Over the years of disputes between Arminians and Calvinists we have been accused of being close cousins with Roman Catholicism or being several steps ahead of our Calvinist brethren on the "road to Rome". Of course this foolishness has no substance in truth but these polemics continue in the haughty world of apologetics. Recently, I have had a Roman Catholic insist on promoting various dogmas along with links to the catechism of his religion. It reminded me of James Arminius' own sentiments regarding Roman Catholicism and his well thought out address concerning our (Protestant) separate theological path. The following is a rather lengthy post providing the full text of his treatise on Protestantism and the Reformation stance on its identity separate of that of Papal Rome. There is certainly no question of Arminius' opinion regarding Rome by the end of this treatise.
DISPUTATION 22 THE CASE OF ALL THE PROTESTANT OR REFORMED CHURCHES, WITH RESPECT TO THEIR ALLEGED SECESSION RESPONDENT: JAMES CUSINE
We assert that the Reformed Churches have not seceded from the church of Rome; and that they have acted properly in refusing to hold and profess a communion of faith and of divine worship with her.
1. I feel disposed to prove, in few words, for the glory of God, for the tranquility of weak consciences, and for the direction of erring minds — that those congregations who take upon themselves the title of "Reformed or Protestant Churches," have not made a secession from the church of Rome, and that they have acted aright, that is, wisely, piously, justly, and moderately, in refusing to hold and profess communion of faith and worship with the Romish church.
2. By the term, "the Church of Rome," we understand, not that congregation of men, who, confined within the walls of the city of Rome, profess the Christian faith, (although this is the only proper interpretation of that term;) not the court of Rome, which consists of the pope and of the cardinals united with him — not the representative church, assembled together in council, and having the Roman pontiff as president, nor the pope of Rome himself, who, under the cover of that title, extols and makes merchandise of his power. But by "the church of Rome" we understand a congregation of Christian, which was formerly dispersed through nearly the whole of Europe, but which is now become more contracted, and in which the Roman pontiff sits, either as the head of the church under Christ, but placed above a general council, or as the principal bishop inferior to a general council, the inspector and guardian of the whole church. This congregation professes, according to the canons contained in the council of Trent, that it believes in God and Christ, and performs acts of worship to them; and it approves of those canons, either because they were composed by the council of Trent, which could not err — or because it thinks that they are agreeable to the holy Scriptures and to the doctrine of the ancient fathers, without any regard to that council.
3. We call "Reformed churches" those congregations professing the Christian faith which disavow every species of presidency whatever, assumed by the Roman pontiff, and profess to believe in and to perform acts of worship to God and Christ, according to the canons which each of them has comprised in its own confession or catechism; and they approve of such canons, therefore, only because they consider them to be agreeable to the Holy Scriptures, though they yield to the primitive church and the ancient fathers severally their proper places, but always in subordination to the Scriptures.
4. It cannot be said, that every church makes a secession, which separates from another, neither does the church that is in any manner whatever severed from another, to which it had been united; but a church is said to make a secession from another church to which it was formerly united, when it first and willingly makes a separation in that matter about which they were previously at unity. On this account it is necessary, that these four conditions concur together in the church which can justly be said to have made secession. One of them is a prerequisite, as if necessarily precedent; the other three are requisites, as if natural to the secession and grounded upon it. The First is that it was formerly in union with the other; to which must be added, an explanation of the matter in which this union consists. The Second is, that a separation has been effected, and indeed in that thing about which it was formerly at unity with the other. The Third is that it was the first to make the secession. And the Fourth is that it voluntarily seceded. The whole of these conditions will come under our diligent consideration in the disputation on the present controversy about the dissension between the church of Rome and Reformed churches.
5. But the explanation of another matter must be given, prior to the discussion of this question according to the circumstances now premised; and this is, "In what generally, do the union and the separation of churches consist?" So far as they are the churches of God and of Christ, their Union consists in the following particulars: they have one God and Father, one Lord Jesus Christ, one faith, (or one doctrine of faith,) one hope of their calling, (that is, an inheritance which has been promised and for which they hope,) one baptism, (Ephesians 4:3-6,) one bread and wine, (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17,) and have been joined together in one Spirit with God and Christ, by the bond of faith and charity. (Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 2:2.)
