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testimony old Wickliffe's bones were not suffered to rest in peace; his grave was rifled, his dead body exhumed and burned, and being reduced to ashes, the dust of Wickliffe was scattered on the little river Swift; by that small rivulet 'twas carried to the Avon; thence onward to the Severn, and thence commingled with the waters of the mighty ocean:
"The Avon to the Severn runs,
The Severn to the sea;
Thus widely spread, as Wickliffe's dust,
Thus we see that, notwithstanding the power of the Popes in ancient days, there was not wanting a man of God to stand up and protest, even at the peril of his life, against Romish innovations. The author proceeds: "It is well known that Luther, being offended at the commission of preaching the Indulgence being granted by Leo X. to the Dominicans, in preference to the Augustinians, of which Order he was a member, attacked first the abuse of Indulgences, then Indulgences themselves, the power of the Pope and the Bishops, and many other articles." He thus pretends that Luther's motive was chagrin and disappointment at his Order losing the lucrative privilege of preaching Indulgences. But let us hear the Roman Catholic Historian of the Council of Trent, who gives a flat denial to Mr. Oakeley's book on this point. Pallavicini, in his "History of the Council of Trent," (and mark, he was not simply a Roman Catholic historian, but the Roman Catholic historian of Trent, an enemy as well to Luther as to the doctrines which Luther preached,) in Lib. I., cap. iii., sec. vi., speaking of this charge against Luther, calls it "a calumny," &c.
§ 6. "Est itidem calumnia, indulgentiarum promulgationem fuisse demandatam non Eremitanis S. Augustini, uti mos fuerat, sed Patribus Dominicanæ Familiæ, quo quid auctius exprimeretur."
§ 7. "Ac primo quidem falsum est, consuevisse hoc munus injungi
§ 6. "There is also the calumny that the preaching of Indulgences was granted, not to the Monks of St. Augustine, as the custom was, but to the Fathers of the Dominican order, that something more lucrative might be exacted.'
§ 7. "And in the first place it is false that this office was usually
Eremitanis cùm a Julio Minoribus impositum fuerit, ut supra declaratum est similiter Minorum Moderatori unà cum Archiepiscopo Moguntino commiserat Leo in pluribus Germaniæ locis die ultima Martii anni 1515. Equites etiam Teutonici, paulo ante Patres prædicatores adhibuerant ad promulgandas quasdam similes Indulgentias.'
conferred on the monks [of St. Augustine], inasmuch as it was conferred by [Pope] Julius on the Minors [Dominicans] as has been above declared: As also to the Moderator of the Minors, in conjunction with the Archbishop of Moguntium, Pope Leo, had granted the commission in many places of Germany, on the last day of March, 1515. Likewise the Teutonic Knights, a short time before, had admitted the Fathers [the Dominicans] as preachers, in order to promulgate certain similar Indul
Thus, by their own Historian, this statement of Mr. Oakeley's book is proved, both as to its premises and its conclusion, to be a calumny" and "a falsehood!" It is also worthy of remark, that this "calumny" against Luther was never broached until after his death! While he was a living man, none dared thus to attribute unworthy motives to that noble-minded servant of God.
Mr. Oakeley's book, without any proof, repeats the charge. His own acknowledged Historian, living nearer to Luther's times, chides him as 66 bearing false witness against his neighbour."
The Author then proceeds to certain alleged proofs "from Scripture," that the Church has received this power to grant Indulgences. He quotes the passage"I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven." I am very glad that he adds this likewise to the above, that "Christ makes the same promise to the Apostles collectively, saying, "whatsoever ye shall bind," &c. He then adds, "It is therefore in the power of the Church to open heaven, and to break the bonds which can detain souls from entering therein." Now if this doctrine can be so plainly proved from Scripture, I appeal to you, as honest men, whether he had any reason to say, in page 9, that "if it is not an absolute article of faith, it so approximates to one, &c. ?"
My Brethren, either this doctrine is proved from the text, or it is not. If it is actually proved from it, why cast any shadow of doubt or uncertainty on a doctrine
thus proved? If it be not thus proved, then, why quote the passage at all?
It is one characteristic of the Church of Rome that she uses this text on almost every subject; no matter what is to be proved, her advocates adduce this passage of Scripture. Ask a Roman Catholic, "How do you prove the Supremacy of your Church?" he gives you this text. Ask one how he proves the Infallibility of the Pope? he refers you to "the keys!" Ask another how he proves the Infallibility of Councils? and he too instances "the keys!" Ask him whence he deduces the priestly power of Absolution? he again quotes "the keys." And now, when they would adduce Scripture proof for the doctrine of Indulgences, they again quote "I will give unto thee the keys," &c. Yet none of these dogmas can be proved by this passage of Scripture.
