A further evidence of the Confedera∣cy of Roman Priests with evil Spirits.
THE Argument that we are now upon, having already taken up too much Paper for one Section, I have thought it proper to continue it in the following Chapter, lest, those who are ig∣norant of Satans devices, and of the Arti∣fices of his Priests, should want so con∣vincing a Demonstration of the danger of Communion with them, as is laid be∣fore them in the subsequent lines. I must therefore resume the Discourse as it is continued in the forecited Book of the Reverend Dr. Brevint; and ha∣ving already transcribed the sum of what he speaks upon the first Head, namely, That the Miracles of the Roman Page 143 Church, are ordinary, such trifling, and Ludicrous pranks, as cannot possibly seem to hold any proportion with those solid and Divine Operations, which attested the Truth and Excellency of the Doctrine of the Holy Gospel: The Second Evidence that he mentions is, the Tendency and Design of the Popish Miracles; which look quite another way from those wrought by our Blessed Saviour, and his Apostles: For whereas those last confirmed the Faith, and Doctrine of the first Preachers of the Doctrine of Salvation; and those which anciently were wrought at the Sepulchres of the Primitive Martyrs, cannot be thought to justify or assert any other Faith, or Doctrine than what was Taught, Belie∣ved, and Practised by those Holy Men; Aug. de Civit. l. 22. c. 9. says, What is it that these Miracles will attest but the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ? St. Paul tells us, that they taught nothing, but what was concluded within the Law and the Prophets; and it cannot be supposed that the extraordinary things done by them should confirm any other Doctrine than what they Taught. So at this day, tho all sorts of Opera∣tions were to be seen at the Sepul∣chre of St. Paul; they could not be Page 144 presumed to confirm the Popes Bulls, or the Innovations of the Roman Church, but those truths which were contained in his Preachings, and his Epistles. But as for Roman Miracles, they follow their Novel Doctrines, which some∣times are contrary to, and always quite different from the true Christian Gos∣pel. How many Volumes would be required to contain all the revelations, and the strange wonders, that encou∣rage, and excite men in general to the Worship of the Virgin Mary. As ma∣ny more are bestowed upon the doing it by special ways, and at her particu∣lar Feasts; for upon that score great Indulgences are promised to her Ado∣rers; or else what mean those swarms of Monks that lie hid under her Coats, or the Ladders whited with her Milk, from which no body (that takes that way to Heaven) can ever tumble down? Or those Quires of supposed Angels heard in the bottom of a deep Well to sing her praises? What can be thought of those Images that bleed, or speak, or fly as light as Feathers, unless it be to bring mankind to the Wor∣shipping of Wood, or Stone, or some∣thing more sordid and abominable, which seems to give motion to those Page 145 inanimate Stocks? What all those thousands of sad Souls to ramble up and down the World, since the time of Pope Gregory, but to reveal Purga∣tory, and recommend Masses for the dead? What abundance of strange Feats have been done by St. Francis, and St. Dominic, on purpose to confirm their new orders, and ways? What can signify those heaps of excommunicated Flies; and a poor Raven pining to death under the same Curse, for ha∣ving fled away with a Bishops Ring, but to shew the Terrour of the Roman Keys? And those multitude of small and great Toads crawling in and out of mens mouths, when they do observe well or ill the rules of Auricular Con∣fession, but to justify that jugling piece of Priest-Craft? Or the many little Children standing upon consecrated Wafers, but to maintain the Doctrine of Transubstantiation? What can the many pretended Miracles wrought by the five wounds in the body of St. Fran∣cis, or the Rope about his Loyns signify, but to keep up an Opinion of the Sancti∣ty of that Order? Then the Doctor asks your Opinion of the following Miracle, which he thus relates.
