Second Address to his Roman Catholic brethren

by a minister of the Gospel.

J. N. Darby.

<18002E> 11

Men and brethren,

I consider often within myself, when I write these things to you, what motive have I for doing it? And if you can find any but love to Christ and your souls, that, by the truth, coming to Christ, you may find the holy liberty of Christian obedience, then blame me. I consider further — Is the way in which I do it according to the will of God and the Spirit of Jesus Christ? If you can shew me that in any thing it is not, I will acknowledge it with sorrow.

In my intercourse with you I am conscious of no fault, unless it be not having spoken the truth to you in love sooner: I pray you to forgive me this. I will endeavour to repair it towards you.

Yet is it in no righteousness of my own, brethren, I am, or seek to be justified, but in the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ. I know that some of you count me to have turned your enemy, because I tell you the truth — shew me wherein. It is because I love you and would have you to know the blessings of Christ's grace, that I am willing to sacrifice my good name amongst you, that I may win your souls for Christ. That is my whole and sole desire: my allegiance is to Christ; the rule of my faith, the word of the living God. My object is in no way to gain proselytes to any outward human system, but to bring you (if God will please to accept and bless my humble endeavour), in the acknowledgment of sin, to the truth of God, and the pure faith of the gospel, your souls to a hearty confession of it unto salvation, and your lives unto the way of His will, and the rejection of every thing that is contrary to it.

Here, brethren, I find the rest of my own soul, which was once as far from God and consequently without hope as any of you, till I found the good Shepherd, Christ Jesus, who gave His life for the sheep, and has gathered me, as I trust undoubtingly, into His fold, and whose best and proper mercy and grace I count it, till He gather me to Himself, or rather while we wait for His appearing, to be the humble instrument of gathering others into the same place of security and blessing.

12 I am led to some of these remarks by the little book called "Reasons which Roman Catholics offer why they cannot conform to the Protestant religion." I shall make some observations on these, in the hope that they may lead you to inquire diligently on what ground the hope of your souls rests. One reason given is the impossibility of the church of Christ erring from the true faith; and I know this weighs much with many sincere persons amongst you. Now brethren, I freely admit this; for rightly understood as to the true church, it is a self-evident truth; for this reason, that where there is no true faith, there could be no church, for the church thus understood is properly an assembly of believers, that is, of people that have a true faith. And I further freely admit, as the promise on which my souls rests, that from Christ's first coming in the flesh, till His second coming in His glory, there undoubtedly has been and will be such a company of believers; and this company of believers are all witnesses to the faith, and maintain in and to the world the profession of faith, and thus the honour of the Redeemer's name. And this is what Paul means by the church of God being the pillar and ground of the faith. And my assurance of this, which makes me full of joy and gratitude, is rested on the promise of God in His word (and its actual fulfilment at this day), and, amongst others, on the very texts given in the little book I have mentioned: so that they are proving what I joyfully confess and praise God for. And more, brethren, I say that it is the church of Christ who have the only hope of salvation; so that this is not the question between us at all. The question is, who is able to say that he is in that church, and keeping the sayings of the great Head of it? So that they should shew, which they do not, and it is absolutely impossible that they should do, that the church of Rome, and none else, is the church of Christ. On the contrary, brethren, I affirm, and I call upon you to search the scriptures whether it be so or not, that every true believer is a member of Christ, that is, one of His true church; as the Lord Christ says Himself, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman."*

{*John 15:1. [This use of the text the author would no doubt correct now; as the branches in the vine do not mean members of Christ's body however truly most of these branches became so. — Ed.]}

And here I think I am bound to notice an argument which is given publicly amongst you, and which I heard also from one of yourselves, and that is this — "If you say that every one that is a true believer in Christ will be saved, why may I not stay in the church of Rome and still be saved by being a true believer; especially as your divines say that a man can be saved as a Roman Catholic, and we say that he cannot be safe as a Protestant?"

