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Title: Sermons on the Scriptural Principles of our Protestant Church
Author: Hoare, Edward N.
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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Transcribed from the 1845 J. Hatchard and Son edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org

                                  ON THE
                          SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLES
                                  OF OUR
                            PROTESTANT CHURCH.

                                  BY THE
                         REV. EDWARD HOARE, M.A.
                       CURATE OF RICHMOND, SURREY.

                                * * * * *

                     J. HATCHARD AND SON, PICCADILLY;

                                * * * * *



A SERMON ON THE THEATRE.  Price 4d., or 3s. per dozen.

Price 1d. each, or 10d. per dozen.


THE following Sermons are committed to the press at the request of many
beloved parishioners.  They were originally preached, as they are now
published, under a deep sense of their imperfection, only equalled by the
perfect conviction of their truth.  The consciousness of defect has
strongly prompted me to keep them back from public criticism; the
assurance of truth has emboldened me to hope that those who took an
interest in their delivery, may derive some profit from their study.  May
God, the Holy Ghost, be pleased to make them useful!  May he accompany
each copy with his blessing! and, forgiving all defects, may He honour
this little volume as an instrument in his own hand for the perfecting of
the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the
body of Christ!

In stating the doctrines of the Church of Rome, the appeal has been made
either to the decrees or the catechism of the Council of Trent.  These
are both authoritative documents, and form the standards of Roman
Catholic theology.  Yet, strange to say, some Protestants are heard to
argue, that by appealing to Trent, we misrepresent the Church of Rome.
The decrees, it is maintained, are antiquated documents, and no longer
express the real opinions of the church.  The true Romanist would not
thank his advocate for such an argument.  A change in their fixed
principles would destroy their claim to infallibility.  Eternal truth
changes not; and whoever changes must be wrong either before the change
or after it.

But such a change has never taken place.  The decrees stand unrepealed.
Romish priests are required to swear to them at their ordination; Romish
disputants appeal to them in controversy; the Pope himself quotes them in
his letters; and they are to this day in full force as the standard
documents of Romanist theology.

Others, again, are often heard to argue that, although these may be the
principles of the Church, they are not the opinions of individuals in
union with Rome.  It is much to be hoped that this charitable supposition
is true of multitudes; that there are very many, who from circumstances
are connected with her communion, but who, from conviction, disclaim many
of her errors.  But how fearful is the position of such an enlightened
Roman Catholic!  A layman may be a member of the Church of England, but
yet differ from many of our principles, for the only declaration of faith
required as an essential to church membership is an assent to the
Apostles’ Creed.  This, and nothing more, is expected of every man before
he can be received into the congregation of Christ’s flock.  Those who
are admitted to the ministry, must add their subscription to the
Articles.  But no subscription is required of the layman; he may
therefore be a faithful churchman, but yet differ from some of the
Church’s doctrines.  What is impossible for the honest clergyman, is
quite possible for him.  But such modification of sentiment is altogether
impossible with Rome.  A layman must be either an entire Romanist, or
reject Rome altogether.  There is no middle course.  A man cannot say “I
am attached to the Church of Rome, but I do not go all lengths with her
opinions.  I believe it to be the true church, but I disapprove of her
worship of the Virgin.”  For Rome has fenced in her opinions with her
curses.  Rome is a cursing church, and the curses attached to her decrees
render modification impossible in her laity.  Take, e.g., the decrees
respecting saint and image worship, in the beginning of the 25th session.
In those decrees, it is declared that images ought to be retained in
churches, and that honour and veneration should be paid to them: and then
is added the curse, “If any man either teach or think contrary to these
decrees, let him be accursed.”  Now it is very plain, that at first sight
the word of God appears in opposition to these decrees, for, if not, the
second commandment would never have been expunged from Romish catechisms.
But if any conscientious Roman Catholic happen to read the 20th chapter
of the book of Exodus; if the thought flash across his mind that the word
of God may possibly mean what it certainly appears to say; if he venture
to think that God meant to forbid image worship when he said, “Thou shalt
not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is
in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve
them.”  For that one passing thought his own church curses him.  She does
not wait till the thought has found utterance in language; he may never
breathe his difficulties to his dearest friend; it is enough if he ever
dare to feel a difficulty; for that one secret doubt the church lays upon
him the burden of her anathema.  Modified popery is therefore an
impossibility.  If men believe the Church of Rome to be the true church,
they must receive her whole system; they cannot pick and choose for
themselves; they cannot retain communion, and yet differ from any of her
doctrines.  They must reject her altogether, or deliver themselves over,
bound hand and foot, mind and conscience, judgment and will, to her
decisions.  Such are the terms of union which Rome imposes on her people.
They leave no middle course between abject submission and fearless
rejection; between unconditional surrender to her decrees, and
unflinching defiance of her anathemas.

Let us Protestants turn those curses into prayers!  Let us plead with God
to have compassion on our poor Roman Catholic brethren; to burst the
bands which are now rivetted on their conscience and their judgment; and
to lead them by his Spirit to the full enjoyment of the truth as it is in

_Richmond_, _May_ 1845.


                        SERMON I.
2 Tim. iii. 15.  The Scriptures                   _Page_ 1
                        SERMON II.
Acts xiii. 39.  Justification                           18
                       SERMON III.
Luke xxiii. 43.  Purgatory                              34
                        SERMON IV.
Hebrews x. 12.  Transubstantiation                      45
                        SERMON V.
2 Tim. iii. 1.  The church in the latter days           71


                               2 TIM. iii. 15.

    And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are
    able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in
    Christ Jesus.

“TO everything there is a season.”  There is “a time to keep silence, and
a time to speak;” a time to be still, and a time to act; and it is the
duty of the careful watchman of the Lord, to be ever on the alert in
watching the rapid progress of God’s providence; to be silent when it is
the time for stillness; to speak, and speak plainly, when he deems it to
be the time for utterance.  It is a conviction of this, which has led to
the commencement of the present course of sermons.  There has never been
a period since the days of the Reformation, in which greater efforts have
been made for the advancement of the influence, and power, of the Church
of Rome; agents have been multiplied in every direction; the order of
Jesuits has been revived; and a zeal has been shown in all branches of
their efforts, which would reflect honour on a better cause.  But there
are two facts in our present position, which deserve our especial
notice,—the one, that our own happy island is the great object of their
exertions.  Yes, England, our own dear England, is the prize at which
Rome is aiming.  The other, that at the very point of this remarkable
crisis in the history of our nation, it is proposed in the parliament of
this protestant country, to give a large and permanent endowment to the
Roman Catholic college at Maynooth; that is, to strengthen and increase
the priests of a system, which is declared by our constitution to be
unscriptural and untrue.

Surely, then, the time is come to speak.  Surely the watchman is bound to
sound the note of warning.  Surely the whole company of God’s believing
people should know well the reason of the hope that is in them, that they
may be able to take their place with boldness in the armies of the Lord;
and, in the last great fearful struggle against Antichrist, be found
standing stedfast, amongst the fearless, faithful, followers of the Lamb.

It is my intention, therefore, to preach a short course of sermons on
some of the leading principles of our protestant church.  It will be my
endeavour rather to set forth the truth than to occupy your time in
exposing error.  God’s people come here to be fed with the bread of life,
and they must not be robbed of their daily food by the introduction of
cold and cheerless controversy.  Our constant desire and prayer to God
for you all is, not that you should be subtle controversialists, but well
instructed and practical believers in your Lord.  This great end I now
hope to keep steadily in view.

Pray for me, dear brethren, that my intention may be carried into effect.
Pray that the spirit of the living God may himself direct me in this
effort for his glory!  Pray for us, as we pray for you, “that speaking
the truth in love, we may grow up unto him in all things.”

Now the controversy between the church of England, and that of Rome,
hinges mainly upon one great turning point, namely this, they deny the
Bible to be the only rule of faith, and appeal to other writings as a
sufficient authority in their statements of sacred truth.  To the Bible,
then, as the rule of faith, we must direct our first attention, and will
endeavour to point out,

I.  Its supreme authority.

II.  Its complete sufficiency.

III.  Its clear intelligibility.

I.  First, then, for its supreme authority.  There is no occasion now to
enter into proofs of its inspiration.  That all scripture is given by
inspiration of God, we may regard as an admitted truth: we are not
dealing with the infidel, but with those who profess to believe the
Scriptures: we are to receive it “not as the word which man’s wisdom
teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth:” to listen to it, “as it is
in truth, the word of God.”  All that we are concerned with now is the
supreme authority, which, being inspired, it possesses over man.  Our
object is to point out, that as the word of God, it has absolute
authority in all its statements of divine truth, and that just as the
written law is the one rule for the nation’s government, so the written
word is the one rule of the Church’s faith.  Who can reveal the truth of
God but God himself?  “The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit
of God.”  And when God speaks, who shall dare to give an opposing
judgment?  “Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord!”  Let us strive then
to realize this fact, that the Bible comes direct from “God, who cannot
lie;” that it is his own statement of his own divine purposes; that He
has, as it were, put his seal and signature to it, to mark it as his own;
that he has brought it forth amongst us with the solemn preface, “Thus
saith the Lord;” and there can then be no doubt left as to its certain,
its invariable, its unfailing, its authoritative truth.  There it stands,
unshaken in its supremacy: like the Sun in heaven, beyond the reach of
man’s attack: like the great mountains, immoveable by man’s effort.  “Thy
word is truth,” saith the Saviour, certain, unfailing, unerring truth;
and though multitudes may deny, though thousands may resist, though the
whole body of unconverted men may hate its message, it is still truth;
the pure, unmixed, unadulterated truth of God.  Nor can any amount of
human evidence rival its authority.  Multiplication does not make
inspiration.  Ten thousand butterflies do not make an eagle; nor can the
human intellect, however multiplied, be measured for a moment with the
mind of God.  Thus, if it were to fall out, (which thanks be to his grace
it never can), that all living men, of all ages and all ranks, were to
agree in the denial of any one doctrine of the gospel; if all the great,
all the learned, all philosophers, and all divines; all that now live, or
ever have lived, were to concur in one united opinion, and that opinion
were in opposition to the Bible; then all must be wrong, and the Bible
must be right; for they are men, and the Holy Ghost is God; and “Let God
be true, and every man a liar.”

Now, we fully admit that the Church of Rome does not openly deny the
supreme authority of Scripture, but it virtually sets it aside by two
principles: the one, that it is not complete; the other, that it cannot
be understood without the interpretation of the Church.  We must examine,

II.  Its complete sufficiency.

The idea taught by the Church of Rome is, that there are two channels of
divine truth, two streams conveying the same water, the written, and the
unwritten word, the written found in the Bible, the unwritten, in the
traditions and decrees of the Church. {5}  Thus by attempting to blend
the two, they throw the Bible virtually into the shade; and like the Jews
of old, “make void the commandment of God by their traditions.”  The
opposing principle of the Church of England, is, that the written word is
itself sufficient; that it contains an ample and complete statement of
the whole truth of God.

“Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to Salvation: so that
whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be
required of any man, that it should be believed as an Article of the
Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.  In the name of
the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical books of the Old and
New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.” {6}

1.  And is not this evident from the _direct statements_ of the word of
God itself?

Look only at the passage from which our text is taken, v. 15.  The Holy
Scriptures “are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which
is in Christ Jesus.”  They are sufficient, then, for the heavenly wisdom
of the people of God; nothing more is needed; they contain God’s truth,
and make men wise in his wisdom.  But this is not all: follow on the
passage: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in
righteousness.”  And what is the result?  “That the man of God may be
perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”  Who shall presume to
say, then, that the written word is not sufficient?  There is enough in
it to form a perfect character, to leave nothing wanting in the furniture
of the religious mind.  When it says, “They are able to make thee wise
unto salvation,” it teaches that they reveal all that can be needful to
make Christ’s coming kingdom ours: when it adds, “That the man of God may
be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works;” it proves that they
also supply us with the sum total of all that can be needed in our
pilgrimage through life.

2.  But, even, if we had no such direct statement, we have ample proof of
the completeness of the Bible in the simple fact, that there is _nothing
else inspired_.  If there be a void left, it must remain unfilled for
ever.  If there be a chasm, the whole world can never close it.  For if
there were deficiencies in the Bible, to whom should we go to supply the
defect?  To the Fathers?  They were holy, devoted, fervent men, and
multitudes amongst their number counted not their life dear unto them, if
only they might fulfil the ministry, which they received of the Lord.
But they were men after all, fallible, and often failing men; they never
pretended to inspiration; they knew far too much both of themselves and
God to presume to say of their own writings, “Thus saith the Lord.”  They
never claimed either inspiration or infallibility.  To whom then shall we
go?  To councils?  But they were human too, they were assemblies of
fallible men, so fallible, that in one instance the whole church was
actually induced to decide against the divinity of our blessed Lord.
This was the case, when the whole body of the Church, bishops, priests,
deacons, and laymen, were all arrayed against Athanasius, and Athanasius
alone stood forth as the champion for truth.  Athanasius was against the
world and the world against Athanasius.  To whom then shall we go?  To
the Pope?  But he too is a man, and as too many sad facts in the history
of popedom prove, a fallible and often failing man.  To whom then shall
we go?  Shall we seek for some united testimony of fathers, councils, and
popes?  It would be a hopeless task, it would be to attempt an
impossibility, for they are perpetually differing, and when we had gained
it, we should after all have only the testimony of man.  To whom then
shall we go?  Peter must give the answer, “Thou hast the words of eternal
life.”  We will not now stop to discuss the question whether it be
possible for men to fill up the deficiencies of the word of God.  He that
cannot add a single inch to his own stature, he surely can add nothing to
the volume of inspired truth.  He that cannot add one single leaf to the
flower, nor give one additional wing to the insect, he surely can
contribute nothing to the most perfect of all the works of God, the
revelation of his own hidden will.  It was prophesied originally of the
Roman Empire, that it should be part of iron, part of clay; a fit image
of that false system, which would blend together in one whole, the word
of God, and the word of man.  As well might you expect to strengthen iron
by the mixture of a little fragile clay: as well might you hold up the
candle in the vain endeavour to add to the brightness of the noon-day
sun: as well might you strive to perfect the beauty of the clear fountain
of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and
of the Lamb, by adding to it waters that have been stained and thickened
in their passage along an earthly world, as hope to add anything to the
word of God, by mixing up with it the word of man.

The fact, then, that there is nothing else inspired, is in itself a proof
that the Bible is complete.  Either the Bible is sufficient, or we are
left without a sufficient guide.  We may, therefore, rest satisfied as to
the complete sufficiency, as well as the supreme authority of the word of
God.  But there yet remains another subject of scarcely less importance,
which we cannot leave unnoticed.  Namely,

III.  Its clear intelligibility.

It is not enough, that the Scriptures are sufficient and complete.  For
practical purposes they must be within the reach of common men.

Now the Church of Rome takes the Bible out of the hands of private
Christians.  They acknowledge the authority of Scripture, but add that
the church alone has the power to interpret it: they say there are many
difficulties, and that it requires the church’s interpretation to unravel
the path of life. {9}  This principle places the people in absolute
dependence on those who call themselves the church.  It draws their
attention to the church rather than to God.  It teaches them to rely on
man’s comment, and to lose sight of God’s decree.  When looking through a
painted window, your eye is fixed on the glass, and loses sight of the
sun behind, which lightens it; so when we look at truth through the
medium of human interpretation, the sight is caught by the human
colouring, and the light of God’s eternal truth is thrown into obscurity
with the neglected word.  Now true Protestants gain their light, not
through the coloured glass, but from heaven itself, that is, they look to
the word of God, and not to man’s interpretation as the decision of
christian truth.

At the same time we must not deny that there are difficulties in the
Scriptures.  Its subject is infinity, its range eternity, its author God;
and it would be folly to suppose that poor, frail, shortsighted, and
shortlived man, should be able at a glance to measure the unfathomable
depths of God’s unexplored wisdom.

