Andrew Thomson John Owen.

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diction& For instance (to take those given by himself), if one say
*' The Papists worship stocks and stones," another say, "They worship
a piece of bread," here is no contradiction. Again, if one charge them
with having their consciences afiHrighted with purgatory, and dooms-
day, and penances for their sins, that they never live a quiet life ;
another, that they carry their top and top-gallant so high, that they
will go to heaven without Christ, or (as we in the country phrase it),
trust not to his merits and righteousness alone for salvation, here



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lis ANIMADYERSIOHS ON A TKEATISB

may be no contradiction: &r all Papists are not, we know it well
enough, of the same mould and fonn. Some maj more imbibe some
principles of religion, tending in appearance to mortification; some,
those that lead to pride and presumption, and so be liable to several
charges; but neither are these things inconsistent in themselves.
Men in their greatest consternation of spirit from sense of punish-
ment, real or imaginary, wherewith th^ are disquieted, may yet
proudly reject the righteousness of Christ; and if our author knows
not this to be true, he knows nothing of the gospel The next in-
stance is of the sanyA nature. ^ One," he saith, "affirms that murders,
adulteries, lies, blasphemies, and all sin, make up the bulk of Popery;
another, that Papists are so wholly given to good works, that they
place in them excessive confidence;" I scaroe believe that he ever
heard any thus crudely diarging them with eitiber part of the ima*
gined contradictory proposition. Taking Popery, as the Protestants
do, for the exorbitancy of the religion which tiie Romanists pro-
fess, and considering the product of it in the most of mankind, it
may be some, by a usual hyp^bole, have used the words first men-
tioned; but ^ we dbould diaige the Papists for bmg ^wholly given
to good works," we should mudi wrong both them and ouiselves,
seeing we perfectly know the contrary. The sum of both these things
brought into one is but this, that many Papists, in the course of a
scandalously sinful life, do plaoe mudi of their confid^ice in good
woiks; which is, indeed, a strange contradiction in principles between
their speculation and practice, but we know well enough there is none
inthechaiiga Let us oonsider one more: "One affirmed that the pope
and all his Papists £all down to pictures and comndt idolatry with
them; another, that the pope is so jGbu: from falling down to any
thing, that he exalte himself above all that is called Ood, and is very.
antichrist'' If one had said, he falls down to images, another, that
he falls not down to images, there had been a contradiction indeed ;
but our author, by his own testimony, being a dvil logician, knows
well enough that the felling down in the fiist proposition and that
in the second are things of a diverse nature, and so are no contradio-
tion. A man may fill down to images, and yet refuse to submit him-
self to the pow^ that God hath set over him. And those of whom
he speaks would have told him, that a great part of the pope's exalt-
ing hima^ against Ood consists in his fidling down to images, wherein
he exalts his own will and tradition against tiie will and express com-
mands of God. The same may be showed oi all the following inr
stances, nor can he give any one that shall manifest Popery to be
charged by sober Ptotestants with any oilier contradictions than what
appear to every eye in the inconsigtency of some of their principles'
one with another, and of most of them with their practice. In the



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ENTITLED FIAT LUX. 113

particulars by himself enumerated, there is no other show of the
cht^rge of contradictory evils in Popery than what by his additions
and wresting expressions is put upon them.

Weary of such preaching in England, our author addressed him-i
self to travel beyond the seas, where what he met withal, what he>
observed, the weight and strength of his own conversion being laid
in pretence upon it (indeed, an apology for the more generally ex*
cepted against parts of his Roman practice and worship being in->'
tended and pursued), must be particularly considered and debated.



CHAPTER XIV.

Mass,

Sect xxii. The title our author gives to his first head of observa-^
tion is " Messach,'' on what accoxmt I know not, unless it be with
respect to a ridiculous Hebrew etymology of the word " missa;" as
though it should be the same with HDp^ a word quite of another sig-
nification. If this be that which his title intends, I wish him bettei?
success in his next etymologizing, for this attempt hath utterly &iled
him. *' Missa" never came out of the east, nor hath any affinity with
those tongues; being a word utterly unknown to the Syrians, and
Grecians also, by whom all Hebrew words that are used in religion
came into Europe. He that will trouble himself to trace the pedigreer
of " missa'' shall find it of no such ancient stock, but a word that,
with many others, came into use in the destruction of the Roman
empire, and the corruption of the Latin tongue. But as it is likely
our author, having not been accustomed to feed much upon Hebrew
roots, might not perceive the insipidness of this pretended traduction
of the word " missa,'' so also, on the other side, it is not improbable
but that he might only by an uncouth word think to startle his poor
countrymen at the entrance of the story of his travels, that they
might look upon him as no small person who hath the missach,
and such other hard names, at his fingers' ends; as the Gnostics
heightened their disciples into an admiration of them by " Palda-
baoth, Astaphseum,"' and other names of the like hideous^ noise and
soimd.^

