« EdellinenJatka »
being plundered by Senacherib: therefore the merits of the saints who are dead do benefit the living. At the same time we confess that the merits of the saints are acceptable to God through the sole merits of Christ; who by his death merited that grace which made them saints, and by which they merit the favour of God and the rewards which He has promised.
3. “O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine anointed; remember the mercies of David thy servant.” 2 Chron. vi. 42.
So prayed Solomon at the dedication of the Temple, laying before God the merits of King David. So prayed the people of God who lived under the old law, laying before God the memory of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; frequently alleging the merits of their saints deceased to move God to mercy; who, as the Scripture itself testifies, for the sake of these holy patriarchs did often spare their sinful posterity.
Secondly, Protestants hold that it is not lawful to invocate the saints or angels, or beg of them to intercede with God for us.
Contrary to the words of their Bible:
1. “The angel, which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac : and let them grow unto a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Gen. xlviii. 16.
We have here an express warrant from the word of God for the invocation of angels, and by consequence for the invocation of saints.
2. “ Then the angel of the Lord answered and said, O Lord of Hosts, how long wilt thou not
have mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years ?" Zach. 1. 12.
This proves that the holy angels intercede with God for us ; and can it be doubted that the saints in heaven do the same ? Now, if the saints and angels in heaven pray for us, why shall it not be lawful to beg of them to pray for us? And we are well assured that the Church of Rome professes no more by invocation of saints and angels ; for which most innocent practice so many millions of devout Christians are, by Protestants, accused of idolatry.
Against this article of our faith Protestants object that to have recourse to the intercession of the saints is an injury done to the mediation of Christ.
Contrary to the doctrine of the holy Scripture, where we are expressly taught to have recourse to the prayers and intercessions of boly persons. As Abimelech had recourse to Abraham (Gen. xx. 17), and the three friends of Job (Job. xlii. 7, 8) to that holy patriarch to pray for them, and St. Paul to his fock (Heb. xiii. 18; 1 Thess. v. 25); which Protestants think allowable and according to the written word : but most clear it is, that as much injury is done to the mediatorship of Christ, by praying the living to intercede with God for us, and employing their mediation, as by praying the saints deceased to intercede for us. then rest satisfied that it is no injury at all to the mediatorship of Christ to implore the intercession of the saints, because these saints themselves, whether living or deceased, intercede and pray to God for us through the mediation of Christ, and not
We may without it; so that both we and they have but one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus. 1 Tim. ii. 5.
Protestants reply, that it is a vain thing to employ the intercessions of the saints when we know that God himself is ready to hear our petitions.
To whom we answer: That this argument as well proves the unlawfulness of recommending ourselves to the prayers of the living as to the intercession of the saints deceased. Yet the holy Scriptures in many places authorize us to recommend ourselves to the prayers of the living saints and devout Christians. St. Paul himself frequently desired
the prayers of his flock at Ephesus, Thessalonica, Colossus, and elsewhere. Eph. vi. 19; 2 Thess. iii. 1; Coll. iv. 3; Rom. xv. 30. Did this apostle then do a vain thing in having recourse to the prayers of the faithful? Or, may we not recommend ourselves to the prayers of holy persons, through a pretence that God being ready to hear our petitions there is therefore no need of employing the intercessions of others ? Now, if it is not a vain thing to recommend ourselves to the prayers of the saints that are living, neither is it a vain thing to recommend ourselves to the prayers of the saints deceased. For why I may lawfully desire a holy person to pray and intercede for me while he is in his mortal life, but not after he is glorified, the most subtle Protestant alive would be puzzled to give a good reason.
They return to the charge once more: that to employ the intercession of the saints is injurious to God, because it seems as if we really believed the saints would be more merciful and good to us than God; otherwise why do we rather choose to
address ourselves for help to them, than to him who is the Author of all our good, and the Giver of all good gifts ?
This objection, which to Protestants seems so very plausible, is, notwithstanding, directly contrary to the plain words of their Bible, as will appear by what follows: “Now, therefore, restore the man his wife: for he is a prophet, and shall pray for thee and thou shalt live. So Abraham prayed unto God, and God healed Abimelech and his wife, and his maid servants, and they bare children.” Gen. xx. 7.
And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: My wrath is kindled againsi thee, and against thy two friends, for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks, and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for him will I accept; lest I deal with you after your folly, in that you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, like my servant Job.” (Job xliii. 7, &c.)
These words of God utterly overthrow all objections of Protestants against the invocation of saints. For, do we not here read, that God himself sent wicked men to the saints to intercede for them ? Yet no one pretends to conclude from hence, that these saints were more eminent in mercy and goodness than God himself; but we rather conceive it was through his mercy these great saints were found to intercede for the wicked, and, by their prayers, save them from destruction: through his mercy it is that we have such powerful
and illustrious advocates to shield us against his anger.
Even those sinners who are hardened against all that is good, and are come to that pitch as to be delighted with the slavery of the devil, unwilling to go out of it, and therefore cannot be supposed to pray for themselves, have still this relief left, that the saints and angels in heaven, as well as the servants of God upon earth, pray zealously for them, and often prevail upon God to touch them with his grace more powerfully and convert them. And when this happens, is it not'. owing to the mercy of God that you have some powerful saint, who has more interest at the court of heaven, and intercedes for you when you are past the thought of praying for your own salvation? If the question be put, Why God, who is infinitely merciful to us himself
, is better pleased to receive addresses for sinners from the saints, than to receive addresses from sinners themselves? the holy Scripture gives this answer (James v. 16), That the prayers of the just are more prevalent with God than the prayers of the wicked; the order of his justice so requiring: at the same time, his mercy for the wicked most eminently appears, in sparing them at the intercession of the just.
POINT XI. PROTESTANTS hold, That the holy relics of our Saviour, as the cross whereon he died, &c., or the bodies and relics of the saints, ought not to be honoured, and that God does not work miracles by them,
Contrary to the Gospel :
1. “And lo a woman that had a bloody flux for twelve years came behind him, and touched the