13 Now I must say, that this is not the objection of one that fears God, for such an one seeks with a willing heart what the whole will of God is; and does not say, if I am safe here, why should I not stay? And, brethren, I should have awful fears for the safety of a soul that should wilfully use this argument at all, instead of seeking to follow Christ with all his heart, in whatever He shewed him to do. It is the spirit of a true believer to say, "Lo, we have left all and followed thee";* so that a person cannot be safe wilfully continuing in that which is contrary to the truth and will of God, for every true believer takes the will of God as the rule of all he does. Hence if a man continues in what he sees to be contrary to it, he is not a true believer. And I honestly confess to you, that this seems to me not only an unsound but a very wicked argument.

{*Luke 18:28.}

The reason then, why it does behove men to separate themselves from the communion of the church of Rome, is this one, given by our Lord Himself, that they make the word of God void, and that their worship is vain, because they teach for doctrines the commandments of men.* You say you hold the fundamentals; if you do, this proves nothing, for, as James says, "The devils believe and tremble."** The question in which your souls are concerned is — Have you believed the gospel of the Son of God with the heart unto righteousness?***

{*Matthew 15:6.}

{**James 2:19.}

{***A true believer is a person who, by the power of God's Spirit, has been brought to accept the offer of divine grace in Christ Jesus, and to rest the hope of his soul in His death and mediation, in the sense of his own sin and of Christ's all-sufficiency; and a person cannot rest the hope of his soul on this, and at the same time trust in other things, as the Virgin Mary, Penance, Absolution, the Mass, being of the Roman Catholic Church, and the like, resting the hope of his soul in them.}

But our Lord declares that there is such a thing as making void the commandments of God by traditions: it was this very thing that our Lord charged upon the Jewish teachers. You boast in traditions: should not this sentence of our Lord's teach you to reflect on such a boast? And accordingly, what is looked for from a Roman Catholic who desires to become a Protestant is to renounce those doctrines and commandments which have no warrant in the word of God, avowing his faith in that which is found there, and to receive the word of God as the warrant of his faith, and Christ Himself as the only hope of his soul. And the name of "Protestant" was received from protesting against practices contrary to His will and goodness — against laying on men's consciences the burthen of things which God had not laid, and thereby keeping them from the knowledge of the exceeding riches of God's grace in His kindness towards us by Christ Jesus, and thus making Him seem to men a hard Master, instead of a tender Father to those that believe in Him. As the scripture says, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you."* Again, "Every word of God is pure. He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."**

{*Deuteronomy 4:2.}

{**Proverbs 30:5, 6.}

14 They teach things, brethren, which have no warrant in the word of God, and (by offering remedies for sin which God has not offered, and therefore will not accept) prevent men from being led to true repentance and faith in Christ Jesus for remission of sins and salvation, which is expressly offered by God as the remedy for sin, and the only one. There is therefore in the present doctrines of the church of Rome no real remission of sins at all; and not only so, but it is expressly denied. And they say that the doctrine which God has set forth in His word about it tends — dreadful thought — to sin! The doctrines they teach, and the character they assume — I speak it, brethren, with deep sorrow — directly dishonour the Lord that bought us with the price of His own most precious blood, by assuming to themselves the honour and authority which belong to Him alone, whose glory is the believer's satisfaction.

They teach and command things which have not only no warrant, but are in truth contrary to the word of God.

You who have ears to hear are called upon by the voice of the Lord's love to separate yourselves from them, that you may find the true grace and truth of the gospel for your soul, and lest the judgment and plagues which will come upon them for these things should find you amongst them, and fall upon you also.

15 Brethren, I presume not to say when that hour of judgment will come. It will come suddenly and with terror upon those who have lived carelessly and at ease, saying, We shall see no sorrow, we are safe. But I could, brethren, earnestly desire to see you, having believed the testimony of God, watching as men prepared for your Lord, as those that are of the day, so that it should not come upon you unawares, but "when these things begin to come to pass," you may be among those who shall "lift up their heads, because their redemption draweth nigh"; who have put their trust in Christ, and the promises of God in Him, so that, when He appears, ye may rejoice before Him with exceeding joy. Oh! how differently will that man feel, who has trusted in His word and promise and acted upon faith in Him alone, when He shall appear, from one, who not relying upon His word that He would save all that trust in Him, has trusted n his own works, has put his hope in man and man's word and man's work.

