Imágenes de páginas

adoration in the mass, and justify the worship of saints, images, and crosses. They pretend indeed that the worship of saints and images is inferior to the supreme adoration they offer to God ;-but still they own it to be worship, and boldly justify it accordingly; saying, “that to “ condemn this relative regard for images, pic“tures, crosses and saints, would be to condemn “the very feelings of nature.”—The divine command is, “thou shalt not make to thyself “any graven image, or any likeness of any thing " that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth • beneath, or that is in the water under the “ earth; thou shalt not bow down thyself to “ them, nor worship them.”—It is God that forbids the making and worshipping of ima. ges;--it is God, therefore, according to the catholic Bishops, who “condemn the very feel“ings of nature."* .

These catholic Bishops, likewise, give their unlettered laity credit for great discrimication in spiritual affairs, when they suppose them

* The catholic Bishops say, “ to charge the catholic with “ idolatry, because the term worship, meaning ouly an inferior “ and relative regard, is found in the ancient and modern li“ turgies of his church, is not consistent with candour and “ charity." —But, where does God allow "an inferior and re« lative regard," which the catholic terms worship, to be paid to saints, images, pictures, and crucifixes? If it " is not con« sistent with candour or charity,” to condemn snch worship as idolatrous, it is certainly not inconsistent with truth to say, that it is not allowed by God, and that his revealed will, and directions conceruing our religious duties, are more to be regarded than the ancient and modern liturgies of the church of Rome, and the bold declarations of her Bishops.

capable of distinguishing between superior and inferior worship-between the worship due to omnipotence, and that which is due to images ; and when they imagine them capable of paying a kind of worship, honour, and respect to the * saints, proportionate to the limited perfections “and excellences which God has bestowed upon " them.”—They must possess uncommon judgmeot to know exactly when to stop, that they may not exceed the limits of secondary, or interior worship, and encroach upon that adoration which is due to God, and so fall into idolatry, of which the Bishops thus speak in their “Deşclaration:"-" The catholic church teaches " that idolatry is one of the greatest crines that

can be committed against the majesty of hea

ven; and every true member of this church so shudders at the idea of such a crime, and feels "grievously injured by so horrid an imputation.” In the catholic churches and large chapols, the worship, offered by prostrate or bowing people to images, appears to be very pure and fervent:how much the adoration they offer to God exceeds this, the protestant spectator has no means of judging :-he concludes, that if it bears any ratio to the servour and intenseness of saint and image worship, it must be superlatively great:-but, he recollects that God had no respect to the offering and worship of Cain, because they were not like his brother's, unmixed with impurity.

There is something in this Declaration of the

“ catholic Bishops," with the annexed address of the “ British Roman catholics to their pro“ testant fellow countrymen,” which deserves particular attention. It is a little mirror, made by her own hands, that clearly shews the deformity of the church of Rome, and in which the world may clearly see that “the kingdom of “the beast," and its inhabitants, are under the chastisement of the most high, and in the exact state described by inspiration, in the following passage.-"And the fifth angel poured out bis “vial upon the seat of the beast: and his king. “dom was full of darkness; and they gnawed “their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the “ God of heaven because of their pains and “sores, and repented not of their deeds.”—Ever since the French Emperor set his foot upon staly, " the kingdom of the beast” has been full of “ darkness.”—The political sufferings of the head and people of the papal territories, have been aggravated by another event, which has grievously affected their religious feelings;namely, the dissemination of the sacred writings in the different languages of Europe, and of many nations in other quarters of the globe ;and they receive additional pain from perceiving that national education is spreading, and that the poor people of all countries will soon be able to read, and examine the scriptures for themselves.—These circumstances, so delightful to real christians, have occasioned intolerable pain and unea siness to the papacy.--"When the "reading and the circulation of the scriptures," say the British catholic Bishops, “are urged “and recommended as the entire rule of faith, “as the sole means by which men are to be “brought to the certain and specific knowledge “of the doctrines, precepts, and instructions of “ Christ; and when the scriptures so read and os circulated are left to the interpretation and “private judgement of each individual :--then “such reading, circulation, and interpretation, “are forbidden by the catholic church."--The reasons assigned for this prohibition, are extraordinary. If the scriptures contain the revealed word of God, and truths that are calculated to make men “wise unto salvatior." how can the “ reading and circulation of thein, and the in“terpretation of them by private judgement “lead men to contradictory doctrines in the “primary articles of christian belief to incon“sistent forms of worship-to errors and fana“ ticism in religion and to seditions and the “greatest disorders in states and kingdoms?” This is charging God with folly—it is charging him with giving his creatures a revelation, containing laws and directions, that lead to every thing that is bad-to anarchy and corfusion, to sedition and disorders in states and kingdoms—it is opening the mouth in horrible blasphemy.—And, if the scriptures can produce this shocking effect, then Rome must look upon England as highly criminal for promoting their circulation. How different is this opinion, froin that of Paul, who says," all scripture is "given by inspiration of God, and is profitable “ for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for “instruction in righteousness, that the man of “God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished “unto all good works.”—If this great apostle is right, these Bishops must be wrong.-And in fact, do they not propagate these opinions in England, for the same reason that Demetrius condemned the preaching of Paul, and stirred up the people against him at Ephesus ?—They see very clearly that the circulation of the scriptures, and the reading them will open the eyes of their people, and introduce the greatest disorders amongst their shrines, images, crosses, saints, and pictures, and endanger the safety of their church, which only rests upon delusion and ignorance.-Hence,“ the present grievous “and noisome sores” of Rome--hence, her “gnawing her tongue for pain-and hence, her present publishing her abominable doctrine, “which shews she means not to repent of her “ evil deeds." But whilst she does all this, how wonderfully she fulfils this great prophecy of St. John, and shews that the religion of Christ is particularly under the direction and government of God, at the present moment.

In the conclusion of their Declaration, the catholic Bishops say, “We confidently trust, " that this explanation will be received by all “our fellow-subjects, in a spirit of candour and “charity: and that those who have been hitherto

« AnteriorContinuar »