That is, that by agreement of faith according to truth, and by concord of the will according to charity, they may be one among themselves. This is in no other manner, than as many members of the same body are one among themselves, because all of them have been united with their head, from which, by the bond of the Spirit, life, sensation and motion are derived to each; (Romans 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13; Ephesians 1:22;) and as many children in the same family are one among themselves, because all of them are connected with their parents by the bond of consanguinity and love. (1 Corinthians 14:33; Revelation 2:23.) For all particular churches, whether in amplitude they be greater or less, are large or small members of that great body which is called "the Catholic church;" and in this great family, which is called "the house of God," they are all sisters, according to that passage in Solomon's Song, "We have a little sister." (8:8.) No church on earth is the mother of any other church, (Galatians 4:26,) not even that church from which proceeded the teachers who founded other churches. (Acts 8:1, 4; 13:1, 2.) For no church on earth is the whole body, that is united to Christ the Head. (Hebrews 12:22, 23.)
6. From this description of union among churches, and by an explanation made through similar things according to the Scriptures, it is evident, that, for the purpose of binding churches together, the intervention of two means is necessary. The First is, the bond itself by which they are united. The Second is, God and Christ, with whom being immediately united, they are mediately further united with each other. For the first and immediate relation is between each particular church and Christ. The second and mediate is between a particular church and another of its own kindred. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13; Ephesians 4:3; Romans 12:5; John 17:21; Ephesians 2:11 13; 4:16.) From these a two-fold order may be laid down, according to which this conjunction may be considered.
(1.) One is, if it take its commencement from Christ, and if that bond intervene, which, issuing from Him, proceeds to every church and [adunat, makes it one,] unites it with Him. Where 589 (i.) Christ must be constituted the Head and the very center of union.
(ii.) The Spirit, which, issuing from Christ, proceeds hither and thither. (Ephesians 2:18; 5:23; Romans 8:9.)
(iii.) The church of Corinth, at Rome, at Philippi, etc., each of which is united to Christ, by the Spirit that goes forth from Him and proceeds towards the churches, and that abides in them. (1 John 3:24; 4:13.)
(2.) The other order is, if it takes its commencement from the churches, and if that bond intervene which, issuing from them, proceeds to Christ, and binds them to Him. Where (i.)must be placed the churches of Corinth, of Rome, of Philippi, etc.
(ii.) Then may be laid down the faith proceeding from each of them.
(iii.) Christ, to whom the faith of all these churches tends and connects each of them with Him. (1 John 2:24; Ephesians 3:17.) Because the bond of charity is mutual, it proceeds from Christ to each church, and from every church to Christ. (Ephesians 5:25.) It does not, however, remain there, but goes on to each kindred church; yet so that every church loves her sister church in Christ and for his sake, otherwise it is a confederacy without Christ, or rather against Christ. (1 Corinthians 16:1, 2, 19.)
7. From the relation of this union, must be estimated the Separation which is opposed to it, and which cannot be made or explained except by an analysis and resolution of their uniting together. Every particular church therefore must be separated from God and Christ before it can be separated from the church which is allied to it and of the same body; (Ephesians 2:10, 19-22;) and the bond of faith and charity must be broken before any church can be separated from God and Christ, and thus from any other church. (Romans 11:17-24.) But since the Spirit of Christ, the faith by which we believe, and charity, are invisible things which belong to the very inward union and communion of Christ and the churches, it is impossible for men to form any estimate or judgment from them, respecting the union or separation of churches. On this account it is necessary, that certain external things, which are objects of the senses, and which by a certain analogy answer to those inward things, should be placed before men, that we may be able to form a judgment concerning the union of the churches with Christ and among each other, and about their opposite separation. Those external things are the word, and the visible signs annexed to the word, by which Christ has communication with his church; the profession of faith and of worship, and the exercise of charity by outward works, by which each church testifies its individual union and communion with Christ and with any other church. (Isaiah 30:21; Romans 10:15, 17, 10, 13; John 13:35.) To this is opposed its separation, consisting in this, that Christ "removes its candlestick out of his place," and the churches vary among themselves in the profession of the faith, omit the requisite duties of charity, and evince and practice hatred towards each other. (Revelations 2:5; 2 Chronicles 13:8, 2, 10.)
