Errors Rites Ceremonies And Superstitious Practices Of The Romish Church

TRADITIONS.] The church of Rome having deprived the laity of the Bible,

substitutes in its stead apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions; and

obliges her disciples to admit for truth whatever she teaches them: but

what do the holy scriptures say? "Why do ye transgress the commandment

of God by your tradition?" Matt. xv. 3, 9, &c. They also command us "to

call no man master (in spiritual concerns;) to try the spirit, and

beware of false teachers."


interpret the scriptures otherwise than according to the sense of holy

mother church, and the pretended unanimous consent of the fathers: they

assert also, that the scriptures ought not to be read publicly, nor

indifferently by all; and, that the common people may be enslaved by

gross ignorance, they perform public worship in an unknown tongue,

contrary to the rule laid down by the apostle, "That all things should

be done to edification." St. Paul says, "If I pray in an unknown tongue,

my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful."

SEVEN SACRAMENTS.] Two only were instituted by Christ, to which the

Romish church has added five more, making in all seven, necessary to

salvation, namely, the eucharist, baptism, confirmation, penance,

extreme unction, orders, and matrimony. To those two which Christ

instituted, she has added a mixture of her own inventions; for in the

sacrament of baptism, she uses, salt, oil, or spittle; and in the

sacrament of the Lord's supper, the laity have only the bread

administered to them; and even that not after the manner ordained by

Christ, who broke the bread and gave it to his disciples; instead of

which the church of Rome administers to her members not bread, but a

wafer, and the priests only drink the wine, though our blessed Lord

said, "Drink ye ALL of this." Matt. xxvi. 27.

THE MASS.] Roman catholics believe it to be a true, proper, and

propitiatory sacrifice, and therefore call it the sacrament of the

altar; whereas, the death of Christ was a full and complete sacrifice,

"in which he hath, by one suffering, perfected for ever them that are

sanctified. He himself is a priest for ever; who, being raised from the

dead, died no more; and who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself

without spot to God." Paul's Epist. to the Hebrews, ch. ix. 10. It was

on account of this gross absurdity, and the irreligious application of

it, that our first reformers suffered, and so many were put to death in

the reign of queen Mary.

TRANSUBSTANTIATION.] Roman catholics profess, that in the most holy

sacrament of the Lord's supper, there is really and substantially the

body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of Christ, and that

the whole substance of the bread is turned into his body, and the whole

substance of the wine into his blood; which conversion, so contradictory

to our senses, they call transubstantiation, but at the same time they

affirm, that, under either kind or species, only one whole entire

Christ, and the true sacrament, is received. But why are those words,

"This is my body," to be taken in a literal sense, any more than those

concerning the cup? Our Saviour says, "I am the true vine, I am the

door." St. Paul says, "Our fathers drank of the rock that followed them,

and that rock was Christ;" and writing to the Corinthians, he affirms,

that, "he had fed them with milk." Can these passages be taken

literally? Why then must we be forced to interpret our Saviour's words

in a literal sense, when the apostle has explained the intention of the

sacrament to be "to show forth the Lord's death till he come!"

PURGATORY.] This, they say, is a certain place, in which, as in a

prison, after death, those souls, by the prayers of the faithful, are

purged, which in this life could not be fully cleansed; no not by the

blood of Christ: and notwithstanding it is asserted in the scriptures,

"if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us, and to

cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John i. 9. This place of

purgatory is in the power of the pope, who dispenses the indulgences,

and directs the treasury of his merits, by which the pains are

mitigated, and the deliverance hastened. For the tormented sufferers, in

this ideal inquisition, his monks and friars say masses, all of whom

must be paid for their trouble; because, no penny, no pater-noster; by

which bubble the church of Rome amasses great wealth.

IDOLATRY AND CREATURE-WORSHIP.] In all the Romish worship the blessed

virgin is a principal object of adoration. She is styled the queen of

Heaven, lady of the world, the only hope of sinners, queen of angels,

patroness of men, advocate for sinners, mother of mercies, under which

titles they desire her, by the power of a mother, to command her Son. In

some prayers, they invoke God to bring them to heaven by the merits and

mediation of the Virgin Mary and all her saints, and that they may enjoy

perpetual soundness both of body and mind by her glorious intercession.

Hence it might be imagined by a papist, that the sacred writings were

full of encomiums on this pretended mother of God; whereas, on the

contrary, we do not find Christ in any part of scripture called the Son

of Mary, nor that he at any time calls her mother; and when the woman

cried, "Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that thou hast

sucked." "Yea, (returns our Lord) rather blessed are they that hear the

word of God, and keep it." Nor does our Saviour own any relation but

that of a disciple; for when his mother and brethren stood without,

desiring to speak with him, Jesus answered, "Who are my mother and

brethren?" And looking round upon his disciples, he saith, "Behold my

mother and my brethren; for whosoever shalt do the will of my Father who

is in heaven, the same is my brother, sister, and mother." Of the same

nature are their prayers to other saints and angels, by which they

derogate from the honour of our Christ, and transfer his offices to

others; though the scriptures expressly assert, there is but one

mediator between God and man. Nor must we omit under this head the

idolatry of the mass, in the elevation of the host. Thus is the second

commandment infringed, which the Romish church has endeavoured as much

as possible to suppress, and in many of their little manuals it is

altogether omitted.

PAPAL SOVEREIGNTY.] This is politically supported by a pretended

infallibility; auricular confession, founded upon the priest's power to

forgive sins; indulgences; pretended relics; penance; strings of beads

for Ave-Marys and pater-nosters; celibacy; merits and works of

supererogations; restrictions; monkish austerities; religious vows and

orders; palms; candles; decorated images; holy water; christening of

bells; hallowed flowers and branches; agnus dei; oblations;

consecrations, &c., &c.

LUDICROUS FORMS AND CEREMONIES.] At the feast of Christmas, the Roman

catholics have exhibited in their churches a cradle, with an image of an

infant in it, which is rocked with great seeming devotion; and on

Good-Friday they have the figure of our Saviour on the cross, and then

they perform the service which they call the Tenebres; having abundance

of lighted candles, all of which they extinguish one by one, after which

the body is taken down from the cross and put into a sepulchre, and men

stand to watch it.

CRUEL MAXIMS.] Papists hold that heretics may not be termed children and

kindred; that no faith is to be kept with heretics; and that it is

lawful to torture or kill them for the good of their souls.