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of his conquest of Britain, and it had been known to the present
age but through the imperfect medium of oral tradition, yet such a tradition would have, no doubt, been preferred to the fables of the kings Brute, Lear, Bladud, &c. as they are told by Geoffrey of Monmouth. But how very different is the case with the inspired apostles, who received the Holy Ghost to enable them to perform miracles,—that, in the infancy of the Christian Church, the unbeliever might be convinced; and to leave as the unerring guide to truth, that sacred volume upon which Popery—in the conscious fear of its influence upon her passive votaries—has stamped her denying seal? For whatever is urged, contrary to the Scriptures*, by the Romish Church, a traditional authority is supplied, and as Christ himself says (Matt. xv. 6), “ Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” St. Paul says, (Col. ii. v. 8.) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men.” The quotation in the Romish text (from 2 Thess. ii. v. 15) is misapplied, as usual. As the Gospel of Christ was taught before it was written, of course, it was then delivered by word of mouth, and was consequently traditional. The first and second Epistles to the Thessalonians were written (as the Romish Church admits) before any of
*"The Popes permitted their champions to indulge themselves openly in reflections injurious to the dignity of the Scriptures, and by an excess of blasphemy almost incredible, to declare publicly, that the edicts of the pontiffs, and the records of oral tradition, were superior, in point of authority, to the express language of scripture.” Mosheim, vol. iv. p. 213.-“Owing to the early corruptions introduced into christianity by philosophy, and of the attempts afterwards to conceal and vilify the scriptures, when the Lutheran controversy had been carried on for some time, many of the monks in Scotland were so ignorant of their contents, as to charge Luther with being the author of that wicked book called the New Testament.” Jortin's Life of Eras., vol. i. p. 126.—This hostility to the scriptures is still persisted in by the Popish clergy, if we are to credit the most useful records of our own limes, with the same rabid hatred. “About a fortnight ago, while the Roman Catholic curate of Dungiven was holding a Station in one of his parishioners' houses, whose wife was, we understand, a Protestant, and where there happened to be a Protestant Testament, he seized the sacred volume, and condemning it with vehemence, as unfit for the public eye, he committed it to the flames, before the family, and heaped coals upon it lest it should escape his fury. We pledge ourselves to the truth of this statement, and we defy Mr. F to contradict it.” Londonderry Journal, April, 1825.
the other of the epistles or gospels, with the exception of that by St. Matthew, which was written about A. D. 41,-Mark, A. D.61,-Luke, A. D. 63.-Thessalonians, A. D. 52, and the twelve other Epistles of Paul, between the latter date and 65-6; the Epistles of Peter, &c. about the year
60, How then could Paul, in his first epistles, call the doctrines taught by himself and the other apostles by any other term than tradition until they were written? The references to the other texts of scripture are equally unfortunate. The law had been written of which Moses said, “ ask thy father and he will shew thee, and thy elders and they will tell thee.” This passage is taken from the thirty-second chapter of Deuteronomy; but the preceding one (ch.xxxi. ver. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) informs us that Moses delivered the written law to the priests, that it might be read to all Israel, that the men, women, children, and the stranger might learn to fear the Lord. The versicles in the xix. Psalm (ver. 5,6,7), to which we are referred, are these, speaking of the heavens: “In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which cometh forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a giant to run his course. It goeth forth from the uttermost part of the heaven, and runneth about unto the end of it again; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The law of the Lord is an undefiled law, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure and giveth wisdom unto the simple.” 1 Cor. xi. 2. "Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances as I delivered them to you.” We have already shown why Paul speaks of tradition in his Epistles to the Thessalonians; of Timothy (ii. Epist. i. 13.) he requests that he will hold fast the sound words which he (Paul) had taught him, and teach others (ii. ver. 2.); and (chap. iii. ver. 13) desiring him to remember of whom he had learned them.” Such are the texts of scripture referred to in proof of the genuineness and authenticity of papal tradition! Comment upon their application, or misapplication, is unnecessary; they are before our readers, to the evidence of whose senses we appeal.
SECT. III.-Of the Ordinances and Constitutions of the Church,
Why do you make profession of admitting and embracing all the ordinances and constitutions of the Church.
Because Christ has so commanded. “ He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me,” Luke x. 16. “ As my Father hath sent me, even so I send you,” John xx. 24, Hence St. Paul, Heb. xiii. 17, tells us, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves.”
Why does the church command so many holidays to be kept ? Is it not enough to keep the Sunday holy?
God in the old law did not think it enough to appoint the weekly sabbath, which was the Saturday; but also ordained other festivals, as that of the pássover, in memory of the delivery of his people from Egyptian bondage, that of the weeks or pentecost, that of tabernacles, &e. and the church has done the same in the new law, to celebrate the memory of the chief mysteries of our redemption, and to bless God in his saints. And in this protestants seem to agree with us, by appointing almost all the same holidays in their common prayer-book.