8. But the churches of God and Christ, even those which were instituted by prophets and apostles, may decline by degrees, and sometimes do decline, from the truth of the faith, from the integrity of divine worship, and from their first love, (2 Corinthians 11:3; Galatians 1:6; Revelation 2:4,) either by adding to the doctrines of faith, to that which is the object of worship, and to the modes and rites with which it is worshipped; or by taking away or by perverting the right meaning of faith, by not considering in a lawful manner that which is worshipped, and by changing the legitimate mode of worship into another form; and yet they are still acknowledged, by God and Christ, as God's churches and people, even at the very time when they worship Jehovah in calves, when they pay divine honors both to Jehovah and to Baal, when they offer to Moloch through the fire the children whom they had borne and reared for Jehovah, (Jeremiah 2:11-13; 2 Kings 16:3; 1 Kings 18:21; Ezekiel 16:20,) and when they suffer legal ceremonies to be appended to the faith of Christ, and the resurrection to be called in question: (Galatians 3:1-3; 6; 1 Corinthians 15:) even under these circumstances they are acknowledged as the churches and the people of God, according to external communion by the word and the sacramental signs or tokens, because God does not yet remove the candlestick out of its place, or send them a bill of divorcement. (Revelation 2:5; Isaiah 1:1.) Hence it arises that the Union between such churches, as have something still left of God and Christ and something of the spirit of lies and idolatry, is two-fold: the One, in regard to those things which they have yet remaining from the first institution which was made by the prophets and apostles: the Other, with respect to those things which have been afterwards introduced by false teachers and false prophets, and especially by that notorious false prophet, "the man of sin, the son of perdition." For though "their word eats as doth a canker," (2 Timothy 2:17,) yet the goodness and grace of God have prevented it from consuming the whole pure doctrine of the Christian faith. On the other side, its corresponding Separation is as fully opposed to this last mentioned union, as the former union is opposed to its separation. When therefore the discourse turns on the separation of churches, we ought diligently to consider what thing it is about which the separation has been made.
9. These things having been thus affirmatively premised, let us now come to the hypothesis of our question, according to the conditions which we said must necessarily be ascribed to the church that may justly be said to have made secession from another. With regard to the First, which we have said was required as necessarily precedent, we own, that the churches which are now distinguished by the title of "there formed," were, prior to that reformation, one with the church of Rome, and had with her communion of faith and of worship, and of the offices of charity; nay, that they constituted a part of that church, as she has been defined in the second thesis of this disputation. But we distinctly and expressly add two particulars.
(1.) That this union and communion is as that between equals, collaterals, sisters and members; (Solomon's Song 8:8; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, 17;) and not as the union which subsists between inferiors and a superior, between sons and their mother, between members and their head: that is, as they speak in the schools of philosophy, the relation between them was that of equiparancy, in which one of the things related is not more the foundation than the other, and therefore the obligation on both sides is equal; yet the Roman pontiff, seated in the chair which he calls apostolical, and which he says is at Rome, affirms the church of Rome to be the mother and head of the rest of the churches.
(2.) That this union and communion is partly according to those things which belong to God and Christ, and partly according to those things which appertain to the defection or "falling away" predicted by the apostle as about to come: for "the son of perdition" is said to be "sitting in the temple of God." (2 Thessalonians 2:2-4.) As far therefore as the doctrine of the true faith sounded in these churches, and as far as God and Christ were worshipped, and the offices of charity were legitimately exercised, so far were they One Church of Christ, who patiently bore with them and invited them to repentance. (Revelation 2:20, 21.) But as far as the faith has been interpolated with various additions and distorted interpretations, and as far as the divine worship has been depraved by different idolatries and superstitions, and the tokens of benevolence have been exhibited in partaking of the parts offered to idols, so far has the union been according to the spirit of defection and the communion of iniquity. (Revelation 2:14, 20.)
