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Papists must' inake their own election—whether they will embrace the doctrines of Christ, or still worship the “ Mammon of unrighteousness.'
Sect. III.Of the Invocation of Saints.
I mean such petition or request as are made to desire their prayers and intercession for us.
Do Catholics pray to saints ?
If by praying to saints, you mean addressing ourselves to them as the authors or disposers of grace and glory, or in such manner as to suppose that they have any power to help us independently of God's good will and pleasure, we do not pray to them: but condemn all such addresses as superstitious and impious. But if, by praying to saints, you mean no more than desiring them to pray to God for us, in this sense we hold it both good and profitable to pray to the saints.
How do you prove that it is good and profitable to desire the saints and angels in heaven to pray to God for us ?
Because it is good and profitable to desire the servants of God here upon earth to pray for us: for the prayer of a righteous man ayaileth much," James v. 16. Moses by his prayers obtained mercy for the children of Israel, Exod. xxxii. 11, 14. And Samuel by his prayers defeated the Philistines, 1 Sam. vii. 8, 9, 10. Hence St. Paul, in almost all his epistles, desires the faithful to pray for him, Rom. xv. 30, Eph. vi. 18, 19, 1 Thess. v. 25, Heb. xiii. 13. And God himself, Job xlii. 8, commanded Eliphaz and his friends to go to Job, that Job should pray for them, promising to accept of his prayers. Now, if it be accceptable to God, and good and profitable to ourselves, to seek the prayers and intercession of God's servants here on earth; must it not be much more so to seek the prayers and intercession of the saints in heaven; since both their charity for us, and their credit and interest with God, is much greater now than when they were here upon earth.
But does it not argue a want of confidence in the infinite goodness of God, and the superabounding merits of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, to address ourselves to the saints for their prayers and intercession?
No more than to address ourselves to our brethren here below, as Protestants do when they desire the prayers of the congregation; since we desire no more of the saints than what we desire of our brethren here below, viz., that they would pray for us, and with us, to the infinite goodness of God, who is both our Father and their Father, our Lord and their Lord, by the merits of his Son Jesus Christ, who is both our Mediator and their Mediator. For though the goodness of God and the merits of Christ be infinite, yet'as this is not to exempt us from frequent prayer for ourselves, so much recommended
in scripture, so it is no reason for our being backward in seeking the prayers of others, whether in heaven or earth, that so God may have the honour, and we the benefit, of so many
But is there no danger, by acting thus, of giving to the saints the honour which belongs to God alone ?
No; it is evident, that' to desire the prayers and intercession of the saints, is by no means giving them an honour which belongs to God alone; so far from it, that it would even be a blasphemy to beg of God to pray for us; because whosoever desires any one to pray for him for the obtaining of a grace or blessing, supposes the person to whom he thus addresses himself to be inferior and dependent of some other by whom this grace or blessing is to be bestowed.
Have you any reason to think that the saints and angels have any knowledge of your addresses or petitions made to them ?
Yes, we have. 1st, Because our Lord assures us, Luke xy. 10, that:“ there is a joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth.” For if they rejoice at our repentance, consequently they have a knowledge of our repentance; and if they have a knowledge of our repentance, what reason can we have to doubt of their knowing our petitions also ? And what is here said of the angels, is also to be understood of the saints, of whom our Lord tells us, Luke xx. 36, that“ they are equal unto the angels."
2dly, Because the angels of God, who, as we have already seen, are our guardians, are alw amongst us, and therefore cannot be ignorant of our requests; especially since, as we have also seen from Rev. v. 8, and viii. 4, both angels and saints offer up our prayers before the throne of God, and therefore must needs know them.
3dly. Because it appears from Rev. xi. 15 and Rev. xix. 1, 2, that the inhabitants of heaven know what passeth upon earth. Hence St. Paul, 1 Cor. iv. 9, speaking of himself and his fellow-apostles, saith, “ We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men."
4thly, We cannot suppose that the saints and angels, who enjoy the light of glory, can be ignorant of such things as the prophets and servants of God in this world have often known by the light of grace, and even the very devils by the light of nature alone: since the light of glory is so much more perfect than the light of grace or nature, according to the apostle, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. “ For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even also as I am known :" that is, by a most perfect knowledge. Hence, 1 John iii. 2, it is written, “we shall be like him (God), for we shall see him as he is." Now, it is certain, that the seryants of God in this world, by a special light of grace, have often known things that passed at a great distance, as Elisha, 2 Kings V., knew what passed between Naaman and his servant Gehazi; and 2 Kings vi., what was done in the King of Syria his private chamber,
It is also certain that the devils, by the mere light of nature, know what passes amongst us, as appears by the correspondence they hold with magicians, and by their being our accusers, Rev. xii. 10. Therefore we cannot reasonably question, but that the saints in heaven know the petitions which we address unto them.