Is it not said in the law (Exod. xx. 9), “Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work;" &c. ? Why then should the Church derogate from this part of the commandment ?
This was to be understood in case no holiday came in the week; otherwise the law would contradict itself, when, in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, it appoints so many other holidays besides the Sabbath, with command to abstain from all servile work on them.
As to fasting days, do you look upon it sinful to eat meat on those days without necessity;
Yes: because it is a sin to disobey the Church: “If he neglect to hear the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican.” Matt. xviii. 17.
Does not Christ say (Matt. xv. 11), “That which goeth into the mouth doth not defile a man?"
True: it is not any uncleanness in the meat, as many ancient heretics have imagined, or any dirt or dust which may stick to it by eating it without first washing the hands (of which case our Lord speaks in the text here quoted), which can defile the soul; for every creature of God is good, and whatsoever corporal filth enters in at the mouth is cast forth into the draught: but that which defiles the soul, when a person cats meat on a fasting day, is the disobedience of heart, in transgressing the precept of the Church of God. In like manner, when Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, it was not the
apple which entered in by the mouth, but the disobedience to
After asking why the numerous ordinances of the Romish Church are professed, why are we not told the true cause of their institution by the Church herself ? After perusing the Romish “Profession of Faith," in the beginning of this book, we understand plainly enough that the first step to becoming a good Roman Catholic is to give up our Reason, and not only to believe whatever that “Church” says is infallible, but whatever the Pope (if he be the Church) may, at any future period, command to be believed. But we cannot find in the Scriptures, nor can the Romish Church, that Christ commanded the theatrical displays exhibited in the Church of Rome. He tells us his kingdom is not of this world—the kingdom of Popery is of a widely different constitution. Has the finery of her decorations, her baubles and processions, any resemblance to the simple form of worship practised by the Primitive Christians ? Are the placing of Dolls in ornamented boxes, &c. ordinances of Christ as representations of his own birth, and as displayed by the Romish Church? But English Romanists should reside in a Papal territory to see these mummeries in their purity; and even then they must join in them, or they would be denounced as heretics*. The texts of the first paragraph have been already quoted, and to which we have replied. But "he who heareth you heareth me,” &c. is always appealed to to sanctify every impropriety of the Romish Church, when not even the shadow of a scriptural text can be found that may be so misapplied as to afford even a reference. Neither should it be said that “ Protestants
* English Romanists would not feel any peculiar gratification in meeting the procession of the Host half-a-dozen times on a dirty day, where, upon each occasion, they must drop on their knees in the streets. We have already said Papists must yield up all their senses to their Church, and their Church, in return, permits them to see her own processions and other fine shows. We cannot afford space for enters ing into a detail of these mummeries of a religion, the hulk of which consists of external ceremonies ; we shall briefly notice them in the proper places as we proceed.
seem to agree" with such absurd ordinances of Popery :Protestants never can agree to such ordinances * : but it must not be forgotten that, in the reform of abuses, the Protestant Church “made no alterations for Novelty's sake:" her sole object was to restore Christianity, as nearly as possible, to its primeval simplicity.
What the feasts commanded to be kept by the old Law have to do with the fasts ordained by Popery, we do not clearly perceive: but the impiety of comparing the mandate of any secular priest to the command of God himself to our first parents, sounds to all Christian ears--those of Papists alone excepted as one of the miany assertions of the Romish Church which appear absolutely blasphemous. But, although we disapprove of the comparison, we must admit that it is well managed to place the sinfulness of the matter in disobeying the “ Church,” since neither Christ nor his apostles deemed it any sin at all. There is no crime in voluntarily fasting—the Scriptures tell us the sin lies in condemning those who do not fast. But, before we enter upon our Scriptural proofs, we must take leave to ask, why is the line from St. Matthew only quoted to show that it is wrong for those who are hungry to eat when they can get food? We have frequently complained of the very meagre and inapplicable sentences adduced ; but in the present case whole pages might, we must candidly acknowledge, have been brought forward directly bearing on the question ; but, as the Pope and Dr. Challoner have passed them by, we will content ourselves with a few extracts, and refer to others too numerous to quote.
1 Cor. ch. x. v. 25 to 33.-Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no questions for conscience sake;
* Making saints to worship them (of which we shall speak eafter) is
the province of the Reformed Church; her days of obligation, as defined in our Common Prayer-Book, are those dedicated to the saints who were famed in the Scriptures only. But as Popish saints were good and bad, and more of them had than good, we celebrate the memory of the good ones on " All Saints' Day.