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malefa&tors, they pray, · The Lord have mercy on thy soul.'*
These and the above mentioned may suffice as short specimens of the pope's pride and cruelty. Ler us next take a view of the temper of his mind with regard to earthly treasure, and see what title he has to the appellation of a representative of Christ on this account also.
Now we find by the history of the New Testament that Christ Jesus, who was greater than Moses, who promised to the obedient an increase of outward substance, as of corn and cattle, Deut. xxviii. (the fanctions of his laws being, for the most part, outward rewards and punishments) ever directed the desires of his disciples, not to the riches of this world, but to the spiritual ones, expressly enjoining them not to “ Lay up treasures on earth, where moth and ruft do corrupt and thieves break through and steal, but in heaven.” (Mat. vi. 19. 20.) Nor do I find in the catalogue of blessings pronounced by our Lord on the Mount, or elsewhere in the New Testament, one blessing on rich men as such, but on those who were pof. sessed of a heavenly disposition of mind : on the contrary, I find woes denounced on the rich and full, but blessings to the poor, in Luke vi. and consistently with this the apostle Paul, in his first epiftle to Timothy, chap. vi. says, “ Having food and raiment let us be therewith content; but they that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition; for the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after they have erred' from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou O Man of God, flee these chings, and follow after righteousness, godliness, fai:h, love, patience, meckness.”.
heaven. "cm thieves brearth, whejoining them id, bur
* Sermons against Popery, A. D. 1735.
Such was the sense of the apostle Paul concerning the disposition of mind that ought to prevail in a Christian bilhop wiih regard to the riches of this world. Let us see how consistently with this, the bishops of succeeding times have acted.
After the Christian, religion became modish, the liberality, partly of certain piously disposed persons, and partly of fome deluded ones, .who vainly ima. gined that by donations of this sort they might purchase the remission of their fins, became great, and in process of time increased to an enormous degrec, even so far as to corrupt the minds of the receivers ; for with the acquisition of riches the desire of them also by and by increased, even as commonly happens. to mere carnal men; and truly to a greater degree in those apostarizing Christians than in heathens.
Property and power entering into Christian (even as in other societies, created parties and fačtions. To accept of the office, of a bishop became, in process of time, no longer an instance of self-denial, nor a post of labour and vigilance as at first, but a desirable bait to sensual men; and, whereas their professed Lord and Master testifieth of himself that though the foxes had holes, and the birds of the air nefts, yet he had not where to lay his head, nothing less than stately palaces at length would fatisfy these his professed representatives. In short, the gospel-motive of. love to the fouls of men, gave way to, and was supplanted by views merely carnal and human ; Christ was followed for the loaves and fishes, preaching the gospel became a trade, and a very gainful one too.
A few instances shall suffice to thew what an advantageous trade the pope and his agents did follow, and how the spirit of avarice at length prevailed so far as to render the trade of priestcraft bare-faced, and that this was driven on to that extremity as at length
to threaten, in some sort, the ruin of those that were exercised therein.
The office of a bishop or other minister was originally such as required a constant and assiduous residence; and indeed many severe canons and dec: ees of councils were made against pluralists and non residents; as likewise against the translations of bishops from one city or bishoprick to another. But what did these canons avail? Truly they were but like spiders' webs, letting the great flies through, and catching the little ones, and so proved an effe&tual stratagem to bring money into the apostolical exchequer; for by that one clause of the pope's dispensing power, the richer clergy were indulged in their non-residence, &c. whilst the poor vicars were bound by a conftitution of Otho, to take a strict oath of continual residence, and without it their institution was declared to be null and void. *
The pope, in process of time, engrossed to himself the collation of almost all the church preferments, and conferred the greatest part of the benefices, in England on the cardinals and their relations, who enjoyed the profits without ever residing; and these benefices were commonly farmed out to the English, who, to make the most of them, got the cure served for a very small falary. Hence divine service was neglected, the churches ran to ruin, and the instruction of Christians was almost wholly laid, aside.t It appeared, however, upon a computation, made by order of king Henry III. A.D. 1245, that more money was carried out of England annually by the pope's authority, than all the revenues of the crown, put together; and without doubt all the riches of the nation had been conveyed away through this channel, and the ecclefiafticks soon become masters of all the
* Dr. Ayliff's Parergon juris canonici Anglicani..
. . + Rapin's History of England, VOL. III. : B
lands of the kingdom (seeing they daily acquired and never alienated), had not certain statutes, particularly that of Mortmain, enacted in the reign of king Edward I. to check the growth of the riches of the clergy, prevented it. *
But to conclude, about the year 1475, was erected the famous trade of pardons and indulgencies, i. e. a procurement of the remission of the pains of purgatory, which was fold for money like any other ware, in the time of Boniface IX.t And Thuanus says, that the pope sent his bulls throughout Christendom to raise money for his immense expences, promising the expiation of all fins, and eternal life at a set price and rate, according to the nature of the crimes; and he appointed a treasury and questors, and preachers, to set forth the value and efficacy of those indulgencies. • The collectors under the authority of pope Leo X. about the year 1516, persuaded the people that who foever would give ten fhillings, should at his pleasure deliver one foul from the pains of purgatory, and preached, that if it were one jor less than ten shillings, it would profit them nothing.'I Hence many were encouraged to fin, and the authority of the keys was much debafed..j' .
Behold the awakening imposition that made all, men feel the bondage, and indeed this seems to have been the ne plus ultra of Romish corruption, or the very midnight of popish darkness, out of which, by God's good providence, emerged more resplendent beams of the glorious light of the reformation. For this kind of filthy merchandize, being, among other countries, propagated also in Germany, by the means of Tecellus, a Dominican friar, his scandalous sermons much moved Martin Luther the monk, who upon this
* Rapin's Hist. and Sermons against Popery. f Polydore Virgil de rer. inventoribus. * * Fox's Acts and Monuments.
occasion published certain propofitions concerning in. dulgencies, * which gave rise to a controversy, and from these small beginnings he proceeded with great zcal and constancy to detect many of the long estaba lished errors of popery.
That great corruptions did really prevail in the church about this time; that there was a strong new cefsity and even a loud call for a reformation, we may very safely affirm, since we have a remarkable testimony of Adrian the pope, then reigning, in his in. structions published against Luther,t acknowledging it in these words:
We confess that God suffereth this persecution to be inflicted on his church for the fins of men, especially of priests and prelates of the clergy, and the Scripture testifieth that the sins of the people do issue out from the sins of the priests. We know that in .. this holy see there have been many abominable things wrought and practised. And no marvel if the sickness beginning at the head have descended afterward to inferior prelates. Wherefore, &c. in us shall be lacking no diligence of a better reformation, first be. ginning with our own court, that like as the contagion first from thence descended into all the inferior parts, fo reformation and amendment of all that is amiss from the same place, again shall take its beginning : whereunto they shall find us so much the more ready, for that we see the whole world so desirous of the fame.' So far Pope Adrian. "
Now, that under the influence of such directors as those above described, novelties and corruptions of the primitive discipline and doctrine should creep ing · . we need not wonder; some instances whereof have been occasionally mentioned already, viz. their prohi. bition of marriage to the clergy, their excluding the laity from the assemblies for church discipline, and
• Fox's Ads and Monuments.