Nor are we to underrate the high importance of the sacred ministry.  It
was the gift of our blessed Lord after his ascension. {10a}  It is
carried on under the appointment and arrangement of the Holy Ghost. {10b}
When Israel was without “a teaching priest,” they were “without the true
God,” and “without the law.” {10c}  When men labour for Christ, “rightly
dividing the word of truth,” they are the great instruments in the hand
of God for the ingathering of his elect, and the preservation of his
children for eternal glory.  We admit then freely and fully, 1st, the
existence of difficulties in Scripture, and 2ndly, the importance and
extreme value of a living and expounding ministry.  At the same time, we
are no less prepared to assert with the utmost earnestness, that the
people of God are bound by, or dependent on, no interpretation of any man
whatever.  God has spoken in his word, and God has spoken plainly.  Let
us examine two or three of the many proofs.

1.  See the _use made of Scripture in the time of inspiration_.  Look at
the well known case of the Bereans, Acts xvii. 11: they brought Paul
himself to the test of Scripture; a set of laymen went daily to their
Bibles to see if the man of God himself were true, and for this, which
would be mortal sin in the Church of Rome, they were actually commended
by the Holy Ghost, for a “These were more noble than those in
Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind,
and searched the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”  The
Berean laymen, therefore, were right, when they studied their Bible as
the rule of faith.  Take again the case of Timothy.  Timothy, we know,
was a remarkable man.  St. Paul loved him as his own child, and always
spoke of him as his son.  He was to Paul what John was to Christ.  The
grace in his heart was of early growth; he was one of those chosen few,
who were believers from their youth.  But mark his early history.  He
lived at Lystra, a heathen city: his father was a heathen, yet Timothy
knew his Bible well: he had learned it of his mother, as she too from
hers.  Here then we have a little band of Bible students in the midst of
a heathen city: it consisted of two women and one little boy.  And yet we
are to be told that the bible does not speak plainly to common people,
that it cannot be understood until the church interpret.  Who interpreted
to Timothy?  Who to Eunice?  Who to Lois?

2.  Or refer to the _purpose for which the book was written_.  The Lord
said to Habakkuk, {12a} “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables,
that he may run that readeth it.”  It was his intention, therefore, that
the prophecy should be understood.  Of the whole Old Testament, St. Paul
says, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our
learning, that we” (i.e. believers generally) “might have hope.” Rom. xv.
4.  They were intended therefore for the learning and comfort of the
church.  St. John’s gospel was written “that ye might believe that Jesus
is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life
through his name.” John xx. 31.  And his epistle was addressed to those
that believe on the Son of God; “that ye might know that ye have eternal
life, and that ye might believe on the name of the Son of God,” John v.
13.  What can be plainer than that God designed the Bible for the church
at large, for the comfort and instruction of the whole body of his
believing people?

And now add to this the declared purpose for which the Holy Ghost dwells
amongst men.  He is “the Spirit of truth,” {12b} “to guide us into all
truth,” “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ.”
{12c}  And of Him St. John writes: “The anointing which ye have received
of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the
same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth and is no lie,
and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” {13a}  Can any
one read such passages and doubt for a moment that it is the purpose of
the Holy Ghost to teach God’s people by throwing light upon the pages of
his inspired word? and would not that man set himself up above the God of
heaven, who would dare to pronounce it inexpedient to give the Bible to
every living soul within the church?

And now observe the following pastoral letter from the Romish bishops and
archbishops in Ireland.  Having received a letter from Pope Leo the 12th,
dated May 1824, addressed to all Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, and
Bishops, and they conveyed the substance of it to the Irish priests in
the following words.  “Our holy Father recommends to the observance of
the faithful, a rule of the congregation of the Index, which prohibits
the perusal of the Sacred scriptures in the vulgar tongue, without the
sanction of the competent authorities.  His holiness wisely remarks that
more evil than good is found to result from the indiscriminate perusal of
them on account of the malice or infirmity of men. {13b}  In this
sentiment of our head and chief we fully concur.”  So they do not
hesitate boldly to declare, that the very words which the Holy Ghost
inspired for our learning are productive of more harm than good.  It is
true that they ascribe the failure to the malice or infirmity of men: but
did not God know what men were when he gave the Scriptures?  Did he
suppose men better than they are? or has the Pope a greater insight into
human nature than God himself?  The use of such language implies either
that God was ignorant of man’s nature, or knowing it, was unsuccessful in
addressing it; in other words it amounts to the bold blasphemy of
ascribing either ignorance or impotence to God.

3.  But again, look at the _practical experience_ of daily life.  We
appeal to every Bible reading Christian, does not the word of God speak
plainly? 1 know there are some to whom it may appear a sealed book, but
God always opens it as they advance in their study.  There are many
flowers, which in the early morn, seem to possess little interest or
beauty, for their bloom is closed; but when the sun gets up, and they
feel its genial heat, the leaf expands, and the blossom opens, sweet in
its fragrance, and lovely in its colouring and form.  So it is with the
Scriptures.  The unopened Bible may seem dull and powerless to the
beginner, but let the Holy Ghost beam his light upon its sacred pages,
and it becomes more beautiful than the lily, more fragrant than the rose
of Sharon.  Did ever hungry soul go to the word, and not find in it the
clear description of the bread of life?  Is there any confusion in its
language, when it addresses the broken-hearted penitent, and assures him,
saying, “The blood of Jesus Christ the son cleanseth us from all sin?”
Is there any indistinctness in that gentle whisper with which God, as a
tender husband, sooths the sorrowing widow, and leading her into a
solitary place, there speaks to her heart, saying, “Comfort, comfort ye
my people?”  Is there any want of lucid clearness in the lovely
portraiture of our blessed Lord?  Is it possible to mistake his holy
character?  Is there any lack of shrill distinctness in the sound of the
warning trumpet, in the prophecies of coming judgment, in the curse
passed on sin, in the promises of glory?  Nay, beloved! man may tell us
that the traveller cannot see to track his path, when the summer sun
shines in its strength: man may tell us that there is no refreshment in
the cool stream that gurgles up clear as crystal from beneath the shady
rock: and we would believe them, even then, sooner than we would believe
the Church of Rome, when she tells us, that the way of life is not
pointed out plainly, in the word which God has written, to guide and
cheer his people heavenwards.

We have found, then, that the Bible is of supreme authority, complete
sufficiency, and clear intelligibility.  And now, dear brethren, what a
deep sympathy should we feel for the laity of the Church of Rome!  One
fact may illustrate their position.  When two members of the deputation
of the Church of Scotland to the Jews arrived at Brody, on the borders of
Austrian Poland, every book was taken from them, even their Hebrew and
English Bibles.  Being sealed up they were sent on to Cracow, and
delivered to them when they quitted the Austrian dominions.  On pleading
for their English Bible, the only answer was, “It is not allowed in
Austria.”  Thus are the bulk of the people kept at a distance from that
clear and lucid stream.  The church, like the painted window, stands
between them and the pure light of heaven.  Who can wonder, then, that
there are errors and superstitions?  Who can be surprised to see them
bend before the Virgin, when they are thus kept back from Christ?  We
should not despise them, but pity them: we should weep for them, as our
lord wept over Jerusalem: we should pray for them, as he prayed upon the
cross, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  None can
doubt that multitudes are truly desiring to walk with God; truly in
earnest in their rounds of prayers and penance.  You may oftentimes see
them on the Continent sobbing and pleading in unremitting and earnest
prayer, but alas! it is too often before the Virgin’s picture.  They know
no better, they are kept from the word of life, and in many cases they
sink to their grave, ignorant of the very existence of the Bible.

And there is a lesson here for ourselves too, dear brethren.  We must
remember that it is not enough to belong to a church which puts the Bible
into our hands, or to listen to a ministry which appeals to it as the
rule of faith.  We must make it our own; we must take it to ourselves as
our birth-right.  It is not enough that we possess the printed book, it
must be also written on the understanding by careful, diligent,
persevering study; and on the heart by the pen of the Holy Ghost himself.
He is but a poor Protestant that neglects his Bible.  Nay, more, he is
but a poor Christian, for he that knows little of his Bible can scarcely
fail to know still less of God.  Let us, then, be stedfast Bible
Christians, devoted Bible students.  Let us determine that, God giving us
grace, we will know Christ as our God reveals him, know him as our own
Redeemer, as our own Advocate, as our own Lord and King, and let us never
rest content till we can say with the prophet “Thy word was found and I
did eat it: and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.”


                                ACTS xiii. 39.

    And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which
    ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

IF my object in the present course of sermons had been simply to produce
a popular impression against the church of Rome, I doubt whether I should
have selected the doctrine of justification as the subject for our
thought this evening.  The error, though quite as deadly, is not so
glaring as in other portions of their system.  But, as I said on Sunday
last, my great design is to confirm you in the saving truths of Christ’s
gospel, “that speaking the truth in love, we may grow up unto him in all
things.”  To this end there is no subject more important than the
present; it touches our very life; it concerns our present peace and
eternal joy; it involves the question, whether the door is closed or
opened, by which the sinner can find access to God.  Let us endeavour
then to approach it with the seriousness due to so great a matter, and
let us all lift up our hearts to the Father of lights, the giver of every
good and perfect gift, that the Holy Ghost may be shed on us abundantly
through Jesus Christ our Lord!

The point at issue between the Church of Rome and Church of England does
not relate to the justification of the heathen man, when he first
approaches Christ in baptism.  This they term the first justification,
and acknowledge with us that it is through faith.  It is with reference
to what is usually called the second justification that the great
difference exists between us.  This is the justification of baptized
Christians, of persons like ourselves, who have sinned after baptism; and
the question is, What is the instrument by which justification is applied
to us?

The doctrine of our Protestant church is clearly laid down in the 11th
Article, “We are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our works, or
deservings: Wherefore, that we are justified by faith only is a most
wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is
expressed in the Homily of Justification.”

The doctrine of the church of Rome is that there is righteousness infused
into the mind, as warmth into the heated iron, and that we are justified
by the merit of this infused or inherent righteousness; or, in other
words, that our own good thoughts, good works, alms, prayers, fastings,
&c. so satisfy God’s law, that in consequence of them we may claim
eternal life as our own well deserved reward.  The council of Trent has
decreed as follows:—“If any man shall say, that men are justified either
by the sole imputation of the righteousness of Christ, or the sole
remission of our sins, and not by grace and charity, which is diffused in
their hearts by the Holy Spirit, and is inherent in them, let him be
accursed.” {19}

In other words the Church of England teaches that we are accepted before
God through the righteousness of our blessed Lord, imputed freely to all
that believe; the Church of Rome, that we are accepted before God through
the righteousness wrought in us, and the merit of our own acts and
doings.  The Church of England that we are justified by faith; the Church
of Rome that we are justified by works.

To those who know their Bibles, there can be little difficulty in the
decision of this important question.  That we are justified by faith
stands forth as plainly as the summer sun in heaven.

Acts xiii. 39.  “And by him all that believe are justified from all
things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”

Romans iii. 24.  “Being justified freely by his grace, through the
redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

26.  “To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness: that he might
be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

28.  “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the
deeds of the law.”

iv. 2, 3.  “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to
glory; but not before God.  For what saith the scripture?  Abraham
believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.”

Gal. ii. 16.  “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the
law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus
Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the
works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be

Here we might well leave the subject, but as this was the great
battle-field of the Reformation, it may be well to examine rather more
carefully into the question.  In doing this we will endeavour to show—

I.  That all justifying righteousness must be perfect.

II.  That inherent righteousness can never justify even the regenerate.

III.  That the imputed righteousness of Christ is of itself perfect and

I.  All justifying righteousness must be perfect; for justification is a
legal act, and justifying righteousness is that which satisfies the law.
The law, or will of God, lays down a certain rule of life and conduct, as
the law of a country lays down certain regulations for the citizen.  As
the sovereign for his subjects, so God appoints his law for man.  Now if
the law be satisfied by man, then man is justified by the law.  The law
lays nothing to his charge; he is really free, and he is accounted free;
he is fully and completely justified by his perfect fulfilment of the
will of God.  Such a character would stand before God in the same
position as we do before the earthly judge.  We are justified by our
country’s laws; we enjoy our liberty, and walk through the length and
breadth of our happy land, free as the winds of heaven, in our own right,
and, as far as human law is concerned, our own righteousness.  We have
not broken our country’s laws, so we can stand up boldly before our
country’s judge.  Now, with reference to our country, or to the law of
man, this innocence is a justifying righteousness.  It secures to us a
perfect freedom, it strips the law of all claim either on liberty or
life.  If there were a similar obedience to the law of God, that
obedience would be a justifying righteousness before God.  If the law
were satisfied, the creature would be justified; the satisfied law would
itself declare him free.  The law would be disarmed of all power of
threat, curse, or punishment; the righteous man would stand boldly before
the judgment, and say, “I have fulfilled the law, and I now demand the

Now there is one thing self-evident respecting this justifying
righteousness; namely this, It must be perfect, or it all falls to the
ground.  If one stone be removed from the self-supporting arch, the whole
fabric falls into ruin.  One leak is enough to sink the noblest ship in
England’s navy.  So by the laws of our country, if there be one breach of
one law, our liberty is lost, our right is gone, our justifying
righteousness is no more.  If there be one single act of transgression,
one single violation of one single statute, the law is broken, and the
offender is subject to its punishment.  How many a poor culprit has lost
his life for one solitary act!  As with the law of England, so it is with
the law of God.  The righteousness that can justify must be a perfect
righteousness.  If there be one act of disobedience, the offender becomes
a sinner, and must plead for mercy, if he would hope to shun the curse.
His right and righteousness are gone together; he must cease for ever to
urge any claim on glory.  St. James states this plainly, {23a} “For
whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is
guilty of all.  For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do
not kill.  Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art
become a transgressor of the law:” and St. Paul confirms it, when he
quotes the words, {23b} “Cursed is every one that continueth not in _all_
things that are written in the book of the law to do them.”  He does not
say _some_ things, or _most_ things, or a _great many_ things, but _all_

And this may point out the distinction between the righteousness which
can justify, and the righteousness which may please.  That which can
justify must be perfect, for it must leave the law unbroken before the
judge; that which can please may be defective, for it may be little more
than the first risings of a filial love, than the first efforts to do the
will of a loving Father.  The prodigal pleased his father, when he first
turned his thoughts towards his long forsaken home, but none would argue
that he was then justified by his obedience.  Mary pleased her Saviour,
when she sat at his feet, and drank in his sacred teaching, but that one
act could not justify her soul before the judgment-seat of God.  David
did well that it was in his heart to build the temple, but he could not
appeal to that one secret, unfulfilled intention, as a justifying
righteousness, which could clear his soul, or fulfil the law.  To sing
the song of thankful praise pleaseth the Lord “better than a bullock that
hath horns and hoofs,” but though we sang that song throughout eternity,
it would prove nothing before the judgment-seat, it could never
constitute such a righteousness that the judge could say “Well done, you
have fulfilled the law.” {24}

If we bear in mind this distinction, we shall easily establish our second
point, namely,

II.  That inherent righteousness can never justify even the regenerate:
and for this one simple reason, that the righteousness of the very best
is altogether imperfect before God.

We all know what a vast change is wrought in a man when he is born again
of the Holy Ghost, a change sometimes compared to a resurrection,
sometimes to a new creation, and always ascribed to the arm of God’s
omnipotent sovereignty.  In this change the heart of stone is taken away,
and the heart of flesh is granted; the eagle is transformed into the
dove; the lion becomes the lamb; the wild bramble is changed into the
fruitful vine; the barren waste rejoices and blossoms like the rose.  Let
us none lower the character of this vast and most lovely change.  It is
more beautiful than that of the chrysalis to the butterfly; more
wonderful than that of the buried corpse to the living man; more
gladdening, than when the vast world sprang out of nothing at the command
of God.  There are only two occasions mentioned in the Bible, in which
the company before the throne are described as finding increase to their
already perfect joy; the one was the creation, when “all the sons of God
shouted for joy:”{25a}—the other, the gathering in of the new born
penitent, for “there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.”