Page 146A Bishop moved with passion against a Covent of Franciscans, was resolved to turn them out of his City, and to do it the next day: The night before, behold their Sacrist sees in a vision the Image of St. Paul, and the Image of St. Francis, both painted in the Church window, talking earnestly one with the other. He hears St. Paul extream∣ly blaming St. Francis for no better defending his own Order; and St. Fran∣cis answering to him, What shall I do? says he, I have but a Cross, and that is no defensive Weapon; but had I a sword, as you have (for commonly they represent them so) perhaps I might do somewhat more. The man being awak'd, starts out of his bed, and his imagination being full of this, runs to the Church, finds the two Pictures had exchanged their Arms: Paul in the window had the Cross, and St. Francis had the Sword.
This amaz'd the whole Covent; but that which is more then all the rest, St. Francis had not St. Pauls Sword in vain, for that same night the Bishop had his throat cut. What Evangelical Doctrine can be confirmed by these three Wonders? Pictures that can speak and move; St. Paul, that exhorts Page 147 to revenge; and a Saint, who during his life, made Conscience, as they say, to kill a Louse, now can cut his Bishops throat: What can be infer•d from this, unless it be this wholsome Doctrine, that Bishops are not Jure Divino, but Friers are? All these, and whole Mil∣lions of other such Roman Miracles, are not fit for Christs Calendar, because they never were accommodated for persuading men of the truth of Christs Gospel, and upon that account must needs proceed from any other than his Spirit. Authors quoted for proof of this second mark are.
- S. Anth. 3. part Hist. l. 23. c. 3. Ser. 1.
- Chron. Diep. an. 1231.
- Hist. Carnat. an. 1116.
- Archiev. Buburg. in fraud. an. 1383.
- Menol. Cistere. 28. April.
- Leand. in vita Hyacinthi ap. Sur. 16. August.
- Gregor. in Dialog. passim.
- Specul. Exemp. Tit. Excommunicatio Exemp. 5.
- Ibid. Exemp. 4.
- Ibid. Tit. Confessio Exemp. 22.
- Ibid. Tit. Eucharistia.
- S. Bonav. in vita Franc.
- Hieron. Platus de bono statu Relig. l. 5. c. 33.
Page 148The third foul mark he mentions of Roman Miracles, and which will put it beyond all doubt, that they are the effect of Diabolical Confederacies, and Impostures, is, that besides the evil tendency of them, they appear, and shew themselves unto the world in such suspicious times, as may justly discre∣dit, and call in question even true, and real Miracles. The gift of Miracles being unto Teachers, what credential Letters, and Royal Colours are unto publick Officers, which signify much un∣to good Subjects, whilst they know them granted to none but such as the King doth really send; but very little, after they see those in the hands, these on the backs of every dirty Carrier, who hath a mind for his own ends to Counterfeit them, and rant with them. No man takes for good payment what∣soever hath Caesars Image, after he hears of false Coiners, who have dispersed vast sums abroad, and marked them with the same stamp We are not now in the priviledged days either of Moses, or Elias, or of Jesus Christ, or his Apo∣stles; when neither all the Magicians could make one Louse; nor all the Baalims light fire on one Altar; nor all the workers of false wonders open Page 149 their mouth against the Son of God. We live in such times, when the De∣vils in all mens account, are let loose from such a restraint, and the Church left unguarded of such a protection: When false Prophets may arise with such Prophesies, and false Christs with such Miracles, as, if it were possible, might deceive the very Elect.