10. With regard to what belongs to the separation of the reformed churches from that of Rome, we must discuss it in two ways; because, as we have already seen, (Thesis 8,) the separation of churches is usually made both with respect to faith and worship, and with respect to charity. These separations are considered to be thus far distinguished, by the churches themselves; so that the church which is separated in reference to faith and worship, is called heretical and idolatrous; and that which is separated in reference to charity, is called schismatically. The first part of the question therefore will be this: "Have the churches which are now called the reformed, made secession with regard to faith and worship?" Respect being had to the Second condition, (Thesis 4,) we reply, we confess that a secession has been made with regard to faith and worship. For the fact itself testifies, that they differ [from the church of Rome] in many doctrines relating to faith, and that they differ in divine worship. But the reformed deny, that they differ from the Romish church according to those articles of faith which she yet holds through apostolical tradition, or according to [that part of] worship which, being divinely prescribed, the church of Rome yet uses. Of this, proof is afforded in the following brief manner.
(1.) For in addition to her laying down the word of God as the only rule of the truth, she professes to approve, in the true and correct sense, of the articles of belief contained in the apostles' creed, as those articles have been explained by the first four general councils; she likewise professes to esteem as certain and ratified those things which the ancient church decreed against Pelagius.
(2.) Because she worships God and Christ in spirit and truth, by that method, and with those rites, which have been prescribed in the word of God. She, therefore, confesses that the separation has been made in those things which the church of Rome holds, not as she is the church of Christ, but as she is the Romish and popish church; but that the union remains in those things of Christ which she still retains.
11. With regard to the Third condition, (Thesis 4,) the reformed churches deny, that they were the first to make the secession. That this may be properly understood, since a separation consists in a variation of faith and worship, they say that the commencement of such variation may be dated from two periods.
(1.) Either from the time nearest to the apostles, nay at a period which came within the age of the apostles, when the mystery anomiav, that is. of iniquity, or rather, (if leave may be granted to invent a word still more significant,) when "the mystery of lawlessness began to work," which mystery was subsequently revealed, and which lawlessness was afterwards openly produced by "that man of sin, the son of perdition," who is on this very account called "that wicked," or "that lawless one," and is said to be "revealed." (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8.) The reformed say that the personage thus described is the Roman pontiff.
(2.) Or the commencement of this variation may be dated from the days of Wickliffe, Huss, Luther, Melanchthon, Zuinglius, OEcolampadius, Bucer and Calvin, when many congregations of men in various parts of Europe began, at first secretly, but afterwards openly, to recede from the Roman pontiff.
The reformed say, that the commencement of the detection and secession must be dated from the former of these two periods; and they confess and lament, that they were themselves, in conjunction with the modern church of Rome, guilty of a defection from the purity of the apostolic and the Roman faith, which the apostle Paul commended in the ancient church of Rome that existed in his days. The papists say that the commencement of the defection and secession must be dated from the latter period, [the days of Huss, Luther, etc,] and affirm that they are not to be accounted guilty of any defection.
12. This is the hinge of the entire controversy. Here, therefore, we must make our stand. If the reformed churches place the beginning of the defection at the true point, then their separation from the modern church of Rome is not a secession from the church of Christ, but it is the termination and completion of a separation formerly made, and merely a return and conversion to the true and pure faith, and to the sincere worship of God — that is, a return to God and Christ, and to the primitive and truly apostolical church, nay to the ancient church of Rome itself: But, on the other hand, if the beginning of the defection be correctly placed by the papists, then the reformed churches have really made a secession from the Romish church, and indeed from that church which still continues in the purity of the Christian religion. But the difference consists principally in this, that the Romish church is said to have added falsehoods to the truth, and the reformed churches are said, by the opposite party, to have detracted from the truth: this controversy, therefore, is of such a nature, that the burden of proof lies with the church of Rome as affirming, that those things of her own which she has added are true. Yet the reformed churches will not decline the province of proof, if the Romish church will permit the matter to be discussed and decided from the pure Scriptures alone. Because the church of Rome does not consent to this, but produces another unwritten word of God, she thus again imposes on herself the necessity of proving, not only that there is some unwritten word of God, but also that what she produces is the real word of God.
