge for yourselves, whether any prayer from poor sinful
man, putting his whole trust in the Lord and imploring his help, could
be addressed to our God and Saviour more immediate and direct than this?
In the place of the name of his servant Michael, substitute the highest
and the holiest name ever uttered in heaven or on earth, and can words
form a prayer more direct to God? "O Lord God Almighty, O Lord Jesus our
only Saviour, defend us in battle, that we perish not in the dreadful
judgment. Hallelujah!"--Can this be right? Were the archangel allowed
now, by his Lord and ours, to make his voice heard upon earth by
Christians offering to him this prayer, would he utter any other words,
than the angel, his fellow-servant and ours, once addressed to Saint
John, when he fell down to worship before him, "See thou do it not; for
I am thy fellow-servant: worship God."

Such then is the evidence borne by the writers of the Old Testament. No
prayer to angel or beatified spirit occurs from its first to its last
page. The theory which would have us account for the absence of all
prayer to the saints before the advent of Messiah, by reason of their
not having been then admitted into their everlasting habitations, and
the immediate presence of God proves to be utterly groundless. The holy
angels were confessedly in heaven [Matt. xviii. 10.], beholding the face
of {44} God; but no invocation was ever addressed to them, by patriarch,
or prophet, or people, as mediators or intercessors. God, and God alone,
the one eternal Jehovah, is proclaimed by Himself throughout, and is
acknowledged throughout to be the only object of any kind of spiritual
worship; the only Being who heareth prayer, to whom alone therefore all
mankind should approach with the words and with the spirit of
invocation. It has been argued by some writers, that in the times of the
Old Testament, prayer was not offered to God through a mediator at all;
and that as the one Mediator was not then revealed in his person and his
offices, the subsidiary intercessors could not of course act; and
therefore could not be invoked by man. The answer to this remark is
conclusive. That Mediator has been revealed in his person and his
offices; and has been expressly declared to be the one Mediator between
God and man: we therefore seek God's covenanted mercies through Him.
Those subsidiary intercessors have never been revealed; and therefore we
do not seek their aid. To assure us that it was the mind and will of our
Heavenly Father that we should approach Him by secondary and subsidiary
mediators and intercessors, the same clear and unquestionable revelation
of their persons and their offices as mediators would have been
required, as He has vouchsafed of the mediation of his Son. Had God
willed that the faithful should approach Him by the intercessions of the
saints and martyrs, is it conceivable that He would not have given some
intimation of his will in this respect? If believers in the Gospel were
to have unnumbered mediators of intercession in heaven, as well as the
one Mediator of redemption, would not the {45} Gospel itself have
announced it? Could such declarations as these have remained on record
without any qualifying or limiting expression, "He[14] is able also to
save to the uttermost them who come unto God by Him, seeing He ever
liveth to make intercession for them." "There is one God, and one
Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." But this involves
the question to which the next section must be devoted. All I would
anticipate here is, that if the irresistible argument from the Old
Testament is sought to be evaded on the ground that no mediator at all
was then revealed, we must require a distinct revelation of the
existence and offices of other mediators and intercessors, before we can
be justified in applying to them for their intervention in our behalf.
And the question now is. Are they so revealed?

    [Footnote 14: Heb. vii. 25. I Tim. ii. 5.--Unde et salvare in
    perpetuum potest accedentes per semetipsum ad Deum, semper
    vivens ad interpellandum pro nobis.--_Vulg._]

       *       *       *       *       *


Though such is the evidence borne against the invocation of saints and
angels by the Old Testament, yet it has been said that we are living
neither under the patriarchal, nor the Mosaic dispensation, but under
the Gospel, to whom therefore as Christians neither the precepts nor the
examples of those ancient times are applicable: {46} the injunctions
consequently given of old to preserve the chosen people from idolatry
and paganism, cannot be held to prohibit Christians from seeking the aid
of those departed saints who are now reigning with Christ. But, surely,
those precepts, and denunciations, and commands, are still most strictly
applicable, as conveying to us a knowledge of the will of our Heavenly
Father, that his sons and daughters on earth should associate no name,
however exalted among the principalities and powers in heavenly places,
with his own holy name in prayer, and spiritual invocation. I am
throughout this address supposing myself to be speaking to those whose
heart's desire is to fulfil the will of God in all things; not those who
are contented to depart from the spirit of that will, whenever they can
devise plausible arguments to countenance such departure.

The cases both of precept and example through the Old Testament
affording so stringent and so universal a rule against the association
of any name with the name of the Almighty in our prayers; before we can
conclude that Christians have a liberty denied to believers under the
former dispensations, we must surely produce a declaration to that
effect, clear, unequivocal, and precisely in point. Nothing short of an
enactment, rescinding in terms the former prohibitory law, and
positively sanctioning supplications and prayers to saints and angels,
seems capable of satisfying any Christian bent on discovering the will
of God, and resolved to worship Him agreeably to the spirit of that will
as it has been revealed. But let us read the New Testament from its
first to its very last word, and we shall find, that the doctrines, the
precepts, and the examples, the pervading reigning spirit of the entire
{47} volume, combine in addressing us with voices loud and clear. Pray
to God Almighty solely in the name and for the sake of his dear and only
Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and offer no prayer, no supplication, no
intreaty, to any other being or power, saint or angel, though it be only
to ask for their intercession with the great God. But this involves the
whole question, and must be sifted thoroughly. Let us then review the
entire volume with close and minute scrutiny, and ask ourselves, Is
there a single passage, interpreted to the best of our skill, with the
aid of those on whose integrity and learning we can rely, which directly
and unequivocally sanctions any religious invocation of whatever kind to
any being except God alone? And then let us calmly and deliberately
resolve this point: In a matter of so vital importance, of so immense
interest, and of so sacred a character as the worship of the Supreme
Being, who declares Himself to be a jealous God, ought we to suffer any
refinements of casuistry to entice us from the broad, clear light of
revelation? If it were God's good pleasure to make exceptions to his
rule--a rule so repeatedly, and so positively enacted and
enforced--surely the analogy of his gracious dealings with mankind would
have taught us to look for an announcement of the exceptions in terms
equally forcible and explicit. Instead, however, of this, we find no
single act, no single word, nothing which even by implication can be
forced to sanction any prayer or religious invocation, of whatever kind,
to any other being save to God alone.

Let us first look to the language and conduct of our blessed Lord, whose
prayers to his Father are upon record for our instruction and comfort,
and whose precepts and example form the best rule of a Christian's {48}
life. So far from repealing the ancient law, he repeats in his own
person its solemn announcement, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one
Lord." [Mark xii. 29.] While the same heavenly Teacher commands us with
authority, "When thou prayest, pray to thy Father which is in secret,
and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." [Matt.
vi. 6.] No allusion in any word of His do we find to any prayer from a
mortal on this earth to an angel or saint in heaven. And yet occasions
were multiplied on which a reference to the invocation of angels would
have been natural, and apparently called for. He again and again places
beyond all doubt the reality of their good services towards mankind, but
it is as God's servants, and at God's bidding; not in answer to any
supplication or invoking of ours. The parable of the rich man and
Lazarus has been cited [Bellarmin, p. 895.] to bear contrary evidence;
but, in the first place, that parable does not offer a case in point; in
the second place, were it in point, it might be fairly and strongly
urged against the practice of invoking the spirit of any departed
mortal, even the father of the faithful himself. For what are the
circumstances of the parabolic representation? A lost spirit in the
regions of torment prays to Abraham in the regions of the blessed, and
the spirit of the departed patriarch professes himself to have no power
to grant the request of the departed and condemned spirit. [Luke xvi.
19.] The practice indeed of our Roman Catholic brethren would have been
exemplified, had our blessed Lord represented the rich man's five
brethren still on earth as pious men, and as supplicating Abraham in
heaven to pray for themselves, or to mitigate {49} their lost brother's
punishment and his woes. But then it would have afforded Christians
little encouragement to follow their example, when they found Abraham
declaring himself unable to aid them in attaining the object of their
prayer, or in any way to assist them at all. Without one single
exception, we find our blessed Lord's example, precepts, and doctrines
to be decidedly against the practice of invoking saint or angel; whilst
not one solitary act or word of His can be cited to countenance or
palliate it.

Next it follows, that we inquire into the conduct and the writings of
Christ's Apostles and immediate followers, to whom He graciously
promised that the Holy Spirit should guide them into all truth. In the
Acts of the Apostles, various instances of prayer attract our notice,
but not one ejaculation is found there to any other being save God
alone. Neither angel nor saint is invoked. The Apostles prayed for
guidance in the government of Christ's infant Church, but it was, "Thou,
Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men." [Acts i. 24.] They prayed for
their own acceptance, but it was "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." [Acts
vii. 59.] They prayed for each other, as in behalf of St. Peter when in
prison; but we are expressly told, that the prayer which was made
without ceasing by the Church for him was addressed to GOD. [Acts xii.

To deliver St. Peter from his chains, an angel was sent on an especial
mission from heaven; but though St. Peter saw him, and heard his voice,
and followed him, and knew of a surety that the Almighty had employed
the ministration of an angel to liberate him from his bonds, yet we do
not hear thereafter of {50} Peter having himself prayed to an angel to
secure his good offices, and his intercession with God, nor has he once
indirectly intimated to others that such supplications would be of
avail, or were even allowable. He exhorts his fellow-Christians to pray,
"Watch unto prayer," but it is because "The eyes of the LORD are over
the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers." [1 Pet. iv. 7;
iii. 12.] He Himself prays for them, but it is, that the God of all
grace might make them perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle them. He
suggests no invocation of saint or angel to intercede with God for them.
He bids them cast all their care upon GOD, on the assurance that God
Himself careth for them.

Precisely the same result issues from a contemplation of the acts and
exhortation of St. Paul. He too experienced in his own person the
comfort of an angel's ministration, bidding him cast off all fear when
in the extreme of imminent peril. [Acts xxvii. 23, 24.] Many a prayer of
that holy Apostle is upon record; many an earnest exhortation to prayer
was made by him; we find many a declaration relative to his own habits
of prayer. But with him God and God alone is the object of prayer
throughout: by him no saint or angel or archangel is alluded to, as one
whose intercession might be sought by himself or by us. He could speak
in glowing language of patriarchs, prophets, and angels, but unto none
of these would he turn. "Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by
prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made
known unto God." [Phil. iv. 6.] And let any one receive, in the plain
meaning of his words, his prohibitory monition [Col. ii. 18.], and say,
could St. Paul have {51} uttered these words without any qualifying
expression, had he worshipped angels by invocation, even asking them
only to aid him by their prayers. "Let no one beguile you of your reward
in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels; not holding the
Head," which Head he had in the first chapter (v. 18) declared to be the
dear Son of God, "in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the
forgiveness of our sins."

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews could bring before our minds
with most fervent uplifting eloquence Abel and Abraham and David,--that
goodly fellowship of the prophets, that holy army of martyrs; he could
speak as though he were an eye-witness of what he describes, of the
general assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written
in heaven. And, surely, had the thought of seeking the support or
intercession of saint or angel by invocation addressed to them, been
familiar to him; had the thought even occurred to his mind with
approbation, he would not have allowed such an occasion to pass by,
without even alluding to any benefit that might arise from our invoking
such friends of God. So far from that allusion, the utmost which he says
at the close of his eulogy is this, "These all, having obtained a good
report through faith, received not the promise; God having provided some
better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."
[Heb. xi. 39, 40.]

The beloved Apostle who could look forward in full assurance of faith to
the day of Christ's second coming, and knew that "when He shall appear
we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is," has left us this
record of his sentiments concerning prayer: {52} "This is the confidence
that we have in HIM, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he
heareth us; and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know
that we have the petitions that we desired of him." [1 John v. 14, 15.]
St. John alludes to no intercessor, to no advocate, save only that
"Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who is also the
propitiation for our sins." [1 John ii. 1.] St. John never suggests to
us the advocacy or intercession of saint or angel; with him God in
Christ is all in all.

I will only refer to one more example, that of St. James: the instance
is equally to the point, and is strongly illustrative of the truth. This
Apostle is anxious to impress on his fellow-Christians a due sense of
the efficacy of our intercessions: "The effectual fervent prayer of a
righteous man availeth much." [James v. 16.] He instances its power with
God by the case of Elijah, a man so holy, that the Almighty suffered him
not to pass through the regions of death and the grave, but translated
him at once from this life to glory: "Elias was a man subject to like
passions as we are, and he prayed that it might not rain; and it rained
not on the earth by the space of three years and six months; and he
prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her
fruit." [James v. 17, 18.] And yet St. James is very far from suggesting
the lawfulness or efficacy of any invocation to the hallowed spirit of
this man, to whose prayer the elements and natural powers of the sky and
the earth had been made obedient. He exhorts all men to pray, but it
must be to God alone, and directly to God, without applying for the
intervention of any mediators or intercessors from among angels or men.
{53} "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth
liberally to all men, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him; but
let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." [James i. 5, 6.] Like the
writer to the Hebrews, he would have us come ourselves "boldly" and
directly "to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find
grace to help in time of need."

Surely, these Apostles, chosen vessels for conveying the truths of
salvation throughout the world, knew well how the Almighty could best be
approached by his children on earth; and had the invocation of saint or
angel found a place in their creed, they would not have kept so
important a truth from us.

Before leaving this part of our inquiry, I would propose the patient and
unprejudiced weighing of the import of two passages in the New
Testament, often quoted on this subject; one in the Acts of the
Apostles, the other in the Apocalypse.

The holy Apostles Barnabas and Paul, by the performance of a striking
miracle, had excited feelings of religious reverence and devotion among
the people of Lystra, who prepared to offer sacrifice to them as two of
their fabled deities. [Acts xiv. 11-18.] The indignant zeal with which
these two holy men rushed forward to prevent such an act of impiety,
however admirable and affecting, does not constitute the chief point for
which reference is here made to this incident. They were men, still
clothed with the tabernacle of the flesh, and the weakness of human
nature; and the priests and people were ready to offer to them the
wonted victims, the abomination of the heathen. Now, I am fully aware of
the wide difference, in many {54} particulars, between such an act and
the act of a Christian praying to their spirits after their departure
hence, and supplicating them to intercede with the true God in his
behalf: and on this difference Roman Catholic writers have maintained
the total inapplicability of this incident to the present state of
things. But, surely, if any such prayer to departed saints had been
familiar to their minds, instead of repelling the religious address of
the inhabitants of Lystra at once and for ever, they would have altered
the tone of their remonstrance, and not have suppressed the truth when a
good opportunity offered itself for imparting it. And, supposing that it
was part of their commission to announce and explain the invocation of
saints at all, on what occasion could an explanation of the just and
proper invocation of angels and saints departed have been more
appropriate in the Apostles, than when they were denouncing the
unjustifiable offering of sacrifice to themselves while living? But
whether the more appropriate place for such an announcement were at
Lystra, in Corinth, at Athens, or at Rome, it matters not; nor whether
it would have been more advantageously communicated by their oral
teaching, or in their epistles. Doubtless, had the Apostles, by their
example or teaching, sanctioned the invocation of saints and angels, in
the course of fifty years or more after our blessed Saviour's
resurrection, it would infallibly have appeared in some page or other of
the New Testament. Instead of this the whole tenor of the Holy Volume
breathes in perfect accordance with the spirit of the apostolical
remonstrance at Lystra, to the fullest and utmost extent of its meaning,
"We preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities to serve the
living God." {55}

Of the other instance, it well becomes every Catholic Christian to
ponder on the weight and cogency. John, the beloved disciple of our
Lord, when admitted to view with his own eyes and hear with his mortal
ears the things of heaven, rapt in amazement and awe, fell down to
worship before the feet of the angel who showed him these things. [Rev.
xxii. 8, 9.] If the adoration of angels were ever justifiable, surely it
was then; and what a testimony to the end of the world would have been
put upon record, had the adoration of an angel by the blessed John at
such a moment, when he had the mysteries and the glories of heaven
before him, been received and sanctioned. But what is the fact? "Then
saith he to me, See thou do it not. I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy
brethren the prophets, and of them who keep the sayings of this book.
Worship God." I cannot understand the criticism by which the
conclusiveness of this direct renouncement of all religious adoration
and worship is attempted to be set aside. To my mind these words,
uttered without any qualification at such a time, by such a being, to
such a man, are conclusive beyond gainsaying. The interpretation put
upon this transaction, and the words in which it is recorded, and the
inference drawn from them by a series of the best divines, with St.
Athanasius at their head, presents so entirely the plain common-sense
view of the case to our minds, that all the subtilty of casuists, and
all the ingenuity of modern refinements, will never be able to
substitute any other in its stead. "The angel (such are the words of
that ancient defender of the true faith), in the Apocalypse, forbids
John, when desiring to worship him, saying, 'See thou {56} do it not; I
am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them who
keep the sayings of this book. Worship God.' Therefore, to be the object
of worship belongs to God only; and this even the angels themselves
know: though they surpass others in glory, but they are all creatures,
and are not among objects of worship, but among those who worship the
sovereign Lord." [Athan. Orat. 2. Cont. Ar. vol. i. p. 491.] To say that
St. John was too fully illuminated by the Holy Spirit to do, especially
a second time, what was wrong; and thence to infer that what he did was
right, is as untenable as to maintain, that St. Peter could not,
especially thrice, have done wrong in denying our Lord. He did wrong, or
the angel would not have chided and warned him. And to say that the
angel here forbade John personally to worship him, because he was a
fellow-servant and one of the prophets; and thus that the prohibition
only tended to exalt the prophetic character, not to condemn the worship
of angels, is proved to be also a groundless assumption, from the
angel's own words, who reckons himself as a fellow-servant with not St.
John only, but all those also who keep the words of the book of
God,--thus equally forbidding every faithful Christian to worship their
fellow-servants the angels. They are almost the last words in the volume
of inspired truth, and to me, together with those last words, they seem
with "the voice of a great multitude, and of many waters, and of mighty
thunderings," from the very throne itself of the Most High, to proclaim
to every inhabiter of the earth, Fall down before no created being;
adore no created being; pray to, invoke, call upon no created being,
whether saint or angel: worship {57} and adore God only; pray to God
only. Trust to his mercy; seek no other mediator or intercessor than his
own only and blessed Son. "He who testifieth these things saith, Surely,
I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." [Rev. xxii. 20, 21.]

Thus the New Testament, so far from mitigating the stringency of the
former law, so far from countenancing any departure from the obligation
of that code which limits religious worship to God alone, so far from
suggesting to us invocation to sainted men, and to angels as
intercessors with the eternal Giver of all good, reiterates the
injunction, and declares, that invocation in order to be Christian must
be addressed to God alone; and that there is one and only one Mediator
between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of
his Father, a merciful High Priest sympathizing with us in our
infirmities, ever making intercession for us, able to save to the
uttermost those who come unto God through Him.

The present seems to be a convenient place for observing, that however
the distinction is strongly insisted upon, or rather implicitly
acquiesced in by many, which would admit of a worship or service called
dulia (the Greek [Greek: douleia]) to saints and angels, and would limit
the worship or service called latria ([Greek: latreia]) to the supreme
God only, yet that such distinction has no ground whatever to rest upon
beyond the will and the imagination of those who draw it. The two words
are used in the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, and in the
original Greek of the {58} New promiscuously, without any such
distinction whatever. The word which this distinction would limit to the
supreme worship of the Most High, is used to express the bodily service
paid by the vanquished to their conquerors, as well as the religious
service paid by idolaters to their fabled deities, and by the true
worshippers to the Most High. The word which this distinction would
reserve for the secondary worship paid to saints and angels, is employed
to express not only the service paid by man to man, but also the service
and worship paid to God alone, even when mentioned in contradistinction
to other worship. It will be necessary to establish this by one or two
instances; and first as to "latria." One single chapter in the Book of
Deuteronomy supplies us with instances of the word used in the three
senses, of service to men, service to idols, and service to God, xxviii.
36. 47, 48: "Because thou servedst [Greek: elatreusas] not the Lord thy
God with joyfulness and gladness of heart; Therefore thou shalt serve
[Greek: latreuseis] thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee
in hunger and in thirst and nakedness." "The Lord shall bring thee unto
a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt
thou serve [Greek: latreuseis] other gods, wood and stone." Next as to
the word "dulia." The First Book of Samuel (called also the First of
Kings) alone supplies us with instances of this word being used in each
of the same three senses of service from man to man, from man to idols,
and from man to his Maker and God. 1 Sam. xvii. 9. "Ye shall be our
servants and serve [Greek: douleusite haemin] us." xii. 24. "Only fear
the Lord, and serve [Greek: douleusate] him in truth with all your
heart." xxvi. 19. {59} "They have driven me out from the inheritance of
the Lord, saying, Go, serve[15] other gods."

    [Footnote 15: [Greek: douleue]. In this case also the Vulgate
    translates all the three passages alike by the same verb,

It is worthy of remark, that the same word "dulia[16]" is employed, when
the Lord by his prophet speaks of the most solemn acts of religious
worship; not in general obedience only, but in the offerings and
oblations of their holy things. Ezek. xx. 40. "In mine holy mountain, in
the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord God, there shall
all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me [Greek:
douleusousi. Vulg: serviet.]; there will I accept them, and there will I
require your offerings, and the first-fruits of your oblations, with all
your holy things." St. Matthew also uses the same word when he records
the saying of our blessed Lord, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." [Matt.
vi. 24.; Greek: douleuein. Vulg: servire.]

    [Footnote 16: It is also remarkable that in all these cases,
    whether the Septuagint employs the word "dulia," or "latria,"
    the word in the Hebrew is precisely the same, [Hebrew: avad].
    That in the fifth century the words were synonymous is evident
    from Theodoret. I. 319. See Edit. Halle.--Index.]

I will only detain you by one more example, drawn from two passages,
which seems the more striking because each of the two words "dulia" and
"latria" is used to imply the true worship of God in a person, who was
changed from a state of alienation to a state of holiness. The first is
in St. Paul's 1st Epistle to the Thessalonians, i. 9. "How ye turned to
God from idols, to serve [Greek: douleuein theo zonti] the living and
true God." The second is in Heb. ix. 14. "How much more shall the blood
of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself {60} without
spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve[17] the
living God."

    [Footnote 17: [Greek: latoeuein theo zonti.] In each of these
    two cases the Vulgate uses "servire."]

The word "hyperdulia," now used to signify the worship proper to the
Virgin Mary, as being a worship of a more exalted character than the
worship offered to saints and angels, archangels, and cherubim and
seraphim, will not require a similar examination. The word was invented
in later times, and has been used chiefly to signify the worship of the
Virgin, and is of course found neither in the Scriptures, nor in any
ancient classical or ecclesiastical author. {61}

       *       *       *       *       *



Before we enter upon the next branch of our proposed inquiry, allow me
to premise that I am induced to examine into the evidence of Christian
antiquity not by any misgiving, lest the testimony of Scripture might
appear defective or doubtful; far less by any unworthy notion that God's
word needs the additional support of the suffrages of man[18]. On the
contrary, the voice of God in his revealed word is clear, certain, and
indisputable, commanding the invocation of Himself alone in acts of
religious worship, and condemning any such departure from that
singleness of adoration, as they are {62} seduced into, who invoke
saints and angels. And it is a fixed principle in our creed, that where
God's written word is clear and certain, human evidence cannot be
weighed against it in the balance of the sanctuary. When the Lord hath
spoken, well does it become the whole earth to be silent before him;
when the eternal Judge Himself hath decided, the witness of man bears on
its very face the stamp of incompetency and presumption.

    [Footnote 18: While some authors seem to go far towards the
    substitution of the fathers for the written word of God, others
    in their abhorrence of that excess have run into the opposite,
    fancying, as it would seem, that they exalt the Divine oracles
    just in the same proportion as they disparage the uninspired
    writers of the Church. The great body of the Church of England
    adhere to a middle course, and adopt that golden mean, which
    ascribes to the written Word its paramount authority, from which
    is no appeal, and yet honours Catholic tradition as the handmaid
    of the truth.]

For myself I can say (what I have good hope these pages will of
themselves evince) that no one can value the testimony of Christian
tradition within its own legitimate sphere more sincerely, or more
highly, than the individual who is now soliciting your attention to the
conclusions which he has himself drawn from it. When Scripture is
silent, or where its meaning is doubtful, Catholic tradition is to me a
guide, which I feel myself bound to follow with watchful care and
submissive reverence.

Now let it be for the present supposed, that instead of the oracles of
God having spoken, as we believe them to have spoken, with a voice
clear, strong, and uniform against the doctrine and practice of the
invocation of saints and angels, their voices had been weak, doubtful,
and vague; in other words, suppose in this case the question had been
left by the Holy Scriptures an open question, then what evidence would
have been deducible from the writings of the primitive Church? What
testimony do the first years and the first ages after the canon of
Scripture was closed, bear upon this point? And here I would repeat the
principle of inquiry, proposed above for our adoption in the more
important and solemn examination of the Holy Volume itself.--We ought to
endeavour to ascertain what may {63} fairly and honestly be regarded as
the real bearing of each author's remains, and not suffer the general
tone and spirit of a writer to be counterbalanced by single expressions,
which may be so interpreted as to convey an opposite meaning. Rather we
should endeavour to reconcile with that general spirit and pervading
tendency of a writer's sentiments any casual expressions which may admit
of two acceptations. We adopt this principle in our researches into the
remains of classical antiquity; we adopt the same principle in
estimating the testimony of a living witness. In the latter case,
indeed, the ingenuity of the adverse advocate is often exercised in
magnifying the discrepancies between some minor facts or incidental
expressions with the broad and leading assertions of the witness, with a
view to invalidate his testimony altogether, or at least to weaken the
impression made by it. But then a wise and upright judge, assured of the
truth of the evidence in the main, and of the integrity of the
individual, will not suffer unessential, apparent inconsistencies to
stifle and bury the body of testimony at large, but will either extract
from the witness what may account for them, or show them to be
immaterial. Inviting, therefore, your best thoughts to this branch of
our subject, I ask you to ascertain, by a full and candid process of
induction, this important and interesting point,--Whether we of the
Anglican Church, by religiously abstaining from the presentation, in
word or in thought, of any thing approaching prayer or supplication,
entreaty, request, or any invocation whatever, to any other being except
God alone, do or do not tread in the steps of the first Christians, and
adhere to the very pattern which they set; and whether members of the
Church of Rome by addressing angel or saint in any form of invocation
seeking {64} their aid, either by their intercession or otherwise, have
not unhappily swerved decidedly and far from those same footsteps, and
departed widely from that pattern?

In one point of view it might perhaps be preferable to enter at once
upon our investigation, without previously stating the conclusions to
which my own inquiries have led; but, on the whole, I think it more fair
to make that statement, in order, that having the inferences already
drawn placed before the mind, the inquirer may in each case weigh the
several items of evidence bearing upon them separately, and more justly
estimate its whole weight collectively at the last.

After then having examined the passages collected by the most celebrated
Roman Catholic writers, and after having searched the undisputed
original works of the primitive writers of the Greek and Latin Churches,
the conclusion to which I came, and in which every day of further
inquiry and deliberation confirms me more and more in this:--

In the first place, negatively, that the Christian writers, through the
first three centuries and more, never refer to the invocation of saints
and angels as a practice with which they were familiar: that they have
not recorded or alluded to any forms of invocation of the kind used by
themselves or by the Church in their days; and that no services of the
earliest times contain hymns, litanies, or collects to angels, or to the
spirits of the faithful departed.

In the second place, positively, that the principles which they
habitually maintain and advocate are irreconcileable with such a

In tracing the history of the worship of saints and angels, we proceed
(gradually, indeed, though by no {65} means at all periods, and through
every stage, with equal rapidity,) from the earliest custom established
and practised in the Church,--of addressing prayers to Almighty God
alone for the sake of the merits of his blessed Son, the only Mediator
and Intercessor between God and man,--to the lamentable innovation both
of praying to God for the sake of the merits, and through the mediation
of departed mortals, and of invoking those mortals themselves as the
actual dispensers of the spiritual blessings which the suppliant seeks
from above. It is not only a necessary part of our inquiry for
ascertaining the very truth of the case; it is also curious and
painfully interesting, to trace the several steps, one after another,
beginning with the doctrine maintained by various early writers, both
Greek and Latin, that the souls of the saints are not yet reigning with
Christ in heaven, and ending with the anathema of the Council of Trent,
against all who should maintain that doctrine; beginning with prayer and
thanksgiving to Almighty God alone, and ending with daily prayers both
to saints and angels; one deviation from the strict line of religious
duty, and the pure singleness of Christian worship, successively gliding
into another, till at length the whole of Christendom, with a few
remarkable exceptions, was seen to acquiesce in public and private
devotions, which, if proposed, the whole of Christendom would once with
unanimity have rejected.

Before I offer to you the result of my inquiries as to the progressive
stages of degeneracy and innovation in the worship of Almighty God, I
would premise two considerations:

First, I would observe, that the soundness of my conclusion on the
general points at issue does not depend at all on the accuracy of the
arrangement of those stages {66} which I have adopted. Should any one,
for example, think there is evidence that two or more of those
progressive steps, which I have regarded as consecutive, were
simultaneous changes, or that any one which I have ranked as subsequent
took rather the lead in order of time, such an opinion would not tend in
the least to invalidate my argument; the substantial and essential point
at issue being this: Is the invocation of saints and angels, as now
practised in the Church of Rome, agreeable to the primitive usage of the
earliest Christians?

Secondly, I would observe, that the places and occasions most favourable
for witnessing and correctly estimating the changes and gradual
innovations in the worship of those early times, are the tombs of the
martyrs, and the Churches in which their remains were deposited; and at
the periods of the annual celebration of their martyrdom, or in some
instances at what was called their translation,--the removal, that is,
of their mortal remains from their former resting-place to a church, for
the most part dedicated to their memory. On these occasions the most
extraordinary enthusiasm prevailed; sometimes the ardour of the
worshippers, as St. Chrysostom [St. Chrys. Paris, 1718. Vol. xii. p.
330.] tells us, approaching madness. But even at times of less
excitement, by contemplating, immediately after his death, the acts and
sufferings of the martyr, and recalling his words, and looks, and
stedfast bearing, and exhorting each other to picture to themselves his
holy countenance then fixed on them, his tongue addressing them, his
sufferings before their eyes, encouraging all to follow his example,
they began habitually to consider him as actually himself one of the
faithful assembled round {67} his tomb. Hence they believed that he was
praying with them as well as for them; that he heard their eulogy on his
merits, and was pleased with the honours paid to his memory: hence they
felt sure of his goodwill towards them, and his ability, as when on
earth, to promote their welfare. Hence they proceeded, by a fatal step,
first, to implore him to give them bodily relief from some present
sufferings; then invoking him to plead their cause with God, and to
intercede for the supply of their spiritual wants, and the ultimate
salvation of their souls; and, lastly, they prayed to him generally as
himself the dispenser of temporal and spiritual blessings.

The following then is the order in which the innovations in Christian
worship seem to have taken place, being chiefly introduced at the annual
celebrations of the martyrs:--

1st. In the first ages confession and prayer and praise were offered to
the Supreme Being alone, and that for the sake of his Son our only
Saviour and Advocate: when mention was made of saint or martyr, it was
to thank God for the graces bestowed on his departed holy ones when on
earth, and to pray to God for grace that we might follow their good
examples, and attain, through Christ, to the same end and crown of our
earthly struggles. This act of worship was usually accompanied by a
homily setting forth the Christian excellences of the saint, and
encouraging the survivors so to follow him, as he followed Christ.

2nd. The second stage seems to have been a prayer to Almighty God, that
He would suffer the supplications and intercessions[19] of angels and
saints to prevail {68} with him, and bring down a blessing on their
fellow-petitioners on earth; the idea having spread among enthusiastic
worshippers, as I have already observed, that the spirits of the saints
were suffered to be present around their tombs, and to join with the
faithful in their addresses to the throne of grace.

    [Footnote 19: The Greek word [Greek: presbeia], "embassy,"
    employed on such occasions, is still used in some eastern
    Churches in the same sense.]

3rd. The third stage seems to have owed its origin to orators constantly
dwelling upon the excellences of the saints in the panegyrics delivered
over their remains, representing their constancy and Christian virtues
as superhuman and divine, and as having conferred lasting benefits on
the Church. By these benefits at first was meant the comfort and
encouragement of their good example, and the honour procured to the
religion of the cross by their bearing witness to its truth even unto
death; but in process of time the habit grew of attaching a sort of
mysterious efficacy to their merits; hence this third gradation in
religious worship, namely, prayers to God that "He would hear his
suppliants, and grant their requests for the sake of his martyred
servant, and by the efficacy of that martyr's merits."

4th. Hitherto, unauthorized and objectionable as the two last forms of
prayer are, still the petitions in each case were directed to God alone.
The next step swerved lamentably from that principle of worship, and the
petitioners addressed their requests to angels and sainted men in
heaven; at first, however, confining their petitions to the asking for
their prayers and intercessions with Almighty God.

5th. The last stage in this progressive degeneracy of Christian worship
was to petition the saints and angels, directly and immediately
themselves, at first for the temporal, and afterwards for the spiritual
benefits which the petitioners desired to obtain from heaven. For it
{69} is very curious, but not more curious than evident, that the
worshippers seem for some time to have petitioned their saints for
temporal and bodily benefits, before they proceeded to ask for spiritual
blessings at their hands, or by their prayers. (See Basil. Oral. in
Mamanta Martyrem.)

Of these several gradations and stages we find traces in the records of
Christian antiquity, after superstition and corruption had spread
through Christian worship, and leavened the whole. Of all of them we
have lamentable instances in the present ritual of the Church of Rome,
as we shall see somewhat at large when we reach that division of our
inquiry. But from the beginning it was not so. In the earliest ages we
find only the first of these forms of worship exemplified, and it is the
only form now retained in the Anglican Ritual; of which, among other
examples, the following passage in the prayer for Christ's Church
militant on earth supplies a beautiful specimen: "We bless Thy holy name
for all Thy servants departed this life in Thy faith and fear;
beseeching Thee to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that
with them we may be partakers of Thy heavenly kingdom: Grant this, O
Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen."

We now proceed to examine the invaluable remains of Christian antiquity,
not for the purpose of testing the accuracy of the above catalogue of
gradations _seriatim_ and in order of time; but to satisfy ourselves on
the question, whether the invocation of saints and angels prevailed from
the first in the Christian Church; or whether it was an innovation
introduced after pagan superstition had begun to mingle its poisonous
corruptions with the pure worship of {70} Almighty God. And here, I
conceive, few persons will be disposed to doubt, that if the primitive
believers were taught by the Apostles to address the saints reigning in
heaven and the holy angels, and the Virgin Mother of our Lord, with
adoration and prayers, the earliest Christian records must have
contained clear and indisputable references to the fact, and that
undesigned allusions to the custom would inevitably be found offering
themselves to our notice here and there. I do not mean that we should
expect to meet with full and explicit statements either of the doctrine
or the practice of the primitive Church in this particular; much less
such apologies and elaborate defences of the practice as abound to the
overflow in later times. But, what is more satisfactory in proof of the
general and established prevalence of any opinions or customs, we should
surely find expressions incidentally occurring, which implied an
habitual familiarity with such opinions or customs. In every record, for
example, of primitive antiquity, from the very earliest of all,
expressions are constantly meeting us which involve the doctrine of the
ever-blessed Trinity, the atoning sacrifice of Christ's death, the
influences of the Holy Spirit; habitual prayer and praise offered to the
Saviour of the world, as very and eternal God; the holy Sacraments of
Baptism and the Lord's Supper; with other tenets and practices of the
Apostolic Church. It is impossible to study the remains of Christian
antiquity without being assured beyond the reach of doubt, that such
were the doctrines and practice of the universal Church from the days of
the Apostles. Is the invocation of saints and angels and the blessed
Virgin to be made an exception to this rule? Can it stand this test? The
great anxiety and labour of Roman Catholic {71} writers to press the
authors of every age to bear witness on their side in this behalf,
proves that in their judgment no such exception is admissible. It is
clearly beyond gainsaying, that if the present doctrine of the Church of
Rome, with respect to the worship of angels and saints, as propounded by
the Council of Trent; and if her present practice as set forth in her
authorized liturgies and devotional services, and professed by her
popes, bishops, clergy, and people, had been the doctrine and practice
of the primitive Church, we should have found evident and indisputable
traces of it in the earliest works of primitive antiquity, in the
earliest liturgies, and in the forms of prayer and exhortations to
prayer with which those works abound. It by no means follows that if
some such allusions were partially discoverable, therefore the doctrines
and practice must forthwith be pronounced to be apostolical; but if no
such traces can be found, their absence bears witness that neither did
those doctrines nor that practice exist. If, for example, through the
remains of the first three centuries we could have discovered no trace
of the doctrine or practice of holy Baptism and the Eucharist, we must
have concluded that the doctrine and the practice were the offspring of
later years. But when we read every where, in those remains,
exhortations to approach those holy mysteries with a pure heart and
faith unfeigned; when we find rules prescribed for the more orderly
administration of the rites; in a word, when we perceive throughout as
familiar references to these ordinances as could be now made by
Catholics either of Rome or of England, while this would not of itself
necessarily prove their divine origin, we should with equal plausibility
question the existence of Jerusalem or Constantinople, or of David or
Constantine, as we {72} should doubt the prevalence both of the doctrine
and practice of the Church in these particulars, even from the Apostles'

With these principles present to our minds, I now invite you to
accompany me in a review of the testimonies of primitive Christian
antiquity with regard to supplications and invocations of saints and
angels, and of the blessed Virgin Mary.

       *       *       *       *       *


It will be necessary for the satisfaction of all parties, that we
examine, in the first place, those ancient writings which are ascribed
to an Apostle, or to fellow-labourers of the Apostles; familiarly known
as the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. They are five in number,
Barnabas, Clement, Hermas, Ignatius, and Polycarp. Many able writers, as
well of the Roman as of the Anglican communion, have discussed at large
the genuineness of these writings; and have come to very different
results. Some critics are of opposite and extreme opinions, others
ranging between them with every degree and shade of variation. Some of
these works have been considered spurious; others have been pronounced
genuine; though, even these have been thought to be, in many parts,
interpolated. The question, however, of their genuineness, though deeply
interesting in itself, will not affect their testimony with {73} regard
to the subject before us[20]. They were all in existence before the
Council of Nicæa; and we shall probably not be wrong in assigning to the
first two a date at the very lowest computation not less remote than the
middle of the second century; somewhere, it may be, at the furthest,
about one hundred years after the death of our Lord. (A.D. 130-150.)
With all their errors and blemishes and interpolations taken at the
worst, after every reasonable deduction for defects in matter, taste,
and style, the writings which are ascribed to the Apostolic Fathers are
too venerable for their antiquity, too often quoted with reverence and
affection by some who have been the brightest ornaments of the Christian
Church, and possess too copious a store of genuine evangelical truth,
sound principle, primitive simplicity, and pious sentiment, to be passed
over with neglect by any Catholic Christian. The few extracts {74} made
here will, I am assured, be not unacceptable to any one, who holds dear
the religion of Christ[21].

    [Footnote 20: I do not think it suitable in this address to
    enter upon the difficult field of inquiry, whether all or which
    of these works were the genuine productions of those whose names
    they bear; and whether the Barnabas, Clement, and Hermas to
    which three of them are ascribed, were the Barnabas, Clement,
    and Hermas of whom express mention is made in the pages of Holy
    Scripture. I have determined, in conducting my argument, to
    affix to them in each case the lowest proposed antiquity. The
    edition of Archbishop Wake, (who maintains the highest antiquity
    for these works, though I have not here adopted his
    translation,) may be consulted with much profit.

    Did the question before us relate to the genuineness and dates
    of these works, they could not, with any approach to fairness,
    be all five placed without distinction under the same category.
    The evidence for the genuineness of Clement, Ignatius in the
    shorter copy, and Polycarp, is too valuable to be confounded
    with that of the others, which are indisputably subject to much
    greater doubt. But this question has only an incidental bearing
    on our present inquiry, and will be well spared.]

    [Footnote 21: The edition of the works of these Apostolic
    Fathers used here is that of Cotelerius as revised by Le Clerc,
    Antwerp, 1698.]

       *       *       *       *       *


In the work entitled The Catholic Epistle of Barnabas, which was written
probably by a Jew converted to the Christian faith, about the close of
the first century, or certainly before the middle of the second[22], I
have searched in vain for any thing like the faintest trace of the
invocation of saint or angel. The writer gives directions on the subject
of prayer; he speaks of angels as the ministers of God; he speaks of the
reward of the righteous at the day of judgment; but he suggests not the
shadow of a supposition, that he either held the doctrine himself which
the Church of Rome now holds, or was aware of its existence among
Christians. In his very beautiful but incomplete summary of Christian
duty [Sect. 18, 19. p. 50, 51, 52.], which he calls "The Way of Light,"
we perceive more than one most natural opening for reference to that
doctrine, had it been familiar to his mind. In the midst indeed of his
brief precepts of religious and moral obligation, he directs the
Christian to seek out every day "the persons of the saints," but they
are our fellow-believers on earth; those saints or holy ones, for
administering to whose necessities, the Scripture assures us that God
will not forget our work and labour of love [Heb. vi. 10.]: these the
author bids the Christians {75} search out daily, for the purposes of
religious intercourse, and of encouragement by the word.

    [Footnote 22: Archbishop Wake considers this Epistle to have
    been written by St. Barnabas to the Jews, soon after the
    destruction of Jerusalem.]

The following interesting extracts shall conclude our reference to this

"There are two ways of doctrine and authority, one of light, the other
of darkness; and the difference between the two ways is great. Over the
one are appointed angels of God, conductors of the light; over the
other, angels of Satan: and the one (God) is Lord from everlasting to
everlasting; the other (Satan) is ruler of the age of iniquity. The way
of light is this ... Thou shalt love Him that made thee; thou shalt
glorify Him that redeemed thee from death. Thou shalt be single in
heart, and rich in spirit. Thou shalt not join thyself to those who are
walking in the path of death. Thou shalt hate to do what is displeasing
to God; thou shalt hate all hypocrisy. Thou shalt entertain no evil
counsel against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not take away thy hand from
thy son or thy daughter, but shalt teach them the fear of the Lord from
their youth. Thou shalt communicate with thy neighbour in all things,
and call not things thine own. Thou shalt not be of a froward tongue,
for the mouth is the snare of death. To the very utmost of thy power
keep thy soul chaste. Do not open thine hand to receive, and close it
against giving. Thou shalt love as the apple of thine eye every one who
speaketh to thee the word of the Lord. Call to remembrance the day of
judgment, night and day. Thou shalt search out every day the persons of
the saints [23]; both meditating by the word, {76} and proceeding to
exhort them, and anxiously caring to save a soul by the word. Thou shalt
preserve what thou hast received, neither adding thereto, nor taking
therefrom. Thou shalt not come with a bad conscience to thy prayer."

    [Footnote 23: There is much obscurity in the phraseology of this
    passage: [Greek: ekzaetaeseis kath hekastaen haemeran ta prosopa
    ton hagion kai dia logou skopion kai poreuomenos eis to
    parakalesai, kai meleton eis sosai psuchaen to logo]. In the
    corresponding exhortation among the Apostolical Constitutions
    (book vii. ch. 9), the expression is, "Thou shalt seek the
    person ([Greek: prosopon]) of the saints, that thou mayest find
    rest (or find refreshment, or refresh thyself) ([Greek: in
    epanapanae tois logois auton]) in their words." The author seems
    evidently to allude to the reciprocal advantage derived by
    Christians from religious intercourse.]

The closing sentences contain this blessing: "Now God, who is the Lord
of all the world, give to you wisdom, skill, understanding, knowledge of
his judgments, with patience. And be ye taught of God; seeking what the
Lord requires of you, and do it, that ye may be saved in the day of
judgment.... The Lord of glory and of all grace be with your spirit.

       *       *       *       *       *


This work, which derives its title from the circumstance of an angelic
teacher being represented as a shepherd, is now considered by many to
have been the production of Hermas, a brother of Pius, Bishop of
Rome[24] though others are persuaded that the work is of a much earlier
date[25]. The author speaks of guardian angels and of evil angels, and
he speaks much of prayer; but not the faintest hint shows itself
throughout the three books, of which the work consists, that he had {77}
any idea of prayer being addressed to any created being, whether saint
or angel. On the evidence of this writer I will not detain you much
longer than by the translation of a passage as it is found in the Greek
quotation from Hermas, made by Antiochus (Homil. 85), on a point the
most nearly, of all that I can find, connected with the immediate
subject of our inquiry. The Latin is found in the second book, ninth
mandate. It contains sound spiritual advice, of universal application.

    [Footnote 24: Ecclesiastical writers refer the appointment of
    Pius, as Bishop of Rome, to the year 153.]

    [Footnote 25: Archbishop Wake thinks it not improbable that this
    book was written by the same Hermas, of whom mention is made by
    St. Paul.]

"Let us then remove from us double-heartedness and faint-heartedness,
and never at all doubt of supplicating any thing from God; saying within
ourselves, 'How can I, who have been guilty of so many sins against Him,
ask of the Lord and receive?' But with thine whole heart turn to the
Lord, and ask of Him without doubting; and thou shalt know his great
mercy, that He will not forsake thee, but will fulfil the desire of thy
soul. For God is not as men are, a rememberer of evil, but is Himself
one who remembers not evil, and is moved with compassion towards his
creature. Do thou, therefore, cleanse thy heart of doubt, and ask of
Him, and thou shalt receive thy request. But when thou doubtest, thou
shalt not receive. For they who doubt towards God are the
double-hearted, and shall receive nothing whatever of their desires. For
those who are whole in the faith, ask every thing, trusting in the Lord,
and they receive because they ask nothing doubting. [See St. James i.
6.] And if thou shouldest be tardy in receiving, do not doubt in thy
mind because thou dost not receive soon the request of thy soul. For the
cause of the tardiness of thy receiving is some trial, or some
transgression which thou knowest not of. Do thou then {78} not cease to
offer the request of thy soul, and thou shalt receive it. But if thou
grow faint in asking, accuse thyself, and not the Giver. For
double-heartedness is a daughter of the devil, and works much mischief
towards the servants of God. Do thou, therefore, take to thyself the
faith that is strong."

In the twelfth section of the ninth Similitude, in the third book, in
the midst of much to the same import, and of much, too, which is strange
and altogether unworthy of the pen from which the previous quotation
proceeded, he thus writes, as the Latin records his words, the Greek of
this passage having been lost.

"These all are messengers to be reverenced for their dignity. By these,
therefore, as it were by a wall, the Lord is girded round. But the gate
is the Son of God, who is the only way to God. For no one shall enter in
to God except by his Son." [Book iii. Simil. 2.]

On the subject of prayer, I cannot refrain from referring you to a
beautiful similitude, illustrative of the powerful and beneficial
effects of the intercession of Christians for each other. The author
compares a rich man, abounding in deeds of charity, to a vine full of
fruit supported by an elm. The elm seems not to bear fruit at all; but
by supporting the vine, which, without that support, would bear no fruit
to perfection, it may be said to bear fruit itself. So the poor man, who
has nothing to give in return for the rich man's fruits of charity,
beyond the support which his prayers and praises ascending to God in his
behalf will obtain, confers a far more substantial benefit on the rich
man than the most liberal outpouring of alms from the rich can confer on
the poor. [Ibid.] Yet the writer, who {79} had formed such strong
notions of the benefits mutually obtained by the prayers of Christians
for each other, says not a word about the intercession of saints and
angels, nor of our invoking them. He will not suffer us to be deterred
by any consciousness of our own transgressions from approaching God
Himself, directly and immediately ourselves; but He bids us draw near
ourselves to the throne and mercy seat of our heavenly Father.

       *       *       *       *       *


It is impossible to read the testimony borne by Eusebius, and other most
ancient writers, to the character and circumstances of Clement, without
feeling a deep interest in whatever production of his pen may have
escaped the ravages of time. "Third from the Apostles," says Eusebius,
"Clement obtained the bishopric of Rome; one who had seen the Apostles
and conversed with them, and had still the sound of their preaching in
his ears, and their tradition before his eyes;--and not he alone, for
many others[26] at that time were still living, who had been taught by
the Apostles. In the time of this Clement, no small schism having arisen
among the brethren in Corinth, the Church in Rome sent a most important
letter to the Corinthians, urging them to return to peace, renewing {80}
their faith, and [reminding them of] the tradition which had been so
lately received from the Apostles." [Euseb. Eccl. Hist. v. c. 6.]

    [Footnote 26: See St. Paul to the Philippians, iv. 3. "And I
    entreat thee also, true yoke-fellow, help those women which
    laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with
    other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of

Of the many works which have been attributed to Clement, it is now
generally agreed, that one, and only one, can be safely received as
genuine, whilst some maintain that even that one is not altogether free
from interpolations, if not itself spurious[27]. But though we must
believe the other works to have been assigned improperly to Clement; yet
I have not thought it safe to pass them by unexamined, both because some
of them are held in high estimation by writers of the Church of Rome,
and especially because whatever pen first composed them, of their very
great antiquity there can be entertained no reasonable doubt. Indeed,
the Apostolical Canons, and the Apostolical Constitutions, both ascribed
to Clement as their author, acting under the direction of the Apostolic
Council, stand first among the records of the Councils received by the
Church of Rome.

    [Footnote 27: Archbishop Wake concludes that this first Epistle
    was written shortly after the end of Nero's persecution, and
    before A.D. 70.]

To Clement's first Epistle to the Corinthians, now regarded by many as
the only genuine work of that primitive writer, the date of which is
considered by many to be about A.D. 90, Jerome bears this very
interesting testimony in his book on illustrious men:

"He, Clement, wrote in the person of the Church of Rome, to the Church
in Corinth, a very useful epistle, which is publicly read in some
places; in its character agreeing with St. Paul's Epistle to the
Hebrews, not only in the sense, but even in the words: and indeed the
resemblance is very striking in each." [Catalogus Scriptorum
Ecclesiasticorum, Jeron., vol. iv, part ii. p. 107, edit. Benedict.
Paris, 1706.] {81}

It is impossible to read this Epistle of one of the earliest bishops of
Christ's flock in the proper frame of mind, without spiritual
edification. A tone of primitive simplicity pervades it, which is quite
delightful. His witness to the redemption by the atoning sacrifice of
Christ's death, and to the life-giving influences of the Spirit of
grace, is clear, repeated, and direct. His familiar acquaintance with
the ancient Scriptures is very remarkable; though we might not always
acquiesce in the critical accuracy of his application. His reference to
the Epistles written by St. Paul to the same Church at Corinth that he
was then addressing, affords one of those unobtrusive and undesigned
collateral evidences to the Holy Scriptures, which are as abundant in
the primitive writings, as they are invaluable. No one can read this
Epistle of Clement, without acquiescing in the expression of Jerome,
that it is "very admirable."

Perhaps in the present work the Epistle of Clement becomes even more
interesting from the circumstance of his having been a bishop of the
Church founded by the Apostles themselves in the very place where that
Church exists, to whose members this inquiry is more especially
addressed. In his writings I have searched diligently for every
expression which might throw light upon the opinions and practice either
of the author or of the Church in whose name he wrote; of the Church
which he addressed, or of the Catholic Church at large to which he
refers, on the subject of our inquiry. So far, however, from any word
occurring, which could be brought to bear in favour of the adoration of
saints and angels, or of any supplication to them for their succour or
their prayers, the peculiar turn and character of his Epistle in many
parts seems to supply {82} more than negative evidence against the
prevalence of any such belief or practice. Clement speaks of angels; he
speaks of the holy men of old, who pleased God, and were blessed, and
were taken to their reward; he speaks of prayer; he urges to prayer; he
specifies the object of our prayers; he particularizes the subjects of
our prayers; but there is not the most distant allusion to the saints
and angels as persons to whom supplications could be addressed. Pray for
yourselves (such are the sentiments of this holy man); pray for your
brethren who have fallen from their integrity; pray to God Almighty, for
the sake of his Son, and your prayer will be heard and granted. Of any
other intercessor or advocate, angel, saint, or Virgin Mother; of any
other being to whom the invocations of the faithful should be offered,
Clement seems to have had no knowledge. Could this have been so, if
those who received the Gospel from the very fountain-head had been
accustomed to pray to those holy men who had finished their course on
earth, and were gone to their reward in heaven? Clement invites us to
contemplate Enoch, and Abraham, and David, and Elijah, and Job, with
many of their brethren in faith and holiness; he bids us look to them
with reverence and gratitude, but it is only to imitate their good
examples. He tells us to think of St. Paul and St. Peter and their
brethren in faith and holiness; but it is in order to listen to their
godly admonitions, and to follow them in all pious obedience to the will
of our heavenly Father, as they followed Christ. I must content myself
with a very few brief extracts from this Epistle[28]:

    [Footnote 28: I am induced to mention here that two Epistles,
    ascribed to St. Clement, written in Arabic, and now appended to
    Wetstein's Greek Testament (Amsterdam, 1751), are believed by
    many to be genuine, whilst others say they are spurious. At all
    events they are productions of the earliest times. The
    manuscript was procured at Constantinople. I have examined the
    Latin translation carefully, and in some points submitted my
    doubts to a very learned Syriac scholar. The general subject is
    the conduct of those who have professed celibacy, whilst of the
    invocation of saints no trace whatever is to be found. The
    passages most closely bearing on the point before us are to the
    following effect:

    The writer urges Christians to be careful to maintain good
    works, especially in the cause of charity, visiting the sick and
    afflicted, praying with them, and praying for them, and
    persevering always in prayer; asking and seeking of God in joy
    and watchfulness, without hatred or malice. In the Lord's
    husbandry, he says, it well becomes us to be good workmen, who
    are like the Apostles, imitating the Father, the Son, and the
    Holy Ghost, who are ever anxious for the salvation of men.

    "Therefore (he adds, at the close of the first of these
    Epistles) let us look to and imitate those faithful ones, that
    we may behave ourselves as is meet in the Lord. So shall we
    serve the Lord, and please him, in righteousness and justice
    without a stain. Finally, farewell in the Lord, and rejoice in
    the Lord, all ye holy ones. Peace and joy be with you from God
    the Father, by Jesus Christ our Lord."] {83}

Ch. 21. "Take heed, beloved, lest the many loving-kindnesses of the Lord
prove our condemnation, if we do not live as is worthy of him, nor do
with one accord what is good and well-pleasing in his sight.... Let us
consider how nigh to us he is, and that nothing of our thoughts or
reasonings is concealed from him. Justice it is that we should not
become deserters from his will.... Let us venerate the Lord Jesus, whose
blood was given for us."

Ch. 29. "Let us then approach him in holiness of soul, lifting up holy
and undefiled hands towards him; loving our merciful and tender Father
who hath made us a portion of his elect." {84}

Ch. 36. "This is the way, beloved, in which we find Jesus Christ our
salvation, the chief-priest of our offerings, our protector, and the
succourer of our weakness. By him let us look stedfastly to the heights
of heaven; by him let us behold his most high and spotless face: by him
the eyes of our heart are opened; by him our ignorant and darkened minds
shoot forth into his marvellous light; by him the Supreme Governor
willed that we should taste immortal knowledge: who, being the
brightness of his magnificence, is so much greater than the angels, as
he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they."

Ch. 49. "He who hath love in Christ, let him keep the commandments of
Christ. Who can tell of the bond of the love of God? The greatness of
his goodness who can adequately express?... Love unites us to God.... By
love the Lord took us; by the love which he had for us Christ our Lord
gave his blood for us by the will of God, and his flesh for our flesh,
and his life for our lives."

Ch. 56. "Let us pray for those who are in any transgression, that
meekness and humility may be granted to them; that they may submit, not
to us, but to the will of God; for thus to them will the remembrance
towards God and the saints, with mercies, be fruitful and perfect[29]."

    [Footnote 29: The original is obscure, and has been variously
    rendered, [Greek: outos gar estai autois egkarpos kai teleia hae
    pros ton theon kai tous hagious met oiktirmon mneia.] The Editor
    refers his readers to Rom. xii. 13. "Distributing to the
    necessity of saints." The received translation is this, "Sic
    enim erit ipsis fructuosa et perfecta quæ est apud Deum et
    sanctos cum misericordia recordatio."]

Ch. 58. "The all-seeing God, the Sovereign Ruler {85} of spirits, and
the Lord of all flesh, who hath chosen the Lord Jesus, and us through
him, to be a peculiar people; grant to every soul that calleth on his
glorious and holy name, faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering,
self-control, purity, and temperance, to the good pleasure of his name,
through our high-priest and protector Jesus Christ; through whom to him
be glory and majesty, dominion and honour, now and for ever and ever,
world without end. Amen."

       *       *       *       *       *


This martyr to the truth as it is in Jesus sealed that truth with his
blood about seventy years after the death of our Lord. From Antioch in
Syria, of which place he was bishop, he was sent to the imperial city,
Rome; and there he ended his mortal career by a death which he had long
expected, and which he was prepared to meet not only with resignation to
the Divine will, but even with joy and gladness. His Epistles are
written with much of the florid colouring of Asiatic eloquence; but they
have all the raciness of originality, and they glow with that Christian
fervour and charity which compels us to love him as a father and a
friend, a father and friend in Christ. The remains of this apostolic
father I have carefully studied, with the single view of ascertaining
whether any vestige, however faint, might be traced in him of the
invocation of saints and angels; but I can find none. Neither here, nor
in the case of any of the apostolical fathers, whose remains we are
examining, have I contented myself with merely ascertaining that they
bear no direct and palpable evidence; I have always endeavoured to find,
and then thoroughly to sift, any expressions which might with {86} the
slightest plea of justification be urged in testimony of primitive
belief and practice sanctioning the invocation of saints. I find none.
Brethren of the Church of Rome, search diligently for yourselves; "I
speak as to wise men: Judge ye what I say."

The remains of Ignatius offer to us many a passage on which a Christian
pastor would delight to dwell: but my province here is not to recommend
his works to the notice of Christians; I am only to report the result of
my inquiries touching the matter in question; and as bearing on that
question, the following extracts will not be deemed burdensome in this

In his Epistle to the Ephesians, exhorting Christians to united prayer,
he says, "For if the prayer of one or two possesses such strength, how
much more shall the prayer both of the bishop and of the whole Church?"
[Page 13. § 5-7.] "For there is one physician of a corporeal and a
spiritual nature, begotten and not begotten; become God in the flesh,
true life in death, both from Mary and from God; first liable to
suffering, and then incapable of suffering." [In the majority of the
manuscripts the reading is, "in an immortal true life."]

Here we must observe that these Epistles of Ignatius have come down to
us also in an interpolated form, abounding indeed with substitutions and
additions, but generally resembling paraphrases of the original text. Of
the general character of that supposititious work, two passages
corresponding with our quotations from the genuine productions of
Ignatius may give a sufficiently accurate idea. The first passage above
quoted is thus paraphrased: "For if the prayer of one or two possesses
{87} such strength that Christ stands among them, how much more shall
the prayer both of the bishop and of the whole Church, ascending with
one voice to God, induce him to grant all their requests made in Jesus
Christ?" [Page 47. c. 5.] The paraphrase of the second is more full:
"Our physician is the only true God, ungenerated and unapproachable; the
Lord of all things, but the Father and Generator of the only-begotten
Son. We have also as our physician our Lord God, Jesus Christ, who was
before the world, the only-begotten Son and the Word, but also
afterwards man of the Virgin Mary; 'for the Word was made flesh.' He who
was incorporeal, now in a body; he who could not suffer, now in a body
capable of suffering; he who was immortal in a mortal body, life in
corruption--in order that he might free our immortal souls from death
and corruption, and heal them, diseased with ungodliness and evil
desires as they were." [Page 48. c. 7.]

It must here be observed, that though these are indisputably not the
genuine works of Ignatius, but were the productions of a later age, yet
no trace is to be found in them of the doctrine, or practice, of the
invocation of saints. In this point of view their testimony is nothing
more nor less than that of an anonymous paraphrast, who certainly had
many opportunities of referring to that doctrine and practice; but who
by his total silence seems to have been as ignorant of them as the
author himself whose works he is paraphrasing.

To return to his genuine works: In his Epistle to the Magnesians we find
these expressions: "For as the Lord did nothing without the Father,
being one with {88} him, neither by himself, nor by his Apostles; so
neither do ye any thing without the bishop and priests, nor attempt to
make any thing appear reasonable to yourselves individually. But at one
place be there one prayer, and one supplication, one mind, one hope in
love, in blameless rejoicing: Jesus Christ is one; than which nothing is
better. All, then, throng as to one temple, as to one altar, as to one
Jesus Christ, who proceeded from one Father, and is in one, and returned
to one." [Page 19. § 7.] Again he says, "Remember me in your prayers,
that I may attain to God. I am in need of your united prayer in God, and
of your love."

In his Epistle to the Trallians, he expresses himself in words to which
no Anglican Catholic would hesitate to respond: "Ye ought to comfort the
bishop, to the honour of God, and of Jesus Christ, and of the Apostles."
[Page 25. § 12.] He speaks in this Epistle with humility and reverence
of the powers and hosts of heaven; but he makes no allusion to any
religious worship or invocation of them.

The following extract is from his Epistle to the Philadelphians: "My
brethren, I am altogether poured forth in love for you; and in exceeding
joy I make you secure; yet not I, but Jesus Christ, bound in whom I am
the more afraid, as being already seized[30]; but your prayer to God
will perfect me, that I may obtain the lot mercifully assigned to me.
Betaking myself to the Gospel as to the flesh of Jesus, and to the
Apostles as the presbytery of the Church; let us also love the prophets,
because they also have proclaimed the Gospel, and hoped in him, and
waited for him; in whom also {89} trusting, they were saved in the unity
of Jesus Christ, being holy ones worthy of love and admiration, who have
received testimony from Jesus Christ, and are numbered together in the
Gospel of our common hope." [Page 32. § 5.]

    [Footnote 30: This clause is very obscure, and perhaps

I am induced to add the paraphrase on this passage also. "My brethren, I
am very much poured out in loving you, and with exceeding joy I make you
secure; not I, but by me, Jesus Christ, in whom bound I am the more
afraid. For I am yet not perfected, but your prayer to God will perfect
me; so that I may obtain that to which I was called, flying to the
Gospel as the flesh of Jesus Christ, and to the Apostles as the
presbytery of the Church. And the prophets also I love, as persons who
announce Christ, as partaking of the same spirit with the Apostles. For
just as the false prophets and false apostles have drawn one and the
same wicked and deceitful and seducing spirit, so also the prophets and
the apostles, one and the same holy spirit, good, leading, true, and
instructing. For one is the God of the Old and the New Testament. One is
Mediator between God and man, for the production of the creatures endued
with reason and perception, and for the provision of what is useful, and
adapted to them: and one is the Comforter who wrought in Moses and the
prophets and the apostles. All the saints therefore were saved in
Christ, hoping in him, and waiting for him; and through him they
obtained salvation, being saints worthy of love and of admiration,
having obtained a testimony from Jesus Christ in the Gospel of our
common hope." [Page 81. § 5.]

In his Epistle to the Romans he speaks to them of his own prayer to God,
and repeatedly implores them {90} to pray for him. "Pray to Christ for
me, that by these instruments [the teeth of the wild beasts] I may
become a sacrifice of God. I do not, as Peter and Paul, command you:
they were Apostles, I am a condemned man. They were free; but I am still
a servant. Yet if I suffer, I shall become the freedman of Jesus Christ,
and shall rise again free: and now in my bonds I learn to covet
nothing." [Page 28. § 4.] Again he says, "Remember the Church in Syria
in your prayers." [Page 30. § 9.] He prays for his fellow-labourers in
the Lord: he implores them to approach the throne of grace with
supplications for mercy on his own soul. Of prayer to saint or angel he
says nothing. Of any invocation offered to them by himself or his
fellow-believers, Ignatius appears entirely ignorant.

       *       *       *       *       *


The only remaining name among those, whom the Church has reverenced as
apostolical fathers, is the venerable Polycarp. He suffered martyrdom by
fire, at a very advanced age, in Smyrna, about one hundred and thirty
years after his Saviour's death. Of Polycarp, the apostolical bishop of
the Catholic Church of Smyrna, only one Epistle has survived. It is
addressed to the Philippians. In it he speaks to his brother Christians
of prayer, constant, incessant prayer; but the prayer of which he speaks
is supplication addressed only to God [31]. He marks out for our
imitation the good example of St. Paul and the other Apostles; assuring
us that they had not run in vain, {91} but were gone to the place
prepared for them by the Lord, as the reward of their labours. But not
one word does he utter bearing upon the invocation of saints in prayer;
he makes no allusion to the Virgin Mary.

    [Footnote 31: [Greek: deaesesin aitoumenoi ton pantepoptaen
    Theon]. Sect. 7.]

Before we close our examination of the recorded sentiments of the
apostolical fathers on the immediate subject of our inquiry, we must
refer, though briefly, to the Epistle generally received as the genuine
letter from the Church of Smyrna to the neighbouring Churches, narrating
the martyrdom of Polycarp. It belongs, perhaps, more strictly to this
place than to the remains of Eusebius, because, together with the
sentiments of his contemporaries who witnessed his death and dictated
the letter, it purports to contain the very words of the martyr himself
in the last prayer which he ever offered upon earth. With some
variations from the copy generally circulated, this letter is preserved
in the works of Eusebius. [Euseb. Paris, 1628, dedicated to the
Archbishop by Franciscus Vigerus.] On the subject of our present
research the evidence of this letter is not merely negative. So far from
countenancing any invocation of saint or martyr, it contains a
remarkable and very interesting passage, the plain common-sense
rendering of which bears decidedly against all exaltation of mortals
into objects of religious worship. The letter, however, is too well
known to need any further preliminary remarks; and we must content
ourselves with such references and extracts as may appear to bear most
directly on our subject.

