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Matrimony is a holy state, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, and consecrated by Christ to such an excellent mystery, that in it is signified and represented the spiritual marriage and unity betwixt Christ and his Church.” So
the Church of England in the solemnizing of it. Whereby Protestants themselves seem to confess, that our Saviour Christ added something to marriage which it had not before; it being now by him made an excellent mystery; whereas, if it be'regarded only as a civil or natural contract, there is nothing mysterious in it. Now if marriage be an excellent mystery because it is instituted to figure and represent the spiritual marriage between Christ and the Church, which, according to St. Paul, is figured by the love of the husband for the wife, even as Christ loved the Church; and by the subjection of the wife to the husband, even as the Church is subject unto Christ, which cannot be without spiritual grace; we conclude from Scripture, expounded by the tradition of all ages, that marriage was by our Saviour Christ made one of the sacraments of the new law to confer upon the married couple that sanctifying grace without which the spiritual marriage between Christ and the Church cannot be perfectly represented.
POINT XXVI. PROTESTANTS maintain, That the honour which is given to angels and saints in the Church of Rome is no better than idolatry.
Contrary to the written word of God:
1. But glory, honour, and peace to every man that worketh good.” Rom. ii. 10.
And when the sons of the prophets which were to view Jericho saw him, they said: The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.” 2 Kings ii. 15.
3. “And as Obadiah was in the way, behold Elijah met him : and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah ?" 1 Kings xviii. 7.
4. “ And he said, Nay, but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and did worship.” Joshua v. 14.
Here are several instances in the written word of holy persons who paid an outward reverence and honour by bowing down and prostrating on the ground to saints ; and an instance of one who paid the like honour to an angel, though he knew by the testimony of the angel himself that he was not more than an angel. Yet when Roman Catholics
pay the like reverence and homage to saints and angels, as Joshua and those other holy persons did, they are inmediately accused of superstition and idolatry by Protestants. But the reason why there was not the least tincture of idolatry in what Joshua and those other holy persons did here, was because they were all adorers of the true God, as Roman Catholics now are, and therefore never had one thought of giving divine honour to his creatures, but only to show a due respect and reverence to the angels on account of the eminent relation they have to God. Which is so far from being a dishonour to him, that he would much rather think himself dishonoured if that respect, which is due to all holy things and persons that
relate to him, were not, in due circumstances, and with due measure, paid.
Protestants reply, That when St. John fell down at the angel's feet, and would have worshipped him, the angel said, See thou do it not; I am thy fellow servant—worship God. Rev. xix. 10. Showing that whatever worship is paid, in a religious way, is due to God alone
*“ I answer, That it is a plain argument of no such thing. For St. John was far from offering to any creature the worship due to God alone. The worship then that St. John offered the angel was only an inferior worship upon the consideration of his being a messenger from God,-a happy and glorious spirit. Yet the angel, to teach us modesty and humility, refused even that inferior worship (though lawful) upon the consideration, not of the happy condition he was in above St. John, but of what he had in common with him; the being fellow servant with him of Jesus Christ, who by his incarnation had assumed not angelical but human nature. So that, upon different considerations (for who dare either blame the angel or the Apostle ?), both the holy Apostle St. John commendably offered an inferior worship to the angel, and the holy angel on his side commendably refused it.
“ Can any one think that St. John, the beloved Apostle of Christ, by Christ himself taught and educated, and by the Holy Ghost filled and per. fected, understood so little of religion as not to know what honour and worship was due to the blessed angels? On the contrary, I find the apostles
* Catholic Answer to Mr. Barret, sect. 49.
were altogether positive as to the points of their religion. Though we,” says St. Paul, “or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Gal. i. 8. And a most plain argument that the angel, in the text above mentioned, did not refuse the worship offered him by St. John, as idolatrous, unlawful, or sinful, may be gathered from Rev. xix. 8, 9, where St. John a second time offered the angel the same worship as before, notwithstanding the angel had so lately refused it. Rev. xix. 10. For if any fault there was in it, how is it possible that St. John, having been but just before warned of it, should relapse again into the same, so great a fault?”
“Neither does St. Paul (Col. ii. 18) forbid us to worship angels with such a worship as is usual in the Catholic Church, that is, with a subordinate and inferior worship; but what he forbids us is, to worship them with an extravagant and superstitious worship; that is, he forbids us to worship them so as to exclude the mediatorship of Christ, so as to deny the head Christ Jesus. Not holding the head, says he, ver. 19, &c. But so far are Catholics from giving to the angels this latter kind of worship, that they detest the thought of it, and constantly profess, whatsoever the saints and angels obtain for us of God, is all through the mediatorship of Christ. All through Jesus Christ, the head both of them and us.”
But, says the Protestant, does our Saviour give us encouragement anywhere in the Gospel to pay those honours to the Virgin Mary his mother, which are paid her by the Church of Rome? No, so far from it, that he signifies that to be a true
disciple of Christ is a far more valuable title than that of a mother. Luke xi. 27, 28.
We answer : it is true, that to be a disciple of Christ is a more valuable title than that of a mother ; but to be both mother and disciple is the most valuable of all. The Virgin Mary then, being both the mother of Christ, which is a valuable title, and his true disciple too, which is a more valuable title ; being, I say, both mother and true disciple ; not only true disciple but of all disciples the truest and best, she is therefore worthy of all the honours paid her by the Church of Rome. “Blessed is she among women; all generations shall call her blessed.” Luke i. 42, 48.
All honour is not divine honour; unless we hold that most absurd position of Quakers, that bowing the body, uncovering the head, prostrating, and all the outward marks of reverence which men usually show to one another, is giving to men the honour due to God. But if all honour is not divine, then we may honour saints and angels with an inferior honour, which is not divine, nor consequently has any tincture of idolatry in it. As to outward marks and testifications of honour, it is certain many of these, as kneeling, bowing, prostrating, are of themselves indifferent, and are applied by the inward intention; so that when we see one who is an adorer of the true God kneeling to the king, we conclude that nothing but civil honour is meant by it: and we see the same person kneeling in a church to pray and adore God, that we know to be divine honour; and when we see the same person kneeling before the shrine of a saint to implore his intercession, we know that, being a worshipper of the true God, as all Roman Catholics are, it is far