* The Hebrew word "missach" signifies an offering, and the term <<mas8" has been
derived from it by some Boman Catholic writers. The word in Latin is "missa," and
it is more probable that it arose fhmi the dismissal of the catechumens in the services
of the ancient chorch, before the sacrament was dispensed. " Ite, missa est" were the
usual words of the minister in dismissing than.-— £^. '

VOL. xrv. 8



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114 ANDCAPYSBSIOIIS ON A TBEATISB

Of the disoomse upon this missach, whatever it ia, there ar&
sundry part& That he begins with^ is a preference of the devotion
of the Bomamsts incomparably above that of the Protestants. This
was the entrance of his discovery. Catholics' bells ring oftener than
ours; their churches are swept cleaner than ours, — ^yea^ ours in com-
parison of theirs are like stables to a princely palace; their people
are longer upon tiieir knees than ours; and, upon the whole matter,
they are excellent every way in their worship of God, — ^we every way
blameworthy and contemptible: unto all which I shall only mind
him of that good old advice, " Let thy neighbour praise thee, and
not thine own mouth." And as for us, I hope we are not so bad
but that we should rejoice truly to hear that others were better. Only,
we could desire that we might find their excellency to consist in
things not either indifferent wholly in themselves or else disapproved
by God ; which are the ways that hypocrisy usually vents itself in,
and then boasts of what it hath done. Ejiowledge of God and his
will as revealed in the gospel, real mortification, abiding in spiritual
supplications, diligence in imiversal obedience, and fruitfulness in
good worksy be, as I suppose, the things which render oiu: profession
beautifiil, and according to the mind of God. If our author be able
to make a right judgment of these things, and find them really
abounding amcmgst his party, I hope we shall rejoice with him,
though we knew the spring of them is not their Popery, but their
Christianity. [As] for the outside shows he hath as yet instanced in^
they ought not in the least to have influenced his judgment in that
disquisition of the truth wherein he pretends he was engaged He
eould not of old have come amongst the professors and " mystsB" of
those fiEilse religions, which, by the light and power of the gospel, are
now banished out of the world, where he should not have met with
the same wizards and appearances of devotion; so that hitherto we
find no great discoveries in his missach.

From the worship of the parties compared, he comes to their
, preaching, and finds them as differing as their devotion. The preach-
ing of Protestants of all sorts is sorry, pitiful stuff ; inconsequent
words, senseless notions, or at least rhetorical floimshes, make it up:
the Catholics' grave and pithy. Still all this belongs to persons, not
thing& Protestants preach as well as they can, and if they cannot
preach so well as his wiser Romanists, it is their unhappineas, not
their &ult But yet I have a little reason to think that our author
is not altogether of the mind that here he pretends to be of, but that
he more hates and fears than despises the preaching of Protestants.
He knows well enough what mischief it hath wrought his party,
though prgudice will not suffer him to see what good it hath done
the world; and therefore doubting, as I suppose, lest he should not



