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invocation of saint or angel, as a practice either approved or even known.
When indeed I call to mind the general tendency of the natural man to multiply to himself the objects of religious worship, and to create, by the help of superstition, and the delusive workings of the imagination, a variety of unearthly beings whose wrath he must appease, or whose favour he may conciliate ; when I reflect how great is the temptation in unenlightened or fraudulent teachers to accommodate the dictates of truth to the prejudices and desires of those whom they instruct, my wonder is rather that Christianity was so long preserved pure and uncontaminated in this respect, than that corruptions should gradually and stealthily have mingled themselves with the simplicity of Gospel worship. That tendency is plainly evinced by the history of every nation under heaven: Greek and Barbarian, Egyptian and Scythian, would have their gods many, and their lords many. From one they would look for one good; on another they would depend for a different benefit, in mind, body, and estate. Some were of the highest grade, and to be worshipped with supreme honours; others were of a lower rank, to whom an inferior homage was addressed ; whilst a third class held a sort of middle place, and were approached with reverence as much above the least, as it fell short of the greatest. In the heathen world you will find exact types of the dulia, the hyperdulia, and the latria, with which unhappily the practical theology of modern Christian Rome is burdened. Indeed, my wonder is, that under the Christian dispensation, when the household and local gods, the heathen's tutelary deities, and the genii, had been dislodged by the light of the Gospel, saints and angels had not at a much
earlier period been forced by superstition to occupy their room.
We shall be led to refer to some passages in the earliest Christian writers, especially in Origen, which bear immediately on this point, representing in strong but true colours the futility of deeming a multitude of inferior divinities necessary for the dispensation of benefits throughout the universe, whose good offices we must secure by acts of attention and worship. I anticipate the circumstance in this place merely to show that the tendency of the human mind, clinging to a variety of preternatural protectors and benefactors, was among the obstacles with which the first preachers of the Gospel had to struggle. In the proper place I shall beg you to observe how hardly possible it would have been for those early Christian writers, to whom I have referred above, to express themselves in so strong, so sweeping, and so unqualified a manner, had the practice of applying by invocation to saints and angels then been prevalent among the disciples of the Cross.
We may, I believe, safely conclude, that in these primitive writings, which are called the works of the Apostolical Fathers, there is no intimation that the present belief and practice of the Church of Rome were received, or even known by Christians. The evidence is all the other way. Indeed, Bellarmin, though he appeals to these remains for other purposes, and boldly asserts that “ all the fathers, Greek and Latin, with unanimous consent, sanction and teach the adoration of saints and angels,” yet does not refer to a single passage in any one of these remains for establishing this point. He cites a clause from the spurious work strangely ascribed to Dionysius the Areopagite, which was the forged production, as the learned are all
agreed, of some centuries later; and he cites pious sentiment of Ignatius, expressing his hope that by martyrdom he might go to Christ, and thence he infers that Ignatius believed in the immediate transfer of the soul from this life to glory and happiness in heaven, though Ignatius refers there distinctly to the resurrection'. But Bellarmin cites no passage whatever from these remains to countenance the doctrine and practice of the adoration of saints and angels.
1 Epist. ad Rom. c. iv. See above, p. 90.
PART 1.-CHAPTER IV.
THE EVIDENCE OF JUSTIN MARTYR'.
JUSTIN, who flourished about the year 150, was trained from his early youth in all the learning of Greece and of Egypt. He was born in Palestine, of heathen parents; and after a patient examination of the evidences of Christianity, and a close comparison of them with the systems of philosophy with which he had long been familiar, he became a disciple of the Cross. In those systems he found nothing solid, or satisfactory; nothing on which his mind could rest. In the Gospel he gained all that his soul yearned for, as a being destined for immortal life, conscious of that destiny, and longing for its accomplishment. His understanding was convinced, and his heart was touched; and regardless of every worldly consideration, and devoted to the cause of truth, he openly embraced Christianity; and before kings and people, Jews and Gentiles, he pleaded the religion of the crucified One with unquenchable zeal and astonishing power. The evidence of such a man on any doctrine
1. Benedictine ed. Paris, 1742.
connected with our Christian faith must be looked to with great interest.
In the volumes which contain Justin's works we find “ Books of Questions,” in which many inquiries, doubts, and objections, as well of Jews as of Gentiles, are stated and answered. It is agreed on all sides that these are not the genuine productions of Justin, but the work of a later hand. Bellarmin appeals to them, acknowledging at the same time their less remote origin. The evidence, indeed, appears very strong, which would lead us to regard them as the composition of a Syrian Christian, and assign to them the date of the fifth century; and as offering indications of the opinions of Christians at the time of their being put together, they are certainly interesting documents. When fairly quoted, the passages alleged in defence of the invocation of saints, so far from countenancing the practice, assail irresistibly that principle, which, with other writers, Bellarmin himself confesses to be the foundation of that doctrine. For these Books of Questions assert that the souls of the faithful are not yet in glory with God, but are reserved in a separate state, apart from the wicked, awaiting the great day of final and universal doom. In answer to Question 60, the author distinctly says: “ Before the resurrection the recompense is not made for the things done in this life by each individual'.”
In reply to the 75th Question, inquiring into the condition of man after death, this very remarkable answer is returned :
“ The same relative condition which souls have with the body now, they have not after the departure from the body. For here all the circumstances of the union
Quæstiones et Responsiones ad Orthodoxos, p. 464.