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(Acts xv. 7.) I hope this may be sufficient for the present to satisfy Protestants that the Scriptures are not entirely silent of St. Peter's supremacy. When they produce a text of the gospel as clear, where the keys of the kingdom of heaven are given to temporal princes, we shall, without scruple of conscience, then confess them to be heads of the Church in spirituals and in temporals, and the fountains of all ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
Now, if the Scripture has revealed St. Peter's supremacy, it has, by consequence, revealed the supremacy of the Popes or Bishops of Rome, who are the successors of St. Peter, and inherit his power and privilege. For it must be granted, that the powers which were given by our Saviour to St. Peter descended to all his successors, or we must suppose that the form of Church government, which Christ originally established, was only to last for St. Peter's life, and then to end. But then, if the powers granted to St. Peter were to end with his life, and not to be transmitted to his successors, by the same rule Quakers and enthusiasts will say that the powers which our Saviour gave to all the apostles of preaching the Gospel, of baptizing, of administering the Lord's Supper, of remitting and retaining sins, expired also with them, and that now there is no ordinary pastoral power in the Church of preaching the gospel and administering the sacraments, but that this power ended with the apostles, in like manner as the supremacy is said to have ended with St. Peter. But if, on the contrary, St. Peter's power descends to all his successors, then have the Bisbops of Rome, who are his undoubted successors, at this day, the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and a commission from Christ to feed both the lambs and the sheep, to teach and to rule in spiritual matters, the whole flock of Christ, both pastors and people, clergy and laity, kings and their subjects; which Protestants must either confess or 'deny, one of the plainest truths in the gospel.
POINT X. PROTESTANTS hold, That the saints deceased know not what passes here on earth, and that they cannot hear the petitions which we address to them when we implore their intercessions.
Contrary to the Gospel. 1. " I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven, over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”. (Luke xv. 7.) “ Likewise I
you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God, over one sinner that repenteth.” (ver. 10.)
The angels in heaven, therefore, know when a sinner repents, and the saints in heaven also know it ; for the saints in heaven, according to the gospel, are equal to angels, they are as the angels of God in heaven : they are equal unto the angels. (Matt. xxii. 30. Luke xx. 36.) But if the saints and angels in heaven have so clear a knowledge of the repentance of sinners, which, being in the heart of man, is one of the most secret and hidden of all things; if, I say, nevertheless, God, who is the searcher of hearts, reveals this thing to them in a state of glory, why cannot they, at last, by revelation from God, know our prayers, when we desire to impart our thoughts to them, notwithstanding the distance between them and us?
2. “And four and twenty elders fell down before
the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden phials, full of odours, which are the prayers of saints." Rev. y. 8.
3. “And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.” Rev. viii 4.
Here we learn, that the blessed offer to God not only their own prayers but our prayers too; which they could not possibly do if they knew nothing of them. 4. “And in hell he lifted
eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried, and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said: Son, remember that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things : but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And, besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed,” &c. Luke xvi. 23, &c.
If this damned soul knew what passed in that place where Abraham and Lazarus were, and Abraham could hear him, and he hear and discourse with Abraham, notwithstanding they were afar off, and a great gulf, or chaos, was interposed between them, Protestants may know that spirits converse at a distance; and therefore the distance of place between heaven and earth is no reason why the saints that are in glory cannot hear the prayers of those on earth who implore their intercession.
5. " Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled for this thing; and he called his servants, and said unto them, Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel ? And one of his servants said: None, my Lord, O king: but Elisha the prophet, that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber." 2 Kings vi. 11, 12.
Let the Protestants here observe, that the prophet Elisha (or Eliseus) knew what was said by the king of Syria in his private bedchamber at Damascus, at the same time the prophet was in Dathan. It is related, also, in the same book of Kings (2 Kings v. 25, 26), how the same prophet knew what was said and done at a great distance off by his servant Gehasi and Naaman Syrus. Now if this prophet knew, by the light of prophecy, what passed at so great a distance from him, then certainly the saints in heaven, by the light of glory, may know what passes here on earth.
6. “ And I heard a loud voice, saying in heaven: Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ; for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Rev. xii. 10.
This is said of one of the wicked spirits who accused the servants of God day and night, and consequently, must be supposed to know what passes in the conversation of men upon earth. Protestants themselves deny not, that the devils know what is transacted in this world, and that they hear the supplications of the magicians their votaries; but surely, the bad angels are not more acute in knowledge than the good angels; and I hope we may be allowed to attribute as much knowledge, at least, to the blessed spirits, as Protestants do to the wicked spirits. Let us then con
clude, that the saints and angels in heaven know the contents of our prayers.
There are two ways of praying to God by the intercession of the saints, practised in the Catholic Church: one when we beseech God to grant our petitions for the sake of His saints: the other when we petition the saints themselves to intercede with God for us. Protestants oppose both these practices.
First, they hold, that we ought not to beseech God to grant our petitions for the sake of His saints: nor do we receive any benefit by their merits.
Contrary to the express words of their Bible:
1. “ Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swearest by thy own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of, will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto His people." Exod. xxxii, 13, 14.
See here how plainly is written that Moses prayed to God to spare the children of Israel for the sake of the holy patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob : the Scripture at the same time bearing witness, that this prayer of Moses for the Israelites was heard.
2. “ For I will defend this city, to save it for my own sake, and for my servant David's sake.” Isa. xxxvii. 35.
Here we read, that God protected the holy city of Jerusalem, in the days of king Ezechias, for the sake of holy David, when it was upon the point of