But yet the righteousness thus implanted cannot justify, for just look at

(1)  _The works produced_.

There is a constant activity to be seen amongst the people of God; they
delight to do his will; they labour, and labour diligently, to relieve
distress, to comfort sorrow, to spread the glad tidings of the kingdom of
our Lord.  Such works are the fruits of the Spirit, and they are
gladdening both to God and man.  To witness them in the flock is the
highest joy of the Christian minister, and never do we know such true
pleasure, as when we see you, dear brethren, thus striving to labour
stedfastly for Christ.  Ay! and they are the joy of one higher far than
we.  They are the fruits of the Spirit, the delight of Christ himself,
the sacrifice well pleasing, acceptable unto God.  St. Paul desires such
results as these, when he prays, {25c} “That ye might walk worthy of the
Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing
in the knowledge of God.”  And Christ himself has put his seal and stamp
upon them, saying, {26a} “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear
much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”  But how vain it is to suppose
that they can justify! they may please the Father, but they cannot
satisfy the law.  They may seem fair before men, but who is bold enough
to pronounce them perfect before God?  For remember that motives must be
considered as well as acts.  See how St. Paul argues this, 1st Cor. xiii.
3, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give
my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
What could be a nobler thing than martyrdom?  What liberality equal to
the consecration of all his goods to feed the poor?  Yet if there be one
secret, hidden defect of motive perceived by God alone, the Apostle
becomes nothing, “it profiteth me nothing.” {26b}  “Cut off then those
things wherein we have regarded our own glory, those things which men do
to please men, and to satisfy our own likings, those things we do for any
by respect, not sincerely and purely for the love of God, and a small
score will serve for the number of our righteous deeds.”  It is with them
as with the drop of water.  To the naked eye it seems clear and
sparkling, but when you see it under the searching light of the solar
microscope, you find it full of all uncleanness.  So it is with the best
of human actions.  To the naked eye they may appear pure and even
brilliant, but let the light of divine truth beam on their inward
character and motive, and there is so much defect, so much defilement,
that we are filled with wonder, not because they fail to justify, but
because God is so gracious as to condescend to say they please.  Yea,
verily! if the whole church of Christ were to select from all its
multitudes the very holiest of all living men, and if that holiest of men
were to select the holiest action that he ever wrought in the holiest
period of his most holy life, that one act when referred to the heart
searching, motive judging, law of God, would be found so tainted with
defiling sin, that if his justification were to depend on its
righteousness alone, he must abandon for ever all hope of life with God.
“There is none that doeth good, no not one.” {27}

(2)  We have here referred to outward actions, let us now trace the
stream up to its source, and look at the inward state of heart, or as it
is sometimes called “habitual righteousness.”  Can this justify?  We all
know what an inward change is wrought by the Holy Ghost in those who are
truly born of God.  Their whole heart and mind and will are changed.
They love that they once despised, they long for that which they once
scorned, they walk with Jesus, whereas before they were the slaves of
sin.  To recur to the simile employed before, as heat is diffused through
iron, so a new love, a new righteousness is spread through the soul.  But
yet it cannot justify, for it is not perfect.  It is sufficient to
please, but it is defective still.  There may be great heat spread
through the iron, while still the metal retains its substance.  The ice
may be melted, and the water retain the winter’s chill.  Just so it is
with the righteousness planted in us by the Holy Ghost.  There is a new
warmth, but the nature retains too much of its iron hardness: there is a
melting of the soul, but the winter’s chill is still found in the melted
spirit.  This is the meaning of our article when it says “The infection
of nature doth remain yea in them that are regenerate,” and this
remaining corruption destroys at once all hope of justification through
the righteousness of the heart.  Take one or two examples from the
Scriptures.  There can be no doubt of the inward righteousness of David.
He was “the sweet psalmist of Israel,” “the man after God’s own heart.”
If the Holy Ghost ever gave the new life to any man it was to David.  But
was David’s inward righteousness such that he was justified?  Listen to
his own prayer, Ps. cxliii. 2, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant;
for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.”  There can be no
doubt of the change of heart in Peter.  The ardour of his noble mind was
nobly consecrated to Christ.  But was Peter justified by his inward
righteousness?  See how it failed.  One wave of strong temptation broke
down his faith, and for the time chilled his love: so that on one evening
even Peter was thrice guilty of the denial of his Lord.  Could Peter then
be justified by his inward love?  There can be no doubt of the inward
righteousness of Paul.  He was God’s chosen vessel to bear his name among
the Gentiles.  His whole life bore witness to the constraining power of
the love of Jesus.  But was he justified by that inward love?  Listen to
his own affecting language, Rom. vii. 22–24, “For I delight in the law of
God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members warring
against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of
sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver
me from the body of this death?”

Or refer the matter to your own personal experience.  It is a case that
requires no farfetched arguments.  There are multitudes amongst you, I am
well persuaded, in whom the Holy Ghost has wrought this sanctifying
change.  It is your joy, your delight, your chief desire to walk with
God.  And now we would appeal to you.  Are you walking with God so
perfectly that by that righteousness you can be justified?  Has there
been no neglect, no languor, no forgetfulness, no sloth in his service?
Has the whole life been like the vigorous, active, cheerful, service of
the angels around the throne?  Or, to go farther: is there any one hour
that you have passed from the moment of your new birth till now, upon the
perfect holiness of which you would dare to stake your salvation
throughout eternity?  Select the time of greatest spiritual enjoyment,
the happy season when your soul glowed most fervently with the love of
Jesus; when Heaven seemed the nearest, and God rose before you as the
loveliest of the lovely; and decide whether you can truly say “For that
time at least I did fully, completely, and without defect, rise to the
measure of the perfect will of God.”  How then can Rome declare that we
are justified by the righteousness within us?  How can she presume to
curse those who differ from her sentence?  How can she say “If any man
say, that we are justified by the sole imputation of Christ’s
righteousness, or by the sole remission of our sins, and not by an
inherent grace diffused in our hearts by the Holy Ghost; let him be
anathema?”  Who is there either in Rome or England that can have any
hope, but in free, simple, unfettered mercy—that can have any plea before
the throne of God but that of the poor publican, who said “Lord be
merciful to me a sinner?” {30}

And this leads us, thirdly, to remark

III.  That the imputed righteousness of Christ is of itself perfect and
sufficient.  This is plainly the truth denied in the decree above quoted.
Justification is there ascribed in part to the imputation of Christ’s
righteousness, but this alone is said to be insufficient.  The article of
our church and this decree have evident reference to each other.  The
article says “We are accounted righteous before God _only_ for the merit
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”  The Council of Trent “If any man
shall say that men are justified by the _sole_ imputation of Christ’s
righteousness, let him be accursed.”  The turning point, therefore, of
the whole question is the _complete_ sufficiency of the work of Christ.

1.  Consider, then, his atonement. {31}  “He died, the just for the
unjust, to bring us to God.”  He was our substitute, he took our place,
he endured the curse of our guilt, “he bare our sins in his own body on
the tree.”  Was the price sufficient, or was it not?  Was the substitute
accepted, or was it not?  Was the law satisfied, or was it not?  If it
was, the atonement was complete, the believer free, and no further
justification through righteousness can be required.  If not, of this one
thing I am persuaded, that nothing we can do can supply the deficiency of
the work of Jesus.  No tears, no toils, no fastings, penances, or alms
deeds can supply that which is lacking in the price paid for the sinner.
If we were to weep till the ocean overflowed with the swelling tide of
penitential tears, it would avail less than one single drop of the most
precious blood of God’s well beloved Son.  If we were to lacerate the
body with fastings and self-inflicted sufferings, till the very life sunk
under the penance, it would procure no gift that is not already
purchased, it could satisfy no law that is not already satisfied by the
life of Jesus.

2.  Consider also the imputed righteousness of Christ.  He made himself
one of us, and became our substitute on the cross.  As our
representative, He bore our sins in his own body, and as our
representative He is now at the right hand of God.  God punished our sins
in Him upon the cross.  God accepts us in Him as his ransomed people.
Our sins were placed to his account, and his righteousness to ours.  This
explains 2 Cor. v. 21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no
sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  He was not
made really sinful, but sin was imputed to him; he was reckoned as a
sinner; he bore the sinner’s curse.  But we are made the righteousness of
God in the same sense in which he was made sin; that is, righteousness is
imputed to us, we are reckoned righteous, we are made heirs of the
Redeemer’s glory.  Now this righteousness is indeed a justifying
righteousness: it is the righteousness of Christ, the righteousness of
God, perfect in every thought, perfect from eternity.  For ever, and for
ever, has he been one with God, and never for one single moment, has one
single tainted thought dared to intrude on the heavenly holiness of his
most holy soul.  Now if this righteousness be imputed to us, what can
ours add to it?  If we be justified by Christ’s merit, how is it possible
that we should be any longer justified by our own?  Can ours add to his?
Can it supply any defects in his?  Can we make up a patchwork
righteousness, partly his, and partly ours?  The very holiest act of the
very holiest of men would be like a spot upon the sun, a stain and
blemish to the perfect brilliancy of the holiness of Jesus.

Now that is the justifying righteousness of the believer.  In Christ we
stand, in Christ we are accepted, in Christ the law is satisfied, in
Christ we are free from the curse, in Christ we have peace with God—so in
Christ, and in Christ alone, must the true believer look for life.

Away, then, with all false thoughts of human merit; away with the deadly
heresy that man by inherent excellence can recommend himself to God; away
with the self-exalting notion that any man, at any time, can stand in any
other attitude than that of a convicted sinner, freely pardoned through
the blood of the Lamb.  We will strive to please him, we will press on
along the path of life, we will spare nothing that we may walk with God.
We will long for the day when Christ’s image shall be formed in
perfection within the soul.  But, meanwhile, we will rest on his
atonement, on his righteousness alone: and though worldly men may count
it folly, though self-righteous men may deem it frenzy, though Rome may
hurl against us the thunder of her anathemas, we will believe, and
believe to our everlasting peace and joy, that “God hath made him to be
sin for us”; and that by that one act, without the smallest human merit,
“We are made the righteousness of God in him.”


                               LUKE xxiii. 43.

    And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be
    with me in paradise.

HAVE you ever stood by the bedside of a dying believer? ever watched the
decaying strength of some dear object of your fondest love?  Then you
know the deep emotions of that solemn moment, when, in the stillness of
the chamber of death, the heavy breathing ceases, and the happy spirit
wings its flight to God.  What conflicting feelings then struggle for
mastery in the heart!  Faith, joy, doubt, and sorrow, seem in turn to
take possession of the soul: nay, rather! they all reign there at once:
we mourn in widowhood, but acquiesce in faith: we look on our own life as
desolate through separation; but, thinking on the present glory of the
departed, we cannot withhold a glad Amen from Cowper’s lines upon his

    But oh! the thought that thou art safe and he!
    That thought is joy, arise what may to me.

Yes it is a joy! a mournful joy, but a joy unutterable; a joy that draws
from the same eye tears of rejoicing, and tears of grief; a joy which,
strange to say, melts us into sadness, while it gives a calm, holy,
peaceful satisfaction from the full and complete assurance that those we
love most are for ever safe with Jesus.  This joy is the birthright of
God’s faithful children; and this the balm with which in our funeral
service, we strive to staunch the mourner’s tears.  Who that has ever
wept beside the open grave can fail to remember those hallowed words: “I
heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, from henceforth, blessed
are the dead which die in the Lord, even so saith the Spirit, for they
rest from their labours”?

But the Church of Rome, at one fatal blow, robs us of all this; and in
the Catechism of the Council of Trent, declares, {35a} “Besides (hell,)
there is a fire of purgatory, in which the souls of the pious being
tormented for a definite time, expiate their sin, that so an entrance may
be opened to them, into the eternal country, into which nothing defiled
can enter.”

You will here observe four things.

1.  That the souls in purgatory are under torture.  “Cruciatæ.”

2.  That this torture is by fire. {35b}

3.  That the persons suffering it are not the wicked, but the pious, i.e.
believers, God’s dear children, those to whom Christ would say, “Depart
in peace, thy faith hath saved thee.”

4.  That the purpose of it is to expiate sin, or make an atonement for
transgression before they can be admitted to eternal glory.

So that if we are to believe Rome, we must abandon all our bright hopes
for our dear departed brethren.  Our mothers, and fathers, and fond
friends, who have stuck closer to us than a brother, holy believers, who
full of faith, fell asleep in Jesus, are at this present moment, writhing
and gnashing their teeth, in the fierce agony of scorching heat; yet glad
even of the flame to hide them from the displeasure of that Saviour whom
they once delighted to trust and love.

Having thus stated the doctrine, I am well persuaded I might here safely
leave it.  But it forms one of the bulwarks of the Romish system, and is
one of the great sources of Roman wealth. {36a}  The parish priests are
ordered by their church frequently and diligently to discourse on it.
{36b}  Let us examine then how the matter stands in the word of God.

I.  And 1st, we would remark that there is not a shadow of foundation for
it in the Bible.  We read of hell, and we read of heaven; we read
plainly, “That where the tree falleth there shall it lie.”  But of
purgatory not a word is to be found.

There are, however, two texts generally quoted to which it may be well
briefly to refer.

The first is, 1 Cor. iii. 12–15.  “Now if any man build upon this
foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s
work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it
shall be revealed by fire; and the tire shall try every man’s work of
what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon,
he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall
suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

One glance is enough to shew that these words have no connection with the
subject.  The apostle is speaking of the ministry, and compares the
ministers who followed him at Corinth to builders raising a temple on the
foundation he himself had laid.  The temple then is the visible Church;
the material, the professing members of it: some of whom, like gold,
silver, and precious stones, are shining as true believers to the glory
of their Saviour: others, like wood, hay, and stubble, are worthless
professors, fit only to be burned.  The day of revealing fire refers
either to the day of judgment, or the great fearful conflict with the
enemy, described by St. Peter as “the fiery trial which is to try you.”
{37}  The effect will be to separate the tares from the wheat; the
precious from the vile; the false from the true; the gold, silver, and
precious stones, from the wood, hay, and stubble; and so to reveal the
character of the work.  There is no allusion then to purgatory.  The fire
of purgatory is to make expiation for the sins of believers; the day of
fire here described is to try the Church and reveal its character.

If possible the other passage has still less bearing on the subject.  It
is, 1 Pet. iii. 18–20.

“Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the spirit: by the
which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison: which
sometimes were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in
the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is,
eight souls were saved by water.”  This is said to prove that our blessed
Lord preached to the spirits in purgatory at his burial.  But it does
nothing of the kind.  Those that had sinned against Noah’s preaching were
guilty of disobedience and unbelief.  They, therefore, the Church of Rome
itself being witness, were not in purgatory but in hell.  The true
meaning of the text is this: Christ was raised up by the divine power of
the Holy Ghost, by which as the eternal God, he preached even in the time
of Noah to those wicked persons, who having then rejected him, are now
fast bound in the miseries of hell.  He preached then, not at the time of
the crucifixion, but, as the pre-existent God, at the time of Noah: and
preached not to dead souls, but to living men.  These two texts are the
pillars on which Purgatory rests.  They remind us of the two pillars on
which stood the house of Dagon.  God grant that they may not be equally
destructive to the thousands of souls who rest on them!

There is therefore no support for the doctrine; let us now proceed to

II.  That it is in direct contradiction to the word of God.

There are many passages to which we should feel great joy in now
referring, where the present blessedness of departed spirits is painted
in lively colours by the Holy Ghost; but you will at once see that those
only concern our present argument, which describe an _immediate_ entrance
into joy and rest.

