Obrazy na stronie

the world over, is the name of Philip Melanchthon. It stands a symbol for simplicity and godly sincerity, for faith in the word of God, for brotherly kindness and charity, for learning consecrated to the service of the highest truth. But a higher name is his to-day: “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name.”

JOHN DE WITT. Princeton.

II. MARIOLATRY. Paul's spirit was painfully excited at seeing Athens full of idols. Moved by the same zeal for the honor of Christ and the same pity for duped souls, the Christian of to-day is filled with like sadness and indignation at seeing the Romish Church, which claims to be the sole repository and dispenser of grace, wholly given to idolatry, changing the truth of God into a lie, and worshipping the creature more than the Creator.

Her supreme idol is the mother of Jesus. Not merely “ by the space

of two hours” (Acts xix. 34), but incessantly, day and night, the world over, her refrain is: “Great is Mary; great is Mary, the mother of God.” Several days in the year and the whole month of May have been set apart to do her special honor, to praise the beauty of her person, to extol her virtues, to magnify her power, to invoke her intercession, to give thanks for her protection, and to vow fealty in her service. Images of Mary, in gold, silver, bronze, plaster or wood, abound in churches, schools, convents, hospitals, asylums and private dwellings, and are bowed down to and worshipped. She is exalted, not to heavenly places in Christ, but, by virtue of her own sinlessness and merit, to the highest place in heaven itself, with the Father and the Son on either side, whom she commands to grant the petitions which ascend to her.

If glorified saints are cognizant of what takes place on earth, and are affected by it as they would certainly be were they still in the flesh, Mary, though in heaven, must be unutterably unhappy becanse of this idolatry, which not only makes her worthiness the ground of the sinner's acceptance and the plea of prevailing prayer, but ascribes to her the perfections of deity, and invests her with the gracions sovereignty of Almighty God.

Rome, “full of all subtlety and all mischief” (Acts xiii. 10), confounds and catches the ignorant and unwary by making a distinction in the kinds or degrees of worship. That which is offered to relics, images and ordinary saints, she calls dulia, a sort of pious

honor; that addressed to Mary, hyperdulia, profound reverence; that to the persons of the Trinity, latria, the worship with which none but God may be approached. That this is a distinction without a difference must be admitted, when one can see, even in this country, hundreds of Romanists on bended knees before a little image, with the same semblance of devotion and grateful affection and implicit trust that the cleansed leper exhibited at the feet of the Lord Jesns. More than this, it is a distinction that is ignored, not only in fact, but also in the authoritative teaching of the Romish Church. For example, one of the most eminent of her theologians, Thomas Aquinas, who has been elevated to saintship, says: “A cross of any material ought to be worshipped with latria, because not only the cross upon which Jesus Christ hung is worthy of that worship, for the reason that it touched Christ, but also because it is a cross, i. e., a sign and image of Christ hanging on the cross.” Another distinguished doctor of theology wrote: “Those things which by contact with our Lord partook of his holiness, as the cross, nails, spear, thorns, etc., are to be adored with latria.Accordingly, the Breviary, which is the manual of daily devotion, and the use of which is obligatory on every priest, prescribes the following prayer for the fourteenth of September : “O Cross, more splendid than the stars, illustrious throughout the world, much beloved by men, more holy than all things, who alone wast worthy to bear the treasure of the world, bearing sweet wood, sweet nails, a sweet burden, save the multitude assembled this day in thy praise.” And as with the cross, so with the image of our Lord. The same writer already quoted, Thomas Aquinas, says: “Since Christ is to be adored with the worship of latria, the consequence is that his image is to be adored with the worship of latria."

The claim that the worship offered to Mary is only hyperdulia is bald pretence. If “those senseless material things, the cross, nails, spear, thorns, etc., which, by contact with our Lord, partook of his holiness, are therefore to be adored with latria," surely she, in whose womb he was conceived, at whose breasts he was nourished, in whose arms he nestled, and who was in contact” with him times without number during his life of thirty-three years, is,

by the same reasoning, entitled to, and receives, the highest form of worship, precisely that which is paid to the persons of the Trinity, only, in addition, it nauseates by its sickly sentimentality and shocks by its studied blasphemy.

The heathen Chinaman uses a rosary, or string of beads, to aid him in his devotions. On this he counts his prayers. As he passes each bead between his thumb and finger, he pronounces the name of his god, “Oma-da-voo,” repeating it until he gets to the end of the string. This is his prayer. The Romanist, also, from the pope down to the baptized savage, says his prayers with the help of a string of beads, which is called the “rosary of the Blessed Virgin,” because most of the prayers counted off by means of it are addressed to her. It may be seen dangling ostentatiously from the girdle of the “sisters” who are ever begging in our markets, places of business, and from house to house, and most successfully from gullible Protestants. It consists of one hundred and sixty-five beads, fifteen of which are larger than the others, and are placed upon the string so as to divide the smaller ones into blocks of ten. After kissing the attached crucifix, and making the sign of the cross on his face and breast, the worshipper recites the Apostles' Creed, the “Gloria," and the Lord's Prayer, and then repeats the following ten times, with each repetition grasping one of the smaller beads:

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thon among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

This brings him to the next of the larger beads, when he recites again the “Gloria” and “Our Father," and then repeats ten “Hail Marys.” So the performance goes on, ten “Hail Marys" succeeding one “Gloria” and “Our Father," until he, too, like the “heathen Chinee,” gets to the end of his string, when he will have repeated the Lord's Prayer fifteen times, and the prayer to Mary one hundred and fifty times; that is, in this religious exercise, the creature is worshipped tenfold more than the Creator; and it is simply absurd to pretend that this worship is on the zigzag order, by which the devotee first offers latria to God, and then drops down to hyperdulia to Mary, and repeats this marvellous spiritual gymnastics until the beads are all counted.

When two or more persons repeat the rosary together, one recites the first half of the prayer, and the others respond with the second. The first balf will be recognized as composed of the salutation of Gabriel and of Elizabeth to Mary, except that the angel's words, "highly favored,” are perverted into ascribing to Mary "fulness of grace.” What this means may be learned from a work entitled Real Principles of Catholics, written by a bishop and approved by bishops, among others, by the late Bishop Kenrick, of Philadelphia. In reply to the question, “Why is Mary said to be full of grace?” the answer is given as follows:

"By grace are understood all supernatural gifts which made her acceptable to God and preferable to all other creatures; and this is expressed by fulness; . but most especially the fulness of grace consists in the particularity of graces, viz., she was not only sanctified in her mother's womb, as some few others had been, but was exempt from the guilt of original sin, and, as a consequence of that, from concupiscence of the flesh, and never was guilty of the least sin. Besides, she possessed all divine gifts in the most eminent degree, viz., faith, hope, charity, humility, obedience, chastity, with all the moral virtues," eto.

The second half of the “Hail Mary” is entirely of man's concocting, and is pure blasphemy, in that it makes Mary, not only a mediator, but the mother of God. “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (Eph. ii. 5.) “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John ii. 1.) “Through him we have access by the Spirit unto the Father.” (Eph. ii. 18.) “No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John xiv. 6.) “He is able to save them to the attermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb. vii. 25.) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

.. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." (John i. 1, 3, 14.) It was this “flesh,” the human body of our Lord, not his eternal Godhead, of which Mary was the mother.

Furthermore, the Romish Church attaches expiatory virtue to the prayer, “Hail, Mary.” The repetition of it so many times is often assigned as a penance, the performance of which is the condition on which pardon of sin hangs. The absolution granted by

« PoprzedniaDalej »