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PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD, AND DEAD, AND PURGATORY.
PURGATORY. of what avail are prayers for the dead, when our Lord has himself declared their
state as finally fixed when they die ?... (27) Page 146.-Q. But (27) What Scripture! what tradition ! what reason is there to be. In the holy Scriptures, Christians are lieve that our prayers can be exhorted to pray for the living, not the of any service to the dead ? dead;" for their works (whether good,
A. The same reason as or bad) do follow them.” It is true there is to believe that our Christian charity, and well pleasing in prayers are of service to the the sight of God, to pray for our fellowliving ; for whether we con- men, that they may in this life, sult the Scripture, or primi- him acceptably with reverence and godly tive tradition, with relation fear;" but when the fiat is gone forth, to the promises or encou- we cannot change it, therefore our ragements given in favour prayers are useless; and though it may of our prayers, we shall no have been the practice of the Romish where find the dead excepted Church for ages, that cannot justisy from the benefit of them; what is manisestly repugnant to Scripand the perpetual practice ture, and of course equally so to apostoof the Church of God, which lical tradition. Here again the Church is the best interpreter of the interprets “the Scriptures” (though Scripture, has from the very citing none) according to her will ; be beginning ever authorized it remembered, an assembly of fallible prayers for the dead, as be- men may err, as proved by the Scriplieving such prayers bene- tures. (2 Cor. ii. 17; also iv. 1, 2.) ficial to them.
To study the Scriptures daily with fervent prayer, comparing Scripture with Scripture, is the only infallible way to arrive at truth; by thus fulfilling our Lord's command, the clearer will be the light shed on the inspired pages (the Christian's charter!) by the Holy Spirit; for God interprets his own word best. For the tradition oft cited, yet never produced ... would an all-wise God have committed what was necessary to a pure faith and worship, to a channel so unsafe, so capable of abuse by transmission, which could not be the case with written
laws ? (28) Page 147.-Q. But (28) “The authority and declaration what grounds have you to of the Romish Church appears to be the believe that there is any sole authority; for “reason," perverted such thing as Purgatory, or by the fall of man, needs, and must submiddle state of souls? mit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
A. We have the strongest (See 1 Cor. xii. 17; Psalm cxix. 18, 33, grounds imaginable, from 34, 99, 100.") The Scriptures cited by all kinds of arguments, from the “Catholic Christian,” advance noScripture, from perpetual thing in favour of Purgatory ! all that
PRAYERS FOR THE
DEAD, DEAD, AND PURGATORY. tradition, from the authority may be conceded is, that till the Son of and declaration of the Man comes “to judge the quick and Church of God, and from dead," and the soul is re-united to the
See Psalm lxii. 12; body, men will not, cannot experience to St. Matt. xvi. 27; Rom. ii. 6; the full fruition, what has been immediRev. xxii. 12; xxi. 27 ; St. ately determined at their death. Why Matt. xii. 36; 1 Cor. iii. 13, will man seek to know the secret things 14, 15; St. Matt. xii. 32; of God? Enough is revealed for our v. 26; 1 Peter iii. 18, 19, salvation, viz: repentance, and faith in 20.
the atoning blood of Christ ; from which cannot but proceed good works, even
as a tree is known by its fruits ;" still, as the taint of original sin infects our best works, they can have no merit in themselves ! and therefore will not be accepted ; if “the salt of the covenant of our God be lacking,” viz: the atoning blood of Christ,-in other words, only through his merits are our imperfect works accepted. This, therefore, Scripture war. rants our believing, which we may with safety to our souls. The unrepentant sinner shall be rewarded accordingly; eternal misery must be his portion, since he rejects his Saviour by persisting in his sins. The penitent believer must be eternally happy, for he knows all his sins have been atoned for, and washed away in the blood of his Redeemer. Full satisfaction being already made for all sins, “mortal and venial," what need of purgatory? when Christ himself "has purged away our sins.” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” (Acts xvi. 31.) Fellow Christians ! if we have thus made Christ our all, we may indeed "depart in peace," assured we shall awake in joy!
(To be continued.)
DANGERS THAT THREATEN.
LETTER II. I have already said in a former letter, that instances of the Popish tendencies of our present Government are numerous. However painful such an avowal may be, it is notwithstanding become necessary, and we would by no means shrink from it, whatever the consequences; being fully convinced, that to conceal the fact, were much more dangerous to the interests of true religion, than an open statement of our calm and honest convictions. We must, in short, be permitted to think that both Church and Constitution may suffer materially by the plots of self-interested men being suffered to work secretly and silently; and that the more fully they are exposed and dragged forth into the light, the more certain hope may be entertained, that the good common sense, at least, if not the sound religious principles of Englishmen, may, under God's blessing, eventually be found strong enough to frustrate them.
It cannot be denied that extraordinary, and often totally unexpected occurrences, are taking place in rapid succession every day around us.
It will be admitted by some, that they signify at least something ; by others, that they portend perhaps wonderful changes in nations and Governments, as well as in minds and manners. But such matters require careful examination, and much caution, before a correct conclusion can be arrived at. Now such occurrences very often seem to be produced by the various circumstances, and to take their colour from the characters and position of those who are the promoters of them. And very frequently the inconsistencies of the actors are found to be the results of the false systems to which they have surrendered themselves willing victims.
Thus we see the Autocrat of Russia, at one time torturing Popish nuns, and persecuting the religionists of Rome ; the next moment playing off antics on the cupola of St. Peter's; quaffing the nectar of its Babylonish Demigods, and drinking to the health of the "Man of Sin," and success to his Antichristian projects and desires.
