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sent practical work, the reformed Christian will perceive with satisfaction, that relics and images and deified saints and all that constitutes the proper machinery of papal mythology have disappeared, leaving only the true foundation on which all sincere believers equally build. I have observed indeed a passing reference to purgatory and to prayers for the dead: but, with this and a few other exceptions, the book, like some of a similar strain which I have seen written by pious Romanists, is remarkably free from Popish peculiarities *.

It

* Mr. Rutter would fain prove from a passage in 2 Maccabees the lawfulness and efficacy of prayers for the dead, which of course involves the doctrine of purgatory: and he expresses his astonishment, that Protestants should reject from the sacred canon of inspiration the Apocrypha of the Old Testament ; while yet they admit into it certain books of the New Testament, respecting which doubts were for some time entertained in the Church. Key. p. 223, 224, 437.

I. It is not very difficult to give him a sufficient reason for our rejection of the Apocrypha.

All the books arranged under that title purport at least to have been written before Christ. If then any of them were written after Christ, their very profession of higher antiquity stamps them with the brand of imposture: if, on the contrary, they were actually written before Christ, and if (as the Romanists pretend) they ought to be received as inspired; it is utterly unaccountable, that, from the time of their composition down to the present day, they should have been uniformly rejected from the sacred canon of the Old Testament by the Jewish Sanhedrim. We all know the even superstitious veneration of the Jews for their holy books, which prompts them to the singular mode of authenticating their canon by numbering

every

It was to be expected, that a Protestant could not discuss the predictions of Daniel and St. John with

out

every letter contained in each separate tract. Is it credible then, that, while they were providentially led to such extreme carefulness respecting the genuine oracles of God, they should pertinaciously reject as uninspired certain books for which the Romish Church claims the authority of inspiration?

In fact, Mr. Rytter does not seem to be aware of the strange contradiction, which the system of his Church necessarily involves.

A book, which expressly professes itself to have been written by Ezra (Ezra vii. 28), was received by the Sanhedrim into the sacred canon : yet two other books, which equally profess them. selves to have been written by the very same Ezra or Esdras (1 Esdr. viii. 68, 71-74. 2 Esdr. i. 1, 4.), have been uniformly rejected by the Sanhedrim. Now, if these two other books, which profess to have been written by Ezra, were not written by him; they are ipso facto gross impostures. If, on the contrary, they were written by him agreeably to their own profession, and if they are equally inspired with that Hebrew book of Ezra which we all agree in deeming canonical ; let Mr. Rutter inform us, how it happened, that the Jews admitted one book of Ezra into the canon; but rejected two other books, notwithstanding those two other books claim, not only to have been written by the same author, but to have been composed under the same divine inspiration.

Just the same remark applies to the Wisdom of Solomon, It professes to have been written by that prince (Wisdom vii. 1–13.): if therefore it was not written by him, it is a palpable forgery; if it was, how came the Sanhedrim to reject it from their canon while they admitted Proverbs and Ecclesiastes?

I need scarcely say, that the song of the three children and the history of Susanna and the destruction of Bel and the Dragon, which all claim to have been written by Daniel, are in a similar predicament : or that the prayer of Manasseh and the pretended

supple

out giving offence to a person in communion with the Church of Rome, however truly devout that

person

supplemental chapters of Esther will equally, on the same grounds, demand the exertion of Mr. Rutter's ingenuity.

Nor is this all: we Protestants reject the Apocrypha, as well from internal, as from external, evidence.

So palpably unlike to the genuine wonders of Revelation is the strange story (for instance) of Tobit smoking a devil out of a young woman with the liver of a fish, and so closely allied is it in texture to the marvellous Rabbinical tales of the gigantic cock and the fish leviathan, that we cannot hesitate to pronounce it a mere Jewish figment.

Again: if Mr. Rutter wishes us to join him in prayers for the dead, let him produce a single solitary warrant for the practice from any one of those books which are universally received as canonical ; and we will readily comply with his invitation. But, so long as he can only produce a passage from the Maccabean history in favour of the usage, that very circumstance speaks trumpet-tongued to our conviction, that the history so cited is apocryphal and uninspired : for passing strange it is, that every book both of the Old and New Testament, which Protestants and Papists agree to receive as canonical, should be WHOLLY silent respecting such a practice.

II. Mr. Rutter however assures his readers, that several of the most learned Protestants, while they reject the name of purgatory, seem to admit the thing. Mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur. The reason assigned is this : many Protestants deny not, that there is a middle state of departed souls before the final day of judgment. Key. p. 437.

What resemblance exists between such an opinion and the Popish doctrine of purgatory, I possess not critical acumen sufficient to discover.

Many Protestants suppose, that, after the separation of soul and body, the spirits of the righteous are received into the safe keeping of Paradise, where they enjoy the sure and blissful

anticipar

person might be as an individual : but I wish it to be distinctly understood, that what I attacked was a

anticipation of future glory; while the souls of the wicked pass into the strong hold of a separate prison, where they writhe under the horrid expectation of future inevitable misery : that in this state they respectively remain, while disembodied; and that they receive not their final doom, until, at the last day, they are reünited to their bodies.

Such is the doctrine held by some of us Protestants, in favour of which it were easy, to produce numerous passages of Scripture.

But the Romanists fancy, that all the souls of the righteous (with the exception, I believe, of infants which die immediately after baptism) Alit after death into a place of purgatorial torment; where, for the several sins which they have personally, committed, they suffer misery differing from that of liell not in intensity but only in duration. Out of this region of horrors, the several parts of which are arranged on the exact model and principle of the pagan purgatory so largely described by Virgil in the sixth book of the Eneid, the prayers of the Church can deliver the wretched victims even before their allotted time of cleansing has been completed: and these sovereign prayers for the dead are to be purchased by the money of the faithful; a simoniacal abomination, which (as it is well known) first moved the indignation of the illustrious Luther, and ultimately led to the glorious Reformation.

Such is the doctrine of purgatory held by the Romanists, in favour of which not the shadow of an argument can be pro: duced from Holy Scripture. Yet does Mr. Rutter assure the Roman laity, for whose special instruction his Key is written, that many Protestants, while they reject the name of purgatory, SEEM to admit the thing. Well however may he cautiously insert the qualifying word seem (your seems and your ifs are great peace makers), lest peradventure the prying eye of those without should look too curiously into these Aporreta of the Romish school.

system

system and the corrupt and interested upholders of a system; not those numerous excellent individuals, who, in the midst of great disadvantages, faithfully hold Christ the head, and who tacitly give up that heterogeneous mass of hay and stubble which has been industriously accuniulated upon the divinely laid foundation of the Gospel. With our own judicious Hooker I can cheerfully say; “ God, I doubt “ not, was merciful to save thousands of our fathers " living in Popish superstitions, inasmuch as they “ sinned ignorantly:" and, whatever tinge of unauthorized will-worship there may have been in such men as the venerable Fenelon and à Kempis and Pascal

and Arnauld ; yet (so far as fallible man can judge), bearing as they do the very impress of the Holy Ghost, I can venture to take up the words of an ancient father, “ May my soul be with them!" But the vigorous piety of individuals neither will, nor can, sanctify a radically corrupt system. In the worst of times, Christ has ever had those who are but they owe their own character, not to which they are unhappily entangled, but to that

Co in divine infusion of sound evangelical principle which prevents their system from being one entire mass of rank putridity. God, I believe, has a people scattered among all denominations of Christians, who hold the grand fundamental truths of the Gospel : and, since these are doubtless held (though with occasional obscurity and with many superadded fancies) in the Church of Rome, I feel joyfully assured, that many of that communion will be saved through

the

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