"The Church of God, which is in Smyrna, to the Church in Philomela, and
to all the branches [Greek: paroikais] {92} of the holy Catholic Church
dwelling in any place, mercy, peace, and love of God the Father, and our
Lord Jesus Christ be multiplied." [Book i. Hist. iv. c. xv. p. 163.]

"The Proconsul, in astonishment, caused it to be proclaimed thrice,
Polycarp has confessed himself to be a Christian. On this they all
shouted, that the Proconsul should let a lion loose on Polycarp. But the
games were over, and that could not be done: they then with one accord
insisted on his being burnt alive."

Polycarp, before his death, offered this prayer, or rather perhaps we
should call it this thanksgiving, to God for his mercy in thus deeming
him worthy to suffer death for the truth, "Father of thy beloved and
blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received our knowledge
concerning thee, the God of angels and power, and of the whole creation,
and of the whole family of the just, who live before thee; I bless thee
because thou hast deemed me worthy of this day and this hour to receive
my portion among the number of the martyrs, in the cup of Christ, to the
resurrection both of soul and body in the incorruption of the Holy
Ghost; among whom may I be received before thee this day in a rich and
acceptable sacrifice, even as thou, the true God, who canst not lie,
foreshowing and fulfilling, hast beforehand prepared. For this, and for
all I praise thee, I bless thee; I glorify thee, through the eternal
high-priest Jesus Christ thy beloved Son, through whom to thee, with him
in the Holy Ghost, be glory both now and for future ages. Amen."

(I cannot help suggesting a comparison between the prayer of this
primitive martyr bound to the stake, with the prayer of Thomas Becket,
of Canterbury, as stated in the ancient services for his day, when he
was murdered in his own cathedral, to which we shall hereafter refer at
length. The comparison will impress us with the difference between
religion and superstition, between the purity of primitive Christian
worship, and the unhappy corruptions of a degenerate age. "To God and
the Blessed Mary, and Saint Dionysius, and the holy patrons of this
Church, I commend myself and the Church.") {93}

After his death, the narrative proceeds, "But the envious adversary of
the just observed the honour put upon the greatness of his testimony,
[or of his martyrdom [Greek: to megethos autou taes marturias],] and his
blameless life from the first, and knowing that he was now crowned with
immortality, and the prize of undoubted victory, resisted, though many
of us desired to take his body, and have fellowship with his holy flesh.
Some then suggested to Nicetes, the father of Herod, and brother of
Dalce, to entreat the governor not to give his body, 'Lest,' said he,
'leaving the crucified One they should begin to worship this man [Greek:
sebein];' and this they said at the suggestion and importunity of the
Jews, who also watched us when we would take the body from the fire.
This they did, not knowing that we can never either leave Christ, who
suffered for the salvation of all who will be saved in all the world, or
worship any other." [The Paris translation adds "ut Deum."] "For him
being the Son of God we worship [Greek: proskunumen], but the martyrs,
as disciples and imitators of our Lord, we worthily love[32], because of
their pre-eminent [Greek: anuperblaeton] good-will towards their {94}
own king and teacher, with whom may we become partakers and

    [Footnote 32: [Greek: axios agapomen]. Ruffinus translates it by
    "diligimus et veneramur," and it is so quoted by Bellarmin.]

"The centurion, seeing the determination of the Jews, placed him in the
midst, and burnt him as their manner is. And thus we collecting his
bones, more valuable than precious stones, and more esteemed than gold,
we deposited them where it was meet. There, as we are able, collecting
ourselves together in rejoicing and gladness, the Lord will grant to us
to observe the birth-day of his martyrdom, for the remembrance of those
who have before undergone the conflict, and for exercise and preparation
of those who are to come." [Greek: hos dunaton haemin sunagomenois en
agalliasei kai chara parexei ho Kurios epitelein taen tou martyriou
autou haemeran genethlion, eis te ton proaethlaekoton mnaemaen, kai ton
mellonton askaesin te kai hetoimasian.]

In this relic of primitive antiquity, we have the prayer of a holy
martyr, at his last hour, offered to God alone, through Christ alone.
Here we find no allusion to any other intercessor; no commending of the
dying Christian's soul to saint or angel. Here also we find an explicit
declaration, that Christians offered religious worship to no one but
Christ, whilst they loved the martyrs, and kept their names in grateful
remembrance, and honoured even their ashes when the spirit had fled.
Polycarp pleads no other merits; he seeks no intercession; he prays for
no aid, save only his Redeemer's. Here too we find, that the place of a
martyr's burial was the place which the early Christians loved to
frequent; but then we are expressly told with what intent they met
there,--not, as in later times, to invoke the departed spirit of the
martyr, but to call to mind, in grateful remembrance, the sufferings of
those who had already endured the awful struggle; and by {95} their
example to encourage and prepare other soldiers of the cross thereafter
to fight the good fight of faith; assured that they would be more than
conquerors through Him who loved them.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have now examined those works which are regarded by us all, whether
of the Roman or Anglican Church, as the remains of apostolical
fathers,--Christians who, at the very lowest calculation, lived close
upon the Apostles' time, and who, according to the firm conviction of
many, had all of them conversed with the Apostles, and heard the word of
truth from their mouths. I do from my heart rejoice with you, that these
holy men bear direct, clear, and irrefragable testimony to those
fundamental truths which the Church of Rome and the Church of England
both hold inviolate--the doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity, with its
essential and inseparable concomitants, the atonement by the blood of a
crucified Redeemer, and the vivifying and sanctifying influences of the
Holy Spirit.

Supposing for a moment no trace of such fundamental doctrines could be
discovered in these writings, would not the absence of such vestige have
been urged by those who differ from us, as a strong argument that the
doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity was an innovation of a later date;
and would not such an argument have been urged with reason? How, in
plain honesty, can we avoid coming to the same conclusion on the subject
of the invocation of saints? If the doctrine and the practice of praying
to saints, or to angels, for their succour, or even their intercession,
had been known {96} and recognised, and approved and acted upon by the
Apostles, and those who were the very disciples of the Apostles, not
only deriving the truth from their written works, but having heard it
from their own living tongue,--in the nature of things would not some
plain, palpable, intelligible, and unequivocal indications of it have
appeared in such writings as these; writings in which much is said of
prayer, of intercessory prayer, of the one object of prayer, of the
subjects of prayer, of the nature of prayer, the time and place of
prayer, the spirit in which we are to offer prayer, and the persons for
whom we ought to pray? Does it accord with common sense, and common
experience, with what we should expect in other cases, with the analogy
of history, and the analogy of faith, that we should find a profound and
total silence on the subject of any prayer or invocation to saints and
angels, if prayer or invocation of saints and angels had been
recognised, approved, and practised by the primitive Church?

At the risk of repetition, or surplusage, I would beg to call your
attention to one point in this argument. I am far from saying that no
practice is apostolical which cannot be proved from the writings of
these apostolical fathers: that would be a fallacy of an opposite kind.
I ground my inference specifically and directly on the fact, that these
writers are full, and copious, and explicit, and cogent on the nature
and duty of prayer and supplications, as well for public as for private
blessings; and of intercessions by one Christian for another, and for
the whole race of mankind no less than for mercy on himself; and yet
though openings of every kind palpably offered themselves for a natural
introduction of the subject, there is in no one single instance any
reference or allusion to the {97} invocation of saint or angel, as a
practice either approved or even known.

When indeed I call to mind the general tendency of the natural man to
multiply to himself the objects of religious worship, and to create, by
the help of superstition, and the delusive workings of the imagination,
a variety of unearthly beings whose wrath he must appease, or whose
favour he may conciliate; when I reflect how great is the temptation in
unenlightened or fraudulent teachers to accommodate the dictates of
truth to the prejudices and desires of those whom they instruct, my
wonder is rather that Christianity was so long preserved pure and
uncontaminated in this respect, than that corruptions should gradually
and stealthily have mingled themselves with the simplicity of Gospel
worship. That tendency is plainly evinced by the history of every nation
under heaven: Greek and Barbarian, Egyptian and Scythian, would have
their gods many, and their lords many. From one they would look for one
good; on another they would depend for a different benefit, in mind,
body, and estate. Some were of the highest grade, and to be worshipped
with supreme honours; others were of a lower rank, to whom an inferior
homage was addressed; whilst a third class held a sort of middle place,
and were approached with reverence as much above the least, as it fell
short of the greatest. In the heathen world you will find exact types of
the dulia, the hyperdulia, and the latria, with which unhappily the
practical theology of modern Christian Rome is burdened. Indeed, my
wonder is, that under the Christian dispensation, when the household and
local gods, the heathen's tutelary deities, and the genii, had been
dislodged by the light of the Gospel, saints and angels had not at a
much {98} earlier period been forced by superstition to occupy their

We shall be led to refer to some passages in the earliest Christian
writers, especially in Origen, which bear immediately on this point,
representing in strong but true colours the futility of deeming a
multitude of inferior divinities necessary for the dispensation of
benefits throughout the universe, whose good offices we must secure by
acts of attention and worship. I anticipate the circumstance in this
place merely to show that the tendency of the human mind, clinging to a
variety of preternatural protectors and benefactors, was among the
obstacles with which the first preachers of the Gospel had to struggle.
In the proper place I shall beg you to observe how hardly possible it
would have been for those early Christian writers, to whom I have
referred above, to express themselves in so strong, so sweeping, and so
unqualified a manner, had the practice of applying by invocation to
saints and angels then been prevalent among the disciples of the Cross.

We may, I believe, safely conclude, that in these primitive writings,
which are called the works of the Apostolical Fathers, there is no
intimation that the present belief and practice of the Church of Rome
were received, or even known by Christians. The evidence is all the
other way. Indeed, Bellarmin, though he appeals to these remains for
other purposes, and boldly asserts that "all the fathers, Greek and
Latin, with unanimous consent, sanction and teach the adoration of
saints and angels," yet does not refer to a single passage in any one of
these remains for establishing this point. He cites a clause from the
spurious work strangely ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite, which was
the forged production, as the learned are all {99} agreed, of some
centuries later; and he cites a pious sentiment of Ignatius, expressing
his hope that by martyrdom he might go to Christ, and thence he infers
that Ignatius believed in the immediate transfer of the soul from this
life to glory and happiness in heaven, though Ignatius refers there
distinctly to the resurrection. [Epist. ad Rom. c. iv. See above, p.
90.] But Bellarmin cites no passage whatever from these remains to
countenance the doctrine and practice of the adoration of saints and
angels. {100}

       *       *       *       *       *



Justin, who flourished about the year 150, was trained from his early
youth in all the learning of Greece and of Egypt. He was born in
Palestine, of heathen parents; and after a patient examination of the
evidences of Christianity, and a close comparison of them with the
systems of philosophy with which he had long been familiar, he became a
disciple of the Cross. In those systems he found nothing solid, or
satisfactory; nothing on which his mind could rest. In the Gospel he
gained all that his soul yearned for, as a being destined for immortal
life, conscious of that destiny, and longing for its accomplishment. His
understanding was convinced, and his heart was touched; and regardless
of every worldly consideration, and devoted to the cause of truth, he
openly embraced Christianity; and before kings and people, Jews and
Gentiles, he pleaded the religion of the crucified One with unquenchable
zeal and astonishing power. The evidence of such a man on any doctrine
{101} connected with our Christian faith must be looked to with great

In the volumes which contain Justin's works we find "Books of
Questions," in which many inquiries, doubts, and objections, as well of
Jews as of Gentiles, are stated and answered. It is agreed on all sides
that these are not the genuine productions of Justin, but the work of a
later hand. Bellarmin appeals to them, acknowledging at the same time
their less remote origin. The evidence, indeed, appears very strong,
which would lead us to regard them as the composition of a Syrian
Christian, and assign to them the date of the fifth century; and as
offering indications of the opinions of Christians at the time of their
being put together, they are certainly interesting documents. When
fairly quoted, the passages alleged in defence of the invocation of
saints, so far from countenancing the practice, assail irresistibly that
principle, which, with other writers, Bellarmin himself confesses to be
the foundation of that doctrine. For these Books of Questions assert
that the souls of the faithful are not yet in glory with God, but are
reserved in a separate state, apart from the wicked, awaiting the great
day of final and universal doom. In answer to Question 60, the author
distinctly says:--"Before the resurrection the recompense is not made
for the things done in this life by each individual." [Quæstiones et
Responsiones ad Orthodoxos, p. 464.]

In reply to the 75th Question, inquiring into the condition of man after
death, this very remarkable answer is returned:--

"The same relative condition which souls have with the body now, they
have not after the departure from the body. For here all the
circumstances of the union {102} are in common to the just and the
unjust, and no difference is in them in this respect,--as to be born and
to die, to be in health and to be in sickness, to be rich and to be
poor, and the other points of this nature. But after the departure from
the body, forthwith takes place the distinction of the just and the
unjust: for they are conducted by the angels to places corresponding
with their deserts: the souls of the just to paradise, where is the
company and the sight of angels and archangels, and also, by vision, of
the Saviour Christ, according to what is said, 'Being absent from the
body, and present with the Lord;' and the souls of the unjust to the
places in hades, according to what is said of Nebucodonosor king of
Babylon, 'Hades from beneath hath been embittered, meeting thee.'--And
in the places corresponding with their deserts they are kept in ward
unto the day of the resurrection and of retribution." [Page 469.]

I much regret to observe that Bellarmin omits to quote the latter part
of this passage, stopping short with an "&c." at the words _hades_, or
_inferorum loca_, although the whole of the writer's testimony in it
turns upon the very last clause. [Bellarmin, c. iv. p. 851. "Improborum
autem ad inferorum loca."]

The next question (76) runs thus: "If the retribution of our deeds does
not take place before the resurrection, what advantage accrued to the
thief that his soul was introduced into paradise; especially since
paradise is an object of sense, and the substance of the soul is not an
object of sense?

"Answer. It was an advantage to the thief entering into paradise to
learn by fact the benefits of the faith by which he was deemed worthy of
the assembly of the {103} saints, in which he is kept till the day of
judgment and restitution; and he has the perception of paradise by that
which is called intellectual perception, by which souls see both
themselves and the things under them, and moreover also the angels and
demons. For a soul doth not perceive or see a soul, nor an angel an
angel, nor a demon a demon; except that according to the said
intellectual perception they see both themselves and each other, and
moreover also all corporeal objects." [Page 470.]

On this same point I must here subjoin a passage from one of Justin's
own undisputed works. In his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, sect. 5, he
says, "Nevertheless I do not say that souls all die; for that were in
truth a boon to the wicked. But what? That the souls of the pious remain
somewhere in a better place, and the unjust and wicked in a worse,
waiting for the time of judgment, when it shall be: thus the one
appearing worthy of God do not die any more; and the others are punished
as long as God wills them both to exist and to be punished." [Page 107.]

Not only so; Justin classes among renouncers of the faith those who
maintain the doctrine which is now acknowledged to be the doctrine of
the Church of Rome, and to be indispensable as the groundwork of the
adoration of saints. In his Trypho, sect. 80, he states his sentiment
thus strongly: "If you should meet with any persons called Christians,
who confess not this, but dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham, the God
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and say there is no resurrection of the
dead ([Greek: nekron]), but that their souls, at the very time of their
death, are taken up into heaven; do not regard them as Christians."
[Page 178.] {104}

This, according to Bellarmin's own principle, is fatal evidence: if the
redeemed and the saints departed are not in glory with God already, they
cannot intercede with him for men. On the subject, however, of worship
and prayer, Justin Martyr has left us some testimonies as to the
primitive practice, full of interest in themselves, independently of
their bearing on the points at issue. At the same time I am not aware of
a single expression which can be so construed as to imply the doctrine
or practice among Christians of invoking the souls of the faithful. He
speaks of public and private prayer; he offers prayer, but the prayer of
which he speaks, and the prayer which he offers are to God alone; and he
alludes to no advocate or intercessor in heaven, except only the eternal
Son of God himself. In his first Apologia (or Defence addressed to the
Emperor Antoninus Pius) he thus describes the proceedings at the baptism
of a convert:--

"Now, we will explain to you how we dedicate ourselves to God, being
made new by Christ.... As many as are persuaded, and believe the things
which by us are taught and declared to be true, and who promise that
they can so live, are taught to pray and implore, with fasting,
forgiveness of God for their former sins, we ourselves joining with them
in fasting and prayer; and then they are taken by us to a place where
there is water, and by the same manner of regeneration as we ourselves
were regenerated, they are regenerated; for they undergo this washing in
the water in the name of God the Father and Lord of all, and of our
Saviour Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost." [Apol. i. sect 61, page

The following is his description of the Christian {105} Eucharist,
subsequently to the baptism of a convert: "Afterwards we conduct him to
those who are called brethren, where they are assembled together to
offer earnestly our united prayers for ourselves and for the enlightened
one [the newly baptized convert], and for all others every where, that
we, having learned the truth, may be thought worthy to be found in our
deeds good livers, and keepers of the commandments, that we may be saved
with the everlasting salvation. Having ceased from prayers, we salute
each other with a kiss; and then bread is brought to him who presides
over the brethren, and a cup of water and wine; and he taking it, sends
up prayer and praise to the Father of all, through the name of the Son
and the Holy Spirit; and offers much thanksgiving for our being thought
by him worthy of these things. When he has finished the prayers and
thanksgivings, all the people present respond, saying, 'Amen.' Now, Amen
in the Hebrew tongue means, 'So be it.' And when the presider has given
thanks, and all the people have responded, those who are called Deacons
among us give to every one present to partake of the bread and wine and
water that has been blessed, and take some away for those who were not
present." [Sect. 65. p. 82.]

The following is Justin's account of their worship on the Lord's day:
"In all our oblations we bless the Creator of all things, through his
Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit. And upon the day called
Sunday, there is an assembly of all who dwell in the several cities or
in the country, in one place where the records of the apostles, or the
writings of the prophets are read, as time allows. When the reader has
ceased, {106} the presider makes a discourse for the edification of the
people, and to animate them to the practice of such excellent things [or
the imitation of such excellent persons]. At the conclusion we all rise
up together and pray; and, as we have said, when we have ceased from
prayer, the bread and wine and water are brought forward, and the
presider sends up prayer and thanksgiving alike, to the utmost of his
power. And the people respond, saying, Amen. And then is made to each
the distribution and participation of the consecrated elements ([Greek:
eucharistauthenton]). And of those who have the means and will, each
according to his disposition gives what he will; and the collected sum
is deposited with the presider, and he aids the orphans and widows, and
those who through sickness or other cause are in need, and those in
bonds, and strangers; and, in a word, he becomes the reliever of all who
are in want." [Sect. 67. p. 83.]

       *       *       *       *       *

In Justin Martyr I am unable to find even a single vestige of the
invocation of Saints. With regard to Angels, however, there is a very
celebrated passage, to which Bellarmin and others appeal, as conclusive
evidence that the worship of them prevailed among Christians in his
time, and was professed by Justin himself.

Justin, in his first Apology, having stated that the Christians could
never be induced to worship the demons, whom the heathen worshipped and
invoked, proceeds thus[33]: "Whence also we are called Atheists, {107}
[men without God]; and we confess that with regard to such supposed gods
we are atheists, but not so with regard to the most true God, the Father
of justice and temperance, and of the other virtues without any mixture
of evil. But both HIM and the SON, who came from Him, and taught these
MADE LIKE, and THE PROPHETIC SPIRIT, we reverence and worship, honouring
them in reason and truth; and without grudging, delivering the doctrine
to every one who is willing to learn as we were taught." [Page 47.]
Governing the words "the host of the other good angels," as much as the
words "Him" and "His Son," and "the prophetic Spirit," by the verbs "we
reverence and worship," Bellarmin and others[34] maintain, that Justin
bears testimony in this passage to the worship of angels. That this
cannot be the true interpretation of Justin's words will be
acknowledged, I think, by every Catholic, whether Anglican or Roman,
when he contemplates it in all its naked plainness; all will revolt from
it as impious and contrary to the principles professed by the most
celebrated and honoured among Roman Catholic writers. This
interpretation of the passage, when analysed, implies the awful thought,
that we Christians pay to the host of angels, God's ministers and our
own fellow-servants, the same reverence, worship, and honour which we
pay to the supreme Father, and his ever-blessed Son, and the Holy
Spirit, without any difference or inequality. No principles of
interpretation can avoid that inference.

    [Footnote 33: The genuineness of this passage has been doubted.
    But I see no ground for suspicion that it is spurious. It is
    found in the manuscripts of Justin's works; of which the most
    ancient perhaps are in the King's Library in Paris. I examined
    one there of a remote date.]

    [Footnote 34: The Benedictine Editor puts this note in the
    margin, "Justin teaches that angels following the Son are
    worshipped by Christians."--Preface, p. xxi.] {108}

"Him the most true Father of righteousness we reverence and worship,
honouring him in reason and truth."

"The Son who came from him, and taught us these things, we reverence and
worship, honouring him in reason and truth."

"The army of the other good angels accompanying and assimilated, we
reverence and worship, honouring them in reason and truth."

"The Prophetic Spirit we reverence and worship, honouring him in reason
and truth."

Is it possible to conceive that any Christian would thus ascribe the
same religious worship to a host of God's creatures, which he would
ascribe to God, as GOD? "We are accused," said Justin, "of being
atheists, of having no God. How can this be? We do not worship your
false gods, but we have our own most true God. We are not without a God.
We have the Father, and the Son, and the Good Angels, and the Holy
Spirit." If Justin meant that they honoured the good angels, but not as
GOD, that would be no answer to those who called the Christians
atheists. The charge was, that "they had no God." The answer is, "We
have a God;" and then Justin describes the God of Christians. Can the
army of angels be included in that description? If they are, then they
are made to share in the adoration, worship, homage, and reverence of
the one only God Most High; if they are not, then Justin does not answer
the objectors[35].

    [Footnote 35: And surely if Justin had intended to represent the
    holy angels as objects of religious worship, he would not so
    violently have thrust the mention of them among the Persons of
    the ever-blessed Trinity, assigning to them a place between the
    second and third Persons of the eternal hypostatic union.] {109}

To evade this charge of impiety, some writers (among others, M. Maran,
the Benedictine editor of Justin,) have attempted to draw a distinction
between the two verbs in this passage, alleging that the lower degree of
reverence expressed by the latter applies to the angels; whilst the
former verb, implying the higher degree of worship, alone relates to the
Godhead. But this distinction rests on a false assumption; the two words
being used equally to convey the idea, of the highest religious

    [Footnote 36: For example, the first word ([Greek: sebometha]),
    "we reverence," is used to mean the whole of religious worship,
    as well with regard to the true God, as with reference to Diana
    [Acts xviii. 7. 13; xix. 27.]; whilst the second word ([Greek:
    proskunoumen]), "we worship," is constantly employed in the same
    sense of divine worship, throughout the Septuagint [Exod. xxxiv.
    14. Ps. xciv. (xcv.) 6. I Sam. (1 Kings) xv. 25. 2 Kings (4
    Kings) xvii. 36. Heb. i. 6.], (with which Justin was most
    familiar,) and is used in the Epistle to the Hebrews to signify
    the worship due from the angels themselves to God, "Let all the
    angels of God worship him." The very same word is also soon
    after employed by Justin himself (sect. xvi. p. 53) to mean the
    whole entire worship of the Most High God: "That we ought to
    worship ([Greek: proskumein]) God alone, Christ thus proves,"
    &c. Moreover, the word which Justin uses at the close of the
    sentence, "honouring them" ([Greek: timontes]), is the identical
    word four times employed by St. John [John v. 23.], in the same
    verse, to record our Saviour's saying, "That all men might
    honour the Son, even as they honour the Father; he that
    honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father, who hath sent

But in determining the true meaning of an obscure passage, grammatically
susceptible of different acceptations, the author himself is often his
own best interpreter. If he has expressed in another place the same
leading sentiment, yet without the same obscurity, and free from all
doubt, the light borrowed from that passage {110} will frequently fix
the sense of the ambiguous expression, and establish the author's
consistency. On this acknowledged principle of criticism, I would call
your attention to a passage in the very same treatise of Justin, a few
pages further on, in which he again defends the Christians against the
same charge of being atheists, and on the self-same ground, "that they
worship the Father who is maker of all; secondly, the Son proceeding
from Him; and thirdly, the Holy Spirit." In both cases he refers to the
same attributes of the Son as the teacher of Christian truth, and of the
Holy Ghost, as the Prophetic Spirit. His language throughout the two
passages is remarkably similar, and in the expressions on the true
meaning of which we have already dwelt, it is most strikingly identical;
but by omitting all allusion to the angels after the Son, his own words
proving that the introduction of them could have no place there, (for he
specifies that the third in order was the Holy Spirit,) Justin has left
us a comment on the passage under consideration conclusive as to the
object of religious worship in his creed. The whole passage is well
worth the attention of the reader. The following extracts are the only
parts necessary for our present purpose:--

"Who of sound mind will not confess that we are not Atheists,
reverencing as we do the Maker of the Universe.... and Him, who taught
us these things, and who was born for this purpose, Jesus Christ,
crucified under Pontius Pilate.... instructed, as we are, that He is the
Son of the True God, and holding Him in the second place; and the
Prophetic Spirit in the third order, we with reason honour." [Sect.
xiii. p. 50.] {111}

The impiety apparently inseparable from Bellarmin's interpretation has
induced many, even among Roman Catholic writers, to discard that
acceptation altogether, and to substitute others, which, though
involving no grammatical inaccuracy, are still not free from
difficulty.[37] After weighing the passage with all the means in my
power, and after testing the various interpretations offered by writers,
whether of the Church of Rome or not, by the sentiments of Justin
himself, and others of the same early age, I am fully persuaded that the
following is the only true rendering of Justin's words:

"Honouring in reason and truth, we reverence and worship HIM, the Father
of Righteousness, and the Son (who proceeded from Him, and instructed in
these things both ourselves and the host of the other good angels
following Him and being made like unto Him), and the Prophetic Spirit."

    [Footnote 37: Le Nourry (Apparatus ad Bibliothecam Maximam
    Veterum Patrum. Paris, 1697. vol. ii. p. 305), himself a
    Benedictine, rejects Bellarmin's and his brother Benedictine
    Maran's interpretation, and conceives Justin to mean, that the
    Son of God not only taught us those truths to which he was
    referring, with regard to the being and attributes of God, but
    also taught us that there were hosts of spiritual beings, called
    Angels; good beings, opposed to the demons of paganism. Bishop
    Kaye, in his excellent work on Justin Martyr, which the reader
    will do well to consult (p. 53), tells us he was sometimes
    inclined to think that Justin referred to the host of good
    angels who should surround the Son of God when he should come to
    judge the world. The view adopted by myself here was recommended
    by Grabe and by Langus, called The Interpreter of Justin; whilst
    Petavius, a Jesuit, though he does not adopt it, yet
    acknowledges that the Greek admits of our interpretation. Any
    one who would pursue the subject further may with advantage
    consult the preface to the Benedictine edition referred to in
    this work. Lumper Hist. Part ii. p. 225. Augustæ Vindelicorum,
    1784. Petavius, Theologicorum Dogmatum tom. vi. p. 298. lib. xv.
    c. v. s. 5. Antwerp, 1700.

    The whole passage is thus rendered by Langus (as read in
    Lumper), "Verum hunc ipsum, et qui ab eo venit, atque ista nos
    et aliorum obsequentium exæquatorumque ad ejus voluntatem
    bonorum Angelorum exercitura docuit, Filium, et Spiritum ejus
    propheticum, colimus et adoramus."]

This interpretation is strongly confirmed by the professed sentiments
both of Justin and of his contemporaries, {112} with regard to the Son
of God and the holy angels.

It was a principle generally received among the early Christians, that
whatever the Almighty did, either by creation or by the communication of
his will, on earth or in heaven, was done by the Eternal Word. It was
God the Son, the Logos, who created the angels[38], as well as
ourselves; it was He who spoke to Moses, to Abraham, and to Lot; and it
was He who conveyed the Supreme will, and the knowledge of the only true
God, to the inhabitants of the world of spirits. Agreeably to this
principle, in the passage under consideration, Justin affirms (not that
Christians revered and worshipped the angels, but), that God the Son,
whom Christians worshipped as the eternal Prophet, Angel, and Apostle,
of the Most High, instructed not only us men on earth, but also the host
of heavenly angels[39], in these eternal verities, {113} which embrace
God's nature and the duty of his creatures. [Trypho, § 141. p. 231.]

    [Footnote 38: Thus Tatian (p. 249 in the same edition of
    Justin), "Before men were prepared, the Word was the Maker of

    [Footnote 39: "The OTHER good angels." Justin (Apol. i. sect.
    lxiii. p. 81.) reminds us that Christ, the first-begotten of the
    Father, Himself God, was also an Angel (or Messenger), and an
    Apostle; and here Christ, as the Angel of the Covenant and the
    chief Apostle, is represented as instructing THE OTHER ANGELS in
    the truths of the economy of grace, just as he instructed his
    Apostles on earth,--"As my Father hath sent me, even so send I

It is evident that Justin himself considered the host of angels to be
equally with ourselves in a state of probation, requiring divine
instruction, and partaking of it. It is also evident that many of his
contemporaries entertained the same views; among others, Irenæus and
Origen. [Irenæus, book ii. c. 30. p. 163. Origen, Hom. xxxii. in Joann.
§ 10. vol. iv. p. 430.] I will not swell this dissertation by quoting
the passages at length; though the passages referred to in the margin
will well repay any one's careful examination. But I cannot refrain from
extracting the words in which each of those writers confirms the view
here taken of Justin's sentiments.

Irenæus, for example, says distinctly, "The Son ever, anciently and from
the beginning co-existing with the Father, always reveals the Father
both to angels and archangels, and powers, and excellencies, and to all
to whom God wishes to make a revelation[40]." And not less distinctly
does Origen assert the same thing,--"Our Saviour therefore teaches, and
the Holy Spirit, {114} who spake in the prophets, teaches not only men,
but also angels and invisible excellencies."

    [Footnote 40: So far did some of the early Christians include
    the hosts of angels within the covenant of the Gospel, that
    Ignatius (Epist. ad Smyrn. § 6. p. 36.) does not hesitate to
    pronounce that the angels incur the Divine judgment, if they do
    not receive the doctrine of the atonement: "Let no one be
    deceived. The things in heaven, and the glory of angels, and the
    powers visible and invisible, if they do not believe on the
    blood of Christ--for them is judgment." They seem to have
    founded their opinion on the declaration of St. Paul (Eph. iii.
    10): "That now to the principalities and powers in heavenly
    places might be made known through the Church the manifold
    wisdom of God."]

I will only add one more ancient authority, in confirmation of the view
here taken of Justin's words. The passage is from Athenagoras[41] and
seems to be the exact counterpart of Justin's paragraph.

    [Footnote 41: Athenagoras presented his defence, in which these
    words occur, to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and his son
    Commodus, in the year 177.]

"Who would not wonder on hearing us called Atheists? we who call the
Father God, and the Son God, and the Holy Ghost, showing both their
power in the unity, and their distinction in order. Nor does our
theology rest here; but we say, moreover, that there is a multitude of
angels and ministers whom God, the Maker and Creator of the world, BY
THE WORD PROCEEDING FROM HIM, distributed and appointed, both about the
elements, and the heavens, and the world, and the things therein, and
the good order thereof." [Sect. 10. p. 287. edit. Just. Mart.]

I have already stated my inability to discover a single word in Justin
Martyr which could be brought to sanction the invocation of saints; but
his testimony is far from being merely negative. He admonishes us
strongly against our looking to any other being for help or assistance,
than to God only. Even when speaking of those who confide in their own
strength, and fortune, and other sources of good, he says, in perfect
unison with the pervading principles and associations of his whole mind,
as far as we can read them in his works, without any modification or any
exception in favour of saint or angel: "In that Christ {115} said, 'Thou
art my God, go not far from me,' He at the same time taught, that all
persons ought to hope in God, who made all things, and seek for safety
and health from Him alone" [Trypho, § 102, p. 197.]

       *       *       *       *       *


Justin sealed his faith by his blood about the year 165; and next to
him, in the noble army of martyrs, we must examine the evidence of
Irenæus, Bishop of Lyons. Of this writer's works a very small proportion
survives in the original Greek; but that little is such as might well
make every scholar and divine lament the calamity which theology and
literature have sustained by the loss of the author's own language. It
is not perhaps beyond the range of hope that future researches may yet
recover at least some part of the treasure. Meanwhile we must avail
ourselves with thankfulness of the nervous though inelegant copy of that
original, which the Latin translation affords; imperfect and corrupt in
many parts, as that copy evidently is. This, however, is not the place
for recommending a study of the remains of Irenæus; and every one at all
acquainted with the literature of the early Church, knows well how
valuable a store of ancient Christian learning is preserved even in the
wreck of his works.

On the subject of the invocation of saints, an appeal {116} has been
made only to a few passages in Irenæus. With regard, indeed, to one
section, I would gladly have been spared the duty of commenting upon the
unjustifiable mode of citing his evidence adopted by Bellarmin. It
forces upon our notice an example either of such inaccuracy of quotation
as would shake our confidence in him as an author, or of such
misrepresentation as must lower him in our estimation as a man of

Bellarmin asserts, building upon it as the very foundation-stone of his
argument for the invocation of saints, that the souls of the saints are
removed immediately on their dissolution by death, without waiting for
the day of judgment, into the presence of God, and the enjoyment of HIM
in heaven. This point, he says, must first be established; for if they
are not already in the presence of God, they cannot pray for us, and
prayer to them would be preposterous. [Bell. lib. i. c. 4. vol. ii. p.
851.] Among the authorities cited by him to establish this point is the
evidence of Irenæus (book i. c. 2). [See Benedictine ed, Paris, 1710.
book i. c. 10. p. 48.] Bellarmin quotes that passage in these words: "To
the just and righteous, and to those who keep his commandments, and
persevere in his love, some indeed from the beginning but some from
repentance, he giving life CONFERS by way of gift incorruption, and
CLOTHES them with eternal glory." To the quotation he appends this note
"Mark '_to some_' that is, to those who presently after baptism die, or
who lay down their life for Christ; or finally to the perfect is given
immediately life and eternal glory; to others not, except after
repentance, that is, satisfaction made in another world[42]."

    [Footnote 42: Agreeably to the principles laid down in my
    preface, I will not here allude to the doctrine of purgatory, on
    which Bellarmin considers this passage to bear; nor will I say
    one word on the intermediate state of the soul between death and
    the resurrection, on which I am now showing that the words of
    Irenæus cannot at all be made to bear.] {117}

Here I am compelled to confess that I never found a more palpable
misquotation of an author than this. I will readily grant that Bellarmin
may have quoted from memory, or have borrowed from some corrupt version
of the passage; and that he has unintentionally changed the moods of two
verbs from the subjunctive to the indicative, and inadvertently changed
the entire construction and the sense of the passage. But then what
becomes of his authority as a writer citing testimony?

Irenæus in this passage is speaking not of what our Lord does now, but
what he will do at the last day; he refers only to the second coming of
Christ to judgment at the final consummation of all things, not using a
single expression which can be made by fair criticism to have any
reference whatever to the condition of souls on their separation from
the body. I have consulted the old editions, some at least published
before the date of Bellarmin's work; the suggestion offering itself to
my mind, that perhaps the ancient translation was in error, from which
he might have quoted. But I cannot find that to have been the case. The
old Latin version of this passage agreeing very closely with the Greek
still preserved in Epiphanius, and quoted by Roman Catholic writers as
authentic, conveys this magnificent though brief summary of the
Christian faith:

"The Church spread throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the
earth, received both from the Apostles and their disciples that faith
which is in one {118} God omnipotent, who made heaven and earth, the
sea, and all things therein, and in one Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
for our salvation made flesh, and in the Holy Ghost, who by the prophets
announced the dispensations (of God[43]), and the Advent, and the being
born of a Virgin, and the suffering, and the resurrection from the dead,
and the bodily ascension into heaven of the beloved Jesus Christ our
Lord, and his coming from heaven in the glory of the Father for the
consummation of all things, and for raising again all flesh of the human
race, THAT, in order that ([Greek: ina]), to Christ Jesus our Lord and
God, and Saviour and King, according to the good pleasure of the
invisible Father, every knee should bow of things in heaven and in
earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess to Him,
and that he should execute just judgment on all: that he should send the
spirits of wickedness, and the transgressing and rebel angels, and the
impious and unjust, and wicked and blaspheming men into eternal fire;
but to the just and righteous, and to those who keep his commandments,
and persevere in his love,--some indeed from the beginning, and some
from their repentance,--he granting life, by way of gift, SHOULD CONFER
incorruption, and SHOULD CLOTHE them with eternal glory." [Hæres. xxxi.
c. 30.]

    [Footnote 43: The words "of God" are in the Latin, but not in
    the Greek.]

The words, "some from the beginning," "others from their repentance,"
can refer only to the two conditions of believers; some of whom have
grace to keep the commandments, and persevere in the love of God from
the beginning of their Christian course, whilst others, for a time,
transgress and wax cold in love, but by repentance, through God's grace,
are renewed and {119} restored to their former state of obedience and
love. On both these classes of Christians, according to the faith as
here summed up by Irenæus, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when He
comes in glory for the consummation of all things, and for the
resurrection of the dead, will confer glory and immortality. No
ingenuity of criticism can extract from this passage any allusion to the
intercession of saints, or to their being with God before the end of the
world[44]. But I am not {120} here condemning Bellarmin's untenable
criticism: what I lament is the negligence or the disingenuousness with
which he misquotes the words of Irenæus, and makes him say what he never
did say. To extract from an author's words, correctly reported, a
meaning which he did not intend to convey, however reprehensible and
unworthy a follower of truth, is one act of injustice: to report him,
whether wilfully or carelessly, as using words which he never did use,
is far worse.

    [Footnote 44: It will be well to see the words of Bellarmin and
    those of the translation side by side:

    (Transcriber's note: They are shown here one after the other.)

    _Bellarmin_ lib. i. c. iv. p. 851.

    "Quartus Irenæus, lib. i. c. 2. 'Justis, inquit, et æquis, et
    præcepta ejus servantibus et in dilectione perseverantibus,
    quibusdam quidem ab initio, quibusdam autem ex poenitentia,
    vitam donans, incorruptelam loco muneris CONFERT, et claritatem
    æternam CIRCUMDAT.' Nota '_quibusdam_,' id est, iis qui mox a
    Baptismo moriuntur, vel qui pro Christo vitam ponunt; vel
    denique perfectis statim donari vitam et claritatem æternam;
    aliis non nisi post poenitentiam, id est, satisfactionem in
    futuro sæculo actam."

    _Latin Translation_.

    "Et de coelis in gloria Patris adventum ejus ad recapitulanda
    universa et resuscitandam omnem carnem humani generis, UT
    Christo Jesu Domino nostro et Deo, et Salvatori, et Regi,
    secundum placitum Patris invisibilis, 'omne genu curvet
    coelestium, et terrestrium, et infernorum, et omnis lingua
    confiteatur ei,' et judicium justum in omnibus faciat;
    spiritalia quidem nequitiæ, et angelos transgresses, atque
    apostatas factos, et impios et injustos et iniquos, et
    blasphemos homines in æternum ignem mittat;--Justis autem et
    æquis et præcepta ejus servantibus et in dilectione ejus
    perseverantibus, quibusdam quidem ab initio, quibusdam autem ex
    poenitentia, vitam donans, incorruptelam loco muneris CONFERAT,
    et claritatem æternam CIRCUMDET."--Irenæi liber i. cap. x. p.
    48. Interpretatio Vetus.]

Another expression of Irenæus is appealed to by Bellarmin, and continues
to be cited at the present day in defence of the invocation of saints;
the precise bearing of which upon the subject I confess myself unable to
see, whilst I am very far from understanding the passage from which it
is an extract. Bellarmin cites the passage not to show that the saints
in glory pray for us,--that argument he had dismissed before,--but to
prove that they are to be invoked by us. The insulated passage as quoted
by him is this: "And as she (Eve) was induced to fly from God, so she
(Mary) was persuaded to obey God, that of the Virgin Eve the Virgin Mary
might become the advocate." After the quotation he says, "What can be
clearer?" [Benedict, lib. v. cap. xix. p. 316.]

In whatever sense we may suppose Irenæus to have employed the word here
translated "advocata," it is difficult to see how the circumstance of
Mary becoming the advocate of Eve, who lived so many generations before
her, can bear upon the question, Is it lawful and right for us, now
dwelling on the earth, to invoke those saints whom we believe to be in
heaven? I will not dwell on the argument urged very cogently by some
critics on this passage, that the word "advocata," found {121} in the
Latin version of Irenæus, is the translation of the original word, now
lost [[Greek: paraklaetos]--paraclete], which, by the early writers, was
used for "comforter and consoler," or "restorer;" because, as I have
above intimated, whatever may have been the word employed by Irenæus,
the passage proves nothing as to the lawfulness of our praying to the
saints. If the angels at God's bidding minister unto the heirs of
salvation; or further, if they plead our cause with God, that would be
no reason why we should invoke them and pray to them. This distinction
between what they may do for us, and what we ought to do with regard to
them, is an essential distinction, and must not be lost sight of. We
shall have occasion hereafter to refer to it repeatedly, especially in
the instances of Origen and Cyprian. I will now do no more than copy in
a note the entire passage from which the sentence now under
consideration has been extracted, that the reader may judge whether on
such a passage, the original of which, in whatever words Irenæus may
have expressed himself, is utterly lost, any reliance can satisfactorily
be placed.

("Manifeste itaque in sua propria venientem Dominum et sua propria eum
bajulantem conditione quæ bajulatur ab ipso, et recapitulationem ejus
quæ in ligno fuit inobedientiæ per eam quæ in ligno est obedientiam
facientem, et seductionem illam solutam qua seducta est male illa, quæ
jam viro destinata erat virgo Eva, per veritatem evangelizata est bene
ab angelo jam sub viro virgo Maria. Quemadmodum enim illa per angeli
sermonem seducta est ut effugeret Deum prævaricata verbum ejus, ita et
hæc per angelicum sermonem evangelizata est ut portaret Deum obediens
ejus verbo. Et si ea inobedierat Deo, sed hæc suasa est obedire Deo, uti
virginis Evæ virgo Maria fieret advocata. Et quemadmodum astrictum est
morti genus humanum per virginem, salvatur per virginem, æqua lance
disposita virginalis inobedientia per virginalem obedientiam. Adhuc enim
protoplasti peccatum per correptionem primogeniti emendationem
accipiens, et serpentis prudentia devicta in columbæ simplicitate,
vinculis autem illis resolutis, per quæ alligati eramus morti." St.
Augustin (Paris, 1690. vol. x. p. 500.) refers to the latter part of
this passage, as implying the doctrine of original sin; but since his
quotation does not embrace any portion of the clause at present under
our consideration, no additional light from him is thrown on the meaning
of Irenæus.) {122}

But passages occur in Irenæus, which seem to leave doubt, that neither
in faith nor in practice would he countenance in the very lowest degree
the adoration of saints and angels, or any invocation of them.

For example, in one part of his works we read, "Nor does it [the Church]
do any thing by invocations of angels, nor by incantations, nor other
depraved and curious means, but with cleanliness, purity, and openness,
directing prayers to the Lord who made all things, and calling upon the
name of Jesus Christ our Lord, it exercises its powers for the benefit,
and not for the seducing, of mankind." [Benedictine Ed. lib. ii. c. 32.
§ 5. p. 166.] It has been said that, by angelic invocations, Irenæus
means the addresses to evil angels and genii, such as the heathen
superstitiously made. Be it so; though that is a mere assumption, not
warranted by the passage or its context. But, surely, had Irenæus known
that Christians prayed to angels, as well as to their Maker and their
Saviour, he would not have used such an unguarded expression; he would
have cautioned his readers against so serious, but so natural, a
misapprehension of his meaning.

With one more reference, we must bring our inquiry into the testimony of
Irenæus to a close. The passage occurs in the fifth book, chapter 31.
[Benedict. lib. v. c. 32. § 2. p, 331.] The principal and most
important, though not the longest, part of {123} the passage is happily
still found in the original Greek, preserved in the "Parallels" of
Damascenus. In its plain, natural, and unforced sense, this passage is
so decidedly conclusive on the question at issue, that various attempts
have been made to explain away its meaning, so as not to represent
Irenæus as believing that the souls of departed saints, between their
death and the day of judgment, exist otherwise than in bliss and glory
in heaven. But those attempts have been altogether unsuccessful. I
believe the view here presented to us by the plain and obvious sense of
the words of Irenæus, is the view at present acquiesced in by a large
proportion of our fellow-believers. The Anglican Church has made no
article of faith whatever on the subject. The clause within brackets is
found both in the Latin and the Greek.

"Since the Lord[45] in the midst of the shadow of death went where the
souls of the dead were, and then afterwards rose bodily, and after his
resurrection was taken up, it is evident that of his disciples also, for
whom the Lord wrought these things, [the souls go into the unseen[46]
place assigned to them by God, and there remain till the resurrection,
waiting for the resurrection; afterwards receiving again their bodies
and rising perfectly [[Greek: holoklaeros], perfecte], that is, bodily,
even as the Lord also rose again, so will they come into the presence of
God.] {124} For no disciple is above his master; but every one that is
perfect shall be as his master. As, therefore, our Master did not
immediately flee away and depart, but waited for the time of his
resurrection appointed by his Father (which is evident, even by the case
of Jonah); after the third day, rising again, he was taken up; so we too
must wait for the time of our resurrection appointed by God, and
fore-announced by the prophets; and thus rising again, be taken up, as
many as the Lord shall have deemed worthy of this."

    [Footnote 45: Bellarmin, rather than allow the testimony of
    Irenæus to weigh at all against the doctrine which he is
    defending, seems determined to combat and challenge that father
    himself. "Non ausus est dicere," "He has not dared to say, that
    the souls go to the regions below," &c.]

    [Footnote 46: There is no word in the Greek copy corresponding
    with the Latin "invisibilem."]

       *       *       *       *       *


Contemporary with Irenæus, and probably less than twenty years his
junior, was Clement, the celebrated Christian philosopher of Alexandria.
I am not aware that any Roman Catholic writer has appealed to the
testimony of Clement in favour of the invocation of saints, nor have I
found a single passage which the defenders of that practice would be
likely to quote; and yet there are many passages which no one, anxious
to trace the Catholic faith, would willingly neglect. The tendency of
Clement's mind to blend with the simplicity of the Gospel of Christ the
philosophy in which he so fully abounded, renders him far less valuable
as a Christian teacher; but his evidence as to the matter of fact, is
even rendered more cogent and pointed by this tendency of his mind. I
would {125} willingly have transferred to these pages whole passages of
Clement, but the very nature of my address forbids it. Some sentences
bearing on the subject immediately before us, we must not omit.

Clement has left on record many of his meditations upon the efficacy,
the duty, and the blessed comfort of prayer. When he speaks of God, and
of the Christian in prayer, (for prayer he defines to be "communion or
intercourse with God,") his language becomes often exquisitely
beautiful, and sometimes sublime. It is impossible by a few detached
passages to convey an adequate estimate of the original; and yet a few
sentences may show that Clement is a man whose testimony should not be

"Therefore, keeping the whole of our life as a feast every where, and on
every part persuaded that God is present, we praise him as we till our
lands; we sing hymns as we are sailing. The Christian is persuaded that
God hears every thing; not the voice only, but the thoughts.... Suppose
any one should say, that the voice does not reach God, revolving as it
does in the air below; yet the thoughts of the saints cut not only
through the air, but the whole world. And the divine power like the
light is beforehand in seeing through the soul.... He" (the Christian
whom he speaks of throughout as the man of divine knowledge) "prays for
things essentially good.

"Wherefore it best becomes those to pray who have an adequate knowledge
of God, and possess virtue in accordance with Him--who know what are
real goods, and what we should petition for, and when, and how in each
case. But it is the extreme of ignorance to ask {126} from those who are
not gods as though they were gods.... Whence since there is one only
good God, both we ourselves and the angels supplicate from Him alone,
that some good things might be given to us, and others might remain with
us. In this way he (the Christian) is always in a state of purity fit
for prayer. He prays with angels, as being himself equal with angels;
and as one who is never beyond the holy protecting guard. And if he pray
alone he has the whole choir of angels with him." [Stromata, lib. vii. §
7. p. 851, &c.; Section xii. p. 879.]

Clement has alluded to instances alleged by the Greeks of the effects of
prayer, and he adds, "Our whole Scripture is full of instances of God
hearing and granting every request according to the prayers of the
just." [Lib. vi. § iii. p. 753.]

Having in the same section referred to the opinion of some Greeks as to
the power of demons over the affairs of mortals, he adds, "But they
think it matters nothing whether we speak of these as gods or as angels,
calling the spirits of such 'demons,' and teaching that they should be
worshipped by men, as having, by divine providence, on account of the
purity of their lives, received authority to be conversant about earthly
places, in order that they may minister to mortals." [Lib. vi. § iii. p.

Is it possible to suppose that this teacher in Christ's school had any
idea of a Christian praying to saints or angels? In the last passage,
the language in which he quotes the errors of heathen superstition to
refute them, so nearly approaches the language of the Church of Rome
when speaking of the powers of saints and angels to assist the
suppliant, that if Clement had entertained {127} any thought whatever of
a Christian praying for aid and intercession to saint or angel, he must
have mentioned it, especially after the previous passage on the
absurdity and gross ignorance of praying for any good at the hands of
any other than the one true God.

In common with his contemporaries, Clement considered the angels to be,
as we mortals are, in a state requiring all the protection and help to
be obtained by prayer; he believed that the angels pray with us, and
carry our prayers to God: but the thought of addressing them by
invocation does not appear to have occurred to his mind. At the close of
his Pædagogus he has left on record a form of prayer to God alone very
peculiar and interesting. He closes it by an ascription of glory to the
blessed Trinity. But there is no allusion to saint, or angel, or virgin

       *       *       *       *       *


Tertullian, of Carthage, was a contemporary of Clement of Alexandria,
and so nearly of the same age, that doubts have existed, which of the
two should take priority in point of time. There is a very wide
difference in the character and tone of their works, as there was in the
frame and constitution of their minds. The lenient and liberal views of
the erudite and accomplished master of the school of Alexandria, stand
out in prominent and broad contrast with the harsh and austere doctrines
of Tertullian.

Tertullian fell into errors of a very serious kind by joining himself to
the heretic Montanus; still on his {128} mind is discoverable the
working of that spirit which animated the early converts of
Christianity; and his whole soul seems to have been filled with a desire
to promote the practical influence of the Gospel.

Jerome, the oracle on such subjects, from whom the Roman Catholic Church
is unwilling to allow any appeal, expressly tells us that Cyprian[47],
who called Tertullian the Master, never passed a single day without
studying his works; and that after Tertullian had remained a presbyter
of the Church to middle age, he was driven, by the envy and revilings of
the members of the Roman Church, to fall from its unity, and espouse
Montanism. Bellarmin calls him a heretic, and says he is the first
heretic who denied that the saints went at once and forthwith to glory.
[Hieron. edit. 1684. tom. i. p. 183.]

    [Footnote 47: The words of Jerome, who refers to the
    circumstance more than once, are very striking: "I saw one
    Paulus, who said that he had seen the secretary (notarium) of
    Cyprian at Rome, who used to tell him that Cyprian never passed
    a single day without reading Tertullian; and that he often said
    to him, 'Give me the Master,' meaning Tertullian."--Hieron. vol.
    iv. part ii. p. 115.]

A decided line of distinction is drawn by Roman Catholic writers between
the works of Tertullian written before he espoused the errors of
Montanus, and his works written after that unhappy step. The former they
hold in great estimation, the latter are by many considered of far less
authority. I do not see how such a distinction ought to affect his
testimony on the historical point immediately before us. If indeed he
had held the doctrine of the invocation of saints whilst he continued in
the full communion of the Church, and rejected it afterwards, no honest
and sensible writer would quote his later opinions against the practice.
But we are only seeking in his works for evidence of the {129} matter of
fact,--Is there any proof in the works of Tertullian that the invocation
of saints formed a part of the doctrine and practice of the Catholic
Church in his time[48]? His works will be found in the note, arranged
under those two heads, as nearly as I can ascertain the preponderating
sentiments of critics[49].

    [Footnote 48: The reader, who may be induced to consult the work
    of the present Bishop of Lincoln, entitled, "The Ecclesiastical
    History of the second and third Centuries, illustrated from the
    writings of Tertullian," will there find, in the examination and
    application of Tertullian's remains, the union of sound
    judgment, diligence in research, clearness of perception,
    acuteness in discovery, and great erudition mingled with

    [Footnote 49: Works of Tertullian before he became a

    Adversus Judæos.
    The Tract ad Martyres.
    The two Books ad Nationes.
    The Apology, and the Tract de Præscriptione Hæreticorum.
    The Tract de Testimonio Animæ.
    The Tracts de Patientia, de Oratione, de Baptismo, de
    The two books ad Uxorem.

    Works written after he espoused Montanism:--

    The Tracts de Spectaculis and de Idololatria, though others say
    these should be ranked among the first class.
    The Tracts de Corona, and de Fuga in persecutione, Scorpiace,
    and ad Scapulam.
    The Tracts de Exhortatione Castitatis, de Monogamia, de
    Pudicitia, de Jejuniis, de Virginibus Velandis, de Pallio, the
    five books against Marcion, the Tracts adversus Valentinianos,
    de Carne Christi, de Resurrectione Carnis, adversus Hermogenem,
    de Anima, adversus Praxeam, de Cultu Foeminarum.]

I will detain you only by a very few quotations from this father.

In his Apology, sect. 30, we read this very remarkable passage, "We
invoke the eternal God, the true God, the living God, for the safety of
the emperor.... {130} Thither (heavenward) looking up, with hands
extended, because they are innocent; with our head bare, because we are
not ashamed; in fine, without a prompter, because it is from the heart;
we Christians pray for all rulers a long life, a secure government, a
safe home, brave armies, a faithful senate, a good people, a quiet
world.... For these things I cannot ask in prayer from any other except
Him from whom I know that I shall obtain; because both He is the one who
alone grants, and I am the one whom it behoveth to obtain by
prayer;--his servant, who looks to him alone, who for the sake of his
religion am put to death, who offer to him a rich and a greater victim,
which He has commanded; prayer from a chaste frame, from a harmless
soul, from a holy spirit.... So, let hoofs dig into us, thus stretched
forward to God, let crosses suspend us, let fires embrace us, let swords
sever our necks from the body, let beasts rush upon us,--the very frame
of mind of a praying Christian is prepared for every torment. This do,
ye good presidents; tear ye away the soul that is praying for the
emperor." [Page 27.]

In the opening of his reflections on the Lord's Prayer, he says,--

"Let us consider therefore, beloved, in the first place, the heavenly
wisdom in the precept of praying in secret, by which he required, in a
man, faith to believe that both the sight and the hearing of the
Omnipotent God is present under our roofs and in our secret places; and
desired the lowliness of faith, that to Him alone, whom he believed to
hear and to see every where, he would offer his worship." [Page 129.]

The only other reference which I will make, is to {131} the solemn
declaration of Tertullian's Creed; the last clause of which, though in
perfect accordance with the sentiments of his contemporaries, seems to
have been regarded with hostile eyes by modern writers of the Church of
Rome, because it decidedly bids us look to the day of judgment for the
saints being taken to the enjoyment of heaven; and consequently implies
that they cannot be properly invoked now.

"To profess now what we defend: By the rule of our faith we believe that
God is altogether one, and no other than the Creator of the world, who
produced all things out of nothing by his Word first of all sent down.
That that Word, called his Son, was variously seen by the patriarchs in
the name of God; was always heard in the prophets; at length, borne by
the spirit and power of God the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made
flesh in her womb, was born of her, and was Jesus Christ. Afterwards He
preached a new law and a new promise of the kingdom of heaven; wrought
miracles, was crucified, rose again the third day, and, being taken up
into heaven, sat on the right hand of the Father; and He sent in his own
stead the power of the Holy Ghost, to guide believers; that He shall
come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of eternal life and
the heavenly promises, and to condemn the impious to eternal fire,
making a reviving of both classes with the restoration of the body." [De
Præscriptione Hæreticorum, § 13. p. 206.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Some notice must here be taken of METHODIUS, a pious Christian, of the
third century. A work (Methodius, Gl. Combes. Paris, 1644) {132}
formerly attributed to him has been quoted in proof of the early
invocation of saints; but the work, among many others, has been long ago
allowed by the best Roman Catholic critics to be the production of a
later age. (Fabricius, vol. vii. p. 268, and vol. x. p. 241.) Many
homilies, purporting to have been delivered on the festival of our
Lord's presentation in the temple, at so early a period, must be
received as the works of a later age, because that feast began to be
observed in the Church so late as the fifteenth year of Justinian, in
the sixth century. Evidently, moreover, the theological language of the
homily is of a period long subsequent to the date assigned to Methodius.
In speaking of our blessed Saviour, for example, he employs expressions
to guard against the Arian heresy, and makes extracts apparently from
the Nicene creed, "God of himself, and not by grace," "Very God of very
God, very light of very light, who for us men and our salvation, &c."
The general opinion indeed seems to be that this, and many other
writings formerly ascribed to the first Methodius, were written by
persons of a subsequent age, who either were of the same name or assumed
his. Even were the work genuine, it would afford just as strong a
demonstration that Methodius believed that the city of Jerusalem could
hear his salutation, as that the saints could hear his prayer; for he
addresses the same "Hail" to Mary, Symeon, and the Holy City alike,
calling it the "earthly heaven." [Greek: Chairois hae polis, ho epigeios
ouranos.] {133}

       *       *       *       *       *


Jerome informs us that Tertullian, whose remains we have last examined,
lived to a very advanced age. Long, therefore, before his death
flourished Origen, one of the most celebrated lights of the primitive
Church. He was educated a Christian. Indeed his father is said to have
suffered martyrdom about the year 202. Origen was a pupil of Clement of
Alexandria. His virtues and his labours have called forth the admiration
of all ages; and though he cannot be implicitly followed as a teacher,
what still remains of his works will be delivered down as a rich
treasure to succeeding times. He was a most voluminous writer; and
Jerome asked the members of his church, "Who is there among us that can
read as many books as Origen has composed?" [Vol. iv. epist. xli. p.
346.] A large proportion of his works are lost; and of those which
remain, few are preserved in the original Greek. We are often obliged to
study Origen through the medium of a translation, the accuracy of which
we have no means of verifying. A difficult and delicate duty also
devolves upon the theological student to determine which of the works
attributed to Origen are genuine and which are spurious; and what parts,
moreover, of the works received on the whole as genuine came from his
pen. Of {134} the spurious works, some are so palpably written in a much
later age, and by authors of different religious views, that no one,
after weighing the evidence, can be at a loss what decision to make
concerning them; in the case of others, claims and objections may appear
to be more evenly balanced. I trust on the one hand to refer to no works
for Origen's testimony which are not confessedly his, nor on the other
to exclude any passage which is not decidedly spurious; whilst in one
particular case more immediately connected with our subject, I am
induced to enter further in detail into a critical examination of the
genuineness and value of a passage than the character of this work
generally requires. The great importance attached to the testimony of
that passage by some defenders of the worship paid to angels, may be
admitted to justify the fulness of the criticism. Lest, however, its
insertion in the body of the work might seem inconveniently to interfere
with the reader's progress in our argument, I have thought it best to
include it in a supplementary section at the close of our inquiry into
the evidence of Origen.

Coccius, in his elaborate work, quotes the two following passages as
Origen's, without expressing any hesitation or doubt respecting their
genuineness, in which he is followed by writers of the present day. The
passages are alleged in proof that Origen held and put in practice the
doctrine of the invocation of saints; and they form the first quotations
made by Coccius under the section headed by this title: "That the saints
are to be invoked, proved by the testimony of the Greek Fathers."

The first passage is couched in these words: "I will {135} begin to
throw myself upon my knees, and pray to all the saints to come to my
aid; for I do not dare, in consequence of my excess of wickedness, to
call upon God. O Saints of God, you I pray with weeping full of grief,
that ye would propitiate his mercies for me miserable. Alas me! Father
Abraham, pray for me, that I be not driven from thy bosom, which I
greatly long for, and yet not worthily, because of the greatness of my

Coccius cites this passage as from "Origen in Lament," and it has been
recently appealed to under the title of "Origen on the Lamentations."
Here, however, is a very great mistake. Origen's work on the
Lamentations, called also "Selecta in Threnos," and inserted in the
Benedictine edition (Vol. iii. p. 321.), is entirely a different
production from the work which contains the above extract. This
apocryphal work, on the other hand, does not profess to be the comment
of Origen on the Lamentations, but the Lament or Wailing of Origen
himself; or, as it used to be called, the Penitence of Origen. (In the
Paris edition of 1519 it is called "Planctus, seu Lamentum Origenis."
Pope Gelasius refers to it as "Poenitentia Origenis.") That this work
has no pretensions whatever to be regarded as Origen's, has been long
placed beyond doubt. Even in the edition of 1545, this treatise is
prefaced by Erasmus in these words, "This Lamentation was neither
written by Origen nor translated by Jerome, but is the fiction of some
unlearned man, who attempted, under colour of this, to throw disgrace
upon Origen." [Basil, 1545. vol. i. p. 498.] In the Benedictine edition
(Paris, 1733.) no trace of this work is to be found. They do not admit
it among the doubtful, or even the spurious works; they do not so {136}
much as give room for it in the appendix; on the contrary, they drop it
altogether as utterly unworthy of being any longer preserved. Instead,
however, of admitting the work itself, these editors have supplied
abundant reason for its exclusion, by inserting the sentiments of
Huetius, or Huet, the very learned bishop of Avranches. He tells us,
that formerly to Origen's work on Principles used to be appended a
treatise called, the Lament of Origen, the Latin translation of which
Guido referred to Jerome. After quoting the passage of Erasmus (as above
cited from the edition of 1545) in proof of its having been "neither
written by Origen nor translated by Jerome, but the fabrication of some
unlearned man, who attempted, under colour of this, to throw disgrace on
Origen, just as they forged a letter in Jerome's name, lamenting that he
had ever thought with Origen," Huet proceeds thus: "And Gelasius in the
Roman Council writes, 'The book which is called The Repentance of
Origen, apocryphal.' It is wonderful, therefore, that without any mark
of its false character, it should be sometimes cited by some theologians
in evidence. Here we may smile at the supineness of a certain heterodox
man of the present age, who thought the 'Lament,' ascribed to Origen, to
be something different from the Book of Repentance." [Vol. iv. part ii.
p. 326.]

The Decree here referred to of Pope Gelasius, made in the Roman Council,
A.D. 494, by that pontiff, in conjunction with seventy bishops, contains
these strong expressions, before enumerating some few of the books then
condemned: "Other works written by heretics and schismatics, the
Catholic and Apostolic Church by {137} no means receives; of them we
think it right to subjoin a few which have occurred to our memory, and
are to be avoided by Catholics." [Conc. Labb. vol. iv. p. 1265.] Then
follows a list of prohibited works, among which we read, "the book
called The Repentance of Origen, apocryphal," the very book which Huet
identifies with the "Lament of Origen," still cited as evidence even in
the present day. (See Appendix A.)

The second passage cited by Coccius, and also by writers of the present
time, as Origen's, without any allusion to its spurious and apocryphal
character, is from the second book of the work called Origen on Job. The
words cited run thus: "O blessed Job, who art living for ever with God,
and remainest conqueror in the sight of the Lord the King, pray for us
wretched, that the mercy of the terrible God may protect us in all our
afflictions, and deliver us from all oppressions of the wicked one; and
number us with the just, and enrol us among those who are saved, and
make us rest with them in his kingdom, where for ever with the saints we
may magnify him."

This work, like the former, has no claim whatever to be regarded as
Origen's. It has long been discarded by the learned. Indeed so far back
as 1545, Erasmus, in his Censura, proved that it was written long after
the time of Origen by an Arian. (Basil, 1545. vol. i. p. 408; and
"Censura.") By the Benedictine editors it is transferred to an appendix
as the Commentary of an anonymous writer on Job; and they thus express
their judgment as to its being a forgery: "The Commentary of an
anonymous writer on Job, in previous editions, is ascribed to Origen;
{138} but that it is not his, Huet proves by unconquerable arguments.
This translation is assigned to Hilary, the bishop; but although it is
clear from various proofs of Jerome, that St. Hilary translated the
tracts or homilies of Origen on Job, yet there is no reason why that man
who wrote with the highest praise against the Arians, should be
considered as the translator of this work, which is infected with the
corruption of Arianism, and which is not Origen's." [Vol. ii. p. 894.]
Erasmus calls the prologue to this treatise on Job "the production of a
silly talkative man, neither learned nor modest."

It is impossible not to feel, with regard to these two works, the
sentiments which, as we have already seen, the Bishop of Avranches has
so strongly expressed on one. "It is wonderful, that they should be
sometimes cited in evidence by some theologians, without any mark of
their being forgeries."

