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sufferings of Christ, or who gave the Church the power so to apply them? The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, speaking of the virtue and efficacy of Christ's death, says, "Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with the blood of others: for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." The sense of these words is, that the virtue of Christ's death extended to all believers who lived before him, as well as it does to all those who live after him to the end of time. Christ is declared to be "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever;" not only in respect of his person and deity, but also of the virtue of his death. He is the same "yesterday," by which is meant all the time before his coming, from the first dawnings of grace on fallen men; "to-day," denotes the time of his advent or abode on earth; and "for ever,” all succeeding ages of the church. The death of Christ is of the most extensive efficacy, reaching to all times, past, present, and to come, till time shall be no more, and even to all eternity.
The efficacy of Christ's death arises principally from the dignity of his person. Though his human nature only suffered, yet the person suffering was God. St. Paul ascribes the efficacy of Christ's death to his divine nature in close union to his human-" Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." "In whom we have redemption through his blood," his blood who is "the image of the invisible God." Surely the death of so eminent a person must be in the nature of it, a sacrifice of unspeakable value and efficacy. This efficacy also arises from the perfect purity of the sacrifice.
The human nature of Christ, which was the sacrifice, was without sin. He was conceived, born, lived, and died in spotless innocence. And indeed " such an High Priest" and sacrifice too, "became us, who is harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." As the lambs under the law, offered in sacrifice, were to be without blemish, so Christ redeemed us with his precious blood, "as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Through the Eternal Spirit, he offered himself without spot to God." If Christ had had any sin of his own, he could not have saved us from our sins.
We learn hence, that there is but one way of salvation from the fall of our first parents to the end of the world, and that is through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ. Accordingly, all believers before Christ's death were saved in this way; in this way believers now are saved; and in this way they ever will be saved to the end of time. The covenant of grace has been substantially the same in all past ages, is the same now, and will be the same in all future ages, though various as to dispensation or administration. How false then is the papal doctrine of works of supererogation, or of an overplus of the satisfactions of saints committed to the custody of the Church, and to be disposed of as she sees meet!
The Church of Rome positively denies the Holy Scriptures to be a sufficient rule for faith and manners; and propounds to herself, as an entire rule of faith, Scripture with tradition. The traditions which this Church professes to have received from Christ and his apostles, are, the offering of the mass for the souls in purgatory, the mys tical benedictions, incensings, garments, and many other things of the like kind, salt, spittle, exorcisms, and wax candles in baptism, &c. the priests shaving their head in the manner of a crown. This Church has increased the
number of canonical books of Scripture, having added to the canonical books of the Old Testament, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Esdras, the two books of Maccabees, and a new part of Esther and Daniel; which whole books, with all their parts, whosoever rejects as not canonical, she says, is accursed.
The Church of Rome will not permit her members to read the Scripture in a tongue vulgarly known. They were for a time permitted to read it, under the caution of a license, where it could be obtained: but since they are forbid it, or to have so much as any summary or historical compendium of it in their own tongue. Because, she says, if it be permitted to be read every where, without difference, there would more prejudice than profit proceed from it. The Romanists say, it belongs to their Church to judge of the sense of Scripture, and no one may presume to interpret the Scripture contrary to the sense which Mother Church has held and does hold.
But what do the apostles and fathers say on this head? St. Paul says, "The gospel which was preached of me, is not after man, for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that we have preached, let him be accursed." He affirms to Timothy, "All," or the whole,
Scripture 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." The Scripture, therefore, is a rule sufficient in itself, and was by men divinely inspired once delivered to the world; and so neither needs, nor is capable of any further addition.
Tertullian says, "Let Hermogenes show that this thing is written. If it be not written, let him fear the wo pronounced against them that add to, or take from Scripture."
St. Hierom: "The sword of God (his word) does smite those other things, which they find and hold of their own accord, as by apostolic tradition, without the authority and testimony of Scripture." St. Cyril: "It behoveth us not to deliver, no not so much as the least thing of the holy mysteries of faith, without the holy Scripture. That is the security of our faith, not which is from our own inventions, but from the demonstration of the Holy Scriptures." St. Basil: "It is necessary even for novices to learn the Scriptures, that the mind may be well confirmed in piety, and that they may not be accustomed to human traditions.”
Under the law, the people had the Scriptures in a tongue vulgarly known; and they were required to read the law, and to be conversant in it, "These words that I command thee this day shall be in thine heart," &c. Deut. vi. 6. and accordingly our Saviour sends them thither, "Search the Scriptures," John v. 39. So St. Paul requires that his "epistle be read to all the brethren," 1 Thess. v. 27; and if so, it was written in a language they understood. And so it was in the primitive Church; therefore, St. Chrysostom exhorts his hearers, though secular men, to provide themselves Bibles, the medicines of their souls, to be their perpetual instructors. Our Saviour, perceiving the moral darkness of the Jews, said, “Ye err, not knowing the Scripture."
That the spirit of popery is the same now as it has been in former periods, is evident from the late Pope's bull against Bible Societies, issued from Rome, June 29, 1816, by Pope Pius VII. to the Archbishop of Grezn, Primate of Poland; of which the following are extracts. This bull denominates Bible Societies" this most crafty device-this pestilence-this defilement of the faithwickedness of this nefarious scheme-this new species
of tares." The effects of such societies are thus stated: "By which the very foundations of religion are undermined-most eminently dangerous to souls-snares which are prepared for them (the people), to their everlasting ruin." Persons engaged in promoting these societies, are called "impious-innovators-enemies-heretics." Measures to be taken "in order to remedy and abolish" Bible Societies are thus expressed: "We again and again exhort you, that whatever you can achieve by power, provide for by counsel, or effect by authority, you will daily execute with the utmost earnestness.” "Openly publish, that Bibles printed by heretics are numbered among prohibited books, agreeably to the rules of the Index, (No. II. and III.); for it is evident from experience, that the Holy Scriptures, when circulated in the vulgar tongue, have, through the temerity of men, produced more harm than good." (Rule IV.) "It is, therefore, necessary to adhere to the salutary decree of the congregation of the Index (June 13, 1757); that no versions of the Bible in the vulgar tongue be permitted, except such as are approved by the Apostolic See, or published with annotations extracted from the writings of the holy fathers of the church." a "Proceed, therefore, venerable brother,
a" Dr. Prendergast, by birth, as his name indicates, an Irishman, the new Catholic Bishop of Verapoly, and Apostolic Vicar of the Pope, was at Allepie, on a pastoral visit to that part of his flock. We cannot but hope better things of him than of most other priests of his persuasion, when we know, that he is preaching throughout his diocese against the worship of idols, which is, in reality, the common practice of Indian Catholics; and that he recommends to them the reading of the Holy Scriptures. He also expresses himself as a warm friend to schools for the poor. Such conduct will little please his present flock; but will, it is to be hoped, benefit the cause of real piety.
"As soon as one frugal breakfast was over, we adjourned to the library, which contained a number of books, chiefly on polemical divinity, in an almost ruinous state. There were several heretical works; but I was not a little surprised, and indeed shocked, so see among them a New Testa