Look unto Him, I beseech you, that cares for your souls, while He calls, "Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found, and call upon him while he is nigh. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."* And if it bring reproach upon you, and trouble, dearest brethren, and they cast out your name as evil, is not this very thing rather a mark of truth? "For all," says the apostle, "that will live godly in Christ Jesus, will suffer persecution":** nay, as our Lord Himself said, "Rejoice and be exceeding glad [that is if ye suffer as witnesses of God's truth], for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."*** And when Paul went round the churches he had planted among the Gentiles, he went "confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."****

{*Isaiah 55:6, 7.}

{**2 Timothy 3:12.}

{***Matthew 5:12.}

{****Acts 14:22.}

I say, then, that the whole hope of the gospel is denied by the doctrines of the Church of Rome — I mean the free, full, entire redemption purchased for us by the blood-shedding of Christ, and laid hold on by faith; that consequently there is no saving faith amongst you at all; and this is why I am in earnest in speaking to you on the subject. I own to you, brethren, that though I was firmly convinced that you were utterly in the wrong in every point in which I was acquainted with the differences between us, I never felt the deep necessity that now lay upon you of coming to Christ out of the system of popery, as I do now. I entreat every one, with my whole soul, who loves our Lord Jesus Christ and His honour, to come out from among them and be separate. I would lead you to the discovery that you have not Christ amongst you, and that you are given "another gospel" than that which the Lord and the apostles preached, "which is not another, but there are some that trouble you, subverting your souls"; but the Lord will judge them in His own time, when He hath gathered His own sheep. I know not, brethren, the hour when the Lord will call me, and I solemnly assure you, that you will find in Christ, and in Christ alone, by faith in Him, that which your priests falsely pretend to give you, and yet which none of you have — the solid comfort of Christ's gospel. I ask you if you have, yourselves; and I tell you it is expressly promised in God's word, and the power of it is brought to a believer's soul by the Spirit promised to them that believe in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. Why will they not even let you read it?

16 Brethren, they keep you in bondage, because you know not the glorious promises of the Father of mercies; and they are enemies, and try to make you enemies, of all that have them. But the voice of the gospel is gone abroad, and His sheep will hear it; yes, brethren, salvation by the blood of the Lamb of God, free, undeserved — reconciliation to God by the death of His own Son, come amongst us in the flesh to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, is proclaimed, and He will see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. His own word shall not fail: "I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me." Will you count yourselves unworthy of eternal life? Hear, I beseech you, brethren, and save yourselves from this untoward generation, who hate and oppose the knowledge of Christ by the gospel. Ask any real believer, of any denomination, of the Established Church, of the Presbyterians, of the Independents, or by whatever name they may be called; and see if they do not agree in the faith, that "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin"; but why do I say, ask a real believer? — Ask the word of God, in which they find the promises on which their faith is founded. What infatuation is it of your priests, under the name of Christianity, to deny all the efficacy of God's promises in the gospel! — the cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ, and the renewing, enlightening power of the Holy Ghost, and to lead you — to what? To that which is not to be found in His word, and has no warrant but the word of men like yourselves. If they can shew any authority for it, it were all well; but they shew none but of men like themselves, or perhaps none at all; and they will not suffer you to have God's word to see if it be there or not. Oh! they are heaping up wrath against the day of wrath in a way they little know. They say you cannot understand it, and yet the Lord says, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."* And He declares that He Himself was anointed to preach the gospel to the poor; and who were His disciples? Were they rich or poor? They were fishermen; and I tell you why they understood it — they were taught of God: as it is written, "They shall be all taught of God: whosoever, therefore, hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."** The Jews of that day said they were the only children of God, and yet those only who left them and came to Jesus were saved from the judgment that came on their nation.