Proceeding with our examination of the sentiments of Origen, I would
here premise, that not the smallest doubt can be entertained that Origen
believed the angels to be ministering spirits, real, active, zealous
workmen and fellow-labourers with us in the momentous and awful business
of our eternal salvation. He represents the angels as members of the
same family with ourselves, as worshippers of the same God, as servants
of the same master, as children of the same father, as disciples of the
same heavenly teacher, as learners of one and the same heavenly
doctrine. He contemplates them as members of our Christian
congregations, as joining with us in prayer to our heavenly Benefactor,
as taking pleasure when they hear in our {139} assemblies what is
agreeable to the will of God, and as being present too not only
generally in the Christian Church, but also with individual members of
it[50]. But does Origen, therefore, countenance any invocation of them?
Let us appeal to himself.

    [Footnote 50: One or two references will supply abundant proof
    of this: "I do not doubt that in our congregation angels are
    present, not only in general to the whole Church, but also
    individually with those of whom it is said, 'Their angels do
    always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.' A twofold
    Church is here: one of men, the other of angels. If we say any
    thing agreeably to reason and the mind of Scripture, the angels
    rejoice to pray with us." And a little above, "Our Saviour,
    therefore, as well as the Holy Spirit, who spoke by the
    prophets, instructs not only men, but angels and invisible
    powers."--Hom, xxiii. in Luc. vol. iii. p. 961.

    "Whoever, therefore, confessing his sins, repents, or confesses
    Christ before men in persecutions, is applauded by his brethren.
    For there is joy and gladness to the angels in heaven over one
    sinner that repenteth. By them, therefore, as by brethren (for
    both men and angels are sons of the same Creator and Father)
    they are praised."--In Genes. Hom. xvii. p. 110.]

Celsus accused the Christians of being atheists, godless, men without
God, because they would not worship those gods many and lords many, and
those secondary, subordinate, auxiliary, and ministering divinities with
which the heathen mythology abounded: Origen answers, we are not
godless, we are not without an object of our prayer; we pray to God
Almighty alone through the mediation only of his Son.

"We must pray to God alone ([Greek: Mono gar proseukteon to epi pasi
Theo]), who is over all things; and we must pray also to the
only-begotten and first-born of every creature, the Word of God; and we
must implore him as our High Priest to carry our prayer, first coming to
him, to his God and our {140} God, to his Father and the Father of those
who live agreeably to the word of God." [Cont. Cels. § 8. c. xxvi. vol.
i. p. 761.]

But Celsus, in this well representing the weakness and failings of human
nature, still urged on the Christian the necessity, or at all events the
expediency, of conciliating those intermediate beings who executed the
will of the Supreme Being, and might haply have much left at their own
will and discretion to give or to withhold; and therefore the
desirableness of securing their good offices by prayer. To this Origen

"The one God ([Greek: Hena oun ton epi pasi theon haemin
exenmenisteon])--the God who is over all, is to be propitiated by us,
and to be appeased by prayer; the God who is rendered favourable by
piety and all virtue. But if he (Celsus) is desirous, after the supreme
God, to propitiate some others also, let him bear in mind, that just as
a body in motion is accompanied by the motion of its shadow, so also by
rendering the supreme God favourable, it follows that the person has all
his (God's) friends, angels, souls, spirits, favourable also; for they
sympathize with those who are worthy of God's favour; and not only do
they become kindly affected towards the worthy, but they also join in
their work with those who desire to worship the supreme God; and they
propitiate him, and they pray with us, and supplicate with us; so that
we boldly say, that together with men who on principle prefer the better
part, and pray to God, ten thousands of holy powers join in prayer
UNASKED ([Greek: aklaetoi])," [UNBIDDEN, UNCALLED upon.] [Cont. Cels.
lib. viii. § 64. vol. i. p. 789.]

What an opportunity was here for Origen to have stated, that though
Christians do not call upon demons and the subordinate divinities of
heathenism to aid {141} them, yet that they do call upon the ministering
spirits, the true holy angels, messengers and servants of the most High
God! But whilst speaking of them, and magnifying the blessings derived
to man through their ministry, so far from encouraging us to ask them
for their good offices, his testimony on the contrary is not merely
negative; he positively asserts that when they assist mankind, it is
without any request or prayer from man. Could this come from one who
invoked angels?

Another passage, although it adds little to the evidence of the above
extract, I am unwilling to pass by, because it beautifully illustrates
by the doctrine and practice of Origen the prayer, the only one adopted
by the Anglican Church, offered by the Church to God for the succour and
defence of the holy angels. Speaking of the unsatisfactory slippery road
which they tread, who either depend upon the agency of demons for good,
or are distressed by the fear of evil from them, Origen adds, "How far
better ([Greek: poso Beltion]) were it to commit oneself to God who is
over all, through Him who instructed us in this doctrine, Jesus Christ,
and OF HIM to ask for every aid from the holy angels and the just, that
they may rescue us from the earthly demons." [Cont. Cels. lib. viii. §
60. vol. i. p. 786.]

In the following passage Origen answers the question of Celsus: "If you
Christians admit the existence of angels, tell us what you consider
their nature to be?" [Cont. Cels. lib. v. § 4. p. 579.]

"Come," replies Origen, "let us consider these points. Now we
confessedly say, that the angels are ministering spirits, and sent to
minister on account of those who are to be heirs of salvation; that they
ascend, bearing with them the supplications of men into the most pure
{142} heavenly places of the world; and that they again descend from
thence, bearing to each in proportion to what is appointed by God for
them to minister to the well-doers. And learning that these are, from
their work, called angels ([Greek: aggeloi], messengers, ministers sent
to execute some commission), we find them, because they are divine,
sometimes called even gods in the Holy Scriptures; but not so, as for
any injunction to be given to us to worship and adore, instead of God,
those who minister, and bring to us the things of God. For every request
and prayer, and supplication and thanksgiving, must be sent up to Him
who is God above all, through the High Priest, who is above all angels,
even the living Word of God. And we also make our requests to the Word,
and supplicate Him, and moreover offer our prayer to Him; if we can
understand the difference between the right use and the abuse of prayer.
For it is not reasonable for us to call upon angels, without receiving a
knowledge concerning them which is above man. But supposing the
knowledge concerning them, wonderful and unutterable as it is, had been
received; that very knowledge describing their nature, and those to whom
they are respectively assigned, would not give confidence in praying to
any other than to Him who is sufficient for every thing, God who is
above all, through our Saviour, the Son of God, who is the word, and
wisdom, and the truth, and whatsoever else the writings of the prophets
of God, and the Apostles of Jesus say concerning Him. But for the angels
of God to be favourable to us, and to do all things for us, our
disposition towards God is sufficient; we copy them to the utmost of
human strength, {143} as they copy God. And our conception concerning
his Son, the Word, according to what is come to us, is not opposed to
the more clear conception of the holy angels concerning Him, but is
daily approximating towards it in clearness and perspicuity."

Again, he thus writes: "But Celsus wishes us to dedicate the
first-fruits unto the demons; but we to Him who said, Let the earth
bring forth grass, &c. But to whom we give the first-fruits, to him we
send up also our prayers; having a great High Priest who is entered into
the heavens, Jesus the Son of God; and this confession we hold fast as
long as we live, having God favourable unto us, and his only-begotten
Son being manifested among us, Jesus Christ. But if we wish to have a
multitude favourable unto us, we learn that thousand thousands stand by
Him, and ten thousand thousands minister unto Him; who, regarding those
as kinsfolks and friends who imitate their piety to God, work together
for the salvation of them who call upon God and pray sincerely;
appearing also, and thinking that they ought to listen to them, and as
if upon one watchword to go forth for the benefit and salvation of those
who pray to God, to whom they also pray." [Cont. Cels. lib. viii. § 34.
(Benedict, p. 766.)]

After these multiplied declarations of Origen, not only confessing that
Christians did not pray to the angels, but vindicating them from the
charge of impiety brought against them by their enemies for their
neglect of the worship of angels, is it possible to regard him as a
witness in favour of prayer to angels?

But it has been said that Origen in another passage (Cont. Cels. lib.
viii. § 13. p. 751.) {144} plainly implies, that he would not be
unwilling to discuss the question of some worship being due to angels
and archangels, provided the idea of that worship, and the acts of the
worshippers, were first cleared of all misapprehension. And I would not
that any Catholic, whether in communion with the Church of England or of
Rome, should make any other answer than Origen here gave to Celsus. Let
me speak freely on this point. I should not respect the memory of Origen
as I do, had he taught differently. The word which he uses is the Greek
word "therapeusis," precisely the same word with that which the learned
in medicine now use to describe the means of healing diseases. It is a
word of very wide import. It signifies the care which a physician takes
of his patient; the service paid to a master; the attention given to a
superior; the affectionate attendance of a friend; the allegiance of a
subject; the worship of the Supreme Being. Origen says, Provided Celsus
will specify what kind of "therapeusis" he would wish to be paid to
those angels and archangels whose existence we acknowledge, I am ready
to enter upon the subject with him. This is all he says. And we of the
Anglican Church are ready from our hearts to join him. Call it by what
name we may, we are never backward in acknowledging ourselves bound to
render it. We pay to the angels and archangels, and all the company of
heaven, the homage of respect, and veneration, and love. They are indeed
our fellow-servants; they are, like ourselves, creatures of God's hand;
but they are exalted far above us in nature and in office. By the grace
of God, we would daily endeavour to become less distant from {145} them
in purity, in zeal, in obedience. Origen here speaks not one word of
adoration, of invocation, of prayer. He speaks of a feeling and a
behaviour, which the Greeks called "therapeusis," and which we best
render by "respect, veneration, and love." Far from us be the thought of
lowering the holy angels in the eyes of our fellow-creatures; equally
far from us be the thought of invoking them, of asking them even for
their prayers. They are holy creatures and holy messengers: we will
think and speak of them with reverence, and gratitude, and affection;
but they are creatures and messengers still, and when we think or speak
of the object of prayer, we think and speak solely and exclusively of

With regard to Origen's opinion, as to the invocation of the souls of
saints departed, a very few words will suffice. He clearly records his
opinion that the faithful are still waiting for us, and that till we all
rejoice together, their joy will not be full: he leaves among the
mysteries not to be solved now the question whether the departed can
benefit the human race at all; and he has added reflections, full of
edifying and solemn admonition, which would dissuade his
fellow-believers from placing their confidence in any virtues, or
intercessions, or merits of saints, and in any thing except the mere
mercy of God, through Jesus Christ, and our own individual labour in the
work of the Lord.

In his seventh homily on Leviticus, in a passage partly quoted by
Bellarmin, we read[51]--"Not even the Apostles have yet received their
joy, but even they are waiting, in order that I also may become a
partaker of {146} their joy. For the saints departing hence do not
immediately receive all the rewards of their deserts; but they wait even
for us, though we be delaying and dilatory[52]. For they have not
perfect joy as long as they grieve for our errors, and mourn for our
sins." Then, having quoted the Epistle to the Hebrews, he
proceeds,--"You see, therefore, that Abraham is yet waiting to obtain
those things that are perfect; so is Isaac and Jacob; and so all the
prophets are waiting for us, that they might obtain eternal blessedness
with us. Wherefore, even this mystery is kept, to the last day of
delayed judgment."

    [Footnote 51: Vol. ii. p. 222. Nondum enim receperunt lætitiam
    suam, ne apostoli quidem, &c. But see Huetius on Origen, lib.
    ii. q. 11. No. 10.]

    [Footnote 52: He thinks it probable, that the saints departed
    feel an interest in the welfare of men on earth. See vol. iv. p.

Modern Roman Catholic writers tell us, that we must consider Origen here
as only referring to the reunion of the soul with the body; but his
words cannot be so interpreted. The cause of the saints still waiting
for their consummation of bliss, is stated to be the will of God, that
all the faithful should enter upon their full enjoyment of blessedness

Again: it may be asked, whether the following passage could have come
from the pen of one who prayed to the saints, as already reigning with
Christ in heaven.

"But now whether the saints who are removed from the body and are with
Christ, act at all, and labour for us, like the angels who minister to
our salvation; or whether, again, the wicked removed from the body act
at all according to the purpose of their own mind, like the bad angels,
with whom, it is said by Christ, that they will be sent into eternal
fires;--let this too be {147} considered among the secret things of God,
mysteries not to be committed to writing." [Epist. ad Rom. lib. ii.
(Benedict. vol. iv. p. 479.) "Jam vero si etiam," &c.]

In a passage found in Origen's Comment on Ezekiel's text, "Though Noah,
Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver neither son nor
daughter, they should deliver only their own souls by their
righteousness," [Hom. iii. vol. iii. p. 372.] independently of the
testimony borne to the point before us, we read a very interesting and
awakening lesson of general application:--

"First, let us expound the passage agreeably to its plain sense, in
consequence of the ignorance of some who maintain the ideas of their own
mind to be the truth of God, and often say, 'Every one of us will be
able by his prayers to snatch whomsoever he will from hell,' and
introduce iniquity to the Lord; not seeing that the righteousness of the
righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be
upon him; so that each shall die in his own sin, and each live in his
own person. My father being a martyr profits me nothing, if I shall not
live well, and adorn the nobleness of my race,--that is, his testimony
and confession, by which he was glorified in Christ. It profiteth not
the Jews to say, 'We were not born of fornication, we have one father,
the Lord;' and, a little after, 'Abraham is our father.' Whatever they
may say, whatever they will assume, if they have not the faith of
Abraham they make their boast in vain; for they will not be saved on
account of their being children of Abraham. Since, therefore, some have
formed incorrect notions, we have necessarily brought in the plain sense
of the passage as to the letter, saying, Noah, Daniel, and Job will not
rescue sons or daughters; they only will be saved. Let no {149} one of
us put his trust in a just father, a holy mother, chaste brethren.
Blessed is the man who hath his hope in himself, and in the right way.
But to those who place confident trust in the saints, we bring forward
no improper example,--'Cursed is the man whose hope is in man;' and
again, 'Trust ye not in man.' And this also, 'It is good to trust in the
Lord rather than in princes[53].' If we must hope in some object,
leaving all others, let us hope in the Lord, saying, 'Though a host of
men were set against me, yet shall not my heart be afraid.'"

    [Footnote 53: These observations may perhaps refer more
    especially to the saints still on earth; but they apply to all
    helpers, save God alone.]

He finishes the homily thus: "The righteous see three periods; the
present, the period of change when the Lord will judge, and that which
will be after the resurrection,--that is, the eternity of life in heaven
in Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."

Can this confessor of the Christian faith have ever taught his
fellow-believers to plead the merits of the saints, or to pray for their
intercessions? How strongly are the above sentiments contrasted with a
passage in the third of the spurious homilies called In Diversos; the
first clause of which is referred to by Bellarmin, as containing
Origen's approbation of giving honour to the saints[54].

    [Footnote 54: I hardly need detain the reader by any proof of
    the spuriousness of this passage; the whole work from which it
    is taken is rejected altogether by the Benedictine editors:
    "Reliqua ejusmodi spuria omittenda censuimus, qualia sunt ...
    Homiliæ in diversos;" and they have not allowed a single line of
    it to appear in their volumes, not even in the small
    character.--Vol. iv. p. 1.]

"The memory of these (the Innocents) is always {149} celebrated, as is
right, in the Churches. These, therefore, since they were unjustly or
impiously put to death in peace and rest, having suffered much for the
name of the Lord, were taken from this world, to remain in the eternal
Church for ever in Christ. But their parents for the merits of their
suffering will receive a worthy recompense of reward from the just and
eternal Lord God." Here we have strongly marked indeed the difference
between Origen himself, and the errors fastened upon him by the design
or ignorance of subsequent times.

Were not his testimony a subject of great moment, I should plead guilty
to having detained my readers too long on Origen; and yet I cannot
dismiss him without first refreshing our minds with the remembrance of
some of his beautiful reflections on a Christian's prayer. We need not
read them with a controversial eye, and they may be profitable to us

"I think, then, (says this early teacher in Christ's school) that when
proceeding to prayer, a Christian will be more readily disposed, and be
in a better tone for the general work of prayer, if he will first tarry
a little, and put himself into the right frame, casting off every
distracting and disturbing thought, and with his best endeavour
recalling to mind the vastness of HIM to whom he is drawing near, and
how unholy a thing it is to approach him with a carelessness and
indifference, and, as it were, contempt; laying aside also every thing
foreign to the subject;--so to come to prayer as one who stretcheth
forth his soul first, before his hands; and lifts up his mind first,
before his eyes, to God; and before he stands up, raising from the
ground the leading [150} principle of his nature, and lifting that up to
the Lord of all. So far casting away all remembrance of evil towards any
of those who may seem to have injured him, as he wishes God not to
remember evil against him, who has himself been guilty, and has
trespassed against many of his neighbours, or in whatever he is
conscious to have done contrary to right reason." [De Oratione, vol. i.
§ 31. p. 267.]

"Having divided prayer into its several parts" (he continues), "I may
bring my work to a close. There are then four parts of prayer requiring
description, which I have found scattered in the Scriptures, all of
which every one should embody in his prayer:--

"First, we must offer glory (doxologies) to the best of our ability in
the opening and commencement of our prayer, to God through Christ who is
glorified with Him in the Holy Spirit, who is praised together. After
this each person should offer general thanksgivings both for the
blessings granted to all, and for those which he has individually
obtained from God. After the thanksgiving, it appears to me right, that
becoming, as it were, a bitter accuser of his own sins to God, he should
petition first of all for a remedy to release him from the habit which
impels him to transgress, and then for remission of the past. And after
the confession, I think he ought in the fourth place, to add a
supplication for great and heavenly things, both individual and
universal, and for his relations and friends. After all, he should close
his prayer with an ascription of glory to God through Christ in the Holy
Ghost." [Sect. 33. p. 271.] {151}

       *       *       *       *       *


I have above intimated my intention of reserving for a separate section
our examination of a passage ascribed to Origen, in which he is
represented as having invoked an angel to come down from heaven, to
succour him and his fellow-creatures on earth. The passage purports to
be part of Origen's comment on the opening verse of the prophecy of
Ezekiel, "The heavens were opened." After the fullest investigation, and
patient weighing of the whole section, I am fully persuaded, first, that
the passage is an interpolation, never having come from the pen of
Origen; and secondly, that, whoever were its author, it can be regarded
only as an instance of those impassioned apostrophes, which are found in
great variety in the addresses of ancient Christian orators. But since
some of the most respected writers of the Church of Rome have regarded
it as genuine, and deemed it worthy of being cited in evidence, I feel
it incumbent to state at length, for those readers who may desire to
enter at once fully into the question, the reasons on which my judgment
is founded; whilst others, who may perhaps consider the discussion of
the several points here as too great an interruption to the general
argument, may for the present pass this section, and reserve it for
subsequent inquiry.

It will be, in the first place, necessary to quote the whole passage
entire, however long; for the mere extract of that portion which is
cited as Origen's prayer to an {152} angel, might leave a false
impression as to the real merits of the case.

"The heavens are opened. The heavens were closed, and at the coming of
GHOST MIGHT COME UPON HIM in the appearance of a dove. For he could not
come to us unless he had first descended on one who partook of his own
nature. Jesus ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, he received
gifts for men. He who descended is the same who ascended above all
heavens, that he might fill all things; and he gave some as apostles,
some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and masters, for
the perfecting of the saints." [Vol. iii. p. 358. Hom. i. in Ezek.]

"[The heavens were opened. It is not enough for one heaven to be opened:
very many are opened, that not from one, but from all, angels may
descend to those who are to be saved; angels who ascended and descended
upon the Son of man, and came to him, and ministered to him. Now the
angels descended because Christ first descended, fearing to descend
before the Lord of all powers and things commanded. But when they saw
the chieftain of the army of heaven dwelling in earthly places, then
they entered through the opened road, following their Lord, and obeying
his will, who distributes them as guardians of those that believe on his
name. Thou yesterday wast under a devil, to-day thou art under an angel.
Do not ye, saith the Lord, despise one of the least of those who are in
the Church? Verily, I say unto you, that their angels through all things
see the face of the Father who is in heaven. The angels attend on thy
salvation; they were granted for the ministry of the Son of God, and
{153} they say among themselves, If he descended, and descended into a
body, if he is clothed in mortal flesh, and endured the cross, and died
for man, why are we resting idle? Why do we spare ourselves? Haste away!
Let all of us angels descend from heaven! Thus also was there a
multitude of the heavenly host praising and blessing God when Christ was
born. All things are full of angels. COME, ANGEL, take up one who by the
word is converted from former error, from the doctrine of demons, from
iniquity speaking on high, and taking him up like a good physician,
cherish him, and instruct him. He is a little child, to-day he is born,
an old man again growing young; and undertake him, granting him the
baptism of the second regeneration; and summon to thyself other
companions of thy ministry, that you all may together train for the
faith those who have been sometime deceived. For there is greater joy in
heaven over one sinner repenting, than over ninety and nine just persons
who need no repentance. Every creature exults, rejoices with, and with
applause addresses those who are to be saved; for the expectation of the
creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. And although
those who have interpolated the apostolical writings are unwilling that
such passages should be in their books as may prove Christ to be the
Creator, yet every creature waiteth for the sons of God when they shall
be freed from sin, when they shall be taken away from the hand of
Zabulon[55], when they shall be regenerated by Christ. But now it is
time that we touch somewhat on the present place. The Prophet sees not a
vision, but visions of God. {154} Why did he see not one, but many
visions? Hear the Lord promising and saying, I have multiplied visions.
8. 'The fifth month.' This was the fifth year of the captivity of king
Joachim. In the thirtieth year of Ezekiel's age, and the fifth of the
captivity of Joachim, the prophet is sent to the Jews. The most merciful
Father did not despise the people, nor leave them a long time
unadmonished. It is the fifth year. How much time intervened? Five years
elapsed since they were captives in bondage.]

(The portion between brackets is what I regard as an interpolation.)

    [Footnote 55: This word is frequently used for "Diabolum." Thus
    in a hymn used in the Roman ritual on Michaelmas-day we read,
    "Michaelem in virtute conterentem Zabulum."]

"Immediately the Holy Spirit descends. He opened the heavens, that they
who were oppressed by the yoke of bondage might see those things which
were seen by the prophet. For when he says, The heavens were opened, in
some measure they see with the eyes of their heart what he had seen even
with the eyes of his flesh."

Now the question is, Can this apostrophe to an angel be admitted as
evidence that Origen held, and in his own person acted upon the doctrine
of the Invocation of Angels?

The nature of the present work precludes us from entering at length on
the broad question, how far we can with safety regard the several
writings which now purport to be translations of Origen's compositions,
as on the whole the works of that early Christian writer. A multitude of
those works which, until almost the middle of the sixteenth century,
were circulated as Origen's, have long been by common consent excluded
from the catalogue of his works[56]. On this subject I {155} would refer
any one, who desires to enter upon the inquiry, to the several prefaces
of the Benedictine editors, who point out many sources of information,
as well from among their friends as from those with whom they differ.
Our inquiry must be limited within far narrower bounds, though I trust
our arguments may assist somewhat in establishing the principles on
which the student may at first guide himself in the wider range of

    [Footnote 56: See preface to vol. iv. of the Benedictine

We will first look to the external evidence bearing on the passage in
question, and then to the internal character of the passage itself.

Origen's Commentaries on Ezekiel were divided into no fewer than
twenty-five volumes, which he is said to have begun in Cæsarea of
Palestine, and to have finished in Athens. Of these only one single
fragment remains, namely, part of the twenty-first volume[57]. Jerome
says that he translated fourteen of Origen's homilies on Ezekiel. Of
these not one passage in the original language of Origen is known to be
in existence. We must now, therefore, either receive the existing
translations generally as Origen's, (whether they are Jerome's
translations or not,) or we must consider Origen's homilies on Ezekiel
as altogether lost to us. But supposing that we receive these works as
containing, on the whole, traditionary translations of Origen, the
genuineness of any one passage may yet become the subject of fair
criticism. And whilst some persons reject whole masses of them
altogether, the history of his works cannot but suggest some very
perplexing points of suspicion and doubt.

    [Footnote 57: See Benedictine edition, vol. iii. p. 351. and
    Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. lib. vi. c. 6. there referred to.] {156}

The great body of his homilies, Origen probably delivered extempore in
the early part of his ministry to the Christians of Cæsarea. Eusebius
tells us, that not before Origen had reached his sixtieth year did he
sanction the notaries (persons well known to history and corresponding
to the short-hand writers[58] of the present day) in publishing any of
his homilies. [Eccles. Hist. lib. vi. c. 36.] But the Benedictine
editor, De la Rue, conceives that those men might surreptitiously and
against the preacher's wishes have published some of Origen's homilies.
Be this as it may. Suppose that the homilies on Ezekiel were published
by Origen himself, and were translated by Jerome himself, our doubts are
not removed even by that supposition. The same editor in the same
preface tells us, "It is known to the learned that it was Jerome's
habit, in translating Greek, sometimes to insert some things of his
own[59]." Not that I for a moment conceive the passage under
consideration to have come in its Latin dress from the pen of Jerome;
for my conviction being that it is an interpolation of a much later
date, I mention the circumstance to show, that even when Jerome, with
his professed accuracy, is the translator, we can in no case feel sure
that we are reading the exact and precise sentiments of Origen.

    [Footnote 58: The Latin word "notarius" (notary) does not come
    so near as our own English expression, "short-hand writer," to
    the Greek word used by Eusebius,--"tachygraphus,"
    "quick-writer." The report of Eusebius as to the homilies of
    Origen having been delivered extempore, and taken down by these
    "quick-writers," is confirmed by Pamphilus the martyr, as quoted
    by Valesius, in the annotations on this passage of
    Eusebius.--Apol. Orig. lib. i.]

    [Footnote 59: Cui in vertendis Græcis sciunt eruditi solemne
    esse nonnulla interdum de suo inserere.] {157}

Ruffinus, his celebrated contemporary, accused Jerome of many
inaccuracies in his translations; and yet what were the principles of
translation adopted by Ruffinus himself, as his own, we are not left to
infer; for we learn it from his own pen. His voluntary acknowledgment in
the peroration which he added to Origen's Comment on the Epistle of St.
Paul to the Romans, strongly and painfully exhibits to us how little
dependence can safely be placed on such translations whenever the
original is lost; how utterly insufficient and unsatisfactory is any
evidence drawn from them, as to the real genuine sentiments and
expressions of the author. Ruffinus informs us, that with regard to many
of the various works of Origen, he changed the preacher's extemporary
addresses, as delivered in the Church, into a more explanatory form,
"adding, supplying, filling up what he thought wanting[60]."

    [Footnote 60: Dum supplere cupimus ea quæ ab Origene in
    auditorio Ecclesiæ extempore (non tam explanationis quam
    ædificationis intentione) perorata sunt.... Si addere quod
    videar, et explere quæ desunt.--Orig. vol. iv. p. 688.]

Moreover, he proceeds so far as to tell us[61] that his false {158}
friends had remonstrated with him for not publishing the works under his
own name, instead of retaining Origen's, his changes having been so
great; a point, which he was far from unwilling to acknowledge. This
must appear to every one unsatisfactory in the extreme, and to shake
one's confidence in any evidence drawn from such a source. Indeed, the
Benedictine editor, with great cause and candour, laments this course of
proceeding on the part of Ruffinus, as throwing a doubt and uncertainty,
and suspicion, over all the works so tampered with. "This one thing
(observes that honest editor) would the learned desire, that Ruffinus
had spared himself the labour of filling up what he thought deficient.
For since the Greek text has perished, it can scarcely with certainty be
distinguished, where Origen himself speaks, or where Ruffinus obtrudes
his own merchandise upon us." This is more than enough to justify our
remarks. I must, however, refer to the conduct of another editor and
translator of Origen, of a similar tendency. It unhappily shows the
disposition to sacrifice every thing to the received opinions of the
Church of Rome, rather than place the whole evidence of antiquity before
the world, and abide by the result. How many works this principle, in
worse hands, may have mutilated, or utterly buried in oblivion, and left
to perish, it is impossible to conjecture; that the principle is
unworthy the spirit of Christianity will not now be questioned. That
editor and translator, in his advertisement on the Commentary upon St.
John, thus professes the principles which he had adopted: "Know,
moreover, that I have found nothing in this book which {159} seemed to
be inconsistent with the decrees of holy Mother Church: for had I found
any, I would not have translated the book, or would have marked the
suspected place." [Quoted by the Benedictine, vol. iv. p. viii.] The
Benedictine proceeds to say, that the writer had not kept his word, but
had allowed many heterodox passages to escape, whilst he had
deliberately withdrawn others.

    [Footnote 61: His words, as indicative of his principles of
    translation, and bearing immediately on the question, as to the
    degree of authority which should be assigned to the remains of
    Origen, when the original is lost, deserve a place here: "I am
    exposed to a new sort of charge at their hands; for thus they
    address me,--In your writings, since very many parts in them
    (plurima in eis) are considered to be of your own production,
    give the title of your own name, and write, for example, The
    Books of Explanations of Ruffinus on the Epistle to the
    Romans,--but the whole of this they offer me, not from any love
    of me, but from hatred to the author. But I, who consult my
    conscience more than my fame, even if I am seen to add some
    things, and to fill up what are wanting, or to shorten what are
    too long, yet I do not think it right to steal the title of him,
    who laid the foundations of the works, and supplied the
    materials for the buildings. Yet, in truth, it may be at the
    option of the reader, when he shall have approved of the work,
    to ascribe the merits to whom he will."]

Many works probably, of the earliest ages, have been wholly or in part
lost to us from the working of the same principle in its excess. Rather
than perpetuate any sentiments at variance with the received doctrines
of the Church, it was considered the duty of the faithful to let works,
in themselves valuable, but containing such sentiments, altogether
perish, or to exclude the objectionable passages.

I would now invite you to examine the passage itself, and determine
whether it does not bear within it internal evidence of its having been
altogether interpolated.

In the first place, on the words upon which it professes to be a
comment, the author had already given his comment, and assigned to them
another meaning. "The heavens were opened," he says: "Before the time of
Christ the heavens were shut; but at his advent they were opened, THAT
THE HOLY SPIRIT MIGHT DESCEND FIRST ON HIM;" quoting also among others
the passage which speaks of Christ taking captivity captive. And then
after the passage in question, in which he assigns a totally different
reason for the opening of the heavens; without any allusion to the
intervening ideas, he carries on, and concludes the comment which he had
begun,--in words which fit on well with the close of that comment, but
which, as they stand now at the close of the intervening passage about
the angels, are abrupt and incoherent--"Forthwith the Holy Spirit {160}
descended;" recurring also again to the idea which he had before
introduced of Christ benefiting those who were in captivity. A passage
which affixes to the words commented upon, a different interpretation
from one already given in the same paragraph; and which forces itself
abruptly and incoherently in the middle of a brief comment, must offer
itself to our examination under strong grounds of suspicion, that it has
been interpolated. But when we examine the substance of the passage, its
sentiments, the ideas conveyed, and the associations suggested, and then
think of the author to whom it is ascribed, few probably will be
disposed to regard it as a faithful mirror in which to contemplate the
real sentiments of Origen.

How utterly unworthy of the sublime burst of Christian eloquence which
now delights us in undoubted works of Origen, is this strange and
degrading fiction! The true Origen THERE represents the tens of
thousands of angelic spirits ten thousand times told, as ever
surrounding the throne of God, and ministering for the blessing of those
in whose behalf God himself wills them to serve. [Vol. i. p. 767. Contr.
Cels. viii. 34.] Here he represents the revelation of the holiest of
holies as a throwing open of the various divisions or compartments of
the celestial kingdom for all the angels to hasten forth together, from
their several places of indolence and carelessness and self-indulgence,
(for such he represents their state to have been,) to visit this earth.
Surely such a comment would better suit the mythology of the cave and
dens of Æolus and his imprisoned winds (velut agmine facto qua data
porta ruunt) than the awfully sublime revelation vouchsafed to the
prophet Ezekiel. And how unworthy and degrading is that representation
of the {161} heavenly host, resting inactive, and sparing themselves
from toil, until they witnessed Christ's descent and humiliation; and
then when chid and put to shame and rebuke, and mutually roused to
action by their fellows, coming down to visit this earth, and rushing
through the opened portals of heaven.

Again, we see how incoherent is the whole section which contains the
alleged prayer to angels: "Thou wast yesterday under a demon, to-day
thou art under an angel: the angels minister to thy salvation; they are
granted for the ministry of the Son of God, &c. All things are full of
angels. Come, Angel, take up one who is converted from his ancient
error, &c. And call to thee other companions of thy ministry, that all
of you alike may train up to the faith those who were once deceived."
Indeed the passage seems to carry within itself its own condemnation so
entirely, that what we have before alleged, both of internal and
external evidence, may appear superfluous. Surely the conceit of a
preacher of God's word addressing an angel, (which of them he thus
individually addresses does not appear; for he says not "My Angel," as
though he were appealing to one whom he regarded as his guardian, the
view gratuitously suggested in the marginal note of the Benedictine
editor, "the invocation of a guardian angel,") and bidding some one
angel, as a sort of summoner, to go and call to himself all the angels
of heaven to come in one body, and instruct those who are in error, is,
even as a rhetorical apostrophe, as unworthy the mind of a Christian
philosopher, as it is in the light of a prayer totally inconsistent with
the plain sentiments of Origen on the very subject of angelic
invocation. Even had Origen not left us his deliberate opinions in works
of undoubted genuineness, such a {162} strange, incoherent, and childish
rhapsody could never be relied upon by sober and upright men as a
precedent sanctioning a Christian's prayer to angels; no one would rely
upon such evidence in points of far less moment, even were it
uncontradicted by the same witness.

       *       *       *       *       *


In the middle of the third century, Cyprian [Jerom, vol. iv. p. 342.], a
man of substance and a rhetorician of Carthage, was converted to
Christianity. He was then fifty years of age; and his learning, virtues,
and devotedness to the cause which he had espoused, very soon raised him
to the dignity, the responsibility, and, in those days, the great
danger, of the Episcopate. (Cyprian is said to have been converted about
A.D. 246, to have been consecrated A.D. 248, and to have suffered
martyrdom A.D. 258.) Many of his writings of undoubted genuineness are
preserved, and they have been appealed to in every age as the works of a
faithful son of the Catholic Church. On the subject of prayer he has
written very powerfully and affectingly; but I find no expression which
can by possibility imply that he practised or countenanced the
invocation of saints and angels. I have carefully examined every
sentence alleged by its most strenuous defenders, and I cannot extract
from them one single grain of evidence which can bear the test of
inquiry. Even did the passages quoted require to be taken in the sense
affixed to them {163} by those advocates, they prove nothing; they do
not bear even remotely upon the subject, whilst I am persuaded that to
every unprejudiced mind a meaning will appear to have been attached to
them which the author did not intend to convey.

The first quotation to which our attention is called is from the close
of his treatise De Habitu Virginum, which contains some very edifying
reflections. In the last clause of that treatise the advocates for the
invocation of saints represent Cyprian as requesting the virgins to
remember him in their prayers at the throne of grace when they shall
have been taken to heaven. "As we have borne the image of Him who is of
the earth, let us also bear the image of him who is from heaven. This
image the virgin-state bears,--integrity bears it, holiness and truth
bear it; rules of discipline mindful of God bear it, retaining justice
with religion, firm in the faith, humble in fear, strong to endure all
things, gentle to receive an injury, readily disposed to pity, with one
mind and with one heart in brotherly peace. All which ye ought, O good
virgins, to observe, to love and fulfil; ye who, retired for the service
of God and Christ, with your greater and better part are going before
towards the Lord to whom you have devoted yourselves. Let those who are
advanced in age exercise rule over the younger; ye younger, offer to
your equals a stimulus; encourage yourselves by mutual exhortations; by
examples emulous of virtue invite each other to glory; remain firm;
conduct yourselves spiritually; gain the end happily. Only remember us
then, when your virgin-state shall begin to be honoured." [Tantum
mementote tunc nostri, cum incipiet in vobis virginitas honorari.--Page
180.] {164}

The second instance, from the close of his letter to Cornelius, puts
before us a beautiful act of friendship and brotherly affection worthy
of every Christian brother's and friend's imitation. But how it can be
applied in supporting the cause of the invocation of saints, I cannot
see. The supporters of that doctrine say that Cyprian suggests to his
friend, still living on earth, that whichever of the two should be first
called away, he should continue when in heaven to pray for the survivor
on earth. Suppose it to be so. That has not any approximation to our
praying to one who is already dead and gone to his reward. But Cyprian
surely intended to convey a very different meaning, namely this, that
the two friends should continue to pray, each in his place, mutually for
each other and for their friends, and relieve each other's wants and
necessities whilst both survived; and whenever death should remove the
one from earth to happiness, the survivor should not forget their bond
of friendship, but should still continue to pray to God for their
brothers and sisters. The passage translated to the letter, runs thus:
"Let us be mutually mindful of each other, with one mind and one heart.
On both sides, let us always pray for each other; let us by mutual love
relieve each other's pressures and distresses; and if either of us from
hence, by the speed of the Divine favour, go on before the {165} other,
let our love persevere before the Lord; for our brothers and sisters
with the Father's mercy let not prayer cease. My desire, most dear
brother, is that you may always prosper." [Epist. 57. Benedict, p.
96.--Memores nostri invicem simus concordes atque unanimes: utrobique
pro nobis semper oremus, pressuras et angustias mutua caritate
relevemus, et si quis istinc nostrum prior divinæ dignationis celeritate
præcesserit, perseveret apud Dominum nostra dilectio; pro fratribus et
sororibus nostris apud misericordiam Patris non cesset oratio. Opto te,
frater carissime, semper bene valere.--This epistle is by some editors
numbered as the 60th, by others as the 61st, the 7th, and the 69th, &c.]

Whether the above view of this passage be founded in reason or not, it
matters little to the point at issue. Let both these passages be
accepted in the sense assigned to them by some Roman Catholic writers,
yet there is not a shadow of analogy between the language and conduct of
Cyprian, and the language and conduct of those who now invoke saints
departed. In each case Cyprian, still in the body, was addressing
fellow-creatures still sojourning on earth. The very utmost which these
passages could be forced to countenance would be, that the righteous,
when in heaven, may be mindful in their prayers of their friends, who
are still exposed to the dangers from which they have themselves finally
escaped, and who, when both were on earth, requested them to remember
the survivors in their prayers. But this is a question totally different
from our addressing them in supplication and prayer; a difference which
I am most anxious that both myself and my readers should keep in mind

In the extract from Cyprian's letter, a modern author having rendered
the single word "utrobique," by the words "in this world and the next" I
am induced to add a few further observations on the passage. (The Latin
original and the version here referred to, will be placed side by side
in the Appendix.) It will, I think, appear to most readers on a careful
examination of the passage, that the expression "utrobique[62]" "on both
sides," or "on both parts," whatever be its precise {166} meaning, so
far from referring to "this world and the next," must evidently be
confined to the condition of both parties now in this life, because it
stands in direct contradistinction to what follows, the supposed case of
the death of either of the two; and because it applies no less to the
mutual relief of each other's sufferings and afflictions during their
joint lives, than to their mutual prayers: it cannot mean that all the
mutual benefits to be derived from their mutual remembrance of each
other, were to come solely through the means of their prayers. They were
doubtless mutually to pray for each other; but, in addition to their
prayers, they were also to relieve each other's pressures and
difficulties with mutual love, and that too before the event afterwards
contemplated, namely, the removal of one of them by death.

    [Footnote 62: Utrobique is rendered by Facciolati [Greek:
    hekaterothi]--"in utraque parte, utrimque."]

Bishop Fell thus comments on the passage: "The sense seems to be, When
either of us shall die; whether I, who preside at Carthage, or you, who
are presiding at Rome, shall be the survivor, let the prayer to God of
him whose lot shall be to remain the longest among the living,
persevere, and continue." "Meanwhile," continues the Bishop[63], "we by
no means doubt that souls admitted into heaven apply to God, the best
and greatest of Beings, that he would have compassion on those who are
dwelling on the earth. But it does not thence follow, that prayers
should be offered to the saints. THE MAN WHO PETITIONS THEM MAKES THEM
GODS (Deos qui rogat ille facit)." [Oxford, 1682, p. 143.] Rigaltius,
himself {167} a Roman Catholic, doubts whether, when Cyprian wrote this
letter, he had any idea before his mind of saints departed praying for
the living. He translates "utrobique" very much as I have done, "with
reciprocal love, with mutual charity." His last observations on this
passage are very remarkable. After having confessed the sentiments to be
worthy of a Christian, that the saints pray for us, and having argued
that Cyprian could not have thought it necessary to ask a saint to
retain his brotherly kindness in heaven, for he could not be a saint if
he did not continue to love his brethren, he thus concludes: "In truth
it is a pious and faithful saying, That of those who having already put
off mortality are made joint-heirs with Christ, and of those who
surviving on earth will hereafter be joint-heirs with Christ, the Church
is one, and is by the Holy Spirit so well joined together as not to be
torn asunder by the dissolution of the body. They pray to God for us,
and we praise God for them, and thus with mutual affection (utrobique)
we always pray for each other." [Paris, 1666. p. 92.]

    [Footnote 63: See the note of the Benedictine editors on this
    passage (p. 467), in which they refer to the sentiments of
    Rigaltius, Pamelius, and Bishop Fell, whom they call "the most
    illustrious Bishop of Oxford."]

I will detain you only by one or two more extracts from Cyprian; one
forming part of the introduction to his Comment on the Lord's Prayer,
which is fitted for the edification of Christians in every age; the
other closing his treatise on Mortality, one of those beautiful
productions by which, during the plague which raged at Carthage in the
year 252, he comforted and exhorted the Christians, that they might meet
death without fear or amazement, in sure and certain hope of eternal
blessedness in heaven. The sentiments in the latter passage will be
responded to by every good Catholic, whether in communion with the
Church of Rome or {168} with the Church of England; whilst in the former
we are reminded, that to pray as Cyprian prayed, we must address
ourselves to God alone in the name and trusting to the merits only of
his blessed Son.

"He who caused us to live, taught us also to pray, with that kindness
evidently by which He deigns to give and confer on us every other
blessing; that when we speak to the Father in the prayer and
supplication which his Son taught, we might the more readily be heard.
He had already foretold, that the hour was coming when the true
worshippers should worship the Father in spirit and in truth; and He
fulfilled what He before promised, that we, who have received the spirit
and truth from his sanctification, may from his instruction offer
adoration truly and spiritually. For what prayer can be more spiritual
than that which is given to us by Christ, by whom even the Holy Spirit
is sent to us? What can be a more true prayer with the Father than that
which came from the lips of the Son, who is Truth? So that to pray
otherwise than He taught, is not only ignorance, but a fault; since He
has himself laid it down and said, Ye reject the Commandment of God to
establish your own traditions. Let us pray then, most beloved brethren,
as our teacher, God, has instructed us. It is a welcome and friendly
prayer to petition God from his own, to mount up to his ears by the
prayer of Christ. Let the Father recognize the words of his Son. When we
offer a prayer let Him who dwelleth inwardly in our breast, Himself be
in our voice; and since we have Him as our advocate with the Father for
our sins, when as sinners we are petitioning for our sins let us put
forth the words of our Advocate." [De Orat. Dom. p. 204.]

"We must consider, (he says at the close of his {169} treatise on the
Mortality [Page 236.],) most beloved brethren, and frequently reflect
that we have renounced the world, and are meanwhile living here as
strangers and pilgrims. Let us embrace the day which assigns each to his
own home ... which restores us to paradise and the kingdom of heaven,
snatched from hence and liberated from the entanglements of the world.
What man, when he is in a foreign country, would not hasten to return to
his native land?... We regard paradise as our country.... We have begun
already to have the patriarchs for our parents. Why do we not hasten and
run that we may see our country, and salute our parents? There a large
number of dear ones are waiting for us, of parents, brothers, children;
a numerous and full crowd are longing for us; already secure of their
own immortality, and still anxious for our safety. To come to the sight
and the embrace of these, how great will be the mutual joy to them and
to us! What a pleasure of the kingdom of heaven is there without the
fear of dying, and with an eternity of living! How consummate and
never-ending a happiness! There is the glorious company of the apostles;
there is the assembly of exulting prophets; there is the unnumbered
family of martyrs crowned for the victory of their struggles and
suffering; there are virgins triumphing, who, by the power of chastity,
have subdued the lusts of the flesh and the body; there are the merciful
recompensed, who with food and bounty to the poor have done the works of
righteousness, who keeping the Lord's commands have transferred their
earthly inheritance into heavenly treasures. To these, O most dearly
beloved brethren, let us hasten with most eager longing; {170} let us
desire that our lot may be to be with these speedily; to come speedily
to Christ. Let God see this to be our thought; let our Lord Christ
behold this to be the purpose of our mind and faith, who will give more
abundant rewards of his glory to them, whose desires for himself have
been the greater."

Such is the evidence of St. Cyprian.

       *       *       *       *       *


Cyprian suffered martyrdom about the year 260. Towards the close of this
century, and at the beginning of the fourth, flourished Lactantius. He
was deeply imbued with classical learning and philosophy. Before he
became a writer (as Jerome informs us [Jerom, vol. iv. part ii. p. 119.
Paris, 1706]) he taught rhetoric at Nicomedia; and afterwards in extreme
old age he was the tutor of Cæsar Crispus, son of Constantine, in Gaul.
Among many other writings which Jerome enumerates, he specifies the
book, "On the Anger of God," as a most beautiful work. Bellarmin,
however, speaks of him disparagingly, as one who had fallen into many
errors, and was better versed in Cicero than in the Holy Scriptures. His
testimony is allowed by the supporters of the adoration of spirits and
angels to be decidedly against them; they do not refer to a single
passage likely to aid their cause; and they are chiefly anxious to
depreciate his evidence. I will call your attention only to two passages
in his works. The {171} one is in his first book on False Religion: "God
hath created ministers, whom we call messengers (angels);... but neither
are these gods, nor do they wish to be called gods, nor to be
worshipped, as being those who do nothing beyond the command and will of
God." [Vol. i. p. 31.]

The other passage is from his work on a Happy Life: "Nor let any one
think that souls are judged immediately after death. For all are kept in
one common place of guard, until the time come when the great Judge will
institute an inquiry into their deserts. Then those whose righteousness
shall be approved, will receive the reward of immortality; and those
whose sins and crimes are laid open shall not rise again, but shall be
hidden in the same darkness with the wicked--appointed to fixed
punishments." [Chap. xxi. p. 574.]

This composition is generally believed to have been written about the
year 317.

       *       *       *       *       *


The evidence of Eusebius, on any subject connected with primitive faith
and practice, cannot be looked to without feelings of deep interest. He
flourished about the beginning of the fourth century, and was Bishop of
Caesarea, in Palestine. His testimony has always been appealed to in the
Catholic Church, as an authority not likely to be gainsaid. He was a
voluminous writer, and his writings were very diversified in their
character. {172} Whatever be our previous sentiments we cannot too
carefully examine the remains of this learned man. But in his writings,
historical, biographical, controversial, or by whatever name they may be
called, overflowing as they are with learning, philosophical and
scriptural, I can find no one single passage which countenances the
decrees of the Council of Trent; not one passage which would encourage
me to hope that I prayed as the primitive Church was wont to pray, if by
invocation I requested an angel or a saint to procure me any favour, or
to pray for me. The testimony of Eusebius has a directly contrary

Among the authorities quoted by the champions of the invocation of
saints, I can find only three from Eusebius; and I sincerely lament the
observations which truth and justice require me to make here, in
consequence of the manner in which his evidence has been cited. The
first passage to which I refer is quoted by Bellarmin from the history
of Eusebius, to prove that the spirit of a holy one goes direct from
earth to heaven. This passage is not from the pen of Eusebius; and if it
were, it would not bear on our inquiry. The second is quoted by the same
author, from the Evangelica Præparatio, to prove that the primitive
Christians offered prayers to the saints. Neither is this from the pen
of Eusebius. The third Extract, from the account of the martyrdom of
Polycarp, is intended to prove that the martyrs were worshipped. Even
this, one of the most beautiful passages in ancient history, as it is
represented by Bellarmin and others, is interpolated.

The first passage, which follows a description of the {173} martyr
Potamiæna's sufferings, is thus quoted by Bellarmin: "In this manner the
blessed virgin, Potamniæna, emigrated from earth to heaven." [Hoc modo
beata Virgo emigravit e terris ad coelum. Vol. ii. p. 854.] And such,
doubtless, is the passage in the translation of Eusebius, ascribed to
Ruffinus [Basil, 1535. p. 134]; but the original is, "And such a
struggle was thus accomplished by this celebrated virgin;" ([Greek: kai
ho men taes aoidimou koraes toioutos kataegoisisto athlos]; Tale
certamen ab hac percelebri et gloriosa virgine confectum fait.); and
such is the Parisian translation of 1581.

The second misquotation is far more serious. Bellarmin thus quotes
Eusebius: "These things we do daily, who honouring the soldiers of true
religion as the friends of God, approach to their respective monuments,
and make OUR PRAYERS TO THEM, as holy men, by whose intercession to God,
we profess to be not a little aided." [Hæc nos, inquit, quotidie
factitamus qui veras pietatis milites ut Dei amicos honorantes, ad
monumenta quoque eorum accedimus, votaque ipsis facimus tanquam viris
sanctis quorum intercessione ad Deum non parum juvari profitemur.--p.
902. He quotes it as c. 7.]

By one who has not by experience become familiar with these things it
would scarcely be believed, that whilst the readers of Bellarmin have
been taught to regard these as the words of Eusebius, in the original
there is no mention whatever made of the intercession of the saints;
that there is no allusion to prayer to them; that there is no admission
even of any benefit derived from them at all. This quotation Bellarmin
makes from the Latin version, published in Paris in 1581, or from some
common source: it is word for word the same. We must either allow him to
be ignorant of the truth, or to have designedly preferred error. {174}
The copy which I have before me of the "Evangelica Præparatio," in Greek
and Latin, was printed in 1628, and dedicated by Viger Franciscus, a
priest of the order of Jesuits, to the Archbishop of Paris.

Eusebius, marking the resemblance in many points between Plato's
doctrine and the tenets of Christianity, on the reverence which,
according to Plato, ought to be paid to the good departed, makes this
observation: "And this corresponds with what takes place on the death of
those lovers of God, whom you would not be wrong in calling the soldiers
of the true religion. Whence also it is our custom to proceed to their
tombs, and AT THEM [the tombs] to make our prayers, and to honour their
blessed souls, inasmuch as these things are with reason done by us."
[Greek: kai tauta de armozei epi tae ton theophilon teleutae ous
stratiotas taes alaethous eusebeius ouk an hamartois eipon
paralambanesthai othen kai epi tas thaekas auton ethos haemin parienai
kai tas euchas para tautais poieisthai, timan te tas makarias auton
psychas, os eulogos kai touton uph haemon giguomenon.] This translation
agrees to a certain extent with the Latin of Viger's edition ("Quæ
quidem in hominum Deo carissimorum obitus egregie conveniunt, quos veræ
pietatis milites jure appellaris. Nam et eorum sepulchra celebrare et
preces ibi votaque nuncupare et beatas illorum animas venerari
consuevimus, idque a nobis merito fieri statuimus"); though the
translator there has employed words more favourable to the doctrine of
the saints' adoration, than he could in strictness justify.

The celebrated letter from the Church of Smyrna (Euseb. Cantab. 1720.
vol. i. p. 163), relating the martyrdom of Polycarp, one of the most
precious relics of Christian antiquity, has already been examined by us,
when we were inquiring into the recorded {175} sentiments of Polycarp;
and to our reflections in that place we have little to add. The
interpolations to which we have now referred, are intended to take off
the edge of the evidence borne by this passage of Eusebius against the
invocation of saints. First, whereas the Christians of Smyrna are
recorded by Eusebius to have declared, without any limitation or
qualification whatever, that they could never worship any fellow-mortal
however honoured and beloved, the Parisian edition limits and qualifies
their declaration by interpolating the word "as God," implying that they
would offer a secondary worship to a saint. Again, whereas Eusebius in
contrasting the worship paid to Christ, with the feelings of the
Christians towards a martyr, employs only the word "love," Bellarmin,
following Ruffinus, interpolates the word "veneramur" after "diligimus,"
a word which may be innocently used with reference to the holy saints
and servants of God, though it is often in ancient writers employed to
mean the religious worship of man to God. Still how lamentable is it to
attempt by such tampering with ancient documents to maintain a cause,
whatever be our feelings with regard to it!

With two more brief quotations we will close our report of Eusebius.
They occur in the third chapter of the third book of his Demonstratio
Evangelica, and give the same view of the feelings and sentiments of the
primitive Christians towards the holy angels, which we have found Origen
and all the other fathers to have acknowledged.

"In the doctrine of his word we have learned that there exists, after
the most high God, certain powers, {176} in their nature incorporeal and
intellectual, rational and purely virtuous, who ([Greek: choreuousas])
keep their station around the sovereign King,--the greater part of whom,
by certain dispensations of salvation, are sent at the will of the
Father even as far as to men; whom, indeed, we have been taught to know
and to honour, according to the measure of their dignity, rendering to
God alone, the sovereign King, the honour of worship." ([Greek:
gnorizein kai timain kata to metron taes axias edidachthaemen, mono toi
pambasilei Theoi taen sebasmion timaen aponemontes]) Again: "Knowing the
divine, the serving and ministering powers of the sovereign God, and
honouring them to the extent of propriety; but confessing God alone, and
Him alone worshipping." ([Greek: theias men dynameis hypaeretikas tou
pambasileos Theou kai leitourgikas eidotes, kai kata to prosaekon
timontes monon de Theon homologountes, kai monon ekeinon sebontes])
[Demonst. Evang. Paris, 1628. p. 106.; Præpar. Evang. lib. vii. c. 15.
p. 237.]

       *       *       *       *       *


The works known by the name of the Apostolical Constitutions and
Apostolical Canons, though confessedly not the genuine productions of
the Apostles, or of their age, have been always held in much veneration
by the Church of Rome. The most learned writers fix their date at a
period not more remote than the beginning of the fourth century. (See
Cotelerius; vol. i. p. 194 and 424. Beveridge, in the same vol. p. 427.
Conc. Gen. Florence, 1759, tom. i. p. 29 and 254.) I invite the reader
{177} to examine both these documents, but especially the Constitutions,
and to decide whether they do not contain strong and convincing
evidence, that the invocation of saints was not practised or known in
the Church when they were written. Minute rules are given for the
conducting of public worship; forms of prayer are prescribed to be used
in the Church, by the bishops and clergy, and by the people; forms of
prayer and of thanksgiving are recommended for the use of the faithful
in private, in the morning, at night, and at their meals; forms, too,
there are of creeds and confessions;--but not one single allusion to any
religious address to angel or saint; whilst occasions most opportune for
the introduction of such doctrine and practice repeatedly occur, and are
uniformly passed by. Again and again prayer is directed to be made to
the one only living and true God, exclusively through the mediation and
intercession of the one only Saviour Jesus Christ. Honourable mention is
made of the saints of the Old Testament, and the apostles and martyrs of
the New; directions are also given for the observance of their festivals
[Book viii. p. 415]; but not the shadow of a thought appears that their
good offices could benefit us; much less the most distant intimation
that Christians might invoke them for their prayers and intercessions.
There is indeed very much in these early productions of the Christian
world to interest every Catholic Christian; and although a general
admiration of the principles for the most part pervading them does not
involve an entire approbation of them all, yet perhaps few would think
the time misapplied which they should devote to the examination of these
documents. {178}

In book v. c. 6. of the Constitutions, the martyr is represented as
"trusting in the one only true God and Father, through Jesus Christ, the
great High Priest, the Redeemer of souls, the Dispenser of rewards; to
whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." [Cotel. vol. i. p. 304.]

In the same book and in the following chapter we find an exceedingly
interesting dissertation on the general resurrection, but not one word
of saint or martyr being beforehand admitted to glory; on the contrary,
the declaration is distinct, that not the martyrs only, but all men will
rise. Surely such an opportunity would not have been lost of stating the
doctrine of martyrs being now reigning with Christ, had such been the
doctrine of the Church at that early period.

In the eighth chapter is contained an injunction to honour the martyrs
in these words: "We say that they should be in all honour with you, as
the blessed James the bishop and our holy fellow-minister Stephen were
honoured with us. For they are blessed by God and honoured by holy men,
pure from all blame, never bent towards sins, never turned away from
good,--undoubtedly to be praised. Of whom David spake, 'Honourable
before God is the death of his saints;' and Solomon, 'The memory of the
just is with praise.' Of whom the prophet also said, 'Just men are taken
away.'" [p. 309.]

And in book viii. c. 13. we read this exhortation,--"Let us remember the
holy martyrs, that we may be counted worthy to be partakers of their
conflict." [p. 404.]

Does this sound any thing at all like adoration or invocation? The word
which is used in the above {179} passage, _honour_ [[Greek: timê] p.
241], is employed when (book ii. c. 28.) the respect is prescribed which
the laity ought to show to the clergy.

To the very marked silence as to any invocation or honour, to be shown
to the Virgin Mary, I shall call your attention in our separate
dissertation on the worship now offered to her.

       *       *       *       *       *


The renowned and undaunted defender of the Catholic faith against the
errors which in his day threatened to overwhelm Gospel-truth, Athanasius
(the last of those ante-Nicene writers into whose testimony we have
instituted this inquiry), was born about the year 296, and, after having
presided in the Church as Bishop for more than forty-six years, died in
373, on the verge of his eightieth year. It is impossible for any one
interested in the question of primitive truth to look upon the belief
and practice of this Christian champion with indifference. When I first
read Bellarmin's quotations from Athanasius, in justification of the
Roman Catholic worship in the adoration of saints, I was made not a
little anxious to ascertain the accuracy of his allegations. The inquiry
amply repaid me for my anxiety and the labour of research; not merely by
proving the unsoundness of Bellarmin's representation, but also by
directing my thoughts more especially, as my acquaintance with his {180}
works increased, to the true and scriptural views taken by Athanasius of
the Christian's hope and confidence in God alone; the glowing fervour of
his piety centering only in the Lord; his sure and certain hope in life
and in death anchored only in the mercies of God, through the merits and
mediation of Jesus Christ alone.

Bellarmin, in his appeal to Athanasius as a witness in behalf of the
invocation of saints, cites two passages; the one of which, though
appearing in the edition of the Benedictines, amongst the works called
doubtful, has been adjudged by those editors [Vol. ii. p. 110 and 122]
to be not genuine; the other is placed by them among the confessedly
spurious works, and is treated as a forgery.

The first passage is from a treatise called De Virginitate, and even
were that work the genuine production of Athanasius, would make against
the religious worship of the saints rather than in its favour, for it
would show, that the respect which the author intended to be paid to
them, was precisely the same with what he would have us pay to holy men
in this life, who might come to visit us. "If a just man enter into
thine house, thou shalt meet him with fear and trembling, and shalt
worship before his feet to the ground: for thou wilt not worship him,
but God who sent him."

The other passage would have been decisive as to the belief of
Athanasius, had it come from his pen. "Incline thine ear, O Mary, to our
prayers, and forget not thy people. We cry to thee. Remember us, O Holy
Virgin. Intercede for us, O mistress, lady, queen, and mother of God."
[Vol. ii. p. 390-401.]

Had Bellarmin been the only writer, or the last who cited this passage
as the testimony of St. Athanasius, {181} it would have been enough for
us to refer to the judgment of the Benedictine editors, who have classed
the homily containing these words among the spurious works ascribed to
Athanasius; or rather we might have appealed to Bellarmin himself. For
it is very remarkable, that though in his anxiety to enlist every able
writer to defend the cause of the invocation of saints, he has cited
this passage in his Church Triumphant as containing the words of
Athanasius, without any allusion to its decided spuriousness, or even to
its suspicious character; yet when he is pronouncing his judgment on the
different works assigned to Athanasius, declaring the evidence against
this treatise to be irresistible, he condemns it as a forgery. [Bellarm.
de Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis, Cologne, 1617, vol. vii. p. 50.]

Since, however, this passage has been cited in different Roman Catholic
writers of our own time as containing the words of Athanasius, and in
evidence of his genuine belief and practice, and that without an
allusion even to any thing doubtful and questionable in its character,
it becomes necessary to enter more in detail into the circumstances
under which the passage is offered to our notice.

The passage is found in a homily called The Annunciation of the Mother
of God. How long this homily has been discarded as spurious, or how long
its genuineness had been suspected before the time of Baronius, I have
not discovered; but certainly two centuries and a half ago, and
repeatedly since, it has been condemned as totally and indisputably
spurious, and has been excluded from the works of Athanasius as a
forgery, not by members of the Reformed Church, but {182} by most
zealous and steady adherents to the Church of Rome, and the most
strenuous defenders of her doctrines and practice.

The Benedictine editors[64], who published the remains of St. Athanasius
in 1698, class the works contained in the second volume under two heads,
the doubtful and the spurious; and the homily under consideration is
ranked, without hesitation, among the spurious. In the middle of that
volume they not only declare the work to be unquestionably a forgery,
assigning the reasons for their decision, but they fortify their
judgment by quoting at length the letter written by the celebrated
Baronius, more than a century before, to our countryman, Stapleton. Both
these documents are very interesting.

    [Footnote 64: Here I would observe, that though the Benedictine
    editors differ widely from each other in talent, and learning,
    and candour, yet, as a body, they have conferred on Christendom,
    and on literature, benefits for which every impartial and
    right-minded man will feel gratitude. In the works of some of
    these editors, far more than in others, we perceive the same
    reigning principle--a principle which some will regard as an
    uncompromising adherence to the faith of the Church; but which
    others can regard only in the light of a prejudice, and a rooted
    habit of viewing all things through the eyes of Rome.]

The Benedictine editors begin their preface thus: "That this discourse
is spurious, there is NO LEARNED MAN WHO DOES NOT NOW ADJUDGE ... The
style proves itself more clear than the sun, to be different from that
of Athanasius. Besides this, very many trifles show themselves here
unworthy of any sensible man whatever, not to say Athanasius ... and a
great number of expressions unknown to Athanasius ... so that it savours
of inferior Greek. And truly his subtle disputation {183} on the
hypostasis of Christ, and on the two natures in Christ, persuades us,
that he lived after the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon; of which
councils moreover he uses the identical words, whereas his dissertation
on the two wills in Christ seems to argue, that he lived after the
spreading of the error of the Monothelites. But (continue these
Benedictine editors) we would add here the dissertation of Baronius on
this subject, sent to us by our brethren from Rome. That illustrious
annotator, indeed, having read only the Latin version of Nannius, which
is clearer than the Greek, did not observe the astonishing perplexity of
the style[65]."

    [Footnote 65: Even in the Bibliotheca Patrum Concionatoria the
    homily is declared to be not the work of Athanasius, but to have
    been written after the sixth general council. "It is evident,"
    say the editors, "that it is the monument of a very learned man,
    though he has his own blemishes, on which, for the most part, we
    have remarked in the margin." Paris, 1662. p. 336.]

The dissertation which the Benedictine editors append, was contained in
a letter written by Baronius to Stapleton, in consequence of some
animadversions which Stapleton had communicated to Cardinal Allen on the
judgment of Baronius. The letter is dated Rome, November, 1592. The
judgment of Baronius on the spurious character of this homily had been
published to the world some time previously; for after some preliminary
words of kindness and respect to his correspondent, Baronius proceeds to
say, that when he previously published his sentiments on this homily, it
was only cursorily and by the way, his work then being on another
subject. Nevertheless he conceived, {184} that the little he had then
stated would be sufficient to show, that the homily was not the
production of Athanasius, and that all persons of learning, WHO WERE
DESIROUS OF THE TRUTH, would freely agree with him; nor was he in this
expectation disappointed; for very many persons expressed their
agreement with him, congratulating him on separating legitimate from
spurious children. He then states the arguments which the Benedictine
editors adopted after him, and which we need not repeat. But he also
urges this fact, that though Cyril had the works of Athanasius in his
custody, and though both the disputing parties ransacked every place for
sentiments of Athanasius countenancing their tenets, yet neither at
Ephesus nor at Chalcedon was this homily quoted, though it must have
altogether driven Eutyches and Nestorius from the field, so exact are
its definitions and statements on the points then at issue. Baronius
then adds, that so far from reversing the judgment which he had before
passed against the genuineness of this homily, he was compelled in
justice to declare his conviction, that it could not have been written
till after the heresy of the Monothelites had been spread abroad. This
we know would fix its date, at the very earliest, subsequently to the
commencement of the SEVENTH century, three hundred years after
Athanasius attended the Council of Nice. Among the last sentiments of
Baronius in this letter, is one which implies a principle worthy of
Christian wisdom, and which can never be neglected without injury to the
cause of truth. "These sentiments concerning Athanasius I do not think
are affirmed with any detriment to the Church; for the Church does not
suffer a loss on this account; who being the pillar {185} and ground of
the truth, very far shrinks from seeking, like Æsop's Jackdaw, helps and
ornaments which are not her own: the bare truth shines more beautiful in
her own naked simplicity." Were this principle acted upon uniformly in
our discussions on religious points of faith or practice, controversy
would soon be drawn within far narrower limits; and would gradually be
softened into a friendly interchange of sentiments, and would well-nigh
be banished from the world. No person does the cause of truth so much
injury, as one who attempts to support it by arguments which will not
bear the test of full and enlightened investigation. And however an
unsound principle may be for a while maintained by unsound arguments,
the momentary triumph must ultimately end in disappointment.

