« EdellinenJatka »
they must also maintain, that during those dark ages of error and superstition which they call the midnight of Popery, there was no Church of Christ at all upon earth, there being no one nation, country, or city, that professed his true faith and worship for many ages; and consequently, his Church or spiritual kingdom was entirely overthrown: which is a direct contradiction to their Bible, where we read, that this spiritual kingdom of Christ was, after its first establishment, never more to be destroyed, but to stand for ever, and to see the downfall of all other earthly kingdoms.
Secondly, This charge of idolatry, superstition, and damnable errors, against the Church of Christ, is also contrary to all those texts of the Bible, where we are clearly taught, that the Church of Christ is, by the grace and favour of God, for ever established in holiness.
1. “They shall fear Thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations." Psalm lxxii. 5.
“ In His days shall the righteous flourish : and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.”
According to the title prefixed to this psalm, in the English Protestant translation, David here speaks of the glory of the kingdom or Church of Christ. Now here we read that the prosperity of the reign, and the holiness of the people that adore him in all nations, shall last as long as the sun and moon shall run their courses in the heavens ; which takes in all ages to the end of the world.
2. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be es
tablished in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it...' Isaiah i. 2. “ And the idols he shall utterly abolish.” ver. 18.
The title prefixed to this chapter in the Protestant Bible acknowledges that Isaiah here prophecies of the coming of Christ's kingdom, which all but Jews understand not of a temporal, but of a spiritual kingdom, or his Church which consists of true believers. The overthrow of idolatry so plainly marked in this prophecy is very remarkable ; for since idolatry was to be overthrown by Christ, and yet this glorious work was not effected by himself in person whilst upon earth, but accomplished as we see it daily by the Catholic Church, whose apostolical preachers have converted all the idolaters that have hitherto been converted, and are daily labouring with success for the conversion of the rest in all the infidel parts of the world ; what can be more for the confusion of Protestants who charge this same Church with idolatry ? For who can believe this Church to be over-run with idolatry, at the very same time that it is assisted by the grace and power of Christ to overthrow all the idols, and to break the neck of Dagon, all the world over ? 3. “Behold, your
God will come, with vengeance, even God with are compense; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Isaiah xxxv. 4. 5. “ And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the
of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." ver. 8.
The title of this chapter in the English Protestant Bible is, The flourishing state of Christ's kingdom. Now let Protestants consider how well their accusation of the Church's apostacy agrees with the character of holiness here given to it by the prophet, who describes it even as a highway of holiness ; a way that leads so plainly, so easily, so securely to holiness, that wayfaring men, though fools, though ignorant and illiterate, if they will be but guided by it, shall not err therein.
4. “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.' Isaiah ix. 7.
That this chapter is to be interpreted of the spiritual kingdom or Church of Christ, the title of the chapter in the Protestant Bible witnesses.
Now here in plain terms we read, that this spiritual kingdom or Church of Christ should, from its first establishment, thenceforth and for ever, be ordered with judgment and with justice, with which idolatry, superstition, and damnable errors, are no more compatible than fire is with water, darkness with light, or good with evil.
5. “And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to them that turn from transgression in Jacob saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; my Spirit which is upon thee, and my words which I have put into thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed; nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.” Isaiah lix. 20. 21.
According to the title of the chapter in the Protestant Bible, this is the covenant of the Redeemer with his Church. And can any thing be more for the confusion of Protestants ? For does not the prophet here, in the most significant language, assure us, that the truth of our Saviour's doctrine, which he at first taught to his Church, shall never more depart out of it, but shall continue to be professed therein, in all its purity, throughout all generations ? My spirit which is upon thee, and my words which I have put into thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.
6. “Behold the days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah : not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand, to bring them out of the Land of Egypt. (Which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord). But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel,” (Jerem. xxxi. 31, 32.) that is with Christians, who are the spiritual and true Israelites, according to St. Paul. “ After these days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Rom. iv. 9.-ix, 6, 7, 8.
If this be the essential difference between the old covenant and the new, that the old one was only engraved upon stone in letters, but, the new is written in the hearts of the faithful (2 Cor. iii. 7.), by the grace of the Holy Ghost; and, if this new cove
nant is an everlasting covenant (2 Cor. xxxvii. 26.), as the prophet Ezekiel assures us it is, it follows, that there never can be such a total apostacy of Christians from the law and doctrine of Christ, as Protestants pretend ; because it is written in their very hearts by grace to prevent this very apostacy. If Protestants reply, that the application of prophecies is an arbitrary thing, and that we have no authority thus to fix the sense of the prophecy here cited; to cut off their cavils, let them remember that these very words of Jeremiah are applied to the Church of Christ, in two different places by the apostle ; whom Protestants must allow to be a good interpreter of the prophet. (Heb. viii. 10 x. 16.)
7. “ And David my servant shall be king over them, and they shall have one shepherd; they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes and do them. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and I will place them, and multiply them; and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. Ezek. xxxvii.
All Protestants own, that greater and better promises are made to the Church of Christ than formerly to the synagogue; nevertheless they pretend, that the promises made to the Church are only conditional: viz., that God will never withdraw his protection and kind providence from the Church so long as the Church shall continue in obedience to him. But here we may take notice, that, supposing the promises made to the Church are conditional, grace is at the same time promised, whereby the condition itself shall be effectually performed: as, in the words now cited, God pro