{*Luke 10:21}

{**John 6:45.}

17 Brethren, the Lord Jesus is not now amongst us in the flesh, but the scriptures of God declare the truth and power of His coming in the flesh; and they keep these from you. They hide the glory of His free and glorious salvation to the utmost of their power; and when those actuated by the Spirit of truth would declare it to you in love, and appeal to these scriptures, they do all they can to prevent your hearing the one or searching the other. Why could not you understand when you read it by the teaching of God, as well as the poor of that day, when they heard it by the teaching of God? Is God less powerful, or less near us than He was? and so far from saying that the Jews could not understand the scriptures, He says the greatest of all wonders would fail of convincing them if the scriptures did. "If they hear not Moses and the prophets" — that is, the scriptures of the Old Testament, which was what the Jews had — "neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."*

{*Luke 16:31.}

18 Hear too what Paul says — "it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For the Jews require a sign" — as your teachers ask for miracles — "and the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God"* — them which are called, brethren, when the power of Christ's voice reaches the heart so that it feels the call. The gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is proclaimed to you. Some are daily hearing the voice of the good Shepherd: who among you will follow Him, and who will count Himself unworthy of eternal life? "By me [He says] if any man enter in, he shall go in and out and find pasture; and I will give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no man shall be able to pluck them out of his hand."** Mark "by Me," as He says, "Come unto me."*** We preach to you Christ, brethren — Christ crucified, the good Shepherd laying down His life for the sheep — we preach Christ all in all, as Paul preached Him. What will they add to Him? Can the offerings of men, or the works of men, add to Christ? Or has He laid down His life in vain, and done half His work? You say you believe in Christ; yet those that lead you deny His work, the power and efficacy of His blood to cleanse from all sin! What! I repeat it, brethren, the blood of the only-begotten Son of God, come in the flesh for our sakes, be insufficient, and your priests can do what He cannot! Oh! here is the iniquity of these men keeping the sheep of the great Shepherd from the comfort of His love.

{*1 Corinthians 1:19, 20, 22, 24.}

{**John 10:1-15, 27-30.}

{***Matthew 11:28.}

I will copy for you a passage in the scripture, which declares His saving love in His own words — "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep: to him the porter openeth, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out; and when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice; and a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers." "Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep: all that ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine: as the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep." Again, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one."

19 Oh! brethren, dearly beloved, I pour out my heart to God for you, and I know that He hears my prayer; and herein I find comfort in the thought of declaring these things to you, that you should be gathered unto Him. Brethren, there is not one doctrine of those which are peculiar to yourselves, on which you are taught to depend for your souls for present grace or future glory, that has the least warrant of God's word; and, moreover, there is not one of them which is not the invention of Satan, to hinder your souls from coming to Christ. Ask those who have had their eyes opened by reading the scriptures, whether they found them there, or free salvation by Christ? Nay, read rather yourselves, dear brethren, and see: and oh! when you see, confess Him with your mouth unto salvation, for His own love's sake, for the sake of your brethren who may be still in darkness, and as you would find mercy yourselves in that day.

20 I shall go on to mention some things, not for their own sake, but because they use them to keep you in darkness.

They tell you Luther was a bad man. How does that change the truth of the gospel? I firmly believe I shall meet Luther in heaven through the free grace of God: but, brethren, did he tell the great truths of the gospel, which had been hidden or corrupted? But though I have not the least doubt that his name was written in heaven, our faith is in no way founded in him but in scripture, where his was in all its main points founded; and the reading of which made him, by the teaching of God, wise unto salvation, as they will every one partaker of the same grace, and that by leading him to that entire and unmixed dependence upon Christ, which can alone give peace to the soul. "Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you"; even the full treasure of the unsearchable riches of Christ, freely, "without money and without price," as says the word of the Lord: "Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why spend ye your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not?"*