Coccius also cites two passages as conveying the evidence of Athanasius
on this same point; one from the spurious letter addressed to Felix, the
pope; the other from the treatise to Marcellus, on the interpretation of
the Psalms. On the former, I need not detain you by any observation; it
would be fighting with a shadow. The latter, which only recognises what
I have never affirmed or denied here,--the interest in our welfare taken
by holy souls departed, and their co-operation with us when we are
working out our own salvation,--contains a valuable suggestion on the
principles of devotion.

"Let no one, however, set about to adorn these Psalms for the sake of
effect with words from without, [artificial and secular phrases,] nor
transpose, nor alter the expressions. But let every one inartificially
read and repeat what is written, that those holy persons who employed
themselves in their production, recognising their own works, may join
with us in prayer; or {186} rather that the Holy Spirit, who spake in
those holy men, observing the words with which his voice inspired them,
may assist us. For just as much as the life of those holy men is more
pure than ours, so far are their words preferable to any production of
our own."

But whilst there is not found a single passage in Athanasius to give the
faintest countenance to the invocation of saints, there are various
arguments and expressions which go far to demonstrate that such a belief
and such practices as are now acknowledged and insisted upon by the
Church of Rome, were neither adopted nor sanctioned by him. Had he
adopted that belief and practice for his own, he would scarcely have
spoken, as he repeatedly has, of the exclusion of angels and men from
any share in the work of man's restoration, without any expressions to
qualify it, and to protect his assertions from being misunderstood.
Again, he bids us look to the holy men and holy fathers as our examples,
in whose footsteps we should tread, if we would be safe; but not a hint
escapes him that they are to be invoked.

I must detain you by rather a long quotation from this father, and will,
therefore, now do nothing more than refer you to two passages expressive
of those sentiments to which I have above alluded. In the thirteenth
section of his Treatise on the Incarnation of the Word of God, he
argues, that neither could men restore us to the image of God, nor could
angels, but the word of God, Jesus Christ, &c. [Vol. i. part i. p. 58.]
In his Epistle to Dracontius, he says, "We ought to conduct ourselves
agreeably to the principles of the saints and fathers, and to imitate
them,--assured that if we {187} swerve from them, we become alienated
also from their communion." [Vol. i. part i, p. 265.]

The passage, however, to which I would invite the reader's patient and
impartial thoughts, occurs in the third oration against the Arians, when
he is proving the unity of the Father and the Son, from the expression
of St. Paul in the eleventh verse of the third chapter of his first
Epistle to the Thessalonians.

"Thus then again ([Greek: outo g' oun palin]), when he is praying for
the Thessalonians, and saying, 'Now our God and Father himself and the
Lord Jesus Christ direct our way to you,' he preserves the unity of the
Father and the Son. For he says not 'may THEY direct ([Greek:
kateuthunoien]),' as though a twofold grace were given from Him AND Him,
but 'may HE direct ([Greek: katenthunai]),' to show that the Father
giveth this through the Son. For if there was not an unity, and the Word
was not the proper offspring of the Father's substance, as the
eradiation of the light, but the Son was distinct in nature from the
Father,--it had sufficed for the Father alone to have made the gift, no
generated being partaking with the Maker in the gifts. But now such a
giving proves the unity of the Father and the Son. Consequently, no one
would pray to receive any thing from God AND the angels, or from any
other created being; nor would any one say 'May God AND the angels give
it thee;' but from the Father and the Son, because of their unity and
the oneness of the gift. For whatever is given, is given through the
Son,--nor is there any thing which the Father works except through the
Son; for thus the receiver has the gracious favour without fail. But if
the patriarch Jacob, blessing his descendants Ephraim and Manasseh,
said, 'The God who nourished {188} me from my youth unto this day, the
Angel who delivered me from all the evils, bless these lads;' he does
not join one of created beings, and by nature angels, with God who
created them; nor dismissing Him who nourished him, God, does he ask the
blessing for his descendants from an angel, but by saying 'He who
delivered me from all the evils,' he showed that it was not one of
created angels, but the WORD OF GOD; and joining him with the Father, he
supplicated him through whom also God delivers whom he will. For he used
the expression, knowing him who is called the Messenger of the great
counsel of the Father to be no other than the very one who blessed and
delivered from evil. For surely he did not aspire to be blessed himself
by God, and was willing for his descendants to be blessed by an angel.
But the same whom he addressed, saying, I will not let Thee go, except
thou bless me (and this was God, as he says, 'I saw God face to face'),
Him he prayed to bless the sons of Joseph. The peculiar office of an
angel is to minister at the appointment of God; and often he went
onwards to cast out the Amorite, and is sent to guard the people in the
way; but these are not the doings of him, but of God, who appointed him
and sent him,--whose also it is to deliver whom he will." [Vol i. p.

"For this cause David addressed no other on the subject of deliverance
but God Himself. But if it belongs to no other than God to bless and
deliver, and it was no other who delivered Jacob than the Lord Himself,
and the patriarch invoked for his descendants Him who delivered him, it
is evident that he connected no one in his prayer except His Word, whom
for this reason he called an angel, because he alone reveals the
Father." {189}

"But this no one would say of beings produced and created; for neither
when the Father worketh does any one of the angels, or any other of
created beings, work the things; for no one of such beings is an
effective cause, but they themselves belong to things produced. The
angels then, as it is written, are ministering spirits sent to minister;
and the gifts given by Him through the Word they announce to those who
receive them."

Now if the invocation of angels had been practised by the Church at that
time, can it be for a moment believed, that a man of such a mind as was
the mind of Athanasius, a mind strong, clear, logical, cultivated with
ardent zeal for the doctrines of the Church, and fervent piety, would
have suffered such passages as these to fall from him, without one
saving clause in favour of the invocation of angels? He tells us in the
most unqualified manner, that they act merely as ministers; ready
indeed, and rejoicing to be employed on errands of mercy, but not going
one step without the commands of the Lord, or doing one thing beyond his
word. Had the idea been familiar to the mind of Athanasius, of the
lawfulness, the duty, the privilege, the benefit of invoking them, would
he have avoided the introduction of some words to prevent his
expressions from being misunderstood and misapplied, as subsequent
writers did long before the time when the denial of the doctrine might
seem to have made such precaution more necessary?

I close then the catalogue of our witnesses before the Council of Nicæa
with the testimony of St. Athanasius; whose genuine and acknowledged
works afford not one jot or tittle in support of the doctrine and
practice of the invocation of angels and saints, as now insisted upon by
the Church of Rome; and the direct {190} tendency of whose evidence is
decidedly hostile both to that doctrine and that practice.

I have seen it observed by some who are satisfied, that the records of
primitive antiquity do not contain such references to the invocation of
saints and angels, as we might have expected to find had the custom then
prevailed, that the earliest Christians kept back the doctrine and
concealed it, though they held it; fearing lest their heathen neighbours
should upbraid them with being as much polytheists as themselves[66].
This is altogether a gratuitous assumption, directly contrary to
evidence, and totally inconsistent with their conduct. Had those first
Christians acted upon such a debasing principle, they would have kept
back and concealed their worship of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, as
exposing them to a similar charge. They were constantly upbraided with
worshipping a crucified {191} mortal; but instead of either meeting that
charge by denying that they worshipped Jesus as their God, or of
concealing the worship of Him, lest they should expose themselves again
to such upbraidings, they publicly professed, that He whom the Jews had
murdered, they believed in as the Son of God, Himself their God. They
gloried in the doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity, and did not fear
what men might do to them, or say of them in consequence. Had they
believed in the duty of invoking saints and angels, the high principle
of Christian integrity would not have suffered them to be ashamed to
confess it, or to practise openly what they believed.

    [Footnote 66: Bishop Morley, (London, 1683,) in a letter written
    whilst he was in exile at Breda, to J. Ulitius, refers to
    Cardinal Perron, "Réplique à la Resp. du Roy de la Grande Bret."
    p. 1402 and 4, for this sentiment: "The Fathers do not always
    speak what they think, but conceal their real sentiments, and
    say that which best serves the cause which they sustain, so as
    to protect it against the objections of the gentiles. The
    Fathers, as much as in them lies, and as far as they can, avoid
    and decline all occasions of speaking about the invocation of
    saints then practised in the Church, fearing lest to the
    gentiles there might appear a sort of similarity, although
    untrue and equivocal, between the worship paid to the saints by
    the Church, and by the Pagans to their false divinities; and
    lest the Pagans might thence seize a handle, however unfair, of
    retorting upon them that custom of the Church." Had a member of
    the Anglican Church thus spoken of the Fathers, and thus pleaded
    in their name guilty of subterfuge and duplicity, he would have
    been immediately charged with irreverence and wanton insult, and
    that with good reason. These sentiments of the Cardinal are in
    p. 982 of the Paris edition of 1620.] {192}

       *       *       *       *       *




One of the points proposed for our inquiry was the state of religious
worship, with reference to the invocation of saints, at the time
immediately preceding the reformation. Very far from entertaining a wish
to fasten upon the Church of Rome now, what then deformed religion among
us, in any department where that Church has practically reformed her
services, I would most thankfully have found her ritual in a more
purified state than it is. My more especial object in referring to this
period is twofold: first, to show, that consistently with Catholic and
primitive principles, the Catholic Christians of England ought not to
have continued to participate in the worship which at that time
prevailed in our country; and, secondly, by that example both to
illustrate the great danger of allowing ourselves to countenance the
very first stages of superstition, and also to impress upon our minds
the duty of checking in its germ any the least deviation from the
primitive principles of faith and worship; convinced that by the general
tendency of human nature, one wrong step will, though imperceptibly, yet
almost inevitably lead to another; and that only whilst we adhere with
uncompromising steadiness {193} to the Scripture as our foundation, and
to the primitive Church, under God, as a guide, can we be saved from the
danger of making shipwreck of our faith.

On this branch of our subject I propose to do no more than to lay before
my readers the witness borne to the state of religion in England at that
time, by two works, which have been in an especial manner forced upon my
notice. Many other testimonies of a similar tendency might readily be
adduced; but these will probably appear sufficient for the purposes
above mentioned; and to dwell longer than is necessary on this point
would be neither pleasant nor profitable.

       *       *       *       *       *


The first book to which I shall refer is called The Hours of the most
blessed Virgin Mary, according to the legitimate use of the Church of
Salisbury. This book was printed in Paris in the year 1526. The prayers
in this volume relate chiefly to the Virgin: and I should, under other
circumstances, have reserved all allusion to it for our separate inquiry
into the faith and practice of the Church of Rome with regard to her.
But its historical position and general character seemed to recommend
our reference to it here. Without anticipating, therefore, the facts or
the arguments, which will hereafter be submitted to the reader's
consideration on the worship of the Virgin, I refer to this work now
solely as illustrative of the lamentable state of superstition which
three centuries ago overran our country.

The volume abounds with forms of prayer to the Virgin, many of them
prefaced by extraordinary notifications of indulgences promised to those
who duly utter {194} the prayers. These indulgences are granted by Popes
and by Bishops; some on their own mere motion, others at the request of
influential persons. They guarantee remission of punishment for
different spaces of time, varying from forty days to ninety thousand
years; they undertake to secure freedom from hell; they promise pardon
for deadly sins, and for venial sins to the same person for the same
act; they assure to those who comply with their directions a change of
the pain of eternal damnation into the pain of purgatory, and the pain
of purgatory into a free and full pardon.

It may be said that the Church of Rome is not responsible for all these
things. But we need not tarry here to discuss the question how far it
was then competent for a church or nation to have any service-book or
manual of devotion for the faithful, without first obtaining the papal
sanction. For clear it is beyond all question, that such frightful
corruptions as these, of which we are now to give instances, were spread
throughout the land; that such was the religion then imposed on the
people of England; and it was from such dreadful enormities, that our
Reformation, to whatever secondary cause that reformation is to be
attributed--by the providence of Almighty God rescued us. No one laments
more than I do, the extremes into which many opponents of papal Rome
have allowed themselves to run; but no one can feel a more anxious
desire than myself to preserve our Church and people from a return of
such spiritual degradation and wretchedness; and to keep far from us the
most distant approaches of such lamentable and ensnaring superstitions.
In this feeling moreover I am assured that I am joined by many of the
most respected and influential members of the Roman Catholic Church
among us. {195} Still what has been may be; and it is the bounden duty
of all members of Christ's Catholic Church, to whatever branch of it
they belong, to join in guarding his sanctuary against such enemies to
the truth as it is in HIM.

At the same time it would not be honest and candid in me, were I to
abstain from urging those, who, with ourselves, deprecate these
excesses, to carry their reflections further; and determine whether the
spirit of the Gospel does not require a total rejection, even in its
less startling forms, of every departure from the principle of invoking
God alone; and of looking for acceptance with Him solely to the
mediation of his Son, without the intervention of any other merits. As
we regard it, it is not a question of degree; it is a question of
principle: one degree may be less revolting to our sense of right than
another, but it is not on that account justifiable.

The following specimens, a few selected from an overabundant supply,
will justify the several particulars in the summary which I have above

1. "The Right Reverend Father in God, Laurence[67], Bishop of Assaven,
hath granted forty days of pardon to all them that devoutly say this
prayer in the worship of our blessed Lady, being penitent, and truly
confessed of all their sins. Oratio, 'Gaude Virgo, Mater Christi,' &c.
Rejoice, Virgin, Mother of Christ. [Fol. 35.]

    [Footnote 67: This was Laurence Child, who, by papal provision,
    was made Bishop of St. Asaph, June 18, 1382. He is called also
    Penitentiary to the Pope. Le Neve, p. 21. Beatson, vol. i. p.

2. "To all them that be in the state of grace, that daily say devoutly
this prayer before our blessed Lady of Pity, she will show them her
blessed visage, and warn them the day and the hour of death; and in
their last {196} end the angels of God shall yield their souls to
heaven; and[68] he shall obtain five hundred years, and so many Lents of
pardon, granted by five holy fathers, Popes of Rome. [Fol. 38.]

    [Footnote 68: The language in many of these passages is very
    imperfect; but I have thought it right to copy them verbatim.]

3. "This prayer showed our Lady to a devout person, saying, that this
golden prayer is the most sweetest and acceptablest to me: and in her
appearing she had this salutation and prayer written with letters of
gold in her breast, 'Ave Rosa sine spinis'--Hail Rose without thorns.
[Fol. 41.]

4. "Our holy Father, Sixtus the fourth, pope, hath granted to all them
that devoutly say this prayer before the image of our Lady the sum of
XI.M. [eleven thousand] years of pardon. 'Ave Sanctissima Maria, Mater
Dei, Regina Coeli,' &c. Hail most holy Mary, Mother of God, Queen of
Heaven. [Fol. 42.]

5. "Our holy Father, Pope Sixtus, hath granted at the instance of the
highmost and excellent Princess Elizabeth, late Queen of England, and
wife to our sovereign liege Lord, King Henry the Seventh, (God have
mercy on her sweet soul, and on all Christian souls,) that every day in
the morning, after three tollings of the Ave bell, say three times the
whole salutation of our Lady Ave Maria gratia; that is to say, at 6 the
clock in the morning 3 Ave Maria, at 12 the clock at noon 3 Ave M., and
at 6 the clock at even, for every time so doing is granted of the
SPIRITUAL TREASURE OF HOLY CHURCH 300 days of pardon totiens quotiens;
and also our holy father, the Archbishop of Canterbury and York, with
other nine Bishops of this realm, have {197} granted 3 times in the day
40 days of pardon to all them that be in the state of grace able to
receive pardon: the which begun the 26th day of March, Anno MCCCCXCII.
Anno Henrici VII.[69] And the sum of the indulgence and pardon for every
Ave Maria VIII hondred days an LX totiens quotiens, this prayer shall be
said at the tolling of the Ave Bell, 'Suscipe,' &c. Receive the word, O
Virgin Mary, which was sent to thee from the Lord by an angel. Hail,
Mary, full of grace: the Lord with thee, &c. Say this 3 times, &c. [Fol.

    [Footnote 69: Henry VII. began to reign in 1485.]

6. "This prayer was showed to St. Bernard by the messenger of God,
saying, that as gold is the most precious of all other metals, so
exceedeth this prayer all other prayers, and who that devoutly sayeth it
shall have a singular reward of our blessed Lady, and her sweet Son
Jesus. 'Ave,' &c. Hail, Mary, most humble handmaid of the Trinity, &c.
Hail, Mary, most prompt Comforter of the living and the dead. Be thou
with me in all my tribulations and distresses with maternal pity, and at
the hour of my death take my soul, and offer it to thy most beloved Son
Jesus, with all them who have commended themselves to our prayers. [Fol.

7. "Our holy father, the Pope Bonifacius, hath granted to all them that
devoutly say this lamentable contemplation of our blessed Lady, standing
under the Cross weeping, and having compassion with her sweet Son Jesus,
7 years of pardon and forty Lents, and also Pope John the 22 hath
granted three hondred days of pardon. 'Stabat Mater dolorosa.' [Fol.

8. "To all them that before this image of Pity devoutly say 5 Pat. Nos.,
and 5 Aves, and a Credo, piteously beholding these arms of Christ's
passion, are {198} granted XXXII.M.VII hondred, and LV (32755) years of
pardon; and Sixtus the 4th, Pope of Rome hath made the 4 and the 5
prayer, and hath doubled his aforesaid pardon. [Fol. 54.]

9. "Our holy Father the Pope John 22 hath granted to all them that
devoutly say this prayer, after the elevation of our Lord Jesu Christ,
3000 days of pardon for deadly sins. [Fol. 58.]

10. "This prayer was showed to Saint Augustine by revelation of the Holy
Ghost, and who that devoutly say this prayer, or hear read, or beareth
about them, shall not perish in fire or water, nother in battle or
judgment, and he shall not die of sudden death, and no venom shall
poison him that day, and what he asketh of God he shall obtain if it be
to the salvation of his soul; and when thy soul shall depart from thy
body it shall not enter hell." This prayer ends with three invocations
of the Cross, thus: "O Cross of Christ [cross] save us, O Cross of
Christ [cross] protect us, O Cross of Christ [cross] defend us. In the
name of the [cross] Father, [cross] Son, and Holy [cross] Ghost. Amen."
[Fol. 62.]

11. "Our holy Father Pope Innocent III. hath granted to all them that
say these III prayers following devoutly, remission of all their sins
confessed and contrite. [Fol. 63.]

12. "These 3 prayers be written in the Chapel of the Holy Cross, in
Rome, otherwise called Sacellum Sanctæ Crucis septem Romanorum; who that
devoutly say them shall obtain X.C.M. [ninety thousand] years of pardon
for deadly sins granted of our holy Father, John 22, Pope of Rome. [Fol.

13. "Who that devoutly beholdeth these arms of {199} our Lord Jesus
Christ, shall obtain six thousand years of pardon of our holy Father
Saint Peter, the first pope of Rome, and of XXX [thirty] other popes of
the Church of Rome, successors after him; and our holy Father, Pope John
22, hath granted unto all them very contrite and truly confessed, that
say these devout prayers following in the commemoration of the bitter
passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, 3000 years of pardon for DEADLY SINS,
and other 3000 for venial sins." [Fol. 68.]

I will only add one more instance. The following announcement
accompanies a prayer of St. Bernard: "Who that devoutly with a contrite
heart daily say this orison, if he be that day in a state of eternal
damnation, then this eternal pain shall be changed him in temporal pain
of purgatory; then if he hath deserved the pain of purgatory it shall be
forgotten and forgiven through the infinite mercy of God."

It is indeed very melancholy to reflect that our country has witnessed
the time, when the bread of life had been taken from the children, and
such husks as these substituted in its stead. Accredited ministers of
the Roman Catholic Church have lately assured us that the pardons and
indulgences granted now, relate only to the remission of the penances
imposed by the Church in this life, and presume not to interfere with
the province of the Most High in the rewards and punishments of the
next. But, I repeat it, what has been in former days may be again; and
whenever Christians depart from the doctrine and practice of prayer to
God alone, through Christ alone, a door is opened to superstitions and
abuses of every kind; and we cannot too anxiously and too jealously
guard and fence about, with all our power and skill, the fundamental
principle, one God and one Mediator. {200}

       *       *       *       *       *


The other instance by which I propose to illustrate the state of
religion in England before the reformation, is the service of Thomas
Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, a canonized saint and martyr of the
Church of Rome. The interest attaching to so remarkable a period in
ecclesiastical history, and to an event so intimately interwoven with
the former state of our native land, appears to justify the introduction
of the entire service, rather than extracts from it, in this place.
Whilst it bears throughout immediately on the subject of our present
inquiry, it supplies us at the same time with the strong views
entertained by the authors of the service, on points which gave rise to
great and repeated discussion, not only in England, but in various parts
also of continental Europe, with regard to the moral and spiritual
merits or demerits of Becket, as a subject of the realm and a Christian
minister. It is, moreover, only by becoming familiar in all their
details with some such remains of past times, that we can form any
adequate idea of the great and deplorable extent to which the legends
had banished the reading and expounding of Holy Scriptures from our
churches; and also how much the praises of mortal man had encroached
upon those hours of public worship, which should be devoted to
meditations on our Maker, Redeemer, and Sanctifier; to the exclusive
praises of his holy name; and to supplications {201} to Him alone for
blessings at his hand, and for his mercy through Christ.

There is much obscurity in the few first paragraphs. The historical or
biographical part begins at Lesson the First, and continues throughout,
only interspersed with canticles in general referring to the incidents
in the narrative preceding each.

       *       *       *       *       *


    [Footnote 70: The copies which I have chiefly consulted for the
    purposes of the present inquiry, are two large folio
    manuscripts, in good preservation, No. 1512 and No. 2785 of the
    Harleian MSS. in the British Museum. The service commences about
    the 49th page, B. of No. 2785. This MS. is considered to be of a
    date somewhere about 1430. The first parts of the service are
    preserved also in a Breviary printed in Paris in 1556, with some
    variations and omissions. There are various other copies in the
    British Museum, as well printed as in manuscript.]

Let them without change of vestments and without tapers in their hands,
proceed to the altar of St. Thomas the Martyr, chanting the requiem, the
chanter beginning,

  _Req._ The grain lies buried beneath the straw;
         The just man is slain by the spear of the wicked;
         The guardian of the vine falls in the vineyard,
         The chieftain in the camp, the husbandman in the threshing-floor.

Then the prose is said by all who choose, in surplices before the altar.

  "Let the Shepherd sound his trumpet of horn."

Let the choir respond to the chant of the prose after every verse, upon
the letter [super litteram]. {202}

  That the vineyard of Christ might be free,
  Which he assumed under a robe of flesh,
  He liberated it by the purple cross.
  The adversary, the erring sheep,
  Becomes bloodstained by the slaughter of the shepherd.
  The marble pavements of Christ
  Are wetted, ruddy with sacred gore;
  The martyr presented with the laurel of life.
  Like a grain cleansed from the straw,
  Is translated to the divine garners.

But whilst the prose is being sung, let the priest incense the altar,
and then the image of the blessed Thomas the Martyr; and afterwards
shall be said with an humble voice: Pray for us, Blessed Thomas.

_The Prayer[71]._ O God for whose Church the glorious {203} high-priest
and martyr Thomas fell beneath the swords of the wicked, grant, we
beseech thee, that all who implore his aid may obtain the salutary
effect of their petition, through Christ.

    [Footnote 71: This Collect is still preserved in the Roman
    ritual, and is offered on the anniversary of Becket's death. In
    a very ancient pontifical, preserved in the chapter-house of
    Bangor, and which belonged to Anianus, who was Bishop of that
    see (1268), among the "Proper Benedictions for the circuit of
    the year," are two relating to Thomas Becket; one on the
    anniversary of his death, the other on the day of his
    translation. The former is couched in these words: "O God, who
    hast not without reason mingled the birthday of the glorious
    high-priest, Thomas, with the joys of thy nativity, by the
    intervention of his merits" (ipsius mentis intervenientibus),
    "make these thy servants venerate thy majesty with the reverence
    of due honour. Amen. And as he, according to the rule of a good
    shepherd, gave his life for his sheep, so grant thou to thy
    faithful ones, to fear no tyrannical madness to the prejudice of
    Catholic truth. Amen. We ask that they, by his example, for
    obedience to the holy laws, may learn to despise persons, and by
    suffering manfully to triumph over tyrannical madness. Amen."
    The latter runs thus: "May God, by whose pity the bodies of
    saints rest in the sabbath of peace, turn your hearts to the
    desire of the resurrection to come. Amen. And may he who orders
    us to bury with honour due the members of the saints whose death
    is precious, by the merits of the glorious martyr, Thomas,
    vouchsafe to raise you from the dust of vanity. Amen. Where at
    length by the power of his benediction ye may be clothed with
    doubled festive robes of body and soul. Amen."]

  The shepherd slain in the midst of the flock,
  Purchased peace at the price of his blood.
  O joyous grief, in mournful gladness!
  The flock breathes when the shepherd is dead;
  The mother wailing, sings for joy in her son,
  Because he lives under the sword a conqueror.
  The solemnities of Thomas the Martyr are come.
  Let the Virgin Mother, the Church, rejoice;
  Thomas being raised to the highest priesthood,
  Is suddenly changed into another man.
  A monk, under [the garb of?] a clerk, secretly clothed with haircloth,
  More strong than the flesh subdues the attempts of the flesh;
  Whilst the tiller of the Lord's field pulls up the thistles,
  And drives away and banishes the foxes from the vineyard.

_The First Lesson._

Dearest Brethren, celebrating now the birth-day of the martyr Thomas,
because we have not power to recount his whole life and conversation,
let our brief discourse run through the manner and cause of his passion.
The blessed Thomas, therefore, as in the office of Chancellor, or
Archdeacon, he proved incomparably strenuous {204} in the conduct of
affairs, so after he had undertaken the office of pastor, he became
devoted to God beyond man's estimation. For, when consecrated, he
suddenly is changed into another man: he secretly put on the hair shirt,
and wore also hair drawers down to the knee. And under the respectable
appearance of the clerical garb, concealing the monk's dress, he
entirely compelled the flesh to obey the spirit; studying by the
exercise of every virtue without intermission to please God. Knowing,
therefore, that he was placed a husbandman in the field of the Lord, a
shepherd in the fold, he carefully discharged the ministry entrusted to
him. The rights and dignities of the Church, which the public authority
had usurped, he deemed it right to restore, and to recall to their proper
state. Whence a grave question on the ecclesiastical law and the customs
of the realm, having arisen between him and the king of the English, a
council being convened, those customs were proposed which the king
pertinaciously required to be confirmed by the signatures as well of the
archbishop as of his suffragans. The archbishop with constancy refused,
asserting that in them was manifest the subversion of the freedom of the
Church. He was in consequence treated with immense insults, oppressed
with severe losses, and provoked with innumerable injuries. At length,
being threatened with death, (because the case of the Church had not yet
become fully known, and the persecution seemed to be personal,) he
determined that he ought to give place to malice. Being driven,
therefore, into exile, he was honourably received by our lord the pope
Alexander[72] at Senon, and recommended {205} with especial care to the
Monastery of Pontinea (Pontigny).

    [Footnote 72: Pope Alexander III. was at this time residing as a
    refugee at Sens, having been driven from Italy a few years
    before by Frederick Barbarossa.]

  Malice, bent on the punishment of Thomas,
  Condemns to banishment the race of Thomas.
  The whole family goes forth together.
  No order, sex, age, or condition
  Here enjoys any privilege.

_Lesson the Second._

Meanwhile in England all the revenues of the archbishop are confiscated,
his estates are laid waste, his possessions are plundered, and by the
invention of a new kind of punishment, the whole kin of Thomas is
proscribed together. For all his friends or acquaintance, or whoever was
connected with him, by whatever title, without distinction of state or
fortune, dignity or rank, age or sex, were alike exiled. For as well the
old and decrepit, as infants in the cradle and women lying in
childbirth, were driven into banishment; whilst as many as had reached
the years of discretion were compelled to swear upon the holy
[Gospels][73] that immediately on crossing the sea they would present
themselves to the Archbishop of Canterbury; in order that being so
oftentimes pierced even by the sword of sympathy, he would bend his
strength of mind to the king's pleasure. But the man of God, putting his
hand to deeds of fortitude, with constancy bore exile, reproaches,
insults, the proscription of parents and friends, for the name of
Christ; he was never, by any injury, at all broken or changed. For so
great was the firmness of this confessor of Christ, that he seemed to
teach all his fellow exiles, that every soil is the brave man's country.

    [Footnote 73: Tactis sacrosanctis. It may mean reliques, or
    other sacred things.] {206}

  Thomas put his hands to deeds of fortitude,
  He despised losses, he despised reproaches,
  No injury breaks down Thomas:
  The firmness of Thomas exclaimed to all,
  "Every soil is the brave man's country."

_Third Lesson._

The king therefore hearing of his immoveable constancy, having directed
commendatory letters by some abbots of the Cistertian order to the
General Chapter, caused him to be driven from Pontinea. But the blessed
Thomas fearing that, by occasion of his right, injury would befal the
saints, retired of his own accord. Yet before he set out from thence he
was comforted by a divine revelation: a declaration being made to him
from heaven, that he should return to his Church with glory, and by the
palm of martyrdom depart to the Lord. When he was disturbed and sent
from his retreat at Pontinea, Louis, the most Christian king of the
French, received him with the greatest honour, and supported him most
courteously till peace was restored. But even he too was often, though
in vain, urged not to show any grace of kindness towards a traitor to
the king of England. The hand of fury proceeded further, and a cruelty
dreadful for pious ears to hear. For whereas the Catholic Church prays
even for heretics, and schismatics, and faithless Jews, it was forbidden
that any one should assist him by the supplications of prayer. Exiled,
then, for six continuous years, afflicted with varied and unnumbered
injuries, and like a living stone squared by various cuttings and
pressures for the building of the heavenly edifice, the more he was
thrust at that he might fall, the more firm and immoveable was he
enabled to stand. {207} For neither could gold so carefully tried be
burned away, nor a house, founded on a firm rock, be torn down. Neither
does he suffer the wolves to rage against the lambs, nor the vineyard to
pass into a garden of herbs.

  The best of men, holy, and renowned is banished,
  Lest the dignity of the Church should yield to the unworthy.
  The estates of the exiled man are the spoil of the malignant,
  But when placed in the fire, the fire burns him not.

_Fourth Lesson._

At length by the exertions, as well of the aforesaid pontiff as of the
king of the French, many days were appointed for re-establishing peace:
and because the servant of God would not accept of peace, unless with
safety to the honour of God, and the character of the Church, they
departed in discord from each other. At length the supreme Pontiff,
pitying the desolation of the Anglican Church, with difficulty at the
last extorted by threatening measures, that peace should be restored to
the Church. The realms indeed rejoiced, that the King had been
reconciled to the Archbishop, whilst some believed that the affair was
carried on in good faith, and others formed different conjectures.
Consequently in the seventh year of his exile the noble pastor returned
into England, that he might either rescue the sheep of Christ from the
jaws of the wolves, or sacrifice himself for the flock intrusted to his
care. He is received by the clergy and the people with incalculable joy;
all shedding tears, and saying, Blessed is he who cometh in the name of
the Lord. But after a few days he was again afflicted by losses and
miseries beyond measure and number. Whoever offered to him, {208} or to
any one connected with him, a cheerful countenance was reckoned a public
enemy. In all these things his mind was unbroken; but his hand was still
stretched out for the liberation of the Church. For this he incessantly
sighed; for this he persevered in watchings, fastings, and prayers; to
obtain this he ardently desired to sacrifice himself.

  From the greatest joy of affairs,
  The greatest wailing is in the Church,
  For the absence of so great a patron.
  But when the miracles return,
  Joy to the people returns.
  The crowd of sick flock together,
  And obtain the grace of benefits.

_Fifth Lesson._

Now on the fifth day after the birth-day of our Lord, four persons of
the palace came to Canterbury, men indeed of high birth, but famous for
their wicked deeds; and having entered, they attack the archbishop with
reproachful words, provoke him with insults, and at length assail him
with threats. The man of God modestly answered, to every thing, whatever
reason required, adding that many injuries had been inflicted upon him
and the Church of God, since the re-establishment of peace, and there
was no one to correct what was wrong; that he neither could nor would
dissemble thereafter, so as not to exercise the duties of his function.
The men, foolish in heart, were disturbed by this, and having loudly
given utterance to their iniquity they forthwith went out. On their
retiring, the prelate proceeded to the Church, to offer the evening
praises to Christ. The mail-clad satellites of Satan followed him from
behind with drawn swords, a {209} large band of armed men accompanying
them. On the monks barring the entrance to the Church, the priest of
God, destined soon to become a victim of Christ, running up re-opened
the door to the enemy; "For," said he, "a Church must not be barricaded
like a castle." As they burst in, and some shouted with a voice of
phrenzy, "Where is the traitor?" others, "Where is the Archbishop?" the
fearless confessor of Christ went to meet them. When they pressed on to
murder him, he said, "For myself I cheerfully meet death for the Church
of God; but on the part of God I charge you to do no hurt to any of
mine"--imitating Christ in his passion, when he said, "If ye seek me,
let these go their way." Then rush the ravening wolves on the pious
shepherd, degenerate sons on their own father, cruel lictors on the
victim of Christ, and with fatal swords cut off the consecrated crown of
his head; and hurling down to the ground the Christ [the anointed] of
the Lord, in savage manner, horrible to be said, scattered the brains
with the blood over the pavement.

  Thus does the straw press down the grain of corn;
  Thus is slain the guard of the vineyard in the vineyard;
  Thus the general in the camp, the shepherd in the fold, the
    husbandman in the threshing-floor.
  Thus the just, slain by the unjust, has changed his house of
    clay for a heavenly palace.
  Rachel, weeping, now cease thou to mourn
  That the flower of the world is bruised by the world.
  When the slain Thomas is borne to his funeral,
  A new Abel succeeds to the old.
  The voice of blood, the voice of his scattered brains,
  Fills heaven with a marvellous cry. {210}

_Sixth Lesson._

But the last words of the martyr, which from the confused clamour could
scarcely be distinguished, according to the testimony of those who stood
near, were these,--"To God, and the blessed Mary, and Saint Dionysius,
and the holy patrons of this Church, I commend myself and the cause of
the Church[74]." Moreover, in all the torments which this unvanquished
champion of God endured, he sent forth no cry, he uttered no groan, he
opposed neither his arm nor his garment to the man who struck him, but
held his head, which he had bent towards the swords, unmoved till the
consummation came; prostrated as if for prayer, he fell asleep in the
Lord. The perpetrators of the crime, returning into the palace of the
holy prelate, that they might make the passion of the servant more fully
resemble the passion of his Lord, divided among them his garments, the
gold and silver and precious vessels, choice horses, and whatever of
value they could find, allotting what each should take. These things
therefore the soldiers did. Who, without weeping, can relate the rest?
So great was the sorrow of all, so great the laments of each, that you
would think the prophecy were a second time fulfilled, "A voice is heard
in Rama, lamentation and great mourning." Nevertheless the divine mercy,
when temptation was multiplied, made a way to escape; and by certain
visions, giving as it were a prelude to the future miracles, [declared
that] the martyr was thereafter to be glorified by wonders, that joy
would return after sorrow, {211} and a crowd of sick would obtain the
grace of benefits.

    [Footnote 74: I have already suggested a comparison between this
    prayer and the commendatory prayer of the Martyr Polycarp, page

  O Christ Jesus[75], BY THE WOUNDS OF THOMAS,
  Loosen the sins which bind us;
  Lest the enemy, the world, or the works of the flesh.
  Bear us captive to hell.
  By[76] THEE, O Thomas ...
  Let the right hand of God embrace us.

  The satellites of Satan rushing into the temple
  Perpetrate an unexampled, unheard-of, crime.
  Thomas proceeds to meet their drawn swords:
  He yields not to threats, to swords, nor even to death.

  Happy place! Happy Church,
  In which the memory of Thomas lives!
  Happy the land which gave the prelate!
  Happy the land which supported him in exile!
  Happy Father! succour us miserable,
  That we may be happy, and joined with those above!

    [Footnote 75:

      Christe Jesu per Thomæ vulnera,
      Quæ nos ligant relaxa scelera
      Ne captivos ferant ad infera
      Hostis, mundus, vel carnis opera.

    [Footnote 76:

      Per te, Thoma, post lævæ munera
      Amplexetur nos Dei dextera.

_Seventh Lesson._

Jesus said unto his disciples, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd
layeth down his life for the sheep.


Ye have heard, most dear brethren, from the reading of the Gospel, your
instruction; ye have heard also {212} your danger. For behold! he who is
not from any gift happening to him, but who is essentially good, says, I
am the good shepherd; and he adds the character of the same goodness,
which we may imitate, saying, The good shepherd layeth down his life for
his sheep. He did what he taught; he showed what he commanded. The good
shepherd laid down his life for his sheep; that in our sacrament he
might change his body and blood, and satisfy, by the nourishment of his
flesh, the sheep which he had redeemed. Here is shown to us the way,
concerning the contempt of death, which we should follow; the character
is placed before us to which we should conform. [In the first place, we
should of our pity sacrifice our external good for his sheep; and at
last, if it be necessary, give up our own life for the same sheep. From
that smallest point we proceed to this last and greater. But since the
soul by which we live is incomparably better than the earthly substance
which we outwardly possess, who would not give for the sheep his
substance, when he would give his life for them? And there are some who,
whilst they love their earthly substance more than the sheep, deservedly
lose the name of shepherd: of whom it is immediately added, But the
hireling who is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the
wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep and fleeth. He is called not a
shepherd, but a hireling, who feeds the Lord's sheep not for inward
love, but with a view to temporal wages. He is a mercenary who seeks
indeed the place of shepherd, but seeks not the gain of souls.]

(The sentences between brackets are not in MS. No. 1512.)

  To Thomas all things yield and are obedient:
  Plagues, diseases, death, and devils, {213}
  Fire, air, land, and seas.
  Thomas filled the world with glory.
  The world offers obeisance to Thomas[77].

    [Footnote 77:

      Thomæ cedunt et parent omnia:
      Pestes, morbi, mors, et dæmonia,
      Ignis, aer, tellus, et maria.
      Thomas mundum replevit gloria.
      Thomæ mundus præstat obsequia.

_Eighth Lesson._

In good truth, the holy Thomas, the precious champion of God, was to be
worthily glorified. For if the cause, yea, forasmuch as the cause makes
the martyr, did ever a title of holy martyrs exist more glorious?
Contending for the Church, in the Church he suffered; in a holy place,
at the holy time of the Lord's nativity, in the midst of his
fellow-priests and the companies of the religious: since in the agony of
the prelate all the circumstances seemed so to concur, as perpetually to
illustrate the title of the sufferer, and reveal the wickedness of his
persecutors, and stain their name with never-ending infamy. But so did
the divine vengeance rage against the persecutors of the martyr, that in
a short time, being carried away from the midst, they nowhere appeared.
And some, without confession, or the viaticum, were suddenly snatched
away; others tearing piecemeal their own fingers or tongues; others
pining with hunger, and corrupting in their whole body, and racked with
unheard-of tortures before their death, and broken up by paralysis;
others bereft of their intellects; others expiring with madness;--left
manifest proofs that they were suffering the penalty of unjust
persecution and premeditated murder. Let, therefore, the Virgin Mother,
the Church, rejoice that the new martyr has borne away the triumph over
the {214} enemies. Let her rejoice that a new Zacharias has been for her
freedom sacrificed in the temple. Let her rejoice that a new Abel's
blood hath cried unto God for her against the men of blood. For the
voice of his blood shed, the-voice of his brain scattered by the swords
of those deadly satellites, hath filled heaven at once and the world
with its far-famed cry.

  Thomas shines with new miracles;
  He adorns with sight those who had lost their eyes;
  He cleanses those who were stained with the spots of leprosy;

  He looses those that were bound with the bonds of death.

_Ninth Lesson._

For at the cry of this blood the earth was moved and trembled. Nay,
moreover, the powers of the heavens were moved; so that, as if for the
avenging of innocent blood, nation rose against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom; nay, a kingdom was divided against itself, and terrors
from heaven and great signs took place. Yet, from the first period of
his martyrdom, the martyr began to shine forth with miracles, restoring
sight to the blind, walking to the lame, hearing to the deaf, language
to the dumb. Afterwards, cleansing the lepers, making the paralytic
sound, healing the dropsy, and all kinds of incurable diseases;
restoring the dead to life; in a wonderful manner commanding the devils
and all the elements: he also put forth his hand to unwonted and
unheard-of signs of his own power; for persons deprived of their eyes
merited by his merits to obtain new members. But some {215} who presumed
to disparage his miracles, struck on a sudden, were compelled to publish
them even unwillingly. At length, against all his enemies the martyr so
far prevailed, that almost every day you might see that to be repeated
in the servant which is read of the Only-begotten: "They who spoke evil
of thee shall come unto thee, and adore the traces of thy feet." Now the
celebrated champion and martyr of God, Thomas, suffered in the year from
the incarnation of the Lord, according to Dionysius, 1171, on the fourth
of the kalends of January, on the third day of the week, about the
eleventh hour, that the birth-day of the Lord might be for labour, and
his for rest; to which rest the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ
vouchsafe to bring us; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit liveth
and reigneth God, for ever and ever. Amen.

  Forgive us our debts;
  Visit the house, the gate, the grave;
  And raise us from the threefold death.
  What has been lost by act, in mind, or use,
  Restore with thy wonted pity.
      Pray for us, O blessed Thomas.

N.B. This appears to be the end of the first service in honour of Thomas
Becket[78]; and at this point {216} another service seems to commence,
with a kind of new heading, "In the commemoration of St. Thomas[79]."

    [Footnote 78: All the Lessons between this passage and "In
    Lauds," are wanting in MS. 1512.]

    [Footnote 79: Another Feast was kept in honour of his
    translation, on the 7th of July.]

_The First Lesson._

When Archbishop Theobald, of happy memory, in a good old age, slept with
his fathers, Thomas, archdeacon of the Church of Canterbury, is solemnly
chosen, in the name of the Holy Trinity, to be archbishop and primate of
all England, and afterwards is consecrated. Then pious minds entertained
firm hope and confidence in the Lord[80].

    [Footnote 80: There is much of obscurity in the next paragraph.
    Reference seems to be made to his twofold character of a regular
    and a secular clergyman, and to his improved state morally. The
    Latin is this: "Erat autem piis mentibus spes firma et fiducia
    in Domino, quod idem consecratus utriusque hominis, habitu
    mutato moribus melioratus præsideret. Probatissimum siquidem
    tenebatur sedem illam sedem sanctorum esse sanctam recipere aut
    facere, vel citius et facile indignum abicere, quod et in beato
    Thoma Martyre misericorditer impletum est."]

_Second Lesson._

Therefore the chosen prelate of God being elected, and anointed with the
sanctifying of the sacred oil, immediately obtained a most hallowed
thing, and was filled with manifold grace of the Holy Spirit. For
walking in newness of life, a new man, he was changed into another man,
all things belonging to whom were changed for the better; and with so
great grace did he consecrate the commencement of his bishopric, that
clothing himself with a monk's form secretly, he fulfilled the work and
merit of a monk. {217}

_Third Lesson._

But he, who after the example of the Baptist, with constancy had
conceived in a perfect heart that the zeal of righteousness should be
purified, studied also to imitate him in the garb of penitence. For
casting off the fine linen which hitherto he had been accustomed to use,
whilst the soft delicacies of kings pleased him, he was clothed on his
naked body with a most rough hair shirt. He added, moreover, hair
drawers, that he might the more effectually mortify the flesh, and make
the spirit live. But these, as also the other exercises of his spiritual
life, very few indeed being aware of it, he removed from the eyes and
knowledge of men by superadding other garments, because he sought glory
not from man, but from God. Even then the man of virtue entering upon
the justifications of God, began to be more complete in abstinence, more
frequent in watching, longer in prayer, more anxious in preaching. The
pastoral office intrusted to him by God, he executed with so great
diligence, as to suffer the rights neither of the clergy nor of the
Church to be in any degree curtailed.

       *       *       *       *       *

There seems here also to be another commencement, for the next lesson is
called the First.

_Lesson First._

So large a grace of compunction was he wont to possess, between the
secrets of prayer or the solemnities of masses, that with eyes trained
to weeping he would be wholly dissolved in tears; and in the office
{218} of the altar his appearance was as though he was witnessing the
Lord's passion in the flesh. Knowing also that mercy softens justice,
and that pity hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that
which is to come, therefore towards the poor and the afflicted did he
bear the bowels of mercy piteously, and was anxious to reach the poor by
the blessings of his alms.

_Lesson Second._

The more humble of those whom a character for religion raised high, he
made his acquaintance and intimates; and that he might learn from them
to hunger and thirst after righteousness, he enjoyed more frequently
their secret conversation. Towards such servants and soldiers of Christ
this merciful man preferred to be liberal and abundant in food and
raiment, he who determined in himself to be moderate and sparing. For
what would he deny to Christ, who for Christ was about to shed his
blood? He who owed his coat or cloak to one who asked it, desired to
add, moreover, his own flesh. For he knew that the man would never
freely give his own flesh, who showed himself greedy of any temporal

_Lesson Third._

Hitherto the merciful Lord, who maketh poor and enricheth, bringeth low
and lifteth up, wished to load his servant with riches, and exalt him
with honours; and afterwards he was pleased to try him with adversity.
By trying whether he loved Him, He proved it the more certainly; but He
supplied grace more abundantly. For with the temptation He made a way to
escape, that he might be able to bear it. Therefore, the envious enemy,
considering that the new prelate {219} and the new man was flourishing
with so manifold a grace of virtues, devised to send a burning blight of
temptation, which might suffocate the germ of his merits already put
forth. Nor was there any delay. He who severs a man from his God, and
one friend from his neighbour, sowed irreconcileable quarrels between
the king and the archbishop.

Pray for us, O blessed Thomas.

_In Lauds._

  A grain falls and gives birth to an abundance of corn.
  The alabaster-box is broken, and the odour of the
    ointment is powerful.
  The whole world vies in love to the martyr,
  Whose wonderful signs strike all with astonishment.
  The water for Thomas five times changing colour,
  Once was turned into milk, four times into blood.
  At the shrine[81] of Thomas four times the light
    came down,
  And to the glory of the saint kindled the wax-tapers.
  Whither Thomas has ascended.

  Extend[83] succour to us, O Thomas,
  Guide those who stand, {220}
  Raise up those who fall,

  Correct our morals, actions, and life;

  And guide us into the way of peace.

    [Footnote 81: Ad Thomæ memoriam.]

    [Footnote 82: Tu per Thomæ sanguinem quem pro te impendit, Fac
    nos, Christe, scandere, quo Thomas ascendit.]

    [Footnote 83:

      Opem nobis, O Thoma, porrige,
      Rege stantes, jacentes erige,
      Mores, actus, et vitam corrige,
      Et in pacis nos viam dirige.

_Final Anthem._

  Hail, O Thomas, the Rod of Justice;[84]
  The Brightness of the World;
  The Strength of the Church;
  The Love of the People;
  The Delight of the Clergy.
  Hail, glorious Guardian of the Flock;
  Save those who rejoice in thy glory.

    [Footnote 84: Salve, Thomas, Virga Justitiæ, Mundi Jubar, Robur
    Ecclesiæ, Plebis Amor, Cleri Delicia. Salve Gregis Tutor
    egregie, Salva tuæ gaudentes gloriæ.]

The end of the service of Thomas of Canterbury.

       *       *       *       *       *

Now for a few moments only let us meditate on this service. I have
already referred to the lamentable practice of substituting biographical
legends for the word of God. And what is the tendency of this service?
What impression was it likely to make, and to leave on minds of ordinary
powers and instruction? Must it not, of necessity, tend to withdraw them
from contemplating Christ, and to fix their thoughts on the powers, the
glory, the exaltation, the merits of a fellow-sinner? It will be said,
that they will look beyond the martyr, and trace the blessings, here
enumerated, to Christ, as their primary cause, and will think of the
merits of Thomas as efficacious only through the merits of their
Saviour; that in their invocation of Thomas they will implore him only
to pray for them. But can this be so? Does not the ascription of
miracles to him {221} and to his power; does not the very form of
enumerating those miracles tend much to exalt the servant to an equality
with the Master?

Whilst Thomas by being thus, in words at least, presented to the people
as working those miracles by his own power, (for there is throughout a
lamentable absence of immediate ascription of glory to God,) is raised
to an equality with Christ our Lord; many passages in this service have
the tendency also of withdrawing the minds of the worshippers from an
implicit and exclusive dependence on the merits of Christ alone, and of
tempting them to admit the merits of Thomas to share at least with
Christ in the work of grace and salvation. Let us place some texts of
Scripture and some passages of this service side by side.

[Transcriber's note: They are shown here one after the other.]


But after that the kindness and love of God towards man appeared, not by
works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he
saved us.--Titus iii. 4, 5.

He who spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he
not with him also freely give us all things?--Rom. viii. 32.

The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.--1 John i. 7.

One Mediator.--1 Tim. ii. 5.

Who also maketh intercession for us.--Rom. viii. 34.

He ever liveth to make intercession for them.--Heb. vii. 25.

_Service of Thomas Becket._

O Christ Jesus, by the wounds of Thomas loosen the sins which bind us.

O blessed Jesus, BY THE MERITS OF THOMAS, forgive us our debts, raise us
from the threefold death, and restore what has been lost with thy
accustomed pity.

Do thou, O Christ, by the blood of Thomas, which he shed for thee, make
us ascend whither Thomas has ascended.

Holy Thomas, pray for us.

And if this service thus seems to mingle the merits of Christ, the
merits of his blood and of his death, with {222} the merits of a mortal
man, the immediate address to that mortal as the giver of good things
temporal and spiritual, very awfully trespasses on that high, exclusive,
and incommunicable prerogative of the one Lord God Omnipotent, which his
Spirit hath proclaimed solemnly and repeatedly, and which he has fenced
around against all invasion with so many warnings and denunciations.

_Scripture._                         _Service of Becket_

1. O thou that hearest prayer,       1. For they sake, O Thomas,
unto thee shall all flesh come.--    let the right hand of God embrace
Ps. lxv. [vulg. lxiv.] 2.            us.

By prayer and supplication,
with thanksgiving, let your requests
be made known unto God.--Phil.
iv. 6.

2. Lord, be thou my helper.--        2. Send help to us, O Thomas;
Ps. xxx. [xxix.] 10.

3. Thou shalt guide me by thy        3. Guide thou those who stand;
counsel.--Ps. lxxiii. [lxxii.] 24.

He, The Holy Spirit, shall guide
you into all truth.--John xvi. 13.

4. The Lord upholdeth all that       4. Raise up those who fall;
fall, and raiseth up all those that
be bowed down.--Psalm cxlv.
[cxliv.] 14.

5. Create in me a clean heart,       5. Correct our morals, actions
O God.--Ps. li. [l.] 10.             and life;

6. The steps of a good man are       6. And guide us into the way
ordered by the Lord. Though          of peace.
he fall, he shall not be utterly
cast down, for the Lord upholdeth
him.--Ps. xxxvii. [xxxvi.]

The day-spring from on high
hath visited us, to guide our feet
into the way of peace.--Luke i.
78, 79.

And then again, in celebrating the praises of a mortal {223} man,
recourse is had to language which can fitly be used only in our hymns
and praises to the supreme Lord of our destinies, the eternal Creator,
Redeemer, and Comforter, the only wise God our Saviour.

_Address to Thomas._                 _Language of Scripture._

1. Hail, Thomas, Rod of Justice!     1. There shall come a rod out
                                     of the stem of Jesse. Ye denied
                                     the Holy One, and the Just--Isaiah
                                     xi. 1. Acts iii. 14.

2. The brightness of the world.      2. The brightness of his glory.
                                     I am the light of the world--Heb.
                                     i. 3. John viii. 12.

3. The strength of the Church.       3. I can do all things through
                                     Christ, that strengthened me.
                                     Christ loved the Church, and
                                     gave himself for it.--Phil. iv. 13.
                                     Eph. v. 25.

4. The love of the people: the       4. Grace be with all them that
delight of the Clergy.               love our Lord Jesus Christ in
                                     sincerity. Delight thyself in the
                                     Lord.--Eph. vi. 24. Ps. xxxvii. 4.

5. Hail, glorious Guardian of        5. Our Lord Jesus, that great
the Flock. Save those who rejoice    Shepherd of the sheep. Give ear,
in thy glory.                        O Shepherd of Israel; come and
                                     save us. He that glorieth, let  him
                                     glory in the Lord.--Heb. xiii.  20.
                                     Psalm lxxx. [lxxix.] 1. 1 Cor.
                                     i. 31.

Can that worship become the disciples of the Gospel and the Cross, which
addresses such prayers and such praises to the spirit of a mortal man?
Every prayer, and every form of praise here used in honour of Thomas
Becket, it would well become Christians to offer to the Giver of all
good, trusting solely and exclusively to the mediation of Christ Jesus
our Lord for acceptance; and pleading-only the merits of his most
precious blood. {224} And yet I am bound to confess, that in principle,
in spirit, and in fact, I can find no substantial difference between
this service of Thomas of Canterbury, and the service which all in
communion with the Church of Rome are under an obligation to use even at
the present hour.

This point remains next for our inquiry, and we will draw from the
well-head. I would, however, first suggest the application of a general
test for ascertaining the real _bona-fide_ nature of these prayers and
praises. The test I would apply is, to try with the change only of the
name, substituting the holiest name ever named in heaven or in earth for
the name of Thomas of Canterbury--whether these prayers and praises
should not be offered to the Supreme Being alone through the atoning
merits of his Blessed Son; whether they are not exclusively appropriate
to HIM.

To (Thomas/God Almighty) all things bow and are obedient.

Plagues, diseases, death, and devils,
Fire, air, land, and sea.
(Thomas/The Almighty) fills the world with glory.

The world offers obeisance to (Thomas/Almighty God).

(The Martyr Thomas/Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ) began to shine
forth with miracles [John ii. 11]; restoring sight to the blind [Luke
vii. 21]; walking to the lame; hearing to the deaf; speech to the dumb;
cleansing to the lepers [Matt. xi. 5]; making the paralytic sound [Matt.
iv. 24]; healing the dropsy [Luke xiv. 4]; and all kinds of incurable
diseases [Luke iv. 40]; restoring the dead to {225} life [Luke viii. 43.
55]; in a wonderful manner commanding the devils [Matt. viii. 16], and
all the elements [Luke viii. 25]. He put forth his hand to unwonted and
unheard-of signs of his own power [Mark ii. 12. John ix. 30].

Do thou, O Lord, by the blood of (Thomas/Christ) cause us to ascend
whither (Thomas/Christ) has ascended. (O Thomas/O God), send help to us.
Guide those who stand; raise up those who fall; correct our morals,
actions, and life; and guide us into the way of peace.

Hail, (Thomas!/Jesus!) Rod of Justice, the Brightness of the world, the
Strength of the Church, the Love of the people, the Delight of the
Clergy. Hail, Glorious Guardian of the flock! Save Thou those who
delight in Thy glory.

       *       *       *       *       *

We shall apply this same test to many of the collects and prayers used,
and of necessity to be used, because they are authorized and appointed,
even at the present day, in the ministrations of the Church of Rome. The
impiety in many of those instances is not couched in such startling
language; but it is not the less real. God forbid that we should charge
our fellow-creatures with idolatry, who declare that they offer divine
worship to the Supreme Being only; or that we should pronounce any
professed Christian to have cast off his {226} dependence on the merits
of Christ alone, who assures us that he looks for mercy only through
those merits. But I know and feel, that according to the standard of
Christian truth, and of the pure worship of Almighty God, which the
Scriptures and primitive antiquity compel me to adopt, I should stain my
own soul with the guilt of idolatry, and with the sin of relying on
other merits than Christ's, were I myself to offer those prayers.

That this service excited much disgust among the early reformers, we
learn from various writers[85]. On the merits of the struggle between
Becket and his king; on the question of Becket's moral and religious
worth, (a question long and often discussed among the exercises of the
masters of Paris in the full assembly of the Sorbonne[86],) or on the
motives which influenced Henry the Eighth, I intend not to say one word:
those points belong not to our present inquiry. It may not, however, be
thought irrelevant here to quote a passage {227} from the ordinance of
this latter monarch for erasing Becket's service out of the books, and
his name from the calendar of the saints.

    [Footnote 85: See Mornay "De la Messe," Saumur, 1604. p. 826.
    Becon, in his "New Year's Gift," London, 1564, p. 183, thus
    speaks: "What saint at any time thought himself so pure,
    immaculate, and without all spot of sin, that he durst presume
    to die for us, and to avouch his death to be an oblation and
    sacrifice for our lives to God the Father, except peradventure
    we will admit for good payment these and such like blasphemies,
    which were wont full solemnly to be sung in the temples unto the
    great ignominy of the glorious name of God, and the dishonour of
    Christ's most precious blood." Then quoting the lines from the
    service of Thomas Becket, on which we have above commented, he
    adds, "I will let pass many more which are easy to be searched
    and found out." Becon preached and wrote in the reign of Henry
    VIII. and was then persecuted for his religion, as he was
    afterwards in the reign of Mary.]

    [Footnote 86: We are told that forty-eight years after his
    death, the masters of Paris disputed whether Thomas was a
    condemned sinner, or admitted into heaven.]

In Henry the Eighth's proclamation, dated Westminster, 16th November, in
the thirtieth year of his reign, printed by Bertholet, is the following
very curious passage:--

    "ITEM, for as moche as it appereth now clerely, that Thomas
    Becket, sometyme Archbyshop of Canterburie, stubburnly to
    withstand the holsome lawes establyshed agaynste the enormities
    of the clergie, by the kynges highness mooste noble progenitour,
    kynge HENRY the Seconde, for the common welthe, reste, and
    tranquillitie of this realme, of his frowarde mynde fledde the
    realme into Fraunce, and to the bishop of Rome, mayntenour of
    those enormities, to procure the abrogation of the sayd lawes,
    whereby arose moch trouble in this said realme, and that his
    dethe, which they untruely called martyrdome, happened upon a
    reskewe by him made, and that, as it is written, he gave
    opprobrious wordes to the gentyllmen, whiche than counsayled hym
    to leave his stubbernesse, and to avoyde the commocion of the
    people, rysen up for that rescue. And he not only callyd the one
    of them bawde, but also toke Tracy by the bosome, and violently
    shoke and plucked hym in suche maner, that he had almoste
    overthrowen hym to the pavement of the Churche; so that upon
    this fray one of their company, perceivynge the same, strake
    hym, and so in the thronge Becket was slayne. And further that
    his canonization was made onely by the bysshop of Rome, bycause
    he had ben a champion of maynteyne his usurped auctoritie, and a
    bearer of the iniquitie of the clergie, for these and for other
    great and urgent causes, longe to recyte, the Kynge's {228}
    Maiestie, by the advyse of his counsayle, hath thought expedient
    to declare to his lovynge subjectes, that notwithstandynge the
    sayde canonization, there appereth nothynge in his lyfe and
    exteriour conversation, wherby he shuld be callyd a sainct, but
    rather estemed to have ben a rebell and traytour to his prynce.
    Therefore his Grace strayghtly chargeth and commandeth that from
    henseforth the sayde Thomas Becket shall not be estemed, named,
    reputed, nor called a sayncte, but bysshop Becket; and that his
    ymages and pictures, through the hole realme, shall be putte
    downe, and avoyded out of all churches, chapelles, and other
    places; and that from henseforthe, the dayes used to be
    festivall in his name shall not be observed, nor the service,
    office, antiphoners, colletes, and prayers, in his name redde,
    but rased and put out of all the bokes[87]."

    [Footnote 87: In the Roman Breviary, adapted to England, several
    biographical lessons are appointed for the Anniversary of "St.
    Thomas, bishop and martyr," interspersed with canticles. In one
    of these we read, "This is truly a martyr, who, for the name of
    Christ, shed blood; who feared not the threats of judges, nor
    sought the glory of earthly dignity. But he reached the heavenly
    kingdom."--Norwich, 1830. Hiem. p. 251.] {229}

       *       *       *       *       *



In the process of ascertaining the real state of doctrine and practice
in the worship of the Church of Rome at the present day, we must first
gain as clear and accurate a knowledge of the decree of the Council of
Trent, as its words will enable us to form. Into the character of that
Council, and of those who constituted it, our present investigation does
not lead us to inquire. It is now, I believe, generally understood, that
its decrees are binding on all who profess allegiance to the Sovereign
Roman Pontiff; and that the man would be considered to have renounced
the Roman Catholic Communion, who should professedly withhold his assent
from the doctrines there promulgated as vital, or against the oppugners
of which the Council itself pronounced an anathema.

Ecclesiastical writers[88] assure us, that the wording of the decrees of
that Council was in many cases on purpose framed ambiguously and
vaguely. The latitude, however, of the expressions employed, does not in
itself {230} of necessity imply any of those sinister and unworthy
motives to which it has been usual with many writers to attribute it. In
charity, and without any improbable assumption, it may be referred to an
honest and laudable desire of making the terms of communion as wide as
might be, with a view of comprehending within what was regarded the pale
of the Catholic Church, the greatest number of those who professed and
called themselves Christians. Be this as it may, the vagueness and
uncertainty of the terms employed, compel us in many instances to have
recourse to the actual practice of the Church of Rome, as the best
interpreter of doubtful expressions in the articles of that Council. The
decree which bears on the subject of this volume is drawn up in the
following words:--

    [Footnote 88: See Mosheim, xvi. Cent. c. i. vol. iv. p. 196.
    London, 1811.]

    "SESSION XXV.[89]

    "On the invocation, veneration, and reliques of saints, and of
    sacred images.

    "The Holy Council commands all bishops and others bearing the
    office and care of instruction, that according to the usage of
    the Catholic and Apostolic Church, received from the primitive
    times of the Christian religion, and the consent of holy
    fathers, and decrees of sacred councils, they in the first place
    should instruct the faithful concerning the intercession and
    invocation of saints, the honour of reliques, and the lawful use
    of images, teaching them, that the SAINTS REIGNING TOGETHER WITH
    CHRIST, offer their own {231} prayers for men to God: that it is
    good and profitable SUPPLIANTLY TO INVOKE THEM: and to fly to
    their PRAYERS, HELP, and ASSISTANCE, for obtaining benefits from
    God, by his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is our only Redeemer
    and Saviour. But that those who deny that the saints, enjoying
    everlasting happiness in heaven, are to be invoked; or who
    assert either that they do not pray for us; or that the
    invocation of them to pray for us even as individuals is
    idolatry, or is repugnant to the word of God, and is opposed to
    the honour of the one Mediator of God and man, Jesus Christ; or
    that it is folly, by voice or mentally, to supplicate those who
    reign in heaven, hold impious sentiments.

    "That the bodies also of the holy martyrs and others living with
    Christ, which were living members of Christ, and a temple of the
    Holy Ghost to be raised by Him to eternal life, and to be
    glorified, are to be worshipped by the faithful; by means of
    which many benefits are conferred on men by God; so that those
    who affirm that worship and honour are not due to the reliques
    of the saints, or that they and other sacred monuments are
    unprofitably honoured by the faithful; and that the shrines of
    the saints are frequented in vain for the purpose of obtaining
    their succour, are altogether to be condemned, as the Church has
    long ago condemned them, and now also condemns them."

    [Footnote 89: The Latin, which will be found in the Appendix, is
    a transcript from a printed copy of the Acts of the Council of
    Trent, preserved in the British Museum, to which are annexed the
    autograph signatures of the secretaries (notarii), and their

An examination of this decree, in comparison with the form and language
of other decrees of the same Council, forces the remark upon us, That
the Council does not assert that the practice of invoking saints has any
foundation in Holy Scripture. The absence of all such declaration is the
more striking and important, because in the very decree immediately
preceding this, {232} which establishes Purgatory as a doctrine of the
Church of Rome, the Council declares that doctrine to be drawn from the
Holy Scriptures. In the present instance the Council proceeds no further
than to charge with impiety those who maintain the invocation of saints
to be contrary to the word of God. Many a doctrine or practice, not
found in Scripture, may nevertheless be not contrary to the word of God;
but here the Council abstains from affirming any thing whatever as to
the scriptural origin of the doctrine and practice which it
authoritatively enforces. In this respect the framers of the decree
acted with far more caution and wisdom than they had shown in wording
the decree on Purgatory; and with far more caution and wisdom too than
they exercised in this decree, when they affirmed that the doctrine of
the invocation of saints was to be taught the people according to the
usage of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, received from the primitive
times of the Christian religion, and the consent of the holy fathers. I
have good hope that these pages have already proved beyond gainsaying,
that the invocation of saints is a manifest departure from the usage of
the Primitive Church, and contrary to the testimony of "the holy
fathers." However, the fact of the Council not having professed to trace
the doctrine, or its promulgation, to any authority of Holy Scripture,
is of very serious import, and deserves to be well weighed in all its

With regard to the condemnatory clauses of this decree, I would for
myself observe, that I should never have engaged in preparing this
volume, had I not believed, "that it was neither good nor profitable to
invoke the saints, or to fly to their prayers, their assistance, and
succour." I am bound, with this decree {233} before me, to pronounce,
that it is a vain thing to offer supplications, either by the voice or
in the mind, to the saints, even if they be reigning in heaven; and that
it is also in vain for Christians to frequent the shrines of the saints
for the purpose of obtaining their succour.

I am, moreover, under a deep conviction, that the invocation of them is
both at variance with the word of God, and contrary to the honour of the
one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ.