13. Lastly, the reformed churches say, what is contained in the fourth condition, (Thesis 4,) that they did not secede voluntarily, that is, they did not secede at their own instigation, motion, or choice, but with lingering sorrow and regret; and they ascribe the cause [of this secession] to God, and throw the blame of it upon the church of Rome herself, or first on the court of Rome and the pontiff, and then on the Romish church so far as she listens to the pontiff and the court of Rome, and is ready to perform any services for them. 1. They attribute the cause of this secession to God; because he has commanded his people to depart out of Babylon, the mother of fornications, and to keep themselves from idols. (Revelation 18:4; 1 John 5:21.) 2. They throw the blame of it on the Court or Church of Rome, which in three ways drove away the protestant churches from her communion.
(1.) By her mixture of deadly poison in the cup of religion, (Revelation 17:4,) from which she administered those dogmas that relate to faith and to the worship of God. This mixture was accompanied by a double command.
The first, a prohibitive command, that no person should draw any of the waters of the Savior from the pure fountains of Israel; the second, a preceptive, that all men should drink out of this her cup of abominations. (Revelation 13:15-17.)
(2.) By excommunication and anathemas; by the former she excluded from her communion as many persons as refused to drink the deadly poison out of the cup which she had filled with this mixture. By the latter, she devoted them to all kinds of curses and execrations, and exposed them for plunder and destruction to the maddening fury of her own satellites.
(3.) Not only by instituting tyranny and various persecutions, but also by exercising them against those who were unwilling to defile their consciences by that shameful abomination. (Revelation 17:6.) But with what lingering sorrow and regret they have departed, or, rather, have suffered themselves to be driven away, they say, they have declared by three most manifest tokens:
(1.) By serious admonitions proposed both verbally and in writing, in which they have shewn the necessity of the reformation, and the method and means of it to be a free ecclesiastical council.
(2.) By prayers and supplications, which they have employed in earnest entreaties for such an assembly, for this purpose at least — that a serious and general inquiry should be made, whether some kind of abuses and of corruption had not crept into the church, and whether they might not be corrected wherever they were discovered.
(3.) By the continued patience with which they have endured every description of tyranny, that has been exercised against them. After all this, the only result has been that the existing corruptions and abuses are confirmed and fully established by the plenary authority of the pope and of the court of Rome.
14. We have hitherto discussed this separation in reference to faith and worship. (Thesis 10.) But the reformed churches say, that they have by no means made a separation from the church of Rome in reference to charity. They invoke Christ as a witness in their consciences to the truth of this their declaration, and they think they have hitherto given sufficient proofs of it.
(1.) By the exposition of their doctrine to the whole world, both verbally and by their writings, which disclose from the word of God the errors of the Romish church, and solicitously invite to conversion, the people who remain in error.
(2.) By the prayers and groans with which they do not cease to importune the divine Majesty to deliver his miserable people from the deception and tyranny of Antichrist, and firmly to subject them to his Son, Jesus Christ.
(3.) By the friendly and mild behavior which they use towards the adherents of the popish religion, even in many of those places in which they have, themselves, the supremacy, while they neither employ force against their consciences, nor drive them by menaces to the profession of another faith or to the exercise of a different worship, but permit them, privately, at least, to offer that fealty and worship to God of which they mentally approve. Protestants use only the spiritual sword, that, after all heresy and idolatry have been destroyed, men, being saved, even in this life, with regard to their bodies, may be eternally saved to the day of the Lord. The prevention of the public assemblies of the Roman Catholics, and the compelling of them by pecuniary mulct or fines to hear the sermons of the reformed, may be managed in such a manner as will enable the latter to prove these to be offices of true charity. The reformed also say, that those things of which the papists complain, as being perpetrated with too much severity, and even with cruelty, against themselves and their children, were brought upon them either through the tumultuous and licentious conduct of the military, of which deeds they have themselves most commonly been the authors, partly by their demerits, and partly by their previous example; or they were brought upon them on account of crimes which they committed against the state or commonwealth, and not on account of religion. We conclude, therefore, that neither with respect to faith and worship, nor with respect to charity, have the reformed churches made secession from that of Rome, so far as the Romish church retains anything which is Christ's; but they rejoice and glory in the separation, so far as she is averse from Christ.
15. The second part of our proposition remains now to be considered, which stands thus: "The reformed churches have acted properly in refusing to hold and profess a communion of faith and of divine worship with the church of Rome." This may indeed be generally collected from the preceding arguments; but it must be here more specially deduced, that it may evidently appear in what things the corruption of faith and of divine worship principally consists in the church of Rome, according to the judgment of the reformed churches. The causes of this their refusal are three.
