justified in the sight of God, and feeling, as they would do, its deficiency in themselves, would be open to much of the superstition of the times. They would be too easily beguiled, either into the attempt to make amends for their sins by a voluntary punishment which they laid upon themselves in their austerities, or to seek an interest in the prayers and intercessions of other mediators, whom they fondly reverenced, as having laid up that abundance of gracious attainments which their experience and humility taught them they had not themselves obtained. Hence the adoration of saints, and a too abject dependence upon the priestly functions and ritual observances.




Where then is our hope concerning those who were involved in Roman catholic corruptions ? Surely, that they did it ignorantly, and that, led by the Spirit, their hearts were kept from altogether denying the foundation ; and if resting in false confidence through life, that they were enabled, at last, to trust only to the mercy of God for Christ's sake. “How many of them," observes Mr. Hooker, were known so to have ended their lives, that the drawing of their breath has ceased with the uttering of this faith, Christ my Saviour! my Redeemer Jesus !” After all their vain labour, they trusted not to inherent righteousness. They thought God required it of them, and mourned in bitterest penitence, that they had it not in due measure ; but there is room to hope they did not, in that awful hour, trust to any other mediator, or fond delusion of their former superstition, but in the righteousness of God our Saviour alone. This is our wellgrounded hope of many who have left creditable evidence that they did feel the Spirit of God within them, mortifying their corrupt affections and earthly members, and drawing their

perfectly righteous, as if he had fulfilled all that was commanded him in the law; shall I say more perfectly righteous than if himself had fulfilled the whole law? I must take heed what I say ; but the apostle saith, “God made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' Such we are in the sight of God the Father as is the very Son of God himself.” “ Man hath sinned, and God hath suffered :” “God hath made himself the Son of Man, and men are made the righteousness of God." — Hooker.

minds to hunger and thirst after righteousness; and such is the manifold mercy and grace of God, that we have some evidence of this, not only in the blind, but in the “ blind leaders of the blind ;" in those who seemed to make, as well as in those who believed the lie: for what limits are we to ascribe to the mercy of God ?

How different a spectacle is Gregory I., who certainly cherished the seeds of Antichrist, -- if his hand was not upon his standard when the abomination of desolation was even now standing in the holy place - how different a spectacle is he when upholding the claims of Peter, from what we behold him, when rebuked and chastened by the hand of God in secret ! Writing to Dominicus of Carthage, he says, “ How can I sustain the last judgment, seeing so very little fruits of my labours ? Dearest brother, I implore your prayers for me : by the union of charity we have a common interest.” In a letter to another person : " I can find nothing else to say of myself than that, as a punishment of my sins, I have been almost eleven months confined to my bed; I am so oppressed with the gout, that life is a heavy punishment. I faint daily through pain, and breathe after death as my remedy.” Again : “ I have been nearly two years confined to my bed, in constant pain. Often have I been forced to return to my bed, when I scarcely had left it, by the violence of pain ; thus I die daily, and yet live. But I am a grievous criminal, and, as such, deservedly shut up in so painful a prison. I daily cry, with the Psalmist, ' Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks to thy name.'” What ought we to do but to call our sins to remembrance, and to thank God that he purifies us by afflicting our flesh.” many sinners have been immersed in sin through life without a headach, and have suddenly been cast into hell !" cludes his letter, May the Lord infuse into your soul these words, by the inspiration of his Spirit, cleanse you from your iniquities, give you to hear the joy of his consolation, and eternal reward hereafter."

This may surely afford us a ray of hope concerning Gregory; and, with Mr. Hooker, we need not hesitate to say, “ I doubt not that God was merciful to save thousands of our fathers living in popish superstitions, inasmuch as they sinned ignorantly." It is one thing, indeed, to contemplate men“ not receiving the love of the truth that they may be saved,” when the truth is laid before them, “but having pleasure in unrighteousness — and another thing, in times of ignorance and superstition to contemplate

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persons, apparently faithful to the light which has been given them, and though ignorant of many things, and living in bondage to the elements of the world, because they saw not the truth, yet still honest in their self-condemnation, and hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

It should seem from one passage of a letter of Gregory L., that he was not only ignorant of any judicial power the priests had to remit sins, but also of the commission of the heralds of the Gospel to absolve in the name of Christ, that the believing penitent may be assured of pardon in regard of sin which he has sincerely confessed. His answer to one who inquired how she might be satisfied that her sins were forgiven her, was, “ that certainty in this matter was not attainable: we must repent and mourn over our sins, and apply for pardon continually." Yet he that knew not these things was a master in Israel !

From the specimen afforded us in the character of Gregory, we may form a judgment of many of his contemporaries and coadjutors, and may hope that many of the missionaries, who at this time were labouring in England and Germany, found, in their afflictions and distresses for the Gospel's sake, a scene for the trial of their faith, not less profitable to their souls, than Gregory did in his bed of sickness. The charity of Mr. Milner has believed that at this time “ there was a real effusion of the Holy Spirit on England, so that numbers were turned from idols to the living God; that the pastors, first of the Roman, and afterwards of the British communion, laboured in the work with simplicity and success.” But his observation is, “ The zeal and purity of the Christian spirit seldom last much longer than thirty or forty years in any place.” And how many such lustrums may pass, in numberless towns and villages, and leave no traces in general history, even in times of the greatest communication of intelligence !-- and much more in these ages of darkness.

