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eney most destructive; that it should usurp a proud dominion, and claim even divine prerogatives; and that it should at last be annihilated by the pure doctrine and the invincible power of the Lord Jesus. *
These characters, passing by the last which is yet future, wear a most exact agreement with the doctrines, practices and history of that class of professed christians which owns the religious authority of the Church of Rome. About three hundred
years ago, after the complaints and ineffectual struggles of many years, serious attempts were made to reform the palpable abuses which prevailed. But, though made with the most evident reason and with great moderation, those attempts were resisted by all the resources of art and power. In a Diet of the Germanic Body, held at Spire, strong measures were enacted, to prevent any efficient reforms. Against those decrees, six princes' of the empire, and fourteen free cities, t entered their PROTEST, on
• V: 3-10. “ Lord Jesus," is the reading of the Roman Catholic version, and confirmed by the best authorities. For a critical and convincing elucidation of these characters, and of those of the same subject in 1 Tim. iv. 1-3. and in other parts of Scripture, see Joseph Mede's Works, book iïi. Dr. George Benson on the Epistles, Diss. ii. on 2 Thess. Bishop Newtox on the Proph. Diss. 22. and 23.
+ The Elector of Saxony, the Marquis of Brandenburg, the two. Dukes of Lunenburg, the Landgrave of Hesse, and the
April 20, 1529. Thus originated the term Protestant, which has been ever since the common appellation of all who refuse to acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope.
In our estimation, the PRINCIPLES of the Protestant religion are of very great importance, and ought to be constantly held up to view : because they are the basis of all great advancements in the intellectual character and the social happiness of man; because they are essential to rational piety; because the Roman Catholic system has, unhappily, still many millions of blindly devoted adherents, and many active organs of proselytism, who are beyond description adroit in the use of the most wily sophistry to gain their end; and because the liberal views which Protestant Dissenters very generally entertain, on the subject usually called Catholic Emancipation, render some explicit testimony desirable, lest those views should be understood as, in any degree, a compromise of our other principles.
The Papal system presents itself under two considerably different aspects. The one is that grosser form which it wore during the period from the eighth to the sixteenth century; and
Prince of Anhalt: and the cities of Strasburg, Norimberg, Ulm, Constance, Lindau, Memming, Kempten, Nordlingen, Heilbrun, Reutlingen, Isen, St. Gallen, Weissemburg, and Winsheim,
which it still wears, with little alteration, in those countries where civil and religious freedom have obtained no footing. The other is a more mild and polished form, which it has assumed, since the era of the Reformation, in more enlightened countries, and under the representation of cautious and able advocates.*
Either of these views, without some corrections, would be erroneous. But, not to deprive the Roman Catholic cause of any pleadable advantage, I have been careful to derive the statements of its doctrines brought forwards in this discourse, only from its own public and authorized documents, and from the writings of its most approved modern defenders.
“ We confess, then,” with our great reformer, “ that, under the papacy, there is much chris- tian good:”¥ and we cheerfully add our belief that many excellent christians have lived, and probably now live, within its pale. It holds
* Than whom none has exceeded, in sagacity and dexterity, the French Bishop Bossuet : but his crafty writings' met with an antagonist who admirably uncovered their sophistry in the celebrated John Claude. My highly valued friend, the Rev. John Townsend, whose services to the cause of benevolence and religion have endeared him to all denominations of christians, has materially added to those obligations by republishing with considerable improvements, Claude's Defence of the Reformation.
+ Luther, Ep. ad Pleb. de Anabapt.
what the majority of Protestants consider to be the principal doctrines of the christian religion; the divine inspiration and authority of the scriptures; the true deity of the Redeemer and of the Holy Spirit; the union of the divine and the human natures in the person of Christ; his obedience and sufferings for the redemption of men ; salvation only by his atonement, righteousness and grace; the renewing and purifying influences of the Holy Spirit; the general obligations of holiness; a separate state ; the uni. versal judgment; and the eternal retributions of the righteous and of the wicked.
But our objections to the Papal theology, lie against a vast mass of additions to the primitive faith ; additions which not only deform and obscure it, but so overwhelm and conceal its truths as to render them, on any reasonable grounds of expectation, of very little efficiency.
In this endeavour to assign the REASONS of our Protest against the errors and corruptions of the Church of Rome, I cannot go into all the parts of this extensive subject, but shall concisely offer those which appear to me most vital and comprehensive.
The Roman Catholic system is founded on a FALSE ground of AUTHORITY.
This ground is, that there exists a visible, universal and infallible church; that the Roman communion is that church; and that the Pope is, by divine right, its sovereign head. This is clearly expressed in the Profession of Faith, commanded by the Council of Trent to be made, upon oath, by every Roman Catholic clergyman, at his taking orders.
“ I acknowledge the holy, catholic and apos“ tolic Roman Church: the mother and mistress “ of all churches : and to the Pope of Rome, " the successor of St. Peter the prince of the " apostles, and the vicar of Jesus Christ. I “ promise and swear true obedience.” *
This doctrine is thus explained by a modern Catholic Bishop, whose works are in high repute among our countrymen of his persuasion.
- The church of Christ is the sacred rule of
faith, and the supreme judge of controversy, 6 instituted and ordained by him to preserve in“ violated, to the end of time, all those divine “ truths which he revealed to man, and on the “ knowledge and belief of which the salvation « of our souls depends ; and that she is fully
qualified by her divine spouse to discharge this office, so as to pronounce sentence upon every point of revelation, clearly and distinctly, and with INFALLIBLE certainty.”- _" This infallibility
• Concil. Trident. Sess. 24, cap. 12.