Now the Mirabilarians, as St. Au∣gustine calls them, are abroad, against whom, saies he, Cautum me fecit Domi∣nus. The Lord himself, and his Apo∣stles after him, have given us all suffi∣cient warning; so that it would be a great folly in us to take notice, or run after such, as have a permitted power of Counterfeiting true Miracles, there∣with to amuse the simple. The glori∣ous work of our Blessed Saviour, his Disciples, and other Apostolical Fa∣thers, were done in such clear days, as dissipated, and scattered all suspicions, and imaginable Clouds of Imposture; the Devils had not so much as the li∣berty to preach the Truth, Mark 1.25. If either Simon Magus, or Elimas, tho Sorcerers of the highest rank, did but offer to play their old Game, and shew their devilish Feats, you read in the Acts, how they were kept in. Thus Page 150 this mighty restraining hand, rather than the intrinsecal greatness of the work, was an infallible Evidence, which in those days shined about all true Miracles; whereas the Revelati∣ons, and Feats of the Romanists must needs be full of suspicion, and noted for such by all good Christians, since they came forth, when all false Christs, and false Prophets have the liberty to work them. Then come up the Ap∣paritions of sad Souls, by thousands, to acquaint their Friends with their con∣dition underneath: and what neither Moses, nor the Prophets, nor Jesus Christ himself, nor his Apostles ever thought to mind us of; distressed groaning Spirits make it their principal business to throng about, craving for help, for Pilgrimages, and Masses. Then come Images to bleed, or sing or mourn, as occasion requires: and the Conse∣crated Elements, the better to justify what they are not, appear with blood, with flesh, and even sometimes with whole Children. It passes all under∣standing, how the Virgin Mary, who kept her self so long above, would not come down among us Mortals, either sooner, or in less suspected times, or on more serious Errands. Five hun∣dred Page 151 years may be accounted, when all good Authors will justify that she con∣tinued as quiet above; and that she, after so long rest and abode in the blessed Mansions, should take such an unlucky, and obnoxious time to come down, and shew her self to men, when the Devil, and his foul Spirits are per∣mitted to play their pranks; this in∣deed is very admirable! It can hardly be imagined, that she who never did appear to any of the Primitive Holy Fathers, in a less suspected juncture, should in these last and Branded times, shew her self to a dirty Monk. Did not St. Austin, before he died, being besieged by Barbarians, deserve as well her protection, and a guard of her ar∣med Angels, as St. Dominick did, whi∣lest he held a poor pitiful Heretick a∣bout the neck with his Rosary? where∣fore had none of these holy men, St. Athanasius, St. Hillary, St. Cyprian as well the comfort of a kiss, or an em∣brace, as Loyola, Stephen the Minime, and a thousand more less deserving it? Or how comes she, who never was known to take notice of any trouble, disease, or imprisonment of true Saints, as the Head-ach of St. Chrysostom, the sickli∣ness of St. Basil, the infirm body of St. Page 152Gregory Nazianzen, the Prisons, and Tortures of all the Martyrs; now to be running up and down to relieve all sorts of persons: to cure a Jesuit with her Child, whom she laid by him in his bed: to cure whole Countries of purple Feavers; and to free several Rogues, that had well deserved hang∣ing, from the Gallows, from Dunge∣ons, and from all imaginable sorts of dangers? How comes this fancy to take her so late of bringing down out of Heaven, Crosses, Hoods, Books, Robes, Holy Water, and such other Utensils, which the Fathers in former times ne∣ver had, nor expected from her? The truth is, these kind of Apparitions and Miracles were most advisedly re∣served until such times, as these latter are, dark, and confused, and more pro∣pitious to Imposture; and these strange new transactions have another reason be∣sides, which I wish Roman-Catholicks would seriously consider, and it is this.
