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Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Date Posted:
6/13/2003


A Religion Of Relics An Exposure


Dr. Ian R. K. Paisley

C. H. SPURGEON ENDED ONE OF HIS GREAT SERMONS AGAINST POPERY WITH THE WORDS-

I count no words too severe.  If my every speech should be a thunderbolt and every word a lightning flash, it would not be too strong to protest against the accursed system which once degraded the whole earth to kiss the Pope’s foot, and is degrading our nation still, and that through a so-called Protestant church.  O, God Almighty, thou God of Latimer and Ridley, God of the martyrs, whose ashes are still among us, wilt thou suffer this people to go back again to false gods and saints and saintesses, and virgins, and crucifixes, relics, and cast clouts and rotten rags; for to this also will they come if thy grace prevent not.  Oh, my hearers, Jesus is the only Saviour of the sons of men.  Believe in him and live.  This is the only gospel: at your peril reject it.  I pray you receive it for Christ’s sake.

In the middle spread of the R. C. Universe 8/6/03 there is a long article on the spear which pierced the Saviour’s side after His death.

More and more Rome is returning to relics, the darkness of the pre Reformation ages.  Rome’s language is guarded but relics are not condemned or rejected but rather honoured and revered.

If Rome rejects relics why does she spend so much time in giving their supposed history and credibility?

The article in the Universe goes into the greatest of details.

It tells us the name of the soldier who used the spear and about the enthusiasm of world leaders from Constantine to Hitler who sought the holy relic.

It announces that the ‘holy’ spear was taken out of the Vienna Museum after World War II for excavation.

The article states:-

In chapter 19 St John tells how, with the Sabbath fast approaching, it was suggested to Pontius Pilate that the deaths of Jesus and the two thieves crucified alongside him would be hastened by suffocation if their legs were to be broken.

The governor gave his consent and the brutal order was carried out on the two men condemned with Christ.  But when they came to Jesus, the Roman soldiers realised he was already dead, and to prove it one of the men thrust his lance into the Saviour’s side, releasing a flow of water and blood.

Centurion

The incident was recorded by St John as proof that in death Christ had fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies that “a bone of him shall not be broken” and “they shall look on him whom they pierced”.

The soldier who wielded the lance is not named in the gospel account: but according to the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, formerly called the Acts of Pontius Pilate, he was a half-blind centurion called Longinus who, falling to his knees immediately afterwards, had his sight miraculously restored.  He then quit the Roman army for a life of prayer, was tortured to death for his faith, and became a saint.

However the Rev Sabine Baring Gould in his Lives of the Saints casts some doubt on the accuracy of this story by pointing out that the soldier’s name may simply have resulted from a misreading of the Greek word longche, meaning spear.

Nevertheless alleged relics of the unknown “soldier” have been preserved throughout Christendom, and include a rival “spear”, for which no serious claims of authenticity have been made, at the Vatican.

But having established in his gospel account that someone did indeed drive a spear into the dead Saviour’s side, it requires very little imagination to understand why such an artefact, stained with the very blood of Christ, would if it remained in existence, be one of the most important and holy relics known to the Christian world.

Legend has it that in the fourth century AD, Constantine the Great invoked the power of the spear to Christianise the Roman Empire, and that Charlemagne (born in around 742 AD) was also empowered by its possession.

Two hundred years later, Luitprand of Cremona left the first written account of the Holy relic, connecting it to the first Holy Roman Emperor Constantine: while in 1084, his successor Henry VI claimed at his coronation that the spear also embodied one of the nails used at the Crucifixion.

By the 14th century, its propaganda value was such that Charles IV of Bohemia and Germany promoted his claims to the throne by proclaiming the relic “the lance of the Lord”.

But in 1424, Sigismund of Luxembourg sold the spear to the town council of Nuremberg where it remained until 1800 when it was smuggled to Vienna to save it from capture by Napoleon.

It was there that the young Adolf Hitler saw the spear and coveted it for the power he believe it would bestow on its possessor: so in 1938 and on the brink of war the Nazis seized the lance and took it back to Nuremberg.

Occultists claim Hitler saw the weapon as a sort of modern-day Excalibur which would keep his regime in power for as long as he possessed it.

More sober-minded historians say his theft of the Hapsburg royal family’s “crown jewels”, which included the spear, was entirely consistent with his plundering of other museums, and that he regarded the relic as simply another of the spoils of war.  And at the end of the conflict, the spear – or perhaps only a copy – was recovered by American soldiers and returned to Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Now however that the dubious claims of the spear stand exposed but as the article states:-

Its origins soon forgotten, popular piety did the rest and the spear continued to be revered – alongside lesser treasures such as a tooth from St John the Baptist and the arm bone of St Anne –down the centuries.

Veneration of such relics are superstitious idolatry.  Even if the relic is genuine it has no spiritual value.  In the history of Israel the fiery serpent lifted up on a pole brought healing to thousands but King Hezekiah, when he saw how it was being worshipped, had it destroyed.