We are admonished also of a very interesting fact, that down to the

year 716, there was an ancient church in the British Isles, among the Irish, the Scots, and Ancient Britons, which did not communicate with Rome. One point of difference, long disputed between them, was respecting the time of celebrating Easter. Some remains of this dispute are found in North Wales, as late as 809, and in West Wales, as low as 842. By these missionaries, whom the Romans counted schismatics, the greater part of England was recovered from paganism. All the North, by Aidan ; the East Saxons, and the greater part of Mercia, by Finan; these came immediately from Ireland. It does not

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appear that the Roman missionaries considered them as differing from themselves on any essential point; but Archbishop Usher, in his “ Discourse on the religion anciently professed by the Irish and British Churches,” affords a hope, that they not only maintained fully the doctrines of Augustin respecting grace, but, from what remains of two of their writers, Sedulius, who flourished very early in this period, and Claudius Scotus, in 815, — that they agreed with the Protestant churches respecting “ justification by faith a.une.” In the former we read that the law was not given that it might take away sin, but that it might conclude all under sin ; that men, being by this means humbled, might understand that their salvation was not in their own power, but in that of a Mediator — that by the law comes neither the remission nor the removal, but the knowledge of sin”—“ our sins are gratuitously forgiven us” —" through grace we are saved by faith and not by works”

" and that therefore we are to rejoice, not in our own righteousness or learning, but in the faith of the cross, by which our sins are forgiven us”- God has so ordered it that he will be gracious to mankind; if they believe, they shall be freed by the blood of Christ” the soul is the life of the body, so faith is the life of the soul”. “ that he who believes in Christ has the perfection of the law; for as none are justified by the law, since none have fulfilled the law, except he who trusts in the promise of Christ -- faith was appointed, which should be accepted for the perfection of the law, that in all things which were omitted faith might satisfy the whole law” – that this righteousness, therefore, is “ not ours, nor in us, but in Christ,” in whom we are considered “. bers in the Head." The testimony of our adoption is, " that we have the Spirit, by which we pray and cry Abba, Father; forasmuch as none can receive so great a pledge as this but such as be sons only.”

We learn from Claudius Scotus, that “ The law, which was given by Moses, only shews sin -- does not take it away.” “ The Lord God will not impose it upon the servants of righteousness, but upon the servants of sin; namely, by giving a just law to unjust men, to manifest their sins, and not to remove them ; for nothing removes sins but the grace of faith which worketh by love" — that “ without the merit of works our past sins are forgiven, and peace maintained [indulta] after pardon” -“ Not in my own righteousness or learning, but in the faith of the cross, by which all my sins are pardoned,” should I glory.

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The death of our countryman Bede', to whom has been attached the epithet of Venerable, is certainly edifying. He was enslaved to superstition, and devoted to Rome; but a sincere disciple of Augustin, and very industrious in the exercise of his talents. In his last illness, he was continually exclaiming, “ God scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” Perceiving his end draw near, he said, “ If my Maker please, I will go to him from the flesh, who, when I was not, formed me out of nothing - my soul desires to see Christ, my King, in his beauty.” He sang, “ Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,” and expired with a sedateness, composure, and devotion, which surprised all who were present at the scene. He says, in his writings, “ Such was the efficacy of the blood of Christ, that the devil, who slew Christ by a temporary death, which was not due, cannot detain in eternal death any of those who are clothed with Christ, though that eternal death be due for their sins. In the resurrection every thing will be perfected : in the meantime, it is a great thing to keep the field and remain unconquered, though not discharged from war'.”

Though apostate Rome became more and more triumphant, there wanted not witnesses who testified against her grosser abominations. In this abridgment I would only mention particularly Paulinus, bishop of Aquileia, in Italy. With other Italian bishops, he resisted the decrees of the second council of Nice for the worship of images, which the pope had sanctioned. He affirms, that “the eucharist is a morsel or bit of bread," — " that it is spiritual life or death in the eater, as he either hath faith or hath not” “ that the blood of those who have themselves been redeemed, cannot blot out the least sin; that the expiation of iniquity is the exclusive privilege of the blood of Christ alone.”

Paul is not a mediator, he is an ambassador for Christ. The Advocate is He, who being also the Redeemer, exhibits to God the Father the human nature in the unity of the person of God

John intercedes not, but declares that this Mediator is the propitiation for our sins.” Paulinus was promoted to his bishopric in 776.

As late as 824, the actual worshipping of images was condemned in a council at Paris. Agobard, archbishop of Lyons, maintained that “we ought not to worship any image of God, except that which is God himself, his eternal Son; and that

and man.

I A.D. 735.

2 On Rom. v.

* On chap. vii.

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