As long as the Blessed Virgin had no more honour in the Church, then what became a Creature, and was allowed to her by the Fathers, to be Honoured, not Adored; no Antient Author will tell you that she ever appeared among men. But as soon as the latter times brought Page 153 in publick Services to pray with unto her, and Images to pray to her by; then she (or rather some other Spirit under her name) began first to bestir her self: then she, and a multitude of other Saints with her, seem to come down, and appear at the voice of these new Prayers, just as the Soul of Samuel did, (or rather seemed to) come up at the Mysteries of Endor. Ever after the pretended Queen was seen in the Ro∣man Church, as in her Heavenly Palace: and she had more Angels to wait on her in the least of her ordinary Progresses, then our Blessed Saviour himself had in any of his most solemn appearings: But as when the Devils will look like Angels, you may still, they say, either perceive a Cloven Foot, or smell a stinking vapour, that betrays the pretended glorious appearance, so Roman Miracles, and Visions, have com∣monly some black mark, which may convince any sober man, that they are not really what they seem to be. Con∣sider in the Holy Scriptures what the true Saints and Angels of God have done, whenever they met with more Honour then was their due: or ask St. Austin what those Spirits are, who take it when it is given, or call for it Page 154 when it is not: No Saint, nor Angel, says the good Father, will take of others what they know to be due only to God: as it appeared by Paul and Barnabas, who tore their cloaths, when the people offered to worship them, to shew they were meer men: And by that Angel who rejected Adoration. They are unclean Spirits that are for Worship, and tho they care little for flesh; yet they pride themselves in Sacrifices, because God, under the Law, appointed them for his own service▪ And in another place he says, Good Angels are for this one thing, that with them we may serve God, in whose contemplation they are happy: but they who invite us to serve themselves, are like proud men, &c. only the serving of proud Devils is more hurtful. And in another place he says, Coelestial, and happy Spirits will have us Sacrifice (not unto themselves, but) unto God, whose Ob∣lation they are, as well as we; and there∣fore, all Revelations, and Miracles that invite us to serve more than one God, are such seductions of Devils, as any pious, and prudent men must needs throw off; for this is their proud Malice, who by that To∣ken are noted, neither to be good Angels themselves, nor the Angels of a good God. For the good Angels love us so well, that Page 155 they will not have us to serve them, but the true God only.
This was the Opinion of St. Austin in his time, by which it appears what his thoughts were of Saint, and Idol-Adoration. Let us now bring to these Christian Rules, most of the Roman Miracles, and Apparitions. Let us see when ever this humble Spirit did (with the good Angel) reject one Worship∣ping, or devout Adoration; shew, wherever she once tore her cloaths at the hearing of Te Deum, and the whole Psalter of David sung, and applied most Blasphemously from God to her. Cer∣tain it is, that for several Centuries of years, the steps of another Spirit are to be found in her ways, seeking con∣tinually for more honour. We may behold one who strokes, and kisses pious men, because they both begin and end their best devotions with her prai∣ses: who teaches in what godly form they must pray to her for all Blessings: who calls them into brakes of Thorns, and Nettles, and sometimes into holes under ground, to find, and Adore her Images: one who can put on the shape of a Stag, or a Pigeon, or a great Queen, purposely to shew the place, and stone where she must needs have an Altar, or Page 156 a Chappel, or a great Church that there she may be served and Worshipped to the worlds end; and there walk, and delight her self; one who in all these Churches, brags among Men, as if she were the Mother of Compassions, the Lady of the House of Prayer, and the Fountain of all Blessings: Lastly, one who spreads forth about her a great Mantle, therewith to betoken the largeness of her Mercies and Favours; which she says, she denies to none that will come to her with faith. And now let St▪ Austin, or any good Christi∣an judge what kind of Creatures these Spirits are; and what great difference there is between those which among the Pagans did perpetually labour for Sacrifices, and these, which now among the Papists, are all for Masses, and the greatest oblations that can be set on Romes Altars. Mean while we may be confident, that none but God alone can own Sacrifices, Altars, and Churches to be served with; none but Devils ever owned Images to speak, move, or any wise to work in; such Spirits as these may be the Authors of all the boasted Miracles, Apparitions, and Revelations among the Romanists; and such appea∣rances, and delusive Operations are Page 157 very fit for such Spirits: and both fore∣told, and reserved for the last times? And so it may be guess'd what that Church is that hath her proper estab∣lishment both from such Wonders, and such Saints.
For proof of what is spoken upon this third head, relating to the timing of Popish Miracles, see the following Authors.
- Aug. in Joh. Trac. 13. sub fin. ibid.
- Specul. Exemp. Tit. Ros. Exemp. 1.
- Attich. Cron. Ord. Minim. an 1612.
- Chron. Diep. an. 1561.
- Oliver L. Mirac. Mar. Montis.
- Albert. de viris Illust. Ord. Praedic.
- Epiphan. Contr. Haeres. l. 3. adv. Colly∣rid.