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ENTITLED HAT LUX 115

be able to prevail with his readers to believe him in that which he
would fain, it may be, but cannot, believe himself, about the excel*
lency of the preaching of his Cathdics above that of Protestants, he
decries the whole work as of little or no use or concernment in Chris-
tian religion. This it had been Mr for him to have op^y pleaded,
and not to have made a flourish with that which he knew he could '
make no better w(»rk o£ Nor is the preaching of the Protestants, as
is pretended, unlike that of the ancients. The best and most feunous
preacher of the ancient churdi, whose sarmons are preserved, was
ChiysostonL We know the way of his proceeding in that work was,
to open the words and meaning of his text, to declare the truth con*
tained and taught in it, to vindicate it from objections, to confirm it
by other testimonies of Scripture, and to apply all unto practice in
the close; and, as far as I can observe, this, in general, is the method
used by Protestants^ being that, indeed, wliich the very nature of the
work dictates xmto them. Wherefore, mistrusting lest he should not
be able to bring men out of love with the preaching of Protestants^
in comparison of the endeavours of his party in the same kind, he
turns Idmself another way, and labours to persuade us, as I said, that
preaching itself is of little or no use in Christian religion; for, so he
may serve his own design, he cares not, it seems, openly to contradict
the practice of the church of Ood ever since there was a church in
the world. To avoid that charge he tells us, " That the apostles and
apostolical churches had no sermons, but all their preaching was
merely for the conyersion of men to the faith, and when this was
done, there was an end of their preaching;" and for this he instancetb
in the sermons mentioned in the Acts, chap, ii iil v. viL viii x. xiii
xiv. xvi xviil xx. xxiL xxiv. xxvL xxviiL I wonder what he thinks
of Christ himself; whether he preached or no in the temple, or in the
synagogues of the Jews; and whether the Judaical church, to whose
members he preached, were not then a true, yea, the only church in
the world; and whether Christ was not anointed and sent to preach
the gospel to them? If he know not this, he is very ignorant; if he
doth know it, he is somewhat that deserves a worse nama To labour
to exterminate that out of the religion of Christ which was one of
the chief works of Christ (for we do not read that he went up and
down singing mass, though I have heard of a friar that conceived
that to be his employment), is a work unbecoming any man that
would count himself wroi^ed not to be esteemed a Christian. But
whatever Christ did, it may be, it matters not The apostles and apos-
tolical churches had no sermons, but only such as they preadied to
infidels and Jews to convert them; that is, they did not labour to
instruct men in the knowledge of the mysteries of the gospel, to
build them up in their fiiith, to teach them more and more the goo<}



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II 6 ANIMADVERSIONS ON A TBSATISE

knowledge of Qod^ levealiDg unto them the whole counsel of his
will ! And is it possible that any man who hath ever read over the
New Testament, or any one of Paul's epistles, should be so blinded
by prejudices, and made so confident in his assertions, as to dare, in
the face of the sun, whilst the Bible is in every one's hand, to utter
a matter so devoid of truth and all colour or pretence of probability?
Methinks men should think it enough to sacrifice their ^nsciences
to their Moloch, without casting wholly away their reputation, to be
consumed in the same fiame& It is true, the design of the story of
the Acts being to deliver unto us the progress of the Christian fidth
by the ministry of the apostles, insists principally on those sermons
which Qod in an especial manner blessed to the conversion of souls,
and increase of the church thereby; but is there therefore no men-
tion made of preaching in it to the edification of their converts? or
is there no mention of preaching, imless it be said that such a one
preached at such a time, so long, on such a text? When the people
abode in the apostles' doctrine, Act& iL 42, 1 think the apostles taught
them. And tiie ministry of the word, which they gave themselves
imto, was principally in reference unto the church, chap. vL 4 So
Peter and John preached the word to those whom Philip had con-
verted at Samaria, chap, viil 26. A whole year together, Paul and
Barnabas assembled themselves together with the church of Antioch,
and taught much people, chap. xL 26. At Troas Paul preached unto
them who came t^edier to break bread (that is, the church), until
midnight, chap. xx. 7, 9, — which why our author calls a dispute, or
what need of a dispute there was, when only the church was assem-
bled, neither I nor he do know; and, verses 20, 27, he declares
that his main work and omployment was constant preaching to the
disciples and churches, giving C9mmands to the elders of the churches
to do the same; and what his practice was during his imprisonment
at Bome, the close of that book declares. And these, not footsteps,
but express examples of and precepts concerning preaching to the
churches themselves and their disciples, we have in that book pur-
posely designed to declare their first calling and planting, not tJbsir
progress and edification. Should I trace the commands given for
this work, the commendation of it, the qualifications and gifts for it
bestowed on men by Christ, and his requiring of their exercise, re-
corded in the Epistles, the work would be endless, and a good part
of most of them must be transcribed. In brief, if the Lord Christ
continue to bestow ministerial gifts upon any, or to call them to the
office of the ministry; if they are boimd to labour in the word and
doctrine, — ^to be instant, in season and out of season, in preaching the
word to those committed to their charge ; if that be one of the direc-
tions given them, that they may know bow to behave themselves in