We must speak with deep respect regarding any portion of God's revealed word. But in this straining of the text to suit so many distinctive doctrines of the Church of Rome, they render it a kind of "patent" text, adapted, as they say, to prove many things, and yet failing to prove any peculiar doctrine of Rome; for these words of our blessed Lord, above quoted, refer not by any means to any such doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Besides, this is not a pertinent text by which to prove Indulgences. I enter not now on an exposition of the passage, this on some other occasion; but I say that the doctrine of Indulgences cannot be proved from this text; because, whatever may be its import, it was a privilege granted to the Apostles collectively; and if from this text they prove that this privilege extended to the successors of St. Peter, it follows, as a matter of course, that it extends likewise to the successors of the other Apostles. But this they will not allow; it must only be the Pope of Rome, the successor (as they say) of St. Peter,-who can perform that prerogative which (even upon their own showing) was given to all the Apostles alike. Again; Roman Catholics would argue from this same passage the power of all Priests to forgive sins judicially. To be therefore consistent with themselves in its application to our present subject, it should prove the power of all Priests to grant Indulgences. This latter, however, they
will not admit. This is in their system, exclusively the Pope's prerogative. Hence their inconsistency. From the same passage they would deduce in one case a particular, and in the other a universal prerogative.
Again; this book quotes, as the second and last assumed proof from Scripture, the following passage: "To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it, in the person of Christ," 2 Cor. ii. 10.
Now, my Brethren, in this passage I find no proof of Indulgences, because St. Paul plainly tells the Corinthians, that what he has done, is only what they themselves have already done; and, therefore, if an Indulgence is meant by the gift which St. Paul speaks of, it is evident, it must be in the power of the laity to grant Indulgences! Again, we find that this instance differs essentially from the Indulgence system as practised by the Church of Rome; we find here no "secret confession to a priest,-no "Pontifical Bull" issued from Rome to warrant his re-admission into the Church; we find there no merits or satisfactions of the Saints" applied; no visitation of any particular church prescribed; no money to be paid by this erring Corinthian. We find other points of dissimilarity between the two cases; the erring Corinthian had committed an open scandal against the Church, for which he was condemned to an open exclusion from the congregation; and upon his sincere repentance, we find that the Corinthians re-admitted him to open communion with the Church. Now, are Indulgences, as taught in the Church of Rome, intended only for open scandal ? To such, and to such only, this case refers. Assuredly there must have been in the Corinthian Church many sinners (though not to a degree so flagrant), for whom no Indulgences were then proclaimed, as they now are, to all the members of the Church of Rome. In order to resemble the Indulgences of the Roman Catholic Church, the favour mentioned in the text adduced should have been offered, not to this particular offender only, but to all of the Corinthian Church who would accept of it. In this respect, therefore, I think, the parallel fails!
Again; the erring Corinthian was condemned, in consequence of his sin, to open exclusion from the congregation.
I ask; Are the partakers of Indulgences ever thus openly excluded from the Roman Catholic Church, at the time of receiving the Indulgence? Certainly not! They must actually be in communion with, rather than suffering exclusion from, the Church of Rome. Here, then, the parallel fails again! Moreover, by the application of an Indulgence, Roman Catholics do not obtain any readmission to the Church, as did the Corinthian, and, therefore, I maintain that every feature of similarity vanishes from our view. The cases are by no means parallel.
But the writer proceeds to say, that this doctrine "is still more clearly proved from tradition." But if he had easily proved" it from Scripture, what need is there to prove it from tradition? However, he says, "A tradition which is clear, constant, and universal, which has come down to us without interruption from the times of the Apostles, may be justly considered as a sure method of arriving at any truth; " but, Brethren, before I admit the value of tradition, as applied to Indulgences, I must know that it is a tradition, clear, constant, and universal, and that it has come to us without interruption from the times of the Apostles. The Author pleads, that it was not necessary that this dogma should be written, and quotes, " And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written," John xxi. 25.
But I ask, if it were not " necessary to be written " then, how comes it to pass, that this doctrine of Indulgences is " necessary to be written now ? If God in his wisdom and goodness has given us a certain book, containing all sufficient knowledge, ready to every man's hand, and accessible to all, why should any man say, there had been more written, this or that would have been found therein?" They appeal to a negative thing, which has no existence, and they merely say if (another "if!") "if a little more had but been written, this doctrine would surely have been in it!" This book proceeds: "How many were the truths revealed which have never been written!" But when he has already, as he pretends, proved that it is written, and that in two passages of Scripture, why should he now thus speak of this doctrine as