{*Isaiah 55:1, 2.}

Brethren, I had thought of some arguments as to this matter, but I will not lead your souls from the word of the living God the Saviour to human arguments. I pledge myself to satisfy, out of the word of God, every one who in sincerity of heart will take the word of God for his authority: and, brethren, will you dare to deny the authority of the word of God? Your teachers wickedly say, that Luther held communion with Satan. Tempted by Satan, no doubt, he was; but you know, brethren, this is the lot of every man, as it was, for our sakes, of the sinless Son of man Himself. For the rest neither you nor I are his judge: and more, if they loved the truth, they would not, if there were faults in the teachers of it, seek to overthrow the truth by means of those faults: if they loved God's word, they would not defame the instruments by which God has made it known. And, I must add, brethren, that denouncing the enemies of God's truth and righteousness where they shew themselves such, in a spirit of zealous faith, is not contrary to Christian faith.

Luther honoured the truth and loved it, and we love him because he loved it and the Author and Giver of it — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and we are thankful to God on his account.* He was a man, and we accordingly reject everything he held which we do not find according to the truth of God: acting according to the direction of the apostle, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."** And so far from asking you to believe Luther, we entreat you to trust in no man implicitly. And it was to the scriptures Luther and his companions appealed, and to which we appeal, and by which God will judge all at the last day. If you accept grace, He will deal with you accordingly; you will be freely forgiven; your sins blotted out and remembered no more; and you will find, what you have trusted in, that God is love. If you will persist in seeking to be saved by your works, God will judge you accordingly, and you will be found wanting in that day; for "in his sight shall no man living be justified."* But it was not flesh and blood, much less the enemy of all truth, that made Luther cleave to and preach the scriptures of truth. And if you read them, you will find so, to your soul's everlasting comfort. Or if the gospel of eternal love and the truth in them be hid, when they are brought before you, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the God of this world hath blinded the hearts of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into them.

{*It is evident from the life and writings of Luther, that he was a man of God — a man who studied the word of God deeply, and a man of much prayer, and the honoured instrument of breaking the chains of darkness over a great part of Europe and the world — chains in which his enemies would, if possible, still keep men. And the more I inquire into this point, the more I see the malignancy and wicked-heartedness of what they say of Luther.}

{**1 Thessalonians 5:21.

{***Romans 3:20.}

21 Moreover, brethren, Luther was not alone, but it pleased the God of all grace to raise up, in order to give to the world the fullest testimony that it was His own work, at the very same time, at a distant place, the monastery of Einsiedeln, a member of that monastery, named Zwingle, to preach the truths of the gospel, and protest against the wickedness of the pope and practices of Rome. And God was pleased so to order it, that these two men, Zwingle and Luther, were never united in sentiment to the day of their death. And so far was Luther from agreeing with Zwingle in his opinion on one point, that he was so angry with him about it that he would never join churches with him. And the truth is, that it rather seems that Zwingle began to preach the gospel before Luther. The cause of the Reformation was God's mercy and grace, the time for which was now fully come. The occasion of it, under God's providence was this: Pope Leo the tenth wanted to finish a very splendid church in Rome, commonly called St. Peter's; and in order to raise money for it, he set indulgences for sin to sale without limit. And this it was which made Luther and Zwingle both at the same time begin to protest against the conduct of the church: though Luther at first did not charge the pope with it, but only preached against the indulgences. When they tried to silence him, he went on to search the scriptures in order to defend himself, and find out where the truth of the matter lay; and there he found that the papacy of Rome had no foundation for its assumed authority, and afterwards he was persuaded that it was indeed that Babylon which it is expressly foretold should rise in the Christian church, and corrupt everything herself, and persecute all faithful witnesses to God's truth. Would to God, brethren, and it is my earnest prayer and trust, that many amongst you may be led by the same means of searching the scriptures to discover the same truths; and above all, that your souls may find their way by the teaching of God's Spirit, by the means of God's word, to the full power of eternal life and unfeigned holiness of heart and life through the knowledge of Jesus Christ therein revealed; that you may enter with unmixed joy into the presence of your God.

