Page images
PDF
EPUB

Why should we leave Christ, the only Son of the Father of heaven, our daily advocate and mediator, which only obtaineth that is necessary for us, and go to others, whom we know not whether they be in that state of living, that they may hear us calling to them or no, or whether they will hear us? Foolishness it is, to leave the certain for the uncertain. Certain it is, that Christ prayeth continually to the Father for us, and Christ is the full satisfaction for our sins (1 John, ii.), and for the sins of the whole world. If Christ be our advocate, as he is indeed, and obtain of the Father that is necessary for us; what need have we of the prayer of saints not commanded in the Scripture? That were, as who should say, that God would not hear Christ praying for us, or that he would sooner hear the saints departed, praying for us, than Christ his Son, or that the prayer of Christ were not sufficient to obtain of the Father that which is necessary for our salvation, then it were need for us to desire the prayer of saints departed : but seeing God the Father will hear Christ, his Son, before all saints, and Christ's prayer is sufficient to obtain all that we have need of for our salvation, I think we have no need that saints departed should pray for us.

But, peradventure, some will here object, and say, that this reason makes against the prayer of them that be alive. To this I make answer, that it is the will of God, that those, that be alive, should one pray for another (Jam. v. and Rom. XV.): but so it is not certain by the Scripture, that those that be departed should pray for us, or that they may or will pray for us.

Also, some will say, that they dare not be so bold * as to go to Christ at the first. Therefore, they say

they will go to the saints that be in favour with

Christ, that, by their intercession they may come the sooner to Christ. But I pray you; what opinion have these men that so say and think of Christ? Do these think that Christ is more merciful, more gentle, more ready, more glad to hear them, when they call, than the saints be? Is there any of the saints departed more merciful than Christ? more loving than Christ? Is there any of the saints that will hear us before Christ? that love us, better than Christ? that care more for us than Christ? If Christ love us better than saints (for he hath bought us more dear than saints, he hath bought us by no corruptible things, as gold or silver, but by his precious blood); we may be sure that he loveth that thing that he bought so dear, better than saints that know not the price, and that he hath more care for us than saints have. Therefore, let us not be afraid to go with faith and meekness to Christ, so kind, so loving, so gentle, so glad, so ready to receive us ; yea, more ready to receive us, than we be to come to hiin.

I pray you, what thing make they of Christ, that will go to saints departed, that they may come to Christ, and so by Christ to the Father ; but Christ .to be as a hard man, that will not suffer petitioners

to come to him without means, to be as a cruel man, - un merciful, and ungentle? And that none should

think so of Christ, he calleth, saying, “ Come unto me all you that labour and bear heavy burdens, and I will refresh you.” (Mat. xi.) He calleth, all men to him, as well the poor as the rich, the subject as the king, the layman as the priest. St. Paul ofttimes exhorteth men to come to Christ with great boldness (Heb. iv.). If Christ do call us and bid us, come to him, why should we be afraid to come to Christ? Methink, it is against good man

ners not to come when we be called ; yea, methink, it is foolishness to deny to come to him, whom we desire to speak with, when he calleth us, and say we are not worthy to come to his presence, but we will desire some of his beloved servants, that we may come to his speech ; seeing, the Lord doth call us, and willeth we shall come to him without speechmen ; seeing that Christ is the way to the Father, and that there is none other way nor means to the Father without Christ (John, xiv.). They labour in vain, that seek another way to come to the Father of Heaven than 'by Christ, nor yet can obtain of the Father that that is necessary for us, so soon as Christ, to whom God the Father hath promised that he will deny us nothing that we shall ask of him worthily in faith, for Christ's sake (John, xiv.). Therefore, let 'us prefer no saint before Christ, but ask of the Father things meet to be asked for Christ's sake, and we shall obtain our desire according to the promise of Gud (John, xiv.).

God doth not promise to grant our petition, if we desire of him in the name of any saint departed ; therefore, methink, it is foolishness to forsake that is certain and follow that is uncertain. Certain it is that we shall be heard of the Father, if we ask for Christ's sake and in Christ's name: but whether we shall be heard, if we ask in the name of any other saint departed, it is uncertain by the Scriptures ; yea, it is unknown whether the saints hear us calling to them or no; whether they know our necessity or no; whether they be in that state, that they do pray for us or no; or can or may by their prayer obtain airy thing of the Father for us. The Scripture willeth that we should pray to God (Mat. vi. Jam. i.), in the name of Christ. Scripture willeth, that we shall pray to them, in whom we should put our trust (Rom. x.), and have hope to obtain our petition of. No trust nor hope is to be put in saints, wherefore, methink, prayer is not to be made to sãints departed; methink, that prayer to saints'be a sign of diffidence of Christ and of his goodness, and therefore men run to saints to obtain their favour and help, and yet áll goodness .cométh" of God (Jain. i.), and not of saints departed. Or an évit persuasion of Christ, I think, men leave Christ and run to saínts, persuading with theinselves, that Christ will hear no sinners; therefore, they'run to the saints, desiting their help, as who should say; there were more mercifulness, more gentleness, and love in saints than in Christ; which opinion to have of Christ, is evil and damnable.

Some these be,' defenders of praying 'to saints, moved by divers reasons'; one reason is this, they say, that saints departed, be meinbers of the same body of Christ that we be of, and all meinbers are profitable one to another. Saints departed, cannot profit us living members now, but by their prayers: where: fore, they think that saints departed, pray for us; and that we be helped by their prayer.si : :.

To this reason may be answered; first, to the major; that saints departed are members of the same body that we be of, to obtain life and glory everlasting in heaven with Christ;, but whether they be members to profit other members by works of charity, as living members should profit one another, I am uncertain by the holy Scriptures. I suppose they have done their works appointed them to do of God;' and this saying, mes think, St. Paul'doth confirm, Rom. xii. and Eph. iv. where he sheweth the works of the members ; and also Gal. vi. saying; " While we have time let us work good to all men, chiefly to them that be of the householl of faith.” Also, if all members be pro. fitable one to another, I would gladly know how profitable be the living members to the holy saints in heaven, that need not our help; seeing we be mem. . bers of the same body of Christ that they be of, or how profitable is one saint in heaven to another.rs 4)To the minor; they say, that saints departed cannot profit us but by their prayers. This reason may be denied, for saints departed otherway profit and do profit us. They confirm our faith, to trust surely in God, and that our trust: shall not be deceived, but that we shall have the reward that we trust for. They certify us of the goodness of God, of the life and glory to come after this life. They shew us the merit of God's promises. They teach us to follow their footsteps, to have faith as they had ;, hope, charity, patience, meekness; mercifulness, and other virtaes, in the which they give us example to follow them, and make us sure of life and glory after this life, as they be in. After this fashion, I think the saints departed profit us; and this profit may be gathered: ofttimes in the Scriptures; but that they profit us now by their prayer I have not read in the Scriptures. , I know not by the Scriptures that they pray for me, any more than they do almş-deeds for me, seeing both be works, of charity, cuyo · Also, they have another reason, that moveth them to think, that saints departed pray for them; which is this. They say, saints departed have lost, none of their charity that they had in this world, but rather have their charity increased more and more. They of their charity prayed for us, being alive., Much inore, they say, now they pray for 'us, majibu .To this I answer, that their love be increased to. ward. God more and more.; but as tourard, man, I am in donbt. I would gladly of it be made certain. And, whereas they say, that they, living, of their charity, prayed for us; much more now they pray for us ; so, I may say, that they, living, of their charity, preached to us the word of God, a work of Charity, as necessary, as prayer ; therefore, they

« PreviousContinue »