On this last point, indeed, I am aware of an anxious desire prevailing
on the part of many Roman Catholics, to establish a distinction between
a mediation of Redemption, and a mediation of Intercession: and thus by
limiting the mediation of the saints and angels to intercession, and
reserving the mediation of redemption to Christ only, to avoid the
setting up of another to share the office of Mediator with Him, who is
so solemnly declared in Scripture to be the one Mediator between God and
man. But this distinction has no foundation in the revealed will of God;
on the contrary, it is directly at variance with the words and with the
spirit of many portions of the sacred volume. There we find the two
offices of redemption and mediation joined together in Christ. "If any
man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the
Righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins." [1 John ii. 1, 2.
Heb. ix. 12. vii. 25.] In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the same Saviour
who is declared "by his own blood to have obtained eternal redemption,"
is announced also as the Mediator of Intercession. "Wherefore he is able
to save them to the uttermost who come unto God through him, seeing he
ever liveth to make intercession for them." The {234} redemption wrought
by Christ, and the intercession still made in our behalf by Christ, are
both equally declared to us by the most sure warrant of Holy Scripture;
of any other intercession by saints in glory, by angels, or Virgin, to
be sought by our suppliant invocations to them, the covenant of God
speaks not.

It may be observed, that the enactment of this decree by the Council of
Trent, has been chiefly lamented by some persons on the ground of its
presenting the most formidable barrier against any reconciliation
between the Church of Rome, and those who hold the unlawfulness of the
invocation of saints. Indeed persons of erudition, judgment, piety, and
charity, in communion with Rome, have not been wanting to express openly
their regret, that decrees so positive, peremptory, and exclusive,
should have been adopted. They would have been better satisfied with the
terms of communion in the Church to which they still adhered, had
individuals been left to their own responsibility on questions of
disputable origin and doubtful antiquity, involving rather the subtilty
of metaphysical disquisitions, than agreeable to the simplicity of
Gospel truth, and essential Christian doctrine. On this point I would
content myself with quoting the sentiments of a Roman Catholic author.
Many of the facts alleged in his interesting comments deserve the
patient consideration of every Christian. Here (observes the commentator
on Paoli Sarpi's History of the Council of Trent[90]) the Council makes
it a duty to pray to saints, though the ancient Church never regarded it
as necessary. The practice cannot be proved to be introduced into public
worship {235} before the sixth century; and it is certain, that in the
ancient liturgies and sacramentaries no direct invocation is found. Even
in our modern missals, being those of our ecclesiastical books in which
the ancient form has been longest retained, scarcely is there a collect
[those he means in which mention is made of the saints] where the
address is not offered directly to God, imploring Him to hear the
prayers of the saints for us; and this is the ancient form of
invocation. It is true, that in the Breviaries and other ecclesiastical
books, direct prayers to the saints have been subsequently introduced,
as in litanies, hymns, and even some collects. But the usage is more
modern, and cannot be evidence for ancient tradition. For this [ancient
tradition] only some invocations addressed to saints in public harangues
are alleged, but which ought to be regarded as figures of rhetoric,
_apostrophes_, rather than real invocations; though at the same time
some fathers laid the foundation for such a practice by asserting that
one could address himself to the saints, and hope for succour from them.

    [Footnote 90: Histoire du Conc. de Trent, par Fra. Paoli Sarpi,
    traduit par Pierre François de Courayer. Amsterdam, note 31.
    1751. vol. iii. p. 182.]

We have already alluded to the very great latitude of interpretation
which the words of this Council admit. The expressions indeed are most
remarkably elastic; capable of being expanded widely enough to justify
those of the Church of Rome who allow themselves in the practice of
asking for aid and assistance, temporal and spiritual, to be expected
from the saints themselves; and at the same time, the words of the
decree admit of being so far contracted as not in appearance palpably to
contradict those who allege, that the Church of Rome never addresses a
saint with any other petition, than purely and simply that the saint
would by prayer intercede for the worshippers. The words "suppliantly
{236} to invoke them," and "to fly to their prayers, HELP, and SUCCOUR,"
are sufficiently comprehensive to cover all kinds of prayer for all
kinds of benefits, whilst "the invocation of them to pray for us even
individually," will countenance those who would restrict the faithful to
an entreaty for their prayers only.

Whatever may be the advantage of this latitude of interpretation, in one
point of view it must be a subject of regret. Complaints had long been
made in Christendom, that other prayers were offered to the saints,
besides those which petitioned only for their intercession; and if the
Council of Trent had intended it to be a rule of universal application,
that in whatever words the invocations of the saints might be couched,
they should be taken to mean only requests for their prayers, it may be
lamented, that no declaration to that effect was given.

The manner in which writers of the Church of Rome have attempted to
reconcile the prayers actually offered in her ritual, with the principle
of invoking the saints only for their prayers, is indeed most
unsatisfactory. Whilst to some minds the expedient to which those
writers have had recourse carries with it the stamp of mental
reservation, and spiritual subterfuge, and moral obliquity; others under
the influence of the purest charity will regret in it the absence of
that simplicity, and direct openness in word and deed, which we regard
as characteristic of the religion of the Gospel; and will deprecate its
adoption as tending, in many cases inevitably, to become a most
dangerous snare to the conscience. I will here refer only to the
profession of that principle as made by Bellarmin. Subsequent writers
seem to have adopted his sentiments, and to have expressed themselves
very much in his words. {237}

Bellarmin unreservedly asserts that Christians are to invoke the saints
solely and exclusively for their prayers, and not for any benefits as
from the saints themselves. But then he seems to paralyse that
declaration by this refinement: "It must nevertheless be observed that
we have not to do with words, but with the meaning of words; for as far
as concerns the words, it is lawful to say, 'Saint Peter, have mercy on
me! Save me! Open to me the entrance of heaven!' So also, 'Give to me
health of body, Give me patience, Give me fortitude!' Whilst only we
understand 'Save me, and have mercy upon me BY PRAYING for me: Give me
this and that, BY THY PRAYERS AND MERITS.' For thus Gregory of
Nazianzen, in his Oratio in Cyprianum; and the Universal Church, when in
the hymn to the Virgin she says,

  Mary, Mother of Grace,
  Mother of Mercy,
  Do thou protect us from the enemy,
  And take us in the hour of death.

"And in that of the Apostles,

  'To whose command is subject'
  The health and weakness of all:
  Heal us who are morally diseased;
  Restore us to virtue.

"And as the Apostle says of himself 'that I might save some,' [Rom. xi.]
and 'that he might save all,' [I Cor. ix.] not as God, but Thy prayer
and counsel."

I wish not to enter upon the question how far this distinction is
consistent with that openness and straightforward undisguised dealing
which is alone allowable when we are contending for the truth; nor how
far the {238} charge of moral obliquity and double dealing, often
brought against it, can be satisfactorily met. But suppose for a moment
that we grant (what is not the case) that in the metaphysical
disquisitions of the experienced casuist such a distinction might be
maintained, how can we expect it to be recognized, and felt, and acted
upon by the large body of Christians? Abstractedly considered, such an
interpretation in a religious act of daily recurrence by the mass of
unlearned believers would, I conceive, appear to reflecting minds most
improbable, if not utterly impossible. And as to its actual _bona-fide_
result in practice, a very brief sojourn in countries where the religion
of Rome is dominant, will suffice to convince us, that such subtilties
of the casuist are neither received nor understood by the great body of
worshippers; and that the large majority of them, when they pray to an
individual saint to deliver them from any evil, or to put them in
possession of some good, do in very deed look to the saint himself for
the fulfilment of their wishes. It is a snare to the conscience only too
evidently successful.

And I regret to add, that in the errors into which such language of
their prayers may unhappily betray them, they cannot be otherwise than
confirmed as well by the recorded sentiments of men in past years, whom
they have been taught to reverence, as by the sentiments which are
circulated through the world now, even by what they are accustomed to
regard as the highest authority on earth[91].

    [Footnote 91: See in subsequent parts of this work the
    references to Bonaventura, Bernardin Sen., Bernardin de Bust.,
    &c.; and also the encyclical letter of the present (A.D. 1840)
    reigning pontiff.]

To this point, however, we must repeatedly revert {239} hereafter; at
present, I will only add one further consideration. If, as we are now
repeatedly told, the utmost sought by the invocation of saints is that
they would intercede for the supplicants; that no more is meant than we
of the Anglican Church mean when we earnestly entreat our
fellow-Christians on earth to pray for us,--why should not the prayers
to the saints be confined exclusively to that form of words which would
convey the meaning intended? why should other forms of supplicating them
be adopted, whose obvious and direct meaning implies a different thing?
If we request a Christian friend to pray for us, that we may be
strengthened and supported under a trial and struggle in our spiritual
warfare, we do not say, "Friend, strengthen me; Friend, support me."
That entreaty would imply our desire to be, that he would visit us
himself, and comfort and strengthen us by his own kind words and
cheering offices of consolation and encouragement. To convey our
meaning, our words would be, "Pray for me; remember me in your
supplications to the throne of grace. Implore God, of his mercy, to give
me the strength and comfort of his Holy Spirit." If nothing more is ever
intended to be conveyed, than a similar request for their prayers, when
the saints are "suppliantly invoked," in a case of such delicacy, and
where there is so much danger of words misleading, why have other
expressions of every variety been employed in the Roman Liturgies, as
well as in the devotions of individuals, which in words appeal to the
saints, not for their prayers, but for their own immediate exertion in
our behalf, their assistance, succour, defence, and comfort,--"Protect
us from our enemies--Heal the diseases of our minds--Release us from our
sin--Receive us at the hour of death?" {240}

In the present work, however, were it not for the example and warning
set us by this still greater departure from Scripture and the primitive
Church, we need not have dwelt on this immediate point; because we
maintain that any invocation of saint or angel, even if it were confined
to a petitioning for their prayers and intercessions, is contrary both
to God's word and to the faith and practice of the primitive, Catholic,
and Apostolic Church. We now proceed to the next portion of our proposed
inquiry,--the present state of Roman Catholic worship, with respect to
the invocation of saints and angels. {241}

       *       *       *       *       *



In submitting to the reader's consideration the actual state of Roman
Catholic worship at the present hour, I disclaim all desire to fasten
upon the Church of Rome any of the follies and extravagancies of
individual superstition. Probably many English Roman Catholics have been
themselves shocked and scandalized by the scenes which their own eyes
have witnessed in various parts of continental Europe. It would be no
less unfair in us to represent the excesses of superstition there forced
on our notice as the genuine legitimate fruits of the religion of Rome,
than it would be in Roman Catholics to affiliate on the Catholics of the
Anglican Church the wild theories and revolting tenets of all who assume
the name of opponents to Rome. Well indeed does it become us of both
Churches to watch jealously and adversely as against ourselves the
errors into which our doctrines, if not preserved and guarded in their
purity and simplicity, might have a tendency to seduce the unwary. And
whilst I am fully alive to the necessity of us Anglican Catholics
prescribing to ourselves a {242} practical application of the same rule
in various points of faith and discipline, I would with all delicacy and
respect invite Roman Catholics to do likewise. Especially would I
entreat them to reflect with more than ordinary scrutiny and solicitude
on the vast evils into which the practice of praying to saints and
angels, and of pleading their merits at the throne of grace, has a
tendency to betray those who are unenlightened and off their guard; and
unless my eyes and my ears and my powers of discernment have altogether
often deceived and failed me, I must add, actually betrays thousands.
Often when I have witnessed abroad multitudes of pilgrims prostrate
before an image of the Virgin, their arms extended, their eyes fixed on
her countenance, their words in their native language pouring forth her
praises and imploring her aid, I have asked myself, If this be not
religious worship, what is? If I could transport myself into the midst
of pagans in some distant part of the world at the present day; or could
I have mingled with the crowd of worshippers surrounding the image of
Minerva in Athens, or of Diana in Ephesus, when the servants of the only
God called their fellow-creatures from such vanities, should I have seen
or heard more unequivocal proofs that the worshippers were addressing
their prayers to the idols as representations of their deities? Would
any difference have appeared in their external worship? When the
Ephesians worshipped their "great goddess Diana and the image which fell
down from Jupiter," could their attitude, their eyes, or their words
more clearly have indicated an assurance in the worshipper, that the
Spirit of the Deity was especially present in that image, than the
attitude, the eyes, the words of the pilgrims at Einsiedlin for example,
are indications of the same {243} belief and assurance with regard to
the statue of the Virgin Mary? These thoughts would force themselves
again and again on my mind; and though since I first witnessed such
things many years have intervened, chequered with various events of
life, yet whilst I am writing, the scenes are brought again fresh to my
remembrance; the same train of thought is awakened; and the lapse of
time has not in the least diminished the estimate then formed of the
danger, the awful peril, to which the practice of addressing saints and
angels in prayer, even in its most modified and mitigated form, exposes
those who are in communion with Rome. I am unwilling to dwell on this
point longer, or to paint in deeper or more vivid colours the scenes
which I have witnessed, than the necessity of the case requires. But it
would have been the fruit of a morbid delicacy rather than of brotherly
love, had I disguised, in this part of my address, the full extent of
the awful dread with which I contemplate any approximation to prayers,
of whatever kind, uttered by the lips or mentally conceived, to any
spiritual existence in heaven above, save only to the one God
exclusively. It is indeed a dread suggested by the highest and purest
feelings of which I believe my frame of mind to be susceptible; it is
sanctioned and enforced by my reason; and it is confirmed and
strengthened more and more by every year's additional reflection and
experience. Ardently as I long and pray for Christian unity, I could not
join in communion with a Church, one of whose fundamental articles
accuses of impiety those who deny the lawfulness of the invocations of

But I return from this digression on the peril of idolatry, to which as
well the theory as the practice of {244} the Roman Catholic Church
exposes her members; and willingly repeat my disclaimer of any wish or
intention whatever to fasten and filiate upon the Church of Rome the
doctrines or the practice of individuals, or even of different sections
of her communion. Still, in the same manner as I have referred to the
extravagancies which offend us in many parts of Christendom now, I would
recall some of the excesses into which renowned and approved authors of
her communion have been betrayed. I seek not to fix on those members of
the Roman Church who disclaim any participation in such excesses, the
folly or guilt of others; but when we find many of the most celebrated
among her sons tempted into such lamentable departures from primitive
Christian worship, we are naturally led to ascertain whether the
doctrine be not itself the genuine cause and source of the
mischief;--whether the malady be not the immediate and natural effect of
the tenet and practice operating generally, and not to be referred to
the idiosyncrasy of the patient. A voice seems to address us from every
side, when such excesses are witnessed, Firmly resist the beginnings of
the evil; oppose its very commencement; it is not a question of degree,
exclude the principle itself from your worship; give utterance to no
invocation; mentally conceive no prayer to any being, save God alone;
plead no other merits with Him than the merits of his only Son. Then,
and then only, are you safe. Then, and then only, is your prayer
catholic, primitive, apostolic, and scriptural.

The[92] most satisfactory method of conducting this {245} branch of our
inquiry seems to be, that we should examine the Roman Ritual with
reference to those several and progressive stages to which I have before
generally referred; from the mere rhetorical apostrophe to the direct
prayer for spiritual blessings petitioned for immediately from the
person addressed. I am neither anxious to establish the progress
historically, nor do I wish to tie myself down in all cases to the exact
order of those successive stages, in my present citation of testimonies
from the Roman Ritual. My anxiety is to give a fair view of what is now
the real character of Roman Catholic worship, rather than to draw fine
distinctions. I shall therefore survey within the same field of view the
two fatal errors by which, as we believe, the worship of the Church of
Rome is rendered unfit for the family of Christ to acknowledge it
generally as their own: I mean the adoration of saints, and the pleading
of their merits at the throne of grace, instead of trusting to the alone
exclusive merits of the one only Mediator Jesus Christ our Lord, and
addressing God Almighty alone.

    [Footnote 92: I believe the method best calculated to supply us
    with the very truth is, as I have before observed, to trace the
    conduct of Christians at the shrines of the martyrs, and follow
    them in their successive departures further and further from
    primitive purity and simplicity, on the anniversaries of those
    servants of God. What was hailed there first in the full warmth
    of admiration and zeal for the honour and glory of a national or
    favourite martyr, crept stealthily, and step by step, into the
    regular and stated services of the Church.]

I. In the original form of those prayers in which mention was made of
the saints departed, Christians addressed the Supreme Being alone,
either in praise for the mercies shown to the saints themselves, and to
the Church through their means; or else in supplication, that the
worshippers might have grace to follow their example, and profit by
their instruction. Such, for instance, is the prayer in the Roman
ritual[93] on St. {246} John's day[94] which is evidently the foundation
of the beautiful Collect now used in the Anglican Church,--"Merciful
Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church,
that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy Apostle and Evangelist
St. John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length
attain to the light of everlasting life, through Jesus our Lord. Amen."
Such too is the close of the Prayer for the whole state of Christ's
Church militant here on earth, offered in our Anglican service,--"We
bless thy holy name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith
and fear, beseeching thee to give us grace so to follow their good
examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom.
Grant this, O Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ our only Mediator and
Advocate. Amen."

    [Footnote 93: The references will generally be given to the
    Roman Breviary as edited by F.C. Husenbeth, Norwich, 1830. That
    work consists of four volumes, corresponding with the four
    quarters of the ecclesiastical year--Winter, Hiem.; Spring,
    Vern.; Summer, _Æstiv_.; Autumn, Aut.; and the volumes will be
    designated by the corresponding initials, H. V. Æ. A.]

    [Footnote 94: "Ecclesiam, tuam, Domine, benignus illustra, ut
    beati Johannis Apostoli tui et evangelistæ illuminata doctrinis,
    ad dona perveniat sempiterna. Per Dominum."--Husen. H. p. 243.]

II. The second stage supplies examples of a kind of rhetorical
apostrophe; the speaker addressing one who was departed as though he had
ears to hear. Were not this the foundation stone on which the rest of
the edifice seems to have been built, we might have passed it by
unnoticed. Of this we have an instance in the address to the Shepherds
on Christmas-day. "Whom have ye seen, ye shepherds? Say ye, tell ye, who
hath appeared on the earth? Say ye, what saw ye? Announce to us the
nativity of Christ[95]."

    [Footnote 95: Quem vidistis, Pastores? Dicite, Annunciate nobis.
    In terris quis apparuit? Dicite quidnam vidistis? Et annunciate
    Christi nativitatem.--H. 219.] {247}

Another instance is seen in that beautiful song ascribed to Prudentius
and used on the day of Holy Innocents:

  "Hail! ye flowers of Martyrs." [Salvete flores martyrum. H. 249.]

It is of the same character with other songs, said to be from the same
pen, in which the town of Bethlehem is addressed, and even the Cross.

  "O Thou of mighty cities." [O sola magnarum urbium. H. 306.]
  "Bend thy boughs, thou lofty tree...."
      [Flecte ramos arbor alta, &c. Aut. 344.]
  "Worthy wast thou alone
  To bear the victim of the world."

Thus, on the feast of the exaltation of the Cross, this anthem is
sung,--"O blessed Cross, who wast alone worthy to bear the King of the
heavens and the Lord." [O crux benedicta, quæ sola fuisti digna portare
Regem coelorum et Dominum. Alleluia. A. 345.] Though unhappily, in an
anthem on St. Andrew's day, this apostrophe becomes painful and
distressing, in which not only is the cross thus apostrophised, but it
is prayed to, as though it had ears to hear, and a mind to understand,
and power to act,--"Hail, precious Cross! do thou receive the disciple
of Him who hung upon thee, my master, Christ." [Salve, crux pretiosa
suscipe discipulum ejus, qui pependit in te, magister meus Christus. A.
547.] The Church of Rome, in this instance, gives us a vivid example of
the ease with which exclamations and apostrophes are made the
ground-work of invocations. In the legend of the day similar, though not
the same, words form a part of the salutation, which St. Andrew is there
said to have addressed {248} to the cross of wood prepared for his own
martyrdom, and then bodily before his eyes. There are many such
addresses to the Cross, in various parts of the Roman ritual. (See A.

In such apostrophes the whole of the Song of the Three Children abounds;
and we meet with many such in the early writers.

III. The third stage supplies instances of prayer to God, imploring him
to allow the supplication of his saints to be offered for us. Of this we
find examples in the Collects for St. Andrew's Eve and Anniversary, for
the feast of St. Anthony, and various others.

"We beseech thee, Almighty God, that he whose feast we are about to
celebrate may implore thy aid for us," &c. [Quæsumus omnipotens Deus, ut
beatus Andreas Apostolus cujus prævenimus festivitatem, tuum pro nobis
imploret auxilium. A. 545.]

"That he may be for us a perpetual intercessor." [Ut apud te sit pro
nobis perpetuus intercessor. A. 551.]

"We beseech thee, O Lord, let the intercession of the blessed Anthony
the Abbot commend us, that what we cannot effect by our own merits, we
may obtain by his patronage [Ejus patrocinio assequamur. H. 490.]:
through the Lord."

These prayers I could not offer in faith. I am taught in the written
word to look for no other intercessor in heaven, than one who is eternal
and divine, therefore I can need no other. Had God, by his revealed
word, told me that the intercessions of his servants departed should
prevail with Him, provided I sought that benefit by prayer, I should,
without any misgiving, have implored Him to receive their {249} prayers
in my behalf; but I can find no such an intimation in the covenant. In
that covenant the word of the God of truth and mercy is pledged to
receive those, and to grant the prayers of those who come to him through
his blessed Son. In that covenant, I am strictly commanded and most
lovingly invited to approach boldly the Supreme Giver of all good things
myself, and to ask in faith nothing wavering, with an assurance that He
who spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will, with
Him, also freely give us all things. In this assurance I place implicit
trust; and as long as I have my being in this earthly tabernacle, I
will, by his gracious permission and help, pray for whatever is needful
for the soul and the body; I will pray not for myself only, but for all,
individually and collectively, who are near and dear to me, and all who
are far from me; for my friends, and for those who wish me ill; for my
fellow Christians, and for those who are walking still in darkness and
sin;--I will pray for mercy on all mankind. And I will, as occasion
offers, desire others among the faithful on earth to pray for me; and
will take comfort and encouragement and holy hope from the reflection
that their prayers are presented to God in my behalf, and that they will
continue to pray for me when my own strength shall fail and the hour of
my departure shall draw nigh. But for the acceptance of my own prayers
and of theirs I can depend on no other Mediator in the world of spirits,
than on HIM, whom his own Word declares to be the one Mediator between
God and men, who prayed for me when He was on earth, who is ever making
intercession for me in heaven. I know of no other in the unseen world,
by whom I can have access to the Father; I find no other offered to me,
I seek no {250} other, I want no other. I trust my cause,--the cause of
my present life, the cause of my soul's eternal happiness,--to HIM and
to his intercession. I thank God for the blessing. I am satisfied; and
in the assurance of the omnipotence of his intercession, and the perfect
fulness of his mediation, I am happy.

On this point it were well to compare two prayers both offered to God;
the one pleading with Him the intercession of the passion of his only
Son, the other pleading the prayers of a mortal man. The first prayer is
a collect in Holy Week, the second is a collect on St. Gregory's Day.

    We beseech thee, Almighty God, that we who among so many
    adversities from our own infirmity fail, the passion of thy only
    begotten Son interceding for us, may revive. V. 243.

    O God, who hast granted the rewards of eternal blessedness[96]
    to the soul of thy servant Gregory, mercifully grant that we who
    are pressed down by the weight of our sins, may, by his prayers
   with Thee, be raised up. V. 480.

    [Footnote 96: I can never read this, and such passages as this,
    without asking myself, can such an assertion be in accordance
    with the inspired teaching?--"Judge nothing before the time,
    until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden
    things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the
    hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God." I Cor. iv.

IV. The next form of prayer to which I would invite your serious
attention, is one from which my judgment and my feelings revolt far more
decidedly even than from the last-mentioned; and I have the most clear
denouncement of my conscience, that by offering it I should do a wrong
to my Saviour, and ungratefully disparage his inestimable merits, and
the full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice and satisfaction of his
omnipotent {251} atonement: I mean those prayers, still addressed to
God, which supplicate that our present and future good may be advanced
by the merits of departed mortals, that by their merits our sins may be
forgiven, and our salvation secured; that by their merits our souls may
be made fit for celestial joys, and be finally admitted into heaven.

Of these prayers the Roman Breviary contains a great variety of
examples, some exceeding others very much in their apparent
forgetfulness and disregard of the merits of the only Saviour, and
consequently far more shocking to the reason and affections of us who
hold it a point of conscience to make the merits of Christ alone, all in
all, exclusive of any other to be joined with them, the only ground of
our acceptance with God.

We find an example of this prayer in the collect on the day of St.
Saturnine. "O God, who grantest us to enjoy the birth-day of the blessed
Saturnine, thy martyr, grant that we may be aided by his merits, through
the Lord." [Ejus nos tribue meritis adjuvari per Dominum. A. 544.]

Another example, in which the supplicants plead for deliverance from
hell, to be obtained by the merits and prayers of the saint together, is
the Collect for December 6th, the day of St. Nicolas.

"O God, who didst adorn the blessed Pontiff Nicolas with unnumbered
miracles, grant, we beseech Thee, that by his merits and prayers we may
be set free from the fires of hell, through," &c. [Ut ejus meritis et
precibus à gehennæ incendiis liberemur. H. 436.]

Another example, in like manner specifying both the merits and
intercession of the departed saint, contains {252} expressions very
unacceptable to many of those who are accustomed to make the Bible their
study. It is a prayer to Joseph, the espoused husband of the Virgin
Mary. Of him mention is made by name in the Gospel just before and just
after the birth of Christ, as an upright, merciful man, to whom God on
three several occasions made a direct revelation of his will, by the
medium of a dream, with reference to the incarnate Saviour. Again, on
the holy family visiting Jerusalem, when our Lord was twelve years of
age, Mary, his mother, in her remonstrance with her Son, speaks to Him
of Joseph thus: "Why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Behold thy father and
I have sought Thee sorrowing." Upon which not one word was uttered by
our Saviour that would enable us to form an opinion as to his own will
with regard to Joseph. Our Lord seems purposely to have drawn their
thoughts from his earthly connexion with them, and to have raised their
minds to a contemplation of his unearthly, his heavenly, and eternal
origin. "How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about
my Father's business?" After this time, though the writings of the Holy
Book, either historical, doctrinal, or prophetic, at the lowest
calculation embrace a period of fourscore years, no allusion is made to
Joseph as a man still living, or to his memory as one already dead. And
yet he is one of those for the benefit of whose intercession the Church
of Rome teaches her members to pray to God, and from whose merits they
are taught to hope for succour.

On the 19th of March the following Collect is offered to the Saviour of
the world:--

"We beseech thee, O Lord, that we may be succoured by the merits of the
husband of thy most holy mother, {253} so that what we cannot obtain by
our own power, may be granted to us by his intercession. Who livest,"
&c. [V. 486.]

It is anticipating our instances of the different stages observable in
the invocation of saints, to quote here direct addresses to Joseph
himself; still it may be well to bring at once to a close our remarks
with regard to the worship paid to him. We find that in the Litany of
the Saints, "St. Joseph, pray for us," is one of the supplications; but
on his day (March 19) there are three hymns addressed to Joseph, which
appear to be full of lamentable superstition, assigning, as they do, to
him a share at least in the work of our salvation, and solemnly stating,
as a truth, what, whether true or not, depends upon a groundless
tradition, namely, that our blessed Lord and Mary watched by him at his
death; ascribing to Joseph also that honour and praise, which the Church
was wont to offer to God alone. The following are extracts from those

First hymn. "Thee, Joseph, let the companies of heaven celebrate; thee
let all the choirs of Christian people resound; who, bright in merits,
wast joined in chaste covenant with the renowned Virgin. Others their
pious death consecrates after death; and glory awaits those who deserve
the palm. Thou alive, equal to those above, enjoyest God, more blessed
by wondrous lot. O Trinity, most High, spare us who pray; grant us to
reach heaven [to scale the stars] BY THE MERITS OF JOSEPH, that at
length we may perpetually offer to thee a grateful song." [Te Joseph
celebrent agmina coelitum. V. 485.]

Second hymn. "O, Joseph, the glory of those in heaven, and the sure hope
of our life, and the safeguard {254} of the world, benignly ACCEPT THE
PRAISES WHICH WE joyfully sing TO THEE.... Perpetual praise to the most
High Trinity, who granting to thee honours on high, give to us, BY THY
MERITS, the joys of a blessed life." [Coelitum, Joseph, Decus. V. 486.]

Third hymn. "He whom we, the faithful, worship with joy, whose exalted
triumphs we celebrate, Joseph, on this day obtained by merit the joys of
eternal life. O too happy! O too blessed! at whose last hour Christ and
the Virgin together, with serene countenance, stood watching. Hence,
conqueror of hell, freed from the bands of the flesh, he removes in
placid sleep to the everlasting seats, and binds his temples with bright
chaplets. Him, therefore, reigning, let us all importune, that he would
be present with us, and that he obtaining pardon for our transgressions,
would assign to us the rewards of peace on high. Be praises to thee, be
honours to thee, O Trine God, who reignest, and assignest golden crowns
to thy faithful servant for ever. Amen." [Iste, quem læti colimus
fideles. V. 490.]

It is painful to remark, that in these last clauses the very same word
is employed when the Church of Rome applies to Joseph to assign to the
faithful the rewards of peace, and when she ascribes glory to God for
assigning to his faithful servants crowns of gold. Indeed these hymns
contain many expressions which ought to be addressed to the Saviour
alone, whose "glory is in the heavens," who is "the hope of us on
earth," and "the safeguard of the world."

       *       *       *       *       *

Under this fourth head I will add only one more specimen. Would it were
not to be found in the Roman {255} Liturgies since the Council of Trent:
God grant it may ere long be wiped out of the book of Christian worship!
It is a collect in which the Church of Rome offers this prayer to God
the Son:--

"O God, whose right hand raised the blessed Peter when walking on the
waves, that he sank not; and rescued his fellow-apostle Paul, for the
third time suffering shipwreck, from the depth of the sea; mercifully
hear us, and grant that by the merits of both we may obtain the glory of
eternity." [H. 149.]

Now suppose for a moment it had been intended in any one prayer
negatively to exclude the merits of Christ from the great work of our
eternal salvation, and to limit our hopes of everlasting glory to the
merits of St. Peter and St. Paul, could that object have been more
effectually and fully secured than by this prayer? Not one word alluding
to the redemption which is in Christ can be found in this prayer. The
sentiment in the first member of the prayer refers us to the power
exercised by the Son of God, and Son of man, when he was intabernacled
in our flesh; and the second expression teaches us to contemplate the
providence of our Almighty Saviour in his deeds of beneficence. But no
reference, even by allusion, is here made to the merits of Christ's
death--none to his merits as our great Redeemer; none to his merits as
our never-ceasing and never-failing Intercessor. We are led to approach
the throne of grace only with the merits of the two Apostles on our
tongue. If those who offer it hope for acceptance through THE MEDIATION
of Jesus Christ, and for the sake of his merits, that hope is neither
suggested nor fostered by this prayer. The truth, as it is in Jesus,
would compel us in addressing {256} Him, the Saviour of the world, to
think of the merits of neither Peter nor Paul, of neither angel nor
spirit. Instead of praying to him that we may obtain the glories of
eternity for their merits, true faith in Christ would bid us throw
ourselves implicitly on his omnipotent merits alone, and implore so
great a blessing for his own mercy's sake. If we receive the whole
truth, can it appear otherwise than a disparagement of his perfect and
omnipotent merits, to plead with Him the merits of one, whom the Saviour
himself rebuked with as severe a sentence as ever fell from his lips,
"Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offence to me; for thou
savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men;"
[Matt. xvi. 23.] and of another who after his conversion, when speaking
of the salvation wrought by Christ, in profound humility confesses
himself to be a chief of those sinners for whom the Saviour died, "This
is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief?" [1 Tim. i.
15.] We feel, indeed, a sure and certain hope that these two
fellow-creatures, once sinners, but by God's grace afterwards saints,
have found mercy with God, and will live with Christ for ever; but to
pray for the same mercy at his gracious hands for the sake of their
merits is repugnant to our first principles of Christian faith. When we
think of merits, for which to plead for mercy, we can think of Christ's,
and of Christ's alone.

V. Our thoughts are next invited to that class of prayers which the
Church of Rome authorizes and directs to be addressed immediately to the
Saints themselves. {257} Of these there are different kinds, some far
more objectionable than others, though all are directly at variance with
that one single and simple principle, to which, as we believe, a
disciple of the cross can alone safely adhere--prayer to God, and only
to God. The words of the Council of Trent are, as we have already
observed, very comprehensive on this subject. They not only declare it
to be a good and useful thing supplicantly to invoke the saints reigning
with Christ: but also for the obtaining of benefits from God, through
Jesus Christ our Lord, who is our only Redeemer and Saviour, to fly to
their prayers, HELP, and ASSISTANCE. Whether these last words can be
interpreted as merely words of surplusage, or whether they must be
understood to mean that the faithful must have recourse to some help and
assistance of the saints beyond their intercession, is a question to
which we need not again revert. If it had been intended to embrace other
kinds of beneficial succour, and other help and assistance, perhaps it
would be difficult to find words more expressive of such general aid and
support as a human being might hope to derive, in answer to prayer from
the Giver of all good. And certainly they are words employed by the
Church, when addressing prayers directly to God. Be this as it may, the
public service-books of the Church of Rome unquestionably, by no means
adhere exclusively to such addresses to the saints, as supplicate them
to pray for the faithful on earth. Many a prayer is couched in language
which can be interpreted only as conveying a petition to them
immediately for their assistance, temporal and spiritual.

But let us calmly review some of the prayers, supplications,
invocations, or by whatever name religious addresses now offered to the
saints may be called; and {258} first, we will examine that class in
which the petitioners ask merely for the intercession of the saints.

We have an example of this class in an invocation addressed to St.
Ambrose on his day, December 7; the very servant of Christ in whose
hymns and prayers no address of prayer or invocation to any saint or
martyr can be found.

"O thou most excellent teacher, the light of the Holy Church, O blessed
Ambrose, thou lover of the divine law, deprecate for us [or intercede
for us with] the Son of God[97]."

    [Footnote 97: H. 438. "Deprecare pro nobis Filium Dei." This
    invocation to Ambrose is instantly followed by this prayer to
    God: "O God, who didst assign to thy people the blessed Ambrose
    as a minister of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech Thee, that
    we may deserve to have him as our intercessor in heaven, whom we
    had as a teacher of life on earth."]

The Church of Rome has wisely availed herself of the pious labours of
Ambrose, Bishop of Milan; and has introduced into her public worship
many of the hymns usually ascribed to him. Would she had followed his
example, and addressed her invocations to no one but our Creator, our
Redeemer, and our Sanctifier! Could that holy man hear the supplications
now offered to him, and could be make his voice heard in return among
those who now invoke him, that voice, we believe, would only convey a
prohibitory monition like that of the Angel to St. John when he fell
down before him, See thou do it not; I am thy fellow-servant; worship

It is needless to multiply instances of this fifth kind of invocation.
In the "Litany of the Saints" more than fifty different saints are
enumerated by name, and are invoked to pray and intercede for those who
join in {259} it. Among the persons invoked are Raphael [Æ. cxcii.],
Gervasius, Protasius, and Mary Magdalene; whilst in the Litany [Æ.
cxcvi.] for the recommendation of the soul of the sick and dying, the
names of Abel, and Abraham, are specified.

Under this head I will call your attention only to one more example.
Indeed I scarcely know whether this hymn would more properly be classed
under this head, or reserved for the next; since it appears to partake
of the nature of each. It supplicates the martyr to obtain by his
prayers spiritual blessings, and yet addresses him as the person who is
to grant those blessings. It implores him to liberate us by the love of
Christ; but so should we implore the Father of mercies himself. Still,
as the more safe course, I would regard it as a prayer to St. Stephen
only to intercede for us. But it may be well to derive from it a lesson
on this point; how easily the transition glides from one false step to a
worse; how infinitely wiser and safer it is to avoid evil in its very
lowest and least noxious appearance:

"Martyr of God [or Unconquered Martyr], who, by following the only Son
of the Father, triumphest over thy conquered enemies, and, as conqueror,
enjoyest heavenly things; by the office of thy prayer wash out our
guilt; driving away the contagion of evil; removing the weariness of
life. The bands of thy hallowed body are already loosed; loose thou us
from the bands of the world, by the love of the Son of God [or by the
gift of God Most High]." [H. 237.]

In the above hymn the words included within brackets are the readings
adopted in the last English edition of the Roman Breviary; and in this
place, when we are about to refer to many hymns now in use, it may be
well to observe, that in the present day we find {260} various readings
in the hymns as they are still printed for the use of Roman Catholics in
different countries. In some instances the changes are curious and
striking. Grancolas, in his historical commentary on the Roman Breviary
(Venice, 1734, p. 84), furnishes us with interesting information as to
the chief cause of this diversity. He tells us that Pope Urban VIII.,
who filled the papal throne from 1623 to 1644, a man well versed in
literature, especially in Latin poetry, and himself one of the
distinguished poets of his time, took measures for the emendation of the
hymns in the Roman Breviary. He was offended by the many defects in
their metrical composition, and it is said that upwards of nine hundred
and fifty faults in metre were corrected, which gave to Urban occasion
to say that the Fathers had begun rather than completed the hymns.
These, as corrected, he caused to be inserted in the Breviary. Grancolas
proceeds to tell us that many complained of these changes, alleging that
the primitive simplicity and piety which breathed in the hymns had been
sacrificed to the niceties of poetry. "Accessit Latinitas, et recessit
pietas." The verse was neater, but the thought was chilled.

VI. But the Roman Church by no means limits herself to this kind of
invocation; prayers are addressed to saints, imploring them to hear,
and, as of themselves, to grant the prayers of the faithful on earth,
and to release them from the bands of sin, without any allusion to
prayers to be made by those saints. It grieves me to copy out the
invocation made to St. Peter on the 18th of January, called the
anniversary of the Chair of St. Peter at Rome; the words of our Blessed
Lord himself, and of his beloved and inspired Apostle, seem to rise up
in judgment against that prayer, and condemn it. It {261} will be well
to place that hymn addressed to St. Peter, side by side with the very
word of God, and then ask, Can this prayer be safe?

1. Now, O good Shepherd,             1. Jesus saith, I am the good
merciful Peter,                      Shepherd. John x. 11.

2. Accept the prayers of us          2. Whatsoever ye shall ask in
who supplicate,                      my name, that will I do. That
                                     whatsoever ye shall ask the
                                     Father in my name, he may give
                                     it you. John xiv. 13; xv. 16.

3. And loose the bands of our        3. The blood of Jesus Christ
sins, by the power committed to      his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
thee,                                1 John i. 7.

4. By which thou shuttest            4. These things saith he that
heaven against all by a word,        is holy, he that is true, he that
and openest it[98].                  openeth and no man shutteth, and
                                     shutteth and no man openeth.
                                     Rev. iii. 7.

                                     I am he that liveth and was
                                     dead, and am alive for evermore,
                                     and have the keys of hell and of
                                     death. Rev. i. 18.

    [Footnote 98: This hymn is variously read. In the edition of Mr.
    Husenbeth (H. 497.) it is: "O Peter, blessed shepherd, of thy
    mercy receive the prayers of us who supplicate, and loose by thy
    word the bands of our sins, thou to whom is given the power of
    opening heaven to the earth, and of shutting it when
    open."--"Beate pastor, Petre, clemens accipe voces precantum,
    criminumque vincula verbo resolve, cui potestas tradita aperire
    terris coelum, apertum claudere." H. 497.]

Let it not be answered that many a Christian minister is now called a
good shepherd. Let it not be said that the very words of our ordination
imply the conveyance of the power of loosing and binding, of opening and
shutting the gates of heaven. When prayer is contemplated, we can think
only of One, HIM, who has appropriated the title of Good Shepherd to
{262} himself. And we must see that Peter cannot, by any latitude of
interpretation, be reckoned now among those to whom the awful duty is
assigned of binding and loosing upon earth.

The same unsatisfactory associations must be excited in the mind of
every one who takes a similar view of Christian worship with myself, by
the following supplication to various saints on St. John's day:

  "Let the heaven exult with praises[99],
  Let the earth resound with joy; {263}
  The sacred solemnities sing
  The glory of the Apostles.
  O ye Just Judges of the age,
  And true lights of the world,
  We pray you with the vows of our hearts,
  Hear the prayers of your suppliants.
  Ye who shut the heaven by a word,
  And loose its bars,
  Loose us by command, we beseech you,
  From all our sins.
  Ye to whose word is subject
  The health and weakness of all,
  Cure us who are diseased in morals,
  Restore us to virtues.
  So that when Christ shall come,
  The Judge at the end of the world,
  He may make us partakers
  Of eternal joy.
  To God the Father be Glory,
  And to his only Son,
  With the Spirit the Comforter,
  Now and for ever. Amen[100]."

    [Footnote 99: Having inserted in the text a translation of this
    hymn from a copy with which I had been long familiar, I think it
    right to insert here the two forms side by side. They supply an
    example of the changes to which we have already alluded.

    _Lille_, 1823.                         _Norwich_, 1830.

    OLD VERSION.                           POPE URBAN'S VERSION.

    Exultet coelum laudibus,               Exultet orbis gaudiis,
    Resultet terra gaudiis,                Coelum resultet laudibus,
    Apostolorum gloriam                    Apostolorum gloriam
    Sacra canunt solemnia.                 Tellus et astra concinunt.
    Vos sæcli justi judices                Vos sæculorum judices
    Et vera mundi lamina,                  Et vera mundi lumina,
    Votis precamur cordium                 Votis precamur cordium
    Audite preces supplicum.               Audite voces supplicum.
    Qui coelum verbo clauditis             Qui templa coeli clauditis
    Serasque ejus solvitis,                Serasque verbo solvitis,
    Nos a peccatis omnibus                 Nos a reatu noxios
    Solvite jussu, quæsumus.               Solvi jubete quæsumus.
    Quorum præcepto subditur               Præcepta quorum protinus
    Salus et languor omnium,               Languor salusque sentiunt,
    Sanate ægros moribus,                  Sanate mentes languidas,
    Nos reddentes virtutibus.              Augete nos virtutibus.
    Ut cum judex advenerit                 Ut cum redibit arbiter
    Christus in fine sæculi,               In fine Christus sæculi,
    Nos sempiterni gaudii                  Nos sempiterni gaudii
    Faciat esse compotes.                  Concedat esse compotes.
    Deo Patri sit gloria,                  Jesu, tibi sit gloria
    Ejusque soli Filio,                    Qui natus es de virgine,
    Cum Spiritu paracleto,                 Cum Patre et Almo Spiritu,
    Et nunc et in perpetuum.               In sempiterna sæcula.

    Amen.                                  Amen.
                                           (H. 243.)

    [Footnote 100: Or as in the present Roman Breviary:--

      Let the world exult with joy,
      Let the heaven resound with praise;
      The earth and stars sing together
      The glory of the Apostles.
      Ye judges of the ages
      And true lights of the world,
      With the prayers of our hearts we implore,
      Hear the voices of your suppliants.
      Ye who shut the temples of heaven,
      And loose its bars by a word,
      Command ye us, who are guilty,
      To be released from our sins; we pray.
      Ye whose commands forthwith
      Sickness and health feel,
      Heal our languid minds,
      Increase us in virtues,
      That when Christ, the Judge, shall return,
      In the end of the world,
      He may grant us to be partakers
      Of eternal joy.
      Jesus, to thee be glory,
      Who wast born of a virgin,
      With the Father and the Benign Spirit,
      Through eternal ages. Amen. {264}

Many a pious and humble Catholic of the Roman Communion, I have no
doubt, would regard these prayers as little more than an application to
Peter and the rest of the Apostles for absolution, and would interpret
its several clauses as an acknowledgment only of that power, which
Christ himself delegated to them of binding and loosing sins on earth.
But the gulf fixed between these prayers, and the lawful use of the
power given to Christ's ordained ministers on earth, is great indeed. To
satisfy the mind of this, it is not necessary to enter upon even the
confines of the wide field of controversy, as to what was really
conveyed by Christ to his Apostles. I would ask only two questions.
Could any of us address these same words to one of Christ's ministers on
earth? And could we address our blessed Saviour himself in stronger or
more appropriate language, as the Lord of our destinies--the God who
heareth prayer--the Physician of our souls?

Suppose for example we were celebrating the anniversary of Christ's
Nativity, of his Resurrection, or his Ascension, what word in this hymn,
expressive of {265} power, and honour, and justice, and mercy, would not
be appropriate? What word would not apply to Him, in most perfect
accordance with Scripture language? And can we without offence, without
doing wrong to his great Name, address the same to our fellow-servants,
even though we may believe them to be with Him in glory?

  Let the heaven exult with praises--
  Let the earth resound with joy;
  The sacred solemnities sing
  The glory of the Lord.
  O Thou just Judge of the age,
  And true light of the world,
  We pray Thee with the supplications of our hearts
  Hear the prayers of Thy suppliants,
  Thou who shuttest the heavens by a word,
  And loosest its bars.
  Loose us by command, we beseech Thee,
  From all our sins.
  Thou to whose word is subject
  The health and weakness of all,
  Cure us who are diseased in morals,
  Restoring us to virtue.
  So that when Thou shalt come,
  The Judge at the end of the world,
  Thou mayest make us partakers
  Of eternal joy.
  Glory to Thee, O Lord,
  Who wast born of a virgin,
  With the Father and the Holy Spirit,
  For ever and ever. Amen.

Only for a moment let us see how peculiarly all these expressions are
fitting in a hymn of prayer and praise {266} to our God and Saviour,
recalling to our minds the words of inspiration; and then again let us
put the question to our conscience, Is this language fit for us to use
to a fellow-creature?

Let the heaven exult with praises,    Let the heavens rejoice, and
Let the earth resound with joy:       let the earth be glad ... (exultet
                                      is the very word used in the Vulgate
                                      translation of the Psalm)--before
                                      the Lord, for He cometh
                                      to judge the earth.--Ps. xcvi
                                      (xcv). 11.

The holy solemnities sing             Ye shall have a song, as in the
The glory of the Lord.                night when a holy solemnity is
                                      kept ... And the Lord shall cause
                                      His glorious voice to be heard.
                                      Isa. xxx. 29. Let the heaven
                                      and earth praise Him. Ps. lxix
                                      (lxviii). 34.

Thou just Judge of mankind,           All judgment is committed
And true light of the world,          unto the Son. John v. 22. That
                                      was the true Light, which lighteth
                                      every man that cometh into
                                      the world. John i. 9.

With the prayers of our hearts we     With my whole heart have I
  pray Thee,                          sought Thee. Ps. cxix (cxviii).
Hear the prayers of Thy suppliants.   10. Hear my prayer, O God.
                                      Ps. lxi (lx). 1. Whom have I in
                                      heaven but Thee? Ps. lxxiii
                                      (lxxii). 25. And this is the
                                      confidence that we have in Him,
                                      that if we ask any thing according to
                                      His will, He heareth us. 1 John
                                      v. 14.

Thou who shuttest heaven by           I have the keys of death and of
  Thy word,                           hell. These things saith He that
And loosest its bars,                 is holy, He that is true: He
                                      that hath the key of David. He
                                      that openeth and no man shutteth,
                                      and shutteth and no man {267}
                                      openeth. I have set before thee
                                      an open door, and no man can
                                      shut it. Rev. i. 18; iii. 7,8

Release us by command, we pray        Thy sins be forgiven thee.
Thee,                                 Matt. ix. 22. Bless the Lord, O
From all our sins.                    my soul ... who forgiveth all
                                      thine iniquities. Ps. ciii. 2. This
                                      is your blood of the New Testament,
                                      which is shed for many
                                      for the remission of sins. Matt.
                                      xxvi. 28. Have mercy upon me,
                                      O God ... according to the
                                      multitude of Thy tender mercies,
                                      blot out my transgressions. Wash
                                      me throughly from mine iniquity,
                                      and cleanse me from my
                                      sin. Ps. li (l).

Thou to whose word is subject         Bless the Lord, O my soul ...
The health and weakness of all,       who healeth all thy diseases. Ps.
                                      ciii (cii). 2, 3.

Do Thou heal us who are morally       Create in me a clean heart, O
diseased,                             God, and renew a right spirit
Restoring us to virtue;               within me. Ps. li. 10 (4.)
That when Thou, the Judge, shalt
appear in the end of the world,
Thou mayest grant us to be
partakers of eternal joy.

This would be a Christian prayer, a primitive prayer, a scriptural
prayer, a prayer well fitting mortal man to utter by his tongue and from
his heart, to the God who heareth prayer; and him who shall in sincere
faith offer such a prayer, Christ will never send empty away. But if
this prayer, fitted as it seems only to be addressed to God, be offered
to the soul of a departed saint--I will not talk of blasphemy, and
deadly sin, and idolatry,--I will only ask members of the Church of Rome
to weigh all these things well, one by one. These are not subjects for
crimination and recrimination. {268}

We have had far too much of those unholy weapons on both sides. Speaking
the truth in love, I should be verily guilty of a sin in my own
conscience were I, with my views of Christian worship, to offer this
prayer to the soul of a man however holy, however blessed, however

The next part of our work will be given exclusively to the worship of
the Blessed Virgin Mary. {269}

       *       *       *       *       *




The worship of the blessed Virgin Mary is so highly exalted in the
Church of Rome, as to require the formation of a new name to express its
high character. Neither could the Latin language provide a word which
would give an adequate idea of its excellence, nor could any word
previously employed by the writers in Greek, meet the case
satisfactorily. The newly invented term Hyperdulia, meaning "a service
above others," seems to place the service of the Virgin on a footing
peculiarly its own, as raised above the worship of the saints departed,
and of the angels of God, cherubim and seraphim, with all the hosts of
principalities and powers in heavenly places. The service of the Virgin
Mary thus appears not only to justify, but even to require a separate
and distinct examination in this volume. The general principles,
however, which we have already endeavoured to establish and illustrate
with regard as well to the study of the Holy Scriptures as to the
evidence of primitive antiquity, are equally applicable here; and with
those principles present to our minds, {270} we will endeavour now to
ascertain the truth with regard to the worship of the Virgin as now
witnessed in the Roman Catholic Church.

Of the Virgin Mary, think not, brethren of the Church of Rome, that a
true member of the Anglican branch of the Catholic Church will speak
disparagingly or irreverently. Were such an one found among us, we
should say of him, he knows not what spirit he is of. Our church, in her
Liturgy, her homilies, her articles, in the works too of the best and
most approved among her divines and teachers, ever speaks of Saint Mary,
the blessed Virgin, in the language of reverence, affection, and

She was a holy virgin and a holy mother. She was highly favoured,
blessed among women. The Lord was with her, and she was the mother of
our only Saviour. She was herself blessed, and blessed was the fruit of
her womb. We delight in the language of our ancestors, in which they
were used to call her "Mary, the Blissful Maid." Should any one of those
who profess and call themselves Christians and Catholics, entertain a
wish to interrupt the testimony of every succeeding age, and to
interpose a check to the fulfilment of her own recorded prophecy, "All
generations shall call me blessed," certainly the Anglican Catholic
Church will never acknowledge that wish to be the genuine desire of one
of her own sons. The Lord hath blessed her; yea, and she shall be

But when we are required either to address our supplications to her, or
else to sever ourselves from the communion of a large portion of our
fellow-Christians, we have no room for hesitation; the case offers us no
alternative. Our love of unity must yield to our love {271} of truth; we
cannot join in that worship which in our conscience we believe to be a
sin against God. Whether we are right or wrong in this matter, God will
himself judge: and, compared with his acquittal and approval, the
severity of man's judgment cannot turn us aside from our purpose. But
before any one pronounces a sentence of condemnation against us, or of
approval on himself, it well becomes him patiently and dispassionately
to weigh the evidence; lest his decision may not be consistent with
justice and truth.

In addition to what has been already said on the general subject of
addressing our invocation to any created being--to any one among the
principalities and thrones, dominions, powers, angels, archangels, and
all the hosts of heaven, to any one among the saints, martyrs,
confessors, and holy men departed hence in the Lord--I would submit to
my brethren of the Roman Catholic Church some considerations
specifically applicable to the case of the blessed Virgin, and to the
practice of the Church of Rome in the religious worship paid to her.

First, it will be well for us to possess ourselves afresh of whatever
light is thrown on this subject by the Scriptures themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *


The first intimation given to us that a woman was in the providence of
God appointed to be the instrument, or channel by which the Saviour of
mankind should be brought into the world, was made immediately after the
Fall, and at the very first dawn of the day of salvation. {272} I am
fully aware how the various criticisms on the words in which that first
promise of a Saviour is couched, have been the well-spring of angry
controversy. I will not enter upon that field. The authorized English
version thus renders the passage: "I will put enmity between thee and
the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head,
and thou shalt bruise his heel." [Gen. iii. 15.] The Roman Vulgate,
instead of the word "it," reads "she." Surely such a point as this
should be made a subject of calm and enlightened criticism, without
warmth or heart-burnings on either side. But for our present purpose, it
matters little what turn that controversy may take. I believe our own to
be the true rendering: but whether the word dictated here by the Holy
Spirit to Moses should be so translated as to refer to the seed of the
woman generally, as in our authorized version, or to the male child, the
descendant of the woman, as the Septuagint renders it, or to the word
"woman" itself; and if the latter, whether it refer to Eve, the mother
of every child of a mortal parent, or to Mary, the immediate mother of
our Saviour: whatever view of that Hebrew word be taken, no Christian
can doubt, that before the foundations of the world were laid, it was
foreordained in the counsels of the Eternal Godhead, that the future
Messiah, the Redeemer of Mankind, should be of the seed of Eve, and in
the fulness of time be born of a Virgin of the name of Mary, and that in
the mystery of that incarnation should the serpent's head be bruised. I
wish not to dwell on this, because it bears but remotely and
incidentally on the question at issue. I will, therefore, pass on,
quoting {273} only the words of one of the most laborious among Roman
Catholic commentators, De Sacy. "The sense is the same in the one and in
the other, though the expression varies. The sense of the Hebrew is, The
Son of the Woman, Jesus Christ, Son of God, and Son of a Virgin, shall
bruise thy head, and by establishing the kingdom of God on earth,
destroy thine. The sense of the Vulgate is, The woman, by whom thou hast
conquered man, shall bruise thy head, not by herself, but by Jesus
Christ." [Vol. i. p. 132.]

The only other passage in which reference appears to be made in the Old
Testament to the Mother of our Lord, contains that celebrated prophecy
in the seventh chapter of Isaiah, about which I am not aware that any
difference exists between the Anglican and the Roman Churches. "A Virgin
shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
[Isaiah vii. 4.]

I find no passage in the Old Testament which can by any inferential
application be brought to bear on the question of Mary's being a proper
object of invocation.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the New Testament, mention by name is made of the Virgin Mary by St.
Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, and by St. John in his Gospel, as the
Mother of our Lord, but not by name; and by no other writer. Neither St.
Paul in any one of his many Epistles, though he mentions the names of
many of our Lord's disciples, nor St. James, nor St. Peter, who must
often have seen her during our Lord's ministry, nor St. Jude, nor St.
John in any of his three Epistles, or in the {274} Revelation (though,
as we learn from his own Gospel, she had of especial trust been
committed to his care)--no one of these either mentions her as living,
or alludes to her memory as dead.

The first occasion on which any reference is made in the New Testament
to the Virgin Mary is the salutation of the Angel, as recorded by St.
Luke in the opening chapter of his Gospel. The last occasion is when she
is mentioned by the same Evangelist, as "Mary the Mother of Jesus," in
conjunction with his brethren and with the Apostles and the women all
continuing in prayer and supplication, immediately after the ascension
of our blessed Lord. Between these two occasions the name of Mary occurs
under a variety of circumstances, on every one of which we shall do well
to reflect.

The first occasion, we have already said, is the salutation of Mary by
the angel, announcing to her that she should be the Mother of the Son of
God. Surely no daughter of Eve was ever so distinguished among women;
and well does it become us to cherish her memory with affectionate
reverence. The words addressed to her when on earth by the angel in that
announcement, with a little variation of expression, are daily addressed
to her by the Roman Catholic Church, now that she is no longer seen, but
is removed to the invisible world. "Hail, thou that art highly
favoured!" (or as the Vulgate reads it, "full of grace") "the Lord is
with thee. Blessed art thou among women." [Luke i. 28.] On the
substitution of the expression, "full of grace," for "highly favoured,"
or, as our margin suggests, "graciously accepted, or much graced," I am
not desirous {275} of troubling you with any lengthened remark. I could
have wished that since the Greek is different in this passage, and in
the first chapter of St. John, where the words "full of grace" are
applied to our Saviour, a similar distinction had been observed in the
Roman translation. But the variation is unessential. The other
expression, "Blessed art thou among women," is precisely and identically
the same with the ascription of blessedness made by an inspired tongue,
under the elder covenant, to another daughter of Eve. "Blessed above
women," or (as both the Septuagint and the Vulgate render the word)
"Blessed among women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be."
[Judges v. 24.] We can see no ground in such ascription of blessedness
for any posthumous adoration of the Virgin Mary.

The same observation applies with at least equal strictness to that
affecting interview between Mary and Elizabeth, when, enlightened
doubtless by an especial revelation, Elizabeth returned the salutation
of her cousin by addressing her as the Mother of her Lord, and hailing
her visit as an instance of most welcome and condescending kindness,
"Whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come unto me?"
[Luke i. 43.] Members of the Anglican Church are taught to refer to this
event in Mary's life with feelings of delight and gratitude. On this
occasion she uttered that beautiful hymn, "The Song of the blessed
Virgin Mary," which our Church has selected for daily use at Evening
Prayer. These incidents bring before our minds the image of a spotless
Virgin, humble, pious, obedient, holy: a chosen servant of God--an
exalted pattern for her fellow-creatures; but still a fellow-creature,
and a fellow-servant: {276} a virgin pronounced by an angel blessed on
earth. But further than this we cannot go. We read of no power, no
authority, neither the power and influence of intercession, nor the
authority or right of command being ever, even by implication, committed
to her; and we dare not of our own minds venture to take for granted a
statement of so vast magnitude, involving associations so awful. We
reverence her memory as a blessed woman, the virgin mother of our Lord.
We cannot supplicate any blessing at her hand; we cannot pray to her for
her intercession.

The angel's announcement to Joseph, whether before or after the birth of
Christ, the visit of the Magi, the flight into Egypt, and the return
thence, in the record of all of which events by St. Matthew the name of
Mary occurs, however interesting and important in themselves, seem to
require no especial attention with reference to the immediate subject of
our inquiry. To Joseph the angel speaks of the blessed Virgin as "Mary
thy wife." [Matt. i. 20.] In every other instance she is called "The
young child's mother," or "His mother."

In relating the circumstances of Christ's birth the Evangelist employs
no words which seem to invite any particular examination. Joseph went up
into the city of David to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife; and
there she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling
clothes, and laid him in a manger. And the shepherds found Mary and
Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And Mary kept all these things,
and pondered them in her heart. [Luke ii. 19.]

Between the birth of Christ, and the flight into Egypt, St. Luke records
an event to have happened by no means unimportant--the presentation of
Christ in {277} the temple. "And when the days of her purification
according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to
Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. And he (Simeon) came by the Spirit
into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do
for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms,
and blessed God, and said, Lord, &c. And Joseph and his mother marvelled
at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and
said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and
rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign that shall be spoken
against, (yea, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also) that
the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." [Luke ii. 28.] In this
incident it is worthy of remark, that Joseph and Mary are both mentioned
by name, that they are both called the parents of the young child; that
both are equally blessed by Simeon; and that the good old Israelite,
illumined by the spirit of prophecy, when he addresses himself
immediately to Mary, speaks only of her future sorrow, and does not even
most remotely or faintly allude to any exaltation of her above the other
daughters of Abraham. "A sword shall pass through thine own soul also,"
a prophecy, as St. Augustine interprets it, accomplished when she
witnessed the sufferings and death of her Son. (See De Sacy, vol. xxxii.
p. 138.)

The next occasion on which the name of the Virgin Mary is found in
Scripture, is the memorable visit of herself, her husband, and her Son,
to Jerusalem, when he was twelve years old. And the manner in which this
incident is related by the inspired Evangelist, so far from intimating
that Mary was destined to be an object of worship to the believers in
her Son, affords {278} evidence which exhibits strongly a bearing the
direct contrary. Here again Joseph and Mary are both called his parents:
Joseph is once mentioned by name, and so is Mary. If the language had
been so framed as on purpose to take away all distinction of preference
or superiority, it could not more successfully have effected its
purpose. But not only so, of the three addresses recorded as having been
made by our blessed Lord to his beloved mother (and only three are
recorded in the New Testament), the first occurs during this visit to
Jerusalem. It was in answer to the remonstrance made by Mary, "Son, why
hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee
sorrowing." [Luke ii. 48.] "How is it that ye sought me? Knew ye not
that I must be about my Father's business?"--[or in my Father's house,
as some render it.] He lifts up their minds from earth to heaven, from
his human to his eternal origin. He makes no distinction here,--"Wist YE
not." Again, I would appeal to any dispassionate person to pronounce,
whether this reproof, couched in these words, countenances the idea that
our blessed Lord intended his human mother to receive such divine honour
from his followers to the end of time as the Church of Rome now pays?
and whether St. Luke, whose pen wrote this account, could have been made
cognizant of any such right invested in the Virgin?

The next passage calling for our consideration is that which records the
first miracle: "And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of
Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there, and both Jesus was called
and his disciples to the marriage. And when they wanted wine (when the
wine failed), the mother of {279} Jesus saith unto him, They have no
wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine
hour is not yet come." [John ii. 1.]

I have carefully read the comments on this passage, which different
writers of the Roman Catholic communion have recommended for the
adoption of the faithful, and I desire not to make any remarks upon
them. Let the passage be interpreted in any way which enlightened
criticism and the analogy of Scripture will sanction, and I would ask,
after a careful weighing of this incident, the facts, and the words in
all their bearings, would any unprejudiced mind expect that the holy and
beloved person, towards whom the meek and tender and loving Jesus
employed this address, was destined by that omniscient and omnipotent
Saviour to be an object of those religious acts with which, as we shall
soon be reminded, the Church of Rome now daily approaches her?

It is pain and grief to me thus to extract and to comment upon these
passages of Holy Writ. The feelings of affection and of reverence
approaching awe, with which I hold the memory of that blessed Virgin
Mother of my Lord, raise in me a sincere repugnance against dwelling on
this branch of our subject, beyond what the cause of the truth as it is
in Jesus absolutely requires; and very little more of the same irksome
task awaits us. You will of course expect me to refer to an incident
recorded with little variety of expression, and with no essential
difference, by the first three Evangelists. St. Matthew's is the most
full account, and is this,--"While he yet talked to the people, behold
his mother and his brethren stood without desiring to speak with him.
Then one said unto him, {280} Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand
without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him
that told him, Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? And he
stretched forth his hand toward his disciples and said, Behold my mother
and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is
in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother." [Matt. xii.
46.] Or, as St. Luke expresses it,--"And he answered and said unto them,
My mother and my brethren are these, who hear the word of God and do
it." [Luke viii. 21.]

Humanly speaking, could a more favourable opportunity have presented
itself to our blessed Lord of referring to his beloved mother, in such a
manner as to exalt her above her fellow daughters of Eve,--in such a
manner too, as that Christians in after days, when the Saviour's bodily
presence should have been taken away from them, and the extraordinary
communications of the Spirit of truth should have been withdrawn, might
have remembered that He had spoken these things, and have been
countenanced by his words in doing her homage? But so far is this from
the plain and natural tendency of the words of her blessed Son, that,
had He of acknowledged purpose (and He has condescended to announce to
us, in another place (John xiii. 19, &c.), the purpose of his words)
wished to guard his disciples, whilst the world should last, against
being seduced by any reverence and love which they might feel towards
Himself into a belief that they ought to exalt his mother above all
other created beings, and pay her holy worship, we know not what words
He could have adopted more fitted for that purpose. There was nothing in
the communication which seemed to call for {281} such a remark. A plain
message announces to Him as a matter of fact one of the most common
occurrences of daily life. And yet He fixes upon the circumstance as the
groundwork not only of declaring the close union which it was his good
pleasure should exist between obedient and true believers and Himself,
but of cautioning all against any superstitious feelings towards those
who were nearly allied to Him by the ties of his human nature. With
reverence I would say, it is as though He desired to record his
foreknowledge of the errors into which his disciples were likely to be
seduced, and warned them beforehand to shun and resist the temptation.
The evidence borne by this passage against our offering any religious
worship to the Virgin, on the ground of her having been the mother of
our Lord, seems clear, strong, direct, and inevitable. She was the
mother of the Redeemer of the world, and blessed is she among women; but
that very Redeemer Himself, with his own lips, assures us that every
faithful servant of his heavenly Father shall be equally honoured with
her, and possess all the privileges which so near and dear a
relationship with Himself might be supposed to convey.--Who is my
mother? Or, who are my brethren? Behold my mother and my brethren!
Whosoever shall do the will of my Father in heaven, the same is my
brother, and my sister, and my mother.