1.  Let us begin then with the language of our blessed Saviour to the
dying thief; which shows that they are gathered immediately to a joyful
home; “To day thou shalt be with me in paradise.”  There can be no
question here as to his immediate happiness; there was no need of prayer
for the repose of his soul.  That very afternoon, when his poor exhausted
frame hung lifeless on the cross, when he was carried off as an unclean
thing to be buried out of the sight of man; that very afternoon, before
the evening closed in, was the happy spirit in paradise with Jesus.  And
there is something very beautiful in the name here given to the home of
Spirits.  In 2 Cor. v. 1, it is described as “a building of God, an house
not made with hands, eternal in the heavens;” but there is no name given
there; here the name is given, but no description; the name is
“Paradise.”  In paradise there was no pain, no sickness, no sorrow, no
death, no sin.  Tears were never witnessed there till Adam turned his
back on it, and so it is with the home of believers.  Neither sin nor
sorrow can ever gain admission.  The gate is too strait for them, they
are left behind with us on earth.  In that home holiness is the joy,
praise the incense, love the atmosphere, and Christ the light.

2.  In this home again there is immediate rest.  “They rest not day and
night,” it is true, “crying, {40a} Holy, holy, holy, &c.;” for to them
nothing could be so fatiguing as a pause from praise.  Their most
toilsome toil is to be silent from giving thanks.  But from all labour
they rest at once.  When the spirit once takes its flight, to that soul
the warfare is accomplished, the struggle over, the battle won.  Only
look at the words of St. John, Revelation xiv. 13.  See how they are
ushered in.  “I heard a voice from heaven.”  See how God would have them
preserved as the lasting joy of the Church of Christ; for he says,
“Write.”  Mark their confirmation by the Holy Ghost, “Yea, thus saith the
Spirit.”  And now see their plain, indisputable testimony to the
immediate and complete blessedness of the saints.  “Blessed are the dead
which die in the Lord from henceforth, yea, thus saith the Spirit, that
they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”  There
is no delay, no interval, no expiation.  They are at once blessed; at
once at rest; for they are fallen asleep in Jesus: they have died in the

3.  This immediate blessedness is taught us also from the case of
Lazarus. {40b} “When the beggar died he was carried by the angels into
Abraham’s bosom,” not to purgatory; and when there he was comforted in
the enjoyment of a rest with God.

4.  But above all, the dying spirit passes immediately into the presence
of Christ the Saviour.

It is most important for us to observe this, for there can be no real joy
to the Christian if he be separate from Christ.  The pure river of the
fountain of life would lose all its charm if it did not proceed out of
the throne of God and of the Lamb.  The sea of glass, clear as crystal,
would have no beauty if the face of Jesus were not reflected in it.  The
new Jerusalem itself would be no object of desire, though its walls be of
jasper, its gate of pearl, its streets of gold, if Christ himself were
not the light of it: for the brightest diamond has no brightness in the
dark.  Yea, heaven itself would become a hell if the Son of God were not
the reigning Lord of it.

If we cannot prove, therefore, that the departed believer passes at once
into the presence of his Lord, we in fact prove nothing.  If for one
moment we are to be separated from him, it little matters where.  But
thanks be to God we can prove it without the possibility of

When Stephen died {41a} “he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at
the right hand of God;” saw, as it were, the arm of Christ reaching forth
to draw him up to heaven; so he fell down and prayed “Lord Jesus receive
my spirit.”

When St. Paul doubted between life and death, he {41b} “had a desire to
depart and be with Christ, which was far better.”  Death then was a
departure into the immediate presence of his Lord.  But above all refer
to 2 Cor. v. 6, 7, 8.  “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that,
whilst we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord; (for we
walk by faith not by sight;) we are confident, I say, and willing rather
to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  The idea
of this passage is that there are two homes for believers; two dwellings,
one on earth, and one in heaven; one in the body, one in the presence of
our Lord.  While here we know him, but it is by faith alone.  “We walk by
faith, not by sight.”  When there we shall see him in the full brilliancy
of his love and glory.  And this change is immediate.  The veil is very
thin that separates the world of flesh from the world of spirits.  Every
prayer of faith pierces it.  The stream is very narrow that separates
earth and heaven, and no sooner do we quit the one than we enter on the
other; no sooner is the earthly home dissolved, than Christ himself is
seen and the heavenly home opens for his people.  So long as “we are at
home in the body, we are absent from the Lord;” and we are willing rather
to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.  The departed
believer, therefore, is at once found with Christ.

5.  But there is another passage in which all these immediate blessings
appear summed up in one short, but most expressive, word.  “To me to live
is Christ, and to die is gain.” {42}

We should have no fear in resting the question upon this text alone.  It
places the truth beyond the reach of all attack.  “To die is gain,”
therefore to die is not to go to purgatory.  “To die is gain,” therefore
to die is not to be tortured in fire for the expiation of our sin.  Nor
must we suppose that this refers to St. Paul alone.  His acceptance
rested on the same terms as ours.  He was a sinner pardoned through the
Lamb’s blood, and accepted on the same terms as the weakest believer in
our congregation.  To die was gain; not because he was an Apostle, but
because to live was Christ.  And if to us to live is Christ, then to us
to die is gain.

Look then at the present happiness of believers, the present joy of the
new born child of God.  He does not see Christ, it is true, with the eye
of sense; but he knows him, he loves him, he delights in him, he speaks
to him, his soul is filled with joy at the assurance of his grace.  “Whom
having not seen we love, in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing
ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”  In every care and
trial he can find a sweet repose, for he knows that Christ is near, and
he has the precious promise “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in
safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long.”  So when
his frame becomes enfeebled and the time of his departure seems at hand,
he can lie down peacefully upon the bed of languishing, for he has the
precious promise that the Lord shall strengthen him; the sweet assurance
“_Thou_ wilt make _all_ his bed in his sickness.”  Ay! and when the
illness itself draws to a close, when all power to alleviate is gone,
when the physician’s skill is helpless, and the wife’s affection
fruitless; when the dying man is passing alone through the valley of the
shadow of death, he is still supported, still happy, still at peace.  For
the same Lord is nigh.  “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and
thy staff, they comfort me.”  Oh!  Blessed life!  Oh! happy death of the
child of God!  “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last
end be like his!” {44}

But now suppose the valley crossed.  The arm has upheld him through the
struggle; the beloved of the Lord has been borne safely through.  Is the
first sight which meets his affrighted eye the lurid glare of the
flashing flames of purgatorial fire?—the first sound that startles his
ear the groaning of God’s beloved children writhing under the torments of
expiating torture?  Is that calm repose on Jesus suddenly changed by one
terrific plunge into the scorching agony of a purgatorial flame?  Would
it be gain thus to die?  Would such a death be “far better” than the life
of faith?  It would be better surely to dwell safely as the beloved of
the Lord, than to burn miserably in the expiation of unforgiven sin.

We may conclude then that the doctrine of purgatory is in direct
opposition to the word of God, but we have a yet farther, and, if
possible, graver charge to urge against it, viz.,

III.  That it is in direct opposition to the doctrine of atonement as set
forth in scripture.

You will remember the extract already quoted from the Catechism of the
Council of Trent, in which it was stated that in the fire of purgatory
the souls of the pious make expiation for their sin.  Pause for a moment
to observe these words.  There are two things to be noticed in them, (1.)
they assert directly that man’s sufferings can make expiation for his
sin, and (2.) they imply that the death of our Lord was not a complete
expiation for our sin.  Let us examine each part separately.

(1.)  First then we have a direct assertion that by enduring pain the
believer makes expiation for his soul; that is, that our temporary
sufferings satisfy God’s broken law.

If this be true, what occasion was there for the blood of Jesus.  Why the
stupendous mystery of man’s redemption?  Why the agony in the garden?
Why the burden of the cross?  Why the hiding of God’s countenance?  Why
the endurance of the curse in our stead?  Such a work was surely
needless, a mere mistake on the part of Jesus.  The atonement is become a
fable, if man’s passing pain can make expiation for his sin.

But, again, if pain is expiation, how is it that hell-fire burns for
ever?  Was ever suffering so intense as that?  Was there ever such a
scene of woe and misery, of hatefulness and hopelessness, as that?  But
does it make expiation for the sinner’s sin?  Does it blot out the curse?
Does the fire burn out its fuel?  “It is the worm that dieth not, and the
fire that is not quenched.”  Yea, verily, if the curse of one single sin
could be burned out by ten thousand centuries of pain, hell would be no
longer hell, for there would be a faint gleam of far distant hope,
shining even upon the miseries of the damned.

There is no expiation then in pain.  Believers are chastened, but
chastening is not atonement.  It is God’s gentle discipline by which he
prepares his jewels for his crown; and just as the finest gold is wrought
most carefully, so the most precious of God’s children are often
chastened most heavily, for “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and
scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.”  There must be a melting of the
gold, before it can be separated from the ore; there must be a rending of
the root, before the tree can be taken from the wilderness and
transplanted into the garden of the Lord.  And so it is with believers.
There must be a melting of the heart, a humbling of the earthly will, a
weaning of soul, that they may cleave to Christ alone.  And this is the
purpose for which, beloved, we are chastened.  He does it for our profit,
that we may be partakers of his holiness.  Affliction has the same effect
that Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace had on the three children in captivity.  It
could not touch their person, but it burnt the bands that bound them, and
enabled them to walk more freely with their Lord.  But expiation!  That
is Christ’s work.  “He is the propitiation for our sins,” and if
suffering in man could expiate for sin in man, then the suffering of
Christ were a waste of blood, a waste of agony, a waste of life, a waste
of love.

(2.)  And this leads us to our second remark, that the doctrine of
expiation through purgatorial fire implies an incompleteness in the
atonement of our blessed Lord.  If expiation be still needful, then in
his atonement there must be something wanting.  Nor is this the mere
conclusion of a bigoted protestant, it is the bold assertion of the
Church of Rome herself.  Listen to her canon, “If any man shall say that
after the gift of Justification has been received, sin is so remitted to
any repentant sinner,” (observe it speaks of justified believers and true
penitents) “and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out, that there
remains no debt of temporary punishment to be endured either in this
world or the world to come in purgatory, before a way can be opened into
the kingdom of heaven, let him be Anathema.” {47}

I feel utterly at a loss in attempting to speak on such an awful passage.
Can they remember that they are speaking of the atonement wrought by the
Son of God?  He gave his own most precious life to satisfy the law, and
can any portion of the debt remain?  He purchased us with the price of
his own most precious blood: is farther payment needed?  The eternal
Redeemer was our ransom: are we not free?  The well beloved of the Father
endured the curse as our substitute: was his work so ineffectual that the
curse still hangs over the very men he came to save?  Awful dishonour to
the Son of God!  Now Rome thou must indeed be Antichrist, for thou dost
rob Christ of his glory; thou strivest to tarnish the beauty of his
diadem.  He says “Behold the Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the
world.”  But thou contradictest Christ and sayest that there is a remnant
left to be punished in the believer still.  He says “I, even I, am he,
that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not
remember thy sins.”  But thou sayest that the blot is not effaced, that
the sin is still remembered, still punished, even in the child of God.
He says “I am the way,” “I am the door; by me if any man enter in he
shall be saved.”  But thou sayest that the door cannot be opened, except
it be through purgatorial pain.  He says that he has loved us and washed
us from our sins in his own blood, and made us kings and priests unto God
and the Father.  But thou sayest the washing was incomplete, for sin must
after all be burned out by fire; that love is still defective, for the
saints must yet be punished; the inheritance not fully purchased, for,
after all that Christ has done, the justified believer has still to make
an expiation for his sin. {49}

No! beloved! we will not for a moment admit the thought of any other
expiation, than that wrought out for us by the Lamb of God.  And as for
our dear departed brethren, nothing that Rome can say shall ever rob us
of our delightful hope.  They have felt no pain since the day we parted;
their sainted spirits have been basking in the sunshine of the
countenance of God.  I myself have parted with a mother, such a mother
that I often wonder if the world can ever more behold her equal: so
strong in faith; so ardent in her thirsting after God; so pure in spirit;
so sensitive to sin; so beaming in her holy loveliness, that you might
almost believe you saw the Father’s name written legibly by the Holy
Ghost upon her forehead.  To this day do I hear the tones of her dying
voice, when in answer to my questions respecting her soul’s peace, she
replied “I can reverently say with the deepest humility, ‘Lord, thou
knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.’”  And I would rather
have this arm torn from its socket, I would rather be scorched and
scathed in Moloch’s fire, than I would abandon my firm and fixed
persuasion that such love has never been interrupted, that her Redeeming
Lord has never left her for a moment; my perfect assurance, that while we
were weeping in solemn stillness around her bed of death, she was taking
her place amongst the company of palm bearers, and is now standing before
the throne, having washed her robes, and made them white in the blood of
the Lamb.

So also for ourselves! dear brethren! for we too must die; our day is
hastening on, our time drawing to its close.  A few short years and
multitudes amongst us must change their faith for sight, the world of
flesh for the world of spirits: a few, short, rapid years, and every one,
both you and I, shall find ourselves in heaven or in hell.  But let us
fear nothing.  Only let us be found in Christ, justified through his
blood, with our name written in his book of life, and the Father’s name
engraven by the Holy Ghost on our forehead, and then neither death or
hell can ever prevail to hurt us.  In Christ we are safe; washed in his
blood we are completely pardoned; clad in his righteousness we are
completely justified; and kept in his right hand we are completely and
for ever safe.

Only let us be found in Christ.  Then the outward man may decay; the poor
frame may wax faint and feeble; the eye may become dim, even with the dim
fixedness of death: and then, when all earthly power has sunk under
exhaustion, the eye will open; a new world will spring up before us;
attendant angels will hover around the new-born citizen of heaven; and
without tears, or fears, or weakness, we shall behold Christ in the
brightness of his glory, and cry aloud in the heartfelt thankfulness of
unutterable joy, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne and
unto the Lamb.”


                                HEBREWS x. 12.

    But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever
    sat down on the right hand of God.

THERE was never a more tremendous judgment than that uttered by the voice
of Malachi, {52} “I will curse your blessings.”  There can be no scourge
more heavy than a blessing cursed.  The more choice the gift, the more
fatal is the misuse of it; the richer the blessing, the deadlier its
corruption.  So it was with Christ himself.  He was the most precious
gift that could be found even in the treasuries of heaven—the well
beloved Son of God; but to those who rejected him he became a stone of
stumbling and rock of offence.  So it has been with that sacred feast,
which he left as a parting legacy to his church.  The Sacrament of the
Lord’s Supper is one of the richest blessings in the church’s birthright.
It is a sacred opportunity of feeding in faith upon the body and blood of
the Lamb, a perpetual remembrance of his boundless grace, a bond of holy
fellowship with our brethren in the faith, a sacred pledge of our union
and communion with the Lord.  Yet even this has been corrupted.  As with
the Jews of old, so with professing Christians “their table has become a
snare before them, and that which should have been for their welfare has
become a trap.” {53a}  We allude, of course, to the doctrine of
transubstantiation, of which the Council of Trent decrees as follows:

“By the consecration of the bread and wine there is effected a change in
the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ
our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of
his blood.” {53b}  Here we have the bread and wine transformed into the
actual substance of the person of our blessed Lord: so transformed that
according to the Catechism {53c} there are “bones and nerves in it.”
Nay, more! so changed that there is actually his whole person, not
excepting his soul and his divinity, for the Council declares {53d} “If
any man shall say that the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ,
together with his soul and divinity, and, in short, that a whole Christ,
is not contained truly, really, and substantially in the sacrament of the
most Holy Eucharist, but shall say that he is in it only in sign, or
figure, or power, let him be anathema.”

There is no misunderstanding such words as these.  And if there were, the
6th canon shows how Rome herself interprets them, for she not only
acknowledges the fact, but follows it consistently to its conclusion, and
declares plainly that we are to worship it with the worship due to God.