22 I have added, brethren, a few distinct texts, which shew in direct terms the falseness of the doctrines on which you have been taught to depend. They do not deny that the scriptures are the word of God. And then judge you, whether those men are to be trusted who teach those things, and keep the scriptures from you, which they must own to be true.

They say that men who are forgiven their sins must nevertheless pass through the fire of purgatory, in order to be cleansed from them.

The scripture says, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin."*

{*1 John 1:7.}

They say that men ought to address she Virgin Mary and the saints as mediators.

23 The scripture says, "There is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."*

{*1 Timothy 2:5.}

They say that the mass is a propitiatory sacrifice, an offering or oblation for the sins of the quick and the dead.

The scriptures say, that "by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" — that remission of sins is obtained by the new covenant in His blood; and that "where remission of these is, there is no more an offering [or oblation] for sin."*

{*Hebrews 10:14, 18.}

They say that salvation is obtained by men's works.

The scriptures say, "By grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."*

{*Ephesians 2:8, 9.}

I take notice of these here (not to enter further upon them as points of controversy; and indeed where the scripture has plainly spoken on a subject, I do not see what room there is for controversy), but to lead you to this point: the priests would have you trust blindly in them; at the same time they cannot deny that the scriptures — take your own Douay, I am content — are the word of the living God. Now I ask you, Do they not teach you the things I have mentioned? and are not the scriptures, your own scriptures, flat contrary? How can you give the salvation of your souls into the hands of men who acknowledge the scriptures to be the word of God, and yet teach things flatly against them?

But not to shew you error merely, and what you have reason to distrust, but to set before you truths upon which your souls may rest, if God shall give mercy to you that this may reach you, and open your hearts to the acknowledging the truth, I add —

24 Christ, and Christ alone, is the true sacrifice.

Christ, and Christ alone, is the great High Priest.

Christ, and Christ alone, is the mediator between God and man.

Christ, and Christ alone, is our righteousness in the sight of God.

Christ, and Christ alone, is our perfect pattern.

Christ, and Christ alone, is the great Head of the church, and the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

Christ, and Christ alone, is the true vine, in which every branch finds life; while every believer incorporated into His mystical body by faith* and baptism thus by the communion of His Spirit becomes one with Him, and, partaking of His fulness according to the measure of the gift of God, fulfils in his sphere the same offices which He fills as the first-born amongst many brethren, ministering to the completeness and perfection of His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.

{*[The author would now say, no doubt, by the baptism of the Spirit. — Ed.]}

Brethren, the scriptures contain all things necessary to your salvation, because they reveal the fulness of Christ Jesus, "God manifest in the flesh."

The Apostle Paul says, "By grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast; for we are God's workmanship, created again in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."*

{*Ephesians 2:8-10.}

What we want then is to know the way of salvation, and how to be perfected in good works, in which believers walk.

Both are found in Christ by faith: He is our Saviour and our pattern.

Both are revealed in the scriptures, as to which Paul says to Timothy, "From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus." "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."*

{*2 Timothy 3:15-17.}

Further, brethren, that the minds of any of you who love the truth may be undeceived, I add some further points.

First — You rely upon being catholic. Catholic means (as your catechism, I believe, tells you) universal, and that it is universal in different ways.

Brethren, the fact is, the Church of Rome is universal in none, except by the antichristian assumption by the pope of what belongs to Christ alone. A large portion of professing Christians have no communion with the Church of Rome, and have never, at any period, admitted its supremacy. Its faith is not universal; it totally differs from, and is opposed to, "the faith once delivered to the saints"; and for this we appeal to the scriptures, which they cannot deny contain that faith.

