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saints, may be given an honorary respect and veneration ; but by no means that supreme worship or true Latria, which becomes only the Divine nature.” Tom. 7. Con. Lab. Action 7. Col. 555.
POINT XIII. Many Protestants hold, That it is absolutely unlawful to make and keep in our churches images or pictures of God; because God is of a spiritual and invisible nature which no man has seen in any form.
Contrary to their Bible :
1. “In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Isai. vi. 1. “For mine eyes bave seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Ver. 5.
2. “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” Dan. vii. 9.
3. “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him, on his right hand and on his left.” (1 Kings xxii. 19.)
If God appeared in a vision to the prophets in this form, then he may be pictured in the same form : for, no good reason, surely, can be given, why the histories of holy Scripture may not be pictured. Especially, since Catholics do not suppose that such paintings represent God in his true nature,—which we know is purely spiritual, invisible, incomprehensible, not to be expressed in lines and colours,-but only the visions in which he has appeared.
PROTESTANTS hold, That there is no purgatory, or third place, no middle state of suffering souls in the other world; and that it is a vain and superstitious custom to pray for the dead.
Contrary to the written word of God:
1. “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be remitted'unto him; but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Matt. xii. 32.
These words of our Saviour leave no room to doubt but some sins are remitted in the other world; but there are no sins in heaven, and none can be remitted in hell; then there must be a third place, or middle state of souls in the other world, which is neither hell nor heaven.
2. “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: every man's work shall be made manifest. For, the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is. If any man's work abide, which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burnt, he shall suffer loss : but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” 1 Cor. iii. 10 to 15.
Whether by the wood, hay, and stubble, here mentioned, is meant curious and unprofitable doctrine rather philosophical than apostolical, which some, preachers of the Gospel, like the Corinthian doctors, build upon the foundation of the true faith : or whether, by the wood, hay, and stubble, are meant other lesser sins and imperfections, which the better sort of Christians, who hold the foundation of the true faith, are subject to; certain it is, that by the wood, hay and stubble
, are signified some sins or other of Christians which do not merit eternal damnation ; because the Apostle assures us that the persons guilty of them will be saved ; for which sins, nevertheless, they will be punished in the other world; because, the same Apostle declares, they shall pass through fire : and whether this fire be understood of the material element fire, or metaphorically, that is, the affliction of the mind; great sufferers certainly must these souls be whilst they are passing through that fire, wherein work will be burnt, though, at length, their persons will be saved, not without pain and difficulty ; like a man, who, to save his life when his house is in flames about him, is forced to pass through the fire to make his escape. Some lesser sins, then, according to the Apostle's doctrine, Christians die guilty of, not deserving eternal damnation; which nevertheless are punished in the other world with fire, whatever that fire be; which is the genuine doctrine of purgatory maintained by Roman Catholics.
3. “For Christ who hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, (that he might bring us to God) being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit: by which also he went, and preached unto the spirits in prison; which, sometimes, were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing.” 1 Pet. iii. 18, 19, 20.
From this text it appears, that at the time of our Saviour's death there were some souls in a state of suffering (in prison) in the other world, on account of lesser sins not deserving of damnation; for certainly our Saviour would not have gone and preached to them, had they not been capable of salvation. These souls therefore were not in heaven, where all preaching is needless, nor in hell, where all preaching is unprofitable; but, in a middle state, and such temporary middle state, is the purgatory maintained by Roman Catholics.
4. Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” Rom. ii. 6.
“And then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matt. xvi. 27.–Apoc. xxii. 12.
That God will render to every one according to their works, with strict justice, in the other world, is plain in Scripture,
idle word man shall be accountable. (Matt. xii. 36.) Again, we know from Scripture that no one lives without sin ; for there is no man that sinneth not, and, in many things, we offend all. (1 Kings viii. 46.James iii. 2.) But if no one lives without sin, it is not to be doubted that great numbers, even of the better sort of Christians, die before they have sufficiently washed away all their sins in the blood of the Lamb. For who of a thousand can say, at the time of their death, that they have by penance entirely cancelled every sin they had committed, of thought, word, or deed, from the time they came to the use of reason to the end of their lives ? Now, either Protestants maintain with the ancient
stoic philosophers that all sins are equal, at least all mortal, and if so, whoever dies in any sin before they have repented, are for ever lost : (which doctrine none but a madman will maintain) or, they allow that there are lesser sins and imperfections in men, which we call venial sins, and, which are incident even to the just, that do not merit eternal torments. But if there are many who, before they have repented, die guilty of lesser sins, which do not merit eternal torments, either they are immediately after death translated into the joys of heaven, without undergoing the just punishment of their offences either in this world or the next (and then, how is it true, that God renders to every one according to their works ?), or they are first punished in the other world in proportion as their sins deserve, and in the end are translated to heaven; which, in other words, is what we mean by a purgatory.
5. “But the most valiant Judas exhorted the people to preserve themselves from sin, seeing before their eyes what had happened for the sins of those who were fallen in battle. And, making a collection, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously of the resurrection. .... It is, therefore, a holy and wholesome cogitation to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from their sins.” 2 Mac. xii. 42.
Whether Protestants allow the history of the Machabees a place in their canon of Scripture or not, it may, I hope, be of sufficient authority to inform them, that prayers and sacrifices for the dead was formerly a solemn rite of the Jewish