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knew them, or how it was possible for them to know them, God has not thought proper to discover. Surely it would be a childish argument to deny the fact, because we cannot comprehend the manner.
Q. 19. Do the saints and angels deny the happiness of men, and pray to God for them ?
A. They certainly do; and this also is clearly declared in Scripture. (1.) This is a natural consequence of their ardent love to God, and of their fervent charity. St. Paul assures us, that charity or the love of God, and of our neighbour for God's sake, never fails; faith and hope, and other such virtues, are swallowed up by the enjoyment of God in heaven, but this holy love is then only brought to its highest perfection: the blessed inhabitants of heaven, seeing the divine Being in all the effulgence of his infinite beauty, are inflamed, to the highest degree, with love for him, and the most ardent desires that he should be loved and served by all his creatures; and, at the same time, sensible of the infinite happiness they enjoy in him, they are also inflamed for the most ardent zeal for the salvation of souls, and the most fervent desires, that all their brethren upon earth should come to enjoy the same happiness. Now, what are all these desires for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, but so many fervent prayers in the sight of God for our salvation ? This, then, is their continual employment, to praise and adore God for all his glories, and for their own bliss, and to pour forth to him their most earnest prayers, that all their brethren upon earth may be brought to the same happiness. In fact, (2.) We have seen above, Q.9, Numher 2, that this is one principal part of their employment in heaven, offering up the prayers of the saints upon earth, as a most agreeable sacrifice of incense in
the sight of God. (3.) The prophet Zacharias relates a fervent prayer that an angel made for the people of God, and for the city of Jerusalein, and that his prayer was graciously heard by God : “ And the angel of the Lord answered, and said, O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem, and on the cities of Juda, with which thou hast been angry? this is now the seventieth year. And the Lord answered the angel that spoke to me good words, and comfortable words," Zach. i. 12. (4.) In the celebrated dream which Judas Macchabeus had first, “Onias,who hath been high priest.... holding up his hands, prayed for all the people of the Jews. After this there appeared also another man, admirable for age and glory, and environed with great beauty and majesty. Then Onias answering, said, This is a lover of his brethren and the people of Israel, this is he that prayeth much for the people, and for all the holy city, Jeremias the prophet of God,” 2 Macch. xv. 12. Now, Onias and Jeremias had been dead long before, and as this happened some hundred years before Christ, it manifestly shews, that the people of God, even in the old law, firmly believed that the departed saints of God were solicitous for their brethren upon earth, and prayed for them. And, indeed,(4.) If the rich glutton though in hellfire, was solicitous for his brethren, and prayed that they might not come to that place of torment; how much more must the saints and angels in heaven do the same ?
Q. 20. Is it lawful and laudable to desire the saints and angels to pray for us ?
A. Most undoubtedly; it can never be unlawful for us to desire them to do what they actually do; and cannot fail to be profitable for us to desire them to do for us in particular, what it is their constant
employment to do for all in general. The great employment of the saints is to praise and glorify God, and to pray for the salvation of men, that all may come to praise and glorify him for ever; and it must be equally laudable in us to desire them to do both parts of this their happy employment: The Scripture is sull of prayers to the blessed spirits in heaven, desiring them to praise and glorify God, particularly in the book of Psalms, wbich is one great branch of their employment; and surely it cannot be unlawful to desire them also to pray for us, which is the other branch.
Q. 21. Is there any express authority in Scripture for this?
A. There are these following: (1.) When Jacob wrestled with an angel, he prayed to that angel to bless him, and prayed so earnestly, that he said “ Į will not let thee go, except thou bless me ;" and the angel did bless bim, and then said, “1f thou bast been strong against God, how much more sbalt thou prevail against men ?" Gen. xxxii. 26. The angel says this, because he represented God; and shews the efficacy of Jacob's prayer. And the prophet Osea, speaking of this prayer of Jacob, says, “By his strength he had success with an angel, and he prevailed over the angel, and was
strengthened; he wept, and made supplication to ( him,” Hosea xji.3. Here we not only see supplica
tion made to an angel, but the great advantage of it. (2.) When Jacob was old, he called Joseph and his two sons to bless them, and laying his hands upon “their heads, he said, God, in whose sight my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, God, that feedeih mc from my youth until this day, the angel that delivereth me from all evils, bless these boys," Gen. xlviii. 15. Here, in the same sentence, and with the same breath, he prays both to God
and his guardian angel to bless his sons. (3.) When the angel conducted Lot out of Sodom, Lot prayed to the angel to spare the city of Segor, and allow him to retire to it, “And the angel said to him, behold also in this city I have heard thy prayers not to destroy the city for which thou hast spoken,” Gen. xix. 21. (4.) St. John the apostle makes this prayer for the seven Churches which are in Asia, “Grace be unto you, and peace from him that is, and that was, and that is to come, and from the seven spirits that are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, Rev. i. 4. Here, with the same breath, the apostle prays for grace and peace from God, from the seven spirits that assist before his throne, and from Jesus, Christ; and even places these seven spirits before Jesus Christ; than which there cannot be a more express and positive authority for desiring the prayers of the saints and angels in heaven. (5.) It is certainly lawful and profitable to desire the prayers of the servants of God here upon earth; and our prayers for one another are so agreeable to God Almighty, that sometimes, when he refuses to hear the prayers of sinners for themselves, upon account of their own worthiness, he grants what they need to the prayers of his servants for them; thus, God said to Job's friends, “My wrath is kindled against you, because ye bave not spoken the thing that is right before me, as my servant Job hath ; take unto you, therefore, seven oxen and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer for yourself a holocaust; and my servant Job shall pray for you; his face will I accept, that your folly be not imputed to you.” And they did so; “and the Lord accepted the face of Job,” Job xlii. 7. And how often did the prayers of Moses obtain, mercy for his sinful people. Hence St. Paul frequently de
sires the prayers of his people, and when he was in a great affliction, he says to the Philippians, “ I know that this shall turn to my salvation, through your prayers,” Philip. i. 19. Now, if it be lawful and profitable to desire the prayers of the servants of God here upon earth, how much more so must it be to desire their prayers now that they are in glory with God in heaven? Their charity is there more inflamed; their desire of our salvation more pure; their interest with God is certainly more powerful; they are most willing to help us; it is even part of their happy employment to pray for us; and consequently the help of their prayers must be so much the more profitable and advantageous to us. Add to this, (6.) The constant tradition, authority, and practice of the Church of Christ, which, from the earliest ages of Christianity, has authorized this holy practice, as might be shewn by numberless testimonies of the boly fathers in all ages.
Q. 22. Is it not injurious to the mediation of Christ to desire the saints and angels to pray for us?
A. Was it an injury to the mediation of Christ when St. John prayed for grace and peace from the seven spirits that stand before the throne of God? Or is it an injury to the mediation of Christ to desire the prayers of one another ? But this oba jection is owing to a gross mistake; for a person may ask a favour either in his own right, and as a thing which he himself is entitled in justice to obtain; or he may ask it merely as a favour, or for the sake of another who has a right to it. Jesus Christ, through his infinite merits, has a just right to ask and obtain from his Father for us any thing he pleases, and, therefore, he is our Mediatorof Redemption; but neither the saints in heaven nor we upon earth, bave any right or title of ourselves to