5thly, In fine, because it is weak reasoning to argue from our corporal hearing (the object of which being sound, that is, a motion or undulation of the air, cannot reach beyond a certain distance) to the hearing of spirits, which is independent on sound, and, consequently, independent of distance: though the manner of it be hard enough to explicate to those who know no other hearing but that of the corporal one.
Have you any other warrant in Scripture for the invocation of angels and saints ?
Yes; we have the example of God's best servants. Thus Jacob, Gen. xlviii. 15, 16, begs the blessing of his angel guardian for his two grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh.“ God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long until this day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads.” The same Jacob, Hosea xii. 4, "wept and made supplication to an angel." And St. John, Rev. i. 4, writing to the seven churches of Asia, petitions for the intercession of the seven chief angels in their favour. “ Grace be unto you, and peace from him, which is, and which was, and which is to come , and from the seven spirits which are before his throne.”
That Popery should be at such excessive pains to make her adorers believe it is their duty to invoke the assistance of her saints is no wonder; and the more especially since our Protestant Reformation of Saint-making, among other abuses of her Church, has almost ruined her trade in this single article. We do not now hear of the daily manufacture of a batch of Popish saints for particular occasions, lest heretical Protestants should expose the hoax. Well, therefore, may Popery take especial care of the stock, ample as it is, with which she has provided herself in the most flourishing times of superstition and bigotry.
The first question is proposed—“ Do (Roman) Catholics pray to Saints ? »
This plain question, we should have thought, might, from the catechism of a tyro, have been plainly answered: but, no; that would not have done
“ Your only peace-maker,” an if, was necessary, and an “ if” we have accordingly, by which the sense of the answer iş reduced to this :-If you mean, by not doing, that which we really do; and by doing, that which we really do not, why then it is quite clear, in this sense, it is good and profitable to pray to our own Saints, which we have purposely made for our own especial purposes. We readily admit the next long passage, until we arrive at the Pope's logic; that is, we admit that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much, BECAUSE THE SCRIPTURES TELL US SO; but we deny the Pope's “ now-if-it-be-acceptable” part of it, because the Scriptures are opposed to such idolatrous worship (See p. 163,4). Protestants are again spoken of as acting similarly to Papists (!), in desiring the prayers of the congregation*. The difference between the Protestant and the Papist in their worship is this :—the former take the Scriptures for their rule of faith, professing their belief that these (See Church Article, VI.) contain all things necessary to salvation;—the latter are taught to believe that their salvation is vested in Popery.
We are next informed, that by praying to Papal saints (we particularize these, since if there had not been any such the true saints of God would not, at the present day, have been prayed to at all), there is no danger of giving them the honour due to the Almighty. This must be a very fortunate circumstance, if true, and can only have been secured by a Popish miracle; since the most illiterate of Papists would not otherwise possess discrimination to determine the precise degree of “honour” they were to pay, and the point at which they should stop. Our readers will excuse our passing over the Pope's logical deductions—(perhaps they may think we have already given enough of these?)—until we arrive at the extract from St. Luke: the chapter (15th) from which it is taken, records the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son, in which our Saviour uses the words quoted above: but he does not say that this joy shall be evinced until the penitent receives his reward in heaven. The expression, as it stands in the 9th verse (as quoted by the Pope) is the second time it is stated by our Lord; and to prove that our interpretation of it is correct, we will quote the 7th :-" I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth more than over ninetyand-nine just persons which need no repentance,”-And this is what Popery adduces in proof of Saints having a know ledge of every penitent on earth!
* “ I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.”-Paul's 1st Epist. to Tim. ii. 1.
The single expression of Paul, “We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men,” is eagerly seized on by the Pope, who seems to have forgotten the quotation he himself has made (p. 157) from Heb. i. 14, where Paul says the angels" are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Were not, we ask, the sufferings of the Apostles visible to these spirits upon earth?_St. Paul, how ever, decides the point in question much more clearly, whe ther Papists will believe him not. What intercession of saints and angels is deemed necessary in this positive declaration. There is one God, and ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND Man, the man Christ Jesus? (1 Tim. ii. 5). Popery dare not (publicly) say our quotations are incorrect-let Papists read the Scriptures, and learn true Christianity.
4thly. The Pope speaks of his suppositions with these we will have nothing to do, but adhere to the facts of Christ's doctrine. No believer in Him ever denied that the Almighty has often bestowed superhuman knowledge apon his creatures; but that “ Therefore we cannot reasonably question, but that the Saints in heaven know the petitions which we address to them,” is, we think, a most unreasonable way