25 Not only, brethren, are they opposed to the scriptures, but the articles which we renounce have been added to the creed, in express defiance of the authority of the primitive church itself. In the year 449 the third General Council, which sat at Ephesus to maintain the truth against heresies, expressly decreed that no innovation should be made on the creed then settled. In the eighth century after Christ, Pope Leo the third wrote to his Legate (who was attending assemblies of German and French bishops), in answer to an enquiry from him, stating, that no addition should be permitted to be made in the creed, which the French and German bishops were thinking of making; and he set up, out of the archives at Rome, silver tablets in St. Peter's and St. Paul's, with the creed engraved on them, as a memorial of what it was then, for the very purpose that nothing should be changed or added. This happened a thousand years ago. Now the great difference between the Greek Church (which denies the supremacy of Rome, and is separated from it) and the Roman (which calls itself catholic) is the addition which this tablet was put up to prevent, and which the Greeks have not agreed to the insertion of. And most of the great points in which we, who deny both the catholicity and the supremacy of the church of Rome, differ from you, are, twelve new points added at the time of the Reformation to the creed by Pope Pius the fourth and the Council of Trent. So that, far from their being catholic in point of faith, we are sanctioned in our separation from them, not only by the scriptures, which these new doctrines of theirs are quite contrary to, but they are, in adding them to the creed and attempting to impose them on us, expressly condemned by a General Council, which they receive and declare to be of divine authority, which sat fourteen hundred years ago. And the Greek Church, which they also condemn as schismatic is, to say the least, justified in its separation by the authority of one of their own popes who took the pains of fixing up a silver tablet to prevent that which after popes did or acquiesced in. So utterly unfounded are they in the pretensions which they set up in order to keep you in bondage.

And this fact is as strong against their pretence of infallibility as catholicity; for we have the church four or five hundred years after Christ, expressly decreeing that no article shall be added; and we have those who call themselves the church, fifteen or sixteen hundred years after Christ, adding twelve articles as matters of faith, and rejecting all who deny them. Was the church in the first ages, or the church of Rome at the Reformation in the right? or how can that be infallible which contradicts itself? But the true catholic church, brethren, that seed of God, which shall indeed never fail, the body of Christ, the real communion of saints, the one holy catholic and apostolic church, subsists in the company of true believers, in every age united to the great Head, Christ Jesus, by His Spirit dwelling in them, and incorporating them into His mystical body. And while the power of the Lord lasts, even to the end of the world, while the influences of the divine Spirit shew to souls His glory in hope, so long will there be a church upon earth. But to say that this is any particular communion or body of professing Christians (and that too without inquiring whether they hold the faith once delivered to the saints) is nothing else but the spirit of Antichrist.

26 And now, brethren, see what sort of arguments they use to keep you still in bondage.

Luther did not give scriptural advice in some instances; therefore do not you read the scriptures, which would have hindered him giving the advice if he had read them properly. Is that sound reason?

Again, King Henry the Eighth was a bad man, and acted contrary to good morals: therefore do not read those scriptures which condemn his immorality. What reason is there in such an argument as that? Do we say that all Protestants are good men, or under the vital influence of the Spirit of God? Alas! no, brethren; but we do say, that they have the truth and faith and kingdom of God amongst them. But the fact is, Henry the Eighth, though he was an instrument in the hand of God to overthrow popery in England, never, I believe even to the time of his death, cordially submitted to protestant truth,* and during some part of his life burnt people for believing it, even after he had thrown off popery. For Henry the Eighth, although we leave him to God's final judgment, was corrupted by power and wealth and pleasure, so as to love his own will rather than popery or Protestantism; and the fact is, we have nothing to do with him, nor will his crimes be any answer for your souls in the day of judgment.

{*In proof of this, he left £600 a year to Windsor church to have masses said for his soul, principally, among other religious services.}

27 The point, brethren, is this — there are certain doctrines in which the faith and hopes of a professor of the Christian religion are deeply concerned. You are told you ought to believe these doctrines. We say there is no foundation for them, and not only so, but that the belief in them precludes the faith by which we find the power and comfort of the gospel of the Son of God come in the flesh; and we appeal to the scriptures, confessed by all to be inspired, and given to us by God for our edification in the truth, written by apostles and evangelists commissioned by God, so that they might say, and none could deny, "he that is of God heareth us." And we declare to you as honest men, that a person reading them with the assistance of God's grace will find none of these doctrines in them, but what is entirely inconsistent with them, and your teachers, while they dare not deny that the scriptures do contain the truth of God, will not let you read them to see whether these things be so, as we say: while we know that the Bereans are expressly commended for so doing: "they were more noble, searching the scriptures daily whether those things were so."*

