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established in Dublin a society, called, The Purgatorian Society, the object of which was to secure the relief of souls in purgatory by shortening the duration of their torments. The means chiefly proposed was the payment of a penny a-week by the members: this subscription entitled a member to have a relative in purgatory prayed for, and secured the same benefit to himself when he should be deceased. One of the rules of the society, how. ever, expressly stipulates, that to secure this privilege of being prayed for after death, the persons must “be six months a subscriber to the institution, and BE CLEAR OF ALL DUES AT THE TIME OF THEIR DEPARTURE !!" “ In what light," asks one, “ does this place the priesthood? They believe, or at least they teach, that the friends of their flock are lying weltering in a lake of fire, from which they could deliver them by saying masses for them, and recommending them to the prayers of the congregation, and yet they will not say these masses, nor so recommend them, unless they be regularly paid for it. How can a man represent himself as such a monster, and yet hold up his head in civilized society? What! shall I believe that a single soul is suffering torments so dreadful—that it may continue to suffer them for ages--that I have the means in my power of relieving it-and yet that I shall coolly wait till I be paid, before I use these means! By what process of reasoning can men be brought to believe that this is the religion given to
us for our salvation, by our kind and merciful Father in heaven? By what arguments can the poor be convinced that a system of extortion, which gives so manifest a preference to the rich, can be that gospel which was to be preached peculiarly to
?" * “ Therefore,” says the church of England, in one of her homilies protesting against this unscriptural doctrine, “ let us not deceive ourselves, thinking that either we may help other, or other may help us, by their good and charitable prayers in time to come.
For as the preacher saith, (Eccles. ii. 3,) · When the tree falleth, whether it be toward the south, or toward the north, in what place soever the tree falleth, there it lieth ;'-meaning thereby, that every mortal man dieth either in the state of salvation or damnation ; according as the words of the Evangelist John do also plainly import, He that believeth on the Son of God hath eternal life : but he that believeth not on the Son shall never see life, but the wrath of God abideth upon him. As the Scripture teacheth us, let us think that the soul of man, passing out of the body, goeth straightways either to heaven or else to hell ; whereof the one needeth no prayer, and the other is without redemption. The only purgatory, wherein we must trust to be saved, is the death and blood of Christ; which, if we apprehend
* The Rev. James Carlisle's Examination of Roman Catholic Episcopacy, p. 100-107.
with a true and stedfast faith, it purgeth and cleanseth us from all our sins, even as well as if he were now hanging upon the cross. This, then, is that purgatory wherein all Christian men must put their whole trust and confidence; nothing doubting, but if they truly repent them of their sins, and die in perfect faith, that they shall then forthwith
pass from death to life.” *
* Hom. xix. 3.
THE WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH OF
INVOCATION AND WORSHIP OF SAINTS AND
Church of Rome.
Church of England. “ (I strenuously maintain) “ The Popish doctrine, conlikewise, that the saints who cerning worshipping and adoreign together with Christ are ration as well of images as of to be venerated and invoked, reliques, and also invocation of and that they offer prayers for saints, is a fond thing vainly inus to God, and that their relics vented, and grounded upon no are to be venerated.”-Trent. warranty of Scripture, but rather Profess. Art. viii.
repugnant to the word of God.” - Art. xxii.
The object of the former parts of this inquiry was to show that the distinguishing principles and doctrines of the church of Rome are erroneous and anti-scriptural; and to exhibit the faithful testi. mony of the church of England against them. It remains now to show that the church of Rome is not less corrupt and anti-scriptural in her worship, than she is in her faith. Against some parts of the worship of the Romish church, the church of England witnesses more formally in certain of her articles : against the whole of it, she most decidedly protests, by that more scriptural and apostolic form of religious worship which she adopted at the time of the Reformation, and which she retains at the present day.
Ecclesiastical history abundantly testifies, that in the degree in which a church apostatises from the purity of the Christian faith, she soon becomes corrupt in her form and practice of religious worship. While “ the faith once delivered to the saints” was held fast in its purity, the form and circumstances of divine worship, as derived from the apostles, were preserved, subject only to those slight variations which a change of times and cir. cumstances demanded, and which the apostolic rule, “ let all things be done decently and in order,” did not prohibit. When at length the tide of worldly favour flowed into the church, with the purity of her faith also departed the simplicity of her worship. For primitive rites, which aided the devotion of the spirit, were substituted gaudy ceremonies which demanded mere bodily exercise. The Christian temple dedicated to the worship of that God who is a spirit, and who alone can be