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ENTITLED FIAT LUX. 117

the clmrch, the house of God ; if they are bound to trade -with the
talents their Master intrusts them with, to attend unto doctrine with
all diligence; if it be the duty of Christians to labour to grow and
increase in the knowledge of Ood and his will, and that of indispen-
sable necessity unto salvation, according to the measure of the means
God is pleased to a£Ford unto them; if their perishing through igno*
ranee will be assuredly charged on them who are called to the care,
and freedom, and instructing of them ; — ^this business of preaching is
an indispensable duty among Christiana If these things be not so
indeed, for aught I know, we may do what our adversary desires us, —
even bum our Bibles, and that as books that have no truth in them.
Our author's denial of the practice of antiquity, conformable to this
of the apostles, is of the same nature. But, that it would prove too
long a diversion from my present work, I could as easily trace down
the constant sedulous performance of this duty, from the days of the
apostles imtil it gave place to that ignorance which the world was
beholden to the papal apostasy for, as I can possibly write so much
paper as the story of it would take up. But to what purpose should
I do it? Our author, I presume, knows it well enough; and others,
I hope, will not be too forward in believing his affirmations of what
he believes not himself

The main design of this discourse is to cry up the sacrifice that
the Catholics have in their churches, but not the Protestants. This
sacrifice, he tells us, was " the sum of all apostolical devotion, which
Protestants have abolished." Strange ! that in all the writings of the
apostles, there should not one word be mentioned of that which was
the sum of their devotion! Things, surely, judged by our author of
less importance, are at large handled in them. That they should not,
directly nor indirectly, once intimate that which, it seems, was the
sum of their devotion is, I confess, to me somewhat stranga They
must make this concealment either by design or oversight How
consistent the first is with their goodness, holiness, love to the church,
the latter with their wisdom and infallibility, either with their office
and duty, is easy to judga Our author tells us, " They have a sacrifice
after the order of Melchizedek." Paul teUs us, indeed, that we have
a High Priest " after the order of Melchisedec;" but, as I remember,
this is the first time that ever I heard of a sacrifice after the order of
Melchizedek, though I have read somewhat that Boman Catholics
say about Melchizedek's sacrifice. Our Priest "after the order of Mel-
chisedec" offered a sacrifice that none ever had done before, nor can
do after him, even himself. If the Bomanists think to offer him^
they must kill him. The species of bread and wine are but a thin
sacrifice, next door to nothing, yea, somewhat worse than nothing, a
figment of a thing impossible, or the shadow of a dream; nor will



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118 ANIMAOVEBSIOKS ON JL TREATISE

they say they are any. It is true, which our author pleads m jueti-
fication of the sacrifice of his diurdi, that there were sacrifices among
the Jews, yea, fix>m the beginning of the w^ld, after the entrance
of ^ and promise of Christ to come made to sinners; for in the
state of innocency there was no sacrifice appointed, because there was
no need of an atonement But all these sacrifices, properly so called,
had no other use in religion than to prefigure and represent the great
sacrifice of himself to be made by the Son of Qod in the fulness of
time. That bemg once performed, all other sacrifices were to cease,
I mean prop^ly so called; for we have still sacrifices metaphorical,
called so by analogy, being ports of God's worship tendered unto
him, and accepted with him, as were the sacrifices of old. Nor is it
at all necessary that we should have proper sacrifices, that we may
have metaphorical It is enough that such there have been, and that
of God's own appointment; and we have still that only one real
sacrifice which was the life and soul of all them that went befora
The substance being conie, the light shadowing of it that was before
under the law is vanished. The apostle doth expressly place the
opposition that is between the sacrifice of the Christian church and
that of the Judaical in this, that they were often repeated; this was
performed once for all, and is a living, abiding sacrifice, constant in
the church for ever, Heb. x. 1, 2: so that, by this rule, the repeti-
tion of the same or any other sacrifice, in the Christian church, can
have no other foundation but an apprehension of the imperfection of
the sacrifice of Christ; for, saith he, where the ssUrifice is perfect,. and
makes them perfect that come to God by it, there must be no more
sacrifice. This, then, seems to be the real difierence between Pro-
testants and Roman Catholics in this business of sacrifice : — Protest-
ants believing the sacrifice of Christ to be absolutely perfect, so that
there is no need of any other, and that it is odhg ^p6<f(parog xai Zfica, —
" a fresh and living way,"-— of going to God continually, with whom
by it obtaining remission of sin, they know there is no more offering
for sin ; they content themselves with that sacrifice of his, continually,
in its virtue and efficacy, residing in the churcL Romanists, looking
on that as imperfect, judge it necessary to institute a new sacrifice of
their own, to be repeated every day, and that without any the least
colour or warrant from the word of God or example of the apostles.
But our author puts in an exception, and tells us those words of
Luke, Acts xiii 2, Ai/rou/>7«6rrwi' b% aurSv rf) Kup/(ji;, are well and truly
rendered by Erasmus, ^* Sacrificantibus illis Domino ;" which one text,
saith he, "gives double testimony to apostolical sacrifice and priestly
ordination." And he strengthens the authority of Erasmus with reason
also; for the "word can import nothing but sacrifice, since it was
made rf) Kvp/y: for other inferior ministries of the word and sacra-'



