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tian church among the Jews, in these words.--" And the Lord added daily to the church, such as should be saved.” Acts ii. 41. In all these things, (from which arose by
deceased are suffering intense agony in purgatory. They believe that by saying a certain number of masses, they could obtain the deliverance of those souls from that intense agony ; but no, they will only say these masses, according to the subscription. In Eccl. ix. 10. we are informed-That there is no work, device, knowledge, nor wisdom, in the world of departed spirits, whither we go. All the probationary work of man, therefore, is ended, when death arrives, and will never be resumed.
Son, says Abraham to the rich man, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, - this was said to a man in the future world, immediately after his death, and said by a glorified spirit, it was said to a man humbly and earnestly asking for a drop of water only, the least good of which we can form a conception, and though parabolically spoken, it was intend. ed to shew, that the wicked must expect no alleviation of their punishment. On the other hand, when Lazarus finished his earthly existence, he bade adieu to his sorrows, all that now remained for him was comfort,the prospect before him was only bright and glorious, the unclouded morning of eternal day.
The gospel reveals to us a Saviour, who will give the blessings of salvation, without money and without price, to every one that believes in his name. “Whom he
gentle gradations, the visible gospel church,) St. Peter was eminently the chief instrument. In these honors, we see his master's promise verified, the excellent qualities of this apostle called into exertion, and his humility, zeal, and noble confession of Christ, abundantly rewarded.
St. Peter's custody of the keys, in a still more distinct and specific manner, related to one particular act of his ministry, in laying the first foundation of the church amongst the Gentiles.
Before the advent of Christ, the kingdom of God upon earth was confined to the Jewish church ; this church is represented, in many passages of holy writ, under the image of a walled city, to be entered only at the gates. Under the Mosaic economy these gates were shut, and particular persons only could obtain admittance, Israelites by birth, or by legal incorporation. The locks of these gates, were the rites of the Mosaic law, which obstructed the entrance of aliens. But, after our Lord's ascension, and the descent of the Holy Ghost, the keys of the city were conveyed to St. Peter, by that vision which taught him, and authorized him to teach others, that all distinction, of one nation from another, was at an end. By virtue of this special commission, the great apostle applied the key, pushed back the bolt of the lock, and threw the gates of the city open for the admission of the whole gentile world, in the instance of Cornelius and his family.* To this our Lord prophetically alludes, when he promises to St. Peter, the custody of the keys.
justifies, them he also glorifies,” (Rom. viii. 30.) and if those who are justified, having remission of sins, are admitted to glory, and we are redeemed, not with corruptible things as silver and gold, how can our souls be released from torment, by pecuniary offerings ? St. Clement, Bishop of Rome, in his epistle to the Corinthians, exhorts men to repent, while they have time to repent, for, says he, after we are once gone out of this world, we cannot make confession of our sins, or repent of them so as to be saved, Vid. Brer. Cod. Vindicat. 1. 2. chap. ix. p. 5. The doctrine of purgatory, therefore, could be no part of the primitive faith.
* Our Lord commands Cornelius to send, not to Jerusalem, to James and John, not to Damascus, for St. Paul, expressly styled the apostle of the Gentiles, (though all these apostles exercised their office, independently of St. Peter, and had the keys of the kingdom of
With this, the second article of the promise, the authority to loose and bind, is closely connected. St. Peter was the first instrument of providence, in dissolving the obligation of the Mosaic law, in the ceremonial, and of binding it in the moral part. The proclamation indeed for that purpose, was drawn by St. James, and confirmed by the authority of the apostles in general, under the direction of the Holy Ghost; but the Holy Ghost moved the apostles to this great business, by the suggestion and persuasion of St. Peter, as we read in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts of the apostles. And this was his particular and personal commission, to bind and loose, a commission which the great apostle fulfilled, once for all, in his lifetime: and being ful
heaven, as weli as he,) but to Joppa, for St. Peter. Accordingly, in the synod met at Jerusalem, St. Peter speaks thus :-"Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago, God chose me out among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word.” Acts
filled, it cannot be repeated. He handseled the key. He unlocked the kingdom of heaven, to all true believers, of every nation under
He loosed and he bound : loosed or abrogated the ceremonial law; bound or confirmed the moral; and thus laid the foundation of the christian church, on that only rock of refuge, which shall know no failure, Jesus Christ the righteous ; from whence I infer, that the promise to St. Peter, was literally fulfilled, by a primacy of order, and not of power, and that the foundation of the church of Christ, being once laid, St. Peter neither hath, nor can have a successor in this matter.