(1.) The various heresies.
(2.) The multifarious idolatry, and
(3.) The immense tyranny, which has been approved and exercised by the church of Rome.
First. We will treat of heresies, but with much brevity; because it would be a work of too much prolixity to enumerate all. The first, and one which does not dash with any single article, but which is directly opposed to the very principle of faith, is this, in which it is maintained, "That there is another word of God beside that which is recorded in the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments, and is of the same force and necessity with it, for the establishment of truth and the refutation of error." To this is added "that the word of God must be understood according to the sense of our holy mother, the church," that is, of the church of Rome. But this sense is that which the Romish church has explained, and will hereafter explain, by her old Vulgate Latin translation, by her confessions, catechisms and canons, in a way the best accommodated, for the time being, to the existing necessity or prevailing opinion. This is the first foundation of the kingdom of Antichrist, directly opposed to the first foundation of the kingdom of Christ, which is the immovable truth and perfection of the doctrine comprised, first, in the prophetical writings, and then, in those of the apostles.
16. To this we next add another heresy, which is also adverse to the principle of faith. By it the Roman pontiff is constituted the prince, the head, the husband, the universal bishop and shepherd of the whole church on earth — a personage who possesses, in the cabinet of his breast, all the knowledge of truth; and who has the perpetual assistance of the Holy Spirit, so that he cannot err in prescribing those things which concern faith and divine worship — that
"spiritual man who judgeth all men and all things, yet he himself is judged of no man," (1 Corinthians 2:15,)
to whom all the faithful in Christ must, from the necessity of salvation, be subject, and to whose decrees and commands, no less than to those of God and Christ himself, every Christian must assent and yield obedience, with simple faith and blind submission. This is the second foundation of the kingdom of Antichrist, directly opposed to the second foundation of the kingdom of Christ, which God laid down when he constituted Christ his Son, the King, the Husband, the Head, the Chief Shepherd, and the sole Master of his church.
17. Particular heresies, and such as contravene some article of faith, have reference either to the grace of God which has been bestowed upon us in Christ, or to our duty to God and Christ. Those which relate to Grace are opposed either to Christ himself and his offices, to the benefits, or to the sealing tokens of grace.
(1.) To Christ himself are opposed the transubstantiation of bread and wine into his body and blood, with which is connected the presence of the same person in many places.
(2.) To the Priestly office of Christ with respect to his Oblation, is opposed, in the first place, the sacrifice of the mass, which is erected on the same dogma of transubstantiation, and in which lies an accumulation of heresies,
(i.) That the body and blood of our Lord are said to be there offered for a sacrifice,
(ii.) To be truly and properly propitiatory,
(iii.) And yet to be bloodless, for the sins, punishments, and satisfactions not only of the living, but likewise of the dead. United with this, or standing as a foundation to it, are a purgatory, and whatever is dependent upon it,
(iv.) In the sacrifice of the mass, the body and blood of our Lord are also said to be daily offered, ten, or a hundred, or a thousand times,
(v.) By a priest, himself a sinful man,
(vi.) Who by his prayers procures for it, from God, the grace of acceptance. Heresies are likewise opposed to the priestly office of Christ with respect to his Intercession, when Mary, angels, and deceased saints are constituted mediators and intercessors, who can obtain something important, not only by their prayers, but also by their merits. The Roman Catholics sin against the kingly office of Christ, when they believe these intercessors of theirs to be the dispensers and donors of blessings.
(3.) Those heresies relating to Grace oppose themselves to the benefits of justification and sanctification.
(i.) To justification, when it is attributed at once to both faith and works. The following have the same tendency: "The good works of saints fully satisfy the law of God for the circumstances of the present life, truly merit life eternal, are a real satisfaction for temporal punishment, for every penalty, for guilt itself, and are an expiation for sins and offenses. Nay, the good works of some saints are so far supererogatory, as, when they perform more than they are bound to do, those [extra] good works are meritorious for the salvation of others. Lastly, when men by suffering render satisfaction for sins, they are made conformable to Christ Jesus, who satisfied for sins."
(ii.) They are opposed to sanctification, when they attribute to the natural man without the grace of God, preparatory works, which are grateful to God, and through congruity are meritorious of greater gifts.
