Is the Blessed Virgin Mary a perpetual virgin?
Is it Mary or the Lady of the Jesuits?
"And when they were come into the house they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down and worshiped him." Mat 2:11.
Dr. J. D. Fulton: It was Christ the wise men worshiped even when an infant and when Mary was in her prime and at her best. Let wise men continue in the good old path. For centuries the attempt has been made by the Romish church and all sympathizers with the "Harlot of the Tiber" to prove The Perpetual Virginity of the mother of our Lord. About the virginity of Mary up to the time of the birth of our Saviour there is no dispute.
Matthew tells the story that is universally received and believed. He informs us that when Mary "was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily [privately]. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him saying: Joseph, thou Son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife; and knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born son and he called His name Jesus" (Mat 1:18-25).
The evangelist that proclaims her virginity also declares her wifehood (Mat 1:25), and that Mary was the mother of four boys, James and Joses, Simon and Judas (Mat 13:55), and of girls as well (Mark 6:3), who lived and were known to the early church.
Is it Mary of the Lady of the Jesuits
worshiped by Roman Catholics, and by many Anglicans? The Mary of the New Testament was a woman to be as much pitied as praised. She had the care of a large family, who did not, for a long time, believe in their elder brother, for he had "Protestantism on the brain" [i.e., rejection of non-scriptural religious tradition] in their opinion. Mary's position was one that few would envy, then or now.
The foreknowledge of God is marvellously revealed in the care taken by Christ and the apostles to head against the Mariolatry which is now cursing the world.
Mary was repudiated as mediator, by Christ.
To this I called attention at the Dome, in Brighton, England, on Thursday evening, August 15, 1889, by relating the following story:
Our Irish Katy.
I had gone to the intelligence [information] office, and asked the proprietor to send us a Protestant girl. Shortly after I reached home, I found a great, strong, noble-looking Irish girl in the house, seeking employment. As soon as I saw her, I asked, "Are you a Protestant?"
"No, I am a Roman Catholic."
"But I asked the man at the office to send me a Protestant girl."
"I know it for I heard you. I asked him to let me come."
"Well, what induced you? We want a girl to come in to prayers, and to read the Bible with us."
"I want to come into prayers and read the Bible."
"Do you know who I am?"
"I guess I do, I hear you preach every Sunday."
"Why, God bless you, Katy," I said, "I am glad you have come."
She came to prayers, and yet went to confession and to early mass. One Sabbath morning the burden of her soul came upon my heart, and I rose at 5 a.m., went down into my study, which is on the first floor, and waited for her appearance to go to church. As she came into the hall I said, "Katy, are you going to mass?"
"To pray to the Virgin?"
"Do you think it will do you good?"
"I suppose it will. Surely the Saviour would hear the ever Blessed Virgin sooner than he would hear the likes of me. Don't you think it?"
"He would not when on earth."
"What makes you say that?"
"Because God's word says it. Have you a Bible?"
"Go and bring it."
She brought down a very large illustrated edition of the Douay Bible.
I said, "Your Bible is large enough?"
"Yes, they would not sell me a small copy, and I was determined to have one, and purchased this."
"Turn to John 2:3 and 4, and read: `And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus said unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.'"
"Notice, Katy, He does not call her mother, but woman, nor does He pay any heed to her intercession, but repudiates it." [Harper's Bible Commentary: Jesus is `brusque'. New Bible Commentary Revised: `His purpose is to correct an impression in mind, that Jesus might take His directions from her.']
Katy held her Bible and looked at the passage with wonderment and surprise. I said: "Mary set us all an example and gave a command to the servants, which we would do well to heed. His mother saith unto the servants, "whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."
But a more striking illustration of Christ's repudiating the dogma of Mariolatry may be found in Matthew 12:46-50, and in Mark 3:31-35, and in Luke 8:19-21, where it is recorded that Mary and His brethren came and sent Him word, `Thy mother and thy brethren stand without desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told Him, Who is my mother and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hands towards his disciples and said, Behold my Mother and my brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.' Or as Luke expresses it, `my mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.' You see, Katy, Christ never called Mary mother, after entering upon His public ministry."
"Did He not when hanging on the cross?" asked Katy.
"Turn to John 19:25-27, and read: `Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he said unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.'
"That the people knew nothing about Mary's claim to any special regard is shown by the record given us in Mat 13:55-56: `And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogues, insomuch that many were astonished and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas, and his sisters, are they not all with us?"
Katy seemed almost paralyzed when she comprehended this truth, and lifting her Irish face up, she said, "Mary was not much of a virgin [forever] if she had four boys beside Jesus her first-born, and a lot of girls."
I replied: "You are right. She was only a virgin when she received the Holy Ghost, and as a result became the mother of Christ. After that she became Joseph's wife, and the mother of a large family." Katy took her Bible and went back to her room, feeling that it is apparent that after Christ's public appearance, He stood forth as the world's Redeemer, saying, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work."
by Justin Dewey Fulton D.D. (Brooklyn, New York), based on a sermon preached in the Dome, Brighton, England, Aug. 15, 1889.
The Right Hon. Lord Robert Montagu (1889) comes to the defense of the truth with the following plain sentiments concerning the character and faith of Mary.
Mary was a virgin until the nativity, but not afterwards. Joseph was really the husband of Mary, but Jesus was conceived "before they came together;" and he (Joseph) "knew her not until she had brought forth her first-born Son." This is an intimation that she brought forth other sons. The opposition is clearly put by Luke. Jesus was the first-born, or eldest son of Mary, but "the only-begotten son" of God. Therefore Mary had other children also. This is expressly stated by the Holy Scriptures.
The Scripture, to which you [Anglican Bishop Durnford of Chichester] appealed have, I think, pronounced against you. So do the older divines of the Roman church. Alvarez Polagius, papal legate and plenipotentiary, wrote that "James the Less" was made the first bishop of Jerusalem, because he was the "brother to the Lord Jesus after the flesh." This he had learned from the ancient fathers, as you may see if you will consult Cyril of Jerusalem, who flourished about 370 A. D.: "Afterwards Christ was seen by his brother James, the first bishop of the parish. You, who are the disciple of such a great bishop, may well believe him when he says he saw the risen Jesus stand before him. Or will you say that He appeared to His brother James because of James' love to Him? - Well, but after all He was seen of Paul, who was an enemy to Him."
"Pope Nicholas 1, in 858, issued a decree which is also embodied in the canon law, and is therefore part of the faith of the Roman church. It distinctly states and proves that Mary was married to Joseph, and did not remain a virgin. The canon law also embodies passages from St. Augustine, to the same effect ; from Pope Alexander III (in 1159); from Pope Innocent III (in 1243); from Pope Innocent IV (in 1243); from Ricardus (in 1280); while Hugo, Thomas Aquinas and Artesanus declare that it would have been a grievous sin if Mary had been betrothed or espoused and remained a virgin. The great "Abbas" Panormitanus, archbishop of Palermo, asserts the same. So does Angelus do Clavasio, as late as 1480 A.D.
[Montagu is wrong about Augustine and Thomas Aquinas (see "Summa Theologica"), and may be wrong about some of the other authoritis he cites.]
It follows from this evidence that up to the end of the fifteenth century it was no part of the belief of the Roman Church, nor of any other church, that Mary continued to be a virgin.