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individuals, their sanctity could not have imparted the mark of holiness to the Chureh of Rome in her then state of general corruption, any more than the existence of the prophets and of a comparatively few holy Jews could impart it to the Jewish Church. For we find that Church, notwithstanding the existence within her pale of the prophets and of a remnant of holy Jews, denounced by the prophet Isaiah as altogether unsound and putrid, “ from the sole of the foot even umto the head,” Isaiah i. 6.
, It is proved by the testimony of Roman Catholie historians, bishops, priests, and saints (Cardinal Baronius, St. Bridget, and others) that no Christian bishoprie has had such ungodly bishops as the bishoprie of Rome; and that no visible Christian Church has fallen into grosser immorality, indiscipline, and eovetousness. In the annals of what other bishoprie, for example, eam we find the record of sueh wicked bishops as are depicted to us by Cardinal Baronius as occupying the chair of the bishoprie of Rome in the tenth century ? and of what other Church can we find a more awful picture given than of the Church of Rome in the sixteenth century by her orators, who were bishops and monks, who addressed the fifth Lateram Council and the Couneil of Trent ? The true Church of Christ is truly sanctified, for it is the body of Christ, of whieh saints or true believers only are members. St. Paul, when he addresses the saints at Ephesus, says, “ Now ye are the body qf Christ and members in particular.” St. Peter speaks of believers as forming a spiritual house, that is to say, the true Church, in which Christ dwells, and he affirms that; each true believer is a living stone. * J'e, also, as lively stones are built up a spiritual house.” (1 Pet. ii. 5.) Every true believeris a temple of the Holy Ghost and a partaker of the Spirit of Christ, and therefore the whole body of true believers, which is the true assembly or Church, for er«λησιa means assembly, must needs have the mark of sanctity. * Know ye not that your body is the temple qf the Holy Ghost which is in you.” (1 Cor. vi. 19.) * If any man have not the Spirit qf Christ he is none qf his.” (Rom. viii. 9.) Against this Church the gates of hell, or àònc, cannot prevail, for all its members have eternal life and shall never perish, for they are the sheep of Christ, and hear his voice, and follow him. “ My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out qf my hand.” (John x. 27, 28.) Every member of this Church has been taught by a living infallible guide, who is the Holy Spirit ; for it is written, “ No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost;” (1 Cor. xii. 3.) and as the body is holy, the Head, from which the body derives its nutriment and sanctity, is most holy, for it is the Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. i. 22.) But what pretensions could the Church of Rome have to sanctity in the tenth eentury in its dreadful state of admitted general corruption, and with, to use CardinallBaronius' own expression, monsters and false pontiffs in their suecession, for its visible heads ?
A visible Church, which possesses evangelieal ministers, evangelieal articles, a scriptural liturgy, an open and translated Bible, the apostolically ordained sacraments, and a preached Gospel, is a most blessed institution, for which its members eannot be too grateful, and which they ought prayerfully and earnestly to endeavour to uphold and perpetuate in its integrity and purity ; and such a church may justly be denominated “the pillar and ground of the truth.” Butinasmuch as the majority of its professors in the long rum are eertain to be earnal and untrue, it eannot justly lay claim as a Church, assembly, or body, to the mark of sanctity. Moreover, every visible Chureh, however apostolieal in its origin, Orders, sacraments, and doctrines, may fall into error and be destroyed. No Churches at the present day eam be more apostolical than vere in every respect the sevem Churches to whom the solemn warnings of Christ were addressed in the Apoealypse. But it is well known that; the majority of those eandlesticks have been removed upon account of their apostasy. This truth is impliedly `set forth in the XIXth Article of the Church of England, for she eannot possibly arrogate to herself an indefeetibility, which she affirms to have been wanting in Churches, whiéh were umdeniably apostolical in their origin, and which were once undemiably apostolical in their orders, sacraments, discipline, and doctrines. - “ As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred ; so also the Church of Eome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.” (XIXth Article of the Church of England.)
“This change in the form of ecclesiastical government, was soon followed* by a train of vices, which dishonoured the character and authority of those to whom the administration of the Church was committed. For though several yet continued to exhibit to the world illustrious examples of primitive piety and Christian virtue, yet many were sunk in luxury and voluptuousness, puffed up with vanity, arrogance and ambition, possessed with a spirit of contention and discord, and addicted to many other vices that cast an undeserved reproach upon the holy religion, of which they were the unworthy professors and ministers. This is testified in such an ample manner by the repeated complaints of many of the most respectable writers of this age, that truth will not permit us to spread the veil, which we should otherwise be desirous to cast over such enormities among an order so saered. The bishops assumed in many places a princely authority, particularly those who had the greatest; number of churches under their inspection, and who presided over the most opulent assemblies. They appropriated to their evangelical function the splendid ensigns of temporal majesty. A throne, surrounded with ministers, exalted above his equals the servant of the meek and humble Jesus ; and sumptuous garments dazzled the eyes and the minds of the multitude into an ignorant veneration for their arrogated authority. The example of the bishops was ambitiously imitated by the presbyters, who, neglecting the saered duties of their stations, abandoned themselves to the indolence and delieaey of an effeminate and luxurious life. The deacons beholding the presbyters deserting thus their functions, boldly usurped their right and privileges; and the effects of a corrupt ambition were spread through every rank of the saered order.”
* The enlargement of the powers of the bishops.
Origenis Commentaria in Matthæum, p. 420. (Rothomagi,
Atque hæc quidem docet nos Dei verbum: nos autem sive doctrinæ Jesu hoc loco traditæ sententiam non assequamur, sive talia Servatoris aspernemur præcepta, tales sumus ut nequissimorum inter Gentes principum superbiam aliquando superemus, et satellites haud secus ae Reges tantum non conquiramus: quinetiam nos ad terrorem componentes, difficilesque ad nos aditus pauperibus præsertim facientes, tales iis accedentibus et aliquid rogantibus nos exhibemus, quales tyranni principumve crudelissimi supplicibus sese non præbent. Ac in plerisque legitimè constitutis, sed præsertim majorum civitatum ecclesiis principes populi Dei videre licet, haud ullam apud se æqualitatem servari, ne præstantissimis quidem nonnunquam Jesu discipulis permittentes. Certè Apostolus heris erga famulos præceptum tradit dicens : Domini, quod justum est et aequum servis præstate, scientes quod et vos Dominum habetis in coelo ; (Col. iv. 1.) quinetiam adversus servos minas remittere heros docet. Nonnullos autem asperis utentes comminationibus videre licet, aliquando peccati obtentu, nonnunquam etiam
præ pauperum contemptu, contra Apostoli sermonem, qui sic habet: Deætras dederunt mihi et Barnabæ societatis ; ut nos in Gentes, ipsi autem in circumcisionem : tantùm ut pauperum memores essemus. (Gal. ii. 9, 10.) Et rursum nullam erga subditos æquabilitatem in animam inducentes; neque modestiam et æquabilitatem inter Christianos potissimum versari debere cogitantes, sed inter eos præsertim qui dignitatem aliquam in ecclesia gerunt: scriptum est enim: Quanto magnus es, humilia te in omnibus et coram Deo invenies gratiam. (Eccles. iii. 20.)