No less should we be expected in this place to take notice of that most
remarkable passage of Holy Scripture, [Luke xi. 27.] in which our
blessed Lord is recorded under different circumstances to have expressed
the same sentiments, but in words which will appear to many even more
strongly indicative of his desire to prevent any {282} undue exaltation
of his mother. "As he spake these things, a certain woman of the company
lifted up her voice and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare
thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked." On the truth or wisdom of
that exclamation our Lord makes no remark; He refers not to his mother
at all, not even to assure them (as St. Augustine in after-ages taught,
see De Sacy, vol. xxxii. p. 35.), that however blessed Mary was in her
corporeal conception of the Saviour, yet far more blessed was she
because she had fully borne Him spiritually in her heart. He alludes not
to his mother except for the purpose of instantly drawing the minds of
his hearers from contemplating any supposed blessedness in her, and of
fixing them on the sure and greater blessedness of his true, humble,
faithful, and obedient disciples, to the end of time. "But he said, Yea,
rather [or, as some prefer, yea, verily, and] blessed are they that hear
the word of God, and keep it." Again, it must be asked, could such an
exclamation have been met by such a reply, had our Lord's will been to
exalt his mother, as she is now exalted by the Church of Rome? Rather,
we would reverently ask, would He have given this turn to such an
address, had He not desired to check any such feeling towards her?

That most truly affecting and edifying incident recorded by St. John as
having taken place whilst Jesus was hanging in his agony on the cross,
an incident which speaks to every one who has a mind to understand and a
heart to feel, presents to us the last occasion on which the name of the
Virgin Mother of our Lord occurs in the Gospels. No paraphrase could add
force, or clearness, or beauty to the simple narrative of the
Evangelist; no exposition could bring out its parts more prominently or
{283} affectingly. The calmness and authority of our blessed Lord, his
tenderness and affection, his filial love in the very midst of his
agony, it is impossible to describe with more heart-stirring and
heart-soothing pathos than is conveyed in the simple language of him
whom the Saviour at that awful hour addressed, as He committed his
mother to him of especial trust. But not one syllable falls from the
lips of Christ, or from the pen of the beloved disciple, who records
this act of his blessed Master's filial piety, which can by possibility
be construed to imply, that our blessed Lord intended Mary to be held in
such honour by his disciples, as would be shown in the offering of
prayer and praise to her after her dissolution. He who could by a word,
rather by the mere motion of his will, have bidden the whole course of
nature and of providence, so to proceed as that all its operations
should provide for the health and safety, the support and comfort of his
mother--He, when He was on the cross, and when He was on the point of
committing his soul into the hands of his Father, leaves her to the care
of one whom He loved, and whose sincerity and devotedness to Him He had,
humanly speaking, long experienced. He bids him treat Mary as his own
mother, He bids Mary look to John as to her own son for support and
solace: "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his
mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When
Jesus, therefore, saw his mother and the disciple standing by whom he
loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son; then saith he to
the disciple, Behold thy mother." [John xix. 25.] And He added no more.
If Christ willed that his beloved mother should end her days in peace,
removed equally {284} from want and the desolation of widowhood on the
one hand, and from splendour and notoriety on the other, nothing could
be more natural than such conduct in such a Being at such a time. But if
his purpose was to exalt her into an object of religious adoration, that
nations should kneel before her, and all people do her homage, then the
words and the conduct of our Lord at this hour seem altogether
unaccountable: and so would the words of the Evangelist also be, "And
from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."

After this not another word falls from the pen of St. John which can be
made to bear on the station, the character, the person, or circumstances
of Mary. After his resurrection our Saviour remained on earth forty days
before He finally ascended into heaven. Many of his interviews and
conversations with his disciples during that interval are recorded in
the Gospel. Every one of the four Evangelists relates some act or some
saying of our Lord on one or more of those occasions. Mention is made by
name of Mary Magdalene, of Mary [the mother] of Joses, of Mary [the
mother] of James, of Salome, of Joanna, of Peter, of Cleophas, of the
disciple whom Jesus loved, at whose house the mother of our Lord then
was; of Thomas, of Nathanael. The eleven also are mentioned generally.
But by no one of the Evangelists is reference made at all to Mary the
mother of our Lord, as having been present at any one of those
interviews; her name is not alluded to throughout.

On one solitary occasion subsequently to the ascension of Christ,
mention is made of Mary his mother, in company with many others, and
without any further distinction to separate her from the rest: "And when
{285} they were come in (from having witnessed the ascension of our
Saviour), they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and
James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew and
Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the
brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and
supplication with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his
brethren." [Acts i. 13.] Not one word is said of Mary having been
present to witness even the ascension of her blessed Son; we read no
command of our Lord, no wish expressed, no distant intimation to his
disciples that they should even show to her marks of respect and honour;
not an allusion is there made to any superiority or distinction and
preeminence. Sixty years at the least are generally considered to be
comprehended within the subsequent history of the New Testament before
the Apocalypse was written; but neither in the narrative, nor in the
Epistles, nor yet in the prophetic part of the Holy Book, is there the
most distant allusion to Mary. Of him to whose loving care our dying
Lord committed his beloved mother of especial trust, we hear much. John,
we find, putting forth the miraculous power of Christ at the Beautiful
Gate of the Temple; we find him imprisoned and arraigned before the
Jewish authorities; but not one word is mentioned as to what meanwhile
became of Mary. We find John confirming the Church in Samaria; we find
him an exile in the island of Patmos; but no mention is made of Mary.
Nay, though we have three of his epistles, and the second of them
addressed to one "whom he loved in the truth," we find neither from the
tongue nor from the pen of St. John, one single allusion to the mother
of our Lord alive or dead. And then, whatever may have been the matter
{286} of fact as to St. Paul, neither the many letters of that Apostle,
nor the numerous biographical incidents recorded of him, intimate in the
most remote degree that he knew any thing whatever concerning her
individually. St. Paul does indeed refer to the human nature of Christ
derived from his human mother, and had he been taught by his Lord to
entertain towards her such sentiments as the Roman Church now professes
to entertain, he could not have had a more inviting occasion to give
utterance to them. But instead of thus speaking of the Virgin Mary, he
does not even mention her name or state at all, but refers only in the
most general way to her nature and her sex as a daughter of Adam: "But
when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, MADE OF A
WOMAN, made under the law; to redeem them that were under the Law, that
we might receive the adoption of sons." [Gal. iv. 4.] From a time
certainly within a few days of our Saviour's ascension the Scriptures
are totally silent throughout as to Mary, whether in life or in death.

Here we might well proceed to contrast this view which the Scriptures of
eternal truth give of the blessed Virgin Mary with the authorized and
appointed worship of that branch of the Christian Church which is in
communion with Rome. We must first, however, here also examine the
treasures of Christian antiquity, and ascertain what witness the
earliest uninspired records bear on this immediate point. {287}

       *       *       *       *       *


Closing the inspired volume, and seeking at the fountain-head for the
evidence of Christian antiquity, what do we find? For upwards of three
centuries and a half (the limit put to our present inquiry) we discover
in no author, Christian or heathen, any trace whatever of the invocation
of the Virgin Mary by Catholic Christians. I have examined every passage
which I have found adduced by writers of the Church of Rome, and have
searched for any other passages which might appear to deserve
consideration as bearing favourably on their view of the subject; and
the worship of the Virgin, such as is now insisted upon by the Council
of Trent, prescribed by the Roman ritual, and practised in the Church of
Rome, is proved by such an examination to have had neither name, nor
place, nor existence among the early Christians. Forgive my importunity
if I again and again urge you to join us in weighing these facts well;
and to take your view of them from no advocate on the one side or the
other. Search the Scriptures for yourselves, search the earliest writers
for yourselves, and for yourselves search with all diligence into the
authentic and authorized liturgies of your own Church, your missals, and
breviaries, and formularies. Hearsay evidence, testimony {288} taken at
second or third hand, vague rumours and surmises will probably expose
us, on either side, to error. Let well-sifted genuine evidence be
brought by an upright and an enlightened mind to bear on the point at
issue, and let the issue joined be this, Is the practice of praying to
the Virgin, and praising her, in the language of the prayers and praises
now used in the prescribed formularies of the Roman Church, primitive.
Catholic, Apostolical?

I am aware that among those who adhere to the Tridentine Confession of
faith, there are many on whom this investigation will not be allowed to
exercise any influence.

The sentiments of Huet, wherever they are adopted, would operate to the
total rejection of such inquiries as we are instituting in this work.
His words on the immaculate conception of the Virgin are of far wider
application than the immediate occasion on which he used them, "That the
blessed Mary never conceived any sin in herself is in the present day an
established principle of the Church, and confirmed by the Council of
Trent. In which it is our duty to acquiesce, rather than in the dicta of
the ancients, if any seem to think otherwise, among whom must be
numbered Origen." [Origen's Works, vol. iv. part 2, p. 156.]

In this address, however, we take for granted that the reader is open to
conviction, desirous of arriving at the truth, and, with that view,
ready to examine and sift the evidence of primitive antiquity.

In that investigation our attention is very soon called to the
remarkable fact, that, whereas in the case of the invocation of saints
and angels, the defenders of that doctrine and practice bring forward a
great variety of passages, in which mention is supposed to be made of
{289} those beings as objects of honour and reverential and grateful
remembrance, the passages quoted with a similar view, as regards the
Virgin Mary, are very few indeed: whilst the passages which intimate
that the early Christians paid her no extraordinary honour (certainly
not more than we of the Anglican Church do now) are innumerable.

I have thought that it might be satisfactory here to refer to each
separately of those earliest writers, whose testimony we have already
examined on the general question of the invocation of saints and angels,
and, as nearly as may be, in the same order.

In the former department of our investigation we first endeavoured to
ascertain the evidence of those five primitive writers, who are called
the Apostolical Fathers; and, with regard to the subject now before us,
the result of our inquiry into the same works is this:

1. In the Epistle ascribed to BARNABAS we find no allusion to Mary.

2. The same must be affirmed of the book called The Shepherd of HERMAS.

3. In CLEMENT of Rome, who speaks of the Lord Jesus having descended
from Abraham according to the flesh, no mention is made of that daughter
of Abraham of whom he was born.

4. IGNATIUS in a passage already quoted (Ad Eph. vii. p. 13 and 16)
speaks of Christ both in his divine and human nature as Son of God and
man, and he mentions the name of Mary, but it is without any adjunct or
observation whatever, "both of Mary and of God." In another place he
speaks of her virgin state, and the fruit of her womb; and of her having
borne our God Jesus the Christ; but he adds no {290} more; not even
calling her "The blessed," or "The Virgin." In the interpolated Epistle
to the Ephesians, the former passage adds "the Virgin" after "Mary," but
nothing more.

5. In the Epistle of POLYCARP we find an admonition to virgins (Page
186), how they ought to walk with a spotless and chaste conscience, but
there is no allusion to the Virgin Mary.

JUSTIN MARTYR. In this writer I do not find any passage so much in point
as the following, in which we discover no epithet expressive of honour,
or dignity, or exaltation, though it refers to Mary in her capacity of
the Virgin mother of our Lord:--"He therefore calls Himself the Son of
Man, either from his birth of a virgin, who was of the race of David,
and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, or because Abraham himself was the
father of those persons enumerated, from whom Mary drew her origin."
[Trypho, § 100. p. 195.] And a little below he adds, "For Eve being a
virgin and incorrupt, having received the word from the serpent, brought
forth transgression and death; but Mary the Virgin having received faith
and joy (on the angel Gabriel announcing to her the glad tidings, that
the Spirit of the Lord should come upon her, and the power of the
Highest overshadow her) answered, Be it unto me according to thy word.
And of her was born He of whom we have shown that so many Scriptures
have been spoken; He by whom God destroys the serpent, and angels and
men resembling [the serpent]; but works a rescue from death for such as
repent of evil and believe in Him." One more passage will suffice, "And
according to the command of God, Joseph, taking Him with Mary, went into
Egypt." [Trypho, § 102. p. 196.] {291}

Among those "Questions" to which we have referred under the head of
Justin Martyr's works, but which are confessedly of a much less remote
date, probably of the fifth century, an inquiry is made, How could
Christ be free from blame, who so often set at nought his parent? The
answer is, that He did not set her at nought; that He honoured her in
deed, and would not have hurt her by his words;--but then the respondent
adds, that Christ chiefly honoured Mary in that view of her maternal
character, under which all who heard the word of God and kept it, were
his brothers and sisters and mother; and that she surpassed all women in
virtue. [Qu. 136. p. 500.]

IRENÆUS. To the confused passage relied upon by Bellarmin, in which
Irenæus is supposed to represent Mary as the advocate of Eve, we have
already fully referred (page 120 of this work). In that passage there is
no allusion to any honour paid, or to be paid to her, nor to any
invocation of her. In every passage to which my attention has been
drawn, Irenæus speaks of the mother of our Lord as Mary, or the Virgin,
without any adjunct, or term of reverence.

CLEMENT of Alexandria speaks of the Virgin, and refers to an opinion
relative to her virgin-state, but without one word of honour. [Stromat.
vii. 16. p. 889.]

TERTULLIAN[101]. The passages in which this ancient writer refers to the
mother of our Lord are very far from countenancing the religious worship
now paid to her by Roman Catholics: "The brothers of the Lord had not
believed on him, as it is contained in the Gospel published {292} before
Marcion. His mother likewise is not shown to have adhered to him;
whereas others, Marys and Marthas, were frequently in his company." (See
Tert. De carne Christi, c. 7. (p. 364. De Sacy, 29. 439.)) And he tells
us that Christ was brought forth by a virgin, who was also about to be
married once after the birth, that the two titles of sanctity might be
united in Christ by a mother who was both a virgin and also once

    [Footnote 101: Paris, 1675. De carne Christi, vii. p. 315. De
    Monogamia, vii. p. 529. N.B. Both these treatises were probably
    written after he became a Montanist.]

    [Footnote 102: On the works once ascribed to Methodius, but now
    pronounced to be spurious, see above, p. 131.]

ORIGEN thus speaks: "Announcing to Zacharias the birth of John, and to
Mary the advent of our Saviour among men." [Comment on John, § 24. vol.
iv. p. 82.] In his eighth homily on Leviticus, he refers to Mary as a
pure Virgin. [Vol. ii. p. 228.] In the forged work of later times, the
writer, speaking of our Saviour, says, "He had on earth an immaculate
and chaste mother, this much blessed Virgin Mary." [Hom. iii. in

In CYPRIAN we do not find one word expressive of honour or reverence
towards the Virgin Mary. Nor is her name mentioned in the letter of his
correspondent Firmilian, Bishop of Cappadocia.

LACTANTIUS speaks of "a holy virgin" [Vol. i. p. 299.] chosen for the
work of Christ but not one other word of honour, or tending to
adoration; though whilst dwelling on the incarnation of the Son of God,
had he or his fellow-believers paid religious honour to her, he could
scarcely have avoided all allusion to it.

EUSEBIUS speaks of the Virgin Mary, but is altogether silent as to any
religious honour of any kind being due to her. In the Oration of the
Emperor Constantine (as it is recorded by Eusebius), direct mention is
made of the "chaste virginity," and of the maid who was mother {293} of
God, and yet remained a virgin. But the object present to the author's
mind was so exclusively God manifest in the flesh, that he does not
throughout even mention the name of Mary, or allude to any honour paid
or due to her. [Cantab. 1720. § 11. p. 689. and § 19. p. 703.]

ATHANASIUS, bent ever on establishing the perfect divinity and humanity
of Christ, thus speaks: "The general scope of Holy Scripture is to make
a twofold announcement concerning the Saviour, that He was always God,
and is a Son; being the Word and the brightness and wisdom of the
Father, and that He afterwards became man for us, taking flesh of the
Virgin Mary, who bare God ([Greek: taes theotokou])." [Athan. Orat. iii.
Cont. Arian. p. 579.]

The work which we have already examined, called The Apostolical
Constitutions, compiled probably about the commencement of the fourth
century, cannot be read without leaving an impression clear and powerful
on the mind, that no religious honour was paid to the Virgin Mary at the
time when they were written; certainly not more than is now cheerfully
paid to her memory by us of the Anglican Church. Take, for example, the
prayer prescribed to be used on the appointment of a Deaconess; the
inference from it must be, that others with whom the Lord's Spirit had
dwelt, were at least held in equal honour with Mary: "O Eternal God,
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of male and female, who didst
fill with thy Spirit Miriam, and Hannah, and Holda, and didst not
disdain that thy Son should be born of a woman," &c. [Book viii. c. 20.]
Thus, {294} too, in another passage, Mary is spoken of just as other
women who had the gift of prophecy; and of her equally and in
conjunction with the others it is said, that they were not elated by the
gift, nor lifted themselves up against the men. "But even have women
prophesied; in ancient times Miriam, the sister of Aaron and Moses;
after her Deborah; and afterwards Huldah and Judith; one under Josiah,
the other under Darius; and the mother of the Lord also prophesied, and
Elizabeth her kinswoman; and Anna; and in our day the daughters of
Philip; yet they were not lifted up against the men, but observed their
own measure. Therefore among you also should any man or woman have such
a grace, let them be humble, that God may take pleasure in them." [Book
viii. c. 2.]

In the Apostolical Canons I find no reference to Mary; nor indeed any
passage bearing on our present inquiry, except the last clause of all,
containing the benediction. In this passage not only is the prayer for
spiritual blessings addressed to God alone, but it is offered
exclusively through the mediation of Christ alone, without alluding to
intercessions of angels saints, or the Virgin: "Now may God, the only
unproduced Being, the Creator of all things, unite you all by peace in
the Holy Ghost; make you perfect unto every good work, not to be turned
aside, unblameable, not deserving reproof; and may He deem you worthy of
eternal life with us, by the mediation of his beloved Son Jesus Christ
our God and Saviour: with whom be glory to Him the Sovereign God and
Father, in the Holy Ghost the Comforter, now and ever, world without
end. Amen." [Vol. i. p. 450.]

I have not intentionally omitted any ancient author {295} falling within
the limits of our present inquiry, nor have I neglected any one passage
which I could find bearing testimony to any honour paid to the Virgin.
The result of my research is, that I have not discovered one solitary
expression which implies that religious invocation and honour, such as
is now offered to Mary by the Church of Rome, was addressed to her by
the members of the primitive Catholic Church. {296}

       *       *       *       *       *


By the Church of England, two festivals are observed in grateful
commemoration of two events relating to Mary as the mother of our
Lord:--the announcement of the Saviour's birth by the message of an
angel, called, "The Annunciation of the blessed Virgin Mary," and "The
Presentation of Christ in the Temple," called also, "The Purification of
Saint Mary the Virgin." In the service for the first of these
solemnities, we are taught to pray that, as we have known the
incarnation of the Son of God by the message of an angel, so by his
Cross and Passion we may be brought to the glory of his resurrection. In
the second, we humbly beseech the Divine Majesty that, as his
only-begotten Son was presented in the Temple in the substance of our
flesh, so we may be presented unto Him with pure and clean hearts by the
same, his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. These days are observed to
commemorate events declared to us on the most sure warrant of Holy
Scripture; and these prayers are primitive and evangelical. They pray
only to God for spiritual blessings through his Son. The second prayer
was used in the Church {297} from very early times, and is still
retained in the Roman Breviary (Hus. Brev. Rom. H. 536.); whereas,
instead of the first[103], we find there unhappily a prayer now
supplicating that those who offer it, "believing Mary to be truly the
Mother of God, might be aided by her intercessions with Him." [V. 496.]

    [Footnote 103: This collect also is found in the Roman Missal,
    as a Prayer at the Post Communion; though it does not appear in
    the Breviarium Romanum.]

In the Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, feasts are observed to
the honour of the Virgin Mary, in which the Anglican Church cannot join;
such as the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, and the immaculate conception
of her by her mother. On the origin and nature of these feasts it is not
my intention to dwell. I can only express my regret, that by appointing
a service and a collect commemorative of the Conception of the
Virgin[104] in her mother's womb, and praying that the observance of
that solemnity may procure the votaries an increase of peace, the Church
of Rome has given countenance to a superstition, against which at its
commencement, so late as the 12th century, St. Bernard strongly
remonstrated, in an epistle to the monks of Lyons; a superstition which
has been supported and explained by discussions in no way profitable to
the head or the heart. [Epist. 174. Paris, 1632, p. 1538.]

    [Footnote 104: Ut quibus beatæ Virginis partus exstitit salutis
    exordium, conceptionis ejus votiva solemnitas pacis tribuat
    incrementum. H. 445.]

Of all these institutions however in honour of the Virgin, the Feast of
the ASSUMPTION appears to be as it were the crown and the
consummation[105]. This festival {298} is kept to celebrate the
miraculous taking up (assumptio) of the Virgin Mary into heaven. And its
celebration, in Roman Catholic countries, is observed in a manner worthy
a cause to which our judgment would give deliberately its sanction; in
which our feelings would safely and with satisfaction rest on the
firmness of our faith; from joining in which a truly pious mind would
have no ground for inward misgiving, nor for the aspiration, Would it
were founded in truth!

    [Footnote 105: "The Assumption of the Virgin Mary is the
    greatest of all the festivals which the Church celebrates in her
    honour. It is the consummation of all the other great mysteries
    by which her life was rendered most wonderful. It is the
    birthday of her true greatness and glory, and the crown of all
    the virtues of her whole life, which we admire single in her
    other festivals." Alban Butler, vol. viii. p. 175.]

Before such a solemn office of praise and worship were ever admitted
among the institutions of the religion of truth, its originators and
compilers should have built upon sure grounds; careful too should they
also be who now join in the service, and so lend it the countenance of
their example; more especially should those sift the evidence well, who,
by their doctrine and writings, uphold, and defend, and advance it; lest
they prove at the last to love Rome rather than the truth as it is in
Jesus. So solemn, so marked, a religious service in the temples and at
the altar of HIM who is the truth, a service so exalted above his
fellows, ought beyond question to be founded on the most sure warrant of
Holy Scripture, or at the least on undisputed historical evidence, as to
the alleged matter of fact on which it is built,--the certain,
acknowledged, uninterrupted, and universal testimony of the Church
Catholic from the very time. They incur a momentous responsibility who
aid in propagating for religious truths the inventions of men[106].

    [Footnote 106: Very different opinions are held by Roman
    Catholic writers as to the antiquity of this feast. All, indeed,
    maintain that it is of very ancient introduction; but whilst
    some, with Lambecius (lib. viii. p. 286), maintain the antiquity
    of the festival to be so remote, that its origin cannot be
    traced; and thence infer that it was instituted by a silent and
    unrecorded act of the Apostles themselves; others (among whom
    Kollarius, the learned annotator on the opinion of Lambecius)
    acknowledged, that it was introduced by an ordinance of the
    Church, though not at the same time in all countries of
    Christendom. That annotator assigns its introduction at Rome to
    the fourth century; at Constantinople to the sixth; in Germany
    and France to the ninth.] {299}

But what is the real state of the case with regard to the fact of the
Assumption of the Virgin Mary? It rests (as we shall soon see) on no
authentic history; it is supported by no primitive tradition. I profess
my surprise to have been great, when I found the most celebrated
defenders of the Roman Catholic cause, instead of citing such evidence
as would bear with it even the appearance of probability, appealing to
histories written more than a thousand years after the alleged event, to
forged documents and vague rumours. I was willing to doubt the
sufficiency of my research; till I found its defenders, instead of
alleging and establishing by evidence what God was by them said to have
done, contenting themselves with asserting his omnipotence, in proof
that the doctrine implied no impossibility; dwelling on the fitness and
reasonableness of his working such a miracle in the honour of her who
was chosen to be the mother of his eternal Son; and whilst they took the
fact as granted, substituting for argument glowing and fervent
descriptions of what might have been the joy in heaven, and what ought
to be the feelings of mortals on earth.

At every step of the inquiry into the merits of this case, the principle
recurs to the mind, that, as men really and in earnest looking onward to
a life after this, our duty is to ascertain to the utmost of our {300}
power, not what God could do, not what we or others might pronounce it
fit that God should do, but what He has done; not what would be
agreeable to our feelings, were it true, but what, whether agreeably or
adversely to our feelings or wishes, is proved to be true. The very
moment a Christian writer refers me from evidence to possibilities, I
feel that he knows not the nature of Christianity; he throws me back
from the sure and certain hope of the Gospel to the "beautiful fable" of
Socrates,--"It were better to be there than here, IF THESE THINGS ARE

But let us inquire into the facts of the case.

First, I would observe that it is by no means agreed among all who have
written upon the subject, what was the place, or what was the time of
the Virgin's death. Whilst some have maintained that she breathed her
last at Ephesus, the large majority assert that her departure from this
world took place at Jerusalem. And as to the time of her death, some
have assigned it to the year 48 of the Christian era, about the time at
which Paul and Barnabas (as we read in Holy Scripture) returned to
Antioch; whilst others refer it to a later date. I am not, however,
aware of any supposition which fixes it at a period subsequent to that
at which the canon of Scripture closes. Epiphanius indeed, towards the
close of the fourth century, reminding us that Scripture is totally and
purely silent on the subject as well of Mary's death and burial, as of
her having accompanied St. John in his travels or not, without alluding
to any tradition as to her assumption, thus sums up his sentiments: "I
dare to say nothing; but considering it, I observe silence." [Epiph.
vol. i. p. 1043.] {301}

Should any of my readers have deliberately adopted as the rule of their
faith the present practice of the Church of Rome, I cannot hope that
they will take any interest in the following inquiry; but I have been
assured, by most sensible and well-informed members of that Church, that
there is a very general desire entertained to have this and other
questions connected with our subject examined without prejudice, and
calmly placed before them. To such persons I trust this chapter may not
appear altogether unworthy of their consideration. Those who would turn
from it on the principle to which we have here alluded, will find
themselves very closely responding to the sentiments professed by St.
Bernard, "Exalt her who is exalted above the choirs of angels to the
heavenly kingdom. These things the Church sings to me of her, and has
taught me to sing the same to others. For my part, what I have received
from it, I am secure in holding and delivering; which also, I confess, I
am not OVER-SCRUPULOUS in admitting. (Quod non scrupulosius fateor
admiserim.) I have received in truth from the Church that that day is to
be observed with the highest veneration on which she was TAKEN up
(assumpta) from this wicked world, and carrying with her into heaven
feasts of the most celebrated joys[107]."

    [Footnote 107: See Lambecius, book viii. p. 286. The letter of
    St. Bernard is addressed to the Canons of Lyons on the
    Conception of the holy Mary. Paris, 1632, p. 1538. His
    observations in that letter, with a view of discountenancing the
    rising superstition, in juxtaposition with these sentiments, are
    well deserving the serious consideration of every one.]

Let us then, with the authorized and enjoined service of the Church of
Rome for the 15th of August before us, examine the evidence on which
that religious {302} service, the most solemn consummation of all the
rest, is founded.

In the service of the Assumption, more than twice seven times is it
reiterated in a very brief space, and with slight variations of
expression, that Mary was taken up into heaven; and that, not on any
general and indefinite idea of her beatific and glorified state, but
with reference to one specific single act of divine favour, performed at
a fixed time, effecting her assumption, as it is called, "to-day." [Æs.
595.] "To-day Mary the Virgin ascended the heavens. Rejoice, because she
is reigning with Christ for ever." "Mary the Virgin is taken up into
heaven, to the ethereal chamber in which the King of kings sits on his
starry throne." "The holy mother of God hath been exalted above the
choirs of angels to the heavenly realms." "Come, let us worship the King
of kings, to whose ethereal heaven the Virgin Mother was taken up
to-day." And that it is her bodily ascension, her corporeal assumption
into heaven, and not merely the transit of her soul[108] from mortal
life to eternal bliss, which the Roman Church maintains and propagates
by this service, is put beyond doubt by the service itself. In the
fourth and sixth reading[109], or lesson, for example, we find these
{303} sentences:--"She returned not into the earth but is seated in the
heavenly tabernacles." "How could death devour, how could those below
receive, how could corruption invade, THAT BODY, in which life was
received? For it a direct, plain, and easy path to heaven was prepared."

    [Footnote 108: Lambecius, indeed (book viii. p. 306), distinctly
    affirms, that one object which the Church had in view was to
    condemn the HERESY of those who maintain that the reception of
    the Virgin into heaven, was the reception of her soul only, and
    not also of her body. "Ut damnet eorum hæresin qui sanctissimæ
    Dei genetricis rcceptionem in coelum ad animam ipsius tantum,
    non vero simul etiam ad corpus pertinere existimant."]

    [Footnote 109: Non reversa est in terram, sed ... in coelestibus
    tabernaculis collocatum. Quomodo mois devoraret, quomodo inferi
    susciperent, quomodo corruptio invaderit CORPUS ILLUD in quo
    vita suscepta est? Huic recta plana et facilis ad coelum parata
    est via. Æs. 603, 604.]

Now, on what authority does this doctrine rest? On what foundation stone
is this religious worship built? The holy Scriptures are totally and
profoundly silent, as to the time, the place, the manner of Mary's
death. Once after the ascension of our Lord, and that within eight days,
we find mentioned the name of Mary promiscuously with others; after
that, no allusion is made to her in life or in death; and no account, as
far as I can find, places her death too late for mention to have been
made of it in the Acts of the Apostles. The historian, Nicephorus
Callistus, refers it to the 5th year of Claudius, that is about A.D. 47:
after which period, events through more than fifteen years are recorded
in that book of sacred Scripture.

But closing the holy volume, what light does primitive antiquity enable
us to throw on this subject?

The earliest testimony quoted by the defenders of the doctrine, that
Mary was at her death taken up bodily into heaven, is a supposed entry
in the Chronicon of Eusebius, opposite the year of our Lord 48. This is
cited by Coccius without any remark; and even Baronius rests the date of
Mary's assumption upon this testimony. [Vol. i. 403.] The words referred
to are these,--"Mary the Virgin, the mother of Jesus, was taken up into
heaven; as some write that it had been revealed to them." {304}

Now, suppose for one moment that this came from the pen of Eusebius
himself, to what does it amount? A chronologist in the fourth century
records that some persons, whom he does not name, not even stating when
they lived, had written down, not what they had heard as matter of fact,
or received by tradition, but that a revelation had been made to them of
a fact alleged to have taken place nearly three centuries before the
time of that writer. But instead of this passage deserving the name of
Eusebius as its author, it is now on all sides acknowledged to be
altogether a palpable interpolation. Suspicions, one would suppose, must
have been at a very remote date suggested as to the genuineness of this
sentence. Many manuscripts, especially the seven in the Vatican, were
known to contain nothing of the kind; and the Roman Catholic editor of
the Chronicon at Bordeaux, A.D. 1604, tells us that he was restrained
from expunging it, only because nothing certain as to the assumption of
the Virgin could be substituted in its stead. [P. 566.] Its spuriousness
however can no longer be a question of dispute or doubt; it is excluded
from the Milan edition of 1818, by Angelo Maio and John Zohrab; and no
trace of it is to be found in the Armenian[110] version, published by
the monks of the Armenian convent at Venice, in 1818.

    [Footnote 110: The author visited that convent whilst this
    edition of the Chronicon of Eusebius was going through the
    press, and can testify to the apparent anxiety of the monks to
    make it worthy of the patronage of Christians.]

The next authority, to which we are referred, is a letter[111] said to
have been written by Sophronius the {305} presbyter, about the
commencement of the fifth century. The letter used to be ascribed to
Jerome; Erasmus referred it to Sophronius; but Baronius says it was
written "by an egregious forger of lies," ("egregius mendaciorum
concinnator,") who lived after the heresies of Nestorius and Eutyches
had been condemned. I am not at all anxious to enter upon that point of
criticism; that the letter is of very ancient origin cannot be doubted.
This document would lead us to conclude, that so far from the tradition
regarding the Virgin's assumption being general in the Church, it was a
point of grave doubt and discussion among the faithful, many of whom
thought it an act of pious forbearance to abstain altogether from
pronouncing any opinion on the subject. Whoever penned the letter, and
whether we look to the sensible and pious sentiments contained in it, or
to its undisputed antiquity, the following extract cannot fail to be

    [Footnote 111: The letter is entitled "Ad Paulam et Eustochium
    de Assumptione B.M. Virginis." It is found in the fifth volume
    of Jerome's works, p. 82. Edit. Jo. Martian.]

    [Footnote 112: Baronius shows great anxiety (Cologne, 1609, vol.
    i. p. 408) to detract from the value of this author's testimony,
    whoever he was; sharply criticising him because he asserts, that
    the faithful in his time still expressed doubts as to the matter
    of fact of Mary's assumption. By assigning, however, to the
    letter a still later date than the works of Sophronius, Baronius
    adds strength to the arguments for the comparatively recent
    origin of the tradition of her assumption. See Fabricius
    (Hamburgh, 1804), vol. ix. p. 160.]

"Many of our people doubt whether Mary was taken up together with her
body, or went away, leaving the body. But how, or at what time, or by
what persons her most holy body was taken hence, or whither removed, or
whether it rose again, is not known; although some will maintain that
she is already revived, and is clothed with a blessed immortality with
Christ in heavenly places, which very many affirm also of the blessed
{306} John, the Evangelist, his servant, to whom being a virgin, the
virgin was intrusted by Christ, because in his sepulchre, as it is
reported, nothing is found but manna, which also is seen to flow forth.
Nevertheless which of these opinions should be thought the more true we
doubt. Yet it is better to commit all to God, to whom nothing is
impossible, than to wish to define rashly[113] by our own authority any
thing, which we do not approve of.... Because nothing is impossible with
God, we do not deny that something of the kind was done with regard to
the blessed Virgin Mary; although for caution's sake (salva fide)
preserving our faith, we ought rather with pious desire to think, than
inconsiderately to define, what without danger may remain unknown." This
letter, at the earliest, was not written until the beginning of the
fifth century.

    [Footnote 113: These last words, stamping the author's own
    opinion, "Which we do not approve of," are left out in the
    quotation of Coccius.]

Subsequent writers were not wanting to fill up what this letter declares
to have been at its own date unknown, as to the manner and time of
Mary's assumption, and the persons employed in effecting it. The first
authority appealed to in defence of the tradition relating to the
assumption of the Virgin[114], is usually cited as a well-known work
written by Euthymius, who was contemporary with Juvenal, Archbishop of
Jerusalem. And the testimony simply quoted as his, offers to us the
following account of the miraculous transaction[115]:--

    [Footnote 114: Coccius heads the extract merely with these
    words: "Euthumius Eremita Historiæ Ecclesiasticæ, lib. iii. c.
    40;" assigning the date A.D. 549.]

    [Footnote 115: This version by Coccius differs in some points
    from the original. Jo. Dam. vol. ii. p. 879.]

"It has been above said, that the holy Pulcheria {307} built many
churches to Christ at Constantinople. Of these, however, there is one
which was built in Blachernæ, in the beginning of Marcian I's _reign_ of
divine memory. These, therefore, namely, Marcian and Pulcheria, when
they had built a venerable temple to the greatly to be celebrated and
most holy mother of God and ever Virgin Mary, and had decked it with all
ornaments, sought her most holy body, which had conceived God. And
having sent for Juvenal, Archbishop of Jerusalem, and the bishops of
Palestine, who were living in the royal city on account of the synod
then held at Chalcedon, they say to them, 'We hear that there is in
Jerusalem the first and famous Church of Mary, mother of God and ever
Virgin, in the garden called Gethsemane, where her body which bore the
Life was deposited in a coffin. We wish, therefore, her relics to be
brought here for the protection of this royal city. But Juvenal
answered, 'In the holy and divinely inspired Scripture, indeed, nothing
is recorded of the departure of holy Mary, mother of God. But from an
ancient and most true tradition we have received, that at the time of
her glorious falling asleep, all the holy Apostles who were going
through the world for the salvation of the nations, in a moment of time
borne aloft, came together at Jerusalem. And when they were near her,
they had a vision of angels, and divine melody of the highest powers was
heard: and thus with divine and more than heavenly glory, she delivered
her holy soul into the hands of God in an unspeakable manner. But that
which had conceived God being borne with angelic and apostolic psalmody,
with funeral rites, was deposited in a coffin in Gethsemane. In this
place the chorus and singing of the angels continued for three whole
days. But {308} after three days, on the angelic music ceasing, since
one of the Apostles had been absent, and came after the third day, and
wished to adore the body which had conceived God, the Apostles, who were
present, opened the coffin; but the body, pure and every way to be
praised, they could not at all find. And when they found only those
things in which it had been laid out and placed there, and were filled
with an ineffable fragrancy proceeding from those things, they shut the
coffin. Being astounded at the miraculous mystery, they could form no
other thought, but that He, who in his own person had vouchsafed to be
clothed with flesh, and to be made man of the most holy Virgin, and to
be born in the flesh, God the Word, and Lord of Glory, and who after
birth had preserved her virginity immaculate, had seen it good after she
had departed from among the living, to honour her uncontaminated and
unpolluted body by a translation before the common and universal

Such is the passage offered to us in its insulated form, as an extract
from Euthymius. To be enabled, however, to estimate its worth, the
inquirer must submit to the labour of considerable research. He will not
have pursued his investigation far, before he will find, that a thick
cloud of uncertainty and doubt hangs over this page of ecclesiastical
history. Not that the evidence alleged in support of the reputed miracle
can leave us in doubt as to the credibility of the tradition; for that
tradition can scarcely be now countenanced by the most zealous and
uncompromising maintainers of the assumption of the Virgin. What I would
say is, that the question as to the genuineness and authenticity of the
works by which the tradition is said to have been preserved, is far more
difficult and complicated, than {309} those writers must have believed,
who appeal to such testimony without any doubt or qualification. The
result of my own inquiries I submit to your candid acceptance.

The earliest author in whose reputed writings I have found the
tradition, is John Damascenus, a monk of Jerusalem, who flourished
somewhat before the middle of the eighth century. The passage is found
in the second of three homilies on the "Sleep of the Virgin," a term
generally used by the Greeks as an equivalent for the Latin word
"Assumptio." The original publication of these homilies in Greek and
Latin is comparatively of a late date. Lambecius, whose work is dated
1665, says he was not aware that any one had so published them before
his time[116]. But not to raise the question of their genuineness, the
preacher's introduction of this passage into his homily is preceded by a
very remarkable section, affording a striking example of the manner in
which Christian orators used to indulge in addresses and appeals not
only to the spirits of departed men, but even to things which never had
life. The speaker here in his sermon addresses the tomb of Mary, as
though it had ears to hear, and an understanding to comprehend; and then
represents the tomb as having a tongue to answer, and as calling forth
from the preacher and his congregation an address of admiration and
reverence. Such apostrophes as these cannot be too steadily borne in
mind, or too carefully weighed, when any argument is sought to be drawn
from similar salutations offered by ancient Christian orators to saint,
or angel, or the Virgin.

    [Footnote 116: Vol. viii. p. 281. Le Quien, who published them
    in 1712, refers to earlier homilies on the Dormitio Virginis.
    Jo. Damas. Paris, 1712. vol. ii. p. 857.] {310}

The following are among the expressions in which the preacher, in the
passage under consideration, addresses the Virgin's tomb: "Thou, O Tomb,
of holy things most holy (for I will address thee as a living being),
where is the much desired and much beloved body of the mother of God?"
[Vol. ii. p. 875.] The answer of the tomb begins thus, "Why seek ye her
in a tomb, who has been taken up on high to the heavenly tabernacles?"
In reply to this, the preacher first deliberating with his hearers what
answer he should make, thus addresses the tomb: "Thy grace indeed is
never-failing and eternal," &c. [P. 881.] By the maintainers of the
invocation of saints, many a passage far less unequivocal and less
cogent than this has been adduced to show, that saints and martyrs were
invoked by primitive worshippers.

We find John Damascenus thus introducing the passage of Euthymius, "Ye
see, beloved fathers and brethren, what answer the all-glorious tomb
makes to us; and that these things are so, in the EUTHYMIAC HISTORY, the
third book and fortieth chapter, is thus written word for word." [P.

Lambecius maintains, that the history here quoted by John Damascenus was
not an ecclesiastical history, written by Euthymius, who died in A.D.
472, but a biographical history concerning Euthymius himself, written by
an ecclesiastic, whom he supposes to be Cyril, the monk, who died in
A.D. 531. This opinion of Lambecius is combated by Cotelerius; the
discussion only adding to the denseness of the cloud which involves the
whole tradition. But whether the work quoted had Euthymius for its
author or its subject, the work itself is lost; and an epitome only of
such a work has come down to {311} our time. In that abridgment the
passage quoted by Damascenus is not found.

The editor of John Damascenus, Le Quien, in his annotations on this
portion of his work, offers to us some very interesting remarks, which
bear immediately on the agitated question as to the first observance of
the feast of the Assumption, as well as on the tradition itself. Le
Quien infers, from the words of Modestus, patriarch of Jerusalem, that
scarcely any preachers before him had addressed their congregations on
the departure of the Virgin out of this life; he thinks, moreover, that
the Feast of the Assumption was at the commencement of the seventh
century only recently instituted. Though all later writers affirm that
the Virgin was buried in the valley of Jehoshaphat, in the garden of
Gethsemane, the same editor says, that this could not have been known to
Jerome, who passed a great part of his life in Bethlehem, and yet
observes a total silence on the subject; though in his "Epitaph on
Paula," [Jerome, Paris, 1706. Vol. iv. p. 670-688, ep. 86.] he
enumerates all the places in Palestine consecrated by any remarkable
event. Neither, he adds, could it have been known to Epiphanius, who,
though he lived long in Palestine, yet declares that nothing was known
as to the death or burial of the Virgin. [Vol. ii, p. 858.]

Again, in his remarks upon the writings falsely attributed to Melito,
the same editor says, that since this Pseudo-Melito speaks many jejune
things of the Virgin Mary, (such for example as at the approach of death
her exceeding fear of being exposed to the wiles of Satan,) he
concludes, from that circumstance, that the work was written before the
Council of Ephesus; alleging this very remarkable reason, that "after
that {312} time there BEGAN TO BE ENTERTAINED, as was right, not only in
the East, but also in the West, a far better estimate of the parent of
God." [P. 880.]

Many of the remarks of this editor would appear to savour of prejudice
had they come from the pen of one who denied the reality of the
assumption, or oppugned the honour and worship now paid by members of
the Church of Rome to the Virgin. Nor could the suspicion of such
prejudice be otherwise than increased by the insinuation which the same
editor throws out against the honesty of Archbishop Juvenal, and on the
possibility of his having invented the whole story, and so for sinister
purposes deceived Marcian and Pulcheria; just as he fabricated the
writings which he forged for the purpose of securing the primacy of
Palestine; a crime laid to the charge of Juvenal by Leo the Great, in
his letter to Maximus, Bishop of Antioch. [P. 879. See Leo. vol. i. p.
1215. Epist. cxix.]

It is moreover much to be regretted that in making the extract from John
Damascenus those who employ it as evidence of primitive belief, have not
presented it to their readers whole and entire. In the present case the
system of quoting garbled extracts is particularly to be lamented,
because the paragraphs omitted in the quotation carry in themselves
clear proof that Juvenal's answer, as it now appears in John Damascenus,
could not have been made by Juvenal to Marcian and Pulcheria. For in it
is quoted from Dionysius the Areopagite by name, a passage still found
in the works ascribed to him; whereas by the judgment of the most
learned Roman Catholic writers, those spurious works did not make their
appearance in Christendom till the beginning of the sixth century, fifty
years after the Council of Chalcedon, to assist at which {313} Juvenal
is said to have been present in Constantinople when the emperor and
empress held the alleged conversation with him.

The remainder of the passage from the history of Euthymius, rehearsed in
this oration of John Damascenus, is as follows: "There were present with
the Apostles at that time both the most honoured Timothy the Apostle,
and first bishop of the Ephesians, and Dionysius the Areopagite,
himself, as the great Dionysius testifies in the laboured words
concerning the blessed Hierotheus, himself also then being present, to
the above-named apostle Timothy, saying thus, Since with the inspired
hierarchs themselves, when we also as thou knowest, and yourself, and
many of our holy brethren had come together to the sight of the body
which gave the principle of life; and there was present too James the
brother of the Lord ([Greek: adelphotheos]), and Peter the chief and the
most revered head of the apostles ([Greek: theologon]); then it seemed
right, after the spectacle, that all the hierarchs (as each was able)
should sing of the boundless goodness of the divine power. After the
apostles, as you know, he surpassed all the other sacred persons, wholly
carried away, and altogether in an ecstasy, and feeling an entire
sympathy with what was sung; and by all by whom he was heard, and seen,
and known (and he[117] knew it not), he was considered to be an inspired
and divine hymnologist. And why should I speak to you about the things
there divinely said, for unless I have even forgotten myself, I know
that I have often heard from you some portions also of those inspired
canticles? And the royal personages having heard this, requested of
Juvenal the archbishop, that the holy coffin, with the {314} clothes of
the glorious and all-holy Mary, mother of God, sealed up, might be sent
to them. And this, when sent, they deposited in the venerable temple of
the Mother of God, built in Blachernae; and these things were so."

    [Footnote 117: This seems confused in the original ([Greek: kai
    eginosketo, kai ouk eginoske]). The whole passage is involved in
    great obscurity.]

It is a fact no less lamentable than remarkable, that out of the lessons
appointed by the Church of Rome for the feast of the Assumption, to be
read to believers assembled in God's house of prayer, three of those
lessons are selected and taken entirely from this very oration of John

    [Footnote 118:

    The Fourth Lesson begins "Hodie sacra et animata arca."
    The Fifth    "      "    "Hodie virgo immaculata."
    The Sixth    "      "    "Eva quæ serpentis," &c.--Æ. 603.

    These contain the passages to which we have before referred as
    fixing the belief of the Church of Rome to be in the CORPOREAL
    assumption of Mary. "Quomodo corruptio invaderet CORPUS ILLUD in
    quo vita suscepta est? [Greek: pos diaphthora tou zoodochon
    katatolmaeseie somatos.]"]

This, then, is the account nearest to the time of the supposed event;
and yet can any thing be more vague, and by way of testimony, more
worthless? A writer near the middle of the sixth century refers to a
conversation, said to have taken place in the middle of the fifth
century; in this reported conversation at Constantinople, the Bishop of
Jerusalem is represented to have informed the Emperor and Empress of an
ancient tradition, which was believed, concerning a miraculous event,
said to have taken place nearly four hundred years before, that the body
was taken out of a coffin without the knowledge of those who had
deposited it there: Whilst the primitive and inspired account, recording
most minutely the journeys and proceedings of some of those very
persons, and the letters of others, makes no mention at all of any
transaction of the kind; and of {315} all the intermediate historians
and ecclesiastical writers not one gives the slightest intimation that
any rumour of it had reached them[119].

    [Footnote 119: Baronius appears not to have referred to this
    history of Euthymius, but he refers to Nicephorus, and also to a
    work ascribed to Melito, c. 4, 5. Nicephorus, Paris, 1630. vol.
    i. p. 168. lib. ii. c. 21. Baronius also refers to lib. 15. c.
    14. This Nicephorus was Patriarch of Constantinople. He lived
    during the reign of our Edward the First, or Edward the Second,
    and cannot, therefore, be cited in any sense of the word as an
    ancient author writing on the events of the primitive ages;
    though the manner in which his testimony is appealed to would
    imply, that he was a man to whose authority on early
    ecclesiastical affairs we were now expected to defer.]

Another authority to which the writers on the assumption of the Virgin
appeal, is that of Nicephorus Callistus, who, at the end of the
thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth century, dedicated his
work to Andronicus Palæologus. The account given by Nicephorus is this:

In the fifth year of Claudius, the Virgin at the age of fifty-nine, was
made acquainted with her approaching death. Christ himself then
descended from heaven with a countless multitude of angels, to take up
the soul of his mother; He summoned his disciples by thunder and storm
from all parts of the world. The Virgin then bade Peter first, and
afterwards the rest of the Apostles, to come with burning torches[120].
The Apostles surrounded her bed, and "an outpouring of miracles flowed
forth." The blind beheld the sun, the deaf heard, the lame walked, and
every disease fled away. The Apostles and others sang, as the coffin was
borne from Sion to Gethsemane, angels preceding, surrounding, and
following it. {316} A wonderful thing then took place. The Jews were
indignant and enraged, and one more desperately bold than the rest
rushed forward, intending to throw down the holy corpse to the ground.
Vengeance was not tardy; for his hands were cut off from his arms[121].
The procession stopped; and at the command of Peter, on the man shedding
tears of penitence, his hands were joined on again and restored whole.
At Gethsemane she was put into a tomb, but her Son transferred her to
the divine habitation.

    [Footnote 120: This author here quotes the forged work ascribed
    to Dionysius the Areopagite, to which we have before referred.]

    [Footnote 121: This tradition seems to have been much referred
    to at a time just preceding our Reformation. In a volume called
    "The Hours of the most blessed Mary, according to the legitimate
    rite of the Church of Salisbury," printed in Paris in 1526, from
    which we have made many extracts in the second part of this
    work, the frontispiece gives an exact representation of the
    story at the moment of the Jew's hands being cut off. They are
    severed at the wrist, and are lying on the coffin, on which his
    arms also are resting. In the sky the Virgin appears between the
    Father and the Son, the Holy Dove being seen above her. The same
    print occurs also in another part of the volume.]

Nicephorus then refers to Juvenal, Archbishop of Jerusalem, as the
authority on which the tradition was received, that the Apostles opened
the coffin to enable St. Thomas (the one stated to have been absent) to
embrace the body; and then he proceeds to describe the personal
appearance of the Virgin. [Vol. i. p. 171.]

I am unwilling to trespass upon the patience of my readers by any
comment upon such evidence as this. Is it within the verge of
credibility that had such an event as Mary's assumption taken place
under the extraordinary circumstances which now invest the tradition, or
under any circumstances whatever, there would have been a total silence
respecting it in the Holy Scriptures? {317} That the writers of the
first four centuries should never have referred to such a fact? That the
first writer who alludes to it, should have lived in the middle of the
fifth century, or later; and that he should have declared in a letter to
his contemporaries that the subject was one on which many doubted; and
that he himself would not deny it, not because it rested upon probable
evidence, but because nothing was impossible with God; and that nothing
was known as to the time, the manner, or the persons concerned, even had
the assumption taken place? Can we place any confidence in the relation
of a writer in the middle of the sixth century, as to a tradition of
what an archbishop of Jerusalem attending the council of Chalcedon, had
told the sovereigns at Constantinople of a tradition, as to what was
said to have happened nearly four hundred years before, whilst in the
"Acts" of that Council, not the faintest trace is found of any allusion
to the supposed fact or the alleged tradition, though the transactions
of that Council in many of its most minute circumstances are recorded,
and though the discussions of that Council brought the name and
circumstances of the Virgin Mary continually before the minds of all who
attended it?

This, however, is a point of too great importance to be dismissed
summarily; and seems to require us to examine, however briefly, into the
circumstances of that Council. {318}

       *       *       *       *       *


The legend on which the doctrine of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is
founded professes to trace the tradition to Juvenal, Archbishop of
Jerusalem, when he was sojourning in Constantinople for the purpose of
attending the General Council of Chalcedon. To the Emperor and Empress,
who presided at that council, Juvenal is said to have communicated the
tradition, as received in Palestine, of the miraculous taking up of
Mary's body into heaven. This circumstance seems, as we have already
intimated, of itself, to require us to examine the records of that
Council, with the view of ascertaining whether any traces may be found
confirmatory of the tradition, or otherwise; and since that Council
cannot be regarded as an insulated assembly, but as a continuation
rather or resumption of the preceding minor Councils of Constantinople
and Ephesus, we must briefly refer to the occasion and nature generally
of that succession of Christian synods. I am not aware that in the
previous Councils any thing had transpired {319} which could be brought
as evidence on the subject of our inquiry. The questions which had
disturbed the peace of Christendom, and which were agitated in these
Councils, inseparable from a repeated mention of the Virgin Mary's name,
afforded an opportunity at every turn for an expression of the
sentiments of those who composed the Councils, and of all connected with
them, including the Bishop of Rome himself, towards her. It would be
altogether foreign from the purpose of this address to enter in any way
at large upon the character and history of those or the preceding
Councils, yet a few words seem necessary, to enable us to judge of the
nature and weight of the evidence borne by them on the question
immediately before us.

The source of all the disputes which then rent the Church of HIM who had
bequeathed peace as his last and best gift to his followers, was the
anxiety to define and explain the nature of the great Christian mystery,
the Incarnation of the Son of God; a point on which it were well for all
Christians to follow only so far as the Holy Scriptures lead them by the
hand. All parties appealed to the Nicene Council; though there seems to
have been, to say the least, much misunderstanding and unnecessary
violence and party spirit on all sides. The celebrated Eutyches of
Constantinople was charged with having espoused heterodox doctrine, by
maintaining that in Christ was only one nature, the incarnate Word. On
this charge he was accused before a Council held at Constantinople in
A.D. 448. His doctrine was considered to involve a denial of the human
nature of the Son of God. The Council condemned him of heresy, deposed,
and excommunicated him. From this proceeding Eutyches appealed to a
General Council. A council (the authority of which, however, {320} has
been solemnly, but with what adequate reason we need not stop to
examine, repudiated), was convened at Ephesus in the following year, by
the Emperor Theodosius. The proceedings of this assembly were
accompanied by lamentable unfairness and violence. Eutyches was
acquitted, and restored by this council[122]; and his accusers were
condemned and persecuted; Flavianus, Archbishop of Constantinople, who
had summoned the preceding council, being even scourged and exiled. In
his distress that patriarch sought the good offices of Leo, Bishop of
Rome, who espoused his cause, but who failed nevertheless of inducing
Theodosius to convene a General Council. His successor Marcian, however,
consented; and in the year 451 the Council of Chalcedon was convened,
first meeting at Nice, and by adjournment being removed to Chalcedon. In
this council all the proceedings as well of the Council of
Constantinople as of Ephesus, were rehearsed at length; and from a close
examination of the proceedings of those three councils, only one
inference seems deducible, namely, that the invocation and worship of
saints and of the Virgin Mary had not then obtained that place in the
Christian {321} Church, which the Church of Rome now assigns to it; a
place, however, which the Church of England, among other branches of the
Catholic Church, maintains that it has usurped, and cannot, without a
sacrifice of the only sound principle of religious worship, be suffered
to retain.

    [Footnote 122: The sentiments of Eutyches, even as they are
    recorded by the party who charged him with heresy, seem to imply
    so much of soundness in his principles, and of moderation in his
    maintenance of those principles, that one must feel sorrow on
    finding such a man maintaining error at any time. The following
    is among the records of transactions rehearsed at Chalcedon:
    "He, Eutyches, professed that he followed the expositions of the
    holy and blessed Fathers who formed the Councils of Nicæa and
    Ephesus, and was ready to subscribe to them. But if any where it
    might chance, as he said, that our fathers were deceived and led
    astray, that as for himself he neither accepted nor accused
    those things, but he only on such points investigated the divine
    Scriptures as more to be depended upon [Greek: os

The grand question then agitated with too much asperity, and too little
charity, was, whether by the incarnation our blessed Saviour became
possessed of two natures, the divine and human. Subordinate to this, and
necessary for its decision, was involved the question, What part of his
nature, if any, Christ derived from the Virgin Mary? Again and again
does this question bring the name, the office, the circumstances, and
the nature of that holy and blessed mother of our Lord before these
Councils. The name of Mary is continually in the mouth of the accusers,
the accused, the judges, and the witnesses; and had Christian pastors
then entertained the same feelings of devotion towards her; had they
professed the same belief as to her assumption into heaven, and her
influence and authority in directing the destinies of man, and in
protecting the Church on earth; had they habitually appealed to her with
the same prayers for her intercession and good offices, and placed the
same confidence in her as we find now exhibited in the authorized
services of the Roman Ritual, it is impossible to conceive that no
signs, no intimation of such views and feelings, would, either directly
or incidentally, have shown themselves, somewhere or other, among the
manifold and protracted proceedings of these Councils. I have searched
diligently, but I can find no expression as to her nature and office, or
as to our feelings and conduct towards Mary, in which, as a {322}
Catholic of the Anglican Church, I should not heartily acquiesce. I can
find no sentiment implying invocation, or religious worship of any kind,
or in any degree; I find no allusion to her Assumption.

Pope Leo, who is frequently in these documents [Vol. v. p. 1418.] called
Archbishop of Rome, in a letter to Julianus, Bishop of Cos, speaks of
Christ as born of "A Virgin," "The blessed Virgin," "The pure, undefiled
Virgin;" and in a letter to the empress Pulcheria, he calls Mary simply
"The Virgin Mary." In his celebrated letter to Flavianus, not one iota
of which (according to the decree of the Roman council under Pope
Gelasius) was to be questioned by any man on pain of incurring an
anathema, Pope Leo says that Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost in
the womb of the Virgin Mary his mother, who brought him forth with the
same virgin purity as she had conceived him. Flavianus, Archbishop of
Constantinople, in his Declaration of faith to the Emperor Theodosius,
affirms, that Christ was born "of Mary, the Virgin--of the same
substance with the Father according to his Godhead--of the same
substance with his mother according to his manhood." [Vol. vi. p. 539.]
He speaks of her afterwards as "The holy Virgin."

There is, indeed, one word used in a quotation from Cyril of Alexandria,
and adopted in these transactions, which requires a few words of
especial observation. The word is _theotocos_[123], which the Latins
were accustomed {323} to transfer into their works, substituting only
Roman instead of Greek characters, but which afterwards the authors of
the Church of Rome translated by Deipara, and in more recent ages by Dei
Mater, Dei Genetrix, Creatoris Genetrix, &c. employing those terms not
in explanation of the twofold nature of Christ's person, as was the case
in these Councils, but in exaltation of Mary, his Virgin mother. This
word was adopted by Christians in much earlier times than the Council of
Chalcedon; but it was employed only to express more strongly the
Catholic belief in the union of the divine and human nature in Him who
was Son both of God and man; and by no means for the purpose of raising
Mary into an object of religious adoration. The sense in which it was
used was explained in the seventh Act of the Council of Constantinople,
(repeated at Chalcedon) as given by Cyril of Alexandria. "According to
this sense of an unconfused union, we confess the holy Virgin to be
theotocos, because that God the Word was made flesh, and became man, and
from that very conception united with himself the temple received from

    [Footnote 123: [Greek: Theotokos]. To those who would depend
    upon this word _theotocos_ as a proof of the exalted honour in
    which the early Christians held the Virgin, and not as
    indicative of an anxiety to preserve whole and entire the
    doctrine of the union of perfect God and perfect man in Christ,
    deriving his manhood through her, I would suggest the necessity
    of weighing well that argument with this fact before them; that
    to the Apostle James, called in Scripture the Lord's brother,
    was assigned the name of Adelphotheos, or God's brother. This
    name was given to James, not to exalt him above his
    fellow-apostles, but to declare the faith of those who gave it
    him in the union of the divine and human nature of Christ.--See
    Joan. Damascenus, Hom. ii. c. 18. In Dormit. Virg. vol. ii. p.
    881. Le Quien, Paris, 1712. The Latin translation renders it
    Domini frater.]

Nothing in our present inquiry turns upon the real {324} meaning of that
word _theotocos_. Some who have been among the brightest ornaments of
the Anglican Church have adopted the translation "mother of God," whilst
many others among us believe that the original sense would be more
correctly conveyed by the expression "mother of Him who was God."

I am induced here to lay side by side, with the second Article of our
Anglican Church, the Confession of Faith from Cyril, first recited at
Constantinople, then repeated at Ephesus, and afterwards again rehearsed
at Chalcedon; in its last clause the expression occurs which gave rise
to these remarks.

    _Ancient Confession._

    We confess that our Lord Jesus, the Christ, the only begotten
    Son of God, perfect God and perfect man, from a reasonable soul
    and body, begotten from everlasting of the Father according to
    his Godhead, and in these last days, He the same for us and for
    our salvation [was born] of Mary, the Virgin, according to his
    manhood--of the same substance with the Father according to his
    Godhead, of the same substance with us according to his manhood.
    For of two natures there became an union. Wherefore we confess
    one Christ, one Lord. According to this sense of the unconfused
    union, we confess the holy Virgin to be theotocos, because that
    God the Word was made flesh, and became man, and from that very
    conception united with himself the temple received from her.

    [Vol. vi. p. 736.]

    _Second Article of Anglican Church._

    The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from
    everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one
    substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the
    blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect
    natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined
    together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one
    Christ, very God, and very man; who truly suffered, was
    crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and
    to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for
    actual sins of men. {325}

But there are other points in the course of these important proceedings
to which I would solicit your especial attention, with the view of
comparing the sentiments of the Bishop of Rome at that day, and also the
expressions employed by other Chief Pastors of Christ's flock, with the
language of the appointed authorized services of the Roman Church now,
and the sentiments of her reigning Pontiff, and of his accredited

The circumstances of the Church Catholic, as represented in Leo's letter
in the fifth century, and the circumstances of the Church of Rome, as
lamented by the present Pope in 1832[124], are in many respects very
similar. The end desired by Leo and Flavianus, his brother pastor and
contemporary, Bishop of Constantinople, and by Gregory, now Bishop of
Rome, is one and the same, namely, the suppression of heresy, the
prevalence of the truth, and the unity of the Christian Church. But how
widely and how strikingly different are the foundations on which they
respectively build their hopes for the attainment of that end!

    [Footnote 124: "The encyclical letter of our most holy Father,
    Pope Gregory, by divine providence, the sixteenth of that name,
    to all patriarchs, primates, archbishops, and bishops."]

The present Roman Pontiff's hopes, and desires, and exhortations are
thus expressed[125]:--

    [Footnote 125: This is the translation circulated in the Roman
    Catholic Annual, p. 15, called, The Laity's Directory for the
    year 1833; on the title page of which is this notice: "The
    Directory for the Church Service, printed by Messrs. Keating and
    Brown, is the only one which is published with the authority of
    the Vicars Apostolic in England.--London, Nov. 12, 1829." Signed
    "James, Bishop of Usula, Vic. Ap. Lond."]

"That all may have a successful and happy issue, let us raise our eyes
to the most blessed Virgin Mary, {326} WHO ALONE DESTROYS HERESIES, who
is our GREATEST HOPE, yea, the ENTIRE GROUND OF OUR HOPE[126]. May she
exert her patronage to draw down an efficacious blessing on our desires,
our plans, and proceedings in the present straitened condition of the
Lord's flock. We will also implore, in humble prayer, from Peter, the
prince of the Apostles, and from his fellow-Apostle Paul, that you may
all stand as a wall to prevent any other foundation than what hath been
laid; and supported by this cheering hope, we have confidence that the
author and finisher of faith, Jesus Christ, will at last console us all
in the tribulations which have found us exceedingly."

    [Footnote 126: On this word there is a note of reference to S.
    Bern. Serm. de Nat. B.M.V. 7.]

"To you, venerable brethren, and the flocks committed to your care, we
most lovingly impart, as auspicious of celestial help, the Apostolic
Benediction. Given at Rome from St. Mary Major's, August 15th, the
Festival of the Assumption of the same blessed Virgin Mary, the year of
our Lord 1832, of our Pontificate the Second."

How deplorable a change, how melancholy a degeneracy is here evinced
from the faith, and hopes, and sentiments of Christian bishops in days
of old! In the expressed hopes of Leo and Flavianus, you will seek in
vain for any reference or allusion "to the blessed Virgin Mary, as the
destroyer of heresies, the greatest hope, the entire ground of a
Christian's hope;" you will in vain seek for any exhortation for the
faithful "to raise their eyes to her in order to obtain a merciful and
happy issue." Equally vain would be your search for any "imploring in
humble prayer," of Peter and Paul, or any even distant allusion to help
from them. {327} To God and God alone are the faithful exhorted to pray;
on God and God alone do those Christians express that their hopes rely;
God alone they regard as the destroyer of heresy, the restorer of peace,
and the protector of the Church's unity. "Their greatest hope, yea, the
entire ground of their hope," the Being to be "implored in humble
prayer," is not Mary, nor Peter, nor Paul, but God alone, the Creator,
the Redeemer, the Sanctifier of Mary, and of Peter, and of Paul.

Thus Flavian writing to Leo says, "Wherefore (in consequence of those
errors, and heresies, and distractions, which he had deplored) we must
be sober and watch unto prayer, and draw nigh to God." [Vol. v. 1330.]
And again, "Thus will the heresy which has arisen, and the consequent
commotion, be easily destroyed by your holy letters with the assistance
of God." [Vol. v. 1355.] Thus Leo in his turn writing to Julian, Bishop
of Cos, utters this truly Christian sentiment. "May the mercy of God, as
we trust, grant that without the loss of any soul, against the darts of
the devil the sound parts may be entirely preserved, and the wounded
parts may be healed. May God preserve you safe and sound, most honoured
brother!" [Vol. v. 1423.] Thus the same Bishop of Rome writing to
Flavian, expresses his hopes in these words: "Confidently trusting that
the help of God will be present, so that one who has been misled,
condemning the vanity of his own thoughts, may be saved. May God
preserve you in health and strength, most beloved brother!" [Vol. v.

I will detain you by only one more reference to these most interesting
documents. The whole Council of Chalcedon, at the conclusion of all, and
when the {328} triumph was considered to have been secured over
Eutyches, and their gratitude was expressed that the heresies had been
destroyed--instead of referring to Mary as the "sole destroyer of
heresies," shout, as if with the voice of one man, from every side, "It
is God alone who hath done this!" [Vol. vii. p. 174.] Neither
antecedently did their chief pastors exhort them to raise their eyes to
Mary, and promise to "implore" the blessing they needed, "in humble
prayer from Peter and Paul." Neither "in the straitened condition of the
Lord's flock" did they invoke any other than God. And when truth
prevailed, and the victory was won, whilst they were lavish of their
grateful thanks to the emperor and his queen, who were present and had
succoured them; of help from the invisible world they make no mention,
save only of the Lord's; they had implored neither angel, nor saints,
nor Virgin to be their protector and patron; no angel, nor saint, nor
virgin, shared their praises;--God alone was exalted in that day.

