Works IV, pp. 484-485.
The end of popery is to pull down the kingdom of Christ and to disannul His laws, as will appear by a short view in every commandment. And therefore it cannot be the true religion.
The first commandment teaches us to choose and acknowledge the true God for our God alone. But the Church of Rome teaches to make more gods than one and to acknowledge the creature to be god; for by their doctrine men are to pray unto saints, whereby they make them gods in giving this divine property unto them to know the heart. Their doctrine also ascribes unto saints power to merit, which is a property of God; for none can merit but He that is God. The human nature of Christ could not have merited anything unless it had been joined to the Godhead. Yea, they make the wood of the cross to be god, for in their mass book at this day they call (not Christ crucified on the cross) but the very cross itself “our only hope.” Yea, the Virgin Mary, who is but a creature, they place as queen in heaven, giving her power over Christ to command Him in the matter of salvation; and so they disannul the first commandment.
They revoke the second commandment by teaching it to be lawful to make images of the Trinity according as they show themselves in the Old and New Testaments: the Father like an old man, the Son as He lived, and the Holy Ghost like a dove—and therein to worship them. Again, they teach that men may adore the images of saints, which is flat against that commandment.
They disannul the third commandment by teaching it to be lawful to swear by saints and not by God only. They disannul the fourth by making the festival days of saints equal with the Lord’s Sabbath and to be kept holy unto God as solemnly as the Lord’s Day, whereby also they take away the liberty of the church in the lawful use of the six days for honest labor in a man’s calling. They disannul the fifth by giving freedom and immunity to their clergy from subjection to civil authority and in dispensing with subjects for their loyalty and allegiance to their lawful princes and with children and servants from yielding due help, service, and obedience to their parents and masters. They disannul the sixth by their houses of refuge, which they call “sanctuary,” wherein murderers may be in safety, and by maintaining ignorance in religion through which they murder many a simple soul.
They disannul the seventh commandment by tolerating stews [brothels] and allowing incest, for by their law it is lawful for the great uncle to marry his niece, descending from his brother or sister, so it is without the fourth degree, which is against nature. They disannul the eighth by making sale of all things, of heaven, hell, earth, of pardons, and delivering men from purgatory, which is flat robbery, and most gross deceit and cousenage [fraud]. They disannul the ninth by falsifying the canon of Scripture, for they make that canonical which is no Scripture. And besides in their doctrine practical they defend a lie; for when a man has confessed his sins to the priest, if the magistrate asks the priest what sins the man confessed, they teach the priest to say, “I know not”—that is (say they), “to tell it to you,” which is a flat lie. And whereas they would defend this by an exposition of Christ’s words, when He says, “The day of judgment is not known to the Son of man” (Mark 13:32)—that is (say they), to reveal it unto others—they do but deceive the simple by an exposition which is not fit. They disannul the last commandment by holding concupiscence before consent to be no sin, when as we know by God’s Word that the first evil motions in us are sins.
So that hereby we may see that popery is but a false religion, though it has falsely among our common people the name of “the old religion.” And therefore we must abhor the same as ungodly.
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