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mercy, or to avert the effects of his anger. Is not this an acknowledgment, that God, who glories in his Saints, has some regard to the merits of his virtuous servants? Is it not an offering, which is made by those people, of those merits to God, in favor of themselves? Is it not a request that those merits
may be accepted, and applied to the relief of their own necessities and wants? In the book of Job, we have the testimony of God hiinself, how acceptable, in bis siglit, are the virtues of bis holy servants, and how much he is ever disposed to be favourable to our petitions in consideration of their merits. Therefore take unto you seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering: and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept, but I deal with you, after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing, which is right, like my servant Job.* And in the following verse, we find, that these men did according to the command of the Lord, and the mercy, which themselves they did not deserve, they obtained, in consideration of the virtues and the merits of this holy servant of God.
This doctrine is also strongly supported by the authority of the great Apostle of the Gentiles.
* xlii. 8.
Who now rejoice in my suffering's for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in ту fresh for his body's sake which is the Church.”* If this language does not go to establish the sentiments of the Catholic Church, in relation to the necessity of satisfactory works, their perfect consistency with the merits and the sufferings of Christ, and the possibility of communicating the merits of good men to other members of the Church, then this Apostle speaks a language, which men in general, I think, must necessarily be led to misunderstand.
If from a view of the scripture, we turn to a consideration of the ideas, and of the practice of the primitive Church, we shall find, that we have also its authority in our favor. When, in those days, the term of a sinner's penitential sufferings was shortened by the authority of her chief Pastors, or, when in the language of the Church, a sinner was admitted to the grace of an indulgence, yenerally it originated in the solicitations, and was granted in consideration of the merits of those virtuous servants of God, who were expected to spill their blood, in defence of their faith.
Let, therefore, an impartial and equitable judgment be formed of Caibolic Doctrines, on the subject of Indulgencies, and it will be found, that they teach nothing which is repugnant to the language of Scripture ;-nothing which is at variance with the ordinances of Christ;—nothing which has originated in the invention of modern times ; -nothing, which is unsupported by the authority of the Christian Church, in her most enlightened and purest ages.
* Colloss. i. 24.
Bath, Nov. 19, 1813.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Where is it said in the Scripture, thnt tradition should
be received with no less piety and veneration than scripture itself?
ALTHOUGH it were certain, that no positive declaration to this effect, could be any where dis. covered in Scripture, yet it is evident from the practice of Mr. * * * * * * *
and of the protestant church, that in many important respects, he has himself, no authority, to govern his own opinions, and his own conduct, but that of tradition. What is the authority, I should be glad to be informed, if it be not that of tradition, wbich determines bis belief of the authenticity, and even of ihe existence of Scripture itself? On what authority, does he determine the Sacred Canon of Scripture ?
I presume, he will not reject the authority of the thirty-nine articles of the protestant church of this country, and yet candor, and good sense will allow, that the framers of those articles have assigned no other authority, for the settlement of this important point, but that of tradition. In the sixth of those articles, it is said: In the name of the Holy Scriptures, we do understand those canonical books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority there never was any doubt, in the Church,
I will not stop here, to make any remark, on the evident inconsistency of this declaration, and of the conduct of this church, in the settleinent of the Scriptural Canon, because the view, which we are taking of the subject, does not call for any such remark. But I am justified in maintaining, that it admits the authority of tradition, and that it adnits of no other, for the determination of this most important point: and, if it were necessary, I could also prove, that, respecting this subject, this is the opinion even of some of the most learned, and candid protestants themselves.
On what authority, again, I will ask Mr. * * * * * * *, does he adınit the authority, or at least the authenticity of that Creed, which has been transmitted to us, from one generation to another, and which is distinguished from other Christian professions of faith, by the name of the Apostles? On what authority does he admit the legality or the validity of Infant Baptism? Or on what authority does he admit the mode now generally received, of administering that Sacrament? On wbat authority does he admit the observance of the Sunday, instead of the Sabbath of the Jews? On what authority, does he dare to