This is all quite in place, all in perfect keeping. No man, in his senses could expect anything but this, under the existing circumstances; or from the persons concerned.
We see both these parties placed in exactly similar positions and office. Both are Autocrats and Popes.—On both sides a claim to unrestrained and unquestioned authority. There is, moreover, an equality of falsehood as to religion, and of cruelty as to practice. From such circumstances, certain similar consequences are assuredly to be expected; and it is plain, that where such elements of confusion exist, there can be no hope either of consistency in action, or of honesty in principle.
But is it not to be deplored, that this nation, once, and in reality, yet so great, should be declining every day from its high and honourable position; should be every hour becoming less respected, and less remarkable amongst the other nations of Europe, for its integrity of principle, its faithfulness to God, and its boldness in defence of the glorious Reformation which assuredly occasioned her remarkable pre-eminence.
And where, let us ask ourselves, has this originated ? In the unprincipled conduct of our rulers; in the sad political scheme of ruling without either principle, common honesty, or religion. They are led by Popishly created circumstances, by the foul system to which they have become dupes.
Do we then accuse our present Premier and his colleagues of this awful deterioration in the science of governing? Do we say that their present policy, with respect to religious and political matters, in the management particularly of Ireland, is worse than erroneous ? Yes! An endeavour to endow Popery, the very antagonist of the truth; the project to endow the Popish priesthood; and to build and endow their little better than heathen temples of worship; their support of the scripturally denounced 6 Mystery of Iniquity; and the entire rejection from their councils of the “ Mystery of Godliness;" together with the conciliating smile of favour, which in these late days have been cast upon the Man of Sin, and his subjects both ecclesiastical and lay; and the undisguised disregard manifested at the same time of those who love the truth as it is in Jesus, preach, maintain, and uphold it: are reasons fully sufficient to establish not only the truth of such a charge, but the necessity of giving publicity to it.
Why is it that Sir Robert Peel's commands are to the very letter obeyed by the Irish Lord-Lieutenant, in not conferring any of the ecclesiastical patronage of the Crown upon those who have not supported the National System of Education, or will not, by becoming traitors to the cause of truth, bolster up the Romanizing schemes of the Government?
We are persuaded that Lord de Grey did receive such a command, and that his unwillingness to be a party to such an ungodly proceeding, was one of the chief causes for his retirement from Ireland.
The next meditated step is to throw the Irish Church altogether overboard.
Reader, you may well stand amazed, even though you be fully aware of the
elastic nature of the conscience of those who hold the chief management of public affairs.
We repeat it. It will be attempted. Upon this point, your false friends who have sold you in the midst of pretended affection and regard, and your deadliest enemies who have never flattered you, nor fed you with false hopes, are fully agreed ;and it would appear that the Church of Ireland is to be the boon, and Protestant truth the price whereby Rome is to be conciliated ;-our heartless rulers kept in peaceable possession of their places ;—and a way prepared for the residence of an English Ambassador at Rome ;-a Legate from the Pope in London ;-and a hornet's nest of monks and nuns, of all colours, casts, and more than doubtful virtues, established in once old, happy, free, Protestant England; preparatory to her falling into the awfully degraded position of a mere bond slave of the Apocalyptic Babylon.
WORKS OF BISHOP COVERDALE.
« O thou Church of England! put forth with increasing energy the savour of Christian truth, or unspeakable ruin attends the land defiled by thee!... The stagnant pool, with the green slime covering its surface, is despicable; the raging ocean with its engulphing breakers, is sublime.”—Rev. Canon M'Neile.
EVERY important movement in the political and religious world has been accomplished by orders of agents, differing one from another in degree. God disposes a glorious natural world according to his admirable wisdom, by harmonizing elements that once were lost in chaos, and now evoke the revering plaudits of every pensive mind. And in God's guidance of men who have conducted moral resolutions, and in his ordering of events and circumstances, he shapes his ends by culling from all ranks of men, such as shall best answer the ends he has in view. Thus, in the great Reformation, it is not by chance that Luther is a man of unflinching obstinacy, of exuberant sarcasm, and of indomitable courage ;—that Calvin is distinguished by stern thoughtfulness, and by burning zeal in what he knew to be right ;-and that Melancthon unites the bathos of refined erudition with the sweetness of an amiable temperament. And thus, among our own Church Reformers, if Latimer be eminent for popular declamation, so is Ridley for Biblical lore, and Coverdale for spirituality of sentiment. There is a beautiful flow of holy thought in the volume of remains of the latter, as published by the Parker Society.
Miles Coverdale was born A. D. 1488, and was educated under Dr. Barnes, at Cambridge. He got himself into trouble by his defence of the Protestant principles of that learned man, and had to seek for safety abroad. While abroad he aided Tindal in translating the New Testament. He returned to England when Edward VI. acceded to the throne, and became chaplain to Catherine Parr, Queen Dowager. In 1551, he was appointed bishop of Exeter, and deprived by Mary in 1553. Under Elizabeth, he returned, but was not re-instated in his episcopate,-being merely presented with the living of St. Magnus, London Bridge. We subjoin a few specimens of his writings:
“This then is no new-fangled faith, no strange faith, no faith invented by man's brain; but even the same that God's Holy Spirit teacheth in the infallible truth of his Scripture, and that Vol. VIII. May 1846.
New Series, No. 5.