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from his intention to pay divine honour to his creatures; and though the outward ceremony is the same, the inward devotion is not.
PROTESTANTS maintain, That to esteem certain places to be holy, and show outward marks of reverence to such places, is one of the superstitions of the Church of Rome.
But in this point the Church of Rome is guided by the written word of God.
1. “And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy.” Joshua
2. “ And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Erod. iii. 5.
Here let Protestants observe, that Moses and Joshua were commanded, one by God himself, and the other by an angel, to go barefoot, out of reverence to the ground whereon they stood, because it was holy. For this reason Roman Catholics reverence all places as holy places, where God has at any time appeared or manifested some ray of his glory, or conferred signal benefits upon mankind, as Mount Sinai, Horeb, the places of our Saviour's nativity, passion, burial, resurrection, and ascension, which are held by us to be holy places; for the same reason that the mountain upon which he was transfigured, is by St. Peter called the holy mount. 2 Pet. i. 18.
PROTESTANTS maintain, That water, bread, oils, and other creatures, cannot be, by the blessings, prayers, and consecrations of the Church, sanctified or made more holy than they are by their first creation.
Contrary to the express words of St. Paul and to the Gospel of Christ:
1. “Ye fools and blind : for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold ?” Matt. xxii. 17.
2. “Ye fools and blind : for whether is greater,
2 the gift, or the altar which sanctifieth the gift?” Ver. 19.
If the temple sanctified the gold, and the altar the gift that was offered upon it; this is a good proof, that whatever is separated from common uses, and consecrated to religion and God's worship, does thereby become holy and sacred.
3. “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 1 Tim. iv. 4, 5.
Here it is expressly taught, that although every creature was by the hand of God made good in the first creation, they may yet be sanctified and made more holy by the word of God and prayer; by the prayers and blessings of the Church.
Protestants still insist, that the blessings and consecrations of oils, water, and other elements against diseases and evil spirits, are superstitions of the Romish Church, much like the enchantments and invocations of the ancient idolators and magicians. Cal. 1. iv. Institut. x. sec. 12.
But let them consider whether themselves, in this point, do not condemn the Gospel of Christ.
1. “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.”' Mark vi. 13.
2. “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then, first, after the troubling of the water, stepped in, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” John v. 4.
I hope these texts will extort this confession, at least, from the mouths even of the most obstinate Protestants, that water, oils, and other inanimate creatures, may possibly have a blessing imparted to them from God, and be used by him as instruments to cast out evil spirits, and to cure diseases : witness the miraculous pool of water mentioned by St. John, and the oil mentioned by St. Mark. Now the blessings of water, &c., which are in use in the Catholic Church, what are they but forms of prayer, beseeching God to give a blessing to these creatures against diseases and evil spirits ? Is it, then, superstition to believe that God hears these invocations of his Church, to which we know he has given a power over all devils, and over all the power of the enemy? Luke ix. 1, x. 19.
But do not these invocations and blessings, so much used in the Church of Rome, very much resemble the enchantments of magicians and the ancient idolators ?
So far from it, that they are directly opposite to each other in every respect. The magicians and idolators, in their enchantments, supplicate devils and false gods: the Catholic Church, in the blessings of water, oils, &c., supplicates the only true and living God. The magicians, in their enchantments, work by the power of the devil: the
Catholic Church, in the blessings of these creatures, relies on the power of Christ, which he gave to his apostles and to his Church over all devils. In the enchantments of the magicians, the devil shows his power over wicked men: in the blessing of holy water, Christ shews his power over the devil. So that to say these holy rites of the Catholic Church bear a likeness and resemblance to the enchantments of magicians and idolators, when one invokes demons, the other the true God; when one works by the power of the devil, the other by the
power of God over all devils, is surely such a likeness, such a resemblance, such a comparison as can never enter into the thoughts of
but those who think there is neither God nor devil; and sequently no difference between invoking the one and the other.
POINT XXIX. PROTESTANTS hold, That religious men
and women, who have vowed perpetual continency, may lawfully marry, notwithstanding their vows.
Contrary to the express words of their Bible :
1. “ When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it; for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee: but if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.... That which is gone out of thy lips, thou shalt keep and perform.” Deut. xxxiii. 21, 22, 23.
2. “ When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools : pay that which thou hast vowed. Better it is that thou shouldst not vow, than thou shouldst vow and not pay.” Eccles. v. 4, 5.
Here the divine law, as well as the law of nature,
teaches that a promise made to God, which we call a vow, of such things as are well pleasing to him, binds the votaries in conscience. The next point to be proved is, that perpetual continency is a virtue well pleasing to God, which is proved from St. Paul in his first to the Corinthians : “ He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife..... The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy, both in body and in spirit: but she that is married, careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband ..... So then, he that giveth his virgin in marriage doth well: but he that giveth her not in marriage doth better.” 1 Cor. vii. 32, 33, 34, 38.
Now if on the one hand St. Paul, “ by the inspi. ration of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. vii. 40), teaches us in the clearest manner, and recommends virginity, an unmarried life, perpetual continency, as the greater good, the more perfect state of life, more pleasing to God; and if, on the other hand, whosoever has vowed anything to God which is pleasing to him, as every virtue is, and as we know from the Apostle perpetual continency is by the divine law, is strictly bound in conscience to perform it, it most clearly follows that religious men and women who have vowed perpetual continency, and that in the most solemn manner, cannot lawfully marry, and such as do are vow-breakers and apostates. Where then will they appear at the day of judgment who pulled down monasteries, seized the abbey-lands, and licensed religious men and women to marry contrary to their vow? And what opinion ought