(4.) They are opposed to the signs or tokens of grace in several ways: by multiplying them, by contaminating baptism with various additions, by mutilating the Lord's supper of its second part, [the cup,] and by changing it into a private mass. Those heresies which infringe upon our Duty to God and Christ as they principally relate to divine worship, and have idolatry united with them, may be appropriately referred to the second cause of the refusal of the reformed churches. (Thesis. 15.)
18. The Second Cause, we have said, is the multifarious idolatry which flourishes in the church of Rome — both that of the first kind against the first command, when that which ought not to be worshipped is made the object of worship, adoration, and invocation; and that of the second kind against the second command, when the object of worship is worshipped in an image, whether that object ought or ought not to be worshipped.
(1.) The church of Rome commits idolatry of The First, with things animate and inanimate.
(i.) With animate things — with angels, the virgin Mary, and departed saints; by founding churches to them; by erecting altars; by instituting certain religious services and rites of worship, and appointing societies of men and women by whom they may be performed, and the festival days on which they may be observed; by invoking them in their necessities; by offering to them gifts and sacrifices; by making them preside [as tutelary beings] over provinces, cities, villages, streets, and houses, also over the dispensing of certain gifts, the healing of diseases, and the removal as well as the infliction of evils; and, lastly, by swearing by their name. She also commits idolatry with the Roman pontiff himself; by ascribing to him those titles, powers, and acts which belong to Christ alone; and by asking of him those things which belong to Christ and his Spirit.
(ii.) With inanimate things — with the cross and the bread of our Lord, and with the relics of saints, whether such relics be real, or false and fictitious.
(2.) Idolatry of The Second Kind is when the papists worship God, Christ, angels, the virgin Mary and the rest of the saints in an image; and when they pay to such images honor and worship by adorning them with fine garments, gold, silver and jewels; by assigning them more elevated situations in churches and placing them upon the altars; by parading them on their shoulders through the streets; by uncovering their heads to them; by kissing them; by kneeling to them, and lastly, by invoking them, or at least by addressing invocations to them, as the power or deity who is there more immediately present. We assert that the distinction of worship into latria, supreme religious adoration, and douleia inferior worship, anduperdouleia an intermediate adoration between LATRIA and DULIA — of power, into that which is superior, and that which is subordinate, or ministerial — of the representation of anything, into that by which anything is performed to some kind of an image and a carved shape as unto God and Christ, and that by which it is performed to an image but not as unto God and Christ. These distinctions, and the dogma of transubstantiation, we assert to be mere figments, which are either not understood by the greatest portion of the worshipers, or about which they do not think when they are in the act of worship; and to contain protestations which are directly contrary to facts. This second cause is, of itself, quite sufficient to prove our thesis.
19. The Third Cause is the tyranny which the church of Rome has usurped and exercised against those who could not conscientiously assent to these heresies and approve these idolatries; and which that church will continue to exercise so long as she listens to the Roman pontiff and his court. The reformed churches very properly refuse to profess communion of faith and worship with that of Rome, because they are afraid to involve or entangle themselves in the guilt of such great wickedness, lest they should bring down upon their heads the blood of so many thousands of the saints and of the faithful martyrs of Christ, who have borne testimony to the word of the Lord, "and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:14.) For, beside the fact that such a profession would convey a sufficiently open approbation of that persecution, (especially if they did not previously deliver a protestation against it, which, however, the Roman pontiff would never admit,) even the papistical doctrine itself, with the assent of the people, establishes the punishment, by the secular arm, of those whom the church of Rome accounts as heretics; so that those who, on other points, are adherents to the doctrine of popery, if they are not zealous in their conduct against heretics, are slandered as men governed by policy, lukewarm creatures, and even receive the infamous name of atheists. I wish all kings, princes, and commonwealths, seriously to consider this, that, on this point at least, they may protest that they have seceded from the communion of the pontiff and of the court of Rome.
Besides, this exercise of tyranny is, in itself, equal to an evident token, that the Roman pontiff is that wicked servant who says in his heart, "My Lord delayeth his coming," and begins to eat and drink, and to be drunken, and to beat his fellow-servants. (Luke 12:45.)