Numbers 21:7-9 7  Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8  And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

2 Kings 18:1-4 1 ¶ Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign. 2  Twenty and five years old was he when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Abi, the daughter of Zachariah. 3  And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did. 4  He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

What is the second commandment?

‘Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above or that is in the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them.  For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

What is forbidden in the second commandment?

‘The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images or any other way not appointed by His Word.’

How does Rome get over the second commandment which states that we must not make or bow down or serve graven images?

The Church of Rome oftentimes omits the second commandment completely form her Catechisms, as for example in the Maynooth Catechism and Butler’s Irish Catechism.  Having omitted the second commandment Rome then changes the tenth commandment into two parts in order to still have ten commandments.

What does the Church of Rome understand by relics?

‘The dead bodies or bones of the saints also whatever other things belong to them in their mortal life.’

What are the two classes of relics principally prized by Rome?

‘They are (i) Particles of the skull, bones, skin, teeth, hair, nails and drops of blood of the saints: and (ii) The instruments of torture by which they suffered death.’

Name some of the relics which are displayed and honoured by the Church of Rome?

The Church of Rome displays and honours among a great many other things the following alleged relics – The hair of St. Magdalene, stones thrown at St. Stephen, hay from the manger of Bethlehem, the tail of Baalim’s ass, a tooth of St. Paul, parings of St. Edmund’s toes, and it is said there are more heads of St. Peter than one or two.

What honour is said to be due to relics?

The Council of Trent did not define it.  Modern authorities declare that relics are ‘Dear pledges which animate their confidence in the communion and intercession of the saints.’  And that there ought to be rendered to them ‘an inferior an relative honour as they relate to Christ and the saints and their memorials of them.’  ‘At the formal exhibition of relics at St. Peter’s in Rome formal and public worship is offered to them and the Pope and Cardinals kneel before them as they do before the host and the altar.’

What fact is positive disproof of the genuiness of Rome’s relics?

The fact that there are so many relics of each apostle and saint and so many duplicates of every article of primitive interest.  The apostles must each have had several heads and a corresponding number of limbs to have furnished the present supply.  Helena who discovered the Cross must have had three bodies as there is now one in the Church of Aracaeli in Rome, a second in the Continent of Hautvilliers near Rheims and a third in Constantinople – each one honoured as the true body of the saint.  The Cross must have been of enormous size to have furnished all the pieces now exhibited.  There are even relics of angels, for example the feather of Michael the archangel.

What is the boast of the Church of Rome in regard to the working of miracles?

She claims that the power has been transmitted to her; that her relics, images and saints have all wrought and continue still to work miracles.  Cardinal Newman said, ‘Certainly the Catholic Church from east to west, from north to south is hung with miracles.’

Does not the character of the doctrines, in support of which the miracles of Rome are appealed to, warrant us to reject them?

 ‘Yes, God declared that any sign given or wonder wrought in support of any doctrine contrary to His Word is, without, further examination, to be pronounced false.’

What is the moral code or character of Rome’s alleged miracles?

‘It has been to a great extent of a low unworthy and childish type.  According to Schaff the miracles of the Church of Rome have been not so much supernatural and above reason but unnatural and against reason.  We are told for example how St Bernius after being in full sail for France, finding he had forgotten something, walked by dryshod on the sea.  How St Dionysius after being beheaded took his head in his hand and walked two miles.  How St Anthony made a heretic’s horse do obeisance to the host by inclining his head and kneeling.  How St Hilarion in answer to the appeal of one of the faithful who patronised the turf but was invariably beaten by his antagonist gave him a jug of water with which to sprinkle his horses and the course, the result being that his horses were able to fly past his competitors and win every race!  In contrast to all this the miracles of Christ were works of dignity and power which always corresponded with the object of His mission and were themselves a beautiful illustration of the blessings He came to bestow.’

What was Newman’s opinions of the miracles of Rome before he turned over to the Romish Church?

Newman said that such miracles were ‘unworthy of an all wise author,’ and he added, ‘the notorious insincerity and frauds of the Church of Rome in other things were in themselves enough to throw a strong suspicion on its testimony to its miracles.’  After he seceded to the Church of Rome he accepted her miracles even the bowing of her crucifixes, the winking of her madonnas and the liquidification of the blood of St Januarius.’

Is this feature of Rome’s character not foretold and severely condemned in the Scriptures?

‘Yes, One of the features of the man of sin, as described by Paul, is ‘His whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders (literally with all power and signs and wonder of falsehood, the term ‘falsehood’ referring to each of the three preceding substantives) and with all deceivableness or unrighteousness in them that perish.’  For twelve or fifteen centuries the Church of Rome has filled up with her false dogmas and spurious miracles this apostolic outline of the character of the great apostasy.’

As we go to press another relic of a R. C. saint has arrived to tour Ireland – a part of a saints tongue!!!!

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