“If any shall say that in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, Christ,
the only begotten Son of God, is not to be adored, and that outwardly
with the worship of Latria (the worship paid to God), and that he ought
not to be . . . carried solemnly about in processions, or that he ought
not to be set before the people that he may be worshipped, and that the
worshippers of him are idolaters, let him be anathema.”

But even this is not all: for not merely do they claim the power of thus
making the bread into the very person of the only begotten of the Father,
they add yet this also, that they can put that Saviour to death, and by
that sacrifice make a propitiation for the sins of the dead and living.
The Council of Trent declares {55a} “In the sacrifice of the mass, that
same Christ is sacrificed without blood who once with blood offered
himself upon the cross.”  And in Canon iii. {55b} it adds that “If any
man shall say that the sacrifice is not propitiatory and profits the
receiver only, and ought not to be offered for the living and the dead,
for sins, punishments, satisfaction, and other necessities, let him be

Such is the doctrine of transubstantiation as taught by the Church of
Rome.  According to it by a few words of consecration a wafer of
unleavened bread is transformed into the very person of the Son of God: a
man may be worshipping with divine honour in the afternoon a morsel of
that same wheaten flour on which he made his breakfast in the morning:
the one half he may bake for the sustenance of his children, the other he
may be bound to adore when the priest has transubstantiated it into God.
On reading such a doctrine it is impossible altogether to forget God’s
cutting language against the sin of Israel.

“He burneth part of it in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he
roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith,
Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire: and the residue thereof he maketh a
god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and prayeth unto it,
and saith, deliver me for thou art my god.” {56}

Surely, then, it is reasonable to ask that the truth of such a principle
should be tried by the word of God alone.  It is opposed to the evidence
of our senses, it is opposed to reason, and it is no less opposed to the
general tenor of the sacred scriptures.  It is a case, therefore, in
which no human evidence can avail any thing; the best, the wisest, the
holiest of men, are wholly insufficient witnesses to prove, that what is
apparently a piece of bread, lifeless, motionless, and powerless, is the
very person of Christ himself, the only begotten of the Father, reigning
triumphantly at the right hand of the throne of God.  Such a fact, if it
be a fact, must be taught by God himself.

At the same time, if God has said it we are bound cheerfully to believe
it.  It is condemned by every faculty which God has given us; it is
opposed to experience, and to every pre-existent principle of religion,
yet so complete should be our submission to the Bible, so absolute and
unquestioning our conviction of its certain truth, that if we clearly
find even transubstantiation there, we must believe without a murmur, we
must abandon all human thoughts in submission to his all perfect wisdom.
Yea though our revered church declares it plainly both “a blasphemous
fable and a dangerous deceit;” {57} though the martyred fathers of the
Reformation chose rather to die in agony than admit its truth; yet if God
says it we will joyfully believe it, “for God is in heaven and we upon
earth, therefore must our words be few.”

By the word of God, then, let us proceed to try the question, and we will
examine the language of Scripture,

I.  With reference to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper;

II.  With reference to the life and work of our blessed Lord.

May the Holy Ghost lead us calmly, seriously, and dispassionately to
learn the truths of his own most holy word!

I.  The language of Scripture with reference to the sacrament of the
Lord’s Supper.

The doctrine is supposed to rest upon the words of our blessed Saviour,
“This is my body,” or as they were revealed to St. Paul, “This is my body
which is broken for you.”

This sentence is thought to contain a plain, literal, absolute, assertion
that the bread was changed into his body; changed so completely that
while the Saviour spoke the words, that bread which he held within his
hand, was his real, natural, whole, and substantial person.  The belief
of the Church of England is that the words have no such literal meaning;
but were employed to teach that the bread and wine were signs, figures,
or emblems of his body broken, and his blood shed upon the cross. {58a}
He says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches.”  “I am the door:” but none
suppose that he was a real vine, a real door, or his people real branches
of a growing tree.  St. Paul says “That rock was Christ:” but none
believe that the flinty rock was in very fact a living man. {58b}  In all
these passages we never doubt for a single moment what was the meaning of
the Holy Ghost.  The vine and the rock represented Christ, and the door
was a figure of him.  Just so we believe it to be with the words of
consecration; the bread was a figure of his body and the wine of his

That this is the true meaning of the passage seems to lie upon its very
surface.  Let us turn to 1st Corinthians xi.  We shall there find that

1st.  It is inconsistent to take the words literally; for they are quite
as explicit and literal when spoken of the wine as of the bread.  “This
is my body which is broken for you.”  “This cup is the New Testament in
my blood.”  But in this one passage there are no less than three figures.
The cup stands as the emblem or figure of the wine contained in it; the
new covenant is said to be the New Testament _in_ his blood, because it
was sealed and ratified by his blood; and the cup itself is declared
positively to be the testament.  This must be figurative, it must mean
that the cup is a sign, emblem, or figure of the testament.  Thus the
warmest advocate of the doctrine of transubstantiation is compelled to
allow the use of figure with reference to the cup.  Is it consistent? is
it defensible or any principle of scriptural interpretation to deny it
with reference to the bread? ought they not to be interpreted on the same
principles?  Here are two sentences, spoken at the same time, by the same
person, under the same circumstances, to the same company, and for the
same purpose.  But there must be a figure in the one, who shall deny it
in the other?  The cup must be an emblem of the testament, can we be
wrong in believing also that the bread is an emblem of the body?

2d.  But this is not all.  We have besides the direct testimony of the
Holy Ghost that the bread remains bread, and the wine remains wine after
consecration.  Of the wine our Lord spoke in terms which it is quite
impossible to mistake or misinterpret.  In Matthew xxvi. 29, he expressly
says, “I will drink no more of this fruit of the vine until that day when
I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  These words were spoken
_after_ the consecration, and they seem uttered with especial caution as
if he had foreseen the error which was about to creep into his professing
church.  He does not rest content with the name of “wine,” but calls it
“fruit of the vine,” as if to prove beyond the possibility of a doubt
that it had gained no new substance, but remained as it was before, the
natural produce of the vine, the simple unaltered juice of the grape.
Nor is the evidence less positive with reference to the bread.  Again and
again do we read of the breaking of the bread, never once of the
sacrifice of the body.  Nor is this merely accidental, for in the 10th
and 11th chapters of 1st Corinthians we have the bread called bread by
the Holy Ghost, no less than four times after consecration.  In 1 Cor. x.
17, the Christian communicant is said to partake of bread, not of flesh
with bones and nerves; “We are all partakers of that one _bread_.”  In 1
Cor. xi. 26, “For as often as ye eat this _bread_, and drink this _cup_,
ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.”  In 27, “Whosoever shall eat
this _bread_, and drink this _cup_ of the Lord unworthily shall be guilty
of the body and blood of the Lord;” and 28, “But let a man examine
himself, and so let him eat of that _bread_, and drink of that _cup_.”
We do not, therefore, rest on human reason only when we deny the doctrine
of transubstantiation.  We boldly cast ourselves upon the teaching of the
Bible, yea, upon the teaching of the Son of God himself, and believe the
bread to be still bread, and the wine to remain as the fruit of the vine.
We behold in them the signs and symbols of the passion of our Lord; and
beholding the sign, we feed in faith on the reality.  They are the
figures of himself; the representations of his passion; the emblems and
signs of his atoning death.  As such we value, we receive, we honour
them: but we live on Christ himself; we rest on the passion itself, on
the atonement itself; and so by a strong, spiritual, realizing faith we
are made partakers of his flesh and blood.  “The words that I speak unto
you they are spirit, and they are life.”

3rd.  But if the words were to be taken literally, they would not even
then furnish the slightest proof of the doctrine taught by Rome: for you
will remember the canon {61} already quoted, which says, “If any man
shall say that the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, together with
his soul and divinity, and in short that a whole Christ is not contained
in the Sacrament, let him be accursed.”  The utmost that the words of
Jesus can be understood as teaching is, that the bread is
transubstantiated into the body.  The narrative is given by three
Evangelists and one Apostle; but in no single instance is there the least
mention made of his soul or spirit.  He did not say, “This is my body,
soul, and divinity.”  He said simply, “This is my body.”  They refer to
it exclusively, and this exclusiveness is marked in them with a peculiar
and distinctive point.  If he had simply said, “This is my body,” it
might have been possible for a lively imagination to clothe them with
some reference to all the properties of his sacred person; but by adding
the words “Which is broken for you,” he has given a definite fixedness to
their meaning; he has tied them down to a distinct and exclusive
application; he has showed that they refer simply and solely to the real,
human body; to that flesh through which the nails were driven, to that
human frame which was seen hanging on the cross, which was embalmed by
the women, and which lay buried in the tomb of Joseph.

There is not, therefore, the faintest appearance of the least shade of
scriptural evidence, in support of the canon that the bread is changed
into the soul and divinity of our Lord.  It is an addition made by the
church of Rome on her own simple, unsupported, authority. {62}  There is
not one single passage, which, on any principle of interpretation, can be
forced or twisted into the most distant reference to such a change.  The
Saviour said “This is my body.”  Rome adds, “it is his soul and
divinity.”  And what an addition have we here!  The soul shudders at the
thought that men dare presume to make it!  Had we the tongue of angels we
should utterly fail to describe the unutterable glory of the majesty of
God.  As well might the insect swallow up the ocean as any finite
creature exhibit truly the unbounded vastness of an infinite Jehovah.  In
Majesty incomprehensible he dwelleth in the light which no man can
approach unto: in power omnipotent he created all things without one
single atom of material substance: in life eternal he dwelt alone from
the beginning, filling with his own self the vast regions of unbounded
space; and now that he has peopled a universe with the countless
creatures of his skill, he is present everywhere, exhausted no where.
“Do not I the Lord fill earth and heaven?”  Yet does Rome venture on the
unsupported authority of man to ascribe all this to the unleavened wafer,
and fearlessly to hurl her curses against those who tremble at the
thought of kneeling down to the bread and wine, and adoring them with the
worship which belongs to the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the
Prince of Peace.  “If any man shall say that, he (i.e. the
transubstantiated wafer) is not to be adored with the worship due to God,
let him be accursed.” {63}

II.  We may pass then to our second point, and compare the doctrine of
transubstantiation with the teaching of Scripture concerning both the
life and work of Jesus.

And first we may remark that, according to the Bible, he now lives and
reigns in his complete and perfect manhood.  This appears very plainly in
the language of our text.  “But this man, after he had offered one
sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God.”  The
same that made the offering is now seated at the right hand of God.  Yes!
that same human person that was born of the Virgin, that grew in stature,
that was wearied at the well, that slept in the ship, that thirsted on
the cross, that was laid in the new tomb of Joseph; that same person is
the triumphant King seated as a conqueror on the throne of God.  “I am he
that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen, and
have the keys of hell and death.” {64a}

And this explains the language of Scripture, which describes him in one
defined and determined place, seated at the right hand of God.  In his
divine nature he is God himself, and fills earth and heaven.  To the Son
may we say as to the Father, “If I ascend up into heaven thou art there;
if I make my bed in hell thou art there.”  But in his human nature he is
perfect man, and as man limited.  As Jehovah he is omnipotent and created
all things, but yet as man he was dependent, and prayed for strength; so
as Jehovah, he is omnipresent, watching everywhere over the most hidden
of his scattered children, as man he has his one abiding place, and is
seated at the right hand of God.  He was always omnipresent, but when he
went to Bethany he left Jerusalem.  So too he is as God now omnipresent
everywhere, but when he went to the Father, as man he left the presence
of the church below.  “It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I
go not away the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart I will
send him unto you.” {64b}

Hence it is that he speaks of his ascension as a leaving of the world; in
the body he went to God, though in divine power he never left his church
on earth.  Hence his second advent is described as a coming back to his
people; “This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so
come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” {65a}  Hence,
also, we are expressly taught that until the appointed day shall dawn his
habitation will be heaven, and his seat the throne of God. {65b}  “Whom
the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things.”

We dare not, therefore, admit the thought that before his advent his
human person can be present with his church on earth.  The language of
sacred scripture is plain and oft repeated, that he has left the world,
and is not to be seen in person here; it leaves no space for doubt or
imagination, but teaches the believer to look on his risen Saviour in one
place and one alone; “in heaven itself now to appear in the presence of
God for us.”  There he sits in triumphant peace, having fought the fight,
having won the victory, having gained the crown.  Thousand thousand
saints attend him, ten thousand times ten thousand bow before him, and
not a murmur, not a whisper, ever breaks for a moment the cheerful peace
of his dominion.  Nothing there prevails to ruffle the calm surface of
that sea of glass, which, clear as crystal, reflects the countenance of
its reigning Lord.  And though the troubled passions of this lower world
may be lashed into fury by the action of universal sin; though the waters
thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the
swelling thereof, it cannot disturb the lowest pediment of his footstool;
for “The Lord sitteth above the water-flood, the Lord sitteth king for
ever.”  And yet shall Rome tell us that we are to adore in that piece of
bread the very person of our reigning Lord? that the wafer which can
neither save itself from the insect, from the reptile, or from
putrefaction; and which, to protect it, the Priest must shut carefully in
the casket, is in very truth the reigning Jesus, with all his life and
all his attributes?  We might believe them possibly if they were to tell
us that they had plucked up Vesuvius by the roots, and cast the huge
mountain like a pebble into the deep.  We might perhaps listen to the
tale, if the priest were to tell us that he was about to stretch forth
his bold hand, and tear down the sun from its high place amongst the
stars of heaven; but we will never believe that any man, or set of men,
on earth, can hold within their hand, can shut within their casket, can
carry in their procession, or can kill at their pleasure, that living,
reigning Saviour, whom the Holy Ghost declares to be seated triumphantly
on the right hand of God.

(2)  But the worst yet remains.  Christ passed to glory through the
grave; his kingdom was bought by blood.  “After he had made one offering
for sin, he for ever sat down at the right hand of God.”  See how that
one offering is affected by the doctrine of the mass.  You will remember
the canon already quoted which declared that when the mass was offered, a
propitiatory sacrifice was made for the sins both of the dead and of the
living.  Now what does that imply?  Nothing short of this, that the
atonement made by Christ was neither complete, nor final: not complete,
else where the need of further sacrifice? not final, else where the
possibility of a repetition?  But if there be any one point on which the
Holy Ghost has spoken more explicitly than another, that one point is the
final sufficiency of the work of Jesus.

It was complete.

By his one oblation of himself once offered, he made a full, perfect, and
sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the
whole world.  He paid the whole price, he bore the whole curse.  He left
no room for further payment, for any sacrifice in application of the one
offering to the sinner’s case.  That one atonement itself reached to the
lowest depths of the sinner’s fall; it broke down every barrier between
the soul and God; it so completely blotted out the curse that the Gospel
message is, “Believe and live.”  “By one offering he hath perfected for
them that are sanctified,” v. 14.  When Christ died the veil of the
temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; not half-way only.
The way into the holiest was then laid completely open.  There was no
second rending needed; no drawing aside the curtain.  There stood the
mercy seat in full view of the adoring multitude.  So it is with “the new
and living way which Christ has consecrated for us through the veil, that
is to say, his flesh.”  It lays the way of life completely open to the
sinner; and we only honour God, when we believe, to our inexpressible
joy, that a poor, guilty, broken-hearted penitent, may, without money,
without price, and without sacrifice, enter in boldly, and through the
simple look of faith find life and peace to his soul.  “Believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

It was final.

The passage from which our text is taken seems written with prophetic
reference to this very subject.  It could not have spoken with more
plainness if we Protestants had composed it for ourselves.  No less than
five times in these few verses does the Holy Ghost declare that the
propitiation made by Christ was offered once, and once alone.

