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§  4. Intercession of Saints.

There is but one Mediator between God and man, and but one High Priest through whom we draw near to God. And as intercession is a priestly function, it follows that Christ is our only intercessor. But as there is a sense in which all believers are kings and priests unto God, which is consistent with Christ’s being our only king and priest; so there is a sense in which one believer may intercede for another, which is not inconsistent with Christ’s being our only intercessor. By intercession in the case of believers is only meant that one child of God may pray for another or for all men. To intercede is in this sense merely to pray for. But in the case of Christ it expresses an official act, which none who does not fill his office can perform. As under the old economy one Israelite could pray for his brethren, but only the High Priest could enter within the veil and officially interpose in behalf of the people; so now, although we may pray, one for another, Christ only can appear as a priest before God in our behalf and plead his 595merits as the ground on which his prayers for his people should be answered.

Protestants object to the intercession of saints as taught and practised in the Church of Rome.

1. Because it supposes a class of beings who do not exist; that is, of canonized departed spirits. It is only those who, with the angels, have been officially declared by the Church, on account of their merits, to be now in heaven, who are regarded as intercessors. This, however, is an unauthorized assumption on the part of the Church. It has no prerogative to enable it thus to decide, and to enroll whom it will among glorified spirits. Often those thus dignified have been real enemies of God, and persecutors of his people.

2. It leads to practical idolatry. Idolatry is the ascription of divine attributes to a creature. In the popular mind the saints, and especially the Virgin Mary, are regarded as omnipresent; able at all times and in all places, to hear the prayers addressed to them, and to relieve the wants of their worshippers.

3. It is derogatory to Christ. As He is the only and sufficient mediator between God and man, and as He is ever willing to hear and answer the prayers of his people, it supposes some deficiency in Him, if we need other mediators to approach God in our behalf.

4. It moreover is contrary to Scripture, inasmuch as the saints are assumed to prevail with God on account of their personal merits. Such merit no human being has before God. No man has any merit to plead for his own salvation, much less for the salvation of others.

5. The practice is superstitious and degrading. Superstition is belief without evidence. The practice of the invocation of saints is founded on a belief which has no support from Scripture. It is calling upon imaginary helpers. It degrades men by turning them from the Creator to the creature, by leading them to put their trust in an arm of flesh, instead of in the power of Christ. It, therefore, turns away the hearts and confidence of the people from Him to those who can neither hear nor save.

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