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those in authority therewith, together with them she sent for the chiefest of the Monks, and propounded to them the question concerning the restoring of images; whom when she found all inen for the purpose, yea, very eager in the business, she called a synod," whereby idolatry was again publicly erected in the Greek Church, 120 years after it first began to be purged thereof by Leo Isaurus, the Emperor.
For the idolatry of the mass-God, which was not in use, at the soonest, till a thousand years after Christ, (when the opinion of transubstantiation had gotten sufficient strength,) we shall not need trouble ourselves much, to shew that Monks and Friars were the authors and advancers thereof, since by that time these kind of men were become the only masters of divinity ; and, therefore, we need not doubt but what was then broached in the Church came out of their shops. Judge, now, by what you have heard, how truly this prophecy of St. Paul is fulfilled, who told us that THE DOCTRINES OF DEMONS should be brought into the Church,* THROUGH THE HYPOCRISY OF THOSE WHO FORBID TO MARRY, AND COMMAND TO ABSTAIN FROM MEATS. siderio teneri, atque animo excruciari propter religionis in hac re mutationem, postulat ut se etiam patrum authoritatibus ad veritatem confirmarent quas variis in libris invenissent; mandavitque quo in loco Palatii præfinito Cætus Ecclesiasticus universus cogeretur, et ad populum ea de re verba faceret.
* Εν υποκρισει κωλυοντων γαμειν, και απεχεσθαι βρωματων.
BY THE REV. JOSEPH MEDE.
BUT THERE WERE FALSE PROPHETS ALSO AMONGST THE
PEOPLE, EVEN AS THERE SHALL BE FALSE TEACHERS
TION.—2 Peter ii. 1. MANY are the prophecies in Scripture wherein the Holy Ghost forewarns us of a great and solemn defection and corruption of faith, which should one day overspread the visible face of the Catholic Church of Christ, and eclipse the light of Christian verity and belief. St. Paul (2 Thess. ii. 3,) foretels us, that there should be an APOSTASY,or falling away of Christians, and the man of sin be revealed before the coming of the day of the Lord. The same Apostle (1 Tim. iv. 1.) tells us, that though the great mystery of Godliness (spoken of chap iii. 16, were then preached among the Gentiles, and believed on in the world ; yet the spirit spake expressly, that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils (or demons.) St. John tells us, (Rev. xvii. 5.) that the Christian Rome, the spouse of Christ should become a BABYLONISH STRUMPET and the mother of the fornications and abominations of the earth.
At the same mark aimeth this prophecy of my text, though perhaps less taken notice of than the rest : the evidence whereof I hope you will confess with me, when I have unfolded the same.
Understand, therefore, that the words I have read are a prediction of a corruption of faith which should one day surprise and overcloud the visible Church, or that company of men upon whom the name of Christ was called, and who outwardly professed him to be their Lord and Redeemer. This corruption is here set-first, generally, both for the matter and the manner: for the matter, “there shall be false teachers among you, who shall bring in damnable heresies ;” for the manner, it should be done privily, “who privily shall bring in damnable heresies." Secondly, the Apostle also specially informs us of what kind and sort these damnable heresies should be, that so we might not only know that heresies should be, but be forewarned, also, what they should be; and that by a double mark and description. For first, they should be like unto those which we read have befallen the people and Church of Israel : “there were false prophets, also, among the people; (i. e. the Jews,) even as there shall be false teachers among you.” The second mark is, that these heresies should be of such a kind, as that men who openly professed themselves Christians and servants of Christ should yet deny Christ to be their Lord and Master; for, saith our Apostle, “they shall deny the Lord that bought them"- that is, professing themselves to be of that number of men whom Christ had purchased with his blood, or the bought servants of Christ, they should nevertheless deny their Lord who bought them. The last thing he tells us is, the doom which should befall such as had interest in these heresies ; "they should bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
To begin with the general description of the matter“ there shall be false teachers among you,” which shall bring in damnable heresies. The time should be when the Doctors of the Church should teach falsely, and the people with them believe damnably. For we must understand that these false teachers should not be a few, only here and there one; nor these heresies scattered only in some few places, but that this corruption was to