IX. 26.  “But now _once_ in the end of the world hath he appeared to put
away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

IX.  28.  “So Christ was _once_ offered to bear the sins of many.”

X.  10.  “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the
body of Jesus Christ _once for all_.”

X. 12.  “But this man, after he had offered _one_ sacrifice for sins, for
ever sat down on the right hand of God.”

X. 14.  “For by _one_ offering he hath perfected for ever them that are

If there were any possibility of mistaking these plain and oft repeated
words, even that would be removed by the slightest glance at the pointed
argument in which we find them.  The Apostle is drawing a contrast
between the gospel and the law; between the priesthood of Christ and that
of the sons of Levi.  Now mark the especial point of contrast; their
sacrifices being imperfect require frequent repetition, his being perfect
was made once, and for ever, upon the cross.

IX. 25 and 26.  “Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the High
Priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; for
then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world, but
now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the
sacrifice of himself.”  The whole argument turns upon the impossibility
of repetition in the sacrifice of our Lord.  If that can be repeated the
whole contrast falls to the ground.

There is, therefore, the most complete, clear, and explicit proof that
Christ could be no more offered, and that propitiation could be no more
made for sin.  Yea, verily, so complete is that perfect work already
finished by Christ as our substitute; so perfect is that satisfaction
which he made upon the cross for the sins of man, that if the whole of
that sad scene were once more enacted upon Calvary; if the crown of
thorns were once more placed on his head; if his holy frame were once
more broken and bowed down by death; neither his agony nor death could
avail one jot, or one tittle, to the blotting out of one single sinner’s
sin.  Who can whiten that which is already white as snow?  What can
cleanse the garment that is already washed in the Lamb’s most precious
blood?  Who can take away the curse which is already blotted out for
ever?  What new atonement, what second sacrifice, what fresh victim, can
avail anything to the perfect acceptance of that believer’s soul who is
already made the righteousness of God in Christ?

No more then of the awful thought that, that piece of bread is the very
person of our reigning Lord!  No more of the tremendous principle that
there can be a second sacrifice of the sacred life of Jesus; a second
propitiation for the sins which the Son of God has borne!  We will adore
our blessed Saviour himself, as he is now seated at the right hand of
God.  We will adore him as our Advocate, adore him as our king, adore him
as our accepted substitute.  We will trust him for his grace, we will
praise him for his glory; we will believe in the perfection of his
perfect and all sufficient-work.  He has taken the burden of every sin
for which conscience ever can condemn us.  He has endured the curse of
every transgression of which Satan ever can accuse us.  He has washed
unto spotless whiteness the most sin-stained garment of his most
sin-polluted child.  So scorning the thought of any second sacrifice, we
will go direct to Christ himself; and there in faith lie waiting before
his footstool, feeding on his grace, rejoicing in his love, triumphing in
his power, till he come again in glory and welcome to his kingdom the
whole multitude of his ransomed saints.  Even so, come Lord Jesus!!  Come


                                2 TIM. iii. 1.

    This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come.

IT is nearly 1800 years since our blessed Lord declared to his Apostle,
“Behold I come quickly.”  It, therefore, well becomes his children to be
watching the signs of his appearing, and to be studying with intense
interest the records which he has given for the guidance and warning of
his people.  It is not presumption, but sober faith, thus to inquire into
God’s prophetic word.  The Book of Revelations was written {71a} “to show
unto God’s servants things which must shortly come to pass;” and our Lord
himself has directed us to observe the appointed signs, to compare and
check them with advancing history, and when we shall see all these things
come to pass, to know that the day is near, even at the doors. {71b}

We purpose, then, to close our present course by carefully examining into
God’s description of the state of the church in the latter days.

We sometimes hear the expression of sanguine and happy hopes that the
Gospel will so prevail throughout the world as to leave no place either
for heresy in religion, or for viciousness in life; that there will
arrive a time before the coming of our blessed Lord, when men will
witness the fulfilment of the prophecy “that righteousness shall cover
the earth as the waters cover the sea.”  Yet the smallest glance at the
prophetic Scriptures is sufficient to show that there is no warrant for
such bright anticipations there.  Again and again does God declares that
the days immediately proceeding Christ’s coming shall be days of especial
darkness both to the world and to the church.  “Upon the earth distress
of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts
failing them for fear; and for looking after those things which are
coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.  And then
shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great
glory.” {72}

With this description the language of our text is in close and complete
accordance.  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall

Let us, then, endeavour to profit by the word of warning, and examine

I.  The perils of the latter days;

II.  The character and security of the saints of God.

I.  The perils of the latter days.

(1.)  There will be perils from the world without.  We have already
learned from the language of our blessed Lord that there will be
“distress of nations with perplexity, men’s hearts failing them for fear,
and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.”  We
are told in St. Mark {73} that there shall be “wars and rumours of wars,”
that “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and
there shall be earthquakes in divers places; and there shall be famines
and troubles; these are the beginning of sorrows.”  It is of course
impossible but that the people of God should be deeply affected by this
awful convulsion of the moral atmosphere of the world.  When there is a
universal earthquake in society, all must feel the shock; when the storm
bursts around us, all must be more or less affected by the crash.

(2.)  We must, therefore, reckon this coming convulsion of society as one
of the leading causes of the peculiar perils of the latter days.  But
there are plain intimations in the Word of God that the chief source of
peril is to be found within the visible church itself.  An enemy within
the citadel is always more dangerous than an enemy without; and such an
enemy is plainly predicted in the Bible.  Our text describes not the
opposition of infidelity, but the corruption of Christianity; and draws
our thoughts not to the conflicting powers of the world, but to the
degenerate principles of the church.  “For men shall be lovers of their
own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to
parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers,
false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
traitorous, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of
God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”  There
is nothing here of wars or rumours of wars, of the array of earthly
monarchs against the cross; the danger here predicted is found within the
body of professors, and consists in a wide spread, deep-rooted apostacy
from the faith.  Nor does this apostacy lead to the open and avowed
rejection of the Gospel.  Would that it did!  The apostate body retains
its visible profession, and parades its high-sounding name of
Christianity, for (verse 5) it has “a form of godliness,” while it denies
its power.  Though ignorant of the truth, these false professors do not
professedly reject it, for they are “ever learning and never able to come
to a knowledge of the truth.”  Thus are they reprobate concerning the
faith.  To be reprobate implies appearance, pretension, profession.  Tin
is not reprobate unless it be passed as silver, nor the infidel reprobate
unless he assume the name of Christianity.  The reprobate persons,
therefore, described in our text must retain their place amongst
professors, they must have the form of godliness, the bright appearance
of some precious metal, yet when tested and tried by the Word of God,
must be found to be a base coinage, reprobate concerning the faith.

From these remarks it must be plain to all that the peculiar peril of the
latter day consists in the corruption of Christianity by a body of men
who all the while retain its form; of men who, with a high-sounding
profession, resist the truth as it is in Jesus.  The same appears with no
less distinctness in 1 Tim. iv. 1–3, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly
that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to
seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy;
having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and
commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received
with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”  There can
be no doubt that in both passages the Holy Spirit is warning us of the
same danger; for in both the leading features are the same.  The evil
springs up not without the church to resist, but within the church to
corrupt it.  The deadly plant has its root in the garden of the Lord.
“Some shall _depart_ from the faith.”  There is no rejection of the
visible profession of the Gospel, for the description given applies not
to infidelity but to degeneracy; it is a departure from the faith, not
from the name of Christianity.  “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to
abstain from meats.”  So the influence exerted is on Christian brethren,
for they seek to bind the yoke around the neck of those which “believe
and know the truth.”

These two passages are enough to show that the apostacy of professors,
and not the assault of infidels, is the great source of peril in the
latter days.  But there is one further passage which we cannot pass
unnoticed, namely, 2 Thess. ii. 3–11. {76a}  In verse 3 we are plainly
told that before the day of Christ shall come there must be a falling
away, a revealing of the man of sin, the son of perdition.  “Let no man
deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come
a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of
perdition.”  The connexion of the passage with those just considered
appears more distinctly in the Greek than in the English, where the
sentence stands.  “Except there come _the_ {76b} falling away,” the
expression “_the_” connecting it plainly with the other prophecies of the
Bible, and the general expectation of the Church.  The connexion also
with the latter days of the world’s history is proved distinctly by the
fact that the man of sin is to be destroyed by the brightness of our
Lord’s return, “whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth
and destroy with the brightness of his coming.”  We may, therefore,
regard this chapter as giving an account of the same apostacy as that
alluded to in the other texts.  And now mark its character.  It springs
up in the church itself.  Apostacy means departure or decline, and
therefore, as we remarked in the text from Timothy, it is not an infidel
power rising up against us to attack, but a degenerate power growing up
in the midst of us to corrupt.  As it springs up within the church so
does it retain its place there.  “It sits in the temple of God.”  The
church of God is often spoken of as a temple, as in 1 Cor. iii. 16, “Know
ye not that ye are the temple of God?” {77}  And to sit in the temple of
God implies that it occupies the seat, retains the name, and assumes the
sanctity of the church of God.  So again the words, “Sheweth himself that
he is God,” point not to the infidel but to the professor, to one
usurping, not attacking the sovereignty of Jehovah.  The man of sin does
not deny God’s existence, but usurps God’s authority.  But when thus
seated in the temple of God he is guilty of most awful sin.  He sets
himself above God; he displays himself as though he were God; he “shows
himself that he is God;” he assumes God’s attributes; he lays claim to
the powers and even titles of Jehovah.  The elements of this apostacy
were at work even in the days of the apostle.  The seed was even then
sown, the deadly leaven was already fermenting in the church.  “The
mystery of iniquity doth already work.”  The time, however, was not yet
come for the revealing or manifestation of his character and power.
There was a certain restraining force which then kept him in.  But this
force was not to last for ever, for he “that letteth should be taken
away, and then should that wicked be revealed.”  This restraining force
has always been explained as that of the Roman empire.  The early church
never questioned it, and it is a fact stated on good authority, and
worthy of the deepest consideration, that the primitive Christians used
to pray in their public worship for the preservation of the empire of
pagan Rome, because they were persuaded from this prophecy, that when it
fell the man of sin should be established on its ruins.  But there is one
other feature in this man of sin to be most carefully noted by the
church.  It does not refer to any single individual, but to a long series
of apostate professors.  It has been thought by some that the man of sin
will be some single individual; one glance, however, at the passage will
suffice to show that it must refer to a long series of successors.  The
whole period between the date of the epistle and the final coming of our
blessed Lord is divided in the prophecy between “him that letteth” {78}
and “the man of sin.”  He that letteth then existed, and would continue
till the man of sin took his place.  The man of sin again would retain
his place till the Lord Jesus appeared in glory.  The two together,
therefore, occupy a period of almost 1800 years.  They cannot, therefore,
both be individuals.  One at least must represent a series of successors.
But the two expressions are equally personal.  “He that letteth” (ὁ
κατέχων) is a form of expression quite as personal as “the man of sin.”
It would be inconsistent therefore to say that one represents a series,
and the other an individual.  They must be both successions or both
individuals.  The latter supposition we have already shown to be
impossible, the former we firmly believe to be the truth.

The apostacy, therefore, is not a sudden and passing outbreak of
corruption just in advance of the advent of our Lord, but a deep-rooted,
long-existing, departure from the faith, handed down from age to age, and
spreading its baneful influence from the breaking up of the Roman empire
to its final destruction at the coming of the Lord in glory.  Now it is
plain that the existence of such a body must render the latter days
indeed perilous to the saints of God.  It possesses every influence of
every worldly kind; the influence of secular power, rising up as the
successor to the empire of Rome; the authority of ecclesiastical
position, sitting in the temple of God; the cunning of deep
seductiveness, being itself the mystery of iniquity; the association of
long-continued influence, spreading on from century to century; with the
direct support of Satan himself, “for his coming is after the working of
Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” {80}  Such is the
apostacy against which the saints of God are called to take their stand,
and with reference to which it is predicted by the Spirit that “in the
last days perilous times shall come.”

But where are we to look for this apostacy?  It is described in prophecy:
can it be traced in history?  It is predicted in the word: can it be
found in fact?  Is the man of sin yet seated in the temple of God?  I
should not be a faithful servant of my God, if I did not express my deep
conviction that this most perilous apostacy is the Papal system of the
Church of Rome.  For mark the close correspondence between the words of
the prophecy, and the facts of history.  The man of sin, according to the
prophecy, was to spring up in the bosom of the church itself.  Who shall
deny that this is the case with the Romish popedom?  The man of sin was
to sit in the temple of God.  The Pope of Rome declares himself that he
sits as Christ’s vicar in the chair of Peter, and sways the sceptre of
universal dominion in the church.  The man of sin represents a long
succession, maintaining the same principles, and heading the same
apostacy from the truth: the exact counterpart of the popes of Rome.

The history of the man of sin is marked by three important dates.  His
principles were working secretly in the days of the apostles.  He would
be revealed or made manifest at the breaking up of the Roman empire.  He
would be destroyed at the coming of our blessed Lord.  The two first of
these dates exactly tally with the history of the Romish popedom.  From
many passages in the Epistles it may be gathered that its principles were
working secretly when the apostles wrote them. {81}  As the empire
declined the Bishop of Rome rose in power, till at length, when the
Emperor was taken out of the way, the Bishop stepped into his place,
asserted himself to be Christ’s vicar, and pronounced himself Lord of all
the authorities of the known world.  The words therefore can allude to no
later heresy at some future time to arise within the church, for the
mystery was already working, and the public development was to take place
when the Roman empire was destroyed.  Of course the third date cannot yet
be tried by history.  It may serve, however, to fix the prophecy on the
Church of Rome, for it proves that it can refer to none of the early
heresies in the church; they have long since vanished, and cannot be
destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s appearing.  The history of the
Church of Rome then exactly tallies with the prophecy, and _nothing else
can_.  But what shall we say of the awful assumption predicted of the man
of sin?  Can that be charged on the Romish popedom?  It saith, “Who
opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is
worshipped.”  With sorrow of heart we are compelled to acknowledge that
we fear it is one of the marked features of his character.  See how he
has dared to tamper with the commands of God himself.  I have myself seen
a catechism, in which the second commandment is actually struck out of
the decalogue of God.  Why is it, again, that none of the laity in the
Church of Rome receive the cup in the Sacrament of the Lord’s supper?
Our Lord himself plainly commanded it.  He even made the command more
expressive for the cup than for the bread, saying, “Drink ye _all_ of
this;” yet Rome says to all her laity, “Drink ye none of this.”  What is
this but to exalt himself above the Saviour, and with a bold hand to set
aside the plain command of God himself?  And look again at the doctrine
of transubstantiation.  You will remember the passages quoted last Sunday
from the Councils.  They taught that the priest could make {83} Christ
the Son of God, could shut him in a casket, could carry him in a
procession, could sacrifice him for sin.  What is this but to exalt
himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped?  But the
prophecy adds, “Sitteth in the temple of God shewing himself that he is
God.”  This may refer to the assumption either of God’s attributes or
titles.  The claim of infallibility, universal dominion, and the power of
absolute forgiveness is nothing less than a usurpation of the attributes
of God.  But he has dared also to assume the titles, yea the very title
of God himself.  When the Lateran Council was held at Rome, and Pope Leo
sat enthroned in the Lateran church, which claimed to be the mother
church of universal Christendom, when he thus sat in the temple of God
surrounded by its assembled representatives, the public orator,
Marcellus, had the daring boldness to give utterance to the words, “Thou
art our shepherd, our physician, in short, a second God in the world.”
{84}  “Sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
Did ever portrait more completely represent the person?