And, let not the answer, ever at hand when reference is thus made to the
prayers or professions of individuals, whether popes or canonized
saints, seduce any now from a pursuit of the very truth. These, it is
said, "are the prayers and professions of individuals, it is unfair then
to make the Church responsible for them; we appeal from them to the
Church." But in this case the words of the Sovereign Pontiff are in good
faith the words of the Church of Rome; not because I at all would
identify the words of a Pope with the Church, but because the prayers of
the Church of Rome in her authorized solemn services and acts of worship
justify {329} Pope Gregory in every sentiment he utters, and every
expression he employs. Does Gregory bid the faithful lift up their eyes
to Mary the sole destroyer of heresies? The Roman ritual in the Lesser
Office of the holy Virgin thus addresses her, "Rejoice, O Mary Virgin;
thou alone hast destroyed all heresies in the whole world:" And again:
"Under thy protection we take refuge, holy parent of God; despise not
thou our prayers in our necessities, but from all dangers ever deliver
us, O glorious and blessed Virgin." Does Gregory assure the faithful
that he will implore in humble prayer of Peter and Paul? in doing so he
is only treading in the very footsteps of the Roman Church itself. In an
address, which we have already quoted (see p. 262), Peter is thus
invoked. "Now O good shepherd, merciful Peter, accept the prayers of us
who supplicate, and loose the bands of our sins, by the power committed
to thee, by which thou shuttest heaven against all by a word, and
openest it."

These things are now; but from the beginning it was not so. {330}

       *       *       *       *       *



When from examining the evidence of antiquity we turn to the present
enjoined services of the Church of Rome, it is impossible not to be
struck by the fact repeatedly forced upon our notice, that whereas the
invocation of the Virgin seems to have been introduced at a period much
later than those addresses to the martyrs which have already invited our
attention, her worship now assumes so much higher a place, and claims so
large a share in the public worship of the Roman Catholic portions of
Christendom above martyrs, saints, and angels. The offices of the Virgin
present instances of all those various and progressive stages of divine
worship, which we have already exemplified in the case of the martyrs,
from the first primitive and Christian practice of making the
anniversary of the Saint a day either of especial praise and prayer to
God for the mercies of redemption generally, or of returning thanks to
God for the graces manifested in his holy servants now in peace, with
prayers for light and strength to enable the worshippers to follow them,
as they followed Christ--down to the last and worst stage, the
consummation {331} of all, namely, prayer directly to saints and angels
for protection, succour, and spiritual benefits at their hands.

I. Of the first class is the following collect, retained almost word for
word in our Anglican service.

_On the day of the Purification._

"Almighty and everlasting God, we humbly beseech thy majesty, that as
thy only begotten Son was this day presented in the temple in substance
of our flesh, so Thou wouldest cause us to be presented unto Thee with
purified minds. Through the same."

(Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, majestatem tuam supplices exoramus, ut
sicut unigenitus Filius tuus hodierna die cum nostræ carnis substantia
est præsentatus, ita nos facias purificatis tibi mentibus præsentari.
Per eundem Dominum.--H. 536.)

Such a prayer is founded on the facts of revelation, and is primitive,
catholic, apostolic, and evangelical.

II. Of the second progressive stage towards the adoration of the saints,
the offices of the Virgin supply us with various instances; the case,
namely, of the Christian orator being led by the flow of his eloquence
to apostrophize the spirit of the Saint, and address him as though he
were present, witnessing the celebration of his day, hearing the
panegyrics uttered for his honour, and partaking with the congregation
in their religious acts of worship.

"O holy and spotless virginhood; with what praises to extol thee I know
not: because Him, whom the heavens could not contain, thou didst bear in
thy bosom. {332} Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb. Thou art blessed, O Virgin Mary, who didst carry the Lord,
the Creator of the world. Thou didst give birth to Him who made thee,
and remainest a virgin for ever. [Beata es Virgo Maria, quæ Dominum
portasti Creatorem mundi: genuisti qui te fecit, et in æternum permanes
virgo.--Vern. clxii.] Hail, holy parent, who didst in child-birth bring
forth the King who ruleth heaven and earth for ever and ever. Amen."
[Salve sacra parens enixa puerpera regem, qui coelum terramque regit in
sæcula sæculorum. Amen.--Introit. at the mass on the Nativity of the

In apostrophes like these, the members of the Anglican Church see
nothing in itself harmful, so long as they are kept within due bounds.
Many of the passages cited from the ancient writers in proof of their
having espoused the doctrine, and exemplified in themselves the practice
of invoking saints, are nothing more than these glowing addresses. They
have been responded to by one of the brightest ornaments, and sweetest
minstrels of the Anglican Church, whose apostrophe at the same time by
its own words would guard us against the abuses and excesses in which in
the Roman Catholic Church this practice, followed without restraint and
indulged in with less and less of caution and soberness, unhappily
ended; abuses against which also we cannot ourselves now be too
constantly and carefully on our guard.

  "Ave Maria! Blessed maid,
  Lily of Eden's fragrant shade,
      Who can express the love,
  That nurtured thee so pure and sweet;
  Making thy heart a shelter meet
      For Jesus' holy Dove? {333}
  Ave Maria! mother blest,
  To whom, caressing and caress'd,
      Clings the Eternal Child!
  Favour'd beyond archangel's dream,
  When first on thee with tenderest gleam
      The newborn Saviour smiled.
  Ave Maria! thou whose name,
  ALL BUT ADORING love may claim,
      Yet may we reach thy shrine;
  For HE, thy Son and Saviour, vows,
  To crown all lowly lofty brows
      With love and joy like thine.
  Bless'd is the womb that bare Him,--bless'd
  The bosom where his lips were press'd;
      But rather bless'd are they
  Who hear his word and keep it well,
  The living homes where Christ shall dwell,
      And never pass away."

  J. Keble's Christian Year. "The Annunciation."

Would that no branch of the Church Catholic had ever passed the boundary
line drawn here so exquisitely by this Anglican Catholic, from whose
lips or pen no syllable could ever fall in disparagement of the holy
Virgin, as blessed among women, and the holy mother of our Lord. To
bring about the re-union of Christians would in that case have been a
far more hopeful task than it is now.

III. In the third stage, a prayer was offered to God, that He would
permit the intercessions of the saints to help us; or the prayer
contained the expression of a wish,--a desire not addressed either to
God or to the saint, merely words expressive of the hope of the
individual. The following are some of the many instances now contained
in the Roman Breviary: {334}

"May the Virgin of virgins herself intercede for us to the Lord. Amen."
[Ipsa Virgo virginum intercedat pro nobis ad Dominum. Amen.--Vern.

In the Post-communion, on the day of the Assumption, this prayer is
offered:--"Partakers of the heavenly table, we implore thy clemency, O
Lord our God, that we who celebrate the Assumption of the mother of God,
may, by her intercession, be freed from all impending evils. Through,"
&c. [Mensæ coelestis participes effecti imploramus clementiam tuam,
Domine Deus noster, ut qui Assumptionem Dei Genetricis colimus, a
cunctis malis imminentibus ejus intercessione liberemur. Per.--Miss.

"We beseech Thee, O Lord, let the glorious intercession of the blessed
and glorious ever Virgin Mary protect us and bring us to life eternal."
[Beatæ et gloriosæ semper Virginia Mariæ, quæsumus, Domine, intercessio
gloriosa nos protegat, et ad vitam producat æternam.--Vern. clv.]

"Pardon, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the offences of thy servants, that we,
who cannot please Thee of our own act, may be saved by the intercession
of the mother of thy Son, our Lord, who liveth with Thee." [Famulorum
tuorum quæsumus, Domine, delictis ignosce, ut qui tibi placere de
nostris actibus non valemus, Genetricis Filii tui, Domini nostri,
intercessione salvemur, qui tecum vivit.--Vern. clxix.]

On the vigil of the Epiphany, this prayer is offered in the
Post-communion at the mass,--"Let this communion, O Lord, purge us from
guilt, and by the intercession of the blessed Virgin, mother of God, let
it make us partakers of the heavenly cure. Through the same." [Hæc nos
communio, Domine, purget a crimine, et intercedente beata Virgine Dei
genetrice coelestis remedii faciat esse consortes. Per eundem.--Miss.

"Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we thy {335} servants may
enjoy perpetual health of body and mind, and be freed from present
sorrow, and enjoy eternal gladness, by the glorious intercession of the
blessed Mary, ever Virgin. Through." [Concede nos famulos tuos,
quæsumus, Domine Deus, perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere, et
gloriosa beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis intercessione a præsenti liberari
tristitia, et æterna perfrui lætitia. Per Dominum.--Vern. cxlvi.]

On the second Sunday after Easter, we find a further and more sad
departure from the simplicity of Christian worship, in which the Church
of Rome declares that the offerings made to God at the Lord's Supper
were made for the honour of the Virgin.--"Having received, O Lord, the
helps of our salvation, grant, we beseech Thee, that by the patronage of
Mary, ever Virgin, we may be every where protected; in veneration of
whom we make these offerings to thy Majesty." [Sumptis, Domine, salutis
nostræ subsidiis, da, quæsumus, beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis patrociniis
ubique protegi, _in cujus veneratione_ hæc tuæ obtulimus
Majestati.--Post Commun. Mis. Rom.]

On the octave of Easter, at the celebration of mass, in the Secret, the
intercession of the Virgin is made to appear as essential a cause of our
peace and blessedness as the propitiation of Christ; or rather, the two
are represented as joint concurrent causes; as though the office of the
Saviour was confined to propitiation, exclusive altogether of
intercession, whilst the office of intercession was assigned to the
Virgin.--"By thy propitiation, O Lord, and by the intercession of the
blessed Mary, ever Virgin, may this offering be profitable to us for
perpetual and present prosperity and peace." [Tua, Domine, propitiatione
et beatæ Marisæ semper Virginis intercessione ad perpetuam atque
prsesentem hæc oblatio nobis profecerit prosperitatem et pacem.] {336}

IV. A fourth station in this lamentable progress was evidenced when
Christians at the tombs of martyrs implored, yet still in prayer to God,
that He would, for the sake of the martyrs, and by their merits and good
offices, grant to the petitioner some benefit temporal or spiritual. Of
that practice, we have an example in this prayer: "O God, who didst
deign to choose the blessed Virgin's womb in which to dwell, vouchsafe,
we beseech thee, to make us, defended by her protection, to take
pleasure in her commemoration." [Deus qui virginalem aulam beatæ Mariæ
in qua habitares eligerere dignatus es, da, quæsumus, ut sua nos
defensione munitos jucundos facias suæ interesse commemorationi.--Æst.

"By the Virgin mother, may the Lord grant us health and peace. Amen."
[Per Virginem Matrem concedat nobis Dominus salutem et pacem.
Amen.--Vern. cxliii.]

"By the prayers and merits of the blessed Mary, ever Virgin, and of all
saints, may the Lord bring us to the kingdom of heaven." [Precibus et
meritis beatæ Mariæ Virginis et omnium sanctorum perducat nos Dominus ad
regna coelorum.--Vern. cxlvii.]

"May the Virgin Mary bless us, together with a pious offspring." [Nos
cum prole pia benedicat Virgo Maria.--Vern. cxlvii.]

V. The fifth grade involves a still more melancholy departure from
Christian truth and primitive simplicity, when the prayer is no longer
addressed to God, but is offered to the Virgin, imploring her to
intercede with God for the supplicants, yet still asking nothing but her

"Blessed mother, Virgin undefiled, glorious Queen of the world,
intercede for us with the Lord." [Beata Mater, et intacta Virgo,
gloriosa regina mundi, intercede pro nobis ad Dominum.--Aut. cxliv.]

"Blessed mother of God, Mary, perpetual Virgin, the temple of the Lord,
the holy place of the holy Spirit, thou alone without example hast
pleased our Lord Jesus Christ: Pray for the people, mediate for the
clergy, intercede for the female sex who are under a vow." [Beata Dei
Genitrix, Maria Virgo perpetua, templum Domini, sacrarium Spiritus
Sancti, sola sine exemplo placuisti Domino nostro Jesu Christo; ora pro
populo, interveni pro clero, intercede pro devoto femineo sexu.--Vern.

  "Holy Mary, pray for us!
  Holy mother of God, pray for us!
  Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us!"

In the form of prayer called Litaniæ Lauretanæ, between the most solemn
addresses to the ever blessed Trinity, and to the Lamb of God that
taketh away the sins of the world, are inserted more than forty
addresses to the Virgin, invoking her under as many varieties of title.
She is appealed to as--The Mirror of Justice, The Cause of our Joy, The
mystical Rose, The Tower of David, The Tower of Ivory, The House of
Gold, The Arc of the Covenant, The Gate of Heaven, The Refuge of
Sinners, The Queen of Angels, the Queen of all Saints. [Vern. ccxxxix.]

In examining the case of the invocation of saints, we placed under this
head, as the safer course, a kind of invocation which seemed to
vacillate between this appeal to them merely for intercession, and the
last consummation of all, direct prayer to them for blessings. We
exemplified it by the hymn to St. Stephen. The following seems very much
of the same character, addressed to the Virgin:--

    "Hail, O Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, sweetness, and hope,
    Hail! To thee we cry, banished sons {338} of Eve. To thee we
    sigh, groaning and weeping in this valley of tears. Come then,
    our Advocate, turn those compassionate eyes of thine on us, and
    after this exile show to us Jesus, the blessed fruit of thy
    womb. O merciful! O pious! O sweet Virgin Mary! [Salve, Regina,
    Mater Misericordiæ, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te
    clamamus exules filii Evæ. Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes
    in hac lachrymarum valle. Eja ergo Advocata nostra, illos tuos
    misericordes oculos ad nos converte, et Jesum benedictum fructum
    ventris tui nobis post hoc exilium ostende. O clemens! O pia! O
    dulcis Virgo Maria!]

    "Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy
    of the promises of Christ." [Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genetrix,
    ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.--Æst. 151.]

VI. Unhappily, in the appointed religious services of the Roman ritual,
we have too many examples of prayer for benefits spiritual and temporal,
addressed directly to the Virgin. It is in vain to say that all that is
meant is to ask her intercession; the people will not, cannot, do not,
regard it in that light. It is affirmed that when the Church of Rome
guides and directs her sons and daughters to pray for specific benefits
at the hands of the Virgin mother, without any mention of her prayers,
without specifying that her petitions are all that they ask; yet they
are taught only to ask for her intercession, and are not encouraged to
look for the blessings as her gift and at her hands. But, can this be
right and safe? In an act of all human acts the most solemn and holy,
can recourse be had to such refinements without great danger?

Among many others of a similar kind this invocation frequently recurs,
"Deem me worthy to praise thee, {339} O sacred Virgin; give to me
strength against thy enemies." [Dignare me laudare te, Virgo sacrata. Da
mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos.--Æst. clvi.]

The following seems to be among the most favourite addresses to the
Virgin:--"Hail, Star of the Sea, kind Mother of God, and ever Virgin!
Happy Gate of Heaven, taking that 'Hail!' from the mouth of Gabriel,
establish us in peace,--changing the name of Eve. For the guilty, loose
their bonds; bring forth light for the blind; drive away our evils;
demand for us all good things. SHOW THAT THOU ART A MOTHER. Let Him who
endured for us to be thy Son, through thee receive our prayers. O
excellent Virgin, meek among all, us, FREED FROM FAULT, MAKE MEEK AND
CHASTE; make our life pure; prepare a safe journey; that, beholding
Jesus, we may always rejoice. Praise be to God the Father, glory to
Christ most high, and to the Holy Spirit; one honour to the three.

  [Ave Man's Stella,
  Dei Mater alma,
  Atque semper Virgo!
  Felix coeli porta,
  Sumens illud Ave
  Gabrielis ore,
  Funda nos in pace,
  Mutans Evæ nomen.
  Solve vincla reis,
  Profer lumen cæcis,
  Mala nostra pelle,
  Bona cuncta posce.
  Sumat per te preces,
  Qui pro nobis natus
  Tulit esse tuus.
  Virgo singularis,
  Inter omnes mitis,
  Nos culpa solutos,
  Mites fac et castos,
  Vitam præsta puram,
  Iter para tutum,
  Ut videntes Jesum
  Semper collætemur.

  Sit laus Deo Patri, summo Christo decus,
  Spiritui Sancto, tribus honor unus. Amen.--Æst. 597.

In the body of this hymn, there is undoubtedly reference to an
application to be made to the Son, &c.; but can it be fitting that such
language as is here suggested to the Virgin, for her to use, should be
addressed by a {340} mortal to God? can such a call upon her to show her
power and influence over the eternal Son of the eternal Father be
fitting--"Show that thou art a mother?" I confess that against what is
here implied, my understanding and my heart entirely revolt.[127]

    [Footnote 127: At the present day some versions, contrary to the
    whole drift and plain sense and meaning of the passage, have
    translated it, as though the prayer was, that Mary would, by her
    maternal good offices in our behalf, prove to us that she was
    our mother. An instance of what I mean occurs in a work called
    "Nouveau Recueil de Cantiques," p. 353.

    "Monstra te esse Matrem: Faites voir que vous êtes véritablement
    notre mère." In an English manual, first printed in 1688, and
    then called "The Prince of Wales's Manual," the lines are thus

      Shew us a Mother's care,
      To Him convey our prayer,
      Who for our sake put on
      The title of thy Son.

    I rejoice to see an indication of a feeling of impropriety in
    the sentiment in its plain, obvious meaning; still the change is
    inadmissible. She is addressed above, in the second line, as the
    mother of God; Jesus is immediately mentioned, in the very next
    line, and through the entire stanza, as her Son; and the prayer
    is, that through her that Being who endured to be her Son would
    hear the prayers of the worshippers.

    Since I first prepared this note for the press, I have found a
    proof, that the obvious grammatical and logical meaning, "show
    thyself to be His mother," is the sense in which it was received
    and interpreted before the Reformation. In a work dedicated to
    the "Youth of England studious of good morals," and entitled
    "Expositio Sequentiarum," the only interpretation given to this
    passage is thus expressed: "Show thyself to be a MOTHER, namely
    BY APPEASING THY SON, and let thy Son take our prayers through
    thee, who (namely, the Son born of the Virgin Mary,) for us
    miserable sinners endured to be thy Son." "Monstra te esse
    MATREM (sc.) placando TILIUM TUUM, et filius tuus sumat precem,
    id est, deprecationes nostras per te qui (sc.) filius natus ex
    Virgine Maria pro nobis (sc.) miseris peccatoribus tulit, id
    est, sustinuit esse tuus filius." It must be observed, that this
    work was expressly written for the purpose of explaining these
    parts of the ritual according to the use of Sarum. It was
    printed by the famous W. de Worde, at the sign of the Sun in
    Fleet-street, 1508. The passage occurs in p. 33. b. This is by
    no means the only book of the kind. I have before me one printed
    at Basil, in 1504, and another at Cologne the same year. They
    are evidently all drawn from some common source, but are not
    reprints all of the same work, for there are in each some
    variations. The Cologne edition tells us, that it was the
    reprint of a familiar commentary long ago (jamdudum) published
    on the hymns. All these join in construing the passage so as to
    represent the prayer to the Virgin to be, that she would show
    and prove that she was mother by appeasing her Son, and causing
    him to hear our prayers. Nor can any other meaning be attached
    to the translation of the words as given by Cardinal Du Perron
    (Replique à la Rep. du Roy de la G. Bretagne. Paris, 1620, p.
    970). "Et pourtant quand l'Eglise dit à la saincte Vierge,
    'Defends nous de l'ennemy, et nous reçoy à l'heure delamort,'
    elle n'entend pas prier la Vierge qu'elle nous reçoive par sa
    propre virtu, mais par impetration de la grace de son Fils,
    comme l'Eglise le temoigne en ces mots: 'Monstre que tu es mère,
    reçoive par toy nos prieres celuy, qui né pour nous a eu
    agreeable d'être tien!'" This novel interpretation I have not
    found in any one book of former days.] {341}

Another prayer runs thus: "Under thy protection we take refuge, Holy
Mother of God. Despise not our supplications in our necessities; but
from all dangers ever deliver us, O glorious and Blessed Virgin." [Sub
tuum præsidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genetrix; nostras deprecationes ne
despicias in necessitatibus, sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.--Æst. cxlvi.]

Let us suppose the object of these addresses to be changed; and instead
of the Virgin let us substitute the name of the ever-blessed God and
Father of us all. The very words here addressed to the Virgin are
offered to Him, and spoken of Him in some of the most affecting prayers
and praises recorded in the Bible[128].

    [Footnote 128: The identity of the prayers offered to the Virgin
    with those offered in the Book of inspiration, or in the Roman
    Ritual to the Almighty, becomes very striking, if we lay side by
    side the authorized language of the Roman Liturgy, and the only
    translation of the Scriptures authorized by the Roman Church.

    _Roman Ritual in addressing the          _Roman Ritual, or Translation
    Virgin_                                  of the Bible, in addressing
                                             the Almighty_.

    Sub tuum præsidium confugimus.           Dominus, firmamentum meum et
                                             refugium meum. Ad te
                                             confugi.--Ps. xvii. 1; cxlii.

    Nostras deprecationes ne despicias       Ne despexeris deprecationem
    in necessitatibus.                       meam.--Ps. liv. 1.

    Sed a periculis cunctis libera nos.      Libera, Domine, animam servi
                                             tui ab omnibus periculis
                                             inferni. Hiem. ccvi.

                                             Libera nos a malo. Orat. Dom.

                                             A periculo mortis libera nos,
                                             Domine.--Hiem. cciv.

    Tu nos ab hoste protege.                 Eripe me de inimicis meis,
                                             Domine.--Ps. cxlii. 11.

    Et hora mortis SUSPICE.                  _Suscipe_, Domine, servum
                                             tuum.--Hiem. ccvi. {342}

But another hymn in the office of the Virgin, addressed in part to the
blessed Saviour himself, and partly to the Virgin Mary, is still more
revolting to all my feelings with regard to religious worship. The
Redeemer is only asked to remember his mortal birth; no blessing is here
supplicated for at his hands; his protection is not sought; no
deliverance of our souls at the hour of death is implored from Him;
these blessings, and these heavenly benefits, and these divine mercies,
are sought for exclusively at the hands of the Virgin alone. Can such a
mingled prayer, can such a contrast in prayer, be the genuine fruit of
that Gospel which bids us ask for all we need in prayer to God in the
name and for the sake of his blessed Son?

    "Author of our salvation, remember that once, by {343} being
    born of a spotless virgin, thou didst take the form of our body!
    Mary, mother of grace, mother of mercy, do thou protect us from
    the enemy, and receive us at the hour of death. Glory to thee, O
    Lord, who wast born of a Virgin, with the Father and the Holy
    Spirit, through eternal ages. Amen[129]."

    [Footnote 129:

    Memento, Salutis Auctor,         Tu nos ab hoste protege,
    Quod nostri quondam corporis,    Et hora mortis suscipe.
    Ex illibata Virgine,             Gloria tibi, Domine,
    Nascendo formam sumpseris.       Qui natus es de Virgine,
    Maria mater gratiæ,             Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu,
    Mater misericordiæ,             In sempiterna sæcula. Amen.

    In the new version, (referred to in page 260 of the present
    work,) this hymn stands thus:--

    Memento, rerum Conctitor,        Maria mater gratiæ,
    Nostri quod olim corporis,       Dulcis parens clementiæ,
    Sacrata ab alvo Virginis,        Tu nos ab hoste protege,
    Nascendo forrnam sumpseris.      In mortis hora suscipe, &c.

    Æst. clv.]

Could the beloved John, to whose kind and tender care our blessed Lord
gave his mother of especial trust, have offered to her such a prayer as
this? To God alone surely would he have prayed for deliverance from all
evil and mischief. To God alone would he have prayed:--"In the hour of
death, good Lord, deliver us, and all for Jesus Christ's sake, our only
Saviour and Mediator."

To one other example of the practice of the Church of Rome I must refer.
The rubric in our Book of Common Prayer directs that "at the end of
every Psalm throughout the year, shall be repeated, Glory be to the
Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the
beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen." In the
Roman Breviary also we find this rubric: "This verse, _Gloria_, is
always said in the end of all psalms, EXCEPT IT BE OTHERWISE {344}
NOTED." [Æst. 3.] Such notifications occur at the end of various psalms.
On the Feast of the Assumption [Æst. 595.], fourteen psalms are
appointed to be used. At the close of every one of these psalms, without
however any note that the Gloria is not to be said, there is appended an
anthem to the Virgin. In some cases, so intimately is the anthem
interwoven with the closing words of the psalm, as that under other
circumstances it would induce us to infer that the Gloria was intended
to be left out, especially as in the Parvum Officium of the Virgin [Æst.
clv.], though to the various psalms anthems in the same manner have been
annexed, yet the words "Gloria Patri et Filio" are inserted in each case
between the psalm and the anthem. Be this as it may, the annexation of
the anthem has a lamentable tendency to withdraw the thoughts of the
worshippers from the truths contained in the inspired psalm, and to fix
them upon Mary and her Assumption; changing the Church's address from
the Eternal Being, alone invoked by the Psalmist, to one, who though a
virgin blessed among women, is a creature of God's hand. Thus, at the
conclusion of the 8th psalm; "O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy
name in all the world," we find immediately annexed these two anthems,
"The holy mother of God is exalted above the choirs of angels to the
heavenly realms. The gates of paradise are opened to us by thee, [by
thee, O Virgin [Quæ gloriosa]] who glorious triumphest with the angels."
Thus again, an anthem is attached to the last verse of the 95th (in the
Hebrew and English versions the 96th). "He shall judge the earth in
equity, and the people with his truth. Rejoice, {345} O Virgin Mary;
thou alone hast destroyed all heresies in the whole world. Deem me
worthy to praise thee, hallowed Virgin: Give me strength against thy
enemies." To the 96th (97th), the latter clause of that address is
repeated, with the addition of the following: "After the birth thou
didst remain a virgin inviolate. Mother of God, intercede for us."

An instance of the anthem being so intimately interwoven with the psalm,
as to render the insertion of the "Gloria," between the two, to say the
least, forced and unnatural, occurs at the close of the 86th (87th)
psalm. The vulgate translation of the last verse, differing entirely
from the English, is this: "As the habitation of all who rejoice is in
thee." This sentence of the Psalmist is thus taken up in the Roman
Ritual: "As the habitation of all us who rejoice is in THEE, Holy Mother
of God."

The object proposed by the Church from of old in concluding each psalm
by an ascription of glory to the eternal Trinity, was to lead the
worshipper to apply the sentiments of the psalm to the work of our
salvation accomplished by the three Persons of the Godhead. The
analogous end of these anthems in the present service of the Church of
Rome is to fix the thoughts of the worshipper upon Mary. This practice
unhappily sanctions the excesses into which Bonaventura and others have
run in their departures from the purity and integrity of primitive

Cardinal du Perron informs us, that at the altar in the office of the
mass, prayer is not made directly to any saint, but only obliquely, the
address being always made to God. But if prayers are offered in other
parts of the service directly to them, it is difficult to see what is
gained by that announcement. Surely it is trifling {346} to make such
immaterial distinctions. If as a priest I could address the following
prayer to the Virgin in preparing for offering mass, why should I not
offer a prayer to the same being during its celebration?

"O mother of pity and mercy, blessed Virgin Mary, I a miserable and
unworthy sinner, flee to thee with my whole heart and affection, and I
pray thy most sweet pity, that as thou didst stand by thy most sweet Son
hanging upon the cross, so thou wouldest vouchsafe mercifully to stand
by me a miserable priest, and by all priests who here and in all the
holy Church offer Him this day, that, aided by thy grace, we may be
enabled to offer a worthy and acceptable victim in the sight of the most
high and undivided Trinity. Amen." [O Mater pietatis et misericordiæ,
beatissima Virgo Maria, ego miser et indignus peccator ad te confugio
toto corde et affectu. Et precor dulcissimam pietatem tuam, ut sicut
dulcissimo Filio tuo in cruce pendenti astitisti, ita et mihi misero
sacerdoti et sacerdotibus omnibus hic et in tota sancta ecclesia ipsum
hodie offerentibus, clementer assistere digneris, ut tua gratia adjuti
dignam et acceptabilem hostiam in conspectu summæ et individuæ
Trinitatis offerre valeamus. Amen.--Rom. Brev. Hus. Hiem. p. ccxxxiii.]

This is called, in the Roman Breviary, "A PRAYER to the blessed Virgin
before the celebration of the mass," and is immediately followed by
another prayer directed to be offered to any saint, male or female,
whose feast is on that day celebrated. "O Holy N. behold I, a miserable
sinner, DERIVING CONFIDENCE FROM THY MERITS, now offer the most holy
sacrament of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, FOR THY HONOUR
AND GLORY. I humbly and devotedly pray thee that thou wouldest deign to
intercede for me to-day, that I may be enabled to offer so great a
sacrifice {347} worthily and acceptably, and to praise Him eternally
with thee and with all his elect, and that I may live with Him for
ever." [O sancte N. ecce ego miser peccator de tuis mentis confisus,
offero nunc sacratissimura sacramentum corporis et sanguinis Domini
nostri Jesu Christ! PRO TUO HONORE ET GLORIA; precor te humiliter et
devote ut pro me hodie intercedere digneris, ut tantum sacrificium digne
et acceptabiliter offerre valeam, ut Eum tecum et cum omnibus electis
ejus æternaliter laudare et cum eo semper regnare valeam.--Hiem.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such, Christian brethren, is the result of our inquiries into the real
practice of the Church of Rome with regard to the worship of the Virgin
Mary at the present day, in every part of the world where allegiance to
that Church is acknowledged. Can we wonder that individuals, high in
honour with that Church, have carried out the same worship to far
greater lengths? I have ever present to my mind the principle of fixing
upon the Church of Rome herself that only which is to be found in her
canons, acknowledged decrees, and formularies. And unhappily of that
which directly contravenes the Gospel-rule and primitive practice, far
more than enough is found in her authorized rituals to compel all who
hold to the Gospel and the integrity of primitive times, to withdraw
their assent and consent from her worship. But with this principle
before us, surely common justice and common prudence require that we
should see for ourselves the practical workings of the system. "By their
fruits ye shall know them," is a principle no less sanctioned by the
Gospel than suggested by common sense and experience And, indeed, the
shocking lengths to which priests, bishops, cardinals, and canonized
persons have gone in this particular of the worship of the Virgin, might
well {348} cause every upright and enlightened Roman Catholic to look
anxiously to the foundation; to determine honestly, though with tender
caution and pious care, for himself, whether the corruption be not in
the well-head, whether the stream do not flow impregnated with the
poison from the very fountain itself; whether the prayers authorized and
directed by the Church of Rome to be offered to the Virgin be not in
themselves at variance with the first principles of the Gospel--Faith in
one God, the giver of every good, and in one Mediator and Intercessor
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, whose blood cleanseth from
all sin: in a word, to see whether all the aberrations of her children
in this department of religious duty have not their prototype in the
laws and ordinances, the rules and injunctions, the example and practice
of their mother herself.

Indeed I am compelled here to say, that, however revolting to us as
believers in Jesus, and as worshippers of the one true God, are those
extravagant excesses into which the votaries of the Virgin Mary have
run, I have found few of their most unequivocal ascriptions of divine
worship to her, for a justification of which they cannot with reason
appeal to the authorized ritual of the Church of Rome.

In leaving this point of our inquiry, I would suggest two
considerations: 1st, If it was intended that the invocation of the
Virgin should be exclusively confined to requests, praying her to pray
and intercede by prayer for the petitioners, why should language be
addressed to her which in its plain, obvious, grammatical, and common
sense interpretation conveys the form of direct prayers to her for
benefits believed to be at her disposal? And, 2ndly, If the Church had
{349} intended that her members, when they suppliantly invoked the
Virgin Mary, and had recourse to her aid, should have offered to her
direct and immediate prayers that she would grant temporal and spiritual
benefits, to be dispensed at her own will, and by her own authority and
power, in that case, what words could the Church have put into the mouth
of the petitioners which would more explicitly and unequivocally have
conveyed that idea?

       *       *       *       *       *


I have no intention of dwelling at any length on the extraordinary
excesses to which the adoration of the Virgin Mary has been carried in
the Church of Rome, I do not mean by obscure and illiterate or fanatical
individuals, but by her celebrated prelates, doctors, and saints. My
researches have brought to my knowledge such a mass of error and
corruption in the worship of Christians as I never before had any
conception of; and rather than bring it all forward, and exhibit it to
others, I would turn my own eyes from it altogether. Still many reasons
render it absolutely necessary that we should not pass over the subject
entirely in silence. Few in England, I believe, are aware of the real
facts of the case; and it well becomes us to guard ourselves and others
against such melancholy results as would appear to be inseparable from
the invocation and worship of the Virgin. If indeed we could be
justified in regarding such palpable instances of her worship in its
most objectionable form as the {350} marks of former and less
enlightened times, most gladly would I draw a veil over them, and hide
them from our sight for ever. But when I find the solemn addresses of
the present chief authorities in the Church, nay, the epistles of the
present sovereign Pontiff himself, cherishing, countenancing, and
encouraging the selfsame evil departures from primitive truth and
worship, it becomes a matter not of choice, but of necessity, to give
examples at least of the deplorable excesses into which the highest and
most honoured in that communion have been betrayed. On the present
Pope's encyclical letter [A.D. 1840] we have already observed; and in
this place I propose to examine only one more of those many excesses
meeting us on every side, which characterize the public worship of the
Virgin. The instance to which I refer seems to take a sort of middle
station between the authorized enjoined services of the Church of Rome,
and the devotions of individuals and family worship. It partakes on the
one hand far too much of a public character to be considered in the
light of private religious exercises; and on the other it wants that
authority which would rank it among the appointed services of the
Church. The devotional parts of the services are found neither in the
Missals nor the Breviaries, and the adoption and celebration of the
service seems to be left to the option and care of individuals. But the
service is performed in the Churches,--a Priest presides,--the Host is
presented to the adorations of the people,--and a sermon is preached by
an appointed minister. The service to which I am referring is performed
every evening through the entire month of May, and is celebrated
expressly in honour of the Virgin Mary. {351}

The month of May is dedicated to her, and is called Mary's month.
Temporary altars are raised to her honour, surrounded by flowers and
adorned with garlands and drapery; her image usually standing before the
altar. Societies are formed chiefly for the celebration of the Virgin's
praises, and in some Churches the effect, both to the eye and to the
ear, corresponds with the preparation. One thing only is wanting--the
proper object of worship. I have now before me a book of hymns published
professedly for the religious fraternities in Paris, and used in the
Churches there. [Nouveau Recueil de Cantiques à l'usage des confréries
des Paroisses de Paris. Paris, 1839.] Many of these hymns are addressed
to the Virgin alone; some without any reference to the Son of God and
Man, the only Saviour, and without any allusion to the God of
Christians; indeed, an address to a heathen Goddess more entirely
destitute of Christianity can scarcely be conceived. I copy one hymn

  "Around the altars of Mary
  Let us, her children, press;
  To that mother so endeared
  Let us address the sweetest prayers.
  Let a lively and holy mirth
  Animate us in this holy day:
  There exists no sadness
  For a heart full of her love.
  Let us adorn this sanctuary with flowers;
  Let us deck her revered altar;
  Let us redouble our efforts to please her.
  Be this month consecrated to her;
  Let the perfume of these crowns
  Form a delicious incense, {352}
  Which ascending even to her throne
  May carry to her both our hearts and our prayers.
  Let the holy name of Mary
  Be for us a name of salvation!
  Let our softened soul
  Ever pay to her a sweet tribute of love.
  Let us join the choirs of angels
  The more to celebrate her beauty;
  And may our songs of praise
  Resound in eternity.
  O holy Virgin! O our mother!
  Watch over us from fhe height of heaven;
  And when from this sojourning of misery,
  We present our prayers to you;
  O sweet, O divine Mary!
  Lend an ear to our sighs,
  And after this life
  Make us to taste of immortal pleasures."

  [Autour des autels de Marie
    Nous ses enfants, empressons-nous;
  A cette Mère si chérie,
    Adressons les voeux les plus doux.
  Qu'une vive et sainte allégresse
    Nous anime dans ce saint jour;
  Il n'existe point de tristesse
    Pour un coeur plein de son amour.
  Ornons des fleurs ce sanctuaire,
    Parons son autel révéré,
  Redoublons d'efforts pour lui plaire.
    Que ce mois lui soi, consacré;
  Que le parfume de ces couronnes
    Forme un encens délicieux,
  Qui s'élevant jusqu'à son trône,
    Lui porte et nos coeurs et nos voeux.
  Que le nom sacré de Marie
    Soit pour nous un nom de salut;
  Que toujours notre âme attendrie,
    D'amour lui paie un doux tribut.
  Unissons-nous aux choeurs des anges,
    Pour mieux célébrer sa beauté.
  Et puissent nos chants de louanges
    Retentir dans l'éternité.
  O Vierge sainte! ô notre Mère!
    Veillez sur nous du haut des cieux;
  Et de ce séjour de misère,
    Quand nous vous présentons nos voeux,
  O douce, ô divine Marie!
    Prêtez l'oreille à nos soupirs;--
  Et faites qu'après cette vie,
    Nous goûtions d'immortels plaisirs.

  --"Cantiques à l'usage des Confréries." Paris, 1839, p. 175.]

In the course of the present work I have already suggested the propriety
of trying the real import, {353} the true intent, and meaning and force
of an address to a Saint, by substituting the holiest name ever uttered
on earth, for the name of the Saint to whom such address is offered; and
if the same words, without any change, form a prayer fit to be offered
by us sinners to the Saviour of the world, then to ask ourselves, Can
this be right? I would earnestly recommend the application of the same
test here; and in many other of the prayers now offered (for many such
there are now offered) by Roman Catholics to the Virgin. Suppose,
instead of offering these songs of praise and prayer, and self-devotion
to Mary in the month of May, we were to offer them, on the day of his
nativity, to our blessed Lord, would they not form an act of faith in
Him as our Saviour and our God?

  "Around the altar of Jesus,
  Let us, his children, press;
  To that Saviour so endeared
  Let us address the sweetest prayers. {354}
  Let a lively and holy mirth
  Animate us in this holy day:
  There exists no sadness
  For a heart full of his love.
  Let the holy name of Jesus
  Be for us a name of salvation!
  Let our softened soul
  Ever pay to HIM a sweet tribute of love.
  O holy Jesus! O our Saviour!
  Watch over us from the height of heaven;
  And when from this sojourning of misery,
  We present our prayers to Thee;
  O sweet, O divine Redeemer,
  Lend an ear to our sighs; and after this life,
  Make Thou us to taste of immortal pleasures."

       *       *       *       *       *


I will now briefly call your attention to the devotional works of the
celebrated Bonaventura. He is no ordinary man; and the circumstances
under which his works were commended to the world are indeed remarkable.
I know not how a Church can give the impress of its own name and
approval in a more full or unequivocal manner to the works of any human
being, than the Church of Rome has stamped her authority on the works of
this her saint.

In the "Acta Sanctorum", [Antwerp, 1723, July 14, p. 811-823.] it is
stated, that this celebrated man was born in 1221, and died in 1274. He
passed through all degrees of ecclesiastical dignities, {355} short only
of the pontifical throne itself. He was of the order of St. Francis, and
refused the archbishopric of York, when it was offered to him by Pope
Clement the Fourth, in 1265; whose successor, Gregory the Tenth,
elevated him to the dignity of cardinal bishop. His biographer expresses
his astonishment, that such a man's memory should have been so long
buried with his body; but adds, that the tardiness of his honours was
compensated by their splendour.

More than two centuries after his death, his claims to canonization were
urged upon Sixtus the Fourth; and that Pope raised him to the dignity of
saint; the diploma of his canonization bearing date 18 kalends of May,
1482, the eleventh year of that pope's reign.

Before a saint is canonized by the Pope, it is usually required, that
miracles wrought by him, or upon him, or at his tomb, be proved to the
satisfaction of the Roman court[130]. We need not dwell on the nature of
an inquiry into a matter-of-fact, alleged to have been done by an
individual two hundred years before; and whose memory is said to have
lain buried with his corpse. Among the miracles specified, it is
recorded, that on one occasion, when he was filled with solemn awe and
fear at the celebration of the Lord's Supper, God, by an angel, took a
particle of the consecrated host from the hands of the priest, and
gently placed it in the holy man's mouth. But, with these transactions,
I am not anxious to interfere, except so far as to ascertain the degree
of authority with which any pious Roman Catholic must be induced to
invest Bonaventura as a teacher and instructor in the doctrines of
Christianity, authorized and appointed by his Church. The case stands
thus:--Pope Sixtus IV. states in his {356} diploma, that the proctor of
the order of Minors, proved by a dissertation on the passage of St.
John, "There are three that bear record in heaven," that the blessed
Trinity had borne testimony to the fact of Bonaventura being a saint in
heaven: the Father proving it by the attested miracles; the Son, in the
WISDOM OF HIS DOCTRINE; the Holy Spirit, by the goodness of his life.
The pontiff then adds, in his own words, "He so wrote on divine
"Ea de divinis rebus scripsit, ut in eo Spiritus Sanctus locutus
videatur."] A testimony referred to by Pope Sixtus the Fifth.

    [Footnote 130: See the canonization of St. Bonaventura in the
    Acta Sanctorum.]

This latter pontiff was crowned May 1, 1585, more than a century after
the canonization of Bonaventura, and more than three centuries after his
death. By his order, the works of Bonaventura were "most carefully
emendated." The decretal letters, A.D. 1588, pronounced him to be an
acknowledged doctor of Holy Church, directing his authority to be cited
and employed in all places of education, and in all ecclesiastical
discussions and studies. The same act offers plenary indulgence to all
who assist at the mass on his feast, in certain specified places, with
other minor immunities on the conditions annexed. [Page 837.]

In these documents Bonaventura[131] is called the Seraphic Doctor; and I
repeat my doubt, whether it is possible for any human authority to give
a more full, entire, and unreserved sanction to the works of any human
being than the Church of Rome has given to {357} the writings of
Bonaventura. And what do those works present to us, on the subject of
the Invocation and worship of the Virgin Mary?

    [Footnote 131: The edition of his works which I have used was
    published at Mentz in 1609; and the passages referred to are in
    vol. vi. between pp. 400 and 500.]

Taking every one of the one hundred and fifty psalms[132], Bonaventura
so changes the commencement of each, as to address them not as the
inspired Psalmist did, to the Lord Jehovah, the One only Lord God
Almighty, but to the Virgin Mary; inserting much of his own composition,
and then adding the Gloria Patri to each. It is very painful to refer to
these prostitutions of any part of the Holy Book of revealed truth; but
we must not be deterred from looking this evil in the face. A few
examples, however, will suffice.

    [Footnote 132: It is curious to find the Cardinal Du Perron, in
    his answer to our King James, declaring that he had never seen
    nor met with this Psalter in his life, and he was sure it was
    never written by Bonaventura; alleging that it was not mentioned
    by Trithemius or Gesner. The Vatican editors, however, have set
    that question at rest. They assure us that they have thrown into
    the appendix all the works about the genuineness of which there
    was any doubt, and that Bonaventura wrote many works not
    mentioned by Trithemius, which they have published from the
    Vatican press. Of this Psalter there is no doubt. See Cardinal
    Du Perron, Replique à la Rep. du Roi de Grand Bretagne. Paris,
    1620, p. 974.]

In the 30th psalm. "In thee, O Lord, have I trusted; let me not be
confounded for ever," &c., the Psalter of the Virgin substitutes these
words: [In te, Domina, speravi; non confundar in æternum, &c. &c. In
manus tuas, Domina, commendo spiritum meum, totam vitam meam, et diem
ultimum meum.--P. 480.]

"In thee, O Lady, have I trusted; let me not be confounded for ever: in
thy grace take me.

"Thou art my fortitude and my refuge; my consolation and my protection.

"To thee, O Lady, have I cried, while my heart was in heaviness; and
thou didst hear me from the top of the eternal hills.

"Bring thou me out of the snare which they have hid for me; for thou art
my succour.

"Into thy hands, O Lady, I commend my spirit, my whole life, and my last
day.--Gloria Patri," &c.

In the 31st psalm we read, "Blessed are they whose hearts love thee, O
Virgin Mary; their sins shall be mercifully blotted out BY THEE...."
[Beati quorum corda te diligunt, Virgo Maria; peccata ipsorum A TE
misericorditer diluentur.--P. 481.]

In the 35th, v. 2. "Incline thou the countenance of God upon us; COMPEL
HIM to have mercy upon sinners. O Lady, thy mercy is in the heaven, and
thy grace is spread over the whole earth." [Inclina vultum Dei super
nos. COGE illum peccatoribus misereri; Domina, in coelo misericordia
tua, et gratia diffusa est super terram.]

In the 67th, instead of, "Let God arise, and let his enemies be
scattered," the Psalter of the Virgin has,

"Let Mary arise, and let her enemies be scattered." [Exurgat Maria, et
dissipentur inimici ejus.--P. 483.]

In the opening of the 93rd psalm there is a most extraordinary, rather,
as it sounds to me, a most impious and blasphemous comparison of the
Supreme God with the Virgin Mary, in reference to the very Attribute,
which shines first, last, and brightest in HIM,--His eternal mercy. Nay,
it draws the contrast in favour of the Virgin, and against God. Most
glad should I be, to find that I had misunderstood this passage; and
that it admits of another acceptation[133]. But I fear its real meaning
is beyond controversy.

    [Footnote 133: A similar idea indeed pervades some addresses to
    the Virgin of the present day, representing the great and only
    potentate as her heavenly husband, in himself full of rage, but
    softened into tenderness towards her votaries by her influence.
    See a hymn, in the Paris collection already referred to, p. 353,
    &c. of this work (Nouveau Recueil de Cantiques, p. 183).

    Daignez, Marie, en ce jour             Vouchsafe, Mary, on this day
      Ecouter nos soupirs,                 To hear our sighs,
      Et seconder nos désirs.              And to second our desires.
    Daignez, Marie, en ce jour             Vouchsafe, Mary, on this day
    Recevoir notre encens, notre amour.    To receive our incense, our
    Du céleste époux                       Calm the rage
    Calmez le courroux,                    Of thy heavenly husband,
    Qu'il se montre doux                   Let HIM show himself kind
    A tous qui sont à vous.                To all those who are thine.
    Du céleste époux                       Of thy heavenly husband
    Calmez le courroux,                    Calm the rage,
    Que son coeur s'attendrisse sur nous.  Let his heart be softened
                                             towards us. {359}

"The Lord is a God of vengeance; but thou, O Mother of Mercy, bendest to
be merciful." [Deus ultionum Dominus; sed tu, Mater Misericordiæ, ad
miserandum inflectis.--P. 485.]

The well known and dearly valued penitentiary psalm (129th) "De
profundis," is thus addressed to Mary:--

"Out of the depths have I called to thee, O Lady:

"O Lady, hear my voice. Let thine ears be attent to the voice of thy
praise and glorifying: deliver me from the hand of my enemies: confound
their imaginations and attempts against me. Rescue me in the evil day;
and, in the day of death, forget not my soul. Carry me into the haven of
safety: let my name be enrolled among the just." [De profundis clamavi
ad te, Domina: Domina, exaudi vocem meam. Fiant aures tuæ intendentes in
vocem laudis et glorificationis tuæ. Libera me de manu adversariorum
meorum: confunde ingenia et conatus eorum contra me. Erue me in die
mala: et in die mortis ne obliviscaris animæ meæ. Deduc me ad portum
salutis: inter justos scribatur nomen meum.--P. 489.] {360}

But, as the penitential psalms are thus turned, from Him to whom the
Psalmist addressed them, so his hymns of praise to Jehovah, are made to
flow through the same channel to the Virgin. And all nature in the sea,
on the earth, in the heavens, and heaven of heavens, is called upon to
praise and glorify Mary. Thus, in the 148th psalm, we read,--

"Praise our Lady of heaven, glorify her in the highest. Praise her, all
ye men and cattle, ye birds of the heaven, and fishes of the sea. Praise
her, sun and moon; ye stars and circles of the planets. Praise her,
cherubim and seraphim, thrones and dominions, and powers. Praise her,
all ye legions of angels. Praise her, all ye orders of spirits above."
[Laudate Dominam nostram de coelis: glorificate eam in excelsis. Laudate
eam omnes homines et jumenta: volucres coeli et pisces maris. Laudate
eam sol et luna: stellæ, et circuli planetarum. Laudate eam cherubim et
seraphim: throni et dominationes, et potestates. Laudate eam omnes
legiones angelorum. Laudate eam omnes ordines spirituum supernorum.--P.

The last sentence of the psalms is thus rendered,--"Let every spirit
[_or_ every thing that hath breath] praise our Lady."

To this Psalter are added many hymns changed in the same manner. One,
entitled, "A Canticle, like that of Habakkuk iii." presents to us an
address to the Virgin Mary, of the very words which our blessed Saviour
most solemnly addressed to his heavenly Father.

O Lord, I have heard thy           O Lady, I have heard thy report,
speech, and was afraid, &c. &c.    and was astonished; I considered
                                   thy works, O Lady, and
                                   I was afraid at thy work. In the
                                   midst of the years thou hast revived
                                   it. {361}

                                     I will confess to thee, O Lady,
                                   because thou hast hid these things
                                   from the wise, and hast revealed
                                   them to babes.

                                     Thy glory hath covered the
                                   heavens, and the earth is full of
                                   thy mercy.

                                     Thou, O Virgin, wentest forth
                                   for the salvation of thy people,
                                   for salvation with thy Christ [thy

                                     O thou Blessed, our salvation
                                   rests in thy hands. Remember
                                   our poverty, O thou pious One.

                                     WHOM THOU WILLEST, HE
                                   SHALL BE SAVED; AND HE FROM
                                   WHOM THOU TURNEST AWAY THY
                                   COUNTENANCE, GOETH INTO DESTRUCTION.

[Domina, audivi auditionem tuam, et obstupui: consideravi opera tua, et
expavi, Domina, opus tuum: circa medium annorum vivificasti illud.

Confitebor tibi, Domina: quia abscondisti hæc a sapientibus: et
revelasti ea parvulis. Operuit coelos gloria tua, et misericordia tua
plena est terra.

Egressa es, Virgo, in salutem populi tui: in salutem cum Christo tuo. O
Benedicta, in manibus tuis est reposita nostra salus; recordare, pia,
paupertatis nostræ.

Quem vis, ipse salvus erit, et a quo avertis vultum tuum, vadit in
interitum.--G.P., &c.]

The song of the Three Children is altered in the same manner. In it as
well as in the Canticle of Zacharias, these prayers are introduced;

"O Mother of Mercy, have mercy upon us miserable sinners; who neglect to
repent of our past sins, and commit every day many to be repented of."
[Miserere, misericordiæ Mater, nobis miseris peccatoribus, qui retroacta
peccata poenitere negligimus, ac multa quotidie poenitenda committimus.]

The Te Deum is thus lamentably perverted:

"We praise thee, Mother of God; we acknowledge thee, Mary the Virgin.
[Te Matrem Dei laudamus; Te Mariam Virginem profitemur.]

"All the earth doth worship thee, spouse of the eternal Father.

"To thee all Angels and Archangels, Thrones and Principalities,
faithfully do service....

"To thee the whole angelic creation with incessant voice proclaim,

"Holy! Holy! Holy! Mary, parent, mother of God, and virgin!...

"... Thou with thy Son sittest at the right hand of the Father....

"O Lady, SAVE THY PEOPLE, that we may partake of the inheritance of thy

"And rule us and guard us for ever....

"Day by day we salute thee, O pious One; and we desire to praise thee in
mind and voice even for ever.

"Vouchsafe, O sweet Mary, now and for ever, to keep us without sin.

"Have mercy upon us, O pious One; have mercy upon us.

"Let thy great mercy be with us, because we put our trust in thee, O
Virgin Mary.

"In thee, sweet Mary, do we hope, defend thou us eternally. {363}

"Praise becomes thee, empire becomes thee; to thee be virtue and glory
for ever and ever. Amen."

[SALVUM FAC POPULUM tuum, Domina, ut simus participes hæreditatis Filii

Et rege nos et custodi nos in æternum.

Dignare, Dulcis Maria, mine et semper nos sine delicto conservare.
Miserere, Pia, nobis! miserere nobis! Fiat misericordia tua magna
nobiscum, quia in te, Virgo Maria, confidimus. In te, Dulcis Maria,
speramus, nos defendas in æternum. Te decet laus, te decet imperium,
tibi virtus et gloria in sæcula sæculorum, Amen.]

Can this by any the most subtle refinement be understood to be a mere
request to her to pray for us?

The Athanasian Creed is employed in the same manner; and it is very
remarkable that the Assumption itself of the Virgin into heaven is there
specified as one of the points to be believed on pain of losing all
hopes of salvation.

"Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold
firm the faith concerning the Virgin Mary: which except a man keep whole
and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly....
[Quicunque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est ut teneat de Maria
firmam fidem.]

"Whom at length He took up (assumpsit) unto heaven, and she sitteth at
the right hand of her Son, not ceasing to pray to her Son for us. [Quam
demum ipse in coelum assumpsit, et sedit ad dexteram Filii, non cessans
pro nobis Filium exorare.]

"This is the faith concerning Mary the Virgin, which except every one
believe faithfully and firmly he cannot be saved." [Hæc est fides de
Maria Virgine: quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit,
salvus esse non poterit.]

In the Litany addressed to her, these sentences are found.

"Holy Mary, whom all things praise and venerate, pray for us,--be
propitious,--spare us, O Lady.

"From all evil deliver us, O Lady.

"In the devastating hour of death, deliver us, O Lady.

"From the horrible torments of hell, deliver us, O Lady.

"We sinners do beseech thee to hear us.

"That thou wouldest vouchsafe to give eternal rest {364} to all the
faithful departed, we beseech thee to hear us. &c. &c."

  [Sancta Maria, quam omnia laudant
  Et venerantur, ora pro nobis.
  Propitia esto. Parce nobis, Domina.
  Ab omni malo libera nos, Domina.
  In hora mortis devastante libera nos, Domina.
  Ab inferni horribili cruciamine libera nos, Domina.
  Peccatores te rogamus, audi nos.
  Ut cunctis fidelibus defunctis requiem
  Æternam donare digneris, te rogamus, audi nos.]

I will add to this catalogue of prayers and praises to the Virgin, only
the translation of one prayer more from the same canonized Saint; it
contains a passage often referred to, but the existence of which has
been denied. It stands, however, in his works, vol. vi. page 466.

"Therefore, O Empress, and our most benign Lady, by THY RIGHT OF MOTHER
COMMAND thy most beloved Son [JURE MATRIS IMPERA tuo dilectissimo
Filio], our Lord, Jesus Christ, that He vouchsafe to raise our minds
from the love of earthly things to heavenly desires, who liveth and

       *       *       *       *       *

Now let any man of common understanding and straightforward principles
say, whether any, the most ingenious refinement can interpret all this
to mean merely that Bonaventura invoked the Virgin Mary to pray for him,
or for his fellow-creatures. It looks as though he were resolved on set
purpose to exalt her to an equality with the Almighty, when we find him
not once, not casually, not in the fervent rapture of momentary
excitement, but deliberately, through one hundred and fifty Psalms,
applying to Mary the very words dictated by the Holy Spirit to the
Psalmist, and consecrated {365} to the worship of the one supreme God;
and then selecting the most solemn expressions by which the Christian
Church approaches the Lord of heaven and earth, our Father, our Saviour,
our Sanctifier: employing too the very words of her most solemn form of
belief in the ever-blessed Trinity, and substituting Mary's name for the
God of Christians. On the words, "By thy right of mother command thy
Son," beyond the assertion of the fact that there they are to this day,
I wish to add nothing, because the very denial of their existence often
repeated shows, that many Roman Catholics themselves regard them as

But, if such a man as Bonaventura, one of the most learned and
celebrated men of his age, could be tempted by the views cherished by
the Church of Rome, to indulge in such language, what can be fairly
expected of the large mass of persons who find that language published
to the world with the highest sanction which their religion can give, as
the work of a man whom the Almighty declared when on earth, by miracles,
to be a chosen vessel, and to be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
and of whom they are taught by the infallible testimony[134] of his
canonization, that he is now reigning with Christ in heaven, and is
himself the lawful and appointed object of religious invocation. I
profess to you that I see no way by which Christians can hold and
encourage this doctrine of the Invocation of Saints, without at the same
time countenancing and cherishing what, were I to join in such
invocation, would stain my soul with the guilt of idolatry. If the
doctrine were confessedly Scriptural, come what would come, our duty
would be to maintain it at all hazards, {366} and to brave every danger
rather than from fear of consequences to renounce what we believe to
have come from God; securing the doctrine at all events, and then
putting forth our very best to guard against its perversion and abuse.
But surely, it well becomes our brethren of the Church of Rome, to
examine with most rigid and unsparing scrutiny into the very foundation
of such a doctrine as this; a doctrine which in its mildest and most
guarded form is considered by a very large number of their fellow
Christians, as a dishonouring of God and of his Son, our Saviour; and
which in its excess, an excess witnessed in the books of learned and
sainted authors, and in the every day practice of worshippers, seems to
be in no wise distinguishable from the practices of acknowledged
polytheism, and pagan worship. If that foundation, after honest and
persevering examination, approves itself as based sure and deep on the
word of God, and the faith and practice of the apostles and the Church
founded by them from the first, I have not another word to say, beyond a
fervent prayer that the God in whom we trust would pour the bright beams
of his Gospel abundantly into the hearts of all who receive that Gospel
as the word of life. But were they my dying words to my dearest friend
who had espoused that doctrine, I would say to him, Look well yourself
to the foundation, because I am, after long examination, convinced,
beyond a shadow of doubt that the doctrine and practice of the
Invocation of Saints and Angels is as contrary to the doctrine and
practice of the primitive Church, as it is in direct opposition to the
express words of Scripture, and totally abhorrent from the spirit which
pervades the whole of the Old, and the whole of the New Testament of
God's eternal truth.

    [Footnote 134: Bellarmin, in his Church Triumphant, maintains
    that in the act of Canonization, the Church is infallible. Vol.
    ii. p. 871.] {367}

       *       *       *       *       *


Unhappily these excesses in the worship of the Virgin Mary are not
confined to Bonaventura, or to his age. We have too many examples of the
same extravagant exaltation of her as an object of adoration and praise
in men, whose station and abilities seemed to hold them forth to the
world as burning and shining lights. Again, let me repeat, that in thus
soliciting your attention to the doctrines and expressed feelings of a
few from among the host of the Virgin's worshippers, I am far from
believing that the enlightened Roman Catholics in England now are ready
to respond to such sentiments. My desire is that all persons should be
made aware of the excesses into which even celebrated teachers have been
tempted to run, when they once admitted the least inroad to be made upon
the integrity of God's worship; and I am anxious also, without offence,
but with all openness, to caution my countrymen against encouraging that
revival of the worship of the Virgin in England, to promote which the
highest authorities in the Church of Rome have lately expressed their
solicitude, intimating, at the same time, their regret that the worship
of the Virgin at the present time has, in England, degenerated from its
exaltation in former ages, and that England is now far behind her
continental neighbours in her worship. Though these excessive departures
from Gospel truth and the primitive worship of one God by one Mediator
may not be the doctrines of all who belong to the Church of Rome, yet
they are the tenets of some of her most {368} celebrated doctors, of men
who were raised to her highest dignities in their lifetime, and solemnly
enrolled by her among the saints of glory after their death. Their words
and their actions are appealed to now in support of similar tenets and
doctrines, though few, in this country at least, are found to put them
forth in all their magnitude and fulness. But even in their mildest and
least startling form these doctrines are awfully dangerous.

The fact is, that the direct tendency of the worship of the Virgin, as
practically illustrated in the Church of Rome, is to make GOD himself an
object of FEAR, and the VIRGIN an object of LOVE; to invest Him, who is
the Father of mercy and God of all comfort, with awfulness, and majesty,
and with the terrors of eternal justice, and in direct and striking
contrast to array the Virgin mother with mercy and benignity, and
compassionate tenderness. Christians cannot be too constantly and too
carefully on their guard against doing this wrong to our heavenly
Father. His own inspired word invites us to regard Him not only as the
God of love, but as Love itself. "God is love;" [1 John iv. 8.] and so
far from terrifying us by representations of his tremendous majesty, and
by declarations that we cannot ourselves draw nigh to God; so far from
bidding us to approach Him with our suits and supplications through
mediators whom we should regard as having, more than our blessed
Redeemer, a fellow-feeling with us, and at the same time resistless
influence with Him; his own invitation and assurance is, "Come unto me,
and I will give you rest:" [Matt. xi. 28.] "No one cometh unto the
Father but by me:" [John xiv. 6.] "Him that cometh to me I will {369} in
no wise cast out:" [John vi. 37.] "Let us come boldly unto the throne of
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of
need." [Heb. iv. 16.]

How entirely opposed to such passages as these, breathing the spirit
that pervades the whole Bible, are those doctrines which represent the
Virgin Mary as the Mediatrix by whom we must sue for the divine
clemency; as the dispenser of all God's mercies and graces; as the
sharer of God's kingdom, as the fountain of pity, as the moderator of
God's justice, and the appeaser of his wrath. "Show thyself a mother."
"Compel thy Son to have pity." "By thy right of mother command thy Son."
"God is a God of vengeance; but thou, Mary, dost incline to mercy;" such
expressions convey sentiments and associations shocking to our feelings,
and from which our reason turns away, when we think of God's
perfections, and the full atonement and omnipotent intercession of his
Son Christ our Redeemer. But it must not be disguised, that these are
the very sentiments in which the most celebrated defenders of the
worship of the Virgin, in the Church of Rome, teach their disciples to
acquiesce, and in which they must have themselves fully acquiesced, if
they practised what they taught. It is very painful to make such
extracts as leave us no alternative in forming our opinions on this
point; but it is necessary to do so, otherwise we may injure the cause
of truth by suppressing the reality; a reality over which there seems to
be a strong disposition, in the present day, in part at least, to draw a
veil; an expedient which can only increase the danger.

The first author, whose sentiments I would request you to weigh, is
Gabriel Biel, a schoolman of great celebrity[135]. {370} In his
thirty-second lecture, on the Canon of the Mass, he thus expresses
himself, referring to a sermon of St. Bernard, "The will of God was,
that we should have all through Mary.... You were afraid to approach the
Father, frightened by only hearing of Him.... He gave you Jesus for a
Mediator. What could not such a Son obtain with such a Father? He will
surely be heard for his own reverence-sake; for the Father loveth the
Son. But, are you afraid to approach even Him? He is your brother and
your flesh; tempted through all, that He might become merciful. THIS
BROTHER MARY GAVE TO YOU. But, perhaps, even in Him you fear the divine
Majesty, because, although He was made man, yet He remained God. You
wish to have an advocate even to Him. Betake yourself to Mary. For, in
Mary is pure humanity, not only pure from all contamination, but pure
also by the singleness of her nature[136]. Nor should I, with any doubt
say, she too will be heard for her own reverence-sake. The Son, surely,
will hear the Mother, and the Father will hear the Son."

    [Footnote 135: Tubingen, 1499. Gabriel Biel, born at Spires
    about A.D. 1425, was in A.D. 1484 appointed the first Professor
    of Theology in the then newly founded University of Tubingen. He
    afterwards retired to a monastery, and died A.D. 1495.]

    [Footnote 136: This is a very favourite argument in the present
    day, often heard in the pulpits on the Continent.]

In his 80th lecture, the same author comments on this prayer, which is
still offered in the service of the Mass:

"Deliver us, we beseech thee, O Lord, from all evils past, present, and
future; and by the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever-virgin
mother of God, Mary, with thy blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, and
Andrew, and all saints, mercifully grant peace in our days, that, aided
by the help of thy mercy, we may be both ever {371} free from sin, and
free from all disquietude. Through the same our Lord, &c."

On this prayer Biel observes, "Again we ask, in this prayer, the defence
of peace; and since we cannot, nor do we presume to obtain this by our
own merit, ... therefore, in order to obtain this, we have recourse, in
the second part of this prayer, to the suffrages of all his saints, whom
He hath constituted, in the court of his kingdom, as our mediators, most
acceptable to himself, whose prayers his love does not reject. But, of
them, we fly, in the first place, to the most blessed Virgin, the Queen
of Heaven, to whom the King of kings, the heavenly Father, has given the
half of his kingdom; which was signified in Hester, the queen, to whom,
when she approached to appease king Asuerus, the king said to her, Even
if thou shalt ask the half of my kingdom, it shall be given thee. So the
heavenly Father, inasmuch as He has justice and mercy as the more valued
to the Virgin Mother. We, therefore, ask for peace, by the intercession
of the blessed and glorious Virgin." [Cum habeat justitiam et
misericordiam tanquam potiora regni sui bona, justitia sibi retenta,
misericordiam Matri Virgini concessit.]

The very same partition of the kingdom of heaven, is declared to have
been made between God himself and the Virgin by one who was dignified by
the name of the "venerable and most Christian Doctor," John Gerson[137],
who died in 1429; excepting that, instead of justice and mercy, Gerson
mentions power and mercy as the two parts of which God's kingdom
consists, and that, whilst power remained with the Lord, the part of
mercy ceded "to the mother of Christ, and the reigning {372} spouse;
hence, by the whole Church, she is saluted as Queen of Mercy."

