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such works. We are always taught to trust to the mercies of God, and to the death and intercession of Christ, and “to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." But we are never directed to look for any help from saints, or to think that we can do any thing for another man's soul; on the contrary, it is said, “No

man can by any means, give a ransom for his “ brother's sonl.” (Ps. xlix. 7.)

In support of the doctrine, the following texts are adduced: 1. In the parable of the ten virgins, (Matt. xxv. 1.) “ the five foolish virgins said unto the wise, Give us of your oil ?" This they apply to a communication of merit. But it may be observed, (1.) It was the foolish virgins who made the request. (2.) “ The wise virgins “ answered ; Not so, lest there be not enough for “us and you.” 2. In Col. i. 24. : “ I rejoice in

my sufferings for you, and fill up that which " is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my “flesh for his body's sake, which is the Church.” But this text merely alludes to the edification that the Church received from the sufferings of

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a Further, St. Paul says, • Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if tvere

be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” Now, works of supererogation are either honest, or they are not. are, all men are bound to perform them by this command. If they are not, all men are equally bound to avoid them as sins.

If they a See Whitby in loc. et Grotius et Vatablus in Crit. Sac.

the Apostles ; it being a great confirmation to them of the truth of the Gospel, when those who preached it, suffered so constantly and so patiently for it. And since Christ is related to the Church, as the head to the members, it is in a certain degree his sufferings, when his members are persecuted. In this sense St. Paul is said “ to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ,” the sufferings he endured being necessary to express the conformity that should exist between the head and the members.

Having thus confuted this doctrine of the communication of merit, it may be necessary to show how it crept into the Church, and the abuses to which it was applied. In the primitive Church severe rules were made, obliging all who had committed any sin, to continue for many years in a state of penance and of separation from the sacrament. But, because such general rules admit of many exceptions, in consequence of the peculiar circumstances of men, a power was given

a

• There were four degrees of penance : 1. The station of weeping, where the penitents were obliged to stand outside of the house of prayer. 2. The station of hearing, wbere they were admitted, together with catechumens, to learn the Christian faith. 3. The station of subjection, where the penitentiary acts were performed : and 4. When they were allowed to join in all the public offices, except the sacrament. See Goodman's Disc, on Satisf. p. 75.

to all bishops by the Council of Nice to shorten the time, and to relax the severities of those canons. a The favour thus granted was called an indulgence, and was a just and necessary provision, without which no society could be well governed. But after the tenth century, when the Popes began to take this power into their own hands, the original design was quite altered. They called it a plenary remission of all sins, and made the world regard it as effecting a deliverance from purgatory, and by consequence an immediate admission into heaven. To support this, they invented counsels of perfection, works of supererogation, and a communication

year 1300,

* The words of the canon are, “ Liceat Episcopo humanius aliquid de eis statuere.” See Beveridgüi Pand. Can. Conc. Nic. can. 12.

bIn the fourth Lateran Council, held by Innocent III. A. D. 1215, the original power of the Bishops was abridged, and in the Boniface VIII. instituted the year of Jubilee, which was to return every hundred years, but this interval was subsequently reduced to twenty-five. See Bower's Lives of the Popes, v. 6. pp. 207, 354, 355.

The first indulgence (in the modern sepse of the word) was granted by Anselm, Bishop of Lucca, legate of Pope Gregory VII. to those who would take his part against Henry IV. (Baron. A. D. 1084, n. 15, and Bower's Lives of the Popes, v.5. p. 280.) Similar indulgences were granted by Urban II. to such as would undertake the crusade, and after him by succeeding Popes, for the same purpose. (Morinus de Sac. poen. I. 10. c. 2.) This author states, that these indulgences did not merely absolve from canonical penance, but that“ a “ remission of such sins was granted by them, upon which eternal life depends."

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of merits, which were lodged in a treasury, placed at the Pope's disposal. From this treasury, indulgences were issued, by which multitudes were prevailed on to undertake the crusades against the Saracens, or to fight their quarrels with any emperors or princes with whom their ambitious pretensions had engaged them. At last, they openly set them up for sale, and the abuses which sprung from hence were so enormous, as to give rise to that Reformation, the progress of which has since been marked by signal proofs of divine favour.

a

See Stilling fleet's Works, v. 5.p. 197, and Du Moulin's Novelty of Popery, p. 568. Ed. Lond. 1664.

o See Mosheim's Hist. v. 3. cent. 16. sec. 1. c. 2. and notes.

ARTICLE XV.

OF CHRIST ALONE WITHOUT SIN.

CHRIST IN THE TRUTH OF OUR NATURE WAS MADE LIKE

UNTO US IN ALL THINGS, SIN ONLY EXCEPT, FROM WHICH HE WAS CLEARLY VOID, BOTH IN HIS FLESH AND IN SPIRIT. HE CAME TO BE A LAMB WITHOUT SPOT, WHO BY SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF ONCE MADE,

SHOULD TAKE AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD, AND

SIN, AS ST. JOHN SAITH, WAS NOT IN HIM.

BUT ALL

WE THE REST, ALTHOUGH BAPTIZED AND BORN AGAIN IN CHRIST, YET OFFEND IN MANY THINGS, AND JF WE SAY WE HAVE NO SIN, WE DECEIVE OURSELVES, AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN US.

This Article relates to the former, and is added in order to remove all pretensions to works of supererogation; for since the perfection of the saints must be supposed before their superero

It will be observed, that the words of this Article are taken verbatim from Scripture. Thus, “ he was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. iv. 15.) " He was a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Pet. i. 19.)

" Christ was once offered, to bear the sins of many.” (Heb. ix. 28.) “He was the Lainb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” (Jo.

“ In him was no sin.” (1 Jo. iii. 5.) In many things we offend all.” (Jam. iii. 2.) “ If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 Jo. i. 8.)

i. 29.)

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