We conclude then that the Church of Rome is the great apostacy, the
peculiar danger which makes the latter days so pre-eminently perilous.
But we have not yet done with the consideration of their danger, for we
are taught,

(3)  That there will be a peculiar power of seduction immediately
preceding the advent of our Lord.  All the prophecies to which we have
to-day alluded agree in showing that the great apostacy would be marked
throughout its course by a mysterious power of seducing souls.  But there
are plain intimations in the word of God, that this power will be put
forth in the latter days with an energy both multiplied and quickened.
Nor is this a point of trivial importance; for you often hear it urged
that we are too enlightened in this nineteenth century to be again
ensnared by the superstitious principles of Rome.  The rapid progress of
scientific knowledge is thought a sufficient antidote against the
seductions of those who would pervert the truth.  Now such opinions will
not stand for a moment the test of Scripture; for the Holy Ghost declares
expressly that at the very time when science shall have reached its
height, and when human intelligence shall have gained the very climax of
its perfection, (I mean at the time just preceding the advent of our
Lord,) that at that very crisis there shall be an unparalleled spirit of
delusion in vigorous activity throughout the Church.  Our Lord himself
has prepared us for such a fact. {85}  “For there shall arise false
Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders;
insomuch that if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect.”
And the Spirit of God has expressly revealed it in Rev. xvi. 13–15.  “And
I saw three unclean spirits like frogs, come out of the mouth of the
dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the
false prophet.  For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles,
which go forth unto the kings of the earth, and the whole world, to
gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.  Behold I
come as a thief.  Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments
lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”  I cannot now attempt a
comment on these remarkable words, but only just observe two things
respecting them.

(1)  They allude to a period closely preceding the winding up of the
world’s history: there are seven vials, and these spirits appear under
the sixth; when the seventh is poured out, the words are uttered, “It is
done.” {86a}

(2)  They represent this period as a time of peculiar delusion throughout
the world.  The other vials all speak of war, suffering, and bloodshed:
under the sixth there is a hush, like the hush of peace; its leading
feature is delusion; delusion varied in all its forms, for there are
three spirits; devilish in its origin, for they are the spirits of
devils; prevailing in its influence, for it will throw its seductive
power over the rulers of the world, and so sway the minds of states, that
they will be, as it were, spell-bound, and lend their influence to the
direct support of the antagonist of God.  “They go forth to the kings of
the earth, and of the whole world, and gather them to the battle of that
great day of God Almighty.” {86b}  I am not now intending to occupy your
time by comparing this prophecy with history; my object is to bring home
to each of you the fact, the one simple and most startling fact, that a
spirit of strong delusion will peculiarly mark the latter days.  The
church is not to sit still in calm security, as though her warfare were
accomplished, and her crown won at the Reformation.  The great struggle
is to be at last, the unclean spirits are to come forth at last; the
sifting and searching days are to be at last.  The nearer we approach to
the advent, the greater the need of watchfulness; the farther the world
advances, the more cautious heed should we pay to the warning voice of
our Saviour; “Behold, I come as a thief.  Blessed is he that watcheth and
keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”

There is, therefore, abundant reason to believe that in the last days
perilous times shall occur, it behoves us then to look most carefully
into the second division of our subject.

II.  The character and security of the people of God.

Nor is it enough for us to rest in any general description, as for
example, in the fact that they are called, sealed, written in the book of
life; we want such a description of their character as shall place them
in contrast with the apostacy of the age in which they live.  Such a
description we may reasonably look for in the book of Revelation.  The
fullest account is there given of the apostacy; so there we should look
for the clearest description of the contrasted saints.  Now there is one
sentence in that sacred book, which may supply us with the exact
description we require, and which appears to point to two leading signs
as distinguishing the character of the saints of God, viz. their
submission to the word of God, and their simple faith in Christ himself.
I allude to the language of the Holy Ghost in Rev. xiv. 12.  “Here is the
patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God,
and the faith of Jesus.”

Nor is this a single, solitary passage.  It seems to form as it were the
motto of the whole book of the Apocalypse.

“Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus
Christ.” Rev. i. 2.

“I, John, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and
for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev. i. 9.

“I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of
God, and for the testimony which they held.” Rev. vi. 9.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their
testimony.” Rev. xii. 12.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the
remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the
testimony of Jesus Christ.” Rev. xii. 17.

“And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus,
and for the word of God.” Rev. xx. 4.

In these words we have the saints of God again and again placed in direct
contrast with the apostacy; we may therefore boldly refer to them as
marking distinctly their character.

(1)  What then is this character?  They are witnesses.

They are not carried away by the prevailing apostacy of the times, but
are witnesses against surrounding error.  The expression “witness”
implies that they stand aloof as a protesting body.  The witness for God
is not one who floats down the broad tide of popular opinion, but who
stands up in opposition to it, and boldly proclaims the truth of God.
Athanasius was a witness for Christ, when he stood forth with all the
world against him, and himself alone contending against the world.  Our
Saviour was a witness to the truth, when before Pontius Pilate he
witnessed a good confession, and was bold to endure the cross in order to
fulfil the Father’s will.  Thus the Greek word for “witnesses” is the
same as that for “martyrs,” {89a} and the witness for Christ must be one
raising the voice of protest, and contending against opposition for the
truth once delivered to the Saints.

But for what are they witnesses?  “For Jesus and the word of God.” {89b}

These two subjects form the great matter of their protest.  “They keep
the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”  They are not occupied
by secondary matters, nor debating on ecclesiastical distinctions.  Such
questions would not justify their separation.  The word of God and the
Son of God are the grand points for which they struggle.

Now this, let it be well observed, is the exact position of the faithful
Protestant.  As witnesses we are forced into separation from the great
mass of professing Christendom.  We were compelled at the Reformation
either to abandon truth, or to quit the church which claims to itself the
name of Catholic.  And what is the subject matter of our protest?  What
are the points for which we struggle?  If we were to search throughout
the English language for any one short sentence, which should contain at
once the sum and substance of our Protestant profession, I know of none
that could be so exactly suitable as that with which the Holy Ghost has
furnished us,—“the witness of Jesus and the Word of God.”  The whole of
the Protestant controversy branches out from this one passage: it
contains the germ of the whole argument.

Now there is something very cheering in this conclusion.  We are often
taunted with our disunion from the (so called) Catholic church: we are
often reproached because we are in a state of separation.  But we give
thanks for those reproaches.  They are amongst the title-deeds of our
inheritance; they help to prove us what we wish to be, the saints of God,
and the witnesses for Christ.  Had the Spirit of God described the saints
in the latter days, as united under one vicar upon earth, as swaying the
sceptre of unresisted power, as exercising lordship over kings and
potentates, as reigning triumphantly through the known world, then indeed
we should have trembled.  But now it is the reverse.  Our position is
exactly that ascribed to the saints of God in prophecy; the position of
Rome exactly that ascribed to the man of sin.  The Scriptures tell us
plainly that the saints in the latter days must stand aloof from the
great apostacy, raising against it the voice of protest; and it fills our
heart with gladness to find ourselves in that exact position.  The saints
of God are described in prophecy almost by the very name of “Protestant.”
We are not ashamed, therefore, of the blessed title, but following the
guidance of the prophetic Scriptures, we had rather far be called
“Protestant” than “Catholic.”  He that sits in the temple of God, showing
himself that he is God, he is sure to claim for himself the name of
Catholic, but he that is the servant of God must stand out boldly as the
unflinching Protestant for Christ.

(2)  This also is the security of the saints.

To stand against the apostacy of the latter days, they must be drawing
truth from God himself, and deriving life from Christ himself.  They must
listen to God himself, as speaking to them in his own inspired word, they
must be kept by Christ himself while they believe on him as their only
Lord.  Their strength lies in this, that there is no curtain, no veil, no
cloud between the soul and God—no second Mediator to convey the truth to
them, or to convey them to Christ.  They go straight into the presence of
the Father: they learn his own word from his own lips, and they are
ushered into his presence by his own well-beloved Son.  So it is that
they “overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their

This is their safety against error.  In the doubts, and dangers, and
delusions of the latter days, they rest on that which is infallible.
Holy writers may mislead; human guides may fail; the most attractive
ministers may become spellbound by the seductions of the day; but the
Word of God remains unaltered and unalterable; and the saints of God must
stand secure, being taught by the Spirit to depend on it alone for truth.

This is their security against a fall.  They bear their testimony to the
glories of Christ’s grace, and meanwhile they rest secure in it.  As
witnesses for Christ, they are believers in Christ.  The foundation on
which they build is Christ himself.  They lean on his atonement, his
all-sufficient sacrifice, his perfect and complete redemption, nor can
all the storms of hell prevail to shake their safety.  The anchor of
their soul entereth into that within the veil; and though they may here
be tossed and troubled, no trouble, no turmoil, no distraction can tear
them from the anchor that is fixed fast in the sanctuary of God.  They
derive their strength from Christ himself, as seated at the right hand of
God; they live with him in the enjoyment of a direct and immediate union
with himself; “Their life is hid with Christ in God:” and no man can rend
the bond; no distractions can burst the union; nor can all the devils in
hell combined prevail to pluck one single saint out of the faithful hand
of his redeeming Lord.  “I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to
come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And now, dear brethren, to conclude.  I have preached these sermons under
the deep conviction that clouds are gathering around us, and that our
great sifting time is near.  Eighteen hundred years have nearly passed
since the Saviour said, “I come quickly.”  Nor are there signs wanting of
his approach.  There is to be seen throughout the world a breaking down
of fixed principles of religious belief, a spirit of un-settlement
brooding over the minds of men, and a loose indifference to the
unscriptural claims of Rome.  All this is predicted as a sign of his
approach.  Let us then stand fast in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ
alone.  As pardoned sinners, let us cling to the cross; as justified
believers, let us go boldly to the throne of grace; as God’s elect, let
us rally round the banner of the Lamb.  Then men of expediency may
forsake the truth in the hour of its need; men ignorant of their bibles
may be carried off by the seducing spirits of the latter days: men of
unbelief may scoff alike at our fears and hopes; but Christ will hold us
fast in his own right hand till the day of his coming.  Clouds may
gather, black as hell; storms may burst, terrific in their crash; but we
shall be kept safe in the pavilion of our God, till we join the one,
vast, harmonious hymn of praise, which will swell up from the whole
company of God’s elect, to welcome Christ as he comes forth in his
kingdom, the Redeemer, the Advocate, the Strength, the Salvation of his



THE 4th Rule of the Council of Trent respecting Prohibited Books:—

“Since it has been found by experience that if the Sacred Scriptures are
allowed everywhere without distinction in the vulgar tongue, more harm
than good arises in consequence of the rashness of man; let this be left
to the judgment of the Bishop or Inquisitor; so that with the advice of
the parish priest or confessor he may allow the use of the Bible in the
vulgar tongue, when translated by Catholic authors, to such persons as
they may consider capable of receiving not injury, but an increase of
their faith and piety, from this kind of reading: which permission they
must receive in writing.  But any one who shall presume without such
permission either to read or to possess them, shall be forbidden the
absolution of his sins, unless he first restore the Bible to the
ordinary.  Booksellers also, who shall sell the Bible in the vulgar
tongue to any one without the aforesaid permission, or shall in any other
way provide it, shall forfeit the price of the books, to be employed in
pious uses by the Bishop, and shall be subject to such other penalties as
the Bishop may think it right to inflict, according to the character of
the offence.  Regulars may neither read nor purchase them without
receiving permission from their prelates.”

N.B.—It is very important to observe that this rule refers to Roman
Catholic versions, i.e., to their own authorized translations, and
forbids even the regulars to possess a copy without permission from the


The following extracts from the letter of the present Pope, dated 8th of
May, 1844, show that the decree of the Council of Trent is still in full
force with reference to the circulation of the Scriptures:—

“To return to Bibles translated into the vulgar tongue.  It is long since
pastors found themselves necessitated to turn their attention
particularly to the versions current at secret conventicles, and which
heretics laboured, at great expense, to disseminate.

“Hence the warning and decrees of our predecessor, Innocent III., of
happy memory, on the subject of lay societies and meetings of women, who
had assembled themselves in the diocese of Metz, for objects of piety and
the study of the Holy Scriptures.  Hence the prohibition which
subsequently appeared in France and Spain during the sixteenth century,
with respect to the vulgar Bible.  It became necessary, subsequently, to
take even greater precautions, when the pretended Reformers, Luther and
Calvin, daring by a multiplicity and incredible variety of errors, to
attack the immutable doctrine of the faith, omitted nothing in order to
seduce the faithful by their false interpretations, and translations into
their vernacular tongues, which the then novel invention of printing
contributed more rapidly to propagate and multiply.  Whence it was
generally laid down in the regulations dictated by the Fathers, adopted
by the Council of Trent, and approved of by our predecessor, Pius VII.,
of happy memory, and which regulations are prefixed to the list of
prohibited books, that the reading of the holy Bible translated into the
vulgar tongue, should not be permitted except to those to whom it might
be deemed necessary to confirm in the faith and piety.  Subsequently,
when heretics still persisted in their frauds, it became necessary for
Benedict XIV. to superadd {96} the injunction that no versions whatever
should be suffered to be read but those which should be approved of by
the Holy See, accompanied by notes derived from the writings of the holy
Fathers, or other learned and Catholic authors.  Notwithstanding this,
some new sectarians of the school of Jansenius, after the example of the
Lutherans and Calvinists, feared not to blame these justifiable
precautions of the Apostolical See, as if the reading of the holy books
had been at all times, and for all the faithful, useful, and so
indispensable that no authority could assail it.

“But we find this audacious assertion of Jansenius, withered by the most
rigorous censures in the solemn sentence, which was pronounced against
their doctrine, with the assent of the whole Catholic universe, by the
sovereign pontiffs of modern times, Clement XI. in his _unigenitus_
constitution of the year 1713, and Pius VI. in his constitution _auctorem
fidei_ of the year 1794.

“Consequently, even before the establishment of Bible Societies was
thought of, the decrees of the Church which we have quoted, were intended
to guard the faithful against the frauds of heretics, who cloak
themselves under the specious pretext that it is necessary to propagate
and render common the study of the holy books.  Since then, our
predecessor, Pius VII. of glorious memory, observing the machinations of
these societies to increase under his pontificate, did not cease to
oppose their efforts, at one time through the medium of the apostolical
nuncios, at another by letters and decrees, emanating from the several
congregations of cardinals of the holy Church, and at another by the two
pontifical letters addressed to the Bishops of Gnesen and the Archbishop
of Mohilif.  After him, another of our holy predecessors, Leo XII.,
reproved the operations of the Bible Societies, by his circulars
addressed to all the Catholic pastors in the universe, under the date of
May 5th, 1824.

“Shortly afterwards, our immediate predecessor, Pius VIII. of happy
memory, confirmed their condemnation by his circular letter of May 24,
1829.  We, in short, who succeeded them, notwithstanding our great
unworthiness, have not ceased to be solicitous on this subject, and have
especially studied to bring to the recollection of the faithful, the
several rules which have been successively laid down with regard to the
vulgar versions of the holy books.”

And again.

“Let all know then the enormity of the sin against God and the church
which they are guilty of, who dare to associate themselves with any of
these (the bible) societies, or abet them in any way.  Moreover, we
confirm and renew the decrees recited above, delivered in former times by
apostolic authority against the publication, distribution, reading, and
possession of books of the Holy Scriptures translated into the vulgar
tongue.  With reference to the works of whatsoever writer we call to
mind, the observance of the general rules and decrees of our
predecessors, to be found prefixed to the _index_ of prohibited books:
and we invite the faithful to be upon their guard, not only against the
books named in the _index_, but also against those prescribed in the
general prescriptions.”

These extracts prove beyond the possibility of controversy

(1.)  That the rule of the Index of the Council of Trent has never been
permitted to fall into abeyance, and has never been repealed.  From the
time of its enactment it has always been, and now is, the binding law of
the Church of Rome.  It has been constantly enforced by Papal authority,
and is especially commended to the careful attention of the faithful by
the authoritative letter of the present Pope.

(2.)  That no Roman Catholic is permitted on any pretext to read, or to
possess a copy of the Bible in his own language, without a written order
from the Bishop or Inquisitor.  It matters not who is the author of the
translation, whether Protestant or Romanist, whether Luther or the Pope
himself; if any man either possess or read it, for that offence he is cut
off from absolution and thereby from church communion.