    [Footnote 137: Paris, 1606. Tract iv. Super "Magnificat," part
    iii. p. 754. See Fabricius, vol. iii. p. 49. Patav. 1754.]

I would next refer to a writer who lived four centuries before Biel, but
whose works received the papal sanction so late as the commencement of
the seventeenth century, Petrus Damianus, Cardinal and Bishop. His works
were published at the command of Pope Clement VIII., who died A.D. 1604,
and were dedicated to his successor, Paul V., who gave the copyright for
fifteen years to the Editor, Constantine Cajetan, A.D. 1606. I will
quote only one passage from this author. It is found in his sermon on
the nativity of the Virgin, whom he thus addresses: "Nothing is
impossible with thee, with whom it is possible to restore those in
despair to the hope of blessedness. For how could that authority, which
derived its flesh from thy flesh, oppose thy power? For thou approachest
before that golden altar of human reconciliation not only asking, but
commanding; a mistress, not a handmaid." [Accedis enim ante illud aureum
humanæ reconciliationis altare, non solum rogans, sed imperans; Domina,
non ancilla. Paris, 1743. vol. ii. p. 107. Serm. 44.]

I must now solicit your attention to the sentiments of two writers,
whose partial identity of name has naturally led, in some instances, to
the one being mistaken for the other, Bernardinus de Bustis, and
Bernardinus Senensis. Bernardinus de Bustis, [Fabricius, vol. i. 215.]
in the country of Milan, was the celebrated author of the "Office of the
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin," which was confirmed by the
bull of Sixtus the Fourth, and has since been celebrated on the 8th of

He composed different works in honour of the Virgin, {373} to one of
which he gave the title "Mariale." In this work, with a great variety of
sentiments of a similar tendency, he thus expresses himself:--

"Of so great authority in the heavenly palace is that empress, that,
omitting all other intermediate saints, we may appeal to her from every
grievance.... With confidence, then, let every one appeal to her,
whether he be aggrieved by the devil, or by any tyrant, or by his own
body, or by divine justice;" [Cologne, 1607. Part iii. Serm. ii. p.
176.] and then, having specified and illustrated the three other sources
of grievance, he thus proceeds: "In the fourth place, he may APPEAL TO
HER, if any one feels himself AGGRIEVED BY THE JUSTICE OF GOD [Licet ad
ipsam appellare, si quis a Dei justitia se gravari sentit.] ... That
empress, therefore, Hester, was a figure of this empress of the heavens,
with whom God divided his kingdom. For, whereas God has justice and
mercy, He retained justice to himself to be exercised in this world, and
granted mercy to his mother; and thus, if any one feels himself to be
aggrieved in the court of God's justice, let him appeal to the court of
mercy of his mother." [Ideo si quis sentit se gravari in foro justitiæ
Dei, appellet ad forum misericordiæ matris ejus.]

For one moment, let us calmly weigh the import of these words:--Is it
any thing short of robbing the Eternal Father of the brightest jewel in
his crown, and sharing his glory with another? Is it not encouraging us
to turn our eyes from the God of mercy as a stern and ruthless judge,
and habitually to fix them upon Mary as the dispenser of all we want for
the comfort and happiness of our souls?

In another place, this same author thus exalts Mary:

"Since the Virgin Mary is mother of God, and God is her Son; and every
son is naturally inferior to his {374} mother, and subject to her; and
the mother is preferred above, and is superior to her son, it follows
that the blessed Virgin is herself superior to God, and God himself is
her subject, by reason of the humanity derived from her;" [Part ix.
Serm. ii. p. 605.] and again. "O the unspeakable dignity of Mary, who
was worthy to command the Commander of all." [Part xii. Serm, ii. p.

I will detain you by only one more quotation from this famed Doctor. It
appears to rob God of his justice and power, as well as of his mercy;
and to turn our eyes to Mary for the enjoyment of all we can desire, and
for safety from all we can dread. Would that Bernardine stood alone in
the propagation of such doctrines. "We may say, that the blessed Virgin
is chancellor in the court of heaven. For we see, that in the chancery
of our lord the pope, three kinds of letters are granted: some are of
simple justice, others are of pure grace, and the third mixed,
containing justice and grace.... The third chancellor is he to whom it
appertains to give letters of pure grace and mercy. And this office hath
the blessed Virgin; and therefore she is called the mother of grace and
mercy: but those letters of mercy she gives only in the present life.
For, to some souls, as they are departing, she gives letters of pure
grace; to others, of simple justice; and to others, mixed, namely, of
justice and grace. For some were very much devoted to her, and to them
she gives letters of pure grace, by which she COMMANDS, that glory be
given to them without any pain of purgatory: others were miserable
sinners, and not devoted to her, and to them she gives letters of simple
justice, by which she COMMANDS that condign vengeance be done upon them;
others were lukewarm and remiss in devotion, and to them she gives
letters of justice and grace, by which {375} she COMMANDS that grace be
given to them, and yet, on account of their negligence and sloth, some
pain of purgatory be also inflicted on them." [Part xii. Serm. ii. On
the twenty-second excellence, p. 825.]

The only remaining author, to whom I will at present refer you, is a
canonized saint, Bernardinus Senensis. A full account of his life, his
miracles, and his enrolment among the saints in heaven, is found in the
Acta Sanctorum, vol. v. under the 20th of May, the day especially
dedicated to his honour. Eugenius IV. died before the canonization of
Bernardine could be completed: the next pope, Nicholas V. on Whitsunday
1450, in full conclave, enrolled him among the saints, to the joy, we
are told, of all Italy. In 1461, Pius the Second said that Bernardine
was taken for a saint even in his lifetime; and, in 1472, Sixtus IV.
issued a bull, in which he extols the saint, and authorizes the
translation of his body into a new church, dedicated, as others had
been, to his honour.

This Bernardine is equally explicit with others, in maintaining, that
all the blessings which Christians can receive on earth are dispensed by
Mary; that her princedom equals the princedom of the Eternal Father;
that all are her servants and subjects, who are the subjects and
servants of the Most High; that all who adore the Son of God should
adore his virgin-mother, and that the Virgin has repaid the Almighty for
all that He has done for the human race. Some of these doctrines were to
me quite startling; I was not prepared for them; but I have been assured
they find an echo in the pulpits in many parts of the continent. Very
few quotations will suffice. [Opera, per John de la Haye. Paris, 1636.
Five volumes bound in two.] {376}

"As many creatures do service to the glorious Mary, as do service to the
Trinity.... For he who is the Son of God, and of the blessed Virgin,
wishing (so to speak) to make, in a manner, the princedom of his mother
equal to the princedom of his father, he who was God, served his mother
on earth. Moreover, this is true, all things, even the Virgin, are
servants of the divine empire; and again, this is true, all things, even
God, are servants of the empire of the Virgin." [Vol. iv. Serm. v. c.
vi. p. 118.]

"Therefore, all the angelic spirits are the ministers and servants of
this glorious Virgin." [Serm. iii. c. iii. p. 104.]

"To comprise all in a brief sentence, I do not doubt that God made all
the liberations and pardons in the Old Testament on account of the
reverence and love of this blessed maid, by which God preordained from
eternity, that she should be, by predestination, honoured above all his
works. On account of the immense love of the Virgin, as well Christ
himself, as the whole most blessed Trinity, frequently grants pardon to
the most wicked sinners." [Serm. v. c. ii. p. 116.]

"By the law of succession, and the right of inheritance, the primacy and
kingdom of the whole universe is due to the blessed Virgin. Nay, when
her only Son died on the cross, since He had no one on earth to succeed
Him of right, his mother, by the laws of all, succeeded, and by this
acquired the principality of all. [Serm. v. c. vii. p. 118.] ... But, of
the monarchy of the universe, Christ never made any testamentary
bequest, because that could never be done without prejudice to his
potest mater irritare Filii testamentum si in sui præjudicium sit
confectum.--P. 118.]

"The Virgin Mother[138], from the time she conceived God, obtained a
certain jurisdiction and authority in every temporal procession of the
Holy Spirit, so that no creature could obtain any grace of virtue from
God except according to the dispensation of his Virgin mother[139]. As
through the neck the vital breathings descend from the head into the
body, so the vital graces are transfused from the head Christ into his
mystical body, through the Virgin. I fear not to say, that this Virgin
has a certain jurisdiction over the flowing of all graces. And, because
she is the mother of such a Son of God, who produces the Holy Spirit;

    [Footnote 138: Serm. v. c. viii. and Serm. vi. c. ii. p. 120 and
    122. There is an omission (probably by an error of the press) in
    the first passage, which the second enables us to supply.]

    [Footnote 139: This writer is constantly referring to St.
    Bernard's doctrine, "No grace comes from heaven upon the earth,
    but what passes through the hands of Mary."]

"She is the queen of mercy, the temple of God, the habitation of the
Holy Spirit, always sitting at the right hand of Christ in eternal
glory. Therefore she is to be venerated, to be saluted, and to be adored
with the adoration of hyperdulia. And therefore she sits at the right
hand of the King, that as often as you adore Christ the king you may
adore also the mother of Christ." [Serm. vi. p. 121.]

"The blessed Virgin Mary alone has done more for {378} God; or as much
(so to speak) as God hath done for the whole human race. For I verily
believe that God will grant me indulgence if I now speak for the Virgin.
Let us gather together into one what things God hath done for man, and
let us consider what satisfaction the Virgin Mary hath rendered to the
Lord." Bernardine here enumerates many particulars, placing one against
the other, which for many reasons I cannot induce myself to transfer
into these pages, and then he sums up the whole thus: "Therefore,
setting each individual thing one against another, namely, what things
God had done for man, and what things the blessed Virgin has done for
God, you will see that Mary has done more for God, than God has for man;
so that thus, on account of the blessed Virgin, (whom, nevertheless, He
himself made,) God is in a certain manner under greater obligations to
us than we are to Him." [Serm. vi. p. 120.]

The whole treatise he finishes with this address to the Virgin:--

"Truly by mere babbling are we uttering these thy praises and
excellences; but we suppliantly pray thy immense sweetness. Do thou, by
thy benignity, supply our insufficiencies, that we may worthily praise
thee through the endless ages of ages. Amen."

In closing these brief extracts I would observe, that by almost every
writer in support of the worship of the Virgin, an appeal is made to St.
Bernard[140] as their chief authority. Especially is the following
passage quoted by many, either whole or in part, at almost every turn of
their argument:--

    [Footnote 140: The present Pope, in the same manner, refers to
   him in his Encyclical Letter.--A.D. 1840.]

"If thou art disturbed by the heinousness of thy crimes, and confounded
by the foulness of thy conscience, {379} if terrified by the horror of
judgment thou begin to be swallowed up in the gulf of despair, think of
Mary, invoke Mary; let her not depart from thy heart, let her not depart
from thy mouth. For whilst thinking of her, thou dost not err; imploring
her, thou dost not despair; following her, thou dost not lose thy way;
whilst she holds thee, thou dost not fall; whilst she protects thee,
thou dost not fear; whilst she is thy leader, thou art not wearied;
whilst she is favourable, thou reachest thy end[141]."

    [Footnote 141: See Bern. Sen. vol. iv. p. 124. The passage is
    found in Bernard, Paris, 1640. p. 25.]

If the Virgin Mary is thus regarded as the source and well-head of all
safety and blessing, we cannot wonder, that glory and praise are
ascribed in the selfsame terms to her as to the Almighty. Cardinal
Bellarmin closes the several portions of his writings with "Praise to
God and the blessed Virgin Mary[142]." It is painful to reflect, that
either the highest glory, due to that God who will not share his glory
with another, is here ascribed to one of the creatures of his hand
(however highly favoured and full of grace), or else that to the most
high God is ascribed an inferior glory and praise, such as it is lawful
for us to address to an exalted fellow-creature. Surely the only
ascription fitting the lips and the heart of those who have been
enlightened by the bright beams of Gospel truth, is Glory to God alone
through Christ his Son.

    [Footnote 142: Such ascriptions are very common. Joannes de
    Carthagena, a most voluminous writer of homilies, adopts this as
    the close of his sections: "Praise and glory to the Triune God,
    to the Humanity of Christ, to the Blessed Virgin Mary his
    mother, and to St. Joseph her dearest spouse."--Catholic
    Homilies on the Sacred Secrets of the Mother of God, and Joseph,
    p. 921. Paris, 1615.] {380}

       *       *       *       *       *


It may perhaps be surmised, that the authors referred to in the last
section lived many years ago, and that the sentiments of the faithful
members of the Church of Rome have undergone material changes on these
points. Assurances are given on every side, that the invocation of the
saints and of the Virgin is nothing more than a request, that they would
intercede with God, and implore his mercy for the suppliants. But
whatever implicit reliance we may place on the good faith with which
these declarations are made, we can discover no new key by which to
interpret the forms of prayer and praise satisfactorily. Confessedly
there are no changes in the authorized services. We discover no traces
of change in the worship of private devotion. The Breviary and Missal
contain the same offices of the Virgin Mary as in former days. The same
sentiments are expressed towards her in public; the same forms of
devotion[143], both in prayer and praise, are prepared for the use of
individuals in their daily exercises. Whatever meaning is to be attached
to the expressions employed, the prevailing expressions themselves
remain the same as we found them to have been in past ages.

    [Footnote 143: Works of this character abound in every place,
    where Catholic books may be purchased.]

Since I made these extracts from the learned and celebrated doctors and
canonized saints of former ages, my attention has been invited to the
language now {381} used in forms of devotion, the spirit of which
implies similar views of the power and love of the Virgin Mary, as the
fountain of mercies to mankind, and the dispenser of every heavenly

At the head of these modern works, I was led to read over again the
encyclical letter of the present sovereign pontiff, from the closing
sentences of which I have already made extracts. And referring his words
to a test which we have more than once applied in a similar case--that
of changing the name of the person, and substituting the name of God, or
his blessed Son, I cannot see how the spirit of his sentiments falls in
the least below the highest degree of religious worship. His words, in
the third paragraph of his letter, as they appear in the Laity's
Directory for 1833, are these:--

"But having at length taken possession of our see in the Lateran Basilic
according to the custom and institution of our predecessors, we turn to
you without delay, venerable brethren, and in testimony of our feelings
towards you, we select for the date of our letter this most joyful day
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
which may prove most salutary to Christ's flock."

Let us substitute for the name of Mary, the holiest of all, The Eternal
Spirit of Jehovah Himself; and will not these words be a proper vehicle
of the sentiments of a Christian pastor? Let us fix upon Christmas-day,
or Easter, or Holy Thursday, and what word expressive {382} of gratitude
for past mercies to the supreme Giver of all good things, or of hope and
trust in the guidance of the Spirit of counsel, and wisdom, and
strength--of the most High God, who alone can order the wills and ways
of men--might not a bishop of Christ's flock take from this declaration
of the Sovereign Pontiff, and use in its first and natural sense, when
speaking of the Lord Jehovah Himself? "We select for the date of our
letter this most joyful day on which we celebrate the solemn festival of
the most blessed Redeemer's nativity, (or glorious resurrection, or
ascension,) that He who has been through every great calamity our patron
and protector, may watch over us writing to you, and lead our mind by
his heavenly influence to those counsels which may prove most salutary
to Christ's flock."

In these sentiments of the present Pope there is no allusion (as there
is in the other clause) to Mary's prayers and intercessions. Looking to
and weighing the words employed, and as far as words can be relied upon
as interpreters of the thoughts, looking to the spirit of his
profession, only one inference can be fairly drawn. However direct and
immediate the prayers of the suppliants may be to the Virgin for her
protection and defence from all dangers, spiritual and bodily, and for
the guidance of the inmost thoughts in the right way, (blessings which
we of the Anglican Catholic Church, following the footsteps of the
primitive flock of Christ, have always looked for at the hand of God
Almighty only, to be granted by Him for the sake of his blessed Son,)
such petitioners to Mary would be sanctioned to the utmost by the
principles and example of the present Roman Pontiff.

We have already, when examining the records of {383} the Council of
Chalcedon, compared the closing words of this encyclical letter with the
more holy and primitive aspirations of the Bishops of Rome and
Constantinople in those earlier days; and the comparison is striking
between the sentiments now expressed in the opening parts of the same
letter, and the spirit of the collects which were adopted for the use of
the faithful, before the invocation of saints and of the Virgin had
gained its present strong hold in the Church of Rome. For example, a
collect at Vespers teaches us to pray to God as the source from whom all
holy desires and all good counsels proceed [Hiem. 149.]; and on the
fifth Sunday after Easter this prayer is offered: "O God, from whom all
good things do come, grant, we pray Thee, that by thy inspiration we may
think those things that be good; and by thy guidance may perform the
same;" whilst on the fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, in a collect, the
spirit of which is strongly contrasted with the sentiments in both parts
of this encyclical letter, God is thus addressed: "We beseech thee, O
Lord, with thy continual pity, guard thy family, that, leaning on the
sole hope of heavenly grace, it may ever be defended by thy protection."
[Ut quæ in _sola_ spe gratiæ coelestis innititur, tua semper protectione
muniatur.--Hiem, 364. "Let us raise our eyes to the Blessed Virgin, who
is our greatest hope, yea, the entire ground of our hope."]

Similar materials are abundant. A whole volume, indeed, might readily be
composed consisting solely of rules and instructions, confessions and
forms of prayer, appertaining to the Virgin and the Saints, published by
authority at the present day, both in our country and on the Continent,
for the use of our Roman Catholic {384} brethren; but to which the word
of God, and the doctrine and practice of the primitive Church, are in
our estimation as much opposed as to the prayers of Bonaventura, or to
the doctrine of either of the Bernardins. It would, however, be
unprofitable to dwell on this subject at any great length. I will,
therefore, only briefly refer to two publications of this sort, to which
my own attention has been accidentally drawn: "The Imitation of the
Blessed Virgin,"[144] and "The Little Testament of the Holy

    [Footnote 144: "The Imitation of the Blessed Virgin, composed on
    the plan of the Imitation of Christ. London, 1816. Approved by
    T.R. Asselini, Doctor of Sorbonne, last Bishop of Boulogne. From
    the French."]

    [Footnote 145: "The Little Testament of the Holy Virgin,
    translated from the French, and revised by a Catholic Priest.
    Third Edition. Dublin, 1836."]

The first professes to be "composed on the plan of the 'Imitation of
Christ.'" This is, in itself, highly objectionable; its tendency is to
exalt Mary, by association, to the same place in our hearts and minds,
which Thomas à Kempis had laboured, in his "Imitation of Christ," to
secure for the Saviour; and it reminds us of the proceedings of
Bonaventura, who wrote psalms to the honour of the Virgin after the
manner which David used in his hymns to the Lord of Glory. In this work
we read the following prayer to the Virgin, which seems to be stained
with the error, the existence of which elsewhere we have already
noticed, of contrasting the justice and the stern dealings even of the
Saviour, with the mercy, and loving-kindness, and fellow-feeling of
Mary; making God an object of fear, Mary an object of love.

"Mother of my Redeemer, O Mary, in the last moments {385} of my life, I
implore thy assistance with more earnestness than ever. I find myself,
as it were, placed between heaven and hell. Alas! what will become of
me, if thou do not exert, in my behalf, thy powerful influence with
Jesus?... I die with SUBMISSION since JESUS has ORDAINED it; but
notwithstanding the natural horror which I have of death, I die with
PLEASURE, because I die under THY protection." [Chap. xiii. p. 344.]

In the fourteenth chapter the following passage occurs: "It is giving to
the blessed Virgin a testimony of love particularly dear and precious to
her, to make her holy spouse Joseph the first object of our devotion,
next to that which consecrates us to her service.... The name of Joseph
is invoked with singular devotion by all the true faithful. They
frequently join it with the sacred names of Jesus and Mary. Whilst Jesus
and Mary lived at Nazareth, if we had wished to obtain some favour from
them, could we have employed a more powerful protector than St. Joseph?
Will he now have less power and credit? GO THEREFORE TO JOSEPH, (Gen.
xli. 55.) that he may intercede for you. Whatever favour you ask, God
will grant it you at his request.... Go to Joseph in all your
necessities; but especially to obtain the grace of a happy death. The
general opinion that he died in the arms of Jesus and Mary has inspired
the faithful with great confidence, that, through his intercession, they
will have an end as happy and consoling as his. In effect, it has been
remarked, that it is particularly at the hour of death that those who
have been during their life careful to honour this great saint, reap the
fruit of their devotion." [P. 347.]

In this passage the unworthy idea, itself formed on a groundless
tradition, is introduced of paying reverence {386} to one saint, in
order to gratify and conciliate another. Joseph must be especially
honoured in order to do what is most acceptable to Mary. Surely this
tends to withdraw the mind from that habitual reference of all our
actions immediately to God, which the primitive teachers were so anxious
to cultivate in all Christians.

In the "Little Testament of the Holy Virgin," the following (p. 46) is
called, "A Prayer to the blessed Virgin." Can any words place more on an
entire level with each other, the eternal Son of God and the Virgin?
"Jesus and Mary?!"

"O Mary! what would be our poverty and misery if the Father of Mercies
had not drawn you from his treasury to give you to earth! Oh! my Life
and Consolation, I trust and confide in your holy name. My heart wishes
to love you; my mouth to praise you; my mind to contemplate you; my soul
sighs to be yours. Receive me, defend me, preserve me; I cannot perish
in your hands. Let the demons tremble when I pronounce your holy name,
since you have ruined their empire; but we shall say with Saint Anselm,
that he does not know God, who has not an idea sufficiently high of your
greatness and glory. We shall esteem it the greatest honour to be of the
number of your servants. Let your glory, blessed Mother, be equal to the
extent of your name; reign, after God, over all that is beneath God;
but, above all, reign in my heart; you will be my consolation in
suffering, my strength in weakness, my counsel in doubt. At the name of
Mary my hope shall be enlightened, my love inflamed. Oh! that I could
deeply engrave the dear name on every heart, suggest it to every tongue,
and make all celebrate it with me. Mary! sacred name, under which no one
{387} should despair. Mary! sacred name, often assaulted, but always
victorious. Mary! it shall be my life, my strength, my comfort! Every
day shall I envoke IT AND THE DIVINE NAME OF JESUS. The Son will awake
the recollection of the mother, and the mother that of the Son. JESUS
AND MARY! this is what my heart shall say at the last hour, if my tongue
cannot; I shall hear them on my death bed,--they shall be wafted on my
expiring breath, and I with them, to see THEM, know THEM, bless and love
THEM for eternity. Amen."

There may, perhaps, be a reasonable ground for our hoping that these are
not the sentiments entertained by the enlightened Roman Catholics of our
country and age. Any one has a full right to say, "These are productions
of individuals for which we and the Church to which we belong are not
responsible, any more than the Church of England is responsible for all
doctrines and sentiments expressed by writers in her communion! Even the
sentiments above referred to of the present reigning pope, you have no
right to allege as the doctrines of the Church!" But I would again
venture to suggest to every one, who would thus speak, the duty of
ascertaining for himself, whether the sentiments of those who at present
fill the highest places, and which fully justify these devotional
exercises and prayers to the Virgin and the Saints, be not themselves
fully justified by the authorized ritual of the Roman Church. On this
point are supplied, even in this volume, materials sufficiently
diversified and abundant in quantity to enable any one to form a correct

By two brief extracts I will now bring this branch of our inquiry to a
close. The first is from the concluding paragraphs of a discourse lately
delivered and {388} published. In principle, the sentiments here
professed apparently admit not only of being identified with those of
the authorized services of the Church of Rome, but also, though not so
naked and revolting in appearance as the doctrines of Bonaventura, Biel,
and the two Bernardins, yet in reality they equally depart from the
simplicity of the Gospel, and are equally at direct variance with that,
its first and its last principle, ONE GOD AND ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD

"Remember that this day you have put yourselves and your families under
the protection of the ever-blessed Mother of God, and Her chaste Spouse,
St. Joseph; of those who were chosen of God to protect the infancy of
Jesus from the danger by a persecuting world. ENTREAT THEM TO PROTECT
YOU AND YOURS FROM THE PERILS of a seducing and ensnaring world; to
plead your interests in heaven, and secure by their intercession your
everlasting crown. Loudly proclaim the praises of your heavenly Queen,
but at the same time turn Her power to your everlasting advantage by
your earnest supplications to HER." (See Appendix.)

The other extract, which sanctions to the full whatever offerings of
praise and ascriptions of glory we have found individuals making to the
Virgin and to Saints, is from an announcement in, I believe, the last
English edition of the Roman Breviary published, in its present form,
under the sanction of the Pope himself.

"To those who devoutly recite the following prayer after the office,
Pope Leo the Tenth hath granted pardon (indulsit) for the defects and
faults in celebrating it, contracted by human frailty.

"To the most holy and undivided Trinity; to the manhood {389} of our
crucified Lord Jesus Christ; to the fruitful spotlessness of the most
blessed and most glorious and ever-Virgin Mary; and to the entire body
of all the Saints, be eternal praise, honour, virtue, and glory, from
every creature, and to us remission of all sins, through endless ages of
ages. Amen." [Norwich, 1830. Æst.]

On the indulgence for pardon given by Pope Leo the Tenth, more than 300
years ago, for such defects and faults in celebrating a religious
service as may be contracted by human frailty; and on the fact of the
notification of that indulgence being retained, and set forth so
prominently in the service books at the present day, I will say nothing.
Whatever associations may be raised in our minds by these circumstances,
the subject does not fall within our present field of inquiry. But to
join the Holy Trinity with the Virgin Mother, and all the Saints in one
and the same ascription of ETERNAL PRAISE, HONOUR, and GLORY, is as
utterly subversive of the integrity of primitive Christian Worship, as
it is repugnant to the plainest sense of holy Scripture, and derogatory
to the dignity of that Supreme Being, who declares Himself to be a
jealous God.

It has, indeed, been maintained that such ascriptions of glory and
praise jointly to God and his Saints, is sanctioned by the language of
our blessed Saviour Himself when He speaks of his having given his glory
to his disciples [John xvii. 22.], and of his second advent, when He
shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy
angels. [Luke ix. 26.] But between the two cases there is no analogy
whatever; the inference is utterly fallacious. We know that the Lord of
Hosts is the King of glory, and that his eternal Son shared the glory of
his Father before the foundations {390} of the world were laid. We know,
too, that the Almighty has been pleased to create beings of various
degrees and orders, differing from each other in kind or in excellence
according to his supreme will. Among those creatures of his hand are the
angels whom we reverence and love, as his faithful servants and his
ministers to us for good. But when we speak and think of religious
adoration; of giving thanks; and ascribing eternal glory and honour, we
have only one object in our minds,--the supreme Sovereign Lord of all.

With regard to the gracious words of our Saviour in his prayer to the
Father, on the eve of his death, St. Peter's acts and words supply us
with a plain and conclusive comment. He was himself one of those to whom
Christ had declared that He had given the glory which his Father had
given to Him; and yet when Cornelius fell down at his feet to worship
him, he took him up, saying, "Stand up; I myself also am a man." [Acts
x. 26.] The Saviour was pleased to impart his glory to his Apostles,
dividing to them his heavenly gifts severally as He willed. We praise
Him for those graces which shone so brightly in them, and we pray to Him
to enable us by his grace to follow them, as they followed his blessed
steps. We reverence their memory, but we give God alone the praise.

As to the other instance, the words of our Lord (assuring us that the
angels should accompany Him at his second advent in their glory, the
glory which He assigned to them in the order of creation,) no more
authorize us to ascribe praise and glory by a religious act to them,
when we praise the God of angels and men, than would {391} the assurance
of an inspired apostle, that "there is one glory of the sun, another
glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars," sanction us in
joining those luminaries in the same ascription of glory with their
Almighty Creator and ours. Just as reasonably would a pagan justify his
worship of the sun, the moon, and the stars, by this passage of
Scripture, as our Roman Catholic brethren would justify themselves by
the former passage in their ascription of praise and glory to the holy
angels, and saints, and the blessed Virgin. We honour the holy angels,
we praise God for the glory which He has imparted to them, and for the
share which He has been pleased to assign to them in executing his
decrees of mercy in the heavenly work of our salvation; and we pray to
HIM to grant that they may by his appointment succour and defend us on
earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. But we address no invocation to
them; we ascribe no glory to them as an act of religious worship. By
offering thanks and praise to God He declares that we honour HIM; by
offering thanks and praise, and by ascribing glory and honour to angel,
saint, or virgin, we make them gods. {392}

       *       *       *       *       *


We have now, my fellow Christians, arrived at the conclusion of the task
which I proposed to undertake. I have laid before you, to the utmost of
my abilities and means, the result of my inquiry into the evidence of
holy Scripture and primitive antiquity, on the invocation of saints and
angels, and the blessed Virgin Mary. In this inquiry, excepting so far
as was necessary to elucidate the origin and history of the Roman
Catholic tenet of the Assumption of the Virgin, we have limited our
researches to the writers who lived before the Nicene Council. That
Council has always been considered a cardinal point,--a sort of
climacteric in the history of the early Church. It was the first Council
to which all the bishops of Christendom were summoned; and the influence
of its decrees is felt beneficially in the Catholic Church to this very
day. In fixing upon this Council as our present boundary line, I was
influenced by a conviction, that the large body of Christians, whether
of the Roman, the Anglican, or any other branch of the Church Catholic,
would consent to this as an indisputable axiom,--that what the Church
Catholic did not believe or practise up to {393} that date of her
existence upon earth, cannot be regarded as either Catholic or
primitive, or apostolical. Ending with St. Athanasius, (who, though he
was present at that Council, yet brings his testimony down through
almost another half century, his death not having taken place till A.D.
873, on the verge of his eightieth year,) we have examined the remains
of Christian antiquity, reckoning forward to that Council from the times
of the Apostles. We have searched diligently into the writings, the
sentiments, and the conduct of those first disciples of our Lord. We
have contemplated the words of our blessed Saviour himself, and the
inspired narrative of his life and teaching. With the same object in
view we have studied the prophets of the Old Testament, and the works of
Moses; and we have endeavoured, at the fountainhead, to ascertain what
is the mind and will of God, as revealed to the world from the day when
He made man, on the question of our invoking the angels and saints to
intercede with Him in our behalf, or to assist and succour us on the
earth. And the result is this:--From first to last, the voice of God
Himself, and the voices of the inspired messengers of heaven, whether
under the patriarchal, the Mosaic, or the Christian dispensations, the
voices too of those maintainers of our common faith in Christ, who
prayed, and taught, in the Church, before the corruptions of a
degenerate world had mingled themselves with the purity of Christian
worship, combine all, in publishing, throughout the earth, one and the
self-same principle, "Pray only to God; draw nigh to Him alone; invoke
no other; seek no other in the world of spirits, neither angel, nor
beatified saint; seek Him, and He will favourably, with mercy, hear your
prayers." To this one {394} principle, when the Gospel announced the
whole counsel of God in the salvation of man, our Lord himself, his
Apostles, and his Church, unite in adding another principle of eternal
obligation,--There is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ
Jesus; whatsoever the faithful shall ask the Father in the name of that
Mediator, He will grant it to them: He is ever living to make
intercession for those who believe in Him: Invoke we no other
intercessor, apply we neither to saint nor angel, plead we the merits of
no other. Let us lift up our hearts to God Almighty himself, and make
our requests known to Him in the name, and through the mediation of
Christ, and He will fulfil our desires and petitions as may be most
expedient for us; He will grant to us, in this world, a knowledge of his
truth, and in the world to come life everlasting!

Watching the tide of evidence through its whole progress, we find it to
flow all in this one direction. Here and there indeed attempts have been
made to raise some mounds and barriers of human structure, in order to
arrest its progress, and turn it from its straight course, but in vain;
unchecked by any such endeavours, it rolls on in one full, steady,
strong, and resistless current. Until we have long passed the Nicene
Council, we find no one writer of the Christian Church, whose remains
tell us, that he either himself invoked saints and angels, and the
Virgin Mary, or was at all aware of any such practice prevailing in
Christendom. Suppose, for one moment, that our doctrine is right; and
then we find the whole tenour of the Old and New Testaments, and the
ancient writers, in their plain meaning, agreeably to the interpretation
of the most learned and unbiassed critics, fully coinciding in every
respect with our view of God being the sole object of invocation, {395}
and of the exclusive character of Christ's intercession, mediation, and
advocacy. Suppose, for another moment, the Roman Catholic theory to be
correct, then the whole general tenour and drift of Scripture must be
evaded; the clearest statements and announcements must be explained away
by subtle distinctions, gratuitous definitions, and casuistical
refinements, altogether foreign from the broad and simple truths of
Revelation; then, too, in ascertaining the sentiments of an author, not
his general and pervading principles, evidenced throughout his writings,
must be appealed to; but casual and insulated expressions must be
contracted or expanded as may best seem to counteract the impression
made by the testimony of those principles. We may safely ask, Is there
such evidence, that the primitive Church offered invocations to saints
and angels, and the Virgin, as would satisfy us in the case of any
secular dispute with regard to ancient usage? On the contrary, is not
the evidence clear to a moral demonstration, that the offering of such
addresses is an innovation of later days, unknown to the primitive
Christians till after the middle of the fourth century, and never
pronounced to be an article of faith, until the Council of Trent, more
than a thousand years after its first appearance in Christendom, so
decreed it.

The tendency, indeed, of some Roman Catholic writings, especially of
late years, is to draw off our minds on these points from the written
word of God, and the testimony of the earliest Church, and to dwell upon
the possibility, the reasonableness of the doctrines of the Church of
Rome in this respect, their accordance with our natural feelings, and
their charitableness. But in points of such vast moment, in things
concerning the soul's salvation, we can depend with satisfaction and
{396} without misgiving, only on the sure word of promise; nothing short
of God's own pledge of his own eternal truth can assure us, that all is
safe. Such substitution of what may appear to us reasonable, and
agreeable to our natural sentiments, and desirable if true, in place of
the assurances of God's revealed Will, may correspond with the arguments
of a heathen philosopher unacquainted with the truth as it is in Jesus,
but cannot satisfy disciples of Him who brought life and immortality to
light by his Gospel. Such questions as these, "Is there any thing
unreasonable in this? Would not this be a welcome tenet, if true?" well
became the lips of Socrates in his defence before his judges, but are in
the strict sense of the word preposterous in a Christian. With the
Christian the first question is, What is the truth? What is revealed?
What has God promised? What has He taught man to hope for? What has He
commanded man to do? By his own words, by the words and by the example
of his inspired messengers, by the doctrine and practice of his Church,
the witness and interpreter of the truth, how has He directed us to sue
for his mercy and all its blessings? On what foundation, sure and
certain, can we build our hopes that "He will favourably with mercy hear
our prayers?" For in this matter, a matter of spiritual life and death,
we can anchor our hope on no other rock than his sure word of promise.

That sure word of promise, if I am a faithful believer, I have; but it
is exclusive of any invocation by me of saint, or angel, or virgin. The
pledge of heaven is most solemnly and repeatedly given; God, who cannot
lie, has, in language so plain, that he may run who readeth it, assured
me that if I come to HIMSELF by HIS SON, my prayer shall not be cast
out, my suit shall {397} not be denied, I shall not be sent empty away.
In every variety of form which language can assume, this assurance is
ratified and confirmed. His own revealed will directs me to pray for my
fellow-creatures, and to expect a beneficial effect from the prayers of
the faithful upon earth in my behalf. To pray for them, therefore, and
to seek their prayers, and to wait patiently for an answer to both, are
acts of faith and of duty. And were it also appointed by God's will to
be an act of faith and duty in a Christian to seek the prayers, and aid,
and assistance, of saints and angels by supplicatingly invoking them,
surely the same word of truth would have revealed that also. Whereas the
reverse shows itself under every diversified state of things, from the
opening of the sacred book to its very last page. The subtle distinction
of religious worship into latria, dulia, and hyperdulia, the refined
classification of prayer under the two heads of direct, absolute, final,
sovereign, on the one hand, and of oblique, relative, transitory,
subaltern, on the other, swell indeed many elaborate works of casuistry,
but are not discoverable in the remains of primitive Christians, nor in
the writings of God's word have they any place. I cannot find in the
inspired Apostles any reference to the necessity, the duty, the
lawfulness, the expediency of our seeking by prayer the good offices of
the holy dead, or of the angels of light. In their successors the
earliest inspired teachers and pastors of Christ's fold, I seek in vain
for any precept, or example, or suggestion, or incidental allusion
looking that way. Why then should a Christian wish to add to that which
God has been pleased to appoint and to reveal? Why should I attempt to
enter heaven through any other gate than {398} that gate which the Lord
of heaven has opened for me? or why should I seek to reach that gate by
any other way than the way which He has made for me; which He has
Himself plainly prescribed to me; in which He has promised that his word
shall be a lantern unto my feet; and along which those saints and
servants of his, who received the truth from his own lips, and sealed it
by their blood, have gone before?

Whenever a maintainer of the doctrine and practice of invoking the
Saints asks me, as we have lately been asked in these words, "May I not
reasonably hope that their prayers will be more efficacious than my own
and those of my friends? And, under this persuasion, I say to them, as I
just now said to you, holy Mary, holy Peter, holy Paul, pray for me.
What is there in reason or revelation to forbid me to do so?" To this
and similar questions and suggestions, I answer at once, God has
solemnly covenanted to grant the petitions of those who ask HIM for his
mercy, in the name and for the sake of his Son; and in his holy word
has, both by precept and example, taught us in this life to pray for
each other, and to ask each other's prayers [James v. 16; I Tim. ii.
1.]; but that He will favourably answer the prayers which we supplicate
angels to offer, or which we offer to Himself through the merits and by
the intercession of departed mortals, is no where in the covenant.
Moreover, when God invites me and commands me to approach Him myself, in
the name of his Son, and trusting to his merits, it is not Christian
humility, rather it savours of presumption, and intruding into those
things which we have not seen [Coloss. ii. 18.], to seek to prevail with
Him by {399} pleading other merits, and petitioning creatures, however
glorious, to interest themselves with Him in our behalf, angels and
saints, of whose power even to hear us we have no evidence. When Jesus
Himself, who knows both the deep counsels of the Eternal Spirit, and
man's wants and weaknesses and unworthiness, and who loveth his own to
the end, pledges his never-failing word, that whatsoever we ask the
Father in his name, He will give it us, can it be less than an unworthy
distrust of his truth and faithfulness to ask the Father for the merits
and by the intercession of another? and as though in fear lest God
should fail of his promise, or be unmindful of us Himself, to invoke
angels and the good departed to make our wants known unto HIM, and
prevail with HIM to relieve us?

Surely it were wiser and safer to adhere religiously to that one way
which cannot fail, than to adopt for ourselves methods and systems, for
the success of which we have no guarantee; which may be unacceptable in
his sight; and the tendency of which may be to bring down a curse and
not a blessing.

May the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls pour down upon his Church the
abundance of his mercy, preserving those in the truth who now possess
it, restoring it to those by whom it has been lost, and imparting it to
all who are yet in darkness. And, whilst we speak the truth in love, and
endeavour to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, may HE,
for his own glory, and for the safety and comfort of his people, shed
this truth abroad in our hearts, and enlighten us to receive it in all
its fulness and integrity, and in the very sense in which the Holy
Spirit, when He guided {400} the pen of St. Paul, willed the Church to
interpret it, "There is one God and one Mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus."

       *       *       *       *       *

O everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of
Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant, that as thy holy
Angels alway do Thee service in heaven, so by thy appointment they may
succour and defend us on earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Almighty God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the
Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone;
Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine,
that we may be made an holy temple, acceptable unto Thee, through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and
fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us
grace, so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living,
that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which Thou hast prepared for
them that unfeignedly love Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

Note.--Pages 107 and 110.

The following is the original of the passages discussed in the text.
Justin Martyr, Apol. I. p. 47. § vi. Benedictine Edition by P. Maran.
Paris, A.D. 1742.

[Greek: Enthende kai atheoi keklaemetha; kai homologoumen ton toiouton
nomizomenon theon atheoi einai, all' ouchi tou alaethestatou, kai patros
dikaiosunaes kai sophrosunaes, kai ton allon areton, anepimiktou te
kakias Theou; all' ekeinon te, kai ton par' autou huion elthonta kai
didaxanta haemas tauta, kai ton ton allon hepomenon kai exomoioumenon
agathon angelon straton, pneuma te to prophaetikon sebometha, kai
proskunoumen, logoi kai alaetheiai timontes, kai panti boulomenoi
mathein, hos edidachthaemen, aphthonos paradidontes.]

Ibid. page 50, 51. sect. xiii.--[Greek: 'Atheoi men oun hos ouk esmen,
ton daemiourgon toude tou pantos sebomenoi, ... ton didaskalon te touton
genomenon haemin, kai eis touto genaethenta Iaesoun Christon ton
staurothenta epi Pontiou Pilatou, tou genomenou en Ioudaiai epi chronois
Tiberiou Kaisaros epitropou, huion autou tou ontos Theou mathontes, kai
en deuterai chorai echontes, pneuma te prophaetikon en tritaei taxei,
hoti meta logou timomen, apodeixomen....]

Note.--Page 134.

In the text it has been observed, that "Coccius in his elaborate work
quotes the two following passages as Origen's, without expressing {402}
any hesitation or doubt respecting their genuineness; in which he is
followed by writers of the present day."

The modern works, to which reference is here made, are chiefly the
Lectures delivered by Dr. Wiseman, in the Roman Catholic Chapel in
Moorfields in the year 1836, and the compilation of Messrs. Berington
and Kirk [Berington and Kirk. London, 1830, p. 403.], from which Dr.
Wiseman in his preface to his Lectures (p. ix.) informs us, that in
general he had drawn his quotations of the Fathers. In citing the
testimony of Origen in support of the invocation of saints, it is
evident that Dr. Wiseman has drawn from that source; for whereas the two
confessedly spurious passages, from the Lament, and from the Book on
Job, are in that compilation quoted in the same page, Dr. Wiseman cites
only the passage from the Lament, as from a work on the Lamentations,
but gives his reference to the Book on Job. His words are these:--"Again
he (Origen) thus writes on the Lamentations: 'I will fall down on my
knees, and not presuming, on account of my crimes, to present my prayer
to God, I will invoke all the saints to my assistance. O ye saints of
heaven, I beseech you with a sorrow full of sighs and tears; fall at the
feet of the Lord of mercies for me, a miserable sinner,'--Lib. ii. De
Job." [Lectures on the Principal Doctrines and Practices of the Catholic
Church, by Nicholas Wiseman, D.D. London, 1836. Vol. i. preface, p. ix.
and vol. ii. p. 107.]

When we find such passages as these, which have been so long ago and so
repeatedly pronounced to be utterly spurious, yet cited in evidence at
the present time, and represented as conveying the genuine testimony of
Origen, we shall be pardoned for repeating the sentiments expressed so
many years ago by the learned Bishop of Avranches with regard to the
very work here cited, "It is wonderful that, WITHOUT ANY MARK OF THEIR
BEING FORGERIES, they should be sometimes cited in evidence by some

Note.--Page 151.

The whole passage cited as Origen's comment on the words of Ezekiel,
"The heavens are opened," is in the Latin version as follows. The Greek
original, if it ever existed, is lost. The portion between brackets is
the part suspected of being an interpolation.

6. _Et aperti sunt coeli_. Clausi erant coeli, et ad adventum Christi
aperti sunt, ut reseratis illis veniret super eum Spiritus Sanctus in
specie columbæ. Neque enirn poterat ad nos commeare nisi primum {403} ad
suæ naturæ consortem descendisset. _Ascendit Jesus in altum, captivam
duxit captivitatem, accepit dona in hominibus. Qui descendit, ipse est
qui ascendit super omnes coelos ut impleret omnia. Et ipse dedit alios
apostolos, alios prophetas, alios evangelistas, alios pastores et
magistros in perfectionem sanctorum_.

[7. _Aperti sunt coeli_. Non sufficit unum coelum aperiri: aperiuntur
plurimi, ut descendant non ab uno, sed ab omnibus coelis angeli ad eos
qui salvandi sunt. Angeli qui ascendebant et descendebant super Filium
hominis, et accesserunt as eum, et ministrabant ei. Descenderunt autem
angeli, quia prior descenderat Christus, metuentes descendere priusquam
Dominus virtutum omnium rerumque præciperet. Quando autem viderunt
principem militiæ coelestis in terrestribus locis commorari, tunc per
apertam viam ingressi sunt sequentes Dominum suum, et parentes voluntati
ejus qui distribuit eos custodes credentium nomini suo. Tu heri sub
dæmonio eras, hodie sub angelo. _Nolite_, inquit Dominus, _contemnere
unum de minimis istis_ qui sunt in ecclesia. _Amen enim dico vobis, quia
angeli eorum per omnia vident faciem Patris qui est in coelis_.
Obsequuntur saluti tuæ angeli, concessi sunt ad ministerium Filii Dei,
et dicuntinter se: si ille descendit, et descendit in corpus; si mortali
indutus est carne, et sustinuit crucem, et pro hominibus mortuus est,
quit nos quiescimus? quid parcimus nobis? Eja omnes angeli descendamus e
coelo. Ideo et multitudo militiæ coelestis erat laudantium et
glorificantium Deum, quando natus est Christus. Omnia angelis plena
sunt: veni, angeli, suscipe sermone conversum ab errore pristino, a
doctrina dæmoniorum, ab iniquitate in altum loquente: et suscipiens eum
quasi medicus bonus confove atque institue, parvulus est, hodie nascitur
senex repuerascens: et suscipe tribuens ei baptismum secundæ
regenerationis, et advoca tibi alios socios ministerii tui, ut concti
pariter eos qui aliquando decepti sunt, erudiatis ad fidem. _Gaudium
enim est majus in coelis super unum peccatorem poenitentiam agentem,
quam supra nonaginta novem justos quibus non opus est poenitentia_.
Exultat omnis creatura, collætatur et applaudit his qui salvandi sunt.
Nam _expectatio creaturæ revelationem filiorum Dei expectat_. Et licet
nolint ii qui scripturas apostolicas interpolaverunt istiusmodi sermones
inesse libris eorum quibus possit Creator Christus approbari, expectat
tamen omnis creatura filios Dei, quando liberentur a delicto, quando
auferentur de Zabuli manu, quando regenerentur a Christo. Verum jam
tempus est, ut de præsenti loco aliqua tangamus. Vidit Propheta non
visionem, sed visiones Dei. {404} Quare non vidat unam, sed plurimas
visiones? Audi Dominum pollicentem atque dicentem: _Ego visiones
multiplicavi_. 8. _Quinta mensis_. Hic annus quinta captivitatis regis
Joachim. Trigesimo anno ætatis Ezekielis, et quinto captivitatis
Joachim, Propheta mittiur ad Judæos. Non despexit clementissimus pater,
nec longo tempore incommonitum populum dereliquit. Quintus est annus.
Quantum temporis intercessit? Quinque anni interfluxerunt ex quo captivi

Statim descendit Spiritus Sanctus,--aperuit coelos, ut hi qui
captivitatis jugo premebantur, viderent ea quæ videbantur a Propheta.
Dicente quippe eo, _Et aperti sunt coeli_, quodam modo et ipsi
intuebantur oculis cordis quæ ille etiam oculis carnis aspexerat.--Vol.
iii. p. 358.

Note.--Page 165.

In a note on the Epistle of St. Cyprian to his brother, reference was
made to the Appendix for a closer comparison of Cyprian's original
letter with the modern translation of the passage under consideration.
By placing the two versions in parallel columns side by side, we shall
immediately see, that the mode of citing the testimony of St. Cyprian
adopted in Dr. Wiseman's Lectures, from the compilation of Messrs.
Berington and Kirk, is rather to substitute his own comment and
inference, than to allow the witness to speak for himself in his own
words. The whole paragraph, as it appears in Dr. Wiseman's Lectures, is

"St. Cyprian in the same century: 'Let us be mindful of one another in
our prayers; with one mind and with one heart, in this world and in the
next, let us always pray with mutual charity relieving our sufferings
and afflictions. And may the charity of him, who, by the divine favour,
shall first depart hence, still persevere before the Lord; may his
prayer, for our brethren and sisters, not cease.' Therefore, after
having departed this life, the same offices of charity are to continue,
by praying for those who remain on earth." [Lect. xiii. vol. ii. p. 107,
and Berington and Kirk, p. 430.]

_St. Cyprian's words_. _Epist._ lvii. _p._ 96.

_Translation adopted by Dr. Wiseman from Berington and Kirk._

1. Memories nostri invicem simus,

1. Let us be mindful of one
another IN OUR PRAYERS; {405}

2.  Concordes atque unanimes,         2. With one mind and with
                                      one heart.

3.  Utrobique.                        3. In this world and in the next,

4.  PRO NOBIS semper oremus,          4. Let us always pray,

5.  Pressuras et angustias mutua      5. With mutual charity RELIEVING out
caritate relevemus,                   sufferings and afflictions.

6. Et si quis istinc nostrum          6. And may the CHARITY OF HIM,
prior divinæ dignationis celeritate   who, by the divine facour, shall
præcesserit, perseveret apud Dominum  first depart hence, still persevere
NOSTRA DILECTIO,                      before the Lord;

7. Pro fratribus et sororibus         7. May HIS prayer, for our brethren
nostris apud misericordiam patris     and sisters, not cease.
non cesset oratio.

In this translation, by inserting the words, _in our prayers_, which are
not in the original in the first clause; by rendering the adverb
_utrobique_, IN THIS WORLD AND IN THE NEXT, in the third clause; by
omitting the words _pro nobis, for each other_, which are in the
original, in the fourth clause; by changing in the fifth the verb
_relevemus, let us relieve_, implying another branch of their mutual
kindness, into the participle _relieving_, which may imply, that the
relief alluded to was also to be conveyed by the medium of their
prayers; by substituting _the charity of him_, in place of _nostra
dilectio, our charity_, in the sixth; and by inserting the word _his_,
which is not in the original, before _prayer_, where the grammar of the
sentence requires _our_, in the seventh clause;--by these means the
translator makes Cyprian express a sentiment far removed from what the
words of Cyprian, in their plain and natural sense, convey. It must,
however, be borne in mind, as we have shown in our examination of the
passage, that the sentiment of Cyprian, even as it is thus unduly
extracted from his words, would not in the remotest degree countenance
the invocation of saints. It would do no more than imply his belief,
that the faithful departed may take an interest in the welfare of their
surviving friends on earth, and promote that welfare by their prayers; a
point which, in the preface, is mentioned as one of those topics, the
discussion of which would be avoided in this inquiry, as quite distinct
from the invocation of saints. {406}

Note.--Page 176.

An extract from Eusebius, unnoticed in the text of this work, has
recently been cited as conveying his testimony in favour of the
invocation of saints. I have judged it better to defer the consideration
of it to the appendix. It has been cited in these terms: "In the fourth
century Eusebius of Cæsarea thus writes: 'May we be found worthy by the
prayers and intercessions of all the saints.'" [Dr. Wiseman's Lectures,
vol. ii. p. 107. Lect. xiii. Berington and Kirk, p. 431.] To form a just
estimate of this alleged testimony, it is requisite that we have before
us not only that incomplete clause, but the whole passage purporting to
contain, in these words, the closing sentences of a commentary on
Isaiah: [Tom. ii. p. 593, ed. Paris, 1707. Dr. Wiseman's reference is
"Com. in Isai. Tom. ii. p. 593, ed. Paris, 1706."]

"'And they shall be for a spectacle to all flesh.' To what flesh?
Altogether to that which shall be somewhere punished? Nay, to that which
shall of the heavenly vision be deemed worthy, concerning which it was
said before, All flesh shall come to worship before me, of which may we
also be deemed worthy by the prayers and intercessions of all the
saints. Amen."

In examining this passage I am willing for the present that all its
clauses should be accepted as the genuine words of Eusebius, and
accepted too in the meaning attached to them by those who have cited
them. And to what do they amount? If these are indeed his expressions,
Eusebius believed that the saints departed can forward our spiritual
welfare by their prayers and ministering offices; and he uttered his
desire that we might thus be benefited. Now whether we agree with him or
not in that belief; whether we consider the faithful departed as able to
take an interest in our welfare and to promote it, or regard such an
opinion as without foundation in the word of God and in primitive
doctrine; the belief implied and the wish expressed here by Eusebius,
are widely indeed removed from the act of suppliantly invoking the
saints departed, and resorting to them with entreaties for their prayers
and intercessions in our behalf. These two things, although often
confounded, are far from being equivalent; and by all who would
investigate with fairness the subject of our inquiry, they must be
carefully kept distinct. The invocation of saints being the single point
in question, our business is to ascertain, not what opinions Eusebius
may have {407} entertained as to the condition, and power, and offices
of the saints departed, but whether he invoked them; whether he had
recourse to them with supplications for their prayers, or aid and
succour. And keeping this closely in view, even if we admit this passage
to be genuine, and interpret it as those who have cited it wish it to be
interpreted, we find in it no authority for the invocation of saints. A
Christian would be no more countenanced by this language of Eusebius in
suppliantly invoking departed saints, than he would in praying to the
angels for their help and mediation be countenanced by the terms of the
prayer in regard to them, addressed by the Anglican Church to God, "O
everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of
angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant, that as thy holy
angels alway do Thee service in heaven, so by THY appointment they may
succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Whoever petitions them, makes them Gods--Deos qui rogat ille facit.

But whilst, for the sake of the argument, I have admitted this passage
to be genuine, and correctly translated, and have shown that whether
genuine or not, and even if it be thus correctly translated, it affects
not in the least the issue of our inquiry, I do not feel at liberty to
withhold the acknowledgment of my persuasion that in this concession I
grant too much. For, in the first place, I am assured, that if the
passage came from the pen of Eusebius, no one is justified in confining
the desire and wish contained in it to the intercessions and prayers of
the saints in heaven; and, secondly, I see reasons for inferring that
the last clause was framed and attached to this work, not by Eusebius
himself, but by some editor or scribe.

In support of my first persuasion, I would observe that the very
language of the writer of these comments on Isaiah and the Psalms
precludes us from regarding the Saints departed as exclusively
constituting those "holy ones" by whose intercessions and prayers he
expresses his desire that our spiritual welfare may be promoted. In this
very comment on Isaiah (ch. vi. 2. p. 376), when he is speaking of the
heavenly inhabitants, and illustrates his views by God's dealings
towards the children of men in this world, he employs this expression:
"For as among men the Saints of God partake of more excellent graces."
On the 67th (68th) Ps. v. 34, having interpreted the words, "his
strength is in the clouds," as referring to the {408} prophets and
teachers of divine wisdom, under the guidance of the Spirit, pouring
heavenly truths upon the souls of men as the clouds drop rain on fertile
lands, he proceeds thus to comment on the expression, "God is wonderful
among his Saints." [Vol. i. p. 364. The English translation refers the
word "holy" to places, not persons.] "These Saints are different from
those before called Apostles and prophets. And who can they be, except
those who out of all nations are deemed worthy of purity and holiness,
among whom God is wonderful, giving to them power and strength?" Thus in
perfect accordance with the language of this writer, the Saints, from
whose prayers and intercessions he desires to derive spiritual benefits,
may be the Saints of God on earth--in the same state with those saints
still living in the flesh, whose prayers St. Paul desired to be offered
up for himself, that by them a door of utterance to speak the mystery of
Christ might be opened unto him [Coloss. i. 2; iv. 2, 3.]--and with
those saints to whom the same Apostle wrote at Philippi: "To all the
saints in Christ Jesus:" and to whom he sent the greetings of the saints
who then surrounded him: "ALL the SAINTS salute you." [Phil i. 1; iv.

But before the closing words of this paragraph, whatever be its meaning,
be acknowledged as the genuine and undoubted production of Eusebius, I
would suggest the careful weighing of some considerations, which appear
to me to involve serious difficulties.

1. First, through all the voluminous works of Eusebius, I have found in
no single passage any allusion to the prayers of saints departed, or to
their ministering offices in our behalf, though numberless openings show
themselves for the natural introduction of such a subject.

2. Secondly, among all the various works and treatises of Eusebius, I
have not found one which is closed by any termination of the kind; on
the contrary, they all end with remarkable suddenness and abruptness,
precisely as this comment would end, were the sentence under
consideration removed. Each, indeed, of the books of his Ecclesiastical
History, is followed by a notice of the close of the book, in some cases
too that notice involving a religious sentiment: for example, at the
close of the 10th book we read: "With the help of God, the end of the
tenth book." But that these are appendages made by an editor or scribe
is evident in itself, and moreover {409} in many instances is shown by
such sentences as these, "And this we have found in a certain copy in
the 8th volume:" "This is in some copies, as if omitted from the 8th
book." I find no one instance of Eusebius bringing a chapter or a
treatise to its close by any religious sentiment, or any termination of
the nature here contemplated.

It is also difficult to conceive that any author, having the flow and
connexion of the whole passage present to his mind, would himself have
appended this ejaculation as we now find it. We know that editors and
scribes often attached a sentiment of their own to the closing words of
an author. And it seems far more probable, that a scribe not having the
full drift of the argument mainly before him, but catching the
expression, "heavenly vision," appended such an ejaculation. That the
writer himself should introduce such a sentence by the connecting link
of a relative pronoun feminine, which must of necessity be referred, not
as the grammatical construction would suggest to the feminine noun
preceding it,--not to any word expressed or understood in the
intervening clause preceding it,--not to the last word in the sentence
even before that intervening clause, nor yet to the principal and
leading subject immediately under discussion and thrice repeated,--but
to a noun incidentally introduced, seems, to say the least, strange and
unnatural. "And they shall be for a spectacle to all flesh. To what
flesh? Altogether to that which shall be somewhere punished? Nay, to
that which shall of the heavenly vision be deemed worthy, concerning
WHICH it was said before, All FLESH shall come to worship before me, of
which may we also be deemed worthy by the prayers and intercessions of
all the saints. Amen." But the classical reader will appreciate these
remarks more satisfactorily by examining them with reference to the
passage in the original language.

[Greek: Kai esontai eis orasin pasaei sarki. poiai de sarki; ae pantos
pou taei kolasthaesomenaei; taes de epouraniou theas kataxiothaesomenaei
peri HAES anotero elegeto aexei pasa sarx tou proskunaesai enopion mou,
HAES kai haemeis axiotheiaemen euchais kai presbeiais panton ton hagion,

Note.--Page 181.


In the text I observed that some Roman Catholic writers of the present
day had cited the homily there shown to be utterly spurious, {410} as
the genuine work of St. Athanasius, and as recording his testimony in
defence of the invocation of Saints. The passage there referred to Dr.
Wiseman thus introduces, and comments upon.

"St. Athanasius, the most zealous and strenuous supporter that the
Church ever possessed of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and consequently
of his infinite superiority over all the saints, thus enthusiastically
addresses his ever-blessed Mother: 'Hear now, O daughter of David;
incline thine ear to our prayers. We raise our cry to thee. Remember us,
O most holy Virgin, and for the feeble eulogiums we give thee, grant us
great gifts from the treasures of thy graces, thou who art full of
grace. Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Queen and
mother of God, intercede for us.' Mark well," continues Dr. Wiseman,
"these words; 'grant us great gifts, from the treasures of thy graces;'
as if he hoped directly to receive them from her. Do Catholics use
stronger words than these? Or did St. Athanasius think or speak with us,
or with Protestants?"

In answer to these questions I reply with sure and certain confidence,
first, that the genuine words of St. Athanasius himself prove him to
have spoken and thought with the Anglican Church, and not with the Roman
Church on the invocation of saints and angels, and the blessed Virgin
Mary; and secondly, that whatever words Roman Catholics use, whether
stronger or not than these, these words on which the above questions are
put, never came forth from the pen of St. Athanasius. Their spuriousness
is not a question of doubt or difficulty. It has been shown in the text
that the whole homily has been for ages utterly repudiated, as a work
falsely attributed to St. Athanasius. It is indeed very disheartening to
those, whose object is the discovery and the establishment of the truth,
to find works cited in evidence as the genuine productions of primitive
Christian teachers, which have been so long ago, and so repeatedly, and
that not by members of another communion, but by the most learned men of
the Church of Rome, adjudged to be spurious. I do not mean that I think
it not fully competent for a writer of the present day to call in
question, and overrule and set aside the decisions of former editors, as
to the genuine or the spurious character of any work. On the contrary I
am persuaded that a field is open in that department of theology, which
would richly repay all the time and labour and expense, which persons
well qualified for the task could bestow upon its culture. What I lament
is this, that after a work has been deliberately condemned as
unquestionably {411} spurious, by competent and accredited judges for
two centuries and a half at the least, that very work should be now
cited as genuine and conclusive evidence, without any the most distant
allusion to the judgment which had condemned it, or even to any
suspicion of its being a forgery. In this instance, also, Dr. Wiseman
has implicitly followed the compilation of Messrs. Berington and Kirk.
This is evident, because the extract, as it stands word for word the
same in his Lectures and their compilation, is not found as one passage
in the spurious homily, but is made up of sentences selected from
different clauses, and put together so as to make one paragraph. It is
worthy of notice, that in quoting their authority, both Dr. Wiseman, and
those whom he follows, refer us to the very volume in which the
Benedictine editors declare that there was no learned man, who did not
pronounce the work to be spurious; and in which also they quote at
length the letter of Baronius which had proved it to be a forgery. [Dr.
Wiseman's Lectures, vol. ii. p. 108, from Berington and Kirk, p. 430,

Note.--Page 231. (Decree of the Council of Trent.) [Canones et Decreta
Sacros. OEcumen. et Genera. Concilii Tridentini, &c. Rom. fol. A.D.

Mandat sancta Synodus omnibus Episcopis, et ceteris docendi munus
curamque sustinentibus, ut juxta Catholicæ, et Apostolicæ Ecclesiæ usum,
a primævis Christianæ religionis temporibus receptum, sanctorumque
Patrum consensionem, et sacrorum Conciliorum decreta, inprimis de
Sanctorum intercessione, invocatione, Reliquiarum honore, et legitimo
imaginum usu, fideles diligenter instruant, docentes eos, Sanctos, una
cum Christo regnantes, orationes suas pro hominibus Deo offerre; bonum
atque utile esse suppliciter eos invocare; et ob beneficia impetranda a
Deo per Filium ejus Jesum Christum, Dominum nostrum, qui solus noster
Redemptor et Salvator est, ad eorum orationes, opem, auxiliumque
confugere: illos vero, qui negant sanctos æternâ felicitate in coelo
fruentes, invocandos esse; aut qui asserunt, vel illos pro hominibus non
orare, vel eorum, ut pro nobis etiam singulis orent, invocationem esse
idololatriam, vel pugnare cum verbo Dei, adversarique honori unius
Mediatoris Dei et hominum, Jesu Christi, vel stultum esse, in coelo
regnantibus voce, vel mente supplicare, impie sentire. Sanctorum quoque
Martyrum, et aliorum cum Christo viventium Sancta corpora, {412} quæ
viva membra fuerunt Christi, et templum Spiritus Sancti, ab ipso ad
æternam vitam suscitanda et glorificanda, a fidelibus veneranda esse;
per quæ multa beneficia a Deo hominibus præstantur: ita ut affirmantes,
Sanctorum Reliquiis venerationem, atque honorem non deberi; vel eas,
aliaque sacra monumenta a fidelibus inutiliter honorari; atque eorum
opis impetrandæ causa sanctorum memorias frustra frequentari; omnino
damnandos esse, prout jampridem eos damnavit, et nunc etiam damnat
Ecclesia. [De Invocatione, Veneratione, et Reliquiis Sanctorum, et
Sacris Imaginibus, p. 202.]

Note.--Pages 369 and 390.

In a prefatory epistle, addressed to the "Chaplains, Wardens, and
Brethren of the Holy Catholic Gild," in Huddersfield, Dr. Wiseman (p. 4)
expresses himself thus: "Yesterday I laid the badge of your association
at the feet of the sovereign pontiff, and it was most condescendingly
and graciously received. But this is not all. As I had foretold, I found
His Holiness fully informed of your establishment and public
manifestation; and I had the satisfaction of hearing him express his

Towards the close of the sermon, to which this preface is prefixed, and
which was preached at St. Patrick's Chapel, Huddersfield, Sept. 26th,
1839, and was printed at York in the present year [A.D. 1840], the
preacher draws the comparison, referred to in page 370 of this work,
between England and the continent, and between England as it is, and
England as it once was, and as, in his view, it ought to be again. After
describing the scenes which you may witness in Roman Catholic countries,
"where you might see the poor and the afflicted crowding round some
altar, where their pious confidence or experience of past favours leads
them to hope that their prayers will best be heard through the
intercession of our dear Lady," he thus proceeds: "Oh that the time had
come, when a similar expression of our devout feelings towards her
should publicly be made, and all should unite to show her that honour,
that reverence, and love which she deserves from all Christians, and
which has so long been denied her amongst us. There was a time when
England was second to {413} no other country upon earth in the discharge
of this holy duty; and it will be only PART OF THE RESTORATION OF OUR
GOOD AND GLORIOUS DAYS OF OLD to revive to the utmost this part of
ancient piety. Therefore do I feel sincere joy at witnessing the
establishment of this excellent brotherhood, and its public
manifestation in this town this day, both as a means of encouraging
devotion and virtue, and as a return to one of the venerable
institutions of our forefathers. Enter then fully into its spirit."

["A Sermon delivered at St. Patrick's, Huddersfield, Sept. 26th, 1839,
on occasion of the Holy Catholic Gild there established, by the Rev. N.
Wiseman, D.D., Professor in the University of Rome. York, 1840," p. 22,
23. The first quotation made in p. 390, is from this Sermon.]

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