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ENTHLED FIAT LtTX. 119

mente are not mad^ to God, but the people; but the apostles were
Ktitovpywvrtg rf) Kvpitft, — administering, liturgying, sacrificing to our
Lord/' For what he adds of ordination, it belongs not unto this dis-
course. Authority and reason are pleaded to prove, I know not what
sacrifice, to be intended in these words. Erasmus is first pleaded ; to
whose interpretation, mentioned by our author, I shall only add his
own annotations in the explication of his meaning: " Anrovf>yovfroj¥y"
saith he, '^ quod proprium est opercmtitum sacris. NuUum autem sacri-
ficium Deo gratius quam impartiri doctrinam evangelicam." So that
it seems the preaching of the gospel, or taking care about it, was the
sacrifice that Erasmus thought of in his translation and exposition.
Yea, but the word is truly translated '' sacrificantibua.'' But who, I
pray, told our author so? The original of the word is of a much
larger signification. Its common use is, to minister in any kind; it
is so trandated and expounded by all learned, impartial men, and is
never used in the whole New Testament to denote sacrificing. Nor
is ^?i ever rendered in the Old Testament by the LXX. T^nrovpyia or
Xsir^vpyiuy but ^udo^ %\t9Ui9fJMy SD/Mt, ^vfiia/uMj oX^xairafiia, iffei^twfy ^i6#,
eta Nor is that word used absolutely in any author, profane or
ecclesiastical, to signify precisely sacrificing. And I know well enough
what it is that makes our author say it is properly translated ^ sacri*
ficing,'' and I know as well that he cannot prove what he says; but
he gives a reason for what he says, — it is said '' to be made to the
Lord, whereas other inferior ministerial acts are made to the peopla''
I wish heartily he would once leave this scurvy trick of cogging in
words to deceive his poor unwary reader; for what, I pray, makes
his " made" here? what is it that is said to be "made" to the Lord ?
It is, " when they were ministering to the Lord;" so the words are
rendered, — not, when they were making, or making sacrifice^ or when
they made sacrificirig unto the Lord This wild gourd, " made," puts
death into his pot And we think here in England, that in all mum*
terial acts, though performed towards the people, and for their good,
yet men administer to the Lord in them, because performing them
by his appointment, as a part of that worship which he requires at
their hands.

In the close of our author's discourse he complains of tbe per**
secutioDS of Catholics; which, whatever they are or have been, for
my part I neither approve nor justify; and do heartily wish they
had never showed the world those ways of dealing with them who
dissented from them in things concerning religion whereof themselves
now complain, how justly I know not But if it be for the mass that
any of them have felt or do fear suflfering (which I pray God avert
firom them), I hope they will at length come to understand how re-
mote it is from having any affinity with the devotion of the apostdi*



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120 ANIMADVEBSIONS ON ▲ TREATISE

cal churches, and so free themselves, if not from suffering, yet at least
from suffering for that which, being not accepted with God, will



Online LibraryAndrew Thomson John OwenThe works of John Owen, Volume 14 → online text (page 15 of 67)