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not to light till some ages after the zeal of relics began in the church.

But when once devotion began to turn towards her, no time was lost; and though it was late first, yet her service presently overtook, and at last went beyond the honour that was done to the other saints and martyrs. The thirteenth age produced a relic of the blessed Virgin, so famous for the miracle that brought it into Europe, and for the miracles that have been done by it ever since, that the relics of the other saints are nothing to it; and that is, her house, once at Nazareth, where she was born, and visited by the angel; which house was carried by angels out of Palestine into Dalmatia, and from thence into Italy, where it now stands, and is our Lady of Loretto's chapel. By the fourteenth century she had gained no less than seven festivals in the year; which I mention, to shew the growing devotion of the Roman church towards the blessed Virgin ; not that we make this any great matter of complaint; no, though they were twice seven, if the facts upon which they were grounded were true, and the ground reasonable, and God only were worshipped in the celebration of such festivals.

The later doctors have made too much amends for the modesty of the ancient Fathers, who spake indeed of her very honourably, but within bounds. The world was something altered in the middle of the seventh age, if pope Martin said what we find in Anastasius 8: "Whoever does not honour and adore the blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, let him be accursed." Of which curse Germanus h, the patriarch of Constantinople, was in no danger, if he addressed himself in this manner to the blessed Virgin: "Nobody is replenished with the knowledge of God but by thee, O most Holy. Nobody is saved but by thee, O Mother of God. Nobody is delivered from danger but by thee, O thou beloved of God." Again: "Thou having the power of a mother with God, dost beyond measure gain pardon for them who sin beyond measure. For it cannot be that thou shouldest not be heard, because to all purposes, and in all things, and through all things, God obeys thee as his true and immaculate Mother." This was pretty well for the eighth age; as likewise was that of Damascene, g Collectan. Anast. p. 73.

h German. in Biblioth. P. tom. 12. p. 704.

who calls the blessed Virgin, the Lady and Governess of all creatures i." No wonder therefore that cardinal Peter Damian, coming long after these, telleth her, that she "comes before the altar of reconciliation, not asking only, but commanding; as a lady, not as a servant.” I know not whether he was the author of those glorious titles which have since furnished some of the hymns that we meet with in the Offices of the blessed Virgin: "The Queen of the World-the Window of Heaven -the Gate of Paradise-the Tabernacle of God-the Star of the Sea-the Heavenly Ladder, by which the heavenly King came down to us below, and by which man, who grovelled upon the ground, ascends in exaltation to heavenk." But Anselm, that lived in the same age with him, speaks more fully: "As God is the Father and God of all things, by his power creating all things; so blessed Mary, the Mother of God, restoring all things by her merits, is the Mother and Lady of the universe!." Which agrees very well with that reason he had given before, why her Son went to heaven before her: Perhaps, O Lord, lest thy court in heaven should stand in doubt whom it should rather go out to meet, thee their Lord coming to take possession of thy kingdom, or her their Lady ascending to that kingdom also, which belonged to her by a mother's right "." To this nothing could be added in so little a time beyond Bonaventure's Psalter, who taking the Psalms of David, put in Lady instead of Lord in this manner: "O come, let us sing unto our Lady, &c. Let every thing that hath breath praise our Lady." But not content with this, he framed the Athanasian Creed to her service too, beginning thus: "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he should hold a firm faith concerning the Virgin Mary; which faith except a man keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." And now, whosoever shall consider the Litanies of the blessed Virgin, and other rosaries, and the prayers and hymns of her Saturday's Office, and her Psalters, and the vast number of books of devotion to her, and the worship that is accordingly given to her in

66 m


i Joh. Damasc. lib. 4. c. 15.

Hom. 46. de Nativ. B. Mar. 1. tom. 2. p. 106.

1 Anselm. Cant. de Excell. Virgin.

m Ibid. c. 7.

n See Answer to Jesuit's Chall. from

p. 478 to p. 495.

o Psalt. Bonav. p. 111, 112. Paris.

pretended catholic countries; whosoever shall consider what they say to her in those prayers and hymns, &c. which the Speculum Beatæ Virginis, just now published, has put together, may perhaps find there are causes of horror, which M. de Meaux is not so much concerned at as he ought to be: he may justly fear, that if the reformation did not give some little check, neither would these excesses stop here, though in many places nothing now remains to be done, but without any further reservedness, to erect altars proper to the blessed Virgin in every church, as the Jesuits P began to do in China.

O blessed God, look down in thy mercy upon the miserable estate of Christianity in so many parts of the Christian world!

When the blessed Virgin foretold that all generations should call her blessed, did she mean that all generations should worship her; would worship her images and pictures; would make her a mediatrix between God and man; would ascribe to her the power, not of prevailing with Jesus only for any thing, but of commanding him too; would offer Jesus himself a sacrifice in her honour; would burn incense to her; would use rosaries, hours, and psalters for her especial invocation and service; would institute and maintain fraternities for that service; would build temples and chapels to her, and altars, and by most solemn invocation every where, and by proper rites of religious worship, and by letting devotion run out to her more than to our Lord Jesus himself, to agnize her to be the Lady of Heaven and Earth, the Queen of the World? No, she did not mean thus, in saying that all generations should call her blessed: for thus all generations have not served her. Nothing of all this was done to her for several generations after Christ; nor any thing of it in comparison, till the dregs of time, till the decay of learning and piety made way for gross superstition.

The first beginnings of these corruptions were more general, but the improvements of them were chiefly owing to the see of Rome; which, as it grew in power and greatness, so it protected those abuses more effectually: a character very ill beseeming a church that pretends to be the pillar and ground of truth.

p Trigautii Exp. ad Sinas. lib. 5. c. 15.20.

The wit of man could not devise any thing more servicable to error, to make it spread in the world, and to fix it, than that a powerful see grasping at supremacy, and pretending to infallibility, should take it under her wing.

This see is the source of all those oppositions which they have met with that demanded a reformation; it is this see alone which hath obstructed a general reformation, when Christendom was otherwise well disposed towards it.

Therefore when reformation, by common consent, was made impossible by the see of Rome, what remained but that the national churches should reform themselves?

Our reformation was a return to primitive antiquity; and that it may prove a leading example, let us pray without ceasing, that God would bring into the way of truth all such as have erred, and are deceived.











THE sacraments are such public blessings to the Christian state, and of such great concern to all Christians, that we cannot sufficiently admire and adore the great goodness of God in appointing them, and making them the instruments of so many comforts and blessings to us. We believe that Christ did only institute two sacraments; with these we are content, because we believe Christ knew best what were necessary for his church, and was so good as not to have omitted to institute more sacraments, if more had been necessary for the welfare of his church.

We have two sacraments which are certainly of our blessed Saviour's institution, for which we are thankful, and with which we are satisfied; had our Saviour instituted more sacraments, we should have been more thankful, and should have had greater obligations to gratitude. And this should satisfy the gentlemen of the church of Rome, and abate their wrath and severities against us, since though we reject those five additional sacraments, which they would be obtruding upon the world, yet we do it not because they are sacraments we do not like, but because they are not sacraments at all, because they

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