(3.)  That since the days of Benedict XIV. it has always been, and now
is, unlawful under any circumstances to read any version without notes.
God’s word is not allowed to speak for itself; man’s gloss must accompany
it; the truth is forbidden in its simplicity; they are afraid to allow
the people to read even their own version, without superadding extracts
from “other learned and Catholic authors.”

(4.)  That these versions with their notes may not be possessed or read
unless they are first approved of by the Holy See.  Query.  How many
versions approved by the Pope exist in the whole world?  Is there one in
England?  It is of course difficult to prove a negative; but those who
are best acquainted with the subject assert that they have never been
able to discover one.  See Venn’s Letter to Waterworth, Jan. 15, 1845.

(5.)  That the Church of Rome attacks the broad principle of the general
usefulness of the Bible.  The Pope does not merely discuss the
comparative merits of this or that version, but goes boldly to the great
question, whether the reading of the Bible is really useful for the
people.  The Jansenists, according to his own account, asserted that the
reading of the holy books “had been at all times, and for all the
faithful, useful, and so indispensable that no authority could assail
it.”  This he declares to be an audacious assertion, and pronounces it
withered by the unanimous condemnation of the whole Catholic universe.

                                * * * * *

                                 THE END.

                                * * * * *



{5}  The use of this double rule may be seen in any Roman Catholic
writing.  Take e.g. the 1st decree of the 25th Session of the Council of
Trent.  “Since the Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, has
learned from the Sacred Scriptures, and from the ancient tradition of the
Fathers, that there is a purgatory, &c.”  Here is an appeal to two
sources of divine truth, Scripture and Tradition.

{6}  Art. VI.

{9}  This appears very plainly from a letter of the present Pope, dated,
8th of May, 1844, and addressed to the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops,
and Bishops.  He complains of Bible Societies, as “Pretending to
popularize the holy pages, and render them intelligible without the aid
of any interpreter.”

{10a}  Eph. iv. 11,12.

{10b}  Acts xx. 28.

{10c}  2 Chron. xv. 3.

{12a}  Hab. ii. 2.

{12b}  John xvi. 13.

{12c}  Eph. i. 17.

{13a}  1 John ii. 27.

{13b}  In the letter itself, Leo says, “Reprove . . . that the faithful
entrusted to you, (adhering strictly to the rules of our congregation of
the Index,) be persuaded that if the Sacred Scriptures be everywhere
indiscriminately published, more evil than advantage will arise thence,
on account of the rashness of men.”  The congregation of the Index, is a
congregation appointed by the Church of Rome to draw up a list of
prohibited books.  In the 4th rule they condemn the free circulation of
the Bible.  See Appendix A.

It should be observed that these extracts refer not to Protestant, but to
their own Roman Catholic versions.  See Mr. Venn’s letter to Mr.
Waterworth, January 15th, 1845.

The present Pope agrees with his predecessors.  In the letter above
referred to, dated May the 8th, 1844, he says, “We confirm and renew the
decrees recited above, delivered in former times, by apostolic authority,
against the publication, distribution, reading, and possession of books
of the Holy Scripture translated into the vulgar tongue.”  The motive for
these restrictions appears very plainly from another passage in the same
letter.  “Watch attentively over those who are appointed to expound the
Holy Scriptures, and see that they acquit themselves faithfully according
to the capacity of their hearers, and that they dare not under any
pretext whatever, interpret or explain the holy pages contrary to the
tradition of the holy fathers, and to the service of the Catholic
church.”  Here are two standards of interpretation laid down, tradition,
and self-interest.  The Romish Preacher must not preach even God’s truth,
if it does not happen to serve the purposes of Rome.  It seems very
strange that an infallible church should be so afraid of the infallible
word.  Appendix B.

{19}  Sess. VI. Can. 11.  “Si quis dixerit, homines justificari vel solâ
imputatione justitiæ Christi, vel solâ peccatorum remissione, exclusâ
gratia et charitate, quæ in cordibus eorum per Spiritum Sanctum
diffundatur, atque illis inhæreat; aut etiam gratiam, quâ justificamur,
esse tantum favorum Dei, anathema sit.”

{23a}  James ii. 10, 11.

{23b}  Gal. iii. 10.

{24}  Article xii.  “Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of
faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins, and
endure the severity of God’s judgment, yet are they pleasing and
acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and
lively faith; inasmuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently
known, as a tree discerned by the fruit.”

{25a}  Job xxvii. 7.

{25b}  Luke xv. 7.

{25c}  Coloss. i. 10.

{26a}  John xv. 8.

{26b}  Hooker on Justification.

{27}  Psalm xix. 3.

{30}  The doctrine of supererogation is worse still.  According to it
some men do more than is required, and not only satisfy God’s law
themselves, but gain a superfluous merit which may be made over to their
less perfect brethren.  Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part II., De
Pænitentia, 109, 110, “The extreme goodness and clemency of God must be
chiefly praised for this, that he has granted to human weakness that one
shall be allowed to make satisfaction for another, which indeed belongs
especially to this part of penitence, for as with reference to contrition
and confession no man can mourn or confess for another, so those who are
indued with divine grace can perform in the name of another that which is
due to God.  Whence it happens that in one sense one man is found to bear
another’s burden.”

{31}  1 Pet iii. 18.

{35a}  “Præterea est purgatorius ignis, quo piorum animæ ad definitum
tempus cruciatæ expiantur, ut eis in æternam patriam ingressus patere
possit, in quam nihil coinquinatum ingreditur.”  Part I. Art. v. §§ 5.

{35b}  This is sometimes denied, when men wish to recommend the doctrine
to Protestants, but it stands written in the book.  “Purgatorius ignis.”

{36a}  Large sums are left in legacy, and paid by surviving friends, in
order that masses may be said for souls in purgatory.

{36b}  Catm. part I, Art. v. § 5.

{37}  1 Pet. iv. 12.

{40a}  Rev. iv. 8.

{40b}  Luke xvi. 22.

{41a}  Acts vii. 55.

{41b}  Phil. i. 23.

{42}  Phil. i. 21.

{44}  Psalm xxiii. 4.

{47}  “Si quis post acceptam justificationis gratiam, cuilibet peccatori
pænitenti ita culpam remitti, ut reatum æternæ pœnæ deleri dixerit, ut
nullus remaneat reatus pænæ temporalis exsolvendæ vel in hoc Sœculo, vel
in futuro in Purgatorio, antequam ad regna cælorum aditus patere possit;
anathema sit.”—Trent Sess. vi. Can. 30.

I never could understand how the Church of Rome reconciles this decree
with its doctrine of extreme unction.  The Council of Trent decrees,
Sess. xiv., Extreme Unction, Chap. 2, “The matter of the Sacrament is the
grace of the Holy Spirit, whose unction blots out all such offences, and
remains of sin, as still require expiation.”  “Cujus unctio delicta, si
quæ sint adhuc expianda, ac peccati reliquias abstergit.”  If this be
true, what sins remain for expiation in purgatory?  What can be the use
of masses for the dead?  Surely the priests of the Church of Rome cannot
believe their own decree; for if they did, it would be nothing short of
robbery to receive fees for extricating souls from purgatory.  They are
already free through extreme unction.

{49}  How miserable is the confidence of a poor dying Roman Catholic!  He
trembles at the thought of purgatorial fire, and leaves money to the
priest that masses may be said for his release.  If the priest happen to
forget him, in purgatory he must remain.  Nay, more!  If the masses are
offered they may be worthless, for the Church of Rome declares the
intention of the priest to be necessary to a sacrament.  Trent, Sess.
vii., Can. 11.  “If any man shall say that the intention of doing that
which the church does is not required in ministers while they perform and
confer the sacrament, let him be accursed.”  The priest, therefore, may
perform all the masses, and get all the money, and yet if his intention
happen to be wanting the poor soul would profit nothing.  This places the
soul in purgatory at the absolute mercy of the priest on earth.  The Rev.
James Page, in his “Letters to a Priest of the Church of Rome,” gives the
following passage from the “Master Key of Popery,” written by D. Antonio
Gavin, in which he, who was himself a priest, gives an extract from the
private confession of a priest, being at the point of death, in 1710.
“The necessary intention of a priest, in the administration of baptism
and consecration, without which the sacraments are of none effect, I
confess I had it not several times, as you shall see in the parish books;
and observe there, that all those marked with a star, the baptism was not
valid, for I had no intention; and for this I can give no other reason
than my malice and wickedness; many of them are dead, for which I am
heartily sorry.  As for the times I have consecrated without intention,
we must leave it to God Almighty’s mercy for the wrong done by it to the
souls of my parishioners, and those in purgatory cannot be helped.”  Oh!
that we could persuade our poor Roman Catholic brethren to trust at once
to the great High Priest, who blotteth out all sin by his own most
precious blood!

{52}  Mal. ii. 2.

{53a}  Psalm lxix. 22.

{53b}  Sess. xiii.  De Eucharistia, Section 4, “Sancta hæc synodus
declarat per consecrationem panis et vini conversionem fieri totius
substantiæ panis in substantiam corporis Christi Domini nostri, et totius
substantiæ vini in substantiam sanguinis ejus.”

{53c}  Catm. Part ii.  De Eucharistia, Sec. 32, “A pastoribus explicandum
est non solum verum Christi corpus, et quidquid ad veram corporis
rationem pertinet, velut ossa et nervos, sed etiam totum Christum in hoc
sacramento contineri.”

{53d}  Sess. xiii.  Canon 1, “Si quis negaverit, in sanctissimæ
eucharistiæ sacramento contineri veré, realiter et substantialiter corpus
et sanguinem unà cum anima et divinitate Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ac
proinde totum Christum; sed dixerit tantummodò esse in eo, ut in signo,
vel figura, aut virtute; anathema sit.”

{54}  Sees. xiii.  Can. 6, “Si quis dixerit, in Sancto Eucharistiæ
Sacramento Christum unigenitum Dei Filium non esse cultu Latriæ etiam
externo, adorandum: atque ideò nec festivâ peculiari celebritate
venerandum, neque in processionibus, secundùm laudabilem et universalem
Ecclesia Sancta ritum et consuetudinem, solemniter circumgestandum, vel
non publicè, ut adoretur, populo proponendum, et ejus adoratores esse
idololatres; anathema sit.”

{55a}  Sess. xxii. 2, “In divino hoc sacrificio, quod in missa peragitur,
idem ille Christus continetur, et incruentê immolatur, qui in ara crucis
simul seipsum cruentè obtulit.”

{55b}  Sess. xxii. Can. 3, “Si quis dixerit, missa sacrificium tantum
esse laudis, et gratiarum actionis, aut nudam commemorationem sacrificii
in cruce peracti, non autem propitiatorium, vel soli prodesse sumenti;
neque pro vivis et defunctis, pro peccatis, pœnis, satisfactionibus et
aliis necessitatibus, offerri debere; anathema sit.”

{56}  Isa. xliv. 16, 17.

{57}  Art. 31.

{58a}  Art. 28.  “The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the
supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner.  And the mean
whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the supper is faith.”

{58b}  Dr. Cumming states that there are no less than 37 passages in the
Bible in which there is a similar form of expression.  Lectures, p. 147.

{61}  The words would not prove the doctrine of the Church of Rome, even
if the soul and divinity were not added as they are.  The utmost that
could possibly be proved from them is, that the bread was his body, and
the wine his blood.  There is not a hint at the doctrine that the wafer
_alone_ is a whole Christ, including both body and blood.  Indeed the
addition of the words “This is my blood,” distinctly proves the contrary,
it shows that both were not united in one.  To avoid this obvious
conclusion is, I suspect, the reason why the cup is withheld from the

{62}  The Council of Trent appears conscious of this absence of all
scriptural authority, for in its decree respecting the adoration of the
wafer it appeals to tradition only.  “Pro more in Catholica ecclesia
semper recepto.”  Sess. xiii. 5.

{63}  If the intention of the Priest be wanting, then, according to the
principles of the Church of Rome, all the worshippers of the Host must be
idolaters, for according to their own Canon, (See page 49,) without his
secret intention no change takes place.  In such cases, therefore, the
bread remains bread, according to their own doctrine; and to worship it
with latria (the honour due to God) is manifest idolatry.

{64a}  Rev. i. 18.

{64b}  John xvi. 7.

{65a}  Acts i. 11.

{65b}  Acts iii. 21.

{71a}  Rev. i. 1.

{71b}  Matt. xxiv. 33.

{72}  Luke xxi. 25–27.

{73}  Mark xiii. 7.

{76a}  3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not
come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be
revealed, the son of perdition;

4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or
that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God,
shewing himself that he is God.

5  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these

6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his

7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth
will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume
with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of
his coming:

9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power
and signs and lying wonders,

10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish;
because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be

11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they
should believe a lie.

{76b}  ἡ ἁποστασία.

{77}  See also Eph. ii. 20–22.

{78}  Tertullian, who lived in the second century, says of the letting
power, “Who can this be but the Roman state? the division of which into
ten kingdoms will bring on Antichrist, and then the wicked one shall be
revealed.”  De resurrect. carnis, c. 24.  And in his Apology, “There is
especial necessity that we should pray for the emperors, the empire, and
the general prosperity of Rome, for we know that a mighty power
threatening the whole world and the end of the world itself, is kept back
by the intervention of the Roman empire.”—Apol. c. 32.  Cyril says, “This
the predicted Antichrist will come when the times of the Roman empire
shall be fulfilled, and the consummation of the world shall approach.
Ten kings of the Romans shall arise together, in different places indeed,
but they shall reign at the same time; among these the eleventh is
Antichrist who by magical and wicked artifice shall seize the Roman
power.”  Catech. 15, c. 5.  See Newton on the Prophecies.

{80}  Verse 9.

{81}  E.G.  The exaltation of human tradition, Coloss. ii. 8, “Beware
lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the
tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after
Christ.”  The doctrine of justification by works, to overthrow which is
the single object of the Epistle to the Galatians.  Worshipping angels
and professing to be wise above that which is written.  Coloss. ii. 18,
“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility, and
worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not
seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, Making religion consist in
forms that can never satisfy.”  Coloss. ii. 20–23.  Exaltation of the
priesthood, 1 Pet. v. 3, “Neither as being lords of God’s heritage, but
being ensamples to the flock.”

{83}  Remember especially the doctrine of intention (page 49.)  If in the
consecration the priest think proper to withhold his intention, then the
wafer remains a wafer, and no change takes place.  If the priest think
fit to will it, then the wafer is the very person, body, nerves, soul,
and divinity, of our living and reigning Lord.  The creation of the
Saviour is therefore made dependent upon the uncontrolled will of the
priest.  What is this but to exalt himself above all that is called God
or that is worshipped?

{84}  These blasphemous titles were not only given to the Pope by the
flattery of orators, but with the acts of the Council were afterwards
published by papal authority.  At the inauguration of the Pope he sits
upon the high altar in St. Peter’s church, making the table of the Lord
his footstool, and in that position receives adoration from the people.
The following language was addressed to him in 4th Session of the Lateran
Council: “Our Lord God the Pope; another God upon earth; king of kings,
and lord of lords.  The same is the dominion of God and the Pope.  To
believe that our Lord God the Pope might not decree, as he has decreed,
were a matter of heresy.  The power of the Pope is greater than all
created power, and extends itself to things celestial, terrestial, and
infernal.  The Pope doeth whatsoever things he listeth, even things
unlawful, and is more than God (et est plus quam Deus).”  See Newton on
the Prophecies.

{85}  Matt. xxiv. 24.

{86a}  Verse 17.

{86b}  It is remarkable that these unclean spirits appear to aim at
political influence more than at personal persuasion.  “They go forth to
the kings.”  The prophecy therefore prepares us for a time when
governments shall support popery in opposition to the feelings of the

{89a}  μάρτυρες.

{89b}  Rev. xx. 4.

{96}  In his controversy with Mr. Venn, Mr. Waterworth alluded to this
injunction as a repeal of the 4th Rule.  In this he was at variance with
the Pope, for his Holiness says it was an addition to it.

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