Page images



church, in token of his supremacy over all ;* which is the very thing that our Lord means, in the censure he passes upon the usurpation of such a title. Be not ye called Rabbifor one is your master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren:" ye are all equal, there is no supremacy but that of Christ. And for the same reason—"call no man your father on

. earth,”—much less HOLY FATHER,-“ for

,one is your father which is in heaven;" and to apply that title, in a religious sense, to a man, is a usurpation of the divine prerogative, and will lead the weak and superstitious to idolatry. Neither be


for one is your master, even Christ.-Beware, therefore, of them that will “ lord it over God's heritage, with spiritual wickedness in high places,”—for such impious pride must have a fall; and whosoever so "exalteth him


called masters,

* Pope Boniface VIII, amongst other extravagancies, made the following decree:-“ We do affirm, declare, determine, and pronounce, that under pain of salvation every croa. ture must be subject to the POPE OF Rome."--He had his authority from Rev, xiii, 15, &c.

self shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. *

Call no man FATHER upon earth," therefore, means beware of any superstitious abuse


* The reasons our Saviour adds for his forbidding the application of the titles of RABBI or doctor, FATHER, MASTER, &c. manifestly shew that the abuse, and not the mere use, of them is meant. And the idolatrous superstitions and blasphemies of the church of Rome, in ascribing to the image of the beast not only the title of father in the very sense in which it is proscribed, but with the blasphemous addition of the divine attributes of Christ-supremacy (Ephes. i. 22; iv. 15,)- holiness (Matt. xix. 17; Heb. xii. 10; Rev. iii. 7,)infallibility (Rom. xvi. 27; 1 Tim, i. 17,) --- forgiveness of sins (Acts y.

.; 31; Ephes. I, 7,) --omnipotence (Rev. xix. 6; i. 8,) is a strong argument that Jesus must have had these corruptions in his prospect, when he gave such particular cautions against them. - See Sect. ix. p. 250. The gross idolatry paid to the pope at his consecration.

Whitby, in favor of a crotchet of his own, argues that the church of St Peter at Rome cannot be called “the temple of God," in which the man of sin sits, shewing himself as God, after it has thus been desecrated and made the temple of an idol. But this is frivolous. St Paul's prophecy means to point out a real blasphemy and idolatry committed by such an abuse of things which the actors of it themselves look upon as sacred. The christian church is the temple of God. The catholics deem St Peter's a christian church, and yet profane it with this idolatry of the POPE.


of names, as well as things. Expect not from man what God only can bestow. Look up to your Father in heaven for absolution of sin, and grace, protection and blessing, and every good gift. If man shall take upon him an authority to dispense these things at his own pleasure, it is an impious usurpation of the regalia of Christ's kingdom, and the INDULGENces he may pretend to grant are a refuge of lies, to which it will be both unavailing and wicked to have recourse. For it implies the “ forsaking the fountain of true and living water, to drink at polluted streams, and broken cisterns which can bold no water.'

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]


Our Saviour's notice of phylacteries allusive to fu

ture abuses of greater importance. False ideas of relative holiness, applied by the Jews to the temple of God, by Papists to idol temples, the shrines of the Saints, their reliques and images. -Our Lord's picture of pharisaical religion the true type of Popery.--Tradition abused more by Papists than by the Scribes.The taking away the sacramental cup. Many of Christ's parables allude to popery ;- particularly the evil eyemand the evil servant.

OUR blessed Saviour's censure of the scribes and pharisees, for their pompous display of their PHYLACTERIES, and their superstitious confidence in them as amulets or charms, to keep the wearer from sin, as well as mischance and danger, seems to have a farther object. At least there is a far greater room for reproof of superstitition in such things,

amongst the catholics, than there ever was amongst the pharisees. The use of phylacteries took its rise from the command of God. (Numb. xv. 38; Deut. xxii. 12). And the reason there assigned for the use of texts of scripture in such a manner, by, a rude and illiterate people, was to keep them in perpetu" ual mind of the greatness, goodness, and truth of the God of gods, from whose fear they were too apt to apostatize. But in our Saviour's time, though the jews were cured of idolatry, they were not so of superstition : and the phylactery then in use* was a superfluous and superstitious invention, added to the original precept, in the same spirit of hypocrisy, and ostentation of superior sanctity, which pervaded the whole system of the pharisaical theologyThey were worn upon the forehead and upon the left hand, and the very name, (which signifies a preservative,) as well as the same custom being in use amongst the

* These were little rolls of parchment, wherein were written certain words of the law; they were contrived in the irue spirit of superstition, both with respect to their form, and manner of tying hem on. See Calmet's Dic.

« PreviousContinue »