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whom the benefit is to be divided ? It is not like having a mass said for one's soul in particular. But that is the privilege of the rich.
Now I do not believe that it is the religion of the ' blessed Jesus that makes this distinction in favor of the rich. I believe that Christ brought as good news from heaven to the poor as to the rich. I believe that every blessing which he has to dispose of may be bought without money and without price. See Isa. 55: 1. I believe that “whosoever will,” may
take of the water of life freely." Rev. 22 : 17. This is
There was poor Lazarus. I reckon he went to heaven as soon after he died as he would have done if he had had millions of money to leave to the church; and I reckon the angels were as tender and careful of his soul as if he had been clothed in purple and fared sumptuously every day. And he was a poor man to whom the dying Savior said, “ To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” If there was ever a man who, according to the Catholic doctrine, should have gone to purgatory, and remained a great while there, it was that thief. But you see he did not go there. Christ took him with him immediately to paradise. He went there without penance, without extreme unction, without confession to a priest, without a single mass being said for him, in utter outrage of all the rules of the church! I don't think that Joseph of Arimathea, rich as he was, could have got to heaven sooner than that penitent thief. But Christ always considered the poor ; and that is not Christianity which does not, consider them.
As I said in former pieces that I had no faith in
salvation by fire, or in salvation by oil, I say non ! have no faith in salvation by money.
I will close with a syllogism. Christianity makes it as easy for a poor man to get to heaven, as for one that is rich. This is my ma or proposition. Who dare dispute it ? But the church of Rome makes it not so easy for a poor man to get to heaven as one that is rich. This is my minor proposition, and this I have shown. Who dare deny it? Now my conclusion is, therefore, the religion of the church of Rome is not Christianity.
This long word was coined by the Catholics for their own special use, as was also that longer and harder word transubstantiation. Nobody else finds any occasion for it. It expresses what the rest of mankind think has no real existence. If the reader is acquainted with the Latin, (that language which the church of Rome extols so high above the Hebrew and Greek, the languages of God's choice—and in which she says we ought all to say our prayers,
whether we know it or not,) he will see that supererogation is compounded of two words, and signifies literally above what is required. It designates that overwork in the service of God which certain good Catholics in all ages are supposed to have done. After doing all the good which God requires of them . then what they do over and above that, they call supererogation. It expresses how much more they love God than they are required to love him. He claims, you know, to be loved with all the heart, and soul, and strength, and mind. This is the first and great command. And observe, it is with all of each. Now, when the Catholic has fully satisfied this claim, he enters upon the work of supererogation; and all that he does in the way of loving God after loving him with all the four, heart, strength, soul, and mind, is set down to this account, be it more or less. Might I just ask here, for information, if a man is required to love God with all his strength, that is, with his whole ability, how can he do more? It seems that whatever he can do, is required to be done. How Catholics contrive to do more than they can, I, for my part, do not know. It is a mystery to Protestants. We are in the dark on this subject.
Let me tell you more about this supererogation. It expresses how much more Catholics are than perfect. Perfect, you know, we are all required to be-perfect,
even as our Father who is in heaven is perfect." Matt. 5 : 48. And in another place, even by Peter it is said, “As he which has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” Now, when one is holy as he who hath called him is holy, and holy in all manner of conversation, in so far as he is more holy than this, since this is all that is required, the surplus is set down to the account of supererogation ! In other words, supererogation expresses the superfluous glory which men give to God, after glorifying him in their hodies and spirits, which are his, and doing all whatsoever they do, even to the matter of eating
and drinking, to his glory! See 1 Cor. 6:27, and Acts, 10:31. This is supererogation. I hope the reader understands it.
Now, those who do these works of supererogation, have of course more merit than they have any occasion for on their own account; and as this excess of merit ought by no means to be lost, the church of Rome has with great economy treasured it up for the benefit of those who are so unfortunate as to do less than what is required, to whom it is, at the discretion of the church, and for value received, served out in the way of indulgences. This is the article that Tetzel was dealing in so largely and lucratively, when one Martin Luther started up in opposition to the traffic. Protestants have never dealt in the article of indulgences.
By the way, the wise virgins of whom we read in Matthew, 25, seem not to have been acquainted with this doctrine of supererogation ; for when the foolish virgins, in the lack of oil, applied to them for a seasonable supply, they answered, “not so: lest there be not enough for us and you.” They had only enough for themselves.
But, say the Catholics, are there not counsels in the Bible, as well as precepts-certain things which are recommended, though not required? If so, and a person, besides obeying the precepts, complies with the counsels, doing not only what is required, but also what is recommended, is not here a foundation for works of supererogation ? This is plausible, but that is all. My motto being brevity, I shall not attempt an extended answer to it, but take these few things.
1. If there are counsels recommending things which
THOUGHTS ON POPERY.
en to these counse
no precepts require, yet obedience to these counsels cannot constitute works of supererogation, and acoumulate merit, unless all the precepts are perfectly obeyed. A man must do all that is required, before he can do more than what is required. Now, has any mere man since the fall perfectly obeyed all the commandments of God ? Has any man done all his duty ? If not, I reckon no one has done more than his duty. We don't generally go beyond a thing until after we have come up to it. A cup does not usually run over before it is full. But,
2. According to this doctrine of the church of Rome, men are capable of a higher virtue than God has required! They can, and actually do, perform virtuous and holy acts which belong to neither of the tables of the law, and which are comprehended neither in the love of God nor in the love of man! Is this idea admissible? The Psalmist says, “thy commandment is exceeding broad.” But according to this doctrine, the virtue of the Catholic is broader. I, however, don't believe it.
3. There is no counsel which docs not become a precept or command, provided it be found that God can be more glorified by a compliance with it than otherwise. The thing recommended, if in any case it be apparent that the doing of it will redound to the glory of God, is ipso facto required, and becomes a duty. Take the favorite example of the Catholics, celibacy, which, they say, is recommended but not required. Now, if any one find that he can better serve God in the single condition than in the matrimonial state, celibacy is in that case his duty ; and being a duty, a thing required, it can be no work of superero