- August. contr. Faust. l. 20. c. 21, 22.
- Idem de vera Relig. c. 25.
- Idem de Civit. l. 10. c. 7. Ibid. c. 16.
- Ibid. c. 7. item l. 9. c. 23.
- Caesarius l. 7. Hist. c. 25.
- Leander. de viris Illust. Chron. Diep. an. 1372.
- Chron. Diep. an. 1178.
- Franc. Hierasc. in vita Henr. Silice.
- Odo Gisseus Hist. virg. Aniciensis.
- In vita Manaveriap. sur. 5. Jun.
- Page 58Arch. Gian. cent. 3. Annal. l. 4. c. 9.
- Od. Gissaeus supra.
- Niceph. Eccl. Hist. l. 15. c. 25.
- Blosius in Monili.
- Menol. Cisterc. 22. Dec.
- Chron. Diep. an. 1467.
- Tho. Malvenda Tom. 1.
- Annal. Ord. Praed. an. 1221.
Much more doth the learned Doctor urge, to prove that what the Papists offer to the Shrine of that which they call the Blessed Virgin, can be nothing less than giving Divine Honour and Adoration to an unclean Spirit; but I fear I have been tedious in transcribing this; tho it were to be wished that all professed Christians were truly convin∣ced of the danger, and damnableness of this Roman Doctrine. For, if
That which was never commanded by God in his Word, ought not to be introduced into his Worship: If,
Whatsoever pretended Saint or An∣gel claims a Religious Adoration, be to be reputed Diabolical, and unclean; Then what can be concluded of those Worshippers, and these Saints in the Roman Church, unless it be this, that they have not introduced only the Doctrine,Page 159 but the down-right Worshipping of Devils.
It is not for nothing that the Holy Spirit of God doth in the Sacred Wri∣tings, by his inspired Pen-men so often warn, and call off his People from I∣dolatry; it is not for nothing that the Eternal Fountain of Blessedness ex∣presses such an inflamed Jealousy against the Israelites for departing after strange Gods; and that the Divine Vengeance always followed that Impious Abomina∣tion with such tremendous, and smoak∣ing Judgments: For when once the profligated Spirits can obtain for Dei∣ties in their Temples and Altars; it is not to be expected that the true, and Eternal God should have any place in the heart of such a People. Therefore the Scripture calls Idolatry a departing from the Holy One, a going a Whoring from him. The Samaritans had that Opinion of the works which Simon the Sorcerer performed by Witchcraft, and a Diabolical Confederacy, that they called him the mighty power of God, in the 8th Chap. of the Acts. But by the verse preceding, it appears that he had fascinated their minds, and laid his Charms on their understandings, that Page 160 they were in such a condition as Paul terms the Galatians, they were bewitch∣ed, that they should not Obey the Truth. And it cannot be supposed that any thing short of some forcible Enchant∣ment could prevail with those of the Roman Communion, to give faith to those lying Wonders, and Divine Wor∣ship to those eluding Spirits, which upon that account, have the Shrines erected amongst them.
By what hath been said, it is evident, that those Ghosts, or Spirits which re∣quire Temples, and Worship, are no other then some of the Tainted, Expul∣sed Legions; and that the strange Mira∣cles performed by the Images, or at the Shrines of these Deities, are the old delusions continued; whereby they drew the Antient Pagans after their Oracles, Groves, and Pythons, &c. and the Papists now a days into an Adora∣tion of Images, Altars, and Relicks. Still the old Confederacy is kept up, tho under new Forms, and Notions. And perhaps it is none of the smallest Poli∣cies of the Agents of that Communi∣on, to impose upon their Credulous Ones the belief that there is no such thing as a Witch; that so their perfor∣mances Page 161 of that kind may the better pass under the notion of a Miracle. But by the following discourse, any one that will not wilfully blind himself, may discern the strange, and vast power that the Deceiver of the Nations still main∣tains amongst the degenerate race of men. And so I have put an end to the first Part.