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holy than all the patriarchs, or prophets and apostles, let the conscience of the Christian reader judge.”
“ This distinction of mediators, to be one of expiation for sin, Christ, and another of intercession, the saints departed, is naught; it repugneth the manifest text of the Scripture ; it is the office only of Christ to be the mediator for sin, and likewise to offer the prayers of the church to his Father. (1 John ii. 1.) Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away
the sin of the world.' (John i.) As concerning intercession, he commandeth us only to ask in his name, and prescribed the manner how to ask, and what to ask, (Luke xi.) &c.” *
* Hooper's Declaration of Christ and of his Office.
INVOCATION AND WORSHIP OF SAINTS AND .
In the observations which were offered in the preceding chapter, on the invocation of angels and saints, it was shown that the church of Rome wor. ships God through unauthorized mediators, and, by so doing, is guilty of practically subverting the all-important doctrine of Christianity, that “ there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Another characteristic feature of Romish worship will now be considered, i. e. much of it is addressed to creatures, contrary to command of holy Scripture, which says—“ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve;" and, therefore, such worship is justly condemned as idolatrous.
With the view of getting rid of the charge of idolatry alleged against her, on account of her authorizing and practising the worship of saints, their images, and relics, the church of Rome has adopted the fanciful and unscriptural distinction of religious worship, into that which is supreme and subordinate, which she expresses by the terms Latria (Aarpeta) and Dulia ; (dsdela ;) the former is appropriated to the Most High, and the latter to saints and angels. Cardinal Bellarmine multiplies these distinctions, and lays down the following absurd regulations for religious worship :-Christ is to be worshipped with latria, his image with hyperdulia ; the virgin with hyperdulia, her image with dulia ; St. Peter with dulia, his image with subdulia. Of such absurd distinctions the word of God knows nothing. The two principal terms, Latria (latpala) and Dulia (Sslela,), which are employed in the Scriptures to express religious worship, are used so promiscuously as to forbid any such distinction as that between supreme and subordinate worship, as contended for by the church of Rome. To all such distinctions the authoritative declaration of the Saviour, before referred to, when tempted to an act of creature worship, is most decidedly opposed—“ Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Matt. iv. 10.).
The growth of superstition, in the fourth and fifth centuries, we have had more than once occasion to remark, was rapid and extensive. It would seem as if a desire had existed of assimilating as much as possible Christianity with paganism ; at least, no effectual check was opposed to so unhallowed an adulteration of the religion of Christ. When once the practice of invoking departed saints had gained firm footing in the church, that of offering religious veneration to their images and relics soon followed. Though, at first, an unavailing check was opposed to such innovations as heathenish in origin and character, they were, for reasons sufficiently obvious, declared to be lawful by the councils of the church, and established as parts of her religious worship.
The worship of departed saints has evident marks of a pagan origin. The heathen, though they acknowledged and worshipped one Supreme Being, worshipped also several subordinate deities as distinct from one another. “ Some of these they fancied to be superior to the rest, and to have their residence in heaven ; by which Marsilius Ficinus supposes Plato to mean no more but the chief of the angels. These were called Osoi Dii Superi, and Dii Cælestes, superior and heavenly gods. The Scripture terms them the Host of Heaven, meaning the sun, moon, and stars, which they supposed to be animated, or at least to be inhabited by angels, or glorious spirits, whom they called gods."
“ Other of their deities were accounted much inferior to these, being supposed to be the souls of their deceased heroes, who, for their great and worthy deeds when they lived on earth, were supposed, after death, to be translated into the number of their gods. And these were called Semidei
and Deastri, that is, half-gods, and a sort of gods. And as the other were celestial, so these were Δαίμονες επιχθόνιοι, a kind of terrestrial spirits that were presidents and procurators of human affairs here below, that is, a middle sort of divine powers that were mediators and agents between God and men, and did carry the prayers and supplications of men to God, and bring down the commands and blessings of God to men.
Popery, in ber wor. ship of saints and angels, is nothing but this refined system of paganism revived under a new name. The saints of the Romish church occupy the same place in their worship that demons (daipoves) and inferior deities did in the worship of pagan Rome. As, under paganism, every country, and almost every city, had its tutelary deity, so, under popery, every city or province had its patron saints. A few extracts from Middleton's celebrated letter from Rome will more strongly mark the affinity between paganism and popery on this point.
“ The noblest beathen temple now remaining in the world is the Pantheon, or Rotunda, which, as the inscription over the portico informs us, having been impiously of old dedicated by Agrippa to Jove and all the gods, was piously consecrated by Pope Boniface IV. to the blessed virgin and all the saints. With this single alteration, it serves as exactly for all the purposes of the popish, as it did for the pagan worship, for which it was built. For,
Tillotson, concerning the Divine Unity.