« PredošláPokračovať »
tians. The worship of angels and saints, as mediators, nevertheless, made its way into the Church about four hundred years after, and has continued ever since, in defiance of his admonitions, and against the whole tenor of the Sacred Scriptures.
Though many subtle distinctions have been drawn to palliate the idolatry of the Church of Rome, one cannot peruse her popular works of devotion without being convinced that, if there be such a crime as formal idolatry, she is guilty of it.” Whose image, I would ask, is most honoured in every Romish sanctuary? Is it not that of the Virgin Mary? The Romanists, however, will tell us that supplication is only made to the Blessed Virgin that she may act as the intercessor of her worshippers. To this we may at once reply, that to look to her for intercession, (and what I now say has reference to the whole doctrine of the intercession of departed saints,) is to interfere with one of the fundamental verities of our holy faith, with one of the deepest sources of Christian consolationthe intercession of the one and only Mediator. For, "guard their language as they may with qualifying cautions, the practical effect which the Romish writers labour to produce is this; to interpose between Christ and the sinner another mediator," and to represent the Son of God, whose nature and property is ever to have mercy and to forgive, “either as an angry and vindictive Being, from
whom the Virgin is to save the sinner, or else as an infant under the tutelage of his mother.”
Throughout the New Testament we have many exhortations against this grievous sin, because into it “ little children (1 John v. 21) are so easily led ; and it is because the sin is the result of a scriptural principle wrongly applied, that those who have been educated in it are so unwilling to renounce it. Nature and revelation alike declare that the Almighty is to the sinner an awful Being, a terrible God: this is a truth at the very foundation of all revealed religion-a truth implied in our condemnation for original sin, and in our consequent need of a Saviour. God is indeed too terrible to be approached by man, even in a state of redemption, except through a Mediator. But what the glory, what the consolation, of the Gospel? Is it not this —that to provide us with a Mediator, to give us the means of approaching the otherwise unapproachable God, the Word was made flesh, and the manhood taken into God; so that in Jesus, perfect God though He be, we have a great High-priest that is passed into the heavens, a High-priest that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin ? Having such a Mediator, we are commanded to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. iv. 16.)
* Dr. Hook's Sermon on “Peril of Idolatry."
We have seen that the distinguishing feature of the Gospel is, to bring God nigh unto man, and man nigh unto God.
“ If any man sin,” says St. John, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John ii. 1.) But what is the opinion of St. Alphonsus Liguori, or rather of the Church of Rome, who has lately set her seal to his impious and pernicious heresies ? * Strange as it must appear, the purport of his words can be nothing else than this—that, if a man be just, if he have no sin, Jesus Christ is his Advocate; but that if he be a sinner, he needs another advocate, even the mother of Christ ! “ Once introduced to her,” says Albertus Magnus, as quoted by this same Alphonsus, “let us be silent ; for it does not become us to open our mouth before the Lord, whom we have so much offended, but leave Mary to speak and intercede for us.”+ Thus, the sinner is taught, not only that it is to the mercy of Mary that he is to flee from the vengeance of her Son, but that having fled to her, he is not even to dare to pray to God, but to leave the whole matter of his salvation to her intercession.
However much this may be approved by the Church of Rome, what would it have appeared to the penitent thief upon the cross? Did he, in
* See “The Glories of Mary, Mother of God; containing a beautiful paraphrase on the Salve Regina, and translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus Liguori.”
+" The Glories of Mary," p. 92.
dread of his Saviour's presence, appeal to the Virgin for her intercession ? Did he not rather address himself immediately to Christ?—and was not his prayer at once accepted? Yes; he did not for a moment think that there could possibly be any one more capable of entering into his wants, of sympathizing with his infirmities, and of compassionating his sins; convinced as he was that Christ, his fellow-sufferer, was his only refuge, and that an appeal to any other intercessor would have been infinitely derogatory to the goodness of God.
More need not, I think, be said to prove that the invocation of departed saints is in direct opposition to the Word of God. Whenever, or with whomsoever this invocation began, it was, I must say,
a most unwarrantable and mischievous intrusion into things unseen; a rash and sinful attempt to draw aside the veil which hides what God had determined to conceal; and a system, as taught in the Church of Rome, than which it is impossible to conceive anything (short of a formal denial of the Trinity) more utterly subversive of Christianity.” In conclusion, let me quote the words of St. Paul: “How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed ?” (Rom. x. 14.) Christ said: “ Ye believe in God, believe also in Me” (John xiv. 1); but He never said, “ Ye have believed in Me, believe also
mother and my saints.” No; “ for there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
REV. BEAVER H. BLACKER, M.A.,
ST. MARY'S, DONNYBROOK, DUBLIN.
“ Why should I fear the darkest hour,
Or tremble at the tempter's pow'r ?
" I know not what may soon betide,
Or how my wants shall be supplied;
24, PATERNOSTER-ROW ; DUBLIN: W. CURRY AND CO., UPPER SACKVILLE-STREET,