{*Acts 17:11.}

Another common difficulty in the mind of a person beginning to see the truth of God, amongst you, is — this Protestant faith is a new faith; or, as they are accustomed to say, it came fifteen hundred years too late. I mention these arguments as things which might hinder a sincere soul from receiving the truth. They will tell you, the first religion must be the right one. Undoubtedly, brethren, it must. The first religion must be the right one, and the only one, not because it is the first, but as coming from the Lord. And that is exactly the ground we go upon. And it must be so for this reason, that that is the true religion which came from God Himself. In a word, the only true religion is that which was "once delivered to the saints," which came from the lips of Christ and His apostles — so much so indeed that Paul is bold to say, that he wished they were cut off that troubled the Galatians, perverting the gospel of Christ. "But," says he, "though we, or an angel from God, should preach to you any other gospel than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel than that ye have received, let him be accursed."*

{*Galatians 1:8, 9.}

28 And now brethren, where will you find the first religion? Hear Paul — "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son":* and then, after declaring the glory of the Son of God, he goes on, "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him, God also bearing them witness both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?" Heb. 2:1-4.

{*Hebrews 1:1, 2.}

So that we may put the case thus: we agree that the first doctrines are the true ones, as coming from Christ and the inspired apostles: the question is, how we are to find what they are? You take it at the priest's word, who comes eighteen hundred years after them. We appeal to the scriptures, which record Christ's sayings, as none of you deny, and contain the apostles' writings, as none of you deny: is not this a good way of finding out what that first religion was which they taught? And not only do we shew that we use the right way to follow the first religion, which I agree we are bound to do; but we shew you as a matter of direct history, that they have added twelve articles to the creed which was in use in the primitive or old church, and which is commonly called the Nicene creed. I take for granted you know the creed. Now will you tell me what there is in that about the Virgin Mary, or that the saints are mediators? Ought not this to make you doubt whether you are not misled in being made to believe things which are not in the creed, when they refuse you the scriptures to see if they are there; and when, too, a General Council prohibited any new creed to be made, beside what is called the Nicene creed?

There is one thing more, brethren (which I should never mention; I should in truth be ashamed to mention it, but that it is commonly said amongst you) that is, that Peter stands at the gate of heaven with the keys, and lets in the Romanists as belonging to the true church, and keeps out other people. Now, brethren, you will not deny that, as Paul says, "we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."* Keep this in mind: good and bad, we are all to stand at the judgment-seat of Christ. Now this is quite out of the question if that be true about Peter; for, according to that, they will never get to the judgment-seat of Christ, or perhaps you will say it is after they have been judged. But then Peter need not be there at all, for those that the Lord rejects He sends away to hell: as it is written, "Depart ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. **

{*2 Corinthians 5:10.}

{**Matthew 25:41.}

29 Brethren, I have spoken of these things for your soul's sake, With sorrow of heart. We are all sinners, and under just judgment in the sight of a holy God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; nor Can there be any sound real hope to see His face, unless We are cleansed from all sin. It is the very truth and purpose of the gospel to assure us, that there is perfect and entire remission of them in Christ Jesus, for those that believe in Him, and that His blood cleanses from all sin; and also this further blessing to those who by the work of His grace have been brought to desire holiness, that He "Will put his law into our hearts, and write it in our minds." Instead of saying to us, "If you do not do so and so, to keep my law, you will be condemned"; He says, "I have mercy upon you; I will put the love of my law in your hearts; I will give you a new heart; and your sins and iniquities I will remember no more."*: This is what God has said, brethren, and why should you not believe Him? Oh! comfort to a soul weary in itself, to a heavy burdened conscience, to hear the Lord from heaven saying, "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And again, "Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more." Think of this.

Yours with many prayers,

J. N. DARBY.

{*Hebrews 10:16, 17.}