Imatges de pÓgina
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ceived among the papists: 1. That the saints departed this life since the ascension of our Saviour, are in the third heaven, and do enjoy the beatific vision; and that in the glass of the holy Trinity, or some other way, they do see or understand the particular necessities of men on earth; and therefore may rationally be invocated and prayed unto. So the author of the Catholic Scripturist, point 36. numb. 1, being to enter upon his head province, of proving the invocation of saints and angels out of Scripture, lays down this as his foundation, in these express words, for the ground of this question: "I

lay this foundation out of Scripture, that as the angels are in heaven, so the souls of the saints go directly from hence to heaven, without they have

some few offences to clear in purgatory.” 2. That the souls of the faithful, that died before our Saviour, went not to heaven, enjoyed not the beatific vision, nay, were not so much as in paradise; but contrarily were in a state of confinement, and shut up in a sorry place, which they call limbus patrum; and that our Saviour, after his death, descended to that place, to fetch and deliver them from thence; and consequently that it would have been an absurd thing for men, under the Old Testament, to pray to saints departed for help, that were in a condition wherein they needed help themselves. And yet the author of the Catholic Scripturist, who acknowledgeth both these doctrines of his church, bath the impudence to attempt the proof out of the Old Testament of both his principles, whereon he grounds invocation of saints; viz., that the saints can hear our prayers, and that they can and will help us ; and consequently, that it is laudable to pray unto them. And it is pretty to observe again, how directly he contradicts himself in this question : we have already heard him acknowledge there could be no such thing as praying to saints, delivered in the Old Testament. Why? Because the saints then were not in heaven. If there could be no such thing taught, there could be no such thing laudably practised, under the Old Testament; and yet that invocation of saints was practised, and that laudably too, under the Old Testament, he otherwhere plainly enough affirms, (point 38. num. 5. p. 258,) where having spoken of the vision of Judas Maccabæus, 2 Macc. xv. 12, wherein he saw Onias the high priest, (and chief of God's people,) dead, and Jeremiah the prophet dead long before, praying for the people of the Jews, he adds, “ We have from thence,

that the most holy high priest, and chief of God's

only people, believed that saints prayed for us, and “ helped us; and that all the people (who were said to “ be encouraged by this vision) were of the same be“ lief. How far then is this from all novelty, which “ can be proved to have been practised before the days “ of the apostles ?” &c. Now, what is the practice which he affirms can be proved from the history of the Maccabees to be clear of all novelty, and to have been in use in these days ? He must, if he will acknowledge himself to have written sense, confess, he meant the practice of praying to saints; so that under the Old Testament there could not be any such thing as invocation of saints, departed this life, laudably practised; and yet such a thing there was even under the Old Testament practised, and that laudably. What a rare art have these men of reconciling both parts of a contradiction ! But it is

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no wonder that this little author hath in this controversy split himself against the rock of so evident a contradiction: seeing there that great Bellarmine himself also underwent the same fate before him. For he, as well as our Catholic Scripturist, produceth divers texts out of the Old Testament, to prove invocation of saints, in the place where he treats of that subject; but otherwhere, he makes this ingenuous confession: “Before the coming of Christ, “ the saints, which died, entered not into heaven, “ neither did they see God; nor could they ordi

narily know the prayers of those that supplicated “ to them; and therefore it was not the custom for

men under the Old Testament to say, Holy Abra“ ham, pray for me, but the men of those times

only prayed to God 8.” Where, by the way, your ladyship may please to observe, that Bellarmine expressly confesseth, that men under the Old Testament“ prayed only unto God," and therefore not to the saints; no, nor angels neither. But the author of the Catholic Scripturist (as indeed Bellarmine himself otherwhere) professedly maintained, that men, under the Old Testament at least, prayed unto the holy angels. What sincere Christian is there, (who hath his eyes open to see these things,) who doth not abominate such egregious prevarications in the great matters of salvation ?

VIII. Let us now come to the New Testament: and here, before we enter upon the testimonies pro

& Ante Christi adventum sancti qui moriebantur non intrabant in cælum, nec Deum videbant, nec cognoscere poterant ordinarie preces supplicantium. Ideo non fuit consuetum in V. Test. ut diceretur, Sancte Abraham, ora pro me; sed solum orabant homines ejus temporis Deum. Bel. I. 19. de Beat. Sanct.

duced for invocation of saints out of the New Testament, we have this strong prejudice against it: that if men under the Old Testament, (wherein Christ, as mediator, was not clearly revealed,) and the saints, knew not (at least generally) the new and living way of drawing nigh unto God, and offering up their prayers in the name of Christ ; (whence our Saviour himself, just before his death, saith of his apostles, who were born and bred in the Jewish religion, that hitherto they had asked nothing in his name, John xvi. 24;) I say, if men under the Old Testament could make a shift to pray to God acceptably, without the mediation of saints, then much more may we do well enough without it now under the Gospel, wherein Christ, the only mediator between God and man, is perfectly and fully revealed; but I shall let this pass, (though it be an observation that utterly overthrows all necessity of using the mediation of saints under the New Testament,) and follow the steps of the Catholic Scripturist. Concerning the four Gospels we have his full confession (point 38. num. 1. p. 253,) in these words: “The “ four Gospels writ no farther than the ascension “ of Christ to heaven; before which no saint also “ was in heaven; wherefore you need not wonder, " that in the four Gospels you see no mention of

praying to saints in heaven.” Indeed we do not at all wonder at this, being able to render a much better account of this silence of the four evangelists; but we wonder much at the impudent sophistry of this writer, who, within a few pages after he had made this confessioni, (viz. num. 6.h) cited two testi

h See also point 37. num. 4. p. 248.

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monies out of the evangelists, to prove invocation of saints, viz., Luke xvi. 27. and 9. of the same chapter. He proceeds in the very next words to the Epistles of St. Pauli: “ In St. Paul's Epistles,” saith he,

you find him begging prayers of saints on earth :

so Heb. xiii. 18. Pray for us. Seeing then that “ prayer to saints in heaven is more beneficial to us, “ it is also (by manifest consequence) more to be “ used by us." A childish sophism; so often and so shamefully baffled by our writers, that I wonder again at his impudence in producing it, and that as a manifest consequence. Indeed; who sees not the difference between the communication of prayers amongst the faithful living on earth, which the Scripture speaks of, and the practice of invocating saints departed, which the papists defend? For, 1. To entreat a saint living on earth, that he would, together with us, pray unto God for the obtaining of any benefit to us, is not religiously to invocate that saint, but invite him to the religious invocation of God on our behalf: but the papists, in their invocation of saints, do profess to give them religious worship, and stiffly maintain (witness the Catholic Scripturist himself, point 36.) that such worship is due unto them; and accordingly they invocate saints with all the circumstances of religious worship: they rashly enshrine their images, and exalt them on high, and fall prostrate before them, &c. 2. The papists do not only desire the saints to pray for them unto God that he would help them, but also pray unto the saints themselves that they would help